In solitary confinement for over a year, a family Shepherd is denied his last days at home
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STOP THE CRUELTY:
A Senior German Shepherd, in failing health, held in solitary
confinement for over 530 days by Multnomah County Animal
Control, Troutdale Oregon, has been prohibited from spending
his last days at home.
The pictures of Chucky with his family are from happier times.
Chucky, an old German Shepherd, has been held in solitary confinement since his impoundment on February 28, 2016 by Multnomah County Animal Services, Oregon. For over 530 days he has been denied critical socialization and exercise, allowed only rare restricted family visits by appointment for a maximum 15 minutes. Animal Control sees visitations as disruptive and justifies limited visitations, often allowed only through the kennel door, as “upsetting” to the animal.
On July 5, 2017 of his long confinement, a medical report noted troubling significant health concerns: a suspicious mass that could be neoplasia, infection or another serious problem. In response MCAS has withheld diagnostic medical procedures critically needed to determine what is wrong. Despite the gravity of his condition, Animal Control won’t release him to go home to his family as his mental and physical health decline.
How did Chucky arrive at this crossroads?
Chucky and his companion Shepherd named Katrina were picked up after escaping a county approved kennel required after previous at-large episodes. Despite its approval by the county, the kennel proved to be inadequate. Both dogs escaped. Chucky was charged with killing a small poodle while at large. Although Chucky is a very personal and loving dog with Katrina, his companion Shepherd, his family and others, he can be dog aggressive.
Multnomah County’s rejection of humane solutions is inexcusable, part of an attitude of forced compulsion, a requirement for “submission and “obedience” at all costs. Without sacrificing public safety and at no expense to taxpayers, funding for a secure kennel would have sufficed allowing Chucky to go home to his family instead of suffer. Instead the county’s refusal has now cost taxpayers nearly $8,000. Animal Control’s intransigent position is symptomatic of government sponsored animal cruelty. And while the cost continues to escalate daily, a secure kennel remains as a practical and humane solution.
Chucky comes from an impoverished Hispanic family. Although they are poor, they did their best to respect Multnomah County Animal Control’s ordinances. They should not be punished for their poverty In allowing the family to regain custody of the dog they love, MCAS would affirm its “Equity and Empowerment Lens” mandated by the county itself. But it still refuses.
Once MCAS rejected all humane options, Chucky’s conviction was appealed by the family with the help of a pro bono attorney. The case remains pending before the Oregon Court of Appeals. The appeal is viewed as an affront to the county’s authority. The County’s attorney, MCAS advisor David Blankfeld, and MCAS director Jackie Rose have labeled the appeal frivolous and unnecessary and continue to pressure the family to give up. The appeals are all that have kept Chucky alive. But without the appeal, Chucky would certainly have been killed. The County has taken a stand neither providing Chucky necessary diagnostic procedures nor allowing him to return to his family for needed medical treatment.
Multnomah County Animal Control’s predatory behavior towards vulnerable persons is long standing. MCAS targets the most vulnerable and underserved populations in Multnomah County. Few can afford to defend themselves and their animals against a system intended to thwart due process, justice and fair play. The poor, minorities, and in particular the homeless are fair game in a system that is rigged against them..
While Chucky’s appeal remains pending he is being held under conditions that no prison system would tolerate for even the most hardened criminals. The County’s own notes make those conditions clear, the same observations repeated over and over and over again make his deterioration clear:
“Chucky’s kennel was filthy this morning, He is spreading feces and urine all over his inside and outside areas. This includes walls, bedding, and chain link…”
Multnomah County is sending a clear message--- do not exercise your rights. Disagree and punishment will be swift. If one does appeal, animals will be kept confined month after month with no relief for their misery and loneliness as the County declines all effective alternatives.
Chucky is not alone. Dogs like Chucky live out their lives isolated, alone, in miserable circumstances, housed in “security kennels”. The offenses are almost always correctable, almost always related to poverty. The animals suffer, become ill and injured from the effects of confinement.
By refusing the diagnostic tests needed for treatment and not allowing Chucky to go home for treatment or, most likely, a few weeks of comfort, it plans to run the clock out on his life.
If we cannot prevail, Chucky will languish until his death.
Ask the Multnomah County Commission to release Chucky back to his family home for the remaining days of his life. Protest the continuing abusive enforcement animal policies practiced in Multnomah County. Without your voice, change will not happen. Nothing will change.
Gail O’Connell-Babcock, PhD
Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation/Watchdog
Sherwood OR 97140
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