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Tag: student

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.

Pit bull documentary goes “Beyond the Myth”

The roots of “Beyond the Myth,” an independent documentary about the plight of pit bulls, go back to when Libby Sherrill was a student in graduate school at the University of Tennessee.

What was her senior project is now a nearly-finished product — a documentary that looks at pit bulls and the people who love and defend them.

The film explores the factors behind the public’s fear of pit bulls and examines the conflict existing between advocates and opponents of breed specific legislation. It also investigates the myths associated with the breed and asks the question, “What exactly is a pit bull”?

To see a trailer, click here.

Sherrill left an eight-year career with HGTV to write, direct and produce her self-financed film debut, and is now hoping to enter “Beyond the Myth” in film festivals.

“Beyond the Myth” challenges the idea that pit bulls are inherently vicious and goes one-on-one with people on both sides of this controversial issue, according to the documentary’s website.

A pit bull owners herself, Sherrill is against breed specific legislation, such as that passed in Ohio, Denver and numerous other jurisdictions.

“Opponents of BSL believe that such laws are a demeaning overreaction perpetuated by media bias and claim that dog bite statistics (showing pit bulls are responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks) are unreliable sources of information regarding the ‘viciousness’ of a breed. They argue that BSL is unenforceable and ineffective, and that it fails to reduce the occurrence of dog attacks because it fails to address the root cause — people.

“Instead of focusing on and punishing owners who are irresponsible and criminals who use their dogs for illegal purposes, legislatures choose to place their focus on the dogs, making them into scapegoats. Many opponents believe BSL is the equivalent of racial profiling and banning a breed is, quite possibly, unconstitutional.

Through the documentary’s website, Sherrill is raising funds to help offset its cost of the documentary, fund a public opinion survey about public perceptions of pit bulls and how the media contributes to them, and establish a legal defense fund for people trying to keep their dogs in jurisdictions that have banned them.

First guide dog allowed in Mosque

An 18-year-old blind Muslim student in England is the first to be allowed to take his guide dog into a UK mosque, the BBC reported this week. 

Dogs are traditionally regarded as “unclean” in Islam and not allowed into mosques. The Muslim Law (Shari’ah) Council UK, however, in response to the request of the student, Mohammed Abraar Khatri, issued a fatwa which allows guide dogs inside mosques but not into prayer rooms.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Muslim Council of Britain worked together to reach the agreement.

Guide Dogs for the Blind said it was “a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims … It is also hoped that mosque leaders both in the UK and internationally will now make similar adjustments to enable Muslim guide dog owners to enter their mosque.”

A special rest area has been set up in the entrance of the Bilal Jamia Mosque for the dog, named Vargo, to stay in while his owner is praying.

“He does just lie down and relax there and sit here,” Khatri said. “Being a guide dog, their whole manner is to be calm and relaxed and just out of the way.”

For the BBC video, click here.