Ill will between various rescue and shelter groups isn’t uncommon or unique. Given enough time and participation, virtually any group that works with animals will sprout factions that argue over best practices, philosophy, budgeting, events, and anything else you might imagine. But no matter how nasty the cliques get, no matter how heated the disagreements may be, it’s hard to imagine things getting this extreme and terrifying:
Officials: Animal rescue president threatened to shoot shelter staff
For a little background:
Out of the Box rescues animals, mostly dogs, from shelters that have deemed them dangerous. The Citrus County Animal Shelter stopped providing dogs to [Robert] Schweickert earlier this year after one of the rescue’s adopted “dangerous” dogs escaped from its owner’s enclosure.
In response, the rescue president allegedly made a threatening phone call to the shelter, saying if he had a gun, he would shoot the director and shelter staff. According to the community service director, he also sat in his car in the shelter parking lot, just “waiting to talk” to the shelter or service director. Unsurprisingly, he is currently being trespassed from shelter property.
Rescue and adoption issues can certainly be heated, but this is some seriously scary stuff!
A public animal shelter has to protect the public health and safety first and foremost. Whatever one’s feelings are on what constitutes a truly “dangerous” dog,* and whether it is appropriate to adopt a “dangerous” dog out, if the shelter felt that providing dogs to a particular rescue presented too great of a risk, trusting their judgment in this matter is a good baseline position. Given the behavior of the rescue after being told no more dogs would be provided, it would appear that position has been validated.**
*Citrus county allows citizens to keep dogs deemed dangerous, but they must be secured, properties must post a “dangerous dog” warning, the dog must be on leash and muzzled while on walks (and only walked by an adult), and there is a hefty $500 annual licensing fee.
** The issue of adopting out aggressive dogs is a problem NAIA is vocal about while also offering reasonable solutions (see: Virginia).