A 36-year-old mother turned herself in Friday, but told reporters she was trying to help the German shepherd she took from a cemetery, thinking he’d been abandoned.
“I saw the dog almost get hit on the side of the road and I stopped to see if he was okay. And I picked him up thinking he didn’t have an owner. And I was trying to help. I took him to a vet to have him checked for a microchip. I was trying to help him, that’s all,” Dana Hartness told WCNC as she arrived at the Lincoln County courthouse with her lawyer.
Boh — wearing a collar, but no ID — was seen getting into a car on Feb. 28 at Forest Lawn Cemetery, which his owners live next door to. He became a social media sensation in the weeks after his disappearance as cemetery visitors posted remembrances online of how he had comforted them there.
He was found Thursday night wandering around Birkdale Village in Huntersville, about 25 miles away. Two sisters took him home from the shopping center and posted his photo on a Facebook page for lost German shepherds.
His owners, who had created their own Facebook page, Bring Boh Home, were told about the photo, checked it out, and knew immediately it was their missing dog. They picked him up Thursday night.
According to the Charlotte Observer, investigators had determined that Hartness, after stopping with Boh at an animal hospital, took the dog home — contrary to her claim that he ran away when she stopped her car to let him go to the bathroom.
“We know she took the dog home,” Lt. Tim Johnson said. “She had the dog there where she lives, then he got (away) the next day.”
The Observer reported that Hartness has been convicted in the past of larceny and attempted larceny, according to court records.
(Photo: Lincoln County sheriff’s office)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, boh, cemetery, charlotte, comfort, dana hartness, dog, dogs, facebook, forest lawn, found, german shepherd, lincolnton, lost, north carolina, online, pets, returned, reunion, social media, stolen, surrender, visitors, warrant
Boh, the German shepherd who comforted visitors at a cemetery next door to his home, has been found — one week after his disappearance.
The dog was found Thursday night, safe and unharmed, about 25 miles away from his home in Lincolnton, according to the Bring Boh Home Facebook page.
His owners say it was a post on the Facebook page that led them to the dog, according to WCNC.
Boh was last seen at Forest Lawn Cemetery on E. Hwy 150 in Lincolnton, N.C., on Feb. 28, when a worker saw a woman wearing scrubs put the dog in her car and drive off.
His owners, Tina Kennedy and Brad Beal, had been looking for him ever since, and they turned to Facebook for help. While, at first, no definitive tips came in on the dog’s whereabouts, the couple learned, through responses to their posts, just how much Boh had come to mean to cemetery visitors.
“I can’t tell you how much he comforted me when I have been alone over there,” read one. “I remember him just sitting by me…I thought that was so cute. I will say a prayer he is returned.”
Another post called Boh “God’s shepherd watching over loved ones gone, but not forgotten.”
Many others shared personal stories on how Boh comforted them in their time of need.
After his disappearance, and through Facebook, his owners learned that Boh would escort cemetery staff members arriving for work to their offices. He’d greet those who arrived to visit departed loved ones, sometimes accompanying them to the graves.
“He just started going over to the graveyard and hanging out with the guys as they were working on the graves out here and he just kind of became a part,” Beal told WCNC in Charlotte. “He would walk the ladies from their cars to the office every morning. He’d console the families.”
“It is heartwarming to know what we knew was special to us has turned out to be, or maybe to be, more special to some other people because he’s helping them through a hard time,” said Kennedy.
It was also through Facebook that they managed to track Boh down.
The dog was reunited with his owners last night.
Police have questioned one suspect, WCNC reported today. She told officers she picked up the dog to take him to a shelter in Greensboro, but that the dog jumped out of the car in Cornelius. No charges have been filed.
Now that he’s back home, Boh might not be visiting the cemetery anymore, Beal said. He said he’s reluctant to let Boh go back there on his own, but added that Boh’s frequent visitors are welcome to come visit him.
(Photo: Boh reunites with owner, from the Bring Boh Home Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 7th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, boh, boh found, cemetery, charlotte, comfort, disappeared, dog, dogs, escort, facebook, forest lawn cemetery, found, god's shepherd, graves, graveyard, lincolnton, missing, north carolina, pets, reunion, reunited, search, shepherd, staff, stolen, visitors
A New York tattoo artist known as Mistah Metro posted a photo of his dog’s new tattoo on his Instagram page, and bragged that having the decoration makes his dog “cooler than yours.”
Mistah Metro wrote in the post that his veterinarian allowed him to administer the tattoo — a heart with an arrow through and the names Alex and Mel — while the dog was under anesthesia to have her spleen removed.
We don’t think that makes his dog cool. We think it makes his dog a victim of animal abuse, his veterinarian an accomplice, and Mistah Metro — if he wasn’t one already — a moron.
Mistah Metro, shown at left in a reflective moment, works at Red Legged Devil in Prospect Heights, but the owner of the tattoo shop, Chris Torres, wrote in an online post that neither he nor his shop had anything to do with the canine inking, and that it was not done on the premises, according to Gothamist.
Critics have blasted the inking online, while others have come to the tattoo artist’s defense.
The ASPCA is against tattooing dogs, even though it puts small tattoos on dogs it has spayed or neutered, under the thinking that it can prevent unnecessary surgeries for altered dogs.
In a statement, the ASPCA said, “Tattooing an animal for the vain sake of joy and entertainment of the owner — without any regard for the well-being of the animal — is not at all comparable to the incident in question and is not something the ASPCA supports.”
(Photos: Mistah Metro’s tattooed dog / Instagram; Mistah Metro / Afropunk.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anesthesia, animal cruelty, animals, aspca, dog, dog ink, dog tattoos, dogs, instagram, mistah metro, new york, pets, photo, pit bull, post, prospect heights, red legged devil, tattoing dogs, tattoo, tattoo artist, vet, veterinarian
Most dogs, when they chase a cat up a tree, leave it at that.
Some walk away, deeming their mission accomplished. Some might skulk away, feeling, or so we’d guess, outwitted. And some might stand sentry at the base of the tree, waiting hours for the cat to come down.
Bella followed this cat right up the trunk — and about two-thirds of the way to the top of the tree — before reaching a point where going any higher would have been dangerous, and getting down was pretty much impossible.
Her owner, Heather Evans, called the Garner, N.C., Fire Department.
Then she took some photos — of her dog’s predicament, and her dog’s rescue.
The photos appeared on ABC11, which reported the dog was stuck for about an hour and a half before firefighters arrived and, with a ladder, helped her down.
Bella was not hurt, and neither was the cat, who we assume got down by itself.
(Photos by Heather Evans, via WTVD)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, cats, chase, climbing, climbing trees, dogs, follow, garner, heather evans, north carolina, owner, pets, photos, tree climbing dogs, trees, up a tree
Oftentimes, when to pursue your own dreams and interests you stop working for “THE Man” — as I did six years ago — you end up, unfortunately, without “THE Salary” and without “THE Benefits.”
That — the no more health insurance part — is why I haven’t seen a doctor in six years.
That — the no more salary part — is why, in addition to being an author, freelance writer, photographer and blogger, I recently became a bartender and, even more recently, a dog walker.
I suppose I should be thanking our President for finally being able to get myself some health insurance. He’s the one who made it possible. But Lily, sweet Lily, made it doable.
If being paid to spend time with Lily makes me a gigolo, then call me a gigolo. True, I come calling on her twice a day, three times a week. I knock on her door, give her a hug when it opens, and then wrap her coat snugly around her, making sure her fluffy white ears don’t get caught inside.
We ride the elevator down to the first floor of the assisted living center in which she and her owner live and go outside for a 20-minute stroll — during most of which she walks daintily along the top of the curb, like a tightrope walker. She fastidiously poops in the same spot each time, in the woods on a vacant lot. She stops when I stop, goes when I go, and has never once caused the slightest tug on her retractable leash.
After the walk — and I’ve never met a dog who’s easier to walk — we go back inside. Then we sit in the lounge area and snuggle for maybe five minutes. That is my favorite part and, though it may be vain of me to think so, her’s too.
My other favorite part is seeing the reaction of residents when a dog comes into the room, the smiles that instantly appear and the hands that reach out. It’s amazing the change in atmosphere one dog’s presence can produce.
I’ve often thought it would be great to run some kind of program that not only brought dogs into facilities for the elderly, but found them homes there, and provided support and help to residents who wanted dogs of their own, but had concerns about whether they could manage it.
That would be fun, and noble, and help homeless dogs, and assist in bringing immeasurable joy to people.
But it wouldn’t pay my bills — much less provide health insurance for me.
I charge Lily $6.50 for each session.
In a month, that earns me enough to pay my $137.67 monthly health insurance premium, as determined by the Affordable Health Care Act, based on my income.
That income pales in comparison to what I made as a newspaper reporter, back when I worked for THE Man. I left my last newspaper job in 2008 to write a book, but also because, amid continued shrinkage and cutbacks, it had become nearly impossible to do a story justice and give it the attention it deserved. After that my dog and I traveled the country, and I tinkered with another book, while continuing to write this blog.
We ended up in North Carolina, and last year moved to the little town of Bethania.
A few months ago I started working the bar and grill at a golf course down the street from my rented house. Not to bore you with my finances, but that two-day-a-week job, coupled with my newspaper reporter pension, makes it possible to pay my rent, bills and other debts. I wasn’t bringing in enough for health insurance, though, and — after countless hours wandering around healthcare.gov — I had pretty much decided I would continue do without, pay the penalty fee, and treat any diseases or disorders that arose with chicken soup and ibuprofen.
One afternoon, at the golf course, the aunt of another employee visited and told me about her dog-walking business — business maybe not being the right word. It’s sort of more in between a business and volunteering. She helps residents of an assisted living center with chores, ranging from shopping trips to dog walking, charging a rate that does little more than pay for her gas.
She, like me, feels strongly that dogs can improve the lives of elderly people, especially those who live alone. I told her if she was ever in a pinch, and in need of a fill-in dog walker, I’d be glad to help out.
A few weeks later she called, and I began walking Miss Lily — at first temporarily, then regularly.
The insurance plan Lily has enabled me to get is not the kind that pays for everything.
It’s more, as I understand it, the type that, after I spend $3,000 or so I don’t have on doctors, will kick in and pay 60 percent or so of my qualifying medical expenses. Even with it, one good medical crisis will probably still send me into financial ruin. But at least it’s something, and I’m abiding by the law, and it might make me more likely to visit a doctor.
And even if I don’t, I’ll still be reaping some health benefits – between all the dog cuddling, which is good for the heart, and all the dog walking, which is good for the heart.
I’m sure there will be much confusion, red tape and arguing ahead when it comes to my health insurance. There always is. And with my income being of the fluctuating variety — depending on the stories I sell, the dogs I walk, the beers I serve — I don’t understand how we will determine the premium I should pay in the future. Is it based on last year’s income? Or this year’s income, which I won’t know until the year is finished?
Just last month, two more dogs showed up at the assisted living facility. First came a Boston terrier named Punkin. I take him for three walks a day, three days a week. Then came Gretel, a miniature schnauzer who is 13, and the fastest walker of the bunch.
For the record, Republican leaders, that doesn’t sap me of any incentive. I still want to have as much money as you. I’d still like to have the kind of health insurance you have.
But at least I can take a rebellious sort of pride in the fact that I’m not working for THE Man.
No. Not me. I’m working for a kind and gentle, polite and refined, sweet and loving curbwalker. I’m working for THE Poodle.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affordable health care, animals, assisted living, benefits, costs, dog walking, dogs, dogwalking, elderly, escort, gigolo, health, health care, insurance, lily, newspapers, north carolina, obama, obama care, pets, poodle, premiums, president, salary, the man
No longer do those of us who like to watch our dogs catch treats in mid-air have to go to all the effort of tossing them.
New from Purina, Beggin’ Party Poppers have hit the market — bacon and cheese-flavored treats that come in a canister with a lid that resembles a pig face.
Push in the pig’s nose, place a treat inside and, in a matter of seconds, the treat will be popped into the air for your dog to catch.
Sure, it may be easier to just toss the treat yourself, not to mention more of a bonding experience with your dog. But why bother with that when, for $18.97, you can let the canister launch a dog treat skyward for you?
That’s the price listed for the product — treats and canister — on Amazon. A refill bag of treats, meanwhile — and we hope this is a mistake — is listed at $26.86 on Amazon. Other online sources have the refills in the $6-7 range. You can learn more at www.pighead.com.
It seems, at first glance, an over-priced little gimmick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it evolve, perhaps into an app that allows you to shoot your dog a treat while sitting in your workplace cubicle, or a self-loading version that shoots out a treat every hour for dogs left home alone.
Imagine that. Your dog, if he’s anything like mine, would spend 59 minutes of each hour staring at the machine, one minute of each chasing, catching and eating the treat. Dogs would begin to worship the treat machine even more than they do us. They’d sleep next to the treat machine. They’d bark at anyone who threatened the treat machine. They’d follow the treat machine — once a moving version, like those robo-vacuum cleaners, was perfected — everywhere it went.
And we’d have nothing to do but lay alone in our cold beds and look at our arms, grown flabby after we stopped tossing treats ourselves.
Yes, we’re stretching to make a point, but, propelled by technology, the pet industry does seem to be going in that direction — coming out with products that make it easier than ever for us to pamper our dogs while ignoring them.
Purina’s treat-launching pig is a harmless novelty, kind of fun, and it still requires a human’s involvement to work.
But with automatic feeders already a reality, automatic treat dispensers can’t be too far behind. Once automatic ball tossers and automatic ear scratchers hit the market, we dog-owning humans could find ourselves out of a job.
It’s nice for our dogs to stay occupied, but we shouldn’t turn too much of that job over to machines and robots.
That will only make our dogs, and us, more robot-like.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bacon, beggin', beggin' party poppers, canister, catch, cheese, convenience, dog, dog food, dog treats, dogs, industry, launch, market, marketing, new, pets, pig, pig head, poppers, products, purina, throw, treats
A homeowner’s association at Paradise Lakes Resort doesn’t have weight limits when it comes to human residents, and we guess that’s a good thing — even though the condo community is a clothing-optional one.
But the association’s rules run a little stricter for dogs, including one that bans any dogs over 25 pounds — apparently even when it’s a guide dog that belongs to a legally blind resident of the nudist community.
By now you’ve probably guessed that this can only be happening in Florida, specifically in Lutz, where a homeowner’s association has told Sharon Fowler she needs to get rid of her black Labrador, Laura, or move out, according to a lawsuit.
Fowler filed a lawsuit against the association last year. It was dismissed by one judge, but now that dismissal has been overturned by an appeals court, and Fowler has renewed her fight to keep the dog she says she can’t get around without.
“She helps me to get around curbs and obstacles,” Fowler told the Tampa Bay Times. “She’s 100 percent necessary to me. She’s my lifeline.”
According to a lawsuit filed last year, Fowler received a letter from the association telling her to get rid of the dog or move out.
The association said the dog violated their weight limits — something that wasn’t pointed out when Fowler filled out an application, disclosing the dog’s weight, when she moved in.
Even when Fowler provided documentation of her disability, the association did not withdraw the notice of the violations, according to the lawsuit.
“I felt demeaned, and I felt degraded,” Fowler said. “I’ve never felt so degraded.”
Her lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages for mental anguish.
“It’s the principle of the fact,” Fowler’s husband, Craig, said. “The board needs to know they cannot bully us around.”
Fowler says she has been told to only walk the dog in specific areas, and stay out of the way of pedestrians. She’s also been told her dog is out of control, which she says is not the case.
“My dog is a highly trained service animal,” she said.
“Paradise Lakes Resort does not discriminate against any person with physical disabilities and does not prevent any person with service animals from visiting the resort,” owner Jerry Buchanan said.
Fowler’s accusations were directed at a homeowners condominium association not connected with the resort.
Fowler says she has a rare autoimmune disease called leukocytoclastic vasculitis, which has already affected her sight and could affect her hearing.
She doesn’t want to move because she has learned her way around Paradise Lakes, and appreciates being able to live in a clothing optional community.
(Photo: Fowler and Laura; by Brendan Fitterer / Tampa Bay Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 28th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assistance dogs, association, black lab, blind, clothing, clothing optional, community, condo, dog, dogs, florida, guide dog, lab, labrador, laura, lawsuit, legally blind, lutz, nudist colony, nudists, nudity, paradise lakes resort, pets, rules, service dogs, weight limits
I don’t remember seeing this Doritos ad during the Super Bowl. Maybe it came later in the game, after the outcome was clear and I tuned out, which as I recall was shortly after the first snap.
Had I seen it, I would have squawked in a more timely manner, because — even though fans chose it as a favorite — I do not like it at all.
Dog riding, like dogfighting and dog racing, is cruel.
And even though special effects were used in this depiction of a kid saddling up on the family mastiff — so he can beat his brother to the bag of Doritos — it sends a bad message to kids (and grown-ups) who don’t know any better.
The ad was one of five finalists chosen in the Crash the Super Bowl ad contest, in which Doritos invites the public to submit their home-made Doritos ads and awards $1 million to the winning commerical.
The “Cowboy Kid” ad came in second, but that was enough to win its creator, Amber Gill, a 34-year-old vocal coach from California, $25,000, a trip to the Super Bowl and a movie contract — and a little criticism from animal welfare types.
Both “Cowboy Kid” and the winning fan-made commercial, “Time Machine,” aired during the Super Bowl and were viewed by an estimated 100 million viewers, minus those who gave up on the big game early on.
Still, given a few of those 100 million are likely stupid or naive enough to try this at home — as any regular reader of this website knows – I’d have to side with those who are complaining about the ad. While making it didn’t involve any dog being ridden, it’s irresponsible ad-making.
Gill told the Orange County Register the idea was inspired by her owns sons, aged 3 and 1, meaning — we’re pretty sure — the sibling rivalry aspect, as opposed to the dog-riding one.
So we’ll have to give this ad a failing grade, and point out — because, unfortunately, it’s not entirely needless to say — don’t try this at home.
If junior needs to get his cowboy on, we’d suggest a saw horse, or daddy’s back. Otherwise, that crunch you hear might not be Doritos.
(To see more of our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 27th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, children, commercials, cowboy, cowboy kid, crash the super bowl, dangerous, dogs, dogs in advertising, doritos, marketing, pets, riding dogs, safety, super bowl, super bowl ads, woof in advertising
A walk-on has joined the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in Arizona, and there’s a good chance he may go back to Milwaukee with them — as a mascot.
A small stray dog who appears to be a bichon frise, or mix thereof, wandered on to the team’s complex Feb. 17, with an injured tail and other signs he might have been hit by a car.
After team employees took him to a veterinarian for a checkup and a bath, he was brought back to the stadium and has been there almost every day since.
They’ve named him Hank, after baseball great Hank Aaron, who began his career in Milwaukee.
“Yeah, he’s making a pretty big impact, which I’ve got to say is pretty cool,” pitcher Yovani Gallardo told Newsday.
Believed to be around 2 years old, Hank was assigned No. 1 for his team jersey, and team reports about him on social media have made a local celebrity.
The team has posted signs in the area reporting the found dog, but no owner has stepped forward yet, and different members of the Brewer’s organization are vying for a chance to adopt him.
Team owner Mark Attanasio said his wife wants to adopt the dog, and some players have voiced a desire to keep him on the roster and have him travel with the team. “We want to do what’s right for the team,” Attanasio said. “I think he’s really an asset.”
Meanwhile, staff members are taking turns housing Hank for the evening.
During the day he watches practice from the stands at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, or from the dugout, and sometimes he takes to the field.
“Most of the guys here I’m sure we all have dogs back home and not everyone can bring em out because were out were working, pitcher Gallardo told Fox 10 News in Phoenix, “but to have this little guy out here running around with us it’s fun, spring training gets long and this makes us enjoy it a little more.”
(Photos: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, arizona, baseball, bichon frise, brewers, dog, dogs, hank, hank aaron, major league, maryvale baseball park, mascot, milwaukee, milwaukee brewers, mix, pets, phoenix, practice, rescue, spring training, stadium, stray, wandering
For the second time in less than a year, someone is scattering what are suspected to be poisoned meatballs in a San Francisco neighborhood in an apparent attempt to murder dogs.
A San Francisco animal control officer Saturday found 34 meatballs scattered around the Twin Peaks neighborhood, where a similar incident occurred last year.
The meatballs were placed along curbs and in hedges and bushes, where they’re more likely to be sniffed out by dogs and less likely to be spotted by humans.
“These were incredibly well-hidden,” Lt. Denise BonGiovanni said.
An animal control officer was sent to search the area near Crestline Drive and Parkridge Drive Saturday after a resident called Friday to report finding fragments of suspicious meatballs.
The officer found 34 pieces of raw meat containing something solid. A 35th ball of meat was turned over to the officer by a resident who picked it up before her dog could eat it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The meatballs have been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department for testing.
“They look very similar to the ones found last year,” BonGiovanni said.
Last July, a 7-year-old dachshund died and another dog was sickened after eating meatballs the police believe were filled with strychnine.
No arrest was made in the case.
Since last week’s incident, the city’s Animal Care and Control staff have posted more than 50 warning signs in the neighborhood. Residents of the neighborhood are being advised to keep their pets inside, or keep them on a short leash when walking.
“If your dog picks up anything and starts to eat it, I wouldn’t waste time, I would take it to a vet,” BonGiovanni said. “We haven’t confirmed it’s poison but it’s not worth taking chances.”
San Francisco police are asking anyone with information that could help the investigation to call their anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.
(Photo: Provided by San Francisco Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: analysis, animal control, animals, crestline, dogs, health, hidden, investigation, meatballs, neighborhood, officer, parkridge, pets, poison, safety, san francisco, scattered, strychnine, tests, twin peaks, warning