In Toronto, an Ontario woman had to fight for the right to bring her senior dog home after he accidentally escaped from the family’s backyard this week and was brought to the local shelter because he looked like part pit bull.
Jessica Brandes’ 12-year-old dog escaped, and she feared he would wander onto the road and be hit by a vehicle. When a local family found the dog named Ringo, they called animal services hoping the dog would be reunited with his owner.
Sadly, nothing went as planned, and on Monday night Brandes went to Vaughan Animal Services to reclaim her best four-legged buddy, but was not allowed to take him out of the shelter. It seems the dog’s microchip indicated he was part pit bull – Brandes had no idea about that. She had adopted Ringo ten years ago, and not once had the dog ever shown any kind of aggression. She never questioned the dog’s breed – just that he was a mixture of all things great about dogs.
In 2005, Ontario prohibited anyone from owning a pit bull and ordered any dogs already in the province be spayed or neutered. In addition, in public areas, all pit bulls had to be muzzled and leashed. A bill to repeal the ban is currently active.
According to Toronto CtvNews, Brandes was told the dog’s DNA would be tested, and if he came back as part pit bull, he would either have to be euthanized or rehomed out of the province.
The news quickly went viral and questions about Ringo’s family history seemed to have disappeared. On Friday morning, Brandes and her three-year-old daughter were reunited with Ringo.
Brandes doesn’t think Ringo was released because evidence showed he wasn’t part pit bull; maybe the negative press and the email and phone calls from so many people made the difference? Sill there are dogs being held at the Vaughan Animal Services because they also might be part pit bull.
Since Ringo’s unfortunate situation, a petition has been started by Reform Advocates for Animal Welfare (RAAW), a grassroots group that works towards legislative changes in animal welfare.
“Since originally posting this petition it has come to light that Vaughan Animal Services are holding at least 2 other dogs in addition to Ringo and Gamboa, under the same circumstance. There may be more. Investigations into this are essential.
The dogs suffer and the families suffer. There is no reason for it except for an over zealous organization that seems to have taken it upon themselves to rid the province of any animal which could remotely look like a pit bull.
Shelters are allowed to charge exorbitant boarding fees when they seize a pet. Vaughan Animal Services needs to stop unjustifiably seizing dogs and ripping them from their families in order to fit their own agenda.
This is not fair, this is not just and this is not humane. Return Ringo and Gamboa to their families.”
It is not known why Gambo, who has been kept at the shelter for 102 days, and Kilo, who has been at the shelter for two weeks are still there when Ringo was released, but the owners of the dogs will be taking legal action against the shelter for the safe return of their dogs.
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