The movie based on the story of a dog whose mistreatment led to changes in North Carolina’s animal cruelty laws had its world premiere in Winston-Salem over the weekend.
“Susie’s Hope” kicked off the RiverRun International Film Festival Saturday, and if you missed that showing there are two more — Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Hanesbrands Theatre, and Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Main Theatre at UNC School of the Arts.
Susie, a pit bull mix, became a poster puppy for fighting animal abuse when she was found burned, beaten and close to death in Greensboro’s Greenfield Park in 2009.
The woman who adopted her, Donna Lawrence, was once a pit bull victim.
Lawrence began feeding a dog near her home in High Point whose owners had moved away. After several days, the dog attacked her, latching on to her left leg and going for her throat before she was able to push it away and seek help. The wound left her bone exposed, and she’d receive 45 stitches.
She didn’t blame the animal: “I blame the owners who turned their dog into what it was,” she writes on the movie’s website. “Their neglect and abuse made their dog fearful and territorial.”
The attack left Lawrence, a long-time dog lover, with a fear of dogs and nightmares, even after her physical recovery.
“Then one day I met Susie, and she changed my life forever,” Lawrence writes. “So now you can see Susie and I shared something in common: she was a pit bull mix that had been had been tortured by a human and I was viciously attacked by a pit bull just a few months before we met. Our similar experiences allowed us to go from being victims to living victorious lives. I forgave the dog for my wrongful attack, and Susie forgave the human for hers.”
She was found with second- and third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, a broken jaw, her teeth knocked out and her ears all but burned away. Her wounds were infested with maggots and she’d been surviving by eating sticks and drinking from mud puddles.
Lawrence and Susie would go on to foster awareness of animal abuse and push for increased penalties for the crime. Susie would become a therapy dog and a Canine Good Citizen.
In 2010, the state legislature passed Susie’s Law, which increased the penalty for anyone who “maliciously” kills an animal by “intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, and raised the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Susie’s abuser received a sentence of 4-6 months in jail for burning personal property and a 4-5 month suspended sentence for animal cruelty.
Susie — though a puppy portrays her in her younger years — plays herself in the movie.
Filmed locally, the movie has some actors you might recognize – Emmanuelle Vaugier, best known as Charlie’s ex-fiance Mia on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” plays Lawrence; Burgess Jenkins (“Remember the Titans”) plays Roy Lawrence; and, in our favorite bit of casting, Jon Provost (Timmy from the TV show “Lassie”) plays state Sen. Don Vaughan, who sponsored the bill that became Susie’s Law.
(Photo: Courtesy of Susieshope.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animal cruelty, animal shelter, animals, attack, burned, dog, dogs, donna lawrence, Emmanuelle Vaugier, felony, film festival, fire, found, greensboro, guilford county, jon provost, lassie, law, movie, neglected, north carolina, park, pets, pit bull, pitbull, premiere, river run, riverrun, set on fire, susie, susie's law, susies hope, timmy, victim, winston-salem
Once called H.D. — for Homeless Dog — and now known as Bear-Bear, a chow mix has been living for years with the homeless who come, go and camp along the railroad tracks on the southern edge of downtown Greensboro.
Greensboro News-Record columnist Jeri Rowe says it has been at least four years since he first noticed Bear-Bear — a reclusive sort, a bit skittish when it comes to outsiders — and some say she has been around for as many as eight.
“I’ve tried to get close,” Rowe wrote in a column about the dog yesterday. “Can’t. She runs away and disappears like the wind. But minutes later, she’ll reappear out of nowhere — staring, making sure I don’t get anywhere close … Bear-Bear is like an afternoon shadow. She bobs and weaves in between the spindly oaks beside the homeless camp and disappears only to come back minutes later, atop her knoll of dirt to lie in the sun.”
Bear-Bear serves as guardian and mascot of the homeless encampment and, in exchange, gets enough handouts to survive — like dog biscuits, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper and whatever else her human counterparts might be able to scrounge up, Rowe noted:
“She fascinates me. She’s beautiful with a thick coat of fur that shines black, brown, cinnamon and cream in the winter sun…But what gets me is … that the very people who desperately need help are the very people who help her.”
Rowe writes that he ran into the dog most recently while attending a seminar on homelessness at the Interactive Resource Center, which provides services to the needy, sometimes more than 250 of them a day.
Rowe talked with one of Bear-Bear’s caretakers — a 48-year-old man who has gout in both legs, walks with a cane,and has a bad heart. The first time they met, Rowe wrote, the man, named Keith, wore a t-shirt that said “Don’t Analyze Me. It’s a Deep Dark Hole, and You Don’t Want To Go There.”
Keith lives in a tent near the hole Bear-Bear sleeps in, and shares his food with her:
“I’m out here, and I get help, so why not help her?” Keith told him. “Ain’t an abundant supply of wild animals to eat, and we know she has to eat. We feed her. Everybody loves her…
“She is pretty smart. She has survived like we have, and you know, it goes to show you, it don’t make no difference how hard it gets. You can still survive through thick and thin.”
(Photo: H. Scott Hoffman / Greensboro News-Record)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bear, bear-bear, camp, chow, column, columnist, dog, dogs, greensboro, guardian, hd, homeless, homeless dog, jeri row, mascot, news-record, north carolina, pets
Although still largely unavailable and heavily restricted for humans, stem cell treatments for dogs are becoming quicker, cheaper and more common.
Just ask an 8-year-old mutt named Jake, who, injured in pursuit of a UPS truck, underwent the procedure Tuesday in Winston-Salem.
The treatment involves siphoning off belly fat, isolating, filtering and condensing the cells, then injecting them into the area where the problem exists — in Jake’s case, his rear knee joints.
Where once the cells had to be sent to a laboratory before they were ready for injection, some veterinarians are using a new technology, developed by Kentucky-based MediVet-America, that allows the therapy to be done in one day without the stem-cell samples leaving the clinic.
The cost of the procedure has also dropped, from about $3,000 to as low as $1,800, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
At University Animal Hospital in Greensboro, about 20 grams of fat from Jake’s belly were harvested and placed in a small jar, and, after being isolated and concentrated, injected back into Jake, a beagle mix.
Stem cells can spark new tissue growth in the body, and they aren’t likely to be rejected, as sometimes happens with donor cells.
For humans, it’s a little harder to secure stem cell therapy, at least in this country. Among those who have benefitted from it is presidential candidate Rick Perry. Perry’s stem cells were harvested by RNL Bio.
That’s the same South Korea-based company that clones dogs, and which has successfully cloned them from the stem cells in fat.
(So if the day comes that Rick Perry is campaigning simultaneously on the West Coast and East Coast, don’t be too surprised. We jest. Or do we?)
Those human treatments that do take place have mostly been through experimental programs, or in cases in which patients have traveled to countries where the procedure is legal. About a dozen companies in America are now offering it, but some believe a crackdown by the FDA, whose regulations permit only “minimal manipulation” of harvested cells, is imminent.
For animals, the treatment is a little less controversial and easier to accomplish.
Dr. Christine Hunt, Jake’s veterinarian, said the dog — between his injury and arthritis — was a prime candidate for the procedure. Other treatments, including acupuncture and physical therapy, had been of little help.
Hunt has been certified in stem-cell therapy for about three years but hadn’t used the therapy, partly because the cells had to be shipped to the West Coast to be prepared.
Jake was the second dog to undergo stem cell therapy at the Greensboro clinic. The first, a 7-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi named Riot, owned by veterinarian Catherine Markijohn, underwent the same therapy this month for back spasms, arthritis and other problems.
Markijohn said that two weeks after the procedure, Riot, is moving much more normally.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, cells, christine hunt, cloning, costs, cure, dog, dogs, fat, greensboro, health, humans, injection, jake, medivet-america, mix, procedure, reinjection, rick perry, RNL Bio, stem cell therapy, stem cells, treatment, university animal hospital, veterinarian, veterinary, winston-salem
We took you last month to the court hearing for one of the two owners accused of letting him nearly starve to death in his own back yard.
That neglect — while it led to him losing the use of his front legs — also led to a proposed law that bears his name, one that would make neglect easier to prove in court.
Since his day in court — Chamberlin was there to see his former owner get a 30-day jail sentence – he has become a poster boy, and received a fancy new set of wheels.
Donated by RUFF ROLLIN’, a Bozeman, Montana company owned by Jason and Sierra Christofferson, the new device makes a big difference in his ability to get around, according to staff at the Guilford County Animal Shelter, where Chamberlin continues to live.
You can keep up on the latest developments in his busy life on his Facebook page
Chamberlin’s Law would change language in North Carolina’s animal welfare statute to require proof that an animal has been “recklessly” neglected. Currently prosecutors must prove the neglect was “malicious” or “intentional.”
It would also set minimum standards for the shelter dogs who live outside must have.
The proposed law allows judges to prohibit those convicted of animal neglect from having custody of animals, and allows judges to order convicted animal abusers to receive a psychiatric or psychological evaluation.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, adopt, adoption, animals, chamberlin, chamberlin's law, disabilities, dogs, greensboro, guilford county animal shelter, law, neglect, pets, poster, rescue, shelter, wheels
The dog was picked up after an anonymous call to animal control.
He’s now in the care of the Guilford County Animal Shelter.
Executive Director Marsha Williams told Fox News that the hound mix was found at a small apartment complex off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Chemical and powder residue were found on the three-month-old dog, samples of which were sent to Greensboro police, Williams said.
The dog may have been burned a week or two ago, Williams said.
Other than the burns, the dog, who has been named Hoyt, looked healthy and had no broken bones, Williams said.
Shelter veterinarians have performed skin grafts, wrapped the dog in burn bandages, and given him pain medicine and antibiotics, she said.
“He’s in a lot of pain,” Williams said. “He’s a real sweet dog.”
News 14 reported that the puppy’s caretaker, Anthony Jones, said he had found the dog and was caring for it when one day the dog became disoriented. He said the burns couldhave resulted from a pet shampoo he used on the dog.
Jones said he called animal control to have them come get the dog, but didn’t tell them he was the pet’s owner because he didn’t want to be responsible for paying for its medical care.
Hoyt’s case is the first of its kind this year. Last year, a Pomeranian mix named Bailey was found burned, the third such case in a 13-month period.
Hoyt is being treated with money donated to Susie’s Fund, which was created in 2009 after the dog the fund is named after was badly burned. Her case led to the legislature approving stricter penalties for animal abuse cases.
The shelter is hosting a “Bark & Wine” fundraiser from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Dog-Gone Fun at 203 Berry Garden Road in Kernersville. Tickets cost $20, and all proceeds go to Susie’s Fund.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, burned, burns, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, greensboro, guilford county animal shelter, hoyt, pets, puppy, susies fund, third degree, tied, tree
A statue of the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ beloved bat dog, Babe, was stolen by thieves who left only her paws behind, team officials announced Tuesday.
Miss Babe Ruth, to use her full name, is renowned for grabbing players bats after their appearance at the plate. The statue of her was located on the southeast corner of the minor league team’s stadium.
“It is really sad that someone would steal the statue of Babe,” said Grasshoppers President and General Manager Donald Moore. “At every game, kids clamor to sit on that bench with Babe and Guilford.” (A statue of Guilford the Grasshopper, the team’s official mascot, also sits on the bench.)
Team officials called it “a malicious act of vandalism.”
They plan to have the statue replaced, but say that will take weeks.
The team has offered $1,000 for information leading to the thief’s arrest and conviction, according to WFMY.
The statue of Babe, a black Labrador retriever, was stolen over the weekend while the team was playing in Savannah, Ga.
(Top Photo: WFMY)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, babe, baseball, bat dog, dog, dogs, grasshoppers, greensboro, greensboro grasshoppers, mascot, mascots, minor league, miss babe ruth, newbridge bank park, north carolina, paws, pets, reward, stadium, statue, stolen, theft
Ace and I finally got around to doing one of the things that was on our to-do list during our travels — attend a Minor League baseball game.
Across America, dog-friendly baseball games are growing more popular. For several years, many Minor League teams have been sponsoring them, and the big leagues are starting to catch on. At least 15 Major League ballparks are holding dog-friendly games this season.
Just 30 minutes down the road, in downtown Greensboro, the stadium was a gem, the traffic was non-existent and parking was plentiful (and only $3).
Those are some of the reasons I find Minor League baseball so much more of a pleasure: The prices, for tickets or concessions, aren’t exorbitant. The crowds aren’t huge. The fans aren’t obnoxious. It’s just much more laid back.
On Tuesday night, the tickets were $6 each, and a “pooch pass” ran $3. Beers were $1, hot dogs, too. There was no extra charge for the sunset.
Everybody seemed happy, at least on Natty Hill, the grassy knoll in left field set aside for fans bringing their dogs.
What I liked best about it was seeing so many people bonding with their dogs, and bonding with other people’s dogs, and bonding with other dog’s people.
Minor League baseball, particularly on dog nights, offers a sense of community — something that seems to be fading away in America. We’re more connected than ever, thanks to gadgetry, but somehow more insulated, too. We’re “communicating” more than ever, but not saying much at all.
The Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Bowie Baysox, or the Toledo Mud Hens (and we’ve got to mention the Reno Aces) may not be the solution to that, but it’s nice to have a venue where you can look a person in the eye and exchange words.
Or, if you prefer, spend some time quietly connecting with your dog.
Either way, the dog’s there for you — whether you want to meditate or congregate.
In my book, when it comes to being social, a dog is much better than a BlackBerry or cell phone, Facebook or Twitter or Match.com — for the connection you make with a dog is much more clear and pure and genuine.
If dog nights at the ballpark weren’t already win-win enough, they also raise money for local shelters and rescues. All “pooch pass” fees at the Grasshoppers’ Tuesday night game went to Red Dog Farm, an animal rescue network based in Greensboro.
The Grasshoppers were holding two dog-friendly games a season, but this year dropped down to one.
We missed out on the pre-game doggie festivities, as Ace felt the need to make his mark on the streets of downtown Greensboro. Even though parking was right across the street, it took us more than 20 minutes, with his frequent stops, to get to the gate.
One inside the stadium, he stopped to meet some of the adoptable dogs Red Dog Farm had brought to the game. At first he had to check out every dog he encountered — and there had to be over 100 at the game — but eventually he became more selective.
Sitting on a grassy hill in left field — filled with people and dogs — proved a little problematic for him, as he kept sliding down. But we spent most of the time wandering around — me hydrating on $1 beers, Ace patronizing the many bowls of water placed about.
One red bucket in particular intrigued him. He thought he saw something at the bottom of it, and repeatedly submerged his entire head in it, not realizing all he was seeing was the raised surface at the bottom of the bucket.
A crowd gathered to watch and take pictures.
During nine innings of baseball, I answered the question, “What kind of dog is that?” 36 times; the question of how much he weighs at least a dozen; the question of how he got his head all wet about 10.
Back on our blanket on the hill, we enjoyed a sunset on one end of the stadium and, as the game came to an end, watched the moon rise like a pop fly over the other.
We’ll close with a baseball trivia question: Who was the first canine ever ejected from a baseball game?
Answer: Yogi Berra, a mascot for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. He was showing his ball retrieving skills between innings in a 2009 game (despite a stomach virus) when he stopped for a bowel movement on the field (an event noted in news reports and memorialized on YouTube). The home plate umpire, apparently offended by the act, ordered him ejected.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, allow, allowed, america, ball park, ballpark, bark in the park, baseball, bonding, communicating, community, connecting, dog friendly, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, events, grasshoppers, greensboro, insular, insulated, major league, minor league, north carolina, road trip, social, socializing, society, sports, stadiums, teams, travels with ace, winston salem dash, yogi berra
All the terrible things humans do to dogs is another.
ohmidog! – as regular readers know — is not all fluffy, feel-good dog news all the time. We think it’s important not to turn a blind eye to animal abuse, in any of its forms, because only when the public fully knows what is going on can steps be taken to do something about it.
A case in point: Patrick, the starving New Jersey pit bull tossed down a trash chute at a high-rise apartment in Newark.
His reprehensible treatment, and subsequent resiliency, is not just tugging at the heartstrings of dog lovers everywhere, it’s uniting them to demand that those who abuse dogs be subject to punishments more in line with the ones received for violent crimes against humans.
If no one had seen those disturbing pictures of what Patrick looked like when he was taken in by Associated Humane Societies, there probably wouldn’t have been the outcry that has ensued. Publicity about his case has led not just to donations for his care, and that of dogs similarly abused, but to the sprouting of grassroots movements aimed at strenghtening animal abuse laws.
Patrick’s story, amid signs he’s continuing to recover, appears headed for a happy ending.
There was one in North Carolina this week that didn’t:
A female retriever mix, believed to be about 4 years old, was found wandering in the 6500 block of Lake Brandt Road in Greensboro on Tuesday after apparently being scalded with boiling water.
She was wearing a collar and a rabies tag, but the numbers could not be read, according to Marsha Williams, the animal shelter’s director. The nameless dog was responsive when she arrived at the animal shelter, but she was emaciated and suffering third-degree burns on her face, ears and legs. She died 30 minutes later.
The Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible. The Crime Stoppers number is 336-373-1000.
Very little is known about the dog, or what happened to her — and given as she has no known name, given that she didn’t survive — she’s not likely to emerge as a poster child or Internet sensation.
We share her story — or at least the sparse details known – for the same reason we passed along Patrick’s story; and that of Phoenix, a pit bull burned in Baltimore; and Susie, a puppy tortured in Greensboro; and Louis Vuitton, burned and beaten in Alabama; and Buddy, dragged to death behind a truck in Colorado.
And that’s because the public needs to know — the non-sugar-coated truth, unfathomable as it is, painful as it may be to see and hear.
That’s the only way change happens. Our hope would be that change would involve more than just harsher sentences for animal abuse. More severe sentences will send a message, serve as a deterrent and satisfy our need for vengeance, but they don’t address the underlying causes that, without making compassion for animals part of every school’s curriculum, ensure such incidents will continue.
ohmidog! tries not to be one of those websites that shoves animal abuse down your throat daily (sometimes the days just don’t cooperate, though). Similarly, it tries not be one of those blissfully ignorant websites that look only at the happy dog news, pawsing only for bad puns.
If you want to be totally shielded from the sad and gory, the depraved and the troubling, don’t come here.
Because when humans sink this low, whether they be punks in an alley, breeders at a puppy mill, or scientists in a laboratory, we will make note of it and, if we can, more than likely include a photo, too — not for the purpose of sensationalizing, but to inform and spark action.
That said, to see the photo, continue. To avoid it, don’t click, don’t scroll, just go back to our main page.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused dogs, animal cruelty, animals, boiling, buddy, crime, cruelty, dead, details, dog, dog websites, dogs, gory, greensboro, killed, law, louis vuitton, media, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, patrick, pets, phoenix, photos, pictures, pit bull, scalded, sentences, susie, torture, water, website
Sen. Don Vaughan, a Greensboro Democrat, filed what he dubbed “Chamberlin’s Law” on the opening day of the General Assembly session, according to the Greensboro News-Record.
The bill would allow criminal charges to be brought against pet owners who “recklessly” neglect their pets, as opposed to the current law, which allows just those accused of doing so “maliciously” or “intentionally” to be prosecuted.
“They’re living things,” Vaughan said of dogs. “And they’re different from having a desk or a chair. They’re actually living beings in God’s world, and we ought to take care of them at least to a minimum standard.”
The bill has been named after Chamberlin, a black and white pit bull mix who was severely neglected — left in a backyard in High Point among tall weeds along with another dog. The other dog, who had been tethered, became so sick it had to be euthanized. Chamberlin was in bad shape, as well.
“His front legs had fused together,” said Marsha Williams, executive director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter. He was unable to walk when he arrived at the shelter in December, but was still wagging his tail, she said.
Since then he has put on weight and in coming weeks he will be fitted with a wheelchair to support the weight of his front legs, which no longer function.
The dog’s care was paid for with donations, some of which came from a fund established in the name of Susie — a dog that was beaten and lit on fire. The judge refused to sentence the perpetrator in that case to jail time because it was his first offense. The public outcry that followed led to ”Susie’s Law,” which increased the penalties for animal cruelty and gave judges discretion to sentence even first-time offenders to active jail time in certain cases.
The owner of Chamberlin is facing charges in Guilford County court, but under current laws, prosecutors will have to prove the dog’s owners intentionally or maliciously let him waste away.
Chamberlin’s law would switch that standard to “recklessly,” which is easier to prove.
In addition to making cruelty cases easier to prosecute, the bill also would set minimum standards for the shelter that dogs must have if they are kept outside and give judges the power to seize animals and order psychiatric evaluations in animal neglect and cruelty cases.
Sen. Austin Allran, a Hickory Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee to which the measure has been assigned, said the bill could face an uphill battle. In the past, hunting and dog breeding groups have fought similar measures.
(Photo: Nelson Kepley / Greensboro News-Record)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, chamberlin, chamberlin's law, dog, dogs, don vaughan, fused, general assembly, greensboro, high point, law, legislation, legislature, legs, neglect, north carolina, pets, proposal, proposed, senator, susie's law
Breed: German shepherd
Encountered: Poolside, kind of, at the Motel 6 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Backstory: Motel 6′s allow dogs — just not in the pool. So Baby’s owners, spending some time at the motel while between houses, hooked her leash to the gate so she could watch — longingly, it seemed — as her family cooled off in the water.
Baby probably would have been happier inside the fence, but she seemed content to be at least close to her family. She found a shady spot in the mulch, made herself comfortable and, in true German shepherd style, looked on.
(Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of Dog’s Country, the continuing story of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, dog friendly, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounters, greensboro, lodging, motel 6, motels, north carolina, ohmidog!, pool, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, swimming, travel, traveling with dogs