Judge rules noseless dog was neglected; Victory won’t be going back to her owners
A Texas judge ruled yesterday that a dog who was missing her nose when she was found wandering in a field should not be returned to her original owners.
“I find that this dog was unreasonably deprived of care,” Hutto Municipal Judge Lucas Wilson said of the dog, named Victory by her rescuers.
Animal control officers initially believed she’d been the victim of abuse, but Victory’s owners, when they came forward to reclaim the dog, said she suffered from an autoimmune disease that ate her nose away.
The court ruling, which came after a four-hour hearing, means the bearded collie will remain in the care of Austin Pets Alive, which will place her in a new home.
Josh Fogelman, an attorney for the owners, Shawn and Candice Lance, said after the ruling that the owners took good care of the dog, who they called Olive, and never abused her.
“I believe this is a witch hunt,” he said after the ruling. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Fogelman was unsure whether the Lances would appeal the ruling.
Hutto police found the dog wandering in early January and took her to a local veterinarian. She was later placed in foster care by Austin Pets Alive, a local animal welfare organization that raised $15,000 in donations for her. Victory was scheduled to receive a skin graft, but that was canceled when her owners called police in February to reclaim the dog.
Shawn Lance, who recently moved from Amarillo, said he had taken the dog to a veterinarian there three times after her nose started to scar and lose color. The medicine the vet prescribed made the dog sick, though, so he took her off it, he testified.
Lance, a financial adviser for Edward Jones who said he worked for several years as a veterinary technician, testified that he and his wife tried to find the dog after she disappeared by putting up a missing poster at a community mailbox and calling an animal shelter.
He said that the dog lost her nose when he took her to a veterinarian.
No charges were filed against the Lances, but a judge was asked to intervene to determine whether Victory should be returned to them.
Judge Wilson said that Shawn Lance made an unreasonable decision to “wean her off of medication” and said veterinary records don’t indicate the dog, at the time of her last visit, had lost her nose.
“If you look at the veterinary records they say the nose is raw but still there,” he said.
While it’s possible the dog lost her nose to disease, the judge said, evidence indicated the pet was being deprived of proper care.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animals, austin pets alive, autoimmune, bearded collie, care, denied, disease, dog, dogs, hutto, judge, lost, lucas wilson, neglect, no nose, nose, noseless, pets, proper, ruling, suspected, victory