Wrong Intentions Regarding Mixed Breed Dogs in Pike Co

Pike Pet Pals, a 501(c)3 that helps dogs at the Pike Co pound in Waverly, Ohio, brought a Heinz 57 type dog called Sarge to a large adoption event in Cincinnati on Saturday.  Someone at the pound apparently decided Sarge has a Pitbull ancestor in his pedigree.

Because of that, the shelter says, it will not list Sarge on its website and is unable to do the proper screenings for him to be eligible for adoption.

Unable?  Or unwilling?  I searched online to see if there is a ban on breeds who someone at the pound thinks might have a drop of Pitbull blood in them but couldn’t find anything.  So why won’t the pound let Sarge go home if someone wants to adopt him?

“We have a lot of people coming in (the shelter) with the wrong intentions,” said Julie Mercer of Pike Pet Pals and Pike County Dog Pound.

Really?  What is the basis for this assertion?  Or is this also filed under the Someone at the Pound Thinks category?

You know who has wrong intentions?  People at a taxpayer funded facility refusing to do their jobs and instead making up excuses for killing based on a dog’s body shape.

A Pitbull rescue at the My Furry Valentine adoption event, Adore-A-Bull, “couldn’t rescue Sarge because he doesn’t look like a pit bull.”  Well geez, is this poor dog coming or going?

Sarge wasn’t adopted on Saturday and the article states he was returned to the pound that night.  The event was scheduled to continue on Sunday, without Sarge.

It is unknown when he will be available for adoption, however, since he is currently on his way back to the Pike County Dog Pound.

There was plenty of hand-wringing over the dog:

Pike Pet Pals brought four dogs, and the other three were adopted. “He is caught in limbo,” said Carolyn Evans, who organized My Furry Valentine. “There are 20 types of dogs that are mislabeled pit bulls. I believe that is where he falls.

“It is just a tough position for this poor dog,” Evans said.

I wonder if anyone has stopped to consider either of these crazy possibilities:

  • Go ahead and list Sarge online and adopt him out to someone who wants him, despite his body shape.
  • Quit saying he is part Pitbull since this is pure speculation and apparently keeping him from being marketed better.

If only Someone at the Pound Thought of that.

(Thank you Larkin for sending in this link.)

37 thoughts on “Wrong Intentions Regarding Mixed Breed Dogs in Pike Co

  1. I have done pit bull-specific rescue as well as all-breed rescue. I can’t tell you how many times I went to a pound to pull a “pit bull” and ended up with a mixed-breed dog that could have been described as Jack Russel Terrier, beagle, lab, or any other breed, but in no way would I label them a pit bull. I had a really cute, young 25-pound white JRT/Beagle mix (my best guess!) and I begged the pound to take “pit bull” off her records because there are so many landlords who have breed restrictions. The pound refused. I got her placed, but they made it more difficult than necessary.

  2. Why not spend $60-80 on a simple DNA test and find out what Sarge’s breed is actually …my bet is it will come back with many different “adoptable” breeds. This will also be given to the adopter in case there are questions in the future – ie landlord or insurance issues/discrimination. Shelby County No Kill Mission has started doing this with the county shelter we partner with in Kentucky. Yes it does cost $ and a few minutes to run a cotton swab inside the dog’s mouth and then putting it in a mailbox….but doesn’t this dog and all those that are labeled “pit” or “pitty mix” deserve the chance to live ??

    1. I was thinking the same thing Kelly. If they are having such an issue b/c she is a ‘pit’ but even a pit rescue disagrees with that I think the logical thought would be to run a DNA test so they can figure out the next best move.

  3. Did you see this comment at the bottom of the Article from Carolyn Evans? –
    I am the organizer of My Furry Valentine and the one who networked with our friends in the rescue community to save Sarge’s life. I want to thank Adam Kiefaber for taking such a great interest in helping to promote our event and bring awareness to the plight of homeless animals in our community. I just wanted to make one clarification to the article above because there has been some question about Adore-A-Bull Rescue’s involvement/commitment to helping Sarge.

    We were told that Sarge was a pitbull by the folks at Pike County and that because of that, they were not allowed to adopt him out of the shelter. Immediately, I turned to AABR because I knew I could count on them and they offered to step in and help, sight unseen. When we met Sarge at the event and we all realized he really had very little pit bull in him, Danny made the comment that it was unfortunate that Sarge had been mislabeled because it makes it that much harder on the dog, and more difficult for a group like AABR, specializing in pitbull rescue, to place him. No one knows that better than Danny, co-founder of Adore-A-Bull Rescue.

    We decided it would be in Sarge’s best interest if we could find rescue with a group specializing in placing mixed breed dogs. Still, AABR, and some of their dedicated volunteers especially were already networking Sarge behind the scenes and vowed they would help him personally, if not officially as a group, if another group did not step up to help.

    Unfortunately, Danny’s comment was simply misunderstood. Danny was stating that as a group, AABR was not in a position to help Sarge because the people that support their group, follow their page and come to them to adopt animals are looking for pitbulls, not mixed-breed dogs. Sarge would get overlooked in their rescue. AABR were to first to step up and I never doubted we could count on them. That is why we created this flyer on Saturday thanking both AABR and Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) for offering to help Sarge. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=599376410091796&set=a.344168585612581.95319.327715793924527&type=1&theater

    I know several breed rescues that will take a mixed dog, especially if that dog is listed as the breed! How ridiculous.

    1. It is amazing what can be accomplished when people/groups work together! Hopefully more people will see this story and more animals will get the opportunity/chance to live.

  4. I totally get your point about WHO REALLY GIVES A CARE whether the dog is a pit bull mix or not – obviously an internal stupidity problem at many shelters.
    However, the better story was how there were so many people and groups participating in the widely successful MY FURRY VALENTINE event in the Cincinnati area who got involved to help this particular dog!! He was initially brought by Pike County volunteers, then accepted first by one rescue group, then another who had a better chance of getting him adopted out. And the huge media story this made — hopefully it will help change people’s perceptions.

  5. Yes, perhaps people should stop patting themselves on the back long enough to find out what REALLY happened to Sarge. Is he at the pound in Pike County? Is he even still alive?

    1. I can’t get my mind around how people in the article are all “he doesn’t look like a Pitbull” and such and yet no one will walk up to his damn cage card with a Sharpie and scribble out the PITBULL from his breed listing.

      1. It doesn’t make any sense, doesn’t it? He doesn’t look like breed “A” but we label him anyways as such. At least they could have written “terrier mix” or better no breed at all.

  6. This is truly a happy ending and one that will bring awareness to group collaboration. But whether we agree or not, the bottom line is the breed or what the breed is perceived to be does matter. Unfortunately many insurance companies and housing corporations will not cover/allow “pit bull breeds” so many potential rescue groups and adopters are “limited” on which dog they may take home. Many are labelled according to what they may look like. Labelling occurs at all levels – shelter, volunteers, general public, businesses, etc. Educating and change can be slow but must happen. Posters of mixed breeds like the ones that Animal Farm Foundation distribute are real eye openers: http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org/pages/Labels-Language.

  7. The woman goes on and on about what a great, healthy, friendly dog he is and then says “if we can’t find a home for him he’ll have to be put down.” So, in other words, we are not going to put him on the website, we labeled him as a pitbull even though a pit bull rescue says there’s barely a smiggen of pit bull in him, we are not going to put him up for adoption but he’ll HAVE to be put down if he doesn’t find a home. Well, HOW THE FUCK IS HE GOING TO FIND A HOME??? You don’t plan to do anything to help in that process and yet you HAVE TO PUT HIM DOWN if he doesn’t find one.

    1. Exactly. And they didn’t even let him have the chance of being adopted the second day at the event, just took him back to the pound Saturday night. Yet they say “have to” kill. I guess because it sounds better than “want to” kill.

  8. They even spent the time to film him to show what a great dog he is. Did they film any other dog to that extent? Sarge must be pretty amazing to spend that kind of time with him. He’s a friendly dog so DO SOMETHING besides hide him in the shelter until you decide to murder him for no reason other than total incompetence!!

  9. How many more dogs are out there who are in the same predicament? Good natured, well mannered and “pit” mix and “can’t be adopted”….Wake up they are adoptable – think outside the box and never turn your back. Sarge was lucky as someone made the long trip back to the shelter the next day but he could have easily been killed the night he got back or the next AM for various reasons that are given at many kill shelters. There was time spent and money spent retrieving the dog from a kill shelter the next day that could have been spent finding him/others homes IF Sarge had not been sent back. You have to do the right thing at the moment as there may not be a second chance…this has been proven over and over again in many shelters across the world. It may not be the easiest but it is the right thing. I am happy that the groups came together to help Sarge and hopefully lesson learned that you do not put off making the right decision.

  10. Am I reading this paragraph wrong?

    “Sarge was rescued at around 8:15 p.m., Saturday. However, he still needs a home. To adopt him, contact the Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP), which is located in Newport, at 859-391-1234 or at SAAP@fuse.net. It is unknown when he will be available for adoption, however, since he is currently on his way back to the Pike County Dog Pound.”

    It says he was rescued Saturday night, and can be adopted through SAAP, but it’s unknown when he will be available because he’s back in the pound. WTF? Was the reporter smoking crack or something?

    And looking at the comments, I’m seeing:

    “Sarge will be available for adoption next weekend at one of SAAP’s two adoption locations.”

    “Sarge is already back in Cincinnati! He is available for adoption through the Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) and he is at their vet for his full check-up today.”

    Does anyone have the straight scoop on what’s going on?

    And will someone please bitch-smack the idiot who decided Sarge was a pit mix?

    1. According to the poster on the facebook page – Sarge went back to the shelter after the event on Saturday. The rescue group made the four hour drive on SUNDAY to pick up Sarge and he is now in rescue in Cincinnati and will be at their adoption event this upcoming weekend.

      1. That’s great news. One down and many more to go. But until the mindset is changed I don’t see a lot of hope for any dog that might, maybe, could have, possibly be even a tad pitbull.

  11. I can’t speak to the specifics of this case but there is obviously some confusion regarding where the dog is and the exchanges that have been happening between the various groups.

    I originally read the article on the Enquirer’s page and found the comments from the Pike County personnel to be odd. It also sounds like the way that AABR’s actions in the story were reported was misleading and it sounds like they have been working on behalf of Sarge even though he’s not going to be in their foster program.

    Ohio was the only state that had a statewide designation of pit bulls as dangerous (until it was amended last year), and Cincinnati banned pit bulls until the last year or two as well. There are a lot of minds that need to change in Ohio, but at least the wheels are in motion…

    1. EXACTLY! Laws were changed according to STATE law, but unfortunately local law trumps in these types of cases. Sadly, the shelter was in a position to make a positive change – and made the decision NOT to do so. The “tad bit” of pit they believe they can see in him is similar to body style of boxers even!

      What needs to happen is to change the state law yet again to not only keep the removal of pit bulls as “vicious” but to also state that localities can not trump state law in this case. While we may have come so far from where we were in Ohio…change still needs to continue. And, I for one, am pushing to get that to go through.

      There are still ample communities that have “banned” any dog with a pit bull body style – and have had a personal experience with an ACO in regards to an obvious boxer that he insisted was a pit bull “mix”. I laughed at him as I loaded the dog up in MY car and took him somewhere safe so that he could find a home without the misguided BS that some of these shelters continue to use! They’d have a better chance of placing dog breeds in a hat and just pulling a few out to use on some of these poor dogs!

      1. Local law cannot trump state law. The issue in Ohio (and in most states) is that there is no state law that would trump any local laws. While it’s great that the state designation of pit bull type dogs as automatically dangerous has been removed, communities are still free to implement BSL however they wish.

        I’m not sure if Pike County has any type of breed-specific legislation, or if it’s some type of shelter policy that was being referenced.

      2. While I understand what you are saying…in this case of BSL the localities that have implemented BSL (Cincinnati is one area with BSL due to dog fighting issues that have been rampant in the past in the area) are allowed to continue regarding pit bull types dogs as dangerous and to continue the practice of not only not allowing those dogs that physically fit the description of a pit bull to live in those areas, but also means that shelters/pounds in those areas are prohibited from adopting them out. While Cincinnati has been making some progressive moves regarding BSL the shelters/pounds have not quite reached the same conclusions. There are still issues that have to be dealt with in regards to insurance and liability. It does NOT keep rescues from being able to pull and move them to another locality in order to save them, but there are so many that need saved and almost every rescue is beyond capacity….sadly.

        I was an active participant in getting pit bull type dogs removed from the vicious dog listing in the law and tried to have wording changed to address this issue so that localities could NOT enact BSL, unfortunately the changes had reached a level where we would have had to start from the beginning to change the wording and since it was to the point of voting to make the changes it was decided to let it pass as worded and to then be reviewed later to see about making further changes.

  12. I know someone who rescued an obviously purebred greyhound from a shelter who had been labeled as a pit bull. The shelter person was not happy when this was pointed out to him and said “He’s brindle. Pit bulls are brindle. He’s a pit bull!”

    I’m so sick of the ignorance of shelter workers! Thank God, that shelter didn’t have a policy of not adopting pits or that greyhound would have died, too.

  13. I have a dog, adopted from a rescue group, who may or may not be part “pit bull”. So what? I don’t care what kind of dog she is, neither does my family. In fact, we have some up with no less than 15 alternate fake breed names for her, our favorite being “dumb American white dog” (endearingly, of course, and she actually is rather intelligent, though goofy). We just wanted to adopt a nice mixed breed dog whose personality fit in well with our children and other pets, and she fit the bill.

  14. It seems the stupidity at the shelter has no limits, but their adoptions do when they want them to. Once again, a “shelter” is the cause of more unnecessary deaths, one way or another.

    “Oh look, those 2 hairs could be pitt. Kill them all,” says the shelter idiot.

  15. Hello! I am the event organizer of My Furry Valentine, and the one who networked within the rescue community to save Sarge. And let me tell you, that that is exactly what happened. Sarge is SAFE!
    Thank you to everyone here for sharing your thoughts, and who are obviously touched by this story, by Sarge, and by the practice of both “labeling” and by the injustice of incorrect labeling.

    We are all upset about “labeling”, particularly labeling that happens to be (in our opinion) inaccurate, and also negatively impacting the dog’s chances of survival. I want to clear up a few things. First of all, I had reached out to Adore-a-Bull Rescue (AABR) and they agreed to take Sarge if he had not been adopted on Saturday. We were told he was a pitbull. When we met him, we all agreed that he was *very little* pitbull and that he would be best served by a group who was better equipped to place mixed-breed dogs. AABR vowed not to let anything happen to Sarge, and continued to network him individually. They offered to do their standard temperament test on Sarge and even to pay for a DNA test if that would help clear things up and lift the “pitbull” label, giving Sarge a better chance.

    The day was crazy and things happened fast. Before we knew it, the day was over (with 150 adoptions!), and Sarge was never brought over to the other end of the warehouse where AABR was located. We thought Sarge had been adopted. At the end of the day, I saw the group leaving with Sarge and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe he was still with them and he was going home. Most of the other groups were gone at that time, including AABR, and we had nowhere to turn. We wanted Sarge to stay until Sunday, but the team was heading home and we had no commitment for him.

    After they left on their journey back to Pike County, I started working the phones and was so thankful when my friends at the Stray Animal Adoption Program agreed to take Sarge into their rescue. They called Pike County and made arrangements for Sarge to return to Cincinnati. We couldn’t wait. Two of our volunteers, who were really invested in Sarge by this point, offered to make the 4 hours round-trip so that we could bring Sarge back the next day and know he was safe. He arrived back at My Furry Valentine Sunday afternoon,


    He is now available for adoption through the Stray Animal Adoption Program.


    This truly is a story of the community rallying together to save a precious life. Thank you to all involved and concerned.

    1. Thank you for clearing everything up AND for all the hard work you put in “behind-the-scenes” to help save Sarge from certain death. :)

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