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Tag: good samaritan

Feel-good story about homeless man’s reunion with dog took some strange turns

patrick

Getting your Huntsvilles confused is one thing, but one website really screwed the pooch when they published a story about a good Samaritan who helped reunite a homeless man and his dog.

In September, in Huntsville, TEXAS, Wilma Price was driving through a Walmart parking lot when she saw a homeless man holding a sign that said, “Dog in pound. Need help.”

Price, who runs a rescue called Mr. K’s Pet Shelter, stopped to find out his story. She learned the homeless man, named Patrick, had been arrested and jailed for trespassing, and that, because of that, his dog ended up in the animal shelter.

She took Patrick to the shelter, and paid the $120 necessary for him to get his dog — named Franklin — back.

The story was picked up by the website Life with Dogs, CBS News, People.com and many more.

Dozens of other websites reprinted or rewrote it — most of them doing a decent job of passing along the facts.

Then there was the Alabama Observer.

patrick2It reported that the story took place in Huntsville, Alabama, that the dog’s name was Wilbur, that the homeless man’s name was Mark Spencer, and that the good Samaritan’s name was Elizabeth Masterson.

The story had no links to actual news sources, and little attribution.

It wasn’t the only website to get the facts askew, but it was the only one that appeared to be making up entirely new names for everyone involved. At least three other websites published versions of the story with those erroneous names.

One wonders what might be the motivation for substituting illegitimate names into a legitimate story.

Might the exact same story have happened with different people at a Walmart in Huntsville, Alabama? Clearly not. Might the website be trying to cover its rear, legally? Maybe. Might there be something more nefarious going on, such as diverting donations intended for Patrick (whose last name isn’t Spencer) to some guy named Mark Spencer? We hope not. Might a computer program be doing the website’s writing? Highly possible.

Apparently, a bogus Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for Patrick was launched by someone neither Wilma nor Patrick knew, and, using photos from Wilma’s Facebook page, it raised $3,000 before the page was removed from Go Fund Me.

That’s $3,000 Patrick and Franklin didn’t get. Wilma Price, meanwhile, started a campaign for him too, and it has raised more than $15,000 for Patrick on GoFundMe.

Price said Patrick has been helping her organization with rescue efforts since the two met, and her Facebook page documents their adventures together.

Snopes.com looked into the story and couldn’t figure out how or why the Alabama Observer version had new names inserted into it.

There is no contact information on the Alabama Observer’s web site, and no description of who operates it. Snopes reported it appears to accept stories submitted by users, as opposed to having its own reporters or freelancers.

We think there’s a good possibility it’s one of those websites that runs news stories through computer programs that rewrite them (with mixed results, or should I say “stirred outcomes?”).

How else could you explain the opening of this recent Alabama Observer story about clown sightings in Ohio?

“The developing rash of reported dangers including clown-faced villains has law authorization offices crosswise over Ohio and somewhere else attempting to recognize true blue dangers while cautioning deceptions are no giggling matter.”

(Photos courtesy of Wilma Price)

After some zigs and zags, Ziggy is home

ziggy

After a Fresno family shared a post on Facebook about their dog Ziggy going missing, and Ziggy showing up not much later on Craigslist for sale, a good Samaritan said he did what he had to do — buy Ziggy back and return him to his family.

Ziggy, a Maltese, was stolen Friday from a crate in his front yard in Fresno, Calif., his owner, Kris Villasenor, told ABC News.

By Saturday he was returned to the family, by a stranger named Jeremiah Lee.

“I was browsing Facebook the other day and my aunt shared a post about a lost dog,” Lee told ABC News. “I read it and realized that the dog was stolen in my neighborhood.”

Lee made a mental note to keep an eye out for the dog, and followed Villasenor’s post on Fresno’s lost and found pets Facebook page.

When he saw that someone had commented on the post that they had seen the dog listed for sale, and provided a link to the Craigslist ad, Lee took action.

“I texted the number thinking that there was no way that they would respond and just told them that they had broken a little girl’s heart and to do the right thing.”

To Lee’s surprise, the seller answered his text, claiming they had bought Ziggy from a homeless person and had no idea that he was stolen.

While skeptical of that story, Lee met the seller Saturday and paid $40 for the Maltese he had never met.

Lee got in touch with Villasenor through Facebook, informing her he had her dog, and she picked Ziggy up right away.

Villasenor insisted on reimbursing Lee, even though he protested.

“I wanted to help because I would hope that someone would do the same for me,” he said.

“It’s amazing what Jeremiah did just to get the dog back,” Villasenor said. “The kids are super stoked about it. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Stinky update: There’s life in the old boy yet

Time for an update on Stinky Madison, the stray and hopeless dog found in a downtown Baltimore parking lot, and taken in by a good samaritan.

sitnky2In a nutshell, Stinky — who appeared pretty much on death’s doorstep (left) when Matthew Wagner found him, Facebooked him, Craigslisted him, and raised enough money on the Internet and among his co-workers to get him medical attention — is thriving, healthy and available for adoption, as you can see in Matthew’s video (above).

Matthew reports: “Stinky is doing great. He really is getting better every day. He still spends most of his time sleeping in his kennel, but is getting used to having somebody pet him and rub his tummy.

“We’re doing three or four walks a day and he’s been great around my dog, other folks and other dogs. He loves sniffing around in Patterson Park.

stinky3“He’s up for adoption. Kim at the Bulldog Rescue Farm offered to set up a Petfinder page for him.

“I have directed a few people over there to begin the adoption process. I am trying to schedule a visit with some one from Sparks, MD now who has a nice farm were she trains horses.”

Meanwhile, Stinky’s staying with Matthew and his other dog (left).

Interest in Stinky, like the donations that paid for his medical care, have come from as far away as California, but, as of today, no adoption has been finalized.

The Petfinder page describes Stinky, estimated to be about 10,  as  a dog who was “barely able to stand when he was found cold & hungry in a Baltimore parking lot,” but is now “warm and healthy.  Stinky will be a dream dog for almost any family, he’s housebroken, walks great on a leash and is well socialized with both people and other dogs. He’s got a bit of stiffness in his back legs, which should be easily manageable with daily glucosamine, about $17/month.”

Saving Snaps

snaps1An online petition drive is underway to save Snaps, the pit bull we wrote about yesterday. To sign it, go here.

Snaps was being abused by a group of teenagers in the town of SeaTac, Washington, including a member of the family who owns him, when a good samaritan interrupted them.

She, and another good samaritan, were both bitten by the dog, at the urging of the teens.

Charges are pending against the teenagers, who police said were abusing the pit bull to make him more violent.

Original reports said Snaps would be euthanized, but a spokesperson for King County told the B.Town Blog that a decision on the dog’s fate has not been reached.

Because the case is still under investigation, and the dog may be considered evidence, Snaps may spend more than the required 10-day quarantine period in the care of King County Animal Care & Control.

“The laws are such that when a dog causes such severe and multiple bites, it may be declared a “dangerous dog” and is subject to the local regulations regarding confinement, removal from the area, and/or possible euthanasia,” the spokesperson said. “At this point, we also do not know if the owners or the children of the owners spent time “training” the dog to attack or defend, so we would have to be careful and consider the safety of placing it with another family or organization.”

Teens sic pit bull on two good samaritans

snapsA 63-year-old Seattle woman stopped her car when she saw a group of teenagers repeatedly kicking a pit bull in the town of SeaTac. She asked the group — three boys and a girl — what the problem was.

The girl, 15, told her to mind her own business, then walked over to her car, opened the passenger door, pulled the woman out by her hair and started beating her.

As the woman tried to run away, one of the boys ran after her with the dog, which started biting the woman on the arm and legs.

A King County sheriff’s department official said the teenagers were abusing the dog, named Snaps, to make it violent, according to The Seattle Times.

Pretty disgusting. But wait there’s more. Another Seattle woman, 41, saw the attack and followed the group to a nearby park. There, the girl realized the group was being followed and began beating the second woman. The three boys then provoked the dog to bite the second woman on her head, face and arms while the girl assaulted her, the sheriff’s office said.

The second woman was hospitalized, but it’s not known if the first required treatment.

Police said the girl, whose family owns the pit bull, also received medical treatment, having injured her foot from repeatedly kicking the second victim, and being bitten by the dog as well.

The sheriff’s department said the girl, from Burien, will  likely face felony assault charges. The three boys, aged 11, 12 and 13, all from White Center, also could face criminal charges. All four were released to the custody of their parents. The girl’s mother also might face charges because the dog was unlicensed and was out in public without a muzzle, a violation of local animal-control regulations in the city of SeaTac.

The dog was seized by King County animal control and is expected to be euthanized.

(Photo: King County Sheriff’s Office)