FITCHBURG, Massachusetts––The Fitchburg Animal Shelter in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on June 13, 2014 became at least the third public shelter in six weeks to suspend operations at least temporarily because of liability concerns associated with pit bulls.
“The shelter is officially closed for any intake. We are not to receive any animals from owners, surrenders, or animal control,” Fitchburg shelter manager Amy Egeland told Katina Caraganis of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise. “No animal can be admitted per directive of Mayor Lisa Wong.”
The closure came the same day that the Roswell Animal Shelter in New Mexico suspended releasing dogs to rescue groups following an attack on a nine-year-old by three pit bulls who had been transferred to a local rescue called Doggie Saviors. The Stamford Animal Shelter, in Stamford, Connecticut, suspended manager Laurie Hollywood, suspended adoptions and transfers of dogs, and suspended all use of volunteers on May 2, 2014.
The Roswell Animal Shelter on June 16, 2014 resumed transferring dogs to nonprofit rescue groups that meet specified care conditions, but the Stamford Animal Shelter remains closed while an investigation of alleged adoptions of dangerous dogs continues.
The Fitchburg situation apparently began on April 20, 2014 when assistant animal control officer Michael East impounded a dog named Capone, believed to be a pit bull, who was running at large. On April 21 Capone got loose inside the shelter building, charged Egeland and another dog, and the other dog bit Egeland in the ensuing turmoil. Egeland and senior animal control officer Susan Kowaleski dispute whether Kowaleski then authorized East to have Capone euthanized.
Shelter volunteers complained to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources that Capone was euthanized before a required holding time had expired.
Fitchburg public works director Lenny Laakso “said there have been some recent incidents that caused him to question whether it is in the best interest of the city to take on the liability that comes with sheltering and adopting dogs that have had difficult lives,” reported Worcester Telegram & Gazette staff writer George Barnes. “He said the issues raised with the euthanization of the dog were of concern, as was liability exposure faced by the city from volunteers being bitten, adopters being bitten, dogs getting hurt in fights, and other issues.”
Mayor Wong indicated to Barnes that Fitchburg is investigating the possibility of contracting out the pound job, rather than continuing to operate a shelter.
The Fitchburg Animal Shelter closure “means I have no job and it means the city has no city shelter. We’ve been standing up for the ‘bully’ breeds and we just had our doors here bullied shut because of what we stand for,” Egeland told Barnes.
“We’re sending all of our animals to approved rescue groups in the state,” Egeland added to Caraganis of the Sentinel & Enterprise. “I fear that the Department of Agriculture will mass load up these animals and euthanize them.” The shelter reportedly held about 13 dogs when closed.
The animal welfare world has gone nutty. With all the emphasis on saving every dog and the pressure put on the shelter personnel by rescues, volunteers and the public, the facilities management has caved to the insane bad PR. They hire people that want to save every animal and when they then adopt out aggress or dangerous animals the employees are the ones at fault.
It is bad practice to adopt out animals that have a history of aggression as has been proven time and time again, but the US is on this save everything kick and doesn’t seem to care about the dangers agressive animals pose to our children, our elderly and indeed anyone that comes into contact that could be put in danger. This is pure craziness. Would we try to rehabilitate Ted Bundy or Charles Manson? No, they are insane and a danger to society. So what makes us think that our species is the only one that has insanity or agressiveness? Dogs can also be crazy and aggressive and not just because someone was mean to them when they were young. Even if that was the case, it does not give the animal (or person) just cause to be agressive and dangerous. Is it humanities fault for breeding these type of dogs? Maybe so, but it is sheer lunacy to give them back into society where thay can do more harm.
And if the shelters are going to hire people that want to save every animal, they should stand by them when things like this happen. The powers that be need to change their policies and stop the knee jerk reaction to the “no kill” for any reason people.
I couldn’t agree with you more! This “save them all” mentality is such a grievous mistake on our parts. We can’t save them all, and furthermore, we shouldn’t! Very well said! Thank you!
Joanna McGinn says
so allll the other ‘good dogs get shunted out shelter because of Pits?
Jamaka Petzak says
It’s a tragedy and a shame that other animals should have to suffer because of these potentially dangerous dogs!
Mary Ann Redfern says
Some dogs cannot and should not be saved. I am sick and tired of the bleeding hearts that think you can and should try to save even the most vicious of dogs. Put ’em down. Let’s get back to reality.
Thomas McCartney says
24 People dead by dog attack in 2014
Pit bull type dogs killed 21 of them.
13 of the dead are children.
Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had
been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression
before’, and knew the victim.
Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (12)
Kara E. Hartrich, 4 years old, Bloomington, Illinois. **
Je’vaeh Maye, 2 years old, Temple Texas. **
Braelynn Rayne Coulter, 3 years old, High Point, North Carolina. **
Kenneth Santillan, 13 years old, Patterson, N.J. by a Bullmastiff
Raymane Camari Robinson, 2 years old, Killeen, TX by a Bullmastiff **
Mia Derouen, 4 years old, Houma, Louisiana **
Christopher Malone, 3 years old, Thornton, MS **
John Harvard, 5 year old, Riverside, AL **
Kassi Haith, 4 years old, Felton, Del.
Demonta Collins, 13 years old, Augusta, Georgia
he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car and was killed.
Davon Jiggetts,17 years old, Riverdale, Georgia
he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car as was the pit bull, both were killed.
Holden William Garrison-10 weeks old, Springfield Township, MI **
Friends of family state that the dog is a Pit bull Mix a Catahoula Hound mixed with Pit Bull.
Adult fatalities by pit bull type (8):
Christina Burleson, 43 years old, Houston, Texas. **
Klonda S. Richey, 57 years old, Dayton, Ohio. by two Bullmastiff’s
Nancy Newberry, 77 years old, Phoenix, AZ. **
Dorothy Hamilton, 85 years old, Kaufman, TX **
Petra Aguirre, 83 years old, San Antonio TX **
Betty Clark, 75 years old, San Antonio TX **
Katie Morrison, 20-years old, Smiths Station, AL **
Rita Pepe, 93 years old, Branford, Conn by a rescued pit bull
That’s 88% killed by attacking pit bull type dogs.
Pit Bull type dogs are only about 6% of the entire dog population.
Summer Sears, 4 years old, Tallassee, AL by Husky/German Shepard Cross
Nyhiem Wilfong, 1 year old, Caldwell County, N.C. by Rottweiler. **
89-year-old Annabell Martin, Corona, CA. by her grandson’s three Rottweilers.**
Carlos Eligio Trevina – 54 y.o. – Idaho Falls ID ** – [Jan 9] – Died of a heart attack immediately after breaking up a fight between his seven pit bulls / pit mixes
33 People dead by dog attack in 2013.
Pit bull type dogs killed thirty of them. sixteen of the twenty-nine dead are children.
Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression before’, and knew the victim.
Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (16):
Christian Gormanous – 4 yrs old Montgomery County, TX
Isaiah Aguilar – 2 yrs old Sabinal, TX
Ryan Maxwell – 7 yrs old ** Galesburg, IL.
Dax Borchardt – 14 mos old ** Walworth, WI.
Monica Laminack – 21 mos old ** Ellabelle, GA.
Tyler Jett – 7 yrs old Callaway, FL.
Jordyn Arndt – 4 yrs old ** Prairie City, IA.
Beau Rutledge – 2 yrs old ** Fulton County, GA.
Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old ** Jessieville, AR.
Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old ** Union City, CA.
Arianna Jolee Merrbach – 5 yrs old Effingham, SC.
Daniel (surname as yet not revealed) – 2 yrs old (Gilbert, Arizona) **
Samuel Eli Zamudio – 2 yrs old** Colton, CA
Jordan Ryan– 5 yrs old Baker city, Oregon
Levi Watson-Bradford-4 years old** White County, Arkansas
Jah’niyah White – 2 years old ** Chicago, Ill
Adult fatalities by pit bull type (13):
Betty Todd – 65 yrs old ** Hodges, SC
Elsie Grace – 91 yrs old ** Hemet, CA
Claudia Gallardo – 38 yrs old Stockton, CA.
Pamela Devitt – 63 yrs old Littlerock, CA.
Carlton Freeman – 80 yrs old Harleyville, SC.
Linda Oliver – 63 yrs old Dayton, TX.
James Harding – 62 yrs old -Baltimore, MD
chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls
Juan Campos – 96 yrs old Katy, Texas.
Terry Douglass 56 years old. **Baltimore, MD
Katherine Atkins-25 years old ** Kernersville, NC
Nga Woodhead-65 years old Spanaway, WA.
Joan Kappen, 75 years old Hot Springs Ark
Michal Nelson, 41 years old Valencia County, New Mexico **
(1 non-pit type killing) [Rachel Honabarger – 35 yrs old – mauled to death by her own GSD mix] Coshocton, OH.
(1 husky-mix killing, unknown if the other half of the dog was pit bull) [Jordan Lee Reed – 5 yrs old] Kotzebue, AK
(1 Shiba Inu killing) Mia Gibson – age 3 months, of Gibson, OH – mauled to death by family Shiba Inu.
Three of the pit bull type dogs were BULL mastiffs, ie 40% pit-fighting bulldog.
If 27 of 33 dead were killed by pit bull attack, that’s 82% dead by pit attack, 9% dead by ‘molosser’, 3% by some kind of GSD mix, 3% by a husky + possibly pit mix, 3% by Shiba Inu.
If you count the pit-mix mastiffs as pit bull types, that’s 91% killed by attacking pit bull types. Pit types are only about 6% of the entire dog population.
The man who ran into traffic kept pit bulls himself. He knew perfectly well what the two stranger pit bulls that were chasing him would do if they caught him, so he preferred to risk a swift death by oncoming car.
534 maimed by pit type dogs 2013 (as of November.28).
A shelter’s job isn’t to “stand up for bully breeds.” It’s to protect pets and the community.