Gucci, the dog who helped make animal abuse a felony in Alabama, died Wednesday.
Doug James — Gucci’s rescuer and owner — said he made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog, who recently turned 16.
“I had dreaded it, and put if off for two or three days,” James, who lives in Mobile told the Times Daily. “His kidneys were failing him.”
James caught some youths torturing the chow-husky mix one night in 1994. The youths hanged the dog by his neck and set him on fire.
The incident triggered a campaign for animal rights that resulted in the Pet Protection Act, better known as the “Gucci Law,” in Alabama.
The act , making animal cruelty a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was signed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman on May 19, 2000 – the sixth anniversary of the attack – as Gucci looked on.
Gucci’s celebrity continued after that, with appearances at schools, on ”The Maury Povich Show” and “Inside Edition.” He also played played “Sandy” in Mobile theatrical productions of “Little Orphan Annie.”
The dog was only 12 weeks old when he was beaten, hung in a tree by his neck, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Two of the three abusers received sentences of community service, while a third — the lone adult — was sentenced to six months in jail.
“If ever there was a dog that should hate people it should be Gucci, but he loved everyone,” said Brenda Cashdollar, vice president of Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Cashdollar told Al.com that Gucci was unable to walk by the time of his 15th birthday, but still wagged his tail in response to those who greeted him. A party planned to mark his 16th birthday Saturday at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile will now serve as a memorial event, organizers said.
Gucci will be cremated, James said, and his ashes will be placed in a memorial garden planned at the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, alabama, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animals, chow, cremated, dead, death, died, dogs, doug james, euthanized, felony, gucci, gucci law, hung, husky, memorial, mix, mobile, mobile animal shelter, mutt, news, ohmidog!, pet protection act, pets, set on fire, tortured
Friends, family and fellow dog walkers in Salem, Oregon, raised funds to have a new bench installed at a dog park in memory of Darrel Valentine.
Valentine, 74, who used to walk his dogs, Lady, Velvet and Nicky, in the park every morning, was attacked in another park while walking his dogs, and died in September of last year.
The bench was completed and unveiled Friday at Minto-Brown Island Park’s dog park, according to the Statesman Journal in Oregon. A plaque on the bench reads: “In memory of Darrel Valentine. Beloved dog park friend.”
“He was kind of an icon down here,” dog walker Deede James said. “He was down here about two hours every morning.”
Friends and family raised more than $1,000 for the bench. They gathered for its unveiling Friday afternoon, along with Carole Miller, Valentine’s sister, who brought Valentine’s two labs to the park as well. Two of the dogs, Lady and Velvet now live with her. A third, Nicky, was adopted after his death.
Valentine was walking his dogs early Sept. 12 near Santana Park in southeast Salem when he was attacked. A suspect was riding by on a bike and demanded cash from Valentine, who said he didn’t have any. The man attacked and beat Valentine, who died days later. No arrest has been made in the case.
Valentine, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, devoted most of his time to his dogs after retirement.
“I think it is wonderful that everyone came together to do this,” said Mark Valentine, Darrel’s son. “It’s really nice.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaten, bench, darrel valentine, died, dog park, dog parks, dog walker, dogs, dogwalker, donated, donation, family, friends, honor, labradors, labs, lady, memorial, memory, minto-brown island park, new, nicky, oregon, parks, pets, plaque, salem, santana park, slain, velvet
Veterinarians in Boston say a neglected and abandoned Pekingese died from being trapped in his own fur.
The dog was found in Waltham on March 6, unable to move or walk because of severe matting of his fur, WCVB-TV reported. He was taken to Kindness Animal Hospital, but could not be saved and died a few days later.
“This is probably one of the most extreme cases of neglect we’ve encountered in our practice,” said Susan Rosenblatt, chief of staff at Kindness. “We’re concerned that there may be other animals in the same household that are being similarly neglected.”
The Pekingese was between 9 and 12-years-old, tan and blind in his right eye. The left eye had been surgically removed. His fur had become so completely matted around its body that the dog was trapped within itself, veterinarians said.
The dog’s teeth were rotten and his muscles had atrophied because he was unable to move for so long. His nails had grown in a complete circle because they had not been cut in years, the vets said, and he had pneumonia.
The veterinary hospital staff and other animal welfare advocates asked for the public’s help to find the dog’s owners. Anyone with information can contact Kindness Animal Hospital at 718-893-2800 or e-mail email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, atrophy, boston, cruelty to animals, death, died, dogs, fur, grooming, hair, kindness animal hospital, matted, neglect, neglected, news, pekingese, trapped, veterinarians, veterinary, waltham
A Maryland man who tied his dog outside in a hot July sun, with fatal consequences, was ordered to spend 90 days in jail and do 50 hours of community service.
Judge Janice Rodnick Ambrose suggested Michael Patrick Flemming, 24, of Thurmont, do his community service at the Frederick County Animal Control shelter, the Frederick News-Post reported.
“They may not want you,” Ambrose said Tuesday in District Court. “But I think you should have to work with animals for what you’ve done.”
Convicted of four misdemeanor charges in the July 25, 2009, death of Taurus, a 3-year-old black and brown Rottweiler, Flemming offered a brief statement: “There’s no amount of time you can give me that will erase what I have to deal with every day.”
“‘He was my baby,’” Flemming said in a two-page handwritten statement. “‘I loved him almost more than anyone in my life.’”
Flemming told the court he’d put his dog out to urinate, went inside and fell asleep. He didn’t mention that he chained the dog to a stake, without water, an omission the judge pointed out.
“You tied your dog up. That’s why you are here today,” Ambrose said. “Your poor dog is dead because you didn’t love it enough to take care of it.”
A landscaper found the 112-pound dog unconscious in the middle of Flemming’s yard and contacted animal control officers, according to court documents.
Flemming has a sentencing hearing set for next week on fleeing and eluding charges, and another hearing next month on drug charges, according to court documents.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal cruelty, cahined, community servie, court, death, died, dog, frederick, frederick county, heat, janice rodnick ambrose, judge, july, maryland, michael patrick flemming, neglect, news, punishment, rottweiler, sentence, stake, sun, tethered, thurmont, tied
The 4-year-old step-daughter of Jesse Browning from The History Channel’s series “Ax Men” has died from injuries her family said she received when she was attacked by their Rottweiler.
Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin says Ashlynn Anderson was found by her mother, badly injured on their lawn of their home just outside Astoria, Ore., on Sunday.
Jesse Browning called 911. Paramedics tried to save the girl’s life and she was transported by helicopter to Oregon Health and Science University hospital in Portland. She was pronounced dead on arrival.
Though Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said only one of the two family dogs mauled the girl, but both were taken from the home at the request of the family. The couple also has another child, age 1, living in the home.
Deputies transported the dogs to the Clatsop County animal shelter where they are quarantined.
According to TV station KATU, the family contacted the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office about four months ago to report a third dog who bit a adult family member. That dog was reportedly destroyed.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ashlynn anderson, astoria, attack, ax men, clatsop county, daughter, died, dogs, history channel, jesse browning, killed, mauled, mauling, news, oregon, pets, quarantined, rottweiler, tv
Cesar Millan says he plans to build a temple to his deceased pit bull, “Daddy,” and bury the dog’s ashes there, on the highest point of his California ranch.
In an interview with People Pets, the star of National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Whisperer,” also revealed that he and his famiy lit 500 candles in honor the the dog, who died after a long battle with cancer.
Millan has also announced the establishment of the Daddy’s Emergency Animal Rescue Fund, (DEAR) which will be operated by the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation. The DEAR Fund will provide assistance for dogs who are victims of abuse or violence, man-made disasters, and large-scale natural disasters.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ashes, buried, candles, cesar millan, daddy, death, died, dog, dog whisperer, fund, grieving, loss, mourning, national geographic channel, passed, pets, pit bull, temple, video
Paco Sosa, reportedly New York’s oldest dog, died last week.
The dachshund, owned by Bernadine Santistevan, of the upper East Sice, was 20 years old and five months in human years, according to the New York Daily News.
“He was such a gift in my life,” said Santistevan, who met the dachshund when he was a month-old. “He taught me that all life is precious. He was amazing in that respect.”
Paco Sosa had been having frequent seizures and neck pain for over a year, and suffered a particularly bad convulsion three weeks ago.
Santistevan said her dog was put down at a veterinary hospital. “He was very peaceful, very happy,” she said. “He let me know it was time to let go.”
Santistevan plans a “celebration party” in coming weeks for Paco Sosa, whose ashes she plans to scatter in the mountains around Taos, N.M.
(Click here for all of the Wiener Awards.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ashes, bernadine santistevan, dachschund, death, died, dogs, grieving, loss, mourning, new york, oldest, paco sosa, pets, scatter, wiener, wiener dog, wiener dogs
Daddy, a pit bull who was Cesar Millan’s longtime friend and partner in canine rehabilitation, died peacefully Friday at the age of 16.
Millan, his family, friends, staff and volunteers were mourning the death of a dog described by “The Dog Whisperer” as “one of the most loyal, trusting, well-balanced, and influential pit bull ambassadors the world has ever known.”
“He lived each day of those sixteen years happy and fulfilled as Cesar’s right-hand-man, helping to shape the behavior of entire generations of dogs by showing them the way to balance. He stood as champion for calm-submissive pit bulls everywhere, and was instrumental in helping to repair their image as violent, savage, uncontrollable beasts. He successfully battled cancer and weathered chemotherapy, and even got the opportunity to present at the 56th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards,” Millan’s website reported.
Millan said Daddy has been immortalized by fans in all mediums — from painting, to photographs, to charcoal drawings and papier-mâché sculpture.
“And, of course, he lives on in his work, reflected in the balance and calm-submission of his protégé Junior, the countless animals to whom he was a positive role model, and in the hearts and minds of everyone who knew him as a calm, sweet, and mellow example of a widely misunderstood breed.”
Millan announced the establishment of a fund to honor Daddy’s legacy — the Daddy’s Emergency Animal Rescue Fund, (DEAR) which will be operated by the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation. The DEAR Fund will provide assistance for dogs who are victims of abuse or violence, man-made disasters, and large-scale natural disasters.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: cancer, cesar millan, daddy, DEAR fund, death, died, dies, dog whisperer, loss, mourning, national geographic channel, news, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sympathy
If conclusion-jumping was a Winter Olympics event, both the police and the press would be deserving medals for their handling this week of an incident in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, that saw a dead woman’s Rottweiler locked up as her suspected killer.
The facts of the case are these: Carolyn Baker, 63, was found dead at her back steps, wearing only a thin polyester nightgown and boots, with bite marks on her arms and shoulder.
Here are just a few of the headlines (online versions) that followed over the next two days:
Of course, headlines are never the whole story; and sometimes the whole story isn’t the whole story, as was the case with these.
Instead, as it turns out, the police and, in turn, news media, may have jumped the gun — perhaps a little too eager to place blame on a dog because of his breed, which is, of course, nothing new.
While pit bulls have taken their place as Public Enemy No. 1, Rottweilers have long been victim to the same kind of negative stereotyping. Zeus, maybe, is just the latest.
Subsequent reports, like this one in the Cleveland Plain Dealer eventually gave the family’s suspicions given some ink — namely that 9-year-old Zeus, rather than being the stone cold killer police and the news media were portraying him as, may have merely been trying to rescue his owner after she collapsed in the yard.
The Cuyahoga County coroner’s office has yet to rule on the cause of Baker’s death, but her family believes she had another stroke or heart attack when she went into her yard to bring her dog inside late Saturday, and that Zeus tried to pull her to safety after she collapsed.
It wasn’t until 3 a.m. Sunday that a next-door neighbor called the family to tell them Zeus was in the Baker’s front yard barking. The dog had gone through a hole in the back fence. After letting the dog in, Baker’s husband found his wife at the bottom of the back steps.
Cleveland Heights police said Baker had severe arm and shoulder injuries and bite marks. While police intitially suspected Baker was “mauled” by her own dog, Baker’s family insists the bite marks aren’t from an attack, but from Zeus’ attempts to rescue his master.
“[Zeus] only locked onto her shoulder trying to bring her in,” said Baker’s son, Rinaldo. “My mom weighed about 200 pounds. The dog just grabbed her and tried to help her out. She had no clothes on or he could have grabbed that. There were no marks on her face, nowhere else.”
“That was her dog,” Rinaldo Baker said. “If we were to go upstairs that dog would run past us and go upstairs to be with us. But if my mom were to go upstairs, knowing how she can barely walk, Zeus would sit and wait for her to go up first and then he would go up. That’s a good dog.”
Zeus is being held at Pepperidge Kennels in Bedford pending the results of the autopsy. The Baker family wants him back.
“If Zeus wasn’t out there we wouldn’t have known till later on that something was wrong because he was the one who alerted somebody,” Carter said. “If he had ways of getting somebody to notice earlier, things may have been different than what they are now, but he did the best he could as a dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bite, carolyn baker, cleveland heights, conclusion, coroner, county, cuyahoga, dead, died, dog, dogs, journalism, jumping to conclusions, law enforcement, libel, marks, master, maul, mauled, mauling, media, news, owner, pets, police, press, rescue, rottweiler, slander, stereotypes, zeus
A first grade class in Florida has bid farewell to Murry, the fluffy white dog who served as their class mascot.
For 10 years, Murry, who belongs to teacher Karen McGehee, had served as mascot of her classes at Astoria Park Elementary School in Tallahassee.
Adopted from the Tallahassee animal shelter, Murry only visited the class a few times a year, but his picture was displayed prominently in the classroom, where McGehee would warn misbehaving students, ”Remember, Murry is watching,” or “I don’t think Murry would like that, do you?”
She stamped his doggy image on the children’s especially good papers. His face was on the cover of her students’ sticker books. And he was the subject of a book, written by the class, called “Our Class Pet,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“I think all kids, or at least most kids, love animals, especially dogs,” said Karen Hollenbeck, whose four children all passed through McGehee’s class and bonded with Murry. ”They accept you as you are — they ask no questions and give no criticisms.”
When Murry died, in December, ”we all cried,” said McGehee, who’d prepared for the dog’s demise.
She’d talked with a grief counselor who provided tiny heart-shaped pillows with paw prints on them, enough for every child when she told them of Murry’s death. Murry’s vet donated dog-angel pins for each child in the class, as well as cards bearing Murry’s paw print and locks of his white hair.
McGehee also wrote a personal letter to parents about losing Murry and sent her students home with handouts on children and pet loss that Mezzina had given her. Because Murry had been adopted from the animal shelter, McGehee set up a box for donations for animals at the Tallahassee shelter — toys, treats, old towels and blankets.
McGehee, who is nearing retirement, isn’t sure if she’ll get another mascot for her classes.
“Murry was one of a kind,” she said. “He was special,”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, astoria park, class, class pet, classroom, death, died, dog, dogs, dogs in the classroom, elementary, first grade, florida, grief, karen mcgehee, lesson, mascot, murry, pets, school, shelter, tallahassee, teacher, teaching