Buster the Hurricane Katrina dog causes a controversy in the valley
Buster, a German shepherd mix rescued from New Orleans’ Ninth Ward in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, became the center of controversy in the valley that pitted passionate animal lovers against the local animal shelter.Buster’s continuing saga drew a flurry of letters to the editor alternately condemning and praising the work of rescuer Sue Schmidt, of Silt, and Colorado Animal Rescue, which took custody of the dog.
He was brought back to the valley, along with nine other rescued dogs, in early October by Schmidt, who volunteered to help rescue abandoned pets at the Lamar-Dixon temporary animal shelter in Gonzalez, La.Schmidt brought the dogs back to Colorado and they were subsequently taken in by Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE), which operates an animal shelter in Glenwood Springs, in the hopes they would be reclaimed by their owners or adopted out locally.
Buster became the center of a battle between Schmidt and CARE after the dog bit CARE director Leslie Rockey on Oct. 21, at Schmidt’s house in Silt. After turning Buster over to CARE to be quarantined, Schmidt feared he would ultimately be put to death because the shelter had declared him aggressive and unadoptable.In an effort to regain custody of the dog, Schmidt sued CARE, but she dropped the case on Nov. 28, when Angelo and his mother Lydia Kingvalsky were identified as Buster’s owners. The Kingvalskys had evacuated their homes in New Orleans and eventually found temporary housing in Dallas.
Although Schmidt said the Kingvalskys requested she take charge of Buster until they could take him back, on Dec. 8, CARE transferred him to Camp Wolfgang in Ennis, Texas, near Dallas. Camp Wolfgang is a shelter and sanctuary that specializes in rescuing German shepherds and mixes and has expertise in dealing with problem dogs.In a happy ending to the story, Buster was reunited with his owners on Dec. 17 at Camp Wolfgang. He is now back with Lydia Kingvalsky at her apartment in Dallas.- Donna Gray
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