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Tag: atlanta

Creed and Casper: A boy and a service dog


How a hospital service dog brightened — and maybe even prolonged — the final days of sick little boy is the subject of this poignant report by WXIA in Atlanta.

Creed Campbell spent more than half of his life in the hospital, battling illness since the day he was born and missing out on many of the joys of childhood.

Then, while in the hospital, he met Casper, a service dog from Canine Assistants who visits young patients.

Casper was the new therapy dog at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Creed was one of the first children he’d be assigned to. The bond was instant, the family says.

“I don’t think he ever saw Casper as a dog,” Creed’s father, Jon Campbell, said.

CreedonCasperCreed was thought to be nearing death one day when Casper came for his visit and jumped in his bed.

Creed’s mother, Stephanie, put her son’s motionless hand on Casper’s paw, then saw her son’s hand begin to move.

“That dog just saved your son,” a nurse later told the family.

Because Casper visited him in the hospital, Creed felt he should go along when the dog went to the vet for  a check up. In fact, he insisted on doing so, his mother, Stephanie wrote in a blog post about Casper and Creed for the hospital’s website.

Creed’s health improved, but only for a while.

Not long after Creed died, a new litter of puppies was born at Canine Assistants. They named one for Creed.

Stephanie went to meet the dog named after her son.

“I picked that dog up and … It was something tangible that I could hold again that brought me to my baby,” she said. “Everything he’s lived through all of his heartache, all of his hardship, I get to hold it right here with this little warm fuzzy pup.”

(Photo: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)

Woman tries to mail puppy to her son

Time to reopen the annals of stupid human behavior and make room for Stacey Champion — a Minneapolis woman who attempted to air-mail a puppy to her 11-year-old son in Atlanta.

Champion, 39, was charged with animal cruelty after postal workers discovered the 4-month-old puppy inside a sealed package she had dropped off, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Champion told a postal clerk the box contained a toy robot. A Minneapolis police spokesman said the puppy would not have survived the trip.

The Star Tribune says that, while the package was still in the post office, it moved by itself and fell to the floor, surprising postal workers. Within minutes, postal employees unwrapped the tightly sealed box and pulled out the panting puppy.

The dog, described as a poodle-Schnauzer mix, named Guess, was placed in a shelter, costing Champion $250 in fees. Today, Champion tried to convince an administrative hearing officer to return Guess to her custody. (See the hearing in its entirety in the video  above.)

Champion said in the hearing that she didn’t know dogs couldn’t be mailed. “They say they deliver,” she noted. She further explained to the judge, “If there weren’t no mistakes in life, society wouldn’t be what it is now.”

We can’t argue with that one.

Champion also went back to the post office and demanded she be refunded the $22 priority mail fee, according to the Star Tribune. That request was denied.

The judge called her actions disgraceful and declined to return the dog to her.

Atlanta’s airport adds a dog park

atlantaairportAs part of its new ground transportation center, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has opened its first dog park — a place for traveling pets to get a little romp time before and after flights.

Originally slated to be open green space, the idea evolved into a dog park, according to the airport’s website.

“This seemed to be a good step forward to serve our customers traveling with dogs and our customers wanting to enjoy the flowers,” said Kathryn Masters, project manager for the dog park.

The fenced, 1,000-square-foot area on the south end of the ground tansportation center contains rock as well as grass, benches,  biodegradable bags for pet waste and even some artwork, though this particular scrap metal sculpture looks like an accident waiting to happen. (That’s not a comment on its artistic value, just on what appear to be its sharp edges.)

Only two dogs are allowed at a time because of the area’s size, but owners can let dogs off leashes.

(Photo from Atlanta-airport.com)

Police dog shot and killed in Georgia

fp-police-dogs_295866cThe Atlanta Humane Society added $5,000 to the reward  for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a Griffin Police Department German Shepherd.

The dog’s handler, Griffin police Cpl. Chad Moxon, and his family had already put up $1,000 , according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Moxon discoverd Jimi, the police dog, and his own dog, Yeager, missing from their kennel at his home in Lamar County last week.

Moxon said he searched all Monday night and most of Tuesday night for the dogs, handing out about 300 flyers. On Wednesday morning he received a call about a German shepherd found dead in a ditch. It turned out to be Jimi. The 3-year-old dog was shot in the side with a shotgun and dumped there. 

“I just sat down in the ditch for the next 30 minutes. I didn’t have the energy to get him out,” Moxon said.

Shortly after he got home a neighbor called with the news that Yeager had been found, badly beaten, but alive.

“Hes still at home recovering,” Moxon said of his 2-year-old dog, also a German Shepherd. ” I’m hoping he’ll recover in the next few days.”

Man who spray-painted dog found not guilty

A contractor who spray-painted a dog who barked at him was found not guilty of animal cruelty by a DeKalb County State Court jury yesterday.

Dario Harris maintained he was afraid of the black lab mix, named Bear — and worried that, even though the dog was in a fenced backyard, it could have jumped the fence and attacked him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Harris was marking utility lines with fluorescent orange paint outside Jeffrey Tompkins’ Stone Mountain home.

In an interview before the trial, Harris said he loves dogs and “was just trying to protect myself.”

“You have to look at what’s reasonable under the circumstances,” said Harris’ attorney, Gerald Griggs. “The jury got to hear his actual intentions that day.  There were two dogs, both weighing over 60 pounds, jumping at a fence. You don’t know if they were nice dogs or mean dogs. He did not intend to injure Bear in any form or fashion. He was just scared.”

Harris wants to pay the veterinary bill, Griggs added.

Solicitor Robert James said he was disappointed in the verdict. “This is not going to change the way we do things in DeKalb County,” he said. “We take animal abuse very seriously, it’s wrong, and we’re going to continue to stand up for pet owners and animals, continue to hold people accountable.”

John Mayer’s $25,000 challenge benefits dogs

mayer

Two animal rescue organizations are each $12,500 richer after the television show TMZ took singer-songwriter John Mayer up on his challenge to track down his mug shot.

After Mayer made the $25,000 challenge on Twitter, Harvey Levin and company tracked down a 2001 mugshot, taken in Atlanta after Mayer’s arrest for driving with a suspended license. The case was dismissed one month later.

Mayer wrote checks to two charities selected by TMZ, Ace of Hearts and Pet Orphans of Southern California.

Ace of Hearts is an organization dedicated to rescuing dogs on the day they are to be euthanized  from various Los Angeles shelters and placing them in loving homes.

Pet Orphans of Southern California is a 30-year-old non-profit that also rescues and finds home for dogs and cats and works to educate the public on responsible pet ownership. 

0828_john_mayer_checks_bn3

Vick makes first anti-dogfighting appearance

Michael Vick, in the first of what he hopes will be dozens of appearances around the country to urge low-income youths to avoid dogfighting, spoke to a small gathering  in Atlanta yesterday — but most press was banned from the event.

Vick’s visit to a suburban Atlanta community center was largely off limits — both to the news media and most members of the neighborhood it was supposed to be helping. Only 55 people and a crew from “60 Minutes” were allowed to attend, the Associated Press reported.

An Associated Press reporter, videographer and photographer were among the media banished from the property by police. Most people who live in the largely black neighborhood southeast of Atlanta were unaware of Vick’s appearance.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the group wants to be open and reach as many people as possible with its anti-dogfighting message, but Vick’s handlers insisted on tight controls on the meeting.

“We don’t want this to be a flash in the pan,” Pacelle said. “We are committed to transparency over the long run and having Michael involved in many community-based events to speak about the issue. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but he wants the opportunity in a controlled setting to make his first statement on the issue. But I’m sure he’s going to be speaking out more based on what he had to say today.”

“We’re giving him an opportunity to plug into our community-based forums,” Pacelle said. “But he obviously has his own set of individuals who are working with him and want to present things in the way they want.”

Read more »

What’s that Wayne Pacelle really up to?

pacelleThe Humane Society of the United States does not run or regularly fund the nation’s 3,500 animal shelters.

HSUS President and CEO admitted that yesterday on his blog, “A Humane Nation.” 

Of course he would have told you that a month or year ago as well, because, despite an “investigative report” out of Atlanta, later retracted, and despite the criticism from a group called the Center for Consumer Freedom, HSUS has not become the mammoth non-profit that it is by proclaiming it provides shelter for America’s homeless pets.

It has implied that it cares about animals, and that it works to improve their lives. It has tugged at your heartstrings in its fundraising spots, and it has made the most of publicizing its work. It has done some things I wouldn’t agree with and failed to do some things I wish it would have. To disagree with its priorities, or some of its policies, is one thing. But to say its an organization built on deception — that it has tried to lead Americans to believe it’s tucking shelter dogs in at night — is off the mark, and overlooks the work the organization does.

“If anyone reads my daily blog, looks at our website, reads our magazines, or scans our email and direct mail letters, you’ll find no claims that we run America’s 3,500 animal shelters, or serve as a granting agency for them—or that any one organization serves this function,” Pacelle wrote on his blog yesterday. “Their accusation is a fiction.”

“CCF and our opponents would love it if we just gave money to shelters. That way, the corporations that fund CCF would have much clearer sailing in conducting their animal exploitation activities …  Right now, we’re their worst nightmare, and we are not going away.”

opinion-sig1Some critics say HSUS has a secret “vegan agenda” — that it wants to take our steaks away. As a meat lover, and a smoker, and a person who likes smoked meats, I say, even if that were the case, so what? The animals I eat deserve a spokesperson.

“It would be a terrible dereliction of duty if we did not address the other problems of animals in society,” Pacelle wrote. “There are 10 billion animals raised for food, principally on factory farms, in America every year — and that’s nearly 30 million a day. There are tens of millions of animals used in laboratory experiments. More than 100 million killed for sport. Tens of millions killed in the fur trade, and tens of millions killed worldwide in cockfights and dogfights.

While most animal lovers have a pet issue, Pacelle notes, HSUS is trying to look at the big picture, and the roots of what it sees as the biggest problems.

“We have to be there for as many animals as we can, and use our finite resources in a highly strategic way to achieve the biggest impacts,” he wrote.

“While we help many thousands of animals in distress … our primary strategy is to strike at the root of the problem, rather than to address the symptoms. Whether it’s in the field, in the courts, in legislatures, in influencing public opinion, conducting undercover investigations, or by some other lawful and mainstream means, there’s no group that is a greater agent of change or brings the arsenal of tools we do to the fight for animals.”

(Photo: vegdaily.com)

Where there’s smoke, there’s … smoke

My posting of an Atlanta TV station’s “expose” of the Humane Society of the United States — and my labeling of it as shabby journalism — has led to the predictable spate of comments from HSUS-haters.

The WSB-TV report had been removed from the station’s website, and from YouTube as well, after complaints from the HSUS that it was misleading — a bit ironic in that deception is exactly the accusation that the report was making against the HSUS.

Through its name, and its fund-raising efforts, the HSUS leads people to believe that it is associated with local shelters, and that donations will be used to shelter dogs, the report maintained.

As I stated, I thought the report failed to back up any of that “deception,” and was making a very big deal out of a simple, though probably shared by  many, misunderstaning of the organization’s mission. A quick look at the HSUS website shows the kind of work they do, and that they are more about lobbying, enforcement of animal cruelty laws, advocating for animal rights and public education than hands-on sheltering of animals.

But I also thought the “expose’s” disappearance — like any attempt to silence critics — was adding more smoke to the fire, and that, by being able to view it, people could see that there wasn’t any fire there to begin with (except maybe the burning hate some other lobbying groups have for the HSUS because of its animal welfare stands, and its success).

The HSUS says the Center for Consumer Freedom, which they call a deceptively-named front-group for tobacco, alcohol and agribusiness interests, was likely behind the news report.

While taken off YouTube and WSB’s site, the video continued to pop up online — like, in the words of Pet Connection blogger Gina Spadafori, “an Internet game of whack-a-mole.”

Spadafori, by the way, is author of “Dogs for Dummies,” and notes that  even that entry-level primer points out the difference between local shelters and groups like the HSUS.

“This isn’t news … When you give to the HSUS, you’re providing mostly for animal advocacy, lobbying for animal laws and investigations. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that.”

The HSUS, meanwhile, has issued a statement about the report, which we print here in its entirety:

“WSB-TV in Atlanta has issued a correction and removed from its Web site a regrettable report regarding The Humane Society of the United States. Sloppily reported, inaccurate in its facts, and based on a faulty premise, this report should never have aired in the first place. But publishing a factual correction on its Web site and removing the report itself from further circulation are important steps in minimizing damage to the reputation of a charity rated four stars, the highest rating possible, by Charity Navigator and one that has a demonstrated an unmatched record of protecting animals from cruelty. Read more »

Brother, can you spare a bone?

Call it a two-sided sign of the times, one that reflects the increasing regard in which we hold our dogs, and the increasingly hard times the economy is creating for us: food pantries for dogs.

Part of a movement to keep pets with their families, and out of overloaded animal shelters, pet food pantries are popping up across the country, according to ZooToo Pet News

“There are so many things that pet owners have to consider, like spay/neuter, boarding, and other types of vet care, but we are seeing that food is the primary concern,” said Ellen Gillmore, Best Friends Animal Society campaign coordinator. “There is such an immediate need for it that it jumps to the top of our list.”

Best Friend’s new program, First Home, Forever Home, which is aimed at helping families keep their pets, recently gave 1,215 bags of dog food and snacks to two food banks in the Atlanta area.

Read more »

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