Dogs killed over unpaid fines

California resident Gerilynn Aflleje was horrified when her 4-year-old Siberian Husky mix was killed by a local animal shelter over $180 in fees that she couldn't afford.

Her dog, Chunk, had been dropped off at the Stockton shelter after getting lost in 2013, she later explained at a city council meeting. When Aflleje discovered her dog there less than a week later, she said the shelter demanded $180 within 24 hours for storing Chunk.

Unemployed, Aflleje couldn't get the money in time. "We didn't only lose our pet. We lost a family member," she said.

In a number of cities across the country, animal control agencies are aggressively going after pet owners with big fines for small violations. Some hold people's pets until they settle their bills, even if it means they end up killed. Others leave the dogs alone but issue arrest warrants for owners who can't pay up.

The infractions can include failing to license a pet, owning a dog that barks a lot, or accidentally letting an animal get loose in the neighborhood. But the penalties are serious, often amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

So are the consequences. When owners of seized or lost dogs can't afford to get their pets back, they relinquish their rights to the animal, which can result in a pet being euthanized. Meanwhile, a CNNMoney analysis of active warrants from a sampling of 15 cities and counties across the country found thousands of outstanding warrants for small pet-related offenses.

Outraged pet owners and animal rights attorneys say these harsh tactics are all about generating money and unfairly impact low-income Americans.

But animal control agencies, which are run by local governments or contractors, say the fees and fines they collect help them to do their jobs and pay for things like storing animals. They also say their rules are meant to encourage responsible pet ownership and keep neighborhoods and animals safe.

The ASPCA, an animal welfare non-profit, said enforcement efforts are "typically rooted in good intentions" but they can have "unintended consequences" that can lead to owners losing their pets.

After coming under fire for alleged mistreatment of animals, Stockton has overhauled its shelter policies by lowering fees, facilitating more animal adoptions, and trying harder to reunite lost and seized pets with their owners -- all of which the shelter claims has resulted in a steep drop in euthanizations, from more than 75% of animals at the shelter in 2012 to 25% last year. It still faces a lawsuit filed by an animal rights group that alleges animal abuse, though the shelter says many of the allegations were already being addressed.

But aggressive tactics are still common elsewhere.

Indio, California resident Elizabeth Vasquez says that animal control officers seized her two dogs, Silver and Canelo, for being loose in the neighborhood and fined her $500. She claims they were secure in her backyard at the time.

She used her grocery money to pay $200 -- enough to get Canelo back. But animal control killed Silver before she could scrape together enough cash to get the dog out, says Vasquez, who speaks only Spanish.

Allan Drusys, chief veterinarian for Riverside County -- which took over Indio's animal services in 2013 -- said Vasquez's dogs were loose and picked up as part of a routine sweep for stray dogs and that a payment plan should have been made available to her.

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  1. I knew a neighborhood kid that had a very overbearing mother, wouldn't let him play with toy guns...he grew up with a fervent desire to be a cop, and only health issues prevented it from happening: he became a security guard instead.

  2. desertspeaksApril 13, 2015

    Why does everyone blindly accept that the governments laws, codes, statutes, edicts, rules and regulations apply to the private person without EVER questioning it?? Obviously there are going to be some idiots whose opinions are in lock step with government employees, their indoctrination to blind obedience is unshakable.. BUT CAN ANYONE ACTUALLY PROVE THEIR LAWS APPLY TO THE PRIVATE PERSON?? Can you??

    IF you ask government employees if their CONstitution and laws automatically apply to everyone just because of their physical location within what we commonly refer to as a state, their collective opinion is that YES, their CONstitution and laws apply to everyone, automatically. BUT if you ask them what facts they rely on that PROVE their BELIEF that it is applicable to you, they have no plausible answer, they’ll hang up on you, feign as though they don’t understand the question, tell you that they aren’t going to debate with you “EVEN THOUGH ALL YOU DID WAS ASK FOR FACTUAL PROOF OF THEIR ASSERTION OF JURISDICTION” They’ll tell you that it’s common knowledge that it applies, they’ll even tell you to prove it doesn’t apply to you, this is an attempt to avoid answering your question!!, but they’ll continue to refuse to answer as to what facts they rely on to prove any of it applies to you, BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ANY FACTS THAT SUPPORT THEIR BELIEF BECAUSE IT NEVER EXISTED!.. remember, they already told you it applies, it is their responsibility to prove it applies because they are the ones attempting to bring a charge against you, so the onus to prove it applies is theirs,.. It is not up to you to disprove anything applies!!!

    Everyone has been told that the CONstitution and law automatically apply to everyone. it’s everyone’s opinion that it applies, everyone feels it applies, everyone believes it applies, everyone assumes and presumes it applies. HOWEVER; hearsay, opinions, feelings, beliefs, assumptions, presumptions and or so called common knowledge aren’t proof of a damn thing.

    What factual, first hand, irrefutable evidence can anyone offer that proves that their CONstitution and laws apply to the private person simply because they are physically in what we commonly refer to geographically as a state.

    Keeping in mind that slavery and involuntary servitude is illegal “per their own laws”. Further, no private person is a party to their CONstitution, nor is any private person a signatory to their CONstitution, nor has any private person sworn an oath to be bound by or to obey the CONstitution and laws.

    Do you grasp the gravity of NOT being a party to some agreement, contract, compact or constitution??
    When one is NOT a party to some agreement, contract, compact or CONstitution, then one is NOT BOUND TO OBEY IT OR ANY PROMULGATIONS ARISING FROM SAID INSTRUMENT! “those promulgations would be codes, policies, statutes and laws etc”

    Who precisely is a party to their CONstitution?? The States are parties to the CONstitution. NOT YOU, THE LIVING BREATHING FLESH AND BLOOD MAN/WOMAN!!

    Should you choose to accept the challenge to show your proof/evidence. You shall adhere to the following;

    Your proof/evidence MUST be factual and personal first hand information, your proof/evidence shall not be comprised of hearsay, your opinions, someone else’s opinions, your beliefs, someone else’s beliefs, your feelings, someone else’s feelings, assumptions, presumptions, hypotheticals, conjecture, sophistry, fraud, lies, scenarios or what if’s.
    Further; You shall not invoke laws, statutes, codes, etc, or their CONstitutions or any amendments to their CONstitutions, as that presupposes that it is applicable, when that is what is in question in the first place!

    And since you won’t be able to show any factual, firsthand, irrefutable evidence at all, I included the following!!

    the maxim applies: quod non apparet non est. The fact not appearing is presumed not to exist.

  3. Even StevenApril 14, 2015

    Don't read just after eating.


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