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Tag: misdemeanor

Felony charges urged in Green Acre case

Green-Acre--memorial

Justice for the more than 20 dogs who died at an Arizona boarding kennel came one step closer this week with a recommendation from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office that both felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges be brought against the kennel’s owners and two caretakers, one of them the son of a U.S. senator.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is recommending prosecutors file 21 felony charges of neglect against Todd and MaLeisia Hughes, who own Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert; their daughter Logan Flake; and her her husband, Austin Flake, who is the son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.

The final decision on filing charges will be made by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the Arizona Republic reported. He says that process could take a few weeks.

Authorities found 21 dead dogs on the property June 21 when they went to the kennel after customers began learning something was amiss.

Some customers whose dogs had died while cramped with more than 25 others in a 12-by-12-foot laundry room were told their dogs had run away. Later, the kennel owners said there had been a “freak accident” that knocked out the room’s air conditioning.

The sheriff’s department investigation concluded the dogs died of “apparent suffocation and overheating.”

Two other dogs also died, including one who ran away.

The kennel owners were on vacation in Florida when the dogs died, and had left the animals in the care of the Flakes.

Sheriff Arpaio, said to have a soft spot for dogs, vowed at the investigation’s start to get to the bottom of what happened:  ”If a crime occurred, someone will be held accountable,” he said. It took nearly three months to accomplish that, but Arpaio was being praised this week, by the owners of pets who died and some members of the news media.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts commended Arpaio’s actions, saying, ”Of course, there are bigger cases to be cracked, more horrifying things that happen to humans every day. But on this day, there is no more important story than this one and the statement that it makes.

“For Parker and Rosie and Zed. For Ellie and Roxie and Francis.For Remy and Buick. For Valor and Patrick and Sonny.

“For a pair of Bernese Mountain dogs named Carson and Daisy.

“For all good dogs everywhere.”

(Photo: A memorial created near the Green Acre kennel in Gilbert to commemorate the more than 20 dogs that died there; by Corina Vanek / The Republic)

Cellphone video leads to abuse arrest

kiloWhen public officials say they “take something very seriously,” it’s often because they haven’t been taking it very seriously.

Nearly three months ago, authorities in Las Vegas dropped an investigation into a man’s complaint that his neighbor was abusing his dog.

Last week, though, that same dog owner was arrested — thanks to the persistent efforts of the neighbor who, after his earlier complaint led nowhere, went on to videotape the man mistreating his dog and than gave the evidence to officials.

Charged with felony cruelty to animals was Roy Cozart, 30, who beat his pit bull, Kilo, with a rock and the handle of a hammer and threw him against a wall, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson announced Friday in a press release.

“Animal abuse is a serious offense that will not be tolerated,” the district attorney said.  “We take all allegations of abuse very seriously and pursue criminal charges when appropriate.”

But as KTNV pointed out in a news report, the initial complaint against the neighbor came months ago.

While authorities apparently didn’t see the original complaint as that serious, they now say Kilo was abused multiple times between July 15 and Oct. 13.

The difference, this time, was apparently the video.

cozartTaken by the neighbor’s cellphone video on Oct. 8, it allegedly shows Cozart drag Kilo by his neck, swing him around in the air and then hit the dog with a six-inch rock.

Even after that, though, an animal control investigator who later visited Cozart’s home, reported that the dog, though he had cuts and bruises on his face, “appeared happy.”

It wasn’t until a week later that the dog was seized and examined by veterinarians who said they saw signs of abuse. Kilo is now in a foster home and is reported to be doing well, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We are thankful the D.A. has taken animal cruelty seriously and has brought the appropriate charges against Roy Cozart,” said Gina Greisen, president of Nevada Voters for Animals. “We are confident that policies and procedures addressing serious allegations of cruelty will improve as more animal cruelty cases are prosecuted under Cooney’s law,” she said.

Cooney’s Law was passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2011 making animal cruelty a felony. It’s named after a 3-year-old beagle from Reno who was killed when her owner cut her stomach open, thinking that a mouse crawled inside the dog. The owner was charged with a misdemeanor under the law in effect at the time.

Now it’s a felony, punishable by one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

That’s progress, but only if the law is swiftly and strongly enforced.

5 days in jail for abandoning pregnant dog

An Ohio man will spend five days in jail for abadoning a pregnant dog at a farm in February.

Darryl Lawson, 45, of Hamilton, pleaded guilty yesterday to misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals and abandoning animals. A judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail, but suspended 85 of the days, the Dayton Daily News reported.

He was also was ordered to pay a $750 fine and serve 40 hours of community service at an animal shelter — even though the judge barred him from having pets in his own household during an additional two years probation.

Lawson’s lawyer said his client  is “very remorseful” for abandoning the beagle mix, who later gave birth to puppies while huddled in some in hay.

Lawson immediately regretted his decision and even went back to the farm in an attempt to find the dog. He then called the sheriff’s office and Animal Friends Humane Society, where the dog and pups were taken by a farmer who found them. He turned himself in to animal shelter authorities.

The mother dog and her five puppies were cared for and are thriving in a foster home.

Frozen dog is happier, lighter a year later

jiffyJiffy — an obese border collie mix found frozen to the sidewalk a year ago in Wisconsin — is 40 pounds lighter, a good deal warmer and living with a new family.

Adopted last spring by Patty and Peter Geise, the elderly dog didn’t suffer any lasting injuries from the incident, but it did lead to his previous owner relinquishing her ownership of the dog, the Sheboygan Press reports.

“He’s moving like a regular dog again,” said Patty Geise. Jiffy weighed 116 pounds then, about three times what he should. He’s now down to 76 pounds.

He’s still overweight, but nothing like he was in December 2008, when he arrived at the Sheboygan County Human Society shelter, where Patty Geise volunteers.

He had been found frozen to a sidewalk after being left outside overnight in single-digit temperatures after his owner couldn’t get him back inside the house. His girth turned out to be friend and foe. It contributed to him getting stuck to ground, but his layers of fat also are believed to have kept him warm enough to survive.

His former owner was charged with  intentionally mistreating animals following the incident, but the charge was later dismissed. The owner had tried to bring the dog inside, called 911 seeking help, put a blanket over Jiffy, and checked him periodically through the night.

After reports about the incident, the humane society was contacted by hundreds of people from as far away as Spain, all wanting to adopt Jiffy.

(Photo: Geise walks with Jiffy; by Gary C. Klein/The Sheboygan Press)

Dachshund drowning? There’s an App for that

Nathan App was sentenced in Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania to five years of probation and 60 hours of community service after trying to drown a woman’s dachshund in a backyard swimming pool.

Under a plea agreement, App, 20, of Douglass Township, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

“His conduct was disgusting. It was a small, helpless dog. He was basically torturing the dog by repeatedly dunking the dog in water and dragging it by its leash in the water,” Assistant District Attorney Abby Silverman said of the July incident.

Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered App to undergo a psychological evaluation, and prohibited App from owning any animals, according to an article in the Delaware County Daily Times.

App apparently has a history with the dog’s owner — a previous court order had prohibited him from having any contact with her. Apparently, her dog was another matter.

The dog’s owner, who rushed the dog to a veterinarian for treatment after the incident, told police she was alerted to the attempted drowning by her neighbors who had witnessed the cruelty.

Two neighbors reported they observed App pull the dog by a leash into the pool area and then throw the dog into the water, according to the arrest affidavit. One witness claimed App tossed the dog into the air and watched the dog land in the pool, then repeatedly dunked the dog under the water.

Neighbors yelled at App and he pulled the dog out of the water, police said.

The dachshund survived.