Category Archives: Breed Identification

Salina, Kansas, family fights for their dogs

A single working mother in Salina, Kansas, is in trouble with the city after her two dogs got escaped the yard and were picked up by animal control.

Jo Ann Morgan has two dogs that officials claim fall under the breed ban that Salina maintains.  Morgan stated that she sees “pit bulls” everyday in the community and had been unaware of the ban until obtaining her first dog.

The first dog, Celeste, was obtained not knowing there was a ban in place.  When the family asked a friend about a good vet in town, they then became aware of the ban.  Soon after, the second dog, Maicee, came to the family because of the ban.  The dog was owned by a boyfriend and girlfriend who had domestic issues.  At one point the girlfriend had threatened to call animal control on the dog for being a banned type as revenge.  The dog was taken in by Morgan, in what was supposed to be a temporary situation.

The dogs escaped the yard when the gate to their yard was left open after a trash pick up.  It was not noticed the gate was left open until the next morning, when the dogs were let out as the family got ready for their day.  A few minutes after they got out, on the morning of October 23rd, Morgan discovered the yard was empty and immediately began looking for the dogs.

They were picked up by animal control in a nearby parking lot.  It was later discovered, on a lost pets page for the community, that someone had spotted the dogs and was urging people to pick them up before animal control got them.

After searching for sometime, Morgan contacted the shelter, where she was told the dogs cannot be released because they are banned and that she would be charged.  Morgan also told that if she signed over the rights to Celeste and Maicee to the shelter, the prosecutor would drop the charges for harboring dangerous dogs.  Salina law declares “pit bulls” dangerous by appearance only, so any person caught with a banned type is charged with harboring a dangerous dog.  Celeste and Maicee had not harmed anyone.  Morgan asked if the dogs would be killed if signed over and was told that is the case.  She refused to sign over the dogs and was given a summons for the possession of two dangerous dogs.

Celeste and Maicee are currently being held as evidence and there are multiple criminal charges against Morgan.  Though Morgan is seeking legal representation, it is an expensive proposition for a case of this nature.

Salina has a bad track record with their handling of these sorts of cases.  Few, if any, confiscated dogs make it out of the shelter alive.  There was the story of Lucey, from 2010, who was taken as a banned dog and released after a DNA test showed she was a pure through and through mixed breed.  Officials came back on that family, saying the DNA tests are not reliable after the vet responsible for breed identification, Dr. Atherton, got a DNA test on his own dog and didn’t like the results.

Dr. Atherton is notorious for bad identification practices, and has, in at least one case, identified a pure breed dog (not a banned breed) as banned because of the dog’s teeth structure.

Morgan would love to get Celeste and Maicee back home but the odds of that are extremely slim.  The best hope right now is for the dogs to be placed in rescue.  When asked about it, Morgan was told that they do not release “pit bulls” to residents of other towns because of the “legal liability” of doing so.

The council is not open to discussing the issue.  Morgan attended a meeting and was told she would need to make a formal paper petition of registered voters and file specific forms in order for the council to consider the issue.

At this time, there is a Christmas card campaign for Celeste and Maicee, as well as one other confiscated dog.  The families are asking for cards to be sent, individually, to Celeste Morgan, Maicee Morgan and Remi Phillips, care of Salina Animal Shelter, 329 North 2nd Street, Salina, KS, 67401.  The families are asking that the messages in the cards be ones of support only and not directed at shelter staff in anyway.  The idea behind the campaign is to subtly let people know that the dogs are cared about without engaging in any animosity or vitriol.

For those who want to help more, there is a fundraiser being held to cover legal fees.  The odds that there will be a fair trial in municipal court are slim.  Appeals are expensive and funds must be raised in order for there to be any chance of Celeste and Maicee being about to get out of the shelter alive.


Sydney, AU – Victoria Dog Victim’s Family Back Breeding Ban

Lazor and Nick Josevski contributed to Ayen Chol’s death in 2011, according to Victorian Coroner Kim Parkinson.

Parkinson found the owners of “Rex”, an American Pit Bull, failed to follow existing laws requiring their dog be registered, desexed, microchipped and secured at their property.

Ayen died in her St. Albans home in 2011 when Rex escaped through an open door from his owners property.  Rex attacked Ayne’s aunt and 5 year old cousin before turning on her.

In a statement released through their attorney, Ayen’s family said, “Ayen died because the dog owners failed to comply with the law.”

Coroner Parkinson has recommended that criminal sanctions apply to breeders of restricted breed dogs and that the onus of establishing whether a dog is classified as such rest on the woner rather than on authorities.  She also recommended mandatory reporting by veterinarians of any restricted breed or suspected restricted breed dog which is unregistered, not desexed and not microchipped as required by law.

Ayen’s family asked the Government through their statement released by Attorney Ike Nwokolo, “I would encourage and ask on behalf of the family that the government put in place the recommendations.”

According to the coroner’s report, Zlate Lazarovski supplied Rex to his cousin Nick, therefore also contributing to Ayen’s death because he knew the dog breed was restricted and his breeding was unauthorized.

The Australian Veterinary Association did not support mandatory reporting of restricted breeds by Veterinarians, saying it is not possible to definitively identify a pit bull and stated the recommendations could discourage owners from seeking care for their animals leading them to suffer needlessly.

Manchester, MO: Resident sues city for “unconstitutional” BSL

Manchester Sued Over Dog Ordinance

In a recently filed lawsuit, a resident claims Manchester’s pitbull ordinance is unconstitutional and vague.

By Carlos Restrepo
August 10, 2012

[… Manchester resident] McRoberts said in the lawsuit that her dogs were only characterized by Manchester police as “vicious” based on their appearance, not the actual breed or behavior of the dogs. The lawsuit states that appearance is subjective and open to interpretation, which gives Manchester too much discretion over what constitutes a vicious dog.

“…and thus violates the plaintiff’s constitutional rights (of due process),” the lawsuit states. […]

McRoberts seeks for the court to declare Manchester’s ordinance unconstitutional and to be refunded for expenditures relating to this lawsuit. […]

Full article retrieved 8/12/12 from

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada: Dog owner wins battle against breed misidentification

After nearly two years, an Oshawa dog owner has won a legal battle with the city. Animal control identified her nonaggressive dog as a “pit bull” and scheduled it for death; she fought the breed ID in court and finally won.

Ontario Bill 16 would repeal the “pit bull” ban and put a stop to senseless legal nightmares like this. If you have not already written to Ontario lawmakers to show your support for Bill 16, please do so today. (If you have, please continue to do so.)

‘Pit bull’ dispute: Oshawa woman wins battle to keep dog from being euthanized

Alyshah Hasham, Staff Reporter

If Scarlett is a pit bull she dies, if she is a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer cross she lives.

Differentiating the two took a year-and-a-half-long legal battle for Scarlett’s owner Jane Nolan after Oshawa animal services workers labelled the dog a pit bull when she escaped into a neighbour’s yard. […]

Since the pit bull isn’t considered a breed of dog in Canada — it’s a generic term used in the Dog Owner’s Liability Act to ban breeds like Staffordshire bull terriers or even dogs resembling them — it can be near impossible to identify them, even for vets.

“There is no scientific basis to assess whether a dog is a pit bull or not … Veterinarians, some will identify them, some don’t feel comfortable identifying them,” said Jerry Conlin, director of municipal law enforcement and licensing in Oshawa. […]

Full article retrieved 4/29/12 from–pit-bull-dispute-oshawa-woman-wins-battle-to-keep-dog-from-being-euthanized

Waterford Township, MI: Group working to repeal BSL

Waterford woman working to change township pit bull ban

Published: Friday, December 16, 2011

When Mary Dunham received a ticket from Waterford Township for having a pit bull in mid-October, she felt like a victim. […]

A $170 DNA test on 6-year-old Keane that came back three weeks later showed him to be a Labrador-boxer mix.

[…] That incident has spurred her to try and change the township’s pit bull ban and create the Oakland County Dog Ownership Group and Specialists (ODOGS) support group.

Dunham, along with 10 supporters, have been meeting to discuss alternate ideas for Waterford.

“We’re pushing to get responsible pet ownership in place of the pit bull ban,” she said. […]


People who wish to learn more can email the ODOGS group at

The Facebook page can be found at

Full article and video can be found here:

Contact info for city officials
Waterford Board of Trustees, 5200 Civic Center Drive, Waterford, MI  48329
Online contact form:
City Clerk Kari Vlaeminck, (248) 674-6266
Fax (248) 674-5466

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada: Pet dog seized, ruled “pit bull”

Another sad case in Ontario, where a dog’s physical appearance determines whether it lives or dies. It took a warrant and four police officers, in addition to the animal control officer, to seize a pet dog that “appears to be” a pit bull. The burden of proof of innocence is now on the owner, who must prove that the dog is NOT a “pit bull.”

Dog lovers protest breed ban after pet seized

Updated 1 day ago

COBOURG/PORT HOPE -Punish the deed, not the breed: that was the message of a protest Saturday in front of the Northumberland County courthouse in Cobourg.

Tracey Van Slyke organized the protest after Animal Control officer Ross Barth and four Port Hope Police officers served a warrant at her home on Wednesday, March 9, and subsequently seized her 11-month-old dog, Chaos.

Officers said Chaos appears to be a pit bull, and therefore falls under banned breed legislation which states that no pit bulls are to be born after the legislation was enacted in August 2005.[…]

“I don’t believe I ever had an illegal dog,” Van Slyke said at Saturday’s protest.

[…] Barth said he has to act under the law when a complaint is made, and if the owners can prove the animal is not a pit bull it would be released back to them.

“I can’t say whether I agree with the law or not,” he said. “That’s not for me to decide. The law is in place and I have to enforce the law.”

Barth said nobody involved in this incident wants to see the dog destroyed, “but we know if the court decides we have no option.”[…]

Full article retrieved 3/15/11 from

Belfast, Ireland, UK: Dog on death row because of its leg and muzzle measurements

Breed identification, which must be performed in places with breed-specific legislation, is a subjective process. In this case, the owners of Lennox not only have a DNA breed-ID test that proves Lennox’s genetic makeup, the city had licensed Lennox (meaning, they did not consider him a banned breed) for over five years. Dog owners living in places with BSL can never be sure that their dog won’t be targeted.

To learn more about how to save Lennox, visit

Owner of death row dog Lennox tells of her family’s agony

Monday, 15 November 2010

Family fight to save their pet seized by wardens

The heartbroken owner of a pet dog which has been living on ‘death row’ for six months is still waiting to learn its fate after it was seized because it was deemed to be a dangerous breed.

Caroline Barnes said that six-year-old Lennox is a cross between an American bulldog and a Labrador crossed with a Staffordshire bull terrier.

However, staff from Belfast City Council called at her home in May, using what she alleges was a warrant for a different address, and impounded him after he was deemed to be a banned American pit bull terrier-type because of his leg and muzzle measurements.[…]

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