Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pitbull Adopter Denied at Lodi, CA Shelter

As usual, there are shades of gray in the story of a CA man who went to a shelter to adopt a Pitbull:
Al Hicks had found a 3-year-old dog at the shelter, but animal control officers turned him down because of two incidents involving loose pit bulls at his West Vine Street home. One time, a dog bit a mail carrier.

Hicks, 73, said the dogs had belonged to his former roommate, who left a gate open when Hicks was taking a nap. The dogs and roommate no longer live in Lodi, but Hicks had enjoyed having the dogs around so he decided to get a dog of his own.

Several months ago his roommate's dogs escaped and chased a mail carrier, and as the homeowner he ended up getting the citations.

"They wrote me a ticket when this happened, two citations, but I don't own a dog," Al tells CBS13.

So. Two citations. The potential adopter says he is not at fault and basically there is a misunderstanding as to his suitability as a home. My first thought is for the AC officers doing the screening to investigate the citations. Maybe those citations were written by a fellow AC officer, IDK. But it shouldn't be too hard to track down the recent paperwork. And considering the man's age, he may have a history of pet ownership which could be verified through Vets, neighbors, etc. There's no mention made that anything at all was done to sort out the misunderstanding. Does this shelter have so many adoption applicants that it doesn't bother trying to sort out someone's story? Oh no wait - that can't be right since the dog the man picked out was killed by the shelter.
"She seemed like a really friendly dog," says Al.

I'm sure she did. But see, it's all just a misunderstanding:
A shelter representative told CBS13 that this is all a misunderstanding, and that the dog he wanted, Cindy, wasn't ready for adoption. When she was tested she was too aggressive and had to be destroyed for safety reasons.

You can understand that, can't you? The shelter had a dog not ready for adoption on the adoption floor. After she was chosen for adoption, the adopter was denied and the dog was killed. Just a big ol' misunderstanding.
Al believes what this all boils down to us a bias against the breed.

"They don't want pit bulls in this town," he says.

The shelter asks for the public's understanding as to why this dog had to be killed and why she was on the adoption floor when she wasn't actually available. But when a potential adopter asks for understanding from the shelter regarding two previous AC citations? Not so much. I have no idea if the guy's story checks out cos you know, I don't have access to the local AC citations. But I know if a dog's life depended on it - a dog in my care - I'd sure as hell check it out. But then, I'm not one to put an unavailable dog on the adoption floor and most definitely not one to kill her based upon some kind of "test".

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation by a qualified individual to help determine what type of home environment and/or training is most appropriate for that dog. It's not a Pass/Fail and not an excuse for killing. And if you are in the business of killing pets, the very least you could do is check out a potential adopter's story if it could mean killing one less dog. Understand?

Mr. Hicks reportedly bought a Pitbull puppy off a flier at a pet supply store for $50.


jan said...

They may have been afraid of a lawsuit. That can be the lottery. Fear of lawsuits is a great sickness of our time.

Luisa said...

For what it's worth, Lodi is a Maddie's Fund success story. [I ran across that info during the No on AB 1634 days. Maddie's Fund rocks.] Lodi's Petfinder pages show a number of pit bulls available for adoption, including this beauty. [A pit mix named Cindy is also shown - same dog Hicks wanted...?]

From the Lodi shelter site: "There is no limit to the amount of time we will hold animals. All animals will stay up for adoption as long as they do not become sick or aggressive and we have the room."

Just had to add a few more shades of gray to the subject.

Also: I wouldn't know the Lodi folks if they bit me, but I do know that I'd believe the terrific ACs and volunteers at our local pound before I'd believe any disgruntled dude-with-multiple-citations who badmouthed them. And yes, I know I'm lucky to have such a great team at the local pound! [We're lucky: former pound dogs Smoky, Landshark Lu, Bounce and I.]

NYCKitten said...

I would also be leary of someone with multiple citations... especially when they have an excuse for each citation.

Additionally, there a gazillion pit bulls in shelters - if he really wanted to adopt one he could have found another somewhere else rather than BUY a puppy.

Zoom said...

That would have been the choice for most of us, but more and more people I've talked to with BYB pups went that route after bad experiences at shelters. Now, most of us all know that if one place turns you down for an idiot reason, simply go to another shelter, hopefully with smarter staff/policies. But not everyone is like that and simply assume that if one shelter pulled a stunt like this, all of them will. More's the pity though...