A California casino manager was charged with animal cruelty after police reviewed a surveillance video they say shows him purposefully running over his estranged wife’s Chihuahua with his car.
Michael David Parker, 45, was arrested Jan. 3, a day after police found the remains of a dog inside a bag in an alley in Hawthorne.
The police investigation led to the surveillance tapes, which authorities say show Parker opening the trunk of his car, in which the dog was apparently being held, getting back in his car and running the dog over.
KTLA in Los Angeles, which aired the less gruesome portions of the video this week, reported that Parker’s estranged wife, Olga, believes her husband killed “Cow Cow” in retaliation for not giving him money from their retirement fund.
“If someone would do that to a dog… what would he do to my kids?” she told KTLA.
The couple’s divorce settlement is reportedly still pending, and they have three children, aged 6, 12 and 15.
According to the Daily Breeze, Parker is the facilities director of the Hustler Casino in Gardena. He posted $20,000 bail and faces a March 25 arraignment. Parker told detectives it was an accident, and he didn’t see the dog.
Police say the video indicates otherwise. “You can see him swerving toward the dog,” Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain said. “Parker backs his vehicle up, and then appears to accelerate rapidly, steering directly toward the dog. Cow Cow is run completely over.”
The couple’s two dogs, Cow Cow and Lucky, lived in their vacant house in San Pedro, and Olga Parker stopped by every day to feed them. Lucky is missing, she says.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alley, animal cruelty, animals, california, cameras, car, casino, chihuahua, cow cow, cruelty to animals, dispute, divorce, dog, dogs, estranged, hustler, killed, los angeles, lucky, michael david parker, money, pets, run over, surveillance, video
And that’s even more the case after surgery yesterday to remove 2-1/2 pounds of loose skin from the dog who once tipped the scales at 77 pounds.
Obie was recovering at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin, in Oregon, after surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after he lost 40 pounds in 8 months.
Obie’s caretaker, Nora Vanatta, says the surgery went well and that she hopes to bring him home today, according to KGW in Portland.
Obie weighed 77 pounds when he was given up by his former owners in Puyallup, Washington, last year and assigned to a foster home by a rescue organization.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue placed Obie — that’s him to the left in his beefier days — in Vanatta’s care. But after his girth garnered national attention the organization asked for the dog back, claiming Vanatta — by publicizing his crash diet and seeking contributions to his care — was exploiting him.
When Vanatta refused to turn him over, they filed a lawsuit, accusing her of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity” and “earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.
A settlement in the case was reached in January, allowing Vanatta to keep the dog.
Before the Tuesday surgery, Obie was down to 37 pounds and four ounces.
“We haven’t weighed him since the surgery, but he lost 2 1/2 pounds of skin” Vanatta said. “So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds.”
For now, he’s resting comfortably at the veterinary clinic (left), from which he’s expected to be released today — a few pounds lighter and his skin much tigher.
Vets will evaluate Obie to determine if more surgery is needed after he loses the last five pounds, a goal Vanatta hopes will be achieved late this summer.
Obie’s fight with obesity can be followed on the Facebook page Vanatta created on his behalf.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 35 pounds, 77 pounds, animals, biggest loser, custody, dachshund, dispute, dogs, doxie, emergency veterinary clinic, excess, facebook, fat, foster, health, loss, nora vanatta, obese, obesity, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, pets, removed, rescue, skin, surgery, tualatin, veterinary, washington, weight
A pit bull mix, she served as an unofficial helper to her owner, a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. But when he moved to a new apartment, Layla, lacking documentation as a service dog, wasn’t allowed to live there.
Tim McGill began working to get Layla certified, and in the meantime asked some friends to look after his 3-year-old dog.
Now McGill has gotten the certification, but he can’t get his dog back.
McGill served in the Army in South Korea and Iraq and left the service with a brain injury, anxiety and flashbacks, KDKA in Pittsburgh reports.
A doctor recommended a dog, and — though Layla wasn’t a certified service dog — having her by his side helped, said McGill, a tattoo artist.
McGill says he moved to a Lawrenceville apartment to go to the Art Institute, but that, without any documentation that Layla was a service dog, she wasn’t permitted to live there.
So he asked a friend, Laura Stratemier, to watch over Layla until he could get her certified. In exchange, he offered to repay her with free tattoos for both her and her husband.
Stratemier admits she was only supposed to have Layla for two weeks, but said that as time went by — six months worth of it — she realized the dog was better off with her.
By the time the certification papers for the dog came through McGill, Stratemier was unwilling to give Layla back.
KDKA reports that local animal control officials are looking into the dispute.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartment, certification, certified, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, Laura Stratemier, layla, mix, move, ownership, pets, pit bull, pittsburgh, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, service, tattoo artist, tattoos, therapy, tim mcgill
Novels need conflict. Houses don’t. But the former Long Island home of John Steinbeck is smack in the middle of one that branches out in nearly as many directions as the mighty oaks in his former front yard.
It’s a modest two-bedroom bungalow, scenically set amid gigantic oak trees, on two acres that jut into Noyac Bay in the town of Sag Harbor – the house where Steinbeck wrote “Travels with Charley,” the house behind which Charley is buried, and the one we left from yesterday to retrace, at least in part, the route of the author and his poodle.
The house is also part of a long battle over the Steinbeck family estate. Jean Boone, the sister of the author’s third and final wife, Elaine, says it is hers. Thomas Steinbeck, John’s oldest son, disputes that.
“The house belongs to Steinbeck’s blood heirs,” Thomas Steinbeck, 65, told the New York Times.
The two parties have different ideas about what the house should become. Boone is against preserving the home as a historic site or museum because her family enjoys vacationing there. Thomas would like to see it become a school for writers.
Mrs. Boone, 81, says her sister Elaine left it to her upon her death in 2003, and that she plans to leave it to her family.
In 2004, though, Thomas Steinbeck and his niece sued the family of Elaine Steinbeck. The suit alleges a “30-year conspiracy” to cheat Steinbeck blood heirs out of royalties and copyright control, according to the Times article. The suit was dismissed in 2009, but Thomas Steinbeck appealed, and arguments will be held next month in Manhattan.
The appeal is mainly over the rights to John Steinbeck’s books, and, in it, Thomas Steinbeck does not lay claim to the Sag Harbor property, where John Steinbeck found the same salty-sea-air inspiration he did in Monterey, California.
Times reporter Corey Kilgannon received a tour of the property earlier this week, and noted many reminders of Steinbeck are still there, including marks on the wall of the kitchen where the author recorded the height of family and guests, including Charley. Steinbeck’s books and other belongings were removed from the shack in recent years, but other signs remain, including one over the doorway that says “Aroynte,” which the Times article says may be derived from an old English term meaning “Be gone!”
Other Steinbeck scribblings are on the walls and tool drawers, one of which reads, “Knives, Chisels and Bladey Things.” A miniature steel cannon Steinbeck used to scare the geese away remains in the living room, and the walls are still lined with photographs of Steinbeck.
Steinbeck set off from the house 50 years ago yesterday on his 10,000 mile trip with Charley in a camper named “Rocinante,” after Don Quixote’s horse. He returned 11 weeks later and wrote the book there.
“Elaine used to say that John enjoyed having no distractions,” the property’s caretaker, John Stefanik, told the Times. “The words just flowed out here.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, charley, dispute, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, family, home, house, john steinbeck, lawsuit, long island, new york, pets, road trip, royalties, sag harbor, steinbeck, travels with ace, travels with charley
Maryland law — apparently one written back in medieval times — requires that a divorcing couple that can’t agree on who should get custody of the family dog sell the dog like any other disputed marital property, and then split the proceeds.
Fortunately, that resolution didn’t seem right to a judge in Calvert County, Maryland, who instead ordered a divorcing couple to split the custody of their dog, Lucky.
Retired Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Graydon S. McKee III made the decision last month in the case of Gayle and Craig Myers, the Associated Press reported.
The judge, presiding over the limited-divorce proceeding by special assignment, decided last month that the childless couple should split custody of Lucky, meaning every six months the dog will back and forth.
“It was very clear that both of them love this dog equally,” McKee said. “The only fair thing to do was to give each one an equal chance to share in the love of the dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, couple, craig myers, custody, dispute, divorce, dog, dogs, gayle myers, graydon s. mckee III, law, lucky, marriage, maryland, news, ohmidog!, pets, shared, split
University Park, Illinois, resident, Charles Clements, 69, a former Marine, is being held on a $3 million bond in connection with the fatal shooting last Sunday of 23-year-old Joshua Funches, ABC News reported.
Patricia Funches, the victim’s mother, said Clements followed her son home, pulled out his gun, and shot him.
Police say Joshua Funches’ fox terrier urinated on Clements’ lawn, leading to an exchange of words between the two men. When police arrived at the scene, they found Funches bleeding on the ground in front of a vacant house.
Funches, a father of two, suffered a single gunshot wound in the abdomen, and his death was ruled a homicide.
Clements was famous for the upkeep on his well-manicured lawn, winning several local beautification awards. He kept a sign posted on his mailbox urging letter carriers not to walk on his grass.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, charles clements, chicago, dispute, dog, dogs, fox terrier, grass, joshua funches, killed, killing, lawn, news, ohmidog!, pee, pees, pets, shooting, shot, university park, urinate, urinated, urinates
The trial of Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student accused of taping a dog to a refrigerator during a dispute with her boyfriend, came to a dramatic end last week, with a guilty verdict and protests from Toll that she didn’t act alone.
Minutes after a jury convicted her on a felony charge of animal cruelty for sticking her boyfriend’s shiba inu upside-down on the side of a refrigerator, Toll insisted she was not solely responsible for the abuse.
“Bryan Beck knows what he did to that dog,” the Boulder Daily Camera quoted Toll as saying, referring to her ex-boyfriend. When asked by a reporter if Beck taped the dog to the refrigerator, she answered, “Yes he did.”
Neither Beck nor Toll testified in the case.
The shiba inu — then named Rex — had his legs, snout and tail bound with hair ties and packing tape before being taped upside down to a refrigerator in a Boulder apartment last April.
The guilty verdict came after two hours of deliberation. Toll, who now lives in Chicago, faces up to 18 months in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 28.
Her attorney, George Kokus, said Colorado’s felony animal cruelty statute was misapplied in the case. Before the law was put on the books in 2002, animal cruelty violations were treated as misdemeanors in Colorado.
“The legislature’s intent was that this law should be used on serial animal abusers,” Kokus said. “The serial murderers of cats and dogs, that has a systematic torture plan to it.” Kokus, in the interview in the video above, also seems to imply that Beck played a role in the taping.
During the trial, animal-rights advocates stood outside the Boulder County Justice Center with signs protesting animal abuse.
The dog has since been adopted and is living in a new home, under a new name.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abby toll, abuse, animal cruelty, argument, boulder, boyfriend, court, dispute, felony, packing tape, prosecutors, reaction, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, taped, taping, torture, university of colorado, video
The Great (Dane) Debate is over: The “World’s Tallest Dog” is Giant George of Tucson, Guinness World’s Records has proclaimed.
The 250-pound blue Great Dane wrested the title away from Titan, a white, partly blind Great Dane from San Diego who held it little more than three months.
Guinness World Records says George is the tallest dog ever on record, standing 43 inches tall at the shoulder, three-quarters of an inch taller than Titan.
Titan was named World’s Tallest Dog last November after the death of the previous title-holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, Calif., who died of bone cancer.
Giant George was in the running then, but disputed measurements and late paperwork left his owner, David Nasser, unable to qualify.
Guinness officials say there were conflicting reports about Giant George’s height, so they sent a judge to verify it.
Guinness made the announcement this morning, and George and Nasser appeared this afternoon on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Diana Taylor, Titan’s owner, told the San Diego Union-Tribune she didn’t intend to watch the show because she was busy Monday trying to find a swim vest that would fit Titan, her 190-pound deaf, epileptic and partly blind “special needs dog,” for his first water therapy session.
A blog post on Titan’s website site argues that Titan should still be tops. Taylor says she intends to lodge a dispute but won’t exert a lot of energy on a challenge if Titan’s reign is officially over.
Giant George, we should point out, has his own website as well, which, according to Taylor, was part of a massive public relations effort to steal the title away from her dog.
“Regardless of whether he’s the world’s tallest dog or not, he’s still this beautiful deaf and blind Great Dane, and no one can take that away from him,” Taylor said of Titan.
The blog post read, in part:
“Despite the fact that it detracted from our mission of helping rescue and special-needs dogs, I strived to take the high road. But now, after months of having our accomplishment overshadowed by this media blitz-kreig of poor sportsmanship (and on the eve of this dog actually being on Oprah) I’ve decided it’s time to let the public know the truth about ‘Giant’ George.
“…Confused at how to measure his dog, this owner took two official measurements… one at the shoulder and another halfway up the neck. Guinness requirements state an animal must be measured at the shoulder. See below — when measured correctly George is only 39 1/8″ compared to Titan’s certified height of 42.25″.
“George’s ‘record-breaking’ 43″ is based on a measurement halfway up the neck, a procedure that does not follow industry standards or meet Guinness requirements…”
Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said last week that Nasser’s claim to the title was one of more than 100 the company received since late last year.“It’s a huge record for us,” she said. “The pet records resonate the most with our readers.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Guinness World Records)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, blind, blue, contested, david nasser, deaf, diana taylor, dispute, disputed, dogs, george, giant, giant george, gibson, great dane, great danes, guinness, oprah, pets, record, records, san diego, show, tallest, titan, title, tucson, white, winfrey, world, world's tallest dog
A couple agrees to care for a friend’s Chihuahua for the weekend.
The dog’s owner doesn’t pick her up when the weekend’s over; in fact, she doesn’t try to reclaim the Chihuahua, named Lola, for 10 months.
What’s the couple who cared for the dog owed?
According to the Nebraska Court of Appeals — the third court to hear the case — absolutely nothing.
The saga of Lola, a four-pound, black-and-tan Chihuahua, began Aug. 22, 2007, when Heather Linville of Lincoln asked her friends Travis Derr and Natasha Combs to care for her dog for the weekend, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Linville’s new apartment complex didn’t allow dogs, and she explained she needed time to make arrangements for her pet.
When, 10 months later, Linville asked to get Lola back, Derr and Combs said they wanted to keep the dog.
Linville summoned police, and the dog was returned to her, but Derr and Combs filed a small-claims court case, asking to be paid $2,700 for boarding the animal for 320 days.
A Lancaster County judge ruled in favor of Derr and Combs, a decision later upheld by a district judge. But the appeals court overturned the $2,700 judgment in a 3-0 ruling — proving, in my view, three heads aren’t better than one. What Lola’s owner did sounds to me like abandonment, pure and simple.
The court said Derr and Combs did not ask for compensation when they agreed to keep the dog for the weekend. They should have notified Linville if they were no longer willing to keep Lola for free, the panel said. The court said the couple was entitled only to reimbursement for a $152.98 veterinarian’s bill.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abandonment, animal law, animals, appeals court, case, chihuahua, courts, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, friends, heather linville, lancaster county, law, legal, lola, natasha combs, nebraska, ownership, pets, petsitting, ruling, travis derr
A former Marine who was hospitalized after a fight over a barking dog died Sunday in a Massachusetts hospital.
Brian Cherry, 48, of Abington, suffered severe brain injuries when he was punched and hit his head on ground, according to an Associated Press report.
He’d been hospitalized since July 6 when Michael McGunigle, 49, allegedly punched him in the head outside a coffee shop after Cherry suggested McGunigle better restrain his dog . The dog, even though inside his car, was menacing passers-by, police said.
McGunigle is free on bail after pleading not guilty to aggravated assault. The Plymouth District Attorney’s office is awaiting autopsy results before determining whether new charges are filed.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: argument, assault, bark, barking, brain injury, car, crime, dead, death, died, dispute, dog, fight, massachusetts, menacing, police, restraint