Andre, a tiny brown dog, was beaten and tossed out a car window in Tolleson, AZ, last year. Now Andre is becoming the poster dog of an anti-cruelty campaign in Arizona, due to the efforts of Sally and Richard Andrade of Fabian’s Law.
In January 2012, a man was walking near 103rd Avenue and Durango Street in Tolleson when he saw a black plastic bag thrown out of a car window. The contents of the sack moved and, when he nudged it with his foot, he heard a whimper.
Ripping open the bag, the man found a small, injured dog curled up inside. The dog was alive but had been obviously physically abused, malnourished and had severe injuries to its eyes.
The Good Samaritan tried to care for the little dog for two days in his home. But he soon realized the little creature was suffering and needed much more medical attention, so he contacted Maricopa County Animal Care & Control.
The shelter assessed the dog’s condition and immediately sent out an emergency call for assistance. Susy Hopkins of the Feathers Foundation, a nonprofit organization specializing in the care of injured and neglected animals, responded, according to a report in the West Valley View.
Fortunately, Susy was able to find an emergency clinic to treat the tiny dog, which was estimated to be a 4-year-old miniature pinscher. That was when he was named Andre. Now in loving hands, Andre began to respond to treatment within the next few days.
A few weeks later, animal lover Sandy Powers saw Andre's story on a local television news station and was so touched that she adopted him. Sandy took Andre home and devoted herself to his recovery. Although totally blind, under Sandy’s patient, loving attention and constant veterinary care, Andre gradually re-learned to walk and follow voices.
Sadly, although he seemed to be making progress in his recovery, Andre died as a result of his injuries in October 2012.
POLICE ENCOURAGE IMMEDIATE REPORTING OF CRUELTY
Since Phoenix Police weren't called to investigate until three months after Andre was found, it hindered gathering evidence in trying to identify the perpetrator and put together a case, Detective Jemima Schmidt, who investigates animal cruelty for the Phoenix Police Department, told reporter Emily McCann of the West View News.
"What happened to Andre was very much on the extreme side of animal abuse and cruelty, but we certainly see many other types that can be prosecuted," she said. "This is a case that may unfortunately never be solved based upon a number of things…”
"What I want to express--and I think is important for community members to understand--that from an investigative standpoint, I wish I could have had my hands on the plastic that wrapped him," she said.
"We definitely would have submitted that for DNA and fingerprints. That would have been so critical for helping us identify somebody who did this." Detective Schmidt explained.
“The key to making arrests in those cases is the community's help providing timely suspect description or possible license plate numbers. “Any evidence can help, including soda cans near the scene or wrapping around the animal,” she added.
"For me as an investigator, Andre would be the perfect poster dog," said Detective Schmidt.
ANDRE, THE “PERFECT POSTER DOG”
So Sally and Richard Andrade of Glendale, AZ, who championed legislation for Fabian’s Law, an "Aggressive Dog Owner Responsibility Law," which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer April 25, 2011, decided to put Andre’s face on a poster to help stop animal cruelty.
The Andrade know the pain of losing an animal. In September 2009, their miniature poodle, Fabian, was killed by an unleashed pit bull. Fabian was on a leash in the Andrades' driveway when an uncontrolled, aggressive dog ran out of a backyard from across the street and attacked him. The poodle was rushed to an emergency animal hospital, but did not survive.
Fabian’s Law is about protecting the rights of responsible pet owners who comply with state laws and punishing those who allow aggressive dogs to attack, resulting in either injury or death to a person or domestic animal.
TURNING GRIEF INTO ACTION
Getting legislation introduced and passed to help animals requires a community effort and a total commitment to persevere even when there is opposition or the need for certain laws is not taken seriously. The Andrade’s learned that in sponsoring Fabian’s Law.
They are promoting the “Andre, the Face of Cruelty” Campaign—a grassroots effort, so that no one can ignore the abuse and cruelty that many animals suffer and to help law enforcement get the cooperation it needs from the public in order that abusers are held accountable. “Andre will be the face of those who cannot speak for themselves,” Sally Andrade said.
‘WE WANT PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED”
"We want people to get involved, because every year, bills are introduced and our pets need to be protected," Sally Andrade told the West View News. "If people would take the time to get involved and call their legislator, this is what's going to make a difference."
Besides paying for the posters, the Andrades will also help people who have been injured by a dog attack by informing them of the law and supporting them in court.
On their website, these words honor Andre’s life:
"Now for the first time, Andre can no longer see the world.....for the first time the World sees Andre"
(Note: Thanks to Emily McCann of the West View News for helping the Andrades tell Andre’s story.)
Related article: Fabian's Law Makes Arizona Dog Owners More Responsible
Source: West Valley View