Ernest Dempsey — The fog enveloping the case of pit bull Toby is lifting—leaving behind the corpse of the unfortunate dog. Toby is dead. Michigan did it again! In a statement released by the Kent County Animal Control, dated December 16, the animal control notified that Toby was euthanized on Thursday, December 15—thus quenching the hope of saving the dog which was supposed to live and be adopted out. As the topic is being discussed on Facebook pages and offline among animal rights advocates, regretting the loss, the big question remains: who’s ultimately responsible for Toby’s death?
It all started on December the 3rd, while Toby, a pit bull being fostered by a rescue called Saving Argo, was being taken in a car along a few other dogs for a fundraising event in Battle Creek, MI. The funds would pay for placing Toby with a dog trainer so as to enable him to be adopted out. Never would Toby have known that he was on his last travel ever, ending nowhere but dead. After he got excited and wouldn’t calm down, the rescue’s director Brandi Glaske, who was transporting Toby in a car including her kids, pulled over in Grand Rapids called for help, not knowing she was to lose Toby forever. Her call got the Kent County Animal Control (KCAC) in action that sent its staff to take custody of Toby. Glaske was asked to sign some papers, allowing KCAC to assume control of the dog. However, from this point onward, the account of Toby’s case differs in its reports and claims made by the parties involved.
In its notification, KCAC claims that Glaske reported a dog bite and that “she wanted to surrender the dog because she would not be able to adopt him out due to his behavior.” The animal control says Glaske signed the paper reading the declaration in bold: I understand KCAS is under no obligation to return the animal to me once it is surrendered. Following this, the control informs that per its policy, dogs “that bite people” are humanly (perhaps ‘humanely’ was intended) euthanized. Accordingly, Toby was put down on Thursday, December 15, although an earlier news story informed that the euthanasia was scheduled for Wednesday. In addition, the animal control also refers to a conversation between one of their staff and Jennifer Philipp, Saving Argo’s coordinator and pit bull advocate, in which she (Philipp) is claimed to have agreed to the staff’s view that Toby was dangerous and should be put down in the best interest of the public.
But Brandi Glaske has denied KCAC’s claim of surrendering Toby to the control in the sense of allowing the control to kill the dog. Soon after Toby’s death news was shared, Glaske posted on a Facebook page that she had always hoped for Toby’s rehabilitation and also that Jennifer never agreed to have Toby be put down. She questioned their claim and asked for proof of the alleged agreement to put the dog down. Glaske wrote, “…this is slander by the shelter; Toby never had a chance when the people making the decisions are willing to lie.”
Jennifer Philipp has also denied KCAC’s claim that she agreed to let Toby be put to sleep. Shortly after Toby’s death news, she wrote n Facebook, “I never agreed to put him down. They are saying I consented and I did NOT. Anyone who knows me and the love I have for Toby knows I would never agree to that.” In its statement notifying of Toby’s death, KCAC had claimed that Philipp had consented the Shelter cremate the animal and return Toby’s ashes to her.
The shelter also claimed that Saving Argo, on Facebook, has omitted key details of Toby’s story including the agreement to euthanize him. Brandi Glaske maintains that no information was hidden by her rescue. When reached for details of the story, Glaske told that KCAC would not respond to their calls meant to let Toby be placed with an experienced trainer.
From the information available so far, Glaske maintains that it did not mean to surrender the dog to the animal control but had no option as it was Saturday on December 3 and she could not think of getting help in Grand Rapids. She meant to place the dog temporarily at the KCAC shelter so as to get it transferred out later for pre-adoption trading. She also notes that she told the animal control about Toby “nipping” her daughter’s finger and that the girl was in the lobby of the building next door; but the control’s staff never asked to see her so as to verify the nipping. KCAC, however, has not responded to this scribe’s query about the verification of a bite, as they claim, and the proof of Jennifer Philipp agreeing to put Toby down. It has claimed in the notifying statement of December 16 that Toby was found by the shelter’s veterinarian as a potential danger to pole around him. But Jennifer and Glaske have repeatedly regarded the dog as peaceful and loving.
Meanwhile the following comment was left on Facebook by an attorney working with The Lexus Project:
“Regardless of whether the rescue made a mistake or not, the shelter is lying if Jen did not agree and did not sign documents allowing the shelter to euthanize. The shelter staff are public employees. Falsification of a public document is a felony…”
Who is telling the truth here and who is lying? May be readers will be able to judge better, particularly as more details of the case are known. What we do know now is that Toby’s life ended. A stray dog who was taken in by the rescue in the hope of providing it with a loving family, Toby never got a chance to be part of a complete, loving and caring family. How many more Tobys will be killed at animal control facilities? Whom do we really need to control: animals or those running killing services with the taxpayer’s money? These are big questions to pursue.
Brandi Glaske’s exclusive interview, making important unknown details public, is up and coming on this website. Keep visiting http://greenheritagenews.com/.