Pit bull terriers housed at Tulsa Animal Shelter still in limbo

Tuesday, January 3rd 2006, 2:14 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Animal Shelter is caring for 50 pit bull terriers [American Staffordshire Terriers] it would like to do something with, but can't. They were evidence in a dog fighting case. That case has been resolved, but without the suspect claiming ownership of the dogs.

As a result, they are taking up space and are costing the shelter money. News on 6 Rick Wells says welcome to limbo, which is where some pit bulls are living. Somewhere between being seized as evidence in a court case and a final resolution of their status.

"We're just waiting for the courts to tell us what to do." Garl Willis is the Assistant Director of the Tulsa Animal Shelter. The case they were evidence in has been resolved; the status of the dogs has not. He says this is really an ownership issue for the courts, one that is apparently difficult to resolve. "Some prosecutor or some DA has to make a decision."

A decision to determine ownership or have them destroyed, because he says it's pretty obvious these animals were fighters. “It's my understanding when they found the animals there was a fighting pit and all the training and training equipment." And nothing's happened in the 18 months they've been here to change the perception. They would not adopt them out, too risky.

So 50 dogs, unable to leave the shelter and taking up space. "So that's 50 cages where people can't look for a dog they might want to adopt." And he says theoretically adoptable dogs are being euthanized because there's no space to hold them. And it's expensive, cost almost a buck and a half a day to keep them, times 50 dogs, plus medical expenses times 18 months with no end in sight. The cost to house the dogs is nearly $30,000.

There have been donations and some restitution, but the account is about $6,000 behind and the shelter has to absorb those costs.