Dogs Deserve Better's Tammy Grimes Found Guilty; Pennsylvanians Debating Potential New Law

 |  Dec 18th 2007  |   8 Contributions


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Sadly, Tammy Grimes, who founded Dogs Deserve Better, was found guilty last week. She still is to be sentenced. Maybe its easier to understand how she could be found "guilty" for rescuing a suffering and dying dog when you read the comment from the state legislator and veterinarian Bastien. What does he work on anyway, cows? Heck, even cows need a humane touch.

Keep your head up, Tammy!

Thanks to The Tribune-Democrat for the following article.

Dog-activist trial spotlights support for tethering law

BY KATHY MELLOTT
The Tribune-Democrat

A growing controversy about the rights of dogs balanced against the rights of the people who own them was played out in court last week with the case of Tammy Grimes with indications of a statewide battle starting to heat up.


Dog activists like Grimes, founder of Dogs Deserve Better, and many of the two dozen supporters who faithfully attended her three-day trial are lobbying the state Legislature for laws to limit the amount of time a dog can be tethered outside.

Supporters continue to push for dogs to have proper fitting" collars and access to shade outside the dog house, all issues outlined in House Bill 1065, which was introduced by state Rep. Mario Scavello, D-Monroe.

The bill also would disallow use of tow chains for tethers, mandate the tether be one that does not become entangled and is a minimum length.

A local legislator, who is a veterinarian, said that while tethering a dog defeats the purpose of a pet, he is against the proposed law.

A dog doesnt have rights like a human being. They are entitled to humane treatment, and I agree with that," state Rep. Bob Bastian, R-Somerset, said.

If enacted, the law would have Pennsylvania join Texas, California and Maryland in limiting the time dogs can be tethered.

The bill is not looking to target anybody who lets dogs out for a short period of time, this is for tethering constantly," said Kathleen Slagle, a Monroe County dog-rights activist.

On Friday, a jury took 30 minutes to return guilty verdicts against Grimes on charges of theft and receiving stolen property after she took a 19-year-old German shepherd mix dog from its East Freedom home and refused to return it to its owners.

The dog had been tied all or most of its life, but Grimes said she took the dog because of its poor physical condition.

The dog died earlier this year in what was termed a foster home."

Dogs Deserve Better was founded by Grimes five years ago and has 150 representatives, including a few in Canada and one in France, who can be called upon for assistance.

One of those representatives, Lynn Manheim of Lackawanna County, spent three days at the Grimes trial and views it as potentially precedent-setting.

This is an historic case. I believe this case, or at least one of the cases, could be looked at as something that changed societys view of what an animal is and how a living being must be treated," Manheim said.

In its current form, the bill would make it illegal to let a dog tied outside unattended from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

We think it sets reasonable limits," Slagle said of the bill supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and numerous other dog organizations.

However, the American Kennel Club views the proposed laws in many states as too restrictive in addressing problems that can be addressed through existing animal-cruelty laws.

Mary Jo McClain, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Legislative Animal Network, disagrees.

There just is no place for this in modern day society. There are so many other ways to restrict your dog," said McClain, of Mechanicsburg. Its just not right to let you dog chained 24 hours a day."

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.

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