Sunday, August 24, 2014

War on dog wardens

The Licking County Ohio animal shelter has achieved the enviable live-release rate of 91%; in other words, for every 100 dogs admitted to the shelter ninety-one are either returned to their owners, adopted out or transferred to nonprofit rescue groups. In Licking County these groups include the Licking County Humane Society, Second Chance Humane Society of Johnstown, and Stop the Suffering of Heath rescue organizations.

According to industry standards any shelter with a live-release rate of 90% or more qualifies as a "no-kill" facility, the goal aspired to by hundreds of shelters across the country. But Licking County's live-release rate is not good enough for Andrea Langley and other local pit bull advocates, who organized a rally on August 12th.

Ohio state law requires animals to be held at least 72 hours before possible euthanasia. Licking County dog warden John Silva said his shelter doesn't euthanize stray dogs for at least five days, with the average being six days. This isn't good enough for Ms Langley and Ja'ney Stoolfire.

Despite this outstanding record Ms. Langley has accused the local shelter of euthanizing every pit bull entering LCAS after 3 days.1 They're taking a shotgun approach to pit bulls, said Langley.

Ohio pit bull advocates have established a pattern of attacking county dog wardens for euthanizing pit bulls.2 Tom Skeldon was forced out of his job in 2010 by Jean Keating of the Lucas County Pit Crew. This spring Joe Rock was forced out of his job as Franklin County warden by Elizabeth Lessner. Now it appears that advocates are attempting a similar coup in Licking County.

But Ms Langley may have overplayed her hand when she threatened Tim Bubb, Doug Smith, and Duane Flowers, the Licking County Commissioners, with their own job security. Your jobs as county commissioners may depend on it, she informed them.

The high-pressure gambit has worked for pit bull advocates before in Ohio; we will soon see if the Licking County Commissioners have the fortitude to manage the county animal shelter, or if they cede their authority and responsibilities to the local pit bull advocates.

* * * * *
1  Stop euthanizing every pit bull entering LCAS after 3 days.Allow them to be adopted. Allow rescue orgs access to any pit bull. ( petition by Andrea Langley)
2  In other Ohio shelter news, the warden in Van Wert county was fired, a former warden as well as the current warden and his assistant in Gallia county were charged with animal cruelty, and a suit was filed against the Hocking county shelter. The Ohio SPCA's decade-long campaign to eliminate gassing in county animal shelters has turned needlessly adversarial. Gallia County Dog Warden Paul L Simmers was charged with 32 violations for alleged crimes that happened between March 2012 and February 2014. On June 17 Mr Simmers pled 'No Contest' to the charges, but gave a statement to saying, "I was not involved in the killing of the 11 dogs. I was the one that reported it to the commissioners."

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

Sources: Newark
Activist wants county to stop killing pit bulls
    August 12, 2014; Newark Advocate
   March 19, 2010; NBC4
Shelly Myers, an animal advocate, said that the commissioners are not really making a change.

Indonesian Facebook page with Newark Advocate article

Sources: Gallia County
   June 19, 2014;  WSAZ3 News Channel

Gallia, Meigs dogs fly off to good homes
   June 11, 2014; My Daily

Wright takes over Gallia animal shelter
   March 18, 2014; My Daily

Three OH Dog Wardens Charged with Animal Cruelty
   March 17, 2014; Yes Biscuit

Ohio SPCA Discloses Evidence Regarding Horrific Gallia County Dog Killings
   March 15, 2014; Ohio SPCA

   March 15, 2014: Ohio SPCA
   March 14, 2014; Gallia Hometown Herald

   March 14, 2014; My Daily

   March 7, 2014; WSAZ 3

Gallia County Commissioners Hear Concerns Over Treatment of Dogs at Shelter
   March 3, 2014; Gallia Hometown Herald

Reader questions motives on dog killing
   February 22, 2014; My Daily
   (Note: The letter is signed by Judith Biggs of Point Pleasant, WV)

   February 20, 2014; WSAZ 3

   February 18, 2014; WSAZ 3

Other Sources:
Hocking County won’t fight dog ruling
   August 10, 2014; Columbus Dispatch
Kiger put down just six dogs from among 348 at the shelter last year; the rest were adopted, returned to owners or taken in by rescue groups. He hopes to improve upon those statistics this year.
   August 1, 2014; Toledo Blade
Dog warden fired
   July 31, 2014; Van Wert (Ohio) Times Bulletin

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Reading List: II

This is a revised version of the Summer Reading List dated July 19, 2014

Revised: July 25, 2014; 16:09 GMT
Revised: July 27, 2014; 19:04 GMT
Revised: August 21, 2014; 14:08 GMT

For some, summer brings long days stretched out by the pool with a hardcover or juicy paperback; for others, an e-book on the phone or audio book in the car can do the trick. Whatever the season has in store, it provides ample opportunities . . . and we've got more than enough titles to keep you reading.
And so begins the 2014 Summer Books Preview from the Los Angeles Times. Magazines and newspapers from Glamour to the Wall Street Journal offer their recommendations for your summer escape. This year the TED community has entered the fray with a mega-list of 70 books that only a TED-head would attempt during the sultry summer months.

Beginning fifteen or twenty years ago and continuing up through the present, articles about pit bulls were almost exclusively dominated by pit bull advocacy. Many of the articles were written by advocates or the journalists were writing from talking points memos supplied by advocacy groups. Some articles were essentially ghost-written by advocacy groups.1

There is still plenty of the old writing to be found, but this summer there's also something new. For the first time in years many journalists and editorial writers have thrown off the shackles of pit bull political correctness; there is a revival of common sense and honesty in these new articles about the hazards of living with pit bulls. The new pit bull journalism brings a welcome breath of fresh air to a genre that has been stagnant too long.

Grab your sunscreen and beach gear and pack the kids. Fire up your iPad and get ready for something new: the truth about pit bulls. Here's the SRUV list of recommended summer reading.

Image courtesy of The Guardian: Summer Reading 2014; Illustration by Laszlito

* * * * *
 1.  Pit bulls are dangerous and should be feared
     July 27, 2014; Barry Lewis, Times Herald-Record

 2.  There is no need for pit bulls
     June 29, 2014; Cincinnati Enquirer

 3.  The Problem with pit bulls
     June 20, 2014; Charlotte Alter, Time Magazine

 4.  What we know about pit bull owners
     July 26, 2014; Rich Tosches, The Denver Post

Two articles by Dr Ellicott McConnell, published in the Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

 5.  Blame the owner? (June 22, 2014)

 6.  Temperament vs teachings (July 27, 2014)

Bonus pages:

 7.  Dog attack victim victory in court is bad news for irresponsible dog owners

 8.  Face it: pit bulls are hard-wired to kill

A special list of articles from Patriot-News journalist Eric Veronikis:

 9. Pit bulls responsible for most dog attacks/deaths in U.S. and Canada

10. Philadelphia man says attack on daughter . . .

11.  Couple's life forever altered after two pit bulls kill toddler

12.  Family traumatized by vicious attack of 7-year-old son

13.  Pit bull attacks leave lasting wounds, devastate families

14.  Pit bull kills one dog, attacks another in Carlisle; owner vows it won't happen again

* * * * *

1 See Pimping Pit Bulls


Friday, August 15, 2014

Timeline of pit bull attacks on horses

Main post on horse attacks: Equus

* * * * * 

SRUV stopped logging pit bull attacks on horses in February 2016.

Call for dogs to be put on leashes after horse attacked at Weigall Oval Reserve trotting track in Plympton
   February 9, 2016; Adelaide Now (Adelaide Messenger)

Two Pit Bulls Shot Dead After Attacking And Killing Pony
   January 14, 2016; FlaglerLive
Remy’s mouth and nostril area had been torn away by the dogs, according to the deputy. “It was extremely painful to have to watch that happen, and to see what he had to go through before he passed away,” Terrell’s daughter Kristen said. “It’ll be something I’ll never be able to forget.”

Remy, d. January 14, 2016

Horse recovering after dogs attack
   January 6, 2016; News-Bulletin (Valencia County, MN)


Mini-donkey attacked by pit bulls in Baldwin Co.
   October 16, 2015; WMAZ 13

Neighbor defends actions to shoot, kill dog in Choctaw
   October 6, 2015; KOKH Fox 25 Oklahoma City

Dog attacks miniature horses; two killed
   October 4, 2015; Alachua County Sheriff (AL)

Pony put down after dog attack
   *Warning: graphic images*
   September 24, 2015; Horse and Hound

Rosarito citizens urge the prohibition of pit bulls on public beaches
   May 1, 2015; Baja Times (Mexico)
. . . and also a horse was bitten by another Pit Bull while riding on the beach on a tour.

Vicious pit bull attacks NYPD patrol horse
   April 23, 2015; NY Post

Horse euthanized after pit bull attack in central Oregon
   March 12, 2015; Portland

Town of Turtle donkey dies after pit bull attack
   February 12, 2015; Turtle WI (Gazette Xtra)

Pit bull attacks horses
   January 16, 2015; Sonoma Union Democrat


Horse, rider survive vicious pit bull attack
   December 31, 2014

Pit bull attack leaves horse seriously wounded
   December 7, 2014

Pit bulls attacking horses in Tome has neighbors fed up
   December 3, 2014

Horse has to be put down after brutal attack
   November 17, 2014
[The 3 dogs] caused enough injuries that this horse had to be euthanized and lost her life for no purpose. A completely unprovoked vicious attack on an animal that's in a pen. She wasn't even running, just standing there enjoying the sunshine and having some hay.

Eco and Molly, the pit bulls that killed Paisley

3 dogs attack horse in south Reno
   August 15, 2014;  Reno Gazette-Journal

   August 9, 2014; Santa Clarita Valley Signal
The horse suffered puncture wounds to the abdomen and had “chunks” taken out of its legs, but is currently recovering at a veterinary facility.

Pit bulls alleged to be killing animals
    August 5th, 2014; Picayune Item
Gonzales said she owns horses that are worth $40,000 to $50,000 and she is scared to go out of town for fear the dogs might get a horse in the stall.

Mounted officer shoots and kills dog after it attacked the police horse
    July 23, 2014; Daily Mail
Miami police say the horse, named Sara, had deep wounds to both her front and hind legs following the attack

Man shoots pit bulls that kill two miniature horses
   June 27, 2014; ABC 33 Tuscaloosa AL

Neighbors want more done after dogs kill miniature horses
    July 3, 2014; Fox6 WBRC
I spent the last six weeks feeding it every three hours in my little car lot uptown. I brought it here two days ago and two of them were killed, another stallion and the little bay. It was very sad. . . . Lt. Andy Norris says the dogs' owner was identified and charged with permitting dogs to run at large, which is a $25 fine. 

Randy Rogers wth his miniature horses

Colt attacked by pit bull in Sabine parish
    June 24, 2014; KSLA Many LA

The dog hunted down the horse
    June 20, 2014; The Muskegon Chronicle

WFPD charges man who shoots pit bulls to protect horses
    June 17,2014; Wichita Falls, TX

Riders thrown as dog attacks horses
    June 16, 2014; The Dominion Post

Killer dog attacks horses and humans
    June 16, 2014; Channel 3 News, New Zealand

Pit bull attacks police horse outside Dodgers Stadium
    April 4, 2014;

Miniature horse killed by pit bulls in Fayetteville pasture
    Feb 18, 2014; ABC 11 Eyewitness news

Woman fights off pit bulls after attack on Horse
    Feb 13, 2014

Miniature Horse Killed in Yuba City
    Feb 10, 2014

Owner called to court after dog attacks police horse
    Jan 23, 2014

Dogs shot while attacking horses in Golden Gate Estates
3 pit bulls killed while attacking 2 horses
Pit Bulls Shot and Killed While Attacking Horses in Collier County
   Jan 17, 2014
An off-duty sheriff's office employee shot and killed three pit bulls as they were
attacking his neighbor's horses in Collier County

2013 & earlier

Pit bulls attack, kill Florida Girl's Miniature Horse
   Dec 31, 2013

Neighbor fights off pit bulls' brutal attack on horse
    Dec. 21, 2013

Pit bull attacks horse on riding trail
   October 5, 2013; Sentinel Enterprise (Ashby, MA)

Dog attacks miniature horse used for therapy
    July 12, 2013

Pit bull attacks 6 therapy horses
   June 12, 2013

Pit bull attacking police horse caught on video
    March 22, 2013

Officers shoot, kill pit bull attacking carriage horse in Sacramento
    December 22, 2010

New pit bull attack on horse in canyon
    April 22, 2008
   Another off-leash pit bull has attacked and injured a horse being ridden near Auburn – the second in less than three weeks.

Worthy of note:
The infamous 2012 attack on a police horse at San Francisco's Crissy Field was foreshadowed by a similar attack on a mounted officer in Golden Gate park nearly a decade earlier.

Unleashed pit bull attacks police horse at San Francisco's Crissy Field
    August 7, 2012
Vicious dog beats death sentence in San Francisco
    January 11, 2013
    Read additional sources on the Crissy Field attack here.
Pit bull in attack at park trained to be companion / SPCA volunteer's dog may have been spooked by horse
   November 25, 2003


Friday, August 8, 2014

Ohio Reeling From Pit Bull Attacks

Revised: August 9, 2014; 16:48 GMT
Revised: August 12, 2014; 16:27 GMT

"The event is to recognize Barb Sears' efforts in improving public safety for all of us regarding all dog breeds," said Jean Keating, co-founder of the Lucas County Pit Crew. "It's not really just about 'pit bulls,' it's about improving safety in our community from all dangerous dogs."
   Jean Keating, Lucas County Pit Crew
   Pit bull advocates to mark change to vicious dog law
   Toledo Blade, May 18, 2012

"We feel that this is not only more fair to the dogs, but also makes our state safer since the new law gives dog wardens tools to go after dangerous dogs of all breeds," he said.
   John Dinon, HSUS
   Former Exec. Director, Toledo Area Humane Society
   House axes 25-year-old 'pit bull' law
   Toledo Blade, February 9, 2912

"I think the new law is going to be a good thing. It's going to result in the residents of Lucas County being safer."
   Julie Lyle, Lucas County Dog Warden
   House axes 25-year-old 'pit bull' law
   Toledo Blade, February 9, 2912

In the spring of 2012 Ohio's pit bull advocates celebrated the new state law which removed the definition of pit bulls as inherently vicious. The advocates had argued that eliminating the breed-specific language would make the citizens of Ohio safer.

Following the recent Ohio pit bull attacks Ms Keating continued to insist the new law was effective:
[The new law] is much more proactive. It identifies dangerous dogs before they hurt people. That's where our focus needs to be: identifying these dogs long before these incidents occur. Dog attacks occur with every breed, in every city, and most of them are equally horrific.1
Jean Keating

Fatal dog attacks do not occur with every breed; Ms Keating's claim is patently false. Do pit bull advocates believe no one will question such sweeping generalizations?

The interview is replete with unsupported assertions. For example, Ms Keating claims that the new law identifies dangerous dogs before they hurt people, but the 2012 Keating/Sears law failed to identify the pit bull type dogs that killed Klonda Richey, Cindy Whisman, and seven-month old Jonathon Quarles Jr.2  

The 2012 Keating/Sears law did not proactively identify the pit bulls that mauled Zainabou Drame and dozens of others so far this year, some of whom are listed below.

Ms Keating's recent NBC interview is an exercise in pedantry; she speaks as if she is tired of explaining the facts to truculent children who refuse to be educated.

Instead of talking dismissively to the interviewer and to the audience Ms Keating must acknowledge that three Ohioans have been killed by pit bull type dogs this year. Ms Keating must realize that her law has not solved Ohio's pit bull problem; it has only added to the toll of grief and misery.

* * * * *

Forthcoming: Timeline of pit bull attacks in Ohio

1  WNWO Toledo Interview with Keating & Skeldon:

2  The victims of the three fatal pit bull attacks in Ohio to date in 2014.


   August 1, 2014; WHIO

Dangerous dog law needed, but hard to craft
   July 29, 2014; Cincinnati Enquirer

Reynoldsburg council refuses to repeal pit-bull ban
   July 29, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Recent pit bull attacks raise questions about breed, dog laws
   July 27, 2014; Journal-News

(Interviews with Tom Skeldon and Jean Keating)
   July 23, 2014; WNWO NBC

More being reclaimed by owners, adopted out
   June 2, 2014; Toledo Blade

Proposed law would demand 'vicious' dogs be put to death
   June 2, 2014; Toledo Blade

Vicious-dog laws under scrutiny by legislators
   May 5, 2014; Toledo Blade

Are pit bulls why more shelter dogs fail adoption test?
   April 11, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

John Robinson Block to be recognized by Pittsburgh 'pit bull' advocacy group
   February 14, 2013; Toledo Blade

Some shelters send adoptable pit bulls directly to rescue groups
  August 19, 2013; Columbus Dispatch

'Pit-bull' types no longer can be labeled 'Vicious'
   May 23, 2012; Toledo Blade

Infant dies after dog attack
   May 18, 2012; Toledo Blade
Pit bull advocates mark change of law
   May 18, 2012; Toledo Blade
Best Friends Animal Society will join the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and the Lucas County Pit Crew in celebrating the upcoming change to Ohio's vicious dog law by presenting a . . . 

Cincinnati pit bull ban repealed
    May 16, 2012; CityBeat

Losing Fight
    April 12, 2012; CityBeat

Ohio ends BSL after 25 years
   March 15; 2012; Dog Star Daily

Gov. Kasich signs new dog law
   February 21, 2012; Toledo Blade

House axes 25-year-old 'pit bull' law
   February 9, 2012; Toledo Blade

OVDO (Ohio Valley Dog Owners) help write new law
   January 12, 2012; NAIA

Dangerous Dogs (Editorial)
  July 5, 2011; Columbus Dispatch

Let sleeping dogs lie (Editorial)
   February 21, 2011; Columbus Dispatch

Pit bulls at center of vicious dog debate
   October 31; 2010; Dayton Daily News

Columbus should ban pit-bull breed (Editorial)
   May 17, 2010; Columbus Dispatch

Lucas County Dog warden leaves legacy of passion, polarization
   November 22; 2009; Toledo Blade

City toughens pit bull rules
   March 30, 2009; Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio's high court upholds law limiting pit bulls
   August 2, 2007; Columbus Dispatch

City Council again outlaws pit bulls
   August 7, 2003; Cincinnati Enquirer


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Removal of Joe Rock

Revised: August 1, 2014, 00:47 GMT
Revised: August 3, 2014; 22:39 GMT
Revised: August 6, 2014; 13:50 GMT

. . .  I realized that the only way to end it, once and for all, in Ohio was to remove Tom Skeldon. That became my mission and consumed much of my time for about two years.

Tom Skeldon . . . had gained a Hitleresque reputation as an out & out “dog killer”.

The fall of Skeldon turned the tide. Old time dog wardens who supported him began to be silenced . . . .

For those readers who have been on the moon for the last few years, Tom Skeldon served as the Lucas County, Ohio, dog warden from 1987 until his resignation under pressure on December 31, 2009.

The comments above are excerpted from an interview with Jean Keating and Dawn Stretar,1 both of whom were instrumental in removing Skeldon from office. Skeldon's departure made it possible for Keating and Stretar, along with two other Toledo-area pit bull advocates, Representative Barbara Spears and John Robinson Block,2 to concentrate their efforts on overturning Ohio's law that defined pit bulls as inherently vicious.

The comments of Keating and Stretar, made during the long battle to silence Skeldon and following his departure,  are characterized by a self-righteousness that transcends simple arrogance. The campaign to remove Mr Skeldon had become so charged with anger that there is a disturbing personal meanness in the comments of the Toledo advocates. The messianic intensity so often apparent in pit bull advocacy is unrestrained; the self-consciousness, the inner watchdog that helps us behave civilly, humanely, is nowhere in evidence.

Jean Keating                                       Rep. Barbara Sears

Franklin County

Ohio's Franklin county commissioners were warned in 2008 that the county dog shelter (FCDS) was adopting out sick and vicious dogs. Overcrowding, mismanagement, and disease crippled the shelter. The director and assistant director were removed and Donald P. Winstel stepped in as acting director. Joe Rock was appointed Assistant Director of the shelter and took over as Director of FCDS when Winstel retired in 2011.

In 2012, through the efforts of Representative Sears, Mr Block, and others, Ohio state law was changed and pit bulls were no longer considered inherently vicious. This change had profound ramifications for Ohio's dog wardens, many of whom were suddenly given the choice of adopting out pit bulls or transferring them to pit bull rescue organizations.

Rock's job became far more complex.  There were accusations that Dr. Vincent Morton, the shelter veterinarian, and Rock were euthanizing too many pit bulls. Shelter volunteers and pit bull advocates led by Elizabeth Lessner claimed that Morton provoked dogs to aggression to mark them for euthanasia. Lessner and other advocates began to apply pressure on the county commissioners, which quickly escalated in the spring of 2014. In March the FCDS was placed under the jurisdiction of Deputy County Administrator Erik Janas, perhaps with the portfolio of quelling the troubling controversy. Then events escalated:
  • March: Within days of his appointment Janas launches a "routine review" of shelter operations
  • April 8: Franklin County commissioner Marilyn Brown announces that a formal investigation is underway
  • April 14: Rock is placed on administrative leave
  • April 23: Rock is fired by Janas
Janas told the press the "county commissioners were privately briefed" on the day Rock was fired. Rock served at the pleasure of the commissioners, said Janas, and could be fired at any time.

It's difficult to imagine how Ms Lessner found the time to manage this putsch. She is best known as the restaurateur behind the Columbus Food League, a collection of popular restaurants.  She is the operator of Eartha Limited, a waste diversion business that helps restaurants recycle food scraps. She sits on boards and commissions. She manages her own extensive websites, one of which has dozens of pages devoted to the FCDS.3  Ms Lessner is an important person, and after her Best Columbus Champion of 2013 award she was a person who is listened to by an Assistant Deputy Commissioner.

Ms Lessner has posted numerous photos of her own and others' pit bulls on her websites. The following image was recently posted on Lessner's Tumblr page with the caption: Wally likes to get his entire mouth around Dottie’s head while she naps.

Lucas County Redux

In April of 2010, three months after the departure of Mr Skeldon as Lucas County Dog Warden, Julie Lyle took over the helm. Ms Keating, Mr Block, and Representative Sears all expressed confidence in Ms Lyle's leadership.

Then in the early spring of 2014 someone learned that pit bulls were still being euthanized under Ms Lyle's leadership, and suddenly all eyes are focused on the warden again. The euthanized dogs, mostly pit bulls, became aggressive when their food source was threatened and thus were considered unadoptable.  A number of dogs with resource guarding issues were enrolled in a pilot program, with hopes that these dogs could be rehabilitated and successfully adopted out.

Nearly a dozen articles on the resource guarding at the Lucas County shelter appeared in Mr Block's newspaper. The food guarding trials occupied city council and the dog shelter for the better part of three months this spring, and still there was no clear resolution. Ms Lyle should be polishing her resumé.

Rising Expectations

In other words, the dog shelter also is a fishbowl, where everything is under scrutiny.
Columbus Dispatch, May 24, 2014

Truer words were never spoken, especially after the precedent set in Lucas County of allowing pit bull advocates to establish policy.

The terms of employment for dog wardens have suddenly been turned upside down. Instead of meeting the needs of their communities and their animal wards, they must first of all satisfy the demands of the local pit bull advocates. This puts the wardens in the position of balancing the unrealistic expectation of radical advocates, who are interested primarily in saving every pit bull from euthanasia, with the realities of a dramatically altered legal landscape. The advocates demonstrate little or no awareness of testing for canine aggression,4 nor interest in the realities of sheltering and euthanasia.5 They are unconcerned by the increased liability shelters now face due to the dramatic spike in attacks by rehomed shelter dogs, primarily pit bulls:
The number of fatal or disfiguring attacks involving U.S. shelter dogs rose to 10 in a year for the first time in 2009, soared to 18 in 2010, leveled off at 11 in 2011 and 13 in 2012, then shot up to 27 in 2013––and 34 in just the first half of 2014.

Thirty-five shelter dogs, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, a Lab who might have been part pit, two Rottweilers, and a husky, have participated in killing people since 2010.
   ~~Animals 24-7, June 23, 2014
Instead of firing Mr Rock, the Franklin County Commissioners should honor him, for protecting the people of Franklin County and their more vulnerable animal companions. And for protecting the county from liability.


As this post was nearing completion Rebecca Katz, the director of the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control, posted a farewell note on the department's Facebook page, announcing her removal by the county administrator. The gracious post was quickly removed by the county, but not before it was captured and reposted on news sites.

Ms Katz was removed from her position in circumstances nearly identical to the firing of Mr Rock. Ms Katz was also fired without notice by the County Administrator. Both Mr Rock and Ms Katz had reduced the euthanasia rates at their respective shelters during their tenures, while at the same time increasing the number of adoptions. They both had sterling performance evaluations from their superiors. Nonetheless, both Mr Rock and Ms Katz drew the ire of radical advocates for euthanizing too many animals.6 In Franklin County, Mr Rock was removed specifically for euthanizing too many aggressive pit bulls.

* * * * *

1  Ohio ends BSL after 25 years; Dog Star Daily (March 15, 2012). Jean Keating, President of Lucas County Pit Crew & President of Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and Dawn Stretar, Vice-President of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates.
2  John Robinson Block is the Publisher of the Toledo Blade. Block also publishes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
3  One of Ms Lessner's web sites,,  is devoted to pit bulls. The pages on Corndogs were used in Ms Lessner's campaign against Mr Rock and the FCDS. Corndogs includes numerous internal documents from the shelter which purportedly show malfeasance. A number of pages are password-protected and available only to supporters of the campaign to remove Rock.
4  See Testing
5  See Like a Dog
6  For a comprehensive report on the firing of Ms Katz, including commentary on the No-Kill movement, see recent articles in Animals 24/7, including:

Sources: The removal of Joe Rock

Reynoldsburg council refuses to repeal pit-bull ban
   July 29, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County likely will move on replacing animal shelter chief
   June 8, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Dogged by problems: County’s animal shelter needs a leader who can end the chaos
   May 24, 2014; Columbus Dispatch (Editorial)

Franklin County dog-shelter director ousted
   April 25, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Vet at Franklin County dog shelter under scrutiny
   April 19, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County Dog Shelter director suspended during investigation
   April 16, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Are pit bulls why more shelter dogs fail adoption test?
   April 11, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Vet at Franklin County dog shelter under scrutiny
   April 9, 2014; Columbus Dispatch

Pit bulls clog shelters
   August 19, 2013; Columbus Dispatch

Kill rates vary widely at Ohio shelters
   October 21, 2012; Columbus Dispatch

Sources: Food guarding controversy
at Lucas County shelter

Shelter plans study on dogs that guard food
   May 27, 2014; Toledo Blade

More food guarders killed than saved 
Lucas County’s free-feeding program for dogs draws criticism
   April 28, 2014; Toledo Blade

Test a life-or-death matter for shelter dogs
Blade will publish exam scores for canines killed
   March 17, 2014; Toledo Blade

Food guarder killed in error
2 dogs put in pilot program
   March 12, 2014; Toledo Blade

Free-feeding to start at once for dog shelter's food guarders
   March 4, 2014; Toledo Blade

Food guarder reform proposed
   Feb 27, 2014; Toledo Blade

Dogs still die despite vow for change
   February 26, 2014; Toledo Blade

Shelter still killing dogs that guard their food
   February 24, 2014; Toledo Blade

Guarding food dooms dogs housed at pound
   February 16, 2014: Toledo Blade

Sources: The removal of Rebecca Katz 

Author of San Francisco ordinance requiring pit bull sterilization appears to be victim of militant advocates
   July 29, 2014; Animal People

Rebecca Katz out as head of SF Animal Care and Control
   July 29, 2014; San Francisco Examiner

Rebecca Katz, Ousted Animal Control Director
   July 28, 2014; San Francisco Weekly

Head of S.F. Animal Care and Control 'asked to leave'
   July 28, 2014;

Elizabeth Lessner:
Columbus Underground: Best Columbus Champion of 2013
Elizabeth Lessner; Corndogs
Elizabeth Lessner; There are no vicious breeds

Resources on Euthanasia & Sheltering:

Pit bulls were 32% of US shelter inventory in June 2014
   Animals 24-7, July 5, 2014

Stamford shelter manager is first in U.S. to be charged with reckless endangerment for rehoming dangerous dogs
   Animals 24-7, June 23, 2014

Fitchburg (MA) becomes third public shelter to suspend operations due to liability concerns about pit bulls
   Animals 24-7, June 18, 2014

Why do shelters with empty cages kill animals at night?
   Animals 24-7, June 13, 2014

We cannot adopt our way out of shelter killing
   Animals 24-7, March 12, 2014

Shelter Killing Report, 2013

Like a Dog (SRUV)