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Tag: florida

Stolen pug reunites with owner

Guido the pug was reunited with his owner in Florida on July 4, more than a month after he was stolen.

The dog was inside the car of his owner, Donald Murray, of Lutz, when it was stolen May 29.

Since then Murray has been desperately trying to find him.

Murray’s car was found abandoned behind a grocery store, and an employee at a dry-cleaning business found Guido wandering around. Another employee there, Karlene Rowell, took Guido home and cared for him.

According to WPTV in Palm Beach, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip about the dog that led detectives to the dog’s whereabouts.

When a tip came in, investigators took Murray to Rowell’s house on Tuesday night. He confirmed the dog was Guido.

A sheriff’s spokesman said Rowell and her family were sad to say goodbye, but happy Guido was reunited with Murray.

The sheriff’s office released video of the reunion on Twitter.

Deaf pit bull gets job in law enforcement

A deaf and “unadoptable” dog in Florida is now working in law enforcement in the opposite corner of the country.

Ghost, a pitbull mix, was deemed unadoptable by animal control officials in Florida because of his deafness.

Ghostleashes1A Florida rescue group, Swamp Haven Rescue, assisted in having him moved to Washington state, where he was spotted by longtime dog trainer Barb Davenport, KING5 reported.

Davenport has been training drug search dogs for the state since the 1980s. She says Ghost is the first deaf dog that the state has used in law enforcement — and might be the first in the country.

On the job, Ghost’s handicap may serve as an advantage.

“It seems to make him even more focused,” said Davenport, K-9 Program Manager for the state’s Department of Corrections.

Ghost started searching for drugs inside state prisons and other secure facilities in January.

Already he has located drugs hidden in the prison, officials say.

(Photo: Washington state DSHS)

Sunday’s Puppy Bowl XIV will feature dogs left homeless by hurricanes

tylerThis Sunday’s Puppy Bowl will feature adoptable dogs who were left homeless by natural disasters.

This year, Animal Planet is featuring pups rescued from areas that were devastated by natural disasters last year in Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Mexico.

The network worked with 48 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from 26 U.S. states in putting together the teams for this year’s big game, which will feature the most pups in Puppy Bowl history.

About half of them were victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters who ended up in shelters and rescues — like Tyler (above), who was left homeless by Hurricane Harvey.

Puppy Bowl XIV will air on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. Sunday.

It will also include some special need dogs, like Ryder, a sight-impaired husky; Chance, a deaf dalmatian; Moonshine, a sight-impaired and deaf border collie; and Luna, a Pomeranian mix with a cleft palate.

On Saturday at 8 p.m., Animal Planet will air its first Dog Bowl, featuring more mature dogs in need of homes.

You can learn more about the program, view starting lineups at the Animal Planet website.

Family dog tackles suspect fleeing police

As many times as we’ve reported on police, while responding to a call, shooting and killing a homeowner’s dog, it’s only right to share this story with you — and perhaps remind police that not every dog is their enemy.

This one, named Georgio, turned out to be an ally.

When two suspects trying to outrun Volusia Count sheriff’s deputies cut through a backyard, Georgio leaped up, chased them, and brought one down.

The homeowner, Mario Figueroa, said he was lighting his fire pit when the two men came running through his yard.

“I was standing right there and didn’t even see the gentlemen coming in from behind me,” he told News 6.

The tackle was captured on video from a Volusia County sheriff’s helicopter.

Deputies on foot caught up with and arrested two men, identified as Corey Williams and Deonte Broady.

The two-year-old rescue dog was tethered with a long leash when he brought down the suspect.

“The guys were on his territory and he took them down,” Figueroa said.

Deputies said the men were driving with a stolen tag. After the pursuit began, they ditched the car and were trying to escape on foot.

That’s when they made the mistake of entering Georgio’s yard.

“Yeah, he took him down like a professional police dog,” Figueroa said. “He’s pretty awesome. Georgio just took care of me. He’s a wonderful dog.”

Who needs Disney World when 900 dogs are staying at your hotel?

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If you passed through the lobby of Orlando’s Hyatt Regency a week ago, you might have thought the Westminster Dog Show had a new home.

The hotel estimates it had between 800 and 900 canine guests over the weekend — the vast majority of them belonging to families that were fleeing Hurricane Irma.

irmaAs the hurricane struck Florida’s southern tip, and then its western shores, many residents headed north or east to Orlando for safety and sought refuge in the dog-friendly hotel.
The hotel wasn’t doing anything as noble as offering free shelter, though.

To say it “opened its heart” to evacuees and their dogs — as some reports have put it — is a bit of a leap.

But it did offer paying guests with dogs a break on its normal $150 cleaning fee, dropping it to (an almost reasonable) $50.

irma2Judging from photos of guests and their dogs that were posted on Instagram, the hotel maybe also have relaxed its 50-pound weight limit.

Most of the dogs belonged to families fleeing the hurricane, the Orlando Sentinel reported. But others belonged to families on vacation who either planned to bring their dogs along or brought them along at the last minute, not wanting to leave them behind in kennels when a hurricane was approaching.

The hotel also designated a few areas closer to the hotel entrance where dogs could relieve themselves that were partially sheltered from the wind and rain.

(Photos: Instagram)

Dog park in Key West may have been built atop the graves of about 100 slaves

Small dog park-2 (2)

Out of respect for the dead who might be buried underneath it, a “small dogs” park in Key West will be relocated in the weeks ahead.

A new area for small dogs will be carved out of the existing large dog area that adjoins it, across from Higgs Beach.

Monroe County officials say moving the small dog park was prompted by concerns that humans are “possibly” buried beneath it.

Studies in 2010 found that there were anomalies and “voids” underground that were presumed to be caskets or graves that are serving as the final resting place for some of the nearly 300 African men, women and children who died after being rescued from slave ships in 1860.

About 1,400 were rescued, and most were returned to Africa. About 295 died in Key West and were buried in unmarked graves along the island’s southern shore, according to the Miami Herald.

“The county has always wanted to be respectful of any possible graves beneath the park by creating contemplative green space in our redesign,” said Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers.

“While we may never know with certainty whether graves remain in this area — or if they are graves, whose graves they are — we are taking this step to move the small dog park out of respect. And, we will continue to proceed with respect as the redevelopment moves forward.”

The 2010 study found that as many as 100 graves could be underneath the dog park — almost all of them under the small dog area.

“There are some unmarked graves outside of the dog parks, completely,” Corey Malcom, Director of Archaeology at the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society posted on his Facebook page last week. “There are two inside the Big Dog Park, where it meets the Little Dog Park. But the vast majority are within the Little Dog Park. No one is suggesting the area be closed; it just needs to have a more respectful designation.”

(Photo by Chrissy Collins, from the Miami Herald)

Trainer’s license revoked after racing greyhounds test positive for cocaine

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A well-known trainer in Florida has had his license pulled after five of his racing greyhounds tested positive for cocaine.

Malcolm McAllister, a 40-year veteran of the dog-racing circuit who has been called “a wonderful patiarch of the industry,” had his license revoked by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on April 26.

The 70-year-old trainer at Derby Lane issued a written statement denying any knowledge of how the drugs wound up in the five dogs, underlining the last four words: “It was not me.”

He does not plan to dispute the findings and has waived his right to a hearing.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last week on the findings of an investigation by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Racing.

A sample collected from Flying Tidalwave on Jan. 11 later tested positive for cocaine and benzolecgonine, a compound created when cocaine is metabolized by the liver. A week later, a sample collected from P Kay Sweetmissy would later test positive for benzolecgonine and ecgonine ethyl ester, another cocaine metabolite, records show. Three days later, on Jan. 21, samples collected from four dogs — Kiowa Wellington, Roc A By Sevenup, Flying Microsoft, and another from Flying Tidalwave — would later test positive for cocaine metabolites.

mcallisterAll the dogs were from the kennels of McAllister, and he was listed as official trainer.

In a written statement included in the case file, McAllister expressed “great sadness and disbelief” and denied any knowledge of how the drugs wound up in the dogs’ systems.

Although he was listed as the trainer, he said he was in the process of hiring a new trainer for the kennel and had four “helpers” working for him when the incidents took place

“One of these undesirables had to have either dropped or administered the cocaine,” he wrote.

Greyhound racing is illegal in forty states, and four more have closed tracks and ceased live racing. Only six states still allow pari-mutuel dog racing. They are Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa and West Virginia.

Racing greyhounds routinely receive random drug tests, and finding drugs in their systems is not unheard of. But so many positive tests over a short time span at one kennel at a single track marked a first, said Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, a nonprofit industry watchdog group that seeks to ban racing entirely.

“I’m not sure which is worse, that these were attempts to fix races or that individuals who are responsible for the dogs are doing cocaine,” Theil said. “Both of those are very grave scenarios and raise serious questions about the welfare of the dogs and the integrity of the races at Derby Lane.”

Theil said officials should investigate further to find out how the drugs got into the dogs’ systems.

McAllister began his career in 1980 in Phoenix. He and his wife Barbara, who died in 2014, came to Florida’s Derby Lane in 2005 and dominated for years. During his time at Derby Lane, McAllister has racked up more than 5,400 wins and more than $900,000 in stakes prize money, the Times reported.

Derby Lane issued a statement Friday, saying “Derby Lane promotes responsible racing and provides individual kennel facilities for each greyhound operation contracted to race in St. Petersburg … In a perfect world, there would be no need for rules, but those that don’t comply are dealt with and are not welcome to race at Derby Lane…

“For fans that celebrate the greyhound breed that truly is ‘born to run’ our track will continue to offer responsible racing despite efforts from animal extremists that champion not only the end of the sport, but the end of pet ownership as well.”

(Photos: Derby Lane, and McAllister, from Tampa Bay Times)