Methodist named to head Church World Service

Posted: Friday, September 22, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) -- The National Council of Churches has named the Rev. John L. McCullough the new executive director of its international relief agency, Church World Service. He formerly supervised foreign mission personnel with the United Methodist Church, the council's largest member denomination.

Last May, National Council officials settled a long-running dispute by granting the relief agency independent financial control. The agency had complained about the cost and quality of administration by the council.

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Officials say on May 2, 1993, Word and Parshebe, another dog owned by Rabon, attacked two women walking in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, biting one woman twice. Two days later, another woman was bitten twice in the same area.

Several hours after the second attack, Animal Control picked up Word and Parshebe. Parshebe died in captivity last year.

Rabon was convicted on four counts of owning vicious animals, a violation of a city Municipal Code, and sentenced to probation and community service. Authorities tried to kill the pets earlier, setting the execution date on Aug. 4, 1995. But Rabon argued that the dogs were taken from him without his having a chance to find out why, violating his right to due process. It's an argument he's made at all levels of Washington's courts.

''When the dogs were seized, there should have been a hearing,'' said Mitzi Leibst, one of seven attorney's who has represented Rabon since 1993.

''They cannot go snatching up people's property right and left, and that's what they did in his case,'' Leibst said. ''Even those who were attacked had considerable difficulty identifying the biting dog.''

Just as owners should be charged within a set amount of time or released, the same should apply to dogs, Leibst said.

A hearing in 1998 ended with Animal Control manager Don Jordan issuing an order for the dogs to either be put to death or sent to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. That decision was also appealed.

The latest appeal, filed in the state Court of Appeals, says the lower court didn't take Rabon's property rights into account or the emotional relationship between an owner and his pets.

Unless an extension is granted, the city will have until Friday to respond. Rabon's lawyers will have 30 days to respond to that and then the appeals court will hear arguments and make a decision

This isn't the first time Rabon and his dogs have been in trouble with the law. In 1991 and 1992, Rabon was cited for violating the leash law and other incidents with several of his dogs, including Word and Parshebe.

Rabon, who can only manage to visit Word about twice a month, said that sending the dog to the Utah sanctuary would be out of the question.

''I would probably never see him again,'' he said. ''He's my dog and he should be able to come home with me.''

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