OreoMany of you may know or remember the story or Oreo, the pitbull that was beaten and then later thrown off the roof of a six-story housing project in Brooklyn by her owner, 19-year-old Fabian Henderson on June 18. Oreo was rescued and treated for two broken front legs and a fractured rib among other injuries.

Called a miracle when she survived, Oreo was taken to the ASPCA and surgeons completely reassembled her front legs and gave her time to recuperated enough to walk. In July Oreo underwent a behavior evaluation which didn’t go well.

Now she is about a year old and had undergone 59 almost 45 minute sessions of training to help to modify her behavior without success.

In a second evaluation in October, she continued to act aggressively, even attempting to bite her handler when the dog was distracted by another staff member.

Her behavioral prognosis in October and in a final evaluation on Wednesday was listed as “grave.” Over the months the dog had been in their care, Oreo underwent 59 sessions of nearly 45 minutes each that were aimed at modifying her behavior. She did not improve significantly.

“It took very little for her to become very tense and respond in an aggressive way,” said Stephen L. Zawistowski, a lead animal behavior expert with the ASPCA who helped evaluate Oreo. “Once that situation had been created, she then showed aggressive responses to a wide variety of things.”

He described her anger as causing her both physical and emotional strain.

“Think about if you were constantly angry about something — punching a hole in the wall angry — the stress this would place on you,” he said.

That she would even attempt to lash out at her handler was another sign of uncontrollable aggression, he said, making it likely the dog would be impossible to handle in an adopter’s home. He said a sanctuary was also out of the question because the dog would require her own space and would need to live in relative isolation from other animals. (AP)

“Everything we’ve tried to do for her has not worked,” said Ed Sayres, the president and CEO of ASPCA. “And she has gotten more aggressive.”

Sadly, after months of time and untold amounts of month, much caring and dedication, the ASPCA has come to the sad decision that Oreo is too dangerous to ever be placed with a family or to even be able to be with other dogs. They’ve questions what kind of a quality of life she would ever have, having to be completely isolated and although they are grieving, their decision was to euthanize which will happen on Friday.

This is so heartbreaking to me and I know to so many. We like to think every dog can be rehabilitated but sadly that can’t always happen. Even with time, effort, love, money, sometimes a dog has been so damaged so deeply that there’s no coming back. Oreo was just a puppy when she was beaten and brutalized, for who knows how long, by her then owner, Fabian Henderson.

Honestly, I am so mixed about this.  I want to think, more time, more effort and maybe she can be saved.  I hate to see any of these babies lost, especially those who have been through so much.  Honestly I believe the ASPCA is one of the better organizations out there.  None are perfect, some are abysmal.  I believe they tried and gave it the best effort they could give.  I don’t want to see Oreo die but I also don’t want to see her without a live, just an existence.  If someone could step in and step up… maybe.. maybe…

Henderson was charged with felony animal cruelty but of course there was a plea agreement and he pleaded guilty Oct. 20 to aggravated cruelty to animals. Free on his own recognizance, he;s due to be sentence on December 1. Doubt we’ll be in for any surprise when he gets little more than a wrist slap. Pity they won’t be able to add Oreo’s death to his list of crimes because ultimately he killed with his brutal abuse.

My heart goes out to Oreo and I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow as she crosses to a more peaceful place where she can let go of the anger and just be a puppy again. I write this through tears; tears of loss for her innocent heart, tears of anger for the waste that turned her into this, and in the end, tears for all those who never had a chance, who never had a name, who left us with no more than a whisper on the wind. Our souls and hearts know and will remember.

Go peacefully Oreo….

Update – Since the news broke that Oreo was going to be euthanized, there has been at least one, if not more offers to take Oreo and continue to work on rehabilitating her.  We can only hope that the ASPCA will hear the pleas to save her life and give her another chance with someone who is willing to try.

Email for Ed Sayers at the ASPCA – esayres@aspca.org

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