Open Door Animal Sanctuary (ODAS) in the News!

The following is a Facebook post from our founder, Shane Rudman, from 4/24/2019:

BOMBSHELL NEWS REPORTS!

JUSTICE IS COMING TO ST. LOUIS AREA ANIMALS AND ANIMAL LOVERS…

AJLA has been working nonstop on a case regarding a St. Louis area shelter after being brought some serious allegations last year.

TUNE INTO Channel 5 News Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 6 and 10 pm. Jacob Long, an Emmy Award winning investigative journalist has worked very hard for months to bring this story to the public eye. AJLA is very appreciative of his and the “5 On Your Side” management for doing what was, and is, necessary to bring this story to light. The initial video and written story that aired at 6pm Wednesday April 24, 2019 is available on their website in this link. The reports Thursday will be available just after airing. We believe the story will only cover the tip of the iceberg. We believe once Channel 5 runs these 3 stories many many people will feel confident enough to come forward and share what they know.
https://www.ksdk.com/…/63-d626e5e6-9e39-4261-a2ab-317ab73c4…

AJLA contacted Investigative journalist Chris Nagus with News 4 in St. Louis last October and brought 9 whistleblowers to News 4’s TV station. AJLA along with many of the whistle blowers gave on camera interviews at that point. But the news station got cold feet after seeing how litigious the Sanctuary’s Director and board had been. We were told the Director and key board members approved spending $40,000 dollars to quiet one whistle blower. And had approved over $10,000 in fees just to monitor my personal Facebook page and AJLA’s Facebook Page in an attempt to identify whistle blowers. We were told they had one person apply to become an AJLA Advocate to get access to our private page. Their thought was to sue each whistle blower individually in an attempt to shut down the investigation. We were told they believed AJLA would go away if no one was willing to talk to us. They didn’t think it wise to sue AJLA or myself.

JUSTICE IS COMING FOR REBA and many others that deserve it in the St. Louis area.
First things first. We believe the rescue/animal sanctuary that is the focus of this investigative report and news stories has the potential for a very bright future. They will need more help and support than ever in the coming months. The hundreds of animals currently in their care deserve the community’s best effort to make sure this place gets the right leadership. The dozens of you that have helped bring this to light will hopefully get back involved to help the place become the great rescue/sanctuary the incredible founders envisioned and we all believe it can be. YOU are heroes in AJLA’s eyes.
The great people that founded the sanctuary approximately 45 years ago and 99.9% of the volunteers and employees are good people that have done much good work. But as with any organization LEADERSHIP IS EVERYTHING. We have only experienced leadership that acted like this one other time. That was at the Montgomery County ARC in Dayton, Ohio. After a tremendous amount of pressure from us and most of the entire Dayton animal welfare community, the County Manager was forced to bring in a completely independent 3rd party investigator. That investigation lead to leadership being fired and sweeping improvements have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented now. The Ohio Attorney General is now investigating the entire situation.

For more on the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center story click here http://www.animaljla.org/stories/stormys-story/

We gave the leadership of this St. Louis area animal sanctuary multiple chances to open up and cooperate. Our goal was to meet with the leadership to share what we had been given and help find a solution. All we wanted to do was help clear the air and find the truth. If what we had been told and the evidence we had been shown was true, we said we would NOT go public if the Director resigned or the board agreed to a completely independent 3rd party investigation done by Team Shelter USA or a comparable organization. (Btw…We contacted the well respected Dr Sara Pizano, founder of TSUSA, she lead the MCARC investigation. She offered to recommend a well respected organization to conduct the investigation into this sanctuary but said she will no longer investigate rescues/shelters/sanctuaries with leadership like this particular one and will only evaluate open minded orgs that are seeking guidance hoping to improve their shelters systems and processes)

We did all we could to meet with the board. I have served on the board of multiple nonprofit organizations. I was confident the board would view their responsibilities like I always had. They would understand the basic legal obligations and take their responsibilities seriously. This information would be painful to hear…even scary when we mentioned the potential of bringing in the DEA but they would be thankful we brought it to their attention so they could properly do their job. They could take action to protect the rescue/sanctuary and help it improve while moving forward.

I personally drove to St. Louis on multiple occasions to meet with known current board members. I was certain if they saw the evidence we had been given they would immediately open an investigation, just to protect their own credibility if not to protect the animals and $7 million endowment great people had helped established. I went by multiple board members’ places of work during business hours to make sure I could get in contact with them. They did all they could to avoid me. Just after leaving one board member’s personal office, he texted me. His receptionist had just told me he wasn’t available to speak with me. In his text he gave me the Board President’s cell number and said the President had been given the authority to talk with me. On my way to the President’s place of business I texted him that I appreciated him speaking with me. I’d be there in 10 minutes. When I got there his staff said he had just left 10 minutes earlier. The President of the Board literally hid from me. They filed lawsuits against very good people that were trying to help the sanctuary and threatened us with lawsuits. Their only goal appeared to be to silence whistle blowers and hide the truth. Their attorney contacted me and said even though the President had the authority to meet with me, no board members would be meeting with me. I would need to work through him. I assured him that we wanted to help the sanctuary and make sure they were aware of the allegations and evidence we had been made aware of. After explaining the basics of what we had been told and how many people had confirmed it, their attorney sent a text the next day to say he was now not allowed to communicate with me either. To say we were stone-walled would be putting it mildly.

We were eventually able to meet and/or talk with over 20 current or former employees, volunteers, vets, vet techs, and board members. The general consensus was that what we had be given was true. They all believed the Director had to be replaced but she had “stacked” the board to stay in power. They all said both animals and people were suffering greatly because of her and how she operated the rescue/sanctuary. They said her MO was to deny deny deny and then file lawsuits. Starting back in August, 2018 many of you read posts as we were trying to get some cooperation without exposing the name of the sanctuary. Reba’s story was shared as a part of that process. You can search “Reba AJLA” on Facebook to be reminded or read about it if you were not aware. You can see many animal lovers were interested in the story. The first post that comes up is dated August 15, 2018. When this screenshot was taken, the post had 6,200 reactions, 459 comments, 1.3k shares.
This all could have been avoided if the Board would have just agreed to meet, and then acted responsibly with the information. They could either do their own investigation and replace the Director, or agree to an outside independent 3rd party investigation to get proper guidance from experts. It could have been solved and the rescue/sanctuary would have been 9 months into building some great positive momentum under NEW LEADERSHIP.

Proverbs 21:15 says “Justice brings joy to the good people, but terror to the evil doors.” Many will experience joy Thursday evening. A small handful of people will experience TERROR. We are not based in St. Louis, so have reached out to key business leaders in the community to get involved and help locate the right leadership for this potentially very great animal rescue and sanctuary.
We understand, at first, this will be shocking and even disheartening for many in the St. Louis animal welfare community. But the focus needs to quickly turn to helping your community’s incredible resource into what its founders envisioned. A state of the art rescue/sanctuary founded by early and even famous pioneers in the animal welfare movement.

Again we want to thank the brave heroes that have agreed to stand up to this bully. A few of the brave souls will appear in the news cast Thursday night, even though the Director has a track record of spending freely from the sanctuary’s endowment to silence anyone willing to expose her. We appreciate that many former employees, volunteers, and board members have become followers of and advocates for AJLA. They have personally witnessed and experienced that there truly is strength in numbers.
The moral of the story….if AJLA contacts you to help solve a situation…return their calls and agree to cooperate. Don’t threaten us with lawsuits and hide. CUZ NO MATTER WHAT…JUSTICE IS COMING!

Breed-Specific Legislation

Scientific studies and municipal experience show that Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL), commonly called a “pit bull ban,” does not improve community safety. These studies also show that BSL costs taxpayers money and places additional burden on municipal resources.

Cities (and states) across the country are repealing BSL in favor of broad-based dangerous animal laws. This is happening as citizens and lawmakers recognize and become aware of the research and evidence. Many national accredited organizations have made replacing BSL with “breed-neutral” dangerous animal laws their number one recommendation.

We believe all progress starts with the facts. To help increase understanding around the topic, we’ve compiled a list of supporting organizations, facts, and “myths” below.


Critics worried their voices won’t be heard during sweeping review of county animal shelter

Nov 26, 2018

By Chris Stewart, Staff Writer

Critics of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center say that when a team arrives this week to assess the operations of the facility, their voices won’t be heard and the consultants’ report will just paper over serious problems alleged at the shelter, including that too many animals are put to death.

“There’s no opportunity for public input or a public hearing,” said Paul Leonard, a member of the Coalition for Animal Justice and attorney representing a Kettering couple suing the county over the facility’s euthanasia practices. “They need to hear from the people who represent the animal-friendly community — organizations like ours, rescues, people who have had personal experiences with the Animal Resource Center (ARC).”

But nothing will be overlooked by the team during the examination of the Animal Resource Center’s operations, said Dr. Sara Pizano, the Florida-based animal welfare strategist and creator of Team Shelter USA who is leading the assessment.

The review will take into account the facilities, staffing, policies, procedures as well as its budget and statistical measures including the number of shelter intakes and percentage of euthanasia cases. All help shed light on how well a shelter is performing, Pizano said.

“We look at every step along the way,” she said. “It’s a puzzle. Everything matters.”

The assessment team, which begins its work Monday morning interviewing ARC staff, also includes Cameron Moore from the University of Florida and Dr. Kim Sanders, director of Anderson County (S.C.) PAWS. They will conclude site work Friday and will provide a written report with recommendations a week following.

Costing $15,000, county officials say this will be the most sweeping review of the shelter in 15 years.

The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center has been a lightning rod for years – including court cases alleging neglect in preventing the dog-mauling death of Klonda Richey in 2014 to a more recent incident claiming that a companion animal was put to death with little effort to find the owner.

But what animal welfare advocates say is most troubling about the Montgomery County shelter is the sheer volume of animals euthanized.

“Change isn’t coming quick, because they euthanized 204 animals total in October, and that’s more than a modern shelter with about the same intake euthanize per year,” said Corey Bearzi, a board member of the Coalition for Animal Justice, a group formed over the summer in direct response to alleged wrongdoing at the shelter.

Aninal rights advocates say a live release rate of 90 percent or higher is more in line with modern shelter standards. Last year, the ARC rate was much lower: 56.7 percent. The number has improved this year, topping 75 percent in July, but dipping to under 63 percent last month.

“Euthanasia is a tragic reality of animal control. Each and every decision to euthanize a dog or cat at the ARC is taken very seriously,” said Michael Colbert, Montgomery County administrator. “These difficult decisions must be made for animals who are gravely ill or injured and animals who show aggression. It is the humane means to end an animal’s suffering and protect the public.”

Last month, the county announced ARC oversight will shift from Administrative Services to Development Services when a new assistant county administrator is hired for that department.

Some ARC policies were updated as recently as Nov. 2. The facility will no longer “fail” animals for growling during food bowl exercises, a behavior that can increase an animal’s candidacy for euthanasia, according to the county.

The county is also in the process of hiring a full-time outreach specialist that will augment existing adoption and recruitment efforts as well as work to expand relationships with area rescue groups. The specialist will also work with area jurisdictions on trap, neuter and release programs as the county has notified the municipalities that cat contracts will not be extended beyond this year.

On Tuesday, Pizano will conduct an open meeting, but it will not be an open debate about the animal shelter, she said. Her talk at the downtown Dayton Metro Library will focus on best shelter practices discovered through her professional work and the results from about 60 other shelter assessments, she said.

“I will not allow this presentation to become a complaint session for attacking the shelter. I understand there are people that are not happy with what is happening, but that’s not what this particular presentation is about,” she said. “We are, I promise you, very good about getting all the information that we need to help the shelter.”

“This is not a session for complaints to be aired,” said Pizano. “I will certainly take questions on what I’m talking about, but I will not entertain complaints about the shelter because it’s not my role. I have no authority.”

Pizano said she has already heard the many criticisms leveled at the Montgomery County facility but the “statistics tell a story.” Local and state ordinances, shelter policies, intake and euthanasia numbers all “tell us a great deal of information.”

“I want them to trust the process,” she said. “I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, I’m just saying we are really good at identifying the upstream issues.”

Leonard, a former Dayton mayor and former Ohio lieutenant governor, said 30 years in politics has left him skeptical the firm’s report to the county will ring true.

“The first problem is the consultants are being paid by the people they are taking a look at,” Leonard said. “You generally are tempted to be soft in making tough recommendations or offering tough criticism.”

Leonard is representing Lindsey and Josh Glowney of Kettering, who sued Montgomery County for negligence and other claims, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, after their dog Dyson was seized by a Kettering animal control official in October 2016 and euthanized five days later.

Beth Miller, president and CEO of Wagtown, said she’s not worried about Team Shelter’s qualifications in conducting the examination or bias reflected in its report. Miller, leader of the non-profit organization that advocates for dog-friendly communities, came to her conclusion through conversations with the organization and others it reviewed.

What’s more critical is the level of support the recommendations receive after the report is issued, Miller said.

“The big concern of people on the other side of the issue is not so much will they get an investigation, but will the investigation yield a better environment for the animals in our area,” she said. “I don’t expect it to be hugely successful if the community members in general are not involved. I think that will be a recipe for if not failure, it will not be as robust a solution as we were hoping for.”

Mark Kumpf, Montgomery County’s Animal Resource Center director since 2006, is a named defendant in the wrongful death lawsuit of Richey. Court documents filed in the 2014 dog-mauling death also allege the destruction of truck logs from 2013 and 2014, potential key evidence during the period just preceding Richey’s death, her estate claims in suit.

Leonard said nothing short of an overhaul of the ARC, including dismissal of its director, will change the outcome for animals.

“I really believe the Animal Resource Center cannot make wholesale, substantive changes without a general change in the leadership at the center itself,” he said.

A county spokesman last week said Kumpf was unavailable for comment.

Pizano said no Team Shelter assessment has ever called for a direct change in leadership, but many of the reviews include recommendations for staffing adjustments.

“We do look at what the staff is doing — tasks — and there are a lot of times we find that staff could be used more productively, so we may make recommendations about that, which ultimately that process could end up in reclassing staff. It’s different everywhere depending on the state and what they are doing, depending on the organization.”

Wine & Wags – Enjoy A Fun Evening with Animal Justice League of America!

Reserve Your Tickets Now!

When a group of like-minded people with a shared passion come together, great things happen and the world WILL be changed!

Come Join the “Paw-ty” at the KC Wine Co. and make a difference while having a good time!

Click For Your Tickets Now!

Excited about a “$500-a-ticket-black-tie-have-to-get-a-dress-or-tux-affair”?  Neither are we!

Get two tickets for $25 OR 10 tickets for $100…or if you want to spend more time with our guests and founder, Shane Rudman, select one of our very limited VIP tickets…

P.S. – because we’re about a good time, each ticket gets you a FREE glass of KC Wine Co.’s favorite wine!

Get Your Tickets Now!

Event Details:

VIP Event from 6PM–7PM • Main Event from 7PM–9PM

Enjoy fun outdoor games, live music by Erica McKenzie and join in on the silent auction to save animal’s lives!

Featured Guests:

  • The Johnson Family – parents of Gus, Tug, and Kaycee from Barry County, MO
  • Chief Billy Naff – Newest 40 under 40 and AJLA Law Enforcement Advocate
  • Shane Rudman – founder and president, AJLA

VIP Tickets: $100.00 Admits 1 (includes 2 FREE drink tickets, a special Tasting Room meet-and-greet with Lucky the Pit Bull and Shane Rudman, red carpet photos, light hors d’oeuvres and admission to the main event)

General Admission: $25.00 Admits 2 (includes 2 FREE drink tickets), $100.00 Admits 10  (includes 10 FREE drink tickets)

Click Here For Your Tickets!

 

FAQs

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

21+ to enter, ID will be required

Can I bring my dog to the event?

Please leave your fur babies at home for this event, thank you!

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

For questions please email: justice@animaljla.org

Case Details – Lagertha

Stacie Brewer McGinley, Former Owner of Laggie

 Jeffrey Ray Smith, Accused Shooter of Laggie

 

Thursday, April 26, 2018 – Dale Carter and his son heard 2 gunshots while Mushroom hunting in the area of Bluff Woods in St. Joseph, MO. They went to investigate and came upon a white female pitbull sitting up with her head hanging, crying in pain having just sustained 2 gunshots to her head.

A silver Chevy Silverado is seen leaving the area of the shooting just moments after shots were heard by Eric Brown.

Dale and Tamara Carter and their family rushed the injured dog to a local vet who is closed. They take the dog to their home where they begin to call vets to see if they can see the dog. One local vet could for a $500 deposit which the Carters did not have. They called Angels Vet express, who agreed to triage the dog and the Carters rushed the dog to their facility 45 minutes away.

Word was spreading on social media of the plight of the dog. Joanna Phillips Bidondo, a volunteer with Unleashed Pet Rescue, saw the news on Facebook and contacted the owner and founder of Unleashed to see if they could help. Danielle Reno told Joanna to “Go”. Joanna and her teenage daughter drove the hour and a half drive to St. Joseph, MO to pick up the dog, as long as she continued to survive, and rush her to Blue Pearl animal hospital in Overland Park KS.

Staff at Blue Pearl and Unleashed Pet rescue were on hand and ready for the emergency care that the dog, now being called Lagertha (which means warrior princess) would need when she arrived.

Lagertha’s injuries were accessed, Fractured skull, shattered jaw, broken teeth, bullet fragments still in her. She was scheduled to have a CT scan the following morning.

Late evening, April 26, 2018, Gina Rudman saw the social media posts about the dog that was shot in St. Joseph, MO. She scrolled quickly due to graphic footage.

April 27, 2018 –  Social media was a buzz with the news of “Laggie”. Gina Rudman received several direct messages from followers through the Facebook page for her dog “Lucky the Pitbull” because he had also sustained a gunshot wound to the head. Gina Rudman sent the story to her husband, Shane, via text message. Shane asked Gina to get him in contact with the people from Unleashed Rescue. Shane and Gina connected with Rebecca Taylor from Unleashed who put them in contact with Danielle Reno.

April 28 – May 4, 2018 – The Rudman’s visited Laggie at Blue Pearl multiple times.

April 29 -AJLA  receives offer from an individual who has worked for the Highway Patrol Crime lab for 30 years to inspect the bullet casings found at the scene of Laggie’s shooting.

Monday, April 30 2018 – Shane met with Jungle Law. They agreed to represent AJLA and the dog.

Shane’s first meeting with the St. Joseph Sheriffs Department.  Several days prior, Shane called multiple times to talk to someone about Laggie being shot and was put on hold or disconnected each time. When he finally talked to a live person he was told the sheriff would be available on Monday. He drove one hour and 45 minutes to St. Joe to hopefully talk to someone in person. After waiting 30 mins he met a less than helpful Captain Tiger Parsons for approximately 5 mins and was told the Sheriff would not be available. It was obvious the Sheriffs department did not want Shane’s or AJLA’s involvement or help. Shane made it very clear to Captain Parsons this case would be solved and he was looking forward to meeting with the Sheriff. Even though that first meeting was less than helpful, Shane and Tiger grew a mutual respect and proved to be very helpful to each other.

Monday, April 30 2018 Afternoon – After the short meeting with “Tiger” Shane went to M’Shoogys Animal resource center to meet with Gary Silverglat. Gary had offered a reward for information about Laggies’s shooter. This was something he normally did as there is widespread abuse of animals in this area. Gary had already received a credible tip. Gary is located in a different county than where Laggies shooting took place and he was concerned of backlash towards him or and his animals if Shane attempted a meeting with that sheriff. Many times Gary knew who was committing these crimes against animals but the sheriff in his county never did anything. The person who called in the tip to Gary told him the shooter of Laggie was Jeff Smith and that Jeff lived with his mother but he wasn’t sure where that was.

On the drive home Shane received information about another dog who had been shot the same day that Laggie had been in the same area of Bluff Woods. Stacey Franklin had gotten this dog the vet care he needed and was caring for him in her home. She named him Moose.

Lots of tips were coming in to the Animal Justice League of America. Three of these were tips about the same person as the shooter. Tips also came in about the owner of Laggie. That information was not hard to confirm.

Tuesday May 1, 2018 – Shane went to St. Joe for the 2nd time to meet with the Sheriffs office. He met with a deputy Whorten. He provided him with the leads we had been given. He was of no help citing that he had not worked on the case. He was going to pass the leads and info on to the deputy that was working the case. Shane met with Stacey and met Moose.

Wednesday May 2, 2018 – Shane meets with Sheriff Puett and does TV interviews with local St. Joe stations with Moose.

Saturday May 5, 2018 – Press conference by Shane at Blue Pearl Overland Park. Laggie leaves the hospital and goes into foster care with Shane and Gina Rudman.

Sunday May 6, 2018 – Shane speaks with Sheriff Puett who is following up on details and leads.

Thursday May 10, 2018 – Shane texts Sheriff Puett to let him know Laggie was doing well and that they would be on KC Live next morning. Shane asked if there were any updates on the case and if there was anything he would like shared on the morning tv show. Sheriff Puett said the investigation is ongoing and they were “trying to contact the suspect”.

Saturday May 12, 2018 – Gina Rudman received the 2nd tip concerning the same individuals through one of the facebook pages she manages for her dogs. Gina forwards the information to Shane who then forwards to the sheriff letting him know he planned to contact the tipsters and asking if the suspects had been contacted yet. Sheriff Puett did not know the answer and suggested Shane call Sergeant Thrasher who had been placed on the case. Shane did this by phone call to the Sergeants office as he did not have his cell phone number at this point.

With the 2nd tip coming in, Shane decided to drive to St. Joe while Gina searched for current addresses, criminal history and evidence of Laggie belonging to the suspects on the internet. Gina provided Shane with the suspected owner’s, Stacie Rae McGinley (maiden name Brewer) partial address and photos. Shane also contacted Sheriff Puett letting him know he was driving up to St. Joe with a current partial address for the suspected owner of Laggie and asked if he would like a deputy to accompany him when he went to the house. Sheriff Puett again suggested Shane contact Sergeant Thrasher for updated info on the case. Shane called the main number for the sheriffs department multiple times and left multiple messages. He was able to obtain Officer Thrashers cell phone number which he texted multiple times with no response.

Shane drove through the neighborhood streets in the area of the partial address for approximately an hour. He found what he believed could be the address and interviewed some children playing in the area. They were able to confirm it was Stacie Brewer McGinley’s house and where Laggie (fka Cali)  had lived. Two girls, an 11 and an 8 year old, told Shane they were Laggie’s owner and their mother’s name was Stacie. The silver Chevy Silverado fitting the description seen leaving the scene of the Laggie’s shooting in Bluff Woods, was sitting in the gravel driveway. The girls told Shane that their parents had had a very big fight the day before Laggie went missing and that their dad had moved out and wasn’t coming back.  They also said their parents were getting a divorce. Shane asked if they knew someone named Jeff Smith. They both responded “Yes he was in the house sleeping.” They said he had moved in the day after their parents big fight, the day Laggie went missing. They offered to go get Jeff Smith but Shane had been told if he was able to find Smith to call the Sheriffs office. Shane exchanged phone numbers with the 11 year old and got Stacie’s phone number. The daughter called her mother in front of Shane. The girl told the mother Shane was there and wanted to meet her. The phone was disconnected. The daughter called her mother back but was repeatedly hung up on. Shane asked the girl to have their mother either call or return his texts. Shane explained that he had Laggie at his home and the truth about what had happened to her. The girls did not believe it was Laggie but went and got her favorite blanket just in case. They wanted Shane to take it to her. Shane paid them $50 dollars for the blanket because they did not have permission from their mother to give the old blanket away.

Shane drove a block away to be able to keep an eye on the house and call the Sheriff so they could come question and possibly arrest Jeff Smith. If it was the Jeff Smith out on parole it would be illegal for him to carry a gun. Shane believed Jeff Smith was the shooter. Two different informants had said he personally told them he shot the dog. He bragged about it and intended on killing more. Shane spent more than 10 minutes on hold with the Sheriff department. The dispatch came on to inform Shane that Deputy Thrasher was busy towing a car so could not respond. Shane was not happy. He demanded he be put through to whoever was in charge when the Sheriff was away. They informed him that no one was there. Shane said he would call the Sheriff on his private cell phone at home then. Dispatch asked he not do that. Shane made it very clear he was getting ready to do just that. Dispatch asked to put Shane on hold again. 10 mins later Sergeant Babcock came on the line to a very frustrated Shane. He explained no one could go to the residence even though they had spent 2 weeks trying to locate Jeff Smith. Shane knew where he was and it was less than 1.5 miles from the Sheriffs office! The Sergeant asked Shane to meet him at the Sheriffs office to develop a plan to approach Jeff Smith. Shane reluctantly agreed. Shane met with Sergeant Babcock and another deputy canine handler for approximately 1.5 hours. They developed a plan that Shane agreed to. Deputy Babcock wanted to drive by the house to run the tags on the silver Chevy Silverado pickup to see if it was the Jeff Smith that should be considered armed and dangerous.

After Shane left the Sheriffs office he received a text message from Stacie. She then called. She told Shane a different story than the 2 girls told him. She then hung up and called back 5 mins later. This time with her phone on speaker. Stacie said she had dropped her phone and it broke so now she could only use the speaker phone. Shane knew that was more than likely untrue and Jeff Smith was sitting with her to hear the conversation. She changed her story again and told a 3rd story. She said she took the kids to school and came home but had forgot to latch the door. Laggie was missing. The other 4 more active dogs were still there but Laggie had run off. She was so embarrassed that she had not shut the door properly she decide to lie  to the kids. She told the children that she took Laggie to the vet because she wasn’t doing well and they had to put her down. She said she was so upset that she could not even take Laggie into the vet and she asked a stranger to take her in and she waited for that person to come back out of the vet office and say that Laggie had crossed the rainbow bridge. She said that  was a lie to protect her own credibility with her children because they get in trouble for not shutting the door properly. She currently believed Laggie was roaming the neighborhood or had been picked up by someone. (This was 17 days after Laggie had been shot.) Shane explained he had Laggie at his home and was on his way there and would take a photo with the blanket to confirm whether or not it was “Cali”. Shane was on the phone with Stacie for approximately 1.5 hours. She continually adjusted or changed her story and it was obvious someone was coaching her.

Shane sent picture to Stacie and she confirmed it was her dog, Cali. She immediately wanted to know how she was going to get “Her” dog back. Shane agreed to go back to St Joe the next day to discuss the case in person.

Sunday May 13, 2018 – Little communication from Thrasher. Shane sends video footage from the previous day to Sergeant Thrasher. Thrasher attempts to get the license plate number for the silver Chevrolet Silverado belonging to alleged shooter, Jeff Smith, but is unable to do so.Thrasher is also unable to get the mother of Jeff Smith’s address or name. (This is believed to be the place he was living before the girls told Shane Jeff had moved in there) Shane is concerned a decision has been made to no longer communicate with him regarding Laggie’s case and expresses his concern to Sheriff Puett through text. Sheriff Puett assures him the guys are working on it and know the standards the PA (prosecuting attorney) will accept concerning evidence for bringing a case. Puett —“Just be advised suspect will be interviewed and case submitted to the PA within next 24 hours”. This did not happen.

Sunday May 13, 2018 – Text conversation with Officer Babcock. Officer Babcock requests any info be emailed to him not texted. Tells Shane that Officer Thrasher is going to try to “wrap this up time permitting”. He also tells Shane to email everything to Officer Thrasher.

Monday May 14, 2018 – Shane provides license plate info to Thrasher as police had been unable to locate the pick up. Shane provides the cell phone number of Stacie McGinley to Thrasher per his request.

Monday May 14, 2018 – Shane agreed to meet with Stacie at 2pm. He goes to her house and no one is there. He calls her phone and it had been disconnected. Shane waited until 3pm and left. He saw a school bus dropping off kids about a mile from Stacie’s house so he decides to go back and wait for the kids to get home from school. When they get home Shane told them he was suppose to meet Stacie at 2pm but she wasn’t home and her phone number wasn’t working. The kids said she had gotten a new phone but they were not allowed to give out the new number. Shane asked the 11 year old to text her mother and find out if they were still going to meet. The 11 year old said her mother was at Applebee’s with a friend. Shane went to the Applebee’s but they had already left in the 10 minutes since 11 year old found out she was there. Shane went back to position himself to be able to see the house from a block away. At about 6pm Jeff Smith’s pickup truck pulled up to the house. By the time Shane pulled up in his jeep and parked behind Smith’s pick up, Stacie was the only one out side. She came to Shane’s passenger window. She said she had forgot about the appointment and appeared very nervous. She said her phone had been turned off for late payment but they had a brand new red iPhone 8. Shane told her he believed Jeff Smith shot the white Pitbull at her request. Shane also told her that because of all of the publicity it might be difficult for them if people found out she was the owner. If she was willing to admit she wanted the dog killed and asked Jeff Smith to do it he would do a joint press release. She was very nervous and obviously lying and changing her story again. Shane said he understood if the dog was sick and they could not afford euthanasia at the vet. If she would just admit it we could educate the community about modern rescue options and Shane would help explain the situation to the media. She said that absolutely did not happen and even if it did, Jeff Smith was not kind of person to admit to anything. She said Jeff was a very good person but was also the most arrogant and angry person she had ever met. She said that he had anger issues and suggested Shane not approach him. She was obviously nervous something might be getting ready to happen. At that moment 2 men came out of the house. One went and stood at the back corner of Shane’s jeep and the other went and got into the pick up. Stacie said that it was Jeff getting in the pick up. She went to the drivers side door of the pick up to talk to Jeff through the window. He started the pick up and the break lights came on. Shane was parallel parked behind Smiths pick up. Smith started revving his engine and Stacie made eye contact with Shane as if to say please back up. The 2nd man was standing at the passenger side rear corner of Shanes jeep. Shane started his jeep and started to back up. The guy standing at the back corner just stood there with his arms crossed staring at Shane through the passenger mirror. Shane slowly backed up to allow Smith to leave but being careful to not hit the guy standing at the back corner. Jeff backed out and left. Stacie became agitated and uncooperative.

The Sheriff had been very open with Shane, and Shane with the Sheriff. Sheriff Puett agreed to support Shane but only if Shane agreed to not approach or try to detain Jeff Smith. Shane had promised he would follow all the Sheriffs suggestions and obey all laws. Shane agreed to buy and start wearing body armor when doing any work near or around this case. There is a well known large dog fighting ring near Acheson and the word had gotten out that 2 people associated with it were concerned with Shane’s “snooping” around. Sheriff Puett and Captain Tiger Parsons had provided vehicle descriptions of the 2 potential suspects to be aware of. They didn’t know if Jeff Smith was an associate of theirs or not but word was out they could possibly be in the drug business together.

Tuesday May 15, 2018 – Threatening letter found in Tamara Carter’s mailbox. “Your are dumb for not leaving that dog alone!” Tamara felt threatened and called authorities.

Friday May 18, 2018 – Gina Rudman receives information via Facebook from someone who lived close to Stacie McGinley regarding Laggie’s former living conditions. “They were horrible”. The person had called animal control multiple times about it and had given Laggie water on several occasions claiming she never had any. Shane forwards this information to Sheriff Puett immediately. Sheriff Puett tells Shane he will send this info on to Officer Parsons, then tells Shane that Officer Parsons is off that day.

Saturday May 19, 2018 – “They are trying to locate the suspect-hopefully located this weekend and a case submitted by Monday.” This is the 2nd time Sheriff Puett tells Shane that they believe they will be submitting a case soon. Shane informs Sheriff Puett that with the network he has established and people helping him with the case that he is able to find Jeff Smith within an hour. Shane informs Sheriff Puett that the suspect failed to appear at the courthouse for another charge earlier in the week. Shane informs Sheriff Puett about the incident occurring at Stacie McGinleys house in which Jeff Smith revved his engine and appeared to be going to ram the Jeep Shane was driving and also that the Silver Chevy Silverado is registered to someone other than Jeff Smith. Shane requests another meeting with Sheriff Puett. It is scheduled for 9 am Monday morning, May 21, 2018

Monday 9am May 21, 2018 – Sheriff Puett explains they have spent more money in 5 days on this investigation and trying to locate Jeff Smith than they ever have on any investigation including murders. Shane explains his frustration because he has had Jeff Smith twice but the Sheriffs office had failed to respond. Text messages will show Shane was doing all he could to help the Sheriff’s office and make sure they got the positive credit. Shane’s goal at this meeting was to get Sheriff Puett to agree to write an introduction letter to other police chiefs and Sheriffs to make Shane’s job a little easier in the future. It had taken three 4 hour round trips just to get a chance to meet the Sheriff Puett and Shane hoped an introduction letter would shorten that first face to face meeting with the next LEO. Sheriff Puett started to hint at the idea that no matter what he and his men did, Ron Holiday was the prosecutor and would decide whether or not charges would be filed. It was obvious there was tension between the Sheriff and the prosecutor. The Sheriff had started to be a little bit more open and on with his frustration with St Joseph crime. He explained he had served at the department for 32 years and unfortunately St Joe was no longer the town he had grown up in. He was extremely frustrated that every night since he had been Sheriff there had be gunshots fired in town. Shane mentioned it couldn’t be that bad but the Sheriff emphasized NO! It was! There had been gun fire announced on his scanner at home each and every night since he had been Sheriff. He mentioned Ron Holiday had pretty high standards for bringing a case and even though Shane felt like he had a mountain of evidence Ron might not being willing to press charges. The Sheriff smiled and said now I know Ron hasn’t met you yet, but you just need to know what you are up against. Shane asked Sheriff Puett to set up a meeting with Prosecutor Holiday. The Sheriff said he would have Captain Parsons tell Ron I wanted to meet but he couldn’t guarantee he’d meet.

Monday May 21, 2018 11:00 am – Shane meets with Gary at Angel Vet Express. A person Jeff Smith had recently spent time with had called Gary to report that on Saturday May 19, Jeff was bragging about shooting the white Pitbull and thought it was funny that people were making such a big deal about it. He even said police had told him they were not going to do anything about it so not to worry. The reason the mechanic had called Gary was because Jeff said he was getting ready to kill Stacie’s brindle Pitbull because he was an escape artist. The brindle Pitbull had cost them $150 within a day or 2 of him shooting Laggie because animal control had picked him up. The fines and boarding fees added up to about $150 dollars and there was too much heat at the moment because of the white Pitbull. He was killing the brindle pittie soon. The mechanic was hoping we would go take the dogs from Stacie so they would not be killed.

Shane called the Sheriff to tell him about the 3rd witness. The Sheriff told him to contact Captain Parson because the Captain was just getting ready to present the case to Ron Holiday.  Shane contacted the Captain and he informed Shane he didn’t think Ron would accept that as evidence. He said Mr Holiday didn’t consider the criminal admitting the crime to another person as evidence. Unless the criminal admitted the crime directly to a LEO or a person actually witnessed the crime taking place, Ron did not consider it evidence. Shane didn’t believe that. Captain Parsons and Shane had built a mutual respect and Captain Parsons said he explained to Ron that Shane would not accept that as answer and he would have to meet with Shane.

Shane called Ron and asked for a meeting. Ron said there was no reason to meet but Shane would not take no for an answer. Ron finally told Shane to call his office the next day and he would see if he could find a time. Shane called the next day and scheduled to meet Wednesday May 23 at 10:00am.

Wednesday May 23, 10:00am  – Shane met with Ron Holliday, PA for over an hour. arrives at 9:55. He waits for 40 mins as Ron walks around the office drinking coffee and visiting with different people. He just seemed to be killing time. Shane asked the receptionist if Ron knew he was there. She said yes and wasn’t sure why he hadn’t asked me back to his office yet. Ron finally invited Shane into his office and made Shane aware that he only had 10 mins. Shane said fine and explained who he was and why he was there. Ron apologized and said he had all the time Shane needed. Ron told 2 stories over the next 45 mins. The first was how he was unfairly stopped by police when he was young. He and his brother were driving in his brothers red corvette near St Louis when they were pulled over and cuffed faced down. There had been a bank robbery and a red corvette was the get away car. He said he was extremely frighten for the 10 mins they were cuffed until the real criminals were caught. He said it formed his opinion about the justice system in America and he believed someone had to be very guilty to be prosecuted. Shane mentioned that Captain Parsons said Ron would never accept evidence where a criminal admitted a crime to another person. He said that was not necessarily true. He said it could be considered in the totality of the evidence but could not carry much wait because people lie. Shane said what about 3 separate unrelated witnesses that all said the same thing. He said he would take it into consideration. The second story was about an award he received from the National Audubon Society for enforcing a ticket that had been written because a guy had shot either a cardinal or a robin. Shane couldn’t remember. Ron was prepared to continue to talk but Shane had figured out Prosecutor Holiday seemed more concerned with his conviction rate than fighting crime to help clean up his community. Shane now felt like he understood where Sheriff Puett’s frustration came from.

Friday May 25, 2018 –  Shane was informed what he already suspected. Ron Holiday never intended to bring charges in a dog case.

Tuesday May 29, 2018 – Shane texts Sheriff Puett to ask for a meeting with he and Ron Holliday for the next day. Sheriff responds he is out of the office for the next 3 days citing a friends surgery. Shane sends well wishes and adds that he will only need 30 minutes and whenever works for them he will make it work.

Friday June 1, 2018 – Shane texts Sheriff Puett to confirm a meeting time for this day and explains he needs a 2 hour “heads up” so he can make the drive up. Sheriff Puett responds that he doesn’t have a meeting scheduled with Shane for that day and that he will not be able to meet. Shane had been trying to schedule this meeting since Tuesday and the sheriff was not in the office. Shane suggests a conference call would be easier and is willing to make anytime work within and outside of normal business hours. Shane explains that this needs to happen or the wheels of motion will already be turning and will be hard to stop. Sheriff Puett responds that Ron Holliday will not be able to meet at all. Shane goes to St. Joe and meets with Sheriff Puett at 3:00 pm.

Shane apologizes for what is going to happen in the future. He reminds Sheriff Puett of their first meeting. Shane had apologized then that Buchannon County was AJLA’s first case. That the next department will better understand how serious Shane intends to take these cases. That the entire world is going to better understand our legal process. AJLA brings a very bright light of both traditional and social media. Shane’s goal of AJLA is to end animal abuse through REAL accountability, would be reached or he would die trying. Shane comes from a law enforcement family. His father in law was a deputy sheriff in charge of canines for 20 years before being forced into early retirement because of a duty induced injury. Shane’s older brother is a deputy sheriff in Northern California. He intends to do all he can to support LEO’s in animal abuse cases. Shane understood with so much people on people crime, animal abuse was and is just not a priority. Shane intends to help with the investigations for LEO’s so they can get more prosecutable cases. Sheriff Puett apologized that they weren’t able to get the results they both wanted. He believed Jeff Smith was guilty and wished he could be prosecuted. Shane made it clear he intended to make EVERYTHING public. Shane really likes Sheriff Puett and because of that he was going to give the Sheriff the opportunity to come clean and be honest with the uphill battle he was facing. Shane believed many of the deputies were extremely incompetent and irresponsible. Maybe not intentionally but they were not competent and the community was not safe because of that incompetence. Shane intended on making the facts and his opinions public. If the Sheriff wanted a chance to plead his case he better speak now or forever hold his peace. The Sheriff decided to get honest. He said he is fighting a losing battle. He can’t even get a competent person to apply for a job with the department. He explained 3 of his best up and coming guys with 5-7 years of experience had quit 12 months earlier all within 2 weeks. Shane asked why? He said the were driving a truck at the quarry or landfill. They could make more money, work better hours, with better benefits, and have more respect in the community. He said the past few years the image of LEO’s has been so damaged and that his best quality people were leaving. He said he has had 4 jobs posted for the past year and no one has even applied that he could recommend to work at a McDonald’s. He feels beat down and knew things needed to change. They needed to change fast or they will lose their community to the criminal element. Shane believes Sheriff Puett is a good man, good leader, and a good LEO. He is in an impossible situation. Shane believes the St Joseph community needs to be told the truth so they can step up. They need to increase pay and benefits for the Sheriff department. He also believes they need to find a prosecutor that is more concerned with fighting crime rather than the percentage of cases they win. Ron Holiday has been in the prosecutors office since 2004. Just go research St Joseph last 14 years track record on crime.

In summary…Shane is working cases in city’s and states all across the Midwest. St Joseph is a pretty good example of what LEO’s are facing. It used to be a hero’s job. Today in many communities, LEO’s are under paid and under appreciated. Because of that they are not attracting the quality recruits they need. Shane believes its time for the LEO’s leadership to get very honest with the American people with what they are facing before it is too late. That being said, the abuse and cruelty of animals has NEVER been taken seriously by law enforcement, even when the job was a respected one. It is AJLA’s goal and mission to change this fact and to give innocent animals a voice, to get justice for said animals and ultimately to END the abuse and cruelty.

***Screenshots of all text messages available upon request.

Disclaimer 

AJLA Etiquette Guidelines

At Animal Justice League of America we are working to end animal abuse through REAL accountability.

As we continue to grow and continue to make strides against animal abusers, we understand that we will continue to see personalities of more and more people in our network.  We ask that all members of our AJLA Community (executive team, advocates, followers, supporters) conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner online and in person at AJLA events.  We would like to continue to maintain our high standards of integrity and good judgement.

The internet has brought many wonderful tools and resources, but it also has provided a way for people to hide behind their screens and bully, harass, and discriminate against others.  We understand that when you are working with thousands, and soon to be millions, of people that not everyone will agree – and that is ok!  We are all different and view the world in different ways.  We do not want anyone to not be able to share their opinions.  We would, however, like to request that if you do disagree with something we have posted (or another supporter has posted) on our website, Facebook or Instagram, that you hold yourself to a higher standard.  Before posting something that could be seen as derogatory, harassing or bullying, ask yourself:

  • Would I want someone to say these things to my spouse/children/siblings/parents?
  • Could what I say be taken as a threat?
  • Am I belittling someone online?
  • Would I choose these words when having a conversation with someone in person?
  • Would I want my employer to see my post?

Animal abuse can, and does, get all of us heated.  We all must work together to end this injustice.  If you disagree with someone on one of our posts, please choose your words wisely.  Help them understand your point of view, but without the use of discriminating or harassing remarks.  AJLA does not discriminate based on age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, sexual preference or any other discriminatory category.  We do not condone harassment with derogatory comments or remarks, slurs, negative stereotypes, threats, graphic content, or intimidation.

We have partnered with E3 Scholarship Fund and BulliedButNotBroken to help rid the world of abuse, not just towards animals, but towards people as well.  Bullying towards anyone or anything, whether online or in person, goes against everything that AJLA stands for.

Please continue to join us and have lively conversations about how to make our world a better place.  We appreciate your support.  We appreciate all the differences in opinions.  We appreciate you taking the time to understand our stance on keeping our online community a positive one for all.

Thank you.

Urgent: Veterinarians needed!

Needed by September 1

Due to retirement, illness, and family changes/issues all happening simultaneously, the need for these positions at Angel’s Vet Express is URGENT:

  • Veterinarians looking for full time employment
  • Retired veterinarians looking to work part time
  • Veterinarians that can give 1 day a week from their current practice to keep this covered until full time vets are found

For inquiries about the positions, please call  816-324-5824 and speak to Gary or Lisa.

At Animal Justice League of America our hearts are always with animals throughout the nation and with the people who fight the fight daily to ensure their safety.

When Laggie was found in St. Joseph, Missouri shot in the head and bleeding, her first stop was at Angel’s Vet Express in Savannah.  Gary and his wife, Lisa, stepped in after vet after vet turned her away.  Without their generosity, our sweet Laggie would not be living a life of bliss.

Now, Gary and his family need your help.  This is why we are reaching out to our network of friends and followers.  Please help us help Gary.  They are running out of time.  There is a shortage of doctors who can help his practice and without others stepping in, they will have to shut their doors.

Angel’s operates as the most affordable veterinarian option for animals in the region.  Their low-cost services have made them a trusted resource for pet owners, shelters, and veterinarians throughout the area.  When a family is facing an expensive surgery bill at their traditional vet’s office, the only option besides Angel’s is euthanasia.

There are millions of animals euthanized each year, and without the help of Gary and his team at Angel’s, that number will continue to grow.  Dogs who face infection, lost limbs, temporary bouts of paralysis, parvo, blindness, and other impairments are all regularly put down because the options to help them are too expensive.  Angel’s never turned them away and found ways to save each one if they could.  Their compassion and caring for animals is unmatchable.  Please, help us help Angel’s keep their doors open to continue to save the animals throughout our region.

Angel’s Vet Express is the first of their kind in the United States.  Without their help, thousands of animals are at risk of dying without the proper emergency and affordable care.

Their dedication to the animals is evident with the fact that Gary and his wife have both worked for 32 years straight without a day off.  That’s right.  They’ve worked 11,688 days without a single day off!

Gary trusts our organization so much that he has pledged his help and resources to AJLA.  He and his wife Lisa have graciously pledged 100% of their entire debt free practice and animal shelter to our organization.

It is vital that we come together to help them continue to help our community of animals and animal lovers.  Their practice is not just local.  They have served almost 30,000 animals and their human parents from Johnson County, Kansas over the past couple years alone.  This proves how important Gary and his wife are to the Kansas City Metro.  Being 2 hours north of Johnson County, pet owners and shelters make the trek to get their trusted services at prices they can actually afford.

We cannot allow Angel’s to close its doors.  Too many animals are at risk.  Reach out to your friends, neighbors, veterinarians and ask them to help and volunteer their time.  If Angel’s has helped save your animal like they helped save Laggie, help us spread the word about their amazing organization.

It is time for us to join together and find a solution for Angel’s.  Reach out to your network and help us keep the doors open so thousands of pets can get the care they deserve.

For inquiries about the available positions, please call  816-324-5824 to speak to Gary or Lisa.

The Rudman Rescue Story

 

 

 I’ve always loved animals. Growing up in North Carolina, my dad was a police officer and K-9 trainer for our local police department, so I was around a lot of dogs throughout my childhood. Most 16 year olds want a car for their 16th birthday…not me, I wanted a horse.

I met the love of my life on a high school graduation trip to Hawaii. We got married nine months later and I moved to Kansas City where my new husband lived. I was 19 years old and my husband, Shane, was 24. We had four children, a boy first and three girls, the first three within three years and the fourth several years later.

Shane worked with a financial services company and became incredibly successful at a fairly young age, so much so that he was named one of the top ten entrepreneurs in the country under the age of 30. We were fortunate enough to move into our dream home and got to travel wherever we wanted–Europe, the Cayman Islands, Mexico–the list goes on. We bought our first dog, a standard poodle named Alexis, from a breeder in 1992.  We loved her and so did our kids. Since then, our family has never not had a dog. Some small, some large…all from breeders and all costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. After a break in at our home, we even bought a highly trained protection dog from Europe named Nico. We’ve loved every single one of them and each dog has been a cherished member of our family.

In 2001, Shane started having seizures, which led to his diagnosis of Chronic Neurological Lyme disease and a major change to the lifestyle we knew and were used to. Lyme can be an extremely debilitating disease and inhibited my husband from doing much physical activity. Additionally, he would often have to travel to Arizona for 3-4 months at a time for medical treatments. Safe to say, our lives changed. Having a very sick husband, no family in town, and four active kids busy with school and athletics often left me feeling like a single mom. Luckily, my husband worked very hard before getting sick, allowing us to reach financial independence and maintain our quality of life even though he wasn’t able to work. Battling this disease over the last 15 years, my dogs were always a comfort. Dogs have the unique ability to sense when you need a little extra love and seem to always be there for the hard times.

Fast forward a few years…our son graduated from college with a National Championship in basketball…oh and also a degree…but that National Championship win was pretty special. He married his amazing and beautiful wife a month later.  Both being big animal lovers, they participated in a dog walk to help bring awareness for homeless animals at Great Plains SPCA here in Kansas City. They met a super sweet lady who was helping with the event and asked how they could get more involved. They decided to start volunteering at the shelter and took a few classes to learn the ropes.

One Saturday afternoon while they were helping out at the shelter, our son called my husband and asked us to come by and “check out this dog.” Shane and I were out to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and I asked what kind of dog it was. My husband replied, “it’s a pitbull.” Now, at this point in my life, I only knew the commonly spouted stigma surrounding pitbulls–that they were vicious and could turn on you with their locking jaws in a second. I mean, these were the dogs that protected the criminals my dad chased down as a police officer. These were the ferocious dogs you saw stories about on the news. I was terrified of them. To this day, the only reason I can come up with for agreeing to go see the dog is that I had a margarita with my lunch and must not have been in my right mind.

When we arrived at the shelter to meet the dog, I hovered in a corner with my daughter-in-law in the meet and greet area while my husband and son played with “Harold.” A man named Scott was there helping them get acquainted. He seemed to be very knowledgeable and was super comfortable around the dog, which is the only reason I eventually even went into the enclosure. “Harold” seemed sweet…but he was a pitbull—you know the jaws and all. Of course, Shane instantly fell in love with him and wanted to bring him home. I said “no way.” I was just too scared of him. German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois police dogs–all fine. But a pitbull? That wasn’t happening. Had he not heard the stories? To my husband’s dismay, we left the shelter without the dog.

A couple of days passed and Shane just could not stop thinking about “Harold.” He strategically went back to the shelter on his birthday a few days later (I’m not naive enough to actually believe that was a coincidence) and came home with “Harold” the pitbull. I couldn’t be too mad since it was his birthday…and he said it was a trial/foster type situation so if it didn’t work out the dog could always go back. Being an animal lover at my core, I decided to give it a chance. We changed his name to Cain (after Lorenzo Cain who played for the Kansas City Royals)…”Harold” just didn’t suit him. I tried to pet Cain a little every day so that I could get to know him. He loved to play tug and wrestle and was quite the ball of energy. In the beginning, it scared me and I would say, “Honeeeyyyy, he’s making me nervous.” However, I became more and more comfortable over the course of a few weeks and was eventually able to hold Cain on a leash while Shane wasn’t in the room, or even let him sit with me on the golf cart while we were out riding around on our land. Within a month, this scary, vicious pitbull had me wrapped around his paw. He was quite literally the best dog we had ever owned. Without any hesitation, we finalized Cain’s adoption and he officially became a part of our family. We thought, “Boy, did we get lucky” to find such an amazing dog at an animal shelter…I mean, we are dog people. We know them and love them, but we never dreamed we could get such a high quality dog from a shelter. Cain was just too amazing. After always having gone through breeders or through my dad’s contacts for police dogs, he opened our eyes.

Over the course of the next year, we began visiting the shelter more often to see the dogs, play with them, and just give some extra love to those who needed it. During one of these visits, Shane met a sweet pup named Valerie, also a pitbull, who had been returned to the shelter after her first adoption didn’t work out. Again, Scott was there to help us get acquainted and my husband quickly fell in love again. She had a few quirks and has a medical condition called HGE that can be difficult and expensive to treat when it flares up but he loved her already…so welcome to the family Valerie, now known as Riley Marie! Cain and Riley were fast friends and I was now the proud mama of two “vicious” pitbulls. Had you told me a year ago that I would be comfortable snuggling up in bed with not one, but two pitbulls, I would’ve said, “No way, that will never happen.”

Shane’s battle with Lyme disease continued to have a heavy impact on our lives.  He was still having to travel to Arizona for several weeks at a time for maintenance treatments and now that the kids were in college, oftentimes it was just me and the dogs at home. One night when it was just me and the fur babies, I had just settled in for the evening to watch some tv, scroll through social media, and chill. Scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came across a heartbreaking photo of a pitbull that had just been shot. The sad look in this abused animal’s eyes was completely gut wrenching. Scott, the man at the shelter whom we had become friends with, posted the photo and while the whole story wasn’t clear yet, it was clear that this dog needed help. Scott and his friends at Great Plains SPCA were taking donations to help with the medical costs for this dog as they were obviously going to be extensive. I quickly donated and sent the photo to Shane in Arizona. He contacted Scott immediately to find out more about the situation. There was just something about this dog–the shattered look in his eyes after all he had been through…it was clear that, in addition to his medical needs, he was in desperate need of love. I knew it and Shane knew it. So, he told Scott that we would like to foster the dog, now being called “Lucky”, and would do everything we could to nurse him back to health.

I couldn’t sleep that night, I was so worried about Lucky. Our friends at Great Plains SPCA helped to arrange for me to visit him at Blue Pearl Animal hospital the very next afternoon. Nothing can really prepare you to see a harmless animal, broken and abused, like Lucky was. While the staff at Blue Pearl was amazing with him, you could tell his pain was so much deeper than his physical injuries. Lucky had a gunshot wound in his face with shrapnel throughout the whole left side. He also had a gunshot wound to his leg which broke one of the bones in his left leg. He had a large hole in his tongue, probably from the ordeal of escaping his horrific situation. He was emaciated, his ribs sharply jutting out beneath his skin–only God knows how long he had gone without food. I don’t cry over much–not at funerals, not at sappy romance movies, not at Nicholas Sparks books–it’s just not my thing. But being with Lucky, witnessing him endure all this pain and suffering, it was impossible for me not to break down in tears. Amazingly, despite the trauma and neglect he suffered at the hands of humans, despite his bloody wounds, despite his broken bones…this beautiful sweet boy showed no aggression–he only wanted someone to love him, leaning in to the hands that pet him, licking the faces that kissed him. I think the fact that Lucky was still so sweet and trusting despite his abuse just made me cry harder. The wild inaccuracies of the vicious stereotype attributed to pitbulls had never been more apparent to me than it was at that moment.

Lucky had to stay at Blue Pearl for several more days before he was stable enough to leave. Shane was still out of town for treatment so when Lucky was finally ready to be brought into foster care, my son went with me to pick him up. It was another week before my husband got home and was able to meet him, but I already knew I was never going to part with this angel. Taking care of him was a full time job and I loved every minute of it. Having just sent our fourth and final kid off to college, caring for Lucky gave me something to do. Watching him inhale his food, playing with his new bear toy, and just seeing him heal in general was incredibly fulfilling. I loved mothering him…and he sure loved being mothered. Three weeks later, we made it official and Lucky was the newest addition to our family. We were quickly becoming known as “Foster Fails”…which means we foster dogs and then love them too much to let them go.

We have fostered and failed with three more dogs after Lucky: one a pitbull mix named Louis who is also a gunshot victim, one a pitbull named Smoke whose family had to give him up because the landlord was afraid of pitbulls, and the other a three-legged pitbull named Titan who is a Hurricane Harvey survivor. They are all so beyond special and each immediately had us wrapped around their paws from the moment we met them. Our oldest daughter has fostered and adopted two wolf hybrids who were rapidly declining in a shelter environment. Our youngest daughter rescued a boxer whose breeder would’ve euthanized him because he is deaf. All of our dogs are amazing…and, after Cain, every single one has been an adoption.

Sometimes I forget that we only used to buy the “best quality” dogs from the most “reputable breeders,” spending thousands of dollars and importing them from countries halfway across the world. Little did we know that the best dogs ever to have been a part of our family would be the dogs we spent $80 on at the shelter 30 minutes from our house. Sometimes I forget that pitbulls terrified me just a couple of years ago. Little did I know that I would become the proud mama of six of them. Having spent so many years struggling with the effects my husband’s illness had on our lifestyle–things like not being able to travel or go out–I realized that I found my calling. The joy I got from travelling around the world has been eclipsed by the joy I get from taking care of our fur babies. All of our dogs would have never fit into our pre-Lyme lifestyle. They have had a monumentally positive impact on our lives, bringing me to the conclusion that everything truly happens for a reason. Without Shane’s Lyme, I would’ve never discovered how rewarding it is to be able to give everything to a dog that has nothing. Life wouldn’t be complete without them.

Maybe we just got Lucky and happened upon the smartest and sweetest, most loving Pitbulls…or maybe Pitbulls aren’t at all what the media and people have made them out to be. Maybe if they were given a chance people would start to see how amazing they really are. Maybe you can find some really awesome dogs at your local animal shelter. Maybe it takes having a margarita (it could’ve been two;) on a Saturday afternoon to help a mind be opened…and maybe that will turn into the most rewarding, most fun, most life changing thing you’ve ever experienced and you wind up with a whole new family of fur babies that make your life complete. And maybe it will be the adventure of a lifetime…

By Gina Rudman
Collaboration with Morgan Rudman

Nonprofit Organizations Animals

Animal Justice League of America: The New Face of Animal Nonprofit Organizations

What if we could stop animal abuse before it happened? What if abusers were held accountable for their actions and feared legal prosecution? What if no more animals ever had to experience hunger, hurt, or fear?

Animal Justice League of America is making this a reality.

All over the world, there are many wonderful nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping animals. These nonprofit organizations rescue animals from dangerous situations, provide life-saving veterinary care and find new, loving homes for animals to live out happy lives. The work these organizations do is so important, but unfortunately, most animals have already been abused by the time they reach these nonprofit organizations.

Animal Justice League of America is a nonprofit organization for animals dedicated to ending animal abuse. In addition to rescuing and providing veterinary care for abused animals, AJLA is partnering with law enforcement, legal teams, and government agencies to prosecute animal abusers to the fullest extent of the law. Animal Justice League of America is a nonprofit organization for animals devoted to stopping animal abuse before it even happens.

Here are five unique ways AJLA is working to end and prevent animal abuse:

  • Providing law enforcement with the resources to investigate animal abuse cases.
  • Aiding local governments in filing criminal cases against abusers.
  • Creating a registry for animal abusers to prevent them from owning animals in the future.
  • Filing civil lawsuits to ensure abusers are held fully accountable for their actions.
  • Partnering with kill shelters and rescues to make them no-kill.

As a nonprofit organization for animals, Animal Justice League of America needs your help! Visit our “take action” tab to see how you can help. You can donate, report animal abuse, or become an advocate or investigator. You can also follow us on Facebook and share our mission with your friends and family.

Animal Justice League of America is a nonprofit organization for animals striving to create a world where animals know only love, compassion, and kindness. AJLA is bringing an end to animal abuse.

What if YOU could help stop animal abuse before it happened?

The Success of Lunch for the League

WOW!  We are overwhelmed by the amazing turn out supporting Animal Justice League of America!  We would like to say a BIG thank you to all our Advocates and supporters who came out to Wally’s Drafthouse to support AJLA.

Another big thank you goes to Wally’s and Treats Unleashed.  We appreciate you!

In case you missed it, the event started off with a great speech from Shane Rudman introducing Adam Khan. If you weren’t in attendance, you can check it out on Facebook.

Lucky the Pitbull and Justice the Puppy were available for photos after the speech.

Here are a few photos from the event:

 

We again thank you all for your support and look forward to the bright future of AJLA.  Justice IS Coming!