After all of the heartache and waiting, we have a decision in the case of Helo, the McKeesport Siberian Husky.
For those who aren't up to speed, Helo was accused of killing a three day old infant in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. I was called in by Helo's defense team to look at the case and to evaluate Helo as to any danger he might present to public safety. And understand - when I went in we had a clear agreement - if I evaluated Helo and looked at the case and found that Helo was a vicious dog, the owners agreed that he would be destroyed without question.
My investigation showed a number of things: first, there was no evidence that Helo actually committed the alleged attack. Two small smudges of what may have been blood on his fur were unconvincing-there simply wasn't enough blood, and the two small markings markings were transfer, not blood drops or splashes. More importantly, there were three other dogs present, two of which were never even seen by Animal Control or Law Enforcement, since they were locked in the basement for security reasons. That was insane and irresponsible. To deliberately not examine two dogs that were barking and lunging at the basement door while seizing and blaming the friendliest dog in the house because he was the easiest to handle goes beyond unprofessional.
But ultimately the facts came to the front. I evaluated Helo and found him to be a personable, friendly, non-threatening, well adjusted dog that presented no more danger than any other dog seen walking quietly down the street with an owner. He was well mannered, compliant, easy to control and very accepting of human interaction.
Friday, April 27th, the Court made it's decision. Helo will be relocated out of Pennsylvania to a sanctuary where he will have both human and canine friends and family. He is not designated "Dangerous" as the burden of proof for that designation has never been met by the DA. He will be able to live out his life safely, in loving and peaceful surroundings without fear of retribution from senseless humans looking for a scapegoat for revenge.
Yes, this was a tragedy. An innocent child died horribly due to human neglect and failure to act in a reasonable and responsible manner. My sympathies go out to the poor infant who never had a decent chance. He could have made great contributions to his community and the world, but we will never know.
We do not know what happened to the other dogs in the home as the DA released the one other dog that was given a quick "once-over" and never seized the two dogs that were more apparently a threat. We can only hope that those dogs never have the opportunity to victimize another child.
Helo will live his life away from those who would blame him for human failings, and possibly seek retribution. Good luck Helo, and I hope to meet you again.
For those who would like to learn how to better investigate such tragedies, and help us save lives by preventing such heart-wrenching situation in the future, please join us at the National Dog Bite Investigation, Prevention and Treatment Conference in Atlanta, GA, May 4th. For those who can't make it to Atlanta, keep your eyes peeled for updates as we want to take this valuable information on the road later this year to get the message out-no one needs to suffer or die from dog attack. Dog related fatalities and injuries are very preventable. Please join us in eliminating this risk to ourselves, our families, and our dogs. Bookmark us at http://www.dogbitecon.org/home
And don't forget poor Lennox in the UK. His next hearing is scheduled for May 24th in Belfast. Lennox, to remind everyone, never bit, threatened, charged, or even bothered anyone. He was minding his own business, licensed and vaccinated at his home, when he was seized by Animal Control officers because he looked like a "regulated dog". His full story can be found here: http://savelennox.co.uk There are over 127,000 supporters of Lennox around the world. Join them in pressing for an objective, experienced, expert evaluation of Lennox.