There is a horrible event going down in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania between a man and his dog.Baron

Update 10/8/09 – Baron Returns to Miles Thomas!

Update 10/5/09 – No Settlement Over Baron the Collie

UPDATE  9/8/09 – Update on Miles Thomas and Baron the Collie

Baron, a 7-year-old collie is being detained by the Humane Society of Harrisburg (HHS) in what they believe “was rescued from an unfortunate situation”.

Baron’s situation is that his owner, Miles Thomas, is homeless. He has been living in cheap motels or in his car ever since losing his home and almost everything else he had from debt. He lost his wife to Alzheimer’s in late 2007. He was unable to pay all the bills that had mounted for her care.

miles_thomas

Prior to this “seizure”, Miles had an arrangement with Thom Lewis, who runs a collie rescue service in Silver Spring Twp. On the days and nights he had nowhere to stay, or if the weather was severe, Baron stayed with Thom Lewis. Baron seemed to be fine, happy, and in good health.

Until July 26th when the Harrisburg Humane Society’s “canine officer,” William Sandstrom, took Baron from Thomas’ parked car. The temperature was in the 70s, the car windows were open and Baron was not in any distress. Sandstrom left a note stating that Baron was “seized.” Since then, Miles was forced to sign over his rights to Baron or face a $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Now that Miles Thomas finally has a place to live, he cannot get Baron back.

Miles Thomas was put in contact with attorney, Andrew Ostrowski, who is representing him in his federal lawsuit against the HHS.

The HHS is not giving any good reasons why they are holding Baron hostage. The reasons change constantly.

First, Baron was seized. Then, Baron was not seized – he was being “rescued.” Then, no, Baron was surrendered.

Then the HHS states Baron is being held as evidence in a cruelty case. FYI: NO animal cruelty charges were filed against Mr. Thomas. None.

Now he’s “living evidence in a federal court case.”

Well? Which is it???

Miles cannot even visit Baron. The day he tried with his lawyer, they were met with resistance from the HHS staff and was told the police were being called. The PennLive Patriot News staff was also refused information on Baron. So was CBS.

A picture was released to the media documenting that Baron was alive and well. But do you think the HHS would have extended this courtesy to Miles Thomas? NO. He had to see the picture from CBS. They showed it to him. That is such a slap in the face. No wonder people are withdrawing their support from the HHS.

This has been a hot topic in Harrisburg and it’s starting to divide the community.

My take on this? Miles is homeless. It’s much easier to pick on a 73-year-old man down on his luck. The HHS Executive Director, Amy Kaunas, eluded to that fact.

She quotes the state animal-cruelty statutes “that animals must be provided with adequate shelter and access to food, water and veterinary care.” And the fact that Miles was “rescued from an unfortunate situation.” So if she wasn’t following Miles Thomas around 24/7, how does she know that Baron didn’t have access to shelter, food, water, and veterinary care. She must assume it’s so because Miles is homeless. Let’s not forget that Miles had an arrangement with a collie rescue Silver Spring Twp. Maybe this is what the HHS doesn’t like. That seemed to be a win-win situation. So I am at a loss to understand why they have their panties in a bunch.

Well, it’s now up to a judge. Last week a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order barring the HHS from destroying or transferring ownership of Baron before a hearing is held September 3rd.

This is a very ugly case of discrimination, ego, and gross misuse of power. I’ll let Deanna take it from here.

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This really is a heartbreaking story, here’s a man, a senior, a veteran, a former Harrisburg School District Board Member, who lost everything , who has a heart condition, who is being bulldozed for some reason by the HHS! He now has a home, a place to live and all that’s missing is his beloved canine companion who he cannot even see!

“He was the most important thing in my life, he really was, since my wife died, he was the one thing that really kept me going,” said Thomas. ” The main thing is getting Baron back. That’s the main thing. I want him back more than anything.”

My friends I think we need to make ourselves heard on this issue. Baron is well cared for and well loved and this whole thing boils down to some kind of political BS and power play. I thought Humane Societies were supposed to be in the business of animal welfare and by all accounts, Baron’s welfare was not in jeopardy in any way shape or form!

TAKE ACTION!

Time to make some calls, write some letters, send some email! Remember, be polite and courteous but let them know this is an injustice and Mr. Thomas deserves and needs to be reunited with Baron ASAP, stop the games and BS!!

Humane Society of Harrisburg Area
7790 Grayson Road
Harrisburg, PA 17111
Phone: (717) 564-3320
Fax: (717) 564-1867

Amy Kaunas
Executive Director
email – amyk@humanesocietyhbg.org

William Sandstrom
Humane Police Officer
email – williams@humanesocietyhbg.org

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See all the background on Miles Thomas and Baron;

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