Revised, reconfigured and ready to get you all the way through 2013, the “Travels with Ace” calendar is back on sale for a limited time.
A heavy-duty, 18-month wall calendar, it’s illustrated with photos from our year-long, 27,000-mile trip across America — from the coast of Maine, where Ace was the first dog in America to see the sunrise one day in October, to the shores of Monterey, where Ace hopped up for a closer look at a bust of John Steinbeck — the author who inspired our journey.
You can buy it and get more information here, or by clicking on that ad to the left.
Fifty percent of profits from the sale of the calendar go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire (and also one of the stops on our trip).
We’ve added photos of one stop that we didn’t include the first time around — the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
The rest of the calendar is packed with images from some of our other stops:
@Salvation Mountain in California, where Leonard Knight has fashioned and painted a mountain in honor of God.
@Niagara Falls, where Ace — ohmigod! — almost disappeared.
@The Lodge, a gentleman’s club in Dallas, where we met one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, and where Ace briefly took the stage.
@Various points south, like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, where we kept running into kudzu dogs.
@The mountains of North Carolina, where we went in search of the elusive — and sometimes not so elusive — white squirrel.
@Rolling Dog Farm, where we reconnected with some old friends.
@John Steinbeck’s former home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where we began retracing the route the author took in “Travels with Charley.”
@A marina in Baltimore, where we lived on a sailboat for a week, which Ace mostly liked.
Initial sales of the calendar raised $400 for Rolling Dog Farm.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alabama, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, bandera, calendar, calendars, california, coast, coon dog cemetery, dallas texas, dog, dogs, fathers day, following, gentleman's club, gift, gifts, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, lancaster, maine, monterey, new hamsphire, niagara falls, north carolina, ohmidog!, oregon, path, pets, photography, photos, road trip, rolling dog farm, route, salinas, strip clubs, the lodge, trail, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, trip, tucson, wall calendar, white squirrels, winslow
On Sunday May 20th, they’re planning their biggest yet.
Up to 100 participants are expected to showcase their dogs in the wake of the Maryland Court of Appeals Court ruling which labeled all pit bull and pit bull mix dogs to be “inherently dangerous.”
“B-More Dog’s goal for Pit Bulls on Parade is now — and has always been — to introduce people to real pet pit bulls and their people, thereby reducing the stereotype and myths that surround these dogs,” the organization said.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Rash Field and continue around the promenade to the Coast Guard Cutter Taney and back.
Participants in the walk will include family pets as well as pit bulls available for adoption at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS). Local rescue groups such as Jasmine’s House, Adopt a Homeless Animal and FurEver Love often participate in the walk as well.
“B-More Dog was extremely disappointed to learn of the new ‘pit bull’ law in Maryland as a result of the Solesky v. Tracey case. B-More Dog has been working around the clock with regional and national experts to determine the best course of action to have this law changed,” said Pauline Houliaras, President of B-More Dog.
B-More Dog provides humane education in Baltimore city by taking trained and well-mannered pit bulls to community centers, after school programs, schools and churches.
For more information about Pit Bulls on Parade or any of the programs offered by B-More Dog, contact Pauline Houliaras at 410-292-3869 or email@example.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeals court, b-more dog, baltimore, bmore dog, bmoredog, dangerous, dogs, education, events, inherently dangerous, inner harbor, maryland, parade, perceptions, pets, pit bull owners, pit bulls, pit bulls on parade, pitbull, pitbulls, rash field, ruling, stereotypes, training
First came a Court of Appeals ruling, late last week, declaring all pit bulls (and pit bull mixes) “inherently dangerous” — stating, in effect, that breed, or type, or even looks alone, are all that is required to assume a dog is bad.
Then came a newspaper column by the normally level-headed Dan Rodricks, fresh from judging a dog costume contest for the Maryland SPCA, declaring pit bulls “four-legged time bombs” that should not be allowed in public.
It was not prompted by anything that happened at the SPCA’s March for the Animals — other than his seeing some pit bulls there. Instead, it seemed based on a prejudice he apparently holds and, with a court decision to back him up, felt inclined to reveal.
Taken together, the column and court decision (you can read it here) have riled friends of pit bulls, who are fighting back, on Facebook, through website comments and petitions and via letters to the editor at the Baltimore Sun, like this one — my personal favorite:
“… I live in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore. When my suburban friends come visit, they hold their kids close, and they look askance at some of my more ‘unusual’ neighbors. Some of them are only too happy to hop back in their cars and scurry back to the counties. To them it’s “obvious” that Baltimore is a dangerous place, with all the derelict buildings and the homeless people and the occasional addict passed out on the sidewalk …
“I’m also a pit bull owner — an accidental one, because I found mine starving and scared, running down Wicomico Street dragging a leash behind him. I caught him and brought him home because that’s what any decent dog lover would do. Then I found out how incredibly, incredibly difficult it is to rehome these dogs — because of the stigmas, and because there are just so many of them.
“I had only limited experience with the breed before mine chose me, but I have discovered that they are wonderful, wonderful dogs, incredibly smart and ridiculously affectionate. Some of them need more work than others, but anyone who says they’re “inherently” dangerous has obviously never met a good one. And there are lots of good ones.
“But if all you see when you look at them are the cropped ears and the muscular bodies and all the teeth — regardless of whether or not they’re showing off that famous pit bull smile — and because of the way they look decide they’re not worth getting to know, you’re just as ignorant as all the suburbanites who think Baltimore is nothing but vacant houses and drug dealers.”
Written by Erin Harty, the letter makes some excellent points about stereotyping and judging by looks — points that shouldn’t be lost on Rodricks, who has been able to look beneath the gruff exteriors and even bad behavior of convicts and ex-convicts and see some redeeming traits. It’s a shame he can’t bring himself to do the same when it comes to pit bulls, the vast majority of which have not engaged in any bad behavior. And won’t.
The Maryland SPCA’s executive director, Aileen Gabbey, voiced disappointment with Rodrick’s remarks and the court of appeals decision.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is no accurate way to measure and determine which breeds are more likely to bite. These legitimate agencies also state that any data collected relating to dog bites has high potential for error,” she wrote in a letter to the editor.
“Mr. Rodricks’ opinions certainly won’t damper the success of the MD SPCA’s 17th March for the Animals. Thousands of dog owners and dog breeds of all kinds safely came together to have fun while helping the homeless dogs in our community.”
Of greater concern to pit bull owners is the court of appeals ruling, and its possible ramifications.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a in a press release that it plans to work with Maryland dog advocates and members of the legislature to develop “rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state after the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision fundamentally changing longstanding liability rules relating to pit bull and mixed pit bull dogs.”
The court decision focuses on liability. Under previous case law, a victim intending to file a lawsuit after a dog attack had to prove that a dog’s owner, or landlord, knew it had a history of being dangerous. Now, under the new precedent it set, the filer of a lawsuit merely has to show that the owner knew their dog was all or part pit bull. That would be sufficient basis for a claim.
Betsy McFarland, HSUS vice president, said the court overstepped its authority.
“A seismic shift in Maryland law of this nature should be undertaken by the legislature, not judges. The legislature should conduct appropriate fact-finding and hearings, consider the available science, and make a measured, non-emotional decision on this important policy issue.
“We encourage advocates to call their state legislators to respectfully voice their concerns, and urge them to work with advocates on legislation in the next session that provides rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state.
“The Humane Society of the United States’ companion animals department is in communication with shelters and rescues, and will be looking for ways to support them as they consider the ramifications of this decision.”
(Photo: Jasmine, one of Michael Vick’s former fighting pit bulls, who ended up in Baltimore, and was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story about Vick’s dogs overcoming their inhumane treatment at human hands)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anger, animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, banned, bashing, columnist, court, court of appeals, dan rodricks, dangerous, decision, dogs, four legged time bombs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inherently, maryland spca, media, news, newspaper, opinion, petitions, pets, pit bull, pit bull lovers, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, public, response, responses, ruling, vick dogs
“They have a reputation for vicious mauling,” he says in the first paragraph of his Monday column, written after serving as a judge in a costume contest that was part of last weekend’s Maryland SPCA March for the Animals.
That makes me wonder — not just about the SPCA’s choice in judges, but whether The Sun has changed its slogan. I’ve been away. Is it “Light for Some” now? “Light for Purebreds?” “Light for erroneous stereotypes?”
First off, if I may shed some light for all, it’s the news media (always so easy to blame) that accounts, in large part, for the pit bull’s undeserved bad reputation — along with fear mongering politicians.
Rodricks further trashes that reputation, calling pit bulls, among other things, “four-legged time bombs” — and at a time when much of the country, with exceptions like the Maryland Court of Appeals, is waking up to how wrong that stereotype is.
“Until they are banned outright, pit bulls should not be allowed in public, and their ownership should bear heavy, legal responsibility,” Rodricks wrote, adding that he was “pleased” with the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling declaring pit bulls and pit bull mixes “inherently dangerous.”
Rodricks talked about his admiration for the Maryland SPCA and its efforts to shelter and find home for dogs. And he praised the annual March for the Animals, saying the spectacle of people walking their pets around Druid Lake was “inspiring — city life at its top.”
If only there weren’t pit bulls in the crowd:
“The pit bulls make it weird … Of course, the pit bulls are all tethered or chained to their owners, and, given the nature of the event, you generally assume that the men and women who participate are responsible and educated pet owners; altruistic, too. Many adopted these animals to provide them a home and train them toward good behavior. They believe mistreatment of the pit bull by ignorant humans is the problem, not the breed itself.”
He then conveys the following misinformation:
“The evidence shows clearly that such attacks are disproportionate to the number of pit bulls in society, that they inflict far more damage than other dogs, and that their attacks are associated with a higher risk of death. Pit bull jaws are three times stronger than those of a German (shepherd).”
The appeals court ruling — delving as it does into pit bull attacks over history, or at least attacks police attributed to pit bulls — “makes clear, if it wasn’t already, that pit bulls are four-legged time bombs,” Rodricks says
As you might expect, Rodricks is now getting the vicious mauling he feared might occur if he got too close to a pit bull — from readers.
You can find their comments here.
(Photo: From TheBullyBreedBlog.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, ban, breed-specific, breeds, columnist, costume contest, dan rodricks, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, images, inherent, judge, March for the Animals, maryland, maryland court of appeals, maryland spca, news media, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, reputation, restrict, ruling, stereotypes
“Macbeth” doesn’t have a particularly happy ending, but one of the stars of the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s production of the play might find one.
The performances of “Macbeth,” starting with a Thursday, April 12 premiere, will feature homeless dogs from the Baltimore Humane Society, including Sophia (above).
Sophia will appear in the premiere — a long way from when she was found starving and freezing on a garbage dump behind her owner’s home, able only to walk on her hind legs. Her owner said he had no use for her anymore and had not even named her for the months in which he owned her, according to the humane society. Sophia, a nine-month-old boxer mix, is now living with a foster family.
The Baltimore Humane Society says the Shakespeare Factory is also featuring adoptable dogs in the playbill and setting aside space for a humane society information table at all shows.
Baltimore Humane Society will be sharing the stage with The Shakespeare Factory throughout the rest of the year for several different plays.
Different dogs and cats will be appearing in each of the performances.
Macbeth will be performed beginning April 12 at the The Great Hall Theatre, St. Mary’s Outreach Center, 3900 Roland Avenue, Baltimore. Additional performances will be April 20-22 and April 27–28.
For more information or tickets visit theshakespearefactory.com.
Anyone who sees Sophia or any of the other Baltimore Humane Society actors will get half off the adoption fee if they mention it when they come to the shelter and fill out an application.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptable, animals, appearing, baltimore, baltimore humane society, baltimore shakespeare factory, dogs, featured, homeless, humane society, macbeth, maryland, performances, pets, play, plays, shakespeare, shakespeare factory, shelter, sophia, starring
Closing arguments were made today and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before pronouncing the brothers not guilty of a crime that led the city to reexamine and strengthen its animal welfare laws and procedures.
Phoenix — the name the dog was given after her rescue — was euthanized days after she was found, on fire, by a Baltimore police officer.
The first trial for the Johnson brothers ended in a hung jury in February 2011.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein issued the following statement after the verdict:
“While I respect the jury’s decision, I am disappointed we didn’t achieve the outcome that we fought for during two challenging trials. Animal cruelty is a serious crime of violence, and those who commit it too frequently commit subsequent crimes of violence against humans. As we demonstrated in this case, we are dedicated to vigorously prosecuting individuals accused of this appalling offense.”
Defense attorneys for the Johnsons focused their defense on whether police mishandled the investigation and some of the evidence.
Craig Beyler, a fire protection engineer, called to the stand as an expert, testified that police mishandled clothing seized from the Johnsons’ South Baltimore home by mixing two pairs of jeans and a pair of sneakers in one bag. The clothing contained traces of an ignitable substance that could not be identified, but Beyler said it could have been a common chemical used in sneakers that might have transferred from the shoes to the jeans.
Prosecutors’ arguments linking the brothers to the burning centered mainly on a police surveillance video recorded from atop a pole near the crime scene.
No DNA, fingerprints or other forensic evidence connected the suspects to the crime.
A police sergeant identified the brothers in the video, in which two young men can be seen walking the dog minutes before the burning, and running away from the scene afterwards. A bystander, Tiera Goodman, told police soon after the incident she too saw the brothers run from the scene.
But Goodman refused to testify in the retrial. A video of her testimony from the first trial was played instead.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, baltimore, brothers, burned, burning, cruelty to animals, died, dogs, doused, euthanized, Gregg Bernstein, johnson, killed, not guilty, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, retrial, set on fire, torture, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, trial, verdict
Today, she’s up and around, and scheduled to appear at a press conference where her sad but inspiring story will be told.
Baltimore City Animal Control picked the emaciated dog up Feb. 13. The bottom third of her rear leg was missing, leading officers to believe she had been hit by a train.
Staff at the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), examined her, and promptly dubbed her Kisses because of her sweet disposition and all the licks she gave them, despite the pain she clearly had to be in.
As bleak as her outlook was, BARCS staff — “seeing her strength and will to live” — dipped into its Franky Fund, created to help homeless animals in need of immediate medical care, in hopes she could be saved.
BARCS contacted Essex Middle River Veterinary Center, which agreed to take a look at the dog.
BARCS staff assumed Kisses would have the rest of her leg amputated, but Dr. Joseph Zulty and his staff instead recommended closing the wound and raising funds to get her a prosthetic device.
The surgery was a success and Kisses has been fitted for a prosthetic. A member of the veterinary center staff took her home to provide foster care during her recovery, and BARCS reports that the hospital staff member plans to keep her.
BARCS & Essex Middle River Veterinary Center are holding a press conference this afternoon to tell the story of Kisses.
More information about the Franky Fund can be found at the BARCS website.
(Photo courtesy of BARCS)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, city, device, dog, dogs, donate, essex middle river veterinary clinic, foster, franky fund, funds, hit, injured, joseph zulty, kisses, leg, licks, medical, missing, mix, pets, pit bull, press conference, prosthetic, railroad, rear, severed, shelters, sick, stray, tracks, train, veterinarian, veterinary
For the 21st year in a row, the Labrador retriever is America’s most popular purebred dog — at least in terms of American Kennel Club registrations.
German shepherds repeated as second most popular, while the beagle climbed into the number three position, according to the annual list of the most popular among the 173 breeds the AKC recognizes.
Yorkies and shih tzus both dropped a notch or two, while Rottweilers made the top 10 for the first time this century. Those breeds rising quickest on the AKC list since 2000 included French bulldogs and Havanese.
“While the Labrador retriever has been proven once again to be a family favorite, this year clearly belongs to the beagle,” AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said in a press release. “The beagle’s merry personality combined with his love of outdoor activities makes him such a wonderful family pet that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this spunky breed sniff his way to the top list next year.”
In Baltimore, the Labrador Retriever topped the list of AKC registered dogs, as they did last year, followed by German shepherds, boxers, golden retrievers, bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, poodles, Rottweilers, pugs and Siberian huskies.
Nationally, the AKC’s most popular breeds were:
1. Labrador retriever
2. German shepherd
4. Golden retriever
5. Yorkshire terrier
You can find the full list, see which breeds have risen and fallen over time and get more information here.
(Photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, baltimore, beagle, boxer, breeds, dogs, french bulldog, german shepherd, havanese, labrador, labrador retriever, labs, list, most popular breeds, pets, popularity, purebred, purebreds, registrations, rottweiler
The one-year-old German shepherd was found on the streets by a mailman, and ended up at the Baltimore Humane Soceity. Now he’s on his way to being a drug sniffing dog with the Maryland Division of Correction Canine Unit.
Shortly after Jerry Lee arrived at the Humane Soceiey, Berno Combs, the animal care director, noticed he had all the qualities that the Correction Unit’s Canine Division looks for in recruits — he was calm, confident, steady when suddenly approached and willing to do almost anything in exchange for a ball.
Combs called the division to see if they wanted to come from Hagerstown to check him out. The prison system officially adopted him Feb. 23.
Jerry Lee still has to qualify for the job. He’ll be matched with a handler and enter a ten week Narcotic Detection Dog Academy.
Captain Mark Flynn says the Correction Canine Unit has adopted many dogs from shelters who are still in service today.
“We like to take our dogs from shelters. First, it saves lives. Second, it saves the state a lot of money. It cost us thousands of dollars to buy one dog from a breeder. A Labrador, for instance, can cost between $1,500 to $3,000 – and that’s untrained. If the dog is pre-trained by a breeder it can cost the state $6000.”
Upon graduation Jerry Lee will either be a patrol dog or a drug sniffer, the Humane Society said.
(Photo courtesy of Baltimore Humane Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, baltimore, baltimore humane society, correction, corrections, detection, dogs, drug, german shepherd, homeless, jerry lee, maryland, pets, prisons, shelter, stray, training
A trainer and rescuer of birds who once worked for the National Aquarium in Baltimore is being sought for questioning in connection with the deaths of 40 animals found in her Columbia townhouse, about half of which may have been abandoned while still alive.
Howard County animal control officers found 19 dead animals inside a freezer at the home, including birds, rabbits, a guinea pig and a hermit crab, according to the Baltimore Sun. Twenty one more dead birds, cats, rabbits and a snake were inside cages or loose in the home with no food or water. Four animals were found alive.
Howard County police on Wednesday left a letter at the home of Beth Lindenau, on the 9600 block of Lambeth Court, requesting she come in for an interview.
National Aquarium officials confirmed that Lindenau worked there from December 2004 until November 2009.
A police spokesperson said charges likely won’t be filed at least until after they have results of lab reports that show how and when the animals died.
Officers entered the house Monday after a property manager reported odors coming from the home. The electricity and heat had been turned off, and while food was left for some animals, those in cages had no access to it.
Several neighbors at the Lambeth Court townhouse said they had suspected that animals were inside the house and not being looked after, but officials with the county’s health department said they never received any complaints at that address.
Police said they are investigating whether she was involved with a nonprofit animal rescue group. A trailer belonging to the Bailey Foundation, a Columbia-based bird rescue organization was in the driveway.
WJLA reports that Lindenau is executive director of the organization.
According to the Bailey Foundation website, it was established in 2004, and has taken in dozens of birds, from finches to macaws, in hopes of finding them adoptive homes.
“Many of these birds will need care for up to 80 years or more,” the website says. “…Space is running out for the care of large birds like macaws and cockatoos. We will need to expand our available space soon. Our long-term goals are to purchase land on which large aviaries can be built to house the various species of birds as well as serve as an educational center. In our current location this is not possible…
“It is our goal to always have a place for one more bird in need.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, bailey foundation, baltimore, beth lindenau, bird, birds, cats, columbia, dead, freezer, howard county, national aquarium, police, rabbitis, rescue, rescuer, snake, townhouse