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Tag: award

$1.26 million awarded to family of dog shot and killed by police officer in Maryland

vern

A jury has awarded $1.26 million to a Maryland family whose dog was shot and killed by police in 2014 — the largest award ever in the U.S. for such a case, according to the law firm that represented the family.

According to a press release from the Hansel Law firm in Baltimore, the verdict came after a three-day trial in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.

“The duty to serve and protect extends to our animal family members as well,” said Cary J. Hansel, the attorney for Michael Reeves of Glen Burnie.

Reeves’ four-year-old retriever, Vern, was shot by an officer responding to a burglary call in Reeves’ neighborhood.

Anne Arundel County police officer Officer Rodney Price claimed he was attacked by Vern, but forensic evidence presented at the trial led the jury to conclude otherwise.

vern2Vern was a Chesapeake Bay retriever. The breed is the state dog of Maryland.

The officer encountered the dog in the family’s front yard, and the officer said the dog barked and ran toward him.

During the trial, the officer admitted that the dog did not bite or injure him before he fired his weapon. The officer also said no other steps were taken to deal with the dog before the dog was shot two times, the Capital Gazette reported.

A necropsy performed at the request of Anne Arundel County police showed that one bullet entered the dog’s sternum, and another bullet entered the dog’s side, at a time when the dog’s body was perpendicular to the gun.

Attorney Hansel said that evidence contradicted Price’s testimony regarding how the shooting occurred.

An internal investigation by the police department earlier determined the dog had behaved aggressively. Price remains with the police department.

The jury found that Price was not attacked by the dog, that the shooting violated Reeves’ constitutional rights, and that it was committed with gross negligence.

Reeves got Vern in 2009 and took a year off work to train him. He declined to comment after the verdict.

The $1.26 million verdict includes $500,000 in monetary damages and $760,000 in damages for the anguish caused by the shooting.

The firm says the award was the largest ever in a case of a dog shot and killed by a police officer.

The Department of Justice estimates that about 10,000 dogs are shot by law enforcement officers every year in the United States.

Let Bob Dylan be Bob Dylan

Why is everybody doggin’ Bob Dylan?

So what if he didn’t visibly display excitement, didn’t jump up and down and wag his tail, upon learning he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

So what if he’s not exactly yapping and scratching at the door to attend the upcoming Stockholm awards ceremony to receive the prize from King Carl VI Gustaf.

It really seems to bother people — respected journalists, less respected journalists, and lowly drama-seeking bloggers — that Dylan has not reacted like a “Price is Right” contestant who just won the showcase round.

To those people — those who demand effervescence from a man who, until he puts pen to paper, chooses to holds most things inside — we say, first off, don’t expect everybody’s personality to be the same as your’s.

Let Bob Dylan be Bob Dylan. And respect, as well, the privacy he seems to treasure.

dylananddogAfter the prizes were announced by the Swedish Academy, Dylan had no public reaction for weeks, which, for some reason, became news. He reportedly “refused to pick up the phone” to speak to representatives of the Nobel committee.

How does anyone know he was refusing to pick up the phone? Why is it assumed he was being petulant?

Perhaps he was not home, or was otherwise occupied, or was under the impression he can live his life at the pace he chooses, talking to who he chooses when he chooses.

How dare he? How dare he not give the news media what it was looking for?

Well, he never really has. He has always been more of a wandering, independent stray than a mindless lap dog.

For all those who were fretting over his lack of a reaction, The Telegraph reported Friday that yes, he hopes to attend the ceremony, and yes, winning the prize was “amazing, incredible … Whoever dreams about something like that?”

So much for the theory that he was going to pull a Jean-Paul Sartre, the novelist who famously declined the award in 1964.

He has said he will be there “if he can,” but many find that unacceptable as well and have deemed his behavior “impolite and arrogant.”

Maybe. Or maybe not all of us are wired for public displays of enthusiasm.

I have been accused of lacking enthusiasm, because I’m generally quiet. For my part, it was a matter of realizing if I am constantly flapping my jaws, my brain can’t process the things it needs to — be it writing a story, solving some mystery of life, or locating the items on the grocery list.

I’m just one of those people who mostly celebrates without fireworks, and on the inside. I would never be chosen to compete in The Price is Right. I’m more likely to bare my soul, if I bare it at all, to a dog.

dylananddog1Maybe Bob is that way, too. Maybe, at home, he has the curtains drawn and is running around the house high-fiving his dogs.

Interviewers, the smart ones, have found dogs to be the one topic that can get Bob Dylan going.

In any event, I’d guess the dogs in his life — and he has had many — have served to help him be a loner without being lonely. I’d guess he tells them more than he tells most friends, and definitely more than he tells the news media.

One of his first poems, written when he was 16 and in summer camp, was about a dog (Little Buddy) who died a tragic death.

bob1He once credited “a dog lying on the floor” (his name was Hamlet) with helping create the relaxed ambience in which he and The Band put together “The Basement Tapes,” while living outside Woodstock in the summer of 1967.

In addition to the song featured atop this post, “If Dogs Run Free” (which he turned into a children’s book in 2013), Dylan refers to dogs in at least 30 of his songs, according to an article in Bark a while back.

“They seem to inhabit his world, his thoughts, and, ultimately, they come to life in his music,” the article notes. “…Dylan uses dogs as a messenger for mood, as set for the stage. You can picture them wandering down dirt roads, or collapsed on creaky porches. They’re dustbowl dogs and prowling alley dogs, dogs with no collars, dogs with no homes.

“It’s a hungry, lonesome quality about them that he touches upon, a sense of being, all at once, tired and restless. They speak to the human condition that surrounds them, suggesting what really doesn’t need to be said.”

Bob Dylan has always been very good at saying what needs to be said, and even better at not saying what doesn’t need to be said.

So whether he shows up to claim his Nobel Prize, whether his speech consists of “thank you” or he jumps up and down and says “ohmigod! ohmigod!” — those are questions we will just have to keep asking in the months ahead. Or not.

The answer, my friend, is … well, you know.

Loyal dog honored by Washington governor

Hero Dog_Cham640360

Tillie, the setter mix who stood guard for a week after the basset hound she was roaming with fell into a cistern, was honored by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee last week.

Tillie, her basset hound friend, Phoebe, and their owner B.J. Duft were present as Gov. Inslee read a proclamation naming Tillie “Washingtonian of the Day” Thursday.

Inslee urged “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”

Tillie was the first non-human to receive the honor.

“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate,” Inslee said. “I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”

Both dogs have been enjoying some newfound fame in Vashon, about 20 miles southwest of Seattle, since they wandered off from their home in early September.

A week later they were found — 4-year-old Phoebe stuck in the bottom of shallow cistern, 11-year-old Tillie watching over her.

tillie

They were discovered by a volunteer from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, who snapped the photo to the left.

Duft, who said the dogs escaped from his property through a hole in the fence, was ecstatic when he learned they’d been found.

“It really made me think a lot about their friendship and Tillie’s commitment to her companion, that’s for sure,” Duft told the Associated Press.

The governor has bestowed about 70 “Washingtonian of the Day” certificates since taking office.

Duft said both dogs are now sporting GPS collars.

(Top Photo: Duft, second from left, holds his dogs as they visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, far left; AP Photo by Ted S. Warren. Bottom photo courtesy of Vashon Island Pet Protectors)

And this year’s “Hambone” goes to …

A Labrador retriever who ate a beehive – bees included – has been named winner of this year’s “Hambone Award” an insurance company’s annual tribute to the pet with the most unusual insurance claim.

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, chose 12 nominees for the honor – all selected from claims filed by clients. More than 3,000 people voted online to pick the winner.

Ellie lives in Santee, California, and the beehive was just the latest in a long line of items she has consumed in her young life – from wooden toy train tracks to laptop computer keys.

On top of the hive, and its thousands of inhabitants, Ellie also consumed pesticide – for the hive had recently been sprayed. On the plus side, that meant the bees she consumed were already dead. On the down side, the pesticide made her upset stomach even worse. She made a full recovery.

Ellie’s owners, Robert and Sandra Coe, will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham as well as a gift basket full of doggie toys and treats, VPI announced this week.

The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham before someone opened the door and found the dog inside, with a mild case of hypothermia.

This year’s second place honors went to Aubie, a border collie from Birmingham, Alabama, who wanted to meet (or eat) the mailman so badly he leapt through a closed living room window. The leap shattered the glass and left Aubie with a cut front leg that required 40 stitches.

“Aubie’s never been enamored with the mailman,” said owner, Sharman Martin.

Third place went to a West Highland white terrier named Darci, who attacked her owner’s running chainsaw. The chainsaw cut two small holes into Darci’s muzzle and she underwent five hours of surgery.

Additional nominees for the 2010 VPI Hambone Award included a boxer that chased and caught a moving delivery van by biting into one of its tires, a standard poodle with a taste for dirty diapers, and a Jack Russell terrier that suffered injuries from wrestling with a lizard.

All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for their medical care.

(Photo: Courtesy of VPI)

In the case of terrier versus chainsaw

A West Highland terrier who attacked a buzzing chainsaw has recovered from her injuries and is now in the running for the Hambone Award, presented annually by Veterinary Pet Insurance.

Darci, a 2-year-old terrier, had a history of lunging at the vacuum cleaner and lawnmower, according to her owner, Barbara Abell, of Belleville, Ill. “She never actually touched them, but she would lunge at them,” Abell says.

Last month, though, Abell’s husband was using a chainsaw to cut up a fallen branch in the family’s backyard when Darci lunged and bit the running saw. Abell rushed Darci to an emergency clinic, where she received four stitches and was sent home.

“By the next day, she was back to her feisty self,” said Abell, who advised pet owners not to assume their pets will keep their distance from dangerous equipment — even if they always have.

Darci’s onwers filed a claim with VPI, their insurer. Of more than 8,000 claims received in June by VPI, Darci’s was judged the most unusual of the bunch. As a result, Darci’s in the running for the  2010 VPI Hambone Award.

Each month, VPI employees nominate the most interesting claim submitted. In August, the public will vote on line for the winner of the Hambone Award, named after a dog  that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him.

The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean hambone and a mild case of hypothermia. Like all dogs nominated, he recovered fully.

Los Angeles tales II: Hero Dog of the Year

A 9-year-old wire fox terrier named Ronnie was named Los Angeles “Hero Dog of the Year” this week for chasing off a coyote — a feat I’m guessing he accomplished while OFF HIS LEASH and BARKING.

Ronnie — who lives in Orange County with owners Janis and Eric Christensen and their two other dogs — placed himself between a coyote and Janis, who was holding another of the family’s dogs, when the coyote jumped a fence into the Christensens’ backyard last August.

The coyote bit Ronnie; Ronnie bit back, then chased the coyote until it disappeared from view, Eric Christensen told the Orange County Register.

According to the Christensens, such behavior was uncharacteristic: Ronnie’s a shy and laid back dog.

“Ronnie’s personality was such that you wouldn’t think he would spring into action like he did. This shows that treating your pet with love and respect can be returned by an amazing heroic act,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of the spcaLA, which bestowed the honor.

(Photo: Jebb Harris / The Orange County Register)

Vick coming to Baltimore for Block award

News that Michael Vick is expected to attend the 32nd annual Ed Block Courage Awards dinner in Baltimore Tuesday has led to a change in the ceremony’s format and an increase in security.

Vick, who was convicted in 2007 of running a dogfighting ring, is one of 32 winners to be honored with the award, which singles out one member of each NFL team for his courage, sportsmanship and inspiration to his community.

Vick’s unanimous selection by his Philadelphia Eagles teammates triggered angry e-mails to the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, a petition drive and a planned protest by dog lovers and animal welfare activists at the award’s ceremony, to be held at Martin’s West, 6817 Dogwood Road, from 4 to 10 p.m.

More than 100 people have already signed up to protest at the event — a number that could grow as a result of the news that the quarterback will be attending.

In addition to scrapping the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans and sign autographs,  organizers say they are boosting security, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“We’ve put in place enough [guards] to make sure that our players are safe and that everything runs smoothly.”said Ed Block Courage Award Foundation spokesman Paul Mittermeier.

The Block Award is named for a former team trainer of the Baltimore Colts, who worked for years to help abused children.

 Criticism for bestowing the award on Vick has come from groups ranging from animal rights activists to the American Kennel Club. “It is unconscionable that a man who tortured and abused helpless animals be honored by an organization dedicated to ending abuse,” the AKC said.

Vick will be accompanied to the event by Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States,  a group for which the quarterback has made public appearances in recent months, attempting to steer youth away from dogfighting.