In June 2009, I was deeply saddened to learn that a fellow New Yorker threw his pit bull (Oreo) off the roof of a building. Despite the horrendous act I was happy to hear that the owner was being prosecuted and Oreo was recovering. In November 2009, after Oreo had made a full physical recovery the A.S.P.C.A decided to euthanize him. The A.S.P.C.A claimed that Oreo displayed aggressiveness. As was explained in Ms. Gallo’s November 16th post, the A.S.P.C.A made the decision to kill Oreo despite the fact there had been many offers from animal rescue groups and No Kill shelters to take Oreo and save him from being killed. Once the announcement was made public the A.S.P.C.A received emails, phone calls, and an online petition was even launched in an attempt to save Oreo.
All was done in vain. What was once an act of animal cruelty by one became an act of complicity. The A.S.P.C.A had the resources available to give Oreo a good life, yet they chose the easy way out and ended his life.
Oreo may be memorialized and his death may have had a purpose after all. Not only did he defy all the odds by surviving the fall, but his death may be the catalyst needed to save thousands of animals each year. Two New York State legislators introduced a bill named “Oreo’s Law”. This law would make it illegal for a shelter in New York State to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save the animal’s life. “Oreo’s Law” is modeled after a similar California law.
The A.S.P.C.A opposes Oreo’s Law, fearing that the animals will be put into hoarding or fighting situations, or that aggressive animals will be adopted by unknowing families. These concerns are unfounded; since the enactment of the California law, there haven’t been any incidents of these animals being hoarded or fought. Similarly, there haven’t been aggressive dogs placed with unknowing families. Pets Alive, a No Kill shelter and sanctuary, had a place all ready for Oreo. He would have had a room, an outdoor run, walking path in the woods, and eventually it may have even been possible for him to have gone on day trips.
Let’s think about this for a second. Five months ago Oreo was thrown off a roof after a life full of abuse. Following his recovery, he was confined to a shelter. How unreasonable is it for him to show signs of aggression? I think that humans that endured such horrific abusewould also show signs of aggression; does that mean that we should euthanize them? No, of course not. A human would go through therapy, rehabilitation, and counseling. All doors would be open and all offers welcomed. The same should have been done for Oreo. There was no reason he had to die.
This story hits really close to home. Ten years ago I saved a two year old black and white pit bull from the streets of New York. When I found him he was dirty, scarred, and showed signs of human distrust. One could only imagine the life he once lived. Despite family opposition I took him into my home, cleaned him up, showed him the life of a pampered pup and named him “Oreo”.
I have no training in the reversal of animal aggression but just by showing him love and giving him a chance, he learned to no longer show aggression and has become a member of our family. The other Oreo could have had a similar if not better life. He would have been professionally handled to overcome his aggression, shown love, and given a chance. Instead, his life was cut short due to a heartless owner and lack of protection under the law. Hopefully Oreo didn’t die in vain and as a result other animals will not suffer the same fate.
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal law, animal welfare Tagged: | animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal shelters, animal suffering, animal welfare, ASPCA, dog fighting, dogs, No-Kill Shelters, Oreo, Oreo's Law, pets, Pets Alive