A South Carolina man who dragged a pit bull mix behind his pick-up truck for two miles received the state’s maximum penalty for animal cruelty.
Circuit Judge Letitia Verdin sentenced Roger Dennis Owens of Greenville to five years in prison Tuesday for ill treatment of animals. He received another 5 1/2 years for habitual traffic offenses.
“This is one of the cruelest things that I’ve seen since I’ve been on the bench,” Verdin said.
Owens dragged the dog behind his truck for at least two miles on Nov. 29 — even as witnesses tried to get him to stop, according to the Greenville News.
Witnesses said the dog was tied to an open truck bed with her front paws on the gate while her hind legs were dragged across the road. The dog was running, trying to keep up with the truck, which was being driven at high speeds.
Two witnesses pursued Owens, following a trail of blood on the road until they found the dog, said Assistant Solicitor Julie Anders.
The dog, now named Andra Grace, was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment, and more than $16,000 was donated to help pay for her care.
She has since been adopted.
Owens’ attorney, public defender Elizabeth Powers Price, said her client has cared for dogs his whole life but had been drinking that day.
You can learn more about Andra Grace on the Justice for Andra Grace Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 10 years, 2 miles, abuse, andra grace, animal cruelty, court, cruelty to animals, dennis owens, dog, dogs, dragged, greenville, judge, letitia verdin, mix, pets, pit bull, sentence, south carolina, trial, truck, two miles, vehicle
A North Carolina couple has lost their dog for six months — apparently because he got sprayed by a skunk.
Even though he didn’t get bitten, or come in contact with the skunk, the dog has been placed in quarantine for six months by county animal control officials who say the precaution is necessary because the dog’s rabies shot had lapsed.
Something about that stinks.
Michael and April McQueen aren’t coming right out and saying that, but they are politely questioning the decision.
“He didn’t come in contact with the skunk. He never touched the skunk,” said April McQueen, of Kernersville, whose 11-year-old dog, Simon, is now being quarantined by a private veterinarian. “The skunk never touched him. He wasn’t bitten. There was no yelp, and there was no scuffle.”
Given that, the county’s reaction — scary as rabies is — seems to be an over-reaction.
Skunks can’t pass along rabies through their spray. That seems to be pretty much accepted by health and wildlife organizations. One almost always has to be bitten to get rabies.
Maybe animal control officials are trying to send a message to the public about the importance of keeping rabies vaccinations up to date. But unless they simply don’t believe the family’s claim that the dog wasn’t bitten, and have proof otherwise, Simon should be sent home, in my view.
April says she was walking Simon Thursday night when a skunk sprayed him. As a precaution she took the dog to a veterinarian and learned he was three weeks late on renewing his rabies booster.
“That’s when I was told they were going to have to contact animal control because his rabies shot had lapsed,” she told Fox 8. “The next morning I get a call from animal control, and they’re saying they want to quarantine our dog for six months or euthanize him.”
North Carolina law requires pets exposed to animals prone to carry rabies like skunks, foxes, coyotes, bats and raccoons be either euthanized or quarantined, at the owners expense, for six months if their rabies vaccination isn’t up to date.
But getting sprayed doesn’t constitute exposure — at least that’s what the Arkansas Department of Health says on its website.
Simon’s incarceration is “due to the fact that rabies can take up to six months before a pet shows signs of the virus,” said Tim Jennings with the Forsyth County Animal Control. “It’s why we stress the importance of keeping pets up to date on their vaccinations.”
“Obviously they want to protect the health of the community,” said April’s husband, Michael McQueen, who plans to appeal the decision, based on the lack of contact between skunk and dog, and based as well on the thought of his dog in solitary.
“You think about a 11-year-old dog, used to living inside with us all these years and is just tossed in a cement 4×6 cage with no contact,” he said.
If the McQueen’s appeal is denied Simon would have to remain in isolation, without any human or animal contact, until Dec. 6. That’s going to cost the McQueens about $3,000.
“We just don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” said April. “Life can be busy but make sure your animals are vaccinated and up-to-date.”
(Update: Simon has been returned to his family. Details here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 12th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, april mcqueen, dog, dogs, exposure, forsyth county, health, kernersville, lab, michael mcqueen, mix, pets, quarantine, rabies, simon, skunk, skunked, skunked dog, spray, sprayed, vaccinations
Maybe you can blame his owner — for not getting his front door fixed, and for not getting Raider fixed — but the 4-year-old Labrador mix was only doing what intact dogs tend to do, when the neighbor dog goes into heat.
The mutt went out the unlatched front door, and over to the home of a neighbor, who authorities say shot Raider twice when he caught him copulating with his prized purebred.
The neighbor, Randall Schexnayder, 51, of Metairie, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.
Raider is expected to recover from gunshot wounds to the muzzle and neck, according to his owner, Jim Hanley, 43. The dog disappeared last Wednesday, returning a few hours later covered in blood. Initially, Hanley thought Raider had been hit by a car, the Times-Picayune reported.
He took the dog to a vet, who told him Raider had been shot.
Hanley told the sheriff’s office who he suspected. A couple of neighbors had complained about Raider getting loose, and one had warned Hanley that he would take action if he ever caught Raider mounting his purebred dog.
When deputies called on that neighbor — Schexnayder — he admitted shooting the dog. He told the deputies he chased the dog off once, but when the dog returned, and attempted to mount his pet — whose breed wasn’t identified — he shot Raider twice with a .22-caliber pistol.
Schexnayder turned the gun and Raider’s collar over to authorities and was briefly jailed before being released on bond, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
Hanley, while not denying his dog accosted his neighbor’s purebred, said that doesn’t justify his dog getting shot.
“I understand that (a strange dog mating with a prize female) would be upsetting, but it would never cross my mind to pull out a firearm,” he said. “I think my first move would have been calling animal control. I mean, my Lord.”
Raider is named after the Archbishop Rummel High School Raiders.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeds, charges, cruelty, dogs, female, jefferson parish, lab, labrador, louisiana, male, mix, mount, mounted, mounting, mutts, neighbors, pets, purebred, retriever, sheriff, shooting, shot
The settlement followed a federal judge’s declaration that Sabal Palm Condominiums in Davie, which sued to force the woman to get rid of the dog, had behaved in a manner both absurd and unreasonable, not to mention in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“Sabal Palm got it exactly — and unreasonably — wrong,” U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola wrote in his order.
“This is not just common sense — though it is most certainly that.”
Scola ordered the condo association to allow Deborah Fischer, a retired art teacher, to keep her service dog, the Miami Herald reported.
Fischer, who uses a wheelchair and has limited use of her arms and hands, received a service dog in November 2011 from Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit group that provides dogs for people with disabilities.
The dog – a 5-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix named Sorenson — has been trained to help Fischer pick things up, open and close doors and retrieve items from counter tops.
The condominium association, saying the dog violated its 20-pound limit on pets, began demanding medical records and other information to prove that Fischer needed Sorenson — and it sued Fischer when, it said, she failed to provide it.
Fischer, along with her husband, Larry, counter-sued, saying the condo board’s demands violated the federal Fair Housing Act, or FHA.
Judge Scola, in a 30-page ruling, strongly agreed with Fischer.
That the condo association “turned to the courts to resolve what should have been an easy decision is a sad commentary on the litigious nature of our society. And it does a disservice to people like Deborah who actually are disabled and have a legitimate need for a service dog as an accommodation under the FHA,” he wrote.
Condo board members suggested that Fischer could get a smaller service dog, but Scola didn’t buy that argument.
After Scola ruled in the Fischers’ favor, their attorney negotiated a $300,000 settlement with the attorney representing Sabal Palm.
Fischer said Sorenson can recognize 40 separate commands.
“He has made my life so much better,” she said.
(Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Dietz)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 30th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, association, condo, condo association, condominium, countersuit, court, davie, deborah fischer, disabilities, dog, dogs, fair housing act, federal, fha, florida, golden retriever, judge, judge robert scola, labrador retriever, lawsuit, matthew dietz, mix, ms, multiple sclerosis, pets, robert scola, ruling, service, service dog, settlement, sorenson
A week ago Saturday, two customers asked her about it, and whether she had a dog of her own.
Indeed she does, one of whom is a Great Dane-Labrador mix named Tucker who, she told the man and woman, was at the veterinary hospital having emergency surgery after he swallowed a tennis ball.
The man commented about how expensive that was probably going to be, and Summitt confided that she’d received an estimate of $2,700.
But Tucker, who she adopted in 2011, was her baby, she explained, and she’d sell her car, if necessary, to pay for the operation.
After the conversation, Summitt got busy behind the bar of the Clinton Holiday Inn, and the couple ordered more drinks and dinner. When it was time to close out their $80 tab, the man filled out a tip for her on the receipt — for $1,000.
“I went back over and said ‘Sir, I cannot accept this, what is this for, why would you do this?’’” Summitt said. He told her to put it toward Tucker’s medical costs.
“I just stood there in shock. I walked around and hugged this couple.”
Summitt, in addition to working three jobs, is a volunteer with a pit bull rescue group, according to CNN, which initially carried her self-reported story as an iReport.
Summitt, 37, wrote a Facebook post about, and it went on to appear, on Easter morning, on the Facebook page “Why Bartenders and Servers Hate People.”
Not everyone believed it initially, but it was true.
Hotel manager Michelle Satanik told CNN she tracked down the customer to verify that the gesture was legitimate.
“Apparently this man does this quite frequently. Just a really nice guy and humanitarian,” Satanik said.
In case that’s not a happy enough ending, Tucker’s operations was a success, and he’s recovering at home.
(Photos: Tucker being dropped off for surgery; the receipt; bartender Chrstina Summitt; by Christina Summitt/iReport)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $1, 000, animals, ball, bartender, christina summitt, clinton, couple, customers, dog, dogs, great dane, holiday inn, labrador, mix, new jersey, one thousand, one thousand dollar tip, pets, surgery, swallowed, tip, tips, tucker, veterinarian, veterinary
It’s one thing for police officers not to offer any help to a suffering dog. It’s another — and maybe even more shameful — for them to prohibit a citizen from doing so.
That’s what happened in Denver last week.
A dog hit by a car spent 90 minutes gasping for air and died as police investigated the accident. A citizen who tried to help the dog was shooed away by an officer and told he was impeding their investigation.
Apparently police considered the dog evidence, as opposed to a living thing. Apparently, protocol was more important than saving his life, or putting him out of his misery.
Video shows the dog, which had a collar and leash but no tags, laying in the middle of Federal Boulevard for nearly 90 minutes, Channel 7 in Denver reported.
Ross Knapp, a bystander who sought to help the dog and bring him water, says he was threatened with being arrested.
“I had one of the officers tell me I had to leave and couldn’t be near it. I tried a couple of times to go back and he just finally said I’m impeding on an investigation and if I came back I’d be arrested,” Knapp said.
Channel 7 reports 15 minutes passed before police called animal control, and that it took the animal control officer an additional 60 minutes to arrive.
“It’s always about the personal safety of that individual. It’s not trying to be cruel to the animal or cruel to the individual. It’s best if we get the animal control people in there, let them do what they do as experts and let them take the actions,” said Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson.
“I recognized Harley … I watched the video a couple of times and had others watch it hoping that somebody would say it’s just not him,” Juras said.
Juras contacted Denver Animal Control and confirmed Saturday morning that the dog seen in the 7NEWS video was her missing lab. Now she wants the officer who ignored her dog’s suffering to be held accountable.
“This animal was neglected and neglected by somebody that’s supposed to be there for your safety, supposed to take care of us in times like this,” Juras said.
Denver Police, in response to growing public indignation about the incident, posted a YouTube video in which a veterinarian and animal control officer explain why it’s best to wait for professionals to handle an injured animal.
Meanwhile, an online petition demanding an apology from the police department had nearly 8,000 signatures Sunday night.
Among them is that of Juras, who said she signed the petition before she even knew it was about her dog.
(Photo: Harley with his owner, Dani Juras / provided by Juras family)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 14th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, aide, animal control, animals, arrest, assistance, car, citizen, dani juras, delay, denver, died, dogs, emergencies, gasping, harley, helping, injured animals, lab, law enforcement, mix, neglected, petition, pets, police, policies, protocol, response, struck, suffered, threatened, warned
Alanis Morissette says her housekeeper took her Chihuahua mix.
The housekeeper says the singer no longer wanted the dog and asked her and her fiancé — seen in this video explaining their side of the story — to take him.
Morissette and her husband, Mario Treadway, have filed a lawsuit, seeking $25,000 and the return of the dog.
Maria Garcia, the housekeeper, and her husband Patrick Murch, a dog walker, responded with this video, claiming Morissette told them the dog was “too annoying” to keep, and arguing the dog — given he was given to them and given they have cared for him for the past year — should be theirs to keep.
They say they asked Murch and Garcia to care for the dog while Morissette was on tour, for most of 2012.
Garcia house sat for the couple during the tour. When Morissette returned in early 2013, Garcia says she was asked to take the dog home with her because his behavior had become, in Morissette’s view, ”annoying and insufferable.”
Since March of 2013, Circus has lived exclusively with Murch and Garcia.
Garcia says Morissette was allergic to Circus, and that the dog was food aggressive and was relieving himself inside the singer’s house.
“Mario and Alanis were both frustrated with Circus’ behavior and said he was disruptive to their family, posed a risk to their other dogs and their child…”
In a blog called Help Circus Stay!, they add, “They gave him to us a year ago and he’s been with living with us since, happily, healthily and loved by his little family. Now they are trying to rip our family apart!”
Morissette and Treadway fired Garcia in January of this year, and filed the lawsuit seeking the return of Circus a couple of months later.
After the housekeeper and dog walker posted the video last month, Morissette and Treadway further complained that, by doing so, they have made the dog a target for dognappers, TMZ reports.
Treadway filed additional legal documents in which he said Circus “is not merely a piece of property. He is living and breathing.” Each day he is separated from the dog, he said, “[my] heart suffers more and more.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alanis, alanis morissette, animals, behavior, caretaker, chihuahua, circus, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, fight, given, housekeeper, issues, lawsuit, los angeles, maria garcia, mario treadway, mix, morissette, ownership, patrick murch, pets, singer, stolen