From left: Dana Dethrow, tree-lock device, "rescued" pit bull and Chris Thomas.
From left: Water bowl, dog house, Lori Roach and a pit bull stuck in a tree.
Fox 25 Follow Up
UPDATE 08/21/09: On Wednesday, Fox 25 News ran a follow up story about pit bull "rescuer" Dana Dethrow in Shawnee. Dethrow previously told reporters that each of her 15 chained up pit bulls had a 5 gallon bucket that gets rinsed out and refilled everyday. Neighbors, however, told reporters a different story in that her pit bulls are often neglected and left without basics such as food and water. So Fox 25 News went back to Dethrow's property unannounced to learn more.
They found water bowls tipped over with temperatures in the 90s. One dog was swarmed with flies. Another pit bull was seen "up in a tree" with its chain tangled. The news team then readdressed the certificate Dethrow gained at Best Friends Animal Hospital, which she claimed qualified her to run a rescue. Lori Roach, who instructed the class, told reporters, "The training is pretty basic." When asked if it was sufficient to run a rescue such as Dethrow's, she said, "Not at all."
Dethrow responded with, "How is anyone qualified to run a dog shelter?"
08/09/09: Pit Bull "Rescuer" Dana Dethrow
Pottawatomie County, OK - Just outside of Shawnee city boundaries, Dana Dethrow runs what she calls a "pit bull rescue shelter," where she keeps 15 pit bulls chained up 24 hours a day. Dethrow told Fox 25 News, "I do not breed the dogs." But the question of whether or not her 15 pit bulls had been spay or neutered did not come up. Dethrow's neighbors, who would not appear on camera out of fear, feel they are the ones that need to be rescued from this dangerous situation.
Dethrow does not live on the property with the pit bulls. She lives inside of Shawnee. Last week one of her chained pit bulls broke free and attacked a child.
Dethrow Does Not Have Insurance
Reporter: "Are you prepared to pay their hospital bills?"
Dethrow: "I, I will. Yeah. Yes I would pay for their hospital bills."
Dethrow: "I work --"
Reporter: "You can't afford insurance. I mean, so how can you afford a hospital?"
Dethrow: "Just do it as I can."
Two years ago, a different pit bull "rescued" by Dethrow broke free and attacked as well. On that occasion, the pit bull attacked a woman, her daughter and their small dog. Chris Thomas of the Shawnee Animal Shelter -- whose hands are tied because Dethrow's "rescue" lies outside of Shawnee jurisdiction -- said the pit bull "destroyed the little dog" as the mother was focused on protecting her child. It is unknown if the mother or child incurred injuries during the incident.
Dethrow's Rescue Qualifications
Reporter: "What qualifies you to run a dog shelter?"
Dethrow: "I've had 'em all my life. I took a course out at Best Friends Animal Hospital and got a "kennel assistant certification."
(The segment cuts to Kaylan Head, the Director of Training at Full Circle Obedience School in Oklahoma City. Kayland also co-hosts "Speak!" an Oklahoma talk radio program for dog lovers on KTOK, 1000 AM.)
Kaylan: "No shelter operates that way. That is horrible."
But they do in Pottawatomie County and numerous other U.S. counties. Tragically, the Shawnee Animal Shelter can see Dethrow's property from just across the highway, but because it lies outside of city boundaries, their hands are tied. Does any reader think it is a fluke that Dethrow is harboring these dogs "just outside" of city lines? She does not have insurance for the county property or the rescue shelter. As noted in the video, Dethrow is also not breaking any laws.
06/20/09: James Harrison's Pit Bull "Patron" is Up for Adoption Under New Breed Name
02/06/09: Katrina Rescue Fraud: Dogs Hijacked by "Trainers" and Pit Bull Advocates
10/14/08: "Shuffling" a Pit Bull After a Dangerous Dog Court Hearing