HOWL Colorado

Save Spork! Not a wolf, but a weiner dog caught in the clutches of injustice

The city of Lafayette currently has a 10-year-old weiner dog named Spork targeted for either death or kenneling after he bit a veterinarian technician.

Spork, a 10-year-old weiner dog, during a stressful visit to the Jasper Animal Hospital in Lafayette, bit the vet technician on the face when she tried to cut away something around his neck.

Lafayette is now ignoring state law – invoking “home law”- which states that professionals who work with animals take the risk of getting bitten, and is attempting to have Spork either put down or kenneled for life.

Here’s the full story from the Save Spork! facebook page.

Last August the beloved 10-year-old miniature dachshund, Spork, snapped at and bit a veterinarian technician at Jasper Animal Hospital as he was being held by his owner. He has been at the vet on numerous occasions over the years and had been there just the week before, without ever having any issues except that he is usually very scared and shaking, sometimes defecating (which some dogs do if they are scared at the vet). In fact, he had been there just the week before when he got his shots and examination for oral surgery.

Spork’s owner was doing exactly what she was told and was holding the 17-pound dachshund firmly in her arms when the vet tech suddenly, and without warning, put her face in his, which resulted in the bite. He was shaking badly before this happened which was noticed by the entire staff, and had pooped on his owner just before the accident. Clearly the little guy was just scared to be at the vet and that was obvious.

Spork’s owner was utterly unaware that it had happened until the vet tech stood up. This is a sad accident, but YOU must realize that it is a very common risk at the vet where it is imperative for everyone involved to follow procedures and best practices, including training to avoid being bitten.

Spork, unfortunately, didn’t have the benefit of any of these at Jasper Animal Hospital.

WHY THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU:

About a month after the bite, Lafayette Animal Control charged Spork’s owners with having a vicious dog in the City of Lafayette. Please look into this for yourself and understand that this is an extremely serious charge and it is a guaranteed risk you face if you do veterinary business in Lafayette.

The owners have spent more than $6,000 dollars already defending their 10-year-old little buddy!

Despite specific and unambiguous Colorado state laws specifically excluding veterinary health care workers, the City of Lafayette will declare ‘home rule’ and can kill your dog, make you relocate or, maybe worst of all, kennel your best friend for long and cruel periods of time, even making you pay for the kenneling and even if you are found innocent!

The staff at Jasper Animal Hospital endorses this action which could very, very easily happen to you today. Dog bites are very, very common in the industry and you have no way to know what provocation could trigger a reaction from your pet.

IF YOU OWN AN ANIMAL YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT IT!

While HOWLColorado is focused on education about, and the advocacy for, wolves – such stories are particularly interesting to us as it shows, even in the field of animal medicine, there is still a remarkable lack of understanding about “man’s best friend.”

We find this story to be shocking and are hard pressed to see any reasonable explanation for it.

If you wish to join the facebook group, join the Save Spork! group.

If you wish to sign the petition calling for Lafayette to reverse their decision, do so here.

Resources

Motion to dismiss filed on behalf of the defendent – the owner of Spork

City of Lafayette denial to dismiss statement

Colorado State Statute

note: HOWLColorado makes no judgements of the vet involved. We have not spoken with the vet, or the vet tech, and are unaware of any policies which were in place at the time of the incident and whether the vet tech followed any of those policies. We are concerned that a trained vet tech would not have received the appropriate training necessary for dealing with animals of this disposition. It is for this very reason that professionals should be exempt – as they are in state law – from the laws covering animal bites. They should know how to avoid such things, and they should assume the risks of working with animals.

3 Responses to “Save Spork! Not a wolf, but a weiner dog caught in the clutches of injustice”

  1. aos

    As a Certified Master Dog Trainer, medical professional (human) and long-time client of Jasper Animal Hospital I have some concerns with this story. Yes it is an unfortunate situation for all. It is obvious that this was a “fear bite” and most likely the dog is not “vicious”. Only about 5% of dogs have true aggression issues that are not correctable with training and therefore the safest thing in these situations is for the dog to be euthanized. Fear biting may never be fully corrected in a 10yr old dog however much training can be done to decrease the possibility. All dog bites are required by law to be reported by the Emergency Care personnel, therefore if the Vet Tech sought medical care for the bite then the bite would have been reported by the medical facility and not neccesarily the Tech or even the Vet’s ofice. The post says Jasper Animal Hospital is endorsing the City of Lafayette’s handling of this situation. What facts or quotes do you have that support this? I know Dr. Dodge well and know him to be an outstanding Vet in more ways then one, not only is he medically competent he is also truly caring of animals and donates his services to rescue groups. His practice has grown exponentially in the past few years ( I personally have given many referals) so I do not know all employees nor can I speak of their training in animal behavior. I can say that I have been impressed with all medical care that my dogs have rcvd there including end of life care and advanced orthopedic surgeries.

    “… you have no way to know what provocation could trigger a reaction from your pet” I strongly disagree unless it recently accquired animal.
    ..”IF YOU OWN AN ANIMAL YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT IT!” Strongly agree and this includes not only defeding the animal against ludicrious charges but proper training and AVOIDANCE of potential conflicts.

  2. Bill Murry

    I agree with the above post. If the owners want to fight this law then fight it and the problem is the law… not the vet hospital or the vet tech. Don’t make it a smeer campaign against the hospital. If you owned a larger dog and this happened and even if the dog never bit someone before the same things would be done and the same results would be sought. I can guarantee that if it was a larger dog that there wouldn’t be as much press trying to save the dog. They put dogs down for bites that were a lot less severe. This was a bite that has caused several surgeries on that vet techs face and from stories I’ve heard there are more surgeries needed. What if there was a child that was bit by this dog? I’m not saying this dog is crazy or has the urge to bite but it is possible that a child could irritate it to the level that it could bite. Would the owners be fighting so hard to save their dogs life after it just bit that child’s face and would anyone be fighting to help those people? I don’t believe so and I don’t think there should be this much press for this incident either. Believe me when I say that having one of my dogs euthanized for something like this would be the last thing I would want. BUT if they almost ripped off someone’s face or if they bit someone with results equivalent to this story for any reason less than the dog being physically assaulted I would not be trying to put up this type of fight and I consider my animals to be my babies.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts on this topic.

    Sincerely,
    A Realist

  3. HowlingCelt

    Realist, part of the outrage isn’t that the vet clinic is involved, though the tech has been quoted saying she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else, it is that there were no charges, state statutes protect the dog, but the City is claiming “Home Rule” and basically determining that this first time offender in a nervous dog, defensive situation is vicious.

    This is not a dog that bit a child or an elderly person, or a nun, it is a nervous dog that bit a tech who could clearly seen the signs of a stressed out dog, who went face level with an unmuzzeled, stressed dog, holding scissors. A recipe for disaster, and that’s what happened. The reason the statutes exist if for exactly these kinds of situations. People are to advocate for pets, and in this instance, the tech was at fault. My heart aches for what happened to her, and really, everyone should rally to pay for her surgery bills, but focus is being lost because a dog, protected under state law, is being demonized by the city.

    Further, if this is going to be SOP, a lot of people will think twice before getting routine and/or required medical care for their pet if they think they may end up losing it. This isn’t just Spork we’re dealing with, it is all pets.

    You say that you wouldn’t put up a fight for any reason other than your dog being physically assaulted… do you think Spork knew he was being given medical attention, or do you think he felt he was in fact being physically assaulted? Most animals will attack when cornered, they don’t wait for the first blow, they self-preserve. Common behavioral knowledge… that any vet or tech should know.

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