Tag: new york
It’s hardly the first time a city trying to put its best face forward has shown instead how ugly it can be.
Even as the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is choreographed — with its heartwarming message of peace, love and brotherhood — the city is trying to purge its streets of stray dogs, poisoning, capturing and killing them so it can project a clean, safe and pleasant image.
Despite publicly backing off from plans to do so last year, the city of Sochi has hired a private company to kill as many of its stray dogs as possible before the games, according to an ABC News report, based on an interview with the owner of the company hired to kill the dogs
Alexei Sorokin, while declining to comment on how many strays have been exterminated so far, was more than willing to talk about the dangers they pose:
“Imagine, if during an Olympic games, a ski jumper landed at 130 kilometres an hour and a dog runs into him when he lands. It would be deadly for both a jumper and for the stray dog,” he said.
Yes, the odds for that happening — landing upon a dog upon completion of a ski jump — have got to be pretty high.
It’s not the first time a city has tried to purge its streets of all things unsightly and embarassing before international attention comes its way.
Stray dogs have been rounded up at previous Olympics, and soccer championships. In America, cities hosting political conventions have corraled their homeless to keep them out of the sight of visitors. And before yesterday’s hardly-worth-the-wait Super Bowl, officials in New York and New Jersey sought to crack down on packs of prostitutes they said were streaming into the area for the big event.
All those things cost money, often taxpayer money, so residents end up footing the bill for a city’s superficial makeover — all so a city can deceive the rest of the world for a week or two.
That’s what it really is, deception — covering up its real face, putting on enough make-up so we can’t see its pimples, disguising, erasing, incarcerating or restricting the movements of those who might embarass it. Instead of addressing real problems, the city spends money on temporarily covering them up.
Then, to justify it all, they have to spin some more, often turning to fear tactics to do so.
The strays in Sochi might bite people, or might have rabies, or might bump into ski jumpers falling from the sky, officials say. So they’re being “culled,” which means killed, but sounds better. The dogs have broken no laws – other than being unwanted and unloved – but they’re getting the death penalty anyway.
“I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs … Dogs must be taken off the streets even if that means putting them to sleep,” said Sorokin, who says he is performing a needed public service. He described his company, which generally uses poisons and traps to rid the streets of dogs, as the largest of its kind in Russia.
What’s really behind such purgings – whether it’s killing stray dogs, rounding up hookers, or cordoning off the homeless – isn’t civic pride. If it were civic pride, we’d be working on fixing the problem. When we’re working only on the appearance, it’s civic vanity.
Just as stray dogs haven’t suddenly become a bigger problem in Sochi, there’s no proof — despite the pronouncements of city and state officials — that prostitution surges to dangerous proportions during Super Bowls. There might be more arrests during Super Bowls, but there generally are when law enforcement cracks down.
Even an advocate for victims of trafficking noted last week that New York and New Jersey, by cracking down on prostitution during the Super Bowl, weren’t solving any problems — and maybe were even doing a disservice.
“The annual oversimplification of the issue, in which we conflate all prostitution with trafficking, and then imply that arrest equals solution, does a disservice to year-round efforts to genuinely assist survivors of trafficking — with emergency housing, medical care and other crucial services,” Kate Mogulescu, founder and supervising attorney of the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society, wrote in last week’s New York Times.
“When the discussion is dominated by fear-mongering, we fail to meaningfully address the actual causes of human trafficking. Remove the guise of ‘preventing’ human trafficking, and we are left with a cautionary tale of how efforts to clean up the town for a media event rely on criminalizing people, with long-lasting implications for those who are then trapped in the criminal justice system.”
There are better ways to fight crime, conquer homelessness and combat stray dog problems — none of which are quick fixes, none of which are simply cosmetic, all of which involve, as a first step, getting past the mindset expressed by Sorokin in Soshi.
“Let’s call things by their real name,” he said. “These dogs are biological trash.”
(Photo: A stray dog and its puppy outside Sochi; by Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attention, biological trash, capture, civic pride, civic vanity, clean up, cosmetic, crime, cull, culling, deception, dogs, extermination, hiding, homeless, kill, killing, law enforcement, new jersey, new york, olympics, poison, prostitutes, quick fix, russia, shelters, Sochi, spotlight, stray dogs, strays, super bowl, sweeps, trafficking
Believe it or not, the poster of this video is a dog trainer — though, if you’ve got an infant in the house, you might not want him to teach your dog this particular trick.
Alex Garcia, a dog trainer based in Brooklyn, jokingly says he posted this video on YouTube “in part to discourage friends from asking me to baby-sit.”
According to his website, CivilPet.com, he works with dogs, cats, and companion parrots, providing dog training, dog walking, and pet sitting services.
The website contains videos of several “useless dog tricks” he has taught his dog, Raja.
He also writes a blog, and did an entire entry that features step-by-step directions on how to teach your dog to put a baby (or at least a baby doll) into the oven:
“Step 2: Use shaping to get her to put the (toy) baby in the oven. Hold the baby in the position you want it to land, click your dog for investigating it, then grabbing it. When she grabs it, click and shove food in her face so she’ll drop it in the same position. She should hold the baby, you click, she drops it, then gets fed, then withhold the click until she drops it, then click. Gradually, start with the baby further away from the point in which you want the dog to drop it, then you’ll eventually be able to put the baby on the floor …”
In a disclaimer at the end, he writes: “This is not an actual How-To guide; I’m just going over what I went through to train this for anyone who is curious. If you attempt to train this to your dog, you’re doing so at your own risk. I am not responsible if: your dog opens or closes the oven while you’re cooking; your dog puts an actual baby in the oven; you get bit trying this with your resource guarding pet; your oven breaks somehow; anything bad happens.”
We’re guessing Garcia isn’t so quick to shirk responsibility when he’s on the job; otherwise his repeat customers would be few. As he sees it, he’s just making training a little more fun through his useless pet tricks.
“Training provides great mental stimulation, even when the behaviors themselves have no practical application in the real world,” he says.
Other videos on his website are somewhat cuter and not quite so worrisome, including this one entitled “The Police are Coming.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 7th, 2013 under videos.
Tags: alex garcia, animals, baby, baby in the oven, brooklyn, civilpets, dog trainer, dogs, doll, infant, instructions, new york, oven, pets, raja, raja takes care of the baby, really stupid pet tricks, responsbility, stupid pet tricks, take care of the baby, video, youtube
What do you do when the woman you’re falling in love with has a dog that, seemingly, can’t stand you?
Beef jerky, trust and patience are key, but it also helps to be Jon Katz.
The author of numerous dog books recounted in Parade last week how he came to marry Maria – an artist who was using one of his barns as a studio – and how that required much woooing of her Rottweiler-shepherd mix, Frieda.
Katz was still married when he met Maria and cut a deal with her allowing her to use a barn as a studio in exchange for helping with his animals (a herd of sheep, four donkeys, four chickens, three dogs, and two cats) at his farm in upstate New York. Both later saw their marriages end, and they began developing a friendship — or at least to the extent Frieda would permit.
Frieda was fiercely protective of Maria and, Katz writes, ”whenever I approached the barn, Frieda would fling herself against the door in a frenzy, barking ferociously.”
Frieda had been dumped, pregnant, along the New York State Thruway by a man who had been using her as a guard dog. She lived in the wild before she was captured and brought to a shelter. That’s where Maria met her and adopted her, Katz says:
“They were the perfect pair, the human-canine version of Thelma and Louise, united in their devotion to each other and in their great distrust of men.”
As Katz and Maria made the transition from friends to something more, Frieda continued to act out in the presence of Katz and his dogs. At night, Frieda stayed in the barn. Even though it was heated, it was not a desirable arrangement.
“I was falling in love with Maria,” Katz writes, “and I hoped she would agree to marry me one day, but I knew I had to work things out with Frieda first.
Katz says he bought $500 worth of beef jerky, and began a morning ritual, tossing a piece to Frieda every day. He started getting a little closer to the dog on each visit and, after months, Frieda let him put a leash on her and walk her. “My goal was to get her into the house by Christmas, as a surprise for Maria, evidence of my commitment and good faith.”
Katz and Maria and their animals are one big happy family now, and you can read all about it when The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story, comes out next month.
To learn more about Katz and his other books, visit his website, bedlamfarm.com.
(Top photo: Maria and Frieda and author Jon Katz at Bedlam Farm; by George Forss)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a love story, animals, author, barn, bedlam farm, behavior, books, books on dogs, distrust, dog, dog books, dogs, farm, frieda, jon katz, lovers, maria, married, mix, new york, parade, pets, rottweiler, shepherd, studio, the second chance dog, trust, wife
When the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine decided it needed to do something about the increasing numbers of dogs pooping on its hallowed grounds, it turned not to a deity, but to a design firm.
That firm’s answer? A series of signs, using Old Testament verse as an inspiration, along with regular English, in smaller print, for those who might not get it.
The Episcopal church, something of a landmark in New York City, isn’t totally down on dogs. It hold a blessing for dogs and other creatures on St. Francis Day. And it doesn’t mind that it has become a popular spot with dog owners. It just didn’t like the mess.
The design firm Pentagram says the church didn’t specifically request humorous signs, but that seemed to be the best approach.
The signs read, “Thou shalt not poop (Please keep dogs off grass),” ”Hold close thy loved (Please keep dogs on a leash),” and “Collect what you receive (Please clean up after your dog).”
Posted by John Woestendiek October 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bible, cathedral of saint john the divine, church, clean up, dog, dog poop, dogs, episcopal, grass, grounds, leash, new york, old testament, pentagram, pets, poop, scripture, signs
Jon C. Sabin, ordered by a judge last week to stop training and selling service dogs to families of sick children, says any instances of his dogs not performing properly were the fault of the families.
“The dogs are trained when I’m there, but after I leave everything goes to hell in a handbasket,” said Sabin, who was accused by the New York Attorney General’s Office of duping more than a dozen families into believing the dogs he sold them — for as much as $20,000 each – were trained.
Sabin, who ran Seizure Alert Dogs For Life, was ordered by a judge last week to never again train or sell service dogs.
He has promised to fight the ruling, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, according to the Watertown Daily Times.
Sabin said families who have complained about their dogs have only themselves to blame — for not following through with the training plans that he made for them and for treating the service dogs like pets even though he advised them not to, according to Syracuse.com
“You don’t put these dogs in your bed. You don’t give them meatballs from the kitchen table,” Sabin said.
Sabin was sued by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for selling more than a dozen families untrained dogs he said could detect and control seizures in their ill children.
Court papers described how the families paid thousands of dollars for the dogs only to find they couldn’t detect seizures, much less do anything about them.
Sabin says he suffers from epileptic seizures, and that he developed his program after his medication failed to control them. Sabin estimated that, since 2009, he has sold and trained about 50 dogs
Not all of his customers are unhappy. The Stevens family in Washington D.C. bought a dog from Sabin three years ago for their son, Andrew, who has a severe form of epilepsy. The dog has detected hundreds of seizures and swiped the magnet on her collar over Andrew’s chest, activating a device in the child’s chest that stimulates his vagus nerve and stops the seizure, according to the family.
The state says Sabin “deceptively promoted dogs as ‘highly trained service dogs,’ when in fact he undertook no steps to select appropriate dogs for service work, nor did he undertake any relevant training of these animals prior to selling them.”
A judge last Tuesday issued permanent injunctions prohibiting Sabin and his company from advertising or selling dogs trained to assist people suffering from epilepsy or other medical conditions.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attorney general, children, collar, epilepsy, Eric Schneiderman, injunction, jon sabin, lawsuit, magnet, new york, seizure, seizure alert dogs, seizure dogs, service dogs, sick, vagus nerve
A deaf pit bull from North Carolina has a new home with a deaf woman in Niagara Falls.
Jessica Czamara read about Maggie on Facebook after the neglected dog was rescued from a backyard in North Carolina, where she’d been kept chained.
“She was very skinny and you could see her ribs and you could see where she sat all the time on the concrete, said Maria Sansone with Diamonds in the Ruff. “All the hair was worn off of the back of her legs.”
A friend of Czamara spotted the dog on the rescue organization’s Facebook page, and referred her to the post.
“I feel like I could relate to the dog because I’m deaf, and the dog is deaf,” Czamara told WGRZ in Buffalo. “There are some things that the dog does that we do in the deaf community.”
Czamara is teaching Maggie commands in sign language and says she’s responding well, and Maggie’s getting along fine with her other dog, Champ.
“It’s amazing,” said Kate Stephens with Educate-a-Bull, which assisted in getting Maggie relocated. “It’s absolutely amazing to see pictures of her intially and then bring her up on transport and take her out and meet her .. and to see her so well fitted to her new family, her home and her new brother.”
Stephens said the dog’s former owner had “all but forgotten her and left her out there and hadn’t bothered to name her because she was deaf.”
Now Maggie’s got a name, a home, and a human companion who probably understands her better than most.
“To get her attention, I have to pat her or wave to her,” Czamara said. “The same thing with deaf people you have to touch them on the shoulder or wave in their vision. And she’s funny and how she plays.”
“She’s just such a sweet dog. She gives lots of kisses,” Czamara said. “She’s a great addition to our family.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, chained, deaf, deaf woman, diamonds in the ruff, dog, dogs, educate-a-bull, jessica czamara, maggie, neglect, new home, new york, niagara falls, north carolina, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescue, rescued, transported
Or it could have been the love.
Misty, only nine months old, was found on a Brooklyn street corner earlier this month, covered in wounds and bites from being used as a bait dog.
She was placed in a city shelter, then pulled by Second Chance Rescue, which moved her into a foster home. On Friday, she escaped from the backyard of that home.
Friends and neighbors joined in on the weekend-long search. Thousands of flyers were posted, and a $2,000 reward was offered. More than $4,500 was quickly raised to help in the search, and more than 14,000 people had, by Monday, “liked” her Facebook page.
But it was bacon — not social media — that apparently led to her safe return.
“The whole thing is unbelievable,” Misty’s foster mom, Erin Early-Hamilton, told NJ.com.
When someone suggested slapping some bacon on the backyard grill to lure the dog home, Early-Hamilton — despite being a vegan — was willing to give it a try.
She was sitting in a chair, and her husband was at the grill, when Misty came wandering home around 2 p.m. Monday.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, backyard, bacon, bait dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, foster, grill, lost, missing, misty, new jersey, new york, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescue, return, runaway, scent, second chance rescue, shelter, smell