Mary and Rick O’Brien and their two young daughters consider Dre, a 6-year-old Pit bull, a beloved member of their family. The Brighton Colorado family have had Dre (pronounced ‘Dray’) since he was a puppy. But according to the Plea to Free Dre Facebook page, Dre now faces euthanasia because of an accident and a seemingly prejudicial assessment that he is 'vicious'.
The O'Briens are asking for your help, "Brighton, Colorado, plans to destroy Dre tomorrow, July 31, just because he's a pit bull. This gentle family dog has never hurt anyone. Please help us save his life."
According to recounts on the Facebook page, on Thursday July 25, the O'Briens' two dogs, Dre and Machomotto (who is not a pit bull), got out of their home when one of the children accidentally pressed the button on the garage door remote. A family member who was babysitting the kids at the time, did not notice that the dogs had gotten loose. The dogs ended up running around the neighborhood and during the incident, Dre barked at some people.
Several people called animal control and one person called 911, reporting vicious dogs running loose. It apparently took five officers to chase down and catch Dre. Throughout the entire incident, no one was injured, bitten or scratched. Both dogs were caught and taken to animal control.
According to the family, they were originally told by an animal control officer that they could come and pick up both dogs from the pound. However, later the same day, the officer called them back and told them she had received seven complaint calls about the incident and would no longer release Dre. Instead, Dre would be quarantined and labeled vicious, with a recommendation that he be destroyed.
Although pit bulls are not illegal in Brighton, under Brighton city's ordinances, a dog running at large is unlawful. Under regular circumstances, an individual would likely face a fine and an impound fee. However, animal control also has the power to order the immediate destruction of "any vicious dog when deemed necessary in the interest of public safety by an animal control officer under circumstances where a significant and immediate threat to the health or safety of a person or other animal exists."
The case against Dre has moved very quickly and a court date has already been set for Tuesday, July 31 at 10:00 a.m. The family has very little time to plea to the judge that Dre is not a vicious dog.
They plan to present that Dre has never fought with another dog, has never hurt a human, and has never even tried to bite anyone. They are also gathering testimonials from family, friends, dog sitters and other people who know Dre to present in court.
What you can do to help
The unfortunate circumstances of Dre getting loose and a few people being scared, should not translate into a dog being labelled a danger to the community and destroyed.
If you would like to support Dre and his family, here is what you can do:
Update July 31, 2012: The O'Brien family has requested that supporters not call or email the city of Brighton until they have established a plan to move forward. The family posted the following note following their court hearing this morning.
1) Brighton Police are very upset that it received 11,000 emails. They still want to destroy Dre and will hold him until the next court date, August 10.
2) Dre's family is working on getting the best legal representation possible.
Update August 1, 2012: The O'Brien family are accepting donations from supporters at the Save Dre In Brighton, Co ChipIn
The family has retained the services of The Animal Law Center, where all questions and comments should be directed.
If you wish to contribute to the cost of Dres' defense, donations can also be sent directly to the Animal Law Center to:
Animal Law Center
4465 Kipling Street
Suite 108Wheat Ridge
While Dre is being held, his family has been able to see him and "he has been giving kisses through his cage :)" [via Plea to Free Dre Facebook page]
Update August 6, 2012:
Further details of the incident have emerged since Dre was seized on July 25, 2012. The Brighton Police Department has provided further details of what occurred when Dre was running loose.
Also, as supporters rallied behind the O'Brien family and Dre, one woman claims that she received disturbing calls from a man she believes to be a police officer at the Brighton Police Department, who repeatedly threatened her and told her that Dre is dead.
Read the emerging details in our article: New details emerge from Brighton Police Department and supporters regarding seized Pit bull Dre.
Update August 17, 2012:
After hearing a motion to have Dre moved to a safe and fair holding facility today, Dre's family has reason to celebrate a small victory. Dre's owners asked for the dog to be moved out of the shelter because they did not believe the dog was being treated well.
The judge sent the prosecution, the defense and an animal behaviorist over to the animal shelter to examine the site today. The behavioral specialist deemed Dre safe to move, so Dre has been released from the Brighton Animal Control. He was sent to the Canine Candor rescue in northern Colorado, where he will get his special food and medication.
Update August 29, 2012:
The following was posted on Mary O'Brien's Facebook page regarding the pre-trial held yesterday:
"I wanted to provide an update on Dre. We had a pretrial conference yesterday and set the trial date for early November. In the mean time, the animal law center is working with the prosecution to try to come up with a solution for Dre and us to resolve this case before trial. Dre is doing wonderfully in his foster home. The sweet little wiggler is happy, healthy and in good spirits. I want to thank you for your continued (respectful) support.
Rick and Mary O'Brien"
Update Septermber 11, 2012:
Dre is home!
The City of Brighton and Mary O’Brien have reached a plea deal allowing Dre to return to his family.
Video of Dre finally at home with his family
The plea deal was announced today by Jennifer Edwards, founder and attorney with The Animal Law Center, "We are satisfied with the outcome of this case and that an agreement could be made that was in the best interest of Dre and his family."
"This case has been followed by thousands of dog lovers around the world who will be relieved to know that Dre can finally return home to his family that missed him so much," Edwards added.
The plea deal was reached following a positive report from a dog behaviorist hired by the city to evaluate Dre’s behavior, according to the press statement.
The prosecution dismissed four of the five charges, however, Mary O’Brien will be required to follow animal care guidelines determined by the animal behaviorist until Dre receives Canine Good Citizen certification from a third-party evaluator.
Another video of Dre finally at home with his family! Good boy!
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