The movie based on the story of a dog whose mistreatment led to changes in North Carolina’s animal cruelty laws had its world premiere in Winston-Salem over the weekend.
“Susie’s Hope” kicked off the RiverRun International Film Festival Saturday, and if you missed that showing there are two more — Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Hanesbrands Theatre, and Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Main Theatre at UNC School of the Arts.
Susie, a pit bull mix, became a poster puppy for fighting animal abuse when she was found burned, beaten and close to death in Greensboro’s Greenfield Park in 2009.
The woman who adopted her, Donna Lawrence, was once a pit bull victim.
Lawrence began feeding a dog near her home in High Point whose owners had moved away. After several days, the dog attacked her, latching on to her left leg and going for her throat before she was able to push it away and seek help. The wound left her bone exposed, and she’d receive 45 stitches.
She didn’t blame the animal: “I blame the owners who turned their dog into what it was,” she writes on the movie’s website. “Their neglect and abuse made their dog fearful and territorial.”
The attack left Lawrence, a long-time dog lover, with a fear of dogs and nightmares, even after her physical recovery.
“Then one day I met Susie, and she changed my life forever,” Lawrence writes. “So now you can see Susie and I shared something in common: she was a pit bull mix that had been had been tortured by a human and I was viciously attacked by a pit bull just a few months before we met. Our similar experiences allowed us to go from being victims to living victorious lives. I forgave the dog for my wrongful attack, and Susie forgave the human for hers.”
She was found with second- and third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, a broken jaw, her teeth knocked out and her ears all but burned away. Her wounds were infested with maggots and she’d been surviving by eating sticks and drinking from mud puddles.
Lawrence and Susie would go on to foster awareness of animal abuse and push for increased penalties for the crime. Susie would become a therapy dog and a Canine Good Citizen.
In 2010, the state legislature passed Susie’s Law, which increased the penalty for anyone who “maliciously” kills an animal by “intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, and raised the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Susie’s abuser received a sentence of 4-6 months in jail for burning personal property and a 4-5 month suspended sentence for animal cruelty.
Susie — though a puppy portrays her in her younger years — plays herself in the movie.
Filmed locally, the movie has some actors you might recognize – Emmanuelle Vaugier, best known as Charlie’s ex-fiance Mia on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” plays Lawrence; Burgess Jenkins (“Remember the Titans”) plays Roy Lawrence; and, in our favorite bit of casting, Jon Provost (Timmy from the TV show “Lassie”) plays state Sen. Don Vaughan, who sponsored the bill that became Susie’s Law.
(Photo: Courtesy of Susieshope.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animal cruelty, animal shelter, animals, attack, burned, dog, dogs, donna lawrence, Emmanuelle Vaugier, felony, film festival, fire, found, greensboro, guilford county, jon provost, lassie, law, movie, neglected, north carolina, park, pets, pit bull, pitbull, premiere, river run, riverrun, set on fire, susie, susie's law, susies hope, timmy, victim, winston-salem
Nearly 150 dogs were seized from a rescue organization in Marion County, Oregon, early Monday, and its director was arrested and charged with 120 counts of animal neglect.
The Statesman-Journal reported that Alicia Marie Inglish, 24, is president of Willamette Valley Animal Rescue in Brooks.
Oregon Humane Society officials said the rescue was one of the largest in the state’s history.
Both the sheriff’s office and humane society had received complaints about the facility.
The dogs, many of which were in need of medical attention, were taken to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland before being transferred to other other local shelters.
Don Thompson, of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said 120 of the dogs were suffering from neglect and that many were malnourished.
After serving a search warrant, deputies found unclean conditions in the building, with some dogs running free, and some caged in crates. Some dog carriers, intended for single dogs, were filled with as many as four. There was no food available, little access to clean water, and one dog had his head stuck in a wire cage, deputies said.
According to its listing on Petfinder.com, the organization held adoption fairs at a local Petsmart. In the listing, it described itself as foster care-based but said it was hoping to open a shelter in 2012.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alicia inglish, animal, animal welfare, arrested, brooks, charged, dog, dogs, malnourished, marion county, neglect, neglected, oregon, pet, president, rescue, seized, shelter, willamette valley animal rescue
Jordan Biggs, 20, was booked into a Corvallis jail Friday, and later released — but without the dog she calls Bear.
Bear, or Chase, as he was previously known, is in the custody of animal control as officials look into the claims of the Portland man who says he’s the original owner and allegations that he treated the dog in an abusive manner.
Biggs has said she found the dog earlier this year in Portland and took him with her to Corvallis. She trained the dog to assist her when she has an asthma attack, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times
When she returned to Portland for a visit in May, the original owner spotted the dog and asked that Siberian husky mix be returned.
When she declined, Sam Hanson-Fleming, 30, filed a complaint with police.
Biggs, meanwhile, hired animal rights attorney Geordie Duckler, who has filed a civil suit alleging Hanson-Fleming was abusive to the dog and asking a judge to grant custody to his client. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s has opened an investigation into whether Hanson-Fleming was abusive toward the pet.
Duckler said the dog would remain at a humane society shelter in Corvallis while the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office investigates the allegations.
Hanson-Fleming told The Oregonian in Portland on Saturday that the allegations of animal abuse and neglect are false: “I’ve never hit Chase, I’ve never kicked him. The only thing I’ve done is swatted him with a rolled up newspaper,” he said.
Duckler said a private investigation through his office revealed Hanson-Fleming kicked, slapped, beat and urinated on Chase in order to show “who was in charge.”
The lawyer also said Hanson-Fleming regularly kept the dog in a cage that was too small, and that he regularly made the dog “inhale significant amounts of marijuana smoke in order to amuse himself and his friends.”
(Photo: Jordan and the dog she calls Bear; by Amanda Cowan / The Corvallis Gazette-Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, animals, arrest, asthma, attorney, bear, chase, corvallis, custody, dispute, district attorney, dog, dogs, found, geordie duckler, investigation, jail, jailed, jordan biggs, lost, mistreated, mix, multnomah county, neglected, oregon state university, ownership, pets, portland, private investigator, sam hanson-fleming, service dog, siberian husky, student, theft
This neglected and abandoned duo was found back in the fall in a park in Rocky Mount, N.C.
They were filthy, badly matted, stinky and barely able to get around.
“They could not walk, see or use the bathroom, yet someone dumped them in that park in that shape,” Sandy Wright Holt wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ve been in rescue over 10 years and have never come across any animal as neglected as these two were.”
After a trip to a vet, where they were shaved — a process that took hours — and given medical treatment, the two ended up in foster care, arranged by the SPCA Alliance of NC, and they’ve since been placed in an adoptive home.
These days, they go by the names Charley and Marley.
Whoever neglected and abandoned them hasn’t been found.
Just last week, looking like far different dogs, Charley and Marley took part in a fundraiser for a local rescue.
Here’s one more pair of before and after photos.
(Photos courtesy of SPCA Alliance of N.C.)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, after, animal cruelty, animals, before, before and after, charley, charley and marley, cruelty to animals, dogs, found, marley, matted, neglect, neglected, park, pets, sandy wright holt, spca alliance of NC
Ingo was taken from the home of former Watsonville police officer Francisco Ibarra.
Sgt. Stacy Sanders of the SPCA told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that an anonymous tip led them to Ibarra’s home in Salinas.
There, they found Ingo, who weighed just 55 pounds, about 25 pounds less than he should. His ribs and hipbones were showing, and there was no food in the back yard, the SPCA said.
Ingo has gained 15 pounds since SPCA officers seized him on Feb. 17.
“He is slowly recovering and gaining weight on a specialized diet on a prescribed feeding schedule,” said Beth Brookhouser of the SPCA.
The Monterey County district attorney’s office said Ibarra has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to take care of an animal. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 18. The penalty, if he’s convicted, is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The SPCA said that, while it hasn’t determined if the dog is adoptable, he won’t be euthanized.
Ibarra, who was fired from the force in 2010, is seeking to be reinstated by the Watsonville Police Department.
(Photo: SPCA of Monterey County)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, california, cruelty to animals, dehydrated, dog, dogs, emaciated, fired, ingo, K-9, k9, law enforcement, monterey county, neglect, neglected, officer, pets, police department, police dog, retired, spca, watsonville
Among the honors the documentary “100,000” has received is an Emmy award. Director Juan Agustin Marquez is shown here accepting it, and asking Puerto Ricans to take a pledge.
“We set out to change the world with this film, starting with our island, Puerto Rico,” he said.
“100,000 represents the specific number of dogs who live in the streets of our island nation. But the .. title of the film is more complex than that. What I truly wanted was to reach 100,000 people, humans, with the message of the film. I wanted 100,000 people to sign a pledge at the endof the film to learn about humane treatment for animals, especially dogs — to pledge that they will take care of their pets for as long as they live.
“We have a long way to reach our goal, but I will not rest until I get my 100,000 people to pledge to Puerto Rico’s dogs.”
Here is the pledge.
“100,000,” unfortunately, isn’t available for purchase, and it has yet to appear on American television.
But there is a way to see it, with English subtitles. The director says on the documentary’s website that he will provide a private link to watch it to those who email him. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abandoned, abused, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, award, beach, beaches, director, documentary, dogs, education, emmy, juan agustin marquez, movie, neglected, pets, pledge, puerto rico, responsibility, stray dogs, strays, street dogs, view, watch
Unwanted and tossed out of her Chicago home a few days ago, Isis, an abused shepherd terrier mix, is now in demand.
The Chicago Tribune reports that at least a dozen callers have made inquiries to the city’s office of Animal Care & Control about fostering or adopting her.
The dog’s owners kicked her out Saturday because they were moving to a new apartment that didn’t allow pets.
But Isis ended up back at the family’s new apartment in East Garfield Park, two blocks away from their old one, scratching at the door.
Neighbors say the shepherd terrier mix paced the sidewalk outside of the new home, howling and barking in the cold for hours. Police said, during that time, several youths tried to beat the dog with broomsticks and baseball bats.
Police charged the dog’s owner, Lashon Johnson, who told officers she no longer wanted the dog, with misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Animal control officials said Isis did not suffer life-threatening injuries. While uncertain when she would become available for adoption, they pointed out that there are dozens of other dogs in the shelter in need of homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abused, adopt, adoption, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, bats, beaten, broomsticks, chicago, cruelty to animals, dogs, east garfield park, isis, kicked out, neglected, offers, pets, rescue, shelter
They’ve named the malnourished pup Noelle, and they are treating the bad case of mange she had when picked up by the county.
Some staff members of the troubled city-run animal shelter in Memphis have had ties with dogfighting rings, an outside study of the shelter concludes.
The review of operations at the Memphis Animal Shelter, conducted by a Rotary Club committee, concludes that the city has an “attitude that animals are disposable,” that employees have operated outside the rules, that record-keeping is poor, and that little screening of potential adopters takes place.
It names no names, but the report does seem to infer that some employees at the shelter served to supply dogfighting operations with pit bulls:
“The vast majority of dogs brought in to the shelter are pit bulls. Therefore, the potential for criminal activity is very real, and the checks for criminal background must be made. There should be a record of this with each adoption, available for audit,” said the report.
Among employees, the report said, “there remains the clear understanding … that certain individuals are exempt from the rules … The employees at every level, while not willing to say so on the record, will readily volunteer that there has been a relationship between certain individuals and the illicit dogfighting rings in the community.”
The 22-page report was delivered this week to Mayor AC Wharton, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
The committee also plans to turn the report over to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office raided the shelter in October of 2009, and found abused or neglected animals. Three dogs, including the one pictured atop this post, were so starved and emaciated they didn’t survive.
The shelter’s director Ernest Alexander was fired and, along with veterinarian Angela Middleton and administrative supervisor Tina Quattlebaum, indicted on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals.
This year, another Memphis Animal Services officer was fired after a dog died of heat stroke during the two hours the officer took to pick the dog up and return to the shelter.
The city closed its old shelter this month, and opened the new Memphis Animal Services shelter this week. It’s already full, officials report.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused, adoptions, animal services, animal shelter, committee, dogfighting, employees, investigation, memphis, neglect, neglected, pit bulls, rescues, review, rings, rotary club, screening, shelters, staff, starved, study, tennessee
Rolled into a North Carolina courtroom in a green wagon, a pit bull mix named Chamberlin watched as one of two people accused of neglecting him so severely he’ll likely never fully recover was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Chamberlin, who Guilford County Animal Shelter officials said spent more than two months chained in a yard with little or no food — along with another dog who didn’t survive — was neglected to the point that his muscle tissue deteriorated, his bones fused and his claws circled back into his footpads.
Chamberlin, whose case led to a proposed law to make prosecution of neglect cases easier, called “Chamberlin’s Law,” entered the shelter over a year ago, and remains there, normally getting around on a cart that supports his front legs.
While he does have occasional outings, Wednesday’s might have been the most unusual of all.
Chamberlin was accompanied by shelter staff to today’s sentencing of Wilburt Morrison, Jr., 56. Morrison and his former live-in companion, Nellie Brock, were arrested last September and charged with two counts of animal cruelty each.
Chamberlin arrived at the Guilford County Courthouse in High Point atop a pink cushion in a heavy duty wagon, flanked by shelter staff and about 20 animal advocates.
When Morrison’s hearing began, the dog was rolled into the courtroom to the front row of seats.
(Brock rejected a plea agreement and will stand trial on the charges.)
Morrison’s attorney told the judge that Brock, not Morrison, was the owner of the dogs, and that Morrison had been ”under the impression that she would bring food to the dogs.”
He said the case was not as “black and white” as it appeared, and pointed out that, contrary to some earlier news reports, it was Morrison who called animal control to come get the dog.
Prosectors allowed a representative of Susie’s Miracle Fund — named after a burned dog whose case led to laws imposing harsher penalties for animal abuse in North Carolina — to read a statement. Upon its completion, the prosecutor said, “Finally, I would present Chamberlin.”
The black pit bull mix was wheeled into the middle of the courtroom, poking his head over the rails. After about 20 seconds of silence, he was pulled back to the front row.
Superior Court Judge John O. Craig, III, while he had some strong words for Morrison, accepted the plea agreement prosecutors offered.
Morrison in exchange for pleading to one count of animal cruelty (a second was dropped) was given a suspended 7 to 9-month prison sentence. He will spend 30 days in jail, and three years on probation. He was also ordered to make $1,000 in restitution to help cover Chamberlin’s medical bills.
The plea agreement also prohibits Morrison from having pets during his three-year probationary period.
“I don’t want him even to have a guppy,” the judge said. “Not even a pet rock.”
The maximum penalty Morrison could have received was 15 months in prison, because “Susie’s Law” had yet to go into effect at the time of his arrest.
Calling the dogs’ treatment “deplorable,” Craig said who owned the dogs was not the issue: “Even though the dogs may not technically have been owned by you, they were on your property and in your care.”
“They’re like children or elderly adults who can’t fend for themselves,” the judge added. “They are totally dependent on humans,” he added — and even moreso when they are chained, and unable to reach or seek their own food.
Judge Craig thanked Chamberlin’s backers for coming, but lamented that the same kind of support isn’t shown in cases involving the abuse and neglect of children and the elderly.
After the hearing, Nellie Brock spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, saying that, while the dogs belonged to her, Morrison was responsible for them.
“He put me out in May. He was responsible. Where I was at I could not take those dogs,” she said. She said she turned down a plea bargain because, ”I’m not guilty … I didn’t abuse my dogs.” A trial date has yet to be set.
In the most awkward moment of the afternoon, Brock approached the dog outside the courthouse, knelt down and spent several minutes petting and hugging him before an animal shelter official interrupted.
“He’s a strong dog and he has a good will and he knows in his heart that I didn’t do anything,” Brock said. “I pray every night for him.”
(Photos by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 30 days, abuse, animal cruelty, appearance, chained, chamberlin, chamberlin's law, courtroom, deal, englect, guilford county, guilford county animal shelter, hearing, high point, jail, neglected, nellie brock, north carolina, pit bull, plea agreement, probation, restitution, rolled, sentencing, starved, susies miracle fund, wagon, wheeled, wilburt morrison