Mystery writer Dennis Lehane is hoping surveillance video from a nearby McDonald’s may help shed some light on his own personal whodunit — the Christmas Eve disappearance of his beagle, Tessa.
The author, who has offered to name a character in a future novel after the person who finds and returns his dog, says Tessa escaped after a visiting friend left open the gate into his Brookline yard.
Some sightings of the dogs were reported after that — the last one being at a McDonalds in Brighton. Lehane told the Boston Herald that the manager of the restaurant has agreed to review surveillance tape to see if Tessa might have been picked up or lured into a car.
“He’ll have to see a lot of videotape. I’m hopeful he will see a dog in the dark on Christmas Eve,” Lehane said. “I hope for the best, but it’s too easy to get your heart broken.”
“I’ve never had a dog this loving,” Lehane said of Tessa, who his family adopted from Beagle Rescue in Florida two months ago. ”She’s the kindest, sweetest dog.”
The author of Gone Baby Gone” and “Mystic River” said he’s been moved by all the community members who have offered help and support.
“What we’ve seen every step of the way is humbling. I’ve never seen more people help. It’s ridiculous. This is the reason I love this town.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, author, beagle, brighton, brookline, dennis lehane, disappearance, dogs, manager, mcdonald's, missing, mystery, pets, review, sightings, surveillance, tessa, video
It’s a children’s story, centered around an aging boxer named Snort and the two children who love him.
But it’s a tale that applies to any grieving pet owner, serving to remind us, when that sad and difficult time comes, not to dwell on what you have lost but to celebrate the dog you got to have, and reflect on all he taught you.
In reasoned tones, and without relying once on that old fallback, ”The Rainbow Bridge,” it tells the story of a family that loses their dog, works through their grief and honors him in healthy and respectful ways.
The book centers on a boxer named Snort, and the two children, Savy and Sunne, who worry when he gets too sick to chase his ball.
Savy’s parents explain that Snort will need to leave their family because it’s the only way that Snort’s pain will go away.
Savy accepts that, but isn’t so sure how she will cope without her best friend.
In “Snort’s Special Gift,” Savy and her family explore different ways to grieve for and remember a beloved pet — from planting a tree in his memory to crafting tributes, like the one Savy composes in his honor.
In the end, Savy discovers that all the gifts Snort shared with her in life will, like his memory, always be there.
The author of the book, Suzann Yue, lives with her two adopted children and husband in Medina, Minnesota , where she coaches martial arts and is a photographer. She has won eight world karate championship titles, and started a karate school specializing in training children with attention deficit disorders.
The remarkable illustrations were done by Lin Wang, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Guangzhou Academy and a Masters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.
(For all our news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads“ page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver pond books, book, books, books on dogs, childrens book, death, dogs, gift, gifts, good dog reads, grief, grieving, lin wang, loss, mourning, pets, review, savy, snort, snorts special gift, sunne, suzann yue
I didn’t tune in to the first couple of episodes of “Dogs in the City.”
Another “Dog Whisperer” ripoff, I assumed; another show that makes transforming a poorly behaving dog appear, through the wonders of editing, magical and instantaneous. Then there was the pretty boy star of the CBS show — far too good looking to have been hired for his dog training skills, I figured.
But, based on the episode that aired last week, I like it, and, so far, him.
Here’s why. Justin Silver, the New York City trainer who’s the star of the show, went straight to the core of the behavioral problems of the three dogs featured — humans, of course, in every case.
Last week’s episode looked at a young couple on the verge of marriage whose dogs didn’t get along, an overly rambunctious family golden doodle, and a lonely woman who complained that two of her dogs, dachschunds both, were manhandling her third, a pampered celebrity Yorkie.
In each case the solution boiled down to three words, or less:
To the doting Yorkie owner whose world revolves entirely around her dogs, “Get a life.”
To the woman who saw her husband’s pit bulls as threatening to her Chihuahua — when actually it was the Chihuahua who was doing all the threatening – ”Chill out.”
And to the husband who encouraged rough play between his two young children and the golden doodle, “You’re an ass.”
He didn’t put it quite that bluntly, but almost, suggesting the husband release his pent-up energies by joining an “over 40 basketball league” rather than allowing and encouraging his children to “play” with the dog in a manner that came across as both cruel and harassing.
True, they were simple, obvious anwers — the kind everyone can see, except maybe the dogs’ owners.
A dog raised with no rules, in a chaotic environment, is most likely to become a chaotic sort, as seemed the case with the golden doodle. Beings that are idle, hardly ever get outdoor exercise and lack any socialization, like the dachshunds, and prison inmates, are going to come up with their own forms of stimulation, appropriate or not. Nervous and fearful dogs most often have a nervous and fearful owner at the other end of the leash.
It was neither rocket science nor miracle working, and while such shows always make canine transormations appear more instant thay they really are, Silver seems adept at getting to the root of the problem, coming up with a plan to address it, and dispensing both brutal honesty and compassion along the way.
Silver explained to the Yorkie owner, who admitted to spending 99 percent of her time in the house, that her dogs were acting out because they got little exercise. Minus stimulation, they created their own, albeit it at the expense of the Yorkie who seemed humped, licked and bitten to no end. He insisted the dogs started getting some walks, and he took their owner to a meet-up group, where she and her dogs had a chance to socialize.
With the Chihuahua owner, it was clear from the start that she had issues with pit bulls — and thus her Chihuahua did, too. The Chihuahua was picking up on her nervousness, and growling and snarling at the mellow pair of pitties. Silver worked to put her at ease around her husband-to-be’s dogs.
And with the golden doodle, it was a mainly matter of teaching the husband and two children that their dog wasn’t a punching bag, and setting some boundaries — for the dog, and kids, and dad.
“Dogs in the City” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, cbs, chihuahuas, dachshunds, dog training, dogs, dogs in the city, golden doodles, justin silver, pets, pit bulls, problems, review, television, trainer, tv, yorkshire terrier
Austin, Texas, is on the verge of becoming a lot dog friendlier — and in a way much more important than most of those measured by websites and magazines in assessing dog friendliness.
The Austin Police Department announced Tuesday that, effective July 1, there will be several changes to policies and training concerning how officers deal with dogs.
The new rules clarify that lethal force can be used only if there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to officers or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively.
It also suggests alternatives to deadly force, including firing a Taser or using pepper spray, or simply yelling at a dog.
Assistant Police Chief David Carter said dog shootings by officers will get increased scrutiny, and any officer using deadly force against a dog will have to explain why lesser force was not used. Each incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command, as opposed to just the officer’s sergeant.
Other improvements include having dispatchers inform officers when they are going to homes that have histories of dangerous dogs being present. In those cases, city animal control officers will also be sent there.
In addition, cadets at the training academy will undergo a two-hour session on how to deal with dogs, including how to read a dog’s body language and judge whether it is dangerous. Current officers will complete training sessions online and before shifts, he said.
“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”
The changes in Austin come in the wake of a backlash over the fatal shooting of a man’s dog in East Austin in April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance in late April but was sent to the wrong address, where he shot a blue heeler named Cisco after the dog, according to his account, charged at him. Cisco’s owner, Michael Paxton, has denied that the dog was being aggressive.
Carter said the investigation into the case found no policy violations and Griffin received no discipline.
Since then, though, the department has been looking at the policies of other law enforcement agencies around the country to determine the best practices when it comes to dog encounters, Carter said.
“Quite frankly, we learned a lot from this process,” he said. “We learned a lot from the community, who had great concern about it.”
Paxton, meanwhile, has filed a complaint against Griffin with the police monitor’s office and has retained a lawyer.
“It’s sad that my dog had to die for this to happen,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggresive, animal control, animals, austin, behavior, cisco, dangerous, deadly force, department, dog friendly, dog killings, dogs, firearms, force, killings, law enforcement, lethal force, pets, police, policies, practices, review, shooting, texas, training
Some staff members of the troubled city-run animal shelter in Memphis have had ties with dogfighting rings, an outside study of the shelter concludes.
The review of operations at the Memphis Animal Shelter, conducted by a Rotary Club committee, concludes that the city has an “attitude that animals are disposable,” that employees have operated outside the rules, that record-keeping is poor, and that little screening of potential adopters takes place.
It names no names, but the report does seem to infer that some employees at the shelter served to supply dogfighting operations with pit bulls:
“The vast majority of dogs brought in to the shelter are pit bulls. Therefore, the potential for criminal activity is very real, and the checks for criminal background must be made. There should be a record of this with each adoption, available for audit,” said the report.
Among employees, the report said, “there remains the clear understanding … that certain individuals are exempt from the rules … The employees at every level, while not willing to say so on the record, will readily volunteer that there has been a relationship between certain individuals and the illicit dogfighting rings in the community.”
The 22-page report was delivered this week to Mayor AC Wharton, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
The committee also plans to turn the report over to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office raided the shelter in October of 2009, and found abused or neglected animals. Three dogs, including the one pictured atop this post, were so starved and emaciated they didn’t survive.
The shelter’s director Ernest Alexander was fired and, along with veterinarian Angela Middleton and administrative supervisor Tina Quattlebaum, indicted on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals.
This year, another Memphis Animal Services officer was fired after a dog died of heat stroke during the two hours the officer took to pick the dog up and return to the shelter.
The city closed its old shelter this month, and opened the new Memphis Animal Services shelter this week. It’s already full, officials report.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused, adoptions, animal services, animal shelter, committee, dogfighting, employees, investigation, memphis, neglect, neglected, pit bulls, rescues, review, rings, rotary club, screening, shelters, staff, starved, study, tennessee
But according to Petfinder.com, Pet Airways is where your dog can expect the best service.
Petfinder released its annual review of pet-friendly airlines this week, outlining the best options for traveling in-cabin with animal companions. (Petfinder advises against shipping your pet in cargo holds.)
Here’s which airlines came out on top in the various categories.
Most Pet-Friendly Overall: Pet Airways. Dedicated to providing a superior travel experience for animal passengers, the first-ever pet-only airline tops the list for this category due to their outstanding policies and first-class treatment of pets.
Best Amenities for Pets (and Pet Parents): JetBlue. For the second year in a row, JetBlue’s superior JetPaws program landed the airline in top place for the pet-friendly amenities category. The airline provides travelers with a pet carrier baggage tag, a travel “petiquette” guide, 300 TrueBlue points each way, and a comprehensive e-booklet with pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and animal hospitals in some of JetBlue’s major cities.
Best for Transporting Pet Variety: Frontier Airlines. Frontier allows the most diverse variety of pets in cabin, including domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and small household birds.
Best for Budget-Conscious Consumers: WestJet. Included in Petfinder.com’s review for the first time, WestJet tops this category allowing small dogs, cats, rabbits and birds to travel for $50 each way in-cabin. Coming in a close second, AirTran Airways allows domesticated dogs, cats and birds to fly in cabin for $69 each way.
Best for Flying Multiple Pets in Cabin: Frontier Airlines. Frontier allows up to 10 pet containers on each flight, though only one per human.
Best for Big Furry Friends: Pet Airways. Pet Airways can accommodate some of the biggest pups in town, with the maximum height allowance being 34 inches.
“As the proud parent of a huge pet family, I know how important it is to find a way for your pets to travel safely and comfortably with you, whether across the country or across the state,” said Betsy Banks Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com.
“All too often we hear stories of pets dying or getting injured while traveling in a plane’s cargo. We feel strongly at Petfinder.com that you should only travel with your pet in the cabin with you when flying, which is why we continue to review and promote the pet policies of airlines each year.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airlines, animals, dog friendly, dogs, flying, pet airways, pet friendliest, pet friendly, pet friendly airlines, petfinder, pets, review, survey, transportation, travel, traveling with dogs, trransporting
Real Ham Bone for Dogs — dog treats made in Missouri from the femurs of pigs — are under review by the Food and Drug Administration after complaints of them causing serious injury and death in dogs.
If warranted, an FDA spokesman said, the FDA will take appropriate action and notify the public, the Associated Press reported.
The product — a smoked pig femur sold as a dog treat or chew bone — is distributed nationally under the Dynamic Pet Products label of Frick’s Quality Meats in Washington, Mo.
The company said Thursday it was saddened to learn of the illnesses and deaths of customers’ pets, and that quality and safety remain priorities. The packaging contains a warning about the product not being for all dogs, and the possibility that it could splinter.”
“That is why every package contains a label that provides detailed instructions to owners on how they can help their pets best enjoy our products,” the company said in a statement. “We strongly encourage owners to supervise their pets with any treats or snacks.”
The Better Business Bureau of St. Louis said consumers have complained about the bones splintering, and pieces obstructing dogs’ intestines. Consumers reported their dogs had become lethargic or were vomiting. One man came home to find his dog dead, bleeding from the mouth.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, animals, better business bureau, bone, chew, choking, complaints, consumer, consumers, danger, death, dogs, fda, femur, food and drug administration, frick's quality meats, hazard, health, illness, investigation, missouri, news, pets, pig, real ham bone for dogs, recall, review, st. louis, treat
Shanghai’s dog owners could find themselves facing stricter guidelines after the city’s lawmakers finish drafting new rules governing pet ownership.
Even small dogs may be forbidden on public transport and in shopping malls and supermarkets. Other provisions could restrict where dogs can be walked and make owners responsible for any messes they leave behind, according to Xinhua, the Chinese news agency.
Shanghai People’s Congress has started research on the issue and will work with the Public Security Bureau to develop comprehensive new dog ownership rules, local lawmakers said.
Shanghai’s current dog regulations were issued in 1993, and though amended in 1997 and 2002, they aren’t sufficiently detailed to cope with the city’s modern-day canine concerns, the security bureau said.
“If dog management is not strengthened, these pets may still bring pleasure to their owners but could pose trouble or even danger to the larger population,” said Deng Zixin, a member of Shanghai People’s Congress.
Economic prosperity has allowed more people to own pets in Shanghai, and the sight of dogs romping in parks and greenbelts has become increasingly common. Current regulations don’t specify what neighborhood committees can do to deal with those concerns, Deng said.
He said more than 10,000 Shanghai residents are bitten by dogs each year, and the new rules are expected to hold owners liable in such cases.
The new regulations might also order owners of “aggressive breeds” to keep their dogs out of the downtown area, reports said.
Animals seized from dogfighting operations and other cruelty investigations deserve a right to be independently reviewed, instead of being automatically euthanized, a coalition of animal welfare groups has agreed.
After a meeting in Las Vegas last week, The Humane Society of the United States has revised its policies and now recommends that all dogs seized from fighting operations be professionally evaluated, according to agreed upon standards, to determine whether they are suitable candidates for adoption.
Under the new policy, dogs deemed suitable for placement should be offered to adopters or to approved rescue organizations. The HSUS will update its law enforcement training manual and other materials to reflect this change in policy.
In addition, groups participating in the meeting have vowed to work together to help the canine victims of organized violence.
The meeting was prompted by the recent mass euthanasia of 145 dogs — including newly born puppies — that were seized from North Carolina Ed Faron, who bred fighting dogs at his Wildside Kennels.
The dogs were killed at the conclusion of his court case in Wilkes County, where authorities said their laws mandated the action. Unlike the dogs seized in the higher profile Michael Vick case, no efforts were made by the government, lawyers or major rescue organizations to save the Faron dogs, at least not until it was too late.
Lat week’s meeting was convened to address the matter of dogs seized as a result of cruelty investigations, particularly due to the increase in HSUS-led enforcement actions against dogfighters.
Participants at the meeting included Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, BAD RAP, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, Maddie’s Fund, Nevada Humane Society, and Spartanburg Humane Society.
The groups agreed that all dogs should be treated as individuals. They also agreed to support law enforcement and animal control agencies when decisions must be made regarding the dogs deemed unsuitable for adoption, and in cases when rescue organizations and adopters are unable, within a reasonable timeframe, to accept dogs from such raids that have been offered for adoption.
The organizations will form a working group to develop future protocols for cooperation in addressing the needs of dogs seized in raids, such as how to assist with the housing of fighting dogs, how to conduct professional evaluations, and how to screen potential adopters.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, aspca, assessments, bad rap, best friends, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, euthanized, hsus, investigations, las vegas, maddie's fund, meeting, national animal control association, nevada humane society, north carolina, pit bulls, policy, rescue, review, seized, shelter, spartanburg humane society, vigil
In February, for instance, the state negotiated a settlement with a Verona breeder who didn’t meet state standards. She was instructed to close her kennel. The state then arranged for her dogs to be sold by Southwest Auction Service in Wheaton. All the proceeds, minus state licensing fees, went to the kennel owner.
The state claims that since January, it has transferred more than 1,300 abused and neglected dogs from unlicensed breeders to shelters such as the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis. But other dogs are sold at auction to other breeders — a practice critics say is unhealthy and allows bad breeders to profit from the sale of their own confiscated or surrendered dogs.
Missouri Agriculture Director Jon Hagler said the policy is under review, according to an Associated Press article.
Missouri, which has come under fire for being the “puppy mill” capital of America, recently initiated Operation Bark Alert, allowing people to report unlicensed breeders directly to Hagler by e-mail. So far, he has received 100 reports of suspicious breeders that include licensed facilities, he said.
(Photo: Courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, auction, auctioned, auctions, breeders, confiscated, dog, dogs, humane society, missouri, neglect, operation bark alert, pets, policy, profits, puppy mills, rescue, review, sales, seized, selling, shelters, sold, surrendered