Fulton Co Protests Pound’s Killing Policy for Pitbulls

More than 80 animal advocates turned up at a peaceful protest at the Fulton Co Dog Pound in Ohio last weekend designed to raise community awareness regarding the pound’s regressive pitbull policy. Fulton Co kills any dog or puppy who is not reclaimed by an owner and whose body shape resembles that of a pitbull or pitbull mix in the opinion of the dog warden or his assistant. This cruel policy not only defies logic, it defies legal recommendations on the local and state level:

The commissioners unanimously passed Resolution 2012-47 in May, 2012, just after and in spite of the Ohio Legislature’s removal of breed-specific language from state code and against the recommendation of their legal counsel, Fulton County prosecutor Scott Haselman, to remain breed neutral. The policy states that no dog identified by the dog warden or assistant dog warden as a “pit bull” or “pit-bull” mix will be adopted out or transferred to a rescue group from the pound.
[...]
Dog Warden Brian Banister, who according to county records recommended and initially drafted the policy, said he agrees with the county’s decision about “pit bulls.”

Area animal advocates have been trying to present a case for judging each dog and puppy as an individual, based on behavior, instead of having a blanket policy of death for all unclaimed dogs and puppies based on body shape. But the county already knows everything:

The two leaders of Fulton County No Kill, Carol Dopp of Chesterfield Township and Tasha Grieser of Archbold, Ohio, said dogs should be judged by their behavior, not their physical appearance. The pair met with County Administrator Vond Hall in mid-August to discuss the matter with the intent of placing it on a county commissioners’ meeting agenda. They were rebuffed.

Mr. Hall said he approached the commissioners, who refused to open a discussion about the policy and have not met with representatives of either group.

“The board members fully understand the position the No-Kill group has, and they also fully understand their own position,” he said. “They do not see the need to discuss what they feel they already understand.”

It’s got to be a good feeling, knowing everything and not needing to listen to your constituents, your county attorney or your state’s legal recommendations. They probably sleep like babies. And act like them:

[A] Fulton County resident and dog trainer who is certified in a behavior-evaluation protocol developed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offered to evaluate the county’s dogs at no charge. That offer was refused.

*stomps feet*
We. Already. Know. Everything.
Why isn’t anyone listening to us?

“We are not a shelter,” Mr. Hall said.

Problem number one, in what appears to be a lengthy list in Fulton Co.  By the way, it’s not necessary to call yourself a “shelter” in order to stop killing stray dogs and puppies whom people are willing to save.  You can just call yourself a human to do that.

Mr. Hall said [...] those people protesting the policy appear to be “expressing concern about the animal, not the public.”

Wait – I thought the people protesting were the public. But heaven forfend anyone be concerned about an animal, especially one with fat head and a waggy tail.

(Thank you Arlene for the link.)

“Human Error” Blamed for Oops-Killing in Prince George’s Co

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Prince George’s County in MD has had a body shape based ban on dogs since 1997.  Like every other similar ban, it tears families apart and offers no benefit of any kind.  But Prince George’s Co continues to uphold the ban.  Because AHHH Pitbulls!

When a bully breed type dog was surrendered at the Prince George’s Co pound by her owner last week, a local rescue group moved swiftly to save her.  Within hours, they found a foster home where the healthy dog, who was about to give birth to a litter of puppies, could raise her family in safety and comfort.  The rescue advised the pound they were sending a volunteer to pick her up.  But someone at the pound failed to mark the dog’s record with a DO NOT KILL so Prince George’s Co killed her before the rescuer arrived.  Oops.

Lisa Marie Czop, the rescue volunteer who tried to save this dog, told me she received a text message from a pound worker that read, “Don’t worry about the pregnant dog I emailed you about” which she soon learned meant the dog had been oops-killed.

The Public Information Specialist for Prince George’s Co told the local news:

[T]he animal was selected for euthanasia due to the lack of space at the Facility and her condition.

Her condition was reportedly healthy.  I believe that the county spokesman is using the word “condition” to indicate that the dog was pregnant and had a body shape deemed illegal by the county.

Lisa Marie Czop wrote to me in an e-mail:

The issue is the leadership at the shelter, and specifically in this case, the kennel manager who makes the decisions to euthanize, does not have life-saving as the top priority of the shelter.

In my opinion, the best outcome would be to remove leadership from this shelter, specifically Chief Taylor. However, a more realistic goal in light of all of this media attention may be to establish some oversight by the County of this shelter so that they can answer to the fact that they are euthanizing significantly more animals than the shelters around them.

County Executive Rushern Baker is the highest level of County leadership that the shelter reports to, and his office phone number is 301-952-4131.

When a pregnant dog who is near term is injected with Fatal Plus, she dies.  But her puppies remain alive inside her uterus, forced to slowly suffocate to death.  This dog had a right to live, as did her unborn puppies.  This dog and her unborn puppies were wanted and a rescue group had advised Prince George’s Co they were coming to pick her up.  But the county killed her anyway, blaming “human error”.

I would offer that the human error at the Prince George’s Co pound is the systematic killing of healthy pets and harboring bias against certain dogs based on body shape.  Within this culture of killing, pound workers view discrimination and death as standard operating procedure which is why no one jumped up and down screaming, “No, this is not right!” when this dog was taken to the kill room.  If Prince George’s Co was doing its job and saving every healthy/treatable animal in its care, that’s exactly what would have happened because no compassionate worker committed to protecting pets’ lives would stand by and allow this dog to be killed and her puppies, who likely could have survived outside the uterus, to smother.

I’ve been hearing for years that shelter works do not want to kill animals.  I’m tired of hearing it.  Show me.  Start doing your jobs and providing shelter to the animals in your care.  Follow the example set by the hundreds of open admission shelters in this country that are saving more than 90% of their animals.  Stop the excuses.  Stop the killing.

(Thank you Anne T. for the link.)

That Tree Branch Could Be a Schoolbus Full of Kiddies!

One of those “aggressive dogs”, per NC state lawmaker Rodney Moore. Wearing a striped sweater. And gyrating.  The owner really should get a permit.

Updated: Your Rights as a U.S. Citizen Who Owns Pets

Although this information, which I posted on Facebook yesterday, is directed at dog owners in Sikeston, MO where authorities are rounding up dogs based on body shape, it could potentially apply to any pet owner, anywhere, anytime.

Dog owners in Sikeston, MO – keep your doors locked. Do not answer the door if AC knocks. Do not give them permission to come into your home. If they do not have your permission, they have to get a search warrant. Make them get one. This is a travesty.

Lisa from Hospets shared info from this link that has been widely circulated on the net and tells pet owners exactly what to do and what not to do when AC knocks on your door – whether you live in a BSL area or not.  It’s good to review this document periodically to remind yourself of your rights and how to best protect yourself and your pets.

To that excellent list I would add that when AC is conducting illegal seizures under BSL, no dog owner should assume he is safe because his dog is not a Pitbull (or whatever “breed” they are targeting). It may be obvious to the owner that the dog is not a Pitbull but the owner’s opinion will not count. Keep the door locked.

Many people are understandably outraged at the illegal seizure of pets from law abiding citizens.  Some have made extreme suggestions such as moving or physically resisting and many have drawn comparisons to Nazi Germany.  People in Sikeston don’t need to flee or resort to violence. They need to stand up, speak up and refuse to shut up until someone in a position to stop this madness listens.  It’s important to remember that Hitler counted on the masses to do what people in uniform told them to do – even if they believed it was ethically wrong, unfair and/or illegal. By and large they did and this was a key component in his rise to power.  Compassionate, reasonable people always outnumber ignorant sadists. They just tend to keep quiet.

AddedKC Dog Blog has posted an update on the situation in Sikeston.  It sounds as if authorities are backing down.

Morgana Found One!

Reader Morgana found a BSL advocate and got a response about the killing of Lennox.  Although it’s not the public celebration I had anticipated, it’s at least public, now.  And it’s got all the lies anyone could ever have imagined:

From:anmlpepl@whidbey.com” <anmlpepl@whidbey.com>
To: Morgana
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2012 6:18 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: [New post] BSL Advocates Seem to Have Disappeared After Lennox’s Killing, Check Under Local Rocks

In point of fact,  Lennox was impounded after neighbors complained about his dangerous behavior.

He was not returned with a warning because he was a pit bull, who never should have been brought to Northern Ireland in the first place.  Returning animals of any kind to scofflaws is never good policy.

Lennox subsequently repeatedly flunked behavioral screening.

And that is why he was killed.

– Merritt Clifton
Editor,  ANIMAL PEOPLE
P.O. Box 960
Clinton,  WA  98236

BSL Advocates Seem to Have Disappeared After Lennox’s Killing, Check Under Local Rocks

Reader Joel sent me this note regarding Lennox, which I thought many of you would be interested in reading:

One thing I’ve been wondering…where are all the BSL advocates to stand up and take ownership of this? This is a ideal situation for them, as the process as done everything that strict BSL is supposed to do, to an absolute T:
- A dangerous dog, defined by the dog’s appearance, was identified
- The dog was then seized BEFORE he could commit a deadly attack (as the BSL folks say…Prevent the deed, ban the breed!)
- The seizure was upheld through the judicial process
- The dog was killed despite massive protests and public pressure
 
This is the dream BSL scenario, and it is the most publicized case in who knows how long. Instead of letting Belfast City Council take all the heat for this, they should be helping the council and public celebrate good solid policy. They should be using the opportunity to educate everyone about why this needed to be done, why it was right to do it, and why everyone is safer now. The silence is notable.
He makes a good point.  If your group supports BSL, this high profile case is all the free publicity you could ever hope for and you should take advantage of the opportunity to get more cities on your righteous path.  BSL takes many forms and in these various forms, has a wide array of advocates.  PETA, Dogsbite.org, governments in the cities of Denver, Omaha and Houston, the Canadian province of Ontario as well as many others should all be posing for photos with the gangstas of the BCC and posting the pix on Facebook.  They should be dancing in the streets, singing “How Ya Like Me Now?” while waving signs that read “Lennox is Dead! Long Live BSL!”  Why so silent, BSL advocates?  You won.  The blood is fresh.  Seize the day.

Belfast City Council: One Final Lie about Lennox

Lennox has not “been humanely put to sleep”, as the Belfast City Council puts it, nor has he been “put down“, “euthanized” or any other euphemism.  Lennox was killed.

This is exactly why we call it the No Kill Movement and not the No Humane Putting to Sleep Movement.  No kill advocates are for true euthanasia to end the suffering of medically hopeless or behaviorally hopeless pets after all reasonable efforts to help have been exhausted.  We are against killing – which is ending the life of a pet for any other reason.

Lennox was neither medically nor behaviorally hopeless.  He was a little girl’s comfort dog and a friendly family pet.  He was deemed dangerous due to his body measurements under a stupid law in Northern Ireland.  There were offers to rehome Lennox in other locations which have no such laws and as such, he would not be considered dangerous.  But the Belfast City Council would accept no alternatives.  The BCC seemed to be afflicted with some sort of maniacal bloodlust over the dog.

When you talk about Lennox from now on, make sure you choose your words carefully.  He was killed.  Just like all the other dogs deemed dangerous due to body shape under breed specific legislation in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.  It’s killing under the guise of public safety.  But who keeps the public safe from those who kill a little girl’s friendly pet and call it humane?

After 2 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment, Belfast Pet to Die Alone

Image of Belfast protest in support of Lennox, via Facebook.

Official Statement From Lennox’s Family:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive “some” ashes in the mail.

Shame on you, Belfast City Council.

[Backstory]

Goodbye Lennox

Many of you have been supporting the efforts to save Lennox, a mixed breed dog in Belfast, seized under the Dangerous Dog Act, two years ago.  Lennox was seized not because he bit someone, nor because anyone complained about his behavior.  He was seized due to body measurements taken by a pair of dog wardens.  They claimed these measurements qualified him as a “Pitbull type” dog and that he would be killed.

Lennox’s owners have been fighting for his life these past 2 years while the dog wasted away in deplorable conditions at the hands of Belfast City Council.  Despite all logic, the courts have continually upheld that Lennox must be killed due to his measurements, even dismissing the opinions of two canine behaviorists who evaluated Lennox and found him to be a safe dog.  Today, the owners lost their final appeal to save their family pet’s life.

It is a sad day for Lennox, his family, and animal lovers everywhere.  It is a sad day for common sense which should tell anyone that a tape measure is not an accurate predictor of canine behavior.  But then, this is the tragedy of breed specific legislation.  I hope the Dangerous Dog Act is fully repealed and replaced with common sense legislation that does not discriminate against dogs based on appearance or more specifically, condemn dogs to death based upon a tape measure.

Amnesty and Killing – They Just Go Together

In Australia, the towns of Campbelltown and Wollondilly place heavy restrictions on owners of Pitbull type dogs.  The city councils are concerned that some owners may not be in compliance with the law and are keeping Pitbulls they haven’t registered.  As such, and in response to the tragic death of a child who was killed by a Pitbull type dog in Melbourne recently, the city councils are offering amnesty to unregistered Pitbull owners.

It’s really a swell deal.  The owner turns in the unregistered dog and gets a fabulous prize:  no charges will be filed!  But that’s not all.  The dog too gets a fabulous prize – well, actually the dog just gets killed.  But did I mention no charges will be filed against the owner?!

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