Gracie, one of more than 50 dogs rescued seven years ago from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dog fighting compound, has died.
The black pit bull spent her final years in an adoptive household in suburban Richmond.
She died Monday morning, according to Amy McCracken, executive director of the Richmond Animal League.
“This morning, little, old, bow-legged Gracie passed away and got her angel wings. Any words we write here could never begin to express the profound, positive and lasting impact that this little, black pit bull had on so many people who encountered her or heard the story of her suffering and triumph,” said a post on the animal’s league’s “Gracie’s Guardians” Facebook page.
“We are and will be forever grateful for this little, broken black dog and everything she personified.”
The dog arrived at the Richmond in 2007 and was adopted by the group’s board president, Sharon Cornett.
“Gracie was very, very friendly,” McCracken told CNN. Gracie had been used as a breeding dog, as opposed to a fighter, in Vick’s operation, she said. “She loved people and was never aggressive to other dogs.”
With her new owner, Gracie attended conferences and meetings about animal welfare and visited schools to show people they have nothing to fear from most pit bulls.
Gracie was one of about 50 pit bulls seized by authorities in April 2007 when Vick, then a quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons, was charged with operating an illegal dog-fighting ring, called Bad Newz Kennels, on his Virginia property.
Twenty-two of the dogs were sent for rehabilitation and long-term care at Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, while others went to Bad Rap, a San Francisco pet shelter, and a handful of other shelters and sanctuaries,
Created by the Richmond animal shelter, Gracie’s Guardians is an initiative dedicated to the welfare of pit bulls. The group chose Gracie as their namesake “in tribute to her perseverance and that of countless other pit bulls who have suffered or continue to suffer at the hands of people, yet whose spirits and love for humans remains untarnished.”
(Photo: from the Facebook page of Gracie’s Guardians)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 8th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bad newz, bad rap, best friends, dead, death, died, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, gracie, gracie's guardians, michael vick, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rehabilitation, rescue, richmond, vick, vick dogs, victory, virginia
Hector, a pit bull rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, has died of cancer at his Minnesota home.
One of 51 dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels in 2007, Hector was rehabilitated at Bad Rap and, about a year later, adopted by new owners, Roo and Clara Yori in Rochester.
During the six years he spent with them he became a therapy dog, visiting local nursing homes and hospitals.
About a month ago, Hector was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
In recent weeks, his owners twice scheduled appointments to have Hector put down, but both times they backed out.
This week, as his suffering intensified, they went through with it, according to Hector’s Facebook page.
The Yori’s placed this post on that page Tuesday, written from Hector’s point of view:
“Hello everyone. Unfortunately my time has come, and if you’re reading this, that means that I have already passed. My last day was as good as one could ask for. The sun was shining, the frogs were out for me to chase at the pond, and I had Roo and Clara to carry me off the trail when my legs just couldn’t go any further. I called shotgun to assume my co-pilot position on the way to the vet, where I passed away surrounded by people who love me.
I think my past life caught up with me and caused my time to come a little early. However, I can proudly say that I gave it everything I had all the way until the end. To my Vick Dog family, and all the other dogs rescued from similar cruelty situations, keep carrying the torch! There are a lot of dogs out there that still need help, so keep proving they deserve their chance through our success…
“Please remember that dogs don’t really have a choice on where they end up, and some really good dogs end up in a bad spot through no fault of their own. Before you pass judgement, give them a chance to show who they are regardless of appearance or past life. You never know how it will turn out…”
(Photos: Hector on his final hike, from his Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 29th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, bad newz kennels, bad rap, cancer, clara yori, dead, death, died, dies, dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, former vick dogs, hector, michael vick, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rehabilitated, rescued, roo yori, seized, vick dogs, yori
The owners of Green Acre Dog Boarding and two caretakers, including the son of a senator, were indicted yesterday on animal cruelty charges in connection with the deaths of more than 20 dogs at the kennel in Gilbert.
Owners Jesse Todd Hughes and his wife, Maleisa Hughes, were indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on 22 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, and one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices, according to County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office.
The two caretakers in charge of the kennel while the owners were on vacation in June — Logan Flake, the Hughes’ daughter, and her husband, Austin Flake — were indicted on 21 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Austin is the son of U.S Sen. Jeff Flake,R-Ariz. All four defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 23, the Arizona Republic reported.
The indictments came after more than four months of investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s offie, which learned early on that 28 dogs at the kennel had spent the night in one 9-foot-by-12-foot room.
Some customers arriving to pick up their dogs were told their pets had run away, when in fact they had died.
“How would you like your dog stuffed in a small room? Twenty-eight dogs,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Wednesday night. “Think about that. I feel sorry for the owners. … This has been one of the toughest cases we have worked. We had over 17 people work this case, between the posse, other volunteers, our deputies.”
The Hughes told investigators that a dog had apparently chewed through a wire, cutting off the air-conditioning in the single room they were being kept in, but the air conditioning was found to be functioning.
A spokesman for the county attorney’s office said the charges stem from the deaths of 21 dogs and the injury of four others at the kennel.
“We have to prove how each of those dogs died,” said Jerry Cobb. “They basically suffocated. They were in a tight room without enough air.”
One of the dogs escaped from the kennel and was found on the side of a Gilbert road weeks later, hit by a car.
Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney for the Flakes, said he will file a motion to dismiss the case or remand it back to the grand jury. “They’re innocent,” he said. “They will be proven innocent. There is no evidence to convict them of any felony charge.”
(Photo: Green Acre client Valerie Collins looks under a blanket where her two dogs lie; by D.S. Woodfill / The Republic)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, arizona, austin flake, boarding, charges, county attorney, cruelty to animals, deaths, died, dog, dogs, gilbert, green acre, green acre dog boarding, indicted, indictments, investigation, logan flake, maleisa hughes, maricopa county, sheriff, suffocated, todd hughes
Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies have finally conducted a search at the Gilbert boarding facility where 22 dogs died last month, seizing computers, cell phones, business documents, wiring, drywall and the body of yet another dead dog.
The remains of one dog buried on the property at Green Acre Dog Boarding were exhumed during the search, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
The sheriff’s office brought along two electrical experts who concluded that, even if the air conditioning was working in the room where the dogs died, the air flow may not have been sufficient to keep them alive, according to the East Valley Tribune.
The business owners claim one of the dogs chewed through a wire which shorted out the air conditioning to the 9 by 12 foot room where 28 dogs were being kept.
Arpaio said Wednesday that the experts “suspect that even if the air conditioning system to that small room was functioning the day these dogs died, the air flow in that size room with so many large dogs inside it may not have been sufficient to keep those dogs alive.”
Arpaio said the owner of the boarding kennel, MaLeisa Hughes, was “somewhat hostile and uncooperative” during the search.
Sheriff’s detectives still haven’t re-interviewed the couple that was taking care of the animals while the business owners were out of town — Logan Flake, who is the owner’s daughter, and Austin Flake, her husband, who is the son of Sen. Jeff Flake.
Arpaio said Logan and Austin Flake left the state. When they were found and contacted in Provo, Utah they refused to answer any questions, Arpaio said.
Arpaio said he believes detectives will be able to make a determination soon about whether there’s enough evidence to file criminal charges against the owners and caretakers.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, arizona, austin flake, boarding, dead, died, dog, dogs, gilbert, green acre, green acre dog boarding, heat, investigation, jeff flake, joe arpaio, kennel, logan flake, maleisa hughes, maricopa county, search, search warrant, sheriff
Maricopa County sheriff’s officials are investigating the deaths of 20 dogs, most of whom died overnight at a pet boarding service in Gilbert, Arizona.
Deputies say a dog chewed through an electric cord, shutting down the air conditioning and leading to the heat-related deaths of the dogs in the care of Green Acre Dog Boarding.
That temperatures didn’t rise above 80 degrees that night is just one of several suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths.
The caretakers for the dog’s over the weekend were identified by Fox 10 News as the son and daughter-in-law of US Senator Jeff Flake.
The couple were caring for the dogs while the company’s owners — identified as MaLeisa and Todd Hughes — were visiting Florida.
“This is truly an accident,” co-owner MaLeisa Hughes said. “We’re heartbroken for everybody. The biggest misconception out there is we went two days without doing anything.”
Todd Hughes admitted telling some clients that their dogs had run away.
“I wasn’t thinking straight, but I should have thought better than that,” Todd Hughes told the Arizona Republic. “Nobody trained me on how to handle this. I made a bad decision. It was terrible.”
“My mom and all these people have been driving around looking for their dogs for two hours to find out the dogs are dead in the shed,” said Doug Hart, who went to the boarding center to pick up his sister’s two dogs.
Valerie Collins and her husband said they weren’t allowed inside the property when they arrived. She said the owner of the business eventually brought the bodies of her dogs, Carson and Daisy, to them.
“Our dogs have been dead for two days,” she said. “They’re rotten.”
The Hughes said they’d been caring for dogs about six years, but only opened up to the public about a year and a half ago.
They returned to the Phoenix area Friday after learning of the deaths, which included one of their own dogs.
According to the sheriff’s department, workers arrived at the facility at 5:30 Friday morning to find a large number of dogs dead or dying. The workers said they’d last checked on the dogs late Thursday night.
“There is going to be a follow-up investigation … It doesn’t end here,” sheriff’s spokesman Chris Hegstrom told AZCentral.com.” Sheriff’s officials called the deaths “a tragic accident.”
“There are a lot of questions that both this Sheriff and the dog’s owners have and believe me by the time we are done with this investigation, we’ll have the answers to most, if not all of the questions,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a press conference yesterday.
“If a crime occurred, someone will be held accountable,” he said.
Arpaio placed the number of dog deaths at 20, three more than originally thought, but other reports said 21 dogs had died.
Outrage over the death extends beyond the families who lost pets. A Facebook page called “The Tragedy at Green Acre Dog Boarding” is serving as a forum for those seeking answers to what happened.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 20 dogs, accident, air conditioning, animals, arpaio, boarding, center, chewed, cord, crime, deaths, died, dog, dogs, electric, gilbert, green acre, green acres, heat, heat related, investigation, kennel, maricopa county, neglect, pets, phoenix, sheriff
Hill, whose first book, “Where’s Spot?” was published in 1980, passed away after a short illness, according to Adele Minchin, a spokeswoman for his publisher, Penguin Children’s Group.
The book told the story of Spot’s mother, Sally, as she searched for him around the house, finding a hippo, a lion and other creatures along the way.
Hill was born in England. His career as an illustrator began when he became an errand boy at an illustration studio during World War II, which led to a position at an advertising agency, according to the Associated Press
While freelancing as a creative marketing designer in the late 1970s, he drew a picture of a puppy using his now-famous flap innovation, which fascinated his 3-year-old son, Christopher.
He was so pleased with his son’s reaction to his work that he invented a story to go along with it, which, eventually, became the highly successful “Spot the Dog.”
That came after countless rejections from publishers who were wary of his use of paper flaps to hide parts of his illustrations — such as a flap in the shape of a door that is lifted to reveal a grizzly bear.
“Familiar as we are today with a children’s book market where flaps, pop-ups and all kinds of novelty and interactivity are taken for granted, it is hard to recall what an extraordinarily innovative concept this was in the late 1970s,” Minchin said in a statement.
“At that time, Eric’s idea was so different that it took a long while before anyone was brave enough to consider publishing his first book about Spot,” she said.
“Where’s Spot?” was followed by “Spot’s First Walk,” “Spot Goes to the Beach” and many others.
Hill, who moved with his family to the United States in the 1980s, is survived by his wife, Gillian; his son, Christopher; and his daughter, Jane.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, author, book, books, books on dogs, children, childrens, death, died, dog, dog books, dogs, eric hill, good dog reads, illustrator, penguin, pets, spot, spot goes to the beach, spot's first walk, where's spot
Yesterday I suggested, half-seriously, that a Dog Walker Hall of Shame be established, and that an aspiring actor in Los Angeles who left a client’s dog in his parked Jaguar be made a charter member.
It only took a few minutes, once I put a link to the post on my Facebook page, for one reader to nominate what she thought was an even more deserving candidate.
(I have nothing against dog walkers; I am one. But I’ve always felt — even as a journalist — that it’s up to members of a profession to help weed out the bad seeds, or at least shine a spotlight on the dangerously dim bulbs certain occupation sometimes attract.)
Last Tuesday a dog walker in Langley, British Columbia, reported to police that six dogs were stolen from the back of her truck, parked just outside an off-leash area. She said she went to the bathroom and returned 10 minutes later to find all six dogs were gone.
That led to a week-long search — by authorities, doggie detectives, and the individual families who owned the pets.
In a heartbreaking development, police now say the dogs weren’t stolen, but died of heat exhaustion in the dog walker’s truck. Police are looking into charging the woman with public mischief, according to the National Post. The SPCA is also investigating.
The bodies of the dogs — five belonging to clients, one belonging to the dog walker — were found in Abbotsford, police said.
Alesha and Al MacLellan, of Petsearchers Canada, who were assisting in the search for the dogs, said the dog walker, Emma Paulsen, admitted to them that the dogs died.
She “disclosed that on May 13th, all six dogs were in the back of her vehicle with the side vent windows open and water available, as she had done hundreds of times,” Alesha MacLellan said. “Sometime during the outing, all six dogs perished from heatstroke. Upon arriving at the location and seeing her beloved charges deceased, she went into a blind panic at the thought of notifying the families and the possible repercussions.”
Initially, Paulsen said of the disappearance of the dogs, “It’s just unimaginable. If somebody thought they were doing the right thing by saving theses dogs out of a hot truck, I can understand this perspective. But enough already, bring them home. Everybody’s just tortured at this point.”
The missing dogs, dubbed the Brookswood 6, gained widespread media coverage in B.C. Money was donated for rewards, and there was a rally for them at a Langley dog park.
The dog walker’s own dog, Salty, was among the deceased animals, according to The Province. The other dogs were Mia, a 15-month-old pit bull; Oscar, a six-year-old Rottweiler-husky mix; Buddy, a Boston terrier; Molly, a five-year-old German shepherd-blue heeler cross; and Teemo, a poodle-Bouvier mix.
The owners of the pets were devastated to learn that the dogs they thought were missing were dead, Mrs. MacLellan said.
“There’s always that sliver of hope. Until we talked to them today, we were also hopeful that if something bad had happened to some of the dogs, maybe one or two were hidden away somewhere safe. It’s pretty devastating that all six have perished.”
“Each year we attend hundreds of calls to rescue dogs in distress in hot cars,” said SPCA spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk. “Animals can suffer brain damage and death in as little as 10 minutes in a hot car, even with windows left open. The SPCA issues this warning repeatedly in warm weather in the hopes of averting such tragedies but sadly, we still continue to see animals left in hot cars.”
You’d think a professional dog walker would know better.
Louise Scott, who owned Molly, said she’d been hopeful her dog might return. She learned what happened from a neighbor, whose dog was also among the six.
“They said they’re all dead,” said Scott, 80. “I’m too upset to say anything. And I’m very, very mad. Angry is the word.”
(Photo: National Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, british columbia, canada, deaths, died, dog walker, dog walkers, dog walking, dogs, dogwalker, dogwalking, emma paulsen, hall of shame, heat, heat deaths, pets, petsearchers canada, six, spca, truck, walkers