Vanderbilt University may well have some racial inequities worth addressing. And some racist acts may take place on campus from time to time. But Marley’s poop was not one of them.
A sack of dog poop left on the front steps of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center — discovered the day after a student demonstration to show support for protesters at the University of Missouri — was quickly decried by a student organization as a “vile” and “racist” act.
In reality, the bag was left there by a blind student who cleaned up the mess left by her guide dog, Marley, but could not find a trash receptacle to place it in.
On Monday, about 200 Vanderbilt students staged a walkout over campus race relations — one described as a show of support for the Missouri students, but also held to draw attention to Vanderbilt’s own problems when it comes to racial imbalances.
On Tuesday, the bag of feces was found in front of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.
Backers of a university campaign called Hidden Dores, the mission of which is to “draw attention to the racial and ethnic minority experience on a predominantly white campus,” quickly placed a post on Facebook decrying the deed.
“The Hidden Dores team is appalled to announce that our demonstration yesterday was met this morning with a vile act. This morning someone left a bag of feces on the porch of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center. The center has served as the nexus of many aspects of black life on Vanderbilt’s campus since its inception 31 years ago. The violation of a place that in many ways is the sole home for black students is deplorable.
“As many of us sit in grief, recognize that these types of actions are what we speak of when we note the reality of exclusion and isolation of students of color and specifically black students on our campus. This act has hurt many and will not be received lightly. We will not allow for the desecration of the place we call home. As we announced yesterday and reaffirm today, we will not be silent.”
Campus police launched an investigation immediately. After surveillance camera footage was reviewed, officers contacted the student who appeared to have left the bag of feces there.
“The investigation found the bag was inadvertently left by an individual with a service dog who was authorized to be in the building who could not find a trash can near the entrance and did not wish to take the bag inside. VUPD has concluded, based on their investigation, that there was no criminal or malicious intent in this action, and the investigation is considered closed,” Vanderbilt News reported yesterday.
The blind student posted her own account of what happened on Facebook:
“I would like to inform everyone on this campus that no racial threat occurred. I am a blind student on this campus with a guide dog. I was meeting with a group last night to go over our debate for one of my sociology classes. My dog did her business outside on the grass and I picked it up and put it in a bag like always … I did not want to bring the feces inside and make the building smell, so I left it outside by the door … Everyone is going to point me out now as the blind girl who left her dog feces by the black cultural center. I am sorry that I do not know where all the trash cans are on main campus…”
Leaders of the Hidden Dores campaign put a new post on its Facebook page, apologizing to the blind student, and for reacting a little too swiftly.
“Given the recent elevation in polarization on this campus in the aftermath of our silent protest this Monday, evidenced by tough personal exchanges and anonymous targeted posts, it was too easy for us to believe that a member of our community would stoop low enough to maliciously leave fecal matter at the Black Cultural Center,” the Facebook post said.
“Nonetheless, we apologize to the Vanderbilt community for jumping to conclusions and for any personal trauma caused by the quick escalation of this situation.”
(Photo: Hidden Dores Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bag, blind, demonstration, dog, dog poop, dogs, facebook, feces, guide dog, guide dogs, hidden dores, incident, investigation, pets, police, poop, race, racial inequity, racism, students, university of missouri, vanderbilt university
No dog has ever killed a police officer in the line of duty.
And yet police officers, in the line of duty, shoot about 10,000 dogs a year in America, according to Department of Justice estimates.
One of the latest fatalities in the epidemic was Duchess, shot down Tuesday by an officer who acted quickly, if not wisely.
Within the space of about two seconds, a Florida City police officer determined the dog running out a front door he had knocked on was a threat and shot him three times.
The 40-pound pit bull mix died almost instantly as a surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Gillian Palacios said her two-year-old dog ran out of the front door when she started to open it.
The officer had knocked on the door to let the family know their car door was open.
“Before I could even do anything, the officer had his gun out and shot her three times in the head,” she told WPLG.
“She was curious. She wasn’t barking (and) she wasn’t growling,” Palacios said. “There was no reason for him to think she was aggressive in any way.”
“There were a million things he could have done other that shoot her three times in the head,” she added.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Florida City police spokesman Ken Armenteros defended the officer’s actions.
“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” Armenteros said. “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second. So, the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”
What about the luxury of foresight, though, we’d ask?
What about a mandatory program that trains all of a police force’s officers in canine behavior, how to interpret it, how to deal with it and how to make their split second decisions a little more wisely, a little less rashly?
All state legislatures should require such training, all police forces should get it in place. Only then will the “shoot first” mentality, and the thinking that dog lives don’t matter, begin to subside.
(Tomorrow: A look at a new documentary that explores the epidemic, “Of Dogs and Men.”)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dog shootings, dogs, duchess, florida city, investigation, law enforcement, mix, officer, pets, pit bull, police, police shooting dogs, questionable, questions, shooting, shootings, shot, surveillance, video
Amid a police investigation and a public outcry, animal rights activists have returned the puppy they seized from a homeless man in Paris last month, according to news reports.
Activists from Cause Animale Nord, an animal rights group based in Lille in northern France, snatched the puppy in September from a homeless man on a street in central Paris. Members later said the homeless man had drugged the dog and was using it to assist him in begging.
The incident was caught on camera and, since being posted on Facebook and elsewhere, it has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
A petition on the website Change.org calling for an investigation into Cause Animale Nord’s actions has been signed by nearly 250,000 people.
A police inquiry was launched a on September 25, according to The Telegraph.
The president of Cause Animale Nord — seen taking the dog on the video — was brought in for questioning, but released after promising to return the dog to its owner.
The group had placed the dog in foster care, and was offering it for adoption for a fee of €175.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, cause animale nord, dog, france, homeless man, investigation, lille, organization, paris, petition, police, puppy, return, returned, returns, seized, taken, video, viral
More than 20 dogs believed to be part of a dog-fighting operation were seized yesterday by police in Huntersville, N.C., as part of a joint investigation with the ASPCA.
“We’re not going to put up with that in Huntersville,” Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said.
Officers have questioned residents of the home on Statesville Road, but have yet to file any charges.
In addition to seizing 23 dogs, a treadmill and other items commonly used to train fighting dogs were also taken as evidence.
ASPCA Director of Investigations, Kathryn Destreza, said that 16 adult dogs and seven puppies were tethered to heavy chains and removed from filthy conditions.
“That’s how they live their life,” she said. “If they’re not fighting or being conditioned to fight they live their life on the end of a chain.”
According to an ASPCA news release, “Some were thin and exhibited scars, bite marks, broken teeth and other injuries commonly associated with dog fighting … Dog fighting paraphernalia was discovered, including conditioning and training devices, indoor and outdoor fighting pits, and medication common to treating wounds associated with dog fighting.”
It was executed with assistance from ASPCA investigators and Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s animal control department.
Police Chief Spruill said the puppies will likely be able to be adopted, but that will have to be decided by a judge.
“The ASPCA’s goal is always to rehab as many animals we can from any criminal situation,” the ASPCA’s Destreza said.
Where the dogs were being taken was not divulged.
Destreza said numerous dogs chained in a back yard is often an indication that dog fighting might be taking place.
A woman who described herself as the dog owner’s aunt told WBTV in Charlotte that the dogs were being raised to be sold. She denied that they were involved in dog fighting.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 23, animal control, animals, aspca, chained, charlotte, charlotte-mecklenburg, cleveland spruill, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, evidence, huntersville, investigation, operation, paraphernalia, pets, police, police chief, raid, search warrant, seized, tethered, yard
Another North Carolina animal shelter has come under fire from the state Department of Agriculture — this time the county-operated shelter in Stokes County, where an investigation found dogs were being inhumanely euthanized.
The Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture released documents Friday showing inspectors found credible evidence that shelter director Phillip Handy and employee Darryl Sheppard “performed, participated in and/or witnessed the inhumane euthanasia of multiple animals that involved improper euthanasia administration.”
The allegations, now being investigated by the state Bureau of Investigation, include putting down one dog by gunshot, failing to confirm the death of an animal, and improper disposal of an animal. The report also accuses the two men of putting dogs down prior to the 72-hour holding period.
The shelter (pictured above) is located in a cinder block building in Germanton.
The division revoked both Handy and Sheppard’s certifications to perform euthanasia, and both have been relieved from duty, according to Stokes County Manager Rick Morris.
This summer has also seen the Department of Agriculture revoke the licenses of animal shelters in Guilford County and Davidson County, citing a “systemic failure to care for animals.” Both were run by the United Animal Coalition under contracts with the counties.
And last week, news surfaced of a dog at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter being mistakenly euthanized.
The Stokes County shelter was closed for two weeks in July, for what county officials said was state-ordered maintenance and repairs.
County Manager Morris assured the public then that animals housed there at the time would not be euthanized.
The revocation notice from the state — instructing the shelter to cease all euthanizations — was issued two days before the temporary closure.
Animal advocates in Stokes County have been working to improve the shelter and are raising funds to open a new no-kill shelter, with around $180,000 raised so far.
(Photo: By Jennifer Rotenizer / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 31st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, cats, cruel, death, department of agriculture, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, gunshot, inhumane, inspection, investigation, licenses, north carolina, pets, practices, premature, revocation, shelters, stokes county, stokes county animal shelter
Dear Special Place in Hell:
I am writing in hopes of making a reservation for two or more Florida punks who haven’t been arrested yet, but probably will soon be.
I am sure you will agree that, despite what I am guessing to be their tender ages, they have already proven well worth spending eternity at your time-honored establishment.
Of course, once they are found, tried and convicted, they will likely spend some more time in this earthly realm before arriving at your most unpearly gates — at least several years, we’d hope, in one of Florida’s charming prison facilities.
But we wanted to make sure you would hold a place for them, as well.
If you require documentation of their acts, here is a brief account.
Last Friday, down in Pembroke Pines — in the state of Florida (I’m sure you’re familiar with it) — a woman named Verline Barthelemy let her 13-year-old Pomeranian, Mr. Fox, out in the yard while she was cooking.
When she went to let him back in, a few minutes later, he could not be found.
On Saturday, Barthelemy’s boyfriend found Mr. Fox’s body on the back porch along with a note that read, “We beat it 2 death. LOL! Hahaha!”
Barthelemy called police and took Mr. Fox’s body to a veterinarian, who confirmed the dog likely died from being repeatedly kicked. X-rays showed Mr. Fox had a dislocated spine, broken ribs and a broken jaw, among other injuries.
You can find all this information at Local 10 News.
We are sure you will agree these perpetrators deserve your lowest level suite — the one closest to the fire.
True, they have not yet been identified, but certainly local police authorities will be giving their all to track them down and bring them to justice. They’ve asked anyone with information to call police at 954-431-2200.
I don’t know if you guys compare notes or anything, but, just to let you know, we have also sent a request to your counterpart/nemesis/antithesis up in Heaven, asking him to ensure that justice comes swiftly.
Once that happens, we are happy to let our fine correctional facilities, and all they have to offer — hahaha, lol — take over.
After that though, when these heartless sadists come to an end of their natural lives and they show up at your front desk, we ask that you accommodate them in that most special wing of your special place in Hell.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 12th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, cruelty, dog, dogs, florida, hell, investigation, killed, letter, mr. fox, note, pembroke pines, pet, pets, pomeranian, prison, verlina barthelemy
Concerned and frightened residents of an Atlanta suburb have created a memorial to a pit bull found hanged from a bridge nearly two months ago.
They’ve covered the guardrail on the overpass with stuffed animals and reward signs in hopes the dog’s killer will be brought to justice.
Volunteers met at the bridge along Kelly Lake Road Saturday and attached hundreds of stuffed animals — mostly dogs — to the handrails.
Police in DeKalb County continue to investigate the case, and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to a suspect, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.
A woman walking her 2-year-old son to day care found the dog hanging by a chain from the bridge on May 20.
Many residents believe the killer lives in their neighborhood.
“You don’t have to be a dog lover or even have pets to understand what a vicious crime this was committed right here across the street from where people live, right next door,” explained Johanna Falber, who organized the event.
Falber said the group has been posting reward signs on the bridge, but someone keeps removing them.
“It’s about a vicious killer that’s out here somewhere, that keeps ripping down our signs so they’re not caught,” Falbert said. “We want attention. We want this to stop. We want that dog killer found.”
Police described the dog as a brown and white, female pit bull.
Anyone with information about the dog or the crime can call the police tip line at 404-294-2645.