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Tag: toledo

Woof or roof: A dilemma for the homeless

When you’re homeless, you can run into a lot of Catch 22’s — those can’t-win situations that, even when you’re taking steps to improve your life, tend to make things appear even more hopeless.

Having a dog is a perfect example.

To a homeless person, having a dog (or, in the case of our Monday post, a cat) can have numerous benefits: Protection, for one. It can instill a greater will to survive and succeed. It can provide some self-esteem, emotional security, and companionship for sure — the kind that comes without judgment.

While some segments of society may be repulsed by the sight of you, your dog will always be thrilled.

But having a dog when you’re homeless can also be a tremendous obstacle — keeping you from being admitted to homeless shelters, finding the money to feed it, and making already problematic chores, like going to the bathroom, even more problematic.

Still, it’s not unusual that, when given a choice between shelter and their dog, the dog often comes first — as has been the case so far with a recently homeless woman and her boxer mix, named Cow, featured in a two-part series in the Toledo Blade this week.

“She is my whole world, my rock. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” 51-year-old Diann Wears said of her dog.

Wears, who in earlier stages of her troubled life worked as a prostitute and was addicted to crack, said it is her first time living on the streets.

wearsandcowShe says she left an abusive five-year relationship in July, and now she sleeps, with Cow, behind the Greyhound Bus station in downtown Toledo.

“It’s totally new to me and totally scary, I’m not gonna lie,” she said. “But Cow and I, we have each other, and she gives me a lot of love and support.”

She says she tried to find an apartment that her Social Security and Supplemental Security Income would cover, but “they either turned me down because of Cow, or because I don’t make enough money.”

She has no intention of parting with Cow, she said.

Toledo’s homeless shelters — like most across the country — do not allow pets, and she was rejected, she said, by a YWCA shelter that provides haven for women fleeing domestic violence and their pets.

“They don’t think I’m in danger from my ex,” Wears said.

So Wears and Cow remain without shelter — unless you count the overhang of the bus station’s roof.

Having a dog, Wears noted, makes simple tasks, like attending a free meal, more difficult. She either has to leave Cow outside, leashed to her shopping cart, or find a friend she trusts enough to watch him.

Sometimes, she says, it’s hard to simply find a place in the shade to rest — without being told to leave, either because of the dog or because she is loitering.

She often sits on the grass at St. Paul United Methodist Church, where the pastor allows her to stay as long as neither she nor Cow causes any trouble, the Blade reported. (You can find part two of the series here.)

“We don’t bother anybody, but people judge us anyway because we’re homeless,” Diann said. “Or they’re afraid of Cow, even when she’s just lying there.”

Wears said Cow provides her some protection during the night.

Unsure as she is of the future, she is committed to two things — keeping Cow by her side and not going back to her abusive boyfriend.

“It’s hard out here, but I’m away from that at least I’ll take my chances out here. I have my dog and we’ll survive one way or the other, some kind of way.”

(Photo: The Toledo Blade)

An act both cruel and unbelievably stupid


A Toledo man stuffed six English bulldog puppies and their mother into a piece of luggage and abandoned them next to a trash bin — apparently not realizing that the canvas suitcase had a tag on it bearing his contact information.

The bag of pups — three males, three females and their mother — was dropped off behind a city business. They were picked up April 4 by the Lucas County Dog Warden’s office, according to the Toledo Blade.

On Tuesday, two counts of abandonment Tuesday were filed against Howard Davis, who lives about a quarter mile from where the dogs were dropped.

Gene Boros, a Toledo Area Humane Society cruelty officer who questioned Davis, said the man told him he had not abandoned the dogs and had given them to someone in Michigan. Boros said Davis appeared to be in the process of moving out of his home.

Passers-by initially found the dogs and unzipped the bag to give them air, said Julie Lyle, Lucas County dog warden.

“There are witnesses who said that the female is indeed Mr. Davis’ dog and that he had been trying to sell puppies,” said John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society.

Davis was to be charged with two counts  of either first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor abandonment. Davis will be issued a citation and given a court date, but he was not arrested, Dinon said.

The dogs were transferred to the Humane Society, where the pups and their mother, now named Maddie,  are reported to be doing well.

They will be going to a foster home by the end of the week and won’t be available for adoption for at least four weeks — possibly longer since they are part of a criminal case.

(Photo: THE BLADE / DAVE ZAPOTOSKY)

Caged dog, shot six times, survives

Two men were arrested in Toledo after they allegedly took turns shooting a German shepherd while he howled in his cage.

The dog, named Sarge, was hit by six shots, but survived. He’s now being held by the Lucas County dog warden.

One of the men, Lawrence Mick, 57,  the dog’s owner, is in the Lucas County jail, where he was being held on $25,000 bond. He’s charged with a third degree felony for using the weapon, and if convicted, he could be sentenced to one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The other charges he faces in connection with the incident, including cruelty to animals, are all misdemeanors.

Mick has a drug conviction and is prohibited from using a firearm, the Toledo Blade reported.

Mick and another man, Adam Collins, are accused of taking turns shooting the captive dog with a 25-caliber pistol Friday in Mick’s backyard with a 25-caliber pistol.

Ohio dog warden says he won’t resign

Meet Tom Skeldon, the dog warden — yes, they still use that prison-esque title there — for Lucas County, Ohio.

If he seems a tad perturbed in this video, part of a Toledo Blade report, it’s because a lot of folks — many of them part of the “criminal element,” he says — are calling for him to resign.

Animal-rights groups say Skeldon refuses to work with them and is focused on killing dogs — 2,483 last year and 1,848 so far this year, based on a Blade review of records in the dog warden’s office.

About three of every four dogs that enter the pound don’t make it out, and are instead injected with fatal doses of chemicals each week, frozen in room-sized freezers at the pound, and buried in area landfills. Lucas County’s dog adoption rate was a dismal 13 percent, much lower than in neighboring counties.

The continued killing is at the center of recent calls for the warden to step down. Among those requesting he depart is the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, whose members, armed with candles, staged a vigil outside the pound last month.

Skeldon, however, says the facility’s adoption and kill rates are “statistically glowing,” and that those calling for his resignation are misguided. He told the newspaper that his staff euthanizes only the lamest, oldest, meanest, and most incorrigible of the dogs in their care. Except for unlicensed “pit bulls.” They kill all of those. The dog warden’s office has killed at least 932 “pit bulls” or “pit bull” mixes this year, including 46 “pit bull” pups.

One Lucas County Commissioner, Ben Konop, has also suggested Skeldon resign.

Skeldon, who has been warden since 1987, said that he will not step down from his job and vowed to stay until his retirement, “sometime in 2011.”