Commissioners in Fairfield County Ohio voted unanimously to stop gassing dogs to death at the county shelter in Lancaster — but not until after allegations surfaced that some dogs who survived the gas chamber were being incinerated while still alive.
In a 3-0 vote, the county commissioners yesterday approved immediately switching the euthanasia procedure at the dog shelter to lethal injection, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The campaign to euthanize by injection in Fairfield County had gone on for more than 10 years. Fairfield County was among about 10 of the state’s 88 counties that still use gas to euthanize dogs. It’s also where, witnesses say, there have been instances where dogs who survived the procedure were cremated while still clinging to life.
Fairfield County Dog Warden Mike Miller has said he euthanizes four to six individually caged dogs at a time with carbon monoxide because it is cheaper than injection and avoids the liability of someone getting hurt. The dog carcasses are then burned in the crematory located next to the gas chamber, the Dispatch reported.
The Dispatch story makes no mention of the alleged burning of live animals, but in a piece on Examiner.com, written by Ariel Wulff, a correspondent we know and trust, says citizens at the commissioner’s meeting spoke of some cases where dogs came out of the shelter alive, only to be thrown into the incinerator with the dead:
“… Eyewitnesses and former workers at the shelter have said that the gassing is fraught with problems; from overfilling the gassing cage with as many as twice the allotted animals, to untrained workers being forced to euthanize, and animals being burned alive.”
The shelter has destroyed more than 180 dogs this year.
Wulff also authored a post at PetPardons.com, which has additional disturbing details, and recounts the shelters other problems over the years.
Other reports say as many as 16 animals have been gassed at once, and that exceeding the limit of six animals at a time is probably the reason some dogs survived the procedure.
(Photo courtesy of PETA)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alive, allegations, animals, burned, claims, commissioners, dog, dogs, ended, euthanasia, fairfield county, gas, gas chambers, gassing, halted, incinerated, ohio, pets, shelter, stopped, survivors
Not everybody knows that, when the ship went down 100 years ago Saturday, it threatened to cut short at least 12 more, of the inter-species variety.
As Amy Worden reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer, that’s how many dogs boarded the Titanic for its fateful voyage in 1912. Three of them survived the tragedy.
One of them was Lily, a Pomeranian whose owner, Margaret Hays, 24 at the time, grabbed her from the cabin and wrapped her in a blanket before boarding a lifeboat.
Other, less lucky dogs were an Airedale named Kitty, who belonged to financier John Jacob Astor, and a fox terrier named Dog, owned by William Dulles, a Philadelphia attorney.
The dogs of Titanic are featured in an exhibit, RMS Titanic: 100 Years, that opened this week at the Widener Art Gallery at Widener University in Chester.
“Not a whole lot is known about the dogs,” said exhibit curator J. Joseph Edgette, a Titanic scholar and professor emeritus of education and folklore at Widener. “All belonged to first class passengers. When the rich and famous traveled they took their dogs with them.”
Since dogs were considered cargo there was no official list of those on board.
But Edgette, based on his research into the personal papers of passengers, created his own “pet manifest” listing the dogs, their names, breeds and owners.
All of the objects in the exhibit, which runs through May 12, come from Edgette’s collection, including the photograph (above) of a group of Titanic dogs on the deck.
Edgette says one popular Titanic dog story turns out not to be true.
Capt. Edward Smith’s dog, Ben, did not go down the with ship. Ben spent the night before on the ship, but was taken to Smith’s home before it sailed from Southampton.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 12 dogs, aboard, airedale, animals, dog, dogs, exhibit, fox terrier, john jacob astor, kitty, lily, love story, margaret hays, passengers, passengers dogs, pets, pomeranian, rms titanic, ship, sunk, survivors, titanic, travel, widener art gallery, widener university, william dulles
Less forgiving is the town of Carl Junction, where their displaced family moved afterwards — only to find out that pit bulls and Rottweilers are illegal.
Carl Junction is one of many cities and towns around the country that have legislation prohibiting pit bulls and other breeds within the city limits, according to The Joplin Globe, which reported on the family’s situation this week.
And city officials are unwilling to make an exception to the rule, meaning Dave DeWolfe and his family — who followed the sounds of the whimpers and rescued their dogs after the tornado — will now be required to give them up, at least if they want to stay in Carl Junction.
After the tornado, DeWolfe’s daughter, Janelle Mawhinney, provided temporary shelter for family members at her apartment, but she couldn’t take the dogs. They were placed in a temporary shelter set up by the ASPCA.
Every day, DeWolfe says, they’d stop in to visit. In July, they found a new home in nearby Carl Junction, reclaimed their dogs and moved in.
“We thought it was too good to be true: a decent neighborhood, a good price, everything came through with the bank, and we were so happy about it,” he said.
Not long after settling in, they were reading a “welcome” packet from the city when they saw that Carl Junction’s hospitality didn’t extend to pit bulls and Rottweilers. Neither are permitted with the city limits.
Then, this month, DeWolfe was informed by the city’s animal control officer that he was violating the city ordinance. He went to the city council, saying he would do ”whatever it takes” to keep the dogs, even if it meant crating or muzzling them.
“It’s my fault,” he said. “I should have checked the laws.”
City council members said they didn’t want to set a precedent by allowing the family to keep the dogs.
Carl Junction’s ban on the two breeds was put in place in 1995. It carries fines of $200 to $500. The only exception to the law is for dog owners who registered with the city prior to the ordinance going into effect.
DeWolfe and his wife have turned to Craigslist in an attempt to find the two dogs a permanent home.
“We try to work with our residents whenever we can,” Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Haase said. “But approving one would set a precedent. We’ve had this ordinance for quite some time, and all the dogs grandfathered in under it are now gone. We’ve had quite a few requests and if you open it up to one, you’ve just defeated your ordinance.”
Defeating, if you ask me, is just what the ordinance needs.
(Photo: By T. Rob Brown / Joplin Globe)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, banned, bans, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, bsl, carl junction, dave dewolfe, displaced, dogs, home, joplin, kain, kita, law, missouri, new, ordinance, pets, pit bulls, rottweilers, survivors, tornado
You wouldn’t expect any sort of a happy ending to a story that involves a litter of kittens being sealed into an empty bag of Meow Mix, dumped on a country road in Iowa and run over by oncoming traffic.
But two kittens survived, thanks to a dog, according to this report that aired on NBC2.
A dog named Reagan found the bag, dragged it home and then whined until his owner opened it.
“It was gruesome, quite gruesome,” said Linda Blakely of Iowa’s Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary, where the cats, three months later, now reside. Their names are Tipper and Skipper.
Two or three other cats didn’t survive, but apparently Reagan the retriever was more interested in the lives that lingered than the blood and guts.
“The instinct of the dog was to nurture and not kill …With all the blood some dogs would have responded to the scent,” said Blakely. “Reagan the dog is a hero.”
The kittens were so weak they had to be fed with a bottle every two hours at first, but now, as you can see in the video, they’re looking quite healthy.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: bag, cats, crushed, dog, dog saves cats, dogs, highway, iowa, kittens, litter, raccoon valley animal sanctuary, reagan, rescued, rescues, retrieved, retriever, saves, survivors, video
Most official accounts will tell you that search and rescue dogs at the World Trade Center found only cadavers after 9-11 — that no dog tracked down a survivor.
But the owner and handler of Trakr — a German shepherd retired from the Halifax, Nova Scotia, police department — says his dog did.
Specifically, says former Halifax police officer James Symington, it was Trakr who first alerted to the spot of rubble under which Genelle Guzman-McMillan would later be found.
Trakr died a hero — at least in the eyes of many — in 2009.
But part of him would live on.
An American company — the only one offering dog cloning to the general public — pronounced Trakr the most “cloneworthy” dog in America and had his cells shipped to Seoul, South Korea, where five clones of Trakr were produced, arriving in the U.S. about three months after Trakr’s death.
Symington is now training the clones — known collectively as Team Trakr — to be search and rescue dogs.
Trakr’s tale is among those told in my book, DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.
And, yes, it’s non-fiction.
I first ran into a clone of Trakr (that’s one of them to the left) when I visited the South Korean lab that, having contracted with the American company, was cloning Trakr, as well as five other dogs for customers who had taken part in an online dog cloning auction.
The lab was operated by Hwang Woo Suk, who — after heading the team that produced the world’s first canine clone, Snuppy — was fired from Seoul National University for falsifying results of his experiments on creating cloned human embryos.
While the American company, Bio-Arts, had told me Hwang’s lab would be off limits to me during my visit, I was, to my surprise, welcomed, given a tour, and allowed to observe a cloning.
While some I interviewed for the book cast doubt on Symington’s 9-11 claims — including a New York firefighter who said no dogs were involved in Guzman-McMillan’s rescue — Symington, the friend who accompanied him from Halifax to New York and two volunteer firefighters insist Trakr alerted to the spot Guzman-McMillan was later found buried under.
Symington, who was out on sick leave and went to New York without the authorization of his department, was fired shortly after he returned. Officials said his participation in the rescue effort ran counter to his claim of being unable to work.
Symington never checked in with those coordinating the canine search and rescue effort at the World Trade Center, but, like many others, went straight to work after arriving.
Trakr’s work at 9-11, his career as a police dog in Halifax and the strong emotional connection between handler and dog prompted Symington to bank the dog’s cells years before he entered the contest — back when Bio-Arts was known as Genetic Savings & Clone.
The company, originally based in Texas, where experiments aimed at cloning the first dog were going on at Texas A&M University, was connected to John Sperling, the founder of the University of Phoenix, and the man who was financing the research.
After A&M dropped the project, Seoul National University in South Korea cloned the world’s first dog. Genetic Savings & Clone resurfaced as Bio-Arts, and its CEO, Lou Hawthorne, worked out a deal with Hwang, who’d since opened his own institute, to clone dogs for the company, starting with Hawthorne’s mother’s dog, Missy.
Symington was to receive a single clone of the dog, but, as Hawthorne explained at the time, “We decided collectively that the world would be a better place with more Trakrs.”
Symington is training all five clones to do search and rescue and work, continuing the legacy of Trakr, who died at age 16.
The five Trakr clones were born over a four month span, the first on Dec. 8, 2009. Later, Symington received what was said to be a sixth clone of Trakr — this one, somehow, a female.
While some canine clones accidentally come out with a gender opposite their donor, or even of mixed gender, it’s not clear — to me at least — whether creating a female version of Trakr was intentional, an accident, simply the result of mating a Trakr clone with a female German shepherd, or the result of some even newer technology developed in South Korea.
After cloning Trakr, and all five winning bidder’s dogs, the American company withdrew from the dog cloning business in 2010, leaving just one South Korean company, RNL Bio, that still clones dogs as a business. Hwang, however, who created the Trakr clones, continues to clone dogs at his research institute.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, 911, anniversary, attack, auction, bio arts, bioengineering, book, cloned, clones, cloning, contest, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs of 9-11, genelle guzman-mcmillan, genetic savings & clone, genetics, golden clone giveaway, james symington, john woestendiek, online, RNL Bio, search and rescue, seoul, September 11, south korea, survivors, trakr, world trade center
Dozens of search and rescue dogs from around the world are arriving in Japan to help find survivors of the tsunami — but some of the teams have been delayed from getting to the quake zone by the country’s stringent customs regulations on importing animals.
“There are many rules here. So it’s taking a long time,” a member of the Swiss team told ABC News.com in the customs area of Narita International Airport, just after an aftershock rolled through the airport.
The 25-member Swiss team, among the first to arrive, said bureaucratic delays kept them and their nine search and rescue dogs — retrievers, Australian collies and border collies — from arriving at the quake zone quickly.
U.S. officials said they are working with the Japanese to expedite approval of dog teams from Virginia and California who arrived in Japan today. About 150 American rescuers and their 12 dogs were sent from Los Angeles and Fairfax County, Virginia.
(That’s one of the Fairfax team’s canine members above, just prior to departing yesterday.)
As of Monday, 91 countries and nine international organizations have offered to assist with relief efforts from last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, according to the Japanese government.
(Photo: Courtesy of Fairfax County)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: canine, disaster, dogs, earthquake, effort, fairfax county, japan, K-9, los angeles, relief, rescue, rescue dogs, search, search and rescue, search dogs, survivors, switzerland, tsunami, usaid, virginia
Lollie Wonderdog, the pit bull mix reclaimed from a Maryland trash bin and lovingly fostered for nearly five months in a Takoma Park home, has been adopted.
Lollie, whose experience as a foster dog was recounted in the blog Love and a Six-Foot Leash, was adopted by a family of four — a family (that’s part of it to the left) whose mom saw in Lollie a fellow survivor.
It’s a lovely ending to a tale well told by Aleksandra Gajdeczka, whose family took Lollie in temporarily and blogged about the experience — partly in an attempt to find a permanent home for the three-year-old dog, partly to tell the world about the joys of fostering.
Including, last week, the bittersweet and often tearful feeling that accompanies the successful conclusion of that experience.
In a letter to her departed foster dog, she wrote, “You pass through the world with a carefree grace that I have rarely seen in a dog, and have never seen in a person. Your ability to make everybody like you and the whole world smile, paired with your ability to overcome anything with a wagging tail and a flapping tongue is truly remarkable. I hope you don’t remember the specifics of how you ended up in that dumpster in September, bruised, half-starved, and filthy, but I hope you always remember that you have overcome so much — and come out a shooting star. An eternal firework.
“Lollie Wonderdog, it’s an amazing thing when a sad little dog can teach a bunch of humans so much about perseverance, patience, and overcoming the odds. You have touched our lives forever, and we love you very much.”
Emotions ran strong on the receiving end, too. After Lollie — whose new name is Lily Fireworks — was situated in her new home, her new owner wrote down her thoughts about it all, which were published on Love and a Leash this week:
“I had breast cancer at 24, had a few breast surgeries, lost all my hair, all that fun stuff … Fast forward six years, and we’re looking for a dog. We found Daisy, a beagle with giant “udders.” A breast cancer survivor finds a dog with udders…it was meant to be! Last year I went through chemo again when my cancer returned, and Daisy beagle was the sole reason I got up and got any exercise some days. She lay next to me on the couch when I felt pukey, she sniffed my head when my hair fell out again, she saw me through the whole year of chemo. That’s a lot of walks together … Sadly, we lost Daisy very unexpectedly a few months ago, and I didn’t want another dog …”
Then she came across Lollie’s blog, through the Montgomery County Humane Society website.
“We contacted Aleksandra and set up a time for John and me to meet her Lollie Wonderdog. If we thought she’d be a good family member, then we’d tell the little ones. We went to meet Lollie. I couldn’t get over her itty bitty waist. She was adorable. Those giant eyes … she licked my stinky shoelaces, and it was love. How could a dog who had been through so much still have so much love to give? I thought about it — Lollie and I are both survivors …”
(Photo by Aleksandra Gajdeczka, courtesy of Love and a Leash)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aleksandra gajdeczka, animals, blog, breast cancer, dogs, dumpster, forever home, foster, foster care, fostering, humane, lolita, lollie, lollie wonderdog, maryland, montgomery county, new home, permanent, pets, pit bull, rescue, shelter, society, surviving, survivors, takoma park, temporary, wonderdog
A Sunday fire at the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Killeen, Texas, killed 99 cats and 12 dogs.
Volunteers on MOnday descended upon the shelter, operated by the Centex Humane Society, to help clean and repair the facility, which is expected to be closed for at least two weeks.
The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and was reported by a passing driver. It was quickly extinguished, according to the Killeen Daily Herald. No animals were burned. Instead, the fire’s smoke killed all the animals.
The fire remains under investigation, but it is believed to have started in or near a kitchen close to the building’s entrance. Only one dog and two cats in the front of the building survived the fire. The dog, a 2-year-old Pomeranian named Shirley, had been struck by a car two weeks ago when she darted into the street after she escaped from a volunteer during a walk.
She and the other surviving animals were transported to foster care in private homes and at other shelters.
“They are like your kids after awhile,” said Dana Ingram, a kennel technician. “I know all the ones that passed away. It was very hard.”
More than 60 volunteers from Fort Hood and local churches crowded the shelter Monday. Many volunteers covered their faces with masks to avoid the smell of smoke that lingered in the hallways. The cleanup began Sunday when almost 100 people responded.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: cats, centex, deaths, dogs, fire, fort hood, humane society, investigation, killed, killeen, pomeranian, second chance, shelter, shirley, smoke, survived, survivors, texas
Trakr was credited with hundreds of arrests and recovered more than one million dollars in stolen goods while serving the police department of Halifax, Nova Scotia. After the dog retired, his owner, and police department handler, James Symington, took TrakR to the World Trade Center after 9/11 to assist in search efforts.
There, according to Symington, Trakr, in addition to finding several casualties, found the last survivor in the rubble of 9/11 — Genelle Guzman.
Afterwards, Trakr was presented with the Extraordinary Service to Humanity Award by Dr. Jane Goodall, and was featured in books and magazines dedicated to 9/11 heroes including, “Dog World” and “In the Line of Duty.”
After his 9/11 work, Trakr collapsed from smoke and chemical inhalation, burns and exhaustion. Likely a result of this exposure, the press release announcing his death says, Trakr was disabled for the past two years.
Symington, whose trip to the World Trade Center was considered an unauthorized absence by his police department, left the department and moved to California afterwards to pursue an acting career. He took Trakr with him. Symington says the police department was considering a policy to euthanize retiring K9 dogs.
Commenting on Trakr’s life, Symington said, “I am honored to have been Trakr’s partner, best friend and lifelong companion. He possessed a rare combination of uncanny intuition, pure heart, and relentless courage and has been an inspiration to so many. He’ll live in my heart forever.”
In 2008, Trakr received international attention again when BioArts International named him the “World’s Most Cloneworthy Dog.” This honor enables Trakr’s DNA to be used to clone a puppy, which Symington, now head of entertainment talent management firm Prodigy Talent Group, plans to name Prodigy.
The press release makes no mention of the status of the cloning.
Symington is not paying for the cloning of Trakr; it was awarded to him for winning a BioArts essay contest last summer.
Symington and his wife, who live in Los Angeles, have been approached by various Hollywood executives and best-selling authors to turn Trakr’s story into a book and movie, according to the press release.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 911, animals, bioarts, book, clone, cloned, clones, cloneworth, cloning, dna, dogs, genelle guzman, golden clone, halifax, james symington, last survivor, movie, nova scotia, pets, police department, press release, prodigy, rescue, search and resecue, survivors, trakr, world trade center
A medal bestowed upon a one-time stray named Rip who helped find trapped survivors during the Blitz in London has been sold at auction.
The medal fetched a high bid of $35,700, made on behalf of an anonymous bidder.
Rip, a mutt, was awarded the Dickin Medal after helping find more than 100 victims of air raids.
The medal is named for Maria Dickin, the founder of the veterinary charity PDSA, and has been given since 1943 to animals that had shown “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”.
Rip was left homeless after the Luftwaffe attacked East London, in 1940, and roamed the streets until an air raid warden named King befriended him.
Without any training, he became the service’s first sniffer dog, showing an instant talent for finding victims covered by rubble.
“Despite the dangers, he worked courageously through the crashing and explosions of the bombing raids, braved fire and smoke with apparent disdain, and was completely unfazed by the air-raid sirens that used to strike fear into the hearts of the population,” the Daily Mail reports.
It was partly due to Rip’s performance, that authorities later decided to train dogs formally to trace casualties.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air raids, auction, dog, hero, london, maria dickin, medal, pdsa, rescue, rip, search, sniffer, sold, survivors, world war II