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 by John Woestendiek 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
Diggy was adopted by Michigan musician Dan Tillery, and a heartwarming photo of the two of them with big smiles on their faces (left) has been shared widely on social media.
But once Tillery brought the dog home to Waterford Township, they were met with a frown.
The township bans pit bulls, and when police received “several complaints” about Diggy — not based on any bad behavior, just based on his looks — police officers visited Tillery’s home.
“Based on their observations, it was determined the dog was part pit bull/pit bull terrier,” Police Lt. Todd Hasselbach said.
Listen more closely to his remarks and you can hear they are oozing something very close to what, in the human community, we’d call racism.
He confirms that Diggy is being judged based on looks alone. He says any percentage of pit bull in Diggy — no matter how small — makes him a pit bull. And he says Diggy can’t be permitted to live in Waterford Township because of the “zero tolerance” ordinance, which has been “in effect for many years.” As if that makes it right.
Sounding like a lawman from the old west, or maybe more like a 1960’s sheriff from the deep south, went on to say Diggy has three days to get out of town.
And he may not be.
Diggy was picked up as a stray earlier this year by Detroit Animal Care and Control, which classified him as an American bulldog.
Detroit Dog Rescue, the only no-kill shelter in the city, later pulled Diggy from the facility and put him up for adoption, according to ABC News’ local affiliate WXYZ.
Tillery and his girlfriend adopted Diggy after seeing a photo posted on the nonprofit rescue group’s Facebook page. In that post, Diggy — then named Sir Wiggleton — was described as a “2 year old American bulldog/pit bull mix that loves the water and is just a big goofball.”
In the week after his adoption, Diggy became an internet sensation after Tillery posted a photo of him smiling with his new dog.
Owning a pit bull in Waterford is an ordinance violation that can carry a $500 fine. Police didn’t cite Tillery but told him he had until today to relocate the dog to another town.
Waterford police said if a veterinarian deems Diggy to be an American bulldog or another permitted breed, with no pit bull in him, then he can stay — but they say it has to be a vet of the police department’s choosing.
Kristina Millman-Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, said the organization already had a vet deem Diggy an American bulldog, and called the Waterford Township city clerk’s office beforehand to make sure there were no restrictions on that breed.
Waterford Township defines pit bulls as dogs that “substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club” for American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, or American Staffordshire terriers.
And the ordinance allows police officers to make that call — based on the dog’s looks and their previous experience with pit bulls.
An online petition to lift the dangerous dog ban in Waterford has garnered nearly 40,000 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, american bulldog, animal control, animals, appearance, ban, breed, breeds, dan tillery, determination, detroit, detroit dog rescue, diggy, dogs, identifying, looks, michigan, petition, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pitties, pitts, police, shelter, shelters, smile, smiling, smiling dog, viral, waterford township
What, if you’re a shelter, do you do with a dog who has been returned by seven different adopters, a dog who keeps running away from every home he’s placed in, a dog whose behavior — though never aggressive — makes him, to say the least, a handful?
If you’re the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina, you conclude — after 11 tries — that maybe the shelter is where he wants to be.
Gumby, a 7-year-old hound with well-documented skills as an escape artist, has become a permanent resident of the no-kill Charleston Animal Society.
They view it not so much as giving up as giving in — to what Gumby seems to want.
A look at his record seems to support that view.
His first visit to the shelter came after he was picked up as a stray in September 2014.
He was adopted and stayed at his new home three days, before ending up at the shelter again. His second adoption lasted only six days.
His third adopter seemed committed to keeping him, but Gumby kept running off and was brought back to the shelter as a stray — once by a citizen, once by animal control. His third adopter surrendered him back to the shelter, worried that the dog’s continued escapes might lead to injuries or worse.
That adoption lasted four months, but ended when Gumby was brought back in as a stray.
In August of last year, he was adopted a fifth time.
But less than two months later, he showed up at a another shelter, about 30 miles away.
His sixth adoption didn’t last long, either. He was returned due to his irrepressible personality, to put it nicely.
In December, he was adopted a seventh time. In January he was returned to the shelter, according to a report in Barkpost. The adopter told staff that, on top of being difficult to housebreak, Gumby had escaped 3 times in less than a month — once running through the owner’s screen door.
Adding it all up, Gumby had been returned to the shelter 11 times and lived in seven different homes — all in less than a year and a half.
It was starting to seem that Gumby didn’t want to be anywhere but the shelter.
Not that his behavior has always been exemplary there.
On March 5, Kay Hyman, the director of community and engagement for the Charleston Animal Society, posted a photo of Gumby on the shelter’s Facebook page
He’s pictured lying contentedly next to a former feather pillow — one that he must have felt needed further investigation.
Staff at the shelter say hounds are known for having stubborn streaks, and often those raised as hunting dogs become bored when they have no hunting to do. It’s not unusual for those that haven’t made the grade as hunting dogs to be abandoned and show up as strays.
Given his record, the shelter finally decided in March to just keep Gumby. He seemed to adore the staff. He was good with other dogs. And it was the one place from which he hadn’t repeatedly tried to escape.
Staff members hope that Gumby, as a permanent resident, can continue to have a calming influence on new arrivals — especially fearful ones.
Donya Satriale, a behavior team leader at the shelter, may have put her finger on what was going on with Gumby.
Gumby, she suggested, might see the shelter as a place where “he knows he has work to do.”
(Photos: From the Charleston Animal Society Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopters, adoption, animals, charleston, charleston animal society, difficult, dog, dogs, escape, gumby, hound, humane societies, pets, placements, rescues, returned, shelter, shelters, south carolina, stray
An autistic boy has gotten his service dog back — and, with her, a little bit of himself, according to his mother.
“I’ve already seen him coming out and expressing himself again and being verbal,” Michele Carlisle said after her son Zach reunited with Delilah, the service dog that was lost, placed in a shelter and adopted out to another home.
“He started talking and he was talking to her the whole way home, and I was like, ‘Oh my God! He’s back. Zach’s back!'”
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay announced Friday on its Facebook page that Zach and Delilah had been reunited after eight months apart.
Last August, shortly after the Carlisle family moved from Alabama to Brandon, Florida, Delilah — Zach’s service dog for six years — ran off.
She was found without identification and taken to the humane society’s shelter, where, four days later, another family adopted her.
Michele Carlisle — though she’d been checking shelters in the weeks after Delilah disappeared — learned later that a photo of the dog had appeared on the humane society’s website months earlier.
When the humane society learned it had accidentally adopted out a service dog, it contacted Delilah’s new family, but the family declined to return her, saying she had bonded with her new family in the months they’d been together.
But WTSP reported that after seeing news reports on the boy’s difficulty coping without Delilah, they changed their mind and decided Delilah should be with him.
Zach has autism and suffers from seizures. Delilah serves as his therapy dog, alerting the family to upcoming seizures, comforting Zach and helping him overcome his social anxiety and tendency not to speak.
When the two were reunited at the humane society, Zach, 8, was talking plenty: “Is it her?” he whispered to his mother. “It is! Oh, my God… Best day ever.”
Delilah, newly equipped with a microchip, sniffed Zach, jumped up on him and licked his face.
According to his mother, Zach doesn’t often speak to people around him, but freely shares his feeling with Delilah.
Michele Carlisle thanked the family for returning her.
” … I really do appreciate them doing the right thing and coming forward and bringing her back, so that we could be reunited because that was huge,” she said.
“They never wanted to take a dog from a family that needed it,” said Dr. Nicole Cornett, the veterinarian for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “They just felt that with everything that happened that it would be in the dog’s best interest and in Zach’s best interest to give them back.”
You can see a video of the reunion here.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, autism, delilah, dog, dogs, florida, humane society, humane society of tampa bay, michele carlisle, pets, returned, reunion, seizures, service dog, shelters, therapy dog, zach, zack
In less than two days, the ASPCA found new homes for more than 500 dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed North Carolina shelter less than two months ago.
Potential adopters arrived early and in large numbers Friday morning, with a line stretching around the warehouse in Sanford that served as a temporary shelter for the dogs.
Just hours into Saturday, the planned third day of the event was canceled because all the animals had been adopted.
The dogs and cats were among more than 600 seized in January by Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA from The Haven – Friends for Life, an unlicensed no-kill shelter located in Raeford, N.C.
Since then, the animals have been held at the temporary facility for evaluation and veterinary care.
Adoption fees were waived during the event, and each animal was micro-chipped and spayed or neutered.
By Friday evening, more than half of the animals were adopted, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Just a few hours into Saturday, all the dogs had been adopted, and the event closed early when the final cat was adopted Saturday afternoon.
Lynn and Carl Draus arrived Friday morning with a photo they had taken of a dog off their TV screen during a news report about the event.
Wandering through the rows of cages, they managed to find her.
“I feel in love with her just from the picture,” Lynn Draus told WRAL. “I didn’t know she was a puppy, but I just had a feeling that was the one I was going to get. So, we came here, and we were asking everybody where she’s at, and we found her.”
“The ASPCA is pleased to report that after an overwhelming successful two-day adoption event in Sanford, all 524 available cats and dogs were adopted into safe and loving homes,” the organization reported in a news release.
“The remaining cats and dogs who were not made available for adoption, as well as the 68 farm animals, will be placed with the ASPCA’s network of animal welfare agencies across the country to be made available for adoption.” the release said.
ASPCA officials have called the seizures from The Haven the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
Authorities charged husband and wife Stephen and Linden Spear with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
(Photo by Shannon Millard / Fayetteville Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animals, aspca, cats, dog, dogs, event, friends for life, news, north carolina, pets, raeford, sanford, seized, shelter, the haven, unlicensed
Many of those 650 dogs and cats removed six weeks ago from an unlicensed shelter in Hoke County, North Carolina, will be available for adoption, starting this Friday.
In what sounds like it could be the mother of all adoption events, the ASPCA will make the dogs and cats available through the weekend at the temporary shelter in which the animals have been living in Sanford.
Adoption fees will be waived during the event, and each animal will have been micro-chipped, and spayed or neutered.
Adoption counselors, as well as behavioral and veterinary experts, will be staffing the event, and adoptions will take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 2215 Nash St. in Sanford.
Those wanting to adopt a dog or cat should bring identification, proof of address and an appropriate-size carrier for the animal they adopt.
The ASPCA and Hoke County authorities seized nearly 700 dogs, cats, birds and horses in January from The Haven – Friends for Life shelter.
Its operators, Linden Spear and her husband, Stephen, were charged with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
During the seizure, dozens of animals were found buried on the property. One dog and one cat had to be euthanized because of health problems.
Numerous animals were treated for emaciation, open wounds, ringworm, respiratory illnesses and other issues.
ASPCA officials said the raid at The Haven was the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
(Photo: Courtesy of ASPCA)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, adopt, adoptable, adoption, adoptions, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, fee, free, friends for life, hoke county, lindan spear, no fee, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spear, the haven, unlicensed, waived
Some of the 66 dogs seized from a British Columbia puppy mill last month are now starring in a rap video aimed at finding them adoptive homes.
The dogs — 32 adults and 34 puppies — were seized by the BC SPCA from a puppy mill in Langley.
The breeds included Bernese mountain dogs, soft-coated Wheaton terriers, standard poodles, miniature poodles and Portuguese water dogs — all showing signs of neglect, many of them malnourished, and some with broken bones and other injuries.
Now, a month later, the SPCA has begun taking applications from those interested in adopting the dogs — known as the “Langley 66” — and staff members put together this rap video to draw attention to the cause.
The SPCA is making the dogs available for adoption in stages, with 23 of them medically cleared this week, according to The Province. Potential owners will be required to attend a mandatory information session before they can adopt one of the dogs.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, adoption, animals, bc spca, british columbia, dog, dogs, music video, pets, puppy mill, rescue, seized, shelter, spca, staff, video