Crossing The Line In The Name Of “Rescue”

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It’s been a while since I’ve ranted.  My focus has mainly been on the Piper case, which I will return to once the trial resumes.  This particular story has steamed me for quite some time. It’s a story most have already heard, since we are now coming up on the one year anniversary of one of the greatest injustices ever carried out against a dog owner and breeder.

Let’s start back in June of 2015. Indianapolis has a problem. Animal cruelty is apparently a big issue in the area, yet only 11 criminal cases were heard in 2014.  The Indianapolis Animal Care And Control team (IACC) went through a week long training called the National Animal Cruelty Investigative School, following which, the team was charged with a 25% increase in criminal convictions 2015. In fact, here is a quote:

“The more cases that the judges are seeing and the public is seeing the more convictions we’re going to get,” said Deputy Chief Kim Wolsiffer, with Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

So here it is, already June, and they just agreed to a pretty tall order. To increase 2015 convictions of animal cruelty by 25%, they would need several cases to go before a judge… or one BIG one.

But the holiday season is full of miracles isn’t it? Magically the opportunity to make good on their promise presented itself the beginning of November, just in time. What a coincidence…

Entering the picture is a hard-working man who has built a reputation for quality dog breeding and training. This man is Paul Upton and the kennel is Upton’s Famous Pet Training Center. His dogs are from champion show and imported lines and his business was thriving.  He has been breeding for 35 years and each year consistently has passed annual inspections of his dogs and facility by animal control, with zero violations and never lower than a rating of “Good”.  In April of 2015, the kennel received a rating of “Excellent” for the annual inspection.  Paul had visitors all the time to his kennel – boarding customers,  training customers, puppy buyers…. He did not have complaints. He did not have anything to hide.

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But on November 5th, 2015, just 7 months after his “Excellent” rating given by IACC, and a little over one month before IACC’s deadline to increase animal cruelty convictions by 25%, suddenly Mr. Upton’s facility was “randomly” inspected. The next day, IACC showed up again, this time with a news crew, and  every dog in the facility taken away, including some of his client’s dogs.  Mr. Upton’s valuable, healthy, and well trained German Shepherds were loaded up and taken from their home, and along with them, Mr. Upton’s business was stripped from him.  

What was his crime?  Well Kim Wolsiffer of IACC said the raid turned up some things that were “a little unsettling”.  She then told news crews, “A majority of the concerns we had were along those lines; the size of the kennel that the animals were being kept in and the medical concerns that we’d seen with multiple animals”.

That wasn’t vague at all was it? Typically, if animals are seized, the agencies happily spew any gory detail they have on the horrid conditions as it only increases public support and donations. No one seizes 30+ dogs and shuts down a 30+ year old business because some things are “a little unsettling”.  

(Healthy and beautifully fit German Shepherds at Paul Upton’s Training Center)

Regarding the kennel size, the kennels at Upton’s facility are actually larger than required by regulation, and appear much larger than the kennels at the animal control facility that his dogs were taken to.  As far as medical concerns, other than a scrape or two here and there, the dogs were in good health. Unlike one of his client’s German Shepherd puppy which was returned by IACC to the owner with a broken tail and no explanation.   

Let’s momentarily entertain the idea that this was not just a “snatch and grab” move on the part of a department that desperately needed to make good on their promise. Let’s say they really had the welfare of the dogs in mind as we imagine the scene that played out.

They took working dogs from a regular working and training routine in a well kept kennel, and put them all in a facility that has historically been understaffed and overcrowded. The dogs are put in kennels that are smaller that what they are used to and fed a different food without the benefit of being gradually switched over. The stress alone of that kind of move and immediate change of diet can cause immune systems to drop, making the dogs susceptible to disease and infection.

Here’s another interesting piece of information. On September 24th, 2015, IACC had put down 3 of their dogs due to a distemper outbreak.  All of the remaining dogs were isolated and put on antibiotics which would take 4 days to kick in and 21 days to take full effect. Less than 3 weeks after that, the Upton German Shepherds, including young puppies, are seized and brought into those same facilities.  These same facilities, according to IndyStar, went many months without a veterinarian, resulting in underqualified shelter staff making veterinarian decisions based alone upon bloodwork and x-rays.

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These are the same facilities that have been referred to as “squalid” and in the past has been under scrutiny for breaking their own animal cruelty laws, while at the same time serving to enforce proper animal care in the community.  Just 5 years ago, their adoption rate was 49%, meaning over half of the dogs that came through their doors, were euthanized. There have been improvements since then, but as recent as January 2015, they were pleading for funding, stating that there was not even a food budget for the facility which has held over 500 dogs at once.  They relied upon donations from the public, which meant there was never a guarantee of quality or consistency in what the dogs were fed on a day to day basis.  And with donations, there is never a guarantee that there will even be enough.

(photo from an IACC visitor-notice the disgusting water at the bottom of a nearly empty pail)

So, you tell me… were the Upton German Shepherds “saved”?  

Paul Upton has been charged with 37 counts of animal cruelty and 10 counts of failure to permanently identify his animals. IACC wants $112,500.00 in fines and Paul has been ordered to pay $6150.00 per month for the care of his dogs until the case is heard and until the dogs either become the property of IACC or are returned to Paul. If he does not pay this amount within 3 days of the due date, all of his dogs are forfeited. Even if Paul is found not guilty, the $6150 per month is non-refundable.

So, they ruin his business, they take his dogs, they trash his hard earned reputation, they destroy his source of income, and they charge him almost $200 per month per dog after practically stealing them from him in the first place? In what world does that make sense?

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Oh and since last November a few more things have happened.  One of his females has been put to sleep. No word yet on what the necropsy revealed.  Two of his females gave birth and one lost their entire litter, while the other lost one of their litter of 10.  The shelter claimed they had no idea they were pregnant. In fact city prosecutor Mark Pilzur was fired for falsifying records, covering up the fact they HAD been told about the females being bred, and SHOULD HAVE been watching them for signs they were in whelp.  How exactly do these animal experts who are so concerned with the welfare of these dogs, not notice two of them are pregnant and completely miss the fact they were in labor?   Take a look at the photo. She is obviously pregnant to anyone with half a brain. 

Paul requested to be able to take the surviving of puppies to ensure they receive adequate care, but was refused. The puppies haven’t been seen, but as far as we know, they’ve been living in a shelter environment for 10 months without the benefit of the socialization and training that puppies so desperately need and would have gotten at Upton’s.

So here we are, 11 months and nearly $70,000.00 later.  The hearing has been delayed time and time again, causing Paul to shell out thousands each month for the obviously substandard care his dogs are receiving.  In the meantime and as recently as two months ago, the shelter has been having huge adoption events because they are overcrowded and understaffed. The shelter can house 500+ dogs and Paul’s dogs have been there for almost a full year. Can you imagine what the noise level alone is doing to these dogs? How about being confined to their kennels day after day?  What about the smell of 500 dogs in the morning before the staff comes in at 11 am?  According to another report on the shelter, IACC cleans their kennels when they open at 11 am and by then, the stench is unbearable.

  • Paul Upton would be charged with animal abuse if he waited until 11 am to clean his kennels and his facility was filled with the smell of feces and urine.
  • He would be charged with abuse if he housed them in kennels the size of IACC’s kennels.
  • He would be charged with abuse if his dogs were left in kennels day after day without handling and exercise.
  • He would be charged with abuse if he had let one of his females whelp alone on a cold kennel floor and all of the puppies died.
  • He would be charged with abuse if he had a client’s puppy for only one day and returned that puppy to the client with a broken tail and no explanation.
  • He would be charged with abuse if his kennel relied on donations to feed his dogs and gave them whatever food was on hand, whether or not it was nutritionally adequate.
  • He would be charged with abuse if he subjected his dogs to the deafening sounds of 500+ dogs in an overcrowded kennel, day in and day out without relief.  

But wait, he has already been charged with abuse and he has done NONE of those things…… But apparently IACC has.

(Above: Paul Upton’s kennel on the left, IACC’s kennel on the right)

Next month, on November 6th, Paul’s dogs will have been gone for one year.  What devastating and lasting effects has IACC done to his business by closing it for 12 months?  Paul’s clients have stood by him, having seen the care and cleanliness of his kennel on many occasions. But after a year, many customers will have found another kennel to do business with out of necessity and not all of those customers will come back if and when he is able to re-open.

What devastating and lasting effects has IACC done to his dogs? I can’t even imagine being in his shoes. He must have ulcers on top of ulcers by now, worrying and wondering when this will all end and how it will all end.  If this craziness was allowed to happen in the first place, what might be decided in court?  What twisted mentality might prevail rather than common sense?

The public outcry on this case has been tremendous.  And it’s simply because common sense screams that this is not fair.  The powers that be have not only overstepped their boundaries, but once over the line they tore up the lawn, graffitied the buildings, littered in the streets and peed on the bushes.  

And they’re inches away from getting away with it all.

We hope and pray that this is the end of it.  The next hearing date is late November… and hopefully there will be no more delays.  Another payment is due soon, and if it’s not made he will forfeit his dogs to IACC so they can sell them off for a profit.  Even more profit than the nearly $70K they’ve already received.

We’re behind you Paul. We are in shock that this has even happened and we’re behind you!  

I’ve included a link below to the GoFundMe account that has been running to assist with the monthly expenses. As you can see, it has not quite kept up with the costs of this past year. Please consider helping out Paul with a donation. Anything will help. His dogs have been supported by a lot of people giving a few dollars here and there, for the past several months… please consider joining us in helping to offset the costs unjustly imposed on a man who has had his livelihood stripped from him literally overnight.

https://www.gofundme.com/vq2hkx2s
(I will be updating this site on the upcoming court date.  Please note that Paul has been on a gag order since the beginning of this year and the information above has been taken from news reports on the case as well as news reports on IACC. None of the information has been obtained from Paul himself.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The $250,000 Dog-The Crooked & The Crazy

Since Piper went home to Veronica, many thought the battle was over…. that she had won the case.  But no sooner had they left the courtroom when COSR/Penny Sanderbeck  filed an appeal, trying to rip Piper away from Veronica AGAIN.  The appeal pended for 8 months and came up for discussion just when Piper was finally settling in and acting like  her own self.

Well, here’s the update for those who did not hear about the strangeness that happened at that hearing.

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The court promptly dismissed COSR/Sanderbeck’s appeal and right now Piper is allowed to stay with Veronica.  Quite honestly, the court’s response was about what we expected. Those following this case have always known it was a matter of common sense that Piper should have been sent home, and sent home to stay. As each decision comes through, we observers utter a collective, “Well NO DUH!”.

But here’s where it gets strange…. after over a year of COSR/Sanderbeck claiming she was making a difference “One Dog At A Time” and that it was all about Piper and what she felt was “in her best interest”, she pulled the rug out from under all of us and threw on a bright red pair of Animal Rights devil horns.

At one point the judges asked what the mission of the rescue was, and why they would want the dog so badly?  It’s never made sense to those of us who are sane, and it didn’t make sense to the equally sane courts.

The answer was one that NO ONE expected. Attorney Bell stated that at this point, they DIDN’T WANT PIPER BACK.

WAIT, WHAT???

Yes, that’s what he said. THEY DIDN’T WANT PIPER BACK.  Now let’s break that down in Crazy Town speak:

The courts:”We gave Piper back to Veronica”

Crazy Town AKA COSR: “But WE want Piper. We want the courts to reconsider that hasty decision!”

The Courts: “Alright, but it’s going to take 8 months, waste the court’s time, and cost Veronica a whole lot more money.”

Crazy Town: “BONUS!”

(8 months and thousands of dollars later…)

The Courts: “Okay, here we are, let’s talk about their decision to give the dog back.”

Crazy Town: “Oh, we don’t actually want the dog after all. We would like them to stop saying we did the wrong thing and that we were right all along. We would also like the courts to reflect that anytime someone loses a dog and it ends up in rescue, the owner can’t re-claim it. We’d like to institute Finder’s Keepers.”

(jaws drop…. confusion ensues)

Of course I’m paraphrasing and using my Crazy Town dictionary to translate, but that is what it boils down to.

After kicking and screaming that they were doing what is best for Piper and refusing to give her back for a year and a half, why would they no longer want her?  They were appealing the decision to give Veronica custody at that very moment… that’s why they were all there in the first place! Could it be because just a month before, Veronica went public with the fact that she had Piper spayed?  Veronica has been criticized by the opposition for wanting Piper back, saying she just wanted to breed her, yet as soon as she’s spayed it is COSR/Penny Sanderbeck who suddenly doesn’t want her.  Interesting turn of events and makes one wonder what motive a rescue might have for wanting to keep an unspayed champion Sheltie in the first place.

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So where do they want to go from here? Yes, you read it right above. It appears they want to attack pet ownership rights. They’d like the courts to say that as soon as a rescue gets their hands on your lost dog, you have no rights to it anymore.  Forget the fact you can prove ownership, forget the fact you may have invested a fortune in training or showing, forget the fact you may have owned the dog since it was a puppy and your kids cry themselves to sleep every night.  Forget the fact it may be a service dog necessary for your health and irreplaceable, forget the fact it may be a therapy dog for your autistic child, forget all of that.  COSR wants rescues to legally be able to shut you out regardless of your documentation of ownership or the many years you have spent with your beloved pet. They want “Finders Keepers”.

The point of a shelter contacting a breed rescue is to save the dog from being euthanized and giving the dog a chance at getting a home or finding it’s old one.  It’s supposed to be about SAVING their lives.  But it appears COSR wants to make it about POSSESSION.  So now it’s about a commodity…. about property…. resale value…. control… all of the above?  It sure looks like it doesn’t it?

Recently a judge in Texas strongly disagreed with that by ruling in favor of the owners of a German Shepherd who fought a rescue for three long years to get him back. The judge said NO, owners do NOT sever ownership rights when a rescue gets their dog. Winning Piper’s case is going to help solidify that even further and gain more ground for pet owners in the ongoing attack on pet ownership by animal rights activists, and by certain disreputable rescues who have an ever increasing shortage of “highly adoptable” dogs.

So this is where we are at. Another wasted 8 months, thousands in attorney’s fees, and wasting many hours of the court’s time to make the statement that they want to reduce our rights as pet owners. The next step is on to trial and this time it’s not to keep Piper, but to fight specifically to keep this from happening again and to keep the rescue from pushing their agenda to take away our rights. Shame on them, and bless Veronica for bearing that heavy weight. It’s very easy for the rest of us to sit back and cheer on the fight from afar and go about our lives as usual.  For Veronica, her life has been turned upside down and inside out.  Financially, emotionally, business wise, personally…. in every way her life could be interrupted and twisted around, it has.

To add insult to injury, in the process of trying to fund a fight of over $170,000.00… with an estimated end cost of around $250,000.00… a few involved took advantage of Veronica. Apparently feeling a sense of “entitlement” for helping her out, a clear agreement was broken.  One of her other dogs was taken and given to a home she had not approved of, and she was blatantly stabbed in the back by people she trusted.  There could not have been a worse betrayal considering all she went through with Piper. It was like splitting open the same wound all over again.  COSR felt “entitled” to Piper.  How does someone feel entitled to take another one of Veronica’s dogs but think they are no different?  But people will do strange things when they want something for themselves and unfortunately, justification is a twisted talent many people possess.   Those who fall victim to people who use it, feel a helplessness and sense of betrayal that makes one angry and sad at the same time.

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It’s not right.  But that’s the sad situation.  The short bus to Crazy Town picked up some passengers. And it’s a one way trip, because they’re not welcome back here with the ethical and sane anymore.

So Veronica made some changes in how fundraising has been handled the past few months as she waits for the pending court date to be announced. In the meantime… the attorney’s fees continue to add up. Supporters who thought the court case was over have moved on and the case has largely been supported by those who have continued to follow what is going on, even after the sensationalism and drama has died down.  This is when when every dollar counts.

There is power in numbers, so please help this case by donating whatever you are able to afford and even if you cannot donate, please SHARE this story!  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums and groups…. wherever you feel there are people who would not want their pet ownership rights to be taken away.

Piper is home.  Veronica’s fight is all but over. No one would blame Veronica one bit if tomorrow she said, “I want my life back.”  and threw in the towel. But she’s stepped up to take the bullet for the rest of us and dog owners NEED this win. We need EVERY win we can get at this point.  Look at what is happening to the Upton German Shepherds. Several puppies and one adult dead while the owner pays over $6K per month to those who took them without cause in the first place.  Look what happened to the Boston Terrier “Sassy” after the Boston Terrier Rescue  of East Tennessee and the Boston Terrier Rescue of North Texas got hold of her.  The owner stepped forward to claim his dog within hours yet it’s been over 8 months since the owner has seen his dog and he has to drag a rescue through court to get her back.  Yes, these are “RESCUES”!

We need to hold those accountable who break the rules or overstep their bounds so that ethical rescues aren’t reflected upon poorly. Rescues are vital.  Those who masquerade as such and abuse the system need to answer to the public for making a mockery of real rescues everywhere.  They need to answer to the public for violating our rights.

Please donate if you can to support this case. Please SHARE SHARE SHARE to get the word out about what has been happening to our rights under our very noses.

The email address below is now the ONLY PayPal address to donate towards Piper’s Legal Fund.

Donations can be sent through PayPal to: legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (You can make donations with PayPal by credit card even if you do not have a PayPal account)

Or go to the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

(If this story is new to you, please read my other articles posted below, there are several dating back to May of 2015)

 

 

Public Response – The answer is NO

This post is in response to written threats made by an attorney demanding I post a pre-written retraction and publish a pre-written statement as “fact” that I have no knowledge or proof of.  In addition, a demand has been made for me to release control of certain aspects of my articles, statements, and public pages as well as my own personal page.  

In response to these threats to force these statements that are not of my own words and are not of my own knowledge, a complaint is being filed with the State Bar of Wisconsin regarding the actions of this attorney.  
Bullying, in ANY form, should not be tolerated.

Crazytown Gets A Day In Court

Welcome to Crazytown.

Crazytown is a place where you can find something, give it to someone else, and that someone gets to keep it. Then when a court of law says to give it back until the court can sort it out, they get to whine and complain and waste everyone’s time and money by questioning the judge’s decision and dragging everyone back in to decide what has already been decided six months ago.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, while they had the item, they took really poor care of it and the owner has had to spend months repairing the damage done. And to top it off, the court could decide to tell the owner to hand it back over to that same person who kept it from them and did damage to it for 15 long months.

And that’s only temporary, until they can decide what to do with it permanently.

Crazy? Unfair? Ridiculous?  How about SAD?  Sad because the “item” in question is a living, breathing, feeling animal. A quick recap for those just joining or needing a refresher…. Piper has been co-owned by Veronica and Michelle since birth. Aside from time spent on the show circuit with a professional handler, she had spent 5+  of her 7 years of life with them.

Piper1While under someone else’s care, something happened that would change her life forever.  Piper got loose, was picked up by animal control and turned over to a rescue despite the fact she had a microchip with her vet’s information tied to it. She has been shuffled around, hidden, and treated as a pawn in the rescue’s senseless game for 15 long months.  Despite the fact she was in beautiful condition when she was found… despite the fact the owners can prove they are the legal and registered owners of Piper… despite the fact the shelter should have made an effort to find the owner through the vet who implanted the chip… she was not allowed to return to the owners she has known all her life.

From age 5 to nearly 7 years old, she has been kept with strangers who let her nails grow too long… Strangers who allowed her to get develop flaky sores on her skin… Strangers who allowed tartar to build up on her teeth…  Strangers who allowed her muscle mass to deteriorate… Strangers who somehow, stuffed her personality into a shell that the owner has only recently been able to coax back out.

And WHY?

Control issues?  Pride? Control issues?  Revenge? Control issues? Your guess, control issues, is as good as mine, control issues. Have I mentioned potential control issues?

Keep in mind this is a RESCUE that is fighting tooth and nail to take a dog who already has a wonderful home. This is a dog that doesn’t need rescuing, yet the time, effort and resources being used to try and pry her from her owners would have everyone believing she’s being plucked from flaming pits of a dogfighting ring.

I’m sure the rescue would claim it’s all for the Piper… after all, they’re changing lives, one dog at a time, right?  At least that’s the jist of their motto. Well they certainly changed her life. After she got loose from the owner’s friend’s house (the owner was at a national dog show and was scheduled to pick her up within days) she found herself in a shelter. Then she was whisked off to the rescue. Then she was sent off to live with a foster and kept hidden for 15 long months. The courts order Piper back to the home she knows and she finally returns to familiar faces and what does the rescue want to do? Interrupt her life and mess with her head once again, and place her with a foster while waiting for the outcome of the hearing, at which point they are hoping for legal ownership so she can be adopted out to ANOTHER home permanently.  Meanwhile she’s enjoying her life back at home where her owner is with her all day and she has huge areas to run and play to her heart’s content.  She lives in the house, sleeps in the bed, has several other dogs to play with… all the while unaware it could be taken away again so she could be hidden from the public, wasting away and confined for fear someone might see her and try to take her back.  Yes, it’s “all about the dogs” isn’t it?

So how is justice going to be served in the midst of all this childish behavior? This case has grown to the point of actually making a major difference in the lives of pet owners everywhere.  In similar cases, attorneys will refer to this case and its outcome for years, but what will they say? What will the results be?

Next week (February 24th 2016) the appeal will be heard by a panel of 3 judges.  At this point they will decide if Piper stays with her owner where she belongs, or if she’s again subjected to the rescue’s tug of war and dragged back to live with the stranger who has already proven to provide inferior care.

Put yourself in the shoes of Piper’s owner who is fighting the fight that the rescue didn’t think she had the stomach for.  The fight started two years ago this coming April.  It has placed stress on home, family, friends, and finances.  The attorney’s fees have exceeded $170K at this point, with the estimated total cost in the range of $250K.  How many of us would have given up regardless of the fact that doing so would strengthen a rescue’s ability to walk all over our ownership rights?  She struggles along to maintain her sanity and to pay the attorney’s fees while everything unfolds before an audience of thousands.

I think we would have passed my breaking point quite some time ago. How about you?  What’s the deal breaker for you? How far would you go? How much would you spend to get your dog back? Thankfully you don’t have to, because this is being fought for us.  It shouldn’t have to be.  It should be a simple case of people using common sense to give a dog back once an owner can prove ownership. But it’s not. We were all handed first class tickets on the Crazytrain, headed for Crazytown. Buckle up because the driver has a lead foot.

But that’s all a part of the ambiance of Crazytown, population 4. It’s all very interesting to observe but very few actually want to live there.  Veronica didn’t even want to visit but they pulled a Hotel California on her and now she’s stuck until the song is over. Due to the rescue’s dirty tactic of dragging things out beyond all reason, its the extended dance version.

When news hit the dog community last July that Piper had been ordered home by a judge, most people thought that was the end of it.  Everyone went back to what they were doing before Easter weekend of 2014. But that’s not the end of it. The attorney’s fees kept piling up over the last few months, and the danger of Piper going back to the so-called “rescue” is still very real.  There is still an appeal, a decision on possession, and a full fledged trial. We’re almost to the 2 year anniversary of this horrendous situation and the longer it goes, the bigger it gets, and the more important it is for the owner to win, and win for all of us.

Please consider helping to support Piper’s owner, so at the end of it all, Piper can stay home where she belongs. This is not just a Sheltie problem.  It is not just a breeder problem.  It is not just a pet owner problem. It’s everyone’s problem.  Our rights to keep our own property free from seizure is a serious matter, and slowly ownership rights are being chipped away.

Stay tuned for updates, but regardless of the outcome, the owner is on the hook either way for a battle we all encouraged, even pushed, for her to fight.  We don’t have to pay the bill, but when she wins, we all benefit in a very big way.  Please consider donating to the Piper fund.  Once accounted for, all donations go directly to the attorney.  An auction is also happening right now with some EXCELLENT items up for bid.  If you plan to donate anyway, consider bidding on an item. All of the proceeds go to the attorney as well.

For PayPal donations, use the address legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (This is the correct account and the only PayPal account authorized to take donations on Piper’s behalf at this time)

Or visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

 

 

 

The Reputable Breeder Difference

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen a disturbing number of conversations on various forums regarding health issues.  They go a little something like this:

“I have a puppy that has been diagnosed with bad (insert problem here…. hips, patellas, eyes, spine, seizures, skin disorder, etc.).  Does anyone else have experience with this? Is there anything I can do in addition to what the vet recommends?”

This is not the shocking part.  There are pets with health issues, bred by both reputable and negligent breeders.

THIS is the disturbing part.  Typical answers to a question like that:

  • “Yes, mine started to show symptoms of that at 4 months old.”  
  • “Yes, I bought a puppy who had to have surgery before it was two years old.”  
  • “Yes, I’ve had two over the past five years. One had to be euthanized, the other is on medication every day and will be for the rest of her life.”  
  • “Yes, I have one now that is starting to show symptoms. The breeder has no idea where it came from because her dogs are fine.”
  • “Yes, I have one right now with that problem, it’s common in the breed.”

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In questioning further, none of them got their puppies from responsible and reputable breeders who health screen against these issues.  Because those problems are common in the breed is the very reason responsible breeders screen for it and attempt to eliminate it from future generations. Buyers are often unaware that they should be looking for this, and many breeders joining the conversation were not aware of the many potential problems they could be avoiding with simple health testing.

Here are a few of the misconceptions regarding health testing.

  • “My dogs are healthy and none of my puppies have ever had a problem.”
  • “My vet checked my dogs and they don’t have health issues.” 
  • “I have a guarantee on my puppies and I haven’t had any puppies returned.”
Breeders…. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH!
Buyers…. YOU NEED TO DEMAND MORE!

I had this eye opening discovery in one of my very first litters.  I started out with dogs I liked but I was new and didn’t know much about pedigrees, health tests, showing, etc. I just knew I loved these dogs and wanted to raise them.  One of the first puppies I placed had a health issue.  The new owner was devastated. I felt horrible and I returned a large portion of their money to pay their vet bill.  I decided then and there that I would not be the cause of anyone’s heartache when it came to placing puppies.  My first well bred puppy came to me BAER and CERF(CAER) tested, and with preliminary patella checks.  Her parents were also health tested.  Three other foundation dogs/puppies came to me that way as well.  It’s standard for many reputable breeders, and I adopted this practice, not only to preserve the hearts of my future potential puppy owners, but to preserve my heart too.

No one breeds with the intention of creating a puppy that has health problems, but there are things that can be done to greatly reduce the chances, and to increase the overall health of the litters produced.  Many breeders aren’t aware of the minimum health tests that should be done on their breeds prior to producing a litter.  Many are not aware of how easy it is to have them done, and how inexpensive many of the tests are.  There are some who do not care, some who do not think it makes a difference, and some who are purposefully ignorant of how to breed more responsibly.

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But that does not mean that puppy buyers shouldn’t expect more.  If they’re going to invest 10-15+ years in a new member of their household, shouldn’t they expect a breeder to take the time and money to make sure that puppy has the best chances of living a healthy, happy, pain-free life?  Whether the puppy is $500 or $3500, an adult breeding dog can often be tested for many of the major issues in their breed for under $500.  When a breeding dog has multiple puppies in a litter and usually more than one litter, is money ever really an excuse?  We can find $500 for an emergency vet bill, why not find it to ensure the health of your dogs and the future of your breeding program?

Another type of issue I have seen in my own breed is claiming their dogs are “health tested”, yet they will do one very minimal test and ignore the others, one of which alone checks for dozens of problems.  Saying you are a breeder who “health tests” when only  a fraction of your dogs’ health testing has been completed, is like saying you have a college degree after taking only one class.  It’s better than nothing, but it’s still not being responsible.

These are things that a potential puppy buyer should look for AT MINIMUM. They may have to wait, and search, and be patient… because when it’s done right, there’s a lot more demand for responsibly bred puppies than for those puppies casually bred and available year round.

  •  Their breeding dogs should be health tested, and if available, the puppies should be health tested.  Not just ONE test, not just TWO tests, but ALL of the recommended minimum testing for their breed as recommended by their national breed club. Go to the club’s website and study the standard and the health issues prior to finding a breeder. Then question the breeder about their testing and breeding practices.
  •  Find a breeder who screens YOU as much as you screen THEM. Do they offer a health guarantee? Do they offer to take the puppy back if you can’t keep it? Do they seem to care more about how the puppy is placed than whether or not the check clears?
  • Are their dogs from health tested pedigrees? A pedigree typically doesn’t matter when it comes to buying a pet, but if a dog comes from multiple generations of health tested dogs, they are more likely to be healthy themselves.
  •  Does the breeder breed to the standard for the breed? Or do they breed for “fads” such as disqualified colors or patterns?  Many fad colors involve crossing with other breeds and compromising bloodlines, quality and breed type. Those who breed to improve the breed, do not breed disqualified traits or faults into their litters. They breed according to the AKC standard as defined by their breed club.

    English Bulldog bred for fad colors VS. English Bulldog bred to Standard

Unfortunately rescues and shelters are full of “special needs” dogs with hereditary health problems.  Puppies are purchased with the buyers expecting a long happy and healthy life with them.  Some health problems can show up right away, some can be more expensive than the family can afford.  Every pet owner should take responsibility  for their pets through thick and thin, but unfortunately many do not. Sometimes they have no choice.  Sadly many of the health issues could have been prevented through responsible breeding.

523811709_27ed84ef0c_qThose breeders who say they’ve never had a puppy returned, yet don’t health test, may not know the whole story. Who is to say the owners didn’t leave the dog at a shelter due to its health problems, but didn’t want to tell the breeder?  Or or put the puppy down because they couldn’t afford the treatment.  They would not want to call the breeder and tell them that either.

 

I know I harp a lot on responsible breeding, but seeing these conversations is heartbreaking.  These people don’t need to go through this.  These puppies don’t need to go blind by the time they are a year or two old when there is a $45 test that can tell a breeder which dogs can produce puppies that do.  A dog doesn’t need to suffer from hip dysplasia when a breeder can be breeding dogs whose hips are rated excellent, rather than breeding a young pair whose hips have never been screened and there’s no way of knowing if they will be in constant pain and lame  in a few short years, and produce puppies who will be the same way.

If breeders want to preserve their right to breed, they need to ensure they are doing it responsibly.  Keeping our dogs out of shelters starts with placing healthy puppies who have the best chance of living a long healthy life. Pet owners should take responsibility for the pets they bring home, but if they never have to make the choice between making a mortgage payment and paying for their dog’s surgery, we can greatly reduce the number of those who simply can’t.

3715823471_c804b71d1e_qAnd if a buyer wants a puppy that has the best chance of living a long healthy life, they need to be responsible as well when choosing their puppy…  Not leave it up to the breeder to simply tell them they “breed healthy dogs” or they “never have health problems”.  If buyers will not settle for poorly bred puppies,  then breeders who produce them or who are negligent in their practices, will either start being more responsible, or they will stop breeding.

Either way, the dogs benefit and their future owners benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The “Evil Breeder” Mentality

The “Evil Breeder” Mentality is not an affliction that plagues breeders, causing them to do evil things. It is a condition by which people involved in rescue lump all breeders into the “Evil Breeder” category and point the dreaded bony finger of blame for any and all pets sitting in shelters and rescues.  And just like any virus, it can spread, but does not necessarily afflict everyone.

It is important to differentiate between the different types of rescues, just as it is important to differentiate between ethical breeders and puppy mills. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, WHY NOT point a finger at breeders… whichever finger that may be?  Why shouldn’t breeders be blamed?  Obviously if “manufacturers” churn out more “product” when there is too much on the shelves, it’s the manufacturers’ fault, right?

Before getting too deep into the article, I must first attempt the impossible.  The difficulty of this task is the very reason I am writing this today. I must first help many of those involved in rescue to understand there is a difference between “breeders” and “reputable breeders”.  Unfortunately this is where many rescuers will stop reading and cling religiously to their hate for anyone who has ever produced a litter. But those who read on, understand that knowledge is power and sometimes coming together for a common goal is more important than clinging to false beliefs. And I believe those people will be pleasantly surprised.

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I was recently referred to as a “low life breeder”, who dared talk ethics to people involved in rescue.  Within the same 48 hours, I had a conversation with someone else who talked down to me… again, because I’m a breeder. They said I only deal with “perfect dogs” and that “breeders never do anything for rescue”.

Scratching my head, I tried to figure out exactly who it was who has offered to help local rescues with transport, who has donated to rescue related auctions, who has purchased from rescue related auctions, who has flat out donated money, who had spread the word about numerous homeless dogs, who refers people to Petfinder rescues on their website….. who was that person?

Apparently it couldn’t have been me. I’m a “low life” breeder.

Then I thought about the local and national clubs I’m involved with.  Which organizations set up auctions to benefit rescues? Which clubs coordinate with rescue efforts in every area, hold auctions, and donate to rescues every year? Which clubs even have their own committees in charge of supporting rescue efforts?

Why that couldn’t possibly be local and national breed clubs…. they are made up of breeders, and those “low life” breeders don’t help rescue.

Or do they?

Actually the concept of “breed rescues” first came into being when breeders saw dogs of their breed at shelters and coordinated efforts to save them from an uncertain future by pulling them before they were euthanized, and placing them in good homes.  Breeders not only support rescue efforts, they created the concept.

But that still doesn’t mean it’s okay to breed, because those puppies end up in shelters and rescues en masse, right? And breeders profit off of puppy sales while thousands of puppies they produce die because they do not have homes.  Right?

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Well let’s look at how reputable breeders typically place their puppies.  This is not set in stone for all reputable breeders, but this process is pretty standard.  First, the prospective puppy buyer stays on a waiting list for anywhere from a few weeks to two plus years.  We are not out there marketing our puppies because we can’t place them, taking potential homes.  Buyers who wait a few weeks to two years have typically researched the breed that is appropriate for their home or circumstance, and they have plenty of time to consider other alternatives. Because there is a wait, reputable breeders often suggest that potential buyers consider a rescue.  Most continue to wait, because they can not usually get what they specifically want from a rescue or shelter. It is their right and their choice to decide what is the proper fit for their home.

Reputable breeders health test their breeding dogs for hereditary health issues, investing at least hundreds but usually thousands of dollars over the years, doing their best to screen out potential health issues before the breeding is even planned. They spend even more money showing dogs and proving the quality of their structure and breed type.  The breeding is often planned many months, often years, in advance. Pedigrees, health and conformation are taken into consideration in an attempt to produce a healthy puppy that is a good representative of the breed.

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Then when a litter is born, the reputable breeder evaluates them for weeks before deciding which is their next show prospect, and which will go to other homes.  When those puppies go to their new families, the homes are first screened carefully and the puppies are placed on a contract. Reputable breeders require spay/neuter contracts on all pet puppies and there are stipulations about providing proper care.  They also require the puppy to be returned to them if ever the owner cannot keep them for any reason. Often very strict penalties are attached to failing to follow these stipulations.

So, puppies are produced with health and longevity in mind, with a breeder doing their best to avoid producing puppies that might have health challenges, reducing their chances of having to be re-homed. Then they screen potential owners so again, the puppies have the best chance of having a forever home with responsible pet owners. Then the contract requires the puppies to be spayed or neutered if they are pets, and if the owner is not able to keep them for any reason, the breeder will take them back without hesitation.

Then how on earth are these puppies cluttering up all of the shelters? Especially if “all breeders are the same”.

But what kind of health testing and screening does your typical backyard or profit motivated breeders do? What kind of contract? Would they take a puppy back without hesitation? What do they do to ensure their puppies will never end up in a shelter? Would they take regular financial losses if it meant doing what is best for the breed and for any puppies they produced?  Usually the extent of their concern is if the orders keep coming and the checks cash.

And what about the litters that result from people breeding their pets for “fun”, or to make a few bucks, or to experiment with crossing different breeds to see what they get? Or the accidental breedings because they simply haven’t spayed or neutered their pet yet? And when they find homes for those puppies, do they screen the homes? Do they offer to take them back if the buyer can’t keep them? How do they ensure those puppies do not end up in shelters once the cuteness wears off?  Most of those puppies are purchased on impulse, without much commitment or investment, and many end up in shelters at one time or another.

ARE all breeders the same?  REALLY?

Reputable breeders who truly love and are dedicated to the breed, spend countless hours and many sleepless nights with each and every litter.  They shed tears for puppies that pass away or for those elderly dogs they have helped to cross the rainbow bridge after a lifetime of love. They sacrifice comforts of their own so their dogs can have quality food and vet care. They make sure their dogs are well socialized, healthy, and sound. They spend their money on health testing, show expenses and vet bills when they could be taking vacations.  They pour their hearts into their dogs, taking a lifetime of responsibility for each one of them.  And though they don’t make money on their efforts, at least they get appreciation and respect, right?  No, they get spit on for it.  They are called “Greeders” and “Puppy Mills” and are made to feel guilty for all of their hard work, dedication and love. I still haven’t figured out how I can lose approximately $3-5K per year and still be considered “greedy”.   But whatever… right?

Even though their dogs are kept comfortably in their home and pampered, they are lumped together with breeders who cram dogs into rusty cages stacked five high and ten wide in a shed, and who sell puppies in bulk to pet stores or via online shopping carts.  In the eyes of many rescues, a puppy yanked from a dirty box with its eyes matted shut and shipped off to an unsuspecting buyer is no less responsibly produced than a healthy one raised bedside with the breeder, carrying a guaranteed lifetime home, and placed only after careful screening.

But behind the scenes, these reputable breeders are helping rescues by spreading the word about homeless dogs of their breed. They are buying things at auctions to benefit rescues. They are donating items to auctions to benefit rescues.  They are making cash donations. They are helping with transporting rescued dogs. They are fostering rescued dogs.  They are taking their own dogs back when needed. They are their breed rescues’ cheerleaders and supporters.

Or should I saw “WE” are.  I donated an item not too long ago that brought quite a decent amount at an online auction to benefit rescue… the same person who accepted and thanked me for my donation later called me a “low life breeder”.  Does that make sense? It makes as much sense as breed rescues alienating the most enthusiastic supporters of their breed.

Isn’t it usually supposed to be a dog that bites the hand that feeds them?  But what are rescues doing when they condemn all breeders? What are they doing to help the dogs by calling those that support them “puppy mills” and turning a blind eye to the differences in their practices?  Does it support the cause to eliminate supporters and donations?  Does it support the cause to punish breeders who take responsibility for their dogs?  Who are they hurting in the end?

So many rescue advocates are being pulled into the anti-breeder, anti-ALL-breeder mentality, that they do not realize that the animal rights extremists want to eliminate dogs from the home altogether, and tearing us down is just helping them out.

Is the rescuer’s goal really to eliminate all dogs? We’re all animal lovers. Shouldn’t we unite towards the common goal of promoting responsible pet ownership and stopping cruelty?  

You will be hard pressed to find people who are more  passionate about dogs than those who live and breathe them every day like a responsible breeder.  Harness that passion, don’t try to snuff it out, and together we can accomplish so much more than ever imagined.

 

Addition added 2/4/2016:

I had a comment below that addressed the issue of the fact that breeders, despite the fact they breed responsibly, are still producing more dogs, which take homes from other dogs who are homeless.  My response was too long, so I added the comments below. –
First of all, if every dog could have a home if there were simply less dogs, why are rescues importing hundreds of thousands of dogs from other countries? For example, the golden retrievers that were imported not long ago. The shelter owner happily told the media that nearly 100 rescues for Golden Retrievers had long waiting lists they could not fill. Why couldn’t other dogs be placed in those homes? Because people want certain dogs with certain traits. Even rescues and shelters understand this. That is why more highly adoptable dogs are being shipped in from other shelters while less desirable breeds are euthanized by the thousands. I’m not saying this is fair, but it is a fact.

You also cannot say any dog will be a correct fit for every home. A high drive dog is not a good fit for someone with a sedentary lifestyle. A fluffy couch potato is not the right fit for someone who wants their property patrolled or who wants a jogging buddy. A “no cats” dog won’t fit in every home, a “no children” dog won’t fit in every home. Many parents will not purchase pit type dogs for a home with young children. Whether or not it’s a well founded fear, it is a fact that many will go without, rather than purchase a breed they are not comfortable with. Some are not equipped to handle a special needs dog. Some do not want their children to experience the loss of a pet so soon by purchasing an elderly dog. Even someone’s home and yard set up affects their decision on what type of dog will fit their family best and when all of these things are considered, THERE IS A STRONGER CHANCE OF A FOREVER HOME. Feeling bad for a dog that is homeless and adopting the wrong dog into the wrong situation might be even more dangerous for all involved than euthanization.

As to the assertions that a responsibly bred dog is not “better” and that it’s “snobbery” to say they are…..  There’s not a day that goes by that  some responsible breeder somewhere doesn’t receive an inquiry from someone who purchased an irresponsibly bred dog and is heartbroken because of it.  If a responsibly bred dog has no advantages, why in the world are we health testing, socializing, breeding for soundness and structure?  At the risk of participating in “snobbery”, I will most certainly say that in most cases, a responsibly bred dog IS BETTER.  How can someone say that a dog that has been DNA tested and is guaranteed not to go blind by the age of 2 is not better? What about a dog whose sire and dam have excellent hips or sound patellas versus a dog whose relatives limped in pain by the age of 5?  It doesn’t mean the dog isn’t deserving of a good home or have a good heart, but when owners are not faced with thousands of dollars in vet bills to correct a problem a responsible breeder could have prevented, the dog  has a better chance of living a long happy life with their owner. And the owner won’t be faced with the decision to find the money to fix the issue, or give the dog up, or put it to sleep. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of healthy shelter/rescue dogs, it’s only to say that there is less chance of an issue if the dog and it’s relatives have been screened to be free of issues common in the breed.

I understand the tendency to be hesitant to say a well bred dog is “better”, but it is most certainly BETTER for a dog to be well bred.

Potential pet owners who research and contact reputable breeders, have done so for many of the reasons above and they have chosen the breed that is the right fit for them.  They have also chosen a reputable breeder who they are more likely to get a healthy pet from, that comes with a health guarantee and breeder support, increasing the chances of their pet living a long life with them.

Bless those who adopt, but it’s not for everyone and the fact that many breeders can never have enough puppies to fulfill their waiting lists is testament to the fact that some WILL always shop, and that is their choice and their right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The $250,000 Dog and Her Message

For those who are just joining the conversation, the dog in question who jump started the series of rants is the Champion Sheltie named Piper.  She escaped from the dog sitter’s yard while the owner was at a National show in another state, and was picked up by the local shelter.  They scanned her and found a microchip linked to the vet who implanted it but they failed to follow up to obtain the owner’s contact information. Instead, they turned Piper over to Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue (COSR). The owner returned from Nationals to discover what had happened and contacted COSR. She immediately provided proof of ownership in the form of registration papers and photos. One excuse after another was given for not turning Piper over to her owner and 15 months and tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees later, a court ordered COSR to return Piper to her owners but the case has yet to go to trial.  Now nearly $170K in attorney’s fees and a year and a half later, the owner is still fighting TO KEEP SOMETHING THAT IS LEGALLY HERS.  To add insult to injury, photos showed Piper was in worse shape when she came back from the rescue than when she left.

Surely this is an unusual case? Rescues find good homes for homeless dogs… why would they keep a dog that already has one?  Rescues do absolutely wonderful work, but unfortunately there are too many out there that have their heads somewhere else and not only break their own policies, but sometimes break laws, in order to keep a dog that has a perfectly qualified owner.  Here are a few examples:

Sassy, a senior Boston Terrier, was kept by a rescue despite the fact her owner had proven ownership and despite the fact a veterinary report showed that she was not neglected. She was dragged from state to state and finally placed with a new owner hundreds of miles away from her true home. People involved in the rescues lied about her condition, lied about her veterinary care, and finally lied about giving Sassy back in order to get him to sign her over “temporarily”.

Biscuit, an English Setter, went missing for several days and while missing he had been shot. Someone claiming to be his owner surrendered him to the local shelter. He was immediately transferred to a rescue organization due to his medical condition and status as an “owner surrender”. The actual owners contacted the shelter within 3 hours, proving their ownership of Biscuit.  The shelter contacted the rescue to inform them there had been a mistake. The owners provided photos and offered to pay $3K to cover his vet costs. The rescue made multiple excuses, including claiming it was not the same dog (every freckle in the photos was an exact match). They shipped Biscuit to another rescue 600+ miles from home rather than give their dog back.

Chumpy, a Boston Terrier, escaped from the pet sitter while his owner was on vacation. She returned to find that the shelter had adopted Chumpy out to a representative of a local rescue who used their military ID to adopt him personally (there is no adoption fee if they present military ID), and then turned him over to the rescue to then find him a new home.  The owner immediately contacted the rescue and let them know what had happened and that Chumpy was hers.  He was a part of her family for years.  The rescue ignored her pleas and then cut off all communication from her, finding a new home for her dog even though she desperately wanted him back.

Bobo, a golden retriever, went missing and was turned into the shelter by a local resident who found him only a mile from his home. Upon discovering by word of mouth who his owners were, that resident called the shelter to notify them that he had the owner’s contact information.  It happened to be only ten minutes before the hold time was up, however the shelter has a policy that requires a dog to be held an additional 3 days if the owner’s information is known. The shelter ignored this policy and informed him if he didn’t get there by 9:00 am, the dog would be adopted out.  He arrived at 9:02 am and the shelter had already promised him to another person. The adopter and the shelter both knew that the owners had been located but proceeded with the adoption anyway.  Bobo had been in his home since he was 8 weeks old and when found he was freshly bathed, clean smelling, and in good condition, but the new owners said they’d “give him a better home”. They said they’ve been wanting a 3rd Golden Retriever for a while.  Here was a beautiful one up for grabs, so grab they did. The shelter handed him over to a new home with the legal owner’s contact information at their fingertips.

This is just a very small sampling of the many cases just this year where rescues or shelters have shrugged off the fact that a found dog had a caring owner trying to re-claim them. Three of these were just within the past 90 days. Outrageous? Yes. All too common? Yes. And something needs to be done. Actually something IS being done…. Read on.

What happens in most cases of the “finders keepers” trend?  The owners are unable to pursue a court battle to get their beloved family pet back.  In most cases, the owners lose before they even begin to fight.  How many people can take on a fight like Veronica is doing for Piper?

Let’s take a moment to remember Veronica didn’t “fight” for Piper, she “IS FIGHTING” for Piper. She is STILL fighting to keep a dog that is in every way legally hers.  When I heard the legal fees could approach six figures, I was skeptical. Surely it would never go that far. My last article on the subject stated she had spent $135,000.00 and it was still going.  I estimated maybe by the time it was done, it might reach an unbelievable $150K.  Well I got an update, and the fees are nearing $170,000.00 (I confirmed this) with an estimate in the range of $250,000.00.  TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS just to get a dog back that is legally hers!  No one should ever have to go through this, and no one should ever have to go through it again. It’s crucial that this case is won and sets precedent, so owners have a leg to stand on when someone won’t give their dog back.  With the decreasing supply of healthy purebred dogs available for adoption, and the increasing push to adopt from shelters and rescues, pet owners need to protect their rights to have their dogs returned to them if found.

Piper supporters have been following her case for many months. Many have been following since the very beginning.  Due to the massive attorney’s fees, there have been ongoing fundraising events as well as ongoing pleas for help to support this case.  At this point I believe many, including myself, have gotten numb to the message that financial support for the case is critical.  Well it’s time to rip off the band aid and rough up the wound so we all remember just how painful this situation is, and how much more painful it can become.  I got a wake up call the other day when I got an update, and I think we all need one.  Let’s take a cold hard look at the situation.

We cheer Veronica on for standing up to Penny and for standing up for owner’s rights.  We love her for doing this for pet owners everywhere. But let’s remember that Veronica is just like any of us.  She’s human.  She’s felt the outrage every day since April of 2014 and she stresses out just like anyone else.  She doesn’t have the funds just sitting around to support a case like this.  Who does?  She has her own bills. She has a whole life outside of this case.  She has a husband who is also affected by this.   How would your significant other react if you took on this fight with the attached expenses?  She has her own bills to think about, her sanity to think about, and her relationships to think about.  We can wake up in the morning and check updates, not having to experience even a fraction of her stress, and when she wins in court, we can reap the benefits of legally strengthened pet ownership rights. But Veronica probably wakes up each morning wishing this whole ordeal were over and behind her.

Could she end it right now?  Sure. Some phone calls and putting a collar and leash on Piper, driving to Ohio and handing her over to Penny Sanderbeck would end it.  She would still be responsible for the attorney’s fees so far, and would know that it made no difference in the end since she and Piper would be back where they started from on April 22nd 2014. If the battle were lost, it would strengthen the ability of shelters and rescues to keep and re-sell dogs that aren’t legally theirs. It would weaken the rights of the owners above who stepped forward to re-claim their lost pets and were denied.

But Veronica’s not going to willingly end the fight.  Could it be ended unwillingly?  Yes.  If she can no longer afford the legal cost and doesn’t have support from other pet owners to help her continue the fight. COSR would like everyone to believe the donations are more than covering her costs and Veronica is somehow profiting (???!) but I’ve confirmed it has only covered a small fraction of the costs, with the very LARGE majority, still weighing heavily on Veronica’s shoulders.

At this time of year, when there are many good causes to donate towards, why help to pay the costs so a well fed dog stay where she’s at?  It’s a bigger picture than that. Who are you actually helping?

*Sassy’s owner is an Army Veteran of 19 years, now on disability and being denied his dog because the outside look of the home he rents doesn’t meet someone’s standards.  He gave us 19 years to protect our rights and he’s having his stepped on.

*Biscuit has been with his family since he was a puppy.  He is seen in photos with the owners’ son, who misses the family dog. The owner has photos of Biscuit participating in many family events.  This may be their first Christmas without Biscuit.

*Chumpy had lived with his owner for years. He was an emotional support dog for her young son. He’s only a toddler, and at that young age, probably doesn’t understand why his dog is suddenly gone and can’t come home.

*Bobo has been with is family since he was a puppy.  His owners include two young girls, ages 7 and 9, who will celebrate their first Christmas without him, and who have cried for months because he is gone.  He was their only dog.  Bobo’s new family, celebrates Christmas with a third Golden Retriever, because they wanted three and didn’t care about his real owners or the two little girls whose hearts they were breaking.  This cruel move was facilitated by the shelter who could have given Bobo back to his owners that very morning.

Not only are the dogs uprooted and kept from the home and family they love, but their families mourn the loss of their pet and are left with an emptiness that can’t be filled. Laws have to change and the organizations that do not follow them, or even ignore their own policies in order to keep a dog from its owner, must be held accountable.  The Piper case has grown into a bigger, more significant case than anyone ever imagined.  Its outcome is CRITICAL!

Please support pet owners by helping Veronica win this case against a so-called “rescue” that felt justified in keeping her dog and making her fight tooth and nail for many months to get her back.  The COSR director reportedly told an acquaintance that she would make Veronica pay, and pay a lot, to get Piper back.  She has been stretching the case out for many months just for that very reason. She wants Veronica’s funds and her support to run out, while she pays nothing to her pro bono attorney to drag out a ridiculous case she knows she will eventually lose.

And she WILL lose, with the rest of the world standing up to this kind of behavior and complete disregard for our rights to own our pets and not fear they will be kept from us on a whim.  She WILL lose, and a message will be sent to those who do not play by the rules and keep, when they should be returning, the lost members of our extended “family”.

To help with the huge costs involved in Veronica’s battle, follow the Piper story, share it, make people aware of it, and if you can, donate towards Piper’s legal fund.

For PayPal donations, use the address legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (This is the correct account and the only PayPal account authorized to take donations on Piper’s behalf at this time)

Or visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

And please share this message!  We need the word to get out to get as much support as possible to win this case and stop this kind of injustice from happening again.

somebody

 

 

To read more on the ruling returning Piper to Veronica’s custody:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/07/24/punxsutawney-piper.html