Discussion: After Biting a Child, Mickey Lives in a Jail Cell

Regular readers may remember when a Maricopa Co pound worker taunted animal advocates trying to save a dog named Mickey who had severely bitten a child.  The taunting was defended by the pound director as free speech.  And also mocking dog killing is absolutely a trait we want in our public pound employees so shut all the way up.

As it turns out, an agreement was reached with the court that Mickey would be allowed to live (aw, pet killers have a sad) if his teeth were ground down and he was locked up by the county for life.  Mickey is literally being kept in a jail cell with a webcam on him 24/7.

From the webcam page:

That’s when Sheriff Joe Arpaio stepped into the fray. He went to court on behalf of the dog and offered the judge a way to save Mickey ….the Sheriff’s Office would give Mickey a ‘life sentence’ inside Arpaio’s MASH jail (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Animal Safe House). The pit bull would be offered no parole, and no probation in exchange for taking the death sentence off the table.

Right now, the cell appears to be unsanitary, to put it mildly.  Take a look.

What are your thoughts on what has happened to Mickey?

(Thanks Arlene and Clarice for the links.)

75 thoughts on “Discussion: After Biting a Child, Mickey Lives in a Jail Cell

  1. That colorful sheriff is well known for thinking outside the box. It’s a good start but perhaps agreement can be modified further by consent as time goes on (think rehab & relocation of Michael Vick’s dogs). Trouble is that these cases take planning & resources — would love to know details about the hearing.

  2. Female inmates take care of the dogs such as Mickey and it is my understanding he gets to go out and get his cage cleaned several times a day. When I just looked he was playing with a toy. This may not be the ideal life but given the circumstances and how MCACC normally treats “pit bulls” (kills most of them) it is preferable than the death alternative. They would not let him go to rescue. Surely you are not doing the death vs. incarceration argument?

    1. Uh, no, never. I’m for no kill. And the cell is far cleaner right now than it was at the time I posted, which is good. But I think it’s reasonable to ask if this arrangement is the best that can be offered to the dog – if the absolute only choices were – and continue to be – death or dental mutilation/jail cell. I’d like to hear people’s thoughts.

    2. There is a difference between MCACC and what Sheriff Joe offers. Sheriff Joe started and is the head of MASH. He is totally against killing dogs. He has other pit bulls in the unit and he takes good care of all the dogs under his watch. The dogs there go to adoption events in the valley when their court cases are finished. He provides the best life for those poor dogs that he can given the circumstances they are in.

      1. Because he goes. What you want someone standing there waiting for him to go and clean up immediately. I am sure his cell is cleaned a few times a day.

  3. Grinding a dog’s teeth down in barbaric – they’ve exposed the dentin inside the tooth, and exactly like a human with exposed pulp (and nerves), there is a lot of pain associated with eating, cold air and water over the teeth, and although I doubt poor Mickey will ever be given warm (let alone hot) anything, that will be painful as well. Every human involved in ‘prosecuting’ a dog (prosecuting is only supposed to happen to ‘competent’ defendants, and Mickey can’t be considered competent) for defending himself should be completely ashamed of themselves (and should get a giant kick in the teeth). Mickey could have gone to a far better sanctuary (where he would have been cared for by humans who might actually not be egomaniacal jerks – or the captives of same), than Arpaio’s castle/hellhole – and kept his teeth.

    I am glad he’s not dead, as he just might have a chance of having his ‘sentence’ adjusted and leaving alive, but I fear that he will be forgotten (and Dog knows if he’ll be alive after a while – they could conveniently ‘forget’ he’s in custody and ‘forget’ to feed and water him, since they are already obviously ‘forgetting’ to take care of his cell and exercise needs. Joe Arpaio is a powermad jerk who doesn’t give a crap about Mickey – it was all just another way to get his name out to the piss poor media shills.

  4. Nothing unsanitary that I see. I have had it on all morning here in my office. (side by side monitors) The only thing I don’t like is this little guy needs attention. Every little noise he jumps and runs to see if maybe he might get attention. Also he does need water.
    and blanket on his bed. I just might send him one.

    1. At the time I posted, at least half the cell was covered in what appeared to be watery diarrhea or possibly diarrhea mixed with an excessive amount of urine. He was obviously trying to keep the pool away from his bed/bowl but it was expanding.

      1. I think it was just wet. I just went back a couple of hours (apparently you can go back up to 48 hours) and saw what you saw, but then I went back a little further and you can see the inmate mopping. It looks like this morning they went in there and took the door off his little doghouse, then did some spot mopping (the whole cell does get mopped at least once a day that I’ve seen). Then they brought Mickey back in and the female inmate loved on him a little and showed him that his doghouse was open. Right now there are a couple of little pee puddles, which are from about an hour ago.

        The cell is apparently kept pretty clean, it does look like they give him fresh water when they clean, and he has a box of toys. I do have to wonder how much outdoor time (if any) he gets, and how much human interaction. I don’t think the current setup is terrible (better than most shelters, sadly) but I have to wonder if he’s been evaluated by a behaviorist or trainer, and if anyone is looking into getting him rehabbed. I also have to wonder why it is that the inmates are allowed to interact with this “dangerous dog”, but he can’t be allowed back out into society. Is it that he’s really not that dangerous, or that the inmates’ safety doesn’t matter?

      2. And now I’m really confused. If you go back a little ways you see his cell getting cleaned (I don’t know if it’s the lighting in there or something about the concrete, but it does look like a gross poopy brown when it’s wet), and then the inmates bring him back in. When he comes back in he has a bone or rawhide chew of some kind in his mouth. The inmate leads him back to his bed and has close contact with him without incident, with the chew in Mickey’s mouth the whole time. Wasn’t it alleged that he attacked when the child tried to take his bone? I see no evidence of resource guarding here. I really want to know if he’s been evaluated by a qualified behaviorist or trainer.

  5. He seems really bored…. I hope he gets attention, pitties are such social dogs! As far as the grinding the teeth down I would of just had them all pulled. We’ve adopted out plenty of greyhounds who have had all of their teeth removed due to poor dental genetics/rotten teeth and they do fine. You just have to soak their kibble and buy them soft treats….

  6. This is a tough one. No, I didn’t want to see him killed but keeping him in, what amounts to, solidary confinement for the rest of his life isn’t great either. This is exactly the type of environment that will set him up to fail. He needs to be in some sort of sanctuary where his physical as well as emotional needs are being met, like what Best Friends offered to the Vick dogs that were deemed unadoptable at first.
    Maybe the Sheriff and his minions will evolve in time, my guess is not but we can always hope.

  7. And how long before he goes stark raving mad from insufficient socialization?

    There are mental needs here that aren’t being met – is this trading one cruelty for another?

    Fear breeds savagery in humans and prevents reasoned thoughts from penetrating.

    Surely there can be another solution found?

  8. IMO, this is a horrible and completely unacceptable solution. I feel badly for the poor dog. I have a feeling this is not going to end well for him. How old is this guy anyway?

  9. You can read more details about how Mickey is cared for and his back story here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Mickey/627613240621251. Outside of the horror of the tooth grinding … after reading about this today, I’ve got to say that I would choose Mickey’s life over a life sentence at Happily Ever After, “Wisconsin’s only true no-kill facility” any day … where dogs unable to be adopted out live in windowless, closet-sized rooms with the lights off all day to “keep them calm”. Mickey appears to be getting great food and ample socialization. But looking at the animal control facility in the county this all took place, in 2013 they killed 8786 dogs for being U/U … I highly doubt the Maricopa prison system can take on 8786 more Mickey’s every year … so there is a helluva ways to go yet. http://www.maricopa.gov/pets/pdf/MaddiesReport.pdf

    1. I repeat: MCACC is not MASH. They are two different facilities. MCACC is animal control facility. They are big on killing. MASH is Sheriff Joe’s unit for animal cruelty cases. He does not kill any animals who are healthy.

      1. yeah he locks animals up like criminals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to me this smacks of animal cruelty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Sorry, but I don’t care if Sheriff Joe’s unit is not killing if one down the street is. It’s a community issue … so if this community is killing 8786 dogs per year as U/U, it’s relative to this story. In the Maddies report I linked to, I believe the “healthy” line was also at zero for kill … but the ratio they are deeming U/U is pretty difficult to believe.

  10. I’m with KateH: this is barbaric. That it might be worse doesn’t excuse it.

    Mickey’s a dog. He will never understand why he’s confined. There’s no point to a lifetime in this cell, other than pandering to others’ irrational desires for revenge. This is not sanctuary.

    1. I’m just not seeing why confinement per se is an issue. As I said in another comment, I have concerns about his outdoor time and about how much interaction he has with people, but aren’t most pet dogs confined in some way? I guess I’m not seeing the fundamental difference between a dog confined in a large jail cell and my dog confined in my living room or my foster dog in my guest room or somebody else’s dog confined in their kitchen. Again, the only major differences I can see are that I know with certainty that my dogs all get to go outside several times a day, and that I’m home a lot of the time and they get plenty of human interaction if they want it.

      1. Dogs know when they are home. Home is where the family unit eats, sleeps, plays, argues, snuggles, etc. Confinement at home is going to be perceived very differently to a dog than being confined in a jail cell. Dogs know if they have a family and a home. This is why shelters – the good ones who do their jobs – work so hard to get dogs out as quickly as possible. They get depressed when confined in a shelter and at worst, eventually they may go kennel crazy.

      2. Ok, so confinement per se is not the issue, and if this is animal cruelty, then keeping an animal in a shelter is cruelty, right? I agree that it’s not ideal and he shouldn’t be there indefinitely, and apparently his attorney is indeed working to change the terms of his release.

      3. How much of the video have you watched? They’re cleaning his cell several times a day. And as I said in another comment, that floor looks like a gross poopy brown when it’s wet, so if you see what looks like feces, you may have to rewind a bit to see what’s really going on.

      4. i,ve asked the humane society of the united states to charge sheriff joe apaio with animal abuse and animal cruelty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      5. sarahjaneb:

        Ok, so confinement per se is not the issue, and if this is animal cruelty, then keeping an animal in a shelter is cruelty, right?

        I don’t *think* you are replying to my comment but I’m not certain. I didn’t say any of that. I was trying to address your questions about confinement although perhaps I did it badly?

      6. I’m replying to your comment and others, trying to connect the dots. I’m just saying that although this is not an ideal situation for any dog, just like a shelter isn’t, IMO it’s not cruelty. I don’t think you said it was, but others definitely have. If this is animal cruelty and abuse, then all shelters, even the good ones, are cruel and abusive, and as you’re well aware, that’s an argument often used by No Kill opponents.

      7. I scanned through all of the available footage on the webcam. The lights never went out; on the FB page, they say it’s a conscious decision, to keep Mickey visible. For a lot of it, he was blocked from the doghouse – presumably also to keep him visible – but at least that didn’t last. People did come in and interact with him, and he was absent from the room for a few minutes but never all that long. I saw no-one coming in just to play with him or sit with him. On the FB page, they also state that a condition of his imprisonment is that he be kept from other dogs.

        We don’t confine our dog. He has free range of most of the house.

        The exception, as it happens, are the parts where one of our cats *is* separated when necessary. She’s aggressive, sometimes dangerously so – we think it’s related to seizures. So she’s got the book-room and utility room, with beds, scratchers, places to sit in the windows, toys, litterpans and safe places to hide if she feels the need. We’re in and out during the day, but most days now, now she’s responded well to medications and clicker training, she can be allowed in the rest of the house with supervision. Since I’m around most of the time, that means she’s usually only confined at night. In a space a hell of a lot bigger than that cell, for one middle-aged cat with physical impairments – not a well-set-up three-year-old dog.

        And you know what? When we have had to keep her separate for more than overnight, it affects her poorly. She’s not exactly a cuddly cat, but even she does better when she’s *with* the household, underfoot.

      8. A lot of what you’re saying here echoes my concerns about interaction with people and having outdoor time, and I’m glad they took the door off his house. I do agree with the terms that he be kept from interacting with other dogs, at least until he can be properly evaluated, which I hope is something his attorney is working on. But again, I don’t see this as any more cruel than confinement in a shelter. Obviously the tooth-grinding was cruelty, but unfortunately it was court-ordered cruelty, and I don’t know that anything can be done about it.

      9. That it’s no more cruel than many a shelter is not my point. I don’t consider shelters ideal for any pet either. They’re better than death; they’re better than starvation, neglect, and abuse; they’re better than living rough, lost, without care. But they’re not better than a good home.

        So, yes, this is better than the alternatives that were offered, and evidently it’s better than the home Mickey had before. But that’s a pretty low bar. That doesn’t mean this is *good.* Where there’s life there’s hope, but the best out of a list of crap choices is still shit.

      10. I totally agree that he would be better off in a home, as would any dog. I don’t think this situation is intended to be permanent. Apparently he does have an attorney working to change the terms of his release, which I hope means ultimately getting him into a home situation.

      11. There’s a rather large difference between this living situation and a shelter environment. The ideal of the shelter should *always* be to get the animal into a home. That’s part and parcel of the no kill program- you can’t go no-kill without increasing adoptions. Keeping an animal confined in a shelter space short term is acceptable, but we know that long term confinement does negatively affect animals.

        So the difference is that this tiny space is *it* for Mickey. There’s no upgrade to a home for him. He has many years of life left, and all of it will be between those walls. There’s really no comparison between the situations.

      12. As I said, this isn’t intended to be a permanent situation. He has an attorney working on it. Should we just assume that the attorney won’t be able to get anything done and this is indeed it for Mickey? Then what?

      13. An attorney may well be working on it – that’s among the statements on the FB page, that there’s work being done to amend the ‘conditions’ of Mickey’s sentence – but the website for the web cam itself states that this is intended, per the agreement, to be permanent for Mickey.

        So, no, I don’t think we can count on much in the way of change. It might happen but it might not, and there’s not enough information given to judge likelihood. And even if it occurs, even if Mickey’s sentence is amended, it might not bring long term relief from this cell.

      14. That doesn’t really answer my question. I said if we assume that the attorney can’t get anything done, then what? What do you think should be happening to Mickey? Where should he go?

      15. WTF do you want? I’ve already said this crappy travesty of a choice is better than death. And those seem to be the two choices Mickey’s got: either he’s dead, or he’s in this effing cell. THE ABSENCE OF VIABLE CHOICE DOES NOT MAKE THIS CELL OKAY.

      16. Interesting. So do you feel the same way about shelters? I know you said shelters are different because at least the animal has a chance of getting adopted, but what about those animals who realistically have very little chance of getting adopted and spend years in a shelter? Is that barbaric, is it animal cruelty, or is it just “not okay”?

        Honestly this whole discussion (not just with you) has been a little odd, and I’m having trouble parsing out who’s upset about the specific conditions in the cell (like the allegedly shitty floor), who’s upset because it’s “jail,” who’s upset because a dog might be permanently confined, or what.

      17. It’s a complex issue with no simple solutions. I think we all likely agree that saving the dog’s life was a good decision but from there, things get complicated. Quality of life, the potential for permanent psychological damage from long term confinement, the cruelty of isolation from other dogs and effectively from humans as well, the dental mutilation – these are all important considerations in the discussion. There are no indications the dog is being or has ever been evaluated by a knowledgeable trainer and as such, we don’t even know what the dog’s issues may be outside of him biting when an unattended tot came into his yard and took his bone away. Could this be a dog who could be safe in another home environment free of wandering tots who take bones away? We don’t know but if that’s a possibility, he needs someone advocating for that now, before he goes kennel crazy. Instead we have a cutesy “no parole” comment on the website leaving me with the impression that there is little hope for action on this dog’s case.

        I appreciate the various points brought up here. Even if this topic is difficult and even if it’s not something that can be solved, it’s still useful to talk it through. Similar situations have arisen in past and they will in future. I think we need to continue to push ourselves in advocating for these dogs by asking the difficult questions and trying to come up with ideas. Saving their lives is step one. The second step is a doozy because it’s unexpected. We can better prepare ourselves as advocates if we give that second step the careful consideration it deserves.

      18. I agree, and I did mention the lack of resource guarding with the inmate, and I mentioned that I wondered if he’d been evaluated. I’m not an expert, but I suspect that the main problem was that he was chained and starved, and he would probably do fine in an adult-only home. We don’t know exactly what this attorney is doing to work towards that, if anything, and I’d really like to know, although I’m guessing there’s not much he can say publicly at this point. I’m a little peeved by the “no parole” bit, but I assume that’s under the terms of the current agreement, and the plan is to try to change the agreement. But it is a little odd to me to see No Kill advocates getting so upset about a dog being confined in conditions that appear to be equal to or better than those at most shelters. His cell is huge compared to most shelter kennels, his cell is cleaned several times a day, he has fresh water and food, he has a bed, and a box of toys. If this is barbaric then AAC and APA are hellholes. Again, certainly it’s not ideal and a home would be better, but I’m not seeing barbaric or abusive conditions.

      19. I wasn’t the one who pointed out that in a shelter, any kennel is apt to be temporary. But yes, the permanence of Mickey’s incarceration is among the things that really stick in my craw, the idea that a dog might spend essentially all his life in this one cell. Visited, going by the webcam, for a few minutes a few times a day, but with no-one working with him in any substantive way.

        Yes, I think this is warehousing.

        As for shelters … you’re right, realistically not every pet in a no-kill shelter will be adopted out in good time, and yes, I’ve known of some – cats, especially – who’ve wound up spending most of their lives in-shelter or rotating in and out of foster homes. Yes, there’s the potential for this to devolve into warehousing. This is, I think, a valid issue with no-kill sheltering, and we shouldn’t avoid confronting it simply because most of the people who bring it up are repulsive. We shouldn’t look the other way because hey, it’s clean, and the alternative is worse.

        Cripes. I feel like I’m back in uni arguing ethics v. realpolitik.

      20. They’re claiming that he does have more interaction than what we see on the webcam, and again, I do have concerns about that. Warehousing is indeed an issue with No Kill sheltering, and I agree that we shouldn’t just ignore it. That’s part of why I foster, and why I encourage others to do so as well. If at all possible, any animal that’s in the shelter long-term or not doing well in the shelter for whatever reason would ideally go to foster care. And I agree that rotating among foster homes isn’t ideal either (FWIW I’ve had the same foster dog for almost a year), and a permanent home should always be the goal, but IMO a foster home is usually better than the shelter. There are no easy answers.

        TBQH what’s sticking in my craw today is accusations of “substandard conditions.” AAC has once again demonstrated that they care more about politics than animals, and they pulled a stunt that resulted in temporary misery for 58 dogs and almost resulted in the death of many animals, all based on accusations of “substandard conditions.” It’s a long fucking story, and although it’s been resolved (for now) it’s really bothering me and it’s probably affected my take on this discussion, although I know it’s not directly related. I apologize for essentially accusing you and anyone else of acting like a No Kill opponent. I know you really do care about the animals.

      21. I’m sorry I lost my temper.

        It occurred to me over dinner that we’ve been arguing past one another. To me, what’s barbaric about Mickey’s situation isn’t the condition of his cell – though I do have issues with it – but rather the context and conditions of his incarceration: the mutilation, the intent of permanence, the absence of rehabilitation with hope for fostering or adoption … the very concept of sentencing a dog to life in prison without possibility of parole.

      22. Mutual apology accepted. I agree, I think we’re really on the same page here. As far as the mutilation is concerned, I wish we knew more about exactly what they did to his teeth. If they just filed down his canines a little it might not be so bad, as I’ve had dogs with broken canines and they’ve been fine, but we don’t know what they did. In any case it’s not something I’d choose to do to a dog, I just got them that way. And as far as the permanency, it’s pretty messed up, and I do have a lot of questions. Like I said, if he’s so dangerous, why is he allowed to interact with the inmates? They don’t seem at all scared of him, and as far as I can tell, all he wants is more interaction. If an inmate can lean over him to unleash him while he has a chew toy in his mouth, then those prior resource guarding issues are a moot point and he’s no longer a dangerous dog. I hope his attorney is taking note of these interactions and will be using them as evidence in his favor.

        I really do sincerely apologize for implying you might be in favor of killing animals. I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time and I recognize your name from the comments, and I know you’re one of the good ones. We’re on the same side here. This is just a messed up situation and we’re understandably very emotional about it.

  11. For everyone who is deeming these conditions unacceptable (AFTER reading the FB page describing this dog’s care routine, please … not after watching 15 seconds of live cam) … can you please cite for me, what are the major differences between the quality of care Mickey is receiving vs. the dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah? Serious question … I’d like to know.

    1. FROM THE “SAVE MICKEY” FB PAGE: … before you put us down for helping Mickey you need to know where he came from. Mickey was chained 24/7 in the Arizona Heat. The only shade he had was an old dog house, the only grass he knew was the fake grass, which became horribly hot in the Summer! Mickey knew no love, and no affection. He was full of ticks, and tick fever. And for food, he was tossed an occasional old bone….which one day a child took from him.

      Mickey is happier now! His is with people who love him. He is fed grain free Salmon, and grain free treats. He is bathed and groomed at least once a week. For potty breaks he is taken outside to the roof top garden area at least three times a day. Mickey has an obstacle course on the roof, a treadmill and tons of toys. His attorney visits him once a week, and plays with him…while at the same time working to get the terms of Mickeys release modified.


      1. It’s unclear to me if they are saying he gets walked through the obstacle course and put on the treadmill 3 times a day or just that those things are there.

      2. THANK YOU Lisa Kay Peters! Finally someone who does some some back round reading on Mickey and uses common sense! Mickey is in heaven compared to where he came from. But, loud voices will shout their point of view. We do not live a a perfect world. We do the best we can given the circumstances. For now this is better for Mickey than what that judge had in mind.

      3. Even if you aren’t a registered FB user, the page is public and you should be able to view the many, many questions people have asked about the details of Mickey’s care and their answers. Ideally, Mickey perhaps should not have been deemed dangerous so that he could be placed in a home … based on my limited knowledge of the story around the bite. But that battle was lost and he was deemed dangerous … and this appears to be a decent alternative — as far as I can tell, no less decent than Best Friends Animal Sanctuary except for perhaps some aesthetics. I’m sure they are doing it on a budget far less than $60M annually. I had a knee-jerk reaction to this story myself this morning … dig a little deeper, please.

      4. Let me rephrase: I am not on Facebook and make an active effort to avoid visiting that bullshit site whenever possible. I think my request was reasonable. Asking someone to go on Facebook and dig through an endless series of posts to find some unknown bit of info is not. At any rate, despite what Facebook may or may not have to contribute to the topic, the basic facts remain: the dog’s teeth were ground down and he’s living in a jail cell alone.

      5. Excuse me? You asked me for the details so you didn’t have to go look for yourself, I did. Then you asked another question … and I’m asking you to go look for it yourself. I’m not your personal assistant. You chose to bring this topic to your blog … it’s your responsibility to research the details. “That bullshit site”? It’s just a tool, it contains just as much bullshit and non-bullshit as any other internet tool.

      6. Facebook is loaded with privacy and security issues – for starters. I try hard to avoid it, way more than other sites, and it has nothing to do with being lazy. Anyway, quit your sniping.

      7. Ironic … if you were a shelter employee, I would fire you for jumping to conclusions and poor people skills. The no-kill movement needs people who can listen, who can look for relevant details that might help a situation, who can approach new ideas with an open mind. And let’s not forget … admit when wrong. So let’s get bent everyone, over the fact that Mickey’s life has been saved despite immense pressure to have him killed … and that people are still fighting for the chance to place him in a home – a much different outcome than the THOUSANDS of dogs in his county who are already dead or on the table right now. Let’s condemn a community who tried something different than the needle, because we have a wee little bit of information and can’t risk going out to learn more because … of privacy? Security issues? Fear of Facebook? That’s an even more lame excuse than the standard fear-of-liability line that shelters give when killing dogs for supposed aggression. Lame. I didn’t say you were lazy — but yes, I’m saying you are acting very lame right now.

    2. To answer Lisa’s question, the dogs at Best Friends receive personalized training plans and other things that are specifically designed to increase their opportunities for appropriate enrichment.

      1. Thank you, SS! So … we could all become better advocates by asking if Mickey is getting a training plan and other opportunities for appropriate enrichment, instead of assuming he is getting none based on a web cam. I’m sure someone knows someone in the area who is a trained behaviorist who could offer to train facility staff and/or interested inmates, if they even need it. It’s just mind-boggling to me that the programs where inmates help with grooming and socialization of shelter pets seem to get met with instant applause — but in this case, where a dog otherwise deemed U/U in a county that kills such dogs by the thousands each year … someone stepped up, offered resources, fought for the best for Mickey but had to make some compromises … that the reaction is all about a messy floor that was cleaned up in a reasonable time. I am all for quality of life. I rage against almost daily a family posing as a sanctuary in my area who has over 300 animals stuffed in an old goat barn, but nobody wants to believe is a problem because she’s “true no kill” and all the animals are loved. So the core of the problem is people reacting to slogans and very limited information … both to the positive and to the negative. Let’s take every animal, every situation as an individual, and be open to unique solutions.

    3. I’m a former dog caregiver for Best Friends. Yes, he’d get better care there, and of course they would never do the tooth-filing thing, which is barbaric.

      Dogs at BF have 24 hour access to large outside play areas – no close confinement in a concrete cell. Typically they eliminate outside (because they can) and do not wallow in their own waste. If appropriate, they are housed with other dogs, which is very important to their social needs. They get good food, good treats, toys, medication as needed, a selection of bedding. A well-equipped onsite clinic takes care of their medical needs. Dogs in need of training get training plans, and enrichment of their lives is very important. We weren’t just there to keep dogs alive, but to give them lives worth living.

      I worked in a mixed area of approximately 30 dogs where about half of the dogs were staff-only (red collars), mostly due to increased bite risk. Some were dogs not unlike Mickey. Although they could only be handled by staff they were far from neglected. They go on desert hikes, participate in classes, go to the dog park, go to hydrotherapy, play fetch, play in a creek, go to grooming, get attention and love and cuddling as appropriate. If their legal circumstances permit they may go into town on a field trip or on an overnight with staff. If their legal circumstances permit they are candidates for adoption.

      We got to know our charges very, very well. They are loved by their caregivers.

      From what I can see – and yes, without being there, it’s difficult to know the whole story – I find Mickey’s living situation very distressing as well as unnecessary. In my opinion, my red collars at Best Friends had better lives than many dogs in homes.

      1. I nearly forgot one of the most important things: except by court order, a red collar is not necessarily a red collar forever. They have the opportunity to progress and eventually widen their social circle to volunteers as well as staff.

      2. Do you have any contacts at BF who might inquire about taking Mickey? If so, would you do it?

  12. Do we have any idea who did the tooth grinding? Please at least tell me it was someone qualified to work on teeth. That was cruel and idiotic. Extractions would have been much more humane ( although I would have voted for him to keep them). How sad.

  13. A caveat for those quoting Facebook posts: Facebook, like Twitter, is not a reliable source of information. Yes, you will find things on Facebook — but who is writing those posts? They are not attributed to a person; the posts are attributed to a Facebook page. It does truly seem that the quoted post above does come from someone with knowledge of Mickey’s living situation. Unfortunately, since that quote did not come directly from the person — via telephone, e-mail, snail mail, video, trusted news source (newspaper, Internet site for a TV station) — the quote cannot be trusted as reliable by anyone who is digging for information in a journalistic sense.

    1. TY. I should have said this here but got distracted and failed to do so. I try to quote news organizations as often as possible because what they put into print and/or on the air has to be vetted and pass muster with an editorial team. Sometimes a social media posting *is* part of a story but as far as using it as a source, I try not to do that. FB is good for networking, exercising free speech and such but it’s not a legit news source. I originally had a slide in the blogging seminar I did with Brent Toellner in 2011 about the curse of Facebook but I don’t think it made it to the final edit.

      I can’t tell you how many emails I get from well intentioned people who say almost this exactly: “You should really check out the Facebook page of [Such and Such Animal Group] to see what’s going on there.” I can’t weed through all the posts on someone’s Facebook page hunting for some unknown bit of info that I don’t even know for sure is there. I know it seems like a legitimate tip from someone who has been following the activities of a Facebook page but honestly, it’s not something I can do. People don’t realize how much other stuff gets posted on that page, how Facebook directs what can be seen, etc. I’m trying to think of some parallel to draw but coming up blank at the moment. Maybe something along the lines of “You should check out So and So’s high school year book to find out about their background.” It’s just a non-starter for me.

      1. There’s also no good way to search FB. Even if you’re on it – my husband is, and I couldn’t count how much time he’s wasted trying to find older posts that’ve been hidden away by FB’s algorithms. Often it proves impossible, even when the post had only been made that morning. And to make it more confusing, what he sees on FB varies by what device he uses to access it.

  14. I would like to see Mickey be sent to a place like Bad Rap, folks who really know how to work with dogs. It’s better than dead, but I cannot imagine a social creature like him being confined in that room for the rest of his life. Even in zoos (which I hate) the animals are often given mental challenges so they don’t go stark raving mad. When I went to the webcam, Mickey was apparently out or in his dog house. This breaks my heart . . .


  16. The dog looks very lonely, he didn’t do anything but protect what was his …HIS BONE…the kid went in the dogs yard and tried to take the dogs bone away from him, why does the dog have to be condemned to a life of lonliness? Seems it is the parents fault for not watching their 4 year old better…not the Mickey who was minding his own business in his own yard in his own doghouse. I watch the webcam several times a day, seems the puppy is suffering from depression, the least they could do is put another dog in their with him for company and give him more toys…better yet, petition the judge to retract the sentence so Mickey can be adopted and have a real home….HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING BUT PROTECT HIS TERRITORY AND BONE.

  17. Thank you, Sharon Gallamore. I called 602-876-1212 and told the woman who answered the phone (she didn’t give her name, just said it was the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office) that I had read that Mickey’s teeth had been ground down and I wanted to make a donation toward having his damaged teeth extracted. She put me on hold and came back a few minutes later and told me that his teeth had been extracted seven months ago and he is doing well. She then asked if I only wanted to donate for Mickey’s care. I said I would like to donate for any dog there. I started to give her my debit card number, but she said I would either need to donate in person or send a check to the attention of MASH. She gave me the address, but I left it on my desk at work.

  18. I’ve watched the webcam several times over the last few days, at different times. Today I had it on for almost 2 hours. The only human I’ve seen was an inmate coming in to swab the floor, and she did not interact with Mickey, who retreated to his dog house. The kennel is clean, but I only saw a few toys (today just one Kong-looking toy) which Mickey was ignoring. I did watch him lying in his kennel chewing on what looked like a Nylabone. Mostly he sleeps, paces around, sits in front of the gate, barks a little and once in awhile stands and wags his tail when (I think) something is happening outside the kennel. It’s a better set up than most shelter dogs get. But if this is “it” for the rest of his life…… it’s very sad.

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