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Old 07-08-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: James Island, SC
1,628 posts, read 3,154,898 times
Reputation: 927

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DM me if you are interested.
(Exact location and Day/Time TBA)


I first heard this story on an email listserv for local dog parks. Many people were writing letters to the Arlington Animal Welfare League, and I spent 2 hours yesterday and over 4 hours today writing letters to anyone and everyone else I could think of who could help, including:

-Director of the Humane Society of the United States
-Arlington-based representative of the HSUS
-Director of Alexandria Animal Control
-My dog trainer, who in turn is contacting the Vice-Chair of the county board, and the former Chair/current board member
-Everyone on my Facebook page
-An acquaintance of my who is experienced in activism
-The Washington Post
-ABC News Channel 7

Copy of the letter I sent to the HSUS folks:
Please help, local dog seized for defending young girl & home

Briefly:
- Arlington Police BARGED into a private home,(allegedly to serve a warrant, which doesn't require a SWAT team)
- The first officer inside was bitten by one of the family dogs
- The 2nd officer and their K-9 were NOT attacked
- The officer who was bitten did NOT seek medical treatment until 2 days later
- ONLY THEN did they seize the dog on the grounds that it was dangerous!
- AWLA (Animal Welfare League of Arlington) REFUSED to deem the dog dangerous
- So ACPD (Arlington County Police) pursued the charge themselves.
- TODAY, the Judge in the court hearing ruled that the dog IS dangerous
- HOWEVER, This case should have been thrown out IMMEDIATELY, according to Virginia Animal Code 3.2-6540 C - Which I'm sure you know, says that no animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's or custodian's property, shall be found to be a dangerous or a vicious dog. (The little girl who also lives there, and even paints the dog's toenails, was NEXT to Zeus when the police entered the home.)

Given that the HSUS will be in the D.C. area later this month for a conference, it seems prudent to speak out against this sort of injustice.

Especially since it is becoming a trend. In Maryland, SWAT entered the home of MAYOR Cheye Calvo in ERROR and SHOT both of the family dogs, killing them instantly. They are suing the authorities responsible, and pushing through legislation to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

The owner in the current Arlington case is not a Mayor, however, and has SOLD HIS CAR to pay for lawyer fees, AND the $45 per day he is being charged by the AWLA to hold his dog.

I have already contacted Channel 7 and the Washington Post to alert them to this injustice, and my dog's trainer is contacting Jay Fisette, who is the Vice-Chair of the County's Board of Supervisors and Chris Zimmerman, the past Chair and current Board member to inform them of this situation. Others are writing and calling in to the AWLA. Channel 4 has interviewed the owner, and those who know him from the dog park (I don't know when it will air).

More details:
The dog's name is Zeus, Owner is Dante, and there is another dog in the home named Jerry Lee as well as the little girl. Neither Dante nor Jerry Lee were involved in the incident.

This message from the AWLA was sent to an acquaintance of mine today, in response to a message advocating for Zeus & Dante:

On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Kay Speerstra wrote:
"
Thank you for your note. We have heard from several people who know him from the dog park and are concerned about him. The ACPD was the agency that pursued this case, we were just the ones with physical custody. The hearing was held today and the judge did decide that Zeus was a dangerous dog. We were not a part of the case so I canít tell you why that was her decision, but the League is bound by it, of course. There are some specific next steps that we need to work with the owner on, and that is going on now. We also hope that the dog can be returned soon.
Kay Speerstra Executive Director"

In my opinion, it is time to go buy some markers, poster board, and a bullhorn, and head over to the officer's AND Judge's homes. I will personally lead anyone who is willing to join me.

I generally hate PETA's policies, but they have their uses in cases like this - i.e., visibility & pockets deep enough to pay a gaggle of lawyers.

If this can happen to one person, it can happen to ANY OF US.

I and many others would be grateful for any help or advice you could give.

Sincerely,
Elaine X
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:24 PM
 
273 posts, read 1,347,754 times
Reputation: 72
Do you know what the next step is - is there another date set or anything?
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:31 PM
 
Location: James Island, SC
1,628 posts, read 3,154,898 times
Reputation: 927
Unfortunately, disregarding the law, the judge ruled against Zeus/Dante, and there is no formal appeals process.

We are working out an alternative action plan, however.

Do you live in the area? Feel free to DM me your email address if you want to be in the loop.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:24 AM
 
Location: James Island, SC
1,628 posts, read 3,154,898 times
Reputation: 927
HelpZeus.org
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:19 AM
 
273 posts, read 1,347,754 times
Reputation: 72
Thanks. I'm glad there will be a way to donate.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:34 AM
 
273 posts, read 1,347,754 times
Reputation: 72
donating is available now on the above website.
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