Saturday, May 30, 2009

Volunteers Organize to Help Elderly Owner, Dogs in Recent Dog Bite Incident

Volunteers with the Metroplex Animal Coalition (MAC) will participate in the group’s first “Animal Code Compliance Project” Saturday afternoon, May 30, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the home of a 76-year-old East Oak Cliff man. Members of the group will make repairs to his fence and yard, while others will vaccinate and treat his dogs in order to bring them into compliance with new City of Dallas ordinances.

The volunteers learned of the dog owner, R.J. Whitmill, following an incident last week in which five of his 11 dogs jumped the fence and bit a woman. According to Whitmill, the woman was trying to open his locked gate at 6 a.m. Friday morning and enter his yard. The Rhodesian ridgeback-heeler mix dogs inside the fenced yard became agitated when the woman grabbed a wooden board and started waving it around. The dogs were able to scale the fence and bit the woman and Whitmill, who intervened. The five dogs involved in the incident were surrendered by Whitmill to Dallas Animal Services and will likely be euthanized.

Whitmill was cited by Dallas Animal Services for having his dogs tethered and not spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and registered with the City. The Dallas City Council passed ordinances last June prohibiting dogs from being tethered and requiring that they be spayed or neutered if the owner does not have an Intact Animal Permit. Vaccinating companion animals against rabies is a state law.

The Metroplex Animal Coalition has arranged for local animal groups to take four of Whitmill’s remaining six dogs, including one pregnant dog. Saturday the volunteers plan to vaccinate, worm, treat for fleas and ticks, test for heartworms and bathe all of the dogs and make repairs to the fence so that those that remain will not be tethered. MAC will pay for the six dogs to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated for rabies through its free program for low-income pet owners.

Local groups that will be taking four of the dogs to find new homes for them are Flower Mound Humane Society, Paws in the City and Riff’s Friends Dog Rescue. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose 50-plus member groups work together in a spirit of cooperation to save as many cat and dog lives as possible. Since 2003, MAC has provided more than 11,000 free spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats belonging to low-income pet owners.

By Jonnie England
Metroplex Animal Coalition

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5 Dogs In Danger, Not Dangerous Dogs

You may have read the news report or seen the story on TV - 5 dogs belonging to Mr. Whitmill bit a woman Friday morning in East Oak Cliff. Those 5 dogs were impounded by Dallas Animal Services and are awaiting a Dangerous Dog hearing. He still has 6 dogs—4adults (including one who’s very pregnant) and 2 five-month-old pups. On Sunday afternoon I went to visit Mr. Whitmill and the remaining dogs. These are dogs in danger—NOT dangerous dogs.

About the dogs: First, they are NOT pit bulls or pit mixes. They are Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Heeler mixes. They are not emaciated, but are underweight and have patchy hair loss. Four dogs are chained; all have houses. There were lots of food bowls around and a trough filled with water.

Mr. Whitmill is a76-year-old widower living in a little house that’s badly in need of repair. He’s a very devout man of faith. When I told him we wanted to help him and his dogs, he said that God sent me to him. Does he care for hisdogs the way we care for ours or the way we want people to take care ofthem? No. But he does love them and is caring for them the best way he can. He’s not looking for handouts but doesn’t want his dogs to die. My heart went out to him.

About the situation: As usual, there’s a lot more to the story. Of course, I only got his side, but he told me that the woman who was bitten has stolen from him repeatedly, even though he’s given her money and even bailed her out of jail in the past. A friend who stayed at his house Thursday night saw the woman outside at 6 a.m. Friday morning. Even though Mr. Whitmill has “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Dogs” signs posted, and his gate was closed, chained and padlocked, the woman tried to enter his yard. She removed a board used to secure the gate and started waving it around, agitating the dogs inside the fenced front yard. Mr. Whitmill’s friend told her to leave, but the woman persisted, until the dogs—worked into a frenzy by her swinging the board—lunged at the fence and scaled it. Mr. Whitmill tried to get them off her and received several bites himself—not “scratches” as some reports said.

I’ve been thinking of how to best help these dogs and talked at length today. There are several issues: (1) The 6 dogs still at the house that must be S/N, vaccinated, taken off tethers and registered; (2) The very pregnant dog currently in the yard; (3) The 5 dogs that were impounded; (4) The fines and fees resulting from the citations that were or will be issued.

Mr. Whitmill has no money to pay fines or citations. He said DAS told him that it would cost $300 each to get his 5 impounded dogs back. Paying that is not a possibility for him. MAC can take care of the spaying/neutering (except for the very pregnant dog) and the rabies vaccinations. We can even pay the City registration. But that still leaves the fines.

Mr. Whitmill hopes that groups will come forward and take his dogs—all 11 of them, if the 5 in custody are released and not ordered destroyed.

I really believe that Mr. Whitmill is a good, decent, hard-working man—notone of those “irresponsible” pet owners that we see all too often. He’s old and poor and doing the best he can, and is caught in a situation that’stragic all around.

If you know of a group that could help with 1 or 2 of these dogs, or know someone who might be interested in adopting if we can find a group to take them, please email me at Maybe together we can save these dogs.


Jonnie England
Director of Animal Advocacy and Communications
Metroplex Animal Coalition
Stop Animal Cruelty...For Mercy's Sake.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tailgate '09 Pet Adoptathon Is This Saturday, May 9

Just a reminder that the Texas Animal Shelter Coalition's Tailgate '09 Pet Adoptathon is Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ballpark in Arlington! This date was chosen so as not to conflict with any activities planned for NSAL's Adoptathon the weekend before.

The location is amazing this year: Parking Lot E, directly across from the Ballpark! More than two dozen shelters, rescue groups and vendors have signed up so far. If your group hasn't yet, there's still time!

To sign up your group, go to If you have any questions, please contact:

Tammy Kirkpatrick
TASC Coordinator
P.O. Box 1209
Alvarado, TX 76009
214-540-1349 fax

Please join the TASC Tailgate '09 Pet Adoptathon and help make it one of THE adoption events of the year!

Photos by Jonnie England

Saturday, May 02, 2009

First DFW Spay Day A Success!

One hundred DFW dogs and cats were vaccinated and sterilized during the first DFW Spay Day on Sunday, April 27. The dogs and cats were referred by MAC member organizations and the services were supplied at no cost to pet owners who could not have afforded them otherwise.

The animals that participated included 62 dogs (62% female, 38% male) and 38 cats (53% female and 47% male). There was a mixture of purebred animals and mixed breeds.

Thank you to everyone who worked or donated to make this event possible: MAC member organizations, almost 60 volunteers, and our sponsors:

  • Baker Consulting Services
  • Cat Matchers
  • Companions For Life
  • Jeff Davis
  • Feral Friends
  • Community Cat Alliance
  • Mickey Kaliff
  • MWI Veterinary Supply
  • Nicke & Dick Hetzel
  • Oak Hill Animal Rescue, Inc.
  • Outstanding Productions Inc.
  • PAL Protective Animal League
  • Pfizer Animal Health
  • SPCA of Texas
  • Urban Dog Coffee

    DFW Spay Day 2009 was dedicated to the Pleasant Groves dogs who lost their lives to cruelty, Sunday, April 5, 2009.