Neglected dog inspires OK law change push


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Updated: 12/05/2012 9:19 pm Published: 12/04/2012 8:52 pm


Last week, Phoenix came to the Muskogee Animal Shelter on the brink of death.

“Everybody was upset by the pictures, and the way that she came in, the shape that she came in (here),” Sydni Reheard a volunteer at the Shelter said.

Now Phoenix is earning her name.

“Her tail never stops wagging; she is a sweetheart,” Vikki Heuman, Animal Shelter Manager, told FOX23.

As for the person who did this Phoenix, they've only been slapped with a $250 fine.

“The citations were issued, that's as far as the animal shelter can do. For a municipality, that's all we can do,” Heuman said.

That is because that's all the City of Muskogee and the state allows municipal animal workers in Oklahoma to do.

That’s not good enough for people touched by Phoenix's story Reheard and her friend and fellow shelter volunteer Alicia Edwards.

“Instead of having to go through all the red tape, and steps, and having to call into the mayor and tell them this is not acceptable (there should be something easier,” Reheard told FOX23.

These two ladies made a Facebook page “Justice for Phoenix.” The page's mission is to get tougher animal cruelty laws on the books here. Right now in Oklahoma, city animal control workers and shelter workers have very little power.

“It's an eye opener for a lot of them, this goes on everywhere even in the smallest of towns numerous animals are getting abused and neglected,” Reheard said.

One reason supporters of Phoenix are so adamant about getting laws changed is because pit mixes like Phoenix are often considered disposable dogs, dogs you can have one day and then throw away the next.

”I want it to be a domino effect. If Oklahoma does it, other states follow,” Reheard said.

Heuman, willing to take a listen to the proposal, but she says this won't make the problem disappear.

“I think even if the laws are changed there are still going to be cases like this, not just in Muskogee but all over.”

With Phoenix as their catalyst, these ladies are determined to get results and want to take their idea to state legislators next year.

“We're not going to give up, if we could change that it would give a better life to a lot of animals,” Edwards said.

To join the Facebook group “Justice for Phoenix,” click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/388117871270378/?fref=ts

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