ORCUTT, Calif. - An Orcutt family is fighting to keep their dogs from being euthanized, and is now trying to change a county ordinance on aggressive dogs. The family has an online petition spreading their message on the internet in an effort to get the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's attention.
Peggy Henning remembers the day her family welcomed Daisy and Duke into their family like it was yesterday.
"They immediately just became part of the family," said Henning. "They were very friendly with all the guests we had coming over."
But things changed when Daisy and Duke got loose. They liked chasing cats.
"Dogs are pack animals and that is their default instinct," said Henning. "If they are bonded or litter mates, it intensifies that. They would get out of the confines of our house or yard and this instinct would come to the surface."
On 3 separate occasions the dogs got away from the Hennings and attacked three cats, killing one. The other two had to be euthanized because of their extensive injuries.
After warnings by Animal Services the dogs were taken away for being dangerous and aggressive, and now will be euthanized.
"The way the ordinance is currently written is that any dog that causes severe bodily injury or death to a human or domestic animal is considered a dangerous animal," said Stacy Silva, Community Outreach Coordinator with Animal Services.
The Henning's are now attempting to change the county ordinance through an online petition on Change.org. They've gathered almost 700 signatures in 2 days. Their hope is to change the ordinance so that it would allow dogs that have shown aggression the chance to be rehabilitated.
"I just feel it would untie their hands so that in cases like this when dogs are truly friendly, lovable animals and they can bring so much joy into some people's lives, they could have a chance to do that," said Henning.
Henning says some out-of-state dog centers were willing to take Duke and Daisy and rehabilitate them for free and even find them a new home. She says Animal Services rejected a plea deal that would've allowed one dog to be rehabilitated and one dog to be euthanized. Right now, Duke and Daisy remain in the Santa Maria Shelter until they're put down.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services says it is in the process of reviewing the ordinance and may make changes in the future. No estimated date was stated when that may be.
To view the Henning's online petition, click on this link: http://chn.ge/1nRn0cy