This week, two dogs in different states were released to the loving arms of the people who, for months, fought very hard to save their lives.
Earlier this year, Lamby, a mixed breed in Dallas, Texas, was confiscated from her homeless owner after she reportedly nipped two people. For most of her life, she was stuffed into a milk crate attached to the handlebars of a bicycle. Sunglasses and hats were attached to Lamby’s head by rubber bands.
Her owner used Lamb Of God, as he called her, to panhandle for money. Throughout her hard, restrictive life, she had been taken in by Dallas Animal Services (DAS) on five occasions, but was returned to her owner each time.
A few months ago, after the second incident. she was confiscated by DAS, and her outlook was now bleak. But Lamby had a great deal of community support, in Dallas and online. Petitions were signed by over 167,000 people; fundraisers paid the legal fees needed to represent her in court. Assisted by an advocate on the City Council, Lamby’s freedom was finally granted by Judge Michael Acuna. Lamby is to be released into the care of Austin Pets Alive for rehabilitation.
Hank’s story takes place in Centralia, Washington. In January, 2017, he was adopted from the Lewis County Animal Shelter by a family to be a companion for their other dog, Bruce. That didn’t work out so well, but instead of returning him to the shelter, Hank moved in with their son and grandson, remaining within the family.
In May of 2017, Hank was seized from his newfound home by detectives from the Sheriff’s Department and was confiscated. It had come to the Department’s attention that Hank was thought to have been involved in the death of a goat and injury to a pony on the property where he used to live, before he was in the shelter.
Based on their findings, the Sheriff’s Department believed that Hank should never have been adopted out. They labeled him a ‘dangerous dog’. Another dog, Sadie, was also thought to have been involved in the case, but she had been relocated to another state and was safe. Hank, though a young puppy at the time of the event, was left to bear the heavy burden.
But Hank, like Lamby, wasn’t alone. Hank had his family – Jann, Gary, Jason and Buddy – in his corner. Even the owner of the goats testified in Hank’s behalf, as did a witness to the incident. He had worldwide support. But the Judge in the case would have none of it.
Hank’s case was seen by a second Judge, who also failed to acknowledge the additional facts which had been brought to light. His family continued the fight, as well as their visits to see Hank and boost his spirits. More than 155,000 supporters signed this petition, others chipped into this fundraiser. Eight months after he was confiscated, Attorney Adam Karp, who specializes in Animal Law, took the case to the Court of Appeals. It was there that Hank finally won his freedom and was returned to his owners.
Owner Jann Propp-Estimo sent out this notice to Hank’s online family:
‘Hank’s history has been wiped clean, and there are no restrictions … He’s a regular dog! Yahoo! Best Christmas present ever!!!’
It appears as if, with the help of the public, the wheels of justice may, in fact, be turning towards a better day for animals entangled in our legal system. There are other dogs, such as Kato and Kleo, who, for years, have been separated from their family by the court system. We must continue to speak for those who cannot, until compassionate justice becomes the law of the land.
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