A Manhattan man says he is going broke trying to regain custody of his puggle. He says he has spent $60,000 so far. Now he wants your help.
Craig Dershowitz says he considers Knuckles his son, and that’s why he’s hoping to raise another $20,000 over the Internet to continue his legal fight.
“I’ve pretty much gone through my life savings,” the 34-year-old gallery employee said. “It’s worth it.”
According to the New York Post, Dershowitz claims in papers filed earlier this year in Manhattan Supreme Court that his ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega “took unilateral control of Knuckles and kidnapped him” after they broke up.
Brega responds that Dershowitz gave her the dog as a gift, and that Knuckles is enjoying life in California.
“Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court papers.
Dershowitz responds that Knuckles “hates water … He’ll be happy wherever he is — especially if he’s with his dad and the friends he grew up with.”
Dershowitz said he left Knuckles with Brega while looking for a new place after their breakup. She was supposed to return him when he found one, he says.
Brega, a wardrobe stylist, was initially ordered to return the dog, but she then retained her own lawyer to represent her in a case that involves courts in New York and California.
Dershowitz said he believes she’s trying to run up his legal bills. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to keep it going,” he said.
So he started a webpage to raise money for the fight, with his artist friends contributing “perks” for large contributors, like portraits of Knux, “Free Knux” t-shirts and, for $250, a chance to play fetch with Knuckles, once he’s back in New York.
The Post reports his campaign is off to a slow start — with only $85 being donated in the first week.
(Photo of Knuckles by Craig Dershowitz)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, battle, beagle, behavior, boyfriend, california, courts, craig dershowitz, custody, dogs, ex, fight, fund raising, fundraising, funds, girlfriend, internet, knuckles, lawyers, legal, mix, money, new york, pets, pug, puggle, relationships, sarah brega
The attorney for Andrew David Thompson, the former Michigan State University student charged with killing 13 Italian greyhounds, is seeking to suppress incriminating statements Thompson made during questioning by an animal control deputy.
Thompson’s trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 5.
In Ingham County Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Paula Manderfield heard arguments from Stacia Buchanan, who said her client was not read his Miranda rights by the animal control deputy who questioned him.
Prosecutor Jeff Cruz argued that Thompson was not coerced or threatened during the interview and had every opportunity to leave if he wanted, and that the evidence regarding the dogs was allowed in a preliminary hearing.
Animal control deputy Jodi LeBombard testified in a preliminary hearing that Thompson told her during questioning that he killed the dogs out of anger, mostly by throwing them to the ground, against a wall or by grabbing them by the neck and beating them.
He purchased the dogs mostly over the Internet from breeders.
The judge said she would review video of the interview and transcripts from the preliminary hearing before making a decision, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Thompson, 24, who is suspended from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, faces 13 felony in two counties on charges of animal killing or torture in the deaths of the Italian greyhound puppies from September 2010 to June of 2011.
(Photo: Lansing State Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, andrew david thompson, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, courts, cruelty to animals, dogs, investigation, italian greyhounds, killed, killing, lansing, lawyers, michigan state university, motions, pets, pre trial, preliminary hearing, questioning, serial, statements, student, torture, trial
On the first morning of our camping trip, your intrepid trio — foursome counting Ace — decided to take an impromptu hike, just a slow and casual one, following the Davidson River upstream for a ways to see where it took us.
Our first stop was at a fishing/swimming hole, where a few campers were trying their luck, including a woman who had just learned to fly fish. She hadn’t had much luck that morning, but before that she’d caught some, and she whipped out her cellphone to prove it, clicking her way to the correct photo, then holding it up for us to see, as one might hold up a just-caught fish.
In it, she said, there appeared the ghostly image of a little girl that wasn’t there when the photo was taken.
Not having my glasses, I really couldn’t distinguish anything. But as my two friends seemed amazed, I pretended I was, too, nodding my head and saying ”wow.”
We walked on a bit, Ace being more than up to the task. This is his favorite part of camping — blazing a new, to him, trail.
At one point he clambered up a three-foot tall tree stump. At another he darted in and out of the water, then jumped atop a four foot wall. He showed absolutely no sign of his back bothering him. Despite his fear of the campfire, and the noises it produced, the night before, he was, after two long months, starting to act like himself again. Perhaps the camping trip — as camping trips can do — was curing what the drugs couldn’t.
He ran. He played. The stiffness that seemed to have been bothering him was gone. And when he shook, it was all out, with gusto — not that fearful tentative headshake he has been doing of late.
When we came to a fork in the trail, we let Ace pick the direction, and he chose left — up a mountain, instead of following alongside the river. Not a rigorous climb, by any stretch, but I still felt it necessary to inform my two doctor friends that I had imaginary peripheral artery disease (IPAD).
Understand that once a disorder/disease/infirmity gets advertised on TV, I become convinced I have it — not enough to talk to my doctor about whatever drug the ad is for, not enough to submit to the numerous side effects the drug ads list, but enough to fret. That’s why I also have imaginary mesothelioma, though, according to advertisements, you want to talk to your lawyer about that, as opposed to your doctor. The cure for that, apparently, is a lawsuit.
(Disclaimer: These diseases are no laughing matter, even though the advertisements, in which drug companies and law firms feign great concern for your well-being, are.)
“Yes,” I explained to Dr. John, “that peripheral artery thing, I’m pretty sure I have it. My legs get tired when I walk uphill.”
This low grade climb didn’t seem to bother me, though. Perhaps Ace’s return to normal was putting a little more spring in my step. I’m convinced our dogs reflect us, and us them — both when it comes to personality and how we’re behaving at a moment in time. What’s harder to figure out, often, is who is doing the projecting and who is doing the reflecting. Am I, for instance, behaving lethargically/bufoonishly/fearfully because Ace is, or vice versa?
Am I low key because he’s low key, or is he low key because I’m low key, and are we both feeding off each other’s low keyedness and becoming more low keyed yet, and, if so, how low can we go before we’re both asleep?
We were both wide awake on this walk — me due to five or so cups of hearty campground coffee, Ace, I think, because of the newness and the nature. When we came to a weathered wooden sign that said “old cemetery,” we followed where it pointed.
After a couple of switchbacks we came to a hill from which a dozen or so gravestones protruded from the ferns. If the stones had names on them, few of them were legible anymore — except for the one pictured at the top of this post.
Buried beneath it was Avo Sentell, who had just turned five when she died — the same day in 1916 as her mother, Susan, who is buried next to her.
We paused, and grew more sober. Amid towering trees – some thriving, some rotting, some dead — we speculated on what it could have been that killed both mother and daughter on the same day.
I told myself I should stop joking about deadly diseases — even though that is how I cope with my own immortality. Call it a survival skill.
Back home after my camping trip with college buddies, I Googled Avo Sentell — Googling being a generally safe activity, whose only side effects are eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and terminal frustration over all the garbage, pop-up and otherwise, that litters the Internet.
Through one of those grave-finding websites, I learned that Avo and her mother were killed in a landslide in Pisgah National Forest during the Great Flood of 1916.
Both were buried at the site of their deaths. I found a group photo that contained Avo — she’s the third from the left in the second row in this picture of the entire student body of English Chapel School. Seeing how tiny she was wrenched my heart a little more.
That mystery resolved, another remained.
It was not whether Avo was the image in the fisherwoman’s photo. We’re not, much, prone to believing in the supernatural, and I doubt Avo’s ghost is haunting the mossy, fern-studded hills — even though we were in Transylvania County.
What I was left wondering about was the tiny pink mitten that was draped over her tombstone. On the mitten are the words “Always Trouble.”
I doubt it was left there as a commentary on her – for the mitten was too modern, and who is left to remember a girl who died 95 years ago? Besides, Avo appears to have been too small to have caused a significant amount of trouble in her life, much less “always.”
Maybe it was dropped by a hiker. Maybe someone else picked it and placed it there so someone might find it. Maybe it was left there as a gift, or commentary on life, by a stranger, or a descendant of the Sentell family.
A bouquet of yellow plastic flowers was at the base of the stone, which was clearly an upgrade — it’s too clean and clear and modern to have been the one that was originally there.
To me, it was also a reminder. Life is fleeting, and sometimes unfair, and there is always — somewhere — trouble. We work. We laugh. We play. We cope. We die.
Sometimes, before the journey’s over, we tackle those troubles. Sometimes we ignore them. Sometimes we joke about them. Sometimes we’re too rushed to pay them any mind at all. Sometimes we let them weigh us down to an unhealthy degree.
At times like those, friends come in handy.
At times like those, a walk in the woods — with your dog — is good.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1916, ace, america, avo sentell, campground, camping, coping, cures, davidson river, death, disease, doctors, dog's country, dogscountry, drugs, fears, flood, ghosts, grave, hike, hiking, illness, imagination, lawyers, life, mountains, nature, north carolina, pisgah national forest, road trip, symptoms, travels with ace, woods
At the Yale University Law Library, you can check out ”Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law.” You can check out “The Supreme Court A to Z: A Ready Reference Encyclopedia.”
Or, you can check out Monty, a terrier mix whose mission, in an experimental program started this month, is to de-stress, during final exam time, the litigators of tomorrow.
You’d think a genius farm like Yale University would have figured out sooner — as some smaller and lesser known colleges have — that dogs can, physically and emotionally, help students through troubled or stressful times.
But, for the school whose mascot is an English bulldog named Handsome Dan, it’s better late than never.
In the pilot program, students can check out Monty – a 21-pound “certified library therapy dog” who provides 30-minute sessions of what ABCNews describes as “unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.”
“The interest in available slots has been high,” said Jan Conroy, a spokeswoman for Yale Law School.
In a March 10 memo, law librarian Blair Kauffman said she hoped the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program would be “a positive addition to current services offered by the library … It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being.” The memo directed students to the website of Therapy Dogs International for more information.
The school has yet to decide if the program will be ongoing. Likely, it being Yale Law School, there are liability concerns — the type that are known to paralyze bureaucracies and often limit the good dogs can do, based on mostly baseless fears.
Monty, for example, though he is said to be hypoallergenic, will hold his visits in a “designated non-public space” in the library to eliminate “potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns.”
Concerns have also been expressed about the sign-up list for Monty being in a visible spot. That, the overly fearful fear, results in students having to expose their need for a mental health session — or at least some time with a dog — in public.
Monty — whose full name is General Montgomery – belongs to librarian Julian Aiken. And the pilot program got started after a Yale legal blog jokingly suggested making Monty available for checkout.
Therapy dogs have been introduced at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Oberlin College in Ohio and UC San Diego to help students get through the pressures of mid-terms and finals.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, exams, experimental, final, general montgomery, julian aiken, law school, law students, lawyers, legal, liability, librarian, library, mental health, mid term, monty, oberlin, pets, pilot, program, relief, stress, students, therapy, therapy dogs, tufts, university, yale
Tiger Woods’ attorneys apparently growled loudly enough to dissuade PETA from using the troubled golfer’s image in a public service announcement for spaying and neutering.
So now the organization is considering using South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford instead as their roll in the hay model.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals planned to put up billboards bearing Woods’ face and the slogan, “Too much sex can be a bad thing … for little tigers too. Help keep cats (and dogs) out of trouble: Always spay or neuter!”
After lawyers for the golfer threatened to sue if his image was used, PETA set its sites on Sanford for a similar billboard, with the possible tagline: “Your dog doesn’t have to go to South America to get laid,” the New York Post reports.
The ad campaign is aimed at preventing millions of abandoned cats and dogs from being euthanized at shelters each year.
PETA now intends to poke fun at Sanford, who flew to Buenos Aires last year for a romantic assignation with someone other than his wife — when he claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertising, affair, appalachian trail, buenos aires, campaign, governor, image, lawsuit, lawyers, lie, lies, mark sanford, neuter, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, south america, south carolina, spay, threatened, threats, tiger, tiger woods
Leave it to lawyers, landlords and insurance companies to screw up a perfectly good story.
Last week we told you about Kelsey Westbrook, the University of Louisville senior who helped rescue a pit bull that had been thrown off a bridge, then went on to take the dog, who she named Sunny, home with her.
Now comes word — in the Louisville Courier-Journal — that, if she keeps the dog, she may lose her apartment. The company that owns the building has a policy against “vicious breeds,” and has told her that she is violating her lease by having the dog on her property.
Westbrook, a waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack, ran with other employees to the shore after the dog was seen being thrown off the bridge and hitting the water roughly 80 feet below.
As the employees attempted to call the dog to shore, Louisville firefighters arrive and pulled her from the Ohio River.
Westbrook also owns a 2-year-old German shepherd mix named Nala and pays a monthly fee to keep Nala in her apartment. Westbrook said apartment officials told her she can’t make the same arrangement for Sunny because they consider the pit bull a “vicious breed.”
Westbrook said apartment officials gave her two days to remove Sunny from her apartment, and told her they will be conducting random inspections. Her boyfriend is keeping Sunny at his house until she decides what to do.
Since the property company is only following it’s own addle-brained rules, most likely designed at the request of its insurance company, we won’t go so far as to compare their behavior to that of the soulless, heartless wretch who threw the dog off the bridge.
But we will provide you with an email address, in case you want to:
Arete Real Estate, which owns Westbrook’s apartment, can be contacted at Apartments@areterealestate.net.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: apartment, arete real estate, ban, breed-specific, bridge, dangerous, dog, insurance, kelsey westrbook, landlord, lawyers, lease, louisville, ohio river, pit bull, pit bulls, rescued, rules, saved, sunny, thrown, vicious, violation
A sheriff’s deputy in Texas whose scent tracing dog has identified suspects in crimes has been named in two lawsuits arguing that scent evidence is often scant evidence.
The Victoria Advocate reported Sunday that the work of Fort Bend County sheriff’s Deputy Keith Pikett led to 62 days in jail for Calvin Lee Miller before he was cleared in the robbery of one elderly woman and sexual assault of another.
A swab of Miller and the scent from the assault victim’s sheets were sent to Pikett, whose three bloodhounds indicated Miller’s scent was on the sheets.
The other lawsuit involves a former Victoria County sheriff’s captain who became a murder suspect based on scent evidence, the Associated Press reported.
No laws or regulations govern scent lineups, and critics say they are often imprecise, but they’re admissible in courts across the nation.
“This is junk science. This isn’t even science. This is just junk,” said Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas. The group works to free wrongfully convicted inmates and started to investigate Pikett recently.
While dogs have a keen sense of smell — sometimes 10,000 times more sensitive than humans — and while every human exudes a different scent, critics of scent line-ups say are easily influenced by human involvement such as the use of a leash , the presence of many scents on evidence or in lineups and the fact that humans must speak for dogs in court.
Pikett’s scent work led to a search warrant for the house of former Victoria County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Buchanek during the 2006 investigation of the murder of Child Protective Services worker Sally Blackwell in Victoria.
The deputy’s dogs walked from a spot where Blackwell’s body was found to her home about five miles away, then to Buchanek’s home nearby. Through a scent lineup, authorities obtained a search warrant. Another man eventually pleaded guilty in the case.
The lineup was “the most primitive evidential police procedure I have ever witnessed,” said Bob Coote, who worked with police dogs in the United Kingdom. “If it was not for the fact that this is a serious matter, I could have been watching a comedy.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: courts, dogs, innocent, investigations, K-9, law, law enforcement, lawsuit, lawyers, legal, line-ups, lineups, police, scent, smell, tracker, wrongful convictions
The SPCA may defend dogs, but who defends the SPCA?
In the case of the Maryland SPCA in Baltimore, it’s Paul Day, Jennifer K. Squillario and other counsel at DLA Piper US LLP.
According to an article in the Maryland Daily Record, lawyers from that initial-peppered firm represent the SPCA pro bono.
“If we had to pay market rates to draft contracts … or just anything, we wouldn’t be able to afford it,” said Maya Richmond, director of operations and programs at the SPCA.
Most commonly, the attorneys get involved in cases where a pet’s ownership is in dispute.
In one case, the Daily Record reports, the attorneys worked to take down a Craigslist posting “that the SPCA had killed some huge number of cats in one day,” accompanied by a picture of a bucket of dead cats, Day said.
“There’s a really big, I don’t want to say fight, push for facilities to go no-kill,” he explained. Activists are out to “make the facilities that aren’t no-kill look as bad as possible.” The text of the posting was incorrect and the picture was not taken at the SPCA; it was a stock photo used in similar postings elsewhere on the Internet.