For the last two years, a dog named Stella has been locked in a three-by-nine foot cage in Devon, England. She’s never been let out to play or taken for walks. As a matter of fact, she’s only been allowed to leave her cage twice in that time frame, only for behavioral assessments. Is it because she bit or attacked someone? No. The reason she’s been locked up in this cage for two years and deprived of exercise and play is purely because of her breed. You see, Stella is a Pit Bull mix. Under the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act, 1991, Pit Bulls are illegal and considered a threat to society. The Torquay Magistrates’ Court recently ordered Stella to be destroyed, this dog is now on death row, just because she looks a certain way.
Torn From Her Guardian and Locked in a Cage
Before she was locked up, Stella lived with her beloved guardian, Antony Hastie in Devon. He said she’d never shown any signs of aggression, which is why it came as a surprise when the police arrived on his doorstep in 2014, demanding his dog. She was then taken to a private kennel owned by Devon and Cornwall Police. Except for two brief behavioral assessments, Stella hasn’t been out of the cage for walks or play or anything else for that matter because apparently, she’s too dangerous.
“We were always told not to exercise or go into a kennel with any dogs, regardless of character, that had been brought in under the Dangerous Dogs Act,” says Laura Khanlarian, a former worker at the kennel. “We were under no circumstances allowed to touch any of those dogs — which was hard. Animal welfare comes before anything, and that was my job. I don’t believe I would be doing it properly if I would sit back and think that’s okay. It wasn’t okay — it’s not okay.”
After breaching her employment contract by interacting with the dogs, Khanlarian lost her job.
‘The Welfare of Dogs Seized in Kennels: A Guide to Good Practice,” – created for police departments clearly states that all dogs “Must have daily access to outdoor safe and secure areas, away from the kennel area and this should be at least 30 minutes per day.”According to a statement made by the Devon and Cornwall Police, of the hundred or more dogs they’ve seized over the years, Stella was the only one who’s shown aggressive behavior and tried to bite a police officer. As a result, she was deemed too dangerous to be touched or taken for walks by kennel staff.
What’s Next for Stella
Stella’s guardian has been to court a dozen times since she was first taken, trying desperately to get his dog back, to no avail and now Stella is facing euthanasia. Stella’s story recalls that of Lennox, a therapy dog from Northern Ireland. Just like Stella, he was seized for being a Pit Bull mix. But even the international outcry and ongoing pleas from dog experts like Victoria Stilwell, couldn’t save him from being euthanized in 2012.
Stella is the victim of cruel breed-specific legislation, and the absolute worst part of this is the fact that there is no evidence that this sort of legislation is effective in reducing incidents of dog bites. Not to mention, enforcing these laws costs a fortune, from staffing to litigation to the price of unnecessarily killing dogs in shelters. For example, in Miami, Florida these laws rings in a cost of $603,445 annually, and there is no reduction in dog bites to show for it.
Poor Stella has been imprisoned for two years purely for her breed and now she’s facing death. Please sign this petition to help her and don’t forget to share it too! No dog deserves this kind of treatment, regardless of breed.