When soccer’s World Cup was stolen from a display case in London in 1966, the week that followed saw huge tabloid headlines, a ransom demand, threats to melt the trophy down and a botched undercover police operation to exchange a bag of fake money for the treasured hunk of gold.
It wasn’t until seven days after the theft that the trophy the best minds of Scotland Yard were unable to find was easily sniffed out by a re-homed, furniture-chewing mutt named Pickles.
England was hosting the World Cup that year, and ended up winning it, but if not for Pickles there might have been no trophy to hoist.
Pickles was a four-year-old border collie mix whose owner, Dave Corbett, had taken him in as a puppy when his brother could no longer put up with his habit of chewing up furniture.
The cup had been on display in central London, and supposedly was being heavily guarded when it was stolen in the months leading up to the tournament.
Police made the case a high priority, but were still stumbling by the time Pickles, out for a walk, sniffed out the Jules Rimet Trophy in a clump of shrubs. That was 50 years ago yesterday.
“I put the lead on Pickles and he went over to the neighbor’s car,” Corbett recalled in this recent interview with the BBC.
“Pickles drew my attention to a package, tightly bound in newspaper, lying by the front wheel. I picked it up and tore some paper and saw a woman holding a dish over her head, and disks with the words Germany, Uruguay, Brazil. I rushed inside to my wife. She was one of those anti-sport wives. But I said, ‘I’ve found the World Cup! I’ve found the World Cup!'”
Corbett duly rushed the cup to the police station, and immediately became a suspect.
Two days earlier, the police investigation had taken a turn for the worse, according to The Guardian.
A man calling himself Jackson had contacted league officials about how they might reclaim the trophy for £15,000.
An undercover officer was sent to meet Jackson and make the exchange, but Jackson became suspicious it was a set up and fled.
He was caught, but the trophy was not.
Jackson’s real name was Edward Betchley, a small-time thief, and he would only admit to being a middleman.
He refused to disclose the location of the trophy.
Once police became assured Corbett had no part in the theft, he would get the reward money for the trophy, and Pickles became a celebrity. He starred in a feature film, appeared on numerous TV shows and was proclaimed Dog of the Year.
After England’s 4-2 victory over West Germany in the World Cup final, Corbett and Pickles were invited to a party celebrating the victory.
The World Cup trophy would be stolen again in 1983 in Brazil, and never recovered.
Pickles died the year after his big find. He saw a cat and took off, his leash trailing behind him. Somehow it got tangled on a tree limb and the dog choked to death.
Corbett buried him in the garden behind his house in Surrey — the house that, thanks to Pickles, he was able to buy with the reward money.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bbc, dave corbett, dog, dogs, england, football, found, history, investigation, jules rimet trophy, london, pets, pickles, police, ransom, scotland yard, soccer, stolen, world cup
Calling all rich fools: Two British companies have partnered up to offer your dog a spectacular luxury dog holiday.
The cost is $73,000, which we assume covers a week’s worth of boarding along with all the other perks — surfing lessons, reiki sessions, grooming, a new wardrobe, a personal chef and much more.
These, mind you, are services the dog will receive, presumably while his or her owners are on vacation somewhere else, assuming they have any money left to take one.
Behind the ridiculous gimmick are Paw Seasons, a luxury dog hotel in Bristol, England, and VeryFirstTo.com, a company specializing in luxury experiences.
It will be made available to only one dog, said VeryFirstTo.com founder Marcel Knobil.
“It’ll definitely be an individual or couple who enjoy an extravagant lifestyle. While they go off to the Caribbean they want their pet to have an equally enjoyable, extravagant stay where they are,” Knobil said. “It’s for those who enjoy the finer things in life and have a sense of humor. They have a soft spot for their dog and want them to have the best time possible.”
Highlights of the “Spectacular Luxury Dog Holiday” include chauffeured rides by the Paw Season’s hotel driver, a private suite showing dog movies on a screen, a doghouse built to replicate the one the dog has at home, local beach and countryside walks, a running session with hurdles World Champion Dai Greene, a day with author and dog behavior expert Stan Rawlinson, and a grooming at the Pet Spa at Harrods that includes aromatherapy bath and body massage.
No one has signed up yet, but Knobil told ABC News. “We’re pretty hopeful. We know it’s extravagant, but it’s a fabulous time for the dog and benefits two very good causes.”
The companies say $10,000 from the sale of the package will be split between two charities — Cancer Research U.K. and Battersea Dogs Home.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, doggie, dogs, england, gimmicks, grooming, holiday, hotel, luxury, massage, paw seasons, personal chef, pet industry, pets, rich, spa, spectacular, surfing lessons, travel, uk, vacation, veryfirstto, wealth
In a episode nearly as ludicrous as the case of the soiled condominium, an English great-grandmother was threatened with a £50 fine for picking up the wrong dog’s poop.
Pam Robson was accused by Sunderland Council wardens of failing to clean up after Derik, her Labrador, in a field in Houghton-le-Spring in January.
The council said the 60-year-old had picked up droppings that emanated from a different dog, according to the BBC.
How they knew that, I’m not sure, for Sunderland is not one of those jurisdictions that are performing DNA analysis on dog poop — a step that has been proposed at a condominium right here in Baltimore.
The board of the Scarlett Place Condominiums on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is considering a proposal to create a DNA database of its canine residents, then sending offending feces to a lab in an effort to find out exactly who, among their residents, is allowing their dog to poop in its ritzy hallways, and not picking it up.
Yes, everyone should pick up their dog’s waste — but going to such forensic lengths, and fining people for not picking up the right pile, are the actions of obsessive, power hungry control freaks who need to find better causes.
In Robson’s case, she refused to pay the fine and was threatened with court action.
Robson said she had been talking to her daughter on her cell phone when her dog ran off and did it’s doody. Robson walked over, scooped up a pile, and then was approached by two men (because policing poopers is apparently too dangerous a job to do alone).
“He said it was the wrong mess and that he was going to issue me with a fine for £50,” Robson recalled. “I picked up the other mess too and put it in the bag but he said I’d still be fined.”
“It felt like the worst kind of bullying,” she said.
Sunderland City Council, after she complained and asked for a review, later wrote to Robson, saying: “Officers at the time were satisfied that an offence had been committed. However it appears you may have collected faeces belonging to another dog.” In light of that, the note said, the council would not be pursuing the fine.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, bullying, clean up, condominium, council, court, crackdown, dna, dog, dogs, england, feces, fine, fined, labrador, news, ohmidog!, pam robson, pets, picking up, pile, police, poop, scarlett place, scoop, sunderland, waste, wrong
The dog was discovered last month in Bakersfield. The dog’s owner James Worley, 52, has been arrested and faces a possible charge of felony animal cruelty.
The pitbull, who has been named England after the animal control officer who saved him, Kristen England, was placed into a new home on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a petition asking the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the dog’s owner to the fullest extent the law allows has received almost 1,000 signatures.
The petition was started April 26 by Karen Marousek, of the Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,000 signatures had been gathered. The petitions will be presented to the prosecutor and judge handling the case.
Worley, 52, was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty on April 26. An arraignment is scheduled for Friday in Lamont.
The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation was founded by Katherine Heigl and her mother Nancy Heigl in memory of Jason Debus Heigl, Katherine’s brother. It rescues dogs and works to increase awareness of inhumane treatment to animals.
The Heigls, officials from the group Last Chance For Animals and Kern County Animal Control Director Guy Shaw held a press conference in Los Angeles Tuesday.
(Photo: England, as he was found; courtesy of Kern County Animal Control)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, bakersfield, california, dogs, england, field, foundation, friends of the kern county animal shelters foundation, heigl, hogtied, home, james worley, jason debus heigl foundation, karen marousek, katherine heigl, kern county, kristen england, last chance for animals, news, ohmidog!, petition, pets, pit bull, pitbull, rescue
Paul Railton was fined and barred from driving for six months after taking his dog for a walk while sitting behind the wheel of his car.
Prosecutors said he was spotted by a cyclist driving slowly along a country lane in December, holding his dog’s leash through the car window as the animal trotted alongside.
Railton pleaded guilty Monday to not being in proper control of a vehicle, but told the court that “a lot of people exercise their dogs in that manner,” MSNBC reports.
His lawyer said Railton, 23, acknowledged “it was a silly thing to do and there was an element of laziness.”
Railton was ordered by magistrates in Consett, northeast England, to pay a fine of about $100. He also received three penalty points on his driver’s license, leading to him being barred from driving for six months.
Several British newspapers reported that Railton was involved in an attempted murder case last year (drive-by shooting?), but that the case was dismissed because of police misconduct.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alongside, banned, barred, car, dog, dog walking, dogs, driver, driving, england, fine, laziness, lazy, lazy brit, leash, news, paul railton, road, street, walk, walking
A proposal to limit the use of electric shock collars for dog training is being rewritten and the new version will totally ban use of the devices in Wales.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said more than half the responses received during a period of public comment favored a total ban, according to the BBC.
Jones called for the ban on electric shock collars, mats and leads because of concerns that pets were suffering. Manufacturers have said they were “puzzled and disappointed” by the decision.
In a statement, Jones said those commenting on the proposal included dog trainers, vets, manufacturers of the devices and members of the public.
It’s expected to take about three months for the ban to take effect.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accessories, animal, ban, behavior, collar, devices, dog, dogs, electric, england, law, leads, mats, pets, proposal, shock, shock collar, suffering, training, uk, wales
A new wave of dogfighting is sweeping England, resulting in a 12-fold increase in dogfights since 2004.
And most practitioners — about two of every three — are youths, the Royal SPCA says.
A BBC report quotes RSPCA officials as saying a ban on four breeds, including pit bulls, has done little to slow the spread of dogfighting, or dogs biting people, and that a change in the law is needed.
The new wave of dog fighting, known as “chain fighting” or “rolling,” involves fights held in inner city public parks, on private estates and even in apartment elevators where “young people, often gangs of young people … put two dogs in a lift at the top of the block of flats and will press the button and let the dogs fight until they get to the bottom,” the RPSCA’s Claire Robinson told BBC News. Read more »
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attacks, ban, bites, breed, breeds, chain fighting, dog, dogfighting, dogs, elevators, enforcement, england, fighting, gangs, increase, law, london, parks, rolling, royal spca, rspca, surge, uk, young, youth