An off-duty Buncombe County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a border collie mix at North Carolina’s Catawba Falls says he did so to protect his children from what appeared to be an aggressive dog.
“You’re damn right I shot your dog,” he reportedly told the dog’s owner, Scott Shulman of Durham.
Shulman, who was hiking with his son, said his three dogs got ahead of them when he fell into the water.
By the time he caught up, he saw Deputy Jason Honeycutt pointing a gun at one of his dogs, a 45-pound border collie mix named Nellie, who he says was barking and wagging her tail.
“I hear two or three pops, and I see Nellie roll over and hit the ground,” Shulman said. “I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I just said, ‘Did you shoot my dog?’ He said something like, ‘you’re damn right I shot your dog.’”
Shulman told the Asheville Citizen-Times that his dog was not posing a threat to the officer or his children, and that he thought shooting the dog was “disproportionate and excessive.”
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the case, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal probe, but no charges or disciplinary action were recommended against the deputy.
“We don’t have any issue with what our officer did,” said Lt. Randy Sorrells of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department. “He was protecting his children.”
A McDowell County incident report that lists Deputy Honeycutt as the victim states the dog appeared to be aggressive toward children.
Shulman disagrees, and says two witnesses to the shooting also believe Nellie, while barking, wasn’t behaving aggressively otherwise.
“My main concern is making the citizens aware that this incident occurred … I don’t want anybody else to have to experience something like this.”
(Photo: Asheville Citizen-Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, barking, border collie, buncombe county, catawba falls, children, deputy, disproportionate, dog, dogs, durham, excessive, hiking, jason honeycutt, kills, mcdowell county, mix, mountains, nellie, north carolina, off duty, pets, protecting, scott shulman, sheriff, shoots, tail, wagging
Fox News is reporting that country singer Mindy McCready’s fatal shooting of her own dog before she commited suicide Sunday was “not an act of malice at all.”
Fox quotes an unidentified friend as saying, “Mindy really loved her dog … It would have been more of a case where she just didn’t want to leave the dog alone.”
Not to speak ill of the dead, or to suggest rational behavior should be expected from those in the clutches of mental illness, but there are better ways of securing a future for your dog when you’ve decided you no longer want one for yourself.
And to describe an act like that as anything close to kind-hearted is just plain wrong.
A better description — even if the misguided thinking behind it was a hope they would end up in the same place in the hereafter – would be selfish.
McCready, who had attempted suicide twice earlier, had reportedly been depressed since the father of her youngest child, record producer David Wilson, died earlier this year from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. That took place on the same front porch where McCready shot the dog and herself.
“Based on what we have found at the scene at this time, we do believe that she took the life of the dog that we are being told by family members belonged to Mr. Wilson before she took her own life,” said Sheriff Marty Moss of Cleburne County.
McCready’s two sons, aged ten months and six, were removed from her home by a judge on Feb. 6. After that, McCready was committed to a rehabilitation facility for mental health and alcohol abuse examinations, but released two days later.
“She didn’t really have a support network and coming home to an empty house seems to be what really did it,” the source told Fox News. “It is tragic. She was a sweet and kind girl at heart.”
Whatever other morals her tragic life holds, however kind her heart was, whatever her legacy might be, one thing stands out — given the course she chose for her beloved dog — about her messy end:
How much more tragic the story might have been had her children not been taken from her.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addiction, alcohol, animals, arkansas, children, cleburne county, country, david wilson, depression, dog, dogs, drugs, fox, fox news, friend, heart, irrational, killing, kind, malice, mental health, mindy mccready, news, not, pets, rational, report, shooting, shot, singer, source, suicide
A team of golden retrievers has arrived in Newtown, Conn., to comfort those impacted by the recent school massacre.
About ten therapy dogs, part of a Lutheran Church Charities program, made the 800-mile journey from Chicago over the weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison-based organization. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”
Their first stop Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, where funerals for two of the slain children were being held this week.
The dogs are made available to residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray.
“You could tell which ones …were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet,” Hetzner said. “They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet.”
Dogs in the program most commonly visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. Each has his or her own Facebook page, Twitter account or email address, allowing those they meet to stay in touch. You can find the list of dogs who made the trip on the Lutheran Charities website.
The program also has a Facebook page.
The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University when a group associated with the charity brought their dogs to campus after a gunman shot five students before taking his own life.
Since then it has grown to 60 dogs in six different states.
The program’s dogs have responded to other disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.
Hetzner said the dogs would be available to Sandy Hook Elementary School students for after-school activities.
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, calming, children, comfort, comfort dogs, disasters, dogs, effects, elementary school, grief, guns, impact, loss, lutheran church charities, massacre, newtown, pet, pets, pray, sandy hook, schoolchildren, schools, talk, therapy, therapy dogs, tim hetzner
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
Gabriel, a weimaraner, passed away more than two years ago, but the therapy dog organization named after him, Gabriel’s Angels, is going strong.
In the 12 years since it was formed, consisting only of Gabriel, the organization has grown to 160 human-animal teams, and the dogs have visited more than than 13,000 abused, neglected and at-risk children, according to a story worth reading in this week’s Arizona Republic.
Gabriel’s Angels got its start about a year after Pam Gaber got the weimaraner pup.
She was volunteering at Crisis Nursery in central Phoenix, and every Friday she’d share photos and tales about her dog with the children.
For a holiday party, she brought Gabriel along with her for the first time, and dressed him as a reindeer. She noticed more smiles, more laughs and a greater sense of calm among the children. Recognizing the benefits a dog could offer them, she searched for a therapy dog group specializing in working with at-risk children. Finding none, she created her own.
A neighbor heard about it, and Gabriel’s Angels soon had its second therapy dog — a golden retriever named Sugarbear. A few months after that, they were joined by Auska, a bouvier des Flandres. By 2002, Gabriel’s Angels had 25 teams in the field; a year later, that number had doubled.
Today it has a waiting list of agencies requesting weekly visits — more than can be accomplished on its budget.
Gabriel’s legacy lives on, both through the organization, and the book Gaber wrote in 2011, ”Gabriel’s Angels: The Story of The Dog Who Inspired a Revolution.”
Gabriel’s Angels works to teach children confidence, tolerance and respect. As the Arizona Republic story recounts, much of that could be seen during a visit one of Gabriel’s successors, Tucker, paid to Crisis Nursery, whose education manager Cindy English, pointed out:
“Even children who have withdrawn behind walls of their own making — perhaps necessary to survive — will start to emerge in the safety of a friendly, lovable animal … These kids have been hurt or lied to by adults. But around an animal, they show love and caring. For some it might be the very first meaningful connection they make.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arizona, at risk children, children, crisis nursery, dog, dogs, gabriel, gabriel's angels, pam gaber, pets, phoenix, therapy, therapy dogs, weimaraner
Mu Shu was just four pounds and four weeks old when she fell off a livestock truck in Kansas and was picked up off the highway and taken home by the owner of Hunter, a yellow Lab.
That was in April, and Hunter would go on to become best friends with the piglet who, before bouncing off the truck, was likely destined for a growing farm and a future as ham.
Stacie Tonn picked the unconscious pig up off U.S. Highway 50, and with help from her veterinarian husband, Shane, their four daughters and Hunter, nursed Mu Shu back to health.
Hunter licked and nudged the injured piglet, and helped her get around when she regained consciousness. Left blinded — only temporarily — by the accident, the piglet would sniff Hunter out and follow him around, curling up with him for naps, according to Kansas.com.
But she still gets together with Hunter, who visits her once or twice a month.
“She still knows the sound of my truck. When I pull up to her pen, she will pop out with excitement. She knows she’s going to get snacks,” Stacie Tonn said.
Walton Rural Life Center serves 167 students, from kindergarten to fourth grade, and students are responsible for feeding Mu Shu and the other animals and maintaining their pens.
“Pigs are our biggest project,” said kindergarten teacher Rhonda Roux. “If she stays healthy, we are thinking of breeding her and having a litter of piglets.”
As for Hunter, he doesn’t seem intimidated in the least by Mu Shu’s girth, or how she so quickly passed him in size since the days he was licking her motionless body.
“She had a lot of bruising and was pretty unresponsive … Neither one of us thought she would live past 48 hours,” Shane Tonn told Kansas.com in an earlier story
You can see a video of Hunter playing with Mu Shu, when she was still a piglet, here.
(Top photo, taken in April, by Mike Hutmacher / Kansas.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, children, dogs, education, farming, friends, highway, hunter, livestock, mu shu, nursed, pets, pig, piglet, road, school, shane tonn, stacie tonn, students, truck, unlikely friends, walton rural life center, yellow lab
In Colorado, victims and witnesses who might, for various reasons, have trouble sharing details of a crime with a police officer now have another option — Pella, a Labrador-golden retriever mix who is both kid-friendly and judgment-free.
Pella began her service with the Aurora Police Department this summer, and while she doesn’t track down criminals, the hope is she can help put them behind bars.
Her main role is to work with children and developmentally-disabled adults during the beginnings of investigations, providing some comfort and emotional support when they are interviewed by authorities.
“It’s hard for anyone regardless of their state in life, their age, their background, their ethnicity … to talk to police. It’s just an uncomfortable situation. Pella can just help that anxiety to lessen a bit,” Amber Urban, who’s behind the program, told 9 News in Denver.
Urban was working as a school-resource officer when she started pondering how dogs — outside of tracking suspects and detecting drugs — could help the legal system.
Through Paws Assisting the Legal System, she brought Pella to the Aurora Police Department to work with its Crimes Against Children Unit.
The program is similar to the Courthouse Dogs program that is already in place in other cities.
Pella works a lot at SungateKids, a center where forensic interviewers talk to kids and adults who have either witnessed a crime or been victims of one.
“They’re here to talk about things that are traumatic. They, depending on their age, may not have that recognition of it being traumatic, but they feel it,” Urban said.
Children often pet Pella and hold on to her leash while they’re talking.
“…It’s a little bit better of a connection for a lot of kids to be able to interact with the dog who has no judgment, no opinion. The kids see that and they’re like, ‘Wow, they just like me.’”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amber urban, aurora, aurora police department, children, colorado, comfort, courthouse dogs, courts, crimes, developmentally disabled, emotional, golden retriever, labrador retriever, law enforcement, pals, paws assisting the legal system, pella, sungate kids, support, victims, witnesses
A cat hacked to pieces, a terrier beaten by youths with a cricket bat and a dog whose owner inserted a caribiner through its neck all made the Royal New Zealand SPCA’s 2012 “List of Shame.”
The list of inhumane acts toward animals is compiled annually by the SPCA and shared with the public — partly to increase public awareness, and partly as a warning.
“Violence towards animals both co-occurs and is a predictor of violence towards humans,” said Robyn Kippenberger, national chief executive of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.
“The sheer level of violence meted out on animals by some of the perpetrators in the cases in this year’s List of Shame is shocking, and underlying of wider issues in New Zealand.”
Incidents that made this year’s list included a tethered goat stabbed to death in Greymouth, a dog left to starve on the side of a road, and “a family cat deliberately cut up in Timaru.”
The lists recounts 30 acts of abuse and neglect, and their outcomes.
In Rotorua, a dog owner put a metal caribiner, such as used in climbing, through the skin of his Shar Pei mix’s neck and used it to connect a leash. An infection resulted and the dog had to be euthanized. The owner was prosecuted, fined and banned from owning a dog for a year.
In Te Atatu, Auckland a 3 year old cat was found outside an archery club with an arrow in his head. Further investigation showed he’d also been shot with pellets. The SPCA is still investigating.
In Waitara, a man trapped cats in his backyard, then put them in sacks and drowned them. He was banned from owning an animal for five years.
In July, two men who were prosecuted for shooting 33 dogs and puppies during a feud between neighbors in Wellsford, received sentences of 6 months home detention and 6 months community detention, 300 hours community work and reparation.
“The SPCA’s work is made less effective by the low level of sentencing being awarded in animal welfare cases,” Kippenberger said. “ The sentencing in most of these cases is appallingly inadequate, and is no way indicative of the range of penalties that can be handed down under the Animal Welfare Amendment Act.”
“Considering the close links between violence towards humans and animal cruelty, courts should be recognising these crimes as significant in a continuum of violent behaviour. If these crimes are not punished significantly, an opportunity is lost to send a message that no violence is acceptable.”
The Royal New Zealand SPCA, in partnership with Women’s Refuge, recently released a study into the link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand.
In the study, “Pets as Pawns,” 50 per cent of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence and 25 per cent said their children had witnessed violence against animals.
(Photo: One of the 33 dogs shot in Wellsford; New Zealand Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrow, beaten, behavior, caribiner, cat, children, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, domestic, humans, inhumane, link, list, list of shame, new zealand, pets, pets as pawns, research, robyn kippenberger, royal new zealand spca, shar-pei, sharpei, study, violence
Heartworm and a cancerous tumor have delayed snout surgery for Kabang, the Philippine dog that lost half her face when she stepped between two children and an oncoming motorcycle.
A veterinarian at the University of California, Davis, says both could be potentially fatal if not treated.
“Fortunately for Kabang, her disease is not very advanced,” Dr. Jane Sykes, a UC Davis infectious disease specialist, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “She has a good prognosis.”
Sykes said veterinarians will have to treat the two ailments — including chemotherapy for the tumor — and that it could be as long as six months before her snout problems can be addressed.
Donations from 20 countries financed Kabang’s trip to the U.S. Vets at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital plan at least two surgeries, one focusing on dental work and the other to close the gaping wound on her face, which, left open, could lead to infection.
But before that can happen they need to treat the heartworm and the cancerous tumor, which vets say was sexually transmitted.
Sykes said more than 90 percent of such cases are cured with chemotherapy.
Both the tumor and the heartworm are common ailments in tropical regions where dogs run loose, as in the Philippines.
Kabang was originally found in a swamp near Zamboanga by a man who planned on feeding her to his family. But the dog bonded with Rudy Bunggal’s 11-year-old daughter and his 3-year-old niece and last year stepped between them and a motorcycle, shearing off her snout.
Kabang disappeared for two weeks after the motorcycle accident, but was greeted as a hero when she returned to Bunggal’s home.
She delivered six puppies at a local dog pound in April of this year, apparently having become pregnant during her two week disappearance.
Sykes said Kabang is “a pleasure to work with … It is wonderful that people have seen how wonderful dogs can be to human lives. … I think we owe her a service in return.”
While missing the top of her snout, Kabang is able to lap up food and water with her tongue, Sykes said, and may still be able to smell some things.
Vets are also seeking permission from her owner to spay Kabang.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bunggal, cancerous, care, children, davis, delivered, dog, dogs, donations, half, heartworm, help, hero, kabang, motorcycle, pets, philippine, philippines, pregnancy, pregnant, pups, saved, sexually, snout, surgery, transmitted, tumor, university of california, veterinarians, veterinary
With donations coming in from people in 18 different countries, enough money has been raised to bring Kabang, the Philippine dog who lost her snout to save two children, to the United States for surgery.
Kabang departed for the U.S. Monday.
Veterinarian Anton Mari Lim accompanied her during the trip, GMA News reported.
Kabang, whose owners make about $3.50 a day, will receive the $20,000 surgery at the University of California, Davis.
A mixed breed street dog from Zamboanga City, Kabang suffered extensive injuries to her nose, face and upper jaw after being hit by a motorcycle last winter, leaving her with only half a snout.
Kabang reportedly “threw herself” in the path of the motorcycle, keeping it from hitting two girls, 11 an 3, who were crossing the street. Neither the girls nor the driver of the motorcycle were seriously injured.
Kabang’s snout got stuck in the motorcycle’s front wheel and the top of it was ripped off.
The wound, veterinarians say, will requires maxilla facial specialty surgery to restore function and properly close the wounds
Veterinarians, who have been giving Kabang antibiotics to slow down the infection from her wounds and vitamins to boost her immune system, says she’s in good enough shape now to undergo the surgery.
One vet in the Philipppines compared Kabang’s situation to an air conditioner without a filter.
“When you take out the whole snout you’re taking out the filter. So whatever dust, whatever germs is in the environment it goes straight into the lungs.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, animals, children, davis, dog, dogs, girls, hero, hero dog, kabang, motorcycle, pets, philippines, reconstruction, saved, snout, surgery, united states, university of california, veterinary