Tuesdays With Murray: Chapter 118 (Oreo's Law.)

I had a pretty great video to post today, but I really need to use today’s Murray post to talk about something else. I do hope you’ll forgive me, my fellow animal lovers.

You may already know this, but Murray was a feral kitten. Which means he had two options: he could have ended up the way that he is, which is to say loving and awesome; or he could have ended up becoming a feral cat, which is to say distrusting of humans and unfriendly. Thankfully, some kind and patient humans gave Murray a second chance.

Please note: THIS IS NOT ABOUT MONEY. :]

The Story

In June of this year, Oreo, a one-year-old pit bull was thrown off a six-story Brooklyn apartment building. Oreo suffered broken ribs and several broken bones, but miraculously survived the fall. She was rescued by the ASPCA and nursed back to health. Happy ending, right? Nope.

A few weeks ago the ASPCA deemed her too violent and beyond emotional repair.  They ended her life. The dog that healed physically and still had a great deal of trouble trusting humans, was not given the chance to heal emotionally. This pains me beyond words. The thing that gets me the most about this story is that several smaller organizations begged the ASPCA for a chance at rehabilitating Oreo. Pets Alive, a reputable organization from New York state, offered to take Oreo and give her a second chance at life. The ASPCA refused and instead chose to end her life.

The Proposition

Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner and Senator Thomas K. Duane have come up with “Oreo’s Law“. This law would give animals the second chance they deserve.

From Mr. Kellner’s Web site:

The bill, modeled on an existing law in California, is named Oreo’s Law in memory of the pit bull mix who became well-known after she survived abuse at the hands of her former owner, including a fall from a six-story building, but was eventually euthanized after the ASPCA determined that she was untreatably aggressive. Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill animal shelter located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, specializing in the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, offered to take Oreo, but the ASPCA refused the request.

As a dog owner and a foster parent for an animal rescue group, I was heartbroken to learn that Oreo was euthanized. When humane organizations volunteer their expertise in difficult cases, shelters should work with them to the fullest extent possible. This legislation will give tragically abused animals like Oreo another chance at life.

The Call To Action

That’s where we come in, my friends.

Please contact Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner and State Senator Thomas K. Duane and thank them for giving a voice to those without one. You can leave a comment. Or you can contact Micah Kellner one of the ways listed below:

315 East 65 Street
New York, NY 10065
Tel 212-860-4906
Fax 917-432-2983
Email KellnerM@assembly.state.ny.us

If you’re a New York State resident, please take a few minutes out of your day and write to your Assembly Member and/or State Senator and ask them to support Oreo’s Law. If you know any New Yorkers, please let them know about this law and have them speak up about it. Even if you are one of those folks wary of pit bulls, this is about every animal out there—every last one.

This law will make it so other organizations are given the chance to give abused animals a second one.

If you have a blog, please write about the law and help get the word out. The biggest concern right now is getting some voice behind this. They need to know that we care. This law needs to come to life, in the absence of Oreo’s. If you need some more information or a link, Empty Cages Collective wrote a great post.

Other Ideas?

If you can think of other ideas, please post them. If you think of anything I missed, please let me know. I am new to this. And believe me, I know how hard it is to find time to reach out to people, so if there is anything I can do to make it easier, let me know. We need to get the word out there about this law.

Because really, who doesn’t deserve a second chance?


P.S. The video scheduled for today, will be published next week. I promise.


  1. Do the ASPCA have any contact info to forward an official complaint? Is there an independent body in the US you can lodge a complaint with? I can’t believe they were so damn arrogant when other specialists offered to help. This kind of thing really boils my blood – yet aggressive humans get a second chance! Nobody would think twice about giving a violent, aggressive child a chance – but animals have to suffer?? I’m damn sick of this selfish, ignorant attitude :(


  2. I have three dogs, all due to be put down for one reason or another before they found their way to me. They are amazing creatures, each with their own personalities and quirks, and it took a lot of hard work to get them where they are today. I have a lot of love for dogs that need a second chance.

    I don’t live in New York, but I do have dog-lovin’ friends there. I’ll let them know.


  3. I do support the spirit of this law.

    But I think its important to note that , in this case , the ASPCA didn’t just say “Hey, no one wants this dog – let’s euthanize her.” The ASPCA workers — who try to save thousands of pets each week — deemed her to be unsafe and un-rehabilitatable. Multiple workers agreed that she was unpredictable and too aggressive, and she turned on her handler of several months.

    While it would have been great if they did turn over this dog to another shelter, what would have happened when that dog attacks people next ?

    I’m not trying to attack the law, I’m just trying to illustrate that people have been deriding the ASPCA on this — but it seems to me like they did the most responsible thing, not the least responsible.


  4. Consider it done. (http://houpley.blogspot.com/2009/12/oreo.html)
    Our family just adopted another rescue and it breaks my heart not to be able to save every one of them. Thank you for your words – you speak for those who can’t.


  5. Jonathan, the issue isn’t about attacking the ASPCA specifically.

    The issue is that abused, ill (but treatable) animals, or healthy animals should be transferred to a legitimate animal rescue who is willing to accept them/treat them/attempt rehabilitation on them if the only alternative is killing them.

    Is it any surprise that a dog thrown from a roof by humans would show some aggression towards humans? Oreo was young and the possibilities for rehabilitation was promising. Those who are abused deserve second, third and forth chances. The ASPCA isn’t the end all and be all of animal rescue. Perhaps Pets Alive would have succeeded where the ASPCA failed. Oreo deserved the consideration of trying.


  6. The ASPCA does amazing things and I have so much admiration for their efforts. However, they take care of all kinds of animals, in all conditions. It seems clear to me that they can’t specialize in rehabilitating aggressive or traumatized dogs. I absolutely believe that an organization which does focus on this aspect of dog rescue should be allowed to continue the rehab effort on a dead-end case like Oreo. As for the safety issue, if an organization that does specialize in aggressive dogs is able to get that dog to a point where it’s adoptable, the potential adoptors also know they will be working with a special dog. They won’t adopt out that sort of dog to someone unprepared or unsuited for it’s disposition. It’s also possible that one of the organization’s handlers could foster the dog indefinitely, if it can’t be fully rehabilitated. That’s actually quite common.
    The reality that the pit bull breed is facing is a really harsh one, so many of them are in shelters and thousands are euthanized. I think this subject is a particularly sore one because we as humans have caused this crisis. It spotlights the cruel, irresponsible, and lazy choices that have led to their plight. I am more concerned for the safety of the community harboring people capable of throwing a dog out of a six-story window. Those are the true criminal menaces in this case, and I shudder to think what else they are capable of.


  7. I’ve had a lot of trouble following this story since my own dog passed away so recently. Almost none of the Michael Vick rescued dogs were euthanized. Even the ones who weren’t adoptable were given an opportunity to live out their natural lives. It seems as though, with Oreo’s notoriety and the support being offered, more time could have been taken to fully evaluate her. So I really don’t think the ASPCA was doing the most responsible thing. They were doing something that might be right and they were doing it in a way that completely erased all possibility they would be held responsible for any future incidents. I think Oreo deserved better. Thanks for pointing out the legislation.


  8. Thank you Michele for writing this. You have no idea how much this means to me. I am the owner of a pit bull that was due to be uthanized but by the grace of something found her way into a local foundation that specializes in fostering/adopting pit bulls and bully breeds.

    I will support this 100% and I am emailing your post to San Fransico’s Bad Rap organization. They are one of the amazing organizations who stepped up to rehabilitate the Michael Vick dogs. You can’t find a more powerful message than what those dogs went through and still came out to be amazing and fully adoptable dogs.

    Jonathan, I ask you to go to http://www.badrap.org and see the actual story for yourself in regards to the rehabed Vick dogs before you consider the dog being unrehabable.


  9. Kizz: I am so sorry to read about your pup. Letting go of a pet is terribly difficult. I’m sorry.

    I agree entirely with what you just wrote. I wish i had written it myself.

    Thank you, everyone, for all your help. I do hope this gets passed.


  10. I don’t know what to say. I am quite emotional right now anyway, and this just added to it.

    If there are people willing to help the animals, they should be helped. My husband and I took in three feral kittens a few years ago, and it breaks my heart that Oreo was not given that second chance.


  11. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary was one of the no-kill shelters that took several of the Michael Vick dogs. These were all dogs that the Human Society sentenced to death. Best Friends believes that animals can be rehabilitated, but it does take a lot of time, patience, and sadly money. I hope the law passes and that more people will realize that its humans that traumatize the animals and humans that need to step up and help them.

    My sister works daily with some of these dogs that have been deemed unable to be in contact with people and have had them eat out of her hand. You never know how much someone can change until you give them that second chance. Very sad story and hopefully there will be less of them in the future. And just a shout out – you can watch more about Best Friends on the National Geo. Channel and the show Dog Town. Thanks for the post.


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