Dogs Deserve Better's Tammy Grimes' Trial Start Set for May 21st
All the best for Tammy and DDB! What a hero for dogs and role model for the rest of us!
Isn't it a sign of our society's sickness that someone who does a good deed for another creature gets charged with a crime and then other people can abuse dogs with impunity and still be paid tons of money to play a sport? And we wonder why people are going crazy and shooting strangers. Maybe if we made a point of rewarding good and punishing abject evil we might see a saner, more compassionate and caring society.
BTW, if you want to support Dogs Deserve Better and raise awareness in your area of the no-chaining message, DDB sells really nice bumper magnets, signs and brochures. And they work!!!! One of my neighbors decided to chain his dog. needless to say, I was distraught when I saw it and proceeded to work on shaming him into freeing his dog. I put up several signs in my front yard, which he can't help but see every time he drives up to his house or mows his lawn. I also gave him one of the great DDB brochures. And every chance I got, I reminded him that he was abusing the dog AND endangering his young son's life by making the large dog frustrated and lonely.
It took one week and the dog was off the chain. I credit DDB for giving me the tools and information to convince my neighbor to do the right thing.
Thanks to The Daily Collegian Online for this news.
Woman faces jail time for 'saving' dog
By Kristine Snodgrass
Collegian Staff Writer
A Blair County animal rights advocate will go on trial next month for allegedly taking a dog from its chain without the knowledge of its owners, police or the Humane Society.
Tammy Grimes, of Tipton -- which is near Altoona -- said she took the dog because she felt its life was in danger because of neglect. She now faces charges of theft and receiving stolen property for taking the 19-year-old German shepherd/Labrador retriever mix from his owners' property last September.
Grimes has since become a polarizing figure, inspiring an outpouring of support from some animal lovers and anger from others who feel she took the law into her own hands.
She said she is not sorry for what she did.
"I believe that life is ahead of law," Grimes said.
Grimes is the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit organization that promotes removing
dogs from outdoor chains to live in a home. The organization now consists of three part-time volunteer employees and 150 representatives who work in education, she said.
Grimes keeps six or fewer dogs, that are available for adoption, at her home.
Pretrial motions for the case were held in April, where Blair County Judge Daniel Milliron ruled against Grimes' attorney's request to dismiss charges. A crowd of 36 people gathered at the Blair County Courthouse to support her, while two representatives from a dog breeder's club near Pittsburgh spoke out against her, Grimes said.
People came to support her from Ohio, New Jersey and all over Pennsylvania, she said.
"I get more positive [feedback] than against us," she said.
Jury selection will be May 21, and the trial will be held two weeks later, Milliron said.
The incident began in September when Grimes was alerted of the dog by a neighbor. The dog had been lying down for three days, the neighbor said, and the Humane Society had not responded. Later, Grimes said she received another call about the dog.
"When we realized it was the same dog, we were very worried," she said.
Contacting the neighbor again, she found out that the Humane Society had not yet responded, so she went to see the animal.
When she found the dog, who she later dubbed "Doogie," he was unable to stand, his fur was matted and bloody in places, she said. Finding his owners not home, she decided to take immediate action.
"Basically, I had to decide," she said. "Am I going to leave this dog here to die or am I going to get him the care he needed?"
Dave Hopkins, director of public relations for the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, said the humane officer on duty was busy with another incident at the time the neighbor called about the dog and later had trouble contacting the neighbor.
Grimes should have contacted the police immediately, Hopkins said.
"The police would have at least been able to investigate," he said.
Grimes took the dog to Dr. Nour Hassane of the Veterinary Hospital of Altoona, who performed the initial examination.
When the dog was brought to him, Hassane said he couldn't believe he hadn't been hit by a car.
"If you watch boxing, it was like the round 10," he said. "Like somebody who has really lost their capacity to stand."
The dog was in "bad condition" and could not stand, he said. An X-ray examination found bone spurs, a result of old age, he said. He instructed that the dog be hydrated, and given painkillers and vitamins.
"I think frankly that there is no excuse to leave a dog like that," he said. "It's better to put him to sleep than to leave him this way."
Grimes didn't expect the dog to live, she said.
"I thought he would probably die that day," she said.
The same afternoon, the police called Grimes and told her to give the dog back or they would arrest her. Grimes refused.
"I said, 'not if you're going to give him back,' " she said.
She gave the dog to a foster home before the police arrived at her home later that night to arrest her for taking the dog from his owners. Her preliminary hearing was held two weeks later.
The dog was never recovered by police or returned to his owner before it died in March.
Grimes provided videotape of the dog as she found him to police, she said, but charges have not been filed against the owners.
Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio did not return repeated phone calls for comment.
Freedom Township Police Chief Jon Riley said videotape evidence could be doctored or misinterpreted, he said.
"I can take my dog right now, I can run him through the mud and everything else . . . and I can take a photograph of him and say that dog is abused," he said.
Riley said police investigated the situation and found no evidence of abuse, and attributed his condition to his advanced age.
"We've talked to neighbors on both sides of [the dog owners]" he said. "They say they don't believe the dog was neglected."
Five witnesses said they were playing with the dog the weekend before the incident, he added.
Grimes "took it upon herself to go there ... and take the dog," he said.
While she had the right idea in mind, she was breaking the law, he said.
"It's not her good intentions; it's her actions, and the way she goes about doing things," he said, adding, "She can't continue to be allowed to go on people's properties and take their dogs."
Grimes said she could not leave the dog "one second longer," and that she was ready to accept the consequences of her actions.
"For me, a law was being broken for three days when I got there," Grimes said.
Hopkins said the situation had an "unfortunate outcome."
"I think we're all on the same side in terms of trying to take care of the animal," he said.