The Fight to Claim Patrick

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, undoubtedly you’ve heard the story of Patrick, the dog who was starved, then thrown down a garbage chute. I’ve written about him previously, and I find his story miraculous and inspiring, given the level of support that’s been demonstrated for his plight.

Well, Patrick has been nursed back to health by the caring staff of GSVS Animal Hospital. Through Facebook photos & videos, the world has been able to watch Patrick’s recovery. It’s obvious how the staff has cared for Patrick, and recently, one staff member in particular has expressed an interest in adopting him. It seems only fair that they’d at least have the first chance (upon proper investigation and application of course), given that he’s already bonded with GSVS team members.

However, amidst this sweet story, the Associated Humane Societies have stepped in. This organization is the rightful “owner” of Patrick, so they have final determination over his current whereabouts and eventually, adoption. They conducted a behavioral assessment on Patrick recently, and determined that he has “issues”, including some sort of food/resource guarding and potentially others (given that he was starved basically to death, it would be no wonder if he had some food aggression). However, we have not seen any proof of the alleged issues thus far, only a blog post from the evaluator.

To me, this story is eerily reminiscent of the story of Oreo. Oreo was a horribly abused pit bull who was thrown from a building in New York City. She was “saved” by the ASPCA, and after being nursed back to health, they began to claim she showed signs of aggression. Despite the pleas of rescuers, and the offer of several groups to take her, including the Pets Alive sanctuary, the ASPCA killed Oreo anyway, based on their “assessment.” No proof of her issues was ever given, and in fact there are pictures of her showing affection to staff members immediately preceding her death.

The bottom line is – I don’t trust kill organizations. While I was unable to find any recent statistics or information on the recent operations of the AHS, there was a report released in 2003 about waste and abuse within the organization. Granted, things may have changed completely since then, but I can’t find any data – and if they remain a kill organization, can they really be trusted with Patrick? And if they were no longer a kill organization, wouldn’t their statistics be accessible on their website?

In my opinion, Patrick should stay where he’s safe – with people who love him, and who have had his best interest at heart from the beginning. Claims of aggressive behavior and threats to take him to an anonymous foster home are too cloaked and worrisome – Patrick needs to stay safe, in the public eye. Hopefully, public sentiment will prevail and he will remain where he is. After the major outcry this weekend about Patrick possibly being moved, there have been rumblings about negotiations, and GSVS and the AHS potentially working together on a solution. I hope this is the case. After all, if he does have any behavioral issues, there’s no reason why his prospective adopter at GSVS can’t take him to training or hire a behaviorist to assist.

As we all know, many kill organizations believe that animals are better off dead than in the hands of humans, hence stories like that of Oreo – who had a place to go, and was killed anyway. So we, as the public, need to keep an ever-watchful eye on these groups to insure they’re protecting the animals they claim to care about. Patrick’s case is no different.

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20 Responses to The Fight to Claim Patrick

  1. Joyce sutberry says:

    Give Patrick a chance. The horrific life that poor baby has unspeckable.Patrick deserves a chance to feel love. An be loved. An never feel pain again. Anyone involved. I say shame on u. May god have mercy on your soul.

  2. mauigirl says:

    I can attest from working at the AHS many many years ago (when the current director was the assistant director and my supervisor) that the AHS cares about animals. In addition, they aren’t about to put down a dog like Patrick who has so much publicity around him. I can’t explain what happened with the SPCA incident but I have no doubt Patrick will be placed properly if he is returned to the AHS. He is in bigger danger of being allowed to exhibit bad behavior from being too much the center of attention than anything else. He needs training and needs to be in a good home now that he has recovered so well. I think a lot of people are making unfair assumptions about AHS. Yes, it is a kill shelter. But I know from my time there, there were many adoptable animals there for months; it’s not as if they get 3 days and are killed. They only do it if they have to. Otherwise they would have euthanized Patrick in the first place, in the condition he was in. But they chose to save him. Why would they then put him down? Talk about bad publicity – do you really think they’d want to do that? AHS has a nationally distributed monthly magazine/newsletter that helps increase their donations. Patrick’s happy ending would definitely be a plus for that magazine and their donation base, so they would have absolutely no reason to not place him in a good home.

    • Hi there,
      It’s great to hear a first hand account of AHS and that it’s a caring organization. However, they are still a kill facility, which means no animal is guaranteed safety there … even Patrick. It’s true that it incur bad publicity if they were to kill him, so hopefully that would deter them from doing so – but it was bad publicity for the ASPCA to kill Oreo and they did it anyway. When killing is an option, all bets are off, and we as the concerned public have to be vigilant in making sure that these animals are safe. And in regards to your comment about Angel’s Gate – yes, that is a sad situation, but the vast majority of No Kill shelters are NOT like this. Check out the Tompkins County SPCA, the Nevada Humane Society, or the Charlottesville SPCA for example.
      Additionally, there’s no reason Patrick can’t receive behavioral training where he currently is, or with the staff member who’s looking to adopt him – the AHS could facilitate this training.

  3. mauigirl says:

    Also, with the story of Angel’s Gate – supposedly a no-kill sanctuary – so recently in the news, there are worse things than death for abandoned and stray animals. You can’t just say that you don’t trust kill shelters – or no-kill shelters – each one must be assessed on their own merits.

  4. M. Peterson says:

    In response to mauigirl’s post, it is great to hear first hand from someone that previously worked at AHS. That being said, as you mentioned, it was many years ago and as a lot of us in the rescue community can attest to, things can change in the blink of an eye.

    What a lot of people that are just coming across the plight of Patrick and the corresponding disputes that have arisen between the supporters of Patrick, is that we were all on board with AHS in the beginning. We were all extremely grateful to them (and still are) for making the decision to try and spare Patrick’s life and give him a chance to recover. None of this was even an issue as the world watched with love in our hearts to see if this horrible tragedy that Patrick suffered at the hands of Kisha Curtis, could be turned into a happy ending of recovery and rehabilitation and then things changed…

    AHS was the one that started this all in motion with their claims that Patrick would not be allowed to be adopted by the GSVS doctor that wanted to adopt him. They denied this possibility without even checking into it, without even putting the potential adopter through the proper screening (which we assume they do with EVERY possible adoption that comes their way). This action is what made people suspicious and with good cause. Anyone that has been involved with rehabilitating abused dogs (like myself who has rehabilitated a number of abused pitbulls, even those used for fighting) that the first thing that must happen to facilitate the rehabilitation, is a bond of trust must be formed between the trainer and the dog being trained. This is why people were so immediately outraged by the denial of the request to adopt made by a GSVS staffer. AHS went further and began posting on their website that Patrick was basically their property and that what would be best for him would be to go back to their facility. The biggest question that I personally want answered is why in the world would they think that the best thing for him would be to be taken out of the only loving and safe environment Patrick has ever known and be brought to a shelter to live in a noisy kennel, on a concrete floor while they found an approved foster home or adopter? When they couldn’t answer this, they then posted the bogus report by an alleged behaviorist, which was later found to be just an AHS employee and NOT a certified animal behaviorist. Anyone that has read this so-called report, can see the lack of professionalism clearly. Additionally, this report was done just 2 days after Patrick underwent a major surgery, a traumatic endoscopic scope procedure to remove a foreign body from his abdomen and dental work. Any dog under those circumstances would not be at their best and it just goes to prove AHS’ incompetence that they would see this as a good time to do a behavior evaluation. Of course this dog would potentially have behavior issues after all that he has endured. Who better to help curb those alleged bad behaviors that a licensed veterinarian, and I don’t ask this question because a vet would be the one to actually rehabilitate his bad behavior, but a licensed veterinarian would certainly know that Patrick would need training and further assessment by an actual animal behaviorist. I hate to be the one to point out the obvious as well, but a veterinarian would also have no financial issues in providing not only proper food and shelter, but we would be gauranteed proper vet check-ups and that his medical condition would be in very capable hands. A vet would also be able to afford whatever training was necessary to correct Patrick’s alleged bad behavior (if he really does have food agression and resource gaurding issues, which I still have my doubts about).

    Patrick is not yet fully recovered medically from his traumatic upbringing and these issues should not even be the top priority until he is fully recovered. It is apparent that AHS simply wants him back in their facility for their own selfish reasons, not because it is in Patrick’s best interest. Their claims that going back to AHS is the best thing for Patrick are absolute hogwash. His alleged behavior issues are not going to be helped by him sitting in a kennel, surrounded by barking, unbalanced and fearful dogs while being taken care of by complete strangers. Anyone who has spent any time working in a shelter would know that many dogs cannot handle the stress of shelter life and the anxiety causes a whole host of issues from hair loss to changes in personality. Also, with Patrick’s fragile medical state, why would anyone want to risk bringing him into a shelter situation where he can be exposed to kennel cough and a multitude of other potential health risks. With his weakend state, something as simple to treat as an upper respiratory infection could cause him to take a turn for the worse and could cost him his life. AHS’ out and out denial of the potential adoption by the GSVS staffer proves their utter lack of concern for Patrick. They stated it themselves by saying that Patrick needs to be at AHS to serve as an ambassador for his breed. An ambassador for who? AHS’s pockets?

    Patrick is in a safe environment. He is being loved and cared for in a way he never has and he has built a strong foundation to make a full recovery, both medically and emotionally. His recovery should not be hampered by this ridiculous battle over him. Why would AHS even want him back in their facility when their job is to find him a forever home and he has one waiting for him that hasn’t even been explored? This, my friends, is why the general public is so outraged. This and also the derogatory comments made by AHS’ alleged behaviorist in regards to the staff at GSVS. After the first 24 hours, every ounce of love and care that Patrick has received has been given by the staff at GSVS. And, the cost of his expensive care has been taken care of by concerned citizens across the world. I ask you then, aside from that first 24 hours, what has AHS done for Patrick besides lambaste the caring staff at GSVS and try to blame his alleged behavior issues on their improper care, copyright Patrick’s image and his name (allegedly to protect him), get all of Patrick’s supporters up in arms and frantic with worry that they were going to swoop in and remove him from the only stability he has ever known, overlook a great potential adopter that has not only the means to financially care for Patrick but most importantly, the trusting and loving heart to care for him and claim to do all of this in the name of being in Patrick’s best interest?

    It was stated earlier that it would be good publicity for AHS to place Patrick in a good home. How could they think that screening random potential adopters that walk into their shelter would be better than screening the person that has cared for him and nursed him back to health? And their claims that Patrick needs a foster home first are ludicrous, at best. Yes, foster homes are effective and they do work, but ideally, if there is a forever home waiting for him that is willing to put in the time, effort and money to give him a good life, receive proper care (both medically and physically) and provide the proper training/behavior rehabilitation than of course, that would be best. This person obviously cares for animals as they have taken the time and money to become educated in the veterinary field and have devoted their entire life to medically treating animals.

    This should, hands-down, be an easy decision for AHS. The fact that it is not, only proves that there is some other motivation behing AHS’ desire to return Patrick to their shelter, then place him in a foster home, then return him to their shelter, then screen a stranger (please be reminded that anyone can look good on paper and get through an interview process unscathed) for adoption and risk placing Patrick with whomever they decide.

    Please everyone, if the decision is made to move Patrick from GSVS back to AHS’ shelter, be outraged and write, text, email, Facebook, call & crosspost to stop this from happening. Patrick deserves the very best. He deserves to have the life that he almost lost in a good, loving forever home. I can only hope and pray that AHS does the right think for Patrick and that all this bickering can finally be laid to rest.

    • J Pettigrew says:

      M. Peterson you are 100% spot on.

      Thank you for articulating so well what so many of us are thinking.

    • Janice Adams Goad says:

      M. Peterson, it would be impossible to improve upon your comments. Thank you for making every point clearly and politely — and I agree with you completely.

      • Debbie says:

        Amen! God Bless you M. Peterson for writing such a wonderfully thought out and caring response. It would indeed be hard to improve upon. I also agree with you completely.

    • Betty says:

      i agree 111% with all your comments

  5. Ashley says:

    Patrick has bonded with this person and in Patrick’s best interest this would be the best place for him. He has been through enough. Politics aside. all that matters is Patrick’s welfare. Yes, he is going to have issues, this should be obvious to any one who has spent any prolonged periods of time caring for multiple animals. The issues that Patrick has will subside with time, loving care, and patience. As someone who has been doing this for over 30 years, I speak from experience. . I am confident the person who wants to adopt him knows this and is capable of handling the situation.

  6. Maria Eagles says:

    I was mad as hell to read the evaluation they did on Patrick. It made me think something is wrong with this evaluation from the start.
    I care about Patrick care as did all the folks that saved his life.
    ASH is not caring about Patrick if they think he should go back to their shelter. It’s all about them not him. Leave him alone in the loving hands of folks that really care about him. Were he is know he will get what Patrick need this I’m sure. People please do what is right for him , fight for him even if it means going to court .I’m sure we all are willing to pay the legal fees to see that he is in the care of people that really cares for him.

    If AHS get him back I will never donate to them ever & that mean any Humane Society in the world.

  7. stuart Silverman says:


  8. debi043 says:

    I believe in a case like Patrick what is most important is his feeling of love, trust and security! PERIOD!!! I want what is best for Patrick, that is all, nothing else, and what I think is best for him is the person that makes his butt wiggle from wagging his tail so hard when seeing that person walk in the room, the person that he KNOWS will never hurt him, the person who has shown him that this world is not the scary, cold, and painful place he was exposed to, that there is love, and kindness in Humans, that he doesn’t have to be scared or confused ever again! And I am sorry AHS, but that person can ONLY be found at the Garden State Veterinary Center!! AHS claims to be concerned with Patrick’s state of mind? Well then how cruel would it be to put this frail dog, with not just a frail body but a frail mind that was filled with fear and confusion in a strange place, with strange people, with strange noises etc. my God he would be terrified! Instead of doing the best thing in the world for this dog in placing him with one of the caregivers of Garden State Veterinary Center, who he knows, trusts and feels safe with, let the chosen owner bring him home at night with them, let him adjust to the new environment slowly, and then bring him back to Garden State Veterinary Center in the morning, as a slow type of transition, that would be the best thing for this sweet dog who has been through so much already, why do this to him? Why give him to strangers? What the hell is the big damn deal here? I don’t understand why AHS is being so hard nosed about this! All that should matter is making sure Patrick is loved and feels safe, that is what the ONLY focus should be! DO THE RIGHT THING AHS!! GIVE PATRICK THE CHANCE AT A HAPPY LIFE, LET HIM BE HAPPY WITH WHO HE ALREADY KNOWS, TRUSTS AND LOVES!!!:
    Stop Cruelty To Animals Wild & Domestic

  9. Dwight Parker says:

    I couldn’t have stated the facts any better, or politely M. Peterson! Patrick has found love and security for the first time in his life. If he is taken from his present environment it would cause irreversible damage to him and he would be lost forever!
    AHS needs to “do the right thing” and let him stay with those who have bonded with him, and earned his love and trust. Anything else would be criminal intent on the part of the AHS.

  10. As so many of you have stated, Patrick NNEDS to be adopted by the caring veterinarian who obviously has his best interest at heart. What drives me crazy is that there is a greathome available for Patrick and they (AHS) should be jumping with joy that he will be in such a caring home. It’s about finding loving homes for animals, folks, not publicity or big $$ – it’s about the ANIMALS!

    After over 40 years in rescue, it still amazes me – all the rescue groups fighting, the supposed “humane” organizations wanting a piece of the pie. Those chilling, late-night commercials with the sad, terrified, sickly animals begging for your dollars – dollars often NOT used for the animals but on big salaries and more advertising to bring in even bigger salaries. Sre, they care about animls but they care about their image and power more!

    Patrick needs to be with the people who’ve demonstrated their love for him, not in some facility – kill or “no-kill”. I am completely against the use of the “assessment” test. No pet will respond in the shelter enviornment as they would in a loving home. What ever issues Patrick has, if any, can be addressed by this wonderful doctor who saved him. If AHS truly cares about Patrick, this would be a “no-brainer”. Let him stay!

  11. Maria Eagles says:

    Please forward all these e-mails to AHS and maby they will get the mesage to do the right thing for Patrick not for them at AHS.

  12. dogcatcher says:

    As a former adoption counselor I would put a rubber stamp on that adoption very fast (yes, yes, all the references checked and forms filled out). In fact the more believable answer would be ” Can you believe that one of the vets who cares for Patrick wants to adopt him?? What a lucky break after all his hard times. Whew. What a relief. He was not going to be easy to place. One more saved.”

  13. Pingback: Associated Humane Societies Claim No Kill Shelters Equal ‘Warehousing of Animals’ | Save Shelter Pets

  14. Zulma D.Ruiz says:

    I can’t believe we live in a society that doesn’t respect the choices our animals make, this dog has bonded with this person if this person qualifies please let this staff member adopt Patrick

  15. Pingback: Patrick, Five Months Later | Save Shelter Pets

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