'Cash' released from Healdsburg shelter for dog training

Cash, the large dog whose suitability for adoption provoked a lawsuit and questions about the operation of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, is being released to a dog training facility.

Shelter Director Julie Seal said Monday that the 110-pound Mastiff/pitbull mix would be released to King's Kastle, a Windsor and Cloverdale facility that rehabilitates dogs.

"It's a victory for Cash," said Douglas Keane, the Healdsburg chef who sued to get the dog released from the animal shelter and taken to King's Kastle, the co-plaintiff in the legal action. "I think it's great."

Seal acknowledged the conflict over the adoption of Cash drew focus away from the organization's mission of caring for animals "and left the community questioning the merits and intent of the shelter."

"Although I personally am very concerned about the stability of Cash, King's Kastle is a highly respected organization and is noted for its commitment to rehabilitate the animals in its charge," she said in a statement.

Keane, the chef/owner of Cyrus, the prestigious two-star Michelin-rated restaurant, filed a lawsuit last week to prevent Cash from being euthanized and to have him released from the cramped, 50-year-old shelter on Westside Road.

Keane, a certified dog trainer who has two other dogs he's rescued from shelters, became fond of Cash and expressed a desire to either adopt him, or take him to King's Kastle to train him.

At King's Kastle, dogs are socialized and rehabilitated by becoming part of a dog pack.

Cash has never bitten anyone, and the owner who reluctantly gave up his 4-year-old pet said Cash was well-behaved around children, cats and other dogs.

Cash, described as a "Gentle Giant," was brought to the animal shelter in mid August.

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