Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Another case of reckless ACC discretion reported

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

On June 18, Mallory was enjoying the day on her front porch in the 2100 block of North Ritter neighborhood with her 7 month old daughter in her arms and dog, Tanker at her feet. Mallory has 2 dogs, Oreo, a spayed female and Tanker who had a pending appointment at FACE for a neutering. Unrestrained, Tanker took off from the porch after some distraction and Mallory’s other dog, Oreo, jumped the backyard fence to join in the adventure. Mallory quickly fixed a bottle for her baby, put her in the stroller and took off to find her dogs. Twenty minutes later she found her dogs, as had the roaming Animal Care and Control Officer, (ACO).

As Mallory was approaching Tanker and Oreo, the ACO whistled to the friendly and tail-wagging dogs who came right to the officer. Instead of writing just a ticket and letting Mallory take her dogs back home, the ACO, despite Mallory’s tearful pleas, loaded the dogs in the van to take them to Animal Care and Control.

According to family, calls to her city county councilor, Mary Moriarty Adams and neighborhood liaison, Ruth Ann Walker, were worthless. In the following weeks Mallory was denied access to visiting her dogs, her dog’s neutering appointment was missed, she fulfilled obligated appointments to her hearing and court dates, paid her fines and at the mercy of the environmental court, was allowed to retrieve her dogs on July 28. According to Mallory’s mother, “The dogs had become depressed, emaciated, had sores on their haunches and bellies and one had become aggressive as a result of being caged for so long.”

Q. Are dogs running at large a violation of city ordinance?
A. Yes.

Q. Did this young woman have previous “at large” violations?
A. Yes, two.

Q. Were the dogs vicious?
A. No

Q. Does ACC have an overwhelming population of animals that it is unable to safely accommodate?
A. Yes

Q. Do animals, who come into the building healthy, contract costly and sometimes deadly diseases?
A. Yes

Q. Did the ACC administrator have the discretion to release the dogs back into the custody of the owner?
A. Yes. Remember, administrator Teri Kendrick exercises her discretion at most anything… to translate the ordinance language that a rope that rotates 360 degrees around a steel pole is not a swivel, thus resulting in a code violation for a responsible owner.
See: “Inebriated with power,” http://www.movetoact.org/newsletters/2010/august.html

Ms Kendrick exercises the discretion to make the decision of what animal lives and what animal dies. Ms Kendrick has also made it clear at an ACC board meeting that she has the discretion (and exercises it) to deny people in violation of animal ordinances visitation with their dogs.

Q. Why would an administrator punish a person for an at-large violation by incarcerating their friendly dogs in an over-populated, rampant with deadly disease building and deny them visitation?
A. Because she can. These decisions appear to exhibit a need to exercise power and control vs practicing common sense and humane consideration.

Q. Does Ms Kendrick’s background as a city prosecutor in code enforcement factor into this callous decision-making to punish dogs as a way to punish a person?
A. You be the judge.

Move to ACT has also received citizens’ reporting that other ACO’s with whom they’ve had contact has been positive, being told by the officer that although they could take the violator’s dog to ACC, they wouldn’t because “it is no place for a dog to be.” Citizens can be grateful for the sensitivity and discretion of these officers who refuse to put dogs at risk to punish their owners.

As tax payers who pay public servants’ salaries, will we see wiser discretion on behalf of the ACC administration regarding putting innocent animals at risk as a means to punish code violators?