Oklahoma Animal Welfare officers were threatened over the weekend during their investigation of a dogfighting video that went viral on social media and is hindering their investigation, 9 Oklahoma’s Own reported June 15.
Regardless of how slow things are progressing, including the length of time before the situation was first reported to authorities and the time taken to get the injured dog to safety, it’s never a good idea to threaten anyone, even on social media. People go to jail for more serious charges than the actual abuser when the make threats, whether the threats were serious or not.
Animal Welfare Director Julie Bank said the owner of the dogs, including a pit bull named Boosie who was seriously injured, is cooperating in the investigation. When interviewed by 9 Oklahoma’s Own, Banks stated
“We promise you that we are doing right by these animals. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to sit behind a computer and type bad messages. You really just can’t come in like a renegade because of an allegation and invade someone’s property or take someone’s property in the case of an animal. Don’t start pointing fingers and accusing, we want you to assume that we are caring as you are.”
Animal Welfare and Oklahoma City police investigated and found the homeowner’s son at the home with several of his friends. The owner wasn’t present at the time of the investigation.
According to a report, Boosie was inside the garage on dirty blankets and there was an overwhelming smell of infection and feces. He was feverish and covered in ooze. Boosie was removed from the home on Friday and was taken for medical treatment. Officers had been to the home multiple times on Friday but had to follow procedure before Boosie could be removed.
Banks is also saying Boosie is doing well and has only minor injuries.
On Saturday, the owner was issued four citations, but the reason for the citations hasn’t been revealed by the AWD because it could compromise the investigation. Meanwhile, the AWD and the police are having to deal with online threats against officers, including private information, as some are making threats in order to pressure more charges to be made against the owner.
AWD cleared up the rumor that puppies were being kept in a hot garage, saying this information was unfounded.
Andrea LaFave, the wife of Ryan LaFave who posted the video, made a statement on Facebook saying
“I understand tons of animals out here are needing help as well, but when I state this animal is DYING, I expect a more prompt result. I just think that the call about a dying dog is serious enough, that it can push off that other call about a dog hanging out in your neighbourhood. I did not mean for everyone to bad mouth to the extreme at how much they think animal welfare sucks. I know that what you guys go through every day with these animals is torturous hell, and I’m sorry for that. However, with this bringing attention how I wasn’t being responded to in a timely manner… maybe this will raise awareness to the community. Maybe this will raise donations to get a better staff, and by that I mean quantity not quality!”
Andrea and Ryan, who is allegedly a disabled American veteran, have also been criticized for not doing more to break up the dog fight. Trespassing on a neighbor’s property and/or breaking up fighting dogs often do more harm than good. The couple did what they thought best by filming the attack and contacting those who supposedly could get immediate help for Boosie.
Because this is an open investigation, 9 News was unable to get video of Boosie but were allowed to see him off-camera running around and eating, with medicine on the bite marks to his head and back.
According to the AWD report, charges are pending, and Animal Welfare will keep Boosie until the case is closed. The three remaining pit bulls who attacked Boosie weren’t seized but are no longer on the property.
Facebook: Demand Justice for Boosie has also changed their administration team as they clear up misinformation and continue to raise support for the injured dog. The community page posted a warning June 15 concerning efforts being made to raise funds to help any rescue who may eventually take Boosie into their care.
“There are NO fundraisers being put on by any Oklahoma organizations for Boosie at this time. Any fundraisers that are being shared around are not associated with any of the people or organizations involved in the Boosie case. Please be very cautious in what you choose to use your money for. We cannot guarantee that any of those donations will get to Boosie.
There is still a place on this page for pledges. If you would like to be contacted with donation information when/if he is released to a rescue, please leave your information under the posting about pledges.”
One thing that should happen in this case is for those who are hired to help companion animals have the legal right to do so. Anyway you look at it, coming back again and again and not being able to seize an injured animal from an abusive or negligent owner is wrong.
What’s just as wrong is to threaten the life of anyone involved in this case, whether it be AWD, police, Boosie’s owner or the couple who filmed the attack. Those angry at the time it took from the first report being made until Boosie was taken for treatment should focus on getting laws changed so this never happens to another dog. This can be done by writing town or county commissioner’s, the mayor and state representatives.
Previous articles on Boosie have been corrected to reflect the new information.