Authorities in Hoke County, N.C., yesterday unearthed the remains of 15 dogs on the grounds of a “no-kill” animal shelter from which 600 animals were seized this week.
A day after Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA raided The Haven — Friends for Life shelter near Raeford, authorities on Thursday dug up the remains of 15 dogs that had been buried on the property.
Shelters owners Stephen and Linden Spears were released on bond after appearing in court on charges of neglect and possession of a controlled substance, but authorities says more charges against them are possible.
They’ve been banned from returning to the shelter.
Representatives of the ASPCA continued to remove some of the more than 600 neglected animals from the shelter yesterday, taking them to a warehouse near Raleigh where they could be checked by veterinarians and cared for.
ASPCA officials called the raid the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
More than 300 dogs, 250 cats, 40 horses and numerous farm animals were living at the 122-acre shelter in Raeford, the ASPCA said in a press release.
“What we found today at this facility — self-described as ‘North Carolina’s most successful no-kill shelter’ — is unacceptable,” said Tim Rickey, senior vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
“This is one of the largest animal seizures the ASPCA has ever conducted in our 150 years as an organization,” he added. “We have a team of nearly 140 responders on the ground to remove and care for these hundreds of neglected animals who have clearly not been receiving adequate care. Our goal is to help them become healthy and ultimately find them homes.”
The ASPCA’s assistance was requested by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, which began an investigation into the shelter after receiving complaints about sick animals and unsanitary conditions.
The Haven was operating without a license for about a decade, according to the ASPCA, and past inspections by the state Department of Agriculture had deemed the facility “inadequate.”
The population at the facility has fluctuated over the years, reaching more than 1,000 animals.
According to the shelter’s Facebook page, it was often seeking donations to improve the shelter, and had recently launched a GoFundMe drive to build roofs over the outdoor pens where dogs were kept.
The seized dogs, cats and other animals will be held at an undisclosed location, and the ASPCA will continue to care for them until custody is determined by the court,
“The condition of these animals is pressing and required immediate attention,” said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. “In addition to protecting Hoke County citizens, law enforcement has an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of Hoke County animals at all times. We cannot and will not allow this type of mistreatment to continue any longer. All persons involved will be held accountable.”
No deceased animals were found on the property Wednesday, but yesterday investigators found at least 15 dead dogs and “dozens” of animals buried on the property, according to WRAL in Raleigh.
(Photos of shelter courtesy of ASPCA; photos of Spears family courtesy of Hoke sheriff’s department)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, friends for life, hoke county, linden spears, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spears, the haven, unlicensed
Due to an apparent miscommunication between volunteers, Rollin, described as a one-year-old Aussie mixed-breed, died Friday of heat related causes.
Rollin was one of two humane society dogs that began barking at the adoption event and were taken from the store to the transport van.
A volunteer put the dogs in cages and left the van running with the air conditioning on, calling a transport volunteer to pick them up.
The transport volunteer arrived at the PetSmart and drove the vehicle back to the humane society, apparently under the belief she was transporting only one dog.
That dog had gotten out its kennel inside the van during the ride and rode in the front of the vehicle.
Once at the shelter, another volunteer removed that dog and the driver returned the vehicle to PetSmart, not realizing Rollin was still inside.
Rollin was found dead around 5 p.m. when volunteers began returning other dogs at the event to the van.
Society officials, much to their credit, made the incident public Monday.
Bruce Fishalow, executive director of the society, told the Ocala Star-Banner it was the first incident of its type in the organization’s history.
“As an organization that works so hard to preserve life, this is devastating to us,” he told the newspaper.
Fishalow said the society is adopting new transportation guidelines, called Rollin’s Rules, to prevent a similar tragedy.
The changes include creating a transport log sheet so that volunteer drivers know how many dogs are inside when they transport.
The transport vans have eight kennels, and the new rules will require volunteers to check each one whenever dogs are dropped off at a location.
Rollin was buried on the humane society’s property.
“We take our responsibility to our cats and dogs very seriously,” said Fishalow, who was attending an animal abuse meeting when the incident took place, “and are so very sad that this happened.”
(Photo: Humane Society of Marion County)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, dead, dies, dog, dogs, florida, heat, humane society of marion county, left, miscommunication, pets, shelter, shelters, transport, van, vehicle, volunteers
Bladen County Commissioners will consider a proposal tonight to start selling the carcasses of dogs euthanized in the North Carolina shelter to a biological supply company.
According to a proposed contract, the company wants to pay $4 each for dead dogs weighing between 25 and 45 pounds, assuming the carcasses are in “reasonably good condition.”
The company would pick up the dogs weekly, preserve the bodies with chemicals and then offer them for sale to “facilities and/or laboratories designed for scientific research and biological educational classrooms” — at prices of $100 or more each.
WECT identified the company as Southeastern Biological Supply.
The county has sold dead cats for $4 each to the company since 2009 — as have Brunswick, Columbus and Pender Counties in southeastern North Carolina. New Hanover County donates cat carcasses to veterinary schools.
Pender County made $1,604 selling dead cats last year, and Brunswick County raked in $4,788, WECT reported.
It all sounds like a pretty questionable and nasty business — this marketing of carcasses — and historically it has been. But those who defend the practice say it contributes to science, specifically the teaching thereof, and is no less dignified than the traditional means of disposal: taking dead dogs to the landfill.
The Humane Society of the United States, while it doesn’t oppose the transfer of euthanized animals to educational and research institutions, says shelters should not be making money from such exchanges.
“So-called ‘surplus’ dogs and cats are a result of the tragic pet overpopulation and millions of dogs and cats are euthanized yearly in U.S. shelters. When money can be made in dealing in their carcasses, it can give the perception that there may be less incentive for addressing overpopulation or that the shelter would rather gain from this tragedy than spend the money necessary to solve it,” the HSUS says.
The organization also believes the owners of any pet euthanized by a shelter should, when possible, be notified when a carcass is being transferred for scientific research, and it advises shelters to be transparent when it comes to what they do with the carcasses of animals they euthanize.
“Full public awareness of any animal transfer policy is vital to maintaining public trust in animal shelters,” it says.
When it comes to what becomes of the bodies of euthanized pets, I think we are pretty far from full public awareness. Even when the information is made available, it’s a topic most of us prefer not to delve too deeply into.
Still, it manages to rise to the surface once in a while.
Back in the 1980s, it grew into a full blown scandal when it was discovered that employees at Winnebago County Animal Control in Illinois were receiving payments and gift credits in exchange for providing carcasses to a Wisconsin biological supply company.
An investigation by Rockford-area authorities into missing funds in the animal control division of the county Health Department turned up evidence that, between 1982 and 1988, the division was receiving $2.25 per cat and $6 per dog from Nasco International Inc.
The animal-control unit built up a line of credit with Nasco and periodically spent that credit to purchase items from Nasco`s various equipment and gift catalogs, the Chicago Tribune reported in 1988.
A county public health administrator at the time said he thought selling the dog carcasses to a biological supply company was a better idea than the county’s previous arrangement — paying a rendering firm to dispose of dead dogs and cats, which then ended up in products such as lipstick, mouthwash, rubber and even pet food.
In Bladen County, N.C., where dog carcasses are now taken to the landfill, Health and Human Services Director Cris Harrelson insisted getting paid for dead dogs wouldn’t motivate the shelter to kill more.
“We euthanize them only as necessary,” he said. “As long we have room in the shelter, they stay alive.”
Harrelson said the county had the fourth lowest euthanasia rate in the state in 2012.
I checked on the Internet to learn more about Southeastern Biological Supply, but, if it exists, it doesn’t have any online presence.
I did find Carolina Biological Supply, whose website boasts “bigger pigs at same low prices …”
The company offers both dog and cat specimens to educational and research institutes — all preserved in its exclusive “Carolina’s Perfect Solution.”
“Including the dissection of preserved dogs in your AP Biology lesson plans will give students a hands on experience with anatomy that surpasses print or pictures,” the website states.
That’s one of the things that troubles me most about these grisly exchanges. Today, with computer graphics and 3d models and imaging, we have the technology needed to avoid having students chop up animal carcasses in biology class.
But biological supply companies — accustomed to their near obscene profits — aren’t likely to admit that. And leaders of research and educational institutions, for whatever reasons, aren’t either.
So the demand continues, and the companies, seeking ways to meet it, turn to animal shelters.
I’d like to think animal shelters — whether county run or private — would steer clear of it all, for appearances sake if nothing else.
But when it comes to which ones do, and which ones don’t, we don’t really know.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 17th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, biological, biology, bladen county, carcasses, college, companies, dead, dead dogs, disposa, dissection, dog, dogs, euthanasia, for sale, high school, north carolina, pets, shelters, specimens, supply, teaching
The Jack Russell terrier was put down Aug. 7 in Los Angeles after battling prostate cancer.
Uggie, who also appeared in “Water for Elephants,” was best known for his role in “The Artist,” which won five Academy Awards in 2012.
According to his IMDb biography, Uggie was saved from being sent to the pound by animal trainer Omar Von Muller.
Uggie received a Palm Dog award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for “The Artist,” and his performance in that movie led to a campaign (unsuccessful) to establish an Oscar category for pets. Uggie was the first dog to leave his paw prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
The Jack Russell terrier was a California native, and in his youth he was apparently a handful. His owners were on the verge of surrendering him due to his troublesome behavior when Von Mueller — seeing some raw talent in the pooch — took him in.
“One of the most important thing is that he was not afraid of things,” Von Mueller said in a 2012 interview. “That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.”
Uggie first appeared in TV commercials. His big break came when he was cast in “Water for Elephants” in 2011.
After “The Artist,” Uggie appeared on numerous talk shows, was hired as a Nintendo spokesdog and appeared in an adoption spot for PETA.
Uggie’s “autobiography” was published after he achieved movie fame, and the book was dedicated to Reese Witherspoon, his co-star in “Water for Elephants.”
“For Reese, my love, my light,” the book’s opening dedication reads.
His death was first reported by TMZ, which managed to relay the news without its trademark snarkiness — even though Uggie once nipped at host Harvey Levin during a visit to the the show’s studio.
“I have worked with many celebrities, but people were literally queueing around the block to see this tiny furry star,” said Wendy Holden, who ghost wrote the book. “There was something about him that changed people. Women especially adored him. People approached him far more readily than a human star.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy awards, animals, dead, death, died, dogs, entertainment, jack russell terrier, movies, Omar Von Muller, oscars, pets, the artist, uggie, water for elephants
Then decides to abort ‘em
Is it right to dig them up
And publish them post mortem?
When an artist abandons or otherwise trashes a work in progress — be that artist a musician, painter or writer — it’s usually for good reasons
When an heir, agent or publisher digs up the discarded work of a dead or incapacitated artist it, and seeks to package it for public consumption, it’s usually for one:
That — more than paying homage, more than fleshing out the historical record — is what’ I’d guess is behind the publication of “new” books by two of America’s most beloved authors.
Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman — essentially the trashed first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird — was released this summer, even though some say, given Ms. Lee’s mental state, she isn’t likely to have endorsed the project.
What Pet Should I Get, by Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), hit bookstores today — 24 years after his death.
Fifty years after Seuss and Lee became part of popular culture, their respective publishing houses are saying, in effect — and like an infomercial — “But wait … There’s more.”
The new Seuss book is based materials found in the author’s San Diego home in 2013 by Geisel’s widow, Audrey.
According to Random House, when Audrey Geisel was remodeling her home after his death, she found a box filled with pages of text and sketches and set it aside with some of her husband’s other materials. Twenty-two years later, she and Seuss’s secretary revisited the box.
They found the full text and sketches for What Pet Should I Get? – a project that, seemingly, Seuss didn’t feel good enough about to pursue.
As reincarnated books go, Go Set a Watchman has proven far more contentious.
On top of questions over whether Lee wanted the work published, it’s first-version portrayal of Atticus Finch as a bigot is hard for some readers to take, especially those who read Mockingbird.
What Pet Should I Get? hasn’t entirely escaped controversy.
The story line is simple: A brother and sister (the same ones featured in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish) go to the pet store with permission from their parents to pick out a pet.
The can’t seem to agree. The brother wants a dog, the sister wants a cat, and some consideration is given to a “Yent that could live in a tent.”
Some reviews are saying the rhymes lack the pzazz and zaniness of Geisel’s better known works.
In addition, the book doesn’t stand up to the test of time. It was written in a day that buying a dog from a store was deemed acceptable — decades before the atrocities of puppy mills (where many such dogs came from) became known.
Among the book’s earliest critics — even before it came out — was PETA, whose president contacted Random House to point out it might send the wrong message to young readers. Apparently, Random House took the advice to heart. In an eight-page afterword, the publisher makes a point of explaining, among other things, that families should adopt rather than buying dogs and cats from stores.
What’s not addressed are the ethics of profiting off selling the unpublished works of the dead.
In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, let me conclude with a couple of modest thoughts. You can call them little point one and little point two.
Point one is a note to creative types. You might want to consider outlining in your will, in great detail, what may or may not happen to, and who should get any profits from, any unpublished works that you squirreled away in a drawer rather than burned or threw away.
Point two is that, in celebrating our beloved writers, particularly two who shaped the lives, hearts and brains of so many children and young adults, remembering their wishes should be paramount.
The publishing world is something of a zoo, and it’s not above shoveling out some stinky stuff wrapped in shiny new packages.
So be careful of that wily fox
He’s smarter than a lot of us
Watch out for tigers, snakes and bears
Beware the hippo-posthumous
Posted by John Woestendiek July 28th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artists, authors, books, books on dogs, children's books, dead, dog, dr. seuss, estates, go set a watchman, harper collins, harper lee, heirs, literature, pet, pet stores, pets, popular culture, posthumous, publication, publishing, random house, theodore geisel, to kill a mockingbird, what pet should we get, wills, writers
Another police dog has died after being left in a police vehicle — this time one in Alabama whose purpose wasn’t law enforcement, but “community engagement.”
Mason was left by his handler in a hot patrol car without its air conditioning turned on June 18, and died the next night.
His handler, Corporal Josh Coleman, said he forgot that he’d left Mason in the car after attending a hurricane preparation conference in Gulf Shores.
A city press release offered little explanation of how that happened.
“On Thursday, June 18th, while transitioning between duties, Mason’s handler Corporal Josh Coleman forgot that Mason was still in the back seat of his patrol car. On discovering Mason’s absence Cpl. Coleman located him in the vehicle.”
The press release gave no indication of how long Mason was left inside the car.
Al.com reports that the dog had entered the conference with Coleman, and had his picture taken at the event.
WISH-TV quoted a police sergeant as saying that Coleman left the dog in the car after the conference.
“He was going to take care of some paperwork in his office and he straight up forgot him,” says Woodruff. “Left him in the car.”
At some point, Coleman “discovered” him in the car. Mason was rushed to a local veterinarian, then transported to a vet in Penascola.
His condition seemed to be improving Friday morning, but died later in the evening.
The Gulf Shores Police Department acquired Mason on November 17, 2014, and had celebrated the dog’s third birthday on June 9.
While it was reported by some news outlets that Coleman would not face criminal charges, WISH reported the case will go to a grand jury. Coleman also faces “sanctions” from the police department and city.
According to the city press release, the department’s K-9′s usually travel in vehicles equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls, and other protective measures.
“Because Mason’s duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler’s car,” it said.
The Gulf Shores Police Department might want to give that policy a second look — so its next “community relations” dog, if they get one, doesn’t turn into another public relations nightmare.
(Photo: Gulf Shores Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, car, community engagement, community relations, dead, dog, dogs, gulf shores, heat, heat deaths, K-9, killed, law enforcement, mason, patrol, pets, police, summer, vehicle
The letter was in an envelope addressed to Moe, Doggie Heaven, First Cloud.
Coping with the death of the family beagle, a Norfolk mom encouraged her 3-1/2-year-old son, Luke, to express his feelings in crayon-drawn artworks and letters.
It was Luke’s idea to write to Moe in heaven, and Mary Westbrook said she figured it would be good therapy for her son who, after Moe died at 13, kept asking if and when Moe was coming back.
She’d put each letter, upon completion, in the mailbox, then, after Luke had gone to bed, she’d go out and retrieve them.
But one day she forgot, and the mailman picked it up.
“I figured someone would just throw it away once it got to the post office,” Westbrook told the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
“It didn’t even have a stamp.”
But last week, a letter from Moe — magically, it seemed — appeared in the Westbrook mailbox:
“I’m in Doggie Heaven,” it said. “I play all day. I am happy. Thank you 4 being my friend.
“I wuv you Luke.”
Postal worker Zina Owens, in her 25 years on the job, had taken the liberty of answering some mail to Santa before, but this was the first time she took on the persona of a deceased family pet, hoping to make a child happy.
Owens, a window clerk, had noticed the letter to Moe on a table at the post office. She opened it and found a card covered in crayon scribbles. With help from the address on the envelope, she was able to read between the lines.
“I felt it in my heart,” she said. “Here was a child who had lost his dog, and any time you love something and it goes away, it hurts.”
So Owens, as Moe, wrote back. Mary Westbrook was touched to find the reassuring letter from Moe in the mailbox and shared it with Luke.
She posted the response on Facebook, saying, “What a beautiful kindness from a stranger.”
Owens says seeing the letter from Luke “made my day … so I wanted to make his. It’s just love, plain and simple.”
“You see so much negativity in the world, so many bad headlines,” she added. “But we’re more than that.”
(Photos: By Bill Tiernan / Virginian-Pilot and courtesy of the Westbrook family)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 15th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beagle, boy, children, coping, crayon, dead, death, dog heaven, doggie heaven, dogs, drawings, grieving, heaven, letter, luke, moe, mourning, norfolk, pets, postal worker, rainbow bridge, virginia, writes