Salina, KS: Dog owner back in court as Salina disputes DNA test

Summary: Lucey, the Cartwrights’ dog, “looks like” a “pit bull.”  Salina, KS has had a ban on “pit bulls” since 2005.  Lucey was seized, but the Cartwrights fought back, and had the Mars Wisdom Panel genetic test performed.  The test results were that Lucey was not a Pit Bull, and had only about 1/8 Staffordshire Bull Terrier in her ancestry.  So, a judge said she was not banned under Salina’s law, and refunded the money the Cartwrights had spent defending her.  But then, veterinarian David Atherton (a consultant to the Salina Animal Shelter, and the one who initially deemed Lucey to be a “pit bull”) decided that the genetic test results were incorrect. (Because the test uses autosomal chromosomes rather than sex chromosomes; and because “pit bulls aren’t pure-bred”.  Besides, he ran the test on his own dog, and got back results that seemed highly questionable; and anyhow, the Mars company itself says the test is not authorized for use in breed ban cases.)  So, the Cartwrights are going back to court in March 2010; and the judge will require any scientific evidence to be backed up by expert testimony. Meanwhile, the Cartwrights may be moving away, for employment reasons.  It’s not clear from the article exactly where Lucey is being kept while waiting for the new trial — hopefully with her family, and not impounded at the shelter.

Previous alert for Salina:

Salina disputes DNA test

Salina Journal

Five months ago, Cartwright thought a DNA test had saved Lucey, who looks like a pit bull, after she ran afoul of the city’s breed ban….

Cartwright won her case, based on the results of the genetic test….

Then in November she got a notice … [Salina] was refiling the charge against her of owning a prohibited pit bull… [because] the city prosecutor [thinks] the DNA test is unreliable….

Cartwright has hired an attorney…. Her trial is scheduled to begin in March.

Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 822-1403 or by e-mail at

Full article retrieved Feb. 19, 2010 from


One response to “Salina, KS: Dog owner back in court as Salina disputes DNA test

  1. OMG!!! So out of a few hundred breeds, of which several breeds share similar, if not the same physical characteristics, i.e. muzzle shape and length, ear shape and size, etc., a veterinarian can say with 100% accuracy what breed a dog is by only the physical characteristics?! No offense, but I disagree. Also, the fallacy of such an argument is who he suspected was the sire of his dog, without any definitive proof nor having the papered pedigree of the sire. Who’s to say that the grandsire or great-grand bitch wasn’t a Pekingnese? Like the AKC requires…unless papers can show the lineage, anything could be conjecture.