If some of the bulging biceps, shaved heads and never-ending tattoos you see on Animal Planet’s new series, “The Guardians,” look familiar, that may be because they are.
The Guardians, when it comes to both personnel and concept, is a reincarnation of Rescue Ink, the National Geographic Channel program that featured burly and biker-esque “heroes” rescuing dogs in need.
Rescue Ink, the rescue group on which the old reality show was based, underwent a splintering about six years back. Its website remains in existence, but, on TV, it exists only in reruns.
Guardians of Rescue, put together by former Rescue Ink co-founder Robert Misseri, formed not long after that, and now it’s the focus of a six-episode Animal Planet series. It premiered last month, and airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m.
As was the case with Rescue Ink, its members seek out the most heart-wrenching of animal abuse and neglect cases, and do whatever it takes to correct the situation, making sure the cameras don’t miss a second of it.
As with Rescue Ink, some of the tales they tell seem to get a little embellishment — in the name of dramatic license, or, to take a cynical view, evoke more financial support from viewers.
In the video above, for example, the Guardians of Rescue say the Long Island dog they are so dramatically freeing of its chains, is being freed for the first time in 15 years.
Once released, he doesn’t behave too much like a dog that spent 15 years on a chain; instead he trots up and happily greets those who are watching.
Still, this being reality TV, we have to take their word for it.
“The poor dog had spent his whole life attached to a heavy chain,” Misseri told the New York Post.
The dog, a Lab-chow mix named Bear, is now at Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue in Port Jefferson Station, waiting to be adopted.
According to a New York Post feature earlier this month on the group — one that strangely makes no reference to its roots in Rescue Ink — the Guardians of Rescue is a slightly more diverse collection of animal lovers.
“The Long Island-based group counts ex-military personnel, retired police detectives, carpenters, electricians and even former convicts among their unpaid volunteer ranks,” the Post reported.
Rescue Ink’s members spawned a TV show, a book, and some criminal charges.
Member John Orlandini, who ran the Long Island shelter they took over, was charged with grand larceny and accused of personally profiting from public donations. In 2014, though, a grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to go to trial.
Some of those questioned whether the group was more focused on achieving fame and fortune than rescuing dogs.
A lot of those concerns show up on this Facebook page, created to inform the public that the group — even though people are continuing donating to it — is no longer in existence.
The group fractured in 2010, with about half of its members leaving, including Misseri.
“(Rescue Ink) was an organization I started,” Misseri told a blogger for Newsday. “I was against doing a TV show at the time, but there was another guy who was the face of the show and it got to his head. I refused to go on and subsequently National Geographic shut it down…”
Clearly, he had no objections to a TV show this time around.
Animal Planet is billing the show this way:
“Though they may be an eclectic team – ex-military personnel, retired police detectives, former FBI investigators, carpenters, electricians and even former convicts and gang members – they unite in their passion and dedication for animal advocacy. With this group, first impressions are not always what they seem. When an animal is in need, their tough facade washes away and clients see their true love and compassion come forth.”
Let’s hope, this time around, the pack of tough guys with hearts of gold stay out of trouble, keep the hype and exaggeration to a minimum, cool it on the self-promotion and portray what they do with some honesty.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal, animal planet, bear, chained, dog, dogs, guardians of rescue, national geographic, neglect, rescue, rescue ink, rescued, robert misseri, series, television, tethered, the guardians, tv, unchained, video
The 200 dogs freed in the latest closure of a Korean dog farm continue to arrive in the U.S. — and for one of them, it has meant learning a new way of sleeping.
Harriet is one of more than a dozen dogs brought to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where the staff quickly noticed she never laid down — not even to sleep.
Apparently, having spent her life in a cage too small to lay down in, she’d learned and grown accustomed to sleeping in a sitting position.
“Harriet had no idea what a bed was,” Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, told WFLA.
Harriet was one of about two dozen dogs to arrive in Florida from Korea recently. In the weeks and months ahead, more will be arriving in other cities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
They’re coming from the sixth farm that Humane Society International has closed by cutting deals with their operators to release the dogs and find other occupations.
The dogs — raised, like livestock, to be slaughtered for their meat — are being relocated to other countries for adoption in part because there is little interest in them in Korea, where many prefer small dogs and have the misconception that “meat dogs” don’t make good pets.
Additionally, HSI hopes the program will raise awareness about the dog meat trade and increase pressure on Korea to ban it.
The dogs most recently shipped will likely be up for adoption in the next few weeks.
About a week ago, after 14 of them arrived in Orlando, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay posted a video on its Facebook page of Harriet falling asleep while in the sitting position, which they theorized was because she’d never had the space to lay down.
They’ve also learned that one of the Korean arrivals is pregnant.
Staff worked to show Harriet how to get in a laying down position, and she now regularly curls up on her bed.
To see all our stories on Jinjja, my Korean rescue dog, and the dog meat trade, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 31st, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, behavior, dog, dog farms, dog meat, dog meat trade, dogs, florida, hsi, humane society international, humane society of tampa bay, jindo, korea, korean, korean dogs, meat, orland, pets, rescue, sitting, sleep, sleeps, socialization, south korea, standing, tampa bay
The rescue of three puppies who’d been buried for five days under a deadly avalanche provided a glimmer of comfort during the continuing rescue effort in central Italy.
Firefighters on Monday pulled the white Maremma sheepdogs from the wreckage of Hotel Rigopiano in the Pescara province, where 23 people have been found dead.
Nine survivors have been found and six people remain missing.
The puppies had been born in December to the hotel’s resident dogs, Lupo and Nuvola (Wolf and Cloud), who had escaped the quake and found shelter in the nearby village of Farindola, according to a report in The Local.
The births had been prominently featured on the resort’s website.
The discovery lifted spirits of the rescue teams as they searched for more survivors.
The one-month-old pups were found in an isolated part of the resort, which was slammed by a series of powerful earthquakes and avalanche Jan. 18.
“They just started barking very softly,” said Sonia Marini, a member of the Forestry Corps. “In fact, it was hard to find them right away because they were hidden. Then we heard this very tiny bark and we saw them from a little hole the firefighters had opened in the wall. Then we expanded the hole and we pulled them out.”
After their rescue and medical checks, the puppies were reunited with their parents in Farindola, where one of the hotel employees had taken them in.
(Photo by Marisa Basilavecchia / AP)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 25th, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, avalanche, buried, disaster, discovered, dogs, farindola, found, guests, hotel, italy, lupo, nuvola, pescara, pets, puppies, pups, rescue, rescuers, residents, rigopiano, snow, tragedy
Despite all the fears I’d managed to come up with beforehand, we got in, we got out, we got microchipped (well, he did), and all with relative ease.
I’d worried, because of where he comes from — a dog farm in South Korea where dogs were raised for their meat — whether he would go in willingly. Would he react poorly to being poked and probed? Would he revert to the skittish and fearful dog he was when I got him nearly a month ago, or be the more sociable creature he has become when he met the veterinary staff?
And, given I’ve been warned not to pick him up, how would he react when lifted to the exam table?
Based on how he did, I can conclude he is in good health, he is continuing to become more social, and I worry too much.
The purpose of our visit was to have his microchip installed, and get a basic check-up. I’m still not certain — if he ever got out of the house without me — whether he’d hang around or take off on a perpetual squirrel hunting quest.
I adopted Jinjja from the Watauga Humane Society last month. I was advised to give him a couple of weeks just to get used to his new surroundings, and to not try to lift or move him around for a while.
It took two weeks to get him to jump in the back of my Jeep, but once he mastered that, I scheduled a visit with a vet.
Much as I liked Ace’s vet, I opted to go to a new one, and sidestep the painful memories of Ace being put down last year.
I’d been to Mt. Tabor Animal Hospital with a friend’s dogs and was impressed. On top of that, it’s right down the street from where I live now, and has separate entrances and lobbies for dog people and cat people.
I haven’t a clue on how Jinjja is with cats yet, but from afar they seem to drive him almost as bonkers as squirrels do.
Jinjja was a little excited in the waiting room, especially when he heard other dogs in the background. Once in the exam room, he immediately peed, then held off until the vet came in to present a healthy-sized poop.
He was friendly to both the vet tech and the vet, but both thought it best, given his background, to muzzle him while his temperature was taken (he didn’t like that at all) and when his microchip was inserted.
That was another thing I had worried about. Might being muzzled stress him out more, make him regress? But, once we got it on, it had the opposite effect, calming him at least for a while.
After weighing in at nearly 50 pounds, and posting a normal temperature, Jinjja met the vet, Jenny Bolden.
I’d requested a female veterinarian, because Jinjja seems less skittish around, and quicker to make friends with, that gender.
They hit if off and, with the push of a button, the vet sent the platform Jinjja was standing on rising into the air. (So much for my worry about lifting him.)
We decided to hold off on a heartworm test until his next visit, he was up on all the important vaccinations.
Dr. Bolden agreed with my opinion that, judging from his teeth, he looked a little older than just one, the age listed for him at the shelter. She guessed he could be as old as three, but pointed out that the less than pristine condition of his teeth could also be a result of whatever he was fed or foraged on while in captivity.
We also talked about his weight. He is stockier than the average Jindo, but my suspicion is that he has some chow in him, and that accounts for the bulkier torso he carries on his relatively spindly legs.
She suggested his ideal weight might be about five pounds lighter.
Dr. Bolden asked a lot of questions — always a good sign in a vet — about his background, the campaign to save dogs in Korean farms. And she patiently answered mine.
We remuzzled Jinjja for insertion of the microchip. During that process, which didn’t seem too bothersome to him, I squirmed much more than he did.
By the time we got home, he was exhausted and I was covered in shed hair, something he hasn’t seemed to do to excess. I guess stress can accelerate the hair shedding process.
Once I assured myself it wasn’t mine, I decided not to worry about it.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 19th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, check up, dog, dogs, farm dog, first vet trip, humane society international, jenny bolden, jindo, jinjja, korea, korean, meat trade, microchip, mount tabor animal hospital, muzzles, pets, rescue, vet, veterinarian, veterinary, watauga humane society
After at least five years as a stray, avoiding human contact, surviving in a vacant field and regularly outsmarting animal control officers, a Texas dog named Bear may finally be heading for a home.
And good thing, because construction is expected to begin soon on the field he has called home, which is slated to become a housing development.
Bear is something of a legend in Hutto, a town of about 15,000 people, northeast of Austin. He’s a dog owned by no one, though many residents appreciate him from afar.
But in the past few years, one woman has gotten closer to him than most. Irma Mendoza and her son started bringing him food a couple of years ago, and also built him a dog house on the land.
Now, she is working to find him a home.
“It all started a couple of years ago when my mom found Bear by the block where we live,” said Alfonso Salinas, Irma’s son. ” …After that she just started to feed him and try to take care of him,” he told Fox 7 in Austin
Every day Irma comes to the field to give Bear food. She also gives him his annual medications.
“This dog is pretty much a family member,” Salinas said.
Bear has been seen roaming the neighborhood since 2010. Some think he was left behind when his owners moved.
Over the years, others in the community have pitched in to make sure Bear is taken care of.
“He is a survivor that’s for sure. He’s smart, he stays out of the way, stays out of the street, avoids people, and everybody has grown fond of him,” said Richard Rodriguez, who lives in the neighborhood. “He’s got his own Facebook page so that speaks something to how people like him.”
“No one can get close to him but Irma so we haven’t been able to catch him. He’s gotten wise to our dog traps, he recognizes the animal control truck so he’s very leery about new people,” Cunningham said.
Mendoza is now working with Cunningham to help find Bear a permanent place to stay — with a friend who has spent years helping her care for him.
“He deserves to be in a loving home,” said Niroshini Glass. “He would be so spoiled. He would get anything and everything he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted it. He would be very, very spoiled.”
All this hinges on Bear’s cooperation, of course, but with the progress that Irma has made, the willingness of Glass to provide a home, and the field destined to soon become a construction zone, the time appears ripe to take Bear out of the wild.
Once he is caught, he will be taken to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter to be evaluated before adoption.
A GoFundMe campaign has started to raise money to help pay Bear’s vet costs, and ongoing care.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adoption, animal control, animals, austin, bear, dog, dogs, facebook, feral, field, friends, hutto, irma mendoza, pet, pets, rescue, shelter, socializing, stray, texas, training, trust, wild, williamson county
Fourteen more farm dogs from South Korea have arrived in the U.S. and are bound for the Richmond SPCA for eventual adoption.
The dogs arrived Friday at Dulles International Airport after being rescued from a dog meat farm in Jeonju, where they would have faced being slaughtered and butchered after living short and miserable lives.
Working with local animal activists, HSI attempts to persuade the operators of dog farms to relinquish their dogs, close down their business and find a new line of work, sometimes assisting them in the latter.
The dogs who arrived Friday were rescued from a meat farm in Jeonju — likely the same one my new dog was in.
While dog meat farms are legal in South Korea, the latest arrivals — like the 31 that arrived at shelters across North Carolina in October — came from a farm that Korean officials found to be operating illegally (on someone else’s property) and ordered to close.
The latest 14 were sheltered, vaccinated and quarantined in Daegu and Isla before being flown to San Francisco and, eventually, Dulles, according to the Richmond SPCA.
Robin Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that some of the dogs will be ready for adoption in about a week.
“When we save the lives of animals that were really facing not only short lives of utter misery but then a terrible death, nothing could be more central to the accomplishment of that,” she said.
(Photos: At top Jessica Bristow carries Mokpo; lower, another Korean dog stretches his legs after arriving in Richmond; by Joe Mahoney / Times-Dispatch)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog farms, dog meat, dog meat trade, dogs, farm, farmers, farms, humane society international, jeonju, jindos, jinjja, korea, korean, meat, pets, rescue, rescued, richmond, richmond spca, spca, virginia
Laurel Kinder, the head of Kinder4Rescue, says the emaciated Chihuahua was found Friday wandering the streets of North Hollywood.
When a vet checked the dog for a microchip, Faris’ name came up as the owner, as well as information about where Pete had been adopted from.
The rescue organization was contacted, took custody of the dog, and will seek to find him a new home.
Kinder told TMZ that in signing the contract for the adoption of Pete Faris agreed to pay the fine if she ever parted with the dog without informing them.
Faris, in a statement to People magazine, said she gave the dog to another family when her son was born.
“Five years ago I adopted an adorable Chihuahua named Pete, from the Kinder4Rescue Animal Rescue. Unfortunately when our son was born, we discovered that he was allergic to Pete, so I found what I thought was a loving and responsible family to care for him.
“My agreement with the animal rescue required me to contact them first before allowing another family to take Pete in. I failed to do this, and for that I am deeply sorry. I now understand the dangers of giving animals away for free.”
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Pete has been found and is back in the hands of Kinder4Rescue. I feared that he had been lost forever and, although he is malnourished and in need of care, it seems he is going to make a full recovery. For this, I am so deeply thankful…”
Faris is the Baltimore-born star of the CBS series “Mom,” whose numerous film credits include “Scary Movie” and its sequels, “House Bunny,” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
The North Hollywood shelter said it had been unable to reach Faris and her husband, actor Chris Pratt, since the dog was found Friday.
Five years ago, Pratt was widely criticized on social media for getting rid of the couple’s cat.
Before putting the cat up for adoption, he announced on Twitter that he and his wife wanted to “start a family” and “absolutely cannot have an animal that shits all over the house.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, actress, adoption, animals, anna faris, chihuahua, chris pratt, contract, dog, dogs, emaciated, fine, fined, five thousand dollars, found, homeless, kinder4rescue, los angeles, microchip, penalty, pets, rescue, shelter, starving, stray