Did This Dog-Loving Couple Commit “Animal Abuse”?


John and Danika Shipman with their Yorkies, Copper and Penny.

photo via Dogster

Here’s a fascinating story from Dallas about a couple of dog lovers who are accused of abusing their pets. The story begins with a couple of young men who parked their car in a in a garage and were surprised to hear dogs barking. When they investigated, they discovered that the sound was coming from the trunk of a car. As dog lovers, they felt that this was inhumane, so they called the police, who then called the fire department. Firemen pried the trunk open to reveal two Yorkshire terriers. (See the video below.)

The dogs’ owners, Danika and John Shipman, were eating lunch in a nearby restaurant, when they received a phone call: “This is the Dallas Police and you need to come out to your car immediately. The fire department has broken into your car and we have your dogs.”

Baffled, the Shipmans retrieved their dogs and discovered some $5,000 is damage to their car caused by the firemen’s efforts to extract the dogs.



The Shipmans claim that they love and dote on their dogs, Copper and Penny, and they believe that they did nothing wrong. According to a story from WFAA.com:

The Shipmans said their dogs—Copper and Penny—were in the trunk. They told us they tilted one of the back seats forward, so there was an opening between the trunk and the car’s cabin.

“I put them back there because I didn’t want them in the cabin, because they will unlock the door,” John Shipman said. “Those pups cost about $1,000 each. I don’t want somebody to just reach in there and steal them.”

Now the Shipmans are horrified that they are being portrayed as abusive, and they are dealing with the possibility that criminal charges may be filed. Plus, there’s that large repair bill to deal with.

Before we ask the Big Question, there are a couple of factors to consider:

1. It was a cloudy day, with temperatures in the mid 50s.
2. The back seat was pulled back, allowing an ventilation and some light into the trunk.

So what do you think? Are the Shipmans guilty of animal abuse, were the police and fire department too aggressive, or is there some position between the two in which both parties are at fault?

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