Saving Dogs, Loving My Job
Humane Officer Ashlee Bishop, Wausau, WI
I want to tell an uplifting story about a dog that got dealt a bad set of cards. I responded to a call that of a dog that was leashed in the car but the dog had jumped out of the open window and was dangling. The owner appeared around the same time I was able to get the dog unhooked and safe. As we were talking the owner had mentioned that the dog, a pit bull type dog named “Cinnamon” had been declared a dangerous animal in another jurisdiction.
“Cinnamon” was a very sweet dog from my very short interaction, so I struggled with this declaration. I explained to the owner that because she was declared dangerous in another area that she was not allowed in my jurisdiction. After collecting their information I sent them on their way.
I contacted the other area for their reports on why they declared “Cinnamon”. It was very hard to read the reports, as they never indicated that “Cinnamon” injured anyone. Because she had jumped on another dog and she was classified as a bully breed, she was declared dangerous. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the scope of what I can allow in my jurisdiction.
Later on “Cinnamon” was taken in as a held for cause because her owner was taken to jail and had no place for her to go. Wouldn’t you know, they had been living in my jurisdiction. This meant that my hands were tied by my ordinance and I had to declare her prohibited dangerous. There was not a dangerous bone in her body. We even tested her with other dogs with a trainer and she was fine.
There became a struggle for custody of “Cinnamon”. Her owner could not pay the fees and she also could not find a place to move her to. A prohibited dangerous animal can only be removed from the city or euthanized. Things were not looking good for her.
She stuck with me though. She was great with kids, she was not reactive to the dogs we tested her with. And sweet, she was so very sweet. I couldn’t just let her be put down therefore I reached out to everyone I knew. We had a deadline to find her new placement. Her bills were increasing for her stay. I was on my last day when a shelter came through for me. They said that they would take her and I was able to confirm that the law enforcement there didn’t have any objections.
I drove “Cinnamon” an hour and a half to meet another person that would take her another hour and a half. It was a struggle to find her a home once she was in the shelter because the new family still had to abide by the prohibited dangerous rules, but they did it.
I fought hard for her, and I wish I could do it for everyone. There is truly only so much that we can do in this profession for each animal, but if we all keep plugging along and doing our best hopefully one day will have less to do as we make the world a better place.
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” Karen Devison
Tune in to The Humane Roundup podcast to hear more stories, be entertained, and listen to everything Animal Control related. Ashlee is the co-host. To have access to animal control resources, networking, and free training opportunities, become a member of the Code 3 ACO Coalition.