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Homeless man wants his dog back

William C. Leonard Jr., who lives underneath a bridge in Jersey City, wants Franklin back.

Jersey City animal control picked the dog up last month after finding it tied to a post. The beagle-basset mix was taken to the Liberty Humane Society, and later adopted by new owners.

Leonard, 49, a former county and city worker, said Franklin was given to him by a homeless friend, along with a bag of dog food and the dog’s veterinary records. “I fell in love with him,” Leonard said, describing Franklin as his “friend” and “baby.”

The dog was taken away on Aug. 6 after neighbors noticed he had been tied to a pole next door to the EZ-Market Liquor Store, said Joseph Frank, the city’s animal control officer.

But Leonard turned up at the animal shelter the following day, demanding the dog be returned. Leonard said he provided the dog’s veterinary records as proof of ownership, but was not given the dog because he is homeless, NJcom reports.

“I’ve got all my faculties about me. I’m not an idiot. I’m just homeless,” said Leonard. “I want my dog back.” 

The dog was adopted by new owners on Aug. 18.

Freeholder Bill O’Dea tried to help Leonard. “He shouldn’t be punished because he happens to be homeless,” O’Dea said. “Obviously he was able to care for the dog for a substantial amount of time before (Animal Control) got involved.”

Liberty Humane Society Director Nikki Dawson — appointed after the incident — said the shelter did not release the dog to Leonard because he is homeless, but that the shelter has since changed that policy.

“I would have returned the dog and from now on, if someone has proof of ownership, the animal will be returned to them,” Dawson said.  She said it’s possible that Leonard and Franklin could be reunited — if the new owner gives up the pet.

Stolen “Blue Dog” paintings recovered

New Orleans police recovered two “Blue Dog” paintings taken Monday from George Rodrigue’s French Quarter gallery and say they appear to be in good condition.

The paintings were found in a warehouse, and the search continues for the suspected thief, the Times-Picayune reported.

Police are looking for Lee Szakats, 60, of New Orleans in connection with the thefts.

Police said two tips helped lead to the recovery of the artworks.  A tipster identified Szakats as a suspect seen in surveillance videos walking into Rodrigue’s gallery Monday afternoon and walking out with the small paintings in a shopping bag.

A second tipster called the gallery, telling them where the paintings could be found.

Rodrigue, a Cajun artist, is best known for his blue dog paintings.

(Photo: Hilary Scheinuk / The Times-Picayune)

Boy and dog reunited after puppy robbery

The puppy that was stolen from a 13-year-old Montgomery County boy on Saturday was reunited with him on Sunday, authorities said.

Montgomery County police said a man in the Montgomery Village area discovered the missing 8-week-old puppy on his porch Sunday morning, recognized it from television reports and telephoned police.

Police later brought the dog to the boy’s home in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village area, the Washington Post reported

The dog, whose name is Yeti, was taken about 2 p.m. Saturday as the boy was walking with the 8-week-old puppy near Snouffer School Road and Ridge Heights Drive, police said. Montgomery County Police said the unnamed boy was approached by two other youths, who grabbed the puppy and ran.

A neighbor said  the boy was “pretty distraught,” after the robbery, but ”very excited” to have the puppy back. Neighbors said the boy and Yeti were out playing again in their neighborhood Sunday.

Sister of alleged dog dragger arrested

The sister of the man accused of torturing and killing Buddy, a German shepherd who was dragged for miles behind a pick-up truck, now faces charges of stealing the dog the day before it died.

The sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, told police she took the dog and another one because she thought they had been abandoned, the Denver Post reports.

Lockart, of Fruita, faces felony theft charges. Her brother, Steven Clay Romero, faces animal cruelty charges after Buddy was found dead Dec. 30 at Colorado National Monument with a rope around his neck.

Investigators say the dog was dragged about two miles before it died.

Police say Buddy and another dog were taken Dec. 29 from the bed of a truck in downtown Delta. A witness wrote down Lockhart’s license plate number. 

In federal court Monday, Romero told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he has been harassed in jail by other inmates since his arrest Thursday. Romero is being held without bond in the Mesa County Jail and has been appointed a public defender.

Lockhart, who surrendered to police Saturday, was released on a $5,000 bond.

An online petition demanding the maximum three-year penalty be imposed on Romero if convicted has gathered nearly 16,000 signatures.

Family hopes for return of stolen puppy

max2The Alioto family is still hoping for the safe return of Max, a four-month-old puppy that was apparently taken during a burglary of their Baltimore home.

The house, in the city’s Gardenville neighborhood, was broken into two days before Christmas, and thieves took electronic equipment, video games, several Christmas presents and the family’s new mixed breed puppy, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Keith Alioto, 41, of the 5700 block of Belle Vista Ave., said he, his wife and six children left the house about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and returned about 11 p.m. to find the house had been broken into through a rear window.

The dog is mostly black with brown and white chest and paws. He wasn’t wearing a collar. Alioto said fliers with a photo of the missing dog have been distributed throughout the area.

Update: For this story’s happy ending, view the comments.

Have you seen this dog?

wooden dog - CopyA dog has gone missing from the Compassion Veterinary Clinic in Marlborough, Mass. He’s described as small, black and plywood.

Debbie Cassinelli, the clinic manager, made the wooden dog silhouette — and several cats, as well — and attached them a couple of months ago to the clinic’s sign.

She suspects kids took the dog, which disappeared just after Thanksgiving. The cats were spared. 

wooden dogCassinelli told Metro West Daily News that she worked on the animals off and on for about three months. The dog was based on her own pet, a border collie-terrier mix. Cats looked down at the dog, which rested its paws on the edge of the sign.

She attached the dog to the sign with steel rods.

Cassinelli said she added the animals to the sign to draw attention to it. People tended to “fly down the road” and not notice the sign before the animals went up, she said.

Cassinelli  does not think she will get the dog back, but she plans to make a new one.

Where’s Cuji? Orioles calendar dog is missing

cuji

 
One of the dogs featured in the Maryland SPCA’s 2010 Orioles Calendar has gone missing, apparently taken from her owner’s yard.

Cuji, a two and a half year-old pit bull mix, was taken from her yard in Belair-Edison, her owners told “Unleashed,” the Baltimore Sun’s pets blog.

Cuji (for a better picture, turn to October in your calendar) posed with the Orioles’ Koji Uehara.

Brian Willis, an engineer who adopted the dog in June, said the dog disappeared from his home on the 3300 block of Brendan Avenue in the Belair-Edison neighborhood. His collar was left behind.

Dogs Finding Dogs, a nonprofit organization that uses retired police dogs to search for missing pets, had joined in the search. Willis has also called a number of area shelters and placed missing dog notices online. Cuji, about 70 pounds, is microchipped.

DNA testing saves dog from execution

petdnaIt took a DNA test to prove it, but Angie Cartwright — who lives in a town that bans pit bulls — has certified that her dog Lucey is only 12 percent bully breeds, and now she has her back.

Lucey had never bitten anyone; nor had she ever acted aggressively, according to the Salina Journal in Kansas. But she was scooped up by animal control officers.

The officers explained that they were taking Lucey to a veterinarian for a breed check — a professional opinion (meaning veterinarian’s guess) to determine Lucey’s breed.

Since 2005, Salina has had a ban on owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull.

Cartwright got approval to have her vet conduct DNA breed analysis test, ther results of which led to the return of her dog.

The blood test found that a minor amount of Lucey’s DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes — just over 12 percent.

“Maybe this can save someone’s animal, hopefully,” Cartwright said. Read more »

He lost his wife, his home, and then his dog

thomasTwenty years ago, Miles D. Thomas was a successful stockbroker, and president of the school board in Harrisburg, Pa.

In the past two years, life has been less kind.

He lost his wife to Alzheimer’s in late 2007. Then, unable to pay the bills that had mounted for her care, he lost his house and turned to living in a series of cheap motels, or sleeping in his car.

Last month, authorities seized his dog, a 7-year-old collie named Baron, when Thomas left him in his car while getting a bite to eat. Because he’s homeless, apparently, he hasn’t been able to get him back since.

Hearing of Thomas’ plight, an attorney filed a suit in federal court on behalf of the  73-year-old former Harrisburg School Board president, seeking to get the dog back from the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area Inc. The agency maintains that the dog is being held as part of a cruelty case but has declined to release details, and Thomas has not been charged with any offense.

“To me, he’s the greatest thing I have in the world,” Thomas said of his dog, the fourth in a line of collies the family has owned. “I love him so much, yet they try to keep me from him. I can’t understand that.”

Thomas says it was 76 degrees on the day he left Baron in the car, with the windows open, and that he was gone less than an hour.

When he returned, the dog was gone and an officer with the Humane Society  informed him his dog had been seized. 

Last week, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III issued a temporary restraining order barring the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area from destroying or transferring ownership of Baron. A hearing is scheduled Sept. 3.

“I couldn’t imagine letting this man go without his dog,” Attorney Andrew Ostrowski told the Harrisburg Patriot-News. “He cares deeply for the dog, and he’s seriously affected by this. In my view, it’s a federal, constitutional civil rights issue, and I won’t shrink from it.”

Ostrowski said he’s also pursuing a civil suit that seeks damages.

Amy Kaunas, Humane Society of Harrisburg Area executive director, said  that Thomas’ dog was seized as part of a cruelty investigation initiated by a referral from the Middletown police.

She declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said animal-cruelty statutes require that animals be provided with adequate shelter and access to food, water and veterinary care.

Thomas fell more than $100,000 in debt after his wife spent three years in a nursing home, the Harrisburg newspaper reported. But he insisted he always took care of his dog. “I took better care of him than I did myself,” he said.

Since early August, Thomas has been living with Stephen Conklin, a friend of attonrey Ostrowski’s, who took Thomas in at his farm in York County.

Now that Thomas has a stable home situation, Conklin said the thinks the Humane Society should return the dog to him.

Ostrowski, contends that the animal agency pressured Thomas into signing over his rights to Baron two days after the dog was taken by the agency’s canine officer, threatening him with a $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail unless he turned over the dog. 

(Photo: CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News)

Crash victim’s foot taken to train dogs

Here’s a screwball story out of Florida (land of sunshine, and screwball stories).

Fire officials are investigating a St. Lucie County firefighter who allegedly pirated an amputated foot from a crash scene last week, took it home and used it to train her cadaver dogs.

The attorney for Karl Lambert, 46, of Melbourne, told WPBF News on Thursday his client’s leg had to be amputated at the scene of a crash Friday on Interstate 95 in Port St. Lucie.  Lambert was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, but his leg was left behind.

The attorney, Raymond Christian, told the TV station that one of the firefighters at the scene took the severed body part because “she was some kind of training person for cadaver dogs, and she basically took the leg.”

WPBF News 25 identified the firefighter as Cindy Economu.

Christian said Lambert was notified by a Florida Highway Patrol investigator Wednesday.
 
St. Lucie County Fire District Chief Ron Parrish said his department was told the firefighter only took the foot and not a leg. “After the patient was airlifted, it was alleged one of our firefighters removed a foot from the accident,” Parrish said in a news conference.

Standard procedure is for amputated limbs to brought to the hospital with the victim. “It’s not normal for remains or pieces or parts to be removed from an accident scene other than by the appropriate authorities,” fire district spokesman Buddy Emerson said.

office 2010