David Gizzarelli took in more than $17,000 in donations from big-hearted dog lovers in what he described as an attempt to save his dog Charlie, who was deemed dangerous after attacking a National Park Service horse.
But his attorney says Gizzarelli is unable to help out with the $9,000-plus tab for veterinary care, feeding and shelter that Charlie, an American Staffordshire terrier, has received since last August, when he was taken into the custody of animal control in San Francisco.
Apparently the $17,000 that was donated was spent on attorney fees, paying for the horse’s vet bills and “other living expenses.” That’s what Gizzarelli’s new attorney says, adding that his client can’t afford to help pay the bill and is currently sleeping in his car.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins ordered Gizzarelli to pay anyway — specifically, half of the costs for boarding and treating Charlie since the incident.
Gizzarelli is still raising money to “help save Charlie” — via a Facebook page and his Help Save Charlie website — even though he has relinquished ownership of the dog, who is now in foster care and will likely end up in an adoptive home or sanctuary.
Until his court appearance, he had not provided any accounting of where the donated money went, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Charlie has been in the custody of Animal Care and Control in San Francisco since August, when he was deemed “vicious and dangerous” by the police department. The cost for housing him and providing veterinary care for an earlier injury totaled $9,808 as of Monday’s hearing.
Gizzarelli, in an earlier settlement, agreed to give up custody of Charlie and attend a hearing to discuss payment for Charlie’s care.
But he kept selling “Help Save Charlie” merchandise and collecting donations even after that. And while Charlie could probably still use help — he hasn’t been deemed adoptable yet — it appears little if any of the donated money has gone for the dog.
Questions during Monday’s hearing revolved around the amount of legal fees Gizzarelli paid to two attorneys, and $3,000 his attorney said was spent on ”food, transportation and housing” — apparently for the human, not the dog.
Gizzarelli’s attorney, Orestes Cross, said his client has no money. “My client is on social welfare, living on $422 a month and sleeping out of his car,” told the judge during the hearing. “He fought the fight because he cares about his dog.”
Rebecca Katz, director of Animal Care and Control, says some donors to Charlie are likely upset. “I don’t believe those who contributed expected that money to go toward personal expenses,” she said. Since the settlement, Charlie has been in foster care. According to Katz, he needs several more months of training before he can be considered for adoption or placed in a sanctuary.
Gizzarelli faced federal assault charges after the attack on the police horse, but according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office those have been dropped.
(Photo: Help Save Charlie Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accountability, accounting, american staffordshire terrier, animal control, attacked, avid gizzarelli, bills, care, charlie, court, donations, donatoins, donors, expenses, facebook, feeding, help save charlie, horse, magistrate, money, national park service, park service, san francisco, shelter, veterinary, website
A family in northern Maine says it is “overwhelmed” by the generosity they saw from friends and strangers who donated enough money for them to get a service dog for their 5-year-old daughter, Faith.
Faith has spina bifida and experiences seizures. The new dog — a black Lab named Dandy — has been trained to detect when they might be coming.
Bruce and Beverly McNally, of Island Falls, took Faith in as a foster child, then as their adopted daughter. They quickly realized they needed help monitoring her for the seizures, which could be deadly if not addressed.
“The family became very worried, which is why they wanted to get the dog,” Michele King, Faith’s aunt, told the Bangor Daily News.
King is also the chief administrative officer for Brave Hearts, a nonprofit Christian home for young men in Island Falls, and that organization sponsored a fundraiser last month to try and raise the $2,500 that was needed.
King said that donations came from the more than 100 people who attended a benefit supper, and from people as far away as North Carolina.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” Beverly McNally said. “We eventually had enough money and we had to gently turn people away. We had to tell them that we had enough for the dog, but that we wanted them to donate the money to a charity of their own choosing.”
Dandy came from CARES — Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services — a nonprofit organization in Concordia, Kansas, that trains and matches assistance dogs with owners.
“Dandy has just been wonderful for Faith,” McNally said on Friday. “She picks up on a chemical change in the body when a seizure occurs. One day when we got back, Faith was very lethargic. She was in the chair with me and needed to be snuggled a lot more. And the dog got up in the chair and started whining. And I didn’t realize what was going on. And 45 minutes later, Faith had a seizure. Then I realized what the dog was trying to tell me.”
(Photo: Michele King)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: assistance, benefit, black, brave hearts, canine, cares, dandy, detecting, dog, dogs, donations, education, faith, fundraiser, fundraising, island falls, lab, labrador retriever, maine, rehabilitation, seizures, service, services, spina bifida
Baby Girl, the pit bull shot by police officers at a park in Staten Island, is recovering as both donations and complaints about the officers’ actions pour in.
The dog remains in a veterinary clinic, where she has undergone two surgeries, the Staten Island Advance reports.
Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation (SNARR), the rescue organization Baby Girl’s owner adopted her from, said the costs of her medical care have already reached $8,000. About $2,500 has been collected through a Facebook campaign to help cover the expenses.
In addition to a bullet wound, Baby Girl suffered a broken toe.
On Saturday, Patricia Ratz and her sister brought their three pit bulls to Schmul Park for a walk. Two of the dogs began fighting. Ratz, in an attempt to break up the fight, stuck her hand between the two dogs and got bitten.
When police arrived, two officers fired their weapons at Baby Girl, even though she hadn’t been involved in the altercation and was running away, Ratz and her sister said.
Police said the incident is under review.
Ratz adopted Baby Girl, who is about two years old, from SNARR six months ago.
SNARR founder Robin Menard is spearheading the effort to raise money for the care of Baby Girl at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J.
A website – www.snarrdogpolice.com — has been created to provides updates on Baby Girl’s health and collect donations.
“It’s awesome to see how many regardless of race, beliefs, religion, location and so on, have come together to support the family, my rescue, as well as Baby Girl,” Menard said.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby girl, care, dog, dogs, donations, expenses, fight, garden state veterinary, injured, law enforcement, new york, officers, patricia ratz, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, recovery, robin menard, schmul park, shooting, snarr, special needs animal rescue and rehabilitation, staten island, surgery, veterinary
A Chihuahua mix born with deformed front legs — causing her to scoot across the floor like a baby kangaroo — is about to get a leg up, thanks to the Dearborn Animal Shelter and lots of kindly donors.
Found slip-sliding her way around the streets of the Michigan city a few weeks ago, she was named Victory.
“We thought that she needed some name that really described how she looked at life and the fact that she survived when many animals with deformities don’t,” Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, told Today.com.
When no one came forward to claim the one-year-old dog at the shelter, staff began to consider equipping her with an orthopedic device that would help her get around — all of which cost $2,000 or more.
When the shelter mentioned Victory in its newsletter, the Detroit Free Press picked up on the story.
Within a week, $7,000 in donations had come in.
The money will be used to purchase a protective vest for Victory, a sled like device allowing her to move around on carpet, and a set of wheels.
While she’s out of the shelter — Greene took her home to stay temporarily — she’s still up for adoption.
“We’re all very attached to her, and she to us, so we’re looking for a very special situation,” she said.
“I would really like her to get a job working with people with disabilities,” she said. “If I could find a way to add that into her new life, that would be great.”
(Photo: Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, chihuahua, dearborn animal shelter, detroit free press, device, disability, dog, dogs, donations, elaine greene, friends for the dearborn animal shelter, handicap, mix, orthopedic, pets, sled, victory, wheels
A Toledo-area rescue group is recovering from storm damage, but it’s facing repair bills nearly as big as its annual budget.
“Our annual operating budget is only about $2,000,” said Jane Huth, founder and president of You Lucky Dog in Oregon, Ohio. “This is really a huge hit for us because we are not very big.”
Storms caused the city sewer drain to back up into the facility, and while insurance covered much of the clean up, it didn’t cover the $1,500 bill to replace the waterlogged drywall and flooring, Huth said.
Huth said she went to the kennels where the group’s rescue dogs are kept after the storm and saw “water creeping toward the kennels … I knew I had to do something fast,” she said. She created a dam in front of where three dogs resided to keep the water from reaching them, according to the Toledo Blade.
The nonprofit organization, funded through donations, rescues about 25 dogs a year, most of which come from the Lucas County dog warden, Huth said. It recently celebrated its 11th year in operation and its 550th adoption.
Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said the group houses about four dogs at a time, and has found homes for many dogs rescued from the county shelter, including litters of puppies, nursing moms and dogs recovering from injuries.
Tax-deductible donations to help the rescue group can be mailed to You Lucky Dog, 1510 Blandin St., Oregon, OH 43616.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animals, damage, dog, dogs, donations, flooding, insurance, jane huth, lucas county, nonprofit, ohio, oregon, organization, pets, rescue, storm, toledo, warden, you lucky dog
When a guide dog was struck by a hit-and-run driver in St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay area residents responded with donations to cover the costs of her medical care.
Abbey, a two-year-old mixed breed, was off leash and playing in the yard of her legally blind owner when she apparently ran into the street and was struck by a car that sped away.
Her owner, Terry Ellrick, 59, was devastated.
“I just want them to have a merry Christmas and a happy Thanksgiving. That’s what I want because I can’t, and she can’t have her turkey either. So I hope it goes down good for them,” he told 10 News.
Ellrick could not give a description of the vehicle, and police said there were no witnesses.
Officers helped Abbey to the car of a friend of Ellrick’s, who drove her to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in North Tampa.
“Abbey is not out of the woods yet, but she is doing well and recovering from her surgery,” James Judge, a spokesman for the animal hospital told Tampa Bay Online.
Judge said to dog enough contributions had arrive by Thursday morning to cover the Wednesday surgery.
Those who still wish to donate can do so through Frankies Friends, which will use the money to help other families who can’t afford veterinary care.
Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is encouraged to call police at (727) 893-7780.
(Photo by Jim Hockett / Tampa Bay Online)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abbey, animals, blind, bluepearl, car, dog, dogs, donations, florida, frankies fund, guide dog, hit-and-run, injured, pets, seeing eye dog, st. petersburg, struck, surgery, tampa bay, terry elrick, veterinary
Obie, the former 77-pound dachshund, reached another milestone this week, weighing in at under 60 pounds.
According to his Facebook page, “Biggest Loser – Doxie Edition,” Obie tipped the scales at 59.14 at his weekly weigh-in Tuesday.
That brings his total weight loss to 17 pounds in 12 weeks — an average of 1.5 pounds a week, according to his foster mom for now, Nora Vanatta.
Vanatta, a veterinary technician who volunteered to foster the dog for Oregon Dachshund Rescue, has also started an Obie store, selling, for now, Obie t-shirts.
Obie, formerly known as A.J., was surrendered by his elderly owners, who apparently didn’t know when to stop feeding him.
Vanatta immediately put him on a diet, detailing his progress on a Facebook page and getting some major media attention in the process.
After that, Oregon Dachshund Rescue owner Jenell Rangan filed a lawsuit, claiming Vanatta wasn’t properly caring for him and seeking to get Obie back.
The case has yet to be heard, but a judge ruled last month that Vanatta should maintain custody for now.
Vanatta has collected thousands of dollars in donations for Obie from supporters, and says the money is being used for his care. He still needs dental work and may eventually need to have excess skin surgically removed.
“Whatever is left over after his rehab will go to help other reputable rescues and continue to educate the public and bring awareness to obesity,” she says on his Facebook page. But, she adds, she will have to use some of the donations to pay legal fees in connection with the lawsuit.
“The saddest part is that legal fees for 2 weeks are already 5 times what Obie’s medical bills are in 3 months,” Vanatta wrote in a Facebook post.
That doesn’t seem to be a big issue, judging from those leaving comments on the page. Wrote one commenter, ”I donated through Paypal and I don’t care how you use the money. Take yourself out to dinner if you want.”
The far more common message is this: Go Obie!
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 pounds, aj, animals, custody, dachshund, diet, dispute, dogs, donations, facebook, fat, foster, loss, nora vanatta, obese, obie, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, pets, progress, store, weight
Monika Wesolowski wanted to adopt the pit bull mix she became a foster mom to this summer, after he was found in northwest Georgia with his throat cut.
But, given his ability — once he recovered — to jump over her chain link fence, there was no way she could keep him unless a fence was to magically appear.
Now it looks like a fence is going to magically appear.
The dog was brought into Murray County Animal Control in July with a slash across his neck so deep his trachea was visible. A Facebook post about the dog, named Braveheart by animal control staffers, led the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia to pick him up, take him to a veterinary clinic for surgery and search for a foster home.
When Braveheart was to be put up for adoption last month, she told the Rome News-Tribune, “I just had a meltdown. I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’”
She wanted to keep the dog, but, with two dogs of her own and a backyard fence Braveheart could easily jump, she felt he’d be better off elsewhere.
When she described the dilemma on Braveheart’s Facebook page, suggestions poured in, and when she followed one of them, establishing an online fund drive, money poured in, too – enough to build a new fence.
Wesolowski has raised $1,500 to help build a privacy fence around the back yard of her home, and Walker Landscape and Fence, LLC, has offered to build it and charge her only for materials. A Lowe’s store in Rome agreed to give Wesolowski the materials for the fence at cost.
By the end of the first day, more than $400 had been donated to Braveheart’s fence fund on GoFundMe.com.
“I cried for three days straight, probably because it just blows my mind,” Wesolowski. “I know people give money all the time to charities but a dog just hits people right in the heart.”
Dogs Deserve Better,the Virginia rescue now heaquartered in Michael Vick’s former house, donated $200. About 60 other donors gave money to the fund. Wesolowski said she wants to have a plaque with a list of donors put on the fence.
Braveheart has a scar on his neck, but whoever is responsible for it hasn’t been arrested. The Animal Rescue League has offered a $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
“I just can’t see how anybody could hurt a creature like this,” Wesolowski said. “He’s such a nice dog.”
(Photos: Braveheart’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, animal control, animal rescue league, animals, braveheart, cut, dogs, donations, facebook, fence, foster, fund drive, funding, georgia, gofundme, lowes, mix, monika wesolowski, murray county, new fence, pets, pit bull, rome, slashed, slit, throat, walker landscape
The starving stray dog rescuers initially dubbed Java, because of the coffee can around her neck, has been renamed Olivia, and she’s recovering from her surgery Monday.
Authorities estimate she spent a month with the can encasing her neck and cutting into her ears. She apparently gave birth to a litter during that time, though it’s not likely any pups survived, based on the emaciated condition Olivia was found in.
But she’s been making steady improvement since having surgery Monday. “She’s really doing remarkably well,” a board member with Animal Allies of Texas told the Dallas Morning News.
According to Animal Allies, Dallas Animal Control is not investigating whether the dog was abused because there is no evidence the can was intentionally placed on her head.
Vets expect Olivia, who still needs to be treated for heartworm and spayed, to spend another week at Metro Paws Animal Hospital. After that, she will be fostered by one of the veterinary technicians.
It could be up to four months before she is put up for adoption.
Contributions to Olivia’s care can be made through the Animal Allies website or by calling Metro Paws at 214-887-1400.
(Photos: Animal Allies)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animal allies, animal control, animals, can, coffee, coffee can, contributions, dallas, dog, dogs, donations, found, java, litter, metro paws animal hospital, neck, olivia, pets, puppies, rescue, rescued, starving, stray, surgery, texas
He may be the world’s fattest dachshund, but apparently there’s not enough Obie to go around.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue has filed a lawsuit against Obie’s current caretaker, Nora Vanatta, claiming that the Portland resident doesn’t own him, was only fostering him for the organization, and must return him.
“The dog was surrendered to me,” the rescue organization’s president Jenell Rangan told the New York Daily News. “Nora is just a foster. I trusted her to bring him back.”
Vanatta, a veterinary technician, offered to take care of Obie when his former owners — who couldn’t seem to stop feeding him — decided they could no longer care for him. He was 77 pounds at the time.
The owners’ grandchildren contacted Rangan, who asked her volunteers to find a foster. Vanatta stepped forward, and the rescue organization approved the arrangement.
Vanatta agrees that the original plan was for her to foster the dog. “Initially, I said that I would foster him for a little while because I would not be able to take care of him financially,” Vanatta told the Daily News. “But I had no idea how obese he was. It’s going to take a year for him to get to a healthy weight, and I’ve committed to his rehabilitation.”
Vanatta started featurning Obie’s fight to lose weight on a Facebook page, “Biggest Loser, Doxie Edition,” which has led to donations and made Obie a celebrity, with appearances on ”Good Morning America” and the “Today” show.
Obie has lost 15 pounds and has about 25 to go.
Rangan said she wants the 5-year-old dog because Vanatta isn’t caring for him properly.
“I don’t want a dime,” she said. “I just want Obie … He’s a dog. He’s not a celebrity.” She objected to the fact that Obie flew in cargo, and not first class, on his six-hour trip to New York.
Vanatta said all money she has received for Obie has gone to his care.
She said no papers regarding his custody were ever signed, and that she wants to keep Obie at least until he reaches his goal weight.
Rangan and Vanatta are expected to appear in court Monday.
“It makes me sick because he was never in her custody,” Vanatta said. “I can’t understand why she’s spending money fighting this because he’s so happy.”
(Photo: Obie’s “Biggest Loser” Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 77 pounds, biggest loser, contributions, custody, dachshund, diet, donations, doxie edition, facebook, fat, fattest, foster, jenell rangan, lawsuit, nora vanatta, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, portland, rescue, technician, veterinary