Since shortly after Christmas Facebook has been covered in posts looking for “Justice for Bosco” asking that you sign a petition to return him, and finally, asking for donations to continue the fight .
So what’s so important about this one dog? Why are the members of the Lucas County Pit Crew so upset? Why? Because when they say that they fear for Bosco’s life, they have good reasons to do so. It doesn’t take much research to figure out why they are so concerned.
In June of 2012 Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 14 which removed the stigma of birth from Ohio’s Dangerous Dog description. Prior to this bill, a dangerous dog in the State of Ohio was one that:
- Caused serious injury or death to a human
- Killed another dog; or
- Was a pit bull or pit bull mix
The new Ohio law took effect on May 22, 2012 (just in time to help the Fearing Six dogs, which lead to Turtle’s becoming our beloved family member.) The Fulton County Commission, in what can only be described as a temper tantrum, disagreed with the new law, and passed a resolution designed to circumvent it: Fulton County Resolution. What the resolution says is that the County Facility would not adopt out pit bull dogs to the general public or to rescue groups. If an owner didn’t claim the dog, the dog would, in the words of the dog warden “it will be killed”. Fulton County began euthanizing pit bulls who came in to the shelter as a matter of course.
Members of Fulton County and surrounding areas started pressuring Fulton County to change it’s pit bull resolution. Finally, quietly, and without adding it to the official agenda, the Fulton County Commissioners voted this past June to allow humane groups to pull dogs that were deemed to be safe from the county facility and offer them for adoption. Dangerous or vicious dogs were not included in this opportunity. No second chances for dogs the Dog Warden decided (without formal assessment) were not “safe”.
The Lucas County Pit Crew was not determined to be a “humane society” so they had to play a game of “musical dogs” to help rescue pit bull terrier type dogs in Fulton County. Another, recognized group, would pull the dogs and then immediately transfer them to the LCPC. Everyone knew this was going on, which is one of the reasons the LCPC petitioned the county to allow them to be considered an approved group to pull dogs. This was overwhelmingly denied.
Part of the problem is that the LCPC has been a firm advocate for the dogs who have ended up in the county lock-up. They filed complaints when the laws were not being followed. They monitored how the dogs were cared for. They let it be known when the dogs were being treated in a manner not consistent with a humane agenda. They filed suit when it seemed nothing else would force change. They were not quiet. They did not go away. And they made an enemy of the Dog Warden, Brian Banister.
Bosco may (or may not) have caused a minor bite in a home the day after Christmas. The bite was deemed to be provoked by the police officer investigating (as per police report) and caused minor injuries, requiring two stitches. The LCPC immediately picked Bosco up as requested, and moved him into a foster home in the county (state requirement that dog bite quarantine happens in the county where the bite occurred). Although many dogs are allowed to fulfill the quarantine law in a private home, for some reason, Bosco was not. A warrant was issued and Bosco was seized and taken to the county facility.
The Fulton County Dog Warden, Brian Banister has declared that Bosco is a “dangerous dog”. Which means that the county can euthanize him without returning him to the Pit Crew. The County is contending that the adopters are still the legal owners, and if they aren’t going to claim him, the shelter can euthanize him as soon as his quarantine is up on Friday. Jean Keating, Executive Director of the Lucas County Pit Crew made it clear that the group plans to contest the “dangerous dog” designation.
Yesterday the County filed Misdemeanor Criminal Charges against Jean Keating, Andrea Walter, and Bosco’s foster parent Kevin Bauer. Ms Keating and Ms. Walter are both charged with obstructing official business and violating a rabies quarantine. Mr. Bauer is charged with violating the rabies quarantine. These charges are ludicrous. And many think they were be dropped at the official hearing next week. But that is not guaranteed.
From where I sit, it appears that Fulton County is taking out it’s anger at the Lucas County Pit Crew by harassing its members, and by ultimately trying to kill the dog at the center of the controversy.
We are right to be concerned for Bosco. We are right to worry about the charges the Lucas County Pit Crew face. We are right to try and battle this hold-out county in a state that recognizes how a dog looks has no effect on how he acts. This could happen to any group that works with pit bull terrier type dogs. It is important that we stand together for Bosco, and for the Lucas County Pit Crew.
Please, help justice be served. Help save Bosco’s life. Help clear Jean, Andrea, and Kevin’s names. How? By taking any (or all) of the following actions:
- Sign the petition, and share it everywhere
- Contact the County Commissioners and the Prosecutor and ask that Bosco’s best interests are met. (Email addresses are listed at the bottom of this post.)
- Donate whatever you can to help fund the legal fight that will need to be waged.
- Share this post or any other information post far and wide.
- If you have friends or family who live in Fulton County, ask them to call and to keep calling.
Let’s keep the pressure on. We cannot let them kill Bosco in the secrecy of the pound. Make them proceed with the full light of truth shining on them all.
The Prosecutor:Scott Haselman firstname.lastname@example.org