The Nevada Supreme Court — no stranger to such matters — will decide whether Onion, the Mastiff mix who killed his owner’s grandson on his first birthday, should live or die.
The court will hear arguments — 30 minutes worth, it has specified — on July 3 before deciding whether the city of Henderson should be allowed to kill the dog.
Another option has been offered by the Lexus Project, a New York-based organization that provides legal representation to dogs.
The Lexus Project intervened in the case and wants to gain custody of Onion, then send him to live at a secure sanctuary in Colorado.
The 120-pound mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix killed Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan by biting him on the head the day of his first birthday party. Later that day, the owner turned Onion over to Henderson animal control officers, who planned to kill the dog in accordance with the city’s vicious-dog ordinance.
The city turned down the Lexus Project’s offer to take responsibility for the dog, and has fought its request to be awarded custody. Onion’s former owner now wants Lexus to have the dog, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The court battle has been going on for a year now.
Last year, Clark County District Court Joanna Kishner ruled the city of Henderson could proceed with the dog’s execution.
The state Supreme Court issued a stay — it’s second in the case — until arguments could be heard.
Those will take place July 3 at 11:30 a.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 120 pounds, animal control, animals, colorado, death, defense, dog, dogs, euthanasia, execution, henderson, jeremiah, legal, lexus project, life, mastiff, mix, nevada, onion, pets, rhodesian, ridgeback, safety, sanctuary, supreme court, the lexus project
At least 38 dogs entrusted to a Texas pit bull refuge whose mission was to provide them with care and find them new homes never came out, perishing instead from heat stroke, and being buried in a mass grave on the ranch.
Not too much news has been coming out of Spindletop Refuge in Willis, either.
Since authorities last week seized nearly 300 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and removed them from conditions generally described as cramped and unhealthy, there have been a lot more questions than answers.
On Friday, after hours of private negotiations, Spindletop owner Leah Purcell agreed to relinquish ownership of the 287 dogs, and through her attorney, she agreed to terms prohibiting her from future rescue and boarding in the county.
That court action was related strictly to the custody of the dogs. No charges have yet been filed against Purcell, and there has been no clear word that they will be.
Instead, there are a heap of questions unanswered — most of them from rescue groups around the country that sent animals to Spindletop, and now want to find out if they’re still alive, and reclaim them if they are.
On top of that, there’s another all-important one — what led what was once such a highly respected refuge to end up keeping dogs in conditions more like those you’d find at a puppy mill or the home of a hoarder?
Members of at least 50 rescue groups attended a Friday custody hearing in Conroe, but it was behind closed doors that an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Purcell. Except for 11 dogs that belonged to her mother, she surrendered the rest, and custody was awarded to the Humane Society of the United States and Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a grand jury, also meeting behind closed doors, will decide whether Purcell will face criminal charges.
According to the Houston Press, several rescuers learned Friday then that the dogs they had surrendered to Spindletop — and were told had been adopted — died of heat stroke last summer.
“It was definitely not a sanctuary. Definitely not. Those dogs were left in a living hell,” said former Spindletop employee Brandon Louth, who says he’s the one who contacted authorities about conditions at the refuge.
Of the mass death he said, ”The dogs had suffocated, because the building was not ventilated. The electricity had gone off in the building, and basically I had to bury the dogs, put the dogs in sacks and dig a mass grave for them.”
Officials are still working to catalog all the rescued dogs, and were putting together a website where they’ll be posting photos of all of the dogs. The Animal Farm Foundation, which is helping coordinate the effort, said this week on its Facebook page that approximately 40 dogs have been claimed and returned to owners or places of origin, or will be in the next few days.
They advise those seeking dogs that were in Spindletop’s care to:
“If you have not already done so, please send extremely detailed information about dogs you wish to reclaim to email@example.com and to Constable Tim Holifield at firstname.lastname@example.org . Include a phone number and an email address. Put the word SPINDLETOP in the subject line. Animal Farm Foundation is coordinating the communication with owners and places of origin and schedules appointments for reclaiming dogs.”
At Friday’s court hearing, Montgomery County Constable Tim Holifield assured the crowd that the animals were being well cared for and that the Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Spindletop seizure, is committed to not euthanizing any of the dogs.
“It’s especially painful to see people and places that purport to help animals do precisely the opposite,” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote yesterday on his blog, A Humane Nation.
“We tell people shopping for a dog from a breeder to go see the parents of the dog, to make sure the place is not a puppy mill. With so many of these cases of neglect by those who say they are helping animals cropping up, it’s also wise to do background work or a site visit to any self-described rescue or sanctuary. There are so many good rescue groups and sanctuaries doing important work for animals every day, and every one of them would agree with me on that point … Calling yourself a sanctuary or a Samaritan isn’t enough. You have to act like one.”
It’s also important, we’d point out, to get to the bottom of what happened — what made such good intentions go astray — and for that information to be public. So far, that doesn’t seem to be happening with Spindletop, which only increases the chances that, sometime soon, somewhere else, we’ll be hearing the same story again.
(Photo: One of the rescued pit bulls in Texas; by Scott Dalton, via A Humane Nation)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, catalog, custody, deaths, dogs, hsus, leah purcell, location, mass grave, montgomery county, news, ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, private, public, refuge, rescue, sanctuary, seized, spindletop, surrender, texas, wayne pacelle, willis
The wolf-dog hybrid that was calling Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park home is settling into his new quarters at a sanctuary in Lititz.
Levi, now renamed Liberty, is believed to have been roaming Philadelphia from March until his capture by state wildlife officers on July 3. He was introduced to the news media Tuesday.
About 10 months old, he’ll live the rest of his life at the 22-acre Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary, a private, nonprofit licensed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
The animal’s former owner, Kasey Lyons, came forward after seeing news reports about a wolf-like animal roaming the city park. He said he bought the dog for his girlfriend in Florida, and that they lost him during a visit to the park in March.
Lacking a permit for the hybrid — required in Pennsylvania — he agreed to relinquish ownership after Levi was captured.
Despite some health problems, sanctuary caretaker Darin Tompkins said of Liberty, “he’s actually doing very well.”
Sanctuary officials say, as a result of his four months of wandering, Liberty contracted Lyme disease, is at least 25 pounds underweight and also has bordatella.
Tompkins said Liberty will eventually be introduced to some of the 44 other wolves and hybrids at the sanctuary.
While he’s known to show his dog side — officials say he took dog toys from some homes in the park area before he was captured — he could become more wolfish when he starts living among others of his ilk.
“Liberty is used to humans, but he can’t trust them,” Tompkins said. “You can’t blame him.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, hybrid, levi, liberty, lititz, pennsylvania, pennypack park, pets, philadelphia, sanctuary, Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary, wolf
About 300 dogs found living in cramped and unsanitary conditions were removed by authorities this week from Spindletop Refuge, the largest pit bull rescue organization in Texas.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s department on Tuesday served a search warrant at the refuge in Wills, removing dogs from five buildings, including one two-story structure that housed 80 dogs.
Almost all of the dogs were pit bulls, many of them sent there after being rescued by other organizations.
Teams from the Humane Society of the United States were assisting in relocating the dogs. Animal Farm Foundation said it also plans to assist in rehoming the dogs.
“We share HSUS’s goal of ensuring the best possible outcome for each of the dogs, and we’re grateful that HSUS stepped up to oversee a humane and just outcome for all of these dogs. Once the dogs have been triaged at an undisclosed safe location, Animal Farm Foundation will work with HSUS to individually evaluate each dog for rescue or adoption placement.”
The Montgomery County Police Reporter said the dogs were being taken to an undisclosed location to be evaluated by veterinarians.
No charges have been filed yet.
(Photo: Scott Engle / Mongtomery County Police Reporter)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 300 dogs, animal farm foundation, animal welfare, animals, cramped, crowded, dogs, feces, hsus, montgomery county, pets, pit bull, pitbull, refuge, removed, rescue, sanctuary, shelters, sheriff, spindletop, texas, unsanitary, urine, wills
Onion, the mastiff mix that killed a one-year-old boy in Nevada, is likely to be put down in a matter of days after a judge ruled Friday that outside parties should have no say in whether the animal lives or dies.
Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner sided with Henderson city attorneys who argued the 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix is vicious, and that an uninvited third party with no ties to the family had no legal right to step in to try to save him.
Lawyers for the Lexus Project, the New York-based organization that hoped to get Onion moved to a sanctuary in Colorado, said they want to appeal.
Kishner declined to issue a formal order postponing euthanasia pending an appeal, the Associated Press reported. But she said there will be time before her order is written, signed and filed.
“Despite good intentions … a party cannot just come in and state on their own that they wish to be a party to this case,” the judge said. “The court has to follow the law. It’s not for me to decide what action Henderson should take.”
Henderson city spokesman Keith Paul issued a statement later saying the dog would remain in the city animal shelter until the order is reviewed by attorneys on both sides and signed.
Outside the courthouse Friday, protesters waved signs, most urging the dog be spared. “Don’t Punish the Dog,” read one.
One man held up a sign with another point of view: ”Let’s Make Dog Tacos,” it said.
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was killed late last month during his first birthday party when Onion, a mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix belonging to his grandparents bit him on the head.
The boy’s grandmother signed ownership and custody of the dog over to city animal control officials and said she wouldn’t contest his euthanization.
Family members weren’t in the courtroom Friday.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, bit, clark county, court, dangerous, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, hearing, henderson, joanna kishner, judge, killed, lexus project, mauled, mix, nevada, one year old, onion, pets, protestors, rhodesian ridgeback, sanctuary, save, signs, vicious
District Judge Rob Bare issued a restraining order to halt temporarily the scheduled Monday euthanization of the the 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix.
“We’re thrilled,” said Richard Rosenthal, a New York-based lawyer who heads The Lexus Project, a national group that fights to spare dogs from destruction. Lawyers for the organization filed the motion for the temporary restraining order.
Bare scheduled a hearing for Friday morning on whether Onion should die, or get to live out his life at a sanctuary outside Denver that specializes in caring for large aggressive dogs, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported
Rosenthal said he hopes to negotiate with city animal control officials before then to settle the case and spare Onion’s life.
Rosenthal said the Colorado sanctuary has offered to take Onion. “The dog can stay there as long as need be, including the rest of his life, if it turns out there is an aggression issue.”
“Killing the dog will not bring back the baby,” he added.
Fox News in Las Vegas said the injunction came just hours before the dog was scheduled to be put down Tuesday.
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was killed late last month when his grandparent’s dog bit him on the head.
The judge’s order allows both sides to negotiate a settlement by Friday morning. Otherwise, the issue will be heard in district court where Judge Joanna Kirshner will make a ruling.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, attack, bite, child, colorado, court, denver, dogs, euthanasia, jeremiah eskew-shahan, judge, killed, mastiff, mix, nevada, one year old, onion, pets, reprieve, rhodesian, richard rosenthal, ridgeback, rob bare, sanctuary, the lexus project
A group of dog lovers is working to persuade officials in Henderson, Nevada, to spare the life of a mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix who bit and killed a 1-year-old boy last week.
Onion, six years old, is scheduled to be euthanized next week.
“This dog will never harm another soul,” said Les Golden, a Chicago-area dog rescuer who is leading the campaign to spare Onion. “The dog deserves to be saved.”
Golden told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he hopes a flood of supporters calling and emailing Mayor Andy Hafen will persuade him to stay the execution, which could happen Monday or Tuesday after the dog’s 10-day quarantine.
Onion’s family voluntarily gave their pet to animal control officials for euthanization. “For what he did to my son, he deserves to be punished,” father Christopher Shahan said. “I’ve already accepted the fact that he’s dead.”
Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan was attacked by the dog on April 27 after the family had finished celebrating the boy’s first birthday. He crawled over to Onion and grabbed onto the 120-pound dog to help himself stand up, as his family said he had done many times before
Jeremiah’s grandmother, Elizabeth Keller, was leaning over to pick him up when Onion suddenly attacked. Jeremiah’s father and others freed the child about 30 seconds later and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He died the next day at University Medical Center.
Henderson animal control officers declared Onion vicious, which requires euthanization following the state-mandated quarantine.
“The dog attacked and killed a child,” animal control spokesman Keith Paul said. “It would be irresponsible of us to allow this dog to be adopted out.”
Lisa Kavanaugh, said she would welcome Onion to her 35-acre ranch near Denver called Blue Lion Rescue, where he would remain for the rest of his life.
“If it’s an accident, why not give him a chance?” Kavanaugh said. “He’s never, ever going to get a chance to hurt anybody else.”
Onion had been with the family since he was a puppy and helped Keller through her battle with lung cancer. The dog had never shown aggression toward anyone, family members said.
“I would love him to be in a sanctuary the rest of his life, but what sort of punishment would that be for killing a human being?” the father said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, attack, baby, bites, blue lion rescue, calls, campaign, child, dangerous, dog bites, email, euthanasia, euthanized, group, henderson, infant, jeremiah eskew-shahan, killed, les golden, mastiff, mix, nevada, onion, quarantine, rhodesian ridgeback, sanctuary, save, shahan, vicious
She’s smaller than a can of soda, and wasn’t breathing when she was born at a northern California animal sanctuary, but a palm-sized puppy who’s been named Beyonce Knowles is getting stronger each day.
“She’s the smallest dog I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Beth De Caprio of the Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills.
Beyonce’s mother, along with two other dogs were pulled from a shelter in Devore, California, where they likely would have been euthanized if not rescued.
When she was born, Beyonce was about a quarter of the size of the other pups in the litter, and she wasn’t breathing. A vet was able to resuscitate her.
The photos of Beyonce accompanying this post were taken by Lisa Van Dyke of ED Dog Photography. She was visiting the foundation Saturday when she was asked to take a photo of Beyonce, who she describes as a premature Chihuahua mix.
To show how small she was, Van Dyke grabbed some props, like a girl scout cookie, coin, iPhone and soda can.
Foundation officials say Beyonce, was the last of four puppies in the litter, born March 8. She has been bottle fed around the clock since then.
To see Van Dyke’s photos — of Beyonce and more — visit her website, Eddogphotography.com
Posted by jwoestendiek March 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beyonce, beyonce knowles, birth, california, chihuahua, dogs, ed dog photography, el dorado hills, grace foundation, lisa van dyke, litter, mix, pets, photography, photos, premature, rescue, sanctuary, shelter, small, smallest, tiny
All of the dogs at Rolling Dog Farm are beloved.
But Blind Patti — it’s fair, if not gramatically correct to say — was beloveder than most.
The eyeless shepherd mix, one of the dogs featured in our “Travels with Ace” calendar, passed away Nov. 20.
“Our beautiful blind girl Patti died tonight, just a few minutes before 7 p.m. She passed away here at home peacefully, lying on a big soft fleece bed in the dog room, covered with a fleece blanket,” Rolling Dog’s Steve Smith reported from the sanctuary’s home in New Hampshire.
Patti came to Rolling Dog Farm — back when it was still in Montana — from Spokane Animal Control.
When she arrived in 2003, one of her eyes was missing, and the other was solid white. A scar ran across her forehead from one eye to the other, and suspicions were that she had been struck with either an ax, hatchet or shovel.
At the Spokane shelter, she’d been scheduled to be euthanized her second week there, but an employee felt sorry for her, checked her out of the facility the day before she was to be put down, and tried to find her a home.
Rolling Dog Farm (called Rolling Dog Ranch at the time) was contacted and agreed to take her in, and another rescue group agreed to transport the blind and battered dog to Ovando, Montana, where the sanctuary, until last year, was headquartered.
She was thin and had a ragged coat when she arrived in Montana, with one seemingly empty eye socket. When Rolling Dog Farm took her to their vet, the remnants of an eyeball were found in the open eye socket. They cleaned it out, and sewed the eye shut. The other eye, which she couldn’t see out of and which was clearly causing her pain, was removed.
After that, Patti blossomed, according to the profile of her on the Rolling Dog Farm website:
“Even though she can’t see, she still thinks of herself as a guard dog of sorts. She stands at the fence and barks if she thinks anything, or anyone, is out there and we ought to know about it. Now plump, her coat shines. (At 80 pounds, she’s on a diet!) She loves to ‘mix it up’ with Steve … woofing and wrestling and showing him just how tough she is.
“Her favorite activity is to climb on to Steve’s lap while he tries to read the paper. Not content to merely lay on his lap, Patti insists on rolling over upside down, feet up in the air, tummy ready to be scratched. And if she doesn’t get the attention Patti thinks she deserves, she begins squirming.”
I first met Patti when I visited the sanctuary in Montana in 2007, and I ran into her again when, during the year Ace and I traveled the country, we stopped in at Rolling Dog Farm’s new home in Lancaster, New Hampshire.
About a year after that, this past October, Smith noticed Patti wasn’t herself. A series of trips to veterinarians followed, and what was at first thought to be one cancerous mass turned out to be a rapidly increasing series of them. About four weeks ago, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called hemangiosarcoma.
“She was one of our stars, a favorite of volunteers, employees, visitors and media over the years,” Steve, who runs the sanctuary with his wife, Alayne Marker, noted.
“Only four dogs have been with us as long as Patti — Widget, Goldie, Cedar and Libby. So she was a fixture not only of the sanctuary, but of our hearts as well.”
The day after she died, Steve, who I’d been exchanging emails with regarding making Rolling Dog Farm a beneficiary of sales of our “Travels with Ace” calendar, opened up a link I sent him to the calendar page.
The calendar documents some of the memorable moments from the year Ace and I spent traveling the U.S. — including our stop at Rolling Dog Farm. In addition to receiving 50 percent of profits from the sales, Rolling Dog Farm is featured one month, and among the photos I used — though I didn’t know of her condition — was one of Patti.
“… On that page you’ll see a photo of me with blind Patti that almost made me cry,” Steve recounts on the Rolling Dog Farm blog. “When John sent me the link, I clicked on it, the page opened … and there was the photo.”
The photo shows Steve and Patti, face to face, and I like to think it comes close to capturing the essence of what Patti, blind as she was, far more eloquently depicted than I ever could.
As Steve puts it:
“She showed us how animals are immensely capable of forgiving — if not forgetting — what people have done to them. “
Posted by jwoestendiek November 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, abused, animal control, animals, blind, blind patti, blinded, calendar, cancer, dead, deaf, died, disabled, dogs, eyeless, hatchet, lancaster, montana, new hampshire, ovando, patti, pets, photography, rolling dog farm, rolling dog ranch, sanctuary, shepherd mix, shovel, spokane, steve smith, travels with ace, travels with ace calendar
If in your house you have a wall
In a kitchen, bedroom or a hall
And if sometimes you can’t recall
What day it is — no, not at all
Here’s a gift that will enthrall
Almost each and every one of y’all
It’s about a dog quite tall
Who crossed a country far from small
But here’s the best part of it all
You can skip the shopping mall
Happy Black Friday. I — in exchange for forcing you to ready my hasty poetry — am about to make your life easier. No need to thank me.
The calendar recaptures some of the more memorable moments from our one year and 27,000 miles of travels across the country, about half of that spent retracing the route John Steinbeck, 50 years ago, took with his poodle in “Travels with Charley.”
The way I figure it, if you buy enough copies, you might be able to avoid the mall altogether, and you’ll be contributing to a good cause.
Half of all profits will go to Rolling Dog Farm in New Hampshire, formerly Rolling Dog Ranch in Montana. The sanctuary for blind, deaf and disabled animals relocated last year, and it was one of the stops on our journey across America.
Inside our calendar, you’ll find 18 unusual slices of American life – from our visit to John Steinbeck’s grave in Salinas, California, to dropping in at a gentlemen’s club in Dallas, where Ace spent time with Mel, a former Michael Vick dog.
From Dog Mountain in Vermont (one artist’s tribute to dog) to Salvation Mountain in California (one artist’s tribute to God). From Maine’s magnificent coast to Niagara’s roaring falls. From standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona to spotting dogs in the kudzu in Mississippi.
The calendar allows you to relive our journey, without spending a penny on gas; to see the places we went, the people we met and the dogs we bumped into.One month also features some of our old dog friends back in Baltimore.
It’s $25, plus $3 for shipping and handling, and each copy is hand signed by me – not Ace, though, as he has declared a moratorium on pawtographs.
It’s an 18-month calendar, which will carry you all the way to June, 2013.
And, or so we hope, it will raise a few bucks for Rolling Dog Farm, which you can learn more about here.
To place your orders, visit this page.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 18-month, 2012, ace, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, blind, calendar, california, deaf, disabled, dog mountain, dogs, donate, gift, holiday, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, kudzu dogs, maine, mel, michael vick, niagara falls, ohmidog!, pets, photography, photos, proceeds, profits, riverside park, road trip, rolling dog farm, salvation mountain, sanctuary, travels with ace, vick dog