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Tag: miami

Dog spent week with head stuck in cooler

Police and firefighters rescued a dog in south Florida Monday whose head was trapped in a discarded bait cooler — possibly for more than a week.

Passersby spotted the dog in western Miami-Dade County and called authorities.

Police, firefighters and animal control officers joined in the rescue, injecting the dog with Valium to sedate her, then using a reciprocating saw to enlarge the hole in the fiberglass boat cooler, TV station WTSP reported.

An animal control officer said that, based on the severity of the dog’s wounds, she might have been trapped for a week.

The dog is a 40-pound female Labrador mix, according to Firehouse.com. She appeared to have recently given birth, authorities said, and her extra body fat may have helped keep her alive. No puppies were found in the area.

The dog was taken to Miami-Dade Animal Services, where she was treated by veterinarians.  She has been named Lucky and will be put up for adoption.

Florida dog fatally shocked by lake

A walk in a park turned fatal for a Florida man’s dog, which was apparently electrocuted last week when he jumped in a lake while playing fetch.

Victor Garcia was walking with his 6-month old Labrador retriever, Ruger, Wednesday afternoon at the Perrine Wayside Dog Park in south Miami-Dade when he threw an object into the park’s man-made lake for the dog to fetch,  CBS4 reported

After the dog jumped in, Garcia said, he began acting strangely.

“All of a sudden, as he got closer to the center of the fountain, he started screaming, yelping, bloody murder,” said Garcia.

Garcia said when he ran into the lake to rescue he too was zapped by what felt like electric shocks.

“I just couldn’t pass this wall of electricity and I had to watch my best friend drown right in front of my face, essentially, I mean that dog is my whole entire world to me, he’s the reason I wake up in the morning.”

Garcia didn’t require hospitalization, but his dog was killed.

Park officials say the fountain in the center of the lake was turned off, but apparently it was still sending an electric current into the water. Electricians have removed the fountain to inspect it.

Happy campers: The dogs on the bus

Kids aren’t the  only ones climbing aboard the school bus these days in Miami.

Totally Dog, a day camp for dogs in southwest Miami, sends a yellow school bus to pick up its campers — and from what I can see in this video they seem to behave at least as good as schoolchildren.

Dog trainer Elena Sweet opened Totally Dog in 1999. Her husband Jeremy drives the bus. Owners pay about $45 a day for camp.

Trial opens in Miami police dog’s death

The trial began yesterday for a former Miami-Dade police officer charged with killing a K-9 with a series of kicks.

Duke, a Belgian Malinois, died in 2006 after collapsing during a training exercise with handler Sgt. Allen Cockfield, according to the Miami Herald.

Cockfield is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and a felony count of killing a police dog. If convicted, he faces possible prison time and the loss of his state police certification. Cockfield contends any blows he might have administered were in self defense.

“He was simply trying to save himself,” defense attorney Douglas Hartman said.

Authorities arrested Cockfield, 55, in 2007 after a one-year investigation by Miami-Dades Police Department’s internal affairs unit. Cockfield spent more than two decades as a canine handler with the department, which has since fired him.

Miami-Dade prosecutor Isis Perez told jurors yesterday that Duke was not obeying commands during a training exercise, prompting Cockfield to lift the dog up by its leash and kick it three to five times.

“He stiffened his hind legs, shaking as he was going into some sort of seizure, and a few seconds later he became numb, and that was it,” a fellow police officer who witnessed the incident testified.

Cockfield’s attorney disputed that account, saying the dog was behaving aggressively and his client was trying to protect himself.

Heiress leaves mansion, $3 million to dogs

Gail Posner, the daughter of corporate-takeover king Victor Posner, has bequeathed her $8.3 million Miami mansion and a $3 million trust fund to her dogs, the New York Post reports.

Also named in the will were seven personal aides, including bodyguards and housekeepers, who were given a total of $26 million — and the right to live rent-free in the mansion while caring for the animals, according to court papers.

The 67-year-old heiress died in March.

Posner had three pets, including a Chihuahua named Conchita that she once called “one of the world’s most spoiled dogs.”

Gail Posner’s only living son, Hollywood screenwriter Bret Carr, has filed a lawsuit claiming his mom was drugged and “brainwashed” by her aides into leaving so much to her dogs.

In a 2007 interview, Posner admitted to buying a $15,000 diamond-studded Cartier necklace for Conchita. and once considered buying him his own Range Rover.

Posner changed her will in 2008, after she was already dying from cancer, and added the vast sums for her pups and workers.

The case is reminiscent of that of hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, who left $12 million to her Maltese, named Trouble, while snubbing two of her grandkids. A judge later knocked the amount the dog would receive down to a mere $2 million.

(Photo: Miami Herald)

Food & Wine mag picks 5 dog friendliest cities

71034227_43e5d06c50_o-copyFood & Wine magazine has named what it considers the top five dog-friendliest cities in the U.S. They are: Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco.

The article in the magazine, published by American Express, focuses mostly on dog-friendly dining and lodging opportunities. Here’s what it had to say about the top five:

Boston: Dogs are allowed on the city’s public transit system, and there’s an off-leash dog park in Boston Common. Dog-friendly restaurants include Rocca Kitchen & Bar (around the corner from Peter’s Park dog run), where a section of the patio is set aside for diners with dogs, lined with water bowls and treats from nearby Polka Dog Bakery. Dogs are also welcome — when the Red Sox aren’t playing at home — at La Verdad Taqueria.

Chicago: The city’s park system includes the 18-mile Lakefront Trail and three dog beaches. Dog-friendly restaurants include Brasserie JO, which offers complimentary house-made dog biscuits.

Miami: Most shops on Lincoln Road Mall put out water bowls, and many local restaurants allow dogs, including Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink,  where dogs can feast on dog treats baked by the pastry chef.

San Diego: In addition to its numerous dog beaches, the city abounds with  dog-friendly restaurants, including Nine-Ten and Cafe Chloe, where 75 percent of the staff volunteers at animal-rights agencies.

San Francisco: The pedestrian walkway on the Golden Gate Bridge and the historic streetcars both allow dogs. Dog-friendly restaurants include Pizzeria Delfina and Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, with a dog-friendly patio that’s ideal for watching sunsets.

(Photo via San Francisco Citizen)

Arrest may solve some Florida cat deaths

Authorities in South Florida have arrested a teenager they believe responsible for at least some of the recent rash of mysterious cat killings and mutilations.

Police charged 18-year-old Tyler Hayes Weinman with 19 counts each of animal  cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body, the Associated Press reported. Weinman’s parents, divorced, live in the two neighborhoods where many of the cats were killed.

“It’s shocking to think that someone who lives right here and is our neighbor would do something like this,” said Thomas Shad, a Cutler Bay resident whose black cat, Miss Kitty, was among the dead.

Authorities had been watching Weinman and interviewed him on prom night, AP reported. He was arrested at a party on Sunday.

Weinman’s attorney, David W. Macey, said in an e-mail that his client was innocent of the charges. “Tyler welcomes his day in court, so that he will be completely vindicated,” he said.

In the past month, residents in the Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay neighborhoods have reported finding the bodies of more than two dozen cats, although police said some were likely killed by dogs. Some were missing fur — neighbors said some had been skinned — and appeared to have been cut with a sharp, straight instrument, police said.

Louis B. Schlesinger, a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said cat killings are committed by “complicated individuals,” and are usually solo acts. He said the teenager should be evaluated, and he expected court officials to take the matter seriously.

“When you kill cats, disembowel them and cut their heads off, that is not a good sign and you do not have to be Sigmund Freud to see that,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Broward County, Florida, say the deaths of 17 cats in one neighborhood may have been caused by stray dogs.

Police say three of the cat deaths in Lauderhill have been ruled animal-related. Tests on 14 other cat carcasses found since May 30 are still pending. Police reports say most of the cats were disemboweled, and one was decapitated.

Miami-Dade: a dozen dog parks and growing

Everything, of course, is relative, but, compared to almost any other major city, it’s clear Baltimore — with one small dog park and another on the way– has a severe dearth of dog parks.

Today’s case in point: Miami-Dade County.

For a while, there were only three – Flamingo Park and a pair of parks in Coconut Grove. But in just the past few years, more fenced areas for dogs have popped up in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove and Hialeah, bringing the number of dog parks in cities around Miami-Dade to more than a dozen, the Miami Herald notes.

In Palmetto Bay, after a push by residents, the village responded in 2007, converting the almost three-acre Perrine Wayside Park into a dogs-only zone. The park has a walking path, waste bag stations, pet water fountains and dog washing stations. Dogs can frolic alongside the ducks in the middle of the park’s picturesque lake.

Aventura residents got their own dog park last summer. And Sunny Isles Beach opened “The Bone Zone” at Sen. Gwen Margolis Park last May. Homestead has a “bark park” under construction and Doral is also considering creating a dog park.

Miami Beach, meanwhile, has four do parks and is considering a fifth at the newly renovated South Pointe Park. The city is also weighing whether to create a dog beach.

Numbers like that are enough to make a dog owner in Baltimore — which has one small dog park in the city, another in the county — drool.

It makes you wonder what Miami-Dade has that we don’t — other than more sunshine and money — whether it’s a matter of the people pushing harder, or having fewer bureaucratic obstacles thrown in front of them. Why do some cities spawn dog parks like bunnies, while others move at a tortoise’s pace?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

(Photo: Perrine Wayside Park, a three-acre dog park in Palmetto Bay, Florida, from dogparkmiami.com)

Miami’s pit bull ban takes a hit

Breed specific legislation against pit bulls took another much deserved hit last week when a Dade County court ruled that Miami’s pit bull ban is too vague to be used as grounds for euthanizing animals.

The county ban applied to all dogs that “substantially conform” to American Kennel Club standards for  American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or United Kennel Club standards for American Pit Bull Terriers.

To determine if a dog conformed to the standards, the animal control department used a chart that lists 15 body parts, such as head, neck, lips, chest, eyes, tail and hind legs. Officers check off which characteristics of a dog conform to a pit bull. If three or more characteristics are checked, the dog is declared a pit bull.

The court ruling came in a case challenging the finding by Miami-Dade County Animal Control that a family pet named Apollo was a “pit bull” that must be removed from the county or euthanized.

Rima Bardawil, the attorney for Apollo, pointed out that the ordinance makes no mention of any chart or checklist, and that it is not clear what standards animal control is using in making its determinations or how valid they are.

Dahlia Canes, executive director of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, testified that animal control is “constantly” misidentifying the breeds of dogs. She told the court about one dog that was declared by an animal control officer to be a pit bull mix and ordered euthanized.  Canes arranged to have the dog re-evaluated and he was determined to be a mastiff mix. The dog was then adopted to a family in Miami-Dade County.  

In the case of Apollo, the animal control officer photographed the dog from several feet away, then used the photo to pick three body parts he said he thought conformed to pit bull standards.

It makes one wonder — how many of the dogs described by police, and characterized in headlines, as pit bulls really are of the breeds that fall under that catch-all term?

Man saves dog from shark attack

When Greg LeNoir saw his dog Jake tugged under the water by a shark off the Florida coast, he jumped in after him, whacked the shark on the head, and eventually recovered his 28-month old rat terrier.

Jake was taking his daily swim off a pier at a marina, when LeNoir saw the shark approach.

“It took most of Jake in its mouth, and before I could react, it disappeared.”

LeNoir dove in, chased the shark, hit it on the head. ”I clenched my fists and dove straight in with all my strength, like a battering ram,” LeNoir, a 53-year-old carpenter, said.

Then he recovered the dog and swam to shore. “I swam fast,” he noted.

“Jake was sliced to ribbons and he was just standing there bawling like a baby,” LeNoir said.

Jake suffered puncture wounds to his abdomen, chest and back and lacerations on his right side and front left leg.

But after treatment, both man and dog were up and around — and in good enough shape to appear on CBS’ Early Show.

LeNoir said Jake may not be diving in again any time soon.

“He may not ever want to swim again,” he told Harry Smith. “He has nightmares … He sits up at night and cries.”

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