Help a Single Father to see his daughter again and keep his two American Pitbull Terriers at the same time … Please help Fight BSL discrimination NOW
Image by Beverly & Pack
Website about this issue: www.chako.org/durbin.html
Some of you may know already and some may not, but here is my story as it relates to BSL and my daughter, my dogs, and my life.
I have been going through a custody case for over 5 years, not that is what this email is about, but it gives a background. My daughter’s mother has used many excuses to try to prevent my visitation and custody and had eventually found one that stuck – my ownership of two American Pit Bull Terriers.
3 years ago, Judge Cynthia Sanderson of McCracken County, KY ordered to me keep my dogs away from my daughter while I have visitation. Reluctantly, I followed that order to the best of my ability although I had to go to court approximately 6 more times to explain it. This past January, I was told "for the last and final time" to keep my daughter away from my dogs or face jail time and/or loss of visitation.
This past Easter, which also was the last time I have seen my daughter, my five-year old beautiful daughter, cops were sent to my house along with my daughter’s mother very late in the evening claiming I was in violation of several orders, one of which of course was allowing the dogs around my daughter. My daughter was asleep in the bed while I fed my dogs. The police came in, and even reported that the dogs and my daughter were nowhere near each other, nor had they even had a remote chance of being near each other (doors closed, rooms separated, etc). Upon taking my daughter back to her mother’s two days later, she revoked my visitation claiming "endangerment" . I have not seen my baby since.
This past Friday, September 18th, 2009, I appeared once again before Hon. Judge Cynthia Sanderson with a legal aid attorney (I have lost a LOT of money through this ordeal), and was eventually told, AFTER showing evidence of no wrongdoing, compliance with the order, and various testimonies to prove that, I was told by the judge "I am not a dog person…I don’t care what you do. Get rid of these dogs or put them down. Bring me an affidavit that you have done one or the other, and you can see your daughter again." When I said once again that I will not even have the dogs at my home anymore when I have my visitation, I was told, "If I find out that you have the dogs at your home even after your daughter has left, I will put you in jail for 6 months. I am very serious about this. I am not a dog person."
This is absurd. I can get on my soapbox about several others rights violations but that is not the purpose of this email. The purpose of this email is to explain and ask why a person has to give up his/her rights to have companions, to own property, EVEN WHEN the child in question is not present, just to be a father to his child.
My dogs, APBTs, have had training, evaluations, and have never shown any history of violence or aggression, and in fact, were evaluated to be very gentle and loving dogs, especially with children. 3 years ago, I showed these FACTS, and these FACTS were not even looked at. All that could be said that I was endangering my daughter, and how could I do that, etc etc…I was told by Brian Katz, an attorney in McCracken County, that I was unfit to be a parent because of having two APBTs.
I cannot begin to describe my hurt. Not only have I not seen my daughter for almost 6 months because of this absurdity, I have lost nearly everything of value in this situation. PLEASE do not think that this is an issue of the importance of my daughter versus my dogs, that would be an insult. My daughter is my LIFE, but on average I am lucky to see her 100 days out of the year. The issue is that I am told my other companions are to be taken away or KILLED (simply because of breed); I am being told what I can and cannot do with my property. I am being told that I CANNOT RAISE MY DAUGHTER EFFICIENTLY BECAUSE I HAVE TWO APBTs.
My next step is to file a motion to amend this order, and my attorney, as gracious as she is, does not think there is any hope in that. I, for one, think that there is not a God in Heaven that would allow something like this to happen – to terminate my companions and my relationship with them, both my daughter AND my dogs. After that is the appeals process, which can take months and even years. I do not want to lose my companions. I do not want to lose my daughter, and I do not want to lose my four-legged children when my daughter is not there. As silly as it sounds, these dogs have gotten me through a lot more than any human can ever do. My daughter gives me something to live and work for, and when she isnt there, my other babies gives me something to come home to. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I get when I have had a bad day missing my daughter or even at work and to come home to see two smiling perfect gifts of God waiting to just make my day.
I need help. I am not accustomed to asking for it. I would assume sit in the dark than have to borrow money to pay the electricity bill. But when it comes to violating rights and companionship someone has to step up and speak up. I am not going to bash this judge; she has her reasons, and the only reason I do not agree with is that she is "not a dog person". If she seriously and genuinely feel there is a need to "protect" my daughter from these dogs, then education is the key. IF that is not the case, then a stand needs to be made.
Please offer support…and that support is making a stand with me. Pass this on to who will hear it, and to those who will and can help.
My daughter needs her father…and her father needs his daughter. And I need my babies when she isnt there. I cant begin to imagine life without any of them.
My contact information is below.
I have also included a video to "lighten things up" so to speak…but please, anything helps.
Kris J. Durbin
4009 Pinecroft Drive
Louisville, KY 40219