Photos: Dre, pit bull threatened with death, returns home after plea deal
More than 68,000 people signed an online petition in support of Dre, a pit bull held for months in Brighton after a July incident in which he reportedly displayed aggressive behavior but didn't bite anyone. After weeks of negotiations, as well as allegations of dubious police conduct, Dre has finally returned home, with the attorney representing his owners suggesting that anti-pit bull bias may have played a role in the prolonged drama.
Big photos below.
"Even if a jurisdiction doesn't have breed-specific legislation, there's often breed-specific discrimination," says Jennifer Edwards of the Wheat Ridge-based Animal Law Center.
Here's how owner Mary O'Brien describes the incident that led to the incarceration of Dre, who's around five years old, on the aforementioned petition, which features the headline, "Save Dre, a Pit Bull in Brighton, CO who has NEVER hurt anyone!"
On July 26th, two dogs got out of their home because a child got a hold of the garage door remote and accidentally pressed the button. A family member was watching the kids and didn't even realize what had happened and that the dogs were loose. The dogs, Dre and MachoMotto, were running amuck thru the neighborhood. Dre was barking at people and apparently some lady jumped into her car...for whatever that is worth. Several people called animal control and someone called 911 reporting vicious dogs running loose. Supposedly it took 5 officers to obtain Dre, thou NOT ONE person was injured; bitten or scratched.
Imagine having 5 strangers chasing you.
The police/animal control released MachoMotto (not a Pit Bull), but have quarantined Dre (Pit Bull, not even sure if he's full or mix) labeling him "vicious."
|Dre at rest.|
"MachoMotto is a Doberman and Rottweiler mix, and those breeds were discriminated against in the '70s and '80s," she says. "If it had been back then, maybe that mix would have been confiscated and Dre would have been given back. But quite the opposite was true here. They gave the Dobie back and kept the pit bull" despite the fact that neither animal bit anyone. Indeed, Edwards says, "The only allegation of physical contact was from a woman who said he might have gotten some slobber on her."
If that was the case, why did Brighton authorities want to keep Dre behind bars? "This was before I got involved," Edwards says, "but my client got a call around noon saying, 'You can pick up your dogs in a little while.' But then, at about 12:30, they called back and said, 'We're going to be keeping the pit bull. It's acting vicious. It's a vicious dog.'"
According to Edwards, who says she's been around Dre on a number of occasions and never saw signs of dangerous behavior, the O'Brien family originally "went into court pro se" to win Dre's release. "But then they realized this was a lot more serious than they thought. The city was threatening to euthanize Dre immediately -- so it turned into a life-and-death situation for a member of the family."
Continue to read more about Dre's release and see photos of him reunited with his family.