Monday, September 22, 2008

It's about the PEOPLE, people.

Holding people accountable for their actions is just common sense. Here are some cases that remind us to keep blame where it belongs.

An OR man was sentenced to one year for abusing his pit bull ... A San Jose man is facing felony charges for letting his off-leash pit bull hurt another dog ... A St. Louis couple was charged with evidence tampering when they tried to blame a tiger mauling on a pit bull....Oy vey. And - finally! - Marjorie Knoller was sentenced to 15 years for the mauling death of Diane Whipple. That took far too long. Thumbs up to the prosecutors for getting that conviction.

But before we lose faith in our fellow two-leggeds, here's one of the best anti-BSL editorials we've read in awhile. Seattle Humane Society executive officer Brenda Barnette rejects BSL and points out that a recent dog attack in SeaTac came after animal control failed to respond to several complaints about loose running dogs. (Seattle AC has a reputation for being less-than-efficient with enforcing local laws.) Words from the wise:
"Until we start focusing on the underlying causes of bites — instead of focusing on specific breeds of dogs — we'll never decrease the number of dog attacks. Enacting a breed ban will make it more difficult for shelters to place loving pit bulls with responsible owners, increasing the number of dogs killed in shelters, without making anyone safer." Brenda Barnette Seattle Humane

The Good Guys
We presented at an American Bar Association event in Chicago this past Friday. One of these days, I might actually be able to stand up and address an audience about the Vick dogs without choking back tears - but not yet. Wimpy-Me. It was fascinating to hear little known case details from the attorneys that worked on these and other similar cases. ASPCA forensics expert Dr. Melinda Merck was recognized about a dozen times as being one of the main reasons Vick and his boys folded - It's nearly impossible to fight charges with so much physical evidence. Thanks again, doc.

A highlight of the event was an award presented by Special Master Guardian Rebecca Huss. It was the first annual 2008 Rose Memorial Award for Compassion in Action and it went to BR's own Nicole Rattay for putting her life on hold in order to bring comfort & compassion to the Vick dogs that waited six additional long weeks in confinement. Kennel stress was taking a heavy toll on the dogs, but Nicole's work gave the dogs a head start on their healing. Congratulations Nicole, and thank you again.
"Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
-- Chinese Proverb

Hurting from People Problems
Too many wonderful puppies and dogs are flowing into Oakland Animal Services this season (and, everywhere, we imagine). It pains us to see pit bulls especially falling out of hard-luck homes and into overcrowded shelters. If you've considered adopting anytime soon, now's a good time...There's no shortage of exceptional dogs that are in danger. This is Harley. He's a puppyish dog-social dork, and - Tim's description - a Wiggle Master. Wanna fall in love? Let us help.


Anonymous said...

That Seattle Editorial was great.
I wrote to Brenda Barnette about that.
Why can it be so clear to some but so difficult for most?
Couldn`t have been written and published in a better place.
I`m sure there`s smoke coming out of more than a few ears.
Thank God for Karen`s Research.
Congrats to Nicole for the award and to all for the ongoing great work.

Blamed for a tiger attack?
Kinda makes you wonder about a lot of incidents.

Doc Sinister said...

Check out all those new faces on the available page! I want to reach through the computer and hug them all...

Amy Samida said...

I am so proud of my local shelter for bucking the trend and adopting out pit bulls. As I sit here writing this, I'm surrounded by four of them - 2 are dogs I rescued, 2 are shelter dogs who attend my dog daycare regularly. People walk past my yard and ask "Are those pits?" I say they're the most fabulous dogs...who happen to be pits! Now if I only had room for Harley...

Amy Samida

Cindy said...

We are a society that loves to place blame on anyone or anything but ourselves. It is time that the laws that are in place actually be applied to hold people accountable for their actions.
Congratulations to Nicole for winning the award and I'm sure the Vick dogs are giving you a big "WOO WOO" for being there for them. Harley has such expressive eyes..."come and play with me" they say. First I would have to give him a big HUG. Can't love those wiggle butts enough!

Shanda said...

Yay for Nicole! She sooo deserved that award. To do what she did was really something special.

I spent the past two days at a small forensics conference with Dr. Merck. She seems really nice. Vet Forensics is coming into its own right now. VERY exciting times!

Becky said...

Thank you for highlighting again that our problems with any dogs is about the people. I'm so glad for ms. Whipple's partner and her family that they finally received the justice and closure so sadly overdue.

I hope this sentence really makes the irresponsible and downright stupid dog owners everywhere really think about how they could (and should) be held accountable for their need to be too lazy, too dumb, or too whatever to make sure their dog is a good dog.