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Tag: feud

Not just any dog can be a bar dog

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There’s nothing, in my view, that can make a neighborhood bar more homey than having its own dog.

You’ve likely met the bar dog. Though not a breed, he or she has particular characteristics: A laid back, borderline lazy demeanor; a 100 percent friendly disposition; a tendency to be large and situate him or herself in such a way to block the maximum amount of traffic.

The bar dog happily greets customers, but does not jump on them. The bar dog lusts after what you might be eating, but does not snatch it out of your hand. The bar dog is sociable, generally well behaved and not the least bit hyperactive. He goes with the flow.

My dog Ace (on the left in the picture above, taken at a bar in North Carolina) served as a surrogate bar dog for a while at a corner bar in Baltimore. (Bar dogs must also love bars, and Ace, being a reflection of his owner, does.)

At the Idle Hour in South Baltimore, Ace unofficially filled in after the owner’s dog, Higgins — now there was a bar dog — passed away.

Ace, it seemed, was born to be a bar dog. At the Idle Hour, there was no one he didn’t want to meet and greet and spend a while sitting next to, but he wasn’t prone to jumping up, or licking faces — unless such action was requested.

Not every dog has what it takes to be a bar dog.

vaughnThe jury is still out, for instance — literally and figuratively — on Vaughn, a hyperactive Doberman who frequents two Washington, D.C., bars operated by his owner.

Mark Thorp, who owns Vaughn — and who owns Little Miss Whiskey’s on H Street and Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club on Bladensburg Road –says his dog is big, and active, and harmless.

But two customers have sued Thorp, claiming otherwise.

Kathleen Moran says she was sitting on a couch at Jimmy Valentine’s one night in July 2015 when Vaughn bit her face, causing “gashes to the outside of her eye, cheek, and lip.”

In an earlier lawsuit, a customer at Little Miss Whiskey’s claimed Vaughn bit her face.

Thorp said both the lawsuits and other legal troubles stem for an ongoing neighborhood feud.

Thorp was arrested in February of 2015 on drug and animal cruelty charges — both of which he claimed were trumped up charges he thinks stem from his beef with a neighborhood official he successfully sued for libel for remarks she made about one of his establishments.

It’s a long, involved story that’s not too related to our point, but you can find a synopsis in the Washingtonian.

Numerous legal matters are still pending, but Thorp, who temporarily lost custody of Vaughn, now has him back.

And, legal issues aside, maybe it would best to not allow him to freely roam the bars — at least not until he becomes better schooled in how to be a bar dog.

A bar dog, like a bartender, should be compassionate, calm, patient and mellow. He must show up when you want him to. And go away when you want him to.

Unleashing just any dog in just any bar is a mistake — and one that might come with costs.

Ace never had a problem — or caused any, at least that I’m aware of — at the Idle Hour. A lot of that was because it was among, since puppyhood, his top three places to be.

When, years later, I did a little bartending myself, and brought him along to the golf club where I worked, his behavior was always exemplary.

So, yes, I’m all for bar dogs. They can make a place seem like home. They can make a laid back bar even more laid back. They can promote bonding and conversation and help lower an entire room’s blood pressure.

But they should be chosen carefully, have the right personality, and be able to stay within certain boundaries.

Then and only then can they do what they were meant to do — make us all chill out, get along, and not sue each other.

(Photos: Top photo, Ace and friends at Recreation Billiards in Winston-Salem; bottom photo of Vaughn from his Twitter page)

How does that Second Commandment go?

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There doesn’t seem to be much loving of thy neighbor going on around Anderson Valley Christian Church in rural Indiana.

Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies arrived there Sunday after reports of gunfire and explosions, found a decapitated dog hanging in front of a nearby cross, and unearthed a bit of a feud between a church elder and a former churchgoer.

14 News reported that former churchgoer Damian McBride, who lives next door to the church, suspects a church member was responsible for poisoning his dog.

To send a message, McBride said, he used a piece of heavy equipment to hoist his dog’s headless carcass into the air in front of a large stone cross on his family’s property.

Just in time for it to be seen by families arriving for worship at the church, about 50 feet away.

(The dog’s head had been removed during a necropsy, and the body was later returned to the family.)

churchMcBride has been engaged in a feud with at least one church elder, Daniel Madden, for several months.

Madden claims he was once bitten by one of McBride’s dogs, but the case was thrown out in court.

The McBrides say they suspect Madden or some other church member is responsible for poisoning their dog Bruno — their fourth pet to be poisoned, they claim.

The necropsy results are not in yet, but McBride said he found hot dogs in his driveway and what appeared to be rat poison.

Madden said thinking a church member would harm McBride’s dog was ridiculous.

“There’s not a person in this church who would do something like this,” he said.

“I’m kind of lost for words,” he said. “Hanging a dead dog on a cross that Jesus died on for me and you and everybody else, that’s sad.”

Madden said attendance at services has dropped by half since troubles began with the neighbor.

Deputies say the investigation is continuing. No charges were filed Sunday because the gunfire that drew authorities there came from the home, and the guns were never pointed at the church, according to Dubois County Free Press.

The dog’s body was covered with a blanket and strapped to the cross Sunday — apparently after sheriff’s deputies arrived. On Monday, the dog was still there.

McBride said he used to attend services at the church every Sunday but is now banned from the property.

McBride says two of his cats and two of his dogs have now died mysteriously.

“I just don’t want anyone else’s dogs to be poisoned or killed and I want the people that poisoned by dogs to go to jail,” he said.

(Photos: Dubois County Free Press)