Dear financial institution:
As you can see, my dog got to the piece of mail you sent me before I did.
He’s a fairly new dog, and he’s still working out some behavioral issues, such as barking when mail comes through the slot in my door and lands on my floor.
He picks one piece of mail and then chews it up. I’m not sure how he decides which to chew up, but this time he chose the letter from you over such offerings as a lovely note from my mortgage company, an electric bill and coupons offering me a discount on pizza.
It’s particularly regrettable in this case because what remains of what you sent has all the markings of a check made out to me for $80,000.
If that is the case, please cancel payment and send me another one.
If it’s something else, such as a loan offer disguised as a gift, a loan for which I have been “pre-qualified,” don’t worry about sending it again, and you might want to check how good a job your pre-qualifying department is doing.
I get quite a lot of those offers from companies that suggest I “consolidate” my debt, but that would require adding up all my debt, and that would likely result in cardiac arrest.
A lot of dog owners — those with mail slots — experience this issue, and commonly they put up an outside mailbox so their pets don’t eat their mail.
I’m thinking it might not really be a problem after all, especially if my dog has the ability to detect junk mail and/or offers from sleazy companies hell-bent on deceiving me.
To be honest, before I got the dog a couple of months ago, I was toying with attaching a paper shredder to the mail slot so it could consume all this crap the second it shattered the solace of my home.
The chewed remains of what you sent are now in the trash, where quite possibly they rightfully belong — with soggy coffee grounds, snot-filled tissues, stinky Alpo cans, dead bugs and all the other contents of my vacuum cleaner cannister.
Given 90 percent of what comes through that slot is trash, it’s hard for me get too upset about it.
In the unlikely event that really was a check for $80,000, well, easy come easy go.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 9th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, banks, barking, behavior, check, chewing, companies, credit, deceptive, delivery, destructive, dog, dogs, door, garbage, junk mail, loans, mail, mail slot, marketing, pets, post office, postal
Garmin, a company that makes devices that tell us how to get from here to there, has unveiled its latest gadget aimed at “teaching” your dog good behavior — by shocking him when he misbehaves.
The Delta Smart is a small, smartphone-compatible gadget that fits over a dog’s collar, enabling an owner, through an app, to keep track of their dog’s activity levels, and how much barking they are doing while we’re away.
It’s not the first Garmin product for dogs, and not the first to include a shock feature — but it is the first to spark such widespread protest and an online petition asking the company to remove the feature.
The product promises to “reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors” and make your dog a “more enjoyable member of the family.”
It gives dogs warnings by beeping, vibrating or by applying what the company likes to call “static” or “stimulation” — which is a nice way of saying a jolt of electricity.
As the petition points out, it’s not the right way to train a dog:
“For example, a woman wants her dog Bowser to learn to not jump on the couch. Bowser trots into the family room, jumps up on the couch, and climbs into her daughter’s lap — at which point the electric shock hits him. She has now put her child in serious danger.
“Bowser will not associate the act of jumping up on the couch with the pain; he will associate her child with the pain and could very well become aggressive toward her.”
Like all the makers of shock collars, Garmin says the jolt does not hurt the dog.
“What is missing from this argument is the fact that aversive methods only work if they scare and/or hurt the dog. If the zap doesn’t bother the dog, then the dog will not learn. Electric shock collars do hurt and scare dogs. If they didn’t, no one would use them,” says the author of the petition, dog trainer and freelance writer Tracy Krulik.
We haven’t seen the CEO of the company try one out (but then again maybe he or she hasn’t misbehaved). To the company’s credit the new device has put some cushioning over the two metal probes that, in earlier versions, stuck into the dog’s neck.
The Delta Smart is basically a combination of a FitBit-like device and the company’s “Bark Limiter,” which has been on the market for a while.
In the ad above, various dogs are shown, each labeled for the kind of bad behavior they engaged in — barking too much at the mailman, shredding the blinds, stealing food off the kitchen counter, knocking over the trash can, chewing up the slippers.
The “dog activity trainer and remote monitor” can correct all those problems — even when you’re not home, the ad says.
It can monitor barking and activity levels while you’re away, and it comes with tags that can be placed on items and in areas you don’t want the dog near that activate warning tones when the dog approaches.
In other words, it is a control freak’s dream — and it’s only $150.
After the video was posted on Facebook, it had nearly 2,800 comments, most of them condemning the product as cruel, and the wrong way to train a dog, according to the Washington Post
On YouTube, the company has disabled public comments on the video — and if you try to leave one, you receive an electrical shock. (OK, we made that last part up.)
You’ve got to wonder, though, technology being what it is, if the day will come when we get shocked for making wrong turns or for not taking enough steps during the day, for failing to do our sit ups or eat our vegetables — and if someday, by a family vote, we can equip a bratty nephew or an annoying uncle with such a device.
For his own good, of course, and just to make him a “more enjoyable member of the family.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, app, bark limiter, barking, behavior, behavior modification, collars, control freaks, cruelty, delta smart, device, dog training, dogs, electric, electrical, electricity, garmin, jolt, modification, monitor, petition, pets, shock, shock collars, technology, training, zap
That police in St. Clair Shores in Michigan saw killing a dog as the preferable way to stop her barking has been pretty well documented in dash cam videos that have become public.
As soon as they pulled up at the scene, their dashboard camera recorded remarks they were making inside their patrol car, like “The only thing I’m going to do is shoot it” and “I don’t do snares. I don’t do dogs … I’ll shoot the f—ing thing.”
But why there were 15 bullet holes in Lexie, a dog police officers only admitted to shooting four times, is a question that may go unanswered — at least until a federal lawsuit filed by the dog’s owner comes to trial.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, stems from the November 2013 shooting of Lexie, a 44-pound mixed breed who was the subject of a barking dog complaint filed by a neighbor.
Lexie’s owner, Brittay Preston, filed the lawsuit against the city of St. Clair Shores, two police officers and an animal control officer, according to Fox News in Detroit. It alleges a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizure.
The lawsuit seeks money damages, and assurances that St. Clair Township police will “train their officers so that there’s not another incident where they respond to a barking dog complaint by killing it,” said Preston’s attorney, Chris Olson.
Preston was at work and the dog was under the care of a grandfather, who suffers from dementia and forgot to let Lexie back inside during a cold night.
Officers, after discussing their alternatives in the patrol car, approached the home and eventually persuaded the grandfather to let the dog in the house. After he agreed to do so, they shot the dog saying she lunged at them in a threatening manner.
Attorney Olson said the discussion recorded by the dash came shows the shooting was premeditated.
“Neighbors complained of a dog that was barking. [Police] showed up. The first thing that they said out of their mouths was they don’t like dogs; they don’t do dogs; they’re going to shoot the dog anyway. And that’s exactly what they did,” he said.
“Then they shot the dog again, instead of trying to take care of the dog, getting some care of the dog to prevent it from dying, they did what they intended to do. They made sure that the dog died. They shot it again, and then the dog walked into the animal control van and then when we picked up the dog it had extra bullet holes,” he added.
A necropsy conducted by a veterinarians found 15 bullet holes in Lexie.
Officers, after shooting and wounding the dog, can be heard discussing what to do next, including “choking it out” and “using a shovel,” according to the lawsuit.
One officer remarked that would be a bad idea because “you know this is going to be all over Facebook in about an hour.”
“We’re saddened when anyone loses a pet, but since the city and its employees are being sued, the city will certainly defend the lawsuit,” St. Clair Shores City Attorney Robert Ihrie said in a statement. “The complaint that was filed is filled with innuendo, speculation and half truths, and I have no doubt when it’s held up to the light of day, the truth will bear itself out in court.”
(Photo: from the Justice for Lexie Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 15 bullet holes, animals, barking, brittany preston, brittay preston, cam, complaint, conversation, dash, dashboard, dog, dogs, federal, Fourth amendment, justice 4 lexie, justice for lexie, killed, law enforcement, lawsuit, lexie, michigan, necropsy, nuisance, officers, pets, police, recorded, shooting, shot, st. clair shores
An animal control officer in South Carolina responded to a call about a barking dog behind a Home Depot, and was touched when she discovered what all the noise was about.
“This is one example of why I love my job,” officer Michelle Smith said in her report.
On Monday, a caller to animal control reported a dog had been barking in the area along the creek since Saturday, Fox Carolina reported
Smith followed the noise and found the dog and kitten at the bottom of a steep embankment.
She took them both to Anderson County P.A.W.S.
Smith said the dog is taking care of the kitten, cleaning and feeding it.
Animal control is hoping either the dog’s owner or whoever adopts her will agree to bring the cat home, too.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: anderson, animal control, animals, barking, cat, creek, dog, dog and cat, dog nurses cat, dogs, embankment, friends, friendship, guarding, kitten, loyalty, michelle smith, nursing, officer, pets, south carolina, stray, unlikely friends, video
A pit bull saved a woman from a fire in a Long Island home Friday, barking to alert her as flames began to engulf the house.
Then the woman returned the favor.
Jackie Bonasera said she was drying her hair in an upstairs bathroom of a home in East Norwich when she heard the dog barking. She ran downstairs and saw the flames on the side of her garage, according to NBC Channel 4 in New York
She ran out of the house, but then returned to save her dog, a pit bull named Cain.
“So I just put my robe over my face and I ran back in and I grabbed the dog and then I stood out here and I watched my house burn,” she said.
Bonasera believes she would have been trapped upstairs if the dog, named Cain, hadn’t alerted her to the fire. Her daughter, Alexus Stallworth, called Cain “the town hero.”
More than 70 firefighters fought the fire, the cause of which hasn’t been determined.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alerts, animals, barking, barks, burning, cain, dog, dogs, east norwich, fire, house, Jackie Bonasera, long island, new york, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescues, saves
I’m a proponent of spending more time with your dog, and less with your computer, but here’s an interesting, and interactive, presentation from WNYC in New York, which has mapped out not just what breeds dominate the city’s neighborhoods, but what names as well.
Citywide, the top three female names for dogs are Bella, Princess and Lola; the top male names are Max, Rocky and Lucky and the top breeds are Yorkie, Shih Tzu and Maltese.
(Actually the most popular dog in New York is the mutt, and WYNC does report that elsewhere. Somehow they didn’t rate getting on the map, though.)
What’s the most fun though is scrolling through the boroughs to see where Lola tops Lucy, where Buddy beats Buster as the name of choice, and what breeds are, from neighborhood to neighborhood, most predominant. While Yorkies dominate most areas, there are enclaves where Labs and Chihuahuas and pit bulls are owned in the highest numbers. There’s a major English bulldog contingent in lower Manhattan, and pit bulls are the highest in number in Bed Stuy.
The list is based on information WNYC obtained from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which runs the city’s dog licensing program.
The feature has some other bells and whistles, too, including opportunities to play games and make a t-shirt.
Just after WNYC came out with its map, Gothamist put together an interactive map of its own — this back in January — claiming to show not where the dogs are, but where their poop is, or at least where it’s most complained about. The map shows what neighborhoods have the most barking dog complaints, too.
One wonders what would happen if those two interactive maps were to interact. Would that reveal large dogs named Brutus leave bigger droppings than Chihuahuas named Princess? That Sparky barks more than Snoozy?
Somewhere we have to draw line on all this interactivity with our computers — especially that share of it that’s presenting information that’s just everyday knowledge or common sense or entirely bogus.
In those cases, your time would be better spend interacting with the dog.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barking, boroughs, breeds, bulldogs, chihuahua, complaints, dog, dog waste, dogs, gothamist, interactive, labrador retrievers, maltese, maps, names, neighborhoods, new york city, nyc, pets, pit bulls, poop, popular, popularity, shih-tzu, WNYC, yorkie
Joseph Thomas was pushing his 4-year-old daughter Jada on her swingset when two gunmen entered their back yard in Bradenton, Florida, and demanded money.
Bella, their boxer, and the other family dog, ran toward the men, who fired several errant shots before they ran off.
“If someone offered me a million dollars for her right now,” Thomas said of Bella, “I wouldn’t take it.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, back yard, barking, bella, boxer, bradenton, crime, dogs, family, florida, gunmen, joseph thomas, news, pets, protection, robbers, saves, security, video