Cover Story: Saving Lobo from Montgomery County's Animal Control Department

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Lobo, a six-year-old Siberian husky mix, never bit or attacked anybody. But last month, Montgomery County officials seized and impounded the dog, then sentenced him to die. Why? Because one neighbor kept complaining that Lobo was off his leash.

Dog attacks, of course, can be brutal, even deadly, and they tend to generate a lot of media attention. But more often than not complaints against pets are really about feuding neighbors – “and the poor dog pays the price,” says Don Feare, a Fort Worth-based attorney who specializes in animal law.

When Lobo’s owners first contacted the Press seeking help, the dog was quarantined in county custody. Erik and Rosalyn Frazier rallied dozens of their neighbors by circulating petitions, posting signs throughout their subdivision and setting up a Web site that served as a vibrant community forum for Lobo supporters.

Despite these efforts, the dog’s fate seemed sealed. Then the Fraziers discovered a salacious MySpace page complete with seminude photographs of the county’s animal control officer who led the effort to impound and euthanize Lobo. It’s no coincidence that two days after the Fraziers posted links of the MySpace page on their Web site, the county set Lobo free. (Both Web sites were taken down last week as part of a settlement.)

This week’s cover story is about how the Fraziers saved their beloved pet by embarrassing government officials into doing the right thing. – Todd Spivak

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