~RIP THUNDER~Reform Heyburn ID City Animal Ordinances & Advocate for Accountability within City Governement and Police
~IN MEMORY OF THUNDER~ City Officials & the local Police Department in Heyburn, Idaho, carried out the murder of Thunder, a beautiful 2yr old Great Dane on April 15th, after deeming him as vicious per the current City Ordinance 7-1-3 Section D Vicious And Mischievous Dogs & Section E Rabid Dogs. City officials had originally stipulated that Thunder’s life could be saved via placement with an approved out of state 501c3 rehabilitation rescue, if a transport out of state was in place at the time of his 10 day quarantine release. Several out of state 501c3 rescues specializing in rehabilitation and large breed dogs stepped up on Thunder’s behalf, and agreed to abide by the stipulations set forth by the city upon his release. Soon after Thunder was taken in to custody and placed in quarantine at the county shelter by Heyburn city officials and police, cooperation by the city to release public documents and meet with members of the local rescue community ceased. Members of the rescue community from all over the world, came together and advocated for the city to abide by the original rescue stipulations they had set forth, as requirements for the rescue community to be able to save Thunder’s life. Over 3,000 signatures were sent to Heyburn city officials and police, and city hall was flooded with phone calls and media requests, by animal advocates across the globe. Indian Great Dane Rescue in California, in coordination with both local ground and interstate transport volunteers, were all on stand-by with a plan in place to transport Thunder from Idaho to California, directly upon his release. City officials had reported a decision regarding Thunder’s fate would be issued at 4pm MST on Monday April 15th. Early on Monday morning, the city reported they had received a call from a rescue in Ohio, who had stated to them they were in route to Idaho in an effort to rescue Thunder and take him into their custody directly from the county shelter (this story was later proven to be a lie made up by Heyburn city officials in an effort to justify their actions and carry out their plan). The call had reportedly been made to the dispatch office, which in turn had relayed the message to city officials, AC, and police. City Officials then went to the county shelter where Thunder was being held in quarantine, and placed the facility in “lockdown,” stating that they were protecting the shelter from any rescue that may try to save Thunder by forcing their way in. When local rescue community members arrived at the shelter for the 4pm decision to be announced, they discovered that Thunder was no longer in the shelter and that his whereabouts were not to be disclosed to the public, per the City of Heyburn officials and police. Later reports indicated Thunder was in the custody of the City of Heyburn police department, but the city refused to disclose his location or confirm if he had been killed or if he was still alive. On Wednesday April 17th, a statement was issued by the City of Heyburn stating that Thunder had been removed from the shelter (during the time the shelter was on “lockdown”) and killed via euthanization on Monday April 15th, the day his 10 day quarantine requirement was met. City officials stated they had euthanized Thunder per the request of his owners, who had provided a written statement to the city (which was provided via a public document request) earlier in the week. City officials maintain they acted within the law in carrying out Thunder’s execution, and are refusing to disclose the manner in which Thunder’s body was disposed of, and will not comment on the location of his final resting place. They City of Heyburn must be held accountable for the deplorable manner in which they handled this case, and for their continued disregard for the welfare of the animals that are unlucky enough to find themselves under the jurisdiction of the City of Heyburn police department. City officials including the City Administrator, Prosecuting Attorney, and Police, must be held to a higher standard when it comes to cases involving animal welfare and control. Regardless of how they justified their right to kill Thunder, fabricating the Ohio rescue story to discredit the rescue community in general, using a lie as their reason for the supposed shelter “lockdown” being put in place, and using this “lockdown” period to abduct Thunder, kill him, and then secretly dispose of his body shortly thereafter, is completely unethical, and a tragic example of both the arrogance and the ignorance, with which city officials carry out matters relating to animal welfare and control. The City of Heyburn has shown continuous disregard for the welfare and wellbeing of the animals within their jurisdiction, and as the current City of Heyburn ordinance now stands, the police department has the final say in determining the fate of dogs like Thunder, with the Mayor, City Council, and rescue community having no authority to advise or issue directives on how to proceed in cases like this. The Heyburn City Administrator and Prosecuting Attorney became involved due to the overwhelming public response to Thunder’s plight. The former AC for Heyburn, who now serves as an officer with the city police, along with Heyburn City’s Police Chief, did everything in their power to hinder the rescue community's rescue and advocacy efforts on Thunder's behalf, and refused to consider the solid out of state rescue/rehabilitation and transport plan that we had worked so hard to put in to place. Serious concerns remain about how the police department and Heyburn city officials handled Thunder’s case, and they will continue to disregard the rights animals unless we speak up and demand that changes in city ordinances regarding animal welfare and control be made. We are petitioning for the City of Heyburn to release information regarding the investigation of and circumstances surrounding Thunder being taken in to custody, as well as the process by which they justified and carried out his execution, the details of how they disposed of his remains, and the location of his final resting place. We are petitioning for his physical remains, and/or the location of his body to be released to a designated rescue community representative, as the rescue community and animal advocates everywhere are advocating for their right to pay their respects through giving Thunder a safe, honorable, and dignified, final resting place. We are also petitioning for review and reform of the current City of Heyburn Ordinances pertaining to the welfare of animals within the city's jurisdiction, and to allow for the Mayor, City Council, and rescue community to be involved in deciding how the city implements its ordinances pertaining to animal welfare and control. We are petitioning for more transparency and accountability when it comes to city officials, and members of the police department in reviewing cases, implementing changes, and issuing directives in all cases relating to adherence to city ordinances regarding animal welfare and control, especially in cases in which an animal may be euthanized due to a violation of the Heyburn City Codes as reported by the city police. Inconsistencies in reporting, lack of due diligence, along with a continued disregard for the role of rescues in advocating for the welfare of animals within the city’s jurisdiction, is both unacceptable and unethical from our point of view. We stand united in our ongoing efforts to advocate for the animals of this small rural southern Idaho town, and each signature on this petition serves as a voice on behalf of Thunder, and on behalf of all of the other animals that have and will continue to suffer at the hands of the elected and appointed officials of the City of Heyburn local government. Each signature is a voice demanding justice for Thunder, and a call to change the power structure within the city, which as it now stands, places the life and death of animals in the hands of officials who have demonstrated continued disregard for the welfare and rights of the animals within Heyburn city limits. We demand that the city codes be modified to limit the power and set a higher level of accountability, for the City of Heyburn police department and city officials, in matters of animal welfare and wellbeing, and for a review of the current city ordinances and protocols pertaining to animal code violations within the City of Heyburn's jurisdiction. We advocate for the implementation of new regulations to allow for the Mayor and City Council to review and issue directives, for the rescue community to have a voice and for the public to have a forum from which to discuss matters relating to the treatment and governing regulations of animals under the jurisdiction of City of Heyburn officials. Officials with The City of Heyburn have clearly demonstrated their disregard for the plight of animals in their small town, and we stand united in our pursuit to better their lives and to hold all city officials to a higher standard of accountability when it comes to the development and implementation of city ordinances relating to animal control and the welfare and wellbeing of all animals within the Heyburn City limits. We ask for the city to recognize and partner with animal advocacy and rescue groups in our ongoing efforts to give the animal of Heyburn, Idaho a voice, and to provide every opportunity for these animals to have the second chance at life that they all deserve.
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