OUR BEST FRIENDS

whs-logo

The Sergei Foundation

shelterpet_logo

The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog

aldflogo

Pinups for Pitbulls

philadoptables

TFPF_Logo

Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

mabb

LD Logo Color

Archive for December 3rd, 2009

A tale of two cities, and two Nippers

albanynipperWhat do Baltimore and Albany have in common?

Giant Nippers.

The cities sport the only remaining giant statues of the RCA Victor mascot that were placed atop RCA warehouses in the northeast in the 1950’s.

Albany’s (left) is the largest — 25 feet tall and weighing almost four tons.

Its history was recounted this week by photographer Chuck Miller on his Times-Union blog.

New York Nipper, erected in 1954, sits atop what is now Arnoff Moving and Storage in North Albany’s early industrial warehouse district.

The bulding was once the RTA warehouse, an RCA Victor electronics distributor, then went through several different owners, serving as a  furniture store, flea market and art gallery. The object on Nipper’s ear is an aircraft beacon that keeps low-flying airplanes from hitting him.

In 1997, according to Miller’s report, there was talk in Albany of removing Nipper, who had deteriorated a bit over 40-plus years, from the top of the building. But Michael Arnoff, owner of Arnoff Moving and Storage, announced the company would spend $1 million in building renovation, including repairing Nipper’s steel skeleton and giving him a new paint job.

baltimorenipperThe Baltimore Nipper statue is 18 feet tall. It was originally installed on the RCA building in Baltimore around 1950. When RCA temporarily discontinued using the icon in 1975, the statue was sold to Virginia resident Jim Wells, reportedly for $1, who moved it to his property in Merrifeld, Virginia.

Twenty years later he decided to sell his land for development as a townhome community. (The street leading to the development is named Nipper Way, according to Wikipedia.)

Wells sold Nipper back to a group of Baltimore citizens, reportedly for $25,000. It is now located on the roof of the Maryland Historical Society at Park Ave. &  W. Centre St.  Unlike Albany’s, Baltimore’s Nipper sculpture still includes a gramophone.

The real Nipper was  a fox terrier-pit bull-maybe something else mix born in Bristol, England in 1884.

When the dog’s owner died, Nipper was passed on to two French painters, Marc and Francis Barraud. In 1895, Francis Barraud saw Nipper gazing intently at a nearby gramophone, and painted the scene, calling the work “His Master’s Voice.”

He later sold the painting to the president of a music company in London called the Gramophone Co., Ltd., where in 1900, Emile Berliner – the inventor of the disc gramophone – saw it and had it registered as an official trademark. Berliner’s company later evolved into the Victor Talking Machine Company, which would later become RCA Victor.

The dog and gramophone trademark appeared in the company’s advertising campaigns, on phonograph cabinets and lids, on records and, in numerous cities, atop buildings.  Most of the rooftop Nippers didn’t stand the test of time, falling out of fashion and victim to weather.

But in two scrappy cities — both known for being proud of their pasts and unashamed of their quirky sides — Nipper is still sitting pretty.

Wisconsin passes puppy mill bill

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on Tuesday signed a bill to regulate large-scale dog breeding facilities — a measure he hopes will bring an end to the state’s reputation as a magnet for puppy mills.

“Frankly, when it comes to regulating dog breeders, we have fallen short of many other states – until today,” Doyle said. “We can’t allow these bad actors to continue these practices here in Wisconsin.”

The bill passed the legislature unanimously in November and requires breeders who sell three litters or 25 or more dogs a year to get licensed by the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The law also sets regulations to ensure dogs get adequate food, water and exercise and are provided safe enclosures. The department will inspect the facilities and can revoke licenses and impose penalties on breeders.

“The puppy mills won’t disappear overnight simply because of the new law,” Eilene Ribbens, executive director of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, said. “It will take years of work to clean up after a very cruel and abusive industry that flourished in Wisconsin during years with no regulation. We have much work ahead of us.”

The Humane Society of the United States said Wisconsin joins nine other states that passed new laws this year to protect both the dogs in puppy mills and the consumers who often unwittingly purchase sick puppies.

In addition to Wisconsin, bills to regulate puppy mills were enacted by the 2009 state legislatures in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington, according to a HSUS press release.

Burglar who placed dog in oven is convicted

falanikoA tipster has received the $2,500 reward PETA offered last fall for information leading to the conviction of a man who placed a South Carolina homeowner’s dog in the oven during a burglary, propped a chair against the door and cooked the dog alive.

Teofilo Falaniko Jr., 21, was sentenced to 11 years in prison and three-and-a-half-years probation after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of unlawful treatment to animals, SCnow.com reported.

Dillon police said Falaniko already was in jail on two other burglary charges when he was charged. He told police he placed the dog — a pug named Penny — into the oven because it bit him during the burglary.

The tipster, whose identity is being withheld, overheard Falaniko bragging about his crime and contacted authorities.

Falaniko admitted to ransacking Bonnie Bowens’ Owens Street residence while she was at church. When Bowens got home, she noticed her front door kicked in and called police.  Officer checked the over and found the dog dead.