June, September and
December of 2008 marked significant turning points in the culture of
animal welfare in Indianapolis.
In June, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) Martha Boden
stepped away from the agency with less than rave reviews from the local
animal welfare community. She left HSI nearly $2.8 million in debt, about
the same as when she started in 2002.
During Boden's six-year reign, the agency sustained a provincial and
arrogant profile that was less than welcome to the grassroots animal
welfare community. During this time, animals were imported to the
facility from out of state while adoptable animals were being killed in
our own county. Breed rescues were contacted only on a limited and selective
basis. Doors were closed to strays, surrender fees were required to
relinquish an animal, and a "Reservation Required" program was
instituted for those wanting to surrender a pet.
At one point, Boden commanded salary and benefits amounting to more than
$106,000, according to federal tax filings. To survive, the agency could
no longer bleed its treasury, compromise services to the animals and
alienate the public with these kinds of practices, and Boden left the
On September 10, HSI announced new leadership with the hiring of John
Aleshire , previous director of the Little Red Door. In his short time at
the helm, Aleshire has reversed the above policies and has begun to
welcome local rescue groups to the table - a refreshing change.
Of special significance is the fact that the HSI Wellness Center is being
retrofitted for a low-cost spay/neuter initiative.
On November 20, 2008
Marion County officers were attempting to serve a warrant on a relative
of a family in the 1400 block of Lindley Avenue . The individual was not
at the residence. The offense for which the warrant was being served?
Failure to appear for a hearing on a charge of driving with a suspended
license in Kentucky .
In the process, the family's dog, Deoge, was shot and killed. Nine shots
were fired at the dog by two officers. Five bullets struck the dog who
was in his own fenced-in yard.
There is no argument that law enforcement and other public servants put
their lives on the line serving and protecting citizens. Their efforts
are much appreciated. But police officers are protected by broad immunity
with regard to the use of their powers, making for potentially reckless
and unnecessary use of their authority and firearms. It appears this poor
dog was used for target practice on its own property. There are troubling
elements about this shooting, not to mention that this event occurred in
a neighborhood where many small children are often outside playing near
It should also be noted that firefighters, EMTs and medics also confront
dogs daily in their line of service, and do not have to resort to killing
Representatives of move to ACT visited Deoge's family on December 6 to
learn that these are good people, kind, genuine, homeowners and
taxpayers. They are a dog-loving family and have three smaller dogs who
are part of the family, as was Deoge.
We learned a lot about Deoge. He would carefully unwrap his own Christmas
presents and would run around the yard with a Frisbee in his mouth and
his Boston terrier companion in tow. When he had the Frisbee to himself,
he would have it folded in his mouth and open and close it, looking like
a quacking duck.
Since the shooting, the mother of this household has been distressed and
becomes emotionally shaken whenever anyone comes to the door with an ID
hanging from their neck. That was the only identification of the
warrant-serving officers. During the tearful retelling of the events of
that day and after reviewing the police report and examining the property
layout, it became quite clear that there are blatant inconsistencies in
the officers' report regarding the property layout, how they described
the events, and the family's side of the story.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects against unreasonable seizures, shall not be
As this tragic case illustrates, every tax-paying citizen who owns a dog
is at risk of having their dog callously shot IN THEIR OWN YARD - a clear
violation of the Fourth Amendment regarding seizures/takings.
Warrant-serving officers are on the municipal payroll. Is this acceptable
behavior of public servants for our tax dollars?
All the owner is asking is that local law enforcement train its officers
and adopt a non-lethal policy for handling dog encounters on personal
property. It is their sincere wish that no other family be forced to
witness the unnecessary killing of their beloved dog by officers who are
sworn to protect the public.
David and Goliath. A complaint (see Torte Claim) has been filed by an
attorney on behalf of the dog's owner, George Moore, alleging negligence
and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A federal civil rights
claim is also planned.
Government holds a monopoly on power, and whether the facts of this case
become public record depends on whether the courts will hear this case.
The city has up to 90 days to respond to the notice about Deoge and the
pending lawsuit. The family and their attorney fear the city will use the
entire time rather than responding expeditiously, in order to delay, drag
out, and wear down the commitment to see this wrong corrected.
Move to ACT believes that our city has the conscience and integrity to
address the litigation responsibly by proactively taking the initiative
and committing to upgrading warrant officer training. Such a response can
go a long way in confirming its commitment to humane decency and public
If you would like to see that Deoge's death is not in vain, please
consider a contribution toward this legal effort. The costs of such legal
action are high, but the risk of this being repeated is higher. You can
help give voice to a silenced Deoge and help prevent this from happening
to your dog someday. Contributions can be mailed to:
c/o Ameriana Bank
22 N. Jefferson St
P.O. Box 120
Knightstown , IN 46148
The bank asks that you please include a note with the money detailing
that the money be deposited into Deoge's account. Your help is much
Local articles on Deoge:
On September 12, 2008,
Steve Talley, former administrator of IACC, resigned after allegations of
animal abuse and neglect at the facility were substantiated by two
independent investigators. The IACC Advisory Board was tasked with
finding a new administrator. After a lengthy interview process, Doug Rae
from Philadelphia was selected upon unanimous vote of recommendation by
the advisory board and his appointment was announced on December 15.
Rae brings with him a wealth of experience not only as a shelter
administrator, but also from the corporate world. He is more than a
shelter professional; he is a fair and caring individual who is committed
to eliminating the killing of adoptable animals in our city by
instituting programs and services that place a priority on responsible
stewardship. An example of Rae's passion is evident in a response he
wrote to a local citizen's letter that can be viewed here: http
://www.indypaws.com/post/index/22712 Mayor Ballard's team has been
enriched by another quality administrator!
Citizens are excited to see this establishment of integrity and
responsible stewardship within animal sheltering in our community. These
leadership changes at both IACC and HSI offer Indianapolis the
opportunity to come out of the dark ages and become the most watched city
in the country with respect to animal sheltering as referenced by
sheltering expert Nathan Winograd's "Winners
and Losers" . This new leadership also takes Indianapolis a
significant step closer to becoming the "world class" city it
claims to be.
As with any progressive movement, there will be parties near and far with
obstructive agendas and intentions of sabotaging this life-saving
sheltering orientation. This was blatantly apparent in a PETA member's
December 17 letter to the editor of the Indianapolis Star, loaded with
misinformation about progressive animal sheltering.
Joan M. Isaacs Attorney
December 5, 2008
Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson 40 South Alabama Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 Attention: Legal Department
Marion County Commissioners C/O Office of Corporation Counsel City-County
Building 200 East Washington Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Re: Shooting of family pet dog by Marion County Sheriff's Deputies
Dear Sir or Madam:
You are hereby notified, pursuant to the provisions of Indiana Code §
34-13-3-10 of the following:
1. CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CLAIM OF LOSS: On November 20, 2008,
approximately 12:40 p.m., three armed sheriff's deputies entered through
a closed gate onto the private property of George Moore and Toni Noland,
located at xxxx Lindley Avenue, Indianapolis, allegedly to serve an
arrest warrant. In their statements to the victims, the deputies said
that they had been given an anonymous tip that a person with an active
warrant was living at the premises. On their arrival the deputies entered
the fenced area of private yard past "Beware of Dog" signs that
were prominently displayed on all four sides of the chain link fence surrounding
the property. There was a fifth "Beware of Dog" sign posted in
clear view on the front door. The deputies reported they walked around in
the yard and peered into the house and also the garage, which is situated
right beside the dog's house, for 5-10 minutes before the family's dog
approached one of them as they were exiting the property after the failed
search, allegedly biting him on the left hand. Two of the deputies then
fired nine rounds of ammunition at the dog from a distance of several feet,
but failed to kill him. The family members were forced to watch their dog
suffer for over one hour, critically injured and lying in a pool of blood
in their front yard. Brian Ohler was present in the yard during the
shooting and witnessed the violence as it actually occurred.
10110 Hermosa Drive Indianapolis, Indiana 46236 Phones: (317) 823-8977;
690-4055 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. EXTENT OF LOSS: as a direct result of the incident, the following
losses were suffered: a. Severe emotional damages including intentional
infliction of emotional distress; b. Trespassing on private property
without a search warrant; c. Loss of personal property; d. Unlawful
search and unlawful seizure of personal property; e. Medical bills and
3. AMOUNT OF DAMAGES SOUGHT: Unknown at this time.
4. CLAIMANTS: George Moore; Brian Ohler
5. RESIDENCES OF PERSONS MAKING THE CLAIM: George Moore: xxxx Lindley
Avenue, Indianapolis Indiana; Brian Ohler: xxxx West 11th Street.
If yours is not the proper office to notify with regard to the foregoing
claim, please forward this correspondence to the appropriate office. If
there is any other information which you require to process this claim or
to conduct an investigation, please contact the undersigned prior to the
one hundred and eighty (180) day limitation date.