This is one of those stories that make you think the world of animal control has gone mad hopelessly stupid.
Copper is an 11 year old AKC registered Shibu Inu. She escaped from the fenced backyard of her owner, Lori Goodlett, on July 3rd. On that day a local police officer, Major Fred Heaton, picked her up as a stray and took her to the humane society in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Thousands of years of domesticity were evident as Copper made no effort to attack the officer or run away as he brought her in.
About an hour or so later, “personnel from the Humane Society called and told us that the officer would have to return and get the animal, because it was a coyote,” he reported. Coyotes, they told him, were nuisance animals and should either be killed or released into the wild.
The officer reluctantly picked her up and again she went along quietly as he released her behind an abandoned Home Depot. It wasn’t until he saw the missing dog flyers for Copper that the officer realized his mistake.
Volunteers and the police have been helping to search for Copper, but an animal that has been a pet dog for eleven years does not have much chance surviving for long in the wilderness.
Her owner said, "I know in my head Copper is gone for good, but in my heart I would like to think some nice family found her and took her in.”
No one from the humane society will answer media calls to explain how an animal expert could think that a tame purebred dog was a coyote.
On a lighter note, there was a happy ending for Scrappy, a dog in Des Moines, Iowa, who was seized in April, 2009 by the city’s chief humane officer, Scott Raudebaugh.
Nine year old Scrappy was held for six months because Raudebaugh decided that she “looked like a wolf,” even though he had no evidence that in nine years she had been anything more than a loving pet.
After six months of being separated from her family, a judge ruled that she had been improperly seized from her owners and allowed to go home.
Municipalities today are passing laws banning certain breeds as dangerous. Unfortunately in some cases the way they identify a dangerous dog is for animal control "experts" to declare the dog dangerous based on looks.
Dogs and people deserve better than this.