NEW UPDATE-9/6/08: The dogs were allowed to be transported to a safer environment today while still awaiting a hearing date, thanks to the help of the HSPCA and others. Signatures are still needed! Thank you for showing you care! You may've seen this story very recently in the local news out of some of the Columbia, SC stations (see web addresses to right). We are Fairfield Animal Rescue (FAR), a small, non-profit 501(c)(3) group of individuals in Fairfield County, SC who are at our wits end and desperately need your help! The dogs mentioned in the following story are impounded after having been deemed vicious even though they've had no prior incidents on their record and against the recommendation of multiple evaluators, including the Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(HSPCA). These dogs are being held and potentially set for euthanasia without warrant by the magistrate. The magistrate is holding the dogs for no real reason... there is no law in the country that allows an entity to hold an animal and destroy it without justification nor when an individual or group is willing to reclaim the animals. Given the animals have no priors, the magistrate has no authority. These dogs are also being kenneled in an inhumane manner and their behavior today is as much a function of animal control as anything. The destruction of the animals is a violation of SC law so please take a stand by signing this petition today. Only the five FAR dogs were confiscated; four on July 21, and the fifth on July 22, all after they had been returned to their fenced yard. The reason the Ellenbergs allowed them to be removed was to show cooperation with the "authorities". Had they known that it was going to turn into this, they would have refused to allow the animal control guy to take them. The confiscation of the five occurred after the round-up of the ones who were out, but all charges of "Running at Large" were dismissed in court on July 30. So, back to the original point: that the animals are being held illegally, as no prior aggressive behavior has been substantiated, and all charges for running at large were dropped in the original hearing. More background Info via Ann Morgan, FAR Secretary: On July 21st, several dogs at one of our foster homes escaped from their fenced yard during a thunderstorm. The police were called, and they managed to get them back in the fenced area. The shelter (very high kill rate) was notified to remove the dogs due to several episodes of the dogs escaping. The fosterer was cited for running at large. The police described the dogs as aggressive during roundup, and the shelter manager labeled all the dogs as vicious; his recommendation was euthanasia for all the dogs. FAR had a trainer evaluate the dogs, and his report had indicated no aggressive behaviors in any of the dogs. A representative from the SC HSPCA also has evaluated the animals and is in agreement with the certified trainer. Two of these dogs have been to PetSmart for adoption events. Terri (President of FAR) and I have given these dogs their monthly flea/tick and heartworm treatments since the 1st of the year and have been around them when the fosterer was not at home. These dogs have not shown any signs of aggression during these activities. Terri and other FAR members went to court with the fosterer as FAR representatives. The judge requested legal documentation absolving the county of any liability should the animals be released to FAR - Terri has produced this documentation. Other FAR members and supporters have contacted the media regarding the injustice of this situation; several interviews have been conducted. The judge was assured the dogs would not be returned to the fosterer but moved to another foster home (Terri) where they would be secure, receive training; that FAR would assume all liability for these animals. Wed. 8/20/08, the judge denied the request to return the dogs to FAR; all 5 dogs were scheduled for euthanasia Saturday. Terri contacted a lawyer who has helped to schedule another hearing. Terri continues to work to have these dogs released to our group. We are a small group, all volunteers and most of us have full-time jobs. As I mentioned before, we don't know what else to do but are continuing to do everything we possibly can to save these dogs. The dogs are about 1-1/2 yrs old. They were in-house fostered initially, but later the owner relinquished them to FAR. The owner continued to foster them until space was available at another foster home. UPDATE: After at first issuing a death sentence which would've been carried out Saturday, 8/23/08, the judge has agreed to hear many more details on this case, and a motion has been made for a new hearing. We're hoping, that with your help in signing this petition, the judge will see strong evidence IN WRITING of the public's deep concern that normal dog behavior does not merit a death sentence! Thank you in advance for signing this petition. Please help in giving other concerned voices a chance to sign this petition by clicking on the appropriate link above so that this is a community effort to stop grave injustice in our own backyards! We're hoping to have a new public hearing date very soon so time is of the essence.