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
An 81-year-old man is crediting his Lhasa Apso with saving his life after he fell from a ridge into a deep pool of mud and clung to a bridge rail to keep from sinking as his dog ran for help.
Derek Ramsden was on vacation in Wales and taking his dogs for a walk when he fell.
He says his 18-year-old terrier mix took no action, but his seven-year-old Lhasa Apso, Toby, ran for a quarter of a mile and, just like Lassie, barked at park officials until they followed him back to the scene.
“I managed to get hold of a railing on the bridge. It was frightening. I could not get out and you can’t hold your grip for long at my age,” he told The Telegraph. “I was scared that I was going to tumble down the bank. I don’t like to think what would have happened if not for Toby. He definitely saved my life.”
“Toby is dedicated to both of us and I think he is a hero,” said Ramsden, from Halifax, West Yorks. “He’s my very own Lassie. He saved my life and I’m very grateful.”
Ramsden’s wife, Ada, who had not gone along for the walk at Bryowen Holiday Park, said she went searching for him after an hour and found him as he was being pulled to safety by park staff.
“He was covered in mud from head to foot. If he had let go he could have slipped down further. Toby saved him,” she said.
“The dog knew what it was doing. It ran past apartments through bushes and alerted security,” said park maintenance manager Ben Thompson. “The dog was leading the way and without the dog we would not have known he was there. That dog certainly has something about it.”
(Photo: Ross Parry / The Telegraph)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barked, Bryowen Holiday Park, cliff, derek ramsden, dog, dogs, fall, fell, help, hero, lassie, lhasa apso, life, mud, owner, pets, ran, rescues, saves, sinking, toby, vacation, wales, walking
Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who co-starred in the Oscar-winning movie, ”The Artist,” became the first dog to sink his paws into cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In a ceremony yesterday that also marked Uggie’s retirement from show business, the terrier arrived in a fire truck, performed tricks for photographers, trotted down a red carpet and slapped his paws into wet cement on what was proclaimed “Uggie Day” in Los Angeles.
“The main message that Uggie would like to send to everybody out there is to please adopt,” Uggie’s trainer, Omar Van Muller, told the crowd. “He’s adopted. He made it. If you guys can adopt a dog, even if they don’t make it on the big screen, they’ll be big stars at your house.”
Van Muller said Uggie, while retiring from the movie business, will continue to appear at charity events and other functions.
While Uggie is the first dog to be showcased at Grauman’s courtyard, three dogs — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart — have stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to the Associated Press.
His retirement party, inside the theater, was attended by ”Lassie” and “Rin Tin Tin,” or at least their modern day namesakes, and “Artist” actor Ken Davitian. Cake was served, including one in the shape of a fire hydrant, made by Duff Goldman, the star of the Food Network series, “Ace of Cakes.”
Uggie won the 2011 Palm Dog Award and was named as the best dog in a film in February at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards for his portrayal of silent movie star George Valentin’s companion in “The Artist.”
(Photo by Joe Kohen/Invision/AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cement, dog, dogs, entertainment, first, footprints, graumans chinese theatre, hollywood, jack russell terrier, lassie, movies, omar van muller, pawprints, pets, prints, retired, retirement, retiring, rin tin tin, the artist, theater, uggie, uggie day
One pitfall of freeloading, I’ve learned – at least twice now – is that every person’s home has its own quirks, whether it’s a toilet that’s tricky to flush, water faucets in which the hot and cold are reversed, or doors that lock behind you when you step outside.
The latter caught me again this week.
After spending a week with my brother in Gilbert, I headed up Friday to spend a couple of days with my father in Scottsdale. Ace, who he and his wife Bonnie had met before, reconnected with the both of them, and so dazzled them with his good behavior that they felt okay about leaving him in the house when we all went out to eat some Mexican food.
A couple hours later, around 8 p.m., they went to bed, first showing me the ropes – like the light that, because of no off switch, must be unplugged, the switch to turn off the ceiling fan, how their TV remote (a device that has grown increasingly complex in recent years) worked.
I kicked off my shoes, hopped on the couch, started blogging, switched to watching TV and dozed off.
Around 11:30 I was awakened by a beeping. The burglar alarm, though not enabled, was spouting off. They were sleeping right through it, so I decided to check the perimeter of their home, and smoke a cigarette while I was at it. I slid open the sliding glass door to the backyard and called Ace, who stuck his head out, felt the temperature outside and pulled his head back in like a turtle.
Fine, stay inside, I said, pushing the sliding door closed to preserve the precious air conditioning.
And hearing an ominous click.
Exactly one month after locking myself out the first time on this trip, at my mother’s home, I’d locked myself out again, at my father’s home. (Please feel free to psychoanalyze that behavior.)
I briefly pondered sleeping outside, but with temperatures still feeling like they were in the 90s, I motioned for Ace to come to the door, thinking maybe by some miracle he could lift his paw up and hit the lock to let me back in. Instead he stared at me through the window with a look that said “What are you doing out there?” turned around, walked over to the couch and, always the opportunist, climbed into the spot where I was formerly dozing.
So much for a Lassie-esque rescue.
In my socks, I walked through gravel whose pieces felt like they’d been individually sharpened, and around to the front door, checking windows on the way. Everything was locked up tight, including the front door, which not even my nearly over-the-limit credit card could get open. I briefly worried about the alarm company showing up, seeing me trying to gain entry, and unloading on me. After all, this is Arizona.
I rang the doorbell, once, then twice, then a dozen times, knocked on the door until my knuckles ached, but no one awakened, not even Ace. Then I took to slamming on the door, hard, with my open hand. That got Ace to barking, which, combined with a few dozen more doorbell rings, finally brought my father downstairs to let me in.
“What are you doing out there?” he asked.
I explained the whole thing. He went back to bed. Stressed out by the whole ordeal, I stepped outside for a cigarette, this time insisting my hero dog come with me, and leaving the door open a crack.
(To go back to the beginning of “Dog’s Country,” click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, america, arizona, dog's country, dogscountry, family, freeloading, lassie, locked out, ohmidog!, parents, phoenix, reescue, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, visiting, visits
Neither did Marley, Benji, White Fang, Hachiko, Snoopy, Lady, Tramp or Air Bud.
With the debut of “Marmaduke” last week, MovieTickets.com polled moviegoers to see which doggy superstar reigns supreme — and no, Marmaduke didn’t make the list, either.
Beethoven was tapped as Hollywood’s top dog with 28 percent of the vote, while Old Yeller came in a close second with 24 percent. Also in the top five were Hooch, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.
In case you’ve never visited, ohmidog! offers a fine selection of dog movies in our Amazon affiliate store.
We’ve got one for dog books, too.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beethoven, dog, dog books, dogs, entertainment, fans, hollywood, hooch, lassie, marmaduke, movie dogs, movies, ohmidog!, old yeller, pets, poll, rin tin tin, top five
Snoopy beat out Lassie, but just barely, in a recent poll conducted on behalf of the new AOL pet website, PawNation.com.
Both Lassie and Snoopy captured 39 percent of the votes for “favorite celebrity animal,” but Snoopy edged the beloved, but fading from memory collie by 14 votes. Garfield and Scooby Doo trailed with 12 and 11 percent, respectively.
The survey covered other important issues as well.
Asked “which celebrity pet’s passing did you mourn the most?” Oprah’s deceased dog Sophie came in at the top, followed by Mickey Rourke’s chihuahua, Loki.
In other results from the poll, the honors for ”craziest pet owner” went to Leona Helmsley, with Paris Hilton a distant second. And the celebrity picked as the one people would most trust to watch their pet was Jennifer Aniston, who captured a whopping 70 percent of the vote, beating out Mickey Rourke, Pam Anderson and Nicole Richie.
Almost half of the respondents said their pets sleep in their beds every night, and more than fourth said they did some sometimes.
(Graphic: from redkid’s ”Snoopy Says Generator”)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aol, bed, bo, bridget marquardt, celebrities, coks, dogs, ellen degeneres, garfield, jennifer aniston, lassie, leona helmsley, mickey rourke, millie, names, nicole richie, pam anderson, paris hilton, pawnation, perez hilton, pets, poll, scooby doo, sleeps, snoopy, website
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Friday that a state animal cruelty law is too vague and confusing to be used to prosecute people for shooting and killing their dogs or cats.
The Superior Court overturned the conviction of a northeastern Pennsylvania woman on conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals in the 2006 shooting outside Weissport of her 6-year-old pit bull-chow mix, named Bouta.
“If the Legislature wishes to make it criminal to shoot one’s own dog or cat, it must do so in a clear, unambiguous manner to give reasonable notice that the act is criminal,” wrote Judge Richard B. Klein for the majority. “It did not do so in this case.”
It was the second time in less than a year that the appeals court ruled in favor of Wendy Colleen Kneller of Carbon County, according to an Associated Press report. A decision last February was issued by only three judges, but the court agreed to hear it argued again and on Friday issued an 8-1 ruling.
The dissenting judge, Correale F. Stevens, wrote, “A sweeping policy conclusion that a dog owner can shoot a healthy, happy dog for no reason … would replace the call of ‘Lassie, come home’ with ‘Lassie, run for your life.”‘
The court said Kneller told a state trooper that the dog had bitten her child. Prosecutors said Kneller gave her boyfriend a .40-caliber handgun and told him to shoot the dog. Her lawyer, Paul Levy, said Friday that some people do not have the money to have their pets euthanized at an animal clinic.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: criminal, dog, dog bite, dog law, dogs, euthanasia, lassie, law, legal, legislature, pennsylvania, ruling, run for your life, shooting, superior court, vague