Pit bull and his owner still living a nightmare after 3 1/2 years

An ongoing case in Charlottesville, Virginia has pit bull lovers and animal advocates across the nation and around the world up in arms. Toni Stacy and her pit bull Niko have been living a nightmare since December 2014 when Niko was seized by the Albemarle County Animal Control in Virginia.  He has been imprisoned for three and a half years  based on allegations that he killed a cat.

According to Toni and other witnesses, it all started when Niko accidentally escaped from his home. Toni chased after him and found him at a neighbor’s house. The neighbor claimed her cat was dead, and Niko was the guilty one. However, no one saw the dog kill the senior cat, and there were no puncture wounds on the cat’s body, nor was there blood anywhere on Niko’s mouth to indicate he had attacked and killed another animal.  The cat was never taken to the vet nor was a necropsy performed to prove Niko was the killer.

Despite lack of evidence, Niko was deemed vicious and locked up in December of 2014. And he is still there today. The case has gone through the appeals process and is now awaiting a hearing in the Supreme Court of Virginia. According to Toni Stacy, Niko’s owner, who has owned the dog him since he was seven-weeks-old and he grew up alongside a four-year-old child and other animals, has never once showed any signs of aggression toward anyone. To prove Niko’s innocence further, Toni had him assessed by a dog behaviorist who also deemed Niko as non-aggressive.

However, the Albemarle County Animal Control Office is standing strong on labeling Niko a dangerous dog and want him killed. Many rescues have offered to take Niko in, but he is refused his freedom. To inflict further pain and suffering on Niko, he is no longer allowed out of his kennel for exercise thanks to a decision handed down by the Director of Animal Control. When Niko first arrived at the Charlottesville /Albemarle SPCA, he was allowed out of his cage for walks and play time with Toni. He was suffering from so much anxiety he needed to be medicated. Toni was only allowed to visit him once a week and when she did, Niko just looked at her through the cage and cried, his spirit broken and his anguish obvious.

This was nothing short of animal cruelty; keeping a dog in a cage all day and night. Even if a dog is accused of a crime, they still deserve to be treated humanely and their physical and emotional needs met. Human prisoners who have committed far more heinous crimes than allegedly killing a cat, are allowed time in the exercise yard. Why should a dog, another living being not be allowed these same allowances?

According to Toni Stacy and her attorney Elliott Harding, they went to court on March 29, 2018 and unfortunately, they did not win their case in the appellate court. However, they are appealing to the Supreme Court. On a good note, Toni did get outside visits granted for Niko when she visits him, and is allowed to take him out into the exercise yard.

Niko’s case is eerily like the case of Tony the Pit Bull in Clifton, Arizona who was executed in 2012 based on zero evidence that he killed a neighbor’s dog. He was made the scapegoat since he was a pit bull when all evidence pointed to a coyote killing the dog.  Once again there were no witnesses and no medical evidence linking the dog to the crime.

Many are taking a stand for Niko and have launched a petition on his behalf on Change.org



This injustice is happening repeatedly not only in this country but all over the world.  There is a certain breed specific prejudice and hysteria taking place which is causing countless dogs to be killed and the rights of their owners totally disregarded.


Kitten horribly injured after someone abused her with firecracker – read the story here.

Police K9 died from heatstroke at veterinary clinic. Read more here.

K9 died from heatstroke while boarded at veterinary hospital

Our site is supported by stories from Shared.com

Dying man’s wish to find a home for his beloved dogs – read the story here.

Woman horrified by house infestation after walking in the park with her dog – read more here.


Delta Air Lines banning pit bulls as service dog met with criticism

In Atlanta, Delta Air Lines will no longer allow passengers to fly with “pit bull type” dogs as either service or support animals. The new ruling has been met with severe criticism by organizations that train service dogs and the people who depend on these dogs to  help them function in everyday life -especially veterans.

Delta described the ban as an “enhancement” to its already amended policy on animals in passenger areas. In addition, passengers will be limited to one emotional support animal per flight. The changes are scheduled to take effect on July 10.

The latest policy change is a result of “growing safety concerns” after two employees were recently bitten by a passenger’s emotional support dog in Atlanta during boarding of a flight to Tokyo. The passenger had two pit bulls; the dogs along with the passenger were removed from the flight according to AJC. Both dogs were emotional support dogs and not service dogs that have a higher level of training. People with service dogs are protected under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which allows  them to take their dogs into areas other animals would not normally be permitted, such as restaurants and airplane cabins.

Delta requires advance notice and a doctor’s statement for emotional support animals.

“The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority,” Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer said. “We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety.”

The airline carries about 700 service or support animals each day, or nearly 250,000 annually. Delta said it has experienced an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service or support animals, including urination, defecation  and an attack on a passenger by a 70-pound dog.

In recent backlash however, the pit bull types of dogs, that make up a large percentage of shelter animals needing homes, have become very popular with veterans. The dogs are extremely smart and have an aptitude for service work. Supporters of the breed state Delta’s new ban is nothing more than breed discrimination and believe the dogs should be judged on their behavior – not just their breed or breed mix.

Airlines have been changing their rules regarding service dogs and emotional support dogs. One of the most widely reported tragedies occurred in March when a 10-month-old puppy was ordered to be placed in an overhead compartment during a United Airlines flight.

More news and updates on the National Pet Rescue Facebook page.

Scared bear beaten while forced to ride a skateboard – read more here.

Our site is supported by stories from Shared.com

Breaking news: President to end family separation policy – learn more here.

‘Pinky’ held at animal shelter for 2 years after spat with cat released

In Des Moines, Iowa, an eight-year-old dog named Pinky, held at an animal shelter for two years after a 2016 spat with a cat and thus labeled “dangerous,” was released on Monday after a long, heated court battle.

Pinky, who had been held in solitary “custody” for two years  had never bitten a person and did not kill the cat (though the cat was injured) but had been deemed a dangerous dog and designated as a “high risk” breed because she was designated as being a pit bull.

According to the DesMoinesRegister, Pinky had bolted from her owner’s property in March 2016 when a neighbor’s cat was injured. The cat’s owner saw Pinky carrying the cat in her mouth and yelled at the dog to drop her. The cat escaped and ran up a tree. Since then Pinky had been locked away at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) while a battle ensued to determine the dog’s life or death. Earlier this month, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Pinky, stating the city’s ordinance concerning dangerous animals was too vague.

On Monday afternoon, Pinky was able to visit with her previous owner who, because of the court case had sold the dog to shelter owner, Diana Helmers in order to help save the dog’s life.  Helmers insisted the dog was of no danger to anyone and petitioned the court to let her take the dog to Agape Fosters, an animal refuge she has owned and operated for 20 years.



“Quinten grew up with Pinky.
He loved his dog and she gave love back. This is a family,” Dianna Helmers posted on Facebook as the initial reunion brought smiles to a young man and his dog.

Sadly, the fight isn’t over yet. Although Pinky drew her own crowd as she licked Quentin and nearly knocked him over with love and enthusiasm, Pinky was anything but a vicious dog. Quentin had been raised with the dog, however the city has now filed notice of an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Give the dog a break City of Des Moines.  Don’t you have something else to do besides trying to kick a dog to the curb that shows no aggression? At least for now, Pinky will be happy as she is re socialized and given lots of hugs, scratches and kisses.

(Photo and video from Saving Pinky Facebook, Dianna Helmers FB)

Read previous article here.

Did you know that if you want to get updates from a Facebook page, you need to do more than “like” it? To get recent postings in your Facebook feed, you must also hover your mouse over the word “following” and then click “see first” from the drop-down menu. You may want to check back with your favorite pages on occasion because Facebook often changes your settings, no longer having your having your favorites among those to “see first.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.



City Council apologizes to owners ordering them to muzzle dogs at home

The Christchurch City Council apologized on Monday morning to owners of dogs called “menacing” after ordering them to muzzle their dogs inside of their own homes. Dog owners in the city of Canterbury, New Zealand were enraged after a letter was sent to pet owners stating that dogs classified as “menacing” must be muzzled inside of their owners’ homes. Yes, you read that correctly; the Christchurch City Council sent the letter reminding dog owners of their legal obligations and to avoid “legal repercussions.”

Dog breeds listed as menacing included Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, American pitbull terrier, and the perro de presa canario. The only exceptions to the dog muzzling order was if the animal was inside of a secured cage or vehicle.

On Monday, the Council Consenting and Compliance general manager corrected the order. According to Stuffnz the latest legal opinion states:

“The further legal opinion we have received supports the view that dogs classified as menacing do not need to be muzzled when they are inside their owner’s home or contained securely within their owner’s property. This is contrary to the information the Animal Management Team sent out to owners of menacing dogs earlier this month. We are sorry for any confusion and upset that we have caused.”

The city council will be writing to dog owners to update them.

Read previous article here.

Did you know that if you want to get updates from a Facebook page, you need to do more than “like” it? To get recent postings in your Facebook feed, you must also hover your mouse over the word “following” and then click “see first” from the drop-down menu. You may want to check back with your favorite pages on occasion because Facebook often changes your settings, no longer having your having your favorites among those to “see first.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

Someone intentionally burned this young dog – read the story here.

cruelty case

Detroit animal shelter owner accused of killing thousands of pit bulls

A disturbing post on a  Detroit dog rescue’s Facebook page continues to create a media frenzy as irate animal advocates are asking for a thorough investigation.  On Saturday, No Place Like Home Rescue of Michigan, founder Anne Marie Rogers, allegedly wrote the following biting comment on her organization’s page alleging she killed thousands of pit bulls:

“Person (Britt) asking a question.” Are you the whack job killing all the bully breeds?”

“Anne Marie Rogers” (accepting the person’s invitation to join her No Place Like Home Rescue’s Facebook page)  Yep, by the thousands Britt. Did you want me to take care of yours? They only scream a little…”

Rogers denies she has killed any dogs. In a statement to Fox News, she admitted she doesn’t rescue any pit bulls, but she doesn’t hate the bully breeds; she just doesn’t think they are safe to be around children or other animals. So why did she say it advocates ask?  There are multiple media articles on Rogers’ page about pit bull attacks – including her own opinion:

“Every day another victim of a pit bull attack.
Where are the responsible pit bull owners on this?
According to the pit bull apologists who troll this page, it’s never the dog, but it’s always the victim’s fault they were mauled or killed. Sociopaths!”

The all breed Detroit Dog Rescue weighed in on the apparent controversy on their own Facebook page, stating that they didn’t find anything amusing about Rogers’ comment referring to killing thousands of dogs:

“I will never take it lightly when someone threatens an animal’s life. Let’s remember, defining a Pit Bill visually is completely subjective, so it’s not Pit Bulls she may be killing, it’s dogs in general. Where does she get these dogs? Does she report them to authorities or are these loved pets being killed? Who is directly euthanizing these dogs and what are their ethics? These are all things Detroit Dog Rescue is looking into.” Detroit Dog Rescue Director, Kristina Rinaldi, said in a statement earlier today.

This also serves as a reminder to know the rescue groups you support. Are they transparent with their animals and funds? Are they certified by the state? Does their social media or website show a long list of rescues and, more importantly, adoptions. All of these indicators can give you a pretty good idea of who you are supporting.

Even more important, if you need to re home a pet, always try to obtain support from a reputable organization and scan potential adopters. Never offer an animal for free on sites such as Craigslist or Facebook groups.”

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.


False report of ‘dog bite’ leads to the death of 2 beloved family dogs

In Baltimore, a report of two aggressive, loose dogs and the subsequent false report of a dog bite ended with the shooting death of what authorities described as “two unconfined, aggressive pit bulls.”  On Saturday afternoon, police were called to an alley located behind Edgecombe Circle where investigators found two dogs that had escaped from their backyard.

According to AbcNews, the two four-year-old pit bulls named Major and Savage have never been a problem in the neighborhood. One of the dogs was said to have jumped the fence, and the other squeezed out where three young children – aged 6,7, and 9 had been playing. The dogs were reported to have “scratched and cut” the one little girl. None of the children went to the hospital, and the child at the location was “treated for small scrapes and lacerations” according to the child’s mother who assured reporters her children are fine.

Officers contend they tried to contain the dogs, but shot both of them after they charged. One dog died at the scene, and the other dog ran home and died later that day.

“I ran home to my dog bleeding out on my kitchen floor,” the owner of the dogs stated. “I’m hurt, I’m very numb, and I’m hurt. I can’t even put it into words. I can’t stop crying. We’ve been living around here for almost nine-years or so, and I’ve never had no issues with my dogs. My neighbors never have an issue with dogs, my dogs never got out this gate.”

And yes, the owner of Major and Savage is thankful the children were not hurt, but cannot understand why the police labeled her dogs as aggressive and shot them; insisting her dogs were both “playful and spoiled.” An investigation is ongoing.

So would the police have shot two dogs jumping over a fence if they weren’t pit bull mixes? What do you think? And please comment about local headlines which included such words as “3 children attacked by pit bulls,” “officers shot dogs that attacked children,” or how about this one – “Baltimore police kill dog after it attacked children”?  Remember the children, according to their mother were “treated for small scrapes and lacerations.”

(Photo for fake dog bite and Baltimore police car via the organizations website)

Follow the Pet Rescue Report on Facebook.


Who killed Mary? A sad message to irresponsible owners

At the Lancaster Animal Care Center in California, Mary lost her life on Wednesday. She was quietly led to the backroom of the shelter. She trembled with fright with her tail tucked tightly between her legs – as if she knew she had no future. Within moments Mary was restrained, poison was injected into her left paw and her young life quickly drained away. Mary never did anything wrong. She was a good dog. Here is her tragic story.

Shelter volunteer Sal Valdepena’s free time centers around the local shelters. His passion is helping to save the dogs. As he was uploading Mary’s profile to social media to bring more attention to her plight, he learned she had been euthanized. Sal was devastated but determined that Mary will not be forgotten:

“I was uploading her profile to get her seen. Tragically she was killed yesterday. I am still posting her because even though she’s gone I want everyone to see this sweet angel. To all the stupid f*** backyard breeders whose brains are no bigger than cockroaches look! To all the morons who dump pets look! And to the society who doesn’t give a sh** look!
This dog was only two years old and now she is gone. All that is left is the number given to her as an adoptable dog. Her description merely stated she was an unaltered stray who came into the shelter on November 28. She was killed on December 14. In shelters across the United States, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year. Tragically 40% of those dogs killed are  American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers and “Terrier mixes.” Save a life – adopt a shelter pet.
Rip sweet girl. Humanity will ultimately pay.
Spay and neuter your pets – it’s as easy as that!
(Photo of Mary courtesy of Sal Valdepena)
Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

Three injured pit bulls turned away at Chicago shelter

More discrimination against dogs breeds occurred at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control Shelter this past week after a worker refused to help three injured pit bulls. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the dogs were brought there by animal rescue volunteers after hours. Advocates and critics contend the shelter violated their own rules by turning animals in need away.

According to Barbara Kitzerow, a Chicago police officer and animal rescue volunteer who had been off duty, but hurried to rescue the dogs, there was no describing how frustrated she felt when the frightened dogs, who had been dumped off by a car on the street, weren’t able to be helped. The injured dogs had likely been in a fight and had scratches and wounds on their heads; one of the dog’s had a detached ear and needed help, however a security guard at the shelter told her nothing could be done. Even when two more on duty police officers showed up, the security officer at Animal Care and Control still refused.

Alderman Lopez, who has been critical of Animal Care and Control management, stated the agency’s budget is more than sufficient to handle the situation. As reported by Fox 32, Lopez called it “unacceptable.”

“In a city that prides itself on having an open shelter, that is open to any animal that can come in injured or otherwise, to turn our backs on them and refuse to help people do the right thing is just deplorable,” stated Lopez.

Instead the dogs were transferred to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge where it is hoped all three of the dogs will soon be available for adoption. Two of the dogs needed surgery, but all are reported to be doing well.

As to Chicago Animal Care and Control, they state their policy only allows police officers on duty to drop off dogs after hours, however two on duty officers did show up asking for the dogs to be helped. Their suggestion was to leave the dogs to suffer and roam the streets until morning when an Animal Control officer would pick them up during regular business hours.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

(Photo of three injured pit bulls screenshot via Fox 32)



Breed specific prejudice creates hardships everywhere

We have all heard of and have been angered over the recent decision in Montreal to ban all Pit Bulls because of breed specific prejudice.  It has become a worldwide epidemic and is happening right here in our own backyard.

Luna, a sweet and loving 2 year old female Pit mix had been living a happy life with her family in Tampa, Florida when suddenly the landlord told her owners no Pit Bulls allowed. Her brokenhearted family put out an urgent plea for someone to adopt her, but no one stepped up to help dear Luna.  Her family was forced to do the inevitable and take her to the animal control shelter. The fact that she was an owner surrender and a Pit Bull with breed specific prejudice would have been the death knell for Luna when the unexpected happened.

A Good Samaritan and angel for animals named Stacy Devaris intervened at the shelter drop off door and offered to take Luna from her owner. Stacy had recently rescued and re-homed five stray dogs from the streets of Tampa that surely would have ended up in the hands of dog fighters. This huge rescue mission put a strain on her financially, yet she could not turn Luna down knowing what her fate would be.

This was back in August, and since then Luna has been in a boarding at Tampa Bay Animal Hospital in Temple Terrace. Although she is receiving excellent care in boarding and the staff love her, Luna wants a home and family again. Luna is fully vetted, spayed, and great with kids and other dogs. Sometimes she growls when she is playing but that is just because she is excited.

It’s not Luna’s fault she was judged for her breed before knowing her sweet disposition.

She is a great dog full of energy and love.

If you want to meet Luna and can foster or adopt please contact Stacy Devaris at 813-731-1376.

Funding is also needed for her continued boarding. Please consider a donation to help Luna until she finds the forever home all dogs deserve.


Cesar, pit bull in Staten Island held For 6 months on false Allegations

It seems BSL is continuing to rear its ugly head, not only in the controversial activities of Montreal but here in the United States as well. Dogs are being seized from their families on the fraudulent promise of only a 10 day quarantine; then being held indefinitely and neglected by those that are holding them hostage.

Cesar, a pit bull residing in Staten Island, New York with his owner Kristina Zdanaviciute Panattieri and her husband Douglas Panattieri, has never shown any signs of aggression. He actually serves as a therapy dog for an autistic child.  However, six months ago an incident occurred that has Cesar sitting on death row, and his owners worried over his physical and mental well-being.

The incident occurred while Cesar was in his own yard when a neighbor’s dog wandered into his territory. Cesar did exactly what any dog would’ve done no matter what the breed; he attempted to protect his territory. An altercation ensued between Cesar and the neighbor’s dog, resulting in the neighbor receiving a bite wound.  There is no concrete evidence that it was Cesar who did the biting, it could very easily been the neighbor’s own dog who inflicted the wound.

Nonetheless it was Cesar who was impounded and taken to Staten Island Animal Care and Control facility where he was supposed to only be held on a ten day quarantine per the Department of Health.  It has been six months since the incident, and Cesar has not been released to his owners as promised and now the Department of Health wants him euthanized.

During his six month imprisonment, Cesar has lost over twenty pounds and has gotten sick with pneumonia. He is being denied food and water and proper veterinarian care. He is also suffering from parasites and bacteria, yet his owners are not allowed to take him to a private vet. He is kept in a cage and not given adequate exercise. His owners, the Panattierris are only allowed to visit him twice a week for fifteen minutes each.

Under these deplorable conditions, Cesar will most likely die.  The Staten Island Animal Care and Control Center has an obligation to keep the animals in their care safe and well. That is their job; that is what they are being paid, but unfortunately they are lacking in their responsibilities by letting a dog waste away and die while under their roof.

The case is being appealed, and a petition has been started on Cesar’s behalf urging Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto and Attorney Christina Kang for the Department of Health to let Cesar go home to his family.

Please sign and share Cesar’s petition.


It is a gross miscarriage of justice to continue to keep Cesar imprisoned at the Staten Island Animal Care and Control Center when there is no evidence he has done anything wrong other than behave as any other dog would in the given circumstances.


The Department of Health and the Staten Island Animal Care and Control Center need to be held accountable for their treatment of Cesar. They need to be investigated and prosecuted with the same zeal and aggressiveness that they prosecute innocent animals and their owners.


Do not let them get away with this.