Friday, July 19, 2013

The rescue industry is out of control, rescues must be licensed.

This post is an update on the trafficking of the designated dangerous dog named Boston into Ohio, and my thoughts on the sad state of affairs in the animal rescue industry.  For a refresher on Boston's history please click here.

Boston, the two time child mauler from California was ordered out of state and sent to the Ohio Presa Canario Rescue, run out of a small home in Rittman Ohio.  Given Boston's history he should have been either euthanized or kept in a very secure facility for the rest of his life but as soon as he arrived in Ohio Boston was put on Petfinder as an "adoptable dog."  Below is the updated Petfinder listing.

Boston: Presa Canario, Dog; Rittman, OHEnlarge Photo
Boston: Presa Canario, Dog; Rittman, OH Boston: Presa Canario, Dog; Rittman, OH Boston: Presa Canario, Dog; Rittman, OH


Presa Canario/Mastiff Mix: An adopted dog in Rittman, OH

Large • Adult • Male

This Presa Canario was ordered out of Pleasanton California for mauling the same child TWICE and now resides in some Ohio community where his history is presumably not known.  While the new owners may not have children (at least it is to be hoped that they do not have children in their household) their neighbors probably do.  Do the neighbors have dogs and cats?  I'm willing to bet on that.  Livestock? Possibly.

Let me state that the term "adoptable" is inappropriate for a dog.  One adopts children but purchases dogs, dogs are property by law.  The sale price for Boston was $300.  If you have reviewed the previous post on Boston you are aware that a condition set for purchase of Boston was that the dog would only be placed with (sold to) an Ohio resident.  This has come to pass, Boston has been sold. Do the neighbor's of Boston's new owners have any idea what just moved into the neighborhood?

This should never have happened.  Vicious dogs should be dealt with where their history is known not transported across America to put the public at risk. Ohio Dog Wardens were well aware that Boston was in Ohio, aware of his history, aware of his location, aware of the reason for his change of address.  Action should have been taken to shut this down prior to the sale of a dangerous dog.  It appears that common sense has been thrown out the window.

Was the reason for failure to protect Ohio citizens the legal nightmare set up in HB 14?  HB 14 was introduced and shamelessly promoted by Toledo Representative Barbara Sears as a favor to her personal friend Jean Keating.   This bill was written by the animal rights lawyers at Best Friends Animal Society and sold to thoughtless Ohio Legislators as  "finally the tools for Dog Wardens to deal with vicious dogs."  For the process written for Ohio by Best Friends Animal Society please click here.  After reading current Ohio law it is very clear that the law protects violent dogs and their owners by making the process so complex that it cannot effectively be used.  An additional fact may be of interest.  In the first year since the passage of HB 14, the bill that would "give Dog Wardens the tools to deal with vicious dogs" four Ohio residents have been mauled to death by dogs.

One would think that Boston's designation as a Dangerous Dog in California would have been enough for Ohio Dog Wardens to insist that Boston be sent right back to where he came from but if the Petfinder ad for Boston tells the truth he is here to stay.

Boston is not the first dangerous dog sent to Ohio. The high profile case of Bones, a dog too violent to remain in New York City and transported to Ohio by the Lexus Project only to be lost on the streets of Toledo comes to mind.  Please click here for more information on this case.  Bones remains missing.

Ohio is not the only destination for documented dangerous dogs.  The Lexus Project has brought the case of Onion, a mastiff/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that killed the toddler grandson of the owner, to the Nevada Supreme Court. The owner signed the dog over to local animal control after Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was killed at his first birthday party on April 28, 2012 but Lexus Project lawyers have complicated what should have been a local decision.    After signing the dog over to local animal control Elizabeth Keller was convinced by the Lexus Project that they would work towards a better resolution for Onion so she signed Onion over to Lexus Project as well. The Lexus Project feels that Onion should live out his life in a rescue facility outside of Denver Colorado. One can hope that the facility was chosen with more care than the animal rights lawyers at the Lexus Project used when they sent Bones to Ohio.  This matter is in the hands of the Nevada Supreme Court at this time. A chip-in for Onion has raised $1710.  Note of explanation, a chip-in is a fundraising website.  The Lexus Project and owners of vicious dogs just love chip-in sites. Chip-in websites allow the public to fund the legal bills of those who harbor violent dogs.  I have never seen a chip-in set up by the dog owner to pay the medical bills of the victim.
7/19/2013 8 pm Update, this must be a first, a rescue has set up a chip-in to pay the vet bills for a dog mauled by one of their rescue dogs.  Please click here for this unexpected development.  I admit to being stunned by this development and felt it should be shared.

Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan and Onion

Effingham County Ga is considering sending a violent pit bull to New York State.  The mauler, the pit bull known as Kno attacked five year old Wesley Frye while he was playing at a friend's home back in 2012.  Wesley required multiple surgeries was left with facial scars and facial paralysis.  This case drags on, please note that the dog has a court appointed lawyer.  The chosen "rescue" facility is Glen Wild Animal Rescue in Cherry Valley NY.  Liz Keller, owner of the facility, details confinement arrangements for Kno, he will live in a 10 bedroom house on the property.  It is known that Kno is not safe with cats and he will be separated from the rescue cats at Glen Wild by... a fence. Fences are notoriously ineffective at confining pit bulls.  Glen Wild's cats are not safe.  For You Tube video of a pit bull jumping a seven foot fence please click here, some classy entertainment.

new location for Glen Wild Animal Rescue
This is the fence at Glen Wild.

The hang up in transporting Kno to New York State is money.  Five thousand dollars to be exact.  Glen Wild wants the money upfront for lifetime care of Kno.  Fundraising is underway but giving appears to have stalled.  A benefactor has committed to matching up to $2500 so all that remains is $2500.  Please note that the chip-in on Glen Wild's website records a whopping $125 has been donated.   A petition to stop the transfer of Kno to New York state has been started by Wesley's mother.  You can find the petition here.

Effingham County has had its share of pit bull problems. In December of 2012 a Effingham County deputy was attacked by a pit bull as he was responding to a call that the dog was menacing a woman and a child. The deputy shot the dog and it was later euthanized.  There had been multiple calls to law enforcement regarding this particular pit bull.  My guess is that the neighbors are sleeping a bit more soundly these days. This pit bull did not live long enough to get a court appointed lawyer.

As outrageous as these mauler relocations are, these dogs are just a few of the many.  Dangerous pit bull Snaps was sent to the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Washington State.  It is reported that roughly 160 dogs are housed at this 3/4 acre "sanctuary."  Take a look at the photos in this link for a look at life in this "sanctuary."  Records indicate that Olympic Animal Sanctuary received over $150,000 in donations in 2011.  Where did the money go?  This question comes up with many high profile animal rescues.  For a thorough examination of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary please click here.  Olympic Animal Sanctuary is a hell hole.

Spindletop is another fine example of corruption in the animal rescue system.  Hundreds of dogs were warehoused at this facility in Willis Texas. For a thorough examination of the suffering and graft at Spindletop please click here. This is a short quote from a Houston Press blog  written by pit bull-centric reporter Craig Malisow
 "Dog rescuers throughout the country are worrying today over the fates of dogs they placed at the Spindletop Refuge in Willis, where authorities say hundreds of dogs were found living in their own waste in cramped, stacked crates, near a mass grave with an unknown number of bodies.  The 298 dogs seized Tuesday night by Montgomery and Harris county law enforcement, as well as the Humane Society of the United States, are being evaluated at an undisclosed location, HSUS Texas State Director Katie Jarl told local reporters.   Opened by Leah Purcell in 1985, Spindletop earned respect from those in the animal rescue community nationwide, especially for Purcell's work in rehabilitating and placing pit bulls. Spindletop Refuge was listed as a "friend of the court" in the notorious Michael Vick dogfighting scandal in 2007. While Purcell wasn't a part of the proceedings, the court filing stated that she has "been qualified as an expert witness on [pit bulls] in several court cases, and courts nationwide have entrusted the care of seized dogs to Spindletop."

Moving on to another national scandal, we have the Smilin Pit Bull Rescue, raided by police as part of an animal cruelty investigation.  The operator of Smilin Pit Bull Rescue, Eric Gray, was also charged with felony unauthorized practice of a profession.  Eric Gray acted as a veterinarian by prescribing medication for dogs in his care. For more information please click here.  The  Testimonials page gives the experiences of some of those who volunteered with this hell hole "rescue."  This Facebook page features the stories about SPBR. Smilin Pit Bull Rescue picked up dogs wherever and transported dogs wherever.  Don't miss the links on the "Crating Puppies together" post.  Actually, don't miss any of the links.  The "about us" page explains the issues with Eric Gray's "rescue."

  • fosters instructed not to provide vet care or delay vet care for critically ill dogs
  • fosters guilted into taking on more dogs than they can realistically handle,
    because if they don't they are told the dogs will go back to the shelter
  • fosters not being reimbursed for food or vet care
  • adopters not receiving vaccination records for dogs
  • adopters specifically requested to pay fees in cash and not receiving receipts
  • supporters being banned from the SPBR forum for asking where donations are going or where missing dogs went
  • fosters who raise a litter of puppies being ignored once the puppies are adopted out, but mom is still with them
  • dogs with bite histories placed with foster or adoptive homes without telling them
  • dogs with cat or dog aggression history placed with foster or adoptive homes without telling them
  • no receipts given for donations or purchase of products
  • dogs who are on the website one day and gone the next with no explanation
  • .
    There is the story of an Ohio woman running an apparent amateur pit bull rescue in Youngstown Ohio, a community with a pit bull ban.  On September 1, 2011 a humane agent filed a complaint alleging that Marisa Bodnar was housing pit bulls and was guilty of cruelty against animals.  Bodnar was charged with five counts of violating the prohibition against pit bulls and two counts of cruelty against animals.  She eventually pled no contest and was sentenced to 360 days in jail and $750 in fines.  This did not suit her so she filed an appeal with the State of Ohio Court of Appeals Seventh District.  Click here for the decision of the court which was in agreement with the original sentence.  A follow up that should not be missed comes from published October 25, 2011. Yes,this story was written just a few weeks after complaints were filed against  Bodnar, she appears to have little capacity for learning from her mistakes.    Bodnar was attacked by one of her own pit bulls.  Here is a short quote from
    According to police, Bodnar said she had walked the dog and returned home when the animal attacked her without warning or provocation. Police arrived to find the animal on the front porch, covered in blood and acting aggressively toward officers. Bodnar, through an open window, asked police to call an ambulance.
    Officers used a stun gun on the dog, but that was ineffective. Officers then used pepper spray on the animal, which made it stay away long enough for police to get Bodnar out of the house and to a waiting ambulance.

     Lets move on to the story of Crystal Luli, director of Ohio Pet Placement.  She has been charged with identity theft and forgery.  The media fawned over her for her participation in the rescue of 27 pit bulls from a dog fighting operation in Cleveland Ohio in 2011.   Fast forward to March of 2013.  A quote from the Examiner article " Crystal Luli is accused of using the name of a veterinarian who worked at her rescue operation to open a credit account with a medical supply company. The veterinarian, Cathryne Wittlinger, met with police on February 14 after receiving invoices for the supplies Luli allegedly ordered. Luli told police she’d had the veterinarian’s permission, but Wittlinger denies it." 
    Included in the Examiner article are other legal problems for Luli, her husband, and their business.   Click on this link for a WKYC news expose on Luli's business.  There is video of a nineteen year old, unlicensed employee of the clinic performing surgery on a dog.   Ohio Pet Placement was forced to close in May of 2013.  Sheffield Township trustees revoked the facility's permit to operate after the facility was found with no electricity or running water, trash cans were overflowing with feces.  Thirty five dogs, eighteen cats, and two turtles were removed from the facility.    
    crystal luli.jpg
    Crystal Luli.

    The rescue problems that appear here are repeated in every state.  In addition to the scandals, those rescuing dogs have been killed or injured by the dogs they were trying to save, click here, and here, and here, or just click here for an encyclopedic listing of shelter and rescue disasters. Thanks to the blogger at Occupy Maul Street for this information.  

    A dangerous and corrupt game is being played, it is time that this industry faces regulation.  A law proposed by a private citizen would likely never see the light of day in the Ohio Statehouse but a law proposed by the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association would be taken seriously.  That law might include a requirement that prior to transport, notification be sent to the appropriate County Dog Warden if  any dog with a history of violence is to be sent to a rescue or sanctuary in the state of Ohio.  This would allow the Dog Warden to inspect the facility.  It is unlikely that Julie Lyle, Lucas County dog warden, would have signed off on sending Bones to live in a garage behind a tiny house in Toledo Ohio with fourteen or fifteen other dangerous dogs. It is equally unlikely that approval would have been given to transfer Boston to a tiny home in Rittman Ohio where a two dog limit is law. 

    Inspection would ensure that the facility is safe and that care of animals housed is humane.  Consideration should be given to the safety of neighbors, noise control, sanitary disposal of waste and the impact of the rescue on the community. 

    A proposed law that includes a provision for review of financial records would go a long way toward insuring that the funds donated to 501c3 rescues actually goes toward humane care of the animals housed there.  

    The American public loves dogs and will support legitimate rescues but corrupt or inhumane organizations need to be driven out of business.  No more Spindletops, or Smiling Pit Bull Rescue, or Olympic Animal Sanctuaries.  No more sending dogs to die in filthy crates, or to escape and threaten the safety of the community.  No more lining the pocket of the corrupt while legitimate rescues do the heavy lifting.  

    Rescues MUST be licensed.   Will dog wardens do the right thing?   Licensing and inspection of  rescues, as suggested above is reasonable and prudent.  It would prevent the suffering of animals, would protect the safety of the public, would give reassurance to those donating to rescues that their money would be used to help homeless animals.  Such law could face no reasonable opposition.