Sunday, November 16, 2008

Houston, you have a problem

For your files, letters to editors or general need-to-know info, here's a printable PDF update outlining the Vick dogs' current status.
* * V-Dog UPDATES * *

Proof in the Pudding.

Please share it with Texas this week. Up to 200...two hundred (!) dogs have been gathered up in a large scale fight bust, involving 55-some arrests. Suspects include an English teacher, employees of the oil industry, felons - you nameit. Big catch. Apparently Texas likes itself some dog fights.
"My guess is that the majority will have to be euthanized. Some of the dogs may be people friendly, but the question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you'd want your 3-year-old child around the dog." ....Sgt. P Leone, Houston Humane Society's Rescuing Animals In Danger Education Resource Program

Before we start hearing too many tired myths about bust dogs, let's write to remind Houston news sources of lessons learned in 2007-08. 1) Bust dogs are victims, not perpetrators. 2) Dogs are individuals, not cookie cutter stereotypes. Blanket statements like "bred to kill" are obsolete, disproven, antiquated. 3) Kenneled dogs deserve the decency of vet care, enrichment, compassion - an evaluation. (How many sick dogs like Rose were confiscated? And do they get a warm bed tonight?) 4) Dogs that can't be saved suffer from lack of resources. And that's a human shortcoming; No blame to the victims of these sad times.

Don't forget to offer the news crews some pudding.


Leila said...

It is such a pity that the Houston Humane Society is unwilling to make an effort to work outside their comfort zone. Instead, they will euthanize some potential Johnny Justice or Hector in order to clear their books. Fie on them. I hope their dreams are filled with the dogs that they euthanize asking 'Why?'.

I know what the evaluation and rehabilitation process is difficult and expensive, but the dogs are the victims and deserve the intervention. It is the people who are the criminals they deserve punishment.

Hopefully, someone will be able to stand up for the dogs in Houston before the Houston Human Society kill the victim.

Anonymous said...

Just 55 arrests.
I imagine that`s the tip of the iceberg.
I imagine there are some people in very high places who are VERY nervous today.Let`s hope there is some squealing.

[quote]..but the question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you'd want your 3-year-old child around the dog.[/quote]

That`s not the question that comes to mind.
Here`s the one that comes to my mind....

..but the question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you'd want your 3-year-old child around people who abuse dogs(or any animal).

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Sgt Leone and challenged Houston Humane Society to put your V Dog update on their site,to step up to the plate and have these dogs assessed as individuals and to watch their language when talking about the victims of this abuse.

They are continuing to abuse these dogs after this so called "rescue".
Their site actually asks for donations to help end dog fighting.
Donations to help kill the dogs...??
They seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Kinda makes you wonder...who exactly is attending dog fights in Houston?
Let`s hope some of those caught start naming names.

Donna said...

Indeed, L.A.B.R.D.

Leila, actually, evaluating bust dogs is not really that costly. It's unfortunate that the idea of a high price tag has been brandied about since the Vick case. Dogs don't need a team of 9 including behaviorists and court appointed attorneys when experienced rescuers already have their selection protocol worked out ... and rescuers are very used to working on a shoestring and a prayer.

In the recent large AZ case, for example, Pima County Animal Control only paid for the staff time of the employees who escorted the rescuers, which amounted to 2-3 days of run around + a county sheriff to hang around.

The bigger commodity is the will power of the parties involved and finding those always-rare foster opportunities. As to whether or not there are super stars in that group of 200 -- absolutely! That's a given. These are pit bulls, after all!

Anonymous said...

The Houston Chronicle has some more details and also some reporters to email, and names of individuals who will be deciding these victims fate (for letters).

Houston is so unfriendly already towards pitties, I really hope a lot of voices reaching out for these dogs will help them take a look at each dog as individuals (and get each dog medical care who needs it).

Anonymous said...

The Vick update is awesome...was the thirteenth dog Frodo's siter? Do you know how she is doing?

Donna said...

Thx anon - I hope the update can be used to nudge some balance where balance is needed. I have a color version too if anyone could use it. It's too much bandwidth to post online, but I can send as a PDF to interested parties.

Spyder aka Maya is apparently doing okay at Best Friends. I'm sure she loves that her beloved safe-crate grew into a supersize kennel. And I don't doubt that she shows some of the troubled behavior that we saw here - skiddish nervousness and barking at new sounds, people, etc. It's hard to be Spyder.

As far as the number 13 -- In addition to our 10, Nicole and Steve brought back three dogs earmarked for Monterey SPCA. And then Nicole brought Leo home in a solo cross country trip. I have to blog an update on the Monterey SPCA dogs. They're all doing well and are cherished members of their circles.

Anonymous said...

If anyone else is sending letters to Houston regarding this, I have some contacts: (hopefully this is useful)

USDA Inspector Gen'l
Sp Agent Abelino Farias, Jr
101 S Main St, Rm 311
Federal Bldg
Temple, TX 76501

Harris County Dist. Attorney's
Ms. Belinda Smith, DA
1201 Franklin St, Ste 600
Houston, TX 77002

Houston SPCA (have some emails)
900 Portway Dr
Houston TX 77024
contact for:

Charles Jantzen, Chief Cruelty Inv.

Elise Gouge, Animal Behavior Mgr

Houston Humane Society
PO Box 450528
Houston TX 77245-0528

Sgt. Patrick Leone, HHS

Edward Perez, Shelter Dir.


Harris County Public Health & Educ
Veterinary Division
612 Canino Rd
Houston, TX 77076

Donna said...

Thank you Becky. We can always count on you for digging up good contact info.

Although I have to be a pessimist about contacting anyone at Houston SPCA. It might be a waste of time considering their heels have been dug in deep for a very long time.

Contacting media outlets would be a big help towards showing another perspective.

Kirsten said...

OK, I've written to the Sarge, too. May be a pointless pester, but I reckon he deserves it. ;) And I've written to KPRC who ran the story. Thus far...

I can't believe people are still peddling the old media stereotype after all the groundwork set by the Vick case. But there you go.

Anonymous said...

Good point ... I forgot to include two reporters covering the story for the Houston Chron, and

And....letters to the editor!

Send letters to the editor, 250 words or less, as part of e-mail text to Include name, address, and day and evening phone numbers.

Donna - you'd be great for an essay:

E-mail essays, up to 600 words long, to No attachments, please. Include name, day and evening phone, and byline identification with affiliation or expertise related to essay.

Boris said...

Can't get my big head around it, and feeling over-whelped. Wishing for a 'HAD-RAP'.

Glad those outside 'Planet-Houston' (as the Krypton Aliens call us) have an idea of where to start. I pray that even one dog makes it out of this mess alive.

The majority of the >5 million people in the area covered by this bust have animals they love and take good care of. However, even less than "1% bad ruff-necks" make for a lot of people who find: money most attractive, macho a motivator, and cruelty a stimulant drug.

What hurts more and even sadder is that we still have a 'pet variety' problem too. Last month, my folks' friend found a hit-n-run pitbull that was beyond repair (a Remmington collar his only i.d.) Saturday, we met 'apartment parents' with their three-year old daughter at Pet-M asking for training tips to keep their 3 mos old pibble from nibbling on hands (where will that pup be in another 3 mos with the 90 lb teen-mom?). At a neighborhood ball field, a backyard bred puppy being touhted as 'a big-bulldog lookin for a home'. The pup came from his American Bulldog getting to the neighbor's first-heat pibble girl. And can't forget the guy looking for a companion for his dog. He wouldn't consider sweet pibble-mix Dixie who has spent the past 8 months looking for a home. He was more interested in his pitbull GIVING it to the companion for a litter.

So, feeling it is going to take more than letters.

Where is Krypto when you need help?


Donna said...

Over whelped is a great way to describe it, B.
I suppose, first Houston has to admit that it has*a problem before it can set out to fix it. And by problem, I don't mean JUST a dog fighting problem.

Every issue you outline is exactly why your local humane orgs should be helping pit bulls and their owners rather than turning their back on them. This critical mass that we're all experiencing needs the steady commitment and cooperation of any and all agencies and breed groups that serve animals as their mission --- especially those more well-resourced agencies.

In fact, by focusing solely on dog fighting and allowing exceptional pet dogs to die in Houston shelters --well, it certainly is out of balance, isn't it? And what a happy distraction for the people who call for their deaths every single day of the week to the tune of thousands. And bringing more and more pit bulls into this terrible atmosphere via irresponsible breeding? It's much easier to do when nobody sees (or cares) about the other end of the conveyor belt.

This is an important crossroads for pit bulls in Texas. A bigger picture perspective is so necessary right now .... and a call for compassion for the victims of all these human created problems couldn't hurt.

Don't envy you, but am damn glad you're there.

Anonymous said...

I havev been to Houston, and am saddened that this is the ignorant stand that the SPCA there takes on Pits. Is Ingrid running the show on the down low?

Anonymous said...

Look at this
Houston pay attention!

[quote]"People have seen what these dogs are going through,” Kelley said, "and they really have come to assist us.”[/quote]