Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oliver is probably moving to a shelter

So... lots of stuff happened today. First of all, Oliver bit a child yesterday. It turns out that he didn't draw blood or break skin, but he did bruise her shoulder. Yes, the child ran up to Oliver and surprised him. No, the mom didn't make an issue of it, but the dad was very upset. There were some threats of calling the police. We offered to pay for the doctor's visit, but their insurance is somehow through the Department of Health Services (DHS) so it didn't cost anything.

Because their coverage is through DHS, they automatically get a visit from Orange County Child Protective Services -- which didn't make the dad happy at all. They're a very nice family, but OCSSA doesn't know that.

While I can't find the ordinance, a couple of antedotal reports, one shelter and a OC Register story (here and here) all indicated that parents can press for Oliver to be euthanized. Unfortunately, the dad was certainly leaning towards it.

Last night, we went back and forth on keeping Oliver, giving him away, putting him down... Cathy was pretty adamant that we need to have him put down because a dog that bit will bite again. That's how we went to sleep.

Well, Cathy instant messaged me today, and we decided that we'd keep him and just move a week sooner. Now, we decided to move earlier to avoid the awkward feeling of living next to someone that... well, let's just say it is uncomfortable. We figured we'd keep Oliver and move, end of problem, and we'd just be really careful.

As it turns out, the involvement of DHS / OCSSA supposedly means the involvement of OC Animal Care Services and Olver possibly being destroyed. The idea of Oliver being hauled away by strangers and dying scared and alone in a cage in a county facility was terrible. I'd rather put him down myself when he's happy and calm than have strangers scare him and kill him.

The only no-kill shelter I found in SoCal wouldn't take a 'biter' - and I have no relatives that do not have children around. I even checked with Rhonda but she has no resources, either.

So, I came home to spend some time with Oliver before we took him to the vet ourselves. The neighbors seemed appeased at the news -- the mom was even sad for us. I said my goodbyes and then we drove Oliver to the vet.

Now, when the vet learned that Oliver bit someone, they told us that the law forbids them from euthanizing Oliver for 15 days. I thanked the receptionist and we left quickly, first in confusion and then in relief. But, the threat of Oliver being taken from us remains...

There are two pieces of good news, though. First, the doctor who examined the child indicated that some soap and water will take care of the scratches and the bruising will go away on its own. The child got a tetanus shot as well... so she is not badly injured and she does not even display fear for dogs (which isn't exactly good at this point). Second, a shelter out-of-state has offered to take Oliver, and Cathy jumped at the idea of driving or flying Oliver to the shelter.

So, if the dad doesn't press the issue, and if OCSSA doesn't call Animal Care Services, and if nothing happesn for the next two weeks, we should be OK. Cathy still wants to send Oliver to a no-kill shelter, though, as she is convinced that we'll eventually screw up and Oliver will bite someone and draw blood -- then he'll be taken away and put down and who knows what trouble we'd be in. So... we may be saying 'see you later' to our dog.

But, first, we have to get past the next two weeks...