Getting your Huntsvilles confused is one thing, but one website really screwed the pooch when they published a story about a good Samaritan who helped reunite a homeless man and his dog.
In September, in Huntsville, TEXAS, Wilma Price was driving through a Walmart parking lot when she saw a homeless man holding a sign that said, “Dog in pound. Need help.”
Price, who runs a rescue called Mr. K’s Pet Shelter, stopped to find out his story. She learned the homeless man, named Patrick, had been arrested and jailed for trespassing, and that, because of that, his dog ended up in the animal shelter.
She took Patrick to the shelter, and paid the $120 necessary for him to get his dog — named Franklin — back.
Dozens of other websites reprinted or rewrote it — most of them doing a decent job of passing along the facts.
Then there was the Alabama Observer.
It reported that the story took place in Huntsville, Alabama, that the dog’s name was Wilbur, that the homeless man’s name was Mark Spencer, and that the good Samaritan’s name was Elizabeth Masterson.
The story had no links to actual news sources, and little attribution.
It wasn’t the only website to get the facts askew, but it was the only one that appeared to be making up entirely new names for everyone involved. At least three other websites published versions of the story with those erroneous names.
One wonders what might be the motivation for substituting illegitimate names into a legitimate story.
Might the exact same story have happened with different people at a Walmart in Huntsville, Alabama? Clearly not. Might the website be trying to cover its rear, legally? Maybe. Might there be something more nefarious going on, such as diverting donations intended for Patrick (whose last name isn’t Spencer) to some guy named Mark Spencer? We hope not. Might a computer program be doing the website’s writing? Highly possible.
Apparently, a bogus Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for Patrick was launched by someone neither Wilma nor Patrick knew, and, using photos from Wilma’s Facebook page, it raised $3,000 before the page was removed from Go Fund Me.
That’s $3,000 Patrick and Franklin didn’t get. Wilma Price, meanwhile, started a campaign for him too, and it has raised more than $15,000 for Patrick on GoFundMe.
Price said Patrick has been helping her organization with rescue efforts since the two met, and her Facebook page documents their adventures together.
Snopes.com looked into the story and couldn’t figure out how or why the Alabama Observer version had new names inserted into it.
There is no contact information on the Alabama Observer’s web site, and no description of who operates it. Snopes reported it appears to accept stories submitted by users, as opposed to having its own reporters or freelancers.
We think there’s a good possibility it’s one of those websites that runs news stories through computer programs that rewrite them (with mixed results, or should I say “stirred outcomes?”).
How else could you explain the opening of this recent Alabama Observer story about clown sightings in Ohio?
“The developing rash of reported dangers including clown-faced villains has law authorization offices crosswise over Ohio and somewhere else attempting to recognize true blue dangers while cautioning deceptions are no giggling matter.”
(Photos courtesy of Wilma Price)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, alabama observer, animals, arrest, dog, dogs, errors, facts, franklin, fraud, go fund me, gofundme, good samaritan, homeless man, huntsville, impounded, mr. k's pet shelter, news, news media, patrick, pets, publishing, rescue, rescue groups, reunite, reunited, reunites, rewriting, shelter, texas, truth, website, wilma price
A recent study by Ohio State University confirms what would seem to be pretty obvious — microchipped pets have a better chance of being reunited with their owners than those without microchips.
Microchipped pets find their way back home about 75 percent of the time; in the case of dogs, that’s about 2.5 times more often than those without microchips, according to the study.
Less than 2 percent of all stray dogs and cats taken to shelters participating in the study had microchips implanted in their bodies. Nationally, experts estimate about 5 percent of pets are microchipped.
Microchips have yet to become widely popular — and they aren’t foolproof, the study notes. That one of every four microchiped pets isn’t reunited with its owner is a function of the number of different microchip companies and registries, and owners who fail to keep those registries updated on address changes.
Still, the study suggest that pet owners should give strong consideration to microchipping their companion animals — a conclusion that isn’t that surprising, either, considering one of the authors is a consultant for a company that, through one of its subsidairies, manufactures microchips.
The study notes that identification tags, with the pet’s name, owner’s name and phone number, are still the most effective way to ensure a lost pet is returned.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog, dogs, found, id, identification, implanted, linda lord, lost, medicine, microchipped, microchipping, microchips, ohio state university, pet, pet owners, pets, registries, registry, return, reunite, reunited, school, shelter, shelters, study, tags, veterinarians, veterinary
Jay Jay and Jessie are together again.
Jessie Pullins, separated from his dog Jay Jay during Hurricane Katrina, was reunited with the Akita mix yesterday — nearly four years later.
Pullins, busy helping 10 of his relatives evacuate, couldn’t take his dog with him when he left his house in New Orleans in 2005. Once he returned, weeks later, the dog was gone.
About a year later he saw his dog on TV, appearing, with a new owner, on an episode of the National Geographic Channel program, The Dog Whisperer.
An animal rescue group had saved Jay Jay from the home, and he was shuffled between different animal groups before being adopted in California.
After tracking Jay Jay down, Pullins entered a long legal battle, with assistance from the Katrina Animal Reunion Team, to try and get him back.
Pullins, who is one of the pet owners featured in the documentary, Mine: Taken by Katrina, said he has no hard feelings toward the woman for resisting his attempts to get Jay Jay back.
“Everybody falls in love with Jay Jay. He’s lovable. I don’t fault them.”
Posted by John Woestendiek June 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akita, cesar millan, documentary, dog whsperer, evacuation, hurricane, j.j., jay jay, jesse pullins, katrina, katrina animal reunion team, katrina dog, mine, rescue, reunite, reunited
A Navy soldier has been reunited with the dog she rescued in Iraq.
Construction Mechanic First Class Joan Steates, who along with fellow Seabees took in a stray shepherd-mix pup named Sako, was forced to leave her behind when she came home in October.
On Monday night, they reunited at Dulles Airport, throught the efforts of SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups, which provides veterinary care, clearance and transportation for animals that U.S. service members can’t bear to leave behind in the Middle East.
In the past year year, Baghdad Pups has brought 79 dogs and cats from Iraq and Afghanistan. 50 other reunions are in the works.
The SPCA says the program, funded entirely by donations, spends about $4,000 to ship each animal to the U.S.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: baghdad, dog, dogs, iraq, joan steates, navy, operation baghdad pups, reunion, reunite, sako, spca international
Three months after shipping her adopted dog, Ratchet, home from Iraq, Army Specialist Gwen Beberg was reunited with him, her tour of duty completed.
“Hey, baby. Oh, you got so big — Oh, you got so big,” said the soldier to the pup. “Yeah, who’s home? Who’s home, huh?”
The two were reunited Saturday as Beberg returned to Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Friends, family and supporters gathered at VFW Post 363 to witness the reunion. “I wish every soldier in the world, past, present and future, came home to a welcome like this,” Beberg said.
Beberg urged support for Operation Baghdad Pups, a branch of SPCA International that rescues dogs and cats adopted by U.S. military personnel. More than 50 pets have been relocated to the United States.
Beberg adopted Ratchet as a month-old pup after fellow soldiers rescued him from a burning pile of trash.
Although the Army balked at Beberg’s plan to send the dog home, Beberg’s efforts, and those of Operation Baghdad Pups — along with 70,000 signatures on online petitions and some help from congress — led military officials to loosen the prohibition on U.S. troops adopting pets in Iraq.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, army, beberg, dogs, gwen beberg, home, homecoming, iraq, military, minnesota, operation baghdad pups, ratchet, reunion, reunite, troops, video, war