by Elisa Black-Taylor
Sarge smiling at TAHS
Good morning readers, This is a long one that I've condensed it as much as possible. I'm writing this today because Sarge needs help getting out of his temporary home and into one of the animal sanctuaries waiting to take him.
For those of you who have been following the sad life of Sarge, I'm going to bring you all up to date. The earlier articles are:
I'll begin with Tyson (who is doing well):
You'll have a little researching to do for this one also as this form has limited space. This is mainly on the evaluation report done on Sarge last week.
First let me assure everyone that I've been told by Lydia Hockenberger, who has been involved in the case from the beginning, that Sarge has his own room and his own staff at the Toledo Area Humane Society. He's being treated like royalty there. He is NOT caged in with the other dogs. Only those staff members assigned to him are allowed to care for him.
Everyone supporting Sarge has gotten really nervous over the results of his exam. Much of the report can be found on the discussion page at Justice for Sarge on Facebook. This is the part I refer to as "homework" as the report is quite long. In a nutshell, Sarge is believed to have been aggressive even before the shooting. That may or may not be true depending on who you ask. He has already bitten a shelter employer and a shelter veterinarian. Keep in mind Sarge still has 4 bullets in him and the assessment (which included X-rays) show removing them would cause too much tissue damage. He also has a few other health problems. Of course, whoever eventually gets him may make new decisions about removing the remaining bullets.
Frances Higgenbotham, a child psychiatrist for 30 years and an animal rescuer for 25 years, contacted TAHS by email concerning the bullet still in Sarge's jaw. Mary Moser, Director of Public Information, responded back that the bullet has been removed from his jaw. She wants to assure all of Sarge's followers that he is receiving daily care by their staff, including a veterinarian and a staff certified dog trainer. They are caring for him and taking this abuse case very seriously to make sure he gets into the proper sanctuary.
He is now on medication to curb the aggression. Final ruling stated he couldn't go to a private home or a regular rescue group. He will have to be released to a specialized group that knows how to treat aggressive dogs or he would have to be humanely euthanized.
A specialized sanctuary knows how to deal with aggressive animals. There are many of these around the country, but only a few with the training needed to deal with the special needs of a dog like Sarge. Many times they can rehabilitate dogs once considered too dangerous to live into loving pets. If the animal can't be rehabilitated to go into a private home or foster care, it can live out its life at the sanctuary. Sometimes it takes years to undo all of the damage inflicted by cruel humans.
We've all been through so much with Sarge and want him to have a happy life. There are two specialized sanctuaries who have asked for him. Both are trained to deal with aggressive dogs. I'd like to give everyone a little information on them. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Angel Canyon, Utah and Rocky Mountain Dog Trainers (RMDT) in Colorado Springs, Colorado have both offered Sarge a forever home. If there are more, please feel free to comment and leave information on this article.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is located on a 33,000 acre ranch. This sanctuary recently made the news for taking the 22 pit bulls seized from football star Michael Vick. The dogs are doing well and will remain there for 6-12 months minimum to heal from their dog fighting injuries. Many have physical as well as emotional issues and are learning how to relax and play for the first time in their lives. Some were used as "bait dogs" and others were fought to the death. They're lucky to be alive.
There are roughly 1,700 pets living at Best Friends. They are the cast off cats, dogs, goats, horses, pigs, birds and any other creatures given up on by humans. They take in animals from all over the country. Some of the animals only need weeks before being adoptable. Some need more time and some are there for life. Their no-kill policy means only euthanizing for humane critical medical reasons.
They are qualified to take Sarge and have made the offer. Their website is located at Best Friends. I emailed them and invited them to comment on my article.
Rocky Mountain Dog Trainers is also more than qualified. I was going to go through their website to gather their credentials, but Master Dog Trainer Scott Martin emailed me with this information so I'm going to let him tell about his ability in his own words. Also note his website and check it out: RMDT.
SCOTT'S Email with his credentials and philosophy:
Master Dog Trainer
Rocky Mountain Dog Trainers, Ltd
204 Mount View Lane Ste 12-13
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Arizona State University -- B.S. Business 1994
Denver University -- B.S. in Zoology 2002
Rose School "Master Dog Trainer" 1997
Aggression Modification Studies 2003
International Association of Canine Professionals 2004
American Pet Dog Trainer 2009
A well trained dog, is a well loved dog!
This introduction provides information on the philosophy and techniques we use when training the dogs. In our contract, we also promise to make the dog a very good and well-mannered animal that that customers love to show off to their friends and family. In turn, the customer has to acknowledge that the best results are achieved when the owner continues the training at home.
The minute the dog walks in to our facility, we immediately start observing him/her. We are looking for any and all bad habits that have or have not been picked up by the owner. We train in absolutely everything from basic commands to Schutzhund, jumping and house training to serious people, dog, and food aggression. Aggression is our specialty. We invite the challenge of any and all aggressive problems. RMDT, in comparison to all others in the industry, does not turn anyone away who is willing and wanting to have their dog trained, as long as the owner is willing to participate. The consistency of continuing the programs at home is the only way that the owner will have the dog they truly desire.
Our style of training consists purely of positive reinforcement. The style has been used and perfected for more than 200 years, unlike a new type of training that has arisen in the last few years that’s uses collars and corrections that could actually be harmful to the dog. Those methods break the dogs spirit, which, granted, makes the dog very easy to train, but when you get your dog back after that type of training, he is just not the same.
Our philosophy is this: We will teach your dog that he or she is not the Alpha in his or her relationship with the owner. We will teach the owner how to be the Alpha without breaking the dog’s spirit. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and in a pack, somebody has to be in charge. Until now, the dog has been doing what he or she wants and has been the Alpha of the house. If the dog remains the Alpha, he or she will soon be (maybe already is) out of control. I take the Alpha out of the dog. While I’m training him or her, I become the Alpha and run the show. When the program is complete, I teach the owner how to become the Alpha.
RMDT guarantees all of our work. The customer/owner will be 100% satisfied by the time they leave here. After the program, if at any time the customer has a question, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our goal is to have the owner as a satisfied customer for life.
The reason that I do what I do is for education, education for the owner and the general public. I like to deal mainly with bully breeds that have gotten a bad reputation throughout the course of their misguided life. I take them in and rehabilitate them to show the public that it is not about the breed, it is about the owner and the type of consistent training that a dog receives.
I would also like to add RMDT has been wanting Sarge from the beginning. They are prepared to travel to Ohio at a moments notice and get Sarge. They are known for handling and rehabilitating aggressive dogs. Scott emailed me with this info and also told me he'll be on The Rachel Ray Show soon (not about Sarge). That is SO great. I hope Scott will add the date for the show in the comments section.
Our next goal is getting Sarge out of TAHS. He needs to be at a place where he feels comfortable and can just be a dog. I learned on the Justice for Sarge Facebook page that Al Roker(NBC) and Oprah have both been informed of his situation. Please check out his Facebook page for places to contact to get things moving for this poor dog. The TAHS phone number is (419)891-0705. Many are calling them wanting answers.
I'll end this for now. I promise to keep everyone on pictures-of-cats.org updated as the decisions are made about his future.
I did this article so my readers will know these places do exist. No animal who has survived animal cruelty should be killed for being a victim.
I hope my article will ease your mind on how well he's being cared for. I'm just like all of my readers. I want him in a sanctuary NOW.
If anyone has comments or suggestions on how to speed things up PLEASE comment here.