That dog-themed mural painted on the side of an Arlington, Virginia grooming shop is being painted over, but the owner of the shop says a new one will go up — one she assures won’t be construed, like the first one, as advertising.
The whimsical, 960-square-foot mural on the side of Wag More Dogs ran alongside the Shirlington dog park, and was commissioned by store owner Kim Houghton for $4,000 shortly before the shop opened in 2010.
Even before the opening, Arlington decided the mural was not art, but advertising. Given city rules permit signs of only 60 square feet, they ordered it reduced or covered.
Houghton covered the mural with a blue tarp and sued Arlington in federal court.
In February 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued a 31-page opinion, siding with Arlington.
The judge concluded that Houghton “cannot reasonably assert that the dog mural is anything other than a business sign, erected as part of a business strategy to advertise and promote the Wag More Dogs brand.”
Houghton, a former advertising representative for The Washington Post, appealed, but this May the 4th Circuit federal appeals court upheld Brinkema’s decision.
Houghton’s attorney said this week that he disagreed with that decision.
“Today, Arlington County has muzzled free speech. If the mural displayed cats, dragons or ponies, it would be fine,” he told the Washington Post. No further appeals are planned, he said.
Houghton started painting over the mural Tuesday.
“I’m sad to see the mural that was an expression of my joy of being on this dog park, of my love of dogs, be wiped out, after a long struggle,” she said.
She said a new mural would replace it, free of commercial content, and unrelated to the shop, which grooms and boards dogs. The original mural contained some of the same cartoon dogs in her company’s logo.
(Photo: Tom Jackman / The Washington Post)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertisement, animals, arlington, art, boarding, court, dog park, dogs, federal, freedom of speech, groomer, grooming, kim houghton, mural, over, painting, pets, removing, ruling, shirlington, sign, virginia, wag more dogs
The story is far from over — and there’s still a lawsuit to be resolved — but Snickers the pitbull is back for now in Aurelia, Iowa.
The dog, who helps former Chicago police officer Jim Sak cope with the effects of a stroke, was reunited with him Thursday after a two week absence.
Aurelia ordered Snickers out of town because of its ban against pit bulls, and after a city council vote to not make an exception to the rule for Sak.
Sak says, “He’s a part of me. This right side don’t work, but he does.”
A federal judge ruled that Sak can keep his dog in Aurelia until Sak’s lawsuit is decided.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aurelia, ban, breed, breed-specific, chicago, disabilities, dog, federal, injunction, iowa, jim sak, judge, laws, lawsuit, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, returned, reunion, service, snickers, video
Michael Vick appeared at a news conference in Washington today to announce his support for federal legislation that would make it a federal crime to organize and attend animal fighting events.
“I deeply regret my previous involvement in dogfighting, I’m sorry for what I did to the animals,” Vick, who served 20 months for dogfighting, told today’s news conference. “During my time in prison, I told myself I wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Vick was accompanied by Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has teamed up with the organization in an anti-dogfighting campaign.
The House bill, introduced last week, would establish federal misdemeanor penalties against convicted spectators, and make it a felony for adults to bring children to such events.
At the Capitol Hill news conference, organizers played some local television news coverage showing illicit cockfights, according to CNN.
“This is what our kids are being taught, and it’s inhumane and it’s pointless, Vick said after the video was shown.
The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (H.R. 2492) was introduced by Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, and Betty Sutton, D-Ohio. Sutton was at the news conference, along with Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia, who is among the co-sponsors.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal fighting, animal fighting spectator prohibition act, betty sutton, cockfighting, dogfighting, federal, hsus, legislation, michael vick, news conference, organizers, spectators, tom marino, wayne pacelle
Police still haven’t released the name of the officer who shot a Siberian husky at a Severn dog park, but two Anne Arundel County prosecutors have been assigned to work with police on the continuing investigation.
Bear-Bear was shot Aug. 2 at the private dog park in the Quail Run community by a civilian police officer employed by the Army at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia. The officer told police his leashed German shepherd was attacked by Bear-Bear.
One of the prosecutors assigned to investigate whether charges should be brought against the officer is Kimberly DiPietro, who handles the office’s animal cruelty cases and other matters relating to animals.
DiPietro told the Baltimore Sun there are two issues: whether the shooter had a right to carry a weapon, and whether the shooting of the pet violated the law.
The weapon used in the shooting was the man’s personal weapon, police said.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anne arundel county, army, bear-bear, charges, dog parks, dogs, federal, german shepherd, government, investigation, news, officer, pets, police, prosecutors, shooting, shot, siberian husky
The off-duty federal police officer who shot and killed a Siberian husky he claims attacked his German shepherd in a Severn dog park has been placed on administrative leave.
Police in Anne Arundel County are still declining to identify the 32-year-old officer, and the officer’s attorney would not release his name either, citing threats against his client.
Attorney David Putzi says the Department of Defense officer shot the 3-year-old husky known as Bear-Bear in defense of his dog, himself and his wife, according to the Associated Press. Putzi says Bear-Bear attacked the officer’s German shepherd and that the husky’s owners “could not or would not” control their pet.
Police say the officer fired his personal handgun.
About 50 people, including Bear-Bear’s owner and her family attended a memorial for the dog at the Quail Run Dog Park last night, according to the Baltimore Sun blog, “Unleashed.”
The blog reported that consideration will be given to renaming the park in Bear-Bear’s honor.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anne arundel, attorney, bear-bear, david putzi, department of defense, dog park, dogs, federal, german shepherd, government, killed, leave, officer, parks, pets, quail run, severn, shooting, shot, siberian husky
Authorities in Anne Arundel County say they won’t file charges against a federal officer who entered an off-leash dog park with his leashed German shepherd and shot a Siberian husky who he thought was playing too roughly with his dog.
Bear-Bear, a 3-year-old brown and white husky, was playing in the Quail Run dog park at about 6:30 p.m. Monday when the officer and his wife arrived with a German shepherd, who was kept on a leash.
According to the Baltimore Sun, when the dogs began to play roughly, the federal officer asked Bear-Bear’s guardian — the brother of the dog’s owner – to call off the dog. Then, seconds later, he pulled out a gun and shot Bear-Bear.
Bear-Bear died of his injuries a few hours later.
Anne Arundel County police, astonishingly, have not named the federal officer, and — equally astonishingly — say no charges will be filed against him. No further investigation appears to be taking place.
“I’ve been bawling my eyes out since 7 p.m. last night,” Rachel Rettaliata, Bear-Bear’s owner, told the Sun. “It’s grief mixed with anger. We’re so angry this guy was able to take our animal for what we feel was no reason at all…We still don’t believe that he’s gone. We just want so badly to be diligent about this. [The officer] has to pay some sort of consequence for his foolishness.”
Rettaliata adopted Bear-Bear about two years ago from a husky rescue. He’d been seized from a Delaware home where people had tied him up outside and neglected him.
Bear-Bear was a regular at the dog park in Quail Run, a community of townhomes. Neighbors say the park is generally an easygoing place where well-mannered dogs play with one another.
“I’ve never personally seen him be aggressive toward any dog or human or anything, for that matter,” Tarnna Hernandez, who lives two doors down from the Rettaliatas, told the Sun.
“I have not seen that dog hurt anyone. Or snarl. He’s never even barked,” she said. “His only way was to get out a gun out and shoot him? Uh-uh. It’s completely unbelievable.”
The manager of the homeowner’s association, Dorothy Pearce, called the shooting “tragic…A community of homeowners with children playing around should not have gun-crazy, off-duty policemen shooting in their area, especially a dog in a controllable situation.”
According to Rettaliata, Bear-Bear didn’t cry out when shot. “He just went and laid down,” she said.
Carolyn Kilborn, chairwoman of Maryland Votes for Animals, based in Annapolis, said the case should be further investigated.
“The killing of the dog in Severn is a sad situation that should be investigated carefully to determine if the incident was caused by a dangerous dog or a dangerous person,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anne arundel, anne arundel county, bear-bear, citizens, complain, dog, dog park, facebookk page, federal, german shepherd, investigation, justice, killed, killing, leash, leashed, maryland, no charges, off-leash, officer, play, quail run, quail run dog park, rachel rettaliata, rettaliata, rought, severn, shooting, shot, siberian husky, unnamed
Bulldogs, pugs, and other short-of-snout breeds accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data shows.
Overall, 122 dog deaths — 108 of them purebreds — were reported between May 2005, when U.S. airlines were required to start disclosing them, and May 2010, the Transportation Department says.
All the dogs died while being shipped as cargo, as opposed to flying in the cabin.
English bulldogs accounted for the highest number, with 25 deaths. Second highest were pugs, 11 of which died. Seven golden retrievers, six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers died while flying as cargo in that period. And boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians accounted for two deaths each.
You can see the full list here.
The Department of Transportation says dog owners should consult with veterinarians before putting their dogs on planes. It believes that the deaths represent a tiny percentage of the pets shipped on airlines.
Short-nose breeds — known as “brachycephalic” — in addition to being less tolerant of heat, have a skull formation that affects their airways, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee, told the Associated Press.
“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration, either just panting or the action of breathing in or out, is a method of heat exchange for them,” Bandy said. “A dog that has a long snout or a long muzzle has more surface area within its nasal cavity for that heat exchange to take place. So breeds like labradors or collies or those types of dogs with the long muzzles have a more efficient cooling system.”
Bandy said that in addition to trying to cool themselves, dogs may also pant excessively in the cargo hold because of stress or excitement. But he believes dogs shouldn’t be given tranquilizers before flying because that makes them less able to manage their own cooling process. In addition, airlines generally do not want pets tranquilized, he added.
In all, 144 pet deaths were reported by airlines over the past five years, along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airline, animals, boxers, bulldogs, cargo, deaths, dog, dogs, federal, flight, flights, flying, government, health, length, news, nose, pekingese, pets, pugs, purebred, risk, safety, short, snout, transportation, travel
Investigators say the Department of Agriculture often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn’t adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs, the Associated Press reported.
In one case cited by the department’s inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility– after inspectors had visited the facility repeatedly and cited it for violations.
The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found that more than half of those breeders who had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that USDA will take immediate action. “USDA will reinforce its efforts under its animal welfare responsibilities, including tougher penalties for repeat offenders and greater consistent action to strongly enforce the law,” he said.
Federal investigators uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills around the country where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to the report.
The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.
The investigators visited 68 dog breeders and dog brokers in eight states that had been cited for at least one violation in the previous three years. They found that first-time violators and even repeat offenders were rarely penalized.
“The agency believed that compliance achieved through education and cooperation would result in long-term dealer compliance and, accordingly, it chose to take little or no enforcement action against most violators,” the report said.
In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and “other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.”
Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the report confirms what animal rights groups have been pointing out for for years.
“Enforcement is flaccid, the laws are weak and reform needs to happen,” he said. “We have long criticized having the animal welfare enforcement functions within a bureaucracy dedicated to promoting American agriculture. There’s a built-in conflict of interest.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animals, breeders, breeding, cannibalism, conditions, deaths, department, dogs, dying, enforcement, feces, federal, government, humane society of the united states, inspector general, lax, news, offenders, offenses, ohmidog!, pets, puppy mills, repeat, report, usda, wayne pacelle
Steven Romero pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the death of Buddy, a stolen German shepherd mix who was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in the Colorado National Monument.
While the charge carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine, it was expected that prosecutors would offer a reduced sentence in exchange for his guilty plea.
Buddy was found dead on Dec. 30. Romero is accused of putting a rope around the dog’s neck and driving until the dog was dead.
Romero, 38, will remain in custody until his sentencing, scheduled for July 30, according to 9News.
“It’s a good day for animal lovers and I’m happy to see this happen. It was the right thing for him to do to accept responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Meyer said.
Prosecutors say Romero’s sister, 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart, stole the pup from a pickup truck in Fruita and told him to “get rid” of it. Lockhart faces a felony charge for lying to investigators. She will appear in court on May 10 in Grand Junction.
A Facebook page was created in the wake of Buddy’s death. It is called “Demand Justice for Buddy” and has more than 260,000 members around the world.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, buddy, colorado, colorado national monument, court, deal, death, dog, dragged, dragging, facebook, federal, fruita, grand junction, justice for buddy, melissa lockhart, monument, news, ohmidog!, pets, plea, steven romero, stolen
Robert Holloway went to a Virginia PetSmart to pick up some bird seed and dog food.
Instead, he slipped on a pile of dog poop in the pet-friendly store, hurting his back and knocking out four of his false teeth.
Now he wants $1 million, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. PetSmart and its employees “negligently allowed animals to enter the premises and deposit feces in such a manner as to create a dangerous and hazardous condition,” his lawsuit states.
PetSmart has filed an initial reply stating that the store and its manager that day were not negligent in the accident. Pet accidents are a fact of life in its stores, where leashed pets are welcome, a company spokeswoman told the Virginian-Pilot.
Holloway, of Poquoson, went to a Newport News PetSmart on Jan. 18, 2009. While he didn’t fall to the floor after slipping, his body twisted violently and he smacked his head against something nearby, his lawyer said. As a result, Holloway, 70, who already had back problems, had to have surgery.
A spokeswoman for PetSmart, the largest pet specialty retailer in the country, said employees are trained to clean up messes and customers are encouraged to clean up after their pets. Every store has “oops” stations, clearly marked, with clean-up supplies. “They’re animals. There’s always going to be accidents,” she said.
A similar suit was filed by a woman who slipped and fell in dog urine at the same store. The judge ruled against her, saying the woman failed to show that any store employee knew there was urine on the floor.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, court, dogs, fall, feces, federal, lawsuit, newport news, news, ohmidog!, one million dollars, pet, pets, petsmart, poop, retail, robert holloway, slip, slip and fall, slipped, store, sued, suing, urine, virginia, waste