Bill Smith with Main Line Animal Rescue alum Lily the therapy dog. Taken at a Main Line Animal Rescue event today.
I didn’t want to say anything, but I feel I must. I am NOT getting involved with the whole brew-ha-ha over Flash the beagle. Please STOP posting comments about THAT issue to my blog and the CCR Facebook page.
This is my blog and my page and I reserve the right to NOT be involved with every animal issue in the tri-state area. I am taking a break from dog rescue issues. I am tired of all the extremes of emotion and how nasty human beings are to one and other under the banner of saving animals.
I am sorry if that disappoints some of my readers, but please respect that I don’t want to be involved. Yes, that family is connecting all the dots when it comes to guerrilla social media tactics, but what is it they hope to accomplish by totally destroying a non-profit? And can it be said it is all well an good to say publicly on their page that they want people to be respectful but what happens out of the eyes of social media is different isn’t it?
Some might find this confusing, but let me make it simple: yes I have written about the Chester County SPCA’s issues a few times. However, I have never said I want the organization shut down and would not support such efforts. What I want for the CCSPCA is reform. I am hopeful with Pat Biswanger at the helm of their board it will happen.
I am not going to speak negatively of Main Line Animal Rescue. I am not going to speak negatively of Bill Smith. He has devoted his life to animals. I am NOT getting involved other than to say destroying a non-profit with a proven track record of saving at risk animals is wrong. Attacking people who chose to support this rescue is as wrong as attacking those who support rescues like the Chester County SPCA, Morris Animal Rescue, the Humane Society, the ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, Finding Shelter, ARC of the Hamptons and all the smaller pure-breed and cat rescues that work hard every day for animals.
I urge everyone involved here to calm down and try to work it out because big picture is if you support animal rescues and their missions you will try to work it out.
But I do not care to be a party to this negativity. I believe in animal rescue. Asking for reforms is one thing, destroying a good organization is entirely another. They are out for scorched earth, and that makes it about them, not the animals….even the dog they are protesting the removal of.
This is Joey. He is a five-year old shibu inu. He is from Malvern over near Malvern Prep but got out for the first and only time March 28 when a door blew open. He has been seen as far away as Hershey’s Mill to Boot Road to Airport Road to Morstein, Collegeview and so on.
His owners know he is alive and his mom works at Canine Creature Comforts. He was seen yesterday around Nottingham Road.
He is scared out of his wits. He looks like a fox. Please help him come home. Call owners if you see him and if you get him in a fenced in back yard please call owners – BUT use caution when approaching because he is scared and skittish.
On Saturday we had to rush one of our animals to the emergency vet. We go to West Chester Vet which also has one of the best emergency clinics around.
As my sweet man was checking our critter in for treatment, a family who had driven up from Chester came into the vet hospital with a little dog wrapped up in a towel or blanket or something similar.
The child of this family had found the little dog whimpering and crying in either an abandoned house or some sort of garage. And they had driven until they found a veterinary hospital which was open. ( My other guess is they had to drive to find a veterinary hospital that would treat a dog that they found like this.)
As they were handing over the dog (which had been stabbed) to the veterinary technicians the blanket or towel or whatever the dog was wrapped in opened and my sweet man says the little dog’s insides were peeking through the stab wound (or wounds as I do not know which).
I was told by my source at the CCSPCA later that the dog had been stabbed by a mentally unstable person and the police were involved. Little dog looks to be a chihuahua or chihuahua mix.
When we checked on our sick dog on Sunday, we inquired after the little dog. Little dog had come through surgery like a champ and was starting to eat.
This evening when we picked up our critter we heard that little dog continued to improve. We asked if they had a link up for donations as a lot of people would like to contribute to little dog’s care. I also know a couple of people who would adopt little dog and give her a kind and loving home. Unfortunately, because this is an animal cruelty case they could not tell me anything else.
However, NBC10 is on the case and they have this to say about little dog, who has apparently been named Hope:
A dog brought into a local veterinary medical center over the weekend with stab wounds is “eating, drinking, and happy,” according to a nurse at the facility.
Kelly Fusco, a veterinary nurse at the West Chester Veterinary Medical Center says that the Chihuahua mix was rushed into the center by a family who said they found the pouch whimpering inside of a garage.
The dog who’s been given the name “Hope” by the veterinary staff is doing well after receiving emergency surgery to repair lacerations to her leg…..The case, which is being handled by the Chester County SPCA, is being treated as an animal cruelty investigation.
Hope is doing well and expected to make a full recovery, according to Fusco. She will remain at the vet until the investigation is complete.
I know nothing else about the dog. If you would like to contribute towards Hope’s care, please call West Chester Vet (610-696-8712) during normal business hours. They often do amazing acts of real kindness like this. Many vets will not do things like this. They are so awesome to do things like this that this makes me really proud as they care for our pets and the pets of many friends of ours!
Disclaimer: This is an extremely busy vet practice ALL of the time and I say call or maybe just Facebook them because I have no other answers. My guess is when they have something to say about this they will put something on their Facebook page or maybe tell NBC10.
We should also thank the unknown family who drove and drove to see that an injured dog got proper care. So many people wouldn’t bother, especially given the weather we have had.
Also a word of thanks is due to the Chester County SPCA and Main Line Animal Rescue for their caring and concern.
As for whomever did this, there should be a special place in hell for anyone who is cruel to animals, shouldn’t there be? I don’t get how anyone can do something like this to a helpless creature do you? May justice be served for little Hope, right?
St. Francis sure was looking out for this dog, wasn’t he? Or maybe the angel dogs once known as Argus and Fiona?
Get well soon, little dog named Hope. You are in excellent hands and a lot of people are pulling for you.
***Photo credit Kelly Fusco West Chester Vet and NBC10 Philadelphia
I wish I had better news to share. But I just received this message from the person that asked me to post about Blue the dog in the first place. I am in tears and it is not even my dog:
Hi, not sure if you saw the post I shared, but poor Blue was found on the side of a major highway…. Broken back and not going to make it… He got to see his owner, hear her voice and die in her arms😔
RIP BLUE. People – no one likes to hit someone’s pet, but if you could slow down and be more aware of your surroundings on roads, and if you accidentally hit someone’s dog or cat and can safely pull over and call the police, please do or call them at a later time if you can’t safely pull over.
I have a dog with three legs. She has three legs because she accidentally got out when she was little before she was part of my family. If it hadn’t been for the wonderful Westtown East Goshen police, she would be dead. Again this was a case of someone hitting a dog and not stopping.
It happened to my sister as well. Only she lost her dog. I also watched it happen twice in my old neighborhood, in broad daylight, and the people did not slow down or stop – they took off.
Please, even if you can’t save the animal, at least let someone know you accidentally hit it.
I was asked to post this. Blue was lost Nov 30th at 4pm from French Creek in the 2400 block of Saint Peters Road. Pottstown, PA. He is a 5yr old Lab Chow mix. Please if you have seen this dog call these people ASAP!!!!
I mean what can I say? I am incredulous. While we sat in court, another damning article came out on the Chester County SPCA. Now every time an article comes out, the CCPCA and supporters cry foul. Only thing is this reporter always does her homework.
And when I was talking about the Chester County SPCA not sending anyone to the Argus and Fiona case in court the past two days (my personal opinion is they are afraid they will be questioned by reporters), this woman named Kris Keffer from York of all places rolled up on this blog in a comment and says how I am unprofessional and have a vendetta against the Chester County SPCA. Apparently she has lots to do with the Chester County SPCA.
I don’t know how she would judge from professional, her opinions on my blogging talents are par for the course when people disagree with my perspective, but I am not going to have someone tell me I have a vendetta against the Chester County SPCA. One of my best dogs ever came from the Chester County SPCA.
I am appalled and disturbed and quite frankly upset at all the bad things that keep getting unearthed about an organization I never, ever thought would have these issues. But they do.
My opinion (if you care) is there is a top down rottenness going on that would be solved by booting the president of the board and the board members he controls, getting the staff hired that they need, and getting back the good volunteers who felt they had to leave.
I also feel if the supporters of the SPCA don’t get a grip and deal with these issues a beloved institution may eventually cease to exist and how will that serve homeless pets and the community? Deal with the issues, quit saying they don’t exist. If they didn’t exist there would be nothing for the media to report on!
I am not out there personally destroying the Chester County SPCA but even I have heard things the past year that were most distressing. And that freaks me out because you can’t help but worry what would they do if they picked up your pet given what is going on?
And the part-time veterinarian stuff leaves me distinctly uncomfortable. Chester County is literally blessed with some of the best veterinarians in the country. Maybe if the SPCA was run a little differently they could attract some of these vets?
Mari Schaeffer is a very fine reporter and an outstanding human being. She is doing her job reporting the news. It’s a damn shame no one at the Chester County SPCA can apparently do theirs right now. This article is profoundly disturbing. And it is just not possible that all of this is just “made up”.
Any board member that won’t step up, should step off the board. And that includes Conrad Muhly.
Here is Mari’s article (please go to Philly.com and read whole thing – there are also photos):
Current and former staff and volunteers and a board member at the Chester County SPCA said recently that they had reported mistreatment and neglect of animals to shelter officials, but that their accounts were ignored or not addressed seriously.
Conrad Muhly, the board president, and other board members declined requests for comment on the allegations.
The shelter has defended its performance. “Our staff and volunteers will continue to devote all our efforts to the compassionate care of the animals in our open-access shelter, where no animal in need is turned away,” SPCA spokesman Richard Britton wrote in an e-mailed statement…..In June, Mona, a bulldog mix prone to painful ear infections that became worse while at the shelter, was euthanized after she tired to bite a staff member, said Leslie Celia, a former volunteer.
Last year, a pit bull puppy was found to be sick, and a “huge amount of blood” was seen in her wire cage. The staff, concerned the dog had parvovirus, recommended the dog receive outside care and be monitored overnight. The memo was unclear as to whether the dog received veterinary care on the night in question.
“The dog was left at the shelter alone and died that night,” a letter from staff members to the board said.
Petey, a shelter ambassador with the “Dogs on Tour” program, became sick with worms and was isolated in a feces-infested quarantine room for more than three weeks. With little human interaction, he was labeled aggressive and euthanized, volunteer Kenneth Schmidt wrote in a letter to the board last year.
Sigh….another in depth article about the issues regarding the Chester County SPCA today.
Planned land sale raises questions for Chester SPCA board
Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Two years after the Chester County SPCA turned down an offer to sell 20 acres of the nonprofit’s land to West Bradford Township for a public park, the shelter’s board has agreed to sell the land to a real estate partnership in which board president Conrad Muhly is a principal….
Muhly is a principal member in Embreeville Redevelopment, a limited partnership that has an agreement of sale to purchase the CCSPCA’s unused acreage at West Strasburg Road and Shagbark Drive.
The land abuts the 245-acre Embreeville State Hospital parcel that the partnership purchased from the state for $1.05 million in the spring for potential development.
Muhly declined requests for interviews but did address questions in an e-mail….
Asked why the offer was declined, Muhly said in an e-mail: “There was no official offer to purchase the property.”
As for the vote this year on the sale of the 20 acres to his partnership, Muhly stated he had recused himself.
In an e-mail obtained by The Inquirer, board treasurer Frank Sobyak told board members that the sale to the partnership “will net the shelter $300,000 for land we no longer have use for.”…. When it deeded the 20 acres to the CCSPCA in 2002, the state stipulated that it be used for “programs and services associated with the prevention of cruelty to animals” in accordance with state law.
Many thanks to reporters like Mari Schaefer who continue to follow this story. Conrad Muhly should step down immediately. Is it just me or is his involvement in this whole land thing a conflict of interest as a CCSPCA Board Member, let alone President of said board? As a matter of fact he and any board member that are truly interested in the best interests of a non-profit shelter with a venerable history, should step aside and allow fresh faces and fresh perspectives to step in. And where is Jim Jones the Controller of the CCSPCA in all this? Some say he should be spoken to?
Mr. Muhly was undoubtedly chosen for his board role at CCSPCA because I imagine he is a wealthy man. When you look him up on PA’s publicly searchable corporation data base you come up with what I assume are familial construction entities and then an internet search shows something called “Terra”. Don’t know much about it, found it on his LinkedIn profile.
Mr. Muhly is named as a partner on the Marshallton Conservation Trust website:
For decades, the hundreds of acres of land that stretch between the villages of Embreeville and Romansville in West Bradford served the needs of Chester County citizens, as the location of a poorhouse, a state hospital for the developmentally disabled, and as the spot of a state police barracks.
Since the late 1980s, it has been less and less of a vibrant place, and now stands as a forlorn reminder of past uses…..the idea that the land would be the perfect place for a housing project with more than 1,000 units would be a call for a disaster.
Apparently we have the Commonwealth of PA (you know, the people who can’t seem to get their collective act together where dog laws are concerned and other things?) to thank for selling this property, and West Bradford has a page dedicated on their website to just this topic. As an aside I wonder if parts of this property might be creepy a la Pilgrim State Hospital in New York on Long Island that I took some photos of this summer.
Anyway, back to the dogs. Seems to me that the shelter dogs and animals are not thought of in this land equation much are they? Ironically the Treasurer of the CCSPCA mentioned in the Inquirer article and who also did not return calls was honored by the CCSPCA in June as Volunteer of the Year (see the pretty picture below?) as per the Unionville Times:
Here is hoping the Chester County SPCA can jettison all this trouble and get back to what they are about: the rescue and re-homing of neglected, abandoned animals. This controversy in my opinion only continues to tarnish their reputation and eventually will make people want their non-profit status evaluated for any number of reasons. And that, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs would be a horrible thing to have happen.
And a note to those like “birdiegirl” who like to roam around flapping their keyboards in quasi anonymous glory on websites covering this, sunshine is a bitch when it happens which is why no one can ever hide this stuff forever. Please stop running around crying fowl and actually put your energy to better use by telling the CCPSCA to get it together. They caused this, not anyone else. And if they did their recent inspection truly and honestly, I am glad they passed.
In case you are interested, here is who the CCSPCA lists as board and staff these days:
BOARD AND STAFF
Board of DirectorsConrad E. Muhly, PresidentDoug Marshall, Vice PresidentFrank Sobyak, TreasurerBeth Hills, SecretaryJoe ColellaRichard M. DluhyBud HalyKim Denise MortonDebbie Nason-Naples, Esq.
Board Member EmeritusElizabeth Minor
Management StaffLarry Dieter, VMD, Director of Veterinary ServicesRobyn Freese, Business Operations CoordinatorJim Jones, ControllerBecky Turnbull, Animal Protective Services Coordinator
OUR MISSIONTo promote the welfare and humane treatment of animals and to be an advocate on their behalf.
OUR VISIONTo be the recognized center for animal welfare fostering a community that believes life should be respected and treated with dignity.
Dog rescue is an emotional business. Want to see people get up in arms quickly? Talk about animal rescue and shelters. So that being said, some are not going to like that I am posting about the Chester County SPCA.
The Chester County SPCA has a fabulous history. One of my most favorite rescue dogs ever, an English Springer Spaniel named Winston came home from there. But like every other animal rescue place time in memoriam, apparently the Chester County SPCA is having some fairly serious issues.
The Chester County SPCA has exploded all over the news in the past few days or so much like the Delaware County SPCA did a few years ago. I am not surprised because very early on in the summer I heard some really upsetting things about the Chester County SPCA. Is it true they are NOT scanning animals for micro chipping and are in a lot of cases just shipping animals down to Philadelphia? I find that personally distressing because why are we micro chipping and licensing pets if no one is really going to try to use these things to identify our animals if god forbid they get lost?
The Inquirer broke news that Chester County SPCA volunteers said the shelter had turned into a “kill factory”. If it had been anyone other than Amy Worden and Mari Schaeffer (whose article first appeared) breaking this news I might be very skeptical. But these women know their stuff. So is it true?
And the stories leaking out are of volunteers and shelter employees being punished and/or shown the door for questioning things? And even board members are talking?
I personally am very concerned because if the Chester County SPCA doesn’t quit trying to muzzle people and deal with its issues they will have real problems which may cause them to have serious, serious issues in the long run. I will say I realize and accept that not every dog and cat can be saved. However, that being said, if they are taking the money to pay for the saving, then the Chester County SPCA needs to open up and be honest. I figure because they take public money they might be subject to right to know requests?
Sign me worried and disappointed and see below for what is in the media and so on.
Like it or not, something is going on because TOO many media sources are writing. And a blog I never saw before has cropped up – Justice For Chester County Animals:
Theresa Duffy, former volunteer, wrote this on July 28, when she was still a core dog walking volunteer and a member of the Dogs on Tour team.
Board of Directors
The Chester County SPCA 1212 Phoenixville Pike West Chester, PA 19380
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am currently a volunteer at CCSPCA. Until recently, I was a regular face at the shelter, spending as much time as possible there walking dogs and having the pleasure of getting to know their individual personalities.
I am writing to you to express my concern for the well being of the animals that reside in this shelter. I feel this is a matter of urgency and requires your attention. My observations are detailed as follows:
The absence of an operations manager is apparent. I hope you are actively and aggressively seeking to fill this position with a qualified individual. There is no evidence of that in the job openings section of the CCSPCA website or a search conducted on the internet.
It is clear the shelter is under-staffed in the kennel specifically. On several occasions, fellow volunteers and I have cleaned up the dog pens and ensured water was replenished. I never minded doing it, but it speaks to the need for more attention to detail. Potential adopters may turn away due to offensive odor. Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone conclude that the animals were not given fresh water at all times.
Regarding the health of certain animals, I have observed that some animals’ conditions do not appear to improve over time and then they are suddenly missing. Veterinary attention is a basic need for the health of these animals. I have heard rumblings that veterinary care was being reduced as a cost cutting measure for shelter. I understand the shelter is not a sanctuary, but euthanizing a dog when an antibiotic could have spared its life, is reprehensible.
The shelter is losing long standing solid contributing volunteers for 2 reasons. First, they are being fired because they care too much. The policy states that a volunteer cannot question euthanasia decisions. Volunteers give of our time because we care, asking us to ignore that is impossible. Enforcing shelter policy related to volunteers specifically should require the use of some compassion. The situation with Leslie Celia could have been handled with much more respect and understanding rather than inflaming an already emotionally charged situation. Second, they are leaving out of disgust specifically due to Deb Murray. As volunteer coordinator I believe she’s actually going out of her way to deter volunteers from participating. She removes Facebook posts that she deems inappropriate when in actuality, that’s the only place we can share information and learn from each other. She is rarely present at the shelter and when she is, doesn’t participate in walking dogs. Therefore, she doesn’t know their personalities, or needs. How can this individual be in charge of volunteers?
I am also wondering why the dogs park days have been eliminated. The importance of these informal outings shouldn’t be diminished. These animals are given so little time in the fresh air, that a good long walk, in normal surroundings benefits their mental well being. Additionally, some critical learning’s about the dogs behaviors help to inform potential adopters of any special needs. Please consider reinstating this as soon as possible.
Michele Amendola’s absence is noticeable. Not one dog, that I am aware of, has gone to rescue since she began medical leave. Have you discontinued trying to move these animals and spare their lives? Also, what happened to the satellite adoption centers for the cats? Didn’t that program move over 40 animals to families?
I am a volunteer specifically for the CCSPCA for a variety of reasons. The Mission and Vision contribute to it. If these values have changed, please let me know.
Also look at these media reports:
Animal lovers are speaking out about treatment of pets at the Chester County SPCA, including dogs put down for minor health problems and a majority of cats getting a one-way ticket to the euthanasia room.
Volunteers say the shelter in the state’s richest county has become a “kill factory.”
The shelter is taking in hundreds if not thousands of more animals now than it did two years ago before taking the contract to handle animal control for Delaware County when the Delaware County SPCA became a “no kill” shelter and no longer accepted strays.
Exactly how many additional animals are being admitted we don’t know because the SPCA will not release its intake or “outcome” statistics, despite requests from reporters and the fact it is performing a tax-payer funded service for a neighboring county.
The new influx of animals has come as the shelter is plagued by management troubles, ineffective board leadership and conflicting philosophies about euthanasia, according an article by my colleague Mari Schaefer in Monday’s Inquirer.
It is a regional hub for taking in stray dogs and cats, but the Chester County SPCA shelter has become a “kill factory,” say SPCA volunteers, a former board member, and ex-staff members.
They blame ineffective board leadership, unfilled senior management positions, and a clash of ideologies for a significant rise in euthanasia numbers.
Though shelter management does not dispute that euthanasia numbers are rising, it says it is battling the realities of dealing with a tremendous volume of unwanted dogs and cats, many of whom are not adoptable.
The shelter takes in about 5,000 animals a year, according to board president Conrad Muhly, who said the critics are not representative of those who have worked and volunteered at the shelter
Posted: Monday, 08/19/13 01:11 pm
When Dave Schlott picked up a stray dog in Chester, Delaware County, last Monday, he was enamored of its personality.
Found on a porch, the dog was frail, but not starved. A homeowner had been feeding it, and it seemed friendly. It also showed signs of physical abuse.
Schlott is filling in as the city’s animal control officer for a few weeks after having retired from that position last year. The reason he gave for retiring was the county’s then-new contract with the Chester County SPCA to take in all of Delaware County’s stray animals.Schlott had been in the business for many years with contracts for 15 Delaware County towns and he didn’t want to have to make multiple trips a day to the West Chester area facility.The reason he gave for not taking this particular dog, which has been named Gretchen, is that he is concerned with reports from former volunteers and employees in Chester County that the SPCA’s euthanasia rates have skyrocketed since it started taking in Delaware County’s strays.
“They seem to be overwhelmed by the number of animals they’re getting in,” Schlott said. “I was determined to save at least this dog.”….A group of current and former workers at the Chester County SPCA have banded together to try and change what they deem as unsatisfactory policies and practices regarding the euthanization of animals….The volunteers and staff members say that the influx of animals from Delco has overwhelmed the Chester County SPCA.
“Every staff member said we can’t handle this,” said Kaity Dempsey, who worked at the shelter for seven years. She was fired from her position as rescue coordinator nine months ago.
“They just said we’ll take your money,” said Jen McCreary, a former volunteer who fosters animals. She stopped volunteering in May because of her issues with the organization’s leadership.
Rich Britton, spokesperson for the Chester County SPCA, declined to talk about euthanasia numbers Friday. He instead highlighted the issue of animal overpopulation…One of the chief complaints from the former workers is the lack of qualified people in leadership positions. The shelter is currently searching for an executive director, which is traditionally a person who oversees the day-to-day operations of a facility. That search has been ongoing for several months after a handful of short-lived interim managers.
“They’ve never had any leadership,” said a former employee who asked not to be named because they aren’t permitted to speak about the shelter’s operations. “It’s been nine months since the last operations manager. But the executive director is the big piece that’s missing. That’s your fundraising.”
“They need to hire day-to-day management,” said a current volunteer who asked not to be named because they didn’t want to be barred from the shelter
The Chester County SPCA has a message for pet owners who may no longer be able to care for their pets: Please try to find a new home for your pet before bringing it to the SPCA.
For months I have wanted to write about this. Even before what happened to Argus & Fiona. But friends of mine asked me not to, they wanted to pursue this through proper channels in the legal system. They were afraid they would not see justice for what happened to them and one of their dogs. So they did things the “right” way and basically got screwed by the legal system in my humble opinion. It is my opinion if the laws were different, maybe the outcome would have been as well.
This, therefore is a cautionary tale and since April is prevention of cruelty to animals month, I am also posting.
So there was this couple. They fell in love and bought this crazy gorgeous house in Mt. Joy in Lancaster County. I was at their wedding. I photographed their wedding. Not so long after they tied the knot in December 2011 they rescued a puppy. They named him Porter.
I know everyone says all puppies are adorable and cute and sweet, but Porter seemed to have all that going on and more. Just a nice dog. He survived a horrible bout of Parvo after being rescued. As he recovered, he settled into his new family and started to grow up.
Everything was going along swimmingly until mid-January. My friend was in her kitchen accepting a delivery from a local farm called Breakaway Farms (and they deliver clear down to Washington, DC and you can bet I will never patronize them after this or knowingly patronize a business that buys from them, and I am entitled to that opinion aren’t I?)
So I will let my friend tell it in her own words:
….so here we are in the kitchen with all this gorgeous chicken and lamb freshly delivered. And there was the deliveryman. Without getting into too much detail, it was perhaps the strangest thing I’ve seen in many years. And since it was happening in my own kitchen, it was quite surreal.
Within a flash of a second, this man had our Porter pinned the kitchen floor, hands on his neck, full weight of his body on top of the 49lb dog. Porter screamed out for help,
lost complete bowel control yet still did not bite this man (although he would have been welcome to at that point). The man picked Porter up, opened our back door – and threw him out. Porter stood quivering in the backyard, curled into a protective ball, tail tucked between his legs. He was covered in his own urine and feces.
In my rare stroke of good luck, I was able to be calm with the man. Did I want to gut him like a fish? Oh hell yes. But being able to maintain some calm in an otherwise insane scene, I knew what I had to do was be calm and get him out
before he hurt Porter more, or turned on me…. I made a quick call to one of the business owners. I’ve done business with these folks before and I liked them. I expected nothing other than a very reasonable response.
After that, we waited to hear from the other half of the ownership, and waited, and waited. We watched Porter’s demeanor and could clearly see the effects of the assault. He was afraid to even go into his own kitchen. It was clear we needed to contact the police….A call to the police doesn’t always “pack the same” punch (no pun intended) of
going Walking Tall on someone. But it was the right thing to do. People who so easily do things like this to an animal are capable of just as easily doing this to a human being. And animal abuse isn’t something to glaze by “just because
it’s an animal.” No. Not in this house, and not in yours either we’re guessing. Hoping. This guy needs to be prosecuted.
We live in Mount Joy Borough, PA. I’m not sure how big, or maybe I should say how small this place is. It’s tiny.
When we all learned what happened to their dog, we wanted to shout it from the roof tops. But our friends said they wanted to play it safe in a small town in Lancaster County and let Lady Justice deal with it. Well apparently, Lady Justice isn’t a dog person, because this is what happened next again in my friend’s own words:
…..there was the underlying stress of this morning’s court date against our beautiful dog Porter’s attacker, Dale Burns. Until today, we had not released his name wanting to give the judicial system its fair shake first. I was not
actually feeling stressed about the event, more looking forward to staring this beast in the eye and listening to his account of that day’s events. The details of that day are still exceptionally fresh in my mind.
Closing my eyes, or looking into Porter’s, I can see the brutally of what was probably only just a few minutes, and still hear his screams. I’ve been clear about the facts of the story, consistent. And exceptionally clear that Porter in
no way provoked this man into grabbing him by the neck and slamming him to the floor…..In court, we saw the “cleaned up” version of Dale. Maybe there were a few less inches of beard. There was some sort of button-down shirt, button at the top and bottom only, with the grungy farm garb clearly visible underneath. But there we finally were, face to face. There was his “attorney,” equally disheveled in an attempt to clean up and present for the day. And there was our “prosecutor.” In this tiny town, your reporting police officer is often your prosecutor….I told my side of the story. Clear, concise and factual. He told his story,
which at points read more like a fairytale. Officer Cook asked his questions. Dale’s “lawyer” asked his, hinting at how absurd the entire story sounded – a deliveryman coming into my home and playing with one dog, then mentally snapping and slamming another to the ground. The judge, a local Mount Joy attorney, took it all in before calling Officer Cook and the lawyer back into his quarters.
When they returned, the judge explained how all four charges were being dismissed. He first explained that the animal cruelty charge was being dismissed because according to PA state statutes, Dale had to have a “duty to care” for Porter, which he did not. I heard next something about the disorderly conduct charge being dropped, my elderly neighbor not being there to testify about the
screaming she heard from Porter that day. And then I just didn’t hear anymore. We had lost. For the second time, I had failed to protect my dog. There was no justice for Porter in that court…..
I am still sick to my stomach every time I hear about this. There are way too many cruel humans around. And this illustrates yet again why dog laws and animal cruelty laws need to be improved, need to change, and additional laws need to be created.
And the irony that this incident occured and was kicked to the curb in Lancaster County. After all Lancaster County is known as what? Puppy Mill Capital of PA, right? All that glorious farm land, scenery, and antiquing hides the dark underbelly of something doesn’t it? A place where dogs are no more valuable than an ear of corn, and twice as disposable.
The horse is out of the barn, and now my friend has a young dog forever tainted by the brush of violence. It is like this dog has post traumatic stress syndrome. Seriously, read on (again in my friend’s own words):
For the last two plus months since Porter was attacked inside our our home by a deliveryman, many of you have been kind enough to continue asking how he is recovering. Every day,every encounter with someone outside the immediate family, has been a test for Porter. One month ago, there was a ray of hope when someone came to the door and he suddenly ran right up to him. A few nights later, he was back to cowering in a corner and shaking, despite efforts to get him to come over to get his head scratched or belly rubbed…..Nearly three months after being attacked, we’d have to say that it looks like our boy is changed forever. Porter is no ordinary dog. In fact, he’s more human than dog. Porter, a gorgeous red aussie shepherd, is extremely smart and sensitive…..The downside of Porter’s intelligence in light of this attack is that he has
learned not to trust everyone as he used to do. He now knows humans can be capable of some very ugly behavior. He knows this first hand. Porter was a rescue dog. He was part of a litter dumped on the side of the road in North
Carolina. We adopted him hours after his arrival in Philly after he was saved by some pretty incredible people, only to find out the next day he had parvo virus and a host of other potentially lethal bugs. He has cheated death twice already
– and certainly deserves to live a life of nothing but happiness at this point.
The Porters and Arguses and Fionas and Zoes and Izzys of this world deserve better from humans. I am not a lawmaker, but maybe all of us, together, peacably, can make a difference. This is why it is important you contact your lawmakers and ask them to change more laws and protect Pennsylvania’s dogs. Useless people like Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz are already doing the coy dance for governor, so let us make this an issue in Pennsylvania every election until this is done.
Our dogs are part of our families. I have had rescues who were badly abused, abandoned, even one that was in a horrible house fire and then abandoned before I rescued him.
My heart is heavy because this is so unfair, so unjust. What if this happens again in Mt. Joy or some area serviced by this farm? Then what?
Say a prayer to St. Francis and hug your dogs and keep them safe. You just never know what will happen. Look what happened to Porter. In his own home, in front of his humans. And why? For what? He was just a puppy.
Now personally, I think the Chester County District Attorney’s Office should be thanking all of us for bringing the topic to their attention, and to thank the lawyers not involved who suggested that there was more to be looked at, but I will take gladly these baby steps towards justice as per below press release. Someone said to me the political translation loosely was: West Vincent was hog tied and couldn’t make it go away but even I don’t want to be that mean. – they after all have proven cruelty to chickens, right? (HINT to West Vincent: treat your residents with respect at the upcoming meeting on Monday, they have a right to be heard.)
The charges filed by the DA seem to be animal cruelty and reckless endangerment.
But there is more to do, and laws to be changed. So can we work together on this so Pennsylvania dogs are safe from harm like this?
Please write or Facebook or call your elected officials today. Let them know that we want Justice for Argus & Fiona and other dogs who have suffered needlessly and tragically like and before them.
Prior posts on this blog about Argus & Fiona: