Fulton County Court Convicts Rabies Quarantine Violator

On November 10, 2016, in Fulton County Court Case No. CRB1600007, as part of a plea agreement, a Judgment Entry was filed whereby the Lucas County Pit Crew pled “no contest” to, and was convicted of, Violating a Rabies Quarantine in violation of R.C. 955.261(A), a minor misdemeanor. The Lucas County Pit Crew was assessed court costs.

As part of the plea agreement, the Lucas County Pit Crew signed an “Acknowledgement of Procedures” acknowledging that, because the rabies is a deadly and communicable disease and the safety of human beings is and always should be the preeminent concern: (1) when a dog bites a human being certain specific procedures, regulations, and laws that were described in the “Acknowledgement of Procedures” apply; (2) in the future, the Lucas County Pit Crew will comply with those procedures, regulation and laws (and any other applicable laws and regulations)if they become aware of or involved in with a situation where a dog bites a human being; and (3) the procedures, regulations, and laws at issue were effective in place between December 26, 2015, when a dog named “Bosco” allegedly bit a human being and January 8, 2016, when “Bosco” was ultimately turned over to the Fulton County Health Department and quarantined at the Fulton County Dog Pound.

In commenting on the matter, Fulton County Prosecuting Attorney Scott A. Haselman stated as follows:
“While I have rarely, if ever, spoken publicly on a case involving a minor misdemeanor offense, as this matter has received a significant amount of media coverage, I have been asked to provide a comment.”

“I have owned dogs in the past and, as every dog owner knows, dogs are wonderful creatures. We project upon them every noble human characteristic without attributing them to any of our human flaws. We view them as loyal, steadfast friends that provide their human companions with unconditional love. As a species, they live up to the long-held title of “Man’s Best Friend” and many people treat them as part of their human family.”

“However, with all of that said, I believe that it would serve us all well to realize that, at the end of the day, dogs are not, in fact, human beings. While many people may take that statement as a given, from the correspondence that I have received in connection with this matter, I am concerned that this is not as widely held a belief as I believe it should be. During the pendency of this case, and particularly at the beginning of the matter, I repeatedly received emails and responses from online petitions from people from around the nation asking that “Bosco” be released from quarantine and/or held in some location or another that was not permitted under the applicable regulations and laws. While the individuals who sent those emails and signed those online petitions were very passionate about the issue, what struck me, and prompted me to comment in this manner, is that these emails and the over 4,000 online petition responses, only a fraction of which I read, there was a great deal of concern expressed about the wellbeing of “Bosco” the dog, but there was very little, if any concern expressed about the wellbeing of the injured human being.”

“In some of these emails and petition responses “Bosco” was identified as being the “victim” in this situation, while the injured human was blamed for getting himself bitten and was alleged, for some reason, to have lied about being bitten by this particular dog. Likewise, despite the fact that the injured human’s injuries required him to leave a family Christmas gathering to obtain medical attention, in some circles of his injury (two stitches in his hand) was downplayed as being “minor”. People likewise ignored the fact that if a rabies quarantine is interfered with for a long enough period of time, the injured human being may have to undergo painful injections to ensure that he or she does not develop rabies.”

“Now, people are obviously free to invest their time, passion, and efforts in whatever cause is near and dear to their hearts, but when over 4,000 people take the time to sign a petition about the health and welfare of a dog, and that level of correspondence from third parties greatly and significantly exceeds the correspondence from third parties that we have received at the Fulton County Prosecutors Office over the last 8 years for every case of abused or neglected children, humans who are fighting the burden of drug addiction, and on behalf of human victims of crime combined, I believe that it is probably the appropriate time for someone to ask that we are reexamine our perspectives about such things. Dogs of all breeds should be treated humanely and no animal should ever be unnecessarily abused, but I do not believe that we should ever put the health and welfare of any animal above the health and welfare of our fellow human beings. I would simply ask that, going forward, everyone feel and express as much or more concern for the health and wellbeing of our human friends and neighbors as we do for the health and wellbeing of our four legged friends.”

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