The man who, by his own count and admission, killed at least 70 sled dogs — some of which lingered in pain after he shot and slashed them — was sentenced to three years probation yesterday in British Columbia.
Robert Fawcett, 40, said the sled dog tour company he managed in Whistler ordered the cull, which came to light after Fawcett filed a workmen’s compensation claim stating that carrying out the orders had caused him post traumatic stress disorder.
As part of an investigation, 54 dogs were unearthed and examined, though estimates were that as many as 100 were involved.
Yesterday, Judge Steve Merrick ruled that Fawcett had the “best interests” of the dogs at heart when he culled the pack near Whistler after a slump in business following the 2010 Olympic Games, the Globe and Mail reports.
Fawcett was not charged with killing the animals — that’s, unfortunately, legal — but with “causing unnecessary pain and suffering” to nine of the animals, namely those that lingered after he wounded them, and, in some cases, were thrown into graves before they died.
Graphic testimony at Thursday’s hearings left some in tears, and Judge Merrick’s ruling was slammed by the British Columbia SPCA.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC-SPCA, said Fawcett “basically walked away,” and, through his injury claim, “he was paid taxpayer dollars in compensation for committing the crime.”
“We put forward strong evidence that animals suffered, and that this occurred over a few days,” Moriarty said. “When you look at other animal-cruelty cases in Canada … I think the sentence here is not reflective of what Canadians feel.”
The defense recommended no jail time for Fawcett, who they noted was carrying out orders when he began culling the herd at Howling Dog Tours, the owners of which had put an “absolute freeze” on spending.
In a statement, read in court, Fawcett described killing Susie, who was the mother of his family’s dog. He described what he called “execution-style” killings, in which he wrestled some of the dogs to the ground and stood on them with one foot to shoot them. He described one dog who survived the first bullet, and how he had to climb into the grave in which he had tossed the dog to finish the killing.
“I will never stop feeling guilty for the suffering that the dogs endured that day. I feel like part of me died with those dogs,” Fawcett’s defense lawyer, Greg Diamond, quoted his client as saying.
The defense supplied a list of 30 character references to the judge that described Fawcett’s dedication to the dogs.
The prosecution didn’t push for the maximum sentence — five years in prison — and noted Fawcett had no criminal record. Crown lawyers emphasized that he was charged in connection with the suffering of only nine of the dogs, not with the mass euthanization.
“Many dogs suffered from the reckless acts of Mr. Fawcett. However, it’s important to bear in mind that he has not been convicted of and is not being sentenced for euthanizing sled dogs generally,” said Crown lawyer Nicole Gregoire. “This is not a sentencing of the sled dog industry, or a discussion of the morality of the euthanization of sled dogs. The fact is that whether the court and the public like it or not, it is lawful to euthanize animals.”
The killings occurred in April, 2010. The bodies of the dogs were exhumed, after the ground thawed, in May, 2011. They were reburied at a memorial ceremony earlier this month.
(Photo: By Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, british columbia, buried, canada, charges, claim, company, compensation, cull, dogs, euthanasia, exhumed, howling dog, investigation, pain, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, probation, robert fawcett, sentence, shot, slashed, sled dogs, spca, suffering, three years, touring, tours, whistler, workers, workmens
A survey by the Kennel Club in the UK has found that one of every three respondents thinks a dog fits their lifestyle better than a child.
Nearly four of every ten people say a dog is a happy alternative to having a child.
And one in four say that, while their children come first, they prefer to go on outings with their dogs, according to the poll, conducted among residents of the West Midlands.
The same, apparently, goes for their spouses. According to The Express, 80 percent described their their dog as attentive and loving, while only about half said the same was true of their partner.
The Kennel Club commissioned the poll as part of its campaign to get more restaurants to allow dogs.
About half of those questioned said they had a problem finding a place to eat where their dog is welcomed.
“This research proves what a well loved member of the family a dog is in the West Midlands,” said Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club secretary. “Given how much we love spending time with our dogs, it’s surprising there are still so many businesses in the region that refuse to allow dogs in their premises.”
As part of its campaign, the Kennel Club has compiled a website, openfordogs.org.uk, listing more than 26,000 places throughout the UK and Europe that let pets inside.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affection, animals, campaign, children, company, dog, dog friendly, dogs, families, family, kennel club, members, outings, partners, pets, poll, restaurants, spouses, survey, uk
All three products were made at a Gaston, S.C., plant — the same one that made mold-contaminated food that killed dozens of dogs nationwide in 2005.
Production at the plant was halted April 8.
In a statement Monday, the Missouri-based company said the latest recall involves its Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. No canine illnesses have been reported.
The product was distributed to customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The company announced in April that it was recalling batches of its Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula and Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adult, adult light formula, alabama, animals, chicken soup for the pet lovers soul, company, concerns, diamond, diamond naturals, diamond pet foods, dog food, dogs, florida, food, formula, gaston, georgia, health, kentucky, lamb meal and rice, light, maryland, michigan, missouri, north carolina, ohio, pennsylvania, pet, pets, plant, recall, safety, salmonella, south carolina, tennessee, virginia, voluntary, warning
Wonder why you’re not seeing any ads for Pedigree dog food during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Apparently, mutts like Roscoe (above) — especially homeless ones — aren’t viewed by the club as sending the right message, so they’ve cut their ties to long-time sponsor (as in 24 years) Pedigree dog foods.
Apparently, some of Pedigree’s ads — the ones promoting dog adoption, the ones featuring sad-eyed mixed breeds as opposed to well-coiffed, prancing purebreds – were just too hard-hitting and depressing for the kennel club’s tastes.
“We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” David Frei, the club’s director of communications and the host of the show for over two decades, told the Associated Press.
“Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs. When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message … Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me.”
Pedigree’s ads, club honchos agreed, were getting too heavy-handed.
Frei said the kennel club had expressed those concerns to Pedigree: “We told them that, and they ignored us.”
Taking a look at the newest series of ads that are part of Pedigree’s continuing efforts to encourage dog adoptions — you can see them here — I don’t see much sadness. They seem more an expression of pride. They come right out and say don’t feel sorry for me. They seem to say the shelter mutt is just as valuable, and will make just as good a pet (and we’d argue maybe even better) than a purebred.
Maybe that’s the kennel club’s problem. Maybe they want television coverage of Westminster — the big show began yesterday at Madison Square Garden — to keep the focus strictly on purebreds, which are, for it, the money makers.
Granted, some of Pedigree’s earlier adoption-oriented ads were pretty bleak in tone; and everybody (attention ASPCA and Humane Society) is getting tired of those ads that, while cool for the first two viewings, continue to tug so blatantly and repeatedly at our heartstrings we now switch the channels instantly when they come on.
Granted, too, the Westminster Dog Show is free to choose any advertisers it wants, and the American Kennel Club does fund research and offer programs that benefit all dogs, purebred or not. And, to keep things in context, it’s not necessarily dissing mutts with this particular action; it’s dissing downer, guilt-inducing adoption ads.
But it all comes across a little like snobbery; a little like denial, when it comes to the millions of dogs euthanized each year; a little like let’s stay here in our private fantasy world — not open to the unwashed masses, or those who might be of mixed breeds, even though every purebred, except the wolf, is in fact a result of mixing.
Pedigree has been replaced with Nestlé Purina PetCare, whose ads of peppy, happy dogs are more to the kennel club’s liking. The new partnership was announced last spring.
“They’ve shared with us, when we parted ways, that they felt that our advertising was focused too much on the cause of adoption and that wasn’t really a shared vision,” said Melissa Martellotti, a brand communications manager for Mars Petcare US, which makes the Pedigree brands. The kennel club, she said, is “focused on the purebred mission.”
Martellotti said the partnership had been a boon to Pedigree’s adoption initiatives. In 2007, $500,000 in pledges were received after its ads were broadcast over the show’s two days.
Nearly 3.5 million people watched last year’s show, broadcast on the USA Network and CNBC.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ads, advertising, animals, campaign, celebrate, company, david frei, dog food, dog show, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropped, euthanized, kennel club, message, mutts, pedigree, pets, purebred, sad, shelters, sponsor, westminster, woof in advertising
Forget that better mousetrap. Many of our planet’s best minds are now wrapping themselves around the issue of dog poop.
And here’s one of the latest devices destined for the market: The AshPooPie, a name that somehow (at least to me) sounds even funnier when a person with a British accent is saying it.
The AshPooPie was invented by Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientist Oded Shoseyov as a more environmentally friendly alternative to sending poop in plastic bags to landfills.
The AshPooPie is an easy to carry “wand” that allows you, with the push of a few buttons, to capture a pile of poop, then, through chemically induced incineration, turn it into a small pile of sterile and odorless ash .
Like fairy dust, almost.
The device is will be distributed by an Israeli company, Paulee Clean Tech.
“The amount of ash is between 10-20 per cent of the ‘original portion’ and it can blow in the wind like cigarette ash,” said Oded Halperin, a spokesperson for Paulee Clean Tech.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 21st, 2011 under videos.
Tags: animals, ash, ashpoopie, chemical, company, device, disposal, dog, dogs, environment, feces, hebrew university of jerusalem, incineration, invention, israeli, oded shoseyov, odorless, paulee clean tech, pets, poo, poop, poopie, science, scientist, scooping, sterile, wand, waste
Ameriquest was one of America’s leading wholesale lending companies, one that’s said to have been a prime contributor to the economic mess we’re in now.
It advertised on blimps, sponsored the Rolling Stones 2005 U.S. tour, backed NASCAR drivers and, for a while, The Texas Rangers’ stadium bore its name. It advertised heavily on television.
“Proud sponsor of the American dream” was one of its slogans; “Do the right thing,” another.
“Don’t Judge Too Quickly” was the catchphrase of one of its advertising series, which included this one, in which a man finishes lunch in the park with his dog, then drops his dessert — a brownie — on the ground.
He’s just picking it up from behind his dog when a woman and her granddaughter see him, and watch as he takes a bite.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertisements, advertising, ameriquest, animals, brownie, commercials, company, dogs, dogs in advertising, funny, judge, mortgage, pets, video, woof in advertising
So he played a big role in getting a nation hooked on cigarettes. So he was the richest man in the state of North Carolina. So he was the sort of fat cat businessman from whom I tend to initially withhold respect — based on my automatic assumption that they had to crush a lot of butts on their way to the top of whatever heap they are on.
I wanted to hate him — for being the father of my addiction, for the fact that I can’t finish this blog entry without taking a break for one of his products — but, after a little research, I think I almost like R.J. Reynolds, and, even more, the estate he left behind.
Ace and I hang out there at least once a week — roaming the 130 acres that were part of his 1,000-plus acre country home, known as Reynolda.
But what we like best are the hiking trails that take you through thick woods and open meadows, rich with wildflowers and wildlife, past beds of pine needles and vines of honeysuckle so pungently sweet they penetrate even a smoker’s jaundiced nostrils.
I got my start in cigarettes at, probably, age 16, pilfering Salems from my mother. Then I moved on to unfiltered Pall Malls — also a R.J. Reynolds brand, and also pilfered, in this case from a neighbor.
I remember my mother used to put her Salems in little ceramic holders. The little cups with a dozen or so cigarettes in them could be found around the house, serving almost as decorations. She didn’t smoke them that often, and when she did, she didn’t inhale.
I did — first her throat-searing menthols, then the neighbor’s filterless Pall Malls, before working my way up to Marlboros; those, after all, were perceived as the most manly, and didn’t leave you spitting out little pieces of tobacco.
Like most smokers, I ponder quitting at least weekly, most recently last week as I walked the trails of Reynolda, past a vine of honeysuckle that was leaning out into the path, the tiny tendrils of its blossom waving in the wind, like beckoning index fingers.
If only I could be hooked on honeysuckle, I thought. If only its sweet essence could be inhaled. Then I realized that’s exactly what I was doing. As I wondered if honeysuckle might be my salvation, I realized, if somebody studied it enough, honeysuckle could turn out to be bad for us too (though I don’t see how something with “honey” and “suckle” in its name possibly could).
Then too — even if honeysuckle did satiate that urge, and even if I harvested my own and came up with a smokeless way to imbibe it — it would still lack that ease of use that plays such a big role in getting us hooked.
It was R.J. Reynolds who made smoking so convenient.
Reynold was born in Virginia to a tobacco-growing, slave-owning family. He attended two colleges, one of them in Baltimore, and went to work for his father before striking out on his own.
In 1874, he moved to what’s now Winston-Salem to start his own tobacco company. He started his own tobacco company in what was then Winston. There were 15 other tobacco companies in town, but his outgrew them all.
Reynolds was an astute businessman and a hard worker, and he quickly became a wealthy man. He married a woman 30 years his junior, his former secretary Mary Katherine Smith, who, historical accounts suggest, helped bring out his progressive and philanthropic sides.
She successfully urged him to shorten the work hours of employees, pay them more and provide them with meals, schools and nursery services.
When he built what would become Reynolda House, he also had a village constructed nearby where workers could live. It’s now called Reynolda Village, a collection of restaurants and shops. Also on the grounds, golf being his passion, he commissioned a 9-hole golf course, which now serves as the grassy meadow where Ace likes to romp, or just rest.
He also granted endowments to Guilford College, the Oxford Orphan Asylum, and the Baptist Orphanage, in addition to a lot of other charities and churches in the Winston-Salem community. He became the first southern man to establish a hospital serving African-Americans. He donated as well to establish the Slater Industrial School, which became Winston-Salem State University.
R.J. didn’t get to enjoy Reynolda House too long. He died the year after it was completed.
His daughter, Mary Reynolds Babcock, would donate it for use as an art museum, and the Reynolds’ philanthropic ways would continue. About 300 acres of the Reynolda estate was donated to Wake Forest University, which moved from the town of Wake Forest to Winston-Salem in 1956.
Today, the Reynolds family name is stamped on much of Winston-Salem, including the library at Wake Forest, the airport, a high school, a park and an auditorium, and the various components that make up Reynolda — Reynolda House, Reynolda Village, Reynolda Gardens.
(Having recently returned to my ancestral homeplace in Winston-Salem, moving into the modest apartment in which my parents lived when I was born, I thought about naming it and its adjoining patch of grass after me. But I’m only renting, and Woestendieka doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like Reynolda.)
My honeysuckle encounter, and the hours I’ve spent slow-walking with Ace around Reynolda, have got me thinking I need to do more walking and less smoking, more pursuing of health and less feeding of urges. They’ve gotten me thinking too about how times change, and how things we were told were OK turn out not to be – like slavery and smoking, which, not to diminish the massive evil of the former, have much in common.
I don’t blame R.J. Reynolds for inflicting the scourge of cigarettes on society. He was a product of his times, peddling a product of his times, and pouring some of the profits back into his community. Far more devious, I think, were the subsequent generations of tobacco pitchmen and the marketing techniques they used, aimed as they were at young people (Camels) and women (Virginia Slims and Eve).
Light up — if you want to be cool, if you want to be sexy, if you want to be liberated, or if you merely want to be a rugged Marlboro man.
Most of us — though it took decades — wised up and saw through that. Smoking is bad, and bad for you — always has been, always will be.
At least, maybe, until they come out with All Natural Smokeless Honeysuckle 100′s, which would have the added benefit of leaving you smelling sweet.
Then, and only then, will we have come a long way, baby.
(For more about visiting Reynolda with your dog, see our next entry.)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, addictions, animals, cigarettes, company, dog, dogs, donations, evils, habits, hiking, history, honeysuckle, marketing, north carolina, pets, philanthropy, reynolda, reynolda gardens, reynolda house, reynolda village, reynolds, rj reynolds, slavery, smokers, smoking, tobacco, trails, winston-salem
Truth, always elusive, is even tougher to get a handle on in the chaotic aftermath of a tsunami — and that’s one reason the fate of the two dogs pictured in the now famous video of one stranded dog loyally watching over another remains obscure.
Despite reports from CNN, UK Telegraph, NPR, PETA and others that the dogs were rescued — all based solely on Facebook posts by Kenn Sakurai, the owner of a dog food supply company in Japan — their fates remain unclear and uncomfirmed.
The best account we can find is one prepared by Global Animal, an online animal magazine that, unlike most major media, interviewed Sakurai, who is being described, without documentation, as both a savior or a charlatan in Internet posts
Global Animal reports that Sakurai told them the two dogs were rescued by friends of his who are off-road bikers and that the dogs are being treated by an undisclosed veterinarian.
Sakurai lists his occupation as president of Butch Japan, Inc., a dog food company. Oddly, for a self described animal lover, his Facebook page lists Michael Vick among his “favorite athletes.”
Sakurai has reportedly deleted all negative comments from the page — as well as those that questioned his involvement in rescuing the dogs.
Sakurai’s page says he was born in Tokyo, raised in Tokyo and the UK and went to school in Tokyo and New York City. He says he was involved with the development of Tokyo Disneyland and that he now is the importer of ”the safest dog and cat food on the planet.”
After the tsunami, he set up a paypal account so that people could donate to his effort, but, in his later posts on his Facebook page, he says he plans to donate that money to established shelters.
Still, many remain troubled that he has presented no photographic evidence that the two dogs are safe.
Global Animal reports: “Mr. Sakurai says he promised the bikers that he wouldn’t reveal the location of the veterinarian because they don’t want animal rescue organizations to take the dogs for their own fundraising purposes. This is why no pictures are being made available, claims Mr. Sakurai.”
In an editorial written by Arthur Jeon, co-founder of the online magazine, Sakurai is quoted as saying he would try and send the organization photos. But, the magazine said, “we are not hopeful that credible evidence will materialize.”
“Our best guess is that some difficult truth may be hidden here, and that either one or both dogs have died, possibly on the trip or shortly after. Or, that this is a story that got out of hand, perhaps being used to raise money by Mr. Sakurai himself, though he is not associated with any animal rescue organization that’s mobilized in the devastated areas.”
Global Animal provided readers interested in donating money to the animal rescue effort in Japan with a list of legitimate and long-standing animal rescue organizations.
The editorial concludes: “It’s human nature to yearn for a happy ending, to be able to move these dogs’ misery off our mental list of anguish and to find heroes in a horrible reality. It also makes for ‘good copy’ by mainstream news organizations who hit it for its feel-good elements, then move on. However, the web and Facebook are not good places to collect facts for substantiated reporting; these reputable news organizations know better.
“Ultimately, the two dogs … deserve the truth. As do we. If Mr. Sakurai responds with verifiable truth that the dogs are alive and well, nobody will be happier than the hardcore animal lovers and readers of Global Animal.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, company, dogs, earthquake, facebook, fate, global animal, japan, kenn sakurai, loyalty, news, news media, outcome, pet food, pets, president, reports, rescue, rescuing, sakurai, truth, tsunami, two dogs in japan, video
A PetSmart in New Jersey may be dog-friendly, but its recent firing of a staff member who brought his dog to work is making it look something less than employee-friendly.
Eric Favetta was fired from his job at the PetSmart in Secaucus for bringing his dog into the closed store while working a last-minute overnight shift.
Favetta, 31, a PetSmart employee since July 2008, placed his dog Gizmo in the store’s empty day care facility while he spruced up the place for a special showing to potential business partners.
“I have always been the type of employee to go the extra mile,” Favetta told the Newark Star-Ledger’s “Bamboozled” column.
The store, which encourages its customers to bring pets inside, labeled his deed “theft of services,” and fired him.
Favetta served nearly seven years as a dog handler for various military units in Afghanistan and Bahrain. He became operations manager at the PetSmart in Wayne and, based on his good record, was sent to Secaucus.
At 5 p.m. on Dec. 15, Favetta was asked to work a special overnight shift to prepare the store for a viewing by representatives for Martha Stewart’s company, which was considering adding its product lines to PetSmart.
“I brought my dog with me because I knew if I didn’t, he would have been home alone all day and all night until I returned home at 6 a.m. the next day,” Favetta said. Gizmo, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, spent the night in the empty store’s doggie day care facility as Favetta toiled.
Two weeks later, he was called on the carpet and fired.
PetSmart spokeswoman Jessica White explained the situation this way:
“In our eyes, our services business is huge, with our grooming and training and care. Those are viewed as sale items the same way items on the shelf are,” she said. “To use the facilities and not pay for it — it falls under the same lines.”
A few days later, PetSmart reconsidered and offered him another job. But Favetta has since moved on. He’s now working as a dog handler for a company that uses animals to search for hazards.
(Photo: MITSU YASUKAWA/Newark Star-Ledger)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bamboozled, belgian malinois, company, day care, dog, dog friendly, dogs, employee, eric favetta, fired, firing, gizmo, manager, new jersey, newark star-ledger, operations, overnight, overtime, pets, petsmart, secaucus, shift, terminated, termination, theft of services
My very doggie Christmas continues, with the arrival of my final holiday guest — Lucas, an old yellow Lab and my most vocal visitor yet.
Perhaps its just his Christmas spirit, but he has broken into song several times since his owner dropped him off this morning. They generally last three to four minutes, then he plops down on the floor, exhausted from all the caroling.
His barking sprees get Darcy started (Lucas is an alto, Darcy a soprano). Ace, after trying to figure out what Lucas is barking about, goes upstairs. Cheyenne, the blind dog, sits calm and trance-like in a corner, seemingly realizing that the other dogs aren’t barking at anything in particular — but just for the sake of barking.
Lucas brought a stuffed toy with him, but Darcy immediately sexually assaulted the unsuspecting Gingerbread Man, then began pulling out his cotton stuffing. He has been removed from circulation, and is listed in critical condition, pending treatment from a seamstress.
We opened stockings — Cheyenne seemed to enjoy sporting the antlers that were in hers — and chowed down on a smorgasbord of treats, maybe too many treats, as someone (and I’m not pointing any fingers) pooped on the floor.
Lucas is just a day guest, and will be picked up tonight. Darcy and Cheyenne will both be staying a few more days — so expect a few more updates on my canine Christmas.
Until then, allow me to thank my guests for making my Christmas a lot more lively; my dog for so graciously sharing his couch and home with visitors; and Febreeze for helping me mist away the lingering odors left by whoever it is that’s farting.
Thanks also to all the readers of ohmidog! Happy holidays, and best wishes to you and your dogs for a happy new year, from me and my Christmastime crew — from left to right, Darcy, Cheyenne, Ace and Lucas.
(To read all of the “Company for Christmas” series, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, barking, behavior, blind dog, boston terrier, canine, cheyenne, christmas, company, company for christmas, darcy, dogs, farting, gifts, guests, holidays, labrador retriever, lucas, multiple dogs, ohmidog!, pooping, stockings, visitors, yellow lab