Amid continuing backlash over a video that showed him abusing a dog on an elevator, Des Hague has resigned as CEO of the giant sports catering company Centerplate.
The Stamford, Connecticut-based company announced the appointment of a new CEO yesterday.
In a statement, the company’s board of directors didn’t say whether Hague’s resignation was requested — only that “the decision comes as a result of Hague’s “personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care.”
Since the video surfaced in August, dog lovers have been calling for Hague’s firing and threatening to boycott food offerings at stadiums serviced by Centerplate.
In Canada, protestors took to the streets to urge sports team to end their associations with Centerplate.
And a change.org petition asking Centerplate to fire Hague has accumulated close to 200,000 signatures.
Experts being quoted in the media are saying Hague’s fall shows the tremendous power of social media.
We like to think it shows the tremendous power of dog lovers, who happen to be using social media.
Centerplate provides food services to sports venues around the country, holding contracts with teams in the NFL, NBA, Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.
The video — which shows Hague kicking the dog and jerking her off the ground by her leash — was recorded in July by a surveillance camera in the elevator of a Vancouver apartment building. It was turned over to the BC SPCA, which seized the dog, a one-year-old Doberman named Sade.
Hague initially told investigators the dog was his. Later, in a public apology, he said the incident was “a minor frustration with a friend’s pet” and that he had apologized to the dog’s owner.”
The BC SPCA says it’s now clear the dog wasn’t Hague’s, and her owner is seeking to regain custody.
Centerplate initially had little comment on the incident, calling it “a personal matter involving Des Hague.”
But as the backlash from animals built up it issued two more statements — one to announce that Hague had agreed to undergo anger management counseling, another to say he had been put on probation by the company, and had agreed to donate $100,000 to an animal charity and serve 1,000 hours of community service, according to Fortune.com.
In a statement announcing Hague’s resignation and the appointment of Chris Verros as CEO, the chairman of Centerplate’s board of directors said, “We want to reiterate that we do not condone nor would we ever overlook the abuse of animals. Following an extended review of the incident involving Mr. Hague, I’d like to apologize for the distress that this situation has caused to so many; but also thank our employees, clients and guests who expressed their feelings about this incident. Their voices helped us to frame our deliberations during this very unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances.”
The BC SPCA has recommended abuse charges, and the case is now before Crown Counsel.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, business, catering, centerplate, ceo, company, cruelty, des hague, desmond hague, elevator, resignation, resigns, sports, surveillance, video
A South Carolina man who dragged a pit bull mix behind his pick-up truck for two miles received the state’s maximum penalty for animal cruelty.
Circuit Judge Letitia Verdin sentenced Roger Dennis Owens of Greenville to five years in prison Tuesday for ill treatment of animals. He received another 5 1/2 years for habitual traffic offenses.
“This is one of the cruelest things that I’ve seen since I’ve been on the bench,” Verdin said.
Owens dragged the dog behind his truck for at least two miles on Nov. 29 — even as witnesses tried to get him to stop, according to the Greenville News.
Witnesses said the dog was tied to an open truck bed with her front paws on the gate while her hind legs were dragged across the road. The dog was running, trying to keep up with the truck, which was being driven at high speeds.
Two witnesses pursued Owens, following a trail of blood on the road until they found the dog, said Assistant Solicitor Julie Anders.
The dog, now named Andra Grace, was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment, and more than $16,000 was donated to help pay for her care.
She has since been adopted.
Owens’ attorney, public defender Elizabeth Powers Price, said her client has cared for dogs his whole life but had been drinking that day.
You can learn more about Andra Grace on the Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 10 years, 2 miles, abuse, andra grace, animal cruelty, court, cruelty to animals, dennis owens, dog, dogs, dragged, greenville, judge, letitia verdin, mix, pets, pit bull, sentence, south carolina, trial, truck, two miles, vehicle
Workers at a Gilbert dog boarding operation were checking in newly-arrived dogs even as they stashed the corpses of other canine guests in a shed on the property.
That’s just one of the latest disturbing revelations in the case of Green Acre Dog Boarding, where 20 dogs were found dead from suspected heat-related causes last weekend.
The Arizona Republic reported yesterday that at least one customer checked her dogs in at about the same time workers were hiding the bodies of dogs who had perished and attempting to revive dogs who were dying.
Snow Aubel said she phoned the Green Acre Dog Boarding facility to confirm her pets’ drop-off time at about 10 a.m. Saturday morning and told the facility’s owner, Todd Hughes, she could be there within the hour.
He assured her that would be no problem, she said.
She dropped off her 7-year-old Weimaraner, Cheyenne, and 6-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, Yepa, Saturday — apparently just hours before sheriff’s deputies began arriving at the boarding center.
Her dogs stayed at the facility until Sunday afternoon, when word started spreading about the deaths and a representative from the online booking site she used to make the reservation alerted her the dogs should be moved.
“What really makes me upset is when I was there the poor dogs that had passed away were right underneath my nose, and I didn’t even know it,” Snow said. “… They should not have accepted any more dogs.”
Workers told investigators that the dogs were last checked on Thursday at about 11 p.m.
They say when they returned, at 5:30 a.m. Friday, a large number were discovered dead. Others were on the brink of death.
Sheriff’s Office officials initially called the deaths a “tragic accident,” based on the owners’ claims that one of the dogs chewed through an electrical cord, turning off the air conditioning.
But Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Monday said that designation may have been premature. He promised a thorough investigation.
Arpaio said the owners’ timeline didn’t add up: “How can you be healthy at 11 o’clock and dead at 5:30 in the morning? I think that’s the key element,” he said.
Much else about the case doesn’t add up either:
Temperatures that night weren’t too hot — by Phoenix standards — staying in the 80s. At least 17 dogs were boarded in one 10-foot by 10-foot laundry room. Veterinarians weren’t called when staff started finding dead and dying dogs. And the owners told at least some clients that their dogs, who had perished, had “run away.”
On top of that, kennel workers hosed the sick dogs down and applied ice to them, which is contrary to recommended treatment for heat exhaustion, and can lead to dogs going into shock.
The owners of the kennel, Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, were out of town when the dogs died, but they cut their trip to Florida short upon learning of the deaths. In their absence, the boarded dogs were being cared for by the son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz), Austin Flake, and his wife Logan.
The sheriffs office, which released photos of what was found at the kennel this week, said political connections won’t influence their investigation.
(Photos: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 27th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, air conditioning, animals, arizona, boarding, boarding center, bodies, clients, customers, deaths, dogs, flake, gilbert, green acre, heat, joe arpaio, kennel, maricopa county, neglect, pets, shed, sheriff, staff, workers
It seems like every year I’ve teetered a little closer to disliking the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.
A cute concept at first — and one that helped remind us what a superficial thing beauty can be — it seems to have grown into a pageant that, despite its focus on “ugliness,” inches ever closer to reflecting many of the same negative traits of purebred dog shows and beauty contests.
As the quirky little contest at the Sonoma County Fair in Petaluma has grown huge, and the title more sought after, there has been a concurrent increase in cut-throat competition, campaigning and hype.
But it’s the choice of this year’s winner that may have finally pushed me into being a fan no more. The title of World’s Ugliest Dog was won by a dog whose unusual appearance is the result of being abused.
And that troubles me.
This year’s winning dog, Peanut, a two-year-old mixed breed, is from Greenville, N.C. He was adopted from a shelter after being found abandoned and severely abused. It is suspected he was set on fire. While he’s healthy now, his eyelids, lips and patches of hair on his body were burned off, which accounts for much of his unusual appearance.
His owner, Holly Chandler, held fundraising campaigns to travel to California and enter Peanut in the contest — all, she said, to help raise awareness about animal abuse.
Given that’s a large part of this website’s mission, too, I have no problem with that cause.
I’m all for celebrating dogs who look different. I’m all for celebrating dogs who have overcome harsh odds. I’m all for abused dogs recovering and becoming rich and famous while their abusers rot in prison.
Where my discomfort comes in, I think, is placing abused animals in a “contest” context and, within that party atmosphere, picking a winner whose looks are the result of being horribly mistreated at the hands of man.
Abuse, it seems to me, should not be connected to pageantry and cash prizes, no matter how circuitous that link is.
Yesterday, I watched a local TV report about Peanut winning the contest. The anchor people, while noting Peanut had an inner beauty, laughed and joked about his appearance, as I’m sure the crowd did at the contest.
Peanut beat 24 other dogs to win the contest Friday, receiving more than double the votes the second-place dog received.
While his owner seemed sincere in her purpose, and probably did raise awareness about animal abuse, I can’t help but wonder whether we should all be chuckling — even while feeling sympathy and love for Peanut — at his appearance, at his prominent teeth, or his eyes that never close, given it was all the result of a cruel criminal act.
On the other hand, the world should know Peanut’s story — and the contest was a way to make that happen.
Maybe, though, there are better, more dignified ways, such as writing a book, or taking him to schools, or sharing his story with the news media — ways that might avoid the appearance of exploitation and have a little less of the circus atmosphere that seems, in my mind at least, to clash with serious nature of animal abuse.
I doubt there is any danger of people disfiguring their dogs in hopes of winning the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, but — given the world can be pretty ugly — stranger things have happened.
I think it would be wise, and in good taste, for contest officials to impose and enforce a ban on dogs whose “ugliness” or unusual looks are a result of actions taken by humans — whether those actions are heinous criminal acts or cosmetic steps, like dyeing, taken for amusement purposes.
While the contest’s web page states that “all the dogs must provide a veterinarian’s paperwork asserting that they are healthy and are ‘naturally ugly,’ Peanut’s victory casts some doubt on how strongly that’s being enforced.
All that said, I don’t find any fault with Chandler entering Peanut in the contest. She was on a mission. She made her point.
Maybe the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, after 25 years, has made its point too. A cute and well-intentioned gimmick with a sweet message, it might be growing into a bit of a monster. Maybe it should fade way before it becomes too Westminstery.
I have problems with contests that award people, or dogs, for good looks and conformity. Maybe I have issues with awarding them for “bad” looks and non-conformity, too.
Definitely I don’t like the idea of people laughing and finding amusement in a dog’s misery, which, in a very distant, removed and indirect way, is what’s going on.
That’s the best I can do at explaining the ill-at-ease feeling Peanut’s victory gives me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(Photo: From Holly Chandler’s Gofundme page)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2014, abuse, animal cruelty, animals, awards, awareness, beauty, burned, competition, contest, contests, dogs, peanut, petaluma, pets, set on fire, sonoma county fair, ugliest, ugly, world's ugliest dog
Those who think this website contains too much distressing dog news (which it does, because the world does) might want to skip this story.
“Beyond the human imagination,” is how the sheriff of Parker County, Texas, described it.
But, obviously, it wasn’t — at least not for the human who shot and killed a mother dog and then left her body in a crate with her nursing puppies.
Sheriff Larry Fowler said yesterday an arrest has been made in connection with the incident, which came to light when a school bus driver found the crated animals Wednesday morning in Springtown.
The mother dog had an apparent gunshot wound to the head and was found in in the crate with 10 puppies that were less than two weeks old, according to Fox News
“These puppies were left defenseless and still nursing on their deceased mother,” the sheriff said.
He added, “Parker County does not have an animal problem. We have a people problem. It’s hard to imagine that someone would be so cruel as to execute any animal. But to kill a dog with nursing babies and leave such a gory picture is beyond human imagination.”
On its Facebook page, the Sheriff’s Office reported the arrest over the weekend of Tammy Green Douglas.
Douglas, 44, was jailed early Sunday morning on charges of animal cruelty, but freed after posting $3,000 bond Sunday afternoon, according to a press release issued last night.
The dead dog was described as a four-year-old brown heeler-shepherd mix named Aowa. She’d been shot with a 9 mm handgun, while in the crate, the sheriff’s office said, and the puppies were later placed inside with her.
Investigators were led to Douglas by a tipster who showed them a text message she allegedly sent: “I did what I did and I would do it again — if need be.”
According to an affidavit filed in connection with the case, Douglas acted out of revenge because Aowa had killed another dog that got too close to the litter, KVUE reported.
The 10 puppies were taken to the Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch.
The organization reports on its Facebook page that the puppies have been placed with two surrogate pit bulls who will help nurse them until they can be put up for adoption.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 2nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abuse, angels & outlaws, angels & outlaws second chance bully ranch, angels and outlaws, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, corpse, crated, cruelty to animals, dead, dog, dogs, dumped, investigation, killed, larry fowler, left, mother, news, nursing, parker county, pets, puppies, pups, sheriff, shot, tammy green douglas, texas
The dog, named Scottie, belonged to a Germanton couple.
Early this month, they were out of town when they received a call that Scottie had been killed, according to Fox 8.
A necropsy showed the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds, but Scottie also had cuts on his legs, trauma to his brain and pancreas, and broken ribs. Authorities believed the dog was dragged, possibly by a four-wheeler.
Scottie’s owner, Joy Caudle, said they found ATV tracks on their property, near where Scottie was dumped.
Fur-Ever Friends of NC initially offered a $4,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of the 3-year-old dog. The Humane Society of the United States has contributed another $5,000.
“This was a horrible, horrible crime,” said Lois Smith, a Fur-Ever Friends board member. “This was a friendly family pet that had never shown any ill will to anyone.”
Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to call Crimestoppers at 336-727-2800.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, atv, australian shepherd, beaten, cruelty, dogs, dragged, forsyth county, fur-ever friends, furever friends, germanton, hsus, humane society of the united states, joy caudle, killed, north carolina, pets, press conference, reward, scottie, sheriff, shot, torture, winston-salem
(Warning: The video above, which begins after a commercial message, is graphic and disturbing)
In January, a pit bull named Tiger was surrendered to a Louisiana shelter by an owner who complained the dog was behaving aggressively.
Last month, sheriff’s officers in St. Bernard’s Parish arrested the man seen in the video above, Asani Woods — Tiger’s owner.
And people wonder why some pit bulls turn mean.
Woods was videotaped beating Tiger in December. She was surrendered in January, and put down at the shelter that month.
In March, the video was found on cellphone of a man arrested on drug charges — a friend of Woods.
An investigation led to the arrest late last month of Woods, 21, of Violet, on charges of animal cruelty, according to the Times-Picayune
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann released the video, which shows Woods scolding the dog for getting into the trash, choking her, hitting her with boxing gloves and slamming her to the ground.
Pohlmann on Monday called the video “graphic” and “disturbing … In my 30 years of law enforcement I never saw an incident such as this captured on video.”
He added, “You hear often times about pit bulls attacking individuals, you know, well, this is probably one case where you would like to see the pit bull defend himself, with such a brutal attack.”
Woods was arrested March 28, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and was being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
Under questioning from sheriff’s officials, Woods said he was only disciplining his dog: “Yeah that was me. What you going to arrest me because I beat my dog because it shit and pissed all over my house?” Woods is reported to have said to the arrresting officer.
The video was found on the cell phone of a drug suspect who was one of Woods’ neighbors. Johnny Dominick, 21, admitted videotaping the beating, the sheriff said.
In addition to drug counts, Dominick was charged with aggravated cruelty.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 9th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, aggression, animals, arrest, asani woods, beating, brutal, cellphone, cruelty, disturbing, dog, dogs, euthanized, graphic, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sheriff, surrendered, tiger, video