Whether Diggy is to be or not to be a pit bull will be decided by a judge.
The dog whose smiling face went viral — and led local officials to label him a pit bull and order him to leave town — is going to get his day in court.
Since we last reported on the case, Diggy has been proclaimed an American bulldog by a local veterinarian, but Waterford Township officials apparently didn’t buy the vet’s pronouncement.
Diggy is a pit bull, they say, based on how he looks — and those are banned in the Michigan township, under its dangerous dog ordinance.
Because Diggy’s owner, Dan Tillery, was cited by local authorities for having a pit bull, the final disposition of the case will be left up to the court.
It’s all a tremendous waste of time — first and foremost because pit bull bans are ill-conceived and just don’t work. On top of that, pit bull isn’t a breed at all. On top of that, a judge is likely to be even worse at determining breed than animal control officials, police, shelters, rescues and even veterinarians are, which is pretty bad to begin with.
And on top of all those things, does either side really want to know?
If they did, you’d think they’d have conducted a DNA test by now.
The media coverage led the Waterford Police Department to drop by a few days later, take a look at Diggy, proclaim him a pit bull, and tell his owner that he had three days to get the dog out of town.
The dog had been listed as an American bulldog when he was in Detroit’s city animal shelter. He was pulled from there by Detroit Dog Rescue, which, in at least one Facebook post, labeled him an American bulldog-pit bull mix. On the official adoption papers, though, Detroit Dog Rescue listed him as American bulldog.
After the police department’s ultimatum, Tillery had the dog assessed by a local veterinarian who judged him to be American bulldog — though he apparently did so without conducting a DNA test.
That wasn’t good enough for local authorities, who, though they relaxed that three days to get out of town part, are still insisting Diggy is a pit bull and must leave.
Tillery met Monday with Waterford Township officials, and posted on his Facebook page that the prosecutor was sticking to the decision to have Diggy removed from the community.
A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11, at 2 p.m. in Waterford’s 51st District Court.
“My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Tillery said in the post. “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
“We’re not going in and removing the dog, we’re not destroying the dog — it is a pending violation,” she told the Oakland Press.
Tillery and his dog have seen an outpouring of support from dog lovers and those opposed to Waterford’s breed-specific legislation. More than 50 supporters showed up at a Waterford Board of Trustees meeting to ask officials to remove the dangerous dog ordinance from its books.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the town to lift the ban.
Strangely, amid all the debate and national news coverage, DNA testing hasn’t been mentioned. If Tillery has pursued it, he’s staying quiet about it.
While some of the companies offering DNA tests — via blood samples or cheek swabs — skip around the pit bull question, a few of the tests do identify the breeds commonly associated with pit bulls.
One even offers a “pit bull exemption certificate” in cases where a dog is determined to be made up of 87 percent or more of non-pit bull breeds.
That may or not impress Waterford officials, or the judge, as such tests aren’t conclusive.
It’s still a possibility — that one side, or the other, or the judge, could pursue having the test done.
It would at least add some factual material to all the guesswork going on, at least a little foundation for the strident and unending Internet debate that is mostly — much like pit bull bans themselves — sound and fury, signifying nothing.
(Photos of Diggy by Dan Tillery)
Posted: June 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american bulldog, animals, breed bans, breed identification, breed specific bans, breeds, dan tillery, dangerous dog, detroit, diggy, dna, dog, dogs, guesswork, identification, identifying, judge, michigan, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelter, testing, types, waterford