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Tag: former

Dogs Deserve Better closes on Vick house

It’s a done deal: Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit group that fights chaining, penning and other forms of cruelty to dogs, has closed on Michael Vick’s old house — the former headquarters of the quarterback’s dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels.

Dogs Deserve Better plans to turn the property in Surry County, Virginia, into a center to rehabilitate and resocialize dogs that have been mistreated and abused, with the hope of finding them adoptive homes.

The name of the facility will be: The Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.

The potential deal, which we told you about in February, became a reality in May, when Dogs Deserve Better raised enough money for the down payment and secured a bank loan to purchase the 4,600-square-foot white brick house and surrounding 15 acres.

The group paid $176,507 as the down payment for the house, liisted at $595,000, and is still raising money to pay for the rest and make improvements.

Once complete, it will be a $2.5 million facility, founder Tamira Thayne said told the Virginian-Pilot.

“Purchasing this property and in effect giving it back to the victims of the abuse that occurred here is a very powerful step for animal advocates and our country’s dogs alike,” said Thayne. “We are sending a message to those who want to abuse and fight dogs that a new day is dawning in America, a day where dogs are treated with the love and respect they deserve as companions to humans.”

The Washington Post had a report on the property’s transition from a place of nightmares to a place of hope earlier this month.

Dogs Deserve Better, which will move from its Pennsylvania base to Virginia,  has never had a facility of its own, but it says it has rescued and rehomed more than 3,000 dogs during its existence.

Dogs Deserve Better says having the facililty in a house will help in socializing the dogs it takes in. The group hopes to rescue and rehabilitate 500 dogs a year.

Thayne said that, in addition to welcoming visitors, Dogs Deserve Better will also build a memorial on the property for the dogs who died and suffered there, according to Dogster.com.

For more information on the purchase, the plans and how you can donate, visit the website of Dogs Deserve Better.

Newt’s strip club VIP card is in the mail

Newt Gingrich has been issued a lifetime VIP card by an upscale Dallas strip club, entitling him to free admission, preferred seating, free auto detailing, steak and lobster dinners and access to the the club’s “intimate members-only lounge.”

The owner of The Lodge, Dawn Rizos, thought it was the least she could do after Gingrich — who awarded, then snubbed her last year — got in touch with her again through American Solutions, his conservative “citizens action network,” sending her an unsolicited membership card and requesting a $2,000 donation.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Last year, Rizos was informed that her gentlemen’s club — doing business as DCG, Inc. — had been selected to receive one of the American Solutions “Entrepeneur of the Year” awards for is efforts to stimulate the economy.

Gingrich invited Rizos to a private dinner in Washington to receive the award, provided she made the requested $5,000 donation, which she did.

The week before the event, though, American Solutions realized they had accidentally bestowed the award on a strip club, and rescinded the invitation. The organization refunded the $5,000 to Rizos, who donated it to an animal rescue organization — specifically to create a shelter for pit bulls, which was dubbed “Newt’s Nook.”

This week, apparently not having learned from the mistake, American Solutions, under the signature of Gingrich, sent Rizos an unsolicited membership card and again asked her for money.

The letter referred to Rizos as “a key member of our American Solutions family of supporters” and added, “Will you enclose a special year-end contribution of $1,000, or even as much as $2,000, to American Solutions, Ms. Rizos?”

The letter said the money would go toward American Solution’s mission — more important than ever since “the resounding rejection of Barack Obama’s leftist ideology and governing policies on Nov. 2.”

“Thanks to  members like you, American Solutions played a critical role in helping create this year’s sea-change election,” the letter said. ”But our most important role now lies ahead of us … helping our newly elected officials lead the country to a future of jobs and prosperity.”

The letter, which carried Gingrich’s return address, included a facsimile of the membership card he said was on its way. Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, is general chairman of American Solutions.

Rizos said she will hold off making a new donation to Gingrich until they can discuss last year’s disinvitation. Instead, she said, she is sending him, at no charge, a Lifetime VIP membership card to The Lodge – with all the perks and privileges – which the club says is worth $2,000.

“His letter included an American Solutions membership card with my name on it, so I’m very happy to reciprocate,” she said. “It’s just a temporary card right now, but I promise we will have the permanent one waiting for him at the door.”

(Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as suggesting Newt Gingrich has ever been to The Lodge. But Ace and I have.)

Of Newt Gingrich, strip clubs and pit bulls

thelodgeWhat do they have in common? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But here’s a hilarious story, with a happy ending, that involves all three.

It all began in September when Dallas businesswoman Dawn Rizos learned she was to receive an  “Entrepreneur of the Year” award  from American Solutions for Winning the Future, a conservative group led by Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker.

Rizos didn’t think it all that odd that the organization would be honoring her business, legally known as DCG, Inc., but doing business as The Lodge, one of the finest strip clubs (I’m told) in all of Dallas.

American Solutions — designed to “rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship to provide real, significant solutions to the most important issues facing our country” — was one of the big pushers of that national tea party, and it serves as the political arm of Gingrich’s empire as author, pundit and consultant .

The fax from American Solutions explained that Rizos was being honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” for her “success in building [her] business and recognition of the risks you take to create jobs and stimulate the economy.”

But apparently American Solutions didn’t know that Rizos’ DCG was stimulating more than the economy; it had sent the fax to the wrong DCG. (In point of fact, The Lodge does stimulate the economy, as well,  with 150 employees, and contracts with an additional 570 dancers or entertainers, one of whom they award with a college scholarship annually.)

Winning the award from the conservative think (but don’t double check) tank, came with a $5,000 fee, payable to American Solutions (a mailed check, since Newt doesn’t wear a garter belt), and for that Rizos would have had the chance to “dine privately with Newt,” and have his ear on ways to “turn this country around.”

Rizos paid, and she booked an airline reservation as well.

Then the conservative group learned they had honored the way wrong company, stripped The Lodge of the award, and promised to pay Rizos back the fee and what she had paid for the airline ticket.

Now, the owner of the topless club has decided to pass that refunded money on to Animal Guardians of America’s sanctuary for rescued dogs in Celina, about 35 miles north of Dallas. It will be to use to build a shelter for pit bulls and named in honor of the former House speaker, the Associated Press reported. 

“Newt’s Nook — A Home for Pit Bulls” is now under construction.

Rizos says she’ll invite Gingrich to the formal dedication in early November.

Former French president’s dog gets new home

chiracsumoFormer French President Jacques Chirac has found a new home for his Maltese terrier, Sumo, after the tiny dog attacked him for a third time.

In the most recent incident, Sumo is reported to have bitten Chirac in the stomach in their Paris apartment, the BBC reported.

Used to roaming the large gardens of the Elysee Palace, the tiny dog was treated for depression after Chirac retired and the family downsized to an apartment on the Quai Voltaire, according to Chirac’s wife, Bernadette.

In January, Chirac had to be hospitalized after the dog sank his teeth into an unnamed body part. In the latest attack, Sumo had been lying quietly at Mrs. Chirac’s feet but flew into a violent rage on the approach of her husband, leaping into the air and biting his stomach.

“I was very scared because there was blood. It’s terrible, the small teeth like that. He was going wild. He wanted to jump up and bite again,” said Mrs. Chirac, who made the final decision to send Sumo to a farm in the French countryside.