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
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
When the Humane Society of Tampa Bay sent a Weimaraner home with a new adoptive family, it didn’t realize it was giving away somebody’s service dog.
And now that Delilah has been rehomed, the agency says, it’s too late for an autistic boy’s family — who relied on the dog for six years to help detect eight-year-old Zack’s oncoming seizures — to get him back.
“He lost his best friend,” Zack’s mother, Michele Carlisle, told WTSP. “He doesn’t understand and he asks me for her all the time.”
Carlisle and her three sons moved from Alabama to Brandon, Florida, last August — and within days of the move Delilah ran off.
The family posted flyers, searched the streets, and checked the shelter closest to them every weekend, but found no signs of Delilah — not until November when they spotted her on the Humane Society’s adoption page.
Carlisle called the agency — only to learn the dog she recognized as Delilah had been adopted back in August, apparently within a week of her arrival at the shelter.
According to the Humane Society, Delilah was turned into the shelter (she had no tags nor a microchip) on Aug. 11 by someone who found her on the street; and she was placed with a new family on Aug. 15.
“If a dog has no identification then it’s not legally their property after three days. That’s what the county has put into play,” said Dr. Nicole Cornett, the veterinarian for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “We ideally want them to go to the home that they came from, but if we can’t find that home we’re lucky enough to find another home, someone who will love them and take care of them.”
The Humane Society says it contacted Delilah’s new owners and explained the situation, but they did not want to give the dog back.
Carlisle wants to plead her case to them, but the Humane Society won’t share details about the new owner.
She said Delilah was trained to detect Zack’s oncoming seizures.
“She would pace and would go crazy and start making noises and circling him and I knew that Zack was in trouble. They had this bond almost like she was his mom,” she said.
“I just want them to be reunited, even one time,” she added. “I think if (the new owner) saw the bond between Delilah and Zack she would change her mind.”
(UPDATE: That owner did change her mind. Details here.)
(Photos courtesy of Michelle Carlisle)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 31st, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, assistance, autism, autistic, delilah, detecting, dog, dogs, found, humane society, humane society of tampa bay, laws, lost, michele carlisle, ownership, pets, rehomed, seizure, service, shelter, surrender, waiting period, weimaraner, 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
They might not admit it, but sometimes even rescuers need to be rescued.
A truck from the rescue and transport organization Tall Tails jackknifed on Interstate 70 in Colorado Thursday, but no one — including the 100 dogs aboard — was injured.
The organization was transporting the dogs from high-kill shelters in Texas to animal rescue centers in the Seattle area, where they have a better chance of being adopted.
The truck jackknifed and ran off the highway on snowy Vail Pass, but what could have been a tragedy turned out to have a pretty happy ending.
Between Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services springing into action, and an outpouring of help from volunteers, all the dogs were kept warm and fed and exercised until a new truck arrived to transport 84 of the dogs to the final destination.
After the accident, the dogs were taken to the Eagle Fairgrounds’ Eagle River Center where 150 volunteers came out to care for the animals during their 36-hour stay.
Many more donated food, towels, and toys.
“The response was unbelievable when we put up a brief Facebook post asking for folks to come help,” Daniel Ettinger, manager of Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services told KOMO News. “We actually had a line out the door of people that wanted to come walk or clean. It was just unbelievable.”
At least 14 of dogs were adopted while at the fairgrounds.
The rest safely finished the journey to Seattle in a heated horse trailer.
(Photo: Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 21st, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100 dogs, adopted, adoption, animal services, animals, colorado, dog, dogs, donations, eagle, eagle county, help, interstate 70, jackknifed, pets, rescue, rescued, rescuers, seattle, shelters, tall tales, texas, truck, volunteers, washington
Remember that viral photo of two “death row” dogs hugging in a Georgia animal shelter?
ABC News reports that the duo, photographed just hours before they were to be put down, have found a happy home — together.
The dogs were then taken in by Angels Among Us, an Atlanta area rescue group that reposted the image on its Facebook page. It went on to be shared and viewed by millions.
Now, the dogs have been adopted by two Georgia residents, identified as Wendy and Pam, two longtime friends and roommates who wanted to make sure the dogs would stay together forever.
Wendy had recently lost her two elderly dogs when she saw a photo of the dogs in “People” magazine. She’d been following their story and, seeing that they were both still available for adoption, called the rescue group.
“It just fell together,” Wendy explained. “We turned our tears into smiles with these two young, playful dogs.”
According to Angels Among Us, Wendy and Pam are considering putting together a Facebook Page for the “hugging dogs” that will allow people to follow their progress and, they hope, raise money for the organization to help save other dogs in Georgia’s high kill shelters.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, angels among us, animals, death row, dog, dogs, etowah valley, euthanasia, forever home, georgia, hug, hugging, humane society, kala, kayla, keira, kiera, pets, put down, rescue
A Chihuahua that was left at a California shelter after suffering chemical burns as a puppy has found a new home with a 12-year-old girl in Alameda who is still undergoing treatment for burns she received as a baby.
Chloe Levenson, who has been through seven surgeries since being scalded by hot tea, adopted the dog — named Fireman — last week.
They were brought together when a Pittsburg animal rescue group, Umbrella of Hope, decided the traumatized dog might get along best with an owner who had experienced similar pain, according to an article in the San Jose Mercury-News.
While thousands of people applied to adopt Fireman, the group thought the dog, who has some behavioral problems, would be a good fit with an owner who might have some extra compassion for him.
Rescuers found the puppy behind Antioch’s animal shelter on March 30 with severe chemical burns running the entire length of his belly and up to his ears, both of which had to be amputated.
After months of medical care, paid for my Umbrella of Hope, Fireman recovered physically, but was diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the burns.
“He had a lot of strings attached,” said Kristy Keusch, who fostered the dog for four months after his release from the hospital.
Fireman didn’t always like being petted. Although he loved having someone rub what was left of his ears, he disliked being touched on his head and neck, Keusch said.
“He punctured me a few times,” she recalled.
She used behavior modification techniques to make Fireman more trusting and less defensive, but she knew that whoever adopted him would have to commit to continuing the work.
When Umbrella of Hope put out some feelers, Shriners Hospital for Children responded and put the organization in touch with Chloe and her family.
After a few meetings, Chloe took the dog home last week.
Although he still growls and nips, Fireman is already letting her touch his head and will cuddle on the couch with Chloe when she watches TV. But he “absolutely hates leashes,” she said.
“I understand him,” Chloe told the organization. “I know what he’s been through, and I think he understands me too.”
(Photo by Kristopher Skinner / Bay Area News Group)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, alameda, animals, burn victims, burns, california, chemical burns, chihuahua, chloe levenson, dog, dogs, fireman, foster, girl, healing, pets, rescue, scaldings, shriners hospital, umbrella of hope