Getting your Huntsvilles confused is one thing, but one website really screwed the pooch when they published a story about a good Samaritan who helped reunite a homeless man and his dog.
In September, in Huntsville, TEXAS, Wilma Price was driving through a Walmart parking lot when she saw a homeless man holding a sign that said, “Dog in pound. Need help.”
Price, who runs a rescue called Mr. K’s Pet Shelter, stopped to find out his story. She learned the homeless man, named Patrick, had been arrested and jailed for trespassing, and that, because of that, his dog ended up in the animal shelter.
She took Patrick to the shelter, and paid the $120 necessary for him to get his dog — named Franklin — back.
Dozens of other websites reprinted or rewrote it — most of them doing a decent job of passing along the facts.
Then there was the Alabama Observer.
It reported that the story took place in Huntsville, Alabama, that the dog’s name was Wilbur, that the homeless man’s name was Mark Spencer, and that the good Samaritan’s name was Elizabeth Masterson.
The story had no links to actual news sources, and little attribution.
It wasn’t the only website to get the facts askew, but it was the only one that appeared to be making up entirely new names for everyone involved. At least three other websites published versions of the story with those erroneous names.
One wonders what might be the motivation for substituting illegitimate names into a legitimate story.
Might the exact same story have happened with different people at a Walmart in Huntsville, Alabama? Clearly not. Might the website be trying to cover its rear, legally? Maybe. Might there be something more nefarious going on, such as diverting donations intended for Patrick (whose last name isn’t Spencer) to some guy named Mark Spencer? We hope not. Might a computer program be doing the website’s writing? Highly possible.
Apparently, a bogus Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for Patrick was launched by someone neither Wilma nor Patrick knew, and, using photos from Wilma’s Facebook page, it raised $3,000 before the page was removed from Go Fund Me.
That’s $3,000 Patrick and Franklin didn’t get. Wilma Price, meanwhile, started a campaign for him too, and it has raised more than $15,000 for Patrick on GoFundMe.
Price said Patrick has been helping her organization with rescue efforts since the two met, and her Facebook page documents their adventures together.
Snopes.com looked into the story and couldn’t figure out how or why the Alabama Observer version had new names inserted into it.
There is no contact information on the Alabama Observer’s web site, and no description of who operates it. Snopes reported it appears to accept stories submitted by users, as opposed to having its own reporters or freelancers.
We think there’s a good possibility it’s one of those websites that runs news stories through computer programs that rewrite them (with mixed results, or should I say “stirred outcomes?”).
How else could you explain the opening of this recent Alabama Observer story about clown sightings in Ohio?
“The developing rash of reported dangers including clown-faced villains has law authorization offices crosswise over Ohio and somewhere else attempting to recognize true blue dangers while cautioning deceptions are no giggling matter.”
(Photos courtesy of Wilma Price)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, alabama observer, animals, arrest, dog, dogs, errors, facts, franklin, fraud, go fund me, gofundme, good samaritan, homeless man, huntsville, impounded, mr. k's pet shelter, news, news media, patrick, pets, publishing, rescue, rescue groups, reunite, reunited, reunites, rewriting, shelter, texas, truth, website, wilma price
Bubba, a Jack Russell terrier-Chihuahua mix found high on methamphetamine in a seedy California hotel room four months ago, is headed to a new home.
No sooner was he pronounced healthy, drug free and available for adoption Wednesday than a couple walked into Orange County Animal Care and adopted the seven-month-old dog.
The couple, who had been following his story, asked not to be identified, though they did allow a photo to be taken of the new happy family.
Bubba had been at the shelter since March after being rescued by animal control officers from a drug-infested motel room in Tustin. He was only eight weeks old at the time.
Tests later show he had ingested methamphetamine and heroin.
His owner, Joshua West, 40, of Mission Viejo, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, heroin and drug paraphernalia and booked into Orange County Jail.
Another southern California man was arrested last week after his Chihuahua, named Jack Sparrow, was found to have ingested methamphetamine.
After months of treatment, Bubba’s test results came back clear for the first time, prompting the shelter to put him up for adoption, according to Jennifer Hawkins, shelter director and chief veterinarian.
“They were a really nice couple and told us that Bubba would have a sister,” Katie Ingram, assistant director of OC Animal Care, told the Orange County Register. “Bubba bonded with them immediately.”
“It made it more meaningful that they were able to help him out because of his rough start in life,” Ingram added. “We were happy they are home quite a bit. It’s what he deserves.”
(Top photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register; bottom photo courtesy of Orange County Animal Care)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal welfare, animals, arrest, bubba, california, chihuahua, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, drug, drugs, heroin, hotel, ingested, ingestion, jack russell, methamphetamine, motel, orange county, orange county animal care, pets, room, seized, shelter, tustin
A 21-year-old woman who police say was trying to sell both herself and a stolen German shepherd on Craigslist — in separate ads, of course — was arrested at a motel in the Poconos this week.
The German shepherd, named Shiba, was reported missing Nov. 23 from St. John the Beloved Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Canadensis, Pa.
Among those looking for the nine-month-old dog was a group called Hound Hunters of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and among the places they were looking was the Internet.They were tipped off about an ad on Craigslist, featuring a photo of a dog who appeared to be Shiba, in what appeared to be a motel room. All the owners were asking for was a “small re-homing fee.”
The first thing Hound Hunters did was call the number listed and arrange to buy the dog.
The second thing they did was search the Internet a little more, and discover that the woman trying to sell Shiba was also advertising herself as an escort.
The third thing they did was go to police.
The Poconos Regional Police Department began its own investigation, confirmed the woman had the two ads on Craigslist, and was promoting herself on other escort sites as well. On one of them, she had posted a message for police: “Hey Mt. Pocono PD catch me if you can.”
That taunt may have inspired police to take a little more interest in what they might have previously viewed as a run of the mill stolen dog case.
Police and members of Hound Hunters met in a vacant lot near the Travelodge motel and finalized their plan, in which Hound Hunters of NEPA President Christine Cahill and member Donna Barney, who had set up the meeting, would knock on the woman’s motel room door.Here, we’ll let Cahill, pick up the story.
“Donna and I would go in by ourselves,” she wrote in a detailed Facebook post. “We were to knock on the door, and when she answered and we confirm that she and the dog are actually there, Donna was to hit her call button on her phone to alert the detective…..and they would be there in the blink of an eye. They told us if anything didn’t seem right, we were to immediately get away from the door/window and take cover.
“First, let me tell you, just looking at this place (a motel), would give anyone the creeps. Second, with the info we found on this person, anyone would be crazy to just walk right up and knock on the door … but, yes, that’s exactly what Donna and I did.
” … I knock on the door, she pushes the curtain aside to look out, then opens the door, just a crack. We see a beautiful black nose sniffing through the crack … We were invited inside, but I asked if we could bring the dog outside (especially when I saw a man sleeping in the bed just inside the door).”
(At that moment, Donna was hitting the button on her phone to alert police, but she had lost her signal, as can happen in the Poconos. She excused herself, walked around the corner, picked up a signal and hit the button again.)
“Just as the girl stepped back outside, the police came around the corner,” Cahill wrote.
Kingston was charged with receiving stolen property and taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility.
Police said she will also be charged with theft of lost or mislaid property and solicitation to commit prostitution.
Shiba was reunited with her owners, who were visiting from New York when Shiba went missing. They made the two hour drive and picked Shiba up at the monastery.
“Donna and I are still bursting with adrenaline after our first ‘sting’ operation that actually included the police,” Cahill wrote in the Facebook post. “We’ve done this before, but not on the level of needing police back-up. As we like to say….. ‘This isn’t our first rodeo!’ And, I’m sure it won’t be our last.”
(Photos from the Hound Hunters Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 11th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, arrested, christine cahill, craigslist, dog, dogs, escort, german shepherd, hound hunters, hound hunters of northeastern pennsylvania, investigation, kaynie kingston, missing, monastery, operation, pets, poconos, police, prostitution, reunion, sheba, shiba, sting, stolen
To make matters worse, the officer claimed the dog had been been hit by a car and was dead when he found him.
The atrocious behavior and blatant lie likely would have never come to light if not for a family’s persistent efforts to find out the truth about their dog, who they named after the movie star.
Brad Pitt ran away from his home in Kennesaw in July, and the family launched an extensive search, driving around the area, posting flyers and reporting the dog missing to Cobb County Animal Control.
Animal Control employees told them repeatedly that no dog matching Brad Pitt’s description had been there.
Then a neighbor called the family and told them he had seen Brad Pitt being loaded into a Cobb County Animal Control van.
Brad Pitt’s owner, Holly Roth, called Animal Control again, and learned the dog had been found dead — at least according to the officer who picked him up, Matthew Cory Dodson. Dodson had told his supervisors the dog had been hit by a car and was dead when he found him.
Roth, doubtful of the account, continued looking for the truth.
Police investigators questioned Dodson, and he confessed to what happened, according to his arrest warrant.
Dodson told police he put the dog in a compartment of his county truck around 9:40 a.m. July 18 after picking him up in the Kennesaw area. He finished his work day without bringing the dog back to the shelter.
“Failing to do so in a timely manner resulted in said dog’s death, likely from a heat related illness,” the arrest warrant states.
Dodson was charged with cruelty to animals and obstruction, both misdemeanors.
He was arrested Thursday afternoon, but released from jail on his own recognizance about an hour later. A Cobb County police spokesman said Dodson has resigned from his position.
Holly Roth said the 17-month-old basset hound and English bulldog mix had been a gift for her daughter after her elementary school graduation.
“I’m still so sick to my stomach about it,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He would’ve gotten away with it if I hadn’t been prying.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal cruelty, arrest, basset hound, brad pitt, bulldog, Cobb County, employe, employee, false, georgia, heat, holly roth, kennesaw, lied, matthew cory dodson, matthew dodson, mix, obstruction, officer, truck
Dear Special Place in Hell:
I am writing in hopes of making a reservation for two or more Florida punks who haven’t been arrested yet, but probably will soon be.
I am sure you will agree that, despite what I am guessing to be their tender ages, they have already proven well worth spending eternity at your time-honored establishment.
Of course, once they are found, tried and convicted, they will likely spend some more time in this earthly realm before arriving at your most unpearly gates — at least several years, we’d hope, in one of Florida’s charming prison facilities.
But we wanted to make sure you would hold a place for them, as well.
If you require documentation of their acts, here is a brief account.
Last Friday, down in Pembroke Pines — in the state of Florida (I’m sure you’re familiar with it) — a woman named Verline Barthelemy let her 13-year-old Pomeranian, Mr. Fox, out in the yard while she was cooking.
When she went to let him back in, a few minutes later, he could not be found.
On Saturday, Barthelemy’s boyfriend found Mr. Fox’s body on the back porch along with a note that read, “We beat it 2 death. LOL! Hahaha!”
Barthelemy called police and took Mr. Fox’s body to a veterinarian, who confirmed the dog likely died from being repeatedly kicked. X-rays showed Mr. Fox had a dislocated spine, broken ribs and a broken jaw, among other injuries.
You can find all this information at Local 10 News.
We are sure you will agree these perpetrators deserve your lowest level suite — the one closest to the fire.
True, they have not yet been identified, but certainly local police authorities will be giving their all to track them down and bring them to justice. They’ve asked anyone with information to call police at 954-431-2200.
I don’t know if you guys compare notes or anything, but, just to let you know, we have also sent a request to your counterpart/nemesis/antithesis up in Heaven, asking him to ensure that justice comes swiftly.
Once that happens, we are happy to let our fine correctional facilities, and all they have to offer — hahaha, lol — take over.
After that though, when these heartless sadists come to an end of their natural lives and they show up at your front desk, we ask that you accommodate them in that most special wing of your special place in Hell.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 12th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, cruelty, dog, dogs, florida, hell, investigation, killed, letter, mr. fox, note, pembroke pines, pet, pets, pomeranian, prison, verlina barthelemy
A Georgia man used a leg support from his wife’s wheelchair to smash the window of car containing a panting dog — and promptly got arrested.
Michael Hammons, a veteran of Desert Storm, said he saw a group of people standing around a Mustang in a shopping center parking lot in Athens, worrying about the safety of a small dog locked inside, without water.
“I just did what had to be done,” Hammons told 11 Alive in Atlanta.
Shortly after he broke the window, the dog’s owner came back to the car.
“She said you broke my window, and I said I did. She says why would you do that? I said to save your dog,” Hammons recounted.
Oconee County authorities said they arrested Hammons at the insistence of the car’s owner.
Georgia state law, while it allows rescuers to break a car window to save a child, doesn’t make that same allowance for those who do it to save dogs.
Chief Deputy Lee Weems said officers had no choice but to charge Hammons: “We didn’t want to charge him, but he told us he broke the windows and when you have a victim there saying she wants him charged, we had no other choice.”
Hammons wife, Saundra, said her husband suffers from PTSD and that he’s prone to coming to the rescue of those he perceives to be in danger.
“He has seen so much, and been through so much, his thing is he’s got to save him. Michael says I have to save lives because I couldn’t save everyone else over there,” she told Fox News in Atlanta.
The car’s owner said she had only been in the store for five minutes, but deputies issued her a citation as well.
“It wasn’t just five minutes like the lady stated, it was a lot longer,” Hammons said. “I personally felt the heat in the car; I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress.”
“I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction,” Hammons added. “And I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”
Hammons said he’d do the same thing again.
“I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter. Glass? They make new glass every day. But they could never replace that dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, Athens, broke, car, dog, dogs, georgia, heat, hot, parking lot, pets, ptsd, rescue, smashed, veteran, window
Bella, the Maltese mix who mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago from a home in Durham, N.C., has been returned to her family — and in an equally mysterious manner.
Bella wandered away from home on March 11, and, minutes later, a neighbor saw the driver of a car stop and pick her up at an intersection.
A day later Scott and Kerry Holmes received a phone call from a person claiming to have found their dog. But when they didn’t specify a reward amount, the caller hung up without supplying any additional information.
The family contacted police, and began putting up “lost dog” flyers.
Near the end of last week, a third party contacted the family in an attempt to arrange the return of Bella. The family later met her at a nearby church and picked the dog up.
But neither the Holmes nor police, who have made an arrest in the case, are saying much more than that.
Scott Holmes, an attorney, said Bella was safely returned home Thursday night. “Our family is so happy she is home. We are celebrating her return. She has slept a lot and seems to be perking up today,” he said.
He declined to offer any specifics about the dog’s return, but did say that his family is collecting reward money for a single mother in Chapel Hill who provided information that led to Bella’s return.
Meanwhile, police arrested Amanda Shanese Bynum, 28, of Carrboro, and charged her with extortion, larceny of a dog and felony conspiracy, according to the Durham Herald-Sun. According to police, Bynum threatened not to return the dog unless she was paid $600.
According to WTVD, Bella traveled at least as far as Charlotte during the time she was missing. A photograph of her at a Charlotte pet supply store, wearing some new dog clothes, appeared on Bynum’s social media page, the Holmes family said.
Holmes said that after being returned Bella was lethargic over the weekend, but that she is bouncing back. He said she appeared to be in good shape physically.
“My wife and Bella are catching up on their sleep and are really, really glad to be reunited,” Holmes said. “They’re very close, and they’re doing really well. There’s been a lot of joy in our house since we got Bella home.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, bella, dogs, durham, home, kidnapped, larceny, maltese, missing, mix, north carolina, pets, ransom, returned, theft