They are respectable pets by day — upstanding AKC members, dog show winners, a therapy dog and even an actor among them.
At night, though, about once a week, they hit the grimy streets and trash-filled alleys of New York — terriers and dachshunds, along with their owners — tracking, cornering, capturing and killing rats.
You can call them superheroes, you can call them vigilantes, you can call them (as PETA has) participants in a “twisted blood sport.”
For its part, the The Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, or RATS, describes itself as a group of New York dog owners who are simply letting their dogs pursue what has been bred into them.
“Terriers have an innate sense to do this, it’s in their genes,” said Richard Reynolds, who founded the group. It has been around more than 25 years, and has its own Facebook page.
The group goes out as often as possible, sometimes invited to problem areas by citizens, sometimes responding to informal requests from city officials, The New York Post reported last week. The service is provided for free.
As the dog owners see it, they are giving their dogs a chance to fulfill what they were born to do.
“They think hunting is just fabulous,” Dr. Trudy Kawami, who started taking her wire-haired dachshunds to Prospect Park 30 years ago to sniff out rodents with the group, told
Usually, about eight dogs take part in the hunt. The dachshunds tend to go into closed areas and flush rats out of garbage bags, while the larger terriers seem more interested in the actual attack.
Reynolds told The Post that half the dogs are show champions, one is a therapy dog and another has a role in the film “Five Flights Up,” alongside Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.
There is always a veterinary technician present, since rat bites are common.
“It’s all about keeping happy, healthy working dogs, and as long as we do that, everything is fine,” Reynolds said.
(Photos: RATS Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alleys, animals, behavior, bites, bloodsport, breeds, city, dachshunds, dog, dogs, dogs hunting rats, instinct, kill, killing, new york city, pests, pets, rat, rat hunting, rat hunting dogs, richard reynolds, rodents, Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, streets, terriers, track, trash, urban, vermin
A five-year-old boy in California and a two-year-old dog in Florida are being hailed as heroes after both were bitten last week by rattlesnakes — the boy while trying to save his dog, the dog while trying to save his human.
In Santa Barbara, Lennon Knox pushed his dog, Sunshine, out of the way of a rattlesnake in his back yard and was bitten on his right toe.
And in Tampa, a German shepherd named Haus was bitten three times by a rattler while in the back yard with his constant companion, seven-year-old Molly DeLuca.
“The snake went to go bite Lennon’s dog … and Lennon pushed Sunshine out of the way and got bit by the snake instead,” Knox told KEYT.
Amy Knox killed the snake and called 911 when she noticed her son was foaming from the mouth.
At Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital he received 35 vials of antivenom.
“He is doing quit well actually. He required multiple doses of the antivenom which we were able to get….unfortunately he is not out of the woods yet and he still needs chronic monitoring right now so we can make sure that his systems do not worsen as we start to peel away the antivenom medications,” said Angela Hsu, pediatrician at Cottage Hospital.
On Wednesday, in Tampa, Donya DeLuca rushed her German shepherd Haus to a veterinary clinic after the dog encountered a rattlesnake in the back yard.
Molly DeLuca was just a few feet away when Haus (pronounced “Hoss”) lunged at the snake and was bitten three times.
“There’s no doubt he was protecting our family,” Donya DeLuca said. “That’s very true to his temperament.”
In addition to receiving antivenom, vets are montoring Haus for possible kidney damage.
DeLuca said the excess donations will go to an animal rescue charity.
(Photos: At top, Haus, recovering at a veterinary clinic, by Zack Wittman / Tampa Bay Times; bottom, Lennon Knox, recovering at a hospital, from KEYT)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bites, bitten, brave, california, dog, dogs, florida, haus, heroes, heroic, pets, rattlesnake, rattlesnakes, santa barbara, save, saves, snake, snakes, sunshine, tampa
In 2005, Ontario passed a law designed to purge the province of pit bulls.
“Over time, it will mean fewer pit bull attacks and, overall, fewer attacks by dangerous dogs,” attorney general Michael Bryant told the Ontario legislature back then.
Time has proved him wrong — at least in Toronto.
The number of dog bites has been rising since 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 reached their highest levels this century, even as pit bulls neared extinction, according to a report in Global News.
It’s just the latest evidence that pit bull bans don’t work.
Under the Ontario law, pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers — and any dog who had that pit bull “look” — had to be kept muzzled or leashed in public and get sterilized within two months of the bill’s passage.
The law allowed those who already owned pit bulls to keep them under those conditions, but breeding pit bulls, or bringing them into the province, was outlawed.
If you owned a pit bull type dog, and it was born after the law went into effect, your dog was — and still is — subject to being sent out of the province or euthanized.
Ten years after the law’s passage, most of those grandfathered pit bulls are dead or dying.
There were only 338 registered in Toronto in 2014, down from 1,411 in 2005.
By the year 2020, pit bulls are expected to no longer exist in the Canadian province.
But the law’s primary desired effect — cutting down on dog attacks and dog bites — clearly hasn’t been achieved.
In 2004, 567 dog bites were recorded in the city. Reports indicate 86 of those bites came from dogs designated as pit bulls. The only breed with more was German Shepherds, with 112 reported bites.
In 2014, there were 767 dog bites in Toronto — only 19 of them by pit bulls.
In 2014, German shepherds were involved in most of the city’s dog bites, and Labrador retrievers had moved up into second place.
Nobody has proposed outlawing them — at least not yet.
(Photo: Chart from globalnews.ca; photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american pit bull terriers, american staffordshire terriers, animals, attacks, bans, bites, breed ban, breed specific legislation, bsl, canada, dog bites, dogs, ontario, pets, pit bull, pit bull terriers, pit bulls, pitbulls, safety, Staffordshire bull terriers, toronto
Two Tibetan mastiffs owned by a South Dakota state senator were seized by animal control officials after they attacked a woman in the senator’s Sioux Falls neighborhood.
The mastiffs, a large, protective and powerful breed that has been called the world’s most expensive dog, belong to Sen. Blake Curd, who is also a prominent orthopedist who specializes in hand surgery and reconstruction.
The victim was walking near the 1300 block of South Elmwood Avenue Friday morning when she encountered the dogs, who were running loose in the ritzy Riverview Heights neighborhood.
She received bites to both legs and her right arm, and was treated at a local hospital.
Curd and his wife, Debbie, issued a statement to the Argus Leader after the incident.
“We are distraught over what has happened and thankful it wasn’t worse. We hope for all to recover quickly and applaud the quick actions of the Sioux Falls Police Department, EMS personnel and Milo the animal control officer who responded to render assistance in this unfortunate circumstance.”
One of the police officers responding to the call was bitten on the thigh, but shook himself free and fired two warning shots when one of the dogs approached him again. Neither dog was hit by the gunshots.
The woman managed to escape by running into a garage.
“It occurred to a few of us that had she not managed to get into my garage, she could very easily have been killed,” said Jon Arneson. “There is virtually no way she could have defended herself.”
“It was a pretty unnerving experience for anybody who loves dogs,” said Arneson, who is a lawyer for the Argus Leader. “I obviously have no idea what triggered the dogs’ reaction this morning, but I assume they hadn’t shown any vicious tendencies before this. I doubt Dr. Curd would have risked keeping them if they had.”
Both dogs are now in the custody of animal control. Both were up to date on vaccinations. The police chief will determine if they are vicious, a finding that could lead to restrictions on their owners, including having to display a dangerous dog sign on their property.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, given some Internet commenters are already raising questions about whether Curd is receiving special treatment — or at least less than heavy-handed treatment — from police.
“The cop must have been told who the dogs belong to,” reads one comment on DakotaFreePress.com. “Otherwise if this had happened in the ‘hood, I’m sure both dogs would’ve been shot dead on the spot.”
(Photo at top by Megan Raposa / Argus Leader)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attack, bites, bitten, blake curd, dangerous, doctor, dog, dogs, pets, politician, senator, south dakota, state, surgeon, tibetan mastiffs, vicious
The city of Minneapolis has taken protecting its residents from “dangerous dogs” to a whole new level with the publication of an interactive map on its website that pinpoints where dogs that have had run-ins with the law live.
The website lists each dog’s name, breed and their offense — everything from “killed a cat” to “muzzle violations” and bites to humans or other dogs, KARE 11 reported.
It also lists the full names and addresses of the owners, and photos of each dog.
Seems dogs deemed dangerous have about the same rights to privacy as a sex offender — that is, virtually none.
“In order to keep our residents safe, we post pictures of these animals and their addresses,” the website states, referring to dogs, of course.
To see the map and interact with it, click here.
Connie Bourque, of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, says it’s all about public safety.
“If you live in a neighborhood, you have a visual that lets you know where animals that have had incidents in the past, who have been aggressive in the past. You have a sense of where you would maybe be more cautious based on the fact that you can see that information right on the website.”
Given all the other restrictions those with dogs deemed dangerous face, it strikes me as a little heavy-handed, almost as if it is meant to shame the dog owners.
Under city law, residents whose dogs have been deemed “dangerous,” or “potentially dangerous,” already face a variety of measures, from having their dog exterminated to requirements like liability insurance, sterilization, eight foot tall fences, warning signs posted at the front and rear of their home; and, when their dogs go out, muzzles, three-foot leashes and collars that carry a warning tag.
The new website, as of yesterday, lists 35 dangerous dogs in Minneapolis (compared to 146 people on the map of sex offenders residing in the city).
Unlike sex offender maps, which don’t specify the offense or use photos of the offenders, canine offenders have their photos posted, as well as a brief summary of their dangerous behavior.
Sephy, for example, a beagle from Longfellow, bit a person; Briggs, a Lab mix from near Lake Nokomis, killed a cat; and Bernadette, an American Staffordshire terrier in Loring Park, bit another animal.
It is possible for a dog to be taken off the list, but first it must be proven by their owner that they have received training and have been rehabilitated. A home inspection is also required for that.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attacks, bites, bitten, cat, dangerous, dangerous dogs, dog, dogs, interactive, killed, location, map, minneapolis, pets, pinpoint, public safety, safety, sex offenders
A police dog in Florida has been fired after he escaped from his handler and bit a Dunkin Donuts employee in the store’s parking lot.
According to Margate police, Coconut Creek Officer Carl DiBlasi had gone to the doughnut shop with his police dog Renzo to meet Coconut Creek Police Sgt. Brandi Delvecchio.
Renzo lunged at the sergeant when she tried to pet him through a half open patrol car window, The dog then jumped from the vehicle, ran across the parking lot and attacked a shop employee as he reached into his car for an apron, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The incident occurred Feb. 11 in the parking lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts in Margate.
Renzo, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been with the department about a year and a half, and already had one strike against him: In November, he bit a Coconut Creek officer while tracking a suspect.
Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael J. Mann said the dog is now off the force.
“I have made the decision to retire K9 Renzo,” he said. Renzo will go live with DiBlasi.
According to Margate police, Officer DiBlasi was in the car when Renzo lunged at the sergeant and jumped out the window. DiBlasi grabbed hold of the dog’s harness, but couldn’t hang on. The dog ignored his commands to stop and charged toward doughnut shop employee Robert Doherty, 37, Coral Springs, who saw him coming and jumped into his car.
Renzo bit his leg before he could close the door. Doherty suffered four bites, according to Margate police, who said they had to “pry” Renzo from his victim.
(Photo: Renzo, from Coconut Creek Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bite, bites, bitten, coconut creek, dog, donut, donuts, doughnut, doughnuts, dunkin donuts, employee, florida, K-9, k9, law enforcement, margate, police, police dog
This mostly friendly game of soccer between a dog and a turtle gets a little rough at times — but then so does human soccer.
Valeria D’Innocenzo Carlantoni in Civitavechia, Italy, a small town near Rome, posted the video of her dog and an unusually speedy turtle on her Facebook page.
At the very end of it, the turtle, after having the ball taken away, appears to snap at the dog’s hind leg.
Where have we seen that before?
Posted by John Woestendiek July 9th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2014, animals, ball, behavior, bit, bite, bites, bitten, dog, dogs, funny, humans, pets, play, snap, soccer, sport, suarez, turtle, videos, world cup