I would have no problem with a dog winning Australia’s Got Talent — and, no, that is not any sort of commentary on the amount or quality of talent in Australia — but a robot dog?
PerezHilton.com reports that Erik The Dog — a sassy and highly mobile four-legged hunk o’metal — might be about to win the show this season, which would mark the first time a singing and dancing robotic has won a quarter of a million dollars in a talent contest.
I’m sure at least some of that would go to his partner, Joel Salom, an Australian born circus performer, juggler and comedian.
During the semifinals, Erik joined a team of dancers and sang “I’m Too Sexy.”
PerezHilton.com says hosts Sophie Monk and Kelly Osbourne seem particularly enamored with the robot dog.
Here, in case you haven’t seen enough, is some more Erik, including some not at all exclusive behind the scenes video:
Posted by John Woestendiek March 1st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, australia, australia's got talent, competition, contest, dancing, dogs, erik, erik the dog, finalist, finals, joel salom, pets, robot, robot dog, robotic, robotic dog, robotics, robots, singing, television, tv, video
Slow and steady may win the race (sometimes), but it usually doesn’t win an agility competition.
Zeus, a mastiff, probably didn’t take home any ribbons after competing in this agility contest at a dog show in Denver last year.
But the crowd loved him, and he did finish the course.
I applaud his focus and perseverance, and how he felt no need to “crush, “smoke,” or “annihilate” the competition, and — reading way too much into it — I think there might even be a lesson for modern day America in his performance.
Forget about the flash, forget about the fame. Forget about finishing in first place. Forget, foremost, about the ego.
Just be nice and finish what you start, dog.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agility, animals, big dogs, competition, contest, course, dog, dog show, dogs, finish, mastiff, persevere, pets, race, slow, steady, video, winning, winning isn't everything
At age 3, his owners in Minnesota figured Beau — full name Victoire Gerie’s No Lemon Gemstone — could breed at least until he was 10.
In the process, they figured, they would be ensuring his genes and his legacy lived on .
And they’d get the puppy that they desperately wanted.
But those hopes, and those bucks, seemingly became a thing of the past when Beau’s breeder had the little white dog neutered without their knowledge, owners Mary and John Wangsness allege in a lawsuit.
The legal dispute has been going on for about a year now in Minnesota’s Ramsey County, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Wangsnesses allege breeder Vickie Halstead, who sold them the dog, acted in “vengeance” by neutering Beau because they had tried to breed him twice to a female dog, Cha Cha, without obtaining Halstead’s approval, which was required in the sales contract.
They are seeking more than $50,000 in damages, and about eight vials of what they believe to be Beau’s frozen semen, now stored in a veterinary clinic and estimated to be worth $3,000 each.
The semen is being held under Halstead’s name, and the lawsuit alleges she has already profited from selling two vials.
As John Wangsness sees it, since it came from the loins of his dog, what’s in those vials are his.
“Damn right, they’re mine,” he said.
Beau was neutered without their approval in July 2013, when he was 4.
“After hearing about the neutering, and I’m not overstating things at all, Mary literally cried and stayed in bed for three weeks,” said Wangsness, adding that she never fully recovered before she died this past March.
The case isn’t as black and white as it might seen. In the competitive world of dog showing, ownership of a dog — as well as decisions about its care and profits — are often contractually shared between the breeder and the owner.
And that much debated sperm might not even be Beau Lemon’s.
Halstead’s attorney, Joseph Crosby, said at a recent hearing that the frozen semen belongs to Beau’s brother, Beau Jangles.
Crosby said Halstead “rescued” the dog from the Wangsnesses because they were neglecting him. He said Beau was suffering from dental disease, a low sperm count, impacted anal glands, and a matted and unhealthy coat.
Crosby said Beau’s neutering was necessary due to his “deteriorated health condition.”
In June of 2013, Halstead borrowed Beau from the Wangsnesses for what she told them was breeding purposes, the lawsuit says.
They did not learn of his neutering until he was returned.
Larry Leventhal, attorney for the Wangsnesses, said the couple treated Beau as a pet, but they also expected to have the option of breeding him several times a year at a rate of $2,000 to $3,000 per breeding until he turned 10.
Wangsness said that, more than money, he wants justice for his wife.
“I would like some vindication for the emotional distress that happened to Mary as a result of [Beau’s neutering],” Wangsness said.
Attorneys were scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss a settlement agreement.
(Photo: Beau, as pictured on the website for Victoir’s Bichons)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beau lemon, bichon frise, breeders, breeding, champion, competition, court, dog, dog shows, dogs, frozen semen, lawsuit, neutered, pets, Ramsey County, settlement, sperm, Vicki Halstead
Jessica S. Skacel, 30, of Derry, and Ashley M. Giovannagelo, 22, of Greensburg, were charged with criminal conspiracy and theft, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday.
According to court documents, Skacel was hired as a caretaker for the sisters, now ages 85 and 83, in their home in Derry Township in 2011. Giovannagelo later assisted her in those duties.
Police say they started stealing from the sisters — both from their bank accounts and money the sisters had squirreled away in hiding places around the house — in early 2012.
Police began an investigation after a man who has power of attorney for the sisters noticed their bank accounts, both of which exceeded $100,000, ” were basically empty,” according to court documents.
“The bank records showed that both victims were making regular, large cash withdrawals from their accounts in amounts such as $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and even $20,000 at a time,” an investigating officer stated.
Police say the money was used to cover travel expenses to dog shows. Skacel’s former husband, Kyle Squib, told police she purchased two trailers for more than $5,000 to transport dogs to shows.
Police say Skacel admitted to stealing an estimated $40,000-$50,000 from the sisters.
Skacel is a dog groomer and Giovannagelo shows dogs regularly, according to their Facebook pages.
Skacel and Giovannagelo were fired as caretakers for the sisters in September 2013, shortly after the investigation began, police said.
Both face preliminary hearings Sept. 3 before a district judge.
(Photo: Ashley Giovannagelo shows a St. Bernard at a dog show in a photo posted on her Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Ashley Giovannagelo, caretakers, charged, competition, contests, derry, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, elderly, groomer, Jessica Skacel, pennsylvania, police, purebreds, sisters, st. bernard, theft
It seems like every year I’ve teetered a little closer to disliking the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.
A cute concept at first — and one that helped remind us what a superficial thing beauty can be — it seems to have grown into a pageant that, despite its focus on “ugliness,” inches ever closer to reflecting many of the same negative traits of purebred dog shows and beauty contests.
As the quirky little contest at the Sonoma County Fair in Petaluma has grown huge, and the title more sought after, there has been a concurrent increase in cut-throat competition, campaigning and hype.
But it’s the choice of this year’s winner that may have finally pushed me into being a fan no more. The title of World’s Ugliest Dog was won by a dog whose unusual appearance is the result of being abused.
And that troubles me.
This year’s winning dog, Peanut, a two-year-old mixed breed, is from Greenville, N.C. He was adopted from a shelter after being found abandoned and severely abused. It is suspected he was set on fire. While he’s healthy now, his eyelids, lips and patches of hair on his body were burned off, which accounts for much of his unusual appearance.
His owner, Holly Chandler, held fundraising campaigns to travel to California and enter Peanut in the contest — all, she said, to help raise awareness about animal abuse.
Given that’s a large part of this website’s mission, too, I have no problem with that cause.
I’m all for celebrating dogs who look different. I’m all for celebrating dogs who have overcome harsh odds. I’m all for abused dogs recovering and becoming rich and famous while their abusers rot in prison.
Where my discomfort comes in, I think, is placing abused animals in a “contest” context and, within that party atmosphere, picking a winner whose looks are the result of being horribly mistreated at the hands of man.
Abuse, it seems to me, should not be connected to pageantry and cash prizes, no matter how circuitous that link is.
Yesterday, I watched a local TV report about Peanut winning the contest. The anchor people, while noting Peanut had an inner beauty, laughed and joked about his appearance, as I’m sure the crowd did at the contest.
Peanut beat 24 other dogs to win the contest Friday, receiving more than double the votes the second-place dog received.
While his owner seemed sincere in her purpose, and probably did raise awareness about animal abuse, I can’t help but wonder whether we should all be chuckling — even while feeling sympathy and love for Peanut — at his appearance, at his prominent teeth, or his eyes that never close, given it was all the result of a cruel criminal act.
On the other hand, the world should know Peanut’s story — and the contest was a way to make that happen.
Maybe, though, there are better, more dignified ways, such as writing a book, or taking him to schools, or sharing his story with the news media — ways that might avoid the appearance of exploitation and have a little less of the circus atmosphere that seems, in my mind at least, to clash with serious nature of animal abuse.
I doubt there is any danger of people disfiguring their dogs in hopes of winning the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, but — given the world can be pretty ugly — stranger things have happened.
I think it would be wise, and in good taste, for contest officials to impose and enforce a ban on dogs whose “ugliness” or unusual looks are a result of actions taken by humans — whether those actions are heinous criminal acts or cosmetic steps, like dyeing, taken for amusement purposes.
While the contest’s web page states that “all the dogs must provide a veterinarian’s paperwork asserting that they are healthy and are ‘naturally ugly,’ Peanut’s victory casts some doubt on how strongly that’s being enforced.
All that said, I don’t find any fault with Chandler entering Peanut in the contest. She was on a mission. She made her point.
Maybe the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, after 25 years, has made its point too. A cute and well-intentioned gimmick with a sweet message, it might be growing into a bit of a monster. Maybe it should fade way before it becomes too Westminstery.
I have problems with contests that award people, or dogs, for good looks and conformity. Maybe I have issues with awarding them for “bad” looks and non-conformity, too.
Definitely I don’t like the idea of people laughing and finding amusement in a dog’s misery, which, in a very distant, removed and indirect way, is what’s going on.
That’s the best I can do at explaining the ill-at-ease feeling Peanut’s victory gives me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(Photo: From Holly Chandler’s Gofundme page)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2014, abuse, animal cruelty, animals, awards, awareness, beauty, burned, competition, contest, contests, dogs, peanut, petaluma, pets, set on fire, sonoma county fair, ugliest, ugly, world's ugliest dog
Ralph Ullum, 68 of Claysville, was attending a kennel club show in December at the DuPage County Fairgrounds with his girlfriend, whose Siberian husky, Diana, was entered in the competition.
He’s accused of feeding Protonix and possibly Benadryl to a competing husky, named Pixie, NBC in Chicago reported.
Pixie’s handler, Jessica Plourde of Newark Valley, N.Y., noticed a crushed pink pill near Pixie’s cage on the second day of competition, according to police. Later, witnesses came forward saying they had seen Ullum feeding and petting Pixie while Plourde was away from the cage
A veterinarian induced vomiting in Pixie and found a rubber band, dog food, chicken pieces and an undigested Protonix pill. Protonix is used to treat acid reflux and heartburn. Wheaton police say the pink crushed pill found near Pixie’s cage is believed to be Benadryl, an over the counter allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness.
Ullum denied feeding anything to Pixie, but said he did pet her.
His hearing on misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges is scheduled for June.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, benadryl, cheating, competition, competitors, diana, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, drugged, drugging, drugs, dupage county, kennel club, pennsylvania, pets, pixie, protonix, purebreds, ralph ullum, sabotage, siberian husky, wheaton
I wasn’t personally tuned in, but it seems Pup, the accordion-playing pooch vying to win the NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” competition, failed to make much of an impression last night.
Maybe he was overwhelmed by the bright lights, the big stage and the huge Hollywood crowd, but Pup only tugged a couple of times on the elastic strap attached to the accordion, and once it snapped out of his mouth, he stayed away from the accordion altogether.
After Pup balked, the act turned into a solo — basically his owner, Ed, singing and strumming “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”
Pup failed to live up to the expectations of the judges, and his owner, Ed, from Oakhurst, California — and anyone else who saw his impressive audition tape (above).
“If Pup had continued we may have had a sensation on our hands, but we’re never going to know,” said judge Piers Morgan, who “X-ed” the act early on.
“We had some problems,” Ed explained afterward.
Pup’s on air performance — a bit painful to watch — is included in the video below.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accordion, acts, america's got talent, animals, competition, dog, dogs, ed, music, musical, nbc, performances, pets, piers morgan, playing, pup, reality, talent, television, tv, video