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Thanks For Your Community Service, We’re Taking Your Pets

There was a local news story the other day about county residents being afraid of roaming dogs.  Something’s got to be done, the county will look into it, etc.  It got me thinking about Scout, who is now sort of living on our porch.  I wondered if AC happened by or the letter carrier tried to deliver something and saw Scout – could we get into trouble?

I thought that I would explain the circumstances about Scout being abandoned, having a litter somewhere in the neighborhood that she’s still nursing, how I’m trying to find help so that she and her 7 pups won’t be roaming the neighborhood in future, that this is a temporary situation…  I figured most anyone would understand.

Then today I came across this story:

An Omaha dog trainer rescued nine puppies, then lost custody of her own dogs.

The Nebraska Humane Society said it’s a case of Sheri Frizzell having three strikes in two years. After being cited for having too many dogs, she can’t have animals in her home for four years.

On Tuesday, the group took her Boston terrier Boz, her Chihuahua Little Bit and her cat, saying she violated Omaha’s Reckless Owner Ordinance three times.

“This morning, I got up and there was nothing to get up for,” Frizzell said.

Well that sucks.  Ms. Frizell has explanations for her “three strikes” and they seem reasonable to me (a foster dog got loose, a couple foster homes fell through and returned pups).  It sounds as if she’s someone trying to help protect her community from reckless owners and roaming dogs by rescuing dogs and working as a trainer.  But the local “humane society” sees it differently:

The Reckless Owner Ordinance was enacted in 2008 to “safeguard the public against those irresponsible dog owners whose dogs pose danger to the public.”
Frizzell said she knows she can only have three dogs at one time in Nebraska, so when she rescued nine puppies from a Missouri mill, she said she got them into foster homes immediately. Three weeks later, she said she got the dogs back after two foster owners backed out.

“I was fast and furious, trying to find them home. Just the pure amount of work would force you to do that,” she said.

She said she only had the dogs for 48 hours, but NHS said that’s enough to break the law, even if her intentions are good.

So they took away her pets.  And she can’t have any more pets or foster any more dogs in need for 4 years.  I can imagine this might negatively impact her business as well. That’s protecting the community?

Can we as a society not appreciate that, as in all things, there are shades of grey with regards to caring for pets?  Having a certain number of dogs in your house does not automatically make you a puppy mill or a hoarder or someone the community needs to be protected from.  Life is not black and white.

I bet, if the NE HS took a look around, they could find ways to help pet owners and pets in their community, just like Ms. Frizzell does.  And they might even find someone who is a truly reckless owner that the public needs to be protected from.  But that person is not Ms. Frizell.  She looks like one of the good guys to me.  If I worked at the local HS, I’d want to encourage more people to give back to the community in the way that Ms. Frizell has.  I wonder how many people will be encouraged to do so now?

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