A dog owned by Jason Dotson of Hamilton Co, Ohio reportedly attacked and nearly killed a leashed service dog who was being walked by his owner in October 2015. The service dog was forced to retire as a result of the attack. The court ordered Dotson to have his dog killed at the local SPCA.
Dotson instead went to the SPCA and adopted a dog who resembled his own pet then returned two days later and presented the newly adopted dog for killing under the court order. It happened that an employee recognized the recently adopted dog and therefore scanned him for a microchip. The chip confirmed that Dotson had just adopted the dog and he was not the same animal ordered killed by the court.
He faced the judge yesterday:
“In my 10 years as a judge I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg said in court Tuesday. “If I could give you more time, legally, I would.” Jason Dotson, 32, was sentenced to 30 days at the Hamilton County Justice Center without probation or work release. His bond was set at $50,000.
“It’s one thing for you to ignore a court order, it’s quite another thing to try to perpetrate a fraud on this court,” Greenberg said. “And you tried to have an innocent dog killed.”
The attacking dog has since been killed. The article doesn’t mention what happened to the dog Dotson tried to have killed but presumably the SPCA would have taken him back.
I’m glad in this case that a shelter employee recognized the dog and thought to grab the scanner. A life was saved. We have far too many stories on this blog about shelters failing to scan animals for chips and the tragic outcomes that follow. I hope this story motivates more shelters to scan ALL animals before killing – even if they’ve been previously scanned and no chip detected, even if the person requesting the killing says he is the owner of the pet, and even if the animal comes with a court order to be killed. Things are not always as they seem.
If the shelter worker had not happened to recognize the dog Dotson brought in for killing, apparently there would have been no scan, just as there often isn’t any scan when a supposed owner takes a pet to a shelter to be killed. Had Dotson been bright enough to get a dog from any other facility besides the one he was ordered to bring his dog to, there would have been no possibility of the dog being recognized, which is what prompted the scan.
Scanning for a microchip takes just a minute and does not require any advanced training. Finding a chip could save an animal’s life. There is simply no excuse for shelters not scanning every animal before killing, regardless of circumstances.