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DNA testing saves dog from execution

petdnaIt took a DNA test to prove it, but Angie Cartwright — who lives in a town that bans pit bulls — has certified that her dog Lucey is only 12 percent bully breeds, and now she has her back.

Lucey had never bitten anyone; nor had she ever acted aggressively, according to the Salina Journal in Kansas. But she was scooped up by animal control officers.

The officers explained that they were taking Lucey to a veterinarian for a breed check — a professional opinion (meaning veterinarian’s guess) to determine Lucey’s breed.

Since 2005, Salina has had a ban on owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull.

Cartwright got approval to have her vet conduct DNA breed analysis test, ther results of which led to the return of her dog.

The blood test found that a minor amount of Lucey’s DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes — just over 12 percent.

“Maybe this can save someone’s animal, hopefully,” Cartwright said.

The tests have been on the market for about two years. One is the Wisdom Panel MX mixed breed analysis, which is the only one that uses a blood test; two others use cheek swabs for DNA samples. You can learn more about them here.

Without the test results, Cartwright and her family would have been faced with finding Lucey a home outside Salina, or leaving her at the animal shelter where she might have to be destroyed.

“I was actually pretty desperate and I watch a lot of medical shows,” Cartwright said. “I said, ‘Do you guys do DNA testing on dogs?’ It was actually just a grasp (at a solution). We didn’t want her to go, we didn’t want her to be put to sleep. I was angry and upset, and I was just trying to find a different solution.”

The family had acquired Lucey as a puppy a few months ago from a family in Hutchinson that couldn’t care for her anymore.

The American Kennel Club defines pit bulls as American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers or any mix of those breeds. All of the genetic testing companies, in their literature, urge that their products not be used to enforce breed bans.

Rose Base, director of the Salina Animal Shelter, said she accepts the test results.

A video report about the case, on NBC affiliate KSN, can be found here.

(Photo: Tom Dorsey/Salina Journal)


Comment from Briana
Time September 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I work for a company that sells Dog DNA Test (www.dog-dna.com) and I can tell you from experience that it is really hard to tell from looking at a dog what the breed out come will be. We did the test on one of my co-workers dogs about a year ago and could have sworn that Jaco was a German Shepperd mix but to our shock he ended up being Rottweiler Chow Chow mix. We never would have guessed.

This is a really sad article to me. There are many cities and states that have breed-specific ordinances and most governments don’t take responsibility for proving there breed claims. This is a really hard situation as most Dog DNA Breed Tests don’t include wolf, coyote or pit bull. This includes the Canine Heritage™ XL Breed Test which is a home test that covers over 100 different breeds. Unfortunately if you want to see how much or if you mixed breed dog is Pit that just isn’t an option.

I don’t see how a city can enforce breed laws if they can’t prove that a dog is actually the breed in question.

Comment from Angie Cartwright
Time January 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Sadly my dog Lucy and I are no longer together. The City of Salina Kansas didn’t want her there and they won. I would love to tell the story…the rest of it. Lucy story is not ended well. I am grieving her deeply..
Thank you for your time…