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February 04, 2010

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Jennifer Brighton

What great points you make, Brent. I can think of quite a few people who most likely exceed the pet limit (esp. w/ indoor cats), but their pets are better cared for than many humans.

It is so true that rules that are often created to protect pets, actually harm them in the long run. What is upsetting is that people who work in animal control will seize happy, healthy animals (pets/family members) with no complaints against the owner or the pet, and put them on death row. What are people like this doing working in such a job? You'd think with all the scofflaws out there, their time would be better spent going after the ones that really count. Time and again we read about vicious dog(s) that might have numerous complaints, where no action was taken by animal control, only to have a serious incident or death as a result.

Brent

In my first conversation I ever had with Bill Bruce of Calgary, I asked him about pet limit laws as I was surprised that Calgary had no limits. And his comment to me was that he knew of many people with 10-20 animals that were great pet owners, and many people with just one that could barely care for the animal....Irresponsibility has no limit on pets.

His overarching theme is, if you're not a problem, you're not a problem.

What a great way to look at it...

Ted

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

There are 2 more amendments that make this one meaningful. One is the 14th. You can figure out the other for yourself.

If you behave like a sheep, expect to be eaten.

No Kill Houston

I've been trying to help some rescues help the Gideons. They are very much in need of an appeals lawyer. They spent all of their money defending themselves in the trial which ended in a 5 to 5 hung jury. Under Dallas' odd laws, this means animal control wins and can now confiscate their pets. They have until Feb 14th or their pets will be removed.

If you know of a lawyer who would be willing to help the Gideons with their appeal, please contact them or me.

Thank you,
Bett Sundermeyer
No Kill Houston

KC KS Kills Dogs

No Kill Houston - Try Jeff Shaver, he is a lawyer with ACF in Texas. Wk ph 713-953-0860.

Social Mange

Dallas's animal control must be on the same killing spree as Brampton, with equally non-existent cause.

KC KS Kills Dogs

I really encourage more people to attend their local animal control courts and just observe. Meet some of the folks outside of the court room and find out what types of violations they are in court for; it's an eye opener. Many of the AC courts are nothing more than a kangaroo court, with so many due process violations, that would never fly in criminal courts.

Animal Control needs to focus more on EDUCATION and less on CONFISCATION.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the majority of our Animal Control departments. For starters try hiring people that approach AC like social work for both the pets and the pet owners.

It's time the HSUS and NACA cease being the only resource these AC depts turn to for their performance standards.

We as citizens need to start holding our city leaders feet to the fire for not making Animal Control more than the dog catcher department, and not enforcing cruelty and neglect cases in our court systems.

Stacey

I'm a volunteer with the Humane Society of Greater KC and fell in love with a pit bull named Atlas who ended up at the shelter as a result of the breed ban in Wyandotte County. He had absolutely no temperament issues and was a very affectionate dog who would press himself up against the bars of his kennel with his tail wagging and a big "smile" on his face when he saw me coming through the door to visit him. Luckily for Atlas, he was at the HSGKC which is a no kill shelter, and after about a year of waiting, he found a wonderful new home in Texas. It was because of him that I fell head over heels for these pits and have made it my mission to create more awareness around the true nature of the breed. If only those opposed to these dogs could meet someone like Atlas--it might make a difference.

alice in LALA land

Pet Limits KILL pets.. pure and simple. MSN KILLS pets.. take a look at the new LA stats out today.. KILLING UP 24% since MSN..The Gideons are bit ONE example of what goes on daily in our country. Stop pet limit.. save more pets.

YesBiscuit!

I know if my local animal control ever got so bored that they started going after responsibly cared for pets in homes, I'd be happy to offer up a honey-do list to keep them working on actual pet problems in our area. I bet other people would too.

Brent

Stacey,

In many ways, what the HSGKC is seeing is indicative of the entire problem. While HSGKC has been doing great work finding homes for all of the animals they intake, the laws in KCK are greatly impacting the number of animals they are seeing. The city's pit bull ban, MSN, pet limits, all are causing more animals to go into HSGKC than you all would normally see - and making it harder for them to find homes. It is exactly those types of laws that if we could get rid of them, it could open up space at HSGKC to help some of the other areas of the metro which badly need it.

Stefani

This is heartbreaking. But the reasons described in this post are not the only reasons HOMED pets die needlessly.

Veterinary malpractice is, without a doubt, the number 1 cause of harm to owned companion animals. This is a statement of the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) and I am a personal witness to the the truth of it. After my most beloved companion of 15 years was given a massive 30-unit overdose (10 times the correct dose) of insulin by an unlicensed, unsupervised, unqualified person left alone with the patients at Kindness Animal Hospital in Wheaton Maryland, I began lookign into the larger issue of veterinary malpractice. I began the badvetdaily blog (badvetdaily.blogspot.com) profiling PUBLIC RECORDS about veterinary malpractice. It is pandemic, rampant, and our pets are dying each day. What's worse, there is absolutely NO recourse through either legal channels or regulatory ones -- State Veterinary Boards exist to protect lousy vets, not regulate them.

Worse still, among animal people, total adulation of vets is the norm. They actually attack grieving fellow pet owners for saying things like what I've just said. They refuse to believe it -- until it happens to them.

Laura

Brent, thanks for the link and for raising awareness for the Gideons.

Most of the bills proposed in the 2009 TX legislative session would have put more animals with homes in shelters and increased the killing: MSN, limits, barking, a complete tethering ban and bans on kennels less than 150 SF, etc. And of course, BSL Thank goodness these all failed but they will try again in 2011.

The shelters are full of pets that people can no longer afford due to the economy and foreclosure crisis. It makes no sense to put more animals in the system for arbitrary reasons.

MDog

I'd be curious to know how many of the pit bulls confiscated under MSN in K.C. were actually indoor dogs confiscated, say, from inside the home or while on a walk with the owner vs. how many were dogs tossed in the back yard on a chain 24/7, confiscated from the back yard, probably while the irresponsible owners were not home.

Yes, a dog tossed outside on a chain 2/7 technically has a "home" (and I'd definitely say that's preferable to being killed) but I just find out hard to believe that ACOs in K.C. are knocking on caring pet owners' doors to take away their pets. If so, I'd love to hear the details on one or more of those cases.

I find it far more likely that most of the situations probably are like my neighbors, who had an unaltered pit bull kept on a flimsy tie out 24/7, who howled all day long and was obviously neglected and miserable. When he finally got loose after chewing through his tieout, of course, the losers who owned him weren't home. He was taken in to animal control and the owners were cited for leash laws and their dog not being neutered. In fact, it took the jerks *several days to realize he was gone* (they admitted this to us) despite the fact that animal control left a notice on their door. They stated that the reason they didn't know he was gone is that the official owner of the dog was an adult son (who's on probation for drug trafficking charges, btw - lovely guy) was not around much and the rest of the family didn't even like the dog. (He was totally, totally untrained and appeared to have never been to a vet.)

My point is that simply saying an animal has a "home" does not always tell the whole story. I am not advocating taking these animals away from losers like my neighbors if the animal will then be killed, but I sure am not crying any tears for my neighbor's dog who is now in a great home. (No thanks to the city, who had planned to kill him.)

Katie

>>Animal Control needs to focus more on EDUCATION and less on CONFISCATION.

Yes yes a million times yes.

I assume the justification for the passing of those MSN laws was that all those nasty intact pit bulls were producing all those unwanted puppies that the shelter was then "forced" to kill. Good to know that they're enforcing the law by, you know, needless killing.

EmilyS

"...I just find out hard to believe that ACOs in K.C. are knocking on caring pet owners' doors to take away their pets. If so, I'd love to hear the details on one or more of those cases."

Why should KC be different from Brampton, ONT as described in this post? Or from Denver: http://www.animallawcoalition.com/breed-bans/pendingcase/53

you may find it hard to believe, but taking away unoffending pit bulls from their responsible owners is common in places with harshly enforced BSL.

This is NOT about moron owners cruelly neglecting and abusing their dogs. It is about nice owners with nice dogs cruelly abused by officers of the law.

MDog

The case in Brampton, Ontario had to do with banning pit bulls, not MSN. I'm definitely familiar with all the horrible things that ensue with breed bans.

But I'm not entirely convinced that MSN is a totally bad thing and that it's used as an excuse to grab pit bulls from loving homes, at least in KCMO. That's why I asked for one example of a case where that happened - I'd be surprised if anyone could provide one. (Like I said before, I am NOT in favor of killing dogs seized via MSN. From what I know the owners have the option to pay the fine and get their animal spayed or neutered. If they were decent people, they'd do it and get their animal back, end of story. But often the animal has been seized precisely because they're not decent people/animal owners.)

From what I've seen of animal control officers in KCMO, they don't seem super motivated. Once I was out walking with my dog and there was a loose stray dog on the other side of the street who was following us and barking/growling at us. I saw a parked AC van and asked for help (my dog has been attacked by loose dogs twice and nearly attacked several other times.) The ACO barely looked up and said he would get the dog but made no move to do so. Luckily, the dog seemed to lose interest in us and moved on, and I don't think the ACO ever even went and got him. I just don't see ACOs who are that lazy bothering to go take animals out of good homes.

I just think that to imply that a home is a home is a home oversimplifies things. Of course, maybe I'm jaded because of the neighborhood I live in - there are some good dog owners who walk their dogs and consider them part of the family. But the vast majority are losers like my neighbors who, IMO, are guilty of animal abuse through neglect.

To say that cities need to focus on education is well and good, but education will not produce instant results, and for those of us who are living in neighborhoods where we take our lives in our hands (or at least our dogs' lives) when we walk out dogs each day because of jerks like my neighbors, education isn't going to work quickly enough.

Here's an example. Other neighbors of mine several blocks away, had two pit bulls on plastic tethers in a junkyard of a back yard behind a fence that had huge (several feet wide) gaps in it and was rotting. Often, my daily walk took me past there and the dogs were always out in all weather, and would always bark and lunge at us very viciously whenever we walked by. It was quite scary, and I just knew these dogs were going to get loose one day.

I was scared to keep walking by, but it would have been hard to avoid. I called AC and they refused to do anything because the dogs were technically confined, though on flimsy tethers. I told them the dogs were going to chew through those tethers.

Sure enough, one day we were walking by, and one of the pit bulls comes barreling out at us, barking and growling and heading straight for my dog. Only by being really quick with the citronella spray was I able to stop the dog, and he went running back in his yard. (My dog has been attacked twice to the point of needing vet care by loose dogs, whose loser owners never paid the vet bill, of course.)

We took our dogs home, then went back to try to talk to the owners. When we got there, they were on the porch in the middle of a huge domestic blowup in which the husband was screaming abuse at the wife, and the kid, who appeared about four, was screaming "F*ck you, mommy! F*ck you mommy!" Nice people, as you'd expect form the way they treat their dogs. I wasn't going to take my life in my hands by trying to have a civil discussion while interrupting their little "family moment" so I called AC to report them.
Yes, it's sad and tragic that jerkoffs like these get their hands on beautiful dogs. But I hardly consider that a "home." And considering the fact that AC refused to even go out and check out the situation before the dogs got loose and tried to attack my dog, I just can't picture them going and knocking on the doors of great dog owners to steal their happy, friendly indoor dogs.

I'm sorry, but the above situation was clearly a disaster waiting to happen, and that's why I called AC but they "couldn't do anything" because the people were technically with in the law by having their dogs on flimsy tethers. So, disaster had to happen for AC to intervene. What if it had been a little old lady with her chihuahua walking past?

Brent

mdog,

I understand where you're coming from -- and I'm going to post some more numbers on this this week. Yes, it seems unlikely that most of the dogs are living in homes with the same type of care that your dogs and my dogs get. However, I will say that on official animal control reports, they do note if the dog is "healthy" -- and the vast majority of the dogs are noted to be "healthy."

While I agree that a lot of owners in the situation will pay the fine, and then pay the spay/neuter, many will be unable to. In national surveys, the #1 reason people give for not altering their pet is "cost". To tack a fine on top of the cost of the spay/neuter will make the cost even more impossible for them.

So the dog ends up at the shelter, and dead.

I just wish they would somehow work to get the dogs altered without the dogs being killed....because even if the dogs aren't living the "good life" of an indoor dog, being a healthy outdoor dog is not a fate worse than death. And if they're life truly is so bad that they should be impounded, then they should be able to take care of that under the city's cruelty and neglect laws.

Just being unaltered should not be a reason to cease and kill an animal....

MDog

Brent,
I totally see where you're coming from here, I really do.

I also don't think someone should have to be wealthy to have a dog, but you can be poor or lower middle class and still realize that a dog's care requires money. For example, I know a very cool elderly lady who adores dogs and has very little income. She very proudly will tell anyone that she "supports" her dogs, as she puts it (pays all their food and vet care) by collecting cans and other scrap metal. Everyone saves their cans for her. I think that's really cool. It shows you don't have to have a lot of money to understand that care of dogs requires money, and to budget and plan for those financial responsibilities if you are going to have animals. I also think it's kind of touching that she shows such dedication to the care of her animals. Many people could learn from her.

I strongly agree with you that just being unaltered is not a reason to kill an animal. That's absolutely horrible, and I place the blame for that equally on the city and on the owner who never goes to get their animal.

It's not always cut and dried. With my neighbors (the first ones, who just had one dog and refused to go bail out their dog and pay the fine when he was picked up for being loose -- the dog I ended up finding a home for) they were simply too cheap to pay the fine, in my opinion. My evidence for this is that they drive a ginormous, shiny SUV - far nicer than a vehicle I could ever afford, yet my animals are never out of my sight and never without vet care. I've paid enough in vet care this year alone to make a nice downpayment on a shiny SUV, yet I still keep driving my old, crappy car.

My point is, how many people truly can't afford it vs. how many are like my neighbors - who "can't afford it" yet can magically afford a nice SUV? (Or a Hummer - I'm always surprised at the expensive vehicles people in my neighborhood are able to afford.)

I do think that cities should NOT kill animals period, and should set up multiple ways for people who "can't afford it" - to get their animal back. I think the spay/neuter should be free and fine waived for anyone who can prove they can't afford it. I think payment plans should be offered for those who don't have the cash on hand. There are many ways people could be helped.

But in many cases, I don't think it's a matter of people just not giving their animals the same care you and I do. In the case of the "F*ck you, mommy! Family" (as I think of them) the dogs were alone 24/7 in a virtual junkyard (rusting appliances everywhere, yard filled with trash) but they technically had everything the law required - they were confined, had food and water and a crappy few boards nailed up that served as "shelter." I think MSN can provide an excuse for AC to seize and animal where it's clearly in a crappy, neglectful situation but all the other laws are just barely being followed. Then, surprise, Mr. My-Son-Screams-"F*ck you, Mommy!" then "can't afford" to pay the fine and never picks up his dogs.
Dogs, who definitely SHOULD NOT be killed by the city because some jerkoff couldn't be bothered to properly care for them.

Sorry to sound abrasive, but what I have seen and experienced living in this neighborhood makes me really angry. I guess I am coming at it from a different perspective than some people here for that reason. I see the horrible we-just-barely-meet-the-law dog owners every single day.

Brent

I feel your pain. Wouldn't it be great if our animal control was actually proactive enough to talk to dog owners who were marginal and helped educate them on things they could easily do to do better by their dogs (ie, the Calgary model). But as long as the ordinance is being used to cease animals that are ending up dead in our shelter, I can't be supportive. And the kill rates that it has caused speak for themselves. And unfortunately, I don't see the mindset of our animal control officers changing at any point in the near future.

MDog

Yeah, our whole city could use a heavy dose of the Calgary approach to solving problems. Sigh. I'll bet their snow even gets plowed.

MichelleD

"Dogs, who definitely SHOULD NOT be killed by the city because some jerkoff couldn't be bothered to properly care for them"

And yet that is EXACTLY what is happening and more. Lazy AC doesn't want to be bothered with enforcing anything "hard" like the neglect you are describing. But hey, BALLS are easy to prove. Look at the numbers in KCMO and cities across the country - MSN INCREASES THE KILLING, period. You support MSN you support killing pets for being unaltered - its simply the way it is.

The quota system is now in place and the easier the animal is to grab the easier it is to make their numbers. Our AC is completly inept and yet you trust them with this kind of death legislation?

Want proof? Here ya go:

http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/animal_control/page/2/

http://www.kcdogadvocates.org/dnn/LegalAction/tabid/65/Default.aspx -- look at the 3 legal cases in KCK, same type of thing.

I can send you pictures of the fat puppies that died of parvo when KCMO seized them for nothing more than MSN. Guy didn't have the money to bail them all out in 5 days so puppies and momma are dead.

And how about all the shitty owners out there abusing their dogs right now that AREN'T pit bulls? Why do pit bulls deserve more "protection" that other breeds.

Just a couple weeks ago, some guy had an AC tell him the police told him to seize his dogs - never even gave him a ticket. Two dead dogs because he couldn't afford the fine. They weren't even pit bulls.

We helped an old woman that was fined $120 for feeding stray cats (she had even got them altered) and they tried to trap the cats (and they would have ended up dead).

I KNOW it happens because I've talked to the people who've had it happen AND per Patrick Ebruary verbaitum: "We do not impound pets for license violations. Rare cases where this may occur would be if the dog is an unlicensed/unaltered Pittbull. The ordinance requires Pitbulls to be spayed or neutered. We impound unaltered Pitbulls and must be altered before being released to the owner. Usually, if officers impound a stray dog with identification, they will take the dog to the owner and issue a citation. Without tag, the stray will be taken to the shelter. We enforce over the limit. "

Fine for unaltered pit bull is $500.

A volunteer recently quit when numerous well cared for, altered, UTD on vaccination, cats where seized and brought into the shelter. 10 cats were killed to make room for them.

Another person that lived in unincorportated KC had an AC try to strong arm her to "relinquishing" her foster pets even though she wasn't breaking any laws. They were just trying to intimidate her into releasing well cared for animals.

The numbers prove the point - over 3 thousand animals killed. Hundreds citing the MSN ord WITHOUT any accompanying cruelty charges.

MichelleD

Here's Patrick's email so you can hear it from the source: Patrick_Egberuare AT kcmo DOT org

MDog

Okay, I understand, our animal control in this city is an utter disaster -- totally shameful -- and far too many animals are losing their lives because of it.

I totally do not advocate that pit bulls should be treated any differently from any other dog, and I understand that MSN (whether pit-bull-specific or not) increases killing rates and is bad for that reason. I think AC should stop killing animals, period, and especially shouldn't be more likely to kill an animal because of its breed. I think the quota system is totally screwed up.

I agree with you on many points. But these news stories are soooo predictable. They could be recycled, just substituting different names and addresses:

On Xday, X's dog, X, was seized from his *back yard* at X address for X reason. X *was not home at the time* and so had no idea what had happened. X *"couldn't afford"* the fine, so X's dog stayed at animal control for X number of days, then suffered some horrible fate.

Sooooo sad for the poor dogs.

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