After a Valentine’s Day hearing, a Texas judge will decide who should have custody of Victory, a bearded collie who is missing her nose.
Victory was found last month wandering in Hutto, Texas, outside of Austin. Her fur was heavily matted. She’d sustained puncture wounds. And her nose appeared to have been cut off.
Since then, an owner has stepped forward, saying Victory (not her original name) had run off a month earlier, and that the loss of her nose was the result of an autoimmune illness she was being treated for.
After she was found, the 4-year-old dog was treated by a local veterinarian, then placed in a foster home by Austin Pets Alive, which began a fundraising campaign and raised $2,000 for the dog to undergo skin graft surgery on her nose last week.
The surgery was canceled after a man called saying he owned her and wanted her back, said Laura Stromberg Hoke, a spokeswoman for Austin Pets Alive.
A judge will hear the matter Thursday, deciding whether the dog should be returned to her owner or remain with Austin Pets Alive, according to the Austin American-Statesman. No charges have been filed in the case, but police say they “wanted a judge to hear the information they had gathered during the investigation.”
Hutto animal control officers found the dog Jan. 9, and initially suspected she’d been the victim of abuse. The owners of the dog — who authorities refused to name — said she had run away around New Year’s, according to Hutto Police Chief Peter Scheets.
Police say they are still investigating whether the dog lost her nose due to medical neglect or abuse. Veterinary records show that the dog was last treated for lupus nine months ago but had no follow-up treatment, the police chief said.
One type of lupus that occurs in dogs can cause redness, scabs and ulcerations on a dog’s nose.
Scheets said there is also a possibility that the dog was injured after she escaped from her home and before she was discovered by police.
The hearing is open to the public and will be at 4 p.m. Thursday (Feb 14) in Hutto Municipal Court, 401 W. Front St.
You can find an update on this story here.
(Photo: Austin Pets Alive)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, austin, austin pets alive, bearded collie, courts, custody, cut off, disease, dog with no nose, dogs, foster, found, hutto, investigation, lupus, missing, no nose, nose, noseless, owner, pets, texas, victory
Austin, Texas, is on the verge of becoming a lot dog friendlier — and in a way much more important than most of those measured by websites and magazines in assessing dog friendliness.
The Austin Police Department announced Tuesday that, effective July 1, there will be several changes to policies and training concerning how officers deal with dogs.
The new rules clarify that lethal force can be used only if there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to officers or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively.
It also suggests alternatives to deadly force, including firing a Taser or using pepper spray, or simply yelling at a dog.
Assistant Police Chief David Carter said dog shootings by officers will get increased scrutiny, and any officer using deadly force against a dog will have to explain why lesser force was not used. Each incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command, as opposed to just the officer’s sergeant.
Other improvements include having dispatchers inform officers when they are going to homes that have histories of dangerous dogs being present. In those cases, city animal control officers will also be sent there.
In addition, cadets at the training academy will undergo a two-hour session on how to deal with dogs, including how to read a dog’s body language and judge whether it is dangerous. Current officers will complete training sessions online and before shifts, he said.
“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”
The changes in Austin come in the wake of a backlash over the fatal shooting of a man’s dog in East Austin in April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance in late April but was sent to the wrong address, where he shot a blue heeler named Cisco after the dog, according to his account, charged at him. Cisco’s owner, Michael Paxton, has denied that the dog was being aggressive.
Carter said the investigation into the case found no policy violations and Griffin received no discipline.
Since then, though, the department has been looking at the policies of other law enforcement agencies around the country to determine the best practices when it comes to dog encounters, Carter said.
“Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process,” he said. “We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it.”
Paxton, meanwhile, has filed a complaint against Griffin with the police monitor’s office and has retained a lawyer.
“It’s sad that my dog had to die for this to happen,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggresive, animal control, animals, austin, behavior, cisco, dangerous, deadly force, department, dog friendly, dog killings, dogs, firearms, force, killings, law enforcement, lethal force, pets, police, policies, practices, review, shooting, texas, training
A one-eyed dog, no less.
Last fall, Austin artist Jessica Stone decided she wanted another dog — one in need of a home, maybe even one with special needs.
San Antonio Bulldog Rescue had a candidate — a 7-year-old bulldog named Piper, whose hip dysplasia caused her to walk with a limp, and who often made a mess of herself when pooping.
There wasn’t much known about Piper. “The guy who surrendered her wouldn’t give San Antonio Bulldog Rescue any information,” Stone told KXAN in Austin. “He said that he was afraid of her because she can be grumpy.”
Stone and her husband adopted the dog anyway.
“She gets startled easily. You can’t bug her when she’s sleeping. She doesn’t like to get picked up because it hurts her hips,” Stone said.
Piper immediately took an interest in Stone’s work, watching intently, with her one eye, as she painted, and then, with Stone’s help, taking it up herself.
“…She chews on the brush and I hold the paper and I change her colors,” Stone said.
On a whim, Stone decided to post one of Piper’s pieces on Facebook. It sold within a week. In a matter of months, Piper had sold about 50 paintings.
“She has over, I think, 2,700 fans now on Facebook,” Stone said. “She has her own business card, e-mail, website .”
Piper is making enough money to cover her own medical bills, and a percentage of her income goes back to the rescue group she came from.
Piper will be appearing this Saturday at Austin’s Just for Pets store at 3742 Far West Blvd., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, art, austin, brushes, bulldog, facebook, jessica stone, just for pets, one eye, one-eyed, painter, painting, paints, piper, rescue, rescued, san antonio bulldog rescue, selling, special needs, studio, texas, watchiing birds
In addition to taking a closer look at the incident, in which a blue heeler named Cisco was shot by an officer who had responded to wrong address, the department says it is re-examining its policies.
“This incident has drawn a lot of attention,” Assistant Police Chief David Carter told the Austin American-Statesman.
“We’ve received a lot of calls, a lot of emails from people who are very concerned. And we are, too,” he said.
Cisco, owned by Michael Paxton, was shot by officer Thomas Griffin, who was responding to a call about a domestic disturbance. Griffin arrived at the wrong address by mistake and said he shot the dog after it charged him.
Paxton denies that Cisco behaved aggressively, but reports indicate that at least two complaints had previously been filed with animal control about the dog — one by a woman who claimed she’d been bitten when she tried to pet him in a parking lot.
While originally discounting Paxton’s version of events and saying the officer acted properly, police officials showed a more conciliatory tone Wednesday.
“The bottom line is, we have a citizen who was going about his business, who was not involved in criminal or suspicious activity,” Carter said. “And he loses his dog. … That’s a big deal, and we recognize that.”
Carter said the official review includes the 911 call and how dispatchers responded to it, the officer’s tactics and what happened afterward. Carter said the department is also examining its policies and training for animal encounters.
The review will also look at whether the recent shooting death of an Austin officer might have resulted in “hypervigilance” on Griffin’s part when he encountered the dog, Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
The shooting garnered national attention. A Facebook page called “Justice for Cisco” has more than 71,000 supporters that have left messages of support and, often, outrage.
Acevedo offered condolences to Cisco’s owner during an interview on the “Dudley and Bob Morning Show” on KLBJ FM Radio.
“My heart goes out to him. I think if you ask everybody in the department, believe it or not, we’re animal lovers, just like everybody else,” Acevedo said
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, apology. animal control, art acevedo, austin, behavior, bites, biting, bitten, blue heeler, cisco, dog, dogs, killed, michael paxton, officer, pets, police, police chief, shot, texas, thomas griffin
The officer, he says, pointed a gun at him and told him to put his hands in the air. That was about the time Cisco ran over and started barking at the officer, KXAN reports.
Paxton says he assured the officer that his dog would not hurt him, but when Cisco approached the officer fired, killing the dog with one shot.
The entire incident took place Saturday afternoon on Paxton’s property in Austin.
While there are reports that the officer, answering a domestic disturbance call, responded to the wrong house, Austin police would neither confirm nor deny that over the weekend, saying only that they were reviewing the incident.
Paxton and friends, meanwhile, have set up a Justice For Cisco Facebook page that has more than 14,000 likes.
APD spokesman Anthony Hipolito said an investigation is continuing, and told the Austin American-Statesman, “Don’t believe everything you hear.”
Paxton insists the officer had no reason to question him or shoot his dog.
“He had a Taser. He had pepper spray. I don’t understand why, in broad daylight, he pulled a gun on me. I wasn’t running. I wasn’t hiding,” Paxton told ABCNews.com today. “I was just saying, ‘I live here.’ I was panicking. I was afraid for my life.”
Paxton said the officer said he was responding to report of a man choking a woman. Paxton does not have a girlfriend and believes the report came from his neighbor’s house.
Paxton said the officer did not apologize; nor did a sergeant who arrived and told Paxton the officer was within his rights to shoot the dog. Paxton said he has not heard from the police since the incident.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, austin, australian cattle dog, blue heeler, cisco, cop shoots dog, dogs, domestic disturbance, facebook, frisbee, justice for cisco, killed, law enforcement, michael paxton, mistake, officer, pets, playing, police, property, shooting, shot, texas, wrong address, wrong house, yard
Yet another report of jealousy-induced dog abuse has come to light — this one in Austin, where a woman is alleged to have repeatedly slammed her boyfriend’s 12-year-old shih tzu to the ground.
About a week ago, we told you about Patrick Caleb Land, who was sentenced in San Diego to five years in prison for beating his girlfriend’s three dogs to death because, he said, he was jealous of them.
Just three days after that, police in Austin responded to a report of a couple arguing and arrested Maria Martinez on a charge of cruelty to animals.
She’s accused of taking her boyfriend’s dog, Chase, a shih tzu mix, from his truck and throwing him into a Dumpster, KXAN reported.
She then climbed into the Dumpster, according to the boyfriend, lifted the dog above her head and threw him to the ground.
The dog’s owner also told police that Martinez poured bleach into Chase’s dog’s food in an attempt to poison the dog.
According to police, Martinez admitted that she and her boyfriend had argued all day and told officers she was mad and jealous of the dog.
Chase was being treated for his injuries.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, argument, austin, bleach, boyfriend, couple, cruelty to animals, dogs, dumpster, girlfriend, jealous, jealousy, pets, poison, shih-tzu, slammed, texas, thrown
Yogi, in true Lassie form, ran to get help after his master fell of his bicycle and was seriously injured.
Paul Horton, 58, of Austin, Texas, was riding his bicycle with Yogi jogging alongside when he hit a curb. While he was unconscious, the dog remained at his side. When Horton, a 58-year-ol retired mechanical engineer, regained consciousness he couldn’t move.
According to the Associated Press, Horton urged Yogi to get help. Yogi went back to the road and encountered Horton’s neighbors, and barked at them until they followed him back to Horton.
Horton was taken to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed that his vertebrae had pinched his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the chest down.
“The dog alerting his neighbor was instrumental in getting him to a hospital and preventing his choking to death or going into shock. He might not have survived if he hadn’t been found until the next day,” said Dr. Juan La Torre, medical director of the spinal cord injury and amputee program at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin.
Horton remains paralyzed and in a wheelchair, but he has regained some feeling in his torso, legs and back.
Yogi behaves differently since the accident, he said.
“He stays within sight of me in the house. If I change rooms, he changes rooms. If I move over five feet, he moves over five feet,” Horton said.
“It takes a very unique and special dog to do what Yogi did,” said Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director of the society. “He obviously has a true bond with Paul, and it just demonstrates how close we are to our companion animals and how much we need them.”
(Photo: Horton and Yogi, by Rhonda Lee / KXAN)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2011, accident, animals, austin, award, bicycle, dogs, golden retriever, help, hero, hero dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, paul horton, pets, rescue, spinal injury, texas, valor dog of the year, yogi
My favorite part of this news report is not the beginning, which dredges up recent footage about dog attacks to establish the pit bull’s reputation as violent and unpredictable.
It’s not the part where they shatter that stereotype, or at least put a dent in it, it by noting that — gasp! — pit bulls are being used as therapy dogs.
My favorite part is near the end, where a student reading to a pit bull stumbles over a word, and the dog’s owner, Lydia Zaidman — her chin resting on the dog’s back — offers some assistance.
“NAYSAYERS,” she says. “Do you want to know what that means?”
“Yeah, what?” the student replies.
“That’s people who say you can’t do something.”
A lot of people would say you can’t trust a pit bull, much less put them to work with children as therapy dogs, but a program in north Austin’s Gullett Elementary School is going a long way toward proving them wrong, according to TV news report from KXAN in Austin.
It’s hardly — despite the report’s exclamation points — the first time pit bulls have served as therapy dogs. Across the country, pit bulls — even one of Michael Vick’s former dogs — have been certified as therapy dogs. The therapy dog group Ace and I work with, Karma Dogs, recently qualified its first pit bull member. Zaidman, who’s president of ” Love-A-Bull ,” a nonprofit group that sticks up for the pit bull, has been taking her pit bull Mocha to the school for two years now.
What is unusual is that Zaidman’s therapy dog organization, called the Pit Crew, trains only pit bulls for therapy work. It’s believed to be the only program in the nation that does so.
Working with professional dog trainer Julie Eskoff, Zaidman recently concluded a training program designed to certify pit bulls for use in schools. The training program started with nine animals. Seven graduated, but two were soon sent home — not an unusual dropout rate for therapy dog qualification.
“They love people; they’re extremely tolerant of people.” Zaidman said of pit bulls. “Of course, each individual one has to be temperament tested and each one is an individual like any other dog. But in general, they temperament test very high. They really love people; they like to be around people and so they do really well.”
“They are the number one most abused dog in this country,” Zaidman told KXAN. “Abuse is going to lead to a problem, no question. Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible owners out there and that’s going to lead to a problem, but they have to use everything from amphetamines to abuse to get them to fight. So the idea that they are meant to fight is a falsity.
“Unfortunately, there’s a cycle right now,” she added. “There’s a media image, just like there was for Dobermans in the 80s or German shepherds in the 70s and it’s a cycle that just keeps happening. The more misinformation that gets out there, the more people that are attracted to the wrong dog. What we’re trying to do is put a positive image out there so that the wrong people don’t continue to be attracted to the dog.
“It’s like any other prejudice. You know, you have to educate yourself as to the facts. Unfortunately, too many people read things on the Internet and they don’t bother to find out what the truth is, you know, bother to actually meet one.”
Zaidman seems not only to have her facts right, and a well-articulated message (she’s a lawyer, after all), but she’s proving it daily through deeds.
If only people like Baltimore’s Mickey, and all the other naysayers, would listen.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, austin, breeds, dogs, elementary, gullett, image, love-a-bull, lydia zaidman, mickey cucchiella, perception, pets, pit bull, pit crew, pitbull, pitbulls, reputation, schools, stereotype, stereotypes, temperament, texas, therapy, therapy dogs
Lee Mannix, a Texas-based, internationally respected dog behaviorist, was killed Sunday in a one-car accident.
Mannix, 40, was founder of the Lee Mannix Center for Canine Behavior in South Austin, and his clients included musician Jimmie Dale Gilmore and author Kinky Friedman.
“There are very few people who have the touch, and Lee certainly had it,” said Friedman, who co-founded the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. “His ability to relate to animals was second to none. He could take a dog that everybody’s having trouble with and thinks is ferocious and untameable, and two or three weeks later it’s a totally different dog. Lee came in as an equal, and the dogs just loved him.”.
Mannix, 40, was killed in a single-vehicle accident Sunday in Hays County. His brother Kevin, also in the vehicle, survived, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Mannix wasn’t always drawn to dogs; for 12 years he avoided them entirely. When he was 8, a German shepherd bit him so severely he required 130 stitches. He shunned dogs until he was 20, when a friend gave him a dog.
Mannix worked at the Austin Humane Society and DogBoy’s Positive Power Kennels in Pflugerville, and headed a local humane society in Colorado.
As a trainer, Mannix specialized in canine aggression problems.
“I can get a dog to do anything I want it to do. The thing is training the owner to do it,” Mannix said last summer. “So I don’t train dogs per se; I train owners to understand their dog’s behavior and get it right.”
Author Friedman noted: “There are lots of important people out there, politicians and the like. But I think Lee Mannix was significant. And there is a distinction there … He’s the kind of guy who has opened the gates of heaven wider.”
Memorial donations may be made to the Schrodi Memorial Training Fund.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, aggression, animals, austin, auto, behavior, behaviorist, canine, car, dog, dogs, killed, kinky friedman, lee mannix, lee mannix center, news, pets, texas, trainer, training
In December 2008, Robert Kennedy spotted a blue towel in the weeds of Murphey Candler Park in DeKalb County, outside of Atlanta.
Upon closer inspection, he found a dog underneath it, one whose head had been badly beaten. An investigation would later determine the dog, named Austin at the time, had been bashed in the head twice with a sledgehammer. His owner, Joe Waters would later be arrested.
The case led to international headlines, and an outpouring of support.
Today, Murphy, as he was renamed — after the park — belongs officially to Kennedy. The 9-year-old Australian shepherd mix has only one eye, and a dented head, but he’s managed to teach Kennedy volumes.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it, “Murphy is far more focused on what lies ahead, not what is behind him.”
“I hope if I ever have any challenges, I can recover like him,” Kennedy said. “I take my cues from Murphy, and he has forgotten all about it.”
Kennedy, who found Murphy on his 60th birthday, took him to the closest veterinarian he could find. Stephen Pope, the medical director at VCA Pets Are People Too in Dunwoody, performed surgery to repair the skull and jaw fractures and to remove the damaged left eye. Eight days and $10,000 worth of care later, Murphy was released into Kennedy’s custody.
The dog suffered no long-term neurological damage and behaves much like any other dog, compensating only with the occasional cocked head to use his good eye. Under Kennedy’s care, Murphy’s weight has gone from 38 to 53 pounds.
Kennedy set up a trust fund for the dog’s care after offers to help poured in from 30 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. He raised $38,000 — money that will last throughout Murphy’s life and then go to nonprofit pet rescue groups.
The dog’s previous owner was convicted of a felony and two misdemeanors. He says he thought his pet had been poisoned and was attempting to mercifully kill it. He was sentenced to one year in jail.
Immediately after the ruling, a prosecutor presented Kennedy with notarized papers, declaring Murphy was his.
“He couldn’t be happier with life,” Kennedy said. “My wish for everybody is to have room in their heart to take a dog into their home and know that kind of happiness.”
(Photo: Vino Wong /Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, attack, austin, australian shepherd, dekalb county, donations, fracture, fractured, georgia, jaw, joe waters, mix, murphey candler park, murphy, news, one eye, one eyed dog, owner, robert kennedy, skull, sledgehammer, surgery, survivor