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Create laws that protect animals from abuse by animal control officers, and remove Washington County Animal Control Officer, Hoyt Stepp, from his position.

This petition had 2,143 supporters

There are laws that protect animal control officers from aggressive animals, but there are currently no laws that protect your pet from abusive animal control officers. Please sign and share this petition to create laws that will protect animals from the abuse of those whose job it is to keep them safe. 

On February 25th in Hillsboro, OR a call was made to animal control in Washington County about a dog that was loose in the street. The caller has stated she was worried only for the safety of the dog. The dog’s owner, Marlin Starr, was not at home when both of his dogs somehow managed to escape from their backyard. Lucy, the only dog the caller saw in the street, and Dojie, a 9-year old river rescue and therapy service dog, were found by Washington County Animal Control Officer, Hoyt Stepp when he arrived on the scene.

Stepp claimed that Dojie became aggressive and he felt he needed to use force, and struck her with a baton in her face when he claimed she charged directly at him. However the neighbors who witnessed the incident, up until Stepp followed Dojie out of public view and into her backyard, are all telling a completely different story. They say the dogs were not being aggressive at all, and that when they were approached by the animal control officer they ran into their backyard. Mr. Starr has stated, "At that point witnesses say the officer followed the dogs into the backyard. One witness told me your animals were perfectly fine until we could no longer see them."

After Stepp followed Dojie into her backyard she sustained injuries so severe that her skull was cracked, her shoulder was injured, and the veterinarians were unable to save her right eye. And that's the condition Hoyt Stepp left Dojie in for Mr. Starr to find when he returned home to a note on his door saying his dog may have been injured. Now Dojie may never be able resume her position as a river rescue dog. She spent years saving people who fell off of rafts during whitewater rafting trips by helping them swim to shore. Now it's time for people to save Dojie, and all animals, from ever having to fear suffering the mistreatment from animal control officers who are supposed to protect them from such abuse.

Dojie has no history of being an aggressive dog, and has never threateningly charged anyone prior to Stepp's claims. Officer Hoyt Stepp on the other hand, has a history of allegations of abuse against animals he is sent to protect. Including a controversial incident where Stepp shot and killed a dog in Skagway, Alaska. Although there was much public outcry over the death of this dog, an internal investigation found that Stepp had acted responsibly. Stepp also stomped a dog to death in Juneau, Alaska but the report from that incident was destroyed.

After wrapping up a very quick investigation, Hillsboro police determined the actions of Hoyt Stepp were within reason. The district attorney's office will not press charges because of lack of evidence, however they would not allow Mr. Starr to attend the hearing, nor did they hear anything the witnesses had to say. Stepp was cleared of all charges is now back on active duty. Bonnie L. Hays Animal Services Director, Deborah Wood said "We are confident this is a highly trained officer who has a difficult job who in this circumstance behaved appropriately". They have made no comment on the other allegations of animal abuse by Stepp from his previous animal control positions in Alaska.

Now as Mr. Starr continues to fight for justice for his dog, he turns to all of you for help. When he tried to request a meeting with the mayor of Hillsboro he was told he would not be allowed to talk to the mayor because it was not a "city of Hillsboro issue". So we need your help getting the word out, and letting Oregon's Governor, Kitzhaber, know that we want laws put in place that protects our beloved pets from excessive force from animal control officers. And that Hoyt Stepp has no business being in any position where he works near animals.

  If Governor Kitzhaber wants Oregon to continue to be known as a progressive state for our quality of life, this needs to extend to our furry friends as well.


Today: Justice for Dojie- The River Rescue Dog is counting on you

Justice for Dojie- The River Rescue Dog needs your help with “Oregon Governor: Create laws that protect animals from abuse by animal control officers, and remove Washington County Animal Control Officer, Hoyt Stepp, from his position.”. Join Justice for Dojie- The River Rescue Dog and 2,142 supporters today.