Huntington Animal Rescue Group Intervenes to Save Pit Bull Look-a-Like

Updated 3 years ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
Huntington Animal Rescue Group Intervenes to Save Pit Bull Look-a-Like
Facebook Photo

A dog affectionately referred to as "Tink" need a legal advocate, since she can only "bark" to speak her side of the story. She's on death row, too after an order entered by a magistrate determined she looked or was a pit bull and therefore aggressive.

River City Bully Buddies has a determined mission on its plate: Save Tinkerbell.  After rescuing her from a high kill shelter she spent about 1 1/2 years with a foster before going to her "forever home." However, the large dog has been involved in what Capti Billings of River City rescue termed an accident.

"It was an unfortunate accident. The kids were throwing the ball around, and I guess Tinkerbell got excited, because she loves toys, and her and the little boy went for the ball at the same time," Billings told WCHS.

However, a Wayne County judge has order that the animal be put down. Billings believes there is WV Supreme Court precedent to save the animal. She wants to adopt him.

Here is Tinkerbell's story from the her Facebook page:

Our heart's are absolutely crushed. A dog that was saved from a high kill facility, back in May 2012, a dog who I personally shared my home with for 16 months, until she was adopted in August of 2013 by a wonderful family- was just ordered destroyed yesterday by a Wayne County Judge. This dog was in my home, with my children that were 9, 12 and 15 at the time, without incident. She was also in the home of her adoptive family with their 6 and 9 year old boys, without incident. Tinkerbell was a favorite at all of our events, a favorite of River Cities Bully Buddies volunteers and the volunteers of the shelter she came from. Goofy, wiggly, bouncy, tongue hanging out of her face friendly gal.

On March 31st of this year there was an unfortunate accident involving a neighbor child. The only witness was Tinkerbell's boy, 9 years old. While the family was cooking out the children were throwing a ball around, Tinkerbell grabbed the ball as it fell to the ground (she loves toys) and the neighbor tried to do the same, the result was stitches in his upper and lower lip. No one is 100% certain what happened, but it was called an accident by the children. The child was taken to the hospital and treated, a bite report filled out and sent to the health department which resulted in animal control being notified. On April 1st an AC officer came to the residence and ILLEGALLY seized the dog for being vicious. She was current on rabies vaccine, the rabies quarantine is to be done at the residence according to WV state law. The quarantine period is only 10 days, however, the dog was held illegally for 30 days. We were able to file motion to have her released back to her family. The director of the shelter even under court order refused to release the dog without the family first paying a $200 fee. The family paid to get their dog to safety.

Wayne County prosecutor pressed charges against the family, the charge "knowingly harboring a vicious animal". In order to do so the dog has to have a bite history, which she does not have. Still they proceeded, but on June 17th the family was found not guilty.

Over? No, not over. The family was again ordered to keep the dog confined to their home and were to return to court on the 30th for the "destruction" hearing. This should have been dismissed, but again ignoring the law they proceeded. Yesterday the judge ordered Tinkerbell euthanized by Jim Cumm, animal control facility director, she was ordered immediately to the shelter. The basis for his decision?
The "fact" she is a "pit bull" and "pit bulls" are inherently vicious. WV has no such statewide legislation that has declared any breed of dog inherently vicious.

No photos were looked at that showed her with her boys, my children, various children at adoption events. The videos of her playing with her boys ignored. An evaluation by an animal behavioralist not done, DNA test not done (not that breed(s) should be relevant, but they condemned her for her said breed of dog, and their "expert" on dog identification was an AC officer that looked at a photo and visually identified the dog as a "pit bull". That is absolutely ridiculous considering a "pit bull" isn't a breed of dog its a generic term applied to dogs that share similar characteristics. Its a highly subjective term, there is no legal definition and depending on who you talk to their idea may be completely different than the next person you talk to. In addition studies show that dog experts and AC are certainly no experts on dog breeds, are wrong 75-80% of the time when labeling dogs based solely on visual identification. A DNA test is the only accurate way to correctly identify a dogs breed(s) without papers. Again not that breed(s) should be relevant!

The judge also went on spouting the typical myths one frequently hears- "pit bulls" are inherently vicious, they are born to fight and kill, etc...the courtroom was filled with blatant ignorance, no scientific proof of their claims, and blatant disregard for WV law.

Tink was illegally seized and held, WV code clearly ignored. This state has a strict liability dog bite statute that is limited to dogs running at large. Other than ... If a dog is not running at large, the state applies the ancient and inhumane "one bite rule". Basically a dog gets one free bite. This was also ignored. The family was found not guilty which should have dismissed the destruction hearing, again this was ignored, and to reiterate WV has no such statewide legislation that has declared any breed of dog inherently vicious!

A lot of wasted time, effort, tax payers money was put into trying to build a case where there was none. It was clearly an unfortunate accident, this child was not "attacked" or "mauled" as they claim.

This accident turned into a sickening case of breed discrimination and an innocent dog was sentenced to death because of what she looks like.

She is being held again in quarantine, terrified, not understanding why she was ripped away from her family and placed in a cage. We have no access to her either. We were given 30 days to try to save her life, we are hoping to take this to the next court and fight it. Tink needs all the help she can get. I will keep everyone updated as things progress.

Hug your dogs tight folks, "pit bull" dog, husky, boxer, mixed breed. Your dog might be next.

Breed discrimination needs to be stopped! Innocent dogs are dying every day, families being torn apart, all because people fear what they don't understand, and destroy what they fear.

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