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April 2012



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Hit me in the face with a shovel. Come on Antioch , I like it

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.

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.


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This is EXACTLY why it didn't even occur to me to take the two dogs that wandered up to my work building a couple of years ago (one full pit, the other a pit mix) anywhere except home. I found a good home for the full pit and brought my Brennt home with me. He's a pit/hound mix the vet says but the pit is most prevalent.

I always knew just from driving through it that Antioch sucked. God damnit, I was really hoping for a happy ending for these two :(

This is going to happen again!

My friends dog (a pitbull) has just been deemed a dangerous dog. He bit a neighbors dog (a pitbull) . It left three smalls puncher marks. He does not have the money need to get his dogs life saved. The cost of the fees and things they want done is very high. The dog (Tigger) is a very loving dog. He lives with a Chihuahua (Jack) that runs him. He has never hurt or ever been aggressive towards jack. He is a very loving dog! Not a dangerous one at all! Any help of any kind would be great! Tiptoy4x@aol.com

Pardon my French, but fuck those guys. I am so, so, so sorry. I lost a dog like this when I was a kid, and the pain has yet to fade. Can't imagine losing two.

Could you maybe ask Drew if it would be all right for his fellow animal lovers to send him condolences and if so, how?

Glad to see you commenting here, so I know not to show it to you again. ::hugs::
Can you post Facebook linkage, please? There are lots of things named "In Defense of Animals" there.

Bastards. I don't understand people, I really don't.
Did you find me there - I'm Valerie Talcott Fausone on FB. It's all on my page. BAH what a misery :(
This story makes me heart-sick. How truly awful! My sincere condolences to Drew. RIP Mary Jane and Mona. :(
Speaking of viral, I hope those animal control fuckers have a slow painful death. No, wait, that’s not what I meant.. er.. um.. speaking of viral...

You should also send this awful story to the Dogster Dog Blog - the Dogster community is very active in dog welfare, fighting injustice, etc. Or I can, with your permission of course.


Oh please post it - I'm not signed up there and that would make me SO HAPPY!

I am still sitting here with rocks in my tummy. What a horrendous day it was.


Thank you my friend! The crazy dog ladies take over the world! Huzzah!
I can't believe that happened. I'm so sorry.
I just had a phonecall with my mom who is worried because our cat drags one of his hindleg slightly. Something like this happening to her pet would devastate her. I'm sorry for Drew and hope you'll kick Antioch's ass for good.

Edited at 2010-04-28 04:46 pm (UTC)
Valerie... :((

Thank you for doing what you are doing
I've "shared" this here and on my Facebook page. Let me know if there is any letter writing campaign.

I also would like to send condolences to Drew and his family.
This is not the first time you've made me cry at work. E-mail me a link to the facebook thing. I'll talk to my friends.


Dogs kill a cat and they're suddenly a menace? Have 80 years of cartoons taught these people NOTHING?!

I like cats. I like dogs. I like them despite the fact that I don't expect them to act like anything except cats and dogs.

Hey, our own cat killed our hamster when it got it of it's cage, we didn't put her down with prejudice. That's what cats do! Duh!

Ignorance leads to cruelty.

Edited at 2010-04-28 06:27 pm (UTC)
I hope you and the dog owners can sue the living shit out of that shelter, get it shut down, and put some of the money towards real education. It's stories like this that keep me from ever calling the SPCA for anything, if I can help it. There is a reputable, no kill shelter right down the road from me that actually knows what they're doing. While there are the rare few decent people that work for the SPCA, it's been my experience that they're all a bunch of untrained, ignorant f*cks that enjoy putting animals down.
I need to go pet a few of my cats now, before I throw something. I pray to all the Gods you get justice for this.
This is horrendous! Please post a link to the Facebook stuff - I couldn't find it when I searched and would like to put it up on my page.

My condolences to Drew and his family and Valerie, thank you for all the effort you and your network put in on behalf of the dogs.
I'm Valerie Talcott Fausone on FB and it's all there on my page - it's my LJ post from today and there are two more posts with photos of the dogs. It's just unreal. Thanks for your interest and I appreciate any awareness you can raise amongst your friends on FB. The more people know what really happens at these so-called SHELTERS (what a ridiculous word for it) - the better.
Ginger the cat does not approve. >-p

Poor, poor puppies. And their poor owner, I can't even imagine the anguish he's going through right now.

I posted this on my FB page and did the same on Twitter. I sincerely hope that Drew considers suing this shelter. Sometimes the only thing people like them understand is a monetary repercussion.

What asshats. Karma's a bitch, and I hope she catches up toot sweet to everyone involved in this atrocity.
I think Valerie's shelter would also have standing to sue--if they can afford to, or find a pro bono lawyer--because the law required the Antioch shelter to give the dog up to them, if not back to the owner.
there are no words, none at all.
This man and his family are in my thoughts.
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