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Tag: pitbull

To be or not to be — a pit bull

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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.

diggy4Tillery, a musician, adopted the dog from Harper Woods-based Detroit Dog Rescue earlier this month and posted a photo of Diggy and himself that went viral and was shared by news outlets nationwide.

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.”

diggyWaterford Township Prosecutor Margaret Scott said that the township will now simply wait to allow the court to determine whether Diggy falls within the ban.

“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.

certOne 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)

Montreal, Quebec City to impose pit bull bans; and all of Quebec may soon follow

quebec

Pit bulls could end up being banned from all of Quebec — as they are from all of Ontario.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday the province will probably follow Ontario’s lead in outlawing pit bulls and other “dangerous dogs.”

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said officials will “definitely do something significant” by fall, after more research into what other breeds of dogs should be included in any ban.

Ontario’s pit bull ban was enacted in 2005 after several highly publicized cases of people being badly injured in pit bull attacks.

The legislation banned ownership of new pit bulls, placed restrictions on existing pit bulls, and toughened the penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public.

In Quebec, at least four local governments around Montreal have announced pit bull bans — all in the two weeks after the death of Christiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old woman who was found dead in her own backyard after a suspected pit bull attack.

Montreal Mayor Dennis Coderre announced Saturday morning that the city plans to amend its animal control bylaws to ban acquisition of new pit bull dogs in Montreal. All existing pit bulls would have to be sterilized and wear muzzles when they are in public.

In Quebec City, Mayor Regis Labeaume announced that, starting Jan. 1, 2017, pit bulls will be prohibited and anyone caught with one will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense.

Candiac, which just lifted its pit bull ban two months ago, will stop licensing pit bulls in August, while waiting to see what action the province takes.

Brossard will vote on a proposed ban next month. Brossard Mayor Paul Leduc says the city has been looking at a ban since an eight-year-old was bitten in the face by a pit bull at a park last summer.

The head of Montreal’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals described Montreal’s ban as “knee jerk.”

“If we are trying to find a way to reduce the number of animal bites in a community by starting with how the animal may look, we are starting down the wrong path,” said SPCA executive director Nicholas Gilman.

“It is a rabbit hole that doesn’t lead to effective results. Instead, let’s focus on how animals become aggressive in the first place and work from there.”

(Photo: CBC News)

How to erase a smile: Michigan dog whose photo went viral is now an outlaw

smileydogA dog whose smile went viral this month on the Internet has been deemed an outlaw — based entirely on his looks.

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.

diggyAll that would be a pretty troubling series of events, in my view, whether Diggy is a pit bull or not.

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.

diggy2Waterford 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.

Be careful what you write in the memo field

Bruce Francis wrote a check to his dog walker this month the same way he always does — online.

He logged on to his Chase account from his home in the San Francisco area, filled out the payment form, and in the memo field he typed the name of his dog, Dash.

dashDash is a 9-year-old pit bull and a certified therapy dog who helps Francis deal with multiple sclerosis.

Later, though, the dog walker reported to him that she never got the money.

Francis logged back into his account and saw he had a message that his transaction had been “flagged,” and the money had not been sent to the intended recipient.

The message said his payment was “under compliance department review for a possible OFAC or JPM risk policy issue.” It asked him to provide an explanation of what DASH was, and, if it was a company, where it was based.

(OFAC — though I’d guess maybe only one of out of every 50 Americans knows this — stands for Office of Foreign Assets Control. It’s part of the Treasury Department.)

Bruce called OFAC, and was informed that the transaction was flagged because his dog’s name is similar to the word DAESH, a term for ISIS in the Islamic world.

“I thought to myself, ‘Great, they’re stopping the world’s stupidest terrorist,'” Francis told KTVU.

What happened to Francis isn’t that unusual, said Edward Hasbrouck, who represents a civil liberties group called the Identity Project.

Banks are required to scan all the financial transactions of their customers and turn over anything suspicious to the Treasury Department.

“What happens is that the government requires the banks to become in effect, outsourced spies for the government,” Hasbrouck said.

A Chase spokesperson issued this statement to KTVU: “If a name on the OFAC list appears on a payment, we are required to review it. This is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the us banking system. In this instance, the payment was flagged, reviewed and eventually released.”

Francis didn’t seem too bothered by it all. If it’s an intrusion, it’s a necessary one, he said.

“I think anything we can do to stop the terrorists and the funding of terrorists, let’s do it. And if it means an inconvenience to me and my dog walker then that’s a price I’m totally willing to pay.”

Pit bull reunited with owner’s loved ones

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A dog who ran off after a car accident in Alabama that killed her owner was found after a three-day search and driven more than 700 miles home to be reunited with the accident victim’s family in Arkansas.

Sgt. Jonathon Whaley and another officer were at the scene of the single-car accident that killed the driver and injured the passenger when they learned that the victim’s dog — a pit bull named Kai — had also been in the car, but ran off after the crash.

Police in Dothan, Alabama, said Mckenzie Amanda Grace Catron, a University of Arkansas student, was driving the car when it ran off the road and into a telephone pole last Saturday. Catron, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, also 19, was rushed to an area hospital.

The two were on a spring break trip.

Once hearing from witnesses that there had been a dog in the car, too, Sgt. Whaley said, “We felt we needed to find the dog. We were going to do whatever we needed to do to reunite this dog with this family.”

Dozens of community members felt the same way, Fox 5 in Atlanta reported.

For days, police, firefighters and volunteers searched the area around the crash for Kai. They posted flyers, and started a Help Find Kai Facebook page, through which they stayed in touch with Catron’s family in Arkansas.

One of the volunteers was Benjamin Irwin, a Dothan attorney and animal lover. He and his wife offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who found the missing dog.

“We just really wanted this family to have this piece of their family back, something to help remember their daughter,” he told Al.com.

kairescueKai was found Monday, after two days of searching.

Irwin and another volunteer spotted her from afar.

Joined by others, they pursued her for more than a mile before capturing her in a shed.

“Over the city blocks and miles of both running and driving we found mutual friends who eventually jumped in and helped as well,” Irwin said. “Once our number was up to eight people we were able to get Kia to relax enough … to grab her collar.”

After Kai was taken to an area vet, Sgt. Whaley and his wife Ashley, offered to take her back to Catron’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas — a 12-hour drive.

Kai was reunited with Catron’s family Tuesday, and Kenzie Catron’s funeral was held Thursday.

No one collected the reward money, and Irwin said it would be donated to the animal shelter in Arkansas where Kai was originally adopted.

(Photos: From the Help Find Kai Facebook page)

With his dog facing euthanasia, owner adopts another to use as a decoy

A Cincinnati area man whose dog was ordered put down after it attacked another dog tried to pull a fast one on the local SPCA.

Jason Dotson, as ordered by a court, turned over a pit bull mix for euthanization alright — but it was not the one court ordered to be put down.

Instead it was one he adopted just days earlier.

Dotson, 32, of Springfield Township, was sentenced to 28 days in jail for trying to get the SPCA to euthanize the decoy dog.

“In my 10 years as a judge, I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” said Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg.

According to FOX 19, Dotson’s original dog was not on a leash when it attacked a therapy dog and its owner as they were walking.

Police say the pit bull caused severe injuries to the therapy dog, who has been recovering for the last few months.

Dotson was charged with failing to confine his animal and he was ordered to put the dog down. But when he brought the substitute dog to the SPCA to be euthanized an “alert” worker spotted the difference in the dog’s coloring.

Through a microchip, the SPCA confirmed it was a different dog.

“Defendant brought a dog that wasn’t his dog, said it was his dog, and turned that over to the SPCA so they would destroy an innocent dog that hadn’t done anything to anybody,” said Ryan Nelson, assistant Hamilton County prosecutor.

Dotson had adopted the dog nine days earlier according to Fox 19, two days earlier according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The original dog has since been put down, according to SPCA officials.

Baby, the pit bull puppy who Dotson tried to pass off as his other dog, remains with the SPCA and will be getting a second chance at adoption.

Loyal pit bull will be banished from county

preciousThe Animal Management Division of Prince George’s County, Maryland, has taken custody of a dog who stood guard over her injured owner during a house fire, and plans to send the dog away.

The pit bull, named Precious, sat by her owner as firefighters worked to extinguish a fire at their home yesterday, and they say she acted aggressively when they tried to approach the woman.

Eventually, firefighters sprayed the dog with a fire extinguisher, giving them time to get the woman onto a stretcher.

But it’s not the dog’s behavior that’s leading to her banishment; it’s merely the fact that she’s a pit bull.

precious2Pit bulls are illegal in Prince George’s County, and when animal management officers come across one they seize it and take steps to ensure it is sent out of the county.

The fire broke out at the home in Landover Hills early Wednesday morning.

The woman and her father were taken to an area hospital, and both are expected to be OK, according to NBC4 in Washington.

But they won’t be getting Precious back.

“It’s sad. I love that dog,” said the owner’s son.

The county passed a law banning pit bulls nearly 20 years ago.

According to a task force report, the county spends $186 per day per dog to confiscate, maintain and “dispose” of pit bulls — and between $250,000 and $500,000 a year on pit bull related costs.

Precious and two other family dogs are being held in a Prince George’s County animal shelter.

Officials say Precious won’t be put down, and that the family will be given time to find family or friends who live outside Prince George’s County to take the dog, and one of their two other dogs, who is also a pit bull.

If that doesn’t happen, the county will place the dogs with a rescue group or shelter elsewhere.