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
A moonlighting New Orleans cop who brought his police K-9 to a private security job broke no law, his lawyer argued Friday– and commited no malfeasance any more serious than failing to shine his shoes.
The dog, named Phantom, fell down an elevator shaft and to his death while he and Sgt. Randy Lewis were working a private security detail at a closed hospital building.
Lewis was not charged with animal cruelty, but with malfeasance.
Judge Ben Willard, after hearing closing arguments in the case Friday, delayed any verdict for another week. Lewis faces five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if found guilty, Nola.com reported
Lewis, a former supervisor in the department’s K-9 unit, took Phantom to the shuttered Charity Hospital in May 2009, where he had been hired to clear vagrants from the property. The dog fell from the 17th floor through a partially open elevator door.
Lewis took Phantom to the job without police department approval, and had signed forms saying no police equipment or animals would be used in the private job.
The dog’s body was not found until the next day, when the private company that hired him had the elevator drained. Lewis then had the dog cremated, before a necropsy could be performed.
Lewis, in his initial reports about the incident, said he was training the dog, and didn’t mention he was getting paid privately for his services.
His attorney, Eric Hessler, argued that Lewis had been working a private job and training his police dog at the same time.
Hessler likened the court proceedings to an officer being prosecuted for failing to shine his shoes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cop, death, died, dogs, elevator, fell, job, k9, law enforcement, malfeasance, moonlighting, new orleans, pets, phantom, police, private, randy lewis, security, shaft, trial
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
The heartwarming story of an injured stray dog taken in by students at a Catholic school on the Crow Reservation in Montana came to an abrupt end when someone drove onto school grounds and fired six shots at the dog.
Named Mission, the female Rottweiler mix — who’d been nursed back to health after limping onto the grounds of Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy in St. Xavier six years ago — was fatally wounded.
Students are still grieving her death, more than two months ago, according to the Billings Gazette.
“We’ve had dogs come and go, but never one that stuck around like she did,” said Garla Williamson, the principal at the private school for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. “She adopted us, and we adopted her.”
The shooting is being investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a small reward is being offered by the school for information leading to an arrest.
Samantha Stoddard said she was watching television and heard through an open window at her campus residence what she heard shots, then heard Mission yelp in pain. She ran outside and saw a white sedan parked at a cattle guard near the entrance to the school property.
Two more shots were fired as she ran to the dog.
She found Mission collapsed on the ground and helped carry the dog to the porch of her residence.
“She was trying to die, and it was really painful,” she said. With the dog sufferering and no veterinarian, a staff member got a gun and put her down.
Several days passed while staff struggled with how to tell students what had happened.
Stoddard said Mission is buried near her residence, and the children have been making regular visits to the grave.
“It’s turned into a little shrine,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy, adopted, animals, bureau of indian affairs, catholic, crow, crow reservation, dog, dogs, grief, injured, investigation, mission, mix, montana, mourning, pets, pretty eagle, private, rescued, reservation, rottweiler, school, shooting, shot, shrine, st. xavier, stray, students, taken in
Whether you’re looking for a homey environment in which to board your dog, or want to make some money by hosting one in your home, a new company called DogVacay.com is offering to help hook you up.
The site launched March 1 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and will soon be adding other cities to its listings, through which dog owners and dog sitters can connect.
“Right now there are kennels and there are private pet sitters,” said Aaron Hirschhorn, who founded DogVacay.com with his wife, Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. “And we realized there was a need for a marketplace to bring together responsible dog lovers with causal and professional dog sitters who can provide a more affordable and better experience for dogs.”
Hirschhorn said that rates offered by hosts on DogVacay.com can be as little as half of those of boarding kennels.
On the site, each dog sitter sets his or her own prices with assistance from DogVacay.com. Listings are free. The site takes a 3 percent to 10 percent transaction fee from dog sitters, according to MSNBC.
For customers, fees include insurance coverage for veterinary emergencies. Pet sitters are vetted via reviews, social network connections and direct interviews by DogVacay.com staff.
Pet owners who take their dogs along on trips may also use the service to find sitters or host homes in cities they visit. “We think this will help free people up to travel because some people don’t want to kennel their dogs while they’re away and don’t want to bother their friends,” said Hirschhorn. “This way, more dogs can go along.”
Like Airbnb.com, the site allows customers to rate the hosts, and hosts are encouraged to go online after the stay and rate the behavior of their guest.
The Hirschhorns say the idea for the company came from experiences with their dogs.
“Vacations were always overshadowed with the guilt of leaving our dogs, Rocky and Rambo, in a caged kennel where they may not get the attention they need,” said Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. “We believed there was a better way of caring for dogs, so we tested out the concept for Dog Vacay in our own home, and before we knew it, we had more clients than we could handle and decided to launch the Dog Vacay platform.”
(Photo from MSNBC.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aaron hirschhorn, animals, boarding, care, community, connecting, dog sitting, Dog Vacay, dogs, dogvacay, homes, hosts, karine nissim hirschhorn, kennels, los angeles, marketplace, pet sitting, pets, private, providers, san francisco, sitting, travel, vacation
No other place — and I’m just speaking for myself now — is, at once, so stimulating and soothing. Give us the sound of pounding surf, the sight of gliding pelicans and the smell of salt water and, of course, access to some air conditioning, and we are happy souls. All my senses, and perhaps even my brain, seem to to work better at the beach.
And this wasn’t just any beach. This was — in what was perhaps my biggest freeloading coup to date – a gated beach community, part-time home to North Carolina’s rich and famous, good old boys like Andy Griffith and not-so-good, not- so-old ones like John Edwards.
Figure 8 Island near Wilmington is a private paradise – not accessible to the beach-going hordes, private enough that celebrities (usually) find solace there, and dotted with mansions that seem to think they’re big enough to defy hurricanes.
Exclusive is what it is — the sort of place I’d be prone to make fun of, unless of course, I was invited in.
Once Ace and I were, we didn’t want to leave.
I’d made a point to time our continuing travels so that we’d be able to take advantage of an invitation to visit my former University of North Carolina classmates Steve and Louise Coggins, year-round residents of the island who were holding a mini-reunion for some college friends, most of whom I hadn’t laid eyes on in — as someone felt it necessary to point out — 35 years.
Steve, a lawyer, and Louise, a psychotherapist, are hard core dog lovers, and hard core people lovers as well. Earl, their Cavalier King Charles spaniel, is the latest in a long line of rescues. If rescuing dogs weren’t enough, Steve has also hauled some humans out of the ocean, and I’m guessing Louise, in her job, has pulled a few humans back from the riptides of life they were caught in as well.
They, and the other old friends I reconnected with, seem to remain just about as wacky as they were in college — Louise, who once tracked down Paul Newman on the island and talked him into posing for a picture, in particular. They seem to remain — despite all you hear about the vanishing idealism of my greying generation — just as idealistic and committed as they were then, too. Maybe even more so. If there’s a liberal cause, or a Democratic candidate, you can probably find its, his or her bumper sticker on the back of Louise’s car. (“Who would Jesus execute?” was my favorite.) And, beyond lip service, both she and her husband seem still up for a fight when it comes to what they think is right.
That, to me, was even more refreshing than getting slapped and tickled by a cold ocean wave, though I must report that the ocean is not cold at all. It’s the warmest I’ve ever felt it. (This continues to be the summer I came to believe in global warming.)
Ace and Earl hit it off immediately — Earl being a low key little dog who likes to sit in a lap, or other comfortable spot, and observe the humans, often with a quizzical stare that makes you think he’s still trying to figure out the species.
Ace — though he’s not big on swimming in the ocean, prefering to wade, was in his element, too.
He seems most content when among multiple friends, kind of like Steve and Louise. Their beach house — rebuilt after Hurricane Fran claimed their first — seems to have a steady stream of visitors coming and going. If it were a bed and breakfast, it would be doing a thriving business. I think there are long stretches between the times only they and Earl are there.
I hung around for two days, evening out my one-sided driving tan and pondering how I might extend my stay. I offered to become Steve and Louise’s live- in gardener — especially appropriate because, at their wedding, I, having gone attired in blue jeans, was mistaken for a gardener. I considered altering the dates of my visitor’s permit, or stowing away on the island, sleeping on the decks of unoccupied mansions during the night, frolicking in the surf by day.
But finally, and with great effort, I tore myself away.
Ace was even harder to tear away. For the first time on this trip, he didn’t come when I called him to jump in the car. Instead he walked up to the front door of the beach house and sat down — not the momentary, ready-when-you-are-sit, but that determined, try-and-budge-me sit dogs do.
But after taking in two days of good friends, good food, good sun, good surf, and a breezy oceanfront porch swing nap that — until Ace came over and started licking my hand — was perhaps the most restful nap ever in my entire history of napping, we forced ourselves back in the hot old car and headed north, headed in search of another piece of my past.
That story is coming soon. Suffice to say that — unlike my college friends, and their principles — it didn’t hold up so well.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, beach, cavalier, college, community, democrats, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, exclusive, figure 8 island, freeloading, friends, gated, king charles, liberal, north carolina, ocean, pelicans, pets, private, reunion, road trip, shore, spaniels, traveling with dogs, wilmington
A Kentucky mother of seven wants to gets something more precious than gold back – her dog — but Fort Knox is standing in the way.
Kim Church, of Radcliff, wants the army base to return her family’s 2-year-old Weimaraner, Riley, who was impounded in mid-June after either wandering onto, or being taken to, the secure base.
Fort Knox’s stray animal facility sold the dog to a new owner 11 days after she was picked up by military police, according to the Press-Enterprise, in Hardin County, Kentucky.
The dog disappeared from the family’s yard. Her tags — but not her pink collar — were found in the yard.
Church said she searched all over town for Riley, called city and county pounds and put an ad on Craigslist. A caller notified her that she saw a dog that looked like Riley at the Fort Knox PX, where the post was hosting a pet adoption fair.
The post’s animal shelter is not open to the public – like much else at Fort Knox. Instead, it adopts out animals through PetFinder.com and adoption fairs.
Church said she called the facility, but post officials cited HIPAA — the same federal law which prevents hospitals from disclosing patient information – and refused to shed any light on Riley’s whereabouts.
A spokeswoman told the newspaper that a Weimeraner was found by military police and was taken to the pound, bu twould not release any information about the new adoptive owner.
Church filed a report with Radcliff police, claiming her dog was stolen. She’s launched a Facebook page to rally support for her cause and posted an updated advertisement on Craigslist, explaining the details of Riley’s disappearance and subsequent adoption.
“The vet told me I’d have to take this to the Pentagon,” Church said. “If that’s what it takes. …”
(An update on this story can be found here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animal, animals, army, base, church, confidentiality, dog, dogs, facility, fair, family, fort knox, impounded, kentucky, kim church, ohmidog!, pets, private, radcliff, riley, stray, weimaraner
You might want to have your pencils and celebrity scorecards handy for this one:
“West Wing” actress NiCole Robinson is defending the reputation of her dog Floyd, a German shepherd who was accused of attacking a woman on a private jet, back when he belonged to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
Lopez and Anthony purchased Floyd for $39,000 in 2005 from a South Carolina breeder and trainer of security dogs.
In 2006, a flight attendant named Lisa Wilson claimed Floyd attacked her on a private jet, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn.
Not too long after that, Lopez and Anthony returned to the dog to the breeder. Whether they got a refund, I do not know.
In 2007, Robinson and her husband, political consultant Craig Snyder, bought Floyd from the same K-9 security outfit in South Carolina, after a robbery scare in their Manhattan apartment. They paid $35,000 for him.
Upon reading that, in connection with the Lopez lawsuit, an animal behavior expert had branded Floyd a menace, Robinson apparently felt the need to speak out.
“He’s the biggest, sweetest baby,” Robinson, who played Margaret Hooper on The West Wing, told the New York Daily News. “I will go to court to defend Floyd’s honor.”
While Floyd growls when strangers approach family members, Robinson’s husband said the dog — whose full name is Floyd vom Meierhof — allows the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to ride on his back. “He’s under very strict rules of engagement,” Snyder said.
“You can get security dogs for half or one-third the price, but to me those dogs would pose a risk to my family,” he said. “Cheaper dogs are not trained to distinguish between a real threat and a kid who pulls their tail. The dog is 100% peace of mind.”
Robinson and Snyder were informed of Floyd’s past – including the alleged incident on the plane – when they made the purchase.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attack, behavior, craig snyder, dog, flight attendant, floyd, german shepherd, guard, jennifer lopez, jet, K-9, lawsuit, marc anthony, nicole robinson, private, protection, return, security, trained, west wing
Dear Abby tackled one of the finer points of dog poop etiquette yesterday, but I’m going to have to disagree with her advice on this one.
“My wife and I were walking our terriers one evening when one had to answer nature’s call,” a reader wrote. “Being responsible dog owners, I picked up the ‘deposit’ with a bag we carry for such occasions.
“It was garbage pickup day and the neighbors’ trash cans were out at the curb, so at the next house I placed the bag in the trash can. My wife, family and co-workers all think this was not appropriate — that I should have carried it home and disposed of it in our trash can.
“Abby, we were 15 minutes from home, but given the choice, I would rather not carry that bag and figured a garbage bin is a garbage bin. I’ll abide by your answer and admit I was wrong if you say so.”
It was signed “Pooped Out in North Carolina.”
Abby’s response: “As long as the bag was securely sealed, I don’t think adding it to someone’s trash bin was a social no-no.”
Had he written Dear ohmidog! we would have told him this — after first asking, “How can you be in front of a neighbor’s house and 15 minutes from home?”
Since it was garbage day, and the event occured at night, that means the poop bag would remain in the neighbor’s trash bin for several days (a week in my Baltimore neighborhood), until the next collection. While a person’s trash may no longer be their property, their bin is, and thus you have no right to put your dog’s poop in it — no matter how securely sealed it may be.
While there are some neighbors that might be cool about this, myself included, it’s bad form, and gives the anti-dog crowd something to complain about. If there are no public trash receptacles available — or even a community dumpster — pack your poop all the way home.
That’s my take. What’s your’s?
(Photo from the flickr page of left-hand)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appropriate, bin, dear abby, dispose, disposing, dog, dogs, feces, neighbors, poop, private, public, receptacle, responsible, trash, waste
Michael Vick, in the first of what he hopes will be dozens of appearances around the country to urge low-income youths to avoid dogfighting, spoke to a small gathering in Atlanta yesterday — but most press was banned from the event.
Vick’s visit to a suburban Atlanta community center was largely off limits — both to the news media and most members of the neighborhood it was supposed to be helping. Only 55 people and a crew from “60 Minutes” were allowed to attend, the Associated Press reported.
An Associated Press reporter, videographer and photographer were among the media banished from the property by police. Most people who live in the largely black neighborhood southeast of Atlanta were unaware of Vick’s appearance.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the group wants to be open and reach as many people as possible with its anti-dogfighting message, but Vick’s handlers insisted on tight controls on the meeting.
“We don’t want this to be a flash in the pan,” Pacelle said. “We are committed to transparency over the long run and having Michael involved in many community-based events to speak about the issue. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but he wants the opportunity in a controlled setting to make his first statement on the issue. But I’m sure he’s going to be speaking out more based on what he had to say today.”
“We’re giving him an opportunity to plug into our community-based forums,” Pacelle said. “But he obviously has his own set of individuals who are working with him and want to present things in the way they want.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 60 minutes, anti-dogfighting, appearance, atlanta, campaign, community, dogfighting, first, hsus, humane society, meeting, michael vick, private, public, talk, urban, wayne pacelle, youth