A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday on behalf of Gary Hesterberg, the California man who was Tased by a National Park Service ranger after being detained for having one of his two small dogs off-leash.
“There is something seriously wrong when walking your dog off leash in a National Park can get you Tased,” said Michael J. Haddad, Hesterberg’s attorney.
”The law is clear that an officer may only Tase someone who poses a substantial and immediate threat. All Gary Hesterberg did was walk away after receiving his leash warning.”
Hesterburg, an electrician from Montara, California, had previously filed an administrative claim seeking $500,000 in compensation from the United States and the ranger for his injuries and the violation of his civil rights.
That claim — a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government — was rejected by the Department of the Interior on January 25, 2013. The complaint filed in court yesterday is a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Park Ranger Sarah Cavallaro stopped Hesterberg in January of 2012 as he was walking his dogs in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and warned him that both of his dogs needed to be on a leash.
When Hesterberg attempted to walk away with his dogs she shot him in the back with her Taser, caused him to be arrested, and had him taken to jail, the lawsuit says.
Hesterberg, the lawsuit says, told Cavallaro he had a heart condition before she Tased him.
The lawsuit says the type of Taser used can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. After the ranger pulled the Taser barbs from his back, Hesterberg remained in handcuffs for three hours, and remained in jail until after midnight, the lawsuit says.
The district attorney declined to pursue any charges against him.
The United States Department of the Interior found that Ranger Cavallaro’s conduct was consistent with park service policies: “From our review of the circumstances surrounding the tasing for Mr. Hesterberg, it appears that the officer’s actions were reasonable.”
(Photo: Hesterberg and his dogs, a beagle and rat terrier, San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, civil rights, dog, dog walking, dogs, federal court, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, lawsuit, leash, national park service, pets, ranger, rules, tased, taser, tasing, unleashed, walking
Seeing some doggie dance moves it finds inappropriate, the Kennel Club in the UK is cracking down, outlawing some “extreme” and “unnatural” steps it says could injure dogs.
Effective next year, certain moves, though they haven’t been outlined yet, will be banned when it comes to dancing dogs – a pursuit that has become increasingly popular since Pudsey (above) appeared on and won “Britain’s Got Talent.”
“Heelwork to music,” as it’s called has been regulated by the Kennel Club since 2002. There are about 90 affiliated clubs that offer dog dancing events.
The Telegraph reports that the rule changes are in response to the rising number of people and dogs taking part in the activity after 16-year-old Ashleigh Butler and her dog wowed the judges on “Britain’s Got Talent.” There has been a 20 per cent increase in the activity since then, and the club is worried that, amid stiffer competition, too much might be demanded of performing dogs.
The Kennel Club has taken steps to ban moves that could injure dogs, as well as treatment it considers ”degrading” to the dogs, such as putting them in fancy costumes for performances. (Fancy costumes can still be worn by their human dance partners, though).
While no list of accepted and banned moves has been released yet, those that reportedly concern the Kennel Club include the “wheelbarrow,” where the dog’s hind legs are held by the owner as it walks; the “footstand,” where the dog stands on the raised feet of the handler while the human lies on the ground; walking on front paws; walking on hind legs for more than 10 seconds; and “shoulder jumps,” in which a dog leaps from the owner’s shoulders.
“We know that the more people we get into the sport, the more they are going to have to look to other types of moves in order to make an impact,” said Caroline Kisko, the club’s secretary. “We are trying to pre-empt that. The priority is the dog’s safety.”
Most dog shows feature two categories — “heelwork”, which is more structured, and “freestyle,” which involves more innovative tricks. The dances are scored on content, accuracy and musical interpretation.
The new regulations will formally take effect next year, when judges will disqualify any pair whose routine is deemed extreme, unnatural or degrading. Until then, the Kennel Club has asked competitors to observe them “in spirit … with immediate effect.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, ashleigh, ashleigh butler, britain's got talent, costumes, dancing, dancing dogs, dangerous, degrading, demeaning, dog, dogs, extreme, heelwork, injuries, kennel club, moves, performances, pets, pudsey, rules, tricks, uk, unnatural
It has been about three months since we last checked in on Wausau, Wisconsin, and that ridiculous two-dog limit it imposes on its residents.
At the time, Melissa Lecker and her husband James were being told by the city they must part with two of their four dogs.
James and Melissa had moved there three months earlier, for jobs, and bought a house — unaware of the city’s two-dog rule.
When they were notified they were in violation of it, they requested an exemption, pointing out that their two golden retrievers were 13 years old, and probably wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.
Most of the bureaucrats they appealed to acted like, well, bureaucrats. They declined to discuss an exception, and the Leckers decided that, rather than part with a family member, the only thing they could do was move.
After some media coverage about their situation, and the city’s two-dog limit, the city council began reviewing the law, and the mayor notified the Leckers that, until the council decided whether to change ordinance, they wouldn’t be fined.
As Melissa Lecker wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Wausau Daily Herald:
In March, Mayor Jim Tipple told us we would not be fined and would not have to give up the dogs. We took our home off the market and began to settle in to our new home and new city, hoping to put the past behind us as the city drafted a new ordinance …
The city began considering a revised and slightly more liberal ordinance that would limit households to five pets — any combination of dogs and cats, as long as the total didn’t rise above five.
Given the Leckers have three cats, in addition to their four dogs, they’d still be over the limit, and, according to Melissa, the mayor told them that once a new law was in place they could be fined.
“I am glad change is coming. But it doesn’t help us,” Melissa wrote.
“We have decided as a family it is best for us to leave Wausau. We’ve signed a contract with a Realtor and have begun preparing our house for sale. We’ve also found a home in Stevens Point we are interested in buying. Regardless of what Wausau does at its June City Council meeting, we feel this is no longer where we belong.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, but as Keene Winters, a member of the city council, noted in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald, it has now become a divisive issue.
“Soon, we could have pet owners and non-pet owners locked in a cage match for municipal supremacy,” he wrote.
“There does not seem to be any evidence that the three-dog households already among us create any unusual nuisance,” Winters wrote. “So sending out our police to compel 125 of our neighbors to make a “Sophie’s choice” and eliminate a member of their family is likely to be greeted as unfairly punitive.
“I can see no compelling public interest in the two-dog limit that would warrant imposing such a heartwrenching penalty on so many of our neighbors.”
Winters said he favors allowing people to have up to five well-behaved dogs, assuming they license them. (Only about 30 percent of Wausau’s dogs are registered, he says.)
The city council is meeting tonight on the issue, and it appears divided on whether the ordinance should be altered or kept intact.
The Daily Herald, in an editorial yesterday, came out against the limit — which now restricts a family to two dogs and three cats – saying other existing laws are sufficient for addressing pet-related problems:
“The City Council should do away with the limit on pets, and it should make sure local law enforcement has what it needs to enforce the rules that do make a difference in residents’ lives.”
Under one proposal, residents could get a special “pet fancier’s” permit, allowing them to own up to five animals. In other words, the only change would be moving from a limit of two dogs and three cats to a limit of five pets total, in any combination.
How positively liberating.
Meanwhile, between the confusion, the city’s intrusive rules, and what Lecker describes as the heavy-handed enforcement of them, it has been enough to lead at least one family to wave goodbye to Wausau.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureaucracy, city, city council, dog, dogs, government, james lecker, jim tipple, laws, leaving, limit, maximum, mayor, melissa lecker, moving, municipalities, number, owners, ownership, pet, pets, rules, town, two dog limit, wausua, wisconsin
Kieri was on a bird-watching walk with her owner when she stuck her head into a trailside trap intended to instantly kill otters and beavers.
The 8-year-old, 38-pound Wheaten terrier, underwent surgery and seemed to be recovering, according to her owner, Jack Williamson. But in April, her pain returned. She underwent surgery this month, but continued to suffer and was put down Tuesday.
Kieri is among a half dozen dogs reported to have been caught in traps last winter in Central Oregon, three times more than usual,according to an Associated Press account based on a subscriber-only Bend Bulletin story.
State wildlife officials think the increase may be a result of trappers coping with high gasoline prices by setting their traps closer to town.
Williamson wants the state to ban the use of large body-gripping traps on land.
Members of the Oregon Trappers Association have met with Williamson and wildlife officials to discuss rules changes that would keep pets safer. The Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to review its rules when it meets next month.
According to a petition Williamson started on the website Care 2, current regulations in Oregon allow traps to be set on public land, concealed from view, without penalty of any kind for placement of traps that result in serious injury to people, or pets that are under control of their owner.
You can find more information about Kieri and the petition at Kieri.org
(Photo: From Kieri.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver trap, care2, commission, dangers, death, died, dog, dogs, euthanized, fur, hikers, hiking, hunting, injuries, jack williamson, kieri, land, oregon, oregon trappers association, otter trap, petition, pets, public land, regulations, rules, safety, spinal, spine, state, symbol, trails, trap, trappers, trapping, traps, warnings, wheaten terrier, wildlife
Nio Tavlos believes his 12-pound miniature poodle, Diego, should be permitted to live with him at a 36-story, no-pets-allowed condo development in Lakeview.
The 67-year-old artist says Diego helps him battle bouts of depression. Without the dog, he said, “I spend a lot of time in bed, I’m lethargic, I’m not creative.”
Six years after the dispute began, Tavlos took his case to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. On Tuesday, the agency filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tavlos accusing the condo association of violating anti-discrimination laws.
Tavlos first asked for special permission to keep a dog in 2007 after learning other residents had pets as service and therapy animals, and that others secretly kept pets in the building.
Twice, the request was denied — even after letters from two of Tavlos’ doctors.
Tavlos, who lost another dog last year, is a painter who travels between his home in Santa Fe, N.M., and his wife’s Lakeview condo.
” …I’ve never lived without a dog my entire adult life. I wouldn’t want to live without dogs, to be honest with you … They are like my children,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Department of Human Rights said his depression qualifies as a physical disability under Illinois state law, and that it found “substantial evidence” that the condo association discriminated against him by denying a reasonable accommodation for the dogs.
The suit asks that the condo association create a policy to deal with other requests from disabled residents and that it train employees in fair housing practices. It also asks for an unspecified amount in damages and court costs.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artist, association, chicago, condominium, depression, diego, disability, discrimination, dog, dogs, housing, lawsuit, miniature, nio tavlos, no dogs, no pets, pets, poodle, rights, rules, service, therapy
But, being a big dog’s human, I’d have to agree with Joan Klucha, a British Columbia dog trainer: It’s not entirely right — emphasis on entirely — for big dogs, and their humans, to be held to a higher standard than small dogs.
Klucha, in a column for the North Shore News in Canada — one I’d guess she’s going to take some grief for, diplomatic though it is — points out that little dogs can get away with a lot more than big dogs can.
A case in point is poop, which is what she starts the discussion with, recalling a visit to a client who, once she saw the condition of her home, Klucha assumed wanted help with house training.
“Oh, we don’t care about that,” the client said. “They are little dogs. Their poop is so little we clean it up and it’s not a bother at all. It’s their barking; it’s driving us nuts.”
A little dog can jump up, drop a load, be yappy, be rambunctious, even attack, but it’s often not taken as seriously as when a big dog does those things. As Klucha notes:
“There is a general consensus among many people that the size of a dog determines its behaviour, meaning a small dog automatically means a good dog. Let me set the record straight: The size of a dog is never the issue that determines whether a dog is good or bad. It is always the owner.”
Klucha points to a recent case in Ontario in which a small dog bit a child and the dog’s owner argued her dog was too small to be vicious, and not a threat to anyone.
“If this was a large dog, the outrage over the incident would have demanded that the dog be euthanized,” Klucha says.
“When someone sees a small dog lunging, barking and snapping while pulling at the end of a leash, they chuckle to themselves or don’t give it much thought. If it was a large dog behaving like that, animal control would surely be called out to deal with the situation.
“Small dogs get away with many inappropriate behaviours simply because they are small … Large dogs live under a microscope and are scrutinized for every misdeed.”
When you have a big dog (and mine’s 130 pounds) you do have a heavy responsibility. But small dog owners have a responsibility, too, and while most live up to it, there are those — not you, of course — who think their precious little one can do no harm and let them get away with anything short of murder.
Where the double standard most offends me is when it’s in the form of rules – at motels, in apartment complexes or from other entities that set weight limits under the thinking that big dogs automatically cause bigger problems. That’s just wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m going to go pet a little dog now. His name is Bogey. That’s him in the picture. He lives a few doors down, and he’s very well behaved. I will try to make sure my dog Ace doesn’t pee on him again. Even though Bogey likes to walk under Ace — perhaps for the shade, perhaps for the view, perhaps for the sake of sniffing – he doesn’t deserve a surprise shower.
Being a big dog owner, making sure that doesn’t happen is my responsibility.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, big dogs, bogey, discipline, dogs, double standard, joan klucha, manners, obedience, pee, perceptions, pets, poop, rules, small dogs, standards, train, trainer, training
The county worker, who was not named by the Sheriff’s Department, was treated for leg injuries and released from a hospital hours after the Friday incident.
Arune Kavaliauskaite, 28, of Altadena, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Times
The Sheriff’s Department said Kavaliauskaite was warned repeatedly after her dog was spotted running without a leash at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena.
After the third warning, Kavaliauskaite became angry, grabbed her dog and got into her car, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.
“The victim was standing a short distance away from the vehicle taking a picture of Ms. Kavaliauskaite in the vehicle for future identification. Ms. Kavaliauskaite accelerated forward with the vehicle into the victim striking her in the legs and knocking her back into a parked vehicle,” the statement said.
Kavaliauskaite drove away from the scene but was arrested at her home later that evening.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, Arune Kavaliauskaite, assault, behavior, california, county, dog, dogs, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, employee, leash, leashed, news, off-leash, park, pasadena, pets, rules, struck, unleashed, warnings
A vigil is being held in New York Saturday in honor of Nick Santino, the soap opera actor who took his own life after putting his dog down.
Santino, according to friends and family, was distraught and feeling guilty after having his pit bull Rocco euthanized — a step acquaintances say he took after his condo board instituted rules against pit bulls and other restrictions against dogs.
“Rocco trusted me and I failed him,” Santino wrote in a suicide note. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Santino was allowed to keep his dog under a grandfather clause, but according to friends, he was being harassed about his dog by the board and fellow residents.
In response to the incident, the Animal Farm Foundation, in conjunction with the National Canine Research Council, had scheduled a press conference on on the social, financial, and legal challenges and discrimination facing pet owners in New York City, but canceled it in the wake of a police officer’s death in the city.
Instead, it’s coordinating a vigil that starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, outside of One Lincoln Plaza, 20 West 64th St.
“The recent death of Nick Santino and his dog Rocco highlight the important role pets play in American lives, but it also illustrates the social, financial, and legal challenges facing pet owners, especially in urban areas like New York City,” the foundation said in a press release.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, bans, breed, breed-specific, city, condo, discrimination, dogs, euthanized, manhattan, national canine research council, new york, nick santino, pets, pit bull, pitbull, restrictions, rocco, rules, suicide, vigil
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is asking for an investigation into last weekend’s arrest of a dog walker who was Tasered by a park ranger in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Montara.
Speier sent a letter to GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean expressing her concerns and requesting information about the arrest of Gary Hesterberg, of Montara, who was walking his dogs off-leash when stopped by the park ranger.
“Many of my constituents are understandably angered by what appears to be an excessive use of force by a park ranger,” Speier said “From the information I have to date, it does not appear that the use of a Taser was warranted.”
Speier worked closely with state officials on the use of tear gas, stun guns and pepper spray while she was in the California legislature, a local NBC affiliate reported.
She says she has requested information about training in Taser usage for park rangers and also about how the public was informed about dog policy changes at Rancho Corral de Tierra.
According to witnesses, the dog owner — who had one of his two dogs leashed when he was stopped — repeatedly asked why he was being detained, and eventually told the ranger to cite him or he was going to walk away.
“He started to walk away and she told him that she would Tase him if he walked another step,” one witness said. When the man turned, the ranger deployed her Taser, causing him to fall to the ground.
Advocate groups for dog owners, including Montara Dog and DogPAC of San Francisco, have asked the National Park Service to investigate the incident and to cease ticketing dog walkers in Rancho Corral de Tierra.
GGNRA officials said the dog walker provided false information to the ranger and refused the ranger’s repeated orders to remain at the scene while his identity was confirmed. They said they are are reviewing the incident.
The 3,800-acre property was transferred to the park service by the Peninsula Open Space Trust in December. While dogs were once allowed off leash there, the park service changed the rules, requiring all dogs be on leashes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, congresswoman, dog walker, dogs, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, jackie speier, leash, leashed, montara, national park service, park ranger, pets, rancho corral de tierra, rules, stun gun, tased, taser, tasered, unleashed
Santino blamed oppressive rules instituted by his condo board for his decision to put his pit bull, Rocco, to sleep; and before taking an overdose of pills he left a note saying he had “betrayed his best friend,” according to the New York Post.
“Rocco trusted me and I failed him,” he wrote. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Pit bulls were banned from the building Santino lived in, One Lincoln Plaza, but he was allowed to keep Rocco through a grandfather clause. Since 2010, the condo board has also forbidden dogs from riding in the main elevator or being left alone in apartments for more than nine hours.
Santino had adopted Rocco, about five years old, from a shelter. Rocco was put to sleep on Santino’s 47th birthday. A few hours later, he killed himself in an apparent pill overdose, the Post reported.
A condo board member said the board feels no responsibility for the tragedy.
“I’m sorry the man is dead,” board member Marilyn Fireman told the Post, “but it has nothing to do with the pet policy.”
Relatives of Santino, who had roles on “All My Children” and “Guiding Light,” plan to place Rocco’s ashes beside Santino’s body when he is laid to rest.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, all my children, animals, ban, breed, condo, condo board, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, guiding light, manhattan, new york, nick santino, one lincoln plaza, pets, pit bull, pitbull, policy, put down, rocco, rules, soap, soap opera, suicide