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Saturday, May 7, 2011County: Tulsa
Alleged: Pam McConnell
An East Tulsa woman could face charges of animal cruelty after she shot and killed a pit bull in her yard. Pam McConnell says she tried to get help from Tulsa Animal Welfare before killing the dog, but says the agency wouldn't help.
McConnell says the pit bull somehow managed to get trapped in the chimney of her home on Mothers Day weekend. She says her fiance tore into the chimney to free the dog, but as soon as it was free it took off after a cat and viciously attacked it. After McConnell's son and fiance used a baseball bat and rope to separate the dog from the severely injured cat and got it tied up, she called Tulsa Animal Welfare.
"He said we'll have somebody out there Tuesday," McConnell said. "And I got really upset and said, no you don't understand. I went through a dog attack before. I need somebody out here."
Ten years ago Pam's son Michael was viciously attacked by another dog. After multiple surgeries and years of therapy he recovered. But the fear of dogs remains in the whole family.
"He said I don't have a problem sending animal control out, but you have to follow procedure, and an officer has to come out first. And if they request it we'll send him. So an officer came out, and he requested it and they said no."
She says Animal Welfare said the dog didn't meet the criteria of a vicious or dangerous dog.
"Their policy is that unless a dog attacks, breaks bones, causes you to have stitches or plastic surgery they're not coming out on a vicious dog because that's what a vicious dog is according to them."
After a few hours of repeatedly trying to get police or Animal Welfare to help her, McConnell's son tried to just let the dog go.
"And when he went to let him loose the dog started growling, and I just ran in and got a gun. I needed to protect myself. I needed to protect my family."
It wasn't until the dog was dead that Animal Welfare came to her house with police. Officers were upset she fired a gun inside city limits, and animal control officers began investigating her as part of an animal cruelty case.
"He said we're turning this over to the district attorney," McConnell said. "If they decide to go with it, there will be a felony warrant for your arrest."
Now facing the possibility of criminal charges, McConnell says Animal Welfare's priorities are what really need to be investigated.
"Isn't that amazing how they can come out. You can't get help when you ask for it, but eight people came out after I shot the dog."
As of Tuesday afternoon the Tulsa County District Attorney's office had not received any filing of an animal cruelty case against McConnell.
McConnell says the city needs to change its standards of what it considers a vicious or dangerous dog to make it easier for the citizens of Tulsa to get help from Animal Welfare when they need it.
Officials with Tulsa Animal Welfare said they could not comment on this case because of the ongoing investigation and possible court proceedings. But they did tell city councilors at Tuesday morning's Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting that the department is understaffed and underfunded. They said they can't respond to many of the calls they receive, especially after regular business hours and on weekends.
- fox23.com - May 17, 2011
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