Over 211,000 Care2 Activists Want This Girl To Get Her Therapy Dog Back

Have you ever been so mad about an issue that you had to start a Care2 petition? That’s what happened to single mom Amanda Simmons from Jacksonville, Arkansas. People create Care2 petitions to draw attention to all kinds of issues, big and small; Simmons started her petition when Edith, her daughter’s therapy/service dog, was seized, due to the city’s breed-specific legislation (BSL) banning pit bulls.

In a remarkably short time, Simmons’ petition, urging the Jacksonville Council and Mayor Gary Fletcher to return Edith to her family and repeal its BSL, has garnered over 211,078 signatures, from places as far afield as Sri Lanka, the Russian Federation, India, and France. That’s the power of a Care2 petition!

If you check out the video posted on the campaign’s Facebook page on December 6, you will understand why. Simmons’ young daughter Ahmeah is holding a photo of Edith, which is all she has of her precious dog now, and through tears she says, “Thank you for asking me what I want for Christmas, but the only thing I want is Edith. I want everyone to help me get her back and hope no other little girl has to go through what I’m going through now.”

How did this horrible situation evolve? The Simmons family moved to Jacksonville in 2014, but Amanda Simmons says she had no idea there was a pit bull ban in place. Now she’s stuck because as a single mom of three, she doesn’t have the funds to pick up and move to a town where pit bulls are permitted.

She explains what happened:

“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.”

How Common Is Breed-Specific Legislation?

Over 800 U.S. cities have enacted BSL laws, chiefly directed at pit bulls (the generic term commonly used to describe the American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and many other mixed-breed dogs with the same square-shaped heads and heavy builds). Rotweilers and sometimes wolf hybrids may also be included in the ban.

However, USA Today reports that more than 100 municipalities have already overturned bans and other restrictions against dogs in the pit bull family. In addition, at least 19 states have passed laws making it illegal for cities to pass bans targeting pit bulls or any other breed. Several other states are considering similar legislation.

In Jacksonville, pit bulls have been banned since 2007. In February 2015 the city passed an ordinance intended to curb the number of pit bulls euthanized at local shelters, which means that now, when pit bulls are seized, they are taken to a shelter outside the city.

But as Simmons documented above, shelters do not always ensure good treatment.

BSL gained popularity in the mid-1980s, after a rise in the number of fatal dog bitings, including a disproportionate number of incidents attributed to pit bull-type dogs.

But that has nothing to do with Ahmeah’s therapy dog. As Simmons writes on her Care2 petition: “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.”

Take Action

If you agree with Amanda Simmons, please sign her petition, asking the Jacksonville City Council and Mayor Gary Fletcher to return Edith to the Simmons family and to revisit and repeal Jacksonville’s draconian breed-specific legislation.

And if there’s an issue that is deeply important to you, just like Amanda Simmons, you can start a Care2 petition, and you’ll find that Care2’s community of activists will join you in your cause and help you make a difference.

 

201 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Kate R: Give it a break

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Update:
"On Wednesday (March 9), Amanda Simmons, Ahmeah’s mother announced on their Facebook page that they had received word from the court that the judge would return Edith home pending the trial in the case scheduled for May.

But Ahmeah won’t have to wait until May to reunite with her beloved dog, Edith will be home as soon as her mother can raise enough funds to move."

Ahmeah’s mother said they will have to find a place to move outside of the breed restricted area. Anyone who would like to help with the deposit and moving expenses can make a donation to the PayPal account at saveedithfrombsl@gmail.com

You can also donate to the youcaring fundraiser

https://www.youcaring.com/amanda-simmons-for-legal-fees-466883

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Patricia Harris
John Taylor2 years ago

BSL stands for ''Bull Shit Law''

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STEFANIE RACKS
STEFANIE RACKS2 years ago

THANKS FOR SHARING AND CARING!

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

If the dog is a service dog, I don't see why it's breed makes any difference.

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