A hard-partying New York socialite and hotel owner was charged with animal torture this week, but offered no explanation in court for why he attempted to torch two small dogs.
His attorney blamed it on his client’s bipolar disorder.
Vikram Chatwal, 44, founder of the Dream Hotel Group, turned himself into police Tuesday — more than a week after a dog walker reported he had used a lighter and an aerosol can to set fire to the dogs she was walking.
The incident took place outside Chatwal’s SoHo condo.
The video above, obtained by TMZ, shows the aftermath. Chatwal can be seen apologizing to a group of people, and going so far as to invite him up to his apartment to see his art and his “water collection.”
Police had been called by that point, but they didn’t arrive until after Chatwal disappeared.
The dogs had their fur singed, but weren’t seriously injured.
Chatwal is founder of The Dream Hotel Group, which includes the Dream, Time and Unscripted hotels. He has been in and out of rehab and is known for partying with the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen.
His bio says he is also a model, movie producer and actor and roles in the movies “Zoolander” and “Spring Breakers.”
Chatwal’s lawyer told CBS that Chatwal is a dog owner, and owns six himself.
“The allegations today and the picture the prosecutor has tried to paint fly in the face of the reality of who Vikram Chatwal is,” said the lawyer, Arthur Aidala. “By all accounts, he is a peaceful, law-abiding, soft-spoken, animal-loving, dog-owning individual who is not some guy running around the street trying to injure little animals.”
Chatwal posted $50,000 bail Tuesday on charges of animal torture, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. He is due back in court Dec. 8.
The judge also issued an order of protection for the two dogs — Molly and Finnegan — their owner and their dog walker, the New York Daily News reported.
Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite said Chatwal was screaming, “The dogs must die!”
Chatwal’s attorney said his client was a lifetime animal lover who suffers from a bipolar disorder but would never harm an animal.
Witnesses say Chatwal was arguing with the dog walker and approached the two Jack Russell Terriers with a blow torch that he put together from an aerosol can and a lighter.
(Photo: Vikram Chatwal, Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aerosol, animal cruelty, animals, argument, bipolar disorder, burned, charged, cruelty to animals, dog, dog walker, dogs, dream, dream hotel, hotel, jack russell terriers, lighter, manhattan, new york, owner, pets, Socialite, soho, time, tmz, torched, torture, unscripted, Vikram Chatwal
An off-duty police officer has been charged with punching a 71-year-old woman in the face during an argument that began when he objected to her Yorkshire terrier riding the elevator.
Officer Vladimir Radionov, 46, is accused of striking the woman Sunday morning after she tried to bring her 9-pound Yorkshire terrier onto the elevator of their building in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.
“I think if I didn’t run away, he would kill me,” Janet Goldschmidt told The New York Post. “He was so angry.”
Radionov, a New York City police officer, was charged with second degree assault.
Pets are only allowed in the building’s service elevator, but Goldschmidt says she asked him if he’d be willing to let them ride in the passenger elevator with him.
“He says, ‘Take your motherf–king dog out of the elevator. I don’t want to go up with your f–king dirty dog,'” she said.
“He came at me like a bull. He just attacked me … He said ‘No’ and started punching me … I throw a cup of coffee, thinking this is going to stop him but it doesn’t. He punches me in the back. He grabs me and pulls me out like I am a child.”
The Post reported that sources who had seen the elevator surveillance video said it shows Radionov dragging her out of the elevator, then pushing her when she tries to get back in.
At one point, Goldschmidt fell, injuring her tailbone and hitting the back of her head. She also scraped her arm during the fall, sources told The Post. She was taken to Coney Island Hospital for treatment.
Goldschmidt reported the incident to the building superintendent and police.
After his arrest, Radionov was freed on $5,000 bail, but an order of protection was issued requiring him to stay away from the building in which he also resides.
“I am so surprised. He is a police officer,” Goldschmidt said. “Police officers are supposed to keep us safe. Instead, he was acting like a criminal.”
(Photos: By Gabriella Bass / New York Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alvick, animals, argument, assault, brighton beach, brooklyn, charged, dog, dogs, elevator, janet goldschmidt, law enforcement, new york, nypd, off duty, officer, pets, police, rules, vladimir radionov, yorkshire terrier
In the perpetual debate over which makes a better pet — dog or cat — cats have been taking a drubbing lately.
It’s a silly argument to begin with: Why must we deem one species superior? What possible good does that serve? And it’s mostly a waste of time. Converting a dyed-in-the-wool dog lover to a staunch cat lover is about as likely as getting someone to switch from Donald to Hillary.
Yet, conflict seems to be something we humans require, or at least enjoy. And the endless argument does provide fodder for bloggers. And, every now and then, something interesting comes up.
In the past year, scientific and semi-scientific studies comparing dogs and cats have come down more squarely on the side of dogs — enough so that you’ve got to wonder if some cat-hater is behind it all.
One such study was conducted as part of a new BBC2 documentary called “Cats v. Dogs: Which is Better” — a silly concept for a TV show, though we admit some of what they bring to light is thought provoking.
Dr. Paul Zak, a California neuroscientist, compared how much oxytocin dogs produce compared to cats, and he concluded that dogs love humans more than cats do. Five times as much to be exact.
It has been well documented that bonding, petting and having eye contact with your dog produces increased levels of the oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, in both dog and human.
“It’s one of the chemical measures of love in mammals,” Zak said. “Humans produce the hormone in our brains when we care about someone. For example, when we see our spouse or child the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 percent.”
The neuroscientist checked the oxytocin levels in both cats and dogs, taking saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions – 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after.
“I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin .. The dog level of 57.2 percent is a very powerful response. It shows these dogs really care about their owners,” he said.
Zak, also known as “Dr.Love,” believes upping our oxytocin (and hugging more) could change the world. He once took blood from an entire wedding party and a sampling of guests, to see how their oxytocin levels went up during the ceremony.
He also spent two years trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to approve his use of oxytocin inhalers on experimental subjects. (In the meantime, as reported in The Guardian, he used one on himself.)
Zak’s determination that canines love us more than felines do was just the latest bit of bad press for cats.
Another recent study, at Manhattanville College in New York, found canines provide humans with more benefits than cats.
The research suggested dog owners are more conscientious, less neurotic and more agreeable than cat owners. Dog owners scored higher in well-being than cat owners on all measures.
Last year, a study at the University of California, Berkeley, found, through web-based surveying, that cat owners were more anxious than cat owners.
If you still don’t believe cats have been getting some bad press, check out this headline on a story about a study of cats last year: “Study: Your cat might be trying to kill you.”
The story dealt with a study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Bronx Zoo that compared the personality of the domestic cat with bigger, wilder members of the cat species.
The headline … well, it’s what happens when you try to condense a 40-page study into eight catchy words.
So if you find yourself reading/listening to/watching the latest account of which is better, cats or dogs — whether it’s labeled science or not — be at least a little wary.
And if it stresses you out, go pet your dog. Or cat.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, bbc 2, cat or dog, cat people, cats, debate, documentary, dog people, dogs, levels, oxytocin, paul zak, pets, science, studies, study, which is better
University Park, Illinois, resident, Charles Clements, 69, a former Marine, is being held on a $3 million bond in connection with the fatal shooting last Sunday of 23-year-old Joshua Funches, ABC News reported.
Patricia Funches, the victim’s mother, said Clements followed her son home, pulled out his gun, and shot him.
Police say Joshua Funches’ fox terrier urinated on Clements’ lawn, leading to an exchange of words between the two men. When police arrived at the scene, they found Funches bleeding on the ground in front of a vacant house.
Funches, a father of two, suffered a single gunshot wound in the abdomen, and his death was ruled a homicide.
Clements was famous for the upkeep on his well-manicured lawn, winning several local beautification awards. He kept a sign posted on his mailbox urging letter carriers not to walk on his grass.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, charles clements, chicago, dispute, dog, dogs, fox terrier, grass, joshua funches, killed, killing, lawn, news, ohmidog!, pee, pees, pets, shooting, shot, university park, urinate, urinated, urinates
The trial of Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student accused of taping a dog to a refrigerator during a dispute with her boyfriend, came to a dramatic end last week, with a guilty verdict and protests from Toll that she didn’t act alone.
Minutes after a jury convicted her on a felony charge of animal cruelty for sticking her boyfriend’s shiba inu upside-down on the side of a refrigerator, Toll insisted she was not solely responsible for the abuse.
“Bryan Beck knows what he did to that dog,” the Boulder Daily Camera quoted Toll as saying, referring to her ex-boyfriend. When asked by a reporter if Beck taped the dog to the refrigerator, she answered, “Yes he did.”
Neither Beck nor Toll testified in the case.
The shiba inu — then named Rex — had his legs, snout and tail bound with hair ties and packing tape before being taped upside down to a refrigerator in a Boulder apartment last April.
The guilty verdict came after two hours of deliberation. Toll, who now lives in Chicago, faces up to 18 months in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 28.
Her attorney, George Kokus, said Colorado’s felony animal cruelty statute was misapplied in the case. Before the law was put on the books in 2002, animal cruelty violations were treated as misdemeanors in Colorado.
“The legislature’s intent was that this law should be used on serial animal abusers,” Kokus said. “The serial murderers of cats and dogs, that has a systematic torture plan to it.” Kokus, in the interview in the video above, also seems to imply that Beck played a role in the taping.
During the trial, animal-rights advocates stood outside the Boulder County Justice Center with signs protesting animal abuse.
The dog has since been adopted and is living in a new home, under a new name.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abby toll, abuse, animal cruelty, argument, boulder, boyfriend, court, dispute, felony, packing tape, prosecutors, reaction, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, taped, taping, torture, university of colorado, video
A Wisconsin man has received a stern lecture and a sentence of six years in prison for cooking his ex-girlfriend’s dog.
A jury found Terry Kleiman of Green Bay guilty of burglary and mistreatment of animals after he broke into his former girlfriend’s apartment and put her 5-month-old Pekingese-poodle mix into an oven set at 350 degrees to get back at her following their break-up.
When the girlfriend, Alex Rouse, arrived home from the Oval Office Gentleman’s Club, where both she and Kleiman worked, she found the dog dead inside the oven, according to the Associated Press.
Kleiman was also ordered to pay Rouse $1,500 in restitution.
“I was almost nauseous when I thought about what you did,” the judge said in pronouncing the sentence. “I can’t imagine what that dog went through.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, argument, boyfriend, break up, cooked, girlfriend, green bay, mix, news, ohmidog!, oven, pekingese, pets, poodle, prison, restitution, sentence, six years, terry kleiman, wisconsin
Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student accused of taping her boyfriend’s dog to a refrigerator, did not have an “impaired mental condition” at the time that would excuse her behavior, a state mental health doctor says.
Toll, 20, has entered a not guilty plea, claiming she suffered from an impaired mental condition as a result of being an “ongoing victim of domestic violence.”
Her case goes to trial April 12, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. The doctor’s conclusion came in a pre-trial report.
Toll, who now lives in Chicago and is no longer enrolled at the university, is accused of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in hair bands and packing tape and sticking him upside-down to a refrigerator during a fight.
Her boyfriend, Bryan Beck, also was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. In exchange for a guilty plea, he was given a one-year deferred sentence and 50 hours of community service.
The dog has since been adopted by another family.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby toll, argument, boulder, boyfriend, bryan beck, colorado, court, defense, domestic violence, duct tape, impairment, mental condition, packing tape, plea, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, stuck, taped, trial, university of colorado