Saturday, August 17, 2013

More thoughts on regulating rescues.

From Florida, a pit bull mix was trafficked out of Broward County to Helping Paws 22 Rescue, a 501c3 in southwest Florida.  Lilly failed her real world temperament test by attacking her current owner, her prospective owner, and her current owner's son.  Here is the Cliffs Notes version of the story per the  "The dog was owned by Patricia Agnello, who runs Helping Paws, a non profit organization.  Her son, Christopher Agnello, told officers that Lilly had been playing all day, and when Shelley Loudermilk of Columbus GA., arrived to take Lilly, the dog attacked his mother and Loudermilk. Christopher Agnello stated he ran outside and jumped on the dog in an attempt to control it but the dog turned on him and began trying to attack his face.  A friend of the Agnellos, identified as Marie Wilton, called for help and then ran outside with a knife, stabbing the dog near the rib cage.  They were then able to muzzle the dog a on place it inside a kennel."  Lilly did not survive her injuries.  For more information on this attack please click here.

You can purchase this bumper sticker from Helping Paws for just one dollar.  Ms. Loudermilk was unable to complete the purchase prior to transport to a local hospital.

The Helping Paws 22 Facebook page includes a sad notice posted on August 8th.  Another rescue, OC Shelter dogs of Orange CA announced that a dog that they placed on 7/30/2013 had been returned to the group with the request that the dog be humanely euthanized because it attacked another animal in the new household.  In classic humaniac style, hysterical comments blamed the new owner and demanded identification, public shaming,  and placement on a Do Not Adopt list.  Here was the sales pitch for this dog  KOA Pet ID: A1263579 Sex: N Age: 6 Months Color: BLACK - WHITE Breed: PIT BULL - MIX 
*in kennel visit- Energetic,needs basic training,kissy,playful- can't wait to meet him out of kennel!
OC Animal Care
561 The City Drive South
Orange, CA 92868 Map

Photo: adopted  7/30/13 but then surrendered for euthanasia after attacking family pet {CAT OR DOG WE DO NOT KNOW!}

KOA Pet ID: A1263579 Sex: N Age: 6 Months Color: BLACK - WHITE Breed: PIT BULL - MIX 
*in kennel visit- Energetic,needs basic training,kissy,playful- can't wait to meet him out of kennel!
OC Animal Care
561 The City Drive South
Orange, CA 92868 Map

Hours of Operations:
Sunday through Saturday - 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
We are open until 7:00 PM on Wednesdays.
Closed Holidays
RIP pitty, and RIP to your victim as well.

I'm sure that these groups feel strongly that they are serving the needs of unfortunate animals but in practice they put the public at unreasonable risk and must be regulated.  Emotion frequently interferes with common sense.

Some rescues have no problem with risk, others give no consideration to law.  The next two items go in that direction.  Speaking of rescues and regulation, this from the Toledo Blade regarding their favorite breed specific advocate, Jean Keating.  It must be remembered that the Toledo Blade is one of the two most pit bull friendly newspapers in the United States, both publications are owned by the Block brothers.  John Robinson Block was the recipient of the very first Hello Bully award.  A short quote from the Blade on this honor for Mr. Block.
"The group, Hello Bully, is presenting Mr. Block with the first Hello Bully Hero Award, an annual recognition of greatness in the community. Mr. Block is being commended for the work he did in Ohio with helping to change breed-specific legislation, said Nicole Meloy, director of development and events for the nonprofit group.  “We follow all [breed-specific legislation] issues very closely but especially this one in Ohio, since it was in our own backyard,” Ms. Meloy said. “We were recently made aware of John Block’s efforts in spearheading the initiative to eliminate Ohio’s BSL and were extremely impressed and grateful for what he had helped to accomplish. Any person that has that much passion about an issue, especially regarding pit bulls, is a remarkable individual in our eyes.”  
It is clear that breed specific advocacy is well aware of the tremendous influence of shameless Blade hucksterism on this issue and on the passage of  HB 14 to deregulate pit bulls in Ohio.  This bill was sold to foolish legislators as "finally giving dog wardens the tools to deal with vicious dogs."  Not so much, Ohio had four dog mauling deaths in the first year after the passage of the bill.   

But enough of that rehash and back to the Blade's favorite pit bull advocate, Jean Keating. It seems that Ms. Keating's home town, Sylvania has a zoning code regulation that limits the numbers of dogs that may be kept on a residential property.  Keating has run afoul of local law.   At the time that Ms. Keating was cited she had nine pit bulls at her home, three were her own dogs and six were fosters for Ms. Keating's organization, the Lucas County pit crew.  Current Sylvania law limits the number of dogs legally kept on a residential property to just three.

This is a short quote from the Blade that pretty much sums up Ms. Keating's thoughts.
"Resident Jean Keating questioned council recently on why she was told by Bob Oberly, zoning administrator, that she was in violation of a city ordinance limiting the number of dogs on a residential property. She told council she wanted limits on dogs removed from the code.
“I think dogs are considered property, and people should have as many as they can care for," she told council at a recent meeting."  Ms. Keating is quoted as stating that she feels that she should be able to house as many as ten pit bulls on her residential property but fails to fully understand that her current legal troubles have their basis in a complaint from a neighbor that she is not keeping the dogs she already has in a manner that makes neighbors feel safe. 

Ok now, Keating wants limits removed on her whim and she expects that this will simply happen without opposition.  She may be right, after all state law was changed to suit her tastes.  HB14 was introduced and relentlessly promoted by Keating's personal friend Representative Barbara Sears.  Sears used her position in the Ohio majority party shamelessly in order to promote the bill.  Sears partnered with an out of state animal rights PAC, allowing them to actually write the bill and to hire lobbyists to promote it.  Now the city of Sylvania is allowing Keating to submit suggestions on how local law might suit her better.  Holy cow...

Before I turn to other stories I would like to point out the photo of Keating with her three pit bulls that is found with the Blade article on Keating's refusal to abide by local law.  The dogs are named, Milo, Chief and a dog that is familiar in the Ohio Legislature, Wendy.  Wendy appeared at HB 14 hearings in the Ohio House and in the Ohio Senate.  She was introduced by Keating  "I have brought Wendy with me today. Wendy is being trained as a service animal for a young child with post-traumatic stress disorder, sensory integration dysfunction, low muscle tone, and panic attacks. Wendy was chosen because she has the temperament and physical characteristics to perform the work needed to assist this child in leading a more normal life. Those same physical characteristics currently identify Wendy as a vicious dog under Ohio law. The American Staffordshire Terrier, which is a breed commonly referred to as a pit bull type is a popular choice for a service animal because of some unique qualities. They are hardy, athletic, and very socially connected dogs. They are also very easy to train as they are eager to please."   Now it is made clear that Wendy is not a "service dog in training" she is simply one of Keating's dogs.  Was the Ohio Legislature too foolish to question the song and dance they got from breed specific advocacy or were they too corrupt to question the sell out to a well financed and organized special interest group?  

Moving along to more adventures with dog rescue.  Residents of Rittman Ohio may be sleeping a bit better.  Kristine Maxwell announced that she has closed up shop with her Presa Canario rescue in response to a health crisis with her very cute young GSD.  In comments on this thread Maxwell admits that she has five dogs of her own plus eight rescues.  She was wildly over the local limit of two dogs per residence.  For more on Maxwell's Presa Canario rescue please click here and here.  I sincerely hope this cute puppy does well for her.  I  had a young dog get a horrible diagnosis and understand her distress.  My dog did well and lived a long and full life.  I hope the same for her pup.  

From Texas comes this rescue disaster story posted by the Brownsville Herald on 8/18/2013.  A judge has decided that 240 dogs and several cats originally rescued by a group calling itself Animal Guardians of America and recently rescued from the rescue by The Denton County Sheriffs department and  the Humane Society of North Texas may be put up for adoption.  The Animal Guardians of America relinquished rights to the animals in lieu of paying fees.  A Humane Society spokesperson stated that urine and feces were "everywhere" on the property and that the property lacked proper water.  This situation was brought to the attention of local officials via complaints by citizens. 

Dog  rescues are not the only ones that run into trouble when animal lovers get in over their heads or fail to use common sense.   This story from Green Springs Ohio deals with an individual who thought she was "rescuing" cats.  Barbara Shockley's residence was raided and seventy living cats and four dead cats were removed from the home. The cats were taken to the Humane Society of Sandusky County, 34 cats were humanely euthanized due to medical conditions.  Shockley is expected to be charged with cruelty to animals, the statement was made that Shockley was not intentionally cruel but she was "neglectful."     

For my final rescue story for this post, there has been a decision on the disposition of the Effingham County GA dangerous pit bull named Kno.  For background on this story please click here.  The judge has recently decided that Kno may be trafficked to New York state.  Please note that per the Savannah Now article, Kno was turned over the the county after the attack on young Wesley Frye last year.  The county has been responsible for this dog for the last year and the legal system even provided Kno with a lawyer.  The receiving rescue, Glen Wild, has stated that they expect payment of $5000 for lifetime custodial care for this mauler.  Will Effingham County pay that bill too?  Current donations for Kno's care total only $235 as of 8/17/2013.

Hearings will be held in Ohio on a law to regulate high volume breeders.  This law will have some impact on rescues but what has been proposed is not enough.  Per the proposed law rescues must only register.  The law should allow inspection at any time, demand that county dog wardens be notified of any designated dangerous dogs to be moved into their jurisdictions prior to transport with a mandatory inspection of facilities, allow for audit of financial records, and recognize the authority of local law limiting the numbers of dogs to be housed.  The ODA did not go far enough.    


Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will hold a public hearing to accept testimony on the proposed new administrative rules that relate to the regulation and licensing of high-volume commercial dog breeders.  The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2013.  It is important that those parties who may be regulated review the proposed regulations and provide comment to ODA.  
BACKGROUND:  In March, Ohio enacted a new law that defines “high volume commercial dog breeders” as anyone who both produces nine litters of puppies AND sells 60 dogs or puppies in a calendar year. Both criteria must be met to be subject to the licensing and other requirements.
Rescues are also required to be registered with the state if they keep, house, or maintain dogs in Ohio. This includes those who coordinate rescue efforts in the state. Rescues will not be required to comply with the proposed regulations for high-volume breeders, but must still complete and submit a registration form.
MEETING INFORMATION:  The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 9AM, in Hearing Room 133 (Seminar “B”) of the Bromfield Administration Building, 8995 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-3399.  Any person affected by the new rules may appear at the hearing and be heard.  Any person who wishes to present his position, arguments, or contentions in writing, other than at the public hearing, may do so by mailing their written comments to:
Ohio Department of Agriculture
C/o Legal Section
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
FAX: (614) 995-4585
Written comments must be postmarked no later than August 29, 2013.  Fax submissions must be received by 5PM on August 29, 2013. 
RULES TO BE CONSIDERED:  The following rules will be open to comment at the August 29, 2013, hearing: 
901:1-6-01 – Definitions and general considerations
901:1-6-02 – Housing
901:1-6-03 – Socialization
901:1-6-04 – Food and water
901:1-6-05 – Health
901:1-6-06 – Transportation
901:1-6-07 – Record keeping and identification
901:1-6-08 – Licensing
901:1-6-09 – Inspections

8/25/2013 Update - The need to regulate the 'rescue' industry is not a uniquely American problem.  Please click here for thoughts from Australia.   

For a long look at the hazy line between "rescue" and hoarding, please click here.