Ernest Dempsey — It is unfortunate that cases of cops busting in people’s houses and causing harassment to families seem to bebecoming a matter of routine now. Such display of ‘heroism’ against a helpless family has more often than not caused killings of family pets by cops who perceived those dearly loved animals as potential threat. But in the case of Tazzy and Stella, two dogs having a happy life with a family in Colchester, Connecticut, defending the owner against cops’ assault led to prolonged suffering of the dogs causing them to languish in captivity away from their family.
In December 2011, a bunch of cops from the police department in Colchester raided the house of Michelle Chapman-Avery, following a breach of peace complaint. As the group of cops created a commotion in the house, launching what would appear a physical attack to a dog, the two dogs—Tazzy and Stella—got defensive, following their normal, natural instinct of defending their home against the assailants. They rushed to the defense of their owner and Stella nipped one of the officers, who was on top of the owner, though not biting the cop as such. This was enough for the cops to turn onto the dogs. Soon afterward, both dogs were taken away by the authorities and held in captivity at the local animal control.
Since then, the owner of the dogs has been denied any visit to see her family’s canine friends. As reported in Court House News, Tazzy was released recently, after spending months in the shelter in miserable conditions leading to a near-fatal decline in health. Stella, on the contrary, remains imprisoned at the shelter, languishing in captivity. Her sole crime is acting like a normal dog and coming to her owner’s defense without causing harm to the cops who made the situation look like an emergency with undue physical action. Will Stella get a second chance at life? It would depend on what the court decides about her.
Of now, a case has been filed by the Lexus Project on behalf of the trust established for the dogs. The case sues officials from police and animal control involved in seizing the dogs illegally and without due process and holding them wrongfully at the shelter. The police officials are practically holding the position that dogs should know cops from assailants. However, they don’t consider the failure of their reason on the grounds that dogs as well as many humans distinguish friend from foe on the basis of behavior. Raiding a house and getting physical with the owner makes one assailant, even if in uniform. Hopefully, Stella will not fall a victim to police transgression which has previously ruined families in different states and cities.
Updates on Stella will be posted at the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Stella-and-Tazzy/138823709591084.