You be the judge: Is this a vicious dog?
A Monroe County judge has upheld the First Amendment rights of animal activists appealing for the lives of three dogs rescued from a dog fighting bust.
Advocates from the Monroe SPCA and Buster Foundation, a pit bull rescue group based in Belleville, Mich., posted photographs and videos of the three dogs online — including the one above of a dog named Dusty — to support their case that the animals should not be put down.
The county’s response? The Monroe County prosecutor wanted the groups held in contempt of court for distributing materials about the case online.
On August 4, a judge ruled that forcing the advocates to remove the photos and video from Change.org, their websites and social media would infringe on their First Amendment rights.
With that battle won, the fight continues on behalf of the three dogs, who the same judge ruled July 13 should be put down because they “lack useful purpose and pose a threat to public safety.”
Michigan animal advocate Jennifer Burke started the petition to save the three dogs on Change.org, and, as of yesterday, it had gathered more than 4,000 signatures in less than three weeks.
Included on the petition was the video (above) of Dusty, being evaluated by by Dr. Katherine Houpt, the prosecution’s expert witness. Dr. Houpt concluded Dusty, and two others, should be euthanized, even though Dusty seems to be doing everything right in the video.
According to her written notes and testimony, though, Dusty snarled at the doll Houpt taunted her with. The petition seeks to have Houpt recant her testimony.
“I created the petition because we were finally allowed to show the public what sweet, gentle dogs these are, and my opinion is that the expert was biased based on the testimony from her evaluations,” Burke said.
“This is about fighting for what’s right,” said Burke. ”…If we continue to stand by and watch these needless killings we aren’t getting to the root of the problem. Michigan taxpayers have a right to know where their money is being spent.
“We are shocked that the prosecution has made our battle for getting these dogs vet care, training, and human contact almost impossible,” Burke continued. “This is wrong, and we are standing up for ourselves and for these dogs that deserve a second chance. This victory means we are re-energized for our appeal. The community support has been amazing.”
The groups will gain custody later this month of one of the seized dogs, Razzle, who the county decided deserved a second chance. The appeal to save the lives of Dusty and two other dogs has not yet been scheduled.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, appeal, assessment, behavior, belleville, buster foundation, change, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, doll, dusty, euthanasia, evaluation, expert, facebook, first amendment, food, free speech, jennifer burke, katherine houpt, lives, michigan, monroe county, monroe spca, online, petition, pets, prosecution, rehabilitation, second chance, seized, signatures, temperament, video, websites