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Archive for May 28th, 2009

Pit bull found set on fire fights for life


Thanks to a quick-thinking Baltimore City police officer, and hours of medical attention from shelter workers and vets, a pit bull found set on fire Wednesday is alive today.

Whether she will be tomorrow is another question.

The young female pit bull was found in Southwest Baltimore doused with gasoline and left to burn to death.  Baltimore City police officer Syreeta Teel went to the dog’s aid and put the fire out with her sweater.

“She was fully in flames,” Teel told WJZ. “There were people around, but nobody was doing anything, so I got out of the car, took off my sweater and started hitting her to put the fire out.

“”It was just sad, because I’ve never heard a dog make this sound.  This scream that he made, I’ve never heard before.”

The dog was taken to  the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where Jennifer Mead- Brause, executive director, said that, despite the intense pain the dog was in, she arrived wagging her tail.

Using emergency money  from BARCS Franky Fund, staff took the dog — nicknamed Phoenix — to  Swan Harbor Animal Hospital for initial lifesaving care.

“There’s not one part spared,” said Swan Harbor’s veterinarian, Marcella Bonner. “I’ve seen it on the back, on the tail on the ears.  I’ve never seen it on the whole body.”

The dog also had puncture wounds, a sign she was used in dogfights, Mead-Brause said.

“She is certainly not out of the woods,” BARCS reported. ” She has suffered horrific burns over 95% of her body.  The fire stripped the fur and flesh from her small figure.”  Even the pads of her feet were burned off.

“No animal deserves this type of treatment,” said Mead-Brause. “This is one of the most severe cases of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.”

There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting fire to the dog, and all tips are confidential.  To provide information, call 410-396-4698 and ask for the Animal Enforcement Officer Supervisor at the Bureau of Animal Control. 

BARCS is accepting donations both for the reward fund and for the Franky Fund, which helps provide immediate medical attention to seriously ill or injured animals like Phoenix.

(Photo: Courtesy of BARCS)

Road dog starts new life with his rescuer

highway“Highway,” at last, has a smooth road ahead.

The stray who survived for more than a year surrounded by converging freeways east of downtown Fort Worth now belongs to a former employee of the Humane Society of North Texas who helped rescue her 18 months ago. He adopted her last week.

“She’s jumping around, wagging her tail, happy,” Blake Travis, 25, of Watauga. told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which wrote about the dog, a reddish shepherd mix, two years ago — back when she was still a road dog.

During 2007, the dog was often spotted near the busy interchange at Interstate 35W, U.S. 287 and Spur 280. She slept beneath an overpass, crossed busy on-ramps and ambled alongside streams of speeding traffic.

Highway’s nickname came from a motorist, Lori Adams of Arlington, who began stopping on her way to work to leave food and water for the dog. Another motorist contacted the Humane Society and asked it to capture the mutt before she was injured or killed.

Travis, a veterinary technician, and another Humane Society employee trapped the dog Nov. 28, 2007, and placed her with more than 400 other animals in the society’s facility. She was basically feral,” Travis said. “She hadn’t had any human contact and didn’t want any.”

For a long time, the dog cowered in the back of her cage, but eventually she began socializing with other dogs and bonding with Travis.

Travis made that bond official last week, adopting Highway and taking her home.

(Photo: From the Star-Telegam by D.J. PETERS)

Russian girl barks, eats like dog

Russian child protection officers have removed a five-year-old girl from a home where she was treated like a dog, and acted like one.

The child  barked and lapped up food like a dog, police said on Wednesday.

The girl was found living with relatives and a large number of cats and dogs in a filthy apartment in the Eastern Siberian city of Chita. Police said she appeared more comfortable with the animals than the humans, AFP reports.

When discovered by child protection officers, “the unwashed girl was dressed in filthy clothes” and “threw herself at people like a little dog.”

“In all these years, the girl managed to master the animal language only,” the statement said. “For about five years the girl was ‘brought up’ by several dogs and cats and not once went outside.”

Currently living in a care facility and receiving medical and psychiatric help, the girl continues “to jump against the door and bark” if her caretakers leave the room, police said.

The girl had a good appetite, police said, but preferred to lap up food from a plate rather than use a spoon.

The police statement dubbed the girl “Mowgli” after a fictional character in a children’s book by Rudyard Kipling.

Atlanta TV news “investigates” HSUS

The news report above is one that critics of the Humane Society of the United States want you to see — so much so that they’ve launched a campaign to get it placed on as many websites as possible.

It appears here not as part of that campaign, and not because it’s good investigative reporting — actually it’s pretty shoddy. But since critics are characterizing the “bombshell” video’s removal from both the WSB-TV Channel 2 news website and YouTube as part of some nefarious, freedom-of-speech-infringing conspiracy, we thought we’d post it here.

That way you can see for yourself there’s not much to it. The Humane Society of the United States operates independently of local shelters that have “humane society” in their names. Some members of the public don’t know that. The report asks the question, is the HSUS deceiving people when it seeks donations to do its national level work — primarily lobbying, enforcement of animal cruelty laws and public education?

If HSUS said it was regularly funding local shelters, yes, it would be. But it doesn’t say that, and the kind of work they do (not to mention better investigative reporting than some local TV stations) is posted for everyone to see on the HSUS website.

The Atlanta TV station says it called 20 area shelters and found none of them received funding from the HSUS. That, and finding HSUS critics to interview, appears to be the extent of the investigation. Could the HSUS help local shelters more? Sure. Is it their mission? No. It’s not the umbrella organization for local humane societies, just as the the ASPCA is not the provider for local SPCAs.

The YouTube version of the report is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate.

Steeler hopes to avoid euthanization of dog

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is hoping to find a way to avoid having his it bull, Patron, put down.

The dog bit Harrison’s 2-year-old son, James Harrison III, last Wednesday, and since then has been lodged at Animal Control of McKee’s Rocks, where Harrison originally said he would have him euthanized after a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

The dog became agitated when the toddler began crying last Wednesday at their Franklin Park home. The dog bit both the child, who was released from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital and is now home, and the child’s mother, Beth Tibbott. A friend of Tibbots was also injured as they tried to separate dog and boy.  Harrison was not at home during the attack.

Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, said yesterday that they were seeking an alternative for Patron, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

With the toddlers  improvement — “the baby was actually walking [Monday], there is no muscle or nerve damage, no infection,” Parise said — Harrison wanted to see whether there was a way to avoid putting Patron down.

“I just got done talking to James,” he said yesterday afternoon, “and he would love to find a home for him, but only if it was a home that would provide maximum security. This decision is not being made lightly, and it would have to be in the best interest of the welfare of the animal as well as of people.”