NJ Aid for Animals
PHILADELPHIA JUDGE GRANTS REPRIEVE TO ABUSED DOGS
Help Needed to Give Them Sanctuary
Camden County, NJ ----- September 19, 2012: Three Philadelphia dogs seized from a life of abuse in a north Philadelphia row house need donations to help transport them to an out-of-state sanctuary that has offered to care for them.
Their story begins on the night of August 30, 2011, when police were called to the home of Jose Alvarez and Carmen Ramos. Ramos was pronounced dead at the scene, the victim of apparent dog bite injuries. She was suffering from mental illness and had reportedly ceased taking her medication. Five dogs were taken from the scene, including one that was covered in blood and suffering from severe stab wounds. That dog later died of his injuries, leaving four dogs to be admitted to the shelter.
This wasn’t Alvarez’s first clash with the law over animal abuse. Five dogs were seized from him in 2009, victims of chronic animal abuse. But their seizure did not stop their abuser – he just went and got more dogs. Dead dogs were again found in his basement in 2010.
One of the dogs seized in 2009, Emily, was so frail and fearful that her rescuers at the Philadelphia city shelter bundled her around in a baby carriage until she was strong enough to come out of her kennel alone. Kathy McGuire, President of NJ Aid for Animals, an all-volunteer animal charity focused on abused and abandoned animals, adopted Emily and another survivor of the incident, Robyn.
When McGuire learned about the four dogs recently found in Alvarez’s basement, she went to work. She quickly put together a team to try to secure the dogs’ release. Local attorneys Robert W. Muench and Nadia Adawi, along with New York-based attorney Flora Edwards, volunteered to draft an amicus brief requesting permission to intervene in the court case.
Edwards was one of the attorneys responsibly for saving the lives of the dogs seized as part of Michael Vick’s Bad Newz fighting ring.
“This is about justice, not vengeance,” said Muench. “We may never know what really happened that day, but these dogs were victims as well.”
In mid-May, the attorneys filed a brief requesting that the court allow the dogs to be evaluated for placement in a sanctuary, rather than be automatically sentenced to death. This was the first time in history that the Philadelphia Municipal Court had accepted such a brief. In July 2012, the Honorable Judge Thomas Gehret granted the request.
In early August, Jim Crosby, a world-recognized expert in canine aggression, traveled to Philadelphia to assess the four dogs.
Crosby’s expertise as a former police officer and animal shelter manager gives him unique insight into canine behavior and crime scenes involving animals. He subjected each of the four dogs to a battery of tests designed to elicit signs of aggression. Despite being kept in isolation at the city shelter for almost a full year, deprived of any sunlight or human touch, three of the four dogs passed these tests with flying colors.
“There is no doubt that the dogs each have issues, stemming in part from the extensive deprivation they’ve experienced over the past twelve months,” said Crosby. “However, based on the behavior I observed, I believe they could be readily rehabilitated and even placed in a private home, if the court would permit it. As for placement in the controlled environment of a sanctuary, I would not hesitate to recommend that.”
Sadly, one of the dogs was deemed to be “too badly damaged” to even be placed in a sanctuary environment.
NJ Aid for Animals is coordinating the fundraising drive to get the three surviving dogs, dubbed Bleu, Shorty, and Goldi, to the sanctuary. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the “Dogs in Crisis Fund” at NJAFA, PO Box 4, Cedar Brook, NJ 08018, or submitted online through PayPal at www.njafa.org.
Video of the three dogs can be viewed at www.njafa.org.
NJ Aid for Animals (NJAFA, Inc.), is a 50l(c)(3) no kill animal protection charity striving to end the suffering of animals, enrich the life of every animal they touch, provide programs for domestic animals on wellness, humane education, spay and neuter with a focus on impoverished communities;