Monday, March 22, 2010

set WINSTON free!

Great post on Paw Nation!

"Om nom nom nom!

A dog in Chattanooga, Tenn. who chomped on a police car like a giant chew toy, flattening two tires and ripping off the fiberglass front fender, is behind bars at a local animal shelter, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The pit-bull mix, named Winston, is waiting to hear his fate, to be decided at a hearing on March 25.

The story, which "sounds funny if you're not in the middle of it," says one person familiar with the case, began on Sunday afternoon. Officer Clayton Holmes of the Chattanooga Police Department was sitting in his patrol car "running radar," when he felt the car shaking and got out to investigate, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Officer Rebecca Rayval tells Paw Nation that Holmes "saw a dog chewing on one of the car's tires. The dog was apparently very aggressive."

Officer Holmes fired pepper spray at the dog, but it only moved from tearing up the tire to tearing up the front fender. "The dog had a hold of the front bumper and Officer Holmes used the Taser on him, which stopped the dog for about three seconds," Officer Rayval says. "But the dog ripped the Taser probes out of his skin and went back to chewing on the bumper."

When a second police officer arrived in his car, the dog flattened its tire too, says Officer Rayval. Winston also chewed the tires on two cars that drove by trying to get through the area, says Karen Walsh, executive director at the McKamey Animal Center, speaking to Paw Nation.

"It was awful. Thankfully nobody got hurt," Winston's owner, Nancy Emerling, tells Paw Nation about learning of the incident. "I think amazing restraint was shown by the officers in not shooting him."

Emerling has had Winston since he was a stray puppy who wandered onto the property at Mann Welding, a family-run business, in October 2007. "He was just a little guy, just a couple of months old," says Emerling. She named the puppy Winston because "he kind of reminded me of Winston Churchill," she says.

Winston lived at the fenced-in property, staying in an enclosed outdoor pen with another dog. "He's not a guard dog, he's penned up," says Emerling. "He's just a stray dog that we took in. He's a sweet dog and has never been aggressive towards people. He doesn't like a lot of noises, like the lawnmower or leaf blower. It just drives him crazy."

The best that Emerling can piece together, "something happened that upset the dog enough to break out through the chain link fence." Winston chewed through the strap on the gate, rammed into the gate until he bent the latch and got out of his pen, Emerling tells Paw Nation. Then he ran around the fenced property, across a creek and out to the road where the police car was next door.

Winston was impounded by animal control officers and Emerling was issued a citation for possessing a "potentially dangerous animal," a legal term defined by a city ordinance and the dog is being held as a "potentially dangerous dog."

The next step will be for a judge to rule in the case and if things go in Winston's favor, hopefully, a new home to be found for the dog as well.

"We would love to have Winston back," says Emerling, "but we cannot take responsibility of him doing something like this again."

But Emerling received a surprise offer earlier this week from someone who wants to adopt Winston: None other than Officer Holmes, who first encountered the dog chewing up his police car.

"Officer Holmes doesn't want the dog put down," confirms Officer Rayval. "He has talked to Nancy [Emerling] and she has agreed. It would be good for the dog to be out in the country." Officer Holmes has a large farm outside the city of Chattanooga and it would "be the best thing for Winston to get to go be a dog and run and be happy," says Emerling.

That, however, will be up to Judge Sherry Paty, who is scheduled to hear the case next week. "We're trying to treat this as a normal 'potentially dangerous dog' case, but it's not normal," says Walsh. "We've never had a dog attack a car before. And no one's ever asked to adopt a potentially dangerous dog."

"He has displayed no overtly aggressive behavior since he's been here," says Walsh, adding that some dogs will throw themselves at the bars, which Winston has not done. But neither has he seemed particularly happy. "No, he hasn't wagged his tail," says Walsh. "He's just here. He's noncommittal and that's okay. We're not his people."

Editorial: Look, Winston hates police sirens. He hates loud noises! That's all. Let him go live in the country and all will be well! Your Honor, Sherry Paty, please consider this our amicus brief in support of Winston's freedom. It was his only offense, and he has a great support group and family waiting to rehab him in a good environment. We would ask the officer to attend traning classes with Winston and suggest that a vet check out Winston's hearing and general health.

There might be a physical reason for Winston's reaction to noise.

Thank you.

ALL IN SUPPORT, join me.
I will forward it to Judge Paty.



Honeygo Beasley said...

Incredible. I mean ... a Bichon would never do that. Winston must be a tough guy to chew on tire wheels. Ew! Imagine how dirty it would make our white fur ...

silvieon4 said...

I know!

silvieon4 said...

From the Chattanooga free times...

What was this officer doing that he didn't hear his bumper being ripped off piece by piece? As far as I know, police cruisers aren't sound proof. From what I've read and heard from media reports on this story, this dog did not exhibit aggression towards people, only objects (particularly cars). So, why is this dog being held at McKamey waiting on a court date and possible euthanasia? It did not bite anyone. The photo of the dog in the paper shows its neck, which appears to be bloody & raw (rabies pole?). Pepper spray & taser? Really?! Also disappointed that the storyline reads 'attacking' the car. The title alone seems to make the dog out to be more aggressive than it is. It's a bulldog/pit bull that, for some unknown reason, viewed police cars (not people) as a big chew toy. McKamey stated that this dog has not shown any aggression towards people, as did his owner. I think that the officer was 'snoozing', maybe had the radio up too loud or something that caused him not to hear his bumper being pulled off in chunks. When he finally did become aware of something going on & got out to look around, I'm sure he was really ticked off at what he saw. So ticked off in fact that he pulled out the pepper spray and his taser. That's probably when the dog decided to run, and who could blame him? I would run from someone trying to hurt me too. Fining the owner, and making them pay for property damage should have been enough. This pup has been put through torture (Maced, tasered, raw neck (rabies pole?), incarcerated) because he made the police mad by being a young bulldog/pit bull that picked out the wrong chew toy. Send the owner the bill, give that officer a 5-hour energy drink to keep him awake and let the dog go.

whitedogresq said...

I would hope that living in the country doesn't include letting Winston run loose. At the same time, chaining this dog or penning him up is a crime!

He should live with a family, inside the home as a family member.
Perhaps, Cesar Millan could work with the family to get Winston proper exercise and plenty of appropriate chew toys.

This poor boy hasn't had a chance to be a properly behaved dog.
Living in a pen like a criminal shouldn't be accepted as "normal" for any dog!

Auntie Robin

Shiloh said...

Find a responsible home for the dog and lock up the current owners!!

dogwuver said...

We hope Winston gets the home and owners he needs to work out his transgressions.

JP Eddie said...

Sadly, this is just the latest in the string of desperate measures that people (and now animals) are forced to take as a result of today's struggling economy.

Can't anyone see, all these dogs wanted was the opportunity to serve as part of the K-9 Task Force??

These poor pooches don't need any 'obedience training'.. ..they need 'Canine Bootcamp' !!