The U.S. Senate has passed an anti-dogfighting measure that prohibits attendance at organized animal fights, and another bill that improves care for retired military dogs.
While it’s already a felony under federal law to stage animal fights, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which the Senate passed unanimously yesterday, is aimed at cracking down on the spectators who finance animal fights through admission fees and making bets. It also impose additional penalties for bringing a child to those events.
Animal welfare groups commended the Senate’s passage of the act, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). Blumenthal also introduced the measure calling for better care for retired military dogs.
“The U.S. Senate has recognized the canine heroes who serve in our military as well as dogs victimized in underground animal fighting rings, passing legislation for both,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA applauds Senator Blumenthal’s brilliant leadership in the twilight hours of this Congress, ensuring that animals in need will not be forgotten by federal lawmakers.”
The Senate passed a provision to help retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.
Both measures still need to be approved by the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acts, adoption, animal fighting, animals, apsca, attendance, bets, bills, care, children, dog fighting, dog fights, dogfighting, dogfights, dogs, laws, measures, military dogs, pets, prohibits, retired, retirement, spectators, support, veterinary, wagers
Sak, a former Chicago police officer, had sued the city, saying his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated when the town ordered his dog — because it was part pit bull — out of town.
Aurelia’s town council voted 3-2 to accept the settlement, the Des Moines Register reported.
As part of the settlement, the city will pay the couple $30,000 and abide by an injunction issued by a federal judge in December that allows Sak to keep the dog in the city.
Sak and his wife, Peggy Leifer, must keep Snickers inside a fence when he’s home and on a leash when he leaves the property.
The couple moved to Aurelia in November to care for his 87-year-old mother, unaware that the town ban pit bulls.
Snickers has served as Sak’s service dog since a stroke in 2008 that left him without use of the right side of his body.
Snickers was taken from the home after 36 residents of Aurelia signed a petition to remove the dog. When a federal judge granted an injunction, the dog was returned.
Aurelia Mayor Jim Tell said the city agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid further bad publicity.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aurelia, breed bans, chicago, disabilities, discrimination, dog, dogs, exception, iowa, james sak, keeps, lawsuit, negative, pets, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bull mix, police. officer, publicity, retired, service, service dog, settlement, snickers, stay, stroke, victim
Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who co-starred in the Oscar-winning movie, ”The Artist,” became the first dog to sink his paws into cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In a ceremony yesterday that also marked Uggie’s retirement from show business, the terrier arrived in a fire truck, performed tricks for photographers, trotted down a red carpet and slapped his paws into wet cement on what was proclaimed “Uggie Day” in Los Angeles.
“The main message that Uggie would like to send to everybody out there is to please adopt,” Uggie’s trainer, Omar Van Muller, told the crowd. “He’s adopted. He made it. If you guys can adopt a dog, even if they don’t make it on the big screen, they’ll be big stars at your house.”
Van Muller said Uggie, while retiring from the movie business, will continue to appear at charity events and other functions.
While Uggie is the first dog to be showcased at Grauman’s courtyard, three dogs — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart — have stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to the Associated Press.
His retirement party, inside the theater, was attended by ”Lassie” and “Rin Tin Tin,” or at least their modern day namesakes, and “Artist” actor Ken Davitian. Cake was served, including one in the shape of a fire hydrant, made by Duff Goldman, the star of the Food Network series, “Ace of Cakes.”
Uggie won the 2011 Palm Dog Award and was named as the best dog in a film in February at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards for his portrayal of silent movie star George Valentin’s companion in “The Artist.”
(Photo by Joe Kohen/Invision/AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cement, dog, dogs, entertainment, first, footprints, graumans chinese theatre, hollywood, jack russell terrier, lassie, movies, omar van muller, pawprints, pets, prints, retired, retirement, retiring, rin tin tin, the artist, theater, uggie, uggie day
Former Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey and retired military service dog Rex were reunited Tuesday in New York, bringing a successful end to Leavey’s long campaign to adopt her former partner.
“I’m so happy,” Leavey, 28, told the Journal News from her Valley Cottage home Wednesday afternoon. “I was nervous at first that maybe he wouldn’t recognize me, but it was like no time has passed.”
Leavey and the German shepherd served two tours of duty together in Iraq. Both were injured when an explosive device was detonated near them outside of Ramadi, Iraq, in September 2006
Leavey was discharged from the Marines in December 2007, and she tried to adopt her former partner then. But military officials decided Rex could still make a valuable contribution and didn’t discharge him.
Earlier this year, however, Rex, then the oldest working dog at Camp Pendleton, was diagnosed with facial palsy, a nerve paralysis that left him unable to serve.
Leavey renewed her push to adopt the 10-year-old dog, and got help from Sen. Charles Schumer’s office.
Schumer wrote letters to military officials and more than 20,000 people signed a petition urging military officials to allow the adoption.
Officials with the Air Force signed off on the adoption last month.
Wednesday, Leavey and Rex were settling in after flying from California to JFK. By then, she’d introduced him to his new family — a 7-year-old shiba inu named Rocky and a 4-year-old chocolate Labrador named Patriot, and who Leavey handles for a private company.
“It’s like he knows he’s retired. He’s happy,” Leavey said. “We played in the yard the whole morning.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air force, charles schumer, dog, dogs, german shepherd, injured, iraq, K-9, k9, marines, megan leavey, military, military dogs, partners, petition, retired, reunion, reunited, rex, senator, sergeant rex, sgt. rex, united, video, war
Ingo was taken from the home of former Watsonville police officer Francisco Ibarra.
Sgt. Stacy Sanders of the SPCA told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that an anonymous tip led them to Ibarra’s home in Salinas.
There, they found Ingo, who weighed just 55 pounds, about 25 pounds less than he should. His ribs and hipbones were showing, and there was no food in the back yard, the SPCA said.
Ingo has gained 15 pounds since SPCA officers seized him on Feb. 17.
“He is slowly recovering and gaining weight on a specialized diet on a prescribed feeding schedule,” said Beth Brookhouser of the SPCA.
The Monterey County district attorney’s office said Ibarra has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to take care of an animal. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 18. The penalty, if he’s convicted, is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The SPCA said that, while it hasn’t determined if the dog is adoptable, he won’t be euthanized.
Ibarra, who was fired from the force in 2010, is seeking to be reinstated by the Watsonville Police Department.
(Photo: SPCA of Monterey County)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, california, cruelty to animals, dehydrated, dog, dogs, emaciated, fired, ingo, K-9, k9, law enforcement, monterey county, neglect, neglected, officer, pets, police department, police dog, retired, spca, watsonville
Leavey served as the dog’s handler for more than three years until a roadside bomb blast in Ramadi, Iraq, took them out of commission in 2006, MSNBC reports.
“Rex is my partner; I love him,” said Leavey, 28, who lives with her father in Rockport, New York, and works as a dog handler. “We have been through so much together … I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.”
Leavey first applied to adopt Sgt. Rex as she was completing her Marine Corps service in 2007, but the military determined the dog had recovered and should return to duty.
About a month ago, though, Leavey heard that Sgt. Rex had been deemed ready to retire after developing facial palsy, which was affecting his equilibrium. She again filed paperwork to adopt him.
“An official request for retirement has been submitted,” said Matthew Stines, press officer for the Air Force, which has jurisdiction over the Military Working Dog Program. He said that action on that request is expected to take about two weeks.
The dog still has to be evaluated for “adoptability” at Camp Pendleton, where he is now kenneled. Approval also has to come from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Military dogs aren’t commonly euthanized upon retirement — at least not anymore — except in cases where they have health or behavioral issues or are otherwise deemed unadoptable.
Leavey is hoping Sgt. Rex passes those tests, and that there’s an end to the red tape.
“(Rex) is just hanging out in his kennel,” Leavey said. “I know the Marine Corp has other more important issues. But it’s important to me. And he deserves it.”
Sgt. Rex is the subject of a 2011 book written by his first handler, Mike Dowling — “Sgt. Rex: The Unbreakable Bond between a Marine and his Military Working Dog.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is encouraging the the Air Force to act quickly to approve the adoption.
“Marine Corporal Leavey and Rex are true American heroes who saved countless American lives uncovering roadside bombs and booby traps in Iraq,” he said in a statement. “I’m strongly urging the Air Force to do the right thing, cross the T’s and dot the I’s so that Rex gets the home he deserves, and Corporal Leavey can be reunited with her faithful companion.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, air force, animals, bomb, bomb-sniffing, bond, bureaucracy, camp pendleton, charles schumer, deployment, dog, dogs, evaluation, german shepherd, handler, iraq, K-9, k9, lackland, marines, megan leavey, military, military dog, pets, red tape, retired, rex, senator, sergeant rex, service, sgt. rex, working dog
FOR AN UPDATE on this story, go here:
Some new developments are possible today in the case of that retired Chicago police officer who made the mistake of moving to Aurelia, Iowa.
James Sak, a Vietnam veteran who spent 32 years with the Chicago Police Department, and recently moved to Iowa after suffering a disabling stroke, was told earlier this month that his service dog, because he’s a pit bull, isn’t allowed to live in town.
Today, there’s a hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction, ordering the city to allow Sak to get Snickers back.
Sak moved the dog to a kennel outside of town after the city told him that failure to comply with its orders would result in the dog being seized and killed.
The Animal Farm Foundation, which is paying for the boarding of Snickers and helped Sak line up legal representation, says the city’s actions violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
The Animal Farm Foundation put together the video above about the case.
The request for an injunction was filed last week, and the hearing is today at United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa, 320 Sixth Street, in Sioux City. It starts at 9 a.m. (central time) in the 3rd Floor Courtroom.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, aurelia, breed ban, breed-specific, chicago, court, dog, dogs, iowa, james sak, laws, pets, pit bull, pitbull, policeman, retired, service dog, sioux city, snickers, united states district court, vietnam vet
For 32 years after that, he served the city of Chicago as a tactical officer in the police department.
Last month, the retired cop moved to the small town of Aurelia, Iowa, to help serve his ailing 87-year-old mother in law.
And here’s what Aurelia, Iowa, has served him: Notice that his service dog, who helps him cope with the effects of a stroke, can’t live there.
The 65-year-old disabled veteran has shipped Snickers to a kennel outside of town after city officials threatened to seize and destroy the dog, a five-year-old — you guessed it — pit bull.
Days after moving into their new home, Sak and his wife were summoned to a town council meeting after a group of citizens circulated a petition calling for the dog to be removed from city limits.
The council voted December 14 to prohibit the dog from residing within Aurelia city limits — a move the Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) says, despite a local breed ban, violates 2010 guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on breed limitations for service dogs.
Attorneys representing AFF filed a request for a preliminary injunction earlier today, asking a judge to order Snickers immediately be returned to Sak. An expedited hearing was requested, and AFF says it hopes to see Snickers back with Sak by Christmas.
AFF maintains that, because Snickers works as a service animal for a disabled person, the dog is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and should not be subject to the breed ban.
The Department of Justice said last year it “does not believe that it is either appropriate or consistent with the ADA to defer to local laws that prohibit certain breeds of dogs based on local concerns that these breeds may have a history of unprovoked aggression or attacks.”
Snickers has no history of aggression or nuisance complaints, the AFF says.
In 2008, Sak suffered a stroke that left him unable to use the right side of his body, and in a wheelchair.
For two years Sak worked with Aileen Eviota, a physical therapist with the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, to learn to live more independently through the use of a service dog.
“Snickers has been individually trained to assist James with tasks which mitigate his disability, including walking, balance, and retrieving items around the house,” Eviota wrote in a letter to the Aurelia Town Council dated December 2, 2011.
The Animal Farm Foundation says it has hired an attorney to represent the Sak family and is paying to board the dog at the out-of-town kennel.
“It’s about the injustice of this man having his service dog taken away — this man who is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired Chicago police officer who has always given back to the community,” said executive director Stacy Coleman.
“This town has taken away this man’s independence, his peace of mind, and his freedom to move about his house, go out in public and keep from having to go to a nursing home with 24-hour care. He’s physically in danger without his dog.”
Aurelia passed its breed specific ban in March of 2008, after a meter reader was bitten by a pit bull, according to the Chicago Sun-Times
Peggy Leifer, Jim’s wife, told the Sun-Times she and her husband weren’t aware of the ban when they moved, and that she’s “appalled and embarrassed by the town I grew up in…They have made our lives a living hell since we got here.”
“They called us to a city council meeting Dec. 14 and voted 3 to 2 to make no exceptions. I had to get him out of the house by the next day. That dog has never been away from us a night in his life. He’s the sweetest, most good-natured dog you’d ever want to meet,” Peggy Sak said.
“I lost my helper,” Jim Sak said. “I’m not looking for special treatment, I just want to be safe, and I need my service dog for that.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ada, americans with disablities act, animal farm foundation, animals, aurelia, breed ban, breed-specific, chicago, cop, council, destroy, disabilities, disabled, dogs, filed, injunction, iowa, jim sak, justice department, officer, pets, pit bull, police, retired, seize, service, service dog, snickers, sought, stroke, threats, town, veteran, victim, vietnam
TMZ is reporting a strange little story out of Arizona involving comedian/rapper/actor Katt Williams.
During a tour bus stop last month in the town of Williams, near the Grand Canyon, one of Williams’ bodyguards was bitten by a dog, and then shot the dog twice, killing him.
The German shepherd — named Lester — was a retired police dog that had gotten loose during a walk with his owners, and ended up in the same Jack-in-the-Box parking lot where Williams’ bus stopped.
After the shooting, Williams told the family that the bodyguard would be fired, then he stepped into his bus and came back out with an 8-week-old puppy, reportedly a mastiff.
Williams offered the puppy to the family to replace the dead dog.
The family accepted, then posed for pictures with Williams.
The family told TMZ they named the new dog Bella, and that, though they were “devastated” by the death of Lester, they appreciated Williams taking responsibility and offering them the new pup.
Police responded, interviewed Williams and others, and opted to file no charges.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, arizona, bit, bite, bitten, bodyguard, celebrities, comedian, dog, fired, german shepherd, jack in the box, katt williams, lester, mastiff, news, pictures, police dog, posed, puppy, rapper, retired, shooting, shot, tmz, tour bus, williams
Izzy was a police dog in Longmont, Colorado until an on-the-job injury led to his retirement. Now, more than two years later, he’s in need of surgery — related to that injury — that could cost $6,000.
That the Fraternal Order of Police in Longmont is turning to the public to try and raise that money is noble.
That they are forced to is wrong.
“He worked for us for nine years and he did a lot of good work in those nine years,” Detective Steve Schulz, president of the Longmont FOP, told the Longmont Times-Call.
As I see it, Longmont owes Izzy for that.
A police dog that serves his city – like a soldier who serves his country — deserves to be taken care of by that city, especially when his injuries are related to that service.
And he deserves to be taken care of FOREVER.
Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Retired police dogs in some jurisdictions are euthanized when their service is complete. Others allow them to retire and remain in the care of their partner/handler.
At that point, as with Izzy, the city cuts off any assistance with care, feeding or veterinary bills.
As Izzy’s handler, Detective Bruce Vaughan pointed out, in the city’s view, dogs are “equipment.”
Izzy was injured while helping catch a suspect in April 2007. After crashing his truck in a high-speed chase, the suspect ran. Izzy chased him down. In the fray that followed, the dog was flipped over and suffered an injury to his spine, which Vaughan said has been diagnosed as a ruptured disk.
The suspect, who had led police on two previous chases,and reportedly had pointed a gun at the head of two different women, was convicted in December 2007 on menacing and drug charges and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Other than the injury, which makes it difficult for the dog to use his hind legs, Vaughan said, Izzy is healthy. “He still has a puppy face. He’s got a lot of energy,” he said.
Donations for the surgery, estimated to cost $6,000, can be made to FOP No. 6 K9 Fund, in care of Guarantee Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 1159, Longmont, Colo. 80502.
Dog-lovers, I suspect, will likely come through for Izzy.
It’s a shame that city he served did not.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: benefits, care, colorado, dogs, fraternal order of police, fund, izzy, K-9, k9, longmont, medical, news, police, police dogs, retired, retirement, surgery, veterinary