Baltimore City Police Officer Dan Waskiewicz will be honored today by the Baltimore Humane Society for the compassion he displayed responding to a call about a “vicious” dog.
When Waskiewicz earlier this year arrived at the location where the vicious dog had been reported, in south Baltimore, he saw a pit bull being chased by children, who were throwing bottles at the dog.
The officer called the dog, who ran over with tail between legs and sat down next to him.
Waskiewicz, a rookie and recent graduate of the police academy, put the dog in his squad car and took it to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). He returned to BARCS during the next few days to visit. Three days after receiving the call, with no owners coming forward, Waskiewicz adopted the dog, who’s now named Bo.
Officer Waskiewicz passed the story and photo along back in May to a pit bull rescue group in northeast Pennsylvania, which blogged about it. The photo went viral, turning Waskiewicz into something of an Internet folk hero.
“So often we hear stories where law enforcement officers rush to judgment with violent action,” said Jen Swanson, Baltimore Humane Society executive director. Waskiewicz, she said, observed the situation calmly before he acted. “He saved the life of an innocent animal and avoided what could have been a situation with a tragic ending.”
The ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Adoption Center at the Baltimore Humane Society on 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown. The public is invited.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, award, baltimore, baltimore humane, baltimore humane society, barcs, bo, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dog, dogs, honor, jen swanson, officer, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bulls, police, vicious, viral
Courtesy of the blog ModifiedK9, and courtesy of Dan Waskiewicz, here’s a police officer meets pit bull story with the best kind of ending.
Modified K9 is a pit bull-loving group in Pennsylvania that works to improve the image and future of pit bulls through education, training, rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming.
Dan Waskiewicz is a Baltimore police officer, who wrote Modified K9 a letter about his experience a few months back responding to a vicious dog call in the city.
Here’s his note:
I’m a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids.
Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the “vicious dog” over to me.
The dog came over with it’s tail between it’s legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up.
My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car.
Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home…”
That new home was with Waskiewicz, where the pit bull, now named Bo, resides with his other dogs.
His act drew praise from Modified K9, and lots of commenters.
“Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help,” the blog post reads. “Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!! Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!”
We couldn’t agree more: Dan is the man.
(Photos: Dan Waskiewicz, via ModifiedK9)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: account, adopted, animals, baltimore, blog, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dogs, image, law enforcement, modified k9, modifiedk9, note, officer, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelters, stereotypes, vicious, vicious dog
Onion, the mastiff mix that killed a one-year-old boy in Nevada, is likely to be put down in a matter of days after a judge ruled Friday that outside parties should have no say in whether the animal lives or dies.
Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner sided with Henderson city attorneys who argued the 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix is vicious, and that an uninvited third party with no ties to the family had no legal right to step in to try to save him.
Lawyers for the Lexus Project, the New York-based organization that hoped to get Onion moved to a sanctuary in Colorado, said they want to appeal.
Kishner declined to issue a formal order postponing euthanasia pending an appeal, the Associated Press reported. But she said there will be time before her order is written, signed and filed.
“Despite good intentions … a party cannot just come in and state on their own that they wish to be a party to this case,” the judge said. “The court has to follow the law. It’s not for me to decide what action Henderson should take.”
Henderson city spokesman Keith Paul issued a statement later saying the dog would remain in the city animal shelter until the order is reviewed by attorneys on both sides and signed.
Outside the courthouse Friday, protesters waved signs, most urging the dog be spared. “Don’t Punish the Dog,” read one.
One man held up a sign with another point of view: ”Let’s Make Dog Tacos,” it said.
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was killed late last month during his first birthday party when Onion, a mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix belonging to his grandparents bit him on the head.
The boy’s grandmother signed ownership and custody of the dog over to city animal control officials and said she wouldn’t contest his euthanization.
Family members weren’t in the courtroom Friday.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, bit, clark county, court, dangerous, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, hearing, henderson, joanna kishner, judge, killed, lexus project, mauled, mix, nevada, one year old, onion, pets, protestors, rhodesian ridgeback, sanctuary, save, signs, vicious
A group of dog lovers is working to persuade officials in Henderson, Nevada, to spare the life of a mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix who bit and killed a 1-year-old boy last week.
Onion, six years old, is scheduled to be euthanized next week.
“This dog will never harm another soul,” said Les Golden, a Chicago-area dog rescuer who is leading the campaign to spare Onion. “The dog deserves to be saved.”
Golden told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he hopes a flood of supporters calling and emailing Mayor Andy Hafen will persuade him to stay the execution, which could happen Monday or Tuesday after the dog’s 10-day quarantine.
Onion’s family voluntarily gave their pet to animal control officials for euthanization. “For what he did to my son, he deserves to be punished,” father Christopher Shahan said. “I’ve already accepted the fact that he’s dead.”
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was attacked by the dog on April 27 after the family had finished celebrating the boy’s first birthday. He crawled over to Onion and grabbed onto the 120-pound dog to help himself stand up, as his family said he had done many times before
Jeremiah’s grandmother, Elizabeth Keller, was leaning over to pick him up when Onion suddenly attacked. Jeremiah’s father and others freed the child about 30 seconds later and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He died the next day at University Medical Center.
Henderson animal control officers declared Onion vicious, which requires euthanization following the state-mandated quarantine.
“The dog attacked and killed a child,” animal control spokesman Keith Paul said. “It would be irresponsible of us to allow this dog to be adopted out.”
Lisa Kavanaugh, said she would welcome Onion to her 35-acre ranch near Denver called Blue Lion Rescue, where he would remain for the rest of his life.
“If it’s an accident, why not give him a chance?” Kavanaugh said. “He’s never, ever going to get a chance to hurt anybody else.”
Onion had been with the family since he was a puppy and helped Keller through her battle with lung cancer. The dog had never shown aggression toward anyone, family members said.
“I would love him to be in a sanctuary the rest of his life, but what sort of punishment would that be for killing a human being?” the father said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, attack, baby, bites, blue lion rescue, calls, campaign, child, dangerous, dog bites, email, euthanasia, euthanized, group, henderson, infant, jeremiah eskew-shahan, killed, les golden, mastiff, mix, nevada, onion, quarantine, rhodesian ridgeback, sanctuary, save, shahan, vicious
Ohio Gov. John Kasich yesterday signed a bill that repeals the 25-year-old state law that automatically declared pit bulls vicious.
Once the new law takes effect, in 90 days, shelters will be able to allow them to be adopted, owners will no longer be required to buy additional liability insurance and pit bulls will be free of the restrictions imposed when the state declared them, based on their looks, a public enemy.
House Bill 14 was overwhelmingly approved 67-30 by the state House on Feb. 8.
In addition to dropping any reference to specific breeds, the new law redefines what makes a dog “vicious.”
The old law defined a vicious dog as one that, without provocation, has seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or belongs to the general breed of pit bull.
Dogs so labeled required additional liability insurance, restraints and were subject to other restrictions.
The new law revises the definitions for vicious, as well as the categories of “dangerous” or “nuisance” dogs. It also requires a dog warden to provide proof of why a dog deserves such a classification, and creates a process for dog owners to appeal law enforcement’s labeling of their dogs.
“A well-meaning but poorly conceived law is no more, and it represents a victory for Ohio dogs and their people,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based organization that opposes laws that discriminate against certain breeds of dog.
“It ends the practice of causing undue hardship to thousands of responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets,” he added.
Best Friends said it hopes that the Florida’s legislature follows suit, and votes to change a similarly archaic law in Miami-Dade County, the only county in Florida where pit bulls are banned.
“The change in Ohio law truly signals a new day for dogs that for years have been discriminated against just because of their looks — the same type of discrimination that’s been going on in Miami-Dade County for years,” said Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends.
Legislation that would repeal the Miami pit bull ban is under consideration in Florida, and recently passed through two more committees.
Florida outlawed canine profiling in 1990, but Miami-Dade County’s 1989 pit bull ban was grandfathered in. Hundreds of dogs and puppies are seized and killed in Miami-Dade every year because of their appearance, Best Friends says.
Ohio was the only state in the country to declare a type of dog vicious, based solely on appearance with no consideration of behavior.
(Photo: A smiling pit bull, from the website Three Little Pitties)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, automatic, bans, best friends, breed, breed based, breed-specific, breeds, dade county, dangerous, definition, discrimination, dog, dogs, governor, inherent, insurance, john kasich, law, legislation, liability, miami, nuisance, ohio, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, profiling, redefine, repeal, restraints, restrictions, signed, vicious
Pit bulls have come a step closer to being viewed like any other dog under Ohio law, with a state Senate vote to remove references that define them all as vicious.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 27-5 to change that definition by removing the reference that singles out pit bulls, WNWO reported.
State law currently defines vicious dogs as one that has seriously hurt or killed a person, one that has killed another dog, or one that is among that type commonly known as pit bulls.
The new bill would remove the pit bull reference from the law and would require evidence to prove a person’s pit bull is actually vicious.
The legislation now moves back to the Ohio House which recently passed a different version of the bill.
Ohio is the only state with a breed specific law.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, breed-specific, breeds, dangerous, definition, dogs, law, legislation, ohio, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, senate, state, vicious
Ohio lawmakers were encouraged this week to repeal a nearly 25-year-old law that singles out pit bulls as vicious — not based on their behavior, but on their bloodlines, or sometimes just their suspected bloodlines.
Dr. Linda Lord, president of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, was one of five who gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging an end to the state’s restrictions against pit bulls, the Toledo Blade reported.
“The effective control of vicious animals is in the best interest of the state. However, current law placing restrictions on one specific type of dog is contrary to actually addressing the problem of aggressive canine behavior,” Dr. Lord said.
“Placing arbitrary limitations on the ownership of a specific type of dog only serves to create a stigma and place undue burdens on responsible animal owners.”
Dr. Lord told legislators that in her years of practice, she was more fearful of being bitten by dachshunds than by any so-called pit bull breed.
A bill to repeal the pit bull restrictions passed the House last spring. The Senate Judiciary chairman has tentatively scheduled a committee vote for January, according to The Blade.
Under Ohio’s current law, a dog can be labeled “vicious” if it has killed or seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or is a pit bull. Under House Bill 14, the definitions would be revised, and all breed-specific language would be removed.
Several Ohio cities that once banned pit bulls have lifted their restrictions, but repealing the state law has yet to be accomplished.
Five other witnesses testified earlier this week in favor of repealing the law.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, breed, breed-specific, breeds, committee, dachshunds, dogs, judiciary, legislation, linda lord, ohio, ohio veterinary medical association, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, repeal, senate, stigma, testimony, vicious
The proposed law is currently in the state House and, if it passes there, would still need to be approved by the Senate, according to a Fox News report.
The proposal comes on the heels of two Ohio cities — Cleveland and Toledo — rewriting local ordinances to require restrictions be imposed on troublesome dogs based on behavior, instead of breed.
Under Ohio’s current, breed-specific state law, pit bull owners are required to have $100,000 worth of insurance, and a specific containment area for their pet.
“You could have the sweetest pit bull in the world and you would have those restrictions I could have the meanest chihuahua in the world and there would be no restrictions,” said John Dinon of the Toledo Area Humane Society.
Toledo changed its dog rule last year, and Cleveland recently followed suit.
Dinon believes labeling a dog based on its behavior will help keep more citizens in Ohio safe: “It protects people a lot better because right now if you have a dangerous dog that isn’t a pit bull likely nothing’s going to happen.”
The changes in Cleveland were sparked by a pit bull owning councilman, according to the Toledo Blade.
“It just seemed fundamentally wrong to say that a certain breed is bad. That’s like me saying that all people that come from northwest Ohio aren’t good people,” said Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation. “In today’s day and age to really determine and know what a breed is [is] virtually impossible with all of the cross-breeding that goes on.”
Under the changes in Cleveland, authorities can classify any type of dog as a “Level 1” threat to public safety if it attempts to cause harm to a person or domestic animal, and as a “Level 2” threat if it bites or otherwise injures a person or animal.
Owners of these dogs must abide by strict regulations that include keeping the animal in a secure enclosure, muzzling the dog while out in public, and obtaining a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance. Those who violate the rules can be fined up to $1,000.
The rules are similar to those laid out in Toledo’s vicious dogs ordinance, and, as with Toledo’s, they don’t set forth restrictions based on breed alone.
“I was really proud as a policy maker and as a dog owner to see the foresight and vision on the [Toledo City] council’s part to examine this based on fact, not fear,” Zone said. “Too often you get council people who will try to make policies based on fear or peer pressure that they’re hearing from the community.”
Despite the local changes, “pit bull” owners continue to face requirements for additional restraint, muzzling, and liability insurance under state law.
The Ohio General Assembly is expected to vote before the end of this month on whether to remove the pit bull-specific language from the law.
Cleveland council member Zone said he rescued a pit bull puppy hit by a truck outside his office three years ago. When an animal control officer told him the dog would be automatically destroyed because it was a pit bull, Zone took it home. Since then, Gordon has become a much-loved member of his family.
“It just goes to show that when you show love and care to an animal they give it back tenfold,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, behavior, bill, breed, breed specific legislation, bsl, city council, cleveland, council, dangerous, dogs, gordon, house, insurance, john dinon, labeling, labels, law, laws, matt zone, ohio, ordinances, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, proposal, rescue, restrictions, senate, shelter, toledo, toledo area humane society, vicious
Pit bulls will no longer be considered vicious by virtue of their breed alone, under a measure adopted by the Cleveland City Council Monday night.
The City Council voted to amend part of the city’s vicious dog ordinance, creating two classifications — “Level 1 threat dogs (dangerous) and Level 2 threat dogs (vicious).
More important than that though, placing dogs in either of those categories will no longer be based on breed, but on behavior.
Dangerous dogs, under the new breed-neutral rules, are those that have chased or approached people in “a menacing manner or apparent attitude of attack,” attempted to bite people while off their own property, or have been picked up twice by animal control for being unrestrained or off their owner’s property.
Vicious dogs are those that have caused serious injury or death to any person or animal.
Owners of dogs classified as dangerous or vicious will, with some exemptions, be required to spay or neuter the pet, have signs on their property indicating their dog is a threat and obtain liability insurance, WOIO reported.
“Our previous law clearly targeted one breed, pit bull, as a vicious animal,” said Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation. “The breed of a dog is not an indicator of its personality. Any dog who is poorly trained and neglected, can be vicious and a threat to our community. These revisions shift the focus from the type of dog, to its behavior and neglectful actions of its owner.”
The classification of a threat dog can be made by Cleveland Municipal Court, Cleveland Animal Control Services or Cleveland Police. Owners will receive written notification and have the right to appeal. The court, animal control or police must show evidence in order to label a dog a threat.
“There are many responsible owners with good pit bulls,” said John Baird, Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Cleveland. “In my years of experience it has become more difficult to identify, with certainty, if a dog is indeed a pit bull. Any dog can be vicious. I feel these revisions are fair and appropriate for our community.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amended, animals, behavior, breed neutral, breed-specific, breeds, classification, cleveland, dangerous, deed, dogs, laws, level 1, level 2, ohio, pets, pit, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pitties, regulations, rules, threat, vicious
It’s amazing, when you think about it, how much one little dog can shake up the whole world.
We see it over and over again: with Buddy, the dog dragged through Colorado National Monument; Pepper, the dog thrown off a bridge in Lithuania, Baxter, the paralyzed therapy dog, Baltic, the dog rescued from an ice floe in the Baltic Sea.
All are dogs that — through the deeds they’ve done, the abuse they’ve suffered or the dilemmas they’re in — have captured the public imagination, big time, with an assist from the news media, bloggers, and social networks like Facebook.
It’s a mostly wonderful thing when a dog rises from plain old pooch to international headline.
Most recently, there was Spork, a dachshund leading a quiet life in Lafayette, Colo., until he bit the face of a veterinary technician during a dental appointment.
Spork, because the vet tech and the city decided to pursue the case, appeared headed toward classification as a “vicious dog” — a label his owners feared could have meant a death sentence, kennel confinement or wearing a muzzle the rest of his life.
As Spork’s owners, Tim and Kelly Walker, fought back, the 10-year-old dachshund drew national media coverage. A Facebook page created on his behalf drew 23,759 fans. A “Save Spork!” YouTube video began circulating. Bloggers freely opined, most concluding that the vet tech mishandled Spork’s visit.
On Friday, Spork got a reprieve.
A Lafayette Municipal Court judge granted the dog a 6-month deferred prosecution. If Spork stays out of trouble, all charges will be dropped, ABC7 News reported.
It was the sort of the story that brought out the best in dog lovers, and sometimes the worst.
Since the Aug. 14 incident at Jasper Animal Hospital in Lafayette, the vet clinic and Lafayette city council members received death threats, and veterinary technician Allyson Stone, who had to undergo plastic surgery, has been roundly derided in Internet forums — so much so that, between the critics and her new-found fears, she’s opted to pursue a different profession.
In court Friday, testimony revealed veterinary technician Stone lost inch-wide chunks from her upper and lower lips. Stone told police Spork lunged without warning as she was taking the dog from Kelly Walker for a routine dental cleaning.
Stone said she had used scissors to trim excess plastic from an identification collar she’d placed around the dog’s neck. But she had put the scissors down when she reached for the dog.
Here are excerpts from an interview Stone had with the Boulder Daily Camera after the ruling :
No matter what you think of those remarks, that Spork has been the recipient of so much more human compassion than the human he bit is a little disturbing — at least to me. We all like a distinct hero and a clear cut villain, but real life’s not always that black and white. The bigger question, in this particular case, than whose side you are on is, Why must one take a side in the first place?
Posted by jwoestendiek March 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: allyson stone, animals, bit, bite, biting, bitten, cleaning, colorado, court, dachshund, death threats, deferred, dental, dog, emotions, jasper animal hospital, pets, plastic surgery, proesecution, public, repreive, save spork, spork, support, technician, vet tech, veterinary, vicious