View Full Version : Animal Cruelty Question. Sad. Angry.
I know there have been many previous posts re: animal cruelty on these boards. I was wondering if someone could tell me (especially if you're in TX) if poisoning counts? And what rights do pet owners have when other people hurt their pets?
My husband and I had been planning to spend the 4th with my dad, but we got a phone call this morning, cancelling our plans. Someone poisioned one of my dad dogs last night. I am so very sad and so encredibly angry.
Several years ago, my parents (who were still married at the time) were having some problems with neighborhood kids messing with the pets. The yard backs up to a big wooded area and apparently the kids have some sort of hideout back there. A couple of peoples animals were injured or killed one summer, but then things kind of balanced out and nothing's happened since.
Now, my dad has three outside dogs. These are arson dogs, not just pets, and have a huge kennel in the yard. They're never loose, never in anyone elses yard. Dad walks each dog twice a day and is meticulous about keeping them healthy. So he knows that, physically, nothing is wrong with these dogs.
A week or so ago, to try and combat a rabbit problem, Dad cleared away some of the underbrush behind the kennel. Apparently a little too close to the hideout. The next day, one of the dogs was sick and throwing up blood. They got her treated and everything's been fine. He cleared away some more underbrush, and when he went out to feed and walk the dogs this morning, one of them was dead. This dog was in perfect health last night and there is absolutely nothing that he could have gotten into from the kennel.
Dad filed a police report (and bought a chain saw so he could just knock down the damn underbrush once and for all), but I don't think anything's going to come from it. Does anybody know what kind of rights he has in a situation like this?
07-04-2003, 06:50 PM
animal cruelty - which includes deliberate poisoning - is a criminal offense. If the police can catch the individual it is up to your dad to press charges. However, it is not a top priority with the police unless it becomes epidemic. It appears that someone is targeting your dad's dogs and he needs to to something to prevent it from happening again. The police report is the first move. He needs to do something to prevent outsiders from introducing the poison into the kennel. he would probably know best what to do there. He needs to keep after the cops to follow up but if they don't actively move on this you are probably right that nothing will come of the report, unless dad catches them in the act. Video camera set up?
Pardon my ignorance, but what is an arson dog?
If your dad's dog was indeed poisoned, the vet should be able to verify it through an autopsy. Be a very good idea in the lucky event that he catches who did it. Having proof, documented that the dog was poisoned would be key to prosecution. Otherwise, the person when caught would deny it and who's to say the dog just wasn't sick?...it's a classic case of one word against another.
Catching these creeps is going to be very tough. However, asking the police to take care of this hide-out is not unreasonable. Who owns the land behind your dad? If it's privately owned, find out by who and contact them to let them know people have been using their land. They can ask the police to arrest them for trespassing. If it's public land, then the police should be able to go in, remove the hang-out and post warnings of some sort.
Scary thing about neighborhood squabbles like this is that, if these freaks are willing to harm/kill an animal. God knows what they'll do to humans when angered. It should be a top priority to the cops...especially if it's proven that the dog was poisoned because it would indicate someone having malice towards your dad and therefore, it can be reasonably deducted that he too, could be in harms way by these people. It has been shown over and over that kids who harm animals usually grow up to prey on humans. They need to be caught and dealt with.
I don't mean to scare or alarm you any further, but this situation *is* scary. The police should regularly patrol/do drive-bys of your dad's house to send a message that the house is being watched.
Maybe your dad needs to invest in a security fence at least for the portion that backs the woods. Something very strong like iron bars...posts sunk deep in the ground and set in cement or a stone or cinder block wall. Wood can be busted, chain link can be cut. Maybe even something simple as placing motion sensing lights along the rea perimiter would deter people from entering the yard....
It absolutely sucks that he'd have to do such a thing, but sounds like the back end of his yard is really exposed and given what's been going on....it may have to be closed off.
Also, if possible move the kennel away from the wooded area. I take it these dogs aren't attack/security ones? Seems odd they wouldn't bark when at strangers on the property....
Good luck. My thoughts are with you and your dad.
07-04-2003, 09:49 PM
I would *think* that if these are registered working dogs (if they check out arson, which is what I presume), they may fall under laws (which vary by state) protecting working animals. In some states, this is a felony charge (harming/murdering an assistance or working animal), and sometimes, is held at an equal level with killing a human being.
Also, notify your dad of the following:
1.) Call the local Humane Society/ASPCA. They take reports of these sort of things, and may even conduct a concurrent (or even an independent) investigation. If there is none in the area, PM me, and I will get you in touch with the proper outlet.
2.) Call the local newspaper. Most will print stories about such things, primarily in the interest of keeping it from happening again.
3.) Notify neighbors in the area; poisonings are rarely a solitary occurence.
4.) If suspects are found, notify me by PM or e-mail. I have links to posting information on individuals, but this must be verified by public record stating the charges (local newspaper, etc.) One of these has a website maintained by our very own Webmistress, http://www.pet-abuse.com/
Yes, it is a crime, and animal cruelty/abuse ranks highly among the sickest crimes in our world. Please keep us posted.
Pardon my ignorance, but what is an arson dog?
The dogs are trained for arson investigation. They can go into burned out buildings and determine if the fire was an accident or if an accelerant (gasoline, etc) is present. (Awesome thing - they can even tell you what kind of accelerant was used! How cool is that?)
My dad doesn't do arson investigations through any sort of local or state government body (not directly anyway), so I'm not sure if the dogs would be protected that way or not. He has all of the usual training and certification, but works through an independant company. I'm assuming the dogs have to be registered someplace - I'll ask.
Unfortunately, this is a recurring problem. Last time there was an outbreak of animal violence like this, someone else who's property backs up to the wooded area lost two goats. One was hung and the other one - in fright - ran into the wire fencing and strangled itself.
The police do regular patrols by the house, but I'm not sure how much good it does. Whatever is back there in the woods is impossible to see, even from the back of the kennel, much less the street. The land is owned by someone, though he hasn't turned up in a couple of years. He was kind of an asshole last time and didn't want my dad cutting back any of the brush on his land. Grr. (I'd like to see him try to stop Dad now!)
It's been less than 24 hours since this happened, so I apologize if I'm still sounding a little fatalistic in my responses. I'm sure I'll be thinking clearer tomorrow and once I've had a chance to talk to my dad again.
I will talk to him about registering this with the SPCA. That's brilliant - I wasn't aware that they looked into these things, too. I'll also ask if he had Shorty checked out before he buried him. I think not. I know that he should have, but this is the third pet they've lost in six months and it came as quite a blow. I think they just wanted to take care of him before the other dogs got too stressed about it.
Thank you for the support and thank you for the tips. I'll pass along all of this information to my dad and see what we can do about getting those little punks caught.
07-05-2003, 01:52 AM
I'll reiterate some of what has been said--but as an ex animal control officer and a vet tech, I've had some experience with this.
1. necropsy. Tissue, blood samples sent to a lab as well as the gross (visual) necropsy done by the vet.
2. Police/animal control report--and talk to them--most cops are animal lovers
3. Consider contacting the media.
I worked at an emergency animal clinic, and we were seeing dogs with strychnine poisoning. It's a horrible way to go, and a horrible thing to see. All were dogs that were allowed to run loose in a neighborhood, and we saw at least 5 over one weekend alone. The only way I knew to get it stopped was I contacted a TV news anchor that I happened to know (his wife ran a pet sitting service, and had brought animals into us before.)
I contacted each person who had lost a pet, and got their permission to give their number to him. When he came back in to interview our vets, another dog in stychnine seizures came in---he saw it first hand. After that story aired, only one more dog came in---they figured that either every dog was restrained by the owners--OR it scared the person doing the poisoning off.
Hope some of that helps--I'm so sorry for your dad's loss-I have a special fondness for working dogs.
Hey girls...the media idea is *brilliant* I hadn't thought of that!
I agree with the ladies who suggested that. Media coverage would probably scare the little bastards into not hurting anymore animals. Plus it would raise community awareness so that people would be looking out for it, others who may have had similar things happen may come foward which would put further pressure on authorities to pursue an investigation, and again the punks knowing that that people throughout the area would be watching for them, would probably quit doing it.
Perhaps also making up flyers to notify people of what's been going on and distributing them in peoples mailboxes, on their cars, on street posts, in store fronts, etc would have a similar effect.
BTW....the dogs being able to sniff out arson and the cause *is* amazing. Wow, it is unbeleivable how animals help humans in so many ways and all they ever ask for in return is love and care.
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