Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NorthStar Pet: Saving Fletch


This is Fletch and he's got big problems...

...the Knox County, Ohio, dog warden wants to needlessly euthanize Fletch.

This is Fletch and he is safe in his new home. Update 4.1.14: I am happy to report that Fletch has been saved and now belongs to The Tank Fund.

Just click for the updated story on WBNS TV. 

Here is the gist - Fletch is a nice, sweet dog who is fast becoming a victim of poor judgment by human beings and their egos.

Fletch is a dog who was up for adoption who found a forever home and was in the care of volunteers at the Knox County Animal Shelter until he could go to his new home.

Recently, he was interacting with a child during supervised play at the shelter, reached out for a play-toy and caught part of the child's hand in the process. The county health department deemed the act non-aggressive, and no bite complaint was filed. 

Sometimes there are just events that are no-fault - they just happen. As a pet sitter, if I get nicked during play or when I'm giving a pet a treat - that's my fault for not being faster or not paying attention, and I do think the adults in the room should have used better judgment - the child can be petting him and interacting in a calm atmosphere, but let her watch the grown-ups play with toys with the dog and administer treats.

In Ohio, a bite from an animal requires a 10-day quarantine - that can be at a shelter, a vet, or a home. In spite of obvious evidence that showed the dog to be non-aggressive, and the event to be a simple accident, Dog Warden Jordan Bernard indicated that after the 10-day quarantine, he planned to euthanize Fletch, claiming that he was acting in the best interest of the community. Really? 

Well, the community doesn't want the dog euthanized. And, Dog Warden Jordan Bernard works for the community. The community would be the taxpayers that pay his salary. Pretty sure he's there to serve them.

The County Commissioners initially indicated that they didn't want to "micro-manage" the dog warden and banned the volunteer program at the animal shelter for a year. Yikes.

Pretty sure, again, those County Commissioners, who are elected officials, are working for and representing the taxpayers. And, the taxpayers want the dog saved.

A Knox County organization, that the County Commissioners do and will recognize, called The Tank Fund, which provides funding for pet quality of life concerns and trains assistance dogs, has offered to take Fletch.
  
Advocates for Fletch, including his future family, have turned to the court system and Fletch is currently being fostered in a home until this can be sorted out. Fletch's case has been transferred from Mt. Vernon Municipal Court to the Knox County Court of Common Pleas.

The County Commissioners say that under Ohio law, they can release Fletch to The Tank Fund only if the county has custody of the dog.  Right now, Fletch is in court-ordered foster care.

This circumstance raises a lot of questions and concerns for the future, but right now there is just one issue at hand: Saving Fletch.

To borrow from Shakespeare: Discretion is the better part of valor.  We should all be setting our egos aside and working together for a creative solution that Saves Fletch, benefits all, and works within the law.

If you live in Knox County, especially if you are a registered voter (but you don't have to be to support Fletch), and want to reach out to the County Commissioners, please do so. Get to the point - no pontificating, no name calling, no hair pulling - it's totally unnecessary and counter-productive - all that matters is Fletch. Simply send them an email stating:

1. If you are a registered voter, please state so: I am a registered voter in Knox County.
2. State your support for Fletch: I do not want Fletch to be euthanized. Please save Fletch.
3. Include your name and address.

It's that simple.

People got Fletch into this situation; I hope people can get him out of it.

Heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Fletch and all who support him. 

Update March 31, 2014: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 is the next hearing for Fletch in Knox County Common Pleas court at 10:30 a.m. For more information, check in with Save Fletch on facebook.

Just click:

Story on WCMH website.

Story on WBNS website.

Columbus Dispatch Story.

Save Fletch Petition on Change.org.

Knox County Commissioners.

The Tank Fund.

Mount Vernon News.  

Save Fletch on facebook.