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This article is from the Finger Lakes Times NY


Newark woman pleads guilty to dog shelter violations


By JIM MILLER/Finger Lakes Times
Friday, June 20, 2008 10:11 AM CDT


LYONS - The president of an animal rescue organization pleaded guilty last week to 12 violations of the dog shelter law.

Investigators had considered bringing animal cruelty charges against Ruth Urban of 4346 Route 88 North, Newark, after recovering 35 dogs and two parrots from her home May 22. But District Attorney Richard Healy said they found insufficient evidence.

“The animals were actually in good condition,” he said. “They were fed, groomed.”

Urban, who heads the Bright Star German Shepherd Rescue Group, was given a conditional discharge, ordered not to possess more than 15 dogs for five years and ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the Humane Society.

The Society also has the right to inspect her property, Healy said.

Twelve dogs were returned to Urban after her June 11 plea. The remaining dogs were surrendered to the Humane Society, which euthanized some but found people to adopt the majority, Healy said.

Investigators in May determined that Urban had more dogs than she could properly care for and was keeping some in crates that were too small.

“I'm confident that she will improve the situation and will continue to do the good work of animal rescue,” Healy said.
 

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Anyone that can feed and groom 35 dogs, has much more ability then I do.

It would be nice to know why any of the dogs were killed.
 

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I was wondering the same thing. If the dogs were in good condition, why were some put down?
 

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being in a crate 23 out of 24 hours a day can screw a dogs mentality and create behavioral issues one would think....
 

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I was told that some of the dogs were very old and/or had very serious health issues. I believe she had some hospice type cases there. There may have also been some dogs who were very aggressive and therefore deemed unadoptable. This information was given to me second hand so I cannot vouch for it in any way.
 

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From what I understand Ruth, your information is correct.
I think that the best thing for the dogs is for the bitterness to go away from some people and to move forward.
 

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I think overall her intentions were admirable. She just was way over her head and wanted to save them all at any cost. I believe Brightstar will shine again. With more checks in place they will be stronger and brighter!
 

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I take my dog out there and she loves to play with the big dogs! The dogs have 4 large fenced in areas and go out in play-groups. They were not crated 24/7

I'm happy that they got their personal dogs back and hope that soon people can move on
 

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Yes I do live out here and yes I have seen the house first hand. There Physical well being was always fine it was other things...

I do hope Ruth learns from this and goes on to help more dogs as she is a good person herself.
 

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It sounds like from the article that the only issue the DA could find was the size of the crates for some of the dogs but it also sounds like you think there were other things going on. What were the other things? Besides the being crated 23 out of 24 hours, I mean. How did you find out they were crated so long? That's sad.
 

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I'm not going to get into this, my main reason for posting anything was because I keep getting stuff said by many people that we at the humane society euthed dogs for no reason. We temperament tested all those dogs, some failed and could not be adopted out. It's as simple as that but they were all given a fair chance a majority were adopted.

Someone who lives in that house stood in front of me and told myself and someone else that the dogs that were crated were only let out 2 times daily for 15 minutes each time. That was said by someone who lives in the house.

Aside from everything, I know Ruth well and I do hope she herself does better and improves things. I can't speak for another someone who lives with her and cares for many of the dogs. But yes all her dogs were taken care of to what they need to survive, mental well being of some was another story.
 

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Wow that is too bad for the dogs. Thank goodness they aren't there anymore. Are all the ones that passed the test already adopted or will they stay at the humane society until they are or will they go to another rescue or foster? This is all new to me so I don't know how that all works.
 

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I was going to avoid the Board but many have requested I add my facts to this.


It was an inside job prompted by 3 or 4 of our volunteers that have since resigned or partially resigned. One still has 2 fosters left and the other one adopted his foster out Saturday. One of them made a comment to another that they never thought it would go this far. I know for sure that 5 of the dogs that were being rehabilitated were euthanized as soon as they got there. This is from a first hand witness. 2 of the 5 never made it out of the truck. 2 were euthanized the next day, one being a Pit or Shar pei mix that was 7 months old and deaf.. she had a very soft velvety coat so I know she was not full Pit. I have had Pits in my home since 1994. She was doing great learning her sign language and oh soooo sweet. It just turns my stomach. 7 dogs that could have been adopted within 1-3 months died because of people who are supposed to be deeply involved in saving German Shepherds. I do not have a total count of how many were euthanized but I will say very few were adopted. Keep in mind the dogs that were being rehabilitated and not ready for adoption would not pass the "temperment" test at Lollypop Farm. 2 of them had been here just over a week. One was a Momma dog that had just had her puppies, less then a week old so that counted for 7 dogs. At least 3 of the dogs here that were taken had potential approved adopters waiting to see them and never had the chance. On that note they did not even take 35 dogs as was reported. I will never understand why they had to die or why anyone who actually cares for dogs would do this. 7 dead dogs that I am sure of and for what reason? They did leave 5 dogs here and I was told to euthanize them within 24 hours! Why? 3 are elderly and not adoptable, 1 is a Pit that spent many years with my mother who passed away last year at age 93, she is not perfect but doing ok for her age. One is a Great Dane that is elderly and incontinent, she is on Proin, she was being starved to death when we got her from Lollypop Farm and I decided she would live her life out in comfort. Is she near the end, probably but that is a decision that only I will make, not some "Cruelty Investigator" who actually assisted her to Lollypop Farm where we got her from. Our other senior is a GSD that is "older then dirt" and has cancer. She is very comfortable, very active and on medication. Should I put her down?? I don't think so till her eyes tell me it is time to head for Rainbow Bridge. That could be tomorrow but not today. Another one is a 7 yr old GSD mix who came to us Heartworm positive, now negative, who has arthiritis and is on medication for that, she also runs the yard with the younger dogs. Happiest girl and another one that is just too sweet. And last of the dogs I was told to euthanize is a 4 yr old GSD who had an attitude and is now coming around and enjoys people. He was trained by a police officer that had no clue what he was doing so the dog was pretty messed up. He is now quite social. No I will not euthanize him and to top it off he is not even my dog. They also took my boy that had cancer of the spleen and was here to live his life out. He was also being treated with medication. All the dogs here got good food and vitamins, whatever they needed.

Many people from other rescues stepped up to try and take some dogs and the 2 out of 3 birds that they took but Lollypop would not allow that, instead many had to die. Not to confuse anyone the birds are safe and back home with Kathy,

My home is 3000+ sq ft with plenty of rooms to keep everyone safe. I also have 28 acres. What no one reported was that there are 4 huge fenced yards, aprox 1600 feet of 6 ft fencing here with 2 full time people with 24/7 care. Play groups were utilized. My crates are 500 & 700 vari kennels plus I have 3 large gorilla crates from Pet edge so I would hardly say they were too small. Only 8 of the dogs were even crated and 3 of them were in large Gorilla crates. I know Kathy was "quoted" as saying they only went out 15 minutes twice a day but she would never say anything like that because it is not true. Anyone who has been here knows that is a lie. They know the dogs go out in play groups and they know they have plenty of time out.

This was all so wrong!!!! Way too many dead bodies at the hands of rescue volunteers. All in the name of "honesty"
 

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Wow. This is totally different from what Phay said. I am sorry to hear about the dogs that were killed. They killed them in the truck? That is certainly not humane as far as I am concerned. Those poor dogs. It sure sounds like some one told some big lies and the dogs paid the price.
 

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Welcome mcn486! I see you yo-yo after each post and I understand that it must be difficult for someone so new to the board to be able to evaluate what people are saying. Just in general, hopefully you will stick around and read some of the posts in this section with more about what rescue is about, how it works, how to determine reputability and the importance of checking where dogs go-from shelter all the way to adoption. All of that will help you not have to rely just on the last post you read-you will be able to read and think more about all the factors involved in rescue! Feel free to introduce yourself in the section at the top of the board!
 

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I have tried to remain silent on this issue but the ignorance and vindictiveness of those involved has made me jump in, in place of others who are being pointed at for this issue. I am Darcy Drons' significant other; she is one of the "3-4 volunteers" that Miss Urban is implicating in this issue that still has two of Brightstar's fosters. I can assure you on the lives of my children (I have 4 wonderful, dog-loving kids) that Darcy NEVER spoke with ANY animal control officers or authorities and in no way started this issue, prompted its continuance or in any way aided in its completion, nor did I. From the start of this issue Miss Urban nor anyone in her house has taken any accountability in this matter, it has been a conspiracy of others against her and Brightstar. Others close to Miss Urban who are currently running the organization also directly accused Darcy and have since been spreading rumors about what actually occurred with the coordinator role that she served in. These same individuals were aware of the conditions at Miss Urban's house and had made overtures to help correct the situation. I am not here to argue the validity of any of the charges against Miss Urban nor opine on the conditions of the house but i ask, if they were ok then why were these individuals having these conversations. I assure you that Miss Urban has accountability in this matter or she would not have signed a plea deal but instead fought the issue. I will also note that until this event occurred Darcy was considered a "huge asset" to the organization in comments from ruth and others curently running the organization. In fact she has donated $1,000's of dollars for dog vet bills, pull fees and other expenses directly to the benefit of brightstar. Why in the world would she cause such an action to an organization that she was one of the faces for, both on the german shepherd board and as the shelter liaison for many shelters/states. Darcy did resign her position in the organization because of her concern over this matter, prior to authorities interceding. The reason i jump in with this is that everyone knows who is being referred to in these emails and i will not stand for the implications being put forth. At the end of the day this is how this unfortunate situation has evolved:

There has been finger pointing and hostility to those perceived as having caused this or anyone who spoke up about the situation that existed there has been a lack of communication to everyone around this matter. Brightstar has lost many great volunteers, not over the alleged mistreatment of dogs but due to hostility and lack of accountability within the organization.

At the end of the day the local DA felt it appropriate to bring forth an action with the humane society. This matter has strayed far from the issue of the animals through the inappropriate implications of those directly involved. This is not a matter of how many dogs were involved or how they were treated but a who caused this and how do we not look bad for it. This has become a spin game of look at what dogs were killed. Perception is reality and this really did occur - as Miss Urban's email tag states "put on your big girl panties and deal with it". Again, putting the charges aside, who wants to belong to an organization that does not let you speak up and as long as you go along and are helpful you're a star but when you don't go with the flow you are the trouble maker.

I have in the past had a great deal of respect for Miss Urban because of what she has been through to get this organization started, building it and the pure mission of trying to save as many dogs as possible - all of that is completely noble and self-sacrificing. The blame game that is currently being played out puts that in a new light. This organization can still be great but the leadership probably needs to change and individuals involved need to accept what has occurred, they are not innocent and their hands are not clean in this matter. This was a closely held organization and i am certain would not stand up to close scrutiny. Miss Urban indicates that she is jumping in with her facts which are, in fact, her conjectures. This is continued spin to take the focus off of the real issue and those responsible. If the members of the current organization want to continue this misdirected hostility and accusation in a public forum then i will jump in with all of the facts as i know them - i do not believe that is in the best interest of those involved or that this organization would survive it well. I am asking that this matter be dropped - i know i will not receive a retraction from Miss Urban for her inappropriate comments/accusations, but I assure you one is due.
 

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Wow. I guess I am yo-yoing. Being new to all of this I am trying to absorb all this info. So if this Darcy person did not report the woman than why does everyone think she did? If her friend would stake the life of his children I would think he knows what he is talking about. This is so confusing. I guess what really matters at this point though is the dogs. Does anyone know how many were adopted? Also can someone explain "temperament testing" to me? How do they test them?
 

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Originally Posted By: mcn486Wow. I guess I am yo-yoing. Being new to all of this I am trying to absorb all this info. I know-it's a lot! Like I said, reading some of the threads in this section will help you to see other areas of rescue-almost like starting with addition and not calculus! So if this Darcy person did not report the woman than why does everyone think she did? Who knows why people think what they think-one great mystery we won't be solving on this board, I bet! I do understand your confusion though. If her friend would stake the life of his children I would think he knows what he is talking about. This is so confusing. I guess what really matters at this point though is the dogs. Does anyone know how many were adopted? I do not. I couldn't tell you the details of numbers-it may be in other threads. Or you might want to address specific questions, if that is your interest, directly to BrightStar, I am sure they will be more than willing to help you with that information! Again, I am sure it is out there somewhere but I do not know where. Also can someone explain "temperament testing" to me? How do they test them? I believe there are some threads on that as well. Each place has their own methods. It is to help the dogs and the people who might adopt them.
Introduction section: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=29&page=1
 

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Originally Posted By: mcn486Wow. I guess I am yo-yoing. Being new to all of this I am trying to absorb all this info. So if this Darcy person did not report the woman than why does everyone think she did? If her friend would stake the life of his children I would think he knows what he is talking about. This is so confusing. I guess what really matters at this point though is the dogs. Does anyone know how many were adopted? Also can someone explain "temperament testing" to me? How do they test them?
Welcome to the board! How about you introduce yourself and let us know your connection to rescue. Why all the interest in this case? I don't think anyone really knows the answer to your questions. I'd recommend calling Lollypop Farms directly and sending Brightstar an email too. I'm sure people at both of those organizations could help answer your questions.

Although we have different opinions about what happened with this case, I think all of us agree that it's best to learn what we can given the circumstances and move forward. Throwing fuel on the fire, however delicately it might be done, is not particularly productive. There sure are lots of dogs out there who need rescuing!

We've also got some great threads going in this section on strengthening rescues and making them more transparent.
 
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