Folklore, as is often the case, has it wrong.
Pep apparently was guilty of nothing more than chewing up sofa cushions, and, once it was decided he lacked the proper decorum to live at the governor’s mansion, he was sent to the prison in Philadelphia by Gov. Gifford Pinchot.
That was done not so much as punishment, but to provide him a home and see if he could aid in the rehabilitation of inmates, according to the governor’s papers.
Apparently a newspaper reporter came up with the tall tale of the dog sentenced to prison for cat murder, and a mugshot taken of Pep at the prison supplied some credence to the story.
Despite attempts to set the record straight, the myth lingers to this day.
According to EasternState.org, a non-profit group that now runs a haunted house at the abandoned prison, Pep “The Cat-Murdering Dog” was admitted to Eastern State Penitentiary on August 12, 1924.
“Prison folklore tells us that Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot used his executive powers to sentence Pep to life without parole for killing his wife’s cherished cat,” the website says, adding that prison records, including Pep being assigned his own inmate number (C-2559), support the story.
It notes that the governor had a different version of what happened — namely that he sent Pep to Eastern to act as a mascot for the prisoners. The governor, it says, was a friend of the warden, Herbert “Hard-Boiled” Smith.
A more thorough account of how Pep landed in prison can be found on the website Suite101.com.
Pep, that story explains, was a gift to Gov. Pinchot during his first gubernatorial term (1923–1927), from the nephew of his wife, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot. The nephew bred Labrador retrievers. But the gift turned out to be a destructive one. Pep developed a habit of chewing on the cushions of the front porch sofa.
“… Pinchot decided that Pep had to go, but for the sake of family harmony he did not want to end the dog’s life,” the Suite101 account says. “Fortunately, an official trip gave him the idea for a convenient way of getting the dog out of his home. On a visit to Maine, Pinchot had seen dogs that were used as therapy to help inmates. So when the governor got back to Pennsylvania he decided to give the troublesome Pep to Eastern State Penitentiary as a pet.”
At the time, some inmates kept pigeons and mice as pets, but not dogs. The only dogs at the prison were guard dogs, there to ensure prisoners stayed inside and in line.
But the inmates quickly developed a fondness for Pep, and apparently vice versa. Pep lived among the inmates at Eastern State for about a decade until he was transferred to newly constructed state prison called Graterford.
Two years after he was sent to Eastern, in 1926, Cornelia Bryce-Pinchot issued a statement to the New York Times in an attempt to clear Pep’s name.
Governor Pinchot’s son also maintained that there was no murder involved.
“A newspaper reporter with a sense of humor and disregard for the truth wrote that Pep had been sentenced to prison for life for killing Mrs. Pinchot’s favorite cat,” the Suite 101 article says.
The son said his father got “absolutely thousands of letters” about Pep and this sentence, according to papers at Grey Towers National Historic Site, Governor Pinchot’s home in Milford. The made-up account, along with the mugshot, was frequently reprinted in tabloids at the time.
As some have noted, Pep — innocent as he might have been — looks pretty guilty in the mugshot.
But then again, don’t we all?
(Image: Artist rendering of Pep, based on an archival photo / Easternstate.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black, cat, dog, dogs, eastern state penitentiary, folklore, gifford pinchot, governor, haunted house, inmates, killed, lab, labrador retriever, legend, mascot, media, murder, myth, news, pennsylvania, pep, pets, philadelphia, prisoner, prisons, reporter, sentenced, therapy dogs
One year after he was rescued from an ice floe, Baltic remains on the high seas — just not in them.
The crew of a Polish ship, named Baltica, pulled the dog from the icy waters of the Baltic Sea after observing him struggling. The dog was first seen on an ice floe in the Vistula River. Some estimated at the time that he traveled 70 miles atop the floe on the river, then another 20 miles out to sea.
Several people came forward wanting to adopt Baltic after his story gained headlines around Europe, but his rescuer Adam Buczynski decided to keep him.
Despite his bad experience, the dog is now there regularly at sea, serving as the research ship’s pet and mascot. He shows signs of anxiety when the sea is rough but sails around happily with the crew when it is calm, Buczynski said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam buczynski, animals, baltic, baltic sea, baltica, dog, dogs, floe, headlines, ice, mascot, news, one year later, pets, poland, polish, rescued, research, saved, sea, ship, update, video, vistula river
White English bulldogs, all from the same family line, have been serving as the school’s mascot since 1956, PeoplePets reports.
In 2009, UGA VII passed away from heart problems after less than two seasons as mascot. His five-year-old half-brother “Russ” was brought to serve as the school’s interim mascot until a permanent replacement could be found.
All eight mascots have come from the same purebred bloodline and are owned by the Seiler family of Savannah, Ga.
Uga VIII, also known as “Big Bad Bruce,” was named in honor of Dr. Bruce Hollett of the university’s school of veterinary medicine. He will take over as mascot this weekend in a ceremonial “passing of the collar.”
The new Uga, like the previous ones will sit in his own house on the football field as the game takes place.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: big bad bruce, bruce hollet, bulldog, colleges, death, football, heart problems, mascot, mascots, sports, uga, Uga VII, uga VIII, university of georgia, veterinary medicine
Lots of sports teams call themselves Lions, but the University of North Alabama boasts the only live lion mascots in the country — two of them.
I dropped by to see them– Leo III and Una — Friday. Ace, because I didn’t want to start a roaring contest, especially after our gas station run in with the big yellow dog, stayed in the air conditioned car with my son, who, living in Florence, had seen the lions many times before.
Now 7 years old, they reside in the climate-controlled, 12,764-square-foot George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, which was built with a waterfall, babbling streams, two observatories, private dens with skylights, beamed ceilings and a shaded area provided by a thatched roof. The habitat cost $1.3 million. Feeding and caring for the lions cost $35,000 annually, all of which, like the habitat’s construction, is covered by charitable contributions. The habitat also boasts what it describes as the “largest kitty litter box in this part of the state.”
UNA‘s live lion mascot tradition began in 1974, when then-President Dr. Robert Guillot acquired a 12-pound lion cub, Leo I, from a Knoxville zoo.
Leo I lived 14 years, becoming a locally beloved mascot, and the outpouring of support after his death led to Leo II being brought to UNA in July 1988. Leo II, who Sports Illustrated once named the second best college mascot in the country, died in 2000.
Leo III and Una, born on November 18, 2002, were the first residents of the new habitat, which opened that year.
You can also see them via a university lioncam.
Tomorrow: Coon Dog Cemetery
To read all of Dog’s Country, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does american, alabama, animals, dog's country, dogscountry, florence, george h. carroll, habitat, leo, leo I, leo II, leo III, lion, lion cam, lioncam, lions, mascot, ohmidog!, pets, sports, teams, travels with ace, una, university of north alabama, webcam
A mystery mutt has become an unofficial mascot of the riots in Greece by turning up at every major demonstration in Athens for the past two years.
As this video shows, when there’s violence and unrest — and in Greece, that means almost daily – the dog has a habit of appearing amid the crowds.
Fans have even created a Facebook page for him.
“He doesn’t seem to get scared of tear gas, explosions, petrol bombs and people screaming all over,” wrote one blogger. “He actually seems to enjoy himself a lot!”
The dog wears a blue collar, indicating he’s a stray who has been vaccinated.
Some Athens-based bloggers claim his name is Kanellos, which is Greek for “cinnamon.” But others say that dog died in 2008, and the one pictured is Louk. Still others say his name is Theodorus and he lives in Syntagma Square, which has become ground zero for violent protests.
As for why he keeps turning up at the riots, nobody knows.
Some suspect he belongs to either a photographer or police officer. But in most recent photos, the New York Post says, he seems to be “showing solidarity with hooded rock-throwers and barking at cops in riot gear.”
More likely, being a dog, he’s neutral.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, Athens, blue, collar, demonstrations, dog, dogs, facebook, Greece, kanellos, louk, mascot, news, ohmidog!, page, pets, photographs, photos, riot, riot dog, riots, stray, theodorus, unrest, video, violence