Truth, always elusive, is even tougher to get a handle on in the chaotic aftermath of a tsunami — and that’s one reason the fate of the two dogs pictured in the now famous video of one stranded dog loyally watching over another remains obscure.
Despite reports from CNN, UK Telegraph, NPR, PETA and others that the dogs were rescued — all based solely on Facebook posts by Kenn Sakurai, the owner of a dog food supply company in Japan — their fates remain unclear and uncomfirmed.
The best account we can find is one prepared by Global Animal, an online animal magazine that, unlike most major media, interviewed Sakurai, who is being described, without documentation, as both a savior or a charlatan in Internet posts
Global Animal reports that Sakurai told them the two dogs were rescued by friends of his who are off-road bikers and that the dogs are being treated by an undisclosed veterinarian.
Sakurai lists his occupation as president of Butch Japan, Inc., a dog food company. Oddly, for a self described animal lover, his Facebook page lists Michael Vick among his “favorite athletes.”
Sakurai has reportedly deleted all negative comments from the page — as well as those that questioned his involvement in rescuing the dogs.
Sakurai’s page says he was born in Tokyo, raised in Tokyo and the UK and went to school in Tokyo and New York City. He says he was involved with the development of Tokyo Disneyland and that he now is the importer of ”the safest dog and cat food on the planet.”
After the tsunami, he set up a paypal account so that people could donate to his effort, but, in his later posts on his Facebook page, he says he plans to donate that money to established shelters.
Still, many remain troubled that he has presented no photographic evidence that the two dogs are safe.
Global Animal reports: “Mr. Sakurai says he promised the bikers that he wouldn’t reveal the location of the veterinarian because they don’t want animal rescue organizations to take the dogs for their own fundraising purposes. This is why no pictures are being made available, claims Mr. Sakurai.”
In an editorial written by Arthur Jeon, co-founder of the online magazine, Sakurai is quoted as saying he would try and send the organization photos. But, the magazine said, “we are not hopeful that credible evidence will materialize.”
“Our best guess is that some difficult truth may be hidden here, and that either one or both dogs have died, possibly on the trip or shortly after. Or, that this is a story that got out of hand, perhaps being used to raise money by Mr. Sakurai himself, though he is not associated with any animal rescue organization that’s mobilized in the devastated areas.”
Global Animal provided readers interested in donating money to the animal rescue effort in Japan with a list of legitimate and long-standing animal rescue organizations.
The editorial concludes: “It’s human nature to yearn for a happy ending, to be able to move these dogs’ misery off our mental list of anguish and to find heroes in a horrible reality. It also makes for ‘good copy’ by mainstream news organizations who hit it for its feel-good elements, then move on. However, the web and Facebook are not good places to collect facts for substantiated reporting; these reputable news organizations know better.
“Ultimately, the two dogs … deserve the truth. As do we. If Mr. Sakurai responds with verifiable truth that the dogs are alive and well, nobody will be happier than the hardcore animal lovers and readers of Global Animal.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, company, dogs, earthquake, facebook, fate, global animal, japan, kenn sakurai, loyalty, news, news media, outcome, pet food, pets, president, reports, rescue, rescuing, sakurai, truth, tsunami, two dogs in japan, video
A makeshift memorial was constructed Sunday night in honor of a California woman who was struck by a car and killed after rescuing a dog that had wandered into traffic.
Mara Steves, 48, of Laguna Niguel, had coaxed the dog off the highway and was kneeling with it on the corner when two cars collided nearby, one of which went off the road and struck her.
Friends and family decorated the corner with flowers, candles and notes in memory of Steves, a mother of two.
The dog, who wasn’t believed to be the cause of the accident, was not injured and reportedly made its way back home, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Steves was a former PTA president at a local elementary school, was jogging when she saw the dog in the road, a sheriff’s department official said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, animals, california, car, dog, hit, jogger, jogging, killed, laguna niguel, mara steves, memorial, news, orange county, pets, rescue, rescuing, saved, saving, traffic, woman
In Houston and Philadelphia, sad stories emerged at the end of the last week of humans who, while trying to save the lives of their dogs, lost their own.
In Philadelphia, a woman was struck and killed Friday night as she ran onto a set of railroad tracks to save her dog from an oncoming commuter train, police said.
The woman, who police described as in her 40s and from out-of-state, was standing on the platform of the Bryn Mawr station about 6 p.m. when her dog got loose and bounded onto the rails, according to Lower Merion Township police.
The woman was waiting for a train when her dog got loose. She chased the black Chihuahua onto the tracks as an eastbound SEPTAtrain pulled into the station. She was killed instantly, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The dog was recovered without injuries and taken to an animal hospital.
The 51-year-old officer had pulled up to his home in his patrol unit and was told by neighbors his dogs were running loose near an industrial canal.
Wotipka saw his English bulldog go into the canal and plunged in after her. He resurfaced once then went under again. Wotipka’s body was recovered the next morning about 150 feet from where he entered the canal, the Houston Chronicle reported. The dog also died.
Wotipka joined the department in 1993 and was known as a lover of dogs. While in his patrol cruiser a week ago, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a stray dog in the middle of the road, then ended up bringing the dog, who he named Skidmark, home.
The police officers’ union is planning a fundraiser for the Wotipka family on July 31.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bryn mawr, canal, chihuahua, dead deaths, deputy, die, dog, drowned, drowning, eddie wotipka, english bulldog, harris county, houston, killed, news, officer, ohmidog!, owners, pets, philadelphia, rescue, rescuing, save, saving, septa, sheriff's, train
After a long day repairing damage from Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Robert “Bob” Emery and his work crew returned to their Houston motel ready to turn in.
But when Emery, 54, heard that three dogs were stranded in the emergency lane of the East Freeway, just in front of the motel, he dashed to the scene. Seconds later he was struck by a motorcycle and killed.
“Man, we can’t leave them dogs to die,” Emery’s co-workers recalled him saying late Saturday night.
Emery, according to the Houston Chronicle, was one of thousands of workers who descended on the Houston area after Ike.
“We came here on a good mission, but Bob died on an even better mission,” said Nick Downs, 42, among those Emery came from Florida with to help after the storm.
The 50-year-old motorcycle rider from Pasadena was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital with a possible broken arm, Houston police said.
The three dogs, found wearing collars and tags, were rescued by police and turned over to the city’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care.
“He’d bend over backwards and jump through a hoop for anyone,” said Billy Siegel, 24, a friend of Emery’s who said he shouted at him as the motorcycle approached. “He was trying to do a good deed, not anything drunk or stupid. He risked his life, and, of course, it cost him his life.”
Meera Nandlal, a spokeswoman for Houston’s SPCA, said thoughts and prayers go out to Emery’s friends and family. “Obviously, the guy had a huge heart, and went out there to help these animals, who couldn’t help themselves.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 30th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bob emery, chronicle, death, dogs, freeway, galveston, houston, ike, killed, news, rescue, rescuing, robert, stranded, worker