Stealing dogs? Vigilante justice?
There’s a bit of commotion going on in the Philadelphia area animal welfare community. Two members of the Justice Rescue team were recently arrested for allegedly stealing a dog and impersonating a police officer. If you haven’t seen it, check out this clip on Fox news.
And the local animal welfare community is in an uproar about it and the PSPCA’s response.
The PSPCA claims that Justice Rescue was impersonating it’s humane enforcement officers. While the PSPCA did receive complaints about the dog at this location, it did not rise to a level that indicated a violation of the law. See CityPaper.net
The dog’s “owner” told PSPCA officers when they arrived on-scene to investigate an abuse complaint that ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. You guys were here yesterday and you took the dog.'” See CityPaper.net. The PSPCA also maintains that Justice Rescue left “notices of investigation” that look all too much like the Notice of Investigation that the PSPCA uses.
Justice Rescue’s facebook page says, “It’s not about the toes we step on, it’s about the paws we protect.” It’s stated Mission is “to protect animals from abuse, cruelty, and neglect. We focus on education as private citizens who are trying to help the general public become more aware of the proper humane treatment of animals.” Justice Rescue is one of the first private (non-law enforcement) organizations in the Philadelphia Area that conducts pro-active education with individuals who are suspected of abusing, neglecting, or cruelty to any animal.
Is this turning into a pissing contest as to who is better at rescuing abused animals? Some people are claiming that Justice Rescue is being unfairly portrayed in the media, while others are saying that they are impersonating the police. Both Justice-Rescue, Fox29Philadelphia’s and the Pennsylvania SPCA’s facebook pages are blowing up with angry comments – from saying Justice-Rescue is being unfairly portrayed, that Fox is presenting a one-sided story, to people vowing to never support the PSPCA again.
One source says that the “victim” of Justice Rescue – the kid who had his dog, Rocky, allegedly stolen, isn’t even the actual owner of Rocky.
Updated: Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Jack McMahon posted the following on the Justice Rescue facebook page:
This is attorney Jack McMahon. I represent Russ Harper(Wolf).PSPCA officials, the police and who ever authorized this arrest within the DA’s office should be ashamed of themselves. Charging these men , who have dedicated their time and effort in the noble cause of helping abused dogs, with a CRIME is a clear abuse of power and insult to fairness and justice. This arrest is based on an incomplete investigation and personal vendettas by people at PSPCA. The dog in question was voluntarily surrendered to Justice Rescue with an owner surrender form, along with photocopy of driver’s license of owner. There was no misrepresentation as to who they were and the surrender form reflects clearly they were from Justice Rescue and not any governmental agency. The dog was voluntarily surrendered to Justice Rescue and they were not about to return it to PSPCA where there was a possibility of euthanizing the dog if it could not be placed. The only crime here is charging these caring and dedicated men.
What really went on here? Any thoughts?