Four for Freedom Raising Funds for Pit Bulls Abused and Exploited
Camden County, NJ ----- August 13, 2012: Emily was so frail and afraid, her rescuers at the Philadelphia Animal Shelter bundled her in baby carriage until she was ready to come out of her kennel alone. Although her eyes are stitched shut, she has “seen” America. – from Philadelphia to New Jersey to Texas. Now Emily is back in the Delaware Valley; she and her sister, Robyn, are survivors of abuse, and exploitation. They and their four siblings need your help.
Kathy McGuire, President of NJ Aid for Animals, an all-volunteer animal charity focused on abused and abandoned animals, says, “Emily and her sister, Robyn, fled Jose Alverez’ dark basement in Philadelphia, PA two years before the rest of their pack, five abused and neglected pit bulls were caught in a horrible tragedy in the Alvarez home where Jose’s wife died on August 30, 2011. One dog allegedly involved in the altercation died of wounds while the other four with no evidence to prove they were involved, have been impounded at Animal Care and Control in Philadelphia. The story caught the attention of a benefactor in New York. Hiring attorneys to file briefs on behalf of the dogs, the project began to rescue Emily and Robyn first from the local shelter and to advocate for the four remaining incarcerated dogs.
In March 2012, when Emily and Robyn were released by the local Philadelphia Animal Control, their benefactor asked NJ Aid for Animals to make arrangements to transport the two dogs to a sanctuary, Spindletop Pit Bull Refuge, near Houston, Texas, (where all six dogs would remain forever).
From March to present, counsel hired by the benefactor continued to appear in court with motions hoping to win the release of the four remaining dogs. In Mid-May, Philadelphia attorney, Robert W. Muench filed an “amicus” brief co-authored with another local attorney, Nadia Adawi, that begged the Court to allow the dogs to be evaluated for placement in a sanctuary, rather than be automatically sentenced to death. This was the first time in history that the Philadelphia Municipal Court had accepted such a brief.
On July 19, 2012 Spindletop Pit Bull Refuge was raided and the owner surrendered 297 pit bulls allegedly living in filthy conditions. Emily and Robyn were part of the 297. Without sight and once again thrust into another cage, NJ Aid for Animals unable to contact the benefactor, fought to get them back. Unable to finance the care of so many dogs, Spindletop became overwhelmed. People from Coast to Coast including Hawaii and down the Bayou were shocked to find out about a mass grave at Spindletop that told a heart wrenching story: 38 pit bulls had unintentionally suffered heat stroke or suffocated where they were housed in one building.
During the same week, Robert W. Meunch received word that the Honorable Judge Thomas Gehret granted the request and ordered that the four remaining dogs could be evaluated and sent to a lifetime refuge.
Sadly, now there is no place for the dogs to go. The team has until September 5, 2012.
To add more sadness, on July 10, the benefactor died leaving no money for the four dogs or future representation.
With the team dissolved, McGuire tracked down the benefactors’ counsel begging them to please stay on board to advocate for the four dogs….they had come so far.
Robert W. Muench, Attorney in Philadelphia and lead counsel for the Alvarez dogs, agreed instantly. Says Muench, “I have worked diligently for my client and to advocate for these dogs. To pull out now would be a shame so please count me in as pro bono counsel.”
Flora Edwards, Co-Counsel from New York who brings her acumen in preparing the Amicus Brief, also will stay with the team offering whatever pro bono services she can.
Nadia Adawi, an animal law attorney in Philadelphia, is also donating her time to try to secure the release of the dogs.
Lastly, enter Jim Crosby, canine expert. Crosby evaluated Helo, a Siberian Husky that was accused of killing a three day old infant. Based on Crosby’s evaluation, a Pittsburgh court determined that Helo would not be put to sleep but sent to a sanctuary.
Kathy McGuire and fellow advocates - people from all walks of life - want to help the survivors from Spindletop and protect the Alverez dogs from any further injustice. Four For Freedom hopes to bring justice for the Alvarez dogs and not an automatic death sentence. “We were ecstatic to find out Emily and Robin would be exonerated – as victims of abuse, not perpetrators,” exclaimed McGuire.
Now as the four team members come together for the four dogs, they still need to raise enough to pay for Emily and Robyn’s medical care they will require now that they are back from Texas, the expert’s fee, filing fees, transport fees for the dogs and a “dowry” for whatever sanctuary will step up. Emily is the teams’ and siblings’ vigilant watchman’.” As Charles Dickens observed though love is said to be afflicted with blindness, it is a vigilant watchman. In darkness, Emily watched for us – and now she is home again.
We need everyone to dig deep and give now - this is an urgent situation. Contributions can be mailed to NJAFA, PO Box 4, Cedar Brook, NJ 08018 or submitted online through PayPal.