Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vigil for Tyson set on Sunday

By George W. Rhodes, The Sun Chronicle

Volunteers from Friends of Attleboro Animal Shelter who were stung by the death of Tyson, a mixed-breed pitbull they nurtured for six months, plan to hold a candlelight vigil Sunday at LaSalette Shrine.

The vigil is dubbed "A Voice for Tyson."

Tyson was euthanized an hour after being picked up by an animal control officer in Providence and just eight hours after he went missing.

Friends member Kim Penque said the vigil is open to anyone who would like to express their sympathy for the loss of Tyson or anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a beloved pet.

The vigil will be held at 5:30 p.m. near the Rosary Pond. Attleboro shelter volunteers allege Tyson was illegally killed and are pushing for changes in the way the Providence Animal Control Center operates. They have filed suit against the Providence shelter.

"The time for change is now and Tyson's tragic death will be the voice for that needed change. Let there be no additional stories like Tyson's to tell," Penque said. "We are a voice for Tyson."

Update September 27, 2010 10:17am - The following article is by George W. Rhodes, The Sun Chronicle:

Remembering Tyson

At least 100 gather, pledge to let pit bull mix's 'voice be heard'

Those who loved Tyson, a fun-loving pit bull who's bark sounded like the quack of a duck, joined with those who never knew him Sunday to mourn his loss and marshal a force to fight the killers of the popular pooch.

"My promise to (Tyson) is we'll let your voice be heard," said Attleboro Animal Shelter volunteer Kim Penque to at least 100 animal lovers, many teary-eyed, who gathered for a candlelight vigil in the cool and cloudy twilight at LaSalette Shrine's Rosary Pond. "And we'll never stop loving you."

Tyson, a five-year-old, mix-breed pit bull who spent six months in the shelter waiting for a home and quickly wended his way into the hearts of shelter volunteers, went missing Aug. 28 in Providence touching off a frantic four-day search by more than a dozen Friends of the Attleboro Animal Shelter.

The effort was in vain as soon as it started because Providence animal control officers had picked up Tyson about six hours after he got lost and ordered him killed, claiming he had parvovirus, a contagious, but treatable, disease.

The killing, which took place ignoring a state law that requires animals to be held for five days, was nothing more than the murder of an innocent dog based in a deep-rooted prejudice against pit bulls, volunteers allege. A lawsuit has been filed to sort out the charges in court, but the vigil, dubbed "A Voice for Tyson" was all about the love felt for Tyson and the change in attitude and procedures it is hoped his death will spark.

Candles were lighted to the strains of Sarah McLaughlin's "Angel," just one of many sad and emotional songs played by a DJ in the gathering gloom of the early fall night.

Two white doves were released, pennies were tossed into a fountain with wishes for justice and heartfelt poems were read.

"Rest in peace our dear, sweet boy, knowing you filled out hearts with joy," went one.

While pit bulls often get a bad rap, they are not naturally bad and should not be presumed bad, Penque said.

Tyson's bark was anything but ferocious. Penque said it sounded like a duck and often fooled people who walked into the shelter. "Maybe that was his way of telling people not to judge him because of his breed," she said. "He was a good boy and he gave me so much in such a short time."

Tyson was a loving dog, who just wanted a good home, she said.

"From the moment his paws entered the shelter they left footprints in our hearts," Penque said. "That's the kind of dog he was."

He had just gotten a home the day he got lost. His new master took him to Providence to meet friends when Tyson got loose and ran away.

Dennis Tabella, founder of Defenders of Animals Inc., summed up the goal.

"The loss of that sweet soul is a sin and crime," he said. "Let's make sure his voice is heard loud and clear."

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