Facing death threats, the organizer of an event aimed at softening the harsh view many Muslims have of dogs has apologized for the furor his “I Want to Touch a Dog” gathering has created.
Syed Azmi Abhalshi, reacting to complaints that the event in Malaysia was insensitive, said he was only trying to educate people — Muslim and non-Muslim.
He said his intention was not to convert Muslims into dog lovers or lead them to violate the precepts of their faith.
Many Malays took offense at photos from the event.
“I organized this event because of Allah, not to deviate the people’s faiths, try to change the Islamic rules of law, poke fun at the ulama or encourage pluralism,” Syed Azmi said.
Since the event last Sunday, he has received threats, and posts on social media platforms have accused him of being “a Christian in disguise, according to the Straits Times.
Syed Azmi spoke at a press conference Saturday in Kelab Sri Selango – but left abruptly because he feared for his safety, his lawyer said.
“We are very concerned with his well being,” his lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, said.
In the week since the event Syed Azmi, a pharmacist, has received more than 3,000 phone messages on his phone, many of them hateful and a dozen of them threatening physical harm, the New York Times reports.
The event, aimed at dispelling negative perception of dogs particularly among Muslims, started out as a small get-together for those curious about dogs, but it was attended by about 800 people, about half of them Muslims.
Syed Azmi said he never meant to encourage people, particularly the Muslims, to adopt dogs as pets but was merely trying to offer advice on how to deal with dogs.,
“During the event, the participants were also given detailed explanation on rules and regulations on how to handle dogs,” he said, including instructions in sertu, the Islamic way of purifying.
Some Muslim attendees kissed and cuddled with dogs, but organizers said that — despite the event’s name — wasn’t the intention of the program.
“There were those who wanted to learn to touch the dogs and there were those who just wanted to observe,” said co-organizer Norhayati Ismail. “I admit we had no control over the crowd and what they did to the dogs. There could also be those who came late and did not hear our explanation from the Islamic perspectives,” she said.
Although many Muslims in other countries do not view touching dogs as forbidden, conservative Islamic groups in Malaysia view dogs as unclean and followers are required to undergo a ritualistic wash if they come into contact with canines.
(Top photo: Najjua Zulkefli / The Malaysian Insider)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 28th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apology, controversy, death threats, dogs, event, furor, i want to touch a dog, islam, malaysia, muslims, perception, pets, religion, syed azmi, Syed Azmi Abhalshi, threats, touch a dog
Photos of a dog being dragged by a car in China led to an online campaign to track the driver down, his identity being unveiled, and enough harassment to bring him to apologize for what he did.
The photos of the dragging, and some videos, were posted starting Saturday on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site similar to Twitter, and quickly went viral.
An online manhunt — or what’s sometimes called a “human flesh search” — for the driver led to him being identified, likely through his license plate number.
His name, address and telephone number were shared on Sina Weibo, where there was also talk among users of visiting him and administering their own justice.
Before that could happen, the driver appeared on a Shantou Television news program on Monday admitting responsibility for the incident and apologizing.
He said the dog is a watchdog at his factory, and had bitten people. He wanted to get rid of the dog, but couldn’t kill it with his own hands, according to China Daily.
“I couldn’t see the dog in my rear-view mirror so I wasn’t aware that it was bleeding badly,” the man, identified only as Zheng, said in his public apology. “I apologize for my actions and hope Sina Weibo users would not to reveal or share any more of my personal information,” he said.
Witnesses said that after the dragging Zheng untied the dog — bleeding and near death — and threw it into some bushes on the side of a busy road in Shantou, in China’s Guangdong province.
An animal rights group has organized a campaign to find the missing dog, a spokesperson for the group told BBC Trending. The driver claims the dog was still alive when left at the side of the road, but volunteers have been unable to find it.
(Photo from Sina Weibo)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apology, car, china, cruelty, dog, dragged, Guangdon, human flesh search, internet, pets, photos, Shantou, sina weibo, social media, video, weibo
It’s not every day that you find Fortune magazine covering a dog abuse story.
But when the apparent abuser is CEO of a prominent sports catering company, and the abuse is captured on an elevator surveillance camera, it raises some questions — including, in this case at least, whether he should remain in that position.
Many a dog lover is calling for the immediate firing of Des Hague, CEO of Centerplate, a food service company that runs the concessions at several sports arenas nationwide, including those that are home to the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers.
Many are suggesting a boycott of the food served by Centerplate at the stadiums it has contracts with.
So, in a way, it is a business story — Hague’s atrocious behavior, public as it has gone, could play a role in the future of the company.
But it’s also a dog story, so you should know that the pup was not seriously injured (at least in a physical way) and has been removed from the care of Hague.
While some reports say Hague was watching the dog for a friend, a spokesperson for the BC SPCA said Hague appears to be the owner of the year-old Doberman Pinscher named Sade.
The BC SPCA is keeping the dog in an undisclosed location, either a shelter or foster arrangement.
This week, Hague released a statement of apology, through his attorney, calling the incident “completely and utterly out of character … I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed… a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response … I would like to extend my apology to my family, company and clients, as I understand that this has also reflected negatively on them.”
Centerplate, based in Connecticut, says it “does not condone the mistreatment of animals by any of its employees” — that’s good to know — and that it was conducting an internal review of the matter.
“Mr. Hague has agreed to attend counseling to address his anger management issues and has publicly expressed he is deeply ashamed and remorseful for his behavior,” the statement continued. “He has apologized to everyone directly involved as well as to the company’s clients and employees, and has pledged a significant, personal, multiyear financial commitment to help support the protection and safety of animals.”
The company’s board of directors says it has ordered Hague to donate $100,000 toward the establishment of the Sade Foundation, named after the dog he mistreated in the elevator, Fox 12 in Oregon reported.
In addition, the board is requiring him to serve 1000 hours of community service at an animal welfare organization.
While those steps might be an attempt to cut off any criminal prosecution, they don’t preclude charges being filed. They do show that the company’s board members — by appointing themselves judge and jury — are aware how serious the public is taking his misdeeds.
Whether the financial donation and community service are voluntary or company-ordered, they still seem a little like Michael Vick’s “redemption” song, which not too many people bought as sincere.
Sorry, rich guys. But forgiveness can’t be achieved by writing a check. Nice as it would be to see Hague pay, and pay, and pay, money doesn’t erase misdeeds. And, as Vick’s dogfighting case showed, dog lovers have a very long and unforgiving memory.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 28th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, apology, arena, bc, business, cam, camera, caterer, centerplate, ceo, company, corporate, cruelty to animals, denver broncos, des hague, dog, dogs, elevator, food, image, indianapolis colts, jerked, kicked, memory, pets, public, sade foundation, san francisco 49ers, spca, sports, statement, surveillance, vancouver, video, yanked
“Let me give you a public apology right now on behalf of the city of Houston,” Mayor Annise Parker said. “I don’t know what airhead – there’s another word in my mind but I’m not going to say it – would throw, you wouldn’t put a kid on the side of the road. You shouldn’t put someone’s pet on the side of the road.”
The airheaded officer has not been identified.
But police say an internal investigation of the incident is underway, and that it could take six months to complete.
As reported by KTRK, the complaint stems from a July 14 traffic stop. Josie Garcia says her husband and a friend were pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. Police say they found drugs in the vehicle — a prescription medicine called phencyclidine — and arrested both men. (The charges against Garcia’s husband were later dropped.)
According to Garcia, the arresting officer wouldn’t let her husband call anyone to pick up Guero, the family’s 14-year-old Chihuahua who was along for the ride.
Guero had bad vision due to cataracts, she says. He was left on the side of the highway when the vehicle was towed, and the officer took no steps to contact animal control, Garcia said.
“My husband pleaded with the officer to let him call someone to come get Guero … but he said it wasn’t his problem, that the dog would be fine,” Garcia said.
Three days later, Garcia, who had posted “lost” signs in the area, received a call from someone who had spotted Guero. She found him dead on a shoulder of the Eastex Freeway, about half a mile from where he had been left.
Guero wrapped the dog’s body in a towel, took him home and buried him.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 1st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, airheaded, animals, annise parker, apologizes, apology, blind, cataracts, chihuahua, complaint, dog, dogs, eastex, freeway, guero, highway, houston, investigation, killed, law enforcement, left, mayor, pets, police, road
A 19-year-old survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing was told her service dog was not allowed to walk the aisles of a TJ Maxx in New Hampshire.
Sydney Corcoran says she was shopping at the store in Nashua when a store manager said her service dog needed to be placed in a store-supplied “carriage” or leave the store.
Corcoran suffered shrapnel wounds in the bombing and her mother, Celeste, lost both legs. Sydney Corcoran got Koda, her service dog, to help her deal with post-trauamatic stress disorder.
“He’s crucial to my everyday life now,” she told WCVB.
Last Thursday, Koda was wearing his service dog vest when a manager approached and said, “If you want to keep your dog in the store, you have to put him in the carriage.” Sydney said she informed the manager that Koda is a service dog and that he wouldn’t be able to fit comfortably in the carriage. The manager, she said, told her the carriage was a new policy, and that she was required to comply.
“She said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And I said, ‘That’s not good enough. You should have known,’” Celeste said. “You just made someone with an emotional disorder so much worse.”
She added, “There are so many people with invisible, silent injuries — and the public needs to be aware that their service animals are sometimes their lifeline.”
TJ Maxx said in a statement: “We are taking this customer matter very seriously. Customers with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals are welcome in our stores at any time.
“We have looked into the particulars regarding this customer’s experience and deeply regret that our procedures were not appropriately followed in this instance. We are taking actions which we believe are appropriate, including working with our stores to reinforce the acceptance of service animals.”
(Photos: Top, Sydney and Celeste Corcoran with Koda, WCVB; bottom, Celeste and Sydney in this year’s Boston Marathon, Reuters)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 14th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: americans with disabilities, apology, bomb, boston, boston marathon bombing, celeste corcoran, disabilities, federal, koda, law, marathon, new hampshire, post traumatic stress disorder, service dog, store, survivor, sydney corcoran, tj maxx
Donald Keith, 56, and Trapper, his German shepherd-Rhodesian ridgeback mix, frequented a park outside St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto, and would sit on its steps as part of their daily routine.
Last month, Rev. Marguerite Rea welcomed both inside and gave them both a wafer during communion — an act of kindness that, as can happen when it comes to religion, created a furor. One parishioner filed a formal complaint with Anglican Bishop Patrick Yu, leading Rea to apologize this week.
“If I have hurt, upset or embarrassed anyone, I apologize,” Rea said on Sunday. “It was a simple church act of reaching out.”
Keith, a 56-year-old truck driver, got Trapper three years ago from a shelter, where, after three previous owners declared him unmanageable, he was likely going to be euthanized, according to the Toronto Star.
Every day, the two sit on the front steps of St. Peter’s for “reflection and spiritual renewal,” Keith told the newspaper. In late June, police urged the two to move off the spot, and Keith stepped inside the church to complain. Rea, the interim minister, invited Keith and Trapper to attend church.
When offered communion, Keith accepted. Trapper only sniffed the wine, but gobbled up the wafer.
Bishop Yu called the act a “misguided gesture of welcoming.”
But Rea says she’s received support through phone calls, visits and emails. The congregant who complained has since left the church, and others have no problem with the minister’s gesture.
“We’re all God’s creatures,” said one of them, Suzette Mafuna. “If a dog goes into a church, he’s entitled to every service that’s offered, including spiritual nourishment.”
(Photo: By Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anglican, animals, apologize, apology, bishop, canada, church, churches, communion, complaint, congregation, dog, dogs, donald keith, marguerite, minister, news, ohmidog!, patrick yu, pets, rea, reverend, st. peters, toronto, trapper, wafer, wine, worship
The owner of a western wear shop in North Carolina has apologized for kicking a 5-year-old girl’s service dog out of his store — but not until after threats of a boycott and lawsuit surfaced.
“I had no intentions to offend anyone, but if I have I apologize for it,” said Robert Bryant who owns the Western Shop in New Hanover County, N.C. He said he wasn’t famliar with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bryant’s raspy “apology” — you can see more of it here — was in stark contrast to what he reportedly barked at the girl and her mother: “Get that (expletive) dog out of my store.”
Bryant said the dog smelled bad and he didn’t want dog hair on his merchandise, sounding much like the Colorado attorney who was hit with $50,000 in fines this week for banning a woman and her service dog from his law office, for fear it might soil his new carpet.
Ellie, a golden retriever, belongs to 5-year-old Amanda Ivancevich, who has cerebral palsy and is missing the left side of her brain. She relies on the dog to get her through the day and alert her family to pending seizures. Her mother, Susan Ivancevich, said it was Amanda’s first trip outside in a year.
“I’m a law abiding citizen, yes,” said Bryant. “I had no intentions of offending this child. I love children.” He also pointed out repeatedly that he runs a “Christian business.”
Since learning more about what the law says about service dogs, Bryant says he would act differently if Ellie walked into his store again.
After Susan Ivancevich posted a comment about the incident on Facebook, dozens have come to her support, and some have vowed to stop patronizing Bryant’s shop.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 5-year-old, amanda ivancevich, american with disabilities act, animals, apologizes, apology, banned, bans, cerebral palsy, kicked out, n.c., new hanover county, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, robert bryant, service dog, store, susan ivancevich, western shop