Here's the article:
Woman takes dog rescue into own hands, is arrested
Thursday, September 21, 2006
By Linda Wilson Fuoco
The tale of a Doogie, aka Jake, has been making the rounds of Internet sites and e-mails. Perhaps you've seen them.
Doogie/Jake is a dog chained outside 24/7 in East Freedom, Blair County. He's been abused and neglected, and no one paid any attention. For several days, he lay, unable to move, and no one helped him. A frantic neighbor repeatedly called police and the humane agent of a local shelter and still no one came to his aid. This is the information disseminated in e-mails and on the Web site, Dogs Deserve Better.
Tammy Sneath Grimes, founder of Dogs Deserve Better, went into the yard Sept. 11 and took him to a veterinarian. She was arrested on charges of stealing the dog, which she calls Doogie. Her preliminary hearing is today.
Dog lovers are howling in protest.
The organization Ms. Grimes founded wants to make it illegal for dogs to be tethered outside 24 hours a day. Her supporters are urging animal lovers to inundate the police, the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, the district judge and The Altoona Mirror with telephone calls and e-mails decrying Doogie's plight. They want Ms. Grimes to go free and they want Doogie's owners to be charged with animal cruelty.
But there are at least two sides to every story, and the e-mails tell just one.
The owners, who call the dog Jake, say he is 19 years old and in failing health. They say he wasn't getting up because of severe arthritis. They want him back, they said in an interview with The Altoona Mirror.
The Freedom Township police who charged Ms. Grimes say they never received reports of a dog in dire straits. They've never seen Doogie/Jake, so they cannot assess his condition. Ms. Grimes will not produce the dog and will not tell police where he is.
The humane agent who normally investigates these kinds of cases said he received two messages on his answering machine Sept. 11 while he was out helping the state dog warden respond to reports of dogs running loose and attacking children and livestock.
Paul Gotshall works 40 hours a week for the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, investigating animal abuse allegations. He never before had complaints about Doogie/Jake.
Mr. Gotshall said he and the shelter were getting hate mail and telephone calls.
You can read stories about the case at www.altoonamirror.com. To me, a professional journalist, it looks as if police reporter Mark Leberfinger has interviewed everyone and presented all sides of the story.
The bottom line is, there are laws that protect dogs and laws that protect dog owners. The police and the humane agent would have had to follow the law to investigate abuse allegations. Ms. Grimes had no authority to seize Doogie/Jake or any other dog.
To put it another way, what if someone doesn't like you or doesn't like the way you care for your pets. Would you want them coming onto your property to steal the animal?
Stay tuned. This story is far from over.
Here's my letter to their Editor:
Regarding your Pets column on September 21st - http://www.post-gazette.com/pets/ - Woman takes dog rescue into own hands, is arrested - (I will have to admit that I am a member of Dogs Deserve Better but) - there was one line in that article that
really struck me.
"What if someone doesn't like you or doesn't like the way you care for your pets. Would you want them coming onto your property to steal the animal?"
I personally have NO worries about someone coming onto my property and stealing ANY of my animals because my dogs are WITH me ALL the time when they are outside - or they are INSIDE with me, or INSIDE when I'm gone. They are never OUTSIDE available to be stolen!
Someone would have to overpower me in order to steal them when we're outside - or they'd have to break into my house in order to steal them. End of story. I am aware of their whereabouts at all times.
Unlike the owners of "Jake" or "Doogie" - who had left him alone to die on the muddy ground unable to move without food or water for 3 days - leaving their neighbour to cry uncontrollably while Tammy Grimes did the only thing she thought she could humanely do. Which was to do what she did.
Man, some people just don't think things through before they write them and publish them - or maybe they don't think it was a problem that Doogie was tied out and dying in that back yard?