Friday, September 6, 2013
WatchDog Reveals Shelter's Solitary Confinement Since March 25
Osiriz, MCAS 533804
Date of confinement: March 25, 2013
Date of release: open
The need for significant changes in MCAS animal care policies
Summary: Osiriz is a 7 year old male black and tan Rottweiler mix with a dash of Border Collie. He has belonged to a young homeless man, John Young, since he was a puppy.
Everyone who has befriended John who knows Osiriz on the streets describes him as a good dog: flirtatious with female dogs, loves to play with small dogs (has had a Chihuahua playmate); OK with neutered male dogs but not as good with non-neutered male dogs. He is good with people and protective of his owner when his owner is threatened. He has lots of energy and likes to play.
The recorded incidents associated with him are understandable in context and preventable: most recently a bite during a fight among young adults and friends noted that the only time Osiriz seems aggressive is when John is being assaulted, a bite to a shoe that did not break the skin, barking and growling at the end of a leash when an officer approached, and likely related to how the leash was held. When it is held tightly it conveys anxiety to a dog.
Current status: Osiriz has been held isolated in solitary confinement, deprived of exercise, social attention and play for 98 days now. MCAS has done nothing to relive his stress, and this is a dog that is very bonded to people, other than to provide a Kong a day which they just took away as punishment. Osiriz is reported to have lunged at someone giving him dinner. Small wonder given the agency practices that function to deliberately elevate stress. As with Harley, a former inmate, he is demonstrating stress levels caused by MCAS incarceration practices.
I am asking that you at least put out a treat bucket and engage him socially by talking to him. But most of all MCAS preoccupation with “danger” interferes severely with human animal care. There must be a better balance. Harley, the pit bull blue heeler manifested the same symptoms. Incarceration at MCAS is a highly stressful experience that causes dogs’ mental health deterioration. Then MCAS blames the dog.
On May 21 Officer Michelle Luckey asked Stephanie Collingsworth to do an “assessment” on Osirz. How is it possible to lock up a dog as a solitary prisoner for over 3 months and refer to that as an assessment not a set up? No one could call this an assessment except of the debilitating effects of MCAS’s poor animal care practices.
When MCAS confines a dog for over 3 months with nothing to do please don’t refer to his agency induced reaction as an “assessment”. Entering a dog’s only cramped space gives you a measure of fear and loneliness caused by incarceration not the dog’s nature.
Restrictive Visitors’ Policies: Mr. Oswald’s visitor policies deprive animals of needed socialization and play required for mental health. In April 2013 Mr. Oswald said he would review them. It is almost July and he has not. The visitors policy for animals impounded at MCAs are so restrictive that hey cause further suffering and have no relation to pubic safety. They are simply arbitrary, harsh and intentional so that the effect is to stop families from visiting altogether.
These are the policies (identified in records):
· One must call ahead for an appointment that last only 15 minutes. If there are tree family members the 15 minutes is divided into 5 minute segments. Citizens must travel often from long distances only to be allowed to see their dog at the kennel grate.
· John Young was only permitted to see his dog once at the kennel door. To enter the kennel special permission must be granted.
· No treats are allowed
· No outside exercise play in one of the enclosed yards
This is just the short version of the restrictions for visiting one’s impounded dog. They have no foundation in public safety, are arbitrary and cruel and discourage needed play and socialization. Prisoners at maximum security prisons and at Guantanamo Bay have more personal freedom.
This must change. MCAS is a publicly funded agency supported by taxpayers’ dollars. It is has intentionally adopted policies that harm animals and disrupt the guardian/animal bond. It is run not as a shelter but rather as a prison suiting the preferences of the director not the public that funds it.
Please return to the flexible open humane rules of engagement present before.