Tony’s Tale – a Film to Show the Dark Side of Judicial Killing

Tony’s Tale – a Film to Show the Dark Side of Judicial Killing

The story below is reposted here from with permission of the author.Tony' Tale

Imagine you are wrongfully accused of a crime, taken from your family home, locked up in a cage for seven months then euthanized all based on little to no evidence that you even committed a crime. The despair, frustration and helplessness you would feel would be unbearable.

Such is the case of Tony, an almost eight year old Pit bull/Sharpei mix who was a much loved, peaceful family pet. He loved children and other animals until that fateful day on November 16th, 2011 in Clifton, Arizona, when a neighbor accused Tony of killing her fourteen year old female Chihuahua.

Tony’s owner Michelle Dozier was surprised when two days after the incident Greenlee County Animal Control showed up with an order to seize Tony and her other two dogs based on accusations that they were aggressive dogs and a danger to others. In March of 2012 the other dogs were released back to Michelle with the exception of Tony who was ordered by Justice of the Peace Grace Nabor to be euthanized. This decision was based on no physical evidence only hearsay. There was no forensic report conducted or investigation of the Chihuahua’s death. The only documented report was from a veterinarian advising the dog had died from deep puncture wounds to her intestines. Tony could not have made these wounds due to his teeth being broken. The Chihuahua’s owner stated she saw Tony attacking her dog while her dog was in the roadway. She then changed her story at the February 23rd, 2012 hearing by saying she did not actually see the beginning of the attack just Michelle’s other two dogs standing there barking. Even with this lack of physical evidence Justice of the Peace Grace Nabor ordered Tony to be euthanized on June 18th, 2012.

Her decision raised nationwide and worldwide outcry. A petition was launched on to save Tony and get him a stay of execution. Over 30,000 people signed it. But to no avail. Tony was killed and his body dumped like garbage in a local landfill.

This whole tragic situation cannot help but raise certain questions. How can a person who was in authority act so unjustly? How can a small town Justice of the Peace who has no law degree decide who lives and who dies? Why was an innocent dog and his family made to suffer based on allegations that had no physical evidence to back them up and a witness who changed her story twice? Why was Michelle Dozier denied having her case heard before the Superior Court? Why did Grace Nabor an elected official totally ignore the 30,000 signatures on Tony’s stay of execution petition? How can we place our trust and respect in those in the justice department who act unjustly and with callous unfeeling for the rights of others? These questions remain unanswered.

But, Tony’s spirit will not be silenced.

Denise Carey-Costa author of Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona has teamed up with Hollywood producer/ Director Josh Mitchell to produce the film version of “Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona.” Through this film they hope to expose these unlawful judicial murders of our family pets as well as take a stand for dogs like Tony who are murdered everyday around the world just because of their breed. The film will explore the history of Pit Bulls and how this once beloved “Nanny Dog” has become notorious, feared and hated by society.

Please help make “Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona” a reality. Vist the Rally page to contribute to the production of the film.

We all need to take a stand on this and right this wrong, apathy in itself is a crime. We all need to send a strong message to those in authority that they are not above the law. To never again allow a dog like Tony to be put to death at the personal whim of someone who is acting out of anger instead of fairness and objectivity.

We can only hope that as Tony lay there during his execution, feeling his life ebbing away, his last thoughts were happy memories of life with his family as a beloved family pet, not memories of a cold cage in a dark dungeon.

So rest in peace dear Tony! As you cross that well known Rainbow Bridge with a wag of your tail and a skip in your step know that your death was not in vain. You will not be forgotten. We will all keep fighting for you.


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