Owner Forced To Put Dog On Diet Or Dog May Be Confiscated


Imagine animal control telling you your dog was so overweight that he had to be put on a diet to loose weight immediately. If you didn’t follow these requirements, you could be fined or you could even lose your dog.

This is what happened to Fawn Lunde. Her five-year-old dog Tobias is her best friend. But Lunde was in danger of losing her beloved bloodhound because Tobias weighed 197 pounds and was considered to be morbidly obese by the animal control department.

Amiie Gabrilska, a senior humane officer with the animal control department of Coulee Region Humane Society, ordered that Lunde have a diet analysis and weight loss plan done for her dog.

Gabrilska said it was among 619 “compliance orders” the department issued to pet owners in 2006. If Lunde didn’t abide, she could be fined or Tobias could be confiscated.

Immediately, Lunde put Tobias in a weight-therapy program which included weekly weigh-ins and reducing his food portions. At the end of the five month program, Tobias did not lose any weight at all.

“I may not be the smartest cookie,” Lunde said, “but I do know when there’s a weight problem, it could be due to thyroid or pituitary gland problems. I kept telling them that, but they were so set on the idea that I was overfeeding him.”

Lunde had a blood test done on Tobias at an animal hospital. The veterinary technician said: “It’s most likely his obesity was caused by thyroid problems.”

Tobias was prescribed medication on September 15, and since then, he has lost 9 pounds.

It would seem like all would be well with Lunde and Tobias, but Lunde added that animal control recently asked to see her financial records. They were worried that she couldn’t pay for Tobias’ ongoing medical care and medication.

She said that she has enough money to care for her dog, and she is simply worried about what animal control may do to take away her dog.

Source: La Crosse Tribune

41 Responses to “Owner Forced To Put Dog On Diet Or Dog May Be Confiscated”

  1. catmom5 says:

    What the he!! ~ do these animal control officers have nothing better to do than harrass this poor woman who is obviously working with her vet to get the dog’s weight reduced? No dog fighting? abuse? neglect? abandonment? hoarding? in their jurisdiction? Glad the AC officer is concerned about the dog’s health, but what would they do with him if they confiscated him? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be to send him to doggie weight watchers . . .

  2. Debra says:

    why did it take her 5 months to get the blood test?

  3. Scarbo in Atlanta says:

    I agree with Debra! If one of my dog’s continued to gain weight even after reducing amt. of food, and/or on a reduced calorie dog food - it would not take a rocket scientist to tell me that something was wrong & most likely a thyroid problem. Makes me wonder HOW LONG it had been since dog had even seen a vet!
    Actually, I applaud the animal control officer for taking the time to force the owner to seek medical help for the dog. Thyroid medication is relatively inexpensive & I hope the owner will be diligent in continuing to properly care for her dog.

  4. Buddy & Belle's Dad says:

    While some may believe that it is going beyond the animal control department’s bounds to give somebody a citation for an overweight animal, they mau have very well lengthened that animal’s life. Would the woman have gotten the blood test or even tried to reduce the dog’s weight without some impetus forcing her to? Does she realize that the dog will lead not only a healthier life, but also a longer life if its weight is brought under control? I have a male Golden Retriever who is prone to weight problems and I watch his weight closely after the vet advised me that he was getting a little too “chunky.” I switched him to a large breed weight control diet, backed off a little on the treats and increased playtime and he is now not only much friskier, but should also have a longer life. If not for some outside guidance, I may have become one of those people who “loved their pet to death.” Thankfully I am now not one of them and will have many years of love to share with Buddy. It has been a good turnaround for both of us!!

  5. JB says:

    I agree with Buddy and Belle’s Dad. The dog did not become that obese overnight and it obviously took a threat to get her to put the dog on a diet and get some medical attention. I probably would have taken the dog to the vet first to make sure there wasn’t a serious health problem. I’m glad he is getting back on the right track.

  6. Lynne says:

    Good for the animal control people.

  7. Nora and Rufus says:

    Good wholesome home cooking of chicken thighs and legs (shredded off the bones after cooking) mixed with cooked smashed carrots for supper and breakfasts of cooked organic whole oats with egg thrown in and a spoonful of cottage cheese with spoonful of flaxseed oil and a daily supplement with plenty of daily vigorous exercise would get the old pup back to sveltness!!!! Take him off the crappy commercial stuff!!!!! I know this gal loves her dog. He looks real sweet too!

  8. BC says:

    Obesity IS animal abuse….it shortens their lives and prevents them from living a normal life while they are alive. That poor dog is gross! Way to go Animal Control!!!

  9. The Lioness says:

    While I do agree with most of you, I think it is inappropriate that they are asking to see her medical records. They cited her, and she complied. I think that is good enough, frankly.

    ~The Lioness

  10. NH says:

    That poor dog. I’m with animal control on this one. There could be something medically wrong with the dog. My heart goes out to it. Bring it to my house, I’d whip its butt into shape. Nothing like a long hike in the White Mountains to lose some weight!

  11. Becky says:

    While I applaud the animal control for thinking that animal welfare consists of more than just providing food, water, and shelter, I have to wonder how much oversight is too much.

    I think requesting the owner’s financial records crosses the line of being too much. Just because some one makes $100,000 doesn’t meant that they are more likely to get the dog the proper medical treatment than some one that makes $20,000. It depends on what the person makes a priority - having money isn’t going to change that. So now people have to make a certain amount to have pets?

  12. Kristy says:

    I’m sorry… this is just wrong for AC to do this. Why? Because I deal with so many idiots in animal control on regular basis that I certainly don’t want the local govt going through my financials to determine if I can care for my pet. That’s just so wrong on so many levels. MILLIONS of dogs and cats are PTS every year because there are not enough homes, and they want to police this?

    I’ll bet she didn’t go to the vet FIRST because she had to shell out 1200.00 to pay for the program pressured by AC THAT DIDN”T WORK. Not to mention - she probably didn’t test for medical problems SINCE THE VET CLINIC is where he was being treated for his weight problem. Am I the only person that caught this? I am APPALLED that the vet clinic in charge of the weight loss program didn’t do a simple blood test FIRST!!!! What a scam.

    Yes I do believe that overfeeding your pet is a type of pet abuse, but I think the AC is overstepping it’s bounds here. Sounds like she didn’t overfeed anyway. In most cases they have very little qualifiactions to be making this judgement call, and even if they did they should be focusing more towards EDUCATING the public then threatening to take away another pet from this lady - where they would most likely euthenize it (whose going to adopt such an overweight dog?) Some AC people are very smart and qualified, but they are few and far between.

    This is just ridiculous. Next we will have some AC person that has no education credentials telling me what treats I have to buy, what food, how to vaccinate (beyond state requirements), and numerous other things that even in the best conditions is completely dependant on numerous factors. All because they read something off the internet.

    “Your dog licked his paw? Must be allergies and now you have to pay 1500.00 to have him allergy tested. Nevermind that you found out that he had a bad reaction to his vaccine that I just required but the vet schools say he shouldn’t get - go do this right now. Oh, and let me see your financials, because I don’t want you putting this on your credit card. Nevermind, I better just take the dog now…..”

  13. Anon says:


    Thanks for pointing out that you have to read the entire newspaper article to get the full story. Some posters may not realize these are just excerpts from the full articles.

  14. momkat says:

    Where did this take place?
    I would have taken the poor dog to the vet long before he reached morbid obesity, but that’s me.
    I tried to get AC to tell the neighbor with a cat that sprays into our open windows to keep their cat indoors.
    They don’t have that much power here! I can’t imagine them having the right to look at your bank account to see if you can afford the pet!
    That’s a little too much jurisdiction as far as I’m concerned, but I DO wish they had more power to confiscate pets like the neighbor’s cat…those neighbors don’t even believe in feeding the cat. They told me it got all the raw little critters it wants outside! GRRRRR We live where there are scorpions, tarantula, rattlers and all sorts of horrible poisonous things so I think not feeding the cat is abuse, but AC couldn’t enforce anything. I have permanent blood stains on my front door stoop from the ‘gifts’ that cat has brought.

  15. Christine says:

    While I think that obesity in animals is something that’s largely overlooked by a lot of owners and needs to be brought to attention, I believe that AC is going beyond their jurisdiction by threatening to look at her financial records. People who truly love their animals will go to whatever means necessary to help them. People who don’t care about their animals won’t, and then they can make a claim at animal abuse. I don’t make that much money but when one of my cats needed two emergency surgeries that didn’t fit into my “normal” budget, I put things aside in order to pay for it, because it’s what he needed. I’m sure AC would deem me not financially secure enough to have pets, but I take care of them a lot better than some people would, and not all of that is monetary.

  16. Robert Davis says:

    Sounds like she needs an attorney and a letter to state they stop or face a harrassment suit. We certainly don’t see human parents being targets of police for “overfeeding” their kids or being forced to “show me your budget” - this is an invasion of privacy.

    Personally - I would have had tests done a long time ago to see if something was wrong….and what food was she feeding? Quality and Quantity count.

    It’s good the dog might live longer now that the medical issue is determined, but I still believe they cross the line with the financial records question.

  17. mittens says:

    soon they’ll be issuing citations to humans because theyre overweight, or their hair is too long or they refuse to eat vegetables. it’s none of the government’s damn business and they should stay out of people’s lives save in situations of extreme obvious physical abuse. i will not be micromanaged by the government and people who seem to think they have every right to inflict their own personal smug beliefs on others. it’s fascism no matter how well meaning you claim it is. i wont have it. self righteous gits.

    even in some humans weight is not just an issue of eating too much or eating crap- they have proof it’s often genetic and even more often hormonal or a combo of the 2- beyond the control of the individual and more often times then not of the doctors that treat them. assuming someone is fat simply because of lack of self control and poor eating choices is ignorant-it’s simply not scientifically true. you think people who get 10 bucks or so an hour to gas unwanted pets know more about nutrition and obesity then the average pet owner?

    animal control- the people who gas people’s animals while they’re signing papers in the shelter in order to take them home. animal control who was heaving animal bodies in the dumpster or taking them off the road and straight to the rendering plant. animal control who deem a pet ‘ unadoptable’ because it’s freaked out and scared after being dumped in a strange place that smells of death. you want these people in control of you and your animal any more then they are? the science is not behind animal control on this one. it’s not ‘ abuse’ if the animal’s genetics dictate it’s weight problem. why dont you cite god for making hormonal imbalances a reality?

    another excuse for people to feel all superior to their neighbors by gleefully rubbing their paws together over governmental overextension into people’s lives. socially sanctioned control freakery encoded into law. always inappropriate in a democratic society that prizes freedom.

  18. Scratch says:

    What country do we live in? Unless people start to fight like hell and educate themselves we will soon loose our democracy. “Your papers please”.

  19. Scratch says:

    What country do we live in? Unless people start to fight like hell, educate themselves, and amass joining grassroots groups like American’s for Prosperity we will soon loose our democracy. “Your papers please”.

    Animal control should have required her to bring the dog to the vet for evaluation and issued a summons if she didn’t. But to ask for financial information. Many of us willingly put our vet bills on credit cards if we don’t have the money in our pockets. It’s no ones business what arrangements we need to provide needed care, as long as that care is provided.

  20. Lynn says:

    Anon is absolutely right - you’ve got to read the whole article. Do not read just the excerpt that itchmo provided. Too misleading. [Sorry, itchmo.]


    Look at it this way, the whole situation got the parent moving…..which probably helped HER depression.

    A friend of mine has three dogs. I visit maybe once a month. I noticed that the dogs seemed down in the dumps….and my friend was depressed. I insisted it was time for the dogs’ annual vet visit….and that she needed psych help. The reality is that when humans are depressed they tend to be oblivious to everything around them. So everyone should help a friend out and get their pets to a vet if they appear to need medical care AND get the human in for medical care, too. Don’t assume the human will follow through - you may have to push them along.

    While I certainly cannot know if the dog parent in this story suffers from PTSD, I tend to doubt it. That diagnosis is less common than you would think. Another thing - and please don’t think I am being catty or insensitive: the human in the picture looks as though she might be morbidly obese as well. Ever notice “like human parent, like pet”? While there may well be a thyroid problem, there may also be a “food is love” problem, too.

  21. jabes says:

    Lynn, sorry, but there’s no way the dog’s owner is “morbidly obese” — she’s just wearing loose clothing. Don’t you think she’d have a really hard time folding her right leg up against her body and leaning forward if she was “morbidly obese”? Not to mention that her face doesn’t look big.

  22. Lynn says:

    Whoops - thanks for catching my faux pas, Jabes.

    Scratch the word “morbidly” from my earlier posting. But she appears to be definitely obese [between 20-100% in excess of ideal body weight]. So I’ll stick with my hypothesis that very obese humans often have obese pets.

  23. straybaby says:

    let’s flip this . . .

    what if the dog was say . . oh i don’t know, how about 20-25lbs UNDERWEIGHT?! you would be looking at a dog who’s ribs were hangin’ out and demanding animal control be called.

    “A La Crosse County social worker, who asked not to be identified, said she went to each weight-control session with Lunde and Tobias. She attributed some of the miscommunication to Lunde’s depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    “When Fawn’s under stress, things don’t come out nicely,” she said. “She tends to cry a lot and probably comes across as hysterical.”

    it really isn’t clear if AC asked to see her financial records as she stated, nor who asked her to give up her other dog. they may have asked to see records as proof of visits etc and that she could afford future vet care. what if they were going to try and help her? sounds like much of this story is from the owners point of view. and who really knows how involved the social worker is and for how long. if they could get a buddy/support system going for the owner, would prob solve some of this. if she has depression, she may notice the dog is getting overweight, but just doesn’t have the *energy* to deal with it. i’d be interested to know if you can throw a dog’s thyroid out of whack by keeping your dog in an obese state. . . .

  24. Gindy says:

    Well Lynn, you might think my 18 year old, 100 pound, 5′3″ daughter is obese, but she just has big cheeks she inherited (much to her chagrin) from her grandmother (who still has them at age 85). This woman might have the same facial features. I don’t judge books by their covers and neither should you.

  25. Act Now says:

    First of all, I’m glad to see there are so many perfect dog owners on this site. It must make it so much easier to sit in judgement of others.

    Secondly, I am appalled that a social worker, named or not, has violated client confidentiality by commenting on this woman’s problems. This is completely unethical, as well as illegal, and no different than a doctor who would hand out your medical information to the public. Her motives are irrelevent; she was wrong in giving out any information to the reporter, including the fact that this woman even had a social worker.
    Social workers are bound by confidentially statutes. Her actions are difinitely a violation of the law, as well as code of ethics. This should have cost her her job!

    Thirdly, I am appalled that an animal control agent, a senior animal control agent, is arrogant enough to think that they have the ability to diagnose a medical issue on sight. This agent, behaving as the animal gestapo, has undoubtedly caused additional stress to a person who is already suffering from some type of PTSD and depression. The AC agent was out of line! The first action should have been to ask to see veterinary records. If recent ones weren’t available, a regular exam should have been required. The AC agent is simply that - she is not judge jury and executioner. She had absolutely no business asking for this woman’s financial records. Personally I would have told her to KMA! Was she going to prepare a lifetime buget for this woman, including her predicted cost of animal care - based on what? This is far beyond the pale.

    Forthly, I am appalled that this woman was FORCED to pay $1200 to an obviously incompetent La Crosse Verterinary Clinc for treatment that was unwarranted. For those who asked why she didn’t request a blood test long before - perhaps she didn’t realize that the dog needed one. Obviously this veterinary clinic didn’t! Why do you hold her to higher standards than the so called professionals? Again this inept business contributed to undo stress for both the woman and the dog (”included weekly weigh-ins and dramatically reducing his food rations”), as well as bilking her out of $1200!

    It seems that so many people have lost sight of the fact that this woman does still have some rights, although many of them appear to have been violated. I would highly recommend that she consult an attorney and file civil suits against the AC officer, the La Crosse Veterinary clinc and the unnamed social worker and La Crosse County by whom the social worker was employed. Once she receives her settlements she could probably afford to get back the other dog she had to give up.

    You better learn to fight for your rights, before you no longer have any. Before you have too many dogs, a dog that is too big, a dog that is too small, a dog that is the wrong color, a dog that is the wrong sex, a dog that is the wrong breed, a dog that doesn’t walk quite right, a dog that barks too much, a dog that doesn’t bark at all, a yard that’s too small, or too large, a car that’s too old, whatever conditions someone else decides to place upon you simply - because they want to. This can only be done when and if you allow it to be. And there are already places where it has been done.

  26. straybaby says:

    “Thirdly, I am appalled that an animal control agent, a senior animal control agent, is arrogant enough to think that they have the ability to diagnose a medical issue on sight.”

    gee, i think the average person who sees a dog that is 80 POUNDS overweight could tell that the dog is dangerously obese and needs medical care. i would like to think IF this dog had been receiving vet care prior to AC intervention, a vet would have noticed the problem and already started working with the owner.

    “Forthly, I am appalled that this woman was FORCED to pay $1200 . . ”

    she wasn’t forced. she “felt pressured”. now this could have been a panic response on her part (over-reaction panic) or she could have been seriously pressured. we don’t know.

    “For those who asked why she didn’t request a blood test long before - perhaps she didn’t realize that the dog needed one.”

    see above about receiving vet care prior and on her own. if she had this grossly overweight dog to a vet prior and the vet did not address this issue with her, then the vet needs some schooling.

    so Act Now, what if this dog were as grossly underweight as it is overweight? what should be done in those cases and how is this any different? overweight to this extreme will kill the dog, but not before it ends up with a whole host of health problems, which i’m sure wouldn’t be cheap. maybe AC over-stepped in some areas, but citing the woman for allowing this dog to get this obese shouldn’t be an issue. intervention IS sometimes needed. and we also don’t know the accuracy of some of the womans statements as it seems to be written from her perspective. keep in mind, many hoarders believe they are taking excellent care of their animals and think that they are being targeted by evil AC when confronted about the care of their animals. we really don’t know what this woman’s grasp on the reality of the situation is. or what she considers over-feeding ;)

  27. Don Earl says:

    RE: “You better learn to fight for your rights, before you no longer have any.”

    Good point, but well behind the learning curve. Your rights are gone. You need to fight to get them back.

    While no doubt well intended, there are way too many people who believe their views should be mandated and forced upon others. Therein lies the road to tyrrany. The moment people refuse to respect the right of others to do as they damn well please, they lose their OWN rights to do as THEY damn well please.

    The moment a person says, I think my neighbor should do this, or not do that, they have abandoned a very large piece of their own freedom.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. In spite of being fat, this pet is quite obviously well loved and happy. It is equally obvious this person derives some measure happiness and comfort in return. They’re going peacefully about their private affairs and are doing nothing to harm their neighbors. Leave them the hell alone!

    Personally, I am not willing to surrender my liberty over a fat dog.

    Let’s get a little focus here. If a pet food company murders this woman’s pet, she will be told it’s only worth fifty bucks because she could pick up another pet at the dog pound for that amount. On the other hand, she is willing to make huge sacrifices, at the expense of her own needs, paying thousands of dollars to care for her pet.

    From the comments I’ve seen here, most of us would do the same. So, why are we willing to spend thousands of dollars to protect property valued in tens of dollars? Is it perhaps because there’s something wrong with the way our legal and judicial system values our property? Our rights?

  28. Act Now says:

    FYI, Straybaby - Diagnose 1 a: to recognize (as a disease) by signs and symptoms b: to diagnose a disease or condition in 2: to analyze the cause or nature of per Webster’s. Obviously anyone could see the dog was obese - that is not a diagnosis, it is an observation. The threatening behavior is what I am refering to when I say the AC officer is out of line. It was unnecessary and uncalled for. I did not say intervention was not necessary. The owner didn’t “let” the dog become obese - the hypothyroidism made the dog obese. And while it has lost 9 pounds on medication, it may never be of normal weight - that is the disease, not the owner.

    You again dump all the blame on the owner - “she wasn’t forced. she “felt pressured”. Hmmm. Seems that to “order that Lunde have a diet analysis and weight loss plan done..” is pretty close to forced - not a mere friendly suggestion which this crazy lady misinterpreted into “pressure.” That order was inappropriate as the diet and weight loss plan weren’t the problem - which is what happens when uneducated people in a position of power make diagnoses based on observation. She should have required a physical exam - not treatment. No AC officer is qualified to determine treatment.

    You have no evidence that the dog had not been seen by a vet prior to this. There are too many variables to accuse her of that. There might not have even been a reason for a blood panel when she took the dog to the vet. You have no idea how long the dog has been overweight - it might only be a matter of a few months. And it is quite obvious that the vets at the La Crosse Veterinary Clinic needed “more schooling.”

    “what if this dog were as grossly underweight as it is overweight?” Again, same thing. It completely depends on the reason. Therefore, anyone with any brains would ask for vet records and if there were none, they would require a complete physical to determine the cause. Underweight dogs are not always underweight because the owners starve them. Old dogs lose weight due to liver or kidney problems, hyperthyroid animals lose weight because of their medical condition, or a host of many conditions. And regardless of treatment, they may never gain weight. Perhaps intervention is warranted - perhaps not. So again I say, it’s not up to you or AC to make a diagnosis based on appearance. This rush to jugement is something you should hope never happens to you. This is the United States, in case you’ve forgotten people are supposed to innocent until proven guilty.

  29. straybaby says:

    wrong Act Now, i did NOT put all the blame on the owner. i said ” . . . or she could have been seriously pressured. we don’t know.” and i also said if the dog had been receiving vet care and the vet hadn’t been working with them on it, the vet needed to go back to school. again, not totally blaming the owner, but if the vet care had been there, we prob wouldn’t be reading this.

    she could have gone to a reg vet, a vet nutritionist or this place more than likely, they just wanted the dog to receive professional care. i’m sure they had probably established that the dog in fact was NOT on a program, therefore they ordered it. same thing they do if the dog is out in the heat of the summer or dead of winter if a dog doesn’t have shelter. they are enforcing animal cruelty laws already on the books. aka BASIC care. generally they ask the owner a few questions, if it’s a health issue they ask about recent vet care. if you claim you’re working with a vet, they will ask to see paper work. it’s all rather elementary.

    in all honesty, i would hope this 80 poundish weight gain came about VERY slowly and it wasn’t much of an issue when she was at her vet a year ago for an annual exam ;) i would hate to think that the owner didn’t notice a faster weight gain! fast weight gains are hard to miss (been there), just as they can be hard to slow down. but it’s not normal and does require a vet, especially if the owner isn’t over-feeding. i do understand there are many reasons for dogs/pets being under weight as i have dealt with many that visually scream cruelty case. and some were (not by me!). one of them is on the couch next to me. have also dealt with skinny from cancer, skinny senior related and just born skinny hyper he’ll put weight on when he matures and slows down :)

    no, i don’t want or think everyone has to live up to everyone else’s standards, but we also just can’t turn our heads. i know a few people that have called in possible cruelty issues. the situations were checked out and the people received return calls to let them know the situations were under control. is that really so bad? other calls end up being the rescue of multiple animals out of horrendous situations. go figure.

    and i don’t care what anyone says. that dog does not look happy. but the owner does and she obviously cares for her dog. but she may need some more support in her situation. and she should get it if she needs it.

  30. trucorgi says:

    Well said ActNow!
    This is exactly what will be happening if we change ownership to “guardianship”, any interested party can remove the pet from your custody. Are you saying that only wealthy physically fit people can have a dog Lynn. Your comments are judgmental and discriminatory. Straybaby, it’s not the same thing. It is cruelty to starve an animal. The law is clear on that. Overfeeding is a grey area and one that should not be legislated.

  31. Lynn says:


    If I thought that only physically fit people should have dogs I would have said so. But I did not. So don’t twist my words.

    My comments are NOT judgmental and discriminatory - read them again. What I said was,

    “Another thing - and please don’t think I am being catty or insensitive: the human in the picture looks as though she might be morbidly obese as well. Ever notice “like human parent, like pet”? While there may well be a thyroid problem, there may also be a “food is love” problem, too.”

    And in a later posting, after I scratched the word “morbidly” I added, “….my hypothesis that very obese humans often have obese pets.”

    Like it or not, that’s been my observation for years and I will not recant it. This does not mean I am insensitive to the woman or her problems.

    With respect to your comment to Straybaby regarding your opinion that overfeeding should not be legislated: tell that to the cardiologists in this country. It is just as abusive to the body as starving it.

  32. pat says:

    As far as I can see, nobody did very much correctly at any point in this incident. While I recognize that animal control might have the right to demand that Tobias be medically evaluated, and that Lunde probably should have seen to Tobias’ weight problem before animal control stepped in, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that the “humane officer” prescribed a specific course of treatment before any medical evaluation was done. Further, the local veterinary clinic did not do the appropriate testing in advance of prescribing a diet for Tobias, compounding the error. After mucking around in ignorance for several months, the testing was finally done and a reasonable course of treatment is finally prescribed for Tobias. Good.

    What’s not good is that a) the social worker who accompanied Lunde and Tobias to the “weight control” appointments violated Lunde’s privacy by speaking to the media about Lunde’s medical conditions and b) the animal control person (or persons, but I suspect this is the work of an individual with a messianic complex the size of alaska) who asked to see Lunde’s financial records overstepped their authority in a big way. VERY few agencies have the right to examine your personal finances, and animal control certainly is NOT one of them. If I were Lunde, I would file a complaint with the state’s attorney general about that. While it’s probably not strictly illegal for someone to request your financials, for a civil servant that has no authority to examine such records to pretend that they do should not be tolerated. A spanking is in order.

    And that social worker needs a spanking too.

    A lot of people have commented that obesity is a serious medical condition and that if an animal is overweight it’s being abused. Ok, let’s just presume that’s true. But exactly where is the line going to be drawn on enforcement of a specific standard of care? Is a pet being abused if its teeth need cleaning? Dental problems are related to a number of serious medical conditions. If someone finds a tick on your dog, is that evidence of abuse? After all, tick-borne pathogens can lead to quite serious medical conditions too. If you don’t put a coat on your dog when you walk him (or her) on a cold day, are you abusing the animal? He might catch cold, you know. If you give your dog a bite of your grilled cheese sandwich, is that abuse? A vet would probably tell you it’s bad for him. If you don’t brush your pet every day… abuse? If you speak sharply to your dog when he misbehaves, is that abuse? If you let your dog go swimming without a life preserver… abuse?

    The question is, how much intervention is appropriate? Something about this story just smells rotten to me. It has the whiff of vendetta about it, and I think that Tobias is a pawn in a very dangerous game of tin pot dictatorship.

    Are we going to have the “obese police” now? Are we as a society really going to let agencies determine everything we eat? Are doughnuts going to become a controlled substance?

    Meanwhile, it’s perfectly ok for agribusinesses and other manufacturers to poison every last one of us in every way imaginable.

  33. straybaby says:

    “The question is, how much intervention is appropriate?”

    i personally do not like too much *official* intervention (i don’t vaccinate, don’t use preventive and feed raw, lol!~). but if we keep in mind there is actually a scale they judge animals on for weight when looking at abuse cases, it’s a bit different. my dog was about a 1.5 in the weight category (15-20lbs under weight on a 45-50 avg dog) when she came in. that same scale goes into the overweight and obese ranges also. overweight is one thing, a dog (animal) weighing almost twice as much as it should is a whole ‘nother issue. there are no laws about applying preventive, vaccines except rabies etc. or about wearing dog jackets, BUT if said dog is in backyard with temps below freezing with no shelter or jacket, there is a law.

    i agree the AC officer overstepped on the financial records, but i’m not ready to make the person out as some kind of meddling monster. could have been something that came up in the discussion. we have no idea what brought the request on and the social workers comments allude to distress on the owners part so it could be a partial misunderstanding. and yes the social worker should have kept her mouth shut, but she did add interesting info. sounds like she may also have a complex as a type of champion.

    hopefully Tobias will continue with his weight loss and will have a nice long life with Lunde.

  34. Lynn says:

    Something smells about all this. Some questions and facts:

    1 A Bloodhound according to AKC weighs 80-110 pounds. This dog weighed 197 before losing 9 pounds.

    2 Owner felt “pressured” to sign up for the veterinarian’s weight loss program. Am I to understand that the veterinarian would even suggest this program [at a purported cost of $1200] BEFORE running bloodwork [e.g., thyroid tests]?

    3 A licensed social worker has time to accompany someone to weekly weigh-ins at a veterinary clinic? It’s been my perception that social workers are stretched to the max. One wonders if this was indeed a licensed clinical social worker who gave the news media information. I really wonder if someone is misrepresenting herself as a social worker……the clue lies in the mention of PTSD, a diagnosis which a REAL LCSW would know is highly uncommon.

    4 If in fact the individual in 3 above was a licensed clinical social worker, she should be stripped of her license for violating patient confidentiality. Even if the pet owner gave the “LCSW” permission to speak on the pet owner’s behalf, I seriously doubt the County’s legal department would consent to such an action.

    5 If you read all the comments in the original publication link, you will see that a lot of Fawn’s friends come to her support. [Uh, where were they before?]


    6 A “Gunderson Lutheran doctor” claims the dog is medically necessary? What kind of doctor is this?

    7 Why is it we’ve heard nothing from the 619 other owners to whom the Humane Society sent notices to?

    8 How did the shelter learn of the problem? Someone had to have called and reported it.

    Yes, I vote Tobias visit poster “NH” for a while. The combination of Synthroid, good eating habits, and REGULAR EXERCISE should get Tobias in shape soon.

    Gindy, it was my cardiologist friend who pointed out that the pet owner’s hips were very pronounced.

  35. Jenny Bark says:

    I agree with the ones of you that think AC overstepped. I think she can have a he!! of a law suit and if it was me I would sue. What has all of this done to her & the dogs health.

    According to the newspaper article Amiie Gabrilska, led senior human officer ORDERED her to take the dog to animal weight loss or she would be fined and the dog might be confiscated.

    We don’t know if this women has depression or what ugly things might have caused it if she does. A lot of people have depression & they sure don’t need people telling the world they have it. I have a freind who when under great stress or something bad happens she laughs & can’t stop laughing. When she had to put her dog to sleep she laughed all the way with tears comming down her face. No she does not have depression, she is a collage grad., great wife, mother & grandmother. If you have a team going she is one women you want on it because she is a great worker, wise person & always their to do more than her share. All medical people should have been taught in school that people react differently under stress. If taking you dog away from you isn’t stress I don’t know what is, maybe having to get $1,200 you don’t have is stress too.

    This AC has given 319 compliance orders in 2006. I sure would like to see what kind they were. I don’t know how big Lacrosse Wisconsin is but I didn’t see anything on tv about them getting any dog fighting or bad abuse cases. I can’t help but wonder how many of these where pets.

    The paper says Fawn Lunde insisted on a blood test & she paid for it herself because the dog weight wasn’t changing. The vet tech gave her the results, not the vet.. After going there once a week for 5 months & paying $1200 the very least the vet could do was face her with the results & tell her he or she was sorry. This does not supprize me, I went thou a lot of vets before I found the one I trusted & liked. Some places the vet techs do all the work & your lucky if you get to spend 2 minutes with a vet.

    I read all of your posts & the 55 in the article. I think Faun is pretty for a 45 year women. I’m skinny now & trying to gain weight because I think any older women looks better with a little bit of weight on them instead of their skin hanging on them like me. At 45 she is still young but is either close or has had change of life & when that happens some where on most womens bodies there will be some weight, mine is the belly & I only weigh 98 #.

    Sorry Straybaby, I like & respect you a lot but I have to disagree with you on this one. Imo Tobias & Faun love & like each other very much. Tobias is a hound breed that is the way their faces look. My Sparky is half basset & his face is very stoic & eyes look like sad puppy dog eyes. His tail may be going 100 miles an hour & be running around having fun but his face always stays the same. If Tobias didn’t love Faun he would not be staying with her outside, he would be smelling every blade of grass in the yard. Inside my Sparky is right beside me outside he wants to smell everything & anything & if he could he would love to track. I don’t think she is big enough of a women to hold him back if he didn’t love her.

    I read the posts in the paper & most thought she should sue. A couple where her friends & liked her & felt bad for her. 2 posts said about a black lab on another street that was fatter than Tobias. Other lived around there & some know all about the AC officer & didn’t like her. Imo the few who thought AC was ok didn’t seem to live around there.

    I don’t know about you all but I see fat dogs & cats everywhere including the vets. I have never heard of a vet or anyone else turning in a fat animal.

    They didn’t say anything about weather Tobias has been to the vet before but I bet he has. Imo the AC officer(don’t want to respect her enough to use name) would have defended herself by saying she was fined for not having rabbies shots.

    How much food did she have to buy from the vet? How much weight did he gain while under care of a vet for 5 months? What did it do to his health while having Fawn “drasticly reduce” his diet because they didn’t believe her? What did it do to Tobias & Fawn’s health being scard they where going to take Tobias & proberly kill him? Did anybody care what Tobias’s wanted? I don’t think Tobias would be adopted if they can’t even get all the puppys adopted. I bet Tobias would like to tell them to go to he!!. I want to stay with my mom, leave us alone, you are causing us pain, you are taking our momey. I don’t want to die even if you think it is for my own good. I love my mom.

    Yes I use the word kill because that is what they do even if they say it is for there own good. It is kill shelters & no Kill shelters. Imo the word humane should be against the law for a kill shelter & AC (dog catcher) to use. The tv makes Ac look good to get peoples money but we all know it is not that way in most places. The money should go to FREE S/N to low income people & catch & release imo.

    I’m sorry it is a long post but I feel really bad for both of them & don’t think they are being treated right at all. Humane means just that not scaring the hell out of you for months. This sounds to me just as bad as the ac officer (dog catcher) that took that poor old cat off of it’s property. It was killed too.

    Fawn if you are reading this & need help I will call every lawyer within 500 milles around you to see if you can get help. I don’t live close to you but I sure can talk & use the phone. Just post some where on Itchmo or leave a pm, I’ll find it. This is suppose to be America the land of the free.

  36. skyler says:

    Thank god for people who care enough to do something about pets who suffer A dogs bone stucture was’nt ment to house that type of weight,and what type of exercise is the dog getting by the look’s of the picture she live’s in a apt, a dog of that size need’s plenty of room to run,as far as her financial records she’ on disability they dont recive that much money their for that why they were asking to see if she could afford treatment for her dog i hope the dog get’s proper HELP SOON because he is suffering.

  37. Juniper says:

    Ya know, people who claim to love animals and yet have overweight pets are seriously sick. and abusive The dog cannot go into the fridge and fix himself a sandwich. Animals will eat what you put before them. I know a couple who have overweight pets - cats and dogs. Two of their dogs died from some sort of terminal disease AND second-hand smoke, plus the poor animals looked like balloons with legs popping out. They currently have a dog whom they claim to “adore” - he is so gigantic that he can barely waddle to the next room. He is constantly fed people food. The owner himself puts the goodyear blimp to shame, so obviously sees no connection between gluttony and obesity, but this poor animal who is now dying of cancer is so pathetic, I am considering calling the humaine society. What is wrong with these peope????

  38. Blackwolf says:

    I don’t really know what to think after reading all of these comments.

    On one hand, I am happy that Tobias got the help that he needed, but at the same time, I have a real tugging on my heartstrings because I was in the owners shoes…TWICE.

    I volunteer at a Humane society many times a week, and about four or five years ago, we got a giant rottweiler by the name of Ursula tied up and abandoned on the front fence of the shelter. She was a pretty girl, but very underfed and absolutely huge in height. She stayed in the shelter for six monthes, and no one even took her out of the kennel for pre adoption socialization, so I made it my mission to see her get adopted.

    Another three months passed, and still no one wanted her. I was called into the coordinator’s office for “The Meeting”. We had to decide whether any of us could foster her, or if she would have to be put down because she was unadoptable. I told the coordinator that even though I wasn’t working full time at that time, I would take her in. He didn’t like the idea, but at the word of some of the other volunteers, and my promising that she would be well cared for or I would give her up without a fight, he let me have her the next night, after she underwent a full vet physical.

    Ursula and I did very well together and she responded wonderfully to the training the two of us did, but as she stayed with me, she started gaining weight. Fearing that she would be taken away from me, I took her in for another physical, and the vet told me that she was fine, just to get her some more exercise. I talked with some people at my church, and finally found a teenager who would be willing to come over while I was at work, and play with ‘my baby’.

    That was in March, by june, she had still not seemed to be losing any weight, and looked a little more rounded. I thought maybe she was pregnant or something, so took her in for one more physical, still nothing wrong, and she seemed perfectly healthy without the warning signs for any of the common problems with overweight dogs. We went home and got back to our lives.

    The very next week, I came home from work, and there was my dogsitter sitting on my doorstep with an empty leash in his hand. I asked what happened and he told me that animal control had stopped him and confiscated the dog for animal abuse, and had given him a summons for me to appear in court if I wanted my dog back.

    I showed up at court and took a very serious tongue lashing from a judge who seemed to be on the side of the animal control officer, saying I had mistreated my dog by letting her get so overweight, even after I provided the court with my detailed vet records. He even went so far as to say that my vet wasn’t qualified to assess Ursula’s condition, because the state appointed vet told him that she was morbidly obese and suffering from the early stages of knee and hip problems.

    Needless to say, I did get Ursula back, after much jumping through legal hoops and about 2000 dollars later we were allowed to go home. I kept her for the rest of her natural life, and she died healthy and happy about a year and a half ago.

    The second time I went through it was with a fat rescued rott named Roscoe. This one doesn’t end so happily, as after a long legal battle, I lost my little man to the system. It seems that in my care I never got the bloodwork done to find out if he had a hormone problem, and so when animal control got a report from one of my neighbors, and they came to check up on me since I was still on record or something as an animal abuser…I don’t know…They found him in his kennel, which I had to put him in since he had the habit of getting his chubby self up and over the fences in my yard and would go on ‘tours’, they left me a notice telling me to once again appear in court. This time I lost because I did not provide him with adequate care, and now I am on probation from working at the shelter, or adopting, keeping, or fostering animals for the next 5 years.

  39. dogcrazy says:

    Wow I really think this ac stepped over the line. I feel bad for this lady, if ac took this dog away from her what would they do with it? Have it put to sleep? chances are since it needs daily meds nobody will adopt him to quickly. This lady loves her dog this you can plainly see, I dont think it was lawful or ethical to put ther medical mental health out there for all to see. Just leave them alone and let them be happy and give her the mony back for the classes that were obvioulsy worthless, since they could not even do a simple blood test for that 1,200. Chances are this dog is not ever going to grow up to be a Dr. or live for another 20 years so with that in mind I think he is in good hands.

  40. Taking Charge Of Your Dogs Diet. | 7Wins.eu says:

    […] Begins TodayThe Year of Living Greenly ? Blog Archive ? In praise of rabbits, the perfect eco-petsOwner Forced To Put Dog On Diet Or Dog May Be Confiscated | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats Tags dog food recipe raw food diet train your dog dog food dog trainer cat food house train potty […]

  41. Indy says:

    So the Animal Control solution was to take the dog and starve him of both food and a caring owner? That’s no solution. also, sounds like they had no intention of testing him - ever.

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