ABC Dog School
HELP THESE DOGS
copyright 2009 Carole J Sulser
In Conclusion
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  I have spent a great deal of time creating these web pages for one purpose, the alleviation of misery and suffering that I see and hear almost daily on my neighbors' property.  The photo essay tells the story visually.  The full story fills in the details.  The incident log reveals the length and breadth of what has been going on, and contains many things that were not photographed nor expanded upon.

   What you see here is not horrifying.  There are no photos of dogs and duct tape, or super glue, or being set aflame or tortured-by-intention.  You will see no vivisection, nor organized dog fights, nor corpses hanging in collars off of deck railings, nor even a roadkill.  Not yet, anyway.

   What you have seen or read about here, is the day-after-day-after-day misery of lives made barren and frustrating and uncomfortable by confinement and deprivation.  Their lives and their sanity are at risk every hour they spend on short tethers, in tiny pens, in a wire pen built for fox, in a small windowless utility shed, and in filth.  They are fed.  It is their one moment of joy in any day.

   If animal welfare laws do not cover any of the abuses recorded here, then perhaps some other type of strategy will bring relief.  (Ah, but they do!)  I can not imagine that a law that says shelter must be provided, would not include implicitly, that it should actually shelter the dog and that the dog must be able to get into it.  If the shelter need be of no benefit to the dog, then the law is worthless.

   Tethering, such as shown and described in these pages, is inhumane and dangerous.  I'm not in favor of more laws, especially those that cause the impounding and killing of more dogs.  But, those whose job it is, to see that animals are cared for humanely in Coshocton county, have clearly let these dogs down.  Is it for lack of a law?

   For many years I have had a good relationship with the dog warden and the humane officer.  I even named one of my dogs after the recently retired dog warden, back in 1996.  Yet, now when I call them about this intolerable situation, they don't want to hear from me.

    Is it because they don't believe me?  Is it because they don't care?  Is it because they are faced with this type of thing all over the county?  Is that why I get such a frosty reception when I call?   Maybe they've decided I'm totally wacko after all that screaming I did the day of the dog fight!

    Whatever the reason, I feel very badly about this rift.  We should be on the same side when it comes to animal welfare.   Since 1987, I have taken 13 dogs from the Coshocton County dog pound, and prevented many others from going there, by taking them in myself, and by teaching owners how to live with their dogs.  Three of my dogs were taken from other facilities.  You can see photos of these dogs on the ABC Dog School pages.

   There have been a number of dog confiscation incidents in recent years, more so in a neighboring county.  Sometimes there are hungry dogs, but mostly there are dogs living in conditions that are described as "deplorable."  Photos on the front page will show ramshackle shelters, or people coming out of a house wearing hazmat outfits, or a dog in a chain link pen with a doghouse, that doesn't reveal any kind of suffering at all.

   In one case, a rescue shelter was shut down because the big-hearted gal didn't know much about dogs, and had too many of them housed together, fighting over food, and killing each other.  In another case, a breeder had way too many dogs to take care of and relinquished over a hundred of them.

   She was allowed to keep a certain number, but after a time, she abused the privilege, and more dogs were taken away.  I saw one of those dogs, and she was as wide as she was tall.  Definitely not starving.  Just living in a deplorable situation.  And now she has a new home.

    The point is, I think about these cases when I'm told that nothing can be done for the dogs next door because they aren't starving.  I have already expounded on the dangers they are in, how they are cared for, and how they are proliferating.  What I am seeing there is deplorable, and if not as deplorable as in the above mentioned cases, it's only a matter of time.
 
   In the meantime, loose dogs are on the road and on my property.  Star's last litter is without suitable shelter and she's pregnant again.  I'm still hearing dogs in the tool shed.  Before long, Creamy will have puppies.  And then one or more of last year's females will come in heat.  And as they mature, all these youngsters will need housing, and tethers, and plastic jugs, and fences to climb over and hang themselves on.......and the girls will entice and the boys will play the stud lottery.

   Can anyone HELP THESE DOGS???   (I already have six of them, but, I can foster...)

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   After doing some research, I have discovered my error in assuming that the humane officer and others who manage the animal shelter have authority to intervene in the lives of dogs in danger, although, it was the humane officer who did just that in a case that was publicized in the newspaper last year.  Perhaps that is where my confusion comes from.  (See Coshocton Tribune, May 24, 2008, Dogs in Need of Rescue)

   According to the Ohio Rev. Code, it is the dog warden who has the responsibility of investigating reports of inhumane treatment of dogs.  (See 955.12)  For the previous warden's comments, see Coshocton Tribune, June 7, 2007.

   That article was written in reference to the confiscation of 33 dogs from a puppy mill.  I personally saw these dogs.  They weren't starving.  A veterinarian who examined them, said they were healthy.  Again, I am confused.  In this same article, the humane officer stated that her powers were "limited to
ensuring that the animal is clean, has adequate shelter, food, water, and veterinary care, and isn't abused." (Define adequate shelter, please.)

   Five days before that, the Coshocton Tribune reported the removal of the dogs from the puppy mill (June 2, 2007, Animal Cruelty Charges Filed.)  In that article it was stated that, according to Sheriff Timothy Rogers,
"The conditions were found to be deplorable and most of the dogs were found with either no water or dirty, stale water."  On June 1, 2007, Detective Sgt. Don Devore described the conditions as deplorable, and that the dogs were housed in pens without food, water or proper shelter. (Someone send that man out here!)

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Coshocton Tribune, date unk., "Couple handles dogs by the hundreds." by Jillian Daley.

   "
'Our goal is really to prevent suffering,' Sturtz [the humane officer] said.
   If someone is mistreating or neglectiong an animal, contact the shelter. [Unless you're me.]
  
'W'e don't want to take animals away from people,' she said.  'We want people educated and taking proper care of their animals.' Others agree."

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    I believe that I have supplied enough information in these pages to find the owners of these dogs guilty of a number of infractions of the Ohio Revised Code.  (959.13)  But, it is not my intention or desire to have the dogs hauled off to prison and extermination.  They are the innocent ones, and they deserve a decent life.  I'm trying to SAVE them, not KILL them.

   I hope that the owners can be persuaded to do the right thing, if under threat of legal action, in order to keep their dogs, or turn them over to rescuers.  This means, suitable shelters, pens or tethers, the elimination of dangerous situations, clean living conditions, appropriate food and water containers, parasite control, medical care, and the cessation of breeding.  Fat chance?  It's up to you and I.

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   The kill-shelter problem:  The owners of these dogs surely know that they have a monumental problem.  They have been to the pound to get food.  Why they didn't get dog houses, I can't say.  Why they didn't dispose of their surplus dogs and puppies, I can.  The Mr., himself, told me that he'd seen the body bags.

   This is precisely why I do not call it an animal shelter.  To say you are sheltering dogs is a lie, when you are only sheltering them until you kill them.  And this is the exact reason why dogs next door to me are suffering.  It's better than being executed.

   Do you think some things are worse than death?  Put yourself in that position and ask the question again.  Death is an option only when all hope is gone.  That is the emotional position of the person who commits suicide.  When you make that decision for someone else, it is murder.

   I believe that the pound workers care about dogs.  I believe they'd like to stop killing dogs.  I believe that until their hope is restored, they will continue to kill dogs.  I believe that as long as they kill dogs, many will suffer, like the ones next door to me.
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