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