Houston’s homeless dogs are the subject of a photo exhibit opening this weekend.
The two-week exhibition, entitled, “No One’s Dog,” is aimed at bringing attention to the animal overpopulation crisis in Houston, where shelters generally operate at capacity and an estimated 1 million dogs and cats are living as strays.
Three non-profit agencies are supporting the project – DiverseWorks, Barrio Dogs and Box 13.
The public was invited — and supplied with disposable cameras — to capture images of homeless dogs. The images were uploaded to Flickr (you can see them all here) and the best were chosen for the exhibit, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The exhibit runs from July 26 to Aug. 9 at DiverseWorks, 4102 Fannin Street in Houston.
(Credits: Top photo by Emily Crossley; second photo by Page Moore; third and fourth photos by Gina Damian)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 22nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, art, Barrio Dogs, Box 13, cats, DiverseWorks, dogs, exhibit, homeless, houston, no one's dog, pets, photography, population, public, strays
A formerly homeless man who once sold his sketches for pocket change on the streets of London’s now sells them for thousands of dollars at exhibits — and credits his dog for turning his life around.
Up until a few years ago, John Dolan, 43, had been a heroin addict whose life had seen more than 300 criminal convictions, 30 stints in prison and long stretches of homelessness.
He was living on the streets when he took in George. The young Staffordshire bull terrier had been living with another homeless couple who had had acquired him in exchange for a can of beer. They’d found housing, but not dog-friendly housing, and George needed a home.
Dolan, who hadn’t exactly been living a life of responsibility, was worried about whether he was up to having a dog.
“How was I going to cope with him? I couldn’t even cope with myself,” he told the Guardian.
But George, he noticed, had a way of looking him in the eye when he talked, and the two quickly bonded. Dolan says it was the fear of losing George if he went to prison again that led him to give up crime.
“He’s like my child in a sense and I feel obliged to keep a roof over his head and keep him warm,” he said.
Of course, George was helping Dolan out in other ways, too. Dolan made more money panhandling when George was at his side. Still, Dolan says, he felt embarassed by begging.
“Sitting there holding out my hand was so embarrassing, so degrading. I didn’t like to look at people as they went past. I picked up the pen mainly so I could bury my head in a drawing pad.”
He started drawing the buildings, and drawing George, and, sitting with his dog on the sidewalk, he would sell the drawings for whatever he could get.
Then he was discovered. First he was commissioned to do some drawings for a book. Then a gallery director, Richard Howard-Griffin, asked if he would draw some large streetscapes for him.
Last fall he had his first exhibit. His second is now underway at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London, with proceeds being donated to The Big Issue Foundation and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Another exhibit, in Los Angeles, is in the works. And Dolan has published a book, “John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life.”
Dolan has a home now, but still sits on the street and draws, with George.
“I feel like he’s a guardian angel. If it hadn’t been for him I’d have never picked up my pen.”
(Top pPhoto: David Levene / the Guardian)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addict, angel, animals, art, artist, battersea dogs and cats home, big issue foundation, discovered, dog, dogs, george, guardian, homeless, homelessness, howard griffin gallery, john and george, john dolan, london, pets, poverty, responsibility, staffordshire bull terrier, street artist, the dog who changed my life
A South Carolina man who dragged a pit bull mix behind his pick-up truck for two miles received the state’s maximum penalty for animal cruelty.
Circuit Judge Letitia Verdin sentenced Roger Dennis Owens of Greenville to five years in prison Tuesday for ill treatment of animals. He received another 5 1/2 years for habitual traffic offenses.
“This is one of the cruelest things that I’ve seen since I’ve been on the bench,” Verdin said.
Owens dragged the dog behind his truck for at least two miles on Nov. 29 — even as witnesses tried to get him to stop, according to the Greenville News.
Witnesses said the dog was tied to an open truck bed with her front paws on the gate while her hind legs were dragged across the road. The dog was running, trying to keep up with the truck, which was being driven at high speeds.
Two witnesses pursued Owens, following a trail of blood on the road until they found the dog, said Assistant Solicitor Julie Anders.
The dog, now named Andra Grace, was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment, and more than $16,000 was donated to help pay for her care.
She has since been adopted.
Owens’ attorney, public defender Elizabeth Powers Price, said her client has cared for dogs his whole life but had been drinking that day.
You can learn more about Andra Grace on the Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 10 years, 2 miles, abuse, andra grace, animal cruelty, court, cruelty to animals, dennis owens, dog, dogs, dragged, greenville, judge, letitia verdin, mix, pets, pit bull, sentence, south carolina, trial, truck, two miles, vehicle
Necropsies conducted on some of the victims, and an intensive search of the Arizona boarding kennel where more than 20 dogs died, have revealed no evidence supporting the belief that a chewed-through electrical cord led to the deaths.
That, ever since the dogs died virtually overnight nearly a month ago, has been the claim of kennel owner MaLeisa Hughes, seen defending herself (and attacking the news media) in the raw interview footage above.
Hughes and her husband, Todd Hughes, were out of town when the dogs died, and had left the dogs under the supervision of their daughter, Logan Flake, and her husband, Austin Flake, who is the son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.
The dogs — some dead, some dying — were discovered early in the morning on June 20, most of them held in the same 9-foot by 12-foot room.
Upon their return, Hughes’ husband told at least some of the owners of the deceased dogs that their pets had run away — another inconsistency MaLeisa Hughes attempts to explain in this June 23 meeting outside the kennel with the news media.
Last week, Maricopa County Sheriff’s detectives searched Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert, seizing parts of an air conditioning system to determine if it failed.
Necropsies performed on seven of the 21 dogs also found no evidence to validate the kennel-owners’ statement that a dog had chewed through an electrical wire and cut the power to an air conditioning unit.
“On the dogs that were necropsied, there was no evidence found to support or suggesting electrocution,” concluded Dr. Bernard Mangone, the veterinarian who performed the necropsies at Palm Glen Animal Hospital. He said results indicate the dogs suffocated, but that more testing is required to pinpoint a cause of death.
Tissue samples were sent to the University of Arizona for further testing and to the University of Michigan to determine if the dogs were drugged, according to Arizona Republic.
Mangone wrote that it is possible the dogs died of heat stroke or lack of oxygen.
“The dogs begin to pant and become agitated which increases both their oxygen need and the amount of (carbon dioxide) they are producing,” Mangone wrote.
The search warrant indicates that investigators confiscated computers, cell phones and records associated with the operation of the facility, CBS 5 reported. Detectives also took samples of insulation and wiring from the small room where the dogs were found dead.
As of today, no arrests have been made and no criminal charges have been filed.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 17th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air conditioning, animals, arizona, austin flake, charges, chewed, deaths, dog, dog boarding, dogs, evidence, gilbert, green acre, heat, investigation, jeff flake, kennel, maleisa hughes, maricopa county, necropsies, neglect, pets, search, search warrant, senator, wire
“We as a city again want to offer our complete apology to Mr. Jones,” Mayor Steve Widmyer said at last night’s City Council meeting.
Widmyer said the city will “take full responsibility” for the death of the 2-year-old black Lab mix, named Arfee, if the investigation determines mistakes were made.
Arfee was alone in a parked van when a police officer — as yet unnamed — approached it from the rear during an investigation. The officer says the dog lunged at him when he neared the partially opened window. He fired one shot — through the window glass — hitting Arfee in the chest and killing him.
Police Chief Ron Clark also spoke at the start of last night’s council meeting, calling the shooting “a regrettable tragedy.” He said he has spoken to the dog’s owner, Craig Jones, a former Coeur d’Alene resident now living in Colorado who was visiting the Idaho city during the 4th of July weekend.
“I told him how sorry I was about this incident,” the chief said. “And we had a good conversation. We discussed the entire situation and also about how it was unintended.”
Jones left Arfee in the van while he went out to breakfast and returned to find a bullet hole through the window, according to the Spokesman-Review.
In a news release after the shooting, police said they were responding to a report of a suspicious van, possibly containing someone watching young children. When an officer approached the van on the driver’s side, “a vicious Pit Bull dog lunged out the open driver’s side window toward the Officer’s face,” the release said.
Police removed the dog’s body and left before Jones returned to this van. Police later said the dog was a Lab mix, not a pit bull.
A witness to the shooting also spoke at last night’s council meeting.
“Everything that I witnessed appeared to be a complete cover-up,” Jessi Johnson told the council. “Everybody watched and nobody did the right thing.”
Police Chief Clark said the department’s investigation will be reviewed by the city’s legal department, the administration and an outside authority yet to be identified. The results will he shared with the public, he said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to avoid anything like this happening in the future,” he added.
The officer involved will be reassigned from patrol to office duty until the investigation and reviews are completed, Clark said. The city has withheld the officer’s name and the officer’s report on the incident, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, car, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, killing, lab mix, law enforcement, officer, parked, pets, pit bull, police, shot, van, window
When a friend had to put her dog down a week ago, Houston photographer Robyn Arouty joined her to provide some moral support, and to document Duke’s bittersweet last day with her camera.
Arouty, who is also an animal rescuer and advocate, joined her friend Jordan Roberts on July 7 as she let Duke feast on hamburgers and visit a water park before he received a lethal injection — all while surrounded by friends.
Duke, a black Lab, was diagnosed a few years ago with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, and had his right front leg removed. The cancer came back, though, and was spreading.
“His tumor was growing rapidly and we were out of options,” Roberts said. “He would rally during the day, but his nights were increasingly uncomfortable as his tumor started to separate his ribs. We struggled with the decision to let Dukey go, but ultimately did everything in our power to protect him from further pain.”
She made an appointment with a vet to have him euthanized on Monday, July 7. Then she called Arouty, who had taken photos for her before. She told her about her plans for Duke’s last day and asked her to photograph it.
Arouty’s photos show Duke and friends eating hamburgers in the morning, visiting a water park, and cuddling with friends.
Along with the photos, Arouty told the story of Duke (narrated from his point of view) on her blog . (Note: At the time of this writing, it was having some technical difficulties.)
“Jordan let me know she had scheduled the appointment with the vet and the words just came,” Arouty told KSL.com. “See, I have lost three of my own dogs in the past year and a half.”
“With the help from our friends, Dukey had a beautiful day filled with love and happiness,” his owner said. “We should all be so lucky.”
(Photos: From Robyn Arouty’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black, cancer, death, dog, dogs, duke, dukes last day, euthanasia, euthanized, jordan roberts, lab, labrador, last day, loss, osteosarcoma, pets, photographer, photography, photos, put down, retriever, robyn arouty
Not every white van is driven by a child predator.
Not every large dog is a pit bull.
Why police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wanted to check out a white van parked near a coffee shop Wednesday morning is understandable: It fit the description of one being used by a child predator, and the coffee shop owners had called to report someone inside it was watching young children from a nearby parking lot.
Why the officer shot the van’s only occupant — a dog – is a little less understandable.
And why investigators called the dog a “vicious pit bull” makes even less sense.
Arfee was a black lab, according to his owner, Craig Jones, who was eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant — not scoping out children — when the officer approached his van from behind with his gun drawn.
When the dog lunged toward him out of the partially open driver’s side window the officer fired one round, through the window, hitting Arfee in the chest. He later died.
Jones said Arfee, who was two years old, did not have a mean bone in his body. “This still isn’t even real to me,” Jones told KREM 2 News.
“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush,” said Jones. “He doesn’t know any difference.”
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark said the department is reviewing the shooting, and said initial police reports describing the dog as a pit bull were erroneous.
“Animal control officers originally identified the dog as a pit bull,” he said. “The Police Department had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a lab mix.”
“We understand the grief the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet. We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens,” Clark said. “The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident.”
Arfee’s owner, who formerly lived in Coeur d’Alene, was visiting for the 4th of July weekend, according to the Spokesman-Review.
“Best 4th of July weekend in cda eva,” Jones, who now lives in Colorado, posted on his Facebook page earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, he posted this: “Cda cops just shot my dog while I ate lunch at Java?”
Yesterday, he thanked his Facebook friends for their support. “Today is definitely harder than yesterday. Just seeing his ball in my rig tears me apart,” he wrote. “This cop left a hole in both of (us) that can’t be fixed.”
(Photo: Craig Jones’ Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, arfie, black lab, child, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, lab, labrador, labrador retriever, law enforcement, parked, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, predator, profiling, shot, stereotypes, van