Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sarasota AC Releases Cat Killing Dogs in Nokomis



Warning: If you live in Nokomis, esp. east of U.S. 41, KWCS has received reports of 2 incidents this week of rampaging pairs of dangerous dogs that are still at large.

In an attack on Monday in Nokomis, 2 rampaging pit bulls with tags and collars killed at least 3 cats in front of eye witnesses, injured at least 2 more cats, and roamed around attacking for at least 9 hours until Animal Control impounded the two dogs. The attacks were reported on Osceola St., just off Colonia. KWCS has extensive information on the names of the victims, the dogs’ identities and the dog owners identities. We will be blogging with more facts and names about these attacks in the coming days.

KWCS is gathering reports on exactly what happened and will provide residents and our members with further information in the next few days, but the urgent warning that should go out to residents and visitors to Nokomis who have children or pets is to be on the lookout for these dogs and be prepared to defend yourselves by calling 911 immediately.

Unfortunately, the animal control officers involved in this case told the victims repeatedly, “There’s nothing we can do” when the cat owners asked that stronger action be taken to permanently remove the 2 dogs from the neighborhood.

On Weds. Night, animal control released the dogs back to their owners after a large fine was paid. The two dogs and their owners allegedly have numerous other citations and vicious dog reports on file, but animal control chose to release the dogs anyway, apparently because they believe no laws were broken. The couple who own the dogs also raise and sell pit bull puppies, the victims said. The Osceola St. attack was approximately two miles from where the dogs live on Verona St.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, at another house in Nokomis, in a neighborhood just north of the Osceola attack about a half mile away, a resident heard a loud commotion under her house, investigated, found two dogs either fighting each other or killing another animal. She immediately called 911 (the sheriff’s dept. instead of animal control), and 3 deputies came “guns drawn” and spent a good deal of time trying to find the dogs, she says. The dogs had fled by that point. She said it appeared that the deputies were prepared to shoot the dogs and had been on the lookout for them, but were unable to find them.

In both cases, the victims tried to stop the dogs by hitting the dogs with boards or lawn implements but had no success. An interesting comment made by an animal control officer Weds. Night to one of the involved parties who asked that the dogs not be released, was that it would have been okay for the victims to shoot the dogs during the attack because the attack was going on, but after the attack was over, the AC officer said, “there’s nothing we can do” to the dogs or the owners, other than to fine them for allowing the dogs to roam. They had not done anything illegal, she said.

Callers to KWCS who are extremely upset by these events keep asking, what can we, the residents and cat owners, do about this? At this time, we are gathering information and coming up with some ideas of how to raise community awareness and involvement in preventing further dog attacks here. We will be emailing to our list and posting on our blog with concrete actions that can be taken to voice your opinion or make calls to officials about this situation. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we have contacted the sheriff’s dept. and other animal rescue groups to ask for their input and response to these incidents. So far, no one has called back.

Nor has the news media reported any of this. Even more troubling is that these 2 attacks follow by only a few weeks three reports received by KWCS of South Venice, Nokomis and Sarasota residents shooting and killing cats, or planning to do so. Again, Sarasota County’s animal officials said nothing can be done about this without the victims presenting hard evidence of the shootings first. A victim needs to produce the dead cat’s body and/or videotaped recordings of the actual shooting before an investigation can begin, we are told.

And, yes, it gets worse: in Venice recently, two individuals were arrested for having sex with a dog and videotaping themselves doing it. (unbelievable? No, I am not making this up. This report comes from comments made at by a member of the county’s animal welfare advisory committee at a recent public meeting at the Fruitville Road Public Library in the context of a discussion about Florida being a place where bestiality is legal.) The prosecutors have not decided whether to prosecute the creeps who did this, but might choose to do so. Again, no news reports of this that we are aware of.

Where are the news media and the public officials when these animal abuse cases come to light? We don’t think any of the authorities condone these atrocities, but the philosophy of “don’t make waves” or “the laws just don’t cover that,” or “we are too overworked to deal with it” just does not cut it. Who is going to take a stand for the victims?

All good questions, and we only hope that the animals whose lives have been given or who have been subjected to such awful treatment will have suffered for a reason. Their sacrifice might bring the necessary changes in Sarasota County to protect animals. By the way, the current animal ordinance expires in July and is being rewritten as we speak. It may be time to voice your opinion on what the revised rules will say to your county commissioner. More soon on all that!

You can post a comment on this blog and we will forward the comments to any public official who is interested in this discussion.

Theresa Foley, Key West Cat Society

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