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Tag: hearing

Patrick’s owner enters not guilty plea


A not guilty plea was entered Friday on behalf of Kisha Curtis, the Newark woman accused of animal cruelty charges stemming from the discovery of a dog who’d been tossed down a trash chute and left to die in a garbage bin.

The 1-year-old pit bull, whose rescuers named him Patrick, continues to recover at an area animal hospital.

Public defender Regina Lynch entered the plea in Superior Court in Newark on behalf of Curtis, 27, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. She appeared at the hearing via a video hookup from the Essex County Jail.

Curtis faces two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature by failing to provide sustenance and two counts of abandonment, said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello.

After the hearing, Kisha’s mother, Tammie Curtis, said her daughter didn’t discard the dog, but only left him tethered at the high-rise Garden Spires apartments in Newark — while she went on a trip to Albany. She implied that the dog was stolen.

“Anybody would take that dog,” the mother said. “If she tied the dog, she didn’t leave the dog to die.”

A security guard at the 520-unit complex told the Star-Ledger that the dog had been seen tied to a railing with a leather leash, and had been the subject of resident complaints for more than a month.

“It would whimper, and it would yelp when you would come up to it,” Ortman said.

A custodian found Patrick on March 16, inside a trash bag at the bottom of a 22-story garbage chute.

Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez kept Curtis’ bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash and forbid her to have contact with pets. If convicted, she faces 18 months in prison, a $3,000 fine and community service.

Patrick has been recovering at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, where he has gained two pounds since being found.

Woman tries to mail puppy to her son

Time to reopen the annals of stupid human behavior and make room for Stacey Champion — a Minneapolis woman who attempted to air-mail a puppy to her 11-year-old son in Atlanta.

Champion, 39, was charged with animal cruelty after postal workers discovered the 4-month-old puppy inside a sealed package she had dropped off, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Champion told a postal clerk the box contained a toy robot. A Minneapolis police spokesman said the puppy would not have survived the trip.

The Star Tribune says that, while the package was still in the post office, it moved by itself and fell to the floor, surprising postal workers. Within minutes, postal employees unwrapped the tightly sealed box and pulled out the panting puppy.

The dog, described as a poodle-Schnauzer mix, named Guess, was placed in a shelter, costing Champion $250 in fees. Today, Champion tried to convince an administrative hearing officer to return Guess to her custody. (See the hearing in its entirety in the video  above.)

Champion said in the hearing that she didn’t know dogs couldn’t be mailed. “They say they deliver,” she noted. She further explained to the judge, “If there weren’t no mistakes in life, society wouldn’t be what it is now.”

We can’t argue with that one.

Champion also went back to the post office and demanded she be refunded the $22 priority mail fee, according to the Star Tribune. That request was denied.

The judge called her actions disgraceful and declined to return the dog to her.

Maryland county votes down barking fines

Worcester County Commissioners voted down a bill that would have established fines for owners of barking dogs, leading at least one citizen who supported the measure to howl.

Jack Davis, a Bishopville resident, made barking noises as he left the commissioners Tuesday night meeting in Snow Hill — in an attempt to show just how annoying the sound can be, according to DelmarvaNow.com.

“It’s really rough when you retire and you want to sit on your porch and in your yard, and hear dogs barking all day long,” Davis said.

In a 4-3 vote, the commissioners nixed legislation that would have levied fines on dog owners for uncontrolled barking and howling in the Maryland county.

“At what point do you start legislating cats and frogs and everything else?” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

Worcester County Animal Control would have been responsible for enforcement of the law,  charging owners with a civil infraction, and up to a $500 fine, if their dogs barked for more than an hour.

Of the half-dozen residents who spoke at a public hearing on the issue, all were in favor of the law.

Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said the county commissioners would be better off looking at the county’s chained dog law. ”I don’t understand how a fine is going to stop the dogs from barking,” Rantz said. ”There are reasons the dogs bark, and I think it’s because they are on
chains.”

Amendment would bar breed bans in Md.

Delegate Cheryl Glenn will introduce an amendment to the state’s proposed dangerous dog law this week that would prohibit municipalities from banning or regulating dogs based on their breed.

Pushed by the Maryland Dog Federation, the proposed amendment to House Bill 1314, aimed at strengthening the state’s dangerous dog law,  reads:

“Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prevent a municipality from adopting or enforcing its own more stringent program for the control of dangerous dogs provided, however, that no such program shall ban, regulate or address dogs in a manner which is specific as to breed.”

The federation says the amendment will prohibit laws thats discriminate against particular breeds of dogs. Similar measures have been passed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and eight other states.

If approved the proposed amendment would void the current breed ban in Prince George’s County, where about 900 pit bulls and pit bull mixes are euthanized a year, according to the federation.

“The seizing of innocent family pets simply because of their appearance is unconscionable. Responsible dog guardians should be allowed to own whatever breed they want. Reckless owners should be prohibited from owning any dog,” the federation said.

The federation is encouraging those who support the amendment to write Delegate Cheryl Glenn (cheryl.glenn@house.state.md.us); and to attend the March 18 hearing of the Judiciary Committee (at 1 p.m. in Room 100 of the House Office Building in Annapolis).

Prosecutor laughs during Tiara Davis hearing

sparkyThe assistant district attorney prosecuting the case against Tiara Davis, accused of beating her Pomeranian on the elevator at a New York City housing project, broke into laughter in the courtroom yesterday.

While reading Davis’ statement about how she beat the dog, Assistant District Attorney Steven Constantiner began chuckling, the New York Daily News reported.

“He was laughing and had to turn away because he couldn’t control the laughter,” said, Stacy Schneider, a Legal Aid lawyer representing Davis. “I didn’t see any humor in the statement.”

Davis, 31, is charged with beating a 9-pound Pomeranian named Sparky into unconsciousness in an elevator at the Grant Houses in Manhattan. Police quoted her as saying: “It wasn’t like I was killing him or anything like that. I mean I wasn’t gonna really hurt him.”

Constantiner started laughing when he was reading part of Davis’ statement that described the dog relieving itself in the elevator.

“The assistant district attorney laughed briefly and unexpectedly while reading to the court the vulgarities the defendant used in her statement to police,” acknowledged Erin Duggan, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office. Constantiner declined comment.

Davis, a vocational counselor, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges. Her lawyer denied she  made the statements to police. Davis, who has since surrendered Sparky, was caught on video beating the 4-year-old dog and was arrested by the ASPCA. She faces up to a year in jail.

Her arrest came just after another resident of the Grant Houses, Chris Grant, was charged with animal cruelty in connection with beating a dog — an incident police say was caught on the elevator surveillance cameras earlier.

Fired firefighter walks out of appeal hearing

An Ohio firefighter who was fired for executing his two dogs walked out of an appeal hearing yesterday in which he was seeking to get his job back.

As a result, the Civil Service Commission dismissed David Santuomo’s appeal of his firing, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Santuomo, 43, was waiting for the hearing to begin, but left after a television news crew set up a camera in the commission’s hearing room.

“He came here with the intention of going forward but changed his mind,” said Barbara McGrath, the commission’s executive director. The commission had agreed to postpone the original hearing in the fall and informed Santuomo that his appeal would be dismissed if he didn’t attend today’s hearing.

Santuomo was fired in July after being convicted of two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them so he wouldn’t have to put them in a kennel while he went on a vacation cruise with his girlfriend. He dumped the bodies in a trash bin behind his fire station

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $4,500.

Man who threw Oreo off roof may get jail time

Fabian Henderson, the Brooklyn man who threw a 1-year-old dog off a roof this summer, failed to show up for his sentencing yesterday — thereby voiding the plea agreement that would have spared him from serving jail time.

Henderson, 20, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated animal cruelty, and in exchange got a deal that banned him from owning a dog again but allowed him to remain free. Skipping court, though, means there is now a warrant out for Henderson’s arrest, and he could now face up to four years in jail, the New York Daily News reported.

“What do you expect from somebody who would throw a dog off a roof,” said one of the animal rights activists who attended the sentencing hearing.

In June, Henderson threw his pit bull-terrier mix, Oreo, off the roof of a six-story Red Hook public housing project. The dog survived injuries that included shattered legs, bruised lungs and internal bleeding, but last month ASPCA officials had the dog euthanized because she had become too aggressive.

Man blames dog in wife’s shooting death

A California man is blaming his dog for the fatal shooting of his wife.

John Aaron Norris, 25, of San Miguel said his dog ran underneath his feet, tripping him and causing the semi-automatic rifle he was holding to fire.

Norris is accused of involuntary manslaughter in the July 9 shooting death of  24-year-old Tasha Dawn Norris. His preliminary hearing  is scheduled to resume today.

Norris pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge and to a charge of  possessing an illegal weapon at his home — a semiautomatic rifle found by investigators, according to The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.

Sheriff’s deputies testified Wednesday that Norris stated he was standing on the stairs when the dog ran under his feet and tripped him. He told authorities he was holding the gun because he was planning to remove the ammunition before fire inspectors came to his home to examine new sprinklers in the condominium.

Tasha Norris was seated on a couch in the home when she was shot, according to investigators. Medics attempted to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Say it ain’t so, Joe

You’re may not exactly be a spring chicken if you remember this 1974 advertisement for Beautymist Pantyhose, in which a camera pans up a pair of sexy gams only to eventually come to a stop at the face of their owner — Joe Namath.

It was an unsettling little commercial, especially to one who, growing up outside of Baltimore, had chosen the rebellious and flamboyant Broadway Joe as a role model over straight arrow Johnny Unitas.

Now, Joe’s setting a disturbing example again: One of the former NFL quarterback’s dogs was declared dangerous this week in connection with the May 2008 biting of a home health aide that mistakenly stopped at Namath’s home in Florida — and that’s just one of four complaints against Namath’s dogs.

Namath, 66, appeared at a hearing Thursday in West Palm Beach to answer to charges that two of his dogs attacked people who came to his home in Tequesta, a community about 90 miles north of Miami.

His 6-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, Leo, was declared dangerous, but the case against another of Namath’s dog, a 6-year-old Weimeraner named Stella, was dropped because a witness didn’t appear, the Associated Press reported.

As a dangerous dog, Leo must now be muzzled and leashed both off and on Namath’s property. He must also have a microchip implanted and carry a special “dangerous dog designation tag” — though the latter seems to me to be a lot like those bumper stickers that read “If you can read this, you’re too damn close.”

If Leo bites someone else, he could be declared “vicious,” and euthanized, and Namath could face criminal charges, officials said. Namath had no comment on the charges.

Local animal control officials say there have been four reports of Namath’s dogs attacking people on his property since 2007, “and rumors of many more.”

A UPS driver said he was “accosted by a pack of dogs” on Namath’s property in May 2007. In February of this year, a contractor working at the home was reportedly bitten by Stella, the Weimaraner. That victim didn’t show up at this week’s hearing and the case against Stella was dropped. In August, a landscaper on Namath’s property was bitten by one of the former New York Jets dogs.

Fidos for Freedom walk is tomorrow

Fidos for Freedom, a non-profit organization that trains and provides service and hearing dogs  is having its annual fund-raising walk on Saturday.

The Fall Stroll ‘n Roll starts Saturday at 9 a.m., and runs until noon, at Centennial Park in Ellicott City.

The event includes vendors, games, prizes, a bake sale, demonstrations, dog contests and the walk around the lake.

Fidos for Freedom, in addition to working with service and therapy dogs, also operates the DEAR (Dogs Educating and Assisting Readers) program.

You can not be reset until then, until there is.