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Tag: control

Microsoft makes good on dog’s Xbox damage

oscarOscar, the dog who purchased 5,000 Microsoft points while chewing on his owner’s Xbox 360 controller, has been given an official Microsoft membership, and his owner will receive a refund.

Microsoft, proving even a software giant has a soft side when it comes to dogs — or at least knows a good public relations opportunity when it sees one – will be refunding the points, setting Oscar up with his own gamertag and Xbox live subscription, and sending his owner Greg Strope a new controller and some extra points.

The move makes Oscar the service’s first canine member.

A Lab mix, Oscar went after the remote control while his owner slept, somehow managing to turn on the console and purchase 5,000 Microsoft Points for the account of Strope, who had stored his credit card number in the remote.

Strope became aware of the $62.50 transaction whn he received an email confirmation of the purchase from Microsoft.

Yesterday, in an email to ohmidog!, a spokesman for Microsoft said the company is refunding Strope his LIVE points “and providing extra for good measure.

“Plus he will get an extra controller and a LIVE subscription for his dog, Oscar.  We also created a gamertag for Oscar so that he doesn’t feel left out anymore.”

Like a cat to water

This little fella seems to love the feel of water splashing on his head — at least when he’s in control of it.

When you’re not in control of it, it’s an entirely different matter — torture even.

Take my house. (Please.) Recently a new leak developed. After a downpour, water pours in through a tiny slit in the ceiling, directly above the toilet. That’s very convenient — for I can just open the toilet lid and, except for some splashage, all the water goes right in.

It’s convenient up until the time one needs to use said toilet, in a sitting down manner. Then the options are: get very wet, hold a pot over your head (which is harder than it sounds), or postpone the bodily function until the weather clears up.

The landlord is on the case (it’s a complex roofing issue), but until a solution is reached, I’m faced with choosing between letting water that has collected who-knows-what on its trip across and through the roof pour on my head, holding a pot atop my head while on the pot, or gastrointestinal distress. 

To be clear, this is not a drip, but a steady flow, and both letting it land on your head, and trying to catch it in a pot, while in the highly vulnerable squatting position, are more demeaning than you might imagine.

So I went to Home Depot and bought a 10-foot length of plastic gutter, which, if I angle one end against the wall under the hole, allows me to direct the incoming flow into the bathtub.

My bathroom now has a water feature. And I’m back in control. How do I spell relief? V-I-A-D-U-C-T.

B-More Dog sponsors free workshop at BARCS

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B-More Dog is sponsoring a free hour-long workshop this weekend on dog-handling techniques and learning to read your dog’s body language.

It’s for humans only, and starts at noon on Sunday at BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter) 301 Stockholm St. in Baltimore.

Burned mobile home housed up to 50 dogs

Officially, six dogs were killed in a mobile home fire near Mesa, Arizona at the end of March. But the owner of the property, neighbors and witnesses say two dozen or more dog carcasses could remain in the rubble.

Possibly as many as 50 dogs were living on the property; 26 dogs survived the fire.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says its Animal Cruelty Enforcement unit will not be investigating and considers the case closed.

Deputy Lindsey Smith, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said animal crimes investigators went to the property and found nothing that fit the definition of animal cruelty. Smith said the investigators didn’t comb through the rubble, but found only six dogs that died in the fire.

According to neighbors who dug out the carcasses last week and delivered them to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, some of the dead animals were in plain sight, but the majority of them were buried in a 10-foot by 12-foot area, under rubble from the burnt mobile home.

The owner of the burnt property, Jamie Endicott, provided the Mesa Tribune with a receipt from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control for 31 dogs that were eventually found.

Twenty-six dogs that lived at the residence were rescued, according to Kathy Swaney, who runs Valley of the Sun Dog Rescue.

The woman who lived on the property, Beth Schmeltz, said she didn’t know how many dogs she had, but she had provided shelter for them all since she began living there in 1996. Endicott was set to file the  paperwork to evict Schmeltz the day the property went up in flames.

On Wednesday, residents in the neighborhood held a memorial for the dead animals. About 50 people attended.

L.A. to halt low-cost spay-neuter program

Citing a budget shortfall, Los Angeles animal control officials say they will end a voucher program that enabled residents to get low cost spaying and neutering for their dogs.

The program started last year, when the city voted to require all Los Angeles dogs and cats be neutered or spayed, with the exception of show animals, law enforcement and service dogs, and those deemed too old or sick for the surgery.

L.A. Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks says the agency was compelled by the city to make up a budget shortfall of $414,000. Ending the spay and neuter vouchers will save about $150,000, he said.

Animal welfare advocates, and some city council members, are displeased with the decision to end the program, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Councilman Dennis Zine’s office said he ”strongly opposes the recent decision made by the department to halt the voucher program” and will move later this week for the council to reinstate the program.

For dogs, slaughter continues in Baghdad


“While human beings in Iraq were killing each other in huge numbers, they ignored the dogs, which in turn multiplied at an alarming rate,” the New York Times reported last week.

Now stray dogs are such a menace that municipal workers are hunting them down and slaughtering them — about 10,000 in Baghdad just since December.

“With fewer bombs going off and hardly any bodies being dumped anymore, the dogs are perhaps the biggest problem on the filthy and rubble-strewn streets of Baghdad. Packs of strays scare schoolchildren and people who get up at dawn to go to work. They gather at open-air butcher shops where customers choose their meat from flocks of live sheep.

“Some people believe that the dogs spread disease, not a difficult case to make in a society that generally shuns dogs as pets, believing them to be contrary to Islamic edicts on personal cleanliness.

“Thus a relative peace has changed priorities, and not just in Baghdad. The holy Shiite city of Karbala was so overwhelmed with stray dogs last year that officials there offered 6,000 dinars ($5.30) for each animal caught and handed over to the municipality. The dogs were shot and buried en masse.”

In Baghdad, dogs are killed with rotten raw meat laced with strychnine. On the outskirts of town, articularly around the city’s sprawling garbage dumps, the dogs are shot. By the time the cmapgin ends this month, perhaps 20,000 dogs will have been exterminated, said Shaker Fraiyeh of the ministry’s veterinary services company.

“Our work may be against animal rights, but there is a more important issue, public health,” said Dr. Fraiyeh, a veterinarian in his 30s.

Abdul-Karim Ismail, a veterinarian with the state-owned company dealing with the dogs, said building and maintaining animal shelters and introducing spay/neuter programs to control Baghdad’s dog population are considered too costly and complicated in a nation where people had so many more pressing needs.

Some stray dogs have been fortunate enough to find new homes outside Iraq. S.P.C.A. International, a Washington-based charity, began “Operation Baghdad Pups” in 2007 to help American soldiers adopt and take home stray dogs they befriended while serving in Iraq.

Dogs shoo birds at 20 U.S. airports

Here’s one way to reduce the number of birds at airports, and cut down on accidents like the forced Hudson River landing of US Airways jet last week.

Her name is Sky.

Sky (click the link above for the video) is a 1-year-old border collie about four months into her job shooing birds away from Southwest Florida International Airport.

“She’s not aggressive at all, but to the birds, she looks like a predator — a wolf or a coyote,” said James Hess, airport operations agent and Sky’s handler. Big birds or flocks of birds, in addition to getting sucked into jet engines, can disable wing tips, dent the fuselage and break windshields.

Southwest Florida International is among about 20 airports nationwide using dogs for some form of wildlife control, according to Rebecca Ryan, owner of Flyaway Farm and Kennels in North Carolina, which has supplied dogs to both military and commercial airfields.

Southwest Florida International was among the first U.S. commercial airports to employ a bird dog, beginning in 1999, according to airport director Bob Ball. Sky is the third generation of her breed to patrol the airport southeast of Fort Myers.

According to USA Today, Charleston (S.C.) International and Canada’s Vancouver International also use dogs for wildlife control.