Pit bull saved after petition drive has previous bite record, police say
Yesterday, we told you the story of Dre, a pit bull reunited with his family in Brighton months after he was threatened with euthanizing following an incident in which he reportedly showed aggression but didn't bite anyone; more than 68,000 people signed a petition demanding that he be saved. We've now heard from the Brighton Police Department, whose spokesman rebuffs criticism aimed at police in the case and says Dre has a record of a previous bite.
Big photos below.
We've included the entire original post, featuring an interview with the Animal Law Center's Jennifer Edwards and photos of Dre, owner Mary O'Brien and the rest of the family. But here's a brief recap.
In July, Dre and another dog -- a Doberman-Rottweiler mix -- slipped away from a Brighton home. While loose, they're said to have barked at and shown aggressive behavior toward a number of people before being corralled by local authorities. Afterward, the Doberman-Rottweiler mix was released but Dre remained in custody, allegedly because his actions were deemed potentially violent. According to O'Brien, Brighton representatives pressed for Dre to be euthanized, but after a court hearing, plus negotiations and positive analyses of the dog by two behaviorists, she pleaded guilty to one of the five original counts against her. As part of the agreement, Dre was allowed to go home, with the court scheduled to evaluate his progress with a trainer over the next two or three months.
Dre, on the right, with a couple of loved ones.
Along the way, a Dre supporter among the thousands who signed the petition said a Brighton police officer with whom she communicated claimed the dog was dead or soon would be. Edwards told us an inquiry into this assertion was ordered -- something confirmed by John Bradley, the Brighton police's public-information officer. "There was an investigation conducted into a single allegation that someone had made a comment about the dog being dead to one of the people who called," he says, "but that was determined to be unfounded." The department considers the matter to be resolved.
Edwards also suggested that even though Brighton doesn't have breed-specific legislation targeting pit bulls, a bias against the animals might have been a factor in Dre being held while the other dog was released, as well as the call for euthanizing. But Bradley rejects these statements, noting that the community's three animal control officers "argued that the city council not approve breed-specific legislation when it was proposed several years ago."
Bradley sees this stance as evidence that the officers aren't prejudiced against the breed -- and observing their fondness for animals of every description while watching them at work further convinces him that claims of an anti-pit attitude are unfounded. Likewise, he rejects allegations that the city didn't properly address Dre's medical needs (he has dermatitis that requires a special diet, regular baths and more) when he was in the city shelter. As soon as the owner brought the food Dre required in sealed containers, as required by the shelter's guidelines, the dog was given it, he says.
As for Dre's past run-ins with the law, Edwards mentioned an incident in which he and another dog may have chewed up a Crocs sandal after a man in search of an errant volleyball leaped into the yard containing them. But Bradley shares word of another report -- one that doesn't fit the description above and involved a "previous bite," he says.
Continue reading for more about the reported Dre biting incident.