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Archive for January, 2010

Rescue Ink roars into Pennsylvania

rescueinkvan

 
They left the choppers at home (too cold), but members of Rescue Ink arrived in Pennsylvania Friday to help search for the killer of a Chester County family’s two dogs — and promote their TV show at the same time.

The tattooed stars of National Geographic’s TV show “Rescue Ink Unleashed” greeted fans at the Chester County SPCA, and later Friday night at a town hall meeting.

Then they set out to search for the killer of Emma and Luna, two dogs found slain in October.

The dogs were reported missing from a Pocopson Township farm on Oct. 25 and were found later that day several miles away in Pennsbury Township by a resident walking in the woods near railroad tracks along the Brandywine Creek, Britton said. The dogs were shot between the eyes and lined up tail to tail.

Rescue Ink had this message for the perpetrator: “Come find us before we find you.”

Joe Panz, one of the members, said the group plans to spend several days canvassing Chester County neighborhoods. “We’re street guys; we know how to get information from people,” he said.

Members of the New York-based group chatted with visitors at the SPCA Friday, many of them members of the animal-rescue community, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Anyone with information about Emma and Luna is asked to call the Chester County SPCA at 610-692-6113, Ext. 213. A $50,000 reward has been posted.

(Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

Philly man charged with setting dog on fire

phillydogA Philadelphia man has been accused of pouring rubbing alcohol over a puppy and setting it on fire.

The 5-month-old pit bull mix was burned “very badly,” said Pennsylvania SPCA officials who took part in the arrest. The puppy, which rescuers named Rudy, was being treated last night at the SPCA facility on East Erie Avenue.

The dog’s neck and ears were charred, its whiskers were burned off, and one of its corneas was seared. The animal also had been burned repeatedly with a cigarette. “It’s going to be disfigured, and maybe also blind in one eye,” said George Bengal, the SPCA’s director of law enforcement.

John William Fleet III, 33, was taken into custody Friday at his home in Northeast Philadelphia and charged with animal cruelty, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

On Thursday night, police say, Fleet had his two children — a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl — hold the dog while he covered it with alcohol. Bengal said authorities believe the suspect became enraged after the dog nipped at the children.

The incident came to light when a counselor at Harding Middle School heard what happened and notified the SPCA.

Police, after not being allowed into the house, broke through a window to gain entrance and found the dog in the basement. Fleet told investigators the dog was burned accidentally.

 The children last night were staying with their mother at another location.

Dogfighting suspect worked as groomer

carusoOne of the three suspects arrested last week in what Baltimore County police describe as a dogfighting operation has a long record — of fighting for dogs.

Nicole Marie Caruso,  a dog groomer at Sobo Dog Daycare & Spa in South Baltimore, is praised by her current and former bosses and friends as an animal rights activist and dog rescuer.

Police say she and the two other occupants of the home they raided in North Point sold marijuana, fought with neighborhood rivals and ran a dogfighting ring centered around their pit bulls – Dutch, Whezzy, Lucia, Bruno, Gotti and Kane.

Police said they found blood smeared on walls, weights, chains, collars, a treadmill, steroids, veterinary supplies  and three aggressive pit bulls that showed signs of injuries.

Police charging documents portray Caruso’s role as that of a nurse treating injured patients – whether the dogs were forced to fight for bets or simply fought one another for fun, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Caruso worked most recently at the SoBo Dog Day Care, which opened last year in Locust Point. Prior to that, she spent two years as a veterinarian technician at Animal Medical Clinic on York Road in Timonium.

Her bosses at both places described her to Sun reporter Peter Hermann as a dog lover who rescued strays, patched wounds, and wrote articles on animal health for websites.

“It’s a huge shame, very heartbreaking,” said Nancy Jolle, the office manager of Animal Medical Clinic. “We’re kind of in shock. We don’t know what to think until they sort out the facts,” Jolle said.

At the SoBo Dog Day Care, owner Bill Link said customers raved about her work. “She has a fantastic following,” Link said. “I just can’t believe she did what they say she did because she’s such an advocate.”

Link reiterated what several of Caruso’s neighbors have said in her support — that she bought the treadmill for $30 on Craigslist to lose weight, not to train her dogs to fight.

Caruso has been released on $125,000 bail.

Miles, from nowhere — a cat story

For the past two weeks, on my way to the park with my dog, I’ve been stopping to see a cat.

He (or she) has been living underneath the wooden stairs in front of an empty rowhouse in South Baltimore, depending on the kindness of strangers, who have left him food and supplied him with a little cardboard house.

With temperatures dropping, and snow coming, and reports that he was getting kicked around on the street corner, I brought him home last night.

Now he needs a home.

Got one?

To inquire, contact me at muttsblog@verizon.net.

Dog rescued in L.A. river reclaimed by owners

The dog pulled from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River a week ago has been reclaimed by his owners after they recognized him in a video of the dramatic rescue on YouTube.

The dog, dubbed Vernon after he was pulled from the river by a firefighter dropped from a helicopter, is actually named Spikey. His family had searched their neighborhood in Maywood for him, but found him on the computer.

“Somebody from the family noticed that the dog was on YouTube, and that’s how we finally figured out that was the dog, ” said Ramon Medina, son of the dog’s elderly owner.

The family contacted officials at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority on Monday to claim the dog, officials said.

“We’ve interviewed him at the animal care center, we’ve gone to his house, interviewed neighbors, verified dog license and vaccination records,” said SEAACA director of operations Captain Aaron Reyes. “Vernon went nuts when he saw him. His whole demeanor changed — like he found a long lost friend.”

Spikey will be released as early as next Tuesday, after he is cleared from his quarantine, NBC in Los Angeles reported.

Spikey’s older brother, a yellow lab named Polo, also escaped from the home last week and was found loose Saturday in the same area where Spikey was rescued. Polo is also being held in an animal control facility. Officials believe young children may have left the gates open at their grandmother’s home, allowing the dogs to escape.

“Maybe he was looking for Vernon/Spikey,” Reyes said. “We don’t know.”

Emma and Luna: Deaths still unsolved

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The reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever shot and killed two dogs in Pennsylvania  has reached $50,000, the Chester County SPCA said yesterday — and the gang at Rescue Ink has joined in the investigation.

The reward fund was established last October after the two family pets were found near the railroad tracks along Brandywine Creek in Pennsbury Township. Both had been shot between the eyes at close range.

Emma, a one-and-a-half-year-old German shorthaired pointer, and Luna, a two-year-old mix of the same breed, had been placed tail to tail, said Rich Britton, spokesman for the Chester County SPCA. The two dogs were reported missing from a Pocopson Township farm Oct. 25.

Today, the search for the killer will get an additional boost from Rescue Ink, a group of tattooed animal rescuers who appear on National Geographic Channel’s Rescue Ink Unleashed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rescue Ink, which targets animals in danger, will participate in a news conference today at 2 p.m. and meet with the public from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Chester County SPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester. A town-hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m.  at the Chadds Ford Historical Society, 1736 Creek Rd.

Dog’s head in pipe was tip of the iceberg

A six-inch wide piece of steel pipe had sat in Kay Simmons backyard in Colorado for a long time, but only this week did her wolf-dog hybrid, Marina, decide, for reasons unknown, to stick her head in it.

The 3-year-old dog is recovering from cuts, scrapes and bruises after spending more than seven hours Tuesday with her skull wedged in the 8-foot-long pipe.

“It was a pretty terrible day,” Simmons, 73, told the Boulder Daily Camera Wednesday before leaving to pick up her pet from the veterinarian.

On Friday, though the Daily Camera reported that Simmons has had a lot of terrible days:

She has a lengthy history of animal violations, and last year authorities killed five of her wolf-dogs after they attacked neighborhood pets, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Simmons,  who lives on the Boulder County side of the border with Jefferson County, has at least four open “animal violation” cases in Jefferson County, into which her wolf hybrids sometimes wander.

“She has the largest file in the office,” said Camille Paczosa, animal control officer and supervisor.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has taken more than 50 complaints about Simmons’ wolf-dogs and charged her dozens of times since 1985. The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has taken at least 16 reports of “dangerous animals at large” and similar violations since 1986.

One neighbor said he’s glad the animal is OK, but he finds it “ironic, if not insulting,” that the Sheriff’s Office and firefighters spent so much time and money “to save one of these animals but let the documented hazard to humans go on for almost 15 years.”

Simmons told authorities this week that one of her dogs started “making a racket” about noon Tuesday. When she went outside she found Marina squirming to free herself from the pipe.

Nearly 20 people from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the Coal Creek Fire Department and the Boulder Emergency Squad tried to free her, using everything from vegetable oil to a spatula. Finally, one of the firefighters — who also works as a plumber — used a pipe saw to cut off most of the steel, leaving just one foot of pipe covering the dog’s head. That allowed crews to transport her safely to the veterinary clinic.

Once at the clinic, a “grinding tool” was used to cut a triangle out of the pipe. When Marina was finally freed from the pipe she “sprang up” and appeared to be fine. She’s expected to make a full recovery.

But Wednesday’s feel-good story took a turn later in the week.

Steve McAdoo, who has lived near Simmons for about six years, told the Daily Camera he’s afraid for his 3- and 5-year-old children’s lives after four of Simmons’ wolf-dogs “ripped to shreds and almost killed” his 35-pound spaniel, Molly, in August.

After the attack on that same night, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the wolf-dogs attacked other animals and caused property damage. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office killed five of the hybrids.

“Two weeks later, she got five more,” McAdoo said. “And she’s been doing this for years.”

In August 2003, Jefferson County animal control officers took three of Simmons’ wolf-dogs and charged her with having a dangerous dog. In 2000, authorities took a report of a dog being killed by wolves in that area, but they were unable to identify the wolves that attacked, according to Jefferson County officials.

(Photo: Paul Aiken/Boulder Daily Camera)