Candice Hummel and her fiance Brian Roth were fined $210 on Monday for allowing their two dogs to roam unleashed in the Palm Bay area of Florida. The $100 shelter fee and $55 citation for each dog running "at large" culminates a firestorm of criticism in the contentious issue of labeling dogs as aggressive pit bulls.
According to Hummel, Roman is a pit bull mix and Remi is a sharpei mix. The dogs have never been DNA tested to ascertain their specific breeds. Hummel describes her two dogs as gentle and non aggressive. Both dogs were adopted from the Brevard County Animal Shelter; the same shelter they were transported to after having been pepper sprayed and captured with a catch pole by an animal control officer.
On Friday morning, a neighbor called authorities claiming the two unleashed dogs prevented her from leaving her car. According to Florida Today.com, the Palm Bay Police referred to the dogs as aggressive and used the pepper spray and dog catcher poles to subdue the dogs.
Candice and Brian's story however is much different. They stated the dogs had been digging their way under the fence and the lawn and had been exploring the neighborhood. As their owners drove around looking for the two playful dogs:
"apparently a woman pulled into her driveway and the pups went to say 'hi.' They love rides and maybe they thought it was mommy picking them up...the woman freaked, called the cops," stated Candice.
Chief Doug Muldoon said this was the second day in a row the dogs had been roaming the neighborhood.
Hummel claimed her dogs were not treated humanely citing blood vessels in the dog's eyes burst from the pressure of the noose used to capture them. The owners arrived at the Brevard County Animal Shelter shortly after the dogs were taken into custody and waited several hours to reclaim the animals. In the meantime, the couple stated their dogs were placed in a pen with no water and forced to sit in their own urine.
When the dogs were released, the couple brought Roman and Remi to Aloha Animal Hospital where the dogs were treated for abrasions, cuts, swelling and permanent eye damage as a result of alleged animal cruelty.
The American Kennel Club calls the American Staffordshire terrier a protective and loyal family dog, however the public relation problems with these dogs continue to paint a negative image for these very people oriented and athletic canines. This past year, the Maryland Court of Appeals labeled pit bulls as "inherently dangerous" thus creating a huge problem for both landlords and tenants concerned about financial liability should any pit bull dog type be involved in a dog biting or attack case. The truth is that other dogs are out in the public attacking children and adults, but those breeds rarely get any press.
Sadly the term pit bull includes any dog with those traits - even if mixed with other bully breeds, and even more tragic is that most pit bull mix breeds are gentle and wonderful companions and pets yet are often euthanized at shelters because of rampant misconceptions.
Before pit bulls became the aggressive type, dobermans, German shepherds and Rottweilers were the public relation nightmares.
Meanwhile Roman and Remi are recuperating at home. We wish them both a speedy recovery.
The video is attached here. Please be advised the content can be disturbing. You can be the judge of how you think the dogs were treated. Were they being aggressive? Were they scared after seeing each other handled so roughly? Were they being cornered and protecting themselves. What do you think?
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