Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dog Show Victim

I've been sitting on this story for almost a full week now. Much as I wanted to talk about it, I also wanted to wait until it was confirmed and both sides had a chance to weigh in. Well that has now happened and so I'm going to start by posting both sides. Then, I'll follow with my thoughts on the issue. This is one time I really do hope readers will share their thoughts and will also forward a link on to others.

Cross-posted with permission from the author, Margaret Byrd:
Everyone needs to know that a dog club member was stopped by police near Birmingham, AL on the way to the Magnolia Classic Trial. The actual law enforcement officer was a sheriff's captain for Jefferson County. They held her for 45 minutes on the side of the road with 6 patrol cars flashing red lights. She was treated like a criminal. She and her daughter were both very frightened by the way they were treated. The policeman asked her if she knew why she was stopped and she told them, "No I don't". He said, "I stopped you because I saw you had dogs in your truck". Her dogs were in secured kennels elevated by a table in the back of her truck to be near the topper windows. Equipment was then stored under the table.

They said she didn't have water in the dog crates. She explained she had just stopped at a rest stop, let all the dogs go to the bath room, offered them water and they didn't do well with water in the cups while the truck moved. Then she poured water in the cups and none of the dogs drank. He then said that the back of the truck was not air-conditioned. She pointed out that the temps were 58 at the time. Then he said she had inadequate ventilation. She told him the dog's hair was moving as they traveled and there was plenty of ventilation.

He wanted to know where she was taking the dogs and why they were in her truck. She told him she was headed to a dog show. He asked where the show was taking place. She stammered and he was sure she was lying. He asked for documentation to prove she was attending a dog show and proof that she was entered as a contestant. She didn't have a flyer so she told him to go the JRTCA web site and the trial would be listed. He called his main office and had someone go on line to view the site. He told her if she was going to a dog show why didn't' she have entry forms with her. She told him that she was going to enter when she arrived.

He looked in the van and asked about the research foundation equipment. She told him what it was and he stated it looked like drug paraphernalia to him. She showed him paper work for the DNA study to prove the equipment was for legitimate purposes.

He told her he wasn't convinced that it was a proper way to carry her dogs and he was going to call animal control to come and investigate. When he called them they said they couldn't come for an hour and a half so he took photos of her truck and dogs to show to animal control so animal control could decide if her set up is acceptable or not. They informed her they had all her information and knew how to contact her if animal control decided her set up was inadequate. Fortunately, animal control couldn't come immediately so they let her go.

She had forgotten her brief case with her rabies certificates in them. It was the greatest good fortune that they failed to ask. You all need to know that in many areas animal terrorist (nothing they do is right) groups are in control of animal welfare and of animal control.

During this event they would not let her daughter get out of the car to smoke a cigarette. One officer went to the side of the car after she asked and stood there to prevent her from leaving the vehicle. She became very frightened and called her father. Then she heard them tell the others to turn off the cameras and she became even more afraid. Both were made to feel like they were in a third world country because they had dogs in the car.

The following are some of the things that are critical to know to keep you & your animals safe:

1. Dog owners need to be alerted to the current climate. Please understand this current outrage may be the direct result of the influence of animal activist groups disguised as animal welfare groups. Law enforcement is on board with them in many areas because they view them as experts. HSUS gives law enforcement positive press. HSUS donates money to many reelection campaigns. Some officials have been given nice jobs with HSUS when they retired from public office.

Animal Terrorists are succeeding in getting laws passed that restrict our freedoms of animal ownership. Their influence is sometimes apparent among public officials at every level including law enforcement and animal control.

If you read Saul Alinsky - "Rules for Radicals" you will see the method they use to enact new laws that seem so warm-and-fuzzy but in reality are aimed directly at each of us. They don't want us to have (pet owners you are not exempt) or breed animals and they are willing to do anything to stop us - lie, cheat, steal.

According to Alinsky "Rules for Radicals", to affect radical change, First: you create a problem (out of thin air). Animal Terrorists have created the language which includes the term "puppy mill", "back yard Breeder", "hobby breeder", "vanity breeder", "basement breeder". The uninformed jump on the band wagon and the next thing you know commercial breeders just breed another litter of pups to offset new costs while you and I are forced to become criminals, give up our dogs, or to sign away our constitutional rights in order to have a dog.

2. Keep your dog papers in your vehicle when you travel with your animals. I can't stress this enough. I've been guilty of driving without them but no more. It could cost you thousands of dollars, or worse you could lose your dogs. Your dogs could be taken into custody to a pound till you could get your papers to show authorities. You would be powerless to stop them. Meanwhile, no telling what they would be subjected to in that environment. Further, some communities/states have laws that state any animal confiscated and taken to a shelter must be spayed or neutered before it is returned. These things might be fought against in court but your animals would already be spayed or neutered, or even euthanized, before you could win in court. It has happened to others. Eventually some others have won in court but their animals were all already dead, spayed, neutered, and/or sold to pet people that "rescued" them from the shelter (who happened to make a chunk of change off your stolen dogs and from the PR of having "rescued" them).

3. Stay Street-Legal. Make sure your car is travel worthy before any trip. No lights burned out, no out-of-date inspection sticker, etc. Give them no reason to stop you for a minor infraction. The constitution still protects us against illegal search and seizure without probable cause. Above all DO NOT SPEED. If you are in a big hurry, leave earlier. Giving the police a right to stop you under color of law has officially just gotten way more expensive. Apparently our fellow club member was stopped unconstitutionally - IMO. Right or wrong, she was victimized only because they could see her dogs in her car. It is a sad state of affairs when our constitutional rights can be violated because we have a visible dog in the car. Sadly, you might have to consider this when you get your next vehicle.

4. Buy or borrow a video camera. Video tape your dogs kennels, the condition of the kennel, your dogs' condition, water containers, bedding, etc. Have a video of your dogs competing at a dog show. If animal control shows up video tape the entire event. If they take your dogs, go to the shelter & video tape the place they take them if possible. One fellow in AL with show pit bulls did this and he got his dogs back.

5. Keep a contact person's number in your cell phone. If you get into a situation like the one that happened near Birmingham you might need someone to call that can send help. We need to develop a system of hot lines through out the country so a volunteer in each state or area could come to help in an emergency.

6. JRTCA members and the Magnolia Group should join with the My Dog My Choice members and contact the elected state officials for AL and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce &/or Jefferson County officials to lodge a formal written complaint. We need to organize a letter writing campaign. I will create a sample letter and get us addresses to use. Email me at mbyrd@centurytel.net for this information.

If an area gets the reputation of being in an unsafe place for dog owners to travel, exhibitors will not attend events in that area. The person that had been victimized went home through Birmingham after dark and went to a different town to spend the night because she was afraid. Even then she was afraid in the motel so close to the area.

It is bad for the local economy to lose a source of revenue. How many people would go to the GA trial, for instance, if they worried about traveling through AL? Dollars spent in a community roll over 9 times in that area.

Having a dog in the car does not automatically make us criminals and remove our 4th amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.

7. Just so you know, TN is the state where police shot a man's dog and victimized his family when he accidentally left his wallet on top of his car. They thought the money blowing off was evidence that he was a robber. The man has won a suit in court over it but his dog is dead, his wife and children are traumatized and his knee is permanently injured.

In LA a man's pit bulls were taken and killed within 24 hours. He proved he was innocent in court but all his animals were already dead. He is suing.

The newest hype they are introducing as another "First create a problem" is the idea that dogs have a larger carbon foot print than an SUV. Think that is too far out to be believed or to matter? Will you still think so if they pass a law which requires you to pay a Cap and Trade tax to keep your dog, or a national limit on the size and number of dogs you can own?

You can't begin to imagine the things I'm reading about the victimization of animal owners & the loss of our freedom of animal ownership in communities all over the USA. We must all wake up and become proactive before it gets any worse.

Don't be sucked into any of the animal terrorists' agendas (like puppy mill bills etc). And for heaven's sake don't send money to any of them or let your families and friends do so. It's not just the commercial breeder. It's not just the pit bull people. It is not just the other guy. It is your personal freedom of quiet enjoyment with your animals and it is happening TODAY. We can stand together or we can all fall one by one. Think about it please.

And now I finally have a copy of what appears to be "the other side of the story". Here it is.

Here is an email from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and their
version of the traffic stop. Similar but still a bit different and they
felt they had a reason to stop her.

From: Christian, Randy <_christianr@jccal.org_>
Subject: Email circulating about Jefferson County Sheriffs
Date: Monday, November 23, 2009, 1:31 PM

Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight. We have a great
reputation for caring for animals and seeing that abusers are brought to
justice and we are very offended that someone would attempt to stain that
good reputation.

The Facts:

She was stopped driving a Truck with a Camper Shell. Multiple dogs were
visible in rear camper window. This Captain is familiar with people who run
"puppy mills" and these were all the same breed and were puppies. The 3
visible in the back window were visible panting.

Our Captain was in an unmarked unit so he called for a marked unit to stop
them. 2 showed up (not the 6 described) and initiated the stop. The Welfare of the dogs was checked and the driver was advised that the stop was to check the welfare of the dogs, plus her car tag was covered by extra dog crates and not visible. Finally, she was found to be in possession of a case of untaxed liquor.

The entire stop lasted 17 minutes (certainly not the 45 minutes described)
as documented via our communications bureau. The delay was because the
driver did not have any documentation showing where the dogs were being
taken, no registration for the show, etc.

Our Captain called the Animal Cruelty Officer who advised that the shows require pre-registration and she should have some type documentation. She provided web site and once it was verified there was a dog show and this person was a participant, then she was only verbally warned about the blocked car tag and the untaxed case of liquor that was stored under the dogs.

The Captain, an actual animal lover, owner of a registered purebred
daschund, and an investigator who has headed up several animal cruelty
investigations, including "cock" fighting was only verifying the well being of the

This driver thanked our Captain for caring about the dogs and checking on
them when she left the traffic stop. The Captain even provided her his
business card with his phone number and told her in case she got stopped by
someone else, they could call him to verify she had been checked and warned
about the violations.

All the extraneous information provided by this person is exaggerated and
it is not known why she has decided to change her parting words of thanks
into an obvious attack. It has been my experience that true animal lovers
appreciate that we would take the time to investigate the well being of man's
best friend.

Lt. Randy Christian, Office of Sheriff
Jefferson County
2200 8th Ave north
Birmingham, Al 35203
Office (205) 325-5711
Fax (205) 325-5702

So even if we go with the old saw that says the truth is somewhere in the middle of two reports as far as I am concerned there are still major problems.

Let's just start at the top. Our dog show exhibitors failed to be proactive, or even truly protective of the dogs they were carrying. Specifically, they had no paperwork with them. Granted, I haven't carried a van loaded with dogs and gear to a cluster of trials in many years, but back in the day, when we were trialing almost every single weekend, we CARRIED PAPERWORK with us for every single dog.

That meant we had copies of rabies certificates, current health certificates, entries for each dog, most of the dogs were tattooed, and we had at least one trial premium. The word was there was always a chance you would be stopped when carrying out-of-state tags on your van and traveling in the south.

Since I always had dogs that belonged to other people I felt I had to be especially careful about ID and pretty much stayed away from trials held in outlying areas of the south. Like it or not, it was just a fact. Besides which, there were plenty of trials in other locations that weren't so iffy. Moving on.

What's with risking carrying something that will be called illegal just as soon as you cross a state line? Again, why take the risk? Is it really worth it? A complete case of untaxed liquor? In a southern state? Better if you had been carrying moonshine.

Why have rig set-ups that actually put some or all of the dogs at window height? That always did seem to me to be just asking for trouble. Trouble from the LE. Trouble from busybodies. Trouble from thieves. The same thing goes for bumper stickers that advertise the fact you are carrying dogs, much less show dogs. And those kennel signs, let's hope they are the magnetic type and that you remember to remove them BEFORE you start the trip. Sure, put them back on the van while you are on the trial grounds, then remember to remove them again before you get back on the road.

As to why this person or anyone else would be unfailingly polite until the stop was over and the LE long gone. That is only common sense. To do anything else but basically grovel is to risk serious bodily harm, loss of personal freedom, complete and permanent loss of the dogs and most if not all of your gear. Best believe no matter what you feel, be so polite it hurts and be even more polite. In a word, grovel.

Remember, if you screw up and they do take the dogs YOU WILL LOSE THEM. Should you, by some wild twist of fate, get some of them back you will not get all of them back. The ones returned will be missing body parts for starters. Most will come back in such poor physical and mental condition that you will not be able to save them even if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars in veterinarian care.

The people who wear the Animal Control(AC) hats are not the brightest bulbs in the LE package. They are frequently hard pressed to tell the difference between a dog and a cat, much less the difference between the various pure breeds. They are most definitely not your friend. The LE who doesn't own a dog, owns a mixed breed, or out of control pet dog is not your friend.

While I am sorry this happened, I can't say I'm at all surprised. Frankly, the thing that does surprise me the most is that it hasn't happened sooner and more frequently. If this is what it takes to wake up the complacent kennel club members than I make no apology for what I am about to say.

H$U$ is not your friend. PETA is not your friend. More than likely the local AC wants your dogs. Wake up breeders and owners in this country to the truly awful creeping black death that is coming. A death that will bring an end to dog and cat ownership as we have known it for just about forever. That cloud will also begin to kill off all our farm animals, but that is a topic for another time.


  1. Holy crap. The Sherrif's email is basically "I thought she was a puppymiller, so I stopped her." That's not probable cause, that's a hunch and profiling. I hope she fights back with more than an email.

    I do wonder how they found the alcohol if it was under the crates. It sounds like she was naive enough to "let them look in the back". You don't have to consent to searches. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaCe6nQUX5c versus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDJrQBwJpqk&feature=related is the difference between being polite and in trouble, and polite and free to go. They probably would have gotten her for the obstructed tag, but being polite doesn't have to mean volunteering a damn thing. Anything "in plain sight" can and will get you nailed, so I have no idea why she chose to put the dogs up where anyone could see them.

    I'd planned on buying SUVs or trucks like Suburbans or minivans- all enclosed, with tinted back windows- because of issues we'd had with hunting in southern California and getting hassled by the Border Patrol. I'll certainly be keeping this in mind for keeping "out of sight and out of mind".

    It seems more and more people are unaware of how the Bill of Rights can protect them, but if you consent, or waffle, the search becomes legal.

  2. I agree with Flo. This "other side" of the story
    makes it sound even worse.
    So if I am a Muslim driving through the state
    are they going to stop me to make sure I am not
    a terrorist?
    Although this might be totally legal at this point
    the way things are going and I simply don't know
    about it.

  3. This incident is nothing more than the further criminalization of dog ownership, plain and simple. And just what the hell is a "puppy mill" anyways?

  4. That case of un-taxed liquor caught my attention big time. Not a good idea anytime & certainly not on the way to a dog show in another state.
    Nonetheless, the sherrif's comment about identifying "puppy millers" sounds like he's been drinking the AR Kool-aid. It might be interesting to ask him the legal definition of "puppy mill." He IS in law-enforcement, so it should be part of his professional "tool kit.".

  5. I did read they turned off the camera's ? could this be the time difference? Be ware when traveling in different areas. Many smaller police forces are also looking for money. A small town close to me is well known for this handing out large tickets. How does a Small town of 500 people pay for three full time officers, handing out tickets to many out of towner s. They had out more tickets than State police in three times this area. 90% just pay the ticket living out of the area. Few fight them but normally win too.

  6. Thanks for getting both sides of the story, and I agree...sounds like the truth lies somewhere in between.

    You are correct that HSUS isn't our friend, and PETA isn't either. ALL dog fanciers should be members of their state canine coalition, because the small amount paid in dues does great work in fighting bad legislative attacks. The Georgia Canine Coalition has been leading the fight in our state, and has done such a good job that the President, Gail LaBerge, has been recognized by the AKC for her work.

    If you value your rights as a dog owner, JOIN YOUR STATE CANINE COALITION. If your state doesn't have one, contact the larger kennel clubs and see if there are people who would like to form one. It is imperative that we, as responsible dog owners, have our voices not just heard but heeded, or we will lose our rights to own and enjoy our dogs.

  7. Anonymous9:31 AM

    We need to use our common sence when traveling with our dogs. We need to do everything we can to protect them. This includes traveling with all the dogs credentials and having no violations on the car itself. Bottom line this can happene anywhere so beware and be ready. Armed yourselves with knowledge and information so you do not become a victim.

  8. Anonymous6:03 PM

    I am not a breeder/dog show participant, just an ordinary dog owner with a purebred and a mix.they ride in carseats in the backseat. They have water, water dishes, and kibble avaliable to them at rest stops. This incedent has reminded me how vulnerable we all are to unreasonable and potentially unconstitutional harassment simply because we have pets that travel with us.
    The reference to Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" is excellent. I would recommend that everyone who is concerned about the future of our freedoms read this book. It is the textbook that details the tactics used by those who would restrict and control every facet of our lives.

  9. I am not saying either party was wrong but a couple of questions I had was since when is being a puppy miller illegal..I wish it was but ie is not and cause for a traffic stop...and what constitutes untaxed liquor? as far I have been able to find the only untaxed liquor is moonshine in quart jars...so if I was from another state and had liquor it is taxed...as far as panting both of mine pant from excitement not lack of water