Shiba Cruelty Case

Photo by Paul Aiken

Photo by Paul Aiken


Woman tapes Shiba to refrigerator

WARNING: the above contains a police report which is quite detailed.

“I know this looks really bad, but the dog bites.  He’s aggressive.”

I can’t imagine why he would be aggressive, you fucking pathetic bitch.  What I wouldn’t give for 20-30 minutes with you and a roll of duct tape.

Further information on Rex’s situation

“Humane Society CEO Lisa Pedersen said Rex is actually closer to 2 years old rather than the eight months Toll had told police.

She said the dog is not in the friendliest of moods but is doing well physically. Rex skittishly accepted treats Wednesday from a staffer at the Humane Society, letting out a warning bark every now and then.

“He’s not easy to handle right now,” Pedersen said. “It’s really sad. It’s not his fault.”

The Humane Society will keep both dogs until their owners’ legal cases are resolved, Pedersen said.”

A Warning

tiercesnarlI had a wake-up call a couple of days ago.  It’s hard to get it down here, because I feel so utterly ashamed of myself.

We have friends who own a pit bull.  “Buddy” is a lovely example of the breed; happy and friendly with people, but also with the single-minded intensity and dominance around other dogs that are hallmarks of the breed.  Despite this, he has had amicable relations with other dogs, so we thought he and Tierce should meet.

Buddy and his owners came around the corner of the house.  We were outside, because we thought it would be easier than in the house.  I brought Tierce forward on the lead to let them sniff noses.  Tierce was excited and went directly to Buddy… and Buddy grabbed him by the ear and Would. Not. Let. Go.  Tierce started SCREAMING and thrashing.  Luckily, Buddy’s owners were right on both the dogs and held them down so Buddy couldn’t shake his head and Tierce couldn’t thrash about too much.

At this point, I’m ashamed to say that I completely freaked out and could do nothing but alternately cry and scream, “Oh my God!”.  I couldn’t see how much damage Buddy was doing.  I couldn’t get in there because it would have made things more complicated, meaning worse, since Buddy’s owners were already in there and getting him to open his jaws.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I had been alone and I don’t want to know, because I broke down so completely.

They separated the two dogs and took Buddy to the car, while I got Tierce into the house. I was freaking out, my boyfriend was frozen with horror, my friends’ kids were hysterical and terrified that Buddy was going to be taken away or put down, and my friends had each been bitten by Tierce while he was freaking out from the terror and pain.

Amazingly enough, Tierce did not have a scratch on him.  It had been a warning.

But what a warning!  I was thinking of Bella, who is still at large.  I was thinking of all the pictures that I’ve seen of pit bull attacks.  Despite the fact that Buddy is a well-socialized, well-trained dog, he still took a long time (it probably was maybe 45 seconds to a minute) to let go and one of my friends had to stick his fingers down the dog’s throat to do it.

At this point, I would like to emphasize that this is NOT an anti-pit-bull post!  This was a huge human error on both sides.

Above all, I am kicking myself for not foreseeing this and protecting Tierce.  Buddy is a great dog, but he is a pit bull who has been attacked by other dogs before – it’s not strange that he would be on the defensive.  And, for an ABPT, defensive is usually a really, Really, REALLY good offensive. APBT have been bred for generations to fight other dogs and are very, very good at it.

Thank Dog my friends took the time to train and socialize him.  Thank Dog they were on the ball.  In the end, Buddy was a true APBT.  The only injuries that occurred were from Tierce and I’m going to give him a pass on that because he was hurting and scared.  Buddy never bit or threatened to bite his humans.  However, he would have severely injured or killed Tierce if things had not gone the way they did.

After this horrorfest, we got Tierce calmed down, Buddy calmed down and the kids calmed down.  After a visit from his “mom”, Buddy was a happy dog again.  Tierce was happy after I had the kids feed him a huge slab of turkey.  We dressed the wounds that Tierce made and spent a reasonably relaxed hour visiting… “So, anyway, how ya been?”

We also discussed the situation and came to the following conclusions:

Mistakes:

– Expecting Buddy and Tierce to get along because we wanted them to.  This was a big one, because we relaxed our guard around two male dogs, one an APBT and one an intact Shiba.

– Introducing the dogs near the house.  That was Tierce’s territory.  Out in the street or even farther would have been better.

– Bringing Buddy around the corner of the house to meet Tierce.  Surprising a dog with the presence of another dog is not always the best idea.  We would have done better to go out in the open where they could have seen each other coming.

– Letting Tierce come up to Buddy right away.  Keeping them separated to see their reactions could have clued us in to the fact that this was a Bad Idea.

– Not acknowledging the fact that Tierce is a very dominant dog and therefore is likely to approach other dogs in a dominant, in-your-face way.  Not something a male dog, especially a male APBT, is likely to take in good part.

– Forgetting that dogs often make decisions based on smell or minute behaviour that humans can’t easily detect.  Tierce’s entire demeanor up to the instant that Buddy grabbed him was, “Who the fuck are YOU?”  Buddy probably had figured that Tierce was going to try to take a chunk out of him well before Tierce came within touching distance.

I am heartily ashamed of myself for not stopping to think.  I could have easily cost Tierce his life or his left ear.   As it was, neither dog was hurt and the humans will recover.  I think my friends were scared – Buddy had never done that before.  I’m guessing he made the decision, after he was attacked by a loose Labrador, that a pre-emptive strike was best.

This was also an excellent lesson on the kind of responsibility that goes with the ownership of an APBT.  Buddy’s owners were prepared to deal with him and did not hesitate to act when things went south.  This is the kind of owner that a pit bull needs.  Buddy is a good dog who has a great temperament and who is owned by knowledgeable, prepared owners.  However, this great temperament is directed at people.  Dogs are a completely different ballgame, as we learned that day.  This incident proved that even the best owners can be blindsided by their dog; fortunately, Buddy’s owners acted immediately and saved Tierce from permanent damage.

Of course, if Tierce had been someone else’s dog, they could have easily blamed Buddy for the incident, because he is a pit bull.  It wasn’t Buddy’s fault. It was our fault, for not recognizing our dogs’ limitations and stress thresholds.  Unfortunately, since Buddy is a pit bull, the onus tends to be on his owners to prove that he didn’t start a fight or that the fight was the natural result of dog-to-dog dominance and not he’s-a-pit-bull-and-they-are-all-vicious-uncontrollable-dogs-that-should-be-killed.

In retrospect, Buddy acted exactly like a typical dog of his sex, age and breed would have acted.  In fact, given what we know about APBT, it was odd that a male pit bull in the prime of life, possessing all the speed and power gifted to his breed, latched on to Tierce and did not leave a single toothmark.  Maybe it was luck or maybe Tierce was very lucky that Buddy was socialized with other dogs in his youth and did not immediately go for a killing hold.

Repeat after me.  Dogs are not people.  Just because a dog gets along with people, does not mean s/he will get along with other dogs.  Shibas are very smart about a lot of things, but their comprehension of their size and fighting power is grossly exaggerated.  Shibas are little shits who will take a shaky situation and make it worse if they possibly can.  Despite the fact that Shibas are little shits, it’s the owner’s full responsibility to make sure they don’t pay the price for being said little shits.

So, if you have a dominant Shiba, be very careful about their attitude towards other dogs.  A Shiba that is extremely submissive may not have the problems that were brought up by my experience, but then again, I have never met a Shiba that didn’t think it owned the world.  If you want to introduce your dog to your friend’s dog, stop and think:

-am I prepared to cancel the physical meeting of the dogs if I think that they are not reacting to each other well at any point?  I ignored my inner warning voice because I wanted the dogs to get along.

-is my dog really good with other dogs?

-is my friend’s dog good with other dogs?

-is there any history that might indicate that the dogs may not get along or may start to grate on one another?

-are the dogs stressed at all?

-am I choosing a neutral venue that allows the dogs plenty of time to see and evaluate each other before physically meeting?

-if there is a fight, am I prepared to deal with it?  Can I break up a fight if it happens? (this is a big one for me; I learned that I need to know what to do if this (DOG FORBID) ever happens again, instead of standing around like a useless, screaming git.)

In the end, this was a relatively minor incident that ended as well as such incidents can.  I didn’t blame Buddy for being what he was.  I didn’t blame his owners; I was just as much at fault for not seeing the pawprints on the wall.  They didn’t blame me or Tierce.  While we were shaken up and frightened at what could have happened, what could have happened didn’t.  It was human error, not canine viciousness and I daresay that Buddy’s owners learned as much as I did about their dog’s abilities and limitations.

I just hope that this story will encourage people with dominant dogs to take things slowly when introducing their dogs to other dogs and keep their dogs away if there are any signs that things will not or are not going well.

Oh my frickin’ Dog

asshole I’m watching Dirty Jobs. One of the jobs that Mike Rowe is doing on today’s episode is dog groomer.  Pretty cool, right?  Well, such is the delicate constitution of today’s Discovery Channel viewer, that they are blurring out the penis, testicles and anus whenever they show a dog’s nether regions.  I honestly didn’t think that humans’ screwed up views on sexuality could get much worse, but there you have it.

Helena dogs

Here’s a blog focussing on the fight to recapture and rehome the Helena dogs, dumped by Mayor Valley of Helena:

NAFA News

In more Helena news, Mayor Valley ‘apologized’ for the release of the dogs – by claiming that the incident was a “distraction” from the good being done in the Helena area, blaming “a renegade humane society from the southeastern portion of [Arkansas]”, and stating that he had broken no law and that the dogs “set free” by his order were not a danger to anyone.

Apparently Valley failed to note the laws pertaining to cruelty to animals, not to mention a rather obvious fact that domestic animals left to turn feral, become a danger to people via disease and predatory/territorial behaviour.

Fallout continues over dogs

Fallout continues over dogs

Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley is facing possible criminal charges after the Humane Society of Southeastern Arkansas filed charges with the Phillips County Sheriff’s Department Monday after Valley directed city sanitation workers to free 10 dogs at the St. Francis National Forest last Wednesday. Ruby Burton, director of the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas, swore out an affidavit for arrest against Valley, citing state animal cruelty laws dealing with abandonment, mistreatment and neglect, all Class A misdemeanors. At press time, no information on whether a warrant was issued for his arrest had been received.

Not about Shibas, but of interest to any dog lover

Arkansas city releases shelter dogs into national forest

I wish to Dog this was an Onion news article, but it’s not.

“They are better off free,” Mayor James Valley said Thursday. “Pardon the pun, but it was just something that was dogging us. So it would be easier for us until we get a facility and have a plan that we just not be in the animal shelter business.”

Here is a blog entry with a letter from the mayor concerning the incident.

…we are or have released all but a few our those animals heretofore housed at the sanitation shop. We fed and watered them and took them to the St. Francis National Forest and released them to freedom.

Isn’t it ironic that St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals? Unfortunately the St. Francis National Forest is not the patron park of domestic dogs. Bear, coyote, and alligators are all residents of the park, as well as bats, raccoons and foxes which can carry rabies. Valley has just released ten potential vectors of rabies, not to mention species-specific diseases. Not to mention the fact that Valley states that “[o]ne of our animal control officers has been to the hospital three times in as many months. Twice for bites and once for a severely sprained ankle growing out of incidents with these animals“. What happens when these hungry dogs come across people? Kids coming home from school? Pet animals? Livestock?

Do not just point fingers at the mayor! Gloria Higginbotham, director of the Humane Society of the Delta stated that “the animals were “better off” fending for themselves.”

Well, looky here: Mayor Valley’s Journal where he tells us that he can be reached at City Hall, 98 Plaza Street, (72390); (870)572-3421 Telephone (870)572-5034 Facsimile (870)817-4035 Cellular Phone. His mailing address is P O Box 248, Helena-West Helena, AR (72342).

This looks like his website, but note it has a different mailing address.

Humane Society of the Delta
website; phone:
(870) 589-3396. The contact page on the website gives some different numbers: (870) 816-5979 and (870) 572-2902

I wonder how long these people would survive if dumped out in buttfuck nowhere with no food, no shelter, no tools, and no knowledge of how to survive.