A pit bull mix, she served as an unofficial helper to her owner, a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. But when he moved to a new apartment, Layla, lacking documentation as a service dog, wasn’t allowed to live there.
Tim McGill began working to get Layla certified, and in the meantime asked some friends to look after his 3-year-old dog.
Now McGill has gotten the certification, but he can’t get his dog back.
McGill served in the Army in South Korea and Iraq and left the service with a brain injury, anxiety and flashbacks, KDKA in Pittsburgh reports.
A doctor recommended a dog, and — though Layla wasn’t a certified service dog — having her by his side helped, said McGill, a tattoo artist.
McGill says he moved to a Lawrenceville apartment to go to the Art Institute, but that, without any documentation that Layla was a service dog, she wasn’t permitted to live there.
So he asked a friend, Laura Stratemier, to watch over Layla until he could get her certified. In exchange, he offered to repay her with free tattoos for both her and her husband.
Stratemier admits she was only supposed to have Layla for two weeks, but said that as time went by — six months worth of it — she realized the dog was better off with her.
By the time the certification papers for the dog came through McGill, Stratemier was unwilling to give Layla back.
KDKA reports that local animal control officials are looking into the dispute.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartment, certification, certified, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, Laura Stratemier, layla, mix, move, ownership, pets, pit bull, pittsburgh, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, service, tattoo artist, tattoos, therapy, tim mcgill
House Bill 956 would create a new “aggressive dog” classification for pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and any dogs “that are predominantly” a mix of those, WRAL reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said of those breeds, ”I don’t want to say those were the ones with the most incidents, but they were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”
In other words, the proposed legislation doesn’t let facts get in the way.
Under the bill, prospective “aggressive breed” owners would have to undergo a criminal background check, apply and pay for a special state permit, notify their property insurer, and take a 4-hour education course before adopting, buying, or “otherwise taking possession of” one of the dogs.
Moore said the idea was brought to him by a concerned constituent.
“There needs to be some kind of accountability,” Moore said. “A lot of people breed them the wrong way. You have very harsh incidents of these dogs maiming children, maiming older folks, and sometimes even turning on their owner.”
The bill calls for county sheriff’s to provide the criminal background checks and report the findings to the state Department of Insurance. It would have the authority to deny a permit to anyone whose background check “is not suitable for the ownership of a dog belonging to an aggressive dog breed.”
The “aggressive dog permit” could cost as much as $25. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance could require additional insurance coverage be taken out by owners of the dogs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it, saying I’m trying to blacklist these dogs, and that’s not the intent,” Moore said. “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds.”
The representative’s email address is Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, background checks, bill, breeds, charlotte, chow, dog, dogs, fee, hb 956, house bill 956, insurance, law, legislature, mastiff, mixes, north carolina, ownership, permit, pets, pit bull, presa canario, proposal, representative, restrict, rodney moore, rottweiler, wolf hybrid
A hearing on the request to move the dogs out of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control’s shelter is scheduled for Friday.
Prosecutors want to place the dogs in a private kennel, which they say would be better equipped to provide long term care until the court case is resolved.
The dogs were seized two months ago in what local authorities described at the time as one of the largest dog-fighting operations they’d ever encountered.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they found 27 pit bulls, tethers and a fighting arena in east Mecklenburg County, and they arrrested two men.
Lefonze Williams, 42, was indicted on 36 counts of dog fighting, and Melvin Smith, 46, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit dog fighting, according to the Charlotte Observer. Both were identified in court documents as the dogs’ owners.
Police said the property, near J.H. Gunn Elementary School, was used for training and fighting dogs.
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Cole says the city’s shelter “is not meant for long-term placement of animals, and seized canines may suffer behavioral and physical harm if maintained in this space.”
A court hearing on what to do with the pit bulls is set for Friday.
Prosecutors are also asking the judge to order Williams and Smith to pay for the cost of shelter, food and care, according to court documents.
If Williams and Smith decline to assume responsibility for the animals, prosecutors have asked that the dogs be forfeited. In that event, it would be up to the animal shelter to determine whether the dogs are suitable for adoption or will be euthanized.
(Photo: John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, care, charlotte, dog fighting, dogfighting, euthanasia, expense, forfeit, health, investigation, judge, kennel, mecklenburg county, moving, operation, ownership, permission, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, private, raid, responsibility, seized, shelter, well being
Could it be that – when it comes to providing unnecessary and disturbingly human goods and services to dogs – South America is becoming as bonkers as North America?
One look inside Motel Pet (with its ceiling mirrors, romantic lighting and plush red decor, Motel Sex would have been a better name) indicates the answer is yes.
The motel — aimed at offering dogs a cozy and romantic place to breed – was opened earlier this year by Animalle Mundo Pet, a pet superstore in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
It’s modeled after the kind of themed love motels that aren’t uncommon in Brazil — like Swing, Absinthe and Alibi — that offer lovers a place to do just that discreetly and, if desired, by the hour.
And it’s just the latest evidence that, at least in the more urban areas, Brazilians are taking doting on their dogs to new extremes.
A New York Times article about the motel points out that Brazil’s pet population has jumped to 36 million, and that in some large cities plastic surgeons are offering Botox injections for dogs. It traces the rapid growth in doggie services to the emergence of a middle-class Brazil.
At Animalle Mundo Pet, the doggie love nests — at $50 a night — are the latest addition to a spectrum of services once reserved for humans. The store sells a beef-flavored dog beer, and offers a spa with a Japanese ofuro soaking tub, as well as several lines of designer canine apparel.
After spending $500 on clothes for her Yorkshire terrier, customer Andreia Kfoury checked out the motel area and said it would be perfect for Harley’s romantic pursuits.
“I’m definitely bringing Harley back here when it’s time for him to breed,” she said. “He is very macho, and would be a hit in this place.”
Our guess is that Harley, even though he’s a Yorkie, would be just as happy to get it on in a vacant lot, but, as those who offer humanesque services to dogs are well aware, dog owners are the ones who hold the money, and fall for the marketing ploys.
For those rendezvous that don’t produce results, Animalle Mundo Pet also offers to arrange artificial insemination. They don’t offer cloning, but give them another 10 years.
According to the Times article, per capita income has risen in Brazil to about $10,700 a year. At the same time, family size has gotten smaller, with the average number of children dropping from 2.5 in the 1990s to 1.9. Life expectancy has climbed from 67 to 73. With more time, more money and fewer children, many Brazilians have turned to dogs, and the country is now No. 1 in per capita ownership of small dogs (those 20 pounds or less).
(Photo: Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Animalle Mundo Pet, animals, behavior, belo horizonte, bitches, brazil, breeding, dogs, heat, humanizing, humans, love motels, motel pet, ownership, pet, pets, romance, romantic, sex, small dogs, south america, studs, superstore
An Oregon judge says an obese celebrity dachshund should remain in the custody of his foster mom until the courts can determine his legal owner.
That means Obie — and we’re guessing the 70-pound dog is fine with the interim ruling — will be staying put for now.
At a court hearing today, a judge decided that the dog will stay with Nora Vanatta, a veterinary technician who volunteered to foster him – and put him on a diet — when his owners decided they could no longer care for him.
The court hearing today — and it’s just a first step — resulted from a lawsuit filed by Oregon Dachshund Rescue owner Jenell Rangan, who claims that, since the foster arrangement was set up through the rescue, the dog is legally her’s.
Rangan’s lawsuit was filed after Obie and his diet garnered some fame — but she has said she filed it because she didn’t feel Obie was being taken care of properly.
“They say I’m exploiting him,” Vanatta told KATU. “They say I’m misusing his funds and they claim he belongs to them.”
She added, “He’s famous and he’s touched so many people and I think they regret not taking him on in the first place,” Vanatta said of the rescue group.
Oregon Daschund Rescue was asking that the dog be turned over to them until ownership is decided, but the judge declined.
KATU reports that the case will go to arbitration, and could still possibly result in a trial.
Vanatta says Obie has lost 15 pounds in the last two months.
She’s collected thousands of dollars in donations for Obie from supporters, and said the money is being used for his care.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 70 pounds, animals, battle, court, custody, dachshund, diet, dieting, dog, dogs, fat, hearing, jenell rangan, judge, lawsuit, nora vanatta, obese, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, ownership, pets
A photo Vick posted on Twitter shows a box of Milk Bones at the edge of the frame, indicating he might have gotten the family a pet, as he has recently mentioned he was considering.
Then again, they could be part of his diet. Or maybe they just keep them on hand for visiting pets, though I’d doubt there’d be too many of those.
In the photo, Vick is shown studying a game film on an iPad, while his daughter appears to be doing homework. At the edge of the picture, there’s an opened box of Milk Bones.
“It’s not hard to connect the dots from there,” Chris Chase wrote in his USA Today blog
The picture was quickly deleted and replaced by a similar, biscuit-less one, Chase wrote.
Under terms of his probation, Vick was ordered not to own a dog for three years. That period expired several months ago. In July, Vick, in an interview with Piers Morgan, said he’d like to get a dog for his children.
“I can’t take that dream away from them,” he said.
While his ownership of a dog would be legal now, it’s bound to be a source of contention among those dog lovers who still harbor a great deal of resentment toward the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback who admitted to drowning, electrocuting and beating to death dogs that did not perform in the dogfighting ring.
Vick, as part of his rehabilitation, has been working with the Humane Society of the United States, speaking to young people about the importance of treating dogs humanely.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, biscuits, court, daughter, dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, eagles, expired, family, michael vick, milk bones, order, ownership, pets, philadelphia, photo, prison, probation, quarterback, terms, treats, twitter, vick
At least 38 dogs entrusted to a Texas pit bull refuge whose mission was to provide them with care and find them new homes never came out, perishing instead from heat stroke, and being buried in a mass grave on the ranch.
Not too much news has been coming out of Spindletop Refuge in Willis, either.
Since authorities last week seized nearly 300 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and removed them from conditions generally described as cramped and unhealthy, there have been a lot more questions than answers.
On Friday, after hours of private negotiations, Spindletop owner Leah Purcell agreed to relinquish ownership of the 287 dogs, and through her attorney, she agreed to terms prohibiting her from future rescue and boarding in the county.
That court action was related strictly to the custody of the dogs. No charges have yet been filed against Purcell, and there has been no clear word that they will be.
Instead, there are a heap of questions unanswered — most of them from rescue groups around the country that sent animals to Spindletop, and now want to find out if they’re still alive, and reclaim them if they are.
On top of that, there’s another all-important one — what led what was once such a highly respected refuge to end up keeping dogs in conditions more like those you’d find at a puppy mill or the home of a hoarder?
Members of at least 50 rescue groups attended a Friday custody hearing in Conroe, but it was behind closed doors that an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Purcell. Except for 11 dogs that belonged to her mother, she surrendered the rest, and custody was awarded to the Humane Society of the United States and Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a grand jury, also meeting behind closed doors, will decide whether Purcell will face criminal charges.
According to the Houston Press, several rescuers learned Friday then that the dogs they had surrendered to Spindletop — and were told had been adopted — died of heat stroke last summer.
“It was definitely not a sanctuary. Definitely not. Those dogs were left in a living hell,” said former Spindletop employee Brandon Louth, who says he’s the one who contacted authorities about conditions at the refuge.
Of the mass death he said, ”The dogs had suffocated, because the building was not ventilated. The electricity had gone off in the building, and basically I had to bury the dogs, put the dogs in sacks and dig a mass grave for them.”
Officials are still working to catalog all the rescued dogs, and were putting together a website where they’ll be posting photos of all of the dogs. The Animal Farm Foundation, which is helping coordinate the effort, said this week on its Facebook page that approximately 40 dogs have been claimed and returned to owners or places of origin, or will be in the next few days.
They advise those seeking dogs that were in Spindletop’s care to:
“If you have not already done so, please send extremely detailed information about dogs you wish to reclaim to email@example.com and to Constable Tim Holifield at firstname.lastname@example.org . Include a phone number and an email address. Put the word SPINDLETOP in the subject line. Animal Farm Foundation is coordinating the communication with owners and places of origin and schedules appointments for reclaiming dogs.”
At Friday’s court hearing, Montgomery County Constable Tim Holifield assured the crowd that the animals were being well cared for and that the Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Spindletop seizure, is committed to not euthanizing any of the dogs.
“It’s especially painful to see people and places that purport to help animals do precisely the opposite,” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote yesterday on his blog, A Humane Nation.
“We tell people shopping for a dog from a breeder to go see the parents of the dog, to make sure the place is not a puppy mill. With so many of these cases of neglect by those who say they are helping animals cropping up, it’s also wise to do background work or a site visit to any self-described rescue or sanctuary. There are so many good rescue groups and sanctuaries doing important work for animals every day, and every one of them would agree with me on that point … Calling yourself a sanctuary or a Samaritan isn’t enough. You have to act like one.”
It’s also important, we’d point out, to get to the bottom of what happened — what made such good intentions go astray — and for that information to be public. So far, that doesn’t seem to be happening with Spindletop, which only increases the chances that, sometime soon, somewhere else, we’ll be hearing the same story again.
(Photo: One of the rescued pit bulls in Texas; by Scott Dalton, via A Humane Nation)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, catalog, custody, deaths, dogs, hsus, leah purcell, location, mass grave, montgomery county, news, ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, private, public, refuge, rescue, sanctuary, seized, spindletop, surrender, texas, wayne pacelle, willis
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
That sound you hear is the collective bile rising in the throats of hundreds of thousands of Michael Vick-haters, who — if his new clothing line and new book aren’t distressing enough — will surely blow their tops, or lunch, upon hearing this news.
Michael Vick says maybe he’ll get a dog.
And, worse yet, at the end of this month — when the no-dog clause of his sentence for dogfighting expires — he legally can.
Vick makes the comment tonight, during an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN.
Above is a segment of what will be airing (with apologies for the 30 second commercial).
In the interview, we’re told, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback “speaks candidly about his fall from grace in 2007 when he was implicated and convicted of participating in the operation an illegal dog fighting ring.”
In his new book “Michael Vick: Finally Free, An Autobiography,” Vick expresses his love for dogs, despite taking part in training them, killing them and watching them fight to the death.
As part of his sentence, Vick was banned from owning a dog for three years, but this month the ban expires.
During the interview, Morgan asks Vick if he will get a new dog.
He says he would — for his children:
“I can’t take that dream away from them. That’s selfish on my behalf. You know, so, gotta find a way to make it right and, you know, I put everything in God’s hands to make it right.”
When Morgan asks Vick what kind of dog he would adopt, Vick replies “I would let them pick it out. Certainly wouldn’t be a pit bull.”
The interview airs at 9 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, autobiography, book, children, cnn, conviction, dog, dogfighting, dogs, finally free, getting a dog, interview, michael vick, michael vick getting a dog, ownership, pet, philadelphia eagles, piers morgan, pit bulls, pitbulls, prison, quarterback, vick
It has been about three months since we last checked in on Wausau, Wisconsin, and that ridiculous two-dog limit it imposes on its residents.
At the time, Melissa Lecker and her husband James were being told by the city they must part with two of their four dogs.
James and Melissa had moved there three months earlier, for jobs, and bought a house — unaware of the city’s two-dog rule.
When they were notified they were in violation of it, they requested an exemption, pointing out that their two golden retrievers were 13 years old, and probably wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.
Most of the bureaucrats they appealed to acted like, well, bureaucrats. They declined to discuss an exception, and the Leckers decided that, rather than part with a family member, the only thing they could do was move.
After some media coverage about their situation, and the city’s two-dog limit, the city council began reviewing the law, and the mayor notified the Leckers that, until the council decided whether to change ordinance, they wouldn’t be fined.
As Melissa Lecker wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Wausau Daily Herald:
In March, Mayor Jim Tipple told us we would not be fined and would not have to give up the dogs. We took our home off the market and began to settle in to our new home and new city, hoping to put the past behind us as the city drafted a new ordinance …
The city began considering a revised and slightly more liberal ordinance that would limit households to five pets — any combination of dogs and cats, as long as the total didn’t rise above five.
Given the Leckers have three cats, in addition to their four dogs, they’d still be over the limit, and, according to Melissa, the mayor told them that once a new law was in place they could be fined.
“I am glad change is coming. But it doesn’t help us,” Melissa wrote.
“We have decided as a family it is best for us to leave Wausau. We’ve signed a contract with a Realtor and have begun preparing our house for sale. We’ve also found a home in Stevens Point we are interested in buying. Regardless of what Wausau does at its June City Council meeting, we feel this is no longer where we belong.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, but as Keene Winters, a member of the city council, noted in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald, it has now become a divisive issue.
“Soon, we could have pet owners and non-pet owners locked in a cage match for municipal supremacy,” he wrote.
“There does not seem to be any evidence that the three-dog households already among us create any unusual nuisance,” Winters wrote. “So sending out our police to compel 125 of our neighbors to make a “Sophie’s choice” and eliminate a member of their family is likely to be greeted as unfairly punitive.
“I can see no compelling public interest in the two-dog limit that would warrant imposing such a heartwrenching penalty on so many of our neighbors.”
Winters said he favors allowing people to have up to five well-behaved dogs, assuming they license them. (Only about 30 percent of Wausau’s dogs are registered, he says.)
The city council is meeting tonight on the issue, and it appears divided on whether the ordinance should be altered or kept intact.
The Daily Herald, in an editorial yesterday, came out against the limit — which now restricts a family to two dogs and three cats – saying other existing laws are sufficient for addressing pet-related problems:
“The City Council should do away with the limit on pets, and it should make sure local law enforcement has what it needs to enforce the rules that do make a difference in residents’ lives.”
Under one proposal, residents could get a special “pet fancier’s” permit, allowing them to own up to five animals. In other words, the only change would be moving from a limit of two dogs and three cats to a limit of five pets total, in any combination.
How positively liberating.
Meanwhile, between the confusion, the city’s intrusive rules, and what Lecker describes as the heavy-handed enforcement of them, it has been enough to lead at least one family to wave goodbye to Wausau.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureaucracy, city, city council, dog, dogs, government, james lecker, jim tipple, laws, leaving, limit, maximum, mayor, melissa lecker, moving, municipalities, number, owners, ownership, pet, pets, rules, town, two dog limit, wausua, wisconsin