County denied justice to family, Lladk the dog
Clackamas County Dog Control likely to kill Lladk, the emotional support animal belonging to the Kollenburn family, next week, rejecting multiple national rescue offers
County Attorney Cieko and the Clackamas County Commissioners:
The county's position using sleight of hand to reject three rescue and rehabilitation offers, two nationally recognized rescues and one Oregon rescue removes all the risks the county speculates would occur based upon the Dog Services behavior and assessment coordinator and the county's judgment.
One must ask when all concerns can be met, why?
The assessment reasons offered by the county's dog service behavior and assessment coordinator will not occur in a new setting and with due diligence might not occur in the home. But these offers are from established recognized rescues. The statement by the county that Lladk poses a known risk to which there appear to be no mitigating factors is simply false.
The Dog Services behavior and assessment coordinator assessment that the dog is likely to bite again and inflict as much or more damage than the last bite, completely ignores and invalidates the options of rescue or a new setting, the totality of all behavior science research, and this dog's history, a one-time occurrence. The evidence offered is unpersuasive/speculative.
• Bites are caused by stressors; stressors are known and preventable; Lladk does not have a "bite history." This was a unique incident that occurred with a toddler who did have a history of pestering. His family was trying to urgently correct that. It was a one-time accident on a tumultuous day. Why kill the dog when so many factors are correctable?
None of those factors will be part of the rescue or likely ever occur in another family without young children.
• Lladk had killed chickens in the past. No chickens will be on the rescue site and killing chickens does not pose a risk to people.
Summary: The bite incident was a single preventable incident, embedded in Lladk's long history of friendliness and compatibility with children, adults and animals. It was in response to a stressor on a tumultuous day. The injury from a very large dog was not life threatening. The treatment included staples to secure and close skin abrasions on the head, antibiotics and Tylenol. No hospitalization was required. It was followed by an unremarkable recovery.
The stressor was in fact known as the toddler. The toddler will not be at the rescue.
Every concern about safety has been addressed through rescue transfer options. Yet the county is refusing to respond to the options put forward.
In response to the Kollenburn's family's request for accommodation for Lladk as he is Lanea Kollenburn's prescribed service dog critical to her mental health and well-being, the county said get another one, displaying an acute ignorance and a shocking lack of understanding about the role service dogs play in the lives of those to whom they are in service. No further comment is possible.
Finally, a previous statement that the county's hands are tied is false. The county made the rules and created a dead end.
The motion to set aside the judgment for Lladk's death sentence was prompted and established by the first hearing where the only county-permitted options that were introduced were a wolf cage or death.
Rescue was not among the options, nor were expert behavior witnesses. Because humane options that protect the public and spare Lladk's life were not included in the original hearing, the only permitted court review was the review accompanying the proceedings conduct of the original hearing that ended in a death sentence between death and a wolf cage. There were and remain far more.
Our organization has repeatedly offered assistance by paying for a consultation with a nationally recognized and admired diplomat in animal behavior, Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC, Animal Behavior Clinic, website: www.animalbehaviorclinic.net. The county ignored those offers.
In this case, the system has failed severely, and justice was indeed denied to a family and a dog despite multiple rescue requests that protect the public and spare Lladk's life. That was a failing. The outcome is government-sponsored cruelty.
The Board of County Commissioners can permit Lladk to go to the rescue and rehabilitation groups who have requested him through issuing an executive order. Executive orders are commonplace; a government responsibility to correct injustice when systems fail.
But the Clackamas County Commission has refused to exercise that right to permit Lladk to go to the rescue/ rehabilitation groups who have requested him when every expressed concern and objection has been met and despite the fact that is their government duty to exercise discretion and correct when systems fail and injustice prevails.
Lladk's unnecessary death and the trauma to the family will be permanent as will be the injury to the public. It is a permanent unforgettable time when a county government rejects compassion, fairness and humanity because they just don't see it as their concern.
Gail O'Connell-Babcock is an animal rights advocate and is affiliated with Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation/Watchdog.
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