Folklore, as is often the case, has it wrong.
Pep apparently was guilty of nothing more than chewing up sofa cushions, and, once it was decided he lacked the proper decorum to live at the governor’s mansion, he was sent to the prison in Philadelphia by Gov. Gifford Pinchot.
That was done not so much as punishment, but to provide him a home and see if he could aid in the rehabilitation of inmates, according to the governor’s papers.
Apparently a newspaper reporter came up with the tall tale of the dog sentenced to prison for cat murder, and a mugshot taken of Pep at the prison supplied some credence to the story.
Despite attempts to set the record straight, the myth lingers to this day.
According to EasternState.org, a non-profit group that now runs a haunted house at the abandoned prison, Pep “The Cat-Murdering Dog” was admitted to Eastern State Penitentiary on August 12, 1924.
“Prison folklore tells us that Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot used his executive powers to sentence Pep to life without parole for killing his wife’s cherished cat,” the website says, adding that prison records, including Pep being assigned his own inmate number (C-2559), support the story.
It notes that the governor had a different version of what happened — namely that he sent Pep to Eastern to act as a mascot for the prisoners. The governor, it says, was a friend of the warden, Herbert “Hard-Boiled” Smith.
A more thorough account of how Pep landed in prison can be found on the website Suite101.com.
Pep, that story explains, was a gift to Gov. Pinchot during his first gubernatorial term (1923–1927), from the nephew of his wife, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot. The nephew bred Labrador retrievers. But the gift turned out to be a destructive one. Pep developed a habit of chewing on the cushions of the front porch sofa.
“… Pinchot decided that Pep had to go, but for the sake of family harmony he did not want to end the dog’s life,” the Suite101 account says. “Fortunately, an official trip gave him the idea for a convenient way of getting the dog out of his home. On a visit to Maine, Pinchot had seen dogs that were used as therapy to help inmates. So when the governor got back to Pennsylvania he decided to give the troublesome Pep to Eastern State Penitentiary as a pet.”
At the time, some inmates kept pigeons and mice as pets, but not dogs. The only dogs at the prison were guard dogs, there to ensure prisoners stayed inside and in line.
But the inmates quickly developed a fondness for Pep, and apparently vice versa. Pep lived among the inmates at Eastern State for about a decade until he was transferred to newly constructed state prison called Graterford.
Two years after he was sent to Eastern, in 1926, Cornelia Bryce-Pinchot issued a statement to the New York Times in an attempt to clear Pep’s name.
Governor Pinchot’s son also maintained that there was no murder involved.
“A newspaper reporter with a sense of humor and disregard for the truth wrote that Pep had been sentenced to prison for life for killing Mrs. Pinchot’s favorite cat,” the Suite 101 article says.
The son said his father got “absolutely thousands of letters” about Pep and this sentence, according to papers at Grey Towers National Historic Site, Governor Pinchot’s home in Milford. The made-up account, along with the mugshot, was frequently reprinted in tabloids at the time.
As some have noted, Pep — innocent as he might have been — looks pretty guilty in the mugshot.
But then again, don’t we all?
(Image: Artist rendering of Pep, based on an archival photo / Easternstate.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black, cat, dog, dogs, eastern state penitentiary, folklore, gifford pinchot, governor, haunted house, inmates, killed, lab, labrador retriever, legend, mascot, media, murder, myth, news, pennsylvania, pep, pets, philadelphia, prisoner, prisons, reporter, sentenced, therapy dogs
Stubbs, the cat who serves as honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, is back home and recovering from injuries inflicted by a town dog.
Stec said Stubbs will be cared for at a house connected to the back of the store for a few days before returning to his regular sleeping spot — in his bed on top of a freezer. There, Stubbs sleeps in a mushing sled piled with furs of fox, caribou, beaver and lynx.
Stubbs was mauled by a loose dog in Talkeetna, 115 miles north of Anchorage, on Aug. 31. The attack left Stubbs with a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, bruised hips and a deep gash on his side.
Stec said she knows the dog that attacked Stubbs, and that she reported the attack to animal control officials.
The community of 900 elected the orange and beige cat mayor in a write-in campaign 15 years ago. There is no human mayor in the town.
Stubbs greets customers at the store, but also ventures over to the tavern next door, where he often is served a water and catnip concoction in a wine glass. The dog attack was not his first scare. He has been shot with a BB gun, fallen into a fryer vat and once rode on a garbage truck before jumping off, the AP reported.
The cat’s popularity has increased since his hospitalization. Two walls of the general store are covered with cards and letters to him, donations toward his medical care have come in from around the country, and get-well messages have been posted on his Facebook page, which has almost 22,000 “likes.”
On Facebook, Stubbs reports : ”While at this point in time it is impossible to know whether my attack was politically motivated, I do hope that the government will seriously consider providing me with some Secret Service protection in the future to assist in preserving my remaining 8 lives. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue leading the great town of Talkeetna onwards to brighter tomorrows.”
(Photo: Stubbs’ Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 12th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animal hospital, bitten, cat, cat mayor, dog, home, honorary, injured, lauriestec, mauled, mayor, nagley's general store, recovering, released, stubbs, stubbs the cat, talkeetna
When dog bites man, the old saying goes, that’s not news.
When dog bites mayor, that’s news.
And when the mayor is a cat, that’s even bigger news, right?
Stubbs, honorary mayor of lovely Talkeetna, Alaska, for the past 15 years, was badly injured over the weekend by one of the small town’s many wandering dogs.
Stubbs is in bad shape, with a punctured lung, a fractured sternum and a 5-inch gash on his side, CNN reports.
Doctors took out a chest tube Tuesday, and Stubbs was breathing on his own for the first time since the attack.
Stubbs was found years ago in a box full of kittens left in front of Nagley’s General Store. The manager of the store, Lauri Stec, decided to keep him, and named him Stubbs because he had no tail.
Soon afterward, he ran as a write-in candidate for the position of mayor. Talkeetna being a historical district, the position is mostly an honorary one .
Even though dogs outnumber the 800 people in Talkeetna, and often can be seen running loose, the town’s canines always seemed to respect Stubbs, locals say.
But on Saturday night Stubbs was walking around town when an unleashed dog ran across the street and bit him.
“Right now is a crucial time cause he’s heavily sedated on pain meds. He’s in a lot of pain,” Stec said.
The dog, described only as a big one, is still at large.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animals, bites, bitten, candidate, cat, cat mayor, dog, dog bites mayor, honorary, mauled, mayor, news, pets, stubbs, talkeetna, unleashed, write-in
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 jwoestendiek 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
The recall includes all dry pet food products with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2013. The brands include California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Innova, and Karma.
Based in Fremont, Neb., Natura Pet is a maker of “natural” and “holistic” pet foods, according to a company statement.
The recall is an expansion of one that had been announced by the company last month, according to a Food and Drug Administration press release.
The affected products were sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers throughout the United States and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Costa Rica. The products were also sold online.
No canned wet foods or biscuits are included in the recall.
Pets infected with salmonella can appear tired, and have diarrhea and vomiting. Some pets may not show obvious symptoms, but experience decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Pets can spread the bacteria to other animals, including humans.
Natura Pet said people who have purchased the products should discard them. If their pets have consumed the recalled product and are showing symptoms, they should contact their veterinarian.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advisory, and Karma, animals, bacteria, brands, California Natural, cat, cat food, cats, dog, dog food, dogs, dry, EVO, fda, food and drug administration, health, Healthwise, Innova, natura, natura pet products, pets, recall, safety, salmonella, voluntary, warning