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Tag: student

Pit bull accepts diploma for his master

A pit bull received a diploma at Idaho State University’s graduation ceremony last Saturday, walking on stage in place of his master, who died in February.

Cletus, a black and white pit bull, belonged to Joshua Kelly, and was the geology student’s service dog.

Kelly, who had epilepsy, was finishing his final two classes when he was hospitalized and died on Feb. 13.

Cletus accompanied Kelly to school daily, walking two miles to catch a 6:30 a.m. bus from Idaho Falls to ISU.

When Kelly suffered a seizure and fell, as he did a few times, Cletus would stand over him until the seizure ended.

On Saturday, Cletus, accompanied by Kelly’s father, Terrell, walked on stage to claim Joshua’s diploma. Joshua received a bachelor of science degree in geology posthumously, KIDK reported.

Terrell Kelly said he’d never been a fan of pit bulls, until Cletus.

“I’ll be honest. I was one of them that was giving them (pit bulls) a bad rep until I met Cletus. And he allows our little grandchildren to climb on him, pull his ears, pull his tail. He’s just great.”

After accepting the diploma, with Cletus at his side, Terrell held the folder in the air and said, “This is for Josh.”

State official’s dog finds missing swimmer

josieA state official’s golden retriever found the body of an East Carolina University student who drowned along the North Carolina coast over the weekend.

Michael Peeler, the deputy for administration in the N.C. Secretary of State’s office, was walking his dog Josie along the beach at Pine Knoll Shores on Sunday evening when the dog ran out into the surf. He called her back, put her on the leash and they continued walking. On the way back, Josie went into the water again at the same spot.

That’s when Peeler saw the body of Braxton Horton, 19, who rescuers had been looking for since Saturday when he was dragged out into the ocean by rip currents while swimming with friends.

“It was less than knee-deep” Peeler told the Raleigh News & Observer. He waded in, pulled the body ashore and called 911. Even after Horton’s body was taken away, Josie remained upset and was pulling at her leash, said Peeler’s wife, Karen.

“She was very agitated the remainder of the evening and kept pulling to go back toward the beach, even after they were already home,” she said.

Horton, a 2012 graduate of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, had been working at Camp Seagull, a summer camp for boys in Arapahoe, when he and others from the camp went to Atlantic Beach on Saturday.

After he went missing, rescue and recovery crews from Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach and Atlantic Beach police departments conducted a four-hour search in the water before suspending the operation due to nightfall.

Horton had just finished his first year at ECU, where he was majoring in biology. His family said he wanted to be a physician’s assistant.

(Photo by Michael Keeler; from the Raleigh News & Observer)

Prosecution rests in Colorado dog-taping case

abbytollThe sight of a puppy stuck to the side of a refrigerator with packing type left a Boulder police officer so “caught off-guard” that he momentarily lost control of the scene he was there to investigate.

“I see this thing and it doesn’t register as a dog to me. “I’m looking at it and I see it starts to move,” Officer Rick French testified during the first day of Abby Toll’s felony animal cruelty trial in Colorado.

French described the early-morning hours of April 14, 2009 — a year ago today — when he responded to a report of a couple fighting at a Boulder apartment.

He testified that he was in the middle of interviewing Toll’s boyfriend, Bryan Beck, when Toll began to pull the animal — then named Rex — off the fridge in a “brusque and abrupt” manner.

“I’m not going to have this dog torn down and hurt any more than it appeared it already was,” the officer said. He stopped her and took the dog down himself.

French was one of only two witnesses called by the prosecution Monday in what is expected to be a three-day trial, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. Prosecutors rested their case at the end of the day.

Toll, 21, a former University of Colorado student, is being tried on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. Her attorney told the jury of seven men and six women that his client was a victim of domestic violence.

“This bizarre behavior by Abby was taking place at the same time Mr. Beck was not allowing her to leave the apartment,” he  said.

Prosecutor David Cheval told the jury the case was one of deliberate animal abuse fueled by Toll’s jealous perception that her boyfriend cared more about his dog than he did about her.

Cheval said the defendant took her time gathering up hair ties, scissors and tape at Beck’s apartment in preparation for binding up the 8-month-old puppy.

“She collected her tools, her tools of torture,” Cheval said.

Toll systematically bound the dog’s feet, tail and snout with the hair ties and then wrapped the animal in packaging tape before taping him to the fridge upside-down, Cheval said.

“Think about the time, the effort, and the deliberate effort it would take to do that act,” he said to the jury. “Is that torture?”

Rex showed obvious signs of pain as he was set free from his “tomb of tape,” French testified.

The dog has since been adopted.

(Photo: Boulder Daily Camera / Paul Aiken)

Autistic student’s right to service dog upheld

An autistic student’s right to bring his service dog to school was upheld by an Illinois appeals court last week.

The appeals court upheld a Monroe County court ruling that permitted Carter Kalbfleisch to bring his autism service dog, Corbin, to school. The Columbia School District had appealed the lower court decision.

Instead of following the lower court’s ruling, the district decided it could not meet Carter’s educational needs and sent him to the Illinois Center for Autism, agreeing to pay for his education there, but refusing to pay the cost of trasnporting Carter and the dog to school, according to the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.

 ”We’re happy that it went our way,” said Chris Kalbfleisch, Carter’s father. “Hopefully the school will change their direction with this. … Hopefully we can move forward and get our son back in school.”

“We hope they come to the realization that the law is the law and they have to follow it,” said Kalbfleisch’s attorney, Clay St. Clair. “Just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the law. We hope they do what they are supposed to do.”

School and district officials argued the dog would be disruptive, and possibly cause allergic reactions in other students.

The school district has the option of accepting the appellate court’s decision, or appealing the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Waitress helps pit bull thrown from bridge

louisvilleAn unwanted pit bull who was thrown off a bridge and into the Ohio River survived the 80 foot drop and was showing no ill effects other than a swollen belly.

Now Sunny, as she’s been dubbed, is temporarily lodging with Kelsey Westbrook, a server at a nearby Joe’s Crab Shack, who was one of those who coaxed the plucky dog towards shore.

Witnesses said a white Chevy Malibu had stopped on the bridge moments before the dog was tossed, according to a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Westbrook, a University of Louisville senior, said it appeared the dog had recently given birth.

Workers at Joe’s Crab Shack said the dog made a loud smacking sound as she hit the water. Westbrook and two other servers ran to the riverside, encouraging the dog to swim to shore. As the dog got within 20 feet, Louisville firefighters at the river for dive team training launched a boat and pulled her to safety.

“I wanted to give her some hope, to let her know somebody was waiting for her,” Westbrook said. “I was afraid she would give up and drown.”

Diners erupted into applause as the dog came ashore, then wolfed down three three hamburgers before going home to Westbrook’s  apartment.

The dog, which Westbrook named Sunny,  appears less than two years old. The red pit bull quickly became friends with her  two-year-old German Shepherd mix. Westbrook said she hoped to help the dog find another home.

“I took the dog because I just wanted to help her,” the English literature major said. “I don’t ever want her to feel pain again.”

(Photo: By Scott Utterback, The Courier-Journal)

Toll, of dog taping fame, pleads not guilty

rexAbby Toll, the University of Colorado student accused of taping her boyfriend’s dog, Rex, to the refrigerator during an argument, entered a not guilty plea to animal cruelty and drug charges Friday.

Toll arrived at the Boulder County Justice Center to see animal-lovers, many with their pets, toting signs demanding justice for Rex.

Toll, 20, who is now is living in Chicago, had the drug charge filed against her after police said they found heroin on her when she was booked into Boulder County Jail on April 14, according to Coloradodaily.com.

abbytoll_t200Toll’s attorney, George Kokus, said he might file a change-of-venue request because “of the amount of hate mail we’ve received.” He said Toll’s case should be viewed as a “domestic violence” matter and said “she was the human victim.”

Her boyfriend, Brian Beck, 21, also faces misdemeanor animal-cruelty and false-imprisonment charges. Kokus said Beck wouldn’t let Toll leave their apartment and took away her cell phone.

“How would any woman react?” he said.

(Editorial comment: I can think of several alternatives that might be slightly more effective than taping a dog to the refrigerator.)

Beck is scheduled to accept a plea deal on his charges July 15. Toll is due back in court for a motions hearing Oct. 27.

Toll was arrested April 14 on suspicion of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in packing tape and sticking him upside-down to the refrigerator during a fight. At the time of her arrest, Toll told police, “I know this looks bad. We were going to get rid of him anyway. We usually don’t do this.”

Rex is now in a new home in Castle Rock. Her new owners held a contest in May to rename the abused puppy. Online voters chose Yoshi — a Japanese word for “good luck.”

Accused dog-taper allowed home for summer

The college student accused of taping her boyfriend’s dog to a refrigerator will be allowed to spend the summer at her mother’s home in Chicago — even though her mother has a dog, a judge has ruled.

Abby Toll, 20, an environmental design major at the University of Colorado, will be required to participate in a monitored sobriety program in Chicago as a condition of her release on bond. “I think the defendant’s mother can look out for the family pet,” a judge in Boulder said.

Toll was arrested in April on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. She is accused of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in packing tape and sticking him upside down to the refrigerator during an argument. She also faces a felony charge of drug possession after police said was found with a trace amount of heroin while being booked into jail.

Her boyfriend, Bryan Beck, also faces a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference Thursday, according to Coloradodaily.com.

Rex is living with a Denver-area foster family awaiting adoption. Another dog living with Toll and Beck, a Chihuahua named Peanut, remains in the care of the Humane Society of Boulder.