This pair of dogs had been on the Antioch Animal Control radar before. Mary Jane and Mona got out of the garage two years ago and killed a cat. This is bad. Pit bulls are terriers and have prey drive like they all do, but when a pit bull kills a cat, it's not normal, it's dangerous. That 250 million dogs in America have prey drive and kill cattle, goats, squirrels, cats, and varmints of every conceivable species, is a special wonder for animal control who feel they have to put a stop to predatory behavior out of predator animals. Maybe next year they can work on stopping birds from flying through the air.
Mona and Mary Jane got out again. They didn't hurt anyone. These dogs are spayed, and microchipped, raised since puppies with the same family. They never bit a child, menaced a jogger or did anything but wiggle with joy at the sight of a human being. Mona and Mary Jane, are just dogs being dogs. Once they got out again, Animal Control picked them up and they were remanded to the Antioch shelter and there they sat whilst frantic Drew attempted to bail them out.
The shelter was having none of it. This "shelter" demanded $1,500 bail. He went there to pay it, and they turned him away. They said his dogs are "PDA" which stands for "Potentially Dangerous Animals." They set the kill date for Monday.
I listened to this familiar and boring story with interest. I say boring because it happens all the time and I hear this so often that I can't even fake any shock. The shelter system is archaic, broken, drunk with power, full of idiots who know zero about animals and insulated by clerks, Dept. of Agriculture, and ignored by the HSUS, PETA and the rest of the big guns. By the way, the commercials you see on TV with the decrepit animals asking for $19 a month from the HSUS feature the president of the HSUS who makes about a million dollars a year. That's why they need $19 a month.
Anyway, I explained we have the Hayden law in California and it is illegal for a shelter to refuse to turn over doomed dogs to a qualified rescue. I called our director Mary Quinn, and got the ball rolling. I couldn't let the dogs die for such a lame reason. Drew just cried and cried saying "Valerie, they never hurt anybody...they are nice dogs, our family loves them and they never hurt anyone." Mary hopped on it and worked the phones like a woman on fire.
I saw a shirt once that had a slogan on the front that said "Stereotypes are such a time saver." This is the method shelters use in dealing with pit bulls. If it looks pit, kill it. This is a strange approach since there are 20 breeds around the world that look pit bull and who are not pit bull at all. Humans aren't very good at eye witnessing.
We called the Antioch mayor, the shelter, the police, the city manager. We called TV, radio. We posted on Facebook and Craig's List and begged for help. The shelter hung up on us. In this moment, I still don't know the Antioch shelter director's name because they hung up on all of us.
I called Jeff Charter, manager of the Petaluma shelter (and blessing in our community - just a great man), who I work with a lot. I took a dog from Jeff who had a bite report on a person, and I rehabilitated that dog and placed him in an appropriate home. Jeff knows we are pit bull experts with excellent networks and resources to help them, so he agreed to call the shelter and the city manager on our behalf. They didn't pick up - he left a message.
We pitched a plan that looks like this: We'll take custody of the dogs and get them out of Contra Costa county. We will board them at a kennel in Petaluma and work on cat sensitivity training until the dogs are cat safe. Drew will pay te boarding fees to save his dogs and we will step in and help him for free. Drew will pay his $1,500 extortion fee to the shelter, Jeff will provide documentation that he is aware and approves of these dogs living/training in Petaluma and everybody wins. It's positive, fair and kind.
Which is why they killed both dogs yesterday morning.
Mona and Mary Jane are gone. Just like that. The ignorant. mean spirited Antioch "shelter" along with the disgusting city government workers, robbed citizen Drew of his animals and gave us the finger because they could. I believe they think they won something today.
I will never adopt any dog to this pit called Antioch. Animals are not safe there. Like most jurisdictions, they are married to the 1950's way of running a shelter, where death for the animal is the solution for every problem there is. Euthanasia is a great solution for senior dogs, ugly dogs, injured dogs, big dogs, black dogs, untrained dogs, nervous dogs or starving dogs. If life were about accuracy, we would not call them "shelters" but instead they'd be "Places where animals are terrorized for a few days before they are killed, often without sedation." These "shelters" refuse to work with rescue using every stupid excuse they can find - such as, the rescue doesn't know what it's doing, we have no time to work on adoption outreach, train volunteers or work with the community. It's so back there it's a wonder they all don't use rotary phones. Antioch is a prime example of everything that's wrong with the animal government.
In contrast, our Petaluma shelter is an example of everything that is right and just and Antioch could learn from them.
Dogs know. They get in there and they can feel it. The people who work in killing machine shelters tend to feel the death vibe in there, too. Then, they grow to like it. Predators, are we. Humans love to kill things, each other, animals, bugs, just anything in our way. We do it for sport, for fun, if you will and becomes a high of sorts and shelters are no different. The killing becomes attractive and in Antioch, they had fun with it yesterday. I believe they relished killing these dogs and figure us outsiders had it coming. This city is so morally bankrupt even Lt. Orman of the police department didn't return Jeff Charter's call. He wanted those dogs dead. And they are. Hey you win buddy!
I can't bring these babies back. I can't help them anymore. I have never met Drew and I likely won't meet him any time soon. He's on the floor trying to recover from this government sponsored atrocity and trying to wrap his head around how his taxes pay for this operation. Me, too.
I've been in touch with many pit bull and rescue groups and we're going to join together to put Antioch on notice that they are going to be held accountable. I'd rather eat a bag of scorpions that have anything to do with this horrible city but I must not be silent. They broke the law, they murdered dogs belonging to a citizen and did so with glee, they rejected a rational and workable plan and they laughed in the face of justice. Why? Because they can.
I'm in touch with In Defense of Animals, this has gone viral on Facebook. Antioch is exposed for their actions and will not slink away from their outrageous abuse of power.
I'm not going to forget Mona and Mary Jane. I'm going to honor them by telling their story and I ask you to pass it on. I end today with Miss Lily Tomlin....
"I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."
Have a fair, decent and kind day and please support your community rescue.
A hysterical man called me last Friday. His name is Drew. Claims he got my name from some lady who heard me speak at a Paws for Love function last year and begged me to help him. Drew told me his story in between sobs, which is a hard thing to hear out of a grown man. His dogs, Mary Jane and Mona were at the Antioch, California animal shelter and they were planning on killing his dogs. Could I help him? Pit bulls of course.