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Tag: neighbor

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.

“I ain’t gonna let no dogs punk me”

wilkersonA Chicago man charged with beating and stabbing a neighbor’s dog to death told police he did it because the dog tore his $3.78 shirt.

Damien Wilkerson, 34,  was being held in lieu of $80,000 bail and faces felony animal cruelty charges, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Witnesses told police they saw Wilkerson beating the dog near his home Saturday while holding a knife. Police found the dog’s body in a trash can in nearby alley.

“Yeah I killed that … dog,” Wilkerson told police, according to court documents. “I don’t give a (expletive),” Wilkerson said to police. “The dog tore my shirt. This … cost $3.78.”

Wilkerson said he went after the dog after it bit and tore his shirt through a fence, according to court documents. He said he hopped the fence and began beating the dog with a milk crate, then “choked the dog out” when the animal went for his neck, according to officers.

Authorities say Wilkerson is a member of the Insane Vice Lords gang.

According to court documents, he told police, “I ain’t gonna let no dogs or no (expletive) punk me.”

A tree goes down, a tamale comes up

The sprucing up of Petite Acres — the trailer park in Arizona where I’ve temporarily hung my hat — continues.

In addition to paving the dirt road that leads into the trailer park, to keep the dust down, the owner hired one of my neighbors, Ramiro, to come over and remove a tree stump from my yard.

As Ramiro brought over his tools — an axe, a pick and multiple shovels — Ace followed him back and forth to his trailer, and, as he has before, got a hand out.

“I was feeding him some tamale and he ate the whole husk,” Ramiro said. “I hope it doesn’t make him sick.”

Clearly, Ace didn’t understand the intricacies of Mexican cuisine; then again, his policy when it comes to any food is generally to eat it first and ask questions later.

Six hours later, about the time the tree finally came down, the tamale came up. Ace walked to the trailer door and started hacking, and got down the stairs just in time to cough up a corn husk.

Simultaneously, Ramiro, who had spent six hours digging and chopping roots, was heaving, too – throwing all his weight on the the six-foot-tall stump, which slowly toppled as he rode it down.

I’m not sure why the stump had to be removed. It takes up much more of my dirt yard now that it’s horizontal instead of vertical, but I’m sure someone will be chopping it up and hauling it away, and filling the giant hole in the ground.

I’d thought it would be cool to leave the stump standing, and paint it to resemble a cactus.

But, being a temporary resident, my vote didn’t count.

Ramiro probably didn’t care either way about the stump in my yard, but once he tackled the task, it became a battle he had to win — and all done without the aid of heavy equipment. It was man versus stump.

Ramiro proudly took a picture of the tree he’d singlehandedly brought down. I took a picture of what Ace coughed up. Then, at Ramiro’s request, I took some pictures with his cell phone camera of him standing atop the fallen tree truck, raising his arms in victory.

All in all, as they go, it was a pretty exciting day at Petite Acres.

Baltimore dog attacked with machete

A dog attacked yesterday by a neighbor wielding a machete is scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow.

On Tuesday evening, a man walked into his neighbor’s yard and attacked the dog in the face and head with the machete, inflicting injuries that went all the way down to the bone, authorities said.

The dog, named Okashia, lives on the 3000 block of Wylie Avenue in northwest Baltimore.

While she lost a lot of blood, the dog is expected to recover, though vets were worried she might lose an eye.

Okashia, a shepherd-pit mix, was taken to the Emergency Veterinary Center in Catonsville, where she was sedated and given intravenous fluids. She was returned to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where she was expected to be evaluated by a surgeon this morning.

As a result of Okashia’s treatment, and other recent emergency cases, BARCS’ Franky Fund — reserved for the most serious cases of sick and injured animals — is seriously depleted, according to officials at the shelter.

Contributions may be made here.

Caroline A. Griffin, head of Baltimore’s Anti-Animal Cruelty Task Force, said that in addition to injuries to her head, the dog has been found to have bruising to her lungs. Because of that, the decision was made to postpone surgery for her facial injuries until tomorrow.

According to police, Levar J. Bailey, who lives several doors down from the dog’s owner, attacked the dog in her own yard. When police arrested Bailey, 33,  he was yelling, “The dog was trying to bite my daughter,” according to charging documents.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Bailey was taken to an area hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and that, according to police, he has a history of mental illness.

The two-year-old dog is owned by Shea-Quan Moore-Williams, who went outside after hearing the dog yelping to find her bloody dog and Bailey in the yard with an 18- to 24-inch black machete.

(Contributions to BARCS are also being collected this week at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, in connection with the ongoing photo exhibit, “Hey That’s My Dog!” Checks can be made payable to BARCS or BARCS Franky Fund.)

Dog leads owner to man frozen to ground

effieA hunting dog on a walk with her owner in Minnesota led him to a 94-year-old neighbor who was unconscious and frozen to his driveway.

Brett Grinde and his German shorthair, Effie, were on a late afternoon walk Monday when the old hunting dog suddenly began pulling to the right, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Grinde, a Pine County sheriff’s investigator, let Effie off the leash and she ran to a driveway 40 yards away, stopping at the body of Grinde’s neighbor, William Lepsch, who apparently had fallen while retrieving his mail.

Lepsch’s wife, Marjorie, who uses a wheelchair, had looked outside and seen her husband on the ground. She tried dialing 911, she said, but had repeatedly misdialed out of panic.

“Nobody’s around and I’m out there hollering ‘Somebody please help me!’ but there was no one,” she said. “In the meantime this dog ran up and began licking his face.”

Grinde called 911, then started CPR.  Lepsch initially regained consciousness and was taken to North Memorial Medical Center.

Update: A North Memorial nursing supervisor says Lepsch passed away Wednesday morning.

Army sergeant convicted of shooting dog

Army Special Forces Sgt. Justin Noyes Blehar won’t serve jail time for shooting his neighbor’s dog earlier this year.

Blehar, 32, was charged with felony animal abuse, but the jury convicted him of misdemeanor animal abuse and shooting in a prohibited area after a three-day jury trial in Stafford County Circuit Court in Virginia, Fredericksburg.com reported.

According to prosecutors, Blehar shot a brown Labrador retriever that came into his yard on March 31. The dog lived with a family two houses away and repeatedly had gotten loose in the neighborhood. On March 8, Blehar’s wife called animal control after the dogs confronted her in her yard, and Blehar asked animal control officers if he could shoot the dog if it came back into his yard. He was told no, unless it was in self-defense.

On March 31 the dogs came into his yard again. He chased them away once, but they returned. Blehar said Zu Zu, the more aggressive of the two dogs, came at him and he felt threatened. He shot the dog twice with his Glock 9 mm weapon.

Prosecutors argued that Blehar was annoyed with the dog, not scared of it.

The jury recommended that Blehar pay a total of $1,146 in fines. The judge withheld the imposition of the jury verdict at the request of defense attorney, who requested time to file additional motions, including one to overturn the jury decision.

FBI agent gets probation for killing Chihuahua

An FBI agent was sentenced yesterday to two years’ probation and 300 hours of community service for killing a neighbor’s Chihuahua last year.

A state district judge in Waco placed Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr. on “deferred adjudication probation,” meaning no conviction will appear on his record if he successfully completes probation, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

Ledger had entered a plea of no contest to animal cruelty charges.

Ledger fatally shot his neighbor’s 3-pound dog with a pellet gun last year as it walked near his house.

FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said that the agency will conduct an internal inquiry to determine whether Ledger will faces any sanctions, ranging from suspension to dismissal.

FBI agent shoots Chihuahua near Waco

An FBI agent who shot and killed a Chihuahua named Sassy in front of his Texas home says he deserves probation.

Amazingly, if a judge approves, that’s the sentence he’ll get.

Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr., 40, who lives near Lorena, pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors that he be placed on probation for two years, according to the Waco Tribune.

The 3-pound dog, which belonged to a neighboring 8-year-old girl, was shot in the neck, just above her rhinestone collar, in February of 2008.

A neighbor, who witnessed the shooting when she went to investigate why her dogs were barking, said Ledger shot the dog with a pellet rifle, as one of his children watched.

Ledger initially lied to investigators about the dog’s death but later told deputies he shot the animal, according to court records. Ledger and his attorney both declined comment after a brief plea hearing Monday, the Tribune reported. The judge has set sentencing in the case for June 23.

Spencer the beagle busted in Baltimore

ohmidog! correspondent Anne Madison and her beagle Spencer received a visit over the weekend from Baltimore’s finest — and by that we mean Animal Control — after a medical emergency required Spencer’s humans to leave him home alone for longer than usual.

Anne’s human companion, Greg, after falling ill, was taken by ambulance to Hopkins Bayview. Anne road along. She returned home briefly in the late afternoon to tend to Spencer then left again for the hospital. Greg was admitted and Anne got home after dark, in the rain. It was still pouring Saturday, so Spencer missed his walk and Anne again spent much of the day af the Hospital. Saturday evening, Anne returned home with Greg, who, though warned to start charting a healthier life course, was still ticking.

On Sunday, as Anne reports on her blog, they all settled in for a lazy afternoon when there came a knock on the door…

“I’m from Animal Control,” said the courteous young woman as she showed me her badge. “And the first thing you’re going to have to do is clean up all these feces.” I cringed. Two walk-less, scoop-less, rainy days can certainly make your yard look bad in the feces department. “We’ve had a bit of a medical emergency,” I replied. “But I’ll certainly take care of it. Was…there anything else?”

Of course there was. They’d received a call from a concerned neighbor who figured we were torturing a dog in here. “Ah,” I replied. “That would be Spencer. My husband has been in the hospital for two days, and the dog’s been here all by himself  for several hours on both days. He was probably lonely and upset.”

This was an intelligent young woman, and I will love her for her next question: “What kind of dog is it?”  As soon as I got out the word “Beagle,” her official face relaxed a bit. “I always ask if it’s a Beagle. They can sound like they’re dying,” was her reply.

Spencer and his dad were duly summoned from their nap. Spencer sat courteously while she inspected his license and rabies tag. She noticed that he’s microchipped, and when she’d seen what she needed, she had a pat on the head for him and an “It’s OK, old man.” We promised to scoop the poop, and that was it.

So all’s well that ends well. Praises to Baltimore Animal Control for checking things out, and praises to the young officer for knowing about Beagles. And the Dog House Girls are now in my cell phone in case this ever happens again.

Can you hear me now?

(Behave! is a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written for ohmidog! by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To see all of the columns, click on the Behave! tab on the rightside rail.)

While dogs bring lots of wonderful things to our lives, they can also bring muddy paws, dog breath and, sometimes, enough noise to drive you ,or worse yet your neighbors, crazy.

Incessantly barking dogs can, and have, led to full-fledged war between neighbors. But as with much bad behavior — not just canine — the key to stopping it is understanding why it’s taking place.

First, let’s debunk some myths: Barking is not the dog version of conversation. Dogs don’t communicate that way, they use body language for most of their “discussion” with us, and with other animals. Dogs don’t have a barked vocabulary. Nor do dogs speak English, so you can’t reason with your dog to be quiet.

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