More than 213,000 people have signed a petition to save a young girl’s “therapy dog.” The dog, named Edith, happens to be a pit bull, living in Jacksonville, Arkansas, where the breed also happens to be banned.
Single mother Amanda Simmons didn’t realize the community had breed specific legislation to outlaw her daughter’s dog when they moved there from Minnesota a year ago. Officials sanctioned the family then seized the dog last year.
The Simmons family is fighting to get Edith back for 11-year-old Ahmeah, who has Asperger’s syndrome. The girl, who has the support of doctors for Edith to act as a therapy dog, is now suffering depression without her companion. Edith has been with the family since she was a puppy and without problems, the family says.
Simmons posted this to her Facebook page after a judge delayed a ruling in the case earlier this week.
“People keep asking why I’m fighting over “a dog”?!… Well WHO I’m fighting for are my daughters, my beautiful Ahmeah that I carried, birthed & I’m raising into a sweet, smart young lady. And my baby girl Edith. Who’s been a part of our family since she was 7wks old. I was taught to fight for what I love & stand up for what I believe in. So therefore as long as I have these puppy dog eyes looking up to me, giving up isn’t even an option. I won’t quit fighting until my girls are back in each others arms!”
Jacksonville city attorney Robert Bamburg didn’t comment outside court, but referred the judge to a 1991 Supreme Court case, which upheld breed specific legislation after a resident also tried to declare it unconstitutional, according to THV11.
The case will be back in court Feb. 17.
Meanwhile, Simmons is still gathering signatures on her Care2 petition:
“City officials in Jacksonville, Arkansas took my daughter’s therapy/service dog, a pit bull named Edith, because of the city’s breed-specific legislation (BSL). Please sign this petition to demand the city return Edith to my daughter and repeal its draconian BSL!
I am a single mother of 3, and I simply can’t afford to pack up my family and move us to a town where pit bulls are allowed.
When my family moved to Jacksonville last year, I had no idea the town had BSL. A neighbor reported that we had a pit bull, and despite the fact that Edith is my daughter’s therapy/service dog, city officials stormed my house without a warrant, seized her, and took her to the shelter.
It wasn’t long before Edith, who was being housed on a cold, concrete floor without her human, became violently ill, vomiting and excreting yellow diarrhea. The shelter returned her to us.
Just 8 months later, Animal Control took Edith again, from the backyard of a friend’s vacant rent house where the dog was staying while pest control was treating the inside and outside of my home. Since then, I’ve been trapped in a legal battle to get her back.
We haven’t have seen Edith since she disappeared from the shelter 3 months ago. On November 3rd, the rescue organization that was supposed to foster Edith until our trial called and tried to change ownership on Edith’s microchip.
Edith is well-behaved and has never hurt anyone. She walks perfectly off a leash, and my daughter has the best time dressing her up – they’re like sisters! I have all of the paperwork that certifies Edith is permitted to come with us to the airport, school or the doctor’s, yet she can’t live in our town because of BSL. It’s a total infringement on our individual rights.
Our next court date it Jan. 11. Please sign this petition to demand the city return Edith to my daughter and repeal its draconian BSL!”
Editor’s note: Considerable discussion has been generated around this story. Please be kind. This item is about the well-being of a little girl and her beloved dog. We trust the courts will settle the case based on all available evidence.
Photos Save Edith From BSL/Facebook