David Gizzarelli took in more than $17,000 in donations from big-hearted dog lovers in what he described as an attempt to save his dog Charlie, who was deemed dangerous after attacking a National Park Service horse.
But his attorney says Gizzarelli is unable to help out with the $9,000-plus tab for veterinary care, feeding and shelter that Charlie, an American Staffordshire terrier, has received since last August, when he was taken into the custody of animal control in San Francisco.
Apparently the $17,000 that was donated was spent on attorney fees, paying for the horse’s vet bills and “other living expenses.” That’s what Gizzarelli’s new attorney says, adding that his client can’t afford to help pay the bill and is currently sleeping in his car.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins ordered Gizzarelli to pay anyway — specifically, half of the costs for boarding and treating Charlie since the incident.
Gizzarelli is still raising money to “help save Charlie” — via a Facebook page and his Help Save Charlie website — even though he has relinquished ownership of the dog, who is now in foster care and will likely end up in an adoptive home or sanctuary.
Until his court appearance, he had not provided any accounting of where the donated money went, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Charlie has been in the custody of Animal Care and Control in San Francisco since August, when he was deemed “vicious and dangerous” by the police department. The cost for housing him and providing veterinary care for an earlier injury totaled $9,808 as of Monday’s hearing.
Gizzarelli, in an earlier settlement, agreed to give up custody of Charlie and attend a hearing to discuss payment for Charlie’s care.
But he kept selling “Help Save Charlie” merchandise and collecting donations even after that. And while Charlie could probably still use help — he hasn’t been deemed adoptable yet — it appears little if any of the donated money has gone for the dog.
Questions during Monday’s hearing revolved around the amount of legal fees Gizzarelli paid to two attorneys, and $3,000 his attorney said was spent on ”food, transportation and housing” — apparently for the human, not the dog.
Gizzarelli’s attorney, Orestes Cross, said his client has no money. “My client is on social welfare, living on $422 a month and sleeping out of his car,” told the judge during the hearing. “He fought the fight because he cares about his dog.”
Rebecca Katz, director of Animal Care and Control, says some donors to Charlie are likely upset. “I don’t believe those who contributed expected that money to go toward personal expenses,” she said. Since the settlement, Charlie has been in foster care. According to Katz, he needs several more months of training before he can be considered for adoption or placed in a sanctuary.
Gizzarelli faced federal assault charges after the attack on the police horse, but according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office those have been dropped.
(Photo: Help Save Charlie Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accountability, accounting, american staffordshire terrier, animal control, attacked, avid gizzarelli, bills, care, charlie, court, donations, donatoins, donors, expenses, facebook, feeding, help save charlie, horse, magistrate, money, national park service, park service, san francisco, shelter, veterinary, website
Del. Barbara Frush and Sen. Joanne Benson introduced the bills, based on the recommendations of a task force appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to study animal euthanasia.
The bills would generate funding for the program from a surcharge on existing manufacturer pet food registration fees, a funding source recommended by the task force as reliable, sustainable and fair — and used for a similar program in Maine.
The task force found that 96,000 pets enter Maryland shelters yearly, and more than 45,000 homeless cats and dogs are euthanized each year at an estimated cost of $8 to $9 million taxpayer dollars — about $175-$200 per animal.
The task force also found that cost is a significant barrier for low-income pet owners in having their pets sterilized, and that reaching under-served populations is the most effective way to reduce intake and euthanasia rates in shelters.
“Over the last 18 months, our task force studied spay/neuter programs from around the country, and we have identified the model that will work best for the State of Maryland, said Del. Frush, D-Anne Arundel, who co-chaired the task force. “The Maryland spay/neuter program has the potential to be one of the best in the nation and I am thrilled to introduce H.B. 767 which will help save the lives of so many animals.”
“Increasing spay/neuter services in Maryland not only saves lives, it also saves money,” said Sen. Benson, D-Prince George County. “Municipal animal control agencies spend millions of dollars each year on intake, housing, and euthanizing cats and dogs. Marylanders want to see their taxpayer dollars used for programs that are humane and that work.”
The Humane Society of the United States praised the proposed legislation.
“States that have implemented comprehensive spay/neuter programs have seen a substantial decrease in the number of animals entering shelters and being euthanized,” said Tami Santelli, Maryland state director for The HSUS.
Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals, said, ”It is time for Maryland to replace the current antiquated system of mass euthanasia with a statewide fund to support spay/neuter services. This bill is crucial to reducing Maryland’s unacceptably high euthanasia rate.”
S.B. 820 has 14 sponsors in the Senate and H.B. 767 has 56 sponsors in the House of Delegates. The bills are supported by a broad coalition of animal shelters, animal control agencies, animal protection organizations, veterinarians, businesses and individuals.
To learn more, or sign a petition in support of the proposal, visit SaveMarylandPets.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bills, cats, dogs, euthanasia, general assembly, hsus, humane society of the united states, introduced, legislation, maryland, maryland votes for animals, neuter, overpopulation, pets, proposal, shelters, spay
The U.S. Senate has passed an anti-dogfighting measure that prohibits attendance at organized animal fights, and another bill that improves care for retired military dogs.
While it’s already a felony under federal law to stage animal fights, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which the Senate passed unanimously yesterday, is aimed at cracking down on the spectators who finance animal fights through admission fees and making bets. It also impose additional penalties for bringing a child to those events.
Animal welfare groups commended the Senate’s passage of the act, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). Blumenthal also introduced the measure calling for better care for retired military dogs.
“The U.S. Senate has recognized the canine heroes who serve in our military as well as dogs victimized in underground animal fighting rings, passing legislation for both,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA applauds Senator Blumenthal’s brilliant leadership in the twilight hours of this Congress, ensuring that animals in need will not be forgotten by federal lawmakers.”
The Senate passed a provision to help retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.
Both measures still need to be approved by the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acts, adoption, animal fighting, animals, apsca, attendance, bets, bills, care, children, dog fighting, dog fights, dogfighting, dogfights, dogs, laws, measures, military dogs, pets, prohibits, retired, retirement, spectators, support, veterinary, wagers
And much more quickly than police seemed to go to the aid of anybody when the incident — all captured on video – transpired in the East Village two weeks ago.
An Animal Care and Control spokesman told the New York Daily News Saturday that Star is quickly recovering from the gunshot, and that her medical bills — about $10,000 worth so far — have been paid for with donations to a special fund set up for the wounded dog.
Star was shot when she lunged at a police officer approaching her owner, said to be a homeless man with epilepsy, as he lay on the sidewalk in the throes of a seizure.
For several long minutes thereafter, as more police arrived, none appeared to go the aid of either the dog, or her owner, Lech Stankiewicz.
By Friday, Stankiewicz had not reclaimed Star, giving animal control legal ownership. The agency expects to hand custody over to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals when Star has fully recovered.
The Daily News reported last week that the shooting was not the first encounter Star had with police.
On June 19, according to the report, Star attacked a 22-year-old friend of Stankiewicz when she tried to prevent the dog from lunging at a police officer. The woman was treated for bite wounds to her arms and chest.
Star was seized by authorities after that, but a rescue organization called CollideNYC helped reunite dog and owner two weeks later.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alliance for animals, animal, animal control, bills, collide nyc, condition, dogs, donations, epilepsy, homeless, Lech Stankiewicz, new york, new york city, nyc, owner, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, recovering, recovery, seizure, shoot, shooting, star, veterinary
The dog was on a paddle boat on Duck Lake with her owner, Ashlee Johnson, when a speed boat crashed into them.
Johnson and her younger sister received only cuts and scrapes, but Roxci was thrown from the boat, suffering a severe gash to the head and nearly drowning.
The dog was taken an animal hospital at Michigan State University, where she was kept on a ventilator in hopes she’d recover.
Ashlee, who adopted Roxci — her first dog — from a shelter about two years ago, visited twice a day for a week, and was encouraged when she saw Roxci’s eye twitch, a sign her brain might still be functioning.
“To me, she’s not just a dog,” Johnson, 28, told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “She’s a part of my family and you can’t really put a price on a member of your family.”
After Rocxi passed, Ashlee gathered with the rest of her family at her mother’s home in Battle Creek.
They read poems and the comments of friends and strangers who posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Roxci.
“I know it’s not my fault,” she said, “but I feel kind of responsible. I’m supposed to protect her.”
Through donations, about $1,800 had been raised towards covering Roxci’s medical bills, which could end up costing as much as $10,000.
The family is continuing to accept online donations. They can also be made through the mail (12954 11 Mile Road, Ceresco, MI 49033).
The driver of the speedboat, though sheriff’s department officials said he had been drinking, did not test above the legal limit. He was cited for reckless driving and not having valid registration.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, ashlee johnson, bills, boating, care, costs, crash, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, duck lake, expense, facebook, killed, medical, memories, mixed breed, mutt, paddle boat, pets, remembered, roxci, speedboat, treatment, ventilator, veterinary
The officer is a five-year veteran of the Chicago police department.
He has not been identified. But he has been ticketed and relieved of duty as the department investigates his actions, CBS 2 in Chicago reports.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Audrey Fisher and her 12-year-old daughter took Willy, their 2-year-old, 8-pound Pomeranian-Papillon mix, to the dog beach so he could play with his favorite pink ball.
“A pit bull came out of nowhere and just attacked him, grabbed him by his belly and shook him violently,” Fisher said last month. Willy died three days later.
While park rules stipulate owners of dogs that attack other animals must pay the vet bills, the pit bull owner declined to identify himself and walked off with his dog. Fisher’s vet bills for Willy came to $5,700.
Fisher has spent the past month trying to track him down.
Witnesses were able to get a photo of the pit bull’s owner after the attack and Fisher has been handing out flyers with the man’s photo. The dog owner’s photo also was posted on MonDog.org, a website about the dog park.
Witnesses said the dog owner insisted the smaller dog started the fight and said he showed no remorse about the incident.
Upon learning he was a police officer, off duty at the time, Fisher said, “It scares me. That was my first reaction, was fear. … because I would not expect that kind of behavior from a Chicago police, or a cop of any kind.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacked, audrey fisher, bills, chicago, dog park, dogs, identified, killed, left, montrose beach dog park, officer, owner, papillon, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police. officer, pomeranian, scene, vet, veterinarian, veterinary, willy
At the end of the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly, animal welfare advocates are celebrating passage of five major animal protection bills, and the defeat of two that they say would have had an adverse impact on animal welfare.
And to top it all off, as of July, dogs can legally dine in the outside seating areas of restaurants that opt to permit them.
“In the past animal protection laws in Maryland have been weaker than other states. But now we are making huge progress to improve the treatment of Maryland’s animals,” said Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals.
Kilborn attributes the gains to animal welfare advocates being better organized and more outspoken.
The General Assembly passed the following bills during the 2011 session:
- Senate Bill 839, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, which requires commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the county in which they operate, and requires counties to report basic information about these commercial breeders once a year to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This bill will provide critical information to understand the impact of puppy mills in the state. Companion legislation, HB 990, was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery County.
- Senate Bill 639, sponsored by Sen. Joanne Benson, D-Prince George’s County, which will set up a task force to study the need for funding of spay and neuter programs in Maryland. An estimated 48,000 homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in Maryland shelters annually. Affordable, accessible spay/neuter programs can help prevent this tragedy. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have a public funding mechanism to subsidize the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for those who cannot afford it. The task force will be comprised of representatives from animal control, humane societies, non-profit spay/neuter organizations, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Department of Agriculture and others. Companion legislation, HB 339, was sponsored by Del. Barbara Frush, D-Prince George’s County.
- House Bill 227 sponsored by Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, D-Montgomery County, which will allow courts to prohibit someone convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals as a term of probation. This legislation had strong backing from organizations addressing the issue of domestic violence. Companion legislation, SB 115, was co-sponsored by Sen. James Robey, D-Howard County.
- Senate Bill 747 sponsored by Sen. Norman Stone, D-Baltimore County, which allows courts to include protections for pets in domestic violence protective orders. Research has repeatedly shown a link between animal abuse and domestic violence. Children and animals in the family are often threatened, or actually harmed, as a way to manipulate and coerce others in the family. Victims of domestic violence often delay leaving abusive situations because they fear for the safety of their companion animals. This legislation benefits both people and animals and had strong support for organizations which address the problem of domestic violence. Companion legislation, HB 407, was sponsored by Del. Susan McComas, R-Harford County.
- House Bill 897, sponsored by Del. Peter Murphy, D-Charles County, to require the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze. Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in most major antifreeze brands, has an aroma and a sweet flavor which can tempt animals to drink the highly toxic substance. Adding a bittering agent makes it less attractive to companion animals and wildlife.
- House Bill 941, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim, D- Baltimore County, which permits restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor seating areas.
Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA) works to create an ever-growing voting bloc of animal advocates who will elect representatives willing to champion and vote for animal protection legislation.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2011, advocacy, animal, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, antifreeze, bills, breeders, breeding, commercial, dining with dogs, dogs, domestic violence, general assembly, house, laws, legislation, legislature, maryland, maryland votes for animals, neuter, outdoor, pets, protection, senate, spay
BARCS said the cat, who they’ve named Marilyn, has a broken back leg and is still being evaluated.
BARCS officials say they have filed a police report about the incident.
The witness to the abuse chased the two boys. Unable to catch them, he returned to the cat and transported her to the shelter, according to a BARCS press release.
“The cat’s leg was very limp, completely broken,” Darlene Harris of BARCS told WBAL-TV.
BARCS said the beating of Marilyn is the second animal abuse case to come to their attention so far this year.
In January, Mittens, who had recently given birth to a litter of kittens, was reportedly doused with lighter fluid while trapped in a milk crate and set on fire by teenagers. Both Mittens and her kittens were taken to BARCS, and the two juveniles were charged with animal cruelty.
Marilyn’s medical bills, like those of Mittens, are being paid for through BARCS’ Franky Fund, a fund that relies on donations from the public to pay the veterinary bills of injured animals that come to the shelter for care.
Donations to the Franky Fund are accepted through the BARCS website at, or in person at the shelter, located at 301 Stockholm Street in South Baltimore (near M&T Bank Stadium).
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, beaten, bills, broken leg, burned, cat, cruelty to animals, fells point, fire, franky fund, investigation, juveniles, marilyn, medical, mittens, police, sticks, teenagers, torture, treatment, veterinary, youths
In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.
For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.
Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.
Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.
It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.
I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.
All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a team, access, baltimore, bills, broadband, budget, chat, communications, device, dog's country, dogscountry, expenses, free, frugality, gigabytes, giggedtybyes, hold, hot spot, house, household, hulu, internet, limits, maryland, mobile, money, on hold, overages, savings, techno-whipped, technology, television, travel, traveling, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, tv, tv on the internet, tv watching, verizon, verizon wireless, website, wi-fi, wireless
The cat, and the kittens she recently gave birth to, were taken to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) after police responded to a call in the 3300 block Saint Ambrose Street.
The cat, who has been nicknamed Mittens at the shelter, is suffering from burns on most of her body.
Witnesses told police that, earlier this month, a juvenile placed the cat in a milk crate on the back porch, doused the milk crate and the cat with lighter fluid and then struck a match and threw it in the crate.
In flames, the cat broke free from the milk crate and ran from the yard, running in circles until the fire was extinguished, BARCS said. She then returned home and hid under a table.
Police have not reported whether any arrests were made at the residence, which they said still smelled of singed skin when they arrived.
The cat and her kittens are residing in “Critter Care” at BARCS. Mittens has third and fourth degree burns. She is expected to survive, but will need long term treatment. It will be months before she is healed and her fur may not grow back
“This is another horrible case of animal abuse in Baltimore City, ” said Jennifer Brause, BARCS’ Executive Director. “Mittens is a wonderful cat, who despite her injuries is still caring for her kittens and is very affectionate to the staff.”
Mittens’ medical bills will be covered by BARCS’ Franky Fund, a fund that relies on donations from the public to pay the veterinarian and medical bills of injured animals that come to the shelter for care.
Donations to the Franky Fund are accepted through the BARCS website, or at the shelter, located at 301 Stockholm Street in South Baltimore (near M&T Bank Stadium).
Posted by jwoestendiek January 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, bills, burns, care, cat, cruelty to animals, degree, donations, doused, fire, fourth, franky fuknd, fur, juvenile, kittens, lighter fluid, mittens, mittens the cat, police, set on fire, skin, third, torture, veterinarian, veterinary, youth