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Archive for November 14th, 2008

Vick dogs featured on wine labels

Pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation in Virginia are now gracing the labels of wine bottled by a Southern California winery.

Georgia, Handsome Dan, Curly and other pit bulls rescued from the ring and sent to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, are featured on a line of boutique red wines from Carivintas Winery, a company that combines wine-selling with philanthropy.

The Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection features colorful portraits of 22 dogs confiscated from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels that now live at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah.

Each bottle includes a portrait of one of the dogs on the label. On the back, instead of a description of the wine, there’s a brief story about each four-legged friend, according to an Associated Press story.

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Homeless L.A. man back with his pit bull

I was driving down Century Boulevard when I spotted them — a homeless man, judging from the Vons grocery cart he was pushing down the sidewalk, and a three-legged pit bull in a service dog vest, hobbling alongside, her leash tied to the cart.

I made a u-turn, saw him walking down Hawthorne and, after one more u-turn, pulled my rental car alongside the man and dog as they turned down 101st Street.

His name is Mike Reed, and his dog’s name is Topaz, and as we sat on the sidewalk and talked — next to his bottle of King Cobra malt liquor in a black plastic bag — Topaz, weary from a just completed walk, snoozed on the concrete, wearing a service dog vest that said “Don’t Touch Me, I’m Working.”

Reed has had Topaz for five years. He takes care of her. She takes care of him, helping him cope with life on the streets — the kind of life that can turn violent at any second, and on Aug. 31 did just that.

On that day, he and Topaz found themselves standing innocently in the middle of a confrontation between another homeless man and officers from the Inglewood Police Department.

Reed had just met the man minutes earlier — after the man entered a store and an employee noticed what appeared to be a gun in his pants. Police were called, and tracked the man down. Not knowing whether Reed was an accomplice, officers put Reed in a squad car. Topaz remained on the sidewalk, leashed to Reed’s grocery cart.

As Reed decribes it, police told the suspect to put his hands in the air. The suspect raised and lowered his hands two times. The third time he lowered them, he reached for what police thought was a gun, and a barrage of shots followed.

The gun turned out to be a plastic toy.

Four or five shots struck Topaz, one shattering her hip bone.

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From a hairless breed, to the hairiest of all

    Now that we’ve met one of the world’s least hairy dogs, the Peruvian hairless dog, it’s time to meet the hairiest — the Komondor, a rare breed that, thanks to Kyra, a Komondor in the UK, has seen its numbers increase by nearly 25 percent.
    Known for their white fur that grows in long dreadlocks — giving them the appearance of a motorized mop — Komondors had seen their numbers in Britain drop to 40.

Kyra’s record litter of nine fluffy pups, brought it up to 49.

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