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Tag: library

Dog-killing artist gets monster commission

Sometimes artists can sink as low as … well, NFL quarterbacks and the designers of cell phone applications.

Back in 1977,  when he was 25, artist Tom Otterness produced “Shot Dog Film,” in which he chained and killed a small dog he adopted from a shelter for that purpose. The dog’s slow death is shown  repeatedly in the movie.

Now the Brooklyn-based sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to sculpt whimsical bronze lions and cubs as a gift to be installed outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.

Downtown’s Community Board 1, in a 23-7 vote last week, “wholeheartedly” gave the project its blessing, according to the New York Post, despite outrage from animal lovers.

Otterness is best known for his bulbous bronze people and creatures, which can be found at various locations around New York, such as at the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan.

In 2008, the sculptor apologized for killing a dog for his “avante garde” movie:

“Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

Not everyone has.

“Otterness’ new work won’t be one that PETA members will be rushing to see,” Colleen O’Brien, a PETA spokeswoman, told New York’s Metro. “Any man who would adopt a dog and then film himself shooting the animal needs a good psychiatrist — not another art show.”

Overdue: Yale law library tries therapy dog

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.

“Dog” returned, 76 years later

Seventy-six years after he checked it out, Mark McKee has returned “A Dog of Flanders” to a Michigan library.

No late fees will be charged.

In 1934, McKee, then a 13-year-old, checked out “A Dog of Flanders” by English author Marie Louise de la Ramee, from the Mount Clemens Public Library in Michigan.

Seventy-six years later, he found it among his possesions and mailed it back, according to an Associated Press report.

McKee, now 89, said in a letter to the library that  he was initially “entranced by the book and kept it with my prized possession.”  Later, it got lost in the shuffle of life until he recently discovered it.

“My conscience took over,” wrote McKee, who is former publisher of The Macomb Daily in Michigan, and now a winter resident of Chandler, Arizona.

“A Dog of Flanders,” an 1872 novel published under the pseudonym “Ouida,” is about a Flemish orphan named Nello who befriends an abused dog named Patrasche.

Library Director Donald Worrell Jr. said he was thrilled to get the book back.

In his letter, McKee said he estimated the fine on a book overdue for 76 years could total thousands of dollars. But Worrell said there won’t be a fine.

“We figure the story is better than the money,” Worrell said.

Cat to be evicted from Oregon library

Agatha Christie, a beloved — but apparently not by everybody — cat who has long called the Willamina Public Library home, must go, the city council voted last night.

The city council in Willamina, Oregon, voted 4-0 to evict the 14-year-old cat.

The council gave Head Librarian Melissa Hansen and Youth Services Librarian Denise Willms 10 days to find a new home for Agatha Christie.

It’s not the first time Agatha Christie has been on the verge of homelessness.

In the late fall of 2005, the council voted to ban all but guide animals from city-owned buildings. The community quickly rallied to the cat’s defense — and the council ended up making an exception for the cat, but not her hamster buddies, Hamlet and Othello.

Hamlet and Othello found new homes, and Agatha Christie remained in the library. (The controversy was also partially responsible an unsuccessful recall effort against then Mayor Rita Baller and two council members, according to Yamhill Valley News Register.)

Apparently, a local resident claims her two-year-old daughter was bitten and scratched by the declawed and mostly toothless old cat in late September. The cat was resting on a shelf in the library when the child approached and petted her.

“I’m not against animals, but I have a genuine concern,” one complaining resident said. “Animals get grouchy when they get older. I don’t think an animal should be roaming around a public building. The cat needs to live somewhere else. The library is a public building. I think there are allergy issues and sanitation issues. It’s not a good place for a cat to reside.”

Librarian Hansen was surprised by it all: ”She is the most laid back cat there is. She’s been declawed and she hardly has any teeth. She has to eat soft food … Anything a small child can do to an animal it’s been done to Agie. Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of things happen to her. She has never gone on the offensive. She just gets away and hides under my desk.”

How do you spell Big Dog?

Ace, after a bit of a hiatus, got back in the saddle as a Karma Dog yesterday at the Baltimore County Public Library’s Woodland branch.

Everyone agreed — as the wooden blocks attest — he was a sizeable canine.

Yesterday was the last of the season at the Woodland Library for HEARTS (Helping Encouraging All Readers to Succeed) — one of several Karma Dogs programs.

In it, children read to dogs, who because they don’t judge, criticize and correct, help students grow more confident in their reading skills.

A new round of summer reading programs start in June at the libraries in Towson and Pikesville, and in July in Whiteford

For more information about the reading program, go here. To learn how your dog could become a certified therapy dog, visit this page on the Karma Dogs website.

(Photo by Mary E. Isaacs)

Retired professor and wife killed by dogs

A former University of Georgia professor and his wife found dead along the highway Saturday morning were apparently killed by a pack of dogs, according to the state medical examiner.

Lothar Karl Schweder, 77, who had taught German at the university, and his wife, Sherry Schweder, 65, who worked at the university’s main library, were found on a road where they often walked their own dogs, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The couple were found by visiting Jehovah’s Witness members.

After an autopsy Monday morning, Oglethorpe County Coroner James Mathews told the University of Georgia student newspaper, The Red & Black, that a dog attack was to blame.

“It was the results of a brutal dog attack,” Mathews said. “Without being graphic there were bites from head to toe… There are a lot of weird circumstances with this one. I’ve been coroner for 28 years, and this is one of the weirdest cases I’ve investigated.”

The state Bureau of Investigation responded to a call about the bodies around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Oglethorpe County animal control officials were out Monday looking for the dogs in the area, along Highway 77, near Highway 78.

Karma Dogs introduces “oath of kindness”

karmadogsKarma Dogs, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates rescued dogs into therapy dogs, has announced the launch of its Oath of Kindness (OK) program — a way for children and teens to pledge to be kind to animals, to tell their friends to be kind as well and to promise to tell an adult if they see animal cruelty.

The program was formed in response to the recent news about Phoenix, the Baltimore pit bull that died after being set on fire. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested in the case.

“We hope the Oath of Kindness program helps stimulate conversation between children and their parents regarding the treatment of household pets and other animals,” said Kelly Gould, executive director of Karma Dogs. “We work primarily with rescued dogs and it has been our goal at Karma Dogs to teach adults and children that animals have an intrinsic value.”

Participants in the Karma Dogs OK program will be sworn in by Karma Dogs and receive a “pawtographed” certificate by a Karma Dog as well as a ribbon. Karma Dogs will also launch an e-newsletter that includes positive stories about other children being kind to animals. Children are encouraged to submit their own stories via OK@karmadogs.org. Read more »

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