ASPCA says Coffee not being abused
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Is Norberto Fernandez exploiting his dog? Maybe. Is he abusing her? No — at least that’s the opinion of an ASPCA investigator who looked into the treatment of Coffee, a pit bull who poses for donations outside New York stadiums during baseball games.
Animal welfare officials have examined the dog often seen panhandling outside Mets and Yankees games and say she bears “no signs of abuse or neglect,” NBC News reported.
The dog, typically dressed in baseball jerseys and often seen wearing a Groucho Marx disguise, or with a pipe in her mouth, was examined Wednesday by the ASPCA.
“It was determined that she bore no signs of abuse or neglect,” the ASPCA said in a statement. “The ASPCA will continue to monitor this situation and be prepared to take action, in the event that any New York State animal cruelty laws are being violated.”
The owner, Norberto Fernandez, of Queens, spoke told NBC New York on Tuesday that he is a professional dog trainer who rescued Coffee from the streets and taught it to pose and hold a pipe in its mouth. He said they make about $75 with each appearance.
“All I do is train dogs and people are starting to hate on me — they’re surprised of all the tricks my dog can do,” Fernandez said.
Some animal lovers have claimed Coffee works without water or rest, and that her behavior is controlled through use of a shock collar — all allegations Fernandez denied. An ASPCA veterinarian found no evidence of a shock collar on Wednesday.
Concerns about the dog’s situation prompted the creation of a Facebook page, “Stop Abusing Coffee.”
Judging from the comments there, not everybody is satisfied with the ASPCA’s investigation, in which Coffee was visited at her home, rather than during one of her appearances at the ballparks.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, apsca, ballpark, baseball, campaign, coffee, complaints, concerns, costumes, disguises, dog, dogs, facebook, investigation, mets, new york, norberto fernandez, panhandling, performing, pipe, pit bull, stadiums citi field, stop abusing coffee, tricks, yankee stadium, yankees