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08/01/13 5:00pm
08/01/2013 5:00 PM
Pit bull

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Timmy is a 2-year-old, red-nosed pit bull who’s been at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton for about two years.

Kent Animal Shelter has kicked off a promotion offering $20 spay or neuter services for pit bulls and pit bull mixes during the month of August.

The Calverton shelter is parting with PetSmart Charities, a national nonprofit animal welfare organization that will provide the discounted surgeries. Free nail trimming is included in the “Primp Your Pit” offer.

Kent’s executive director, Pam Green, said she hopes the offer will raise awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering pit bulls in order to curb overpopulation, a situation she described as a “crisis surrounding that breed.”

“Pit bulls have been tremendously over-bred and municipal shelters are inundated with them, including the Riverhead shelter to the tune of 90 percent capacity,” she said. “It is a sad state of affairs because it is extremely difficult to place them and they languish in these shelters for months on end, which means an extremely low quality of life.

“The dogs that are not placed (most of them) are euthanized in shelters that are not no-kill.”

The animal shelter plans to spay or neuter 140 pit bulls this month, an increase of 20 more dogs compared to last year’s campaign.

The American Veterinary Medical Association endorses spaying and neutering puppies as young as 8 to 10 weeks old and research shows that the procedure may improve the behavior and health of the pet, including reducing the risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections, according to the animal shelter’s press release.

For more information about the promotion or to schedule an appointment, call Kent Animal Shelter at (631) 727-5731.

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02/28/13 6:00am
02/28/2013 6:00 AM
Homeowners insurance and pit bulls

COURTESY PHOTO | Pit bull Lulu wearing a homeowners insurance policy cancellation notice.

To the Editor:

I love dogs. I spend a lot of time helping various rescue organizations and local shelters as well as advocating for certain breeds.

I have had dogs my entire life and each one was special in their own way. They aren’t just pets, but members of our family. And no other dog has better exemplified this than my pit bull, Lulu. My wife and I rescued her nine years ago and she has been an integral part of our lives ever since. She has not only changed our lives, but dozens of others who previously had a negative bias when it came to pit bulls.

Which is why I was shocked when my homeowners insurance company decided, out-of-the-blue, to drop us. Simply because we owned her.

Not because of a complaint or a claim or an incident of any kind. According to Otsego Mutual, her breed alone is a liability.

On a routine check of the property, a “field agent” knocked on my door while we were at work and heard Lulu bark. A few days later I received a letter from their office, stating that it had “come to their attention that there is a dog on the premises” and that I need to “provide details” about her, specifically her age and her breed.

I wrote back that she was 9, a terrier (which is her classification on all her paperwork from the shelter) and that she had no bite history. I added that she was up to date on her vaccinations and could provide proof if necessary. Four days later, I get my cancelation letter. No follow-up, no phone call, no evaluation of any kind and no chance for arbitration. Canceled. End of story.

I was dumbfounded. I know breed discrimination is nothing new. I know that over 600 cities nationwide have enacted legislation to ban certain breeds, most notably pit bulls. But the truth is, Lulu, just like millions of other “uninsurable dogs,” is a sweet, caring animal.

She, like the others, simply is not the vicious monster the media has depicted. That distinction belongs to the people and institutions that are prejudiced in their operations and policies against them. Who is more inhuman? Lulu, a decades-old faithful companion, or the insurance company that drops her owner because she exists?

Michael Versandi, Sound Beach

To read all of the Letters to the Editor, pick up a copy of the News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

10/26/12 8:37pm
10/26/2012 8:37 PM
Riverhead, ACO, Animal Shelter, Mauled, pit bull

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Animal control officer Jessica Eibs-Stankaitis earlier this year with a dog from the Riverhead Town shelter.

Riverhead Town’s head animal control officer was mauled by a pit bull she was walking at the town animal shelter Friday afternoon, police said.

Jessica Eibs-Stankaitis, who was hired in February after long-time dog warden Lou Coronesi left, was walking a pit bull from the outside pen area to the inside pens when the dog attacked her at around 3 p.m., said Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller.

“She got injured rather badly,” he said. “She had a laceration under her left eye, and I don’t know the extent of the injuries to her hip, but that’s where the dog latched on, to her hip.”

Ms. Eibs-Stankaitis was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment. Chief Hegermiller said he saw her about 5:15 p.m., and while he doesn’t know the extent of the injuries, they are not believed to life-threatening.

“It was a struggle to get the dog off,” Chief Hegermiller said. “A kennel attendant tried to use a snare pole to get the dog off, and that didn’t work. The ACO (Ms. Eibs-Stankaitis) was able to slip a snare pole over the dogs head to get it off of her.

“I have no idea how long the struggle lasted. All I know is that the kennel attendance was not able to get the dog off, she ran inside to call 911, and when she came back out, the dog was still on.”

Chief Hegermiller, whose department oversees the animal control office, said he can’t recall any previous instances where a town animal control officer was mauled by a dog in the shelter.

“We’ve had dog wardens get bitten before, I don’t think we’ve ever had one mauled,” he said.

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