Senior Citizen Fights to Save Companion Pet Seized for Three Years–Small Nip Not Worthy of Euthanasia–
Sacramento, Ca. — April 3, 2013 — Sandi York, an elderly disabled Sacramento resident who lives on a fixed income of medical disability and who relied on her dog for companionship, is now spending her years and money fighting to save her dog Bandit, an eight year old mixed-breed female. Three years have come and gone and Bandit remains in the custody of Animal Care & Regulation (‘ACR’) in Sacramento County for allegedly nipping a man and inflicting a bite the size of a grain of rice. Today, the fight to save Bandit from euthanasia continues.
“Bandit means everything to me. I’m sick, I’m tired, and I miss her terribly and want her to come home. It seems to me that she and I are growing old apart and it breaks my heart each time I walk away from our daily visits together,” said Sandi York, the dog’s owner. “Bandit has always been a sweet well-behaved girl. I think she was scared and was only trying to protect us when someone knocked insistently on the door for what seemed like five minutes. She didn’t know what was going on, we didn’t know. It happened so quickly and we’re sorry. She doesn’t deserve to die for this.”
The County of Sacramento Animal Care & Regulation (‘ACR’) has held Bandit now for three years and they won’t release her even though she has not displayed any aggression while in their custody nor have they been willing to negotiate a release with the owner. During the past three years, there have been numerous hearings, court filings, and extensions filed on Bandit’s behalf in an effort to save her life. The order to euthanize Bandit was issued at an administrative dog hearing in an office at the ACR shelter about 45 days after the incident back in April 2010. The determination to euthanize Bandit was made by one single person at the hearing where she deemed that the bite Bandit inflicted caused ‘severe injury’ and worthy of Bandit’s execution.
Subsequent to the administrative dog hearing, a judge later ruled at a Writ hearing that Bandit was solely responsible for a single small bite and gave his recommendation for the reassessment and removal of the ‘severe injury’ bite imposed during the initial ACR administrative hearing. The judge based his recommendation on information presented by Bandit’s counsel at the Writ hearing that revealed the extent of the bite wound – characterized to be the size of a grain of rice – barely visible and clearly not disfiguring or to have caused ‘severe injury’. To this date, the bite class has not been reassessed or reclassified. The owner believes her and Bandit’s rights were violated and that the order to euthanize Bandit based on the initial assessment of the bite wound is inaccurate, unfair, and unjust and should have been reassessed long ago. An appeal has been filed with the US Court of Appeals.
York concluded, “We have been pleading with the ACR for a reassessment of the bite wound. The administrative dog hearing individual who ruled on the bite three years ago is no longer at the ACR. We have pleaded with the County of Sacramento Board of Supervisors as well as the Executive Office to bring light to Bandit’s situation, and we have asked the ACR Director to step in repeatedly but he is adamant and will not allow us the reassessment needed that will help save Bandit. The County has been totally unresponsive and unwilling to work with us. Our only hope at this point is an appeal, but that could take a long time and is costly. We are hoping for Divine intervention and to rally support from the community.”
Prior to this case, Bandit had never been seized or needed to be defended nor heard before any administrative dog hearing person, group, or judge due to any behavior on her part and has always been a well-balanced and friendly companion pet.
About the owner: Sandi York is an elderly disabled resident of Citrus Heights in the County of Sacramento and lives in a modest home that she shared with Bandit. Ms. York drives to the ACR shelter daily to visit Bandit and keep both her own and Bandit’s spirits high. The expense for Bandit’s lodging at the ACR shelter are being paid for by the owner. The legal expenses up to recently had been pro bono and that relationship has terminated. Beginning this year, it was necessary to seek new legal pro bono representation for a more aggressive strategy to save Bandit. The owner is trying to raise money to cover the expenses associated with saving Bandit.
About Bandit: Ms. York found Bandit, a female mixed breed dog, along a road on a rainy day six years ago. A vehicle had apparently struck Bandit. Ms. York rescued Bandit and got her immediate medical attention. They had been inseparable until April 2010. Videos of Bandit’s nature and demeanor can be seen on her Saving Bandit Facebook page where she has over 4,300 fans from all over the world hoping to help save her life. Bandit loves to watch TV for long periods of time and plays well with other dogs and loves people. Bandit is fully trained and follows all basic commands. Help save Bandit.
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