Sunday, June 18, 2006

Spencer to live out his life at animal sanctuary in Utah

Spencer to live out his life at animal sanctuary in Utah
Last Update: 6/16/2006 8:03:06 PM

(MOBILE, Ala.) June 16 -- His fate has gained national andinternational attention, and he doesn't even know it. Now it appears "Spencer" the pit-bull terrier is getting "a new leash on life."

At a Friday news conference, Mayor Sam Jones announced while he supports the shelter's policy of not adopting out pit bulls, he istaking a special interest in Spencer's case. The dog will betransported to a sanctuary half-way across the country to spend therest of his days.

Spencer is to be picked up from the Mobile Animal Shelter by Hearts of Gold Pit Rescue, a group based in Tennessee. They have arrangedtransport and foster-care for Spencer until he can be taken to the Best Friends Network, another group which is based in Utah.

Spencer was discovered May 30 when he was walking down a midtown Mobile street dragging a 10-foot chain. He was dehydrated andstarving. The dog was so thin it was able to slip through the bars ofa wrought iron gate of a residence. It is obvious the dog had suffered physical abuse. He was wearing a leather collar with the name "Spencer" stenciled on it. Spencer is believed to be about 18 months old.

Residents of the area took him to the shelter. Janet Jordan, kennelmanager at the Animal Shelter, commented that the dog is not aggressive towards other dogs at the shelter. "He seems to be real friendly," she added. "He doesn't bark at any of the other dogs." It was obvious to her Spencer had been starved as well as beaten.

Amanda Kramer filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to stop the euthanasia of Spencer. Amanda pleaded to adopt Spencer. Judge Stout granted that petition which stayed the euthanasia pending a hearing. In the subsequent hearing, however, the court ruled Kramer had no standing in the case and the city had the right to follow its unwritten policy, meaning Spencer should die.

Bill Fassbender, director of animal control at the Mobile Animal Shelter, who testified at the hearing, claimed it is a nationwide practice to destroy pit bulls because of the possible danger from them. No evidence was presented, however, to show proof of that statement.

In fact, there is nothing in the Mobile, Alabama ordinances or Alabama law that requires the shelter to kill Spencer or refuse to adopt him to the many people who have offered to take him and give him a good home. Instead, it is the shelter's policy to kill pit bulls not claimed by their owners regardless of their temperament. Apparently, it is an unwritten policy followed by many shelters throughout Alabama.

On their website, David Phelps, a representative for Best Friends Network told readers the organization had contacted the city of Mobile and arranged for Spencer to be given "sanctuary," so he will not be killed, but he will also not be adopted out to anyone else.


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