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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pleading for Court Case Dogs

Off the Cuff with David Mangold

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With 4,000+ likes, the Facebook page for Save Milwaukee’s Court Case Dogs is bringing awareness to dozens of dogs in confinement within MADACC’s walls. As the page administrator and founder of Justice Alliance for Court Case Dogs, David Mangold has spent years fighting for the rights of innocent dogs who are inhumanely held as evidence in dogfighting crimes.

 

Who are the “Court Case Dogs”?

Prior to April’s bust, an estimated 16 dogs (we know of) were seized in various Instigating Animal Fighting statutes. One case involved six dogs that have been held at MADACC since June 10, 2011. They spend their days in solitary confinement, eating, sleeping, peeing and pooping in their cages. They get excited when someone walks by the outside door and that is their stimulation. Such cases currently take up 30 spaces in a room (MADACC’s capacity is 140 spaces). Therefore, MADACC may kill for space because 22% of their capacity is occupied. In previous cases, dogs held for long periods allegedly became cage crazy—an easy reason to kill them.

 

How and why did you get involved? 

For two years, I lived in Chicago and volunteered for the Safe Humane program for Court Case Dogs. It was then that I made a formative discovery—that dogs with bad owners just wanted love, structure and a good person to exist with, like any dog. I met Puppet—a terrifying name for a huge, scowl-laden pittie. I saw him lying with a volunteer and, having overcome my fear, I approached cautiously. He licked my face and at that moment I knew everything I’d heard about fight case dogs was wrong. I began wondering how Wisconsin treated their seized animals awaiting the trials of their abusers. After two months of being home, I discovered there are bad laws, easily misinterpreted laws and laws that blindly judge the innocent. Laws that have kept dogs held in the evidence locker for three years and may kill them because of bad owners—owners free today and allegedly breeding dogs for cash. 

 

What can be done to help?

Their best “bet” is over. We needed to change the laws this year from being extremely vague and confusing, to having a specific course of action whenever an animal is seized. There were two bills (SB191 and AB230) that were brought up and made it through their respective committees (one voted out of committee by a unanimous vote 7-0), only to be held up by leadership. It is a shame that these dogs have been overlooked for years, while Hank the Brewer is a big phenomenon. Why is Wisconsin Humane Society getting such generous donations because of one dog when we have dozens in solitary confinement because of bad owners? We potentially have many Hanks just waiting for their chance. Milwaukeeans need to keep pressuring Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman. He did not support the bills and would not bring them up in his committees where they remained stuck. Grothman needs to take up a new bill so this never happens again, and so we can give these dogs a real chance!

 

For those interested in helping push for a new bill, contact Sen. Grothman at sen.grothman@legis.wisconsin.gov.