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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dog on Bail

Have you heard the story of Spartacus? No, not Spartacus the slave, Spartacus the mastiff.

He's owned by a New Jersey man who had parked his truck in Queens on May 28 with Spartacus inside. That was his first mistake. Someone broke into his truck and Spartacus got away. His owner got in touch with the cops who told him that the 110 pound dog was at the Animal Care and Control Center in Brooklyn.

When Mr. Georgoutsos went to pick up his dog, he learned that Spartacus had been shot with five tranquilizer darts and that a city law requires that stray animals be spayed or neutered before being released from shelters. Mr. Georgoutsos refused the operation. The shelter would not release the dog.

Mr. Georgoutsos went to court which declared the City Council had not intended the law to apply to cases like this. The city appealed, arguing that the dog was picked up wandering city streets and thus fell under the law's provisions.

Finally, the dog was released when his owner paid $10,000 in cash (bail?) while he and the city's lawyers continue their fight over whether Spartacus should be neutered. He also had a microchip implanted to make sure he doesn't get away.

There are a couple of things wrong with the city's argument. First, this dog was not a stray. Second, he would never have been roaming the streets if a crime had not been committed, i.e., the break-in of the truck.

You can't punish a dog or his owner if you can't control crime and the population that breaks into legally parked trucks.

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