Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States
Fitchburg Mass. Animal Control

It started back in April of 09. I was fostering dogs for a local animal rescue. I also had picked up (on my own) 5 New York puppy mill dogs. I spent over $2500 to get the all vetted and wanted to try to find them homes.

I placed them on Petfinder and received a call that what I was doing was illegal. It turned out to be the Fitchburg Animal Control Officer. I knew her from having a kennel license here in my home for up to 10 dogs. I had that license for 3 years.

The dog officer said she had to come and talk to me right away-she showed up with the Department of Agriculture and they quarantined all of the animals.

The gave this rescue that I was fostering for huge problems and after about 45 days did release her dogs to go to Vermont.

After her dogs were released the Animal Control said I had to release the New York dogs to her. I said no, I had vetted them and they were legal under my kennel license.

Shortly after that the Animal Control Officer started showing up saying there were barking complaints. Now mind you I have lived in the same house for 13 years, never had any complaints and had my kennel license for 3 years.

I started my own dog rescue after this was over. I registered with the State, became a 501 c 3, registered with the Attorney General and State Tax Authorities. I got approval to take Massachusetts owner surrenders and owner surrenders from contiguous states to Massachusetts.

The dog officer was not happy about that at all. She ended up having one neighbor who does not like us sign a petition along with 4 other people, who are all local politicians, that don't even live around us, sign too so that she could take my kennel license. I had to place all but three of my dogs in foster care.

Then there were visits from the Police and Health Department stating petty things like your car is on the sidewalk (even though it was our driveway), clean the back yard, blah blah.

I also have a pot bellied pig that the state of Massachusetts gave me a permit to bring in. I have had him here for 1 year in March 2010. He is a house pig but goes out side to graze and get fresh air.

I bought 68 acres of land in New York so that I could continue to do the rescue work as Massachusetts taking my kennel license effectively tied my hands for legally rescuing any dog unless I had a foster home to put them in, which I don't.

I don't have a Vet in New York yet, I wanted my Vet here in Massachusetts to see these dog as they have big health issues. One Hound has seizures, one Beagle has anaplasmosis, lyme disease and a bum leg, the others have been abused and are afraid of anyone outside of our family. It took us months to get them to where they are now. I mistakenly brought 7 dogs down for vetting from New York on Wednesday March 10th and on March 12th the dog officer was here with the police to take all of the dogs information and the Department of Agriculture quarantined me again. The Health Department was here as well.

I told them the dogs are not part of the rescue as they are not healthy adoptable dogs. They are my personal dogs and are registered in New York.

I provided copies of the licenses and health certificates from their initial vetting to the Department of Agriculture.

Problem was I could not read the copies, had asked my son to get the licenses on the 1st of February which he did not do and did not tell me he didn't do it. I traced over the information and put 2/1 /2010 in the date box, not even thinking that was wrong. My son, in fact, did not get the license until March 25th, which was after the date I had talked to the Department of Agriculture. They said I forged the documents.

There were 2 dogs that got away through a hole in the back yard. One has come back. We still have not located the second. They are citing me for contempt of a quarantine order. They said it is a criminal offense punishable by jail time.

I received a call on Friday 2nd of March from a woman at the housing court in Fitchburg telling me there was a hearing going on and if I wanted to speak for myself to be there in 10 minutes. I made it there and was told to surrender my animals to the City of Fitchburg for unclean conditions. Which is pure BS. We clean our yard every day and the same with the inside of our house. Our animals are vetted and very well taken care of. I have thousands of dollars of Vet receipts to prove it.

When the dog officer showed up with 2 cops I said I would not surrender them and would go back to court on Monday. She said she had to do a dog count. Because the 2 dogs got out they said they were seizing my animals.

They took ONLY the New York dogs that were in question and my pig. They left 3 dogs, that are registered in the City, my 7 birds and my 9 cats. How, if the conditions are so awful and filthy can they only take my New York dogs and my pig and leave everyone else? It makes no sense. It was just a ploy to get what she wanted and that is my New York dogs.

I don't know what to do but I do know I want my animals back and I want the harassment to stop.

I will be going back to court on Monday April, 5th. Friday was Good Friday and they did all of this late in the afternoon, I am sure on purpose so that I would not have the ability to do anything about it. I don't know if it will do any good because I think you have to know someone to get a fair shake in Fitchburg, MA.

Thank you for listening and I hope this helps with a few facts. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


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