pets' lives saved since becoming no-kill in
January 2002

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Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

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Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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CEO Purrspective

April 2007

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

Last month, a very nice Richmond lady named Claire Ward and her very sweet welsh corgi, Barney, were attacked by a pit bull that lived next door to them.  Barney was torn to shreds by the pit bull and died soon thereafter at the vet’s office.  Claire’s hands were also torn to shreds as was her heart.  Barney was her best friend.  She was very lucky that she did not suffer worse physical injuries than she did.  It should come as no surprise that the pit bull that did this had been chained in the neighbors’ yard for long periods of time.

This incident followed closely on the heels of the rottweiler attack that killed a small boy in Henrico County.  The Richmond SPCA is committed to working to get ordinances passed locally, and perhaps legislation on the state level, to address the horrible things that people do to these two breeds that have resulted in many of them being aggressive and dangerous.  Since I wrote an editorial on this topic in the Times-Dispatch, I have been inundated by both letters and calls of support and by other communications of, shall we say, a less supportive nature. 

Let me say this so that it is clear to everyone:  the aggression now displayed by some, not all, of the members of these breeds is the fault of despicable human behavior. It is not the fault of the dogs.  Nonetheless, it has created a situation of great danger to many innocent people and innocent animals.  It is incumbent upon us to do something about it and we must not be deterred or scared off either by the dreadful people who have caused this situation or by the people who refuse to acknowledge that the situation exists.

The human behaviors that need to be addressed are these:

  1. the selective breeding of dogs of these breeds to achieve aggressive temperaments;
  2. he training of these dogs to fight other animals;
  3. the chaining of these dogs which reliably produces aggressive and territorial behavior; and
  4. the failure to have these dogs spayed and neutered.


I have been greatly troubled by the people who suggest that there is no problem because these dogs only attack other animals and really are not aggressive to people.  Aside from the obvious fact that this does not square with the news reports we see constantly, inflicting severe injury or death on other innocent and defenseless animals is unacceptable.  Barney’s life was very important.  He was loved and gave love and he did not deserve to die, especially in such a horrible fashion.

We are starting with the introduction of ordinances in Richmond to address these issues.  We expect opposition from people who try to deny that this is a very big problem and from people who want to continue their irresponsible behavior.  I ask for your vocal support to demand that your elected representatives take action to protect the lives of innocent people and animals.  For sample letters, just click on the anti-chaining topic on our home page. Any elected representative who does not support us in this effort is part of the problem and will be responsible for the next death that happens.
Robin Robertson Starr