26 Apr

UPDATE ON MAY 1st BOARD MEETING:  Nothing was decided; another meeting has been set up for June 5th.

APRIL 26th UPDATE:  The responses sent to the chief of police were SO OVERWHELMING that right now he is very upset because of the emails.  We are trying to HELP Pat, not hurt her case or make him backlash against her!  So we are removing the information from the original post to contact the chief of police. INSTEAD, we are asking for people to please send your emails to Pat’s friend at Fourleggourmet@aol.com.  She will collect the emails and present them to the Board on Tuesday!!!

Original post:

I had the fortunate opportunity to learn about a wonderful woman and fellow animal lover, Pat Colsher.  What she has done for animals is amazing. Her friends have pointed out that in addition to the dogs Pat currently owns that she’s saved, she’s also assisted dog owners with many issues.  This sweet lady offers her services at no charge, including minor grooming tasks and behavior advice and all around wonderful support and encouragement. Pat has saved at least 47 dogs.  She owns five.

But now, due to neighbors who complain that the dogs bark, and the City of South Charleston, West Virginia’s “two dog limit”, the City is trying to take her dogs away from her. Yet two of her dogs are service dogs!

Pat has had serious medical issues for as long as she can remember.  Due to a traumatic childhood, she has been disgnosed with severe PTSD, recurrent major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. She has been treated since childhood with varying degrees of success. When Pat is functioning, she supports herself as a freelance writer.  She has not been able to work since the trauma of losing her beloved dogs – her babies.

Pat’s dog Tavi helps her with balance.  She had a torn meniscus from a fall in February, so her knee goes out suddenly. That is just one of the reasons she needs her dogs, to keep her from falling.  Her service dogs are also trained to help with her night terrors, flashbacks, and fear of leaving her home.  They distract her from self-injurious behaviour.

Regarding the neighbors complaining about her dogs barking, Pat admits yes, they bark, when a neighbor walks past her window or when someone knocks on her door. Isn’t that what dogs typically do?  And isn’t the warning bark of a dog a good thing for a woman who lives alone and becomes frightened when people come to her door?

All Pat asks is to be able to keep her two service dogs and three dogs that are elderly and/or have health and behavioral problems.  One is a beagle boy who was horribly abused after someone shoved a pipe down his throat to “debark” him.  Gracie is a boxer mix who came from a domestic violence situation and was skin and bones when Pat saved her.  And Mike, a puppy mill beagle who was bred almost to death.  Mike is now elderly as is her service dog, Regis, who was on the short list to be killed.  When she got him he had so many parasites that his red cell morphology was completely screwed up.  He had been hit by a car, shot and had infected ears.  Tavi, her other service dog, also came from a high kill facility.  He had been kicked in the head and had broken and infected teeth, had massive ear infections, a urinary infection and had such bad skin infections on his face that the fur will never grow back – it is all scar tissue. The photo above is of Scooby, one of the dogs Pat loved and cared for until he passed away.

These are the dogs that South Charleston wants to take from Pat.  How cruel is this city?

PLEASE EVERYONE.  We are asking for your help in letting Pat keep her dogs, her “babies”.

Please send an email directed to the chief of police/animal control officer by emailing Pat’s friend at Fourleggourmet@aol.com.  She will collect the emails and present them to the Board on Tuesday!!!  Ask the chief of police to let Pat Colsher her keep one dog over the city limit, the other two are service dogs! Time is of the essence!! A board meeting will be held on Tuesday morning.

Pat is a responsible pet owner. She loves her dogs.  And more importantly, she needs her dogs to be able to cope with her everyday life!

Please share Pat’s story. In a world where so many people throw away their pets so callously, abandoning them in kill shelters or on deserted roads, here is one woman who is doing the right thing, by loving and trying so desperately to keep the dogs she’s saved, and who in turn have saved her!

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  1. Angela April 26, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    If you set up a petition…I will sign!!!

    • Hand4Paws April 26, 2012 at 3:50 am #

      Thanks, Angela, appreciate that! But there just isn’t enough time, which is why we are asking people to email instead.

      • Linda Fafard April 26, 2012 at 4:19 am #

        service dogs are covered by the disability laws of the USA call the americans with disabilities and explain it to them, this is descrimination

      • Michelle Austin April 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

        Hi, I have sent an email to Brad Rinehart, Chief of Police and Head of Animal Control responding to the above matter. Will let u know if anyone contacts me back on this matter. I am also going to forward this to some friends I have who work in Animal Control in my area to see if there is anything that can be done as well!

  2. Lori April 26, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    I don’t think any kind of service dog should be considered a “pet” in the home. They are a much needed necessity to survive day to day

  3. MELISSA LOPEZ April 26, 2012 at 10:54 am #


  4. norhella lofthouse April 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Let her keep her dogs it’s her livelihood and happiness.

  5. Lori Lackey Baker April 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    email sent:

    I must ask—why would you want to take away the very animals that are loved, taken care of and HELP a woman
    who needs them as service dogs?
    Because the neighbors complained the dogs bark. Dogs bark. They always have and they always will.
    I hope her neighbors never lose their children because they scream and play.
    If animals are cared for, up to date on their shots and see their vet regularly-then a “minimum” should not apply.
    Basically-it is NOT the government’s business how many dogs a person has-unless they are not being cared for.

    Who decides how many dogs a person can have? Where did they get their number from? If a dog has puppies-then
    a person is automatically over your “2 dog limit”. Are you going to go house to house on a daily basis and take away puppies
    and kill them? They are over the limit. If you are to follow your own law-then you must comply-right?

    It makes no sense to me why—with people being cruel and inhumane to animals your department would target this woman.
    It makes no sense to me why—with people fighting dogs, abusing puppies as bait dogs, etc-your department would target this woman.

    I hope her neighbors can live with themselves. I hope you can live with yourself.
    Make sure you tell them and your children, grandchildren etc—that you are all inhumane dog killers.
    Because that is exactly what you are if you take her animals. You know they won’t be adopted out-they are too old.
    You know the life they will have will be short and miserable.

    Shame shame shame on you, your department, your city and the “neighbors”.


    Lori Baker

  6. Yvonne Polenc April 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I sent a email and they replied back that I was very misinformed and thats it seems like they are not goin to let this women keep her dogs.

  7. Sara pratt April 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I emailed the reason and his response was not very nice. Just an FYI.

  8. leland hodges April 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    leave the people alone dogs bark period

  9. gaynor and john henry April 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Dear Sir,

    We read with dismay and disbelief about the case of Ms.Colsher who is being threatened with having her service dogs removed. While I can appreciate that dogs bark, they all do just as people talk, and that on occasion barking may be annoying, as a long time dog owner or various breeds I can say with certainty that dogs who are in a home with people and who are not left alone do NOT bark excessively. They bark when someone comes to the door or passes by which is merely their way of saying “Hey! Who is that?” In addition you must understand that Ms.Colsher has a variety of physical and psychological ailments which instead of treating solely with drugs or psychotherapy, she has chosen to treat at least in part with the use of service animals which has been proved to provide tremendous benefits for both the human and for the dogs, who otherwise would end up in a shelter in which case the taxpayer would be footing the bill. To remove these dogs is cruel, unfathomable and simply makes no sense as it provides no benefit to anyone canine or human. In addition there is the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. What can possibly be gained by this continuing and prejudicial, campaign against this woman? Do you not have real crime in South Charleston? Drugs, rape, child abuse, murder? It’s ironic that some of her pets were victims of violence but there was no police or city involvement when those crimes were going on, ironic isn’t it? My husband (a retired U.S. Army officer) and I would appreciate an answer from you explaining the logic behind these outlandish and nonsensical actions. Than you,

    Yours Truly

    Gaynor and John Henry

  10. Gwen Stewart April 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Please don’t take these very loved dogs from there owner that needs and loves them very much!!! I live close to Charleston and have always loved it there, but right now after reading this am very ashamed of the people doing this. 😦

  11. Joan April 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    People totally disgust me anymore! I’d rather be with my cats than deal with people. How can these neighbors be so heartless? Sounds like they have no sense of compassion and just want so-called *perfect people* living in their community. This lady helping these dogs has more class in her pinky than these neighbors will ever have! These neighbors, police dept. & decision makers are a black eye to Charleston, SC!

  12. Joan April 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Oops! Sorry SC! Thinking of your city. I mean Charleston, WV.

  13. Anon April 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I am having the same issue, although my neighbor has been faking her illness in attempt to keep her dogs.

  14. Charlotte Bryan April 27, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    This lady needs her service dogs!! They are service dogs for a reason!! Shame on those of you wanting them taken away.You never know maybe one of you might unfotunatly need a service animal youselves some day.How would you feel to lose them IF it were YOU? And the dogs that were misstreated that she’s helped have come to trust her,and might not adjust well to new owners,that’s assumming someone else would adopt them.What ever happen to humanity?

  15. xir April 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    maybe that naignbor should be asked to move. karma will get them when they are in same position as that woman. unbelievable that even your neighbors don’t have compassion to their fellow human being.

  16. Ken Johnson April 28, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Sent faxes to all City Officials involved. No response as of today. 4/27/2012

  17. Van Gaston May 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    I just saw this. What was the result of the meeting yesterday morning.

    Let me know. Thanks

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