The founder of the dog rescue organization that moved its headquarters into Michael Vick’s old house was charged Monday with animal cruelty, the Daily Press in Hampton Roads reported.
Surry County deputies served a search warrant at Dogs Deserve Better’s Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
According to court records, they were looking for Tasers and mace allegedly used on the rescued dogs.
Authorities said the search and investigation were prompted by allegations from former staff and volunteers working at the center on Moonlight Drive — the same house where Philadelphia Eagles quarterback lived when he bankrolled a dog-fighting operation.
Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of inadequate care of animals, also a misdemeanor, according to Surry County Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry.
She’s scheduled to appear Sept. 25 in Surry General District Court.
According to the search warrant, deputies were searching for all paperwork connected to dogs that have been housed on the property since the facility opened in June 2011, including veterinary records and receipts.
The search warrant alleged that “animals are being maced and tased on regular basis” and dogs are being cratedfor long periods, up to 19 hours a day. According to the warrant, injured and sick dogs are not getting proper veterinary care.
Terry declined to discuss what, if anything, was found in the search.
Authorities removed one dog from the kennel, but Terry refused to say why.
Terry said she began investigating July 20 after receiving mailed complaints, including pictures, from current and former employees and volunteers.
(Photo: Adrin Snider / Daily Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, bad newz, chained, charged, complaints, dog, dogs, dogs deserve better, employees, former, good newz, investigation, mace, michael vick, mistreated, moonlight road, organization, penned, pets, rehab center, rescue, search, surry county, tamira thayne, tasers, virginia, volunteers, warrant
Some staff members of the troubled city-run animal shelter in Memphis have had ties with dogfighting rings, an outside study of the shelter concludes.
The review of operations at the Memphis Animal Shelter, conducted by a Rotary Club committee, concludes that the city has an “attitude that animals are disposable,” that employees have operated outside the rules, that record-keeping is poor, and that little screening of potential adopters takes place.
It names no names, but the report does seem to infer that some employees at the shelter served to supply dogfighting operations with pit bulls:
“The vast majority of dogs brought in to the shelter are pit bulls. Therefore, the potential for criminal activity is very real, and the checks for criminal background must be made. There should be a record of this with each adoption, available for audit,” said the report.
Among employees, the report said, “there remains the clear understanding … that certain individuals are exempt from the rules … The employees at every level, while not willing to say so on the record, will readily volunteer that there has been a relationship between certain individuals and the illicit dogfighting rings in the community.”
The 22-page report was delivered this week to Mayor AC Wharton, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
The committee also plans to turn the report over to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office raided the shelter in October of 2009, and found abused or neglected animals. Three dogs, including the one pictured atop this post, were so starved and emaciated they didn’t survive.
The shelter’s director Ernest Alexander was fired and, along with veterinarian Angela Middleton and administrative supervisor Tina Quattlebaum, indicted on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals.
This year, another Memphis Animal Services officer was fired after a dog died of heat stroke during the two hours the officer took to pick the dog up and return to the shelter.
The city closed its old shelter this month, and opened the new Memphis Animal Services shelter this week. It’s already full, officials report.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused, adoptions, animal services, animal shelter, committee, dogfighting, employees, investigation, memphis, neglect, neglected, pit bulls, rescues, review, rings, rotary club, screening, shelters, staff, starved, study, tennessee
“Make Your Human Stay Home Day” (and I do expect to receive any and all profits associated with the concept both now and in the future) is not meant to replace Take Your Dog To Work Day.
Rather, it would be an additional day (a weekday, of course) on which all employees with pets are encouraged to stay home (with pay, of course) and spend some quality time with their dogs.
Employees without pets would be similarly excused from work if they promised to spend the day visiting their local shelter, considering, at least, adopting a pet.
That means the only people at the office would be those who don’t like dogs, or don’t have room in their life for a dog, or think dogs are disruptive — the sort of people who oppose Take Your Dog to Work Day. Coincidentally or not, these are usually the cranky and mean-spirited ones. So, in addition to getting a day at home with your dog, you would get a day away from them.
Unlike on the weekend, which most humans fill up with activities, some involving the dog and some not, this day would be all about your dog — not about showing him off, or thrusting him into a strange environment, but about you spending some quiet time in his world.
On this day, you would be encouraged to lay in the grass, take extended naps, bark at the postal carrier, chase a squirrel or two, sniff everything in existence and, if you are in really good physical condition, lick your own loins.
Because Make Your Human Stay Home Day could have an adverse impact on professional dog walkers, whose services would not be required on this day, we suggest you go ahead and pay them anyway because they probably deserve it.
If the concept proves as beneficial as I anticipate, we could extend it, and start having “Make Your Parents Stay Home Day.”
That, as well, could result in happier, closer families and, more importantly, another paid day off.
We expect some opposition to our idea from corporate America and from executives who, though they stay home whenever they please, don’t look kindly on their workforces being diminished, unless they are the ones ordering the diminishing.
Until we get this concept up and running, we continue to throw our full support behind Take Your Dog to Work Day, which you can read a good account about in today’s Baltimore Sun — where I used to work, and which didn’t take part in Take Your Dog to Work Day, which may be what inspired my genius idea for Make Your Human Stay Home Day.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: absence, adopt, animals, barking, children, day off, dog, dog walkers, dogs, dogwalkers, employees, excused, holidays, home, humans, idea, licking, make your human stay home day, naps, office, paid holiday, parents, pet sitters, pets, petsitters, proposal, shelter, squirrels, stay home, take your dog to work day, with pay, work, workplace
Some of you might remember Darcy — the too cute to strangle Boston terrier for whom I’ve served as babysitter while her mom and dad were away.
Twice, I took Darcy into my home for multi-day stays, where she proceeded to test my patience half the time, and be adorable the other half.
That was back when I had a house. Now, upon my return to Baltimore — having given up my home for the purposes of our continuing road trip – the tables have turned, and Darcy and her humans have most graciously taken Ace and me into their’s.
Where, as you might guess, I proceeded to test their patience half the time (going so far as to clog up their toilet yesterday morning … the house guest’s worst nightmare), and attempted to be adorable (once I had my coffee) the other half.
And all this just before the start of school, no less.
Here in the city of Baltimore, yesterday was the first day of school — so, with both Darcy’s mom and dad being city schoolteachers, it’s all the more impressive that, with everything else that was on their minds and agendas, they agreed to house one road-weary man and his 130-pound dog over the weekend.
There, in addition to the hazards of using too much toilet paper, this is what I learned:
Teachers — or at least teachers like Dan and Marite – should be appreciated much more. I say this not because they gave us shelter, but because in the days I spent with them I’ve seen how much of themselves, their own time, their own money, their hearts and souls, they pour into what they do.
Yesterday, as Ace and I sat drinking coffee on their front stoop after they left, I watched as children headed down the sidewalk for the start of a new school year, many of them tightly holding the hands of their parents. And I thought how fortunate they were — even in a school system as troubled as Baltimore’s — to have teachers like Dan and Marite. And how much worse things would be if they didn’t.
Dan spent the bulk of the weekend on his computer, finalizing his lesson plans, sweating the details. Marite cooked up some do-it-yourself orange Play-doh out of flour, water and food coloring. When we walked with the dogs down to the shopping center for lunch, Dan and Marite hit the Goodwill store, and came out with a full bag of classroom supplies.
But Dan and Marite take chaos in stride. They seem to have mastered patience, which I guess all teachers must. They are so easy going that she probably won’t mind that I — lacking the technical know-how — am writing her name without the accent thing over the “e”.
While their home has plenty of clutter — I would describe their decorating scheme as contemporary-tornado — Ace and I only added to it, what with our leashes and dog bowls and dog food and camera and laptop and dirty laundry. We just wedged ourselves and our stuff in, and felt right at home. (Virgo that I am, I will admit I feared putting anything on a counter for fear it would disappear immediately under a stack of paperwork, laptops and school supplies. By the way, have you seen my glasses?)
The clutter, though – I’d say it’s 85 percent school related — is just another sign of their commitment.
Most people seem to truly cherish their work — though not always their jobs. And there’s a difference. One’s “work” is doing what they got into a career to do, whether it’s teaching kids, righting wrongs or driving trucks, whether it’s lawyering or newspapering. One’s “job” is what that work has evolved into — thanks to managers, supervisors, corporate chiefs and stockholders.
We the workers, in a way, are their Play-Doh, and they tend to mold, bend and stretch us, sometimes to the point of snapping.
They take your one job and squeeze two more jobs into it; then shovel layers of bureaucracy on top, burying you under piles of seemingly meaningless paperwork, and doing away with anything that might serve as support. They tell us to do more with less, and, at times, seem to be doing everything in their power to prohibit us from doing our jobs right. Then they — those at the very top — reap the benefits of the more, while we scrape by on the less.
I don’t think that makes me a Communist, just a pissed off worker — or a pissed off former worker, to be precise. (I kind of like the boss I have now, who looks a lot like me.)
As a nation, we fail to show enough appreciation for those doing the heavy lifting. And yet the heavy lifters keep lifting — they, and teachers especially, manage to stay fired up about the work, if not the job, despite shrinking benefits, paltry salaries and all the forces that seem intent on extinguishing that fire.
So, a little early for Labor Day, I salute the American worker, who, like the American dog, keeps at it — leaping obstacles, heeding commands, summoning up energy even when exhausted, snapping at and shaking off all the annoying little bugs that come down from above, buzzing in our ears and getting on our backs.
(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, america, american, animals, benefits, career, darcy, dog's country, dogscountry, employees, employers, job, labor, labor day, ohmidog!, overburdened, overworked, pets, road trip, salary, school, support, teachers, work, workers
At least that’s my thinking — and it’s the view of the Humane Society of the United States, as well.
HSUS is encouraging dogs in the workplace programs, and this year it has teamed up with Petplan, which describes itself as America’s top-rated pet insurance provider, to ask busineses to consider adopting programs permitting employees to bring dogs to work.
Such policies, they say, can be beneficial to employees, dogs and the company bottom line. Studies have shown that employees who bring their dogs to work tend to be more efficient, happier and healthier.
“We share everything with our four-legged family members – our joys, our sorrows, sometimes even our lunch,” says Natasha Ashton, co-founder of Petplan. “It seems only natural that we also share our work lives with our pets.”
To assist employers in implementing a dogs at work program, Humane Society Press, the publishing division of HSUS, published “Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces,” a guide to creating a business environment where employees’ dogs are welcome.
Authors Liz Palika and Jennifer Fearing present the tangible benefits of dog-friendly policies and provide step-by-step advice on obtaining management buy-in, setting fair procedures and protocols and dealing with any concerns about dog-friendly policies in the workplace. Dogs at Work also includes detailed advice about how to prepare dogs for the office environment, provides sample policies and handouts and provides two comprehensive case studies describing successful dog-friendly workplaces.
“Our canine companions make excellent colleagues, even at big companies,” said Fearing, chief economist for The Humane Society of the United States. “In the midst of tough times, employers can improve morale and support the human-animal bond by relying on Dogs at Work to develop and implement a workable – and free – program that works for everyone.”
The HSUS implemented a dogs at work program in 2007, and about 50 dogs come to work at the organization’s three offices in the Washington, D.C. area.
(Photo: Soco, HSUS staffer Cary Smith’s dog, at work; by Cary Smith, courtesy of HSUS)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, benefits, dog, dog friendly, dog friendly workplace, dogs at work, employees, employers, guide, hsus, humane society of the united states, insurance, natasha ashton, news, ohmidog!, petplan, pets, policies, take your dog to work day, work, workplace
The internationally known artist, woodcarver and furniture maker, and creator of the Dog Chapel, a hand-built church in Vermont, fatally shot himself on Jan. 7 in Littleton, N.H.
According to his wife, Gwen, he had been despondent over having had to lay off most of the employees of his art business that week.
While Huneck once had a national network of six galleries, only the one at his residence on Dog Mountain remains.
The tardy Times obit offered little new information about Huneck’s life or his suicide, except for this bit of irony: His death has led to a renewed demand for his work, enabling Ms. Huneck to hire back most of the employees let go last month.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, artist, death, demand, dog art, dog chapel, dog mountain, employees, galleries, huneck, increased, late, media, new hampshire, new york times, newspapers, obituary, renewed, stephen huneck, suicide, tardy, vermont
Stephen Huneck, whose paintings, sculptures and woodcut prints of dogs celebrated his deep love for animals, took his own life last week in New Hampshire.
Huneck, of St. Johnsbury, committed suicide Thursday in Littleton, N.H. His wife said he was despondent after being forced to lay off employees at his Dog Mountain studio and Dog Mountain chapel in Vermont.
“Like many Americans, we had been adversely affected by the economic downturn,” Gwen Huneck wrote in a letter Friday announcing his death. “Stephen feared losing Dog Mountain and our home. Then on Tuesday we had to lay off most of our employees. This hurt Stephen deeply. He cared about them and felt responsible for their welfare.”
Two days later, he shot himself in the head while sitting in a parked car outside the office of his psychiatrist, the Burlington Free Press reported.
A native of Sudbury, Mass., Huneck started out whittling wooden sculptures and later dog-themed furniture. In 2000, he built the Dog Chapel – a miniature version of the 19th-century churches that dot Vermont’s landscape — from wood harvested from his 175-acre Dog Mountain property.
The chapel, a popular tourist stop, has vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows with images of dogs pieced into them, and handcrafted pews, also built by Huneck. A sign outside reads: “Welcome all creeds, all breeds. No dogmas allowed.”
Dog lovers would make the trip to Vermont just to see the chapel, many writing notes to their deceased pets and attaching them to the walls. Huneck never took them down.
Huneck advocated for dog-friendly lodging, water dishes at parks and highway rest stops, and dog-friendly dining.
“Really, my agenda is to make Vermont the France of America, as far as the way we relate to our dogs,” Huneck told The Burlington Free Press in 2006. “I think it would be wonderful if people could bring their dogs into restaurants. … Every time I eat at a restaurant I feel really guilty because I know those scraps would make a friend of mine really happy.”
Huneck’s seven books — including “Sally Goes to the Beach,” “Sally Goes to the Farm” and “Sally Gets a Job”– featured woodcut prints of his beloved Labrador retrievers, accompanied by quirky captions.
“He was one of the most creative and active members of the Vermont crafts community,” said Jennifer Boyer, co-owner of Artisans Hand, a craft gallery in Montpelier. “I appreciate how much energy he put into his works, which were whimsical and sardonically funny. He really had a unique sense of humor.”
In 1994, Huneck fell down a flight of stairs and was in a coma for two months. Although he recovered fully, he had to relearn everything from how to walk to how to sign his name, according to his Dog Mountain website.
After waking up from the coma, Huneck immediately began working on a series of woodcut prints he had envisioned before the accident, based on his dog Sally. The first in the series was called “Life Is A Ball.”
After this near death experience, Stephen began work on the Dog Chapel, a place, as he described it, “where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs.”
(Photos from dogmt.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: all breeds, all creeds, artist, chapel, despondent, dog, dog artist, dog chapel, dog mountain, dog mountain chapel, dog mountain studio, dogs, economy, employees, gwen huneck, himself, layoffs, life, littleton, new hampshire, no dogmas, shot, st. johnsbury, stephen huneck, suicide, takes, tourists, vermont
As a firm believer that every day should be “Take Your Dog to Work Day” — and having never worked for a company that would permit such a thing (even once the official day was proclaimed) — I don’t get too awfully excited by it.
Especially now that I work from home, Ace at my side.
On top of that, though, it has always struck me as strange that the day was created by Pet Sitters International, a group whose members, if everyone one took their dog to work, wouldn’t have much to do.
On the other hand, the day does get some employers to open their doors to dogs, and more important, it helps educate the public on the benefits of responsible pet ownership, raises the awareness of the human-animal bond, and supports the efforts of local animal shelters, rescues and humane societies.
So, with the 11th annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day” approaching — it’s Friday — by all means, take your dog to work, if your employer is enlightened enough to play along.
And in either case, by all means drop by after work at the Maryland SPCA, which is celebrating the day with a “Wine & Wag” party of its own, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The SPCA, at 330 Falls Road in Baltimore, will be offering drinks, snacks and activities that include doggie musical chairs, paw painting, bobbing for hot dogs, a treasure hunt and plenty of free treats, courtesy of Dogma.
Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the gate per person. (The event will be canceled and ticket prices will be refunded if the weather is bad.)
– Recognize that this can be a stressful experience for your dog, and bring along a favorite pillow or blanket so he has something familiar to comfort him.
– Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to the office, and to control him in the office.
– Bring food or treats and a water bowl.
– Help your dog pass the time by bringing along dog toys.
– Don’t leave your dog alone with other dogs. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.
– Watch for any signs of dog aggressiveness, such as growling, staring, raised hackles, and stiff body posture. Diffuse potential conflict by removing your dog from the area.
– Don’t try to force unfamiliar dogs to “become friends.”
– Check with your supervisor to get an okay to leave work early if your dog can’t handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it’s best to just take him home. Do not leave him in your vehicle while you continue to work.
– If a dog fight occurs, don’t try to break it up by hand. Use your dog’s blanket to throw over the heads of the fighting dogs. This will confuse the combatants long enough for you to defuse the situation.
(Photo: Mija, in accounts payable, from Takeyourdog.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: barkbusters, dog, dogs, employees, maryland spca, office, pet sitters international, take your dog, take your dog to work day, tips, tydtwd, wine & wag, work, workplace