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Tag: tennessee

ER, dog adopted by sheriff’s office, dies

er2

It was more than 10 years ago that a stray dog showed up in the emergency room of a hospital in Hamblen County, Tennessee.

The sheriff’s office in Morristown took the lab mix in, named him ER, and in 2002 assigned him the rank of captain.

He never sniffed out drugs, or chased criminals, but ER became a goodwill ambassador, roaming the halls of the county justice center.

“He made his rounds to the courthouse and he made his rounds out through the yard here with inmates accompanying him and lot of people don’t understand about this, but ER was not just a dog. He was the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department mascot,” Sheriff Esco Jarnagin told WBIR.

er1ER wore a deputy’s badge on his collar and, except for service animals, was the only dog allowed inside the building.

Last week, a decade after he wandered into the emergency room of Morristown-Hamblen Hospital, ER passed away.

A crowd came out to pay their respects to ER at his funeral, and he was buried in front of the justice center.

(Photos: Hamblen county Sheriff’s Office)

Fairy tails: A Cinderella story

Check out Cinderella: Not too long ago she was one of numerous dogs living lives of neglect with an animal hoarder in Tennessee. Tonight, she’s going to be the belle of a ball in New York City.

Specifically, it’s the ASPCA’s Annual Bergh Ball, the theme of which is “Fairy Tails,” which takes place at the Plaza Hotel. The ball draws a crowd of animal lovers, including community leaders and celebrities, who come to dine and dance in support of the ASPCA’s mission: “To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

Rescue by the ASPCA from a hoarding situation, Cinderella, now about 4 years old, went on to be lodged in a New York City shelter before being adopted by a New York City resident. She now lives in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park, which she visits every day.

Yesterday, Cinderella received the royal treatment at the Ricardo Rojas Salon in preparation for tonight’s big event.

(Photos: Courtesy of the ASCPA)

Live nude kudzu, and other thoughts

 

Sweeping back through the south, we’ve crossed Tennessee and made it to North Carolina, this time without the benefit of what, back in the summer, was our favorite form of highway entertainment — looking for dogs in the kudzu.

The Vine That Ate the South is naked now, having lost its leaves for winter, leaving behind only long strands of clumped-together, spindly, bare vines. I can no longer see big green animals in the leaves, only stick figures, spider webs, spaghetti and road maps.

The kudzu will be back, though, in spring — and ready to spread as quickly as “adult superstores” have through Tennessee. There are a lot of “adult superstores” in the Volunteer State. Going down I-40, it seems like every other billboard is either touting an “adult superstore” or the fact that Jesus Saves.

After crossing the Mississippi River, we stopped outside of Memphis for a quick visit with my son, checking into a Best Western, where I had reserved a room online, after seeing it touted itself as dog-friendly.

Not until I arrived did I see that there were pet fees, according to a posting at the front desk  – $15 for a dog between 5 and 20 pounds, $25 for dogs 20 to 40 pounds, and $35 for dogs 40 pounds and up.

I immediately squawked — I’ve become a bit more of a squawker in recent months – pointing out that I’d be paying almost as much for the dog as for me.

“How much does your dog weigh?” asked the desk clerk.

I thought about lying, but, having seen too many God billboards, couldn’t. Over 100 pounds, I said, adding that he’s much better behaved than a lot of 10 pound dogs, and pointing out that the whole charging by weight concept was ludicrous.

The desk clerk made a face like he’d swallowed something yukky and excused himself. Ten minutes later he was back, with a room assignment and news that they’d only charge me $25 for the dog.

Too tired to have any principles, and wanting to get off the road on New Year’s Eve, I accepted the discount and took the room. Then I seethed about the whole thing — especially the weight part — for a couple more hours.

Charging fees for dogs is not dog-friendly; its dog-greedy. I wonder how much damage dogs do to motel rooms across America, compared to that done by people.

Rather than pet fees, maybe motels should be looking at rock star fees — for they, if we’re going to stereotype, are famous for trashing rooms. Why not a fraternity boy fee? A student on spring break fee? A crying baby fee? A loud sex fee?

Only twice in our travels have we experienced loud sex — both times from the room next door. Ace and I did the only thing we could. We tilted our heads and looked at the wall the sounds were coming from, then turned up the TV.

This particular Best Western — where we neither experienced loud sex nor managed to stay awake until midnight — had another sign at the front desk that bothered me: “No Visitors.”

Is that constitutional? Even prisons allow visitors.

Depite all the control being exercised in motels, or at least the one we stayed at, Tennessee, as a state, seems less successful at reigning in kudzu, or adult superstores. (Not that I have anything against adult superstores; it’s a free country, except at the particular Best Western we stayed in.)

As we passed through Tennessee, I stopped at several huge thickets of kudzu (and at no adult superstores, though I was wondering what exactly made them “super”).

I searched the bare vines for dog shapes, which some some of you may recall became a bit of an obsession for me over the summer, but I could find none.

Instead, all I could see in the withered and weepy vines were hunched over old witches, overworked peasants and evil motel desk clerks who charged exorbitant pet fees.

A tribute to a dog named Cujo

While we’re on the subject of paying tribute to dogs passed on — here’s one man’s memorial to his dog that I came across Saturday.

It’s a plaque installed on a water fountain near the soccer fields at Rhodes College in Memphis.

David P. Granoff, a member of the school’s class of 1980, had the memorial installed after the death of his dog Cujo in 1993.

Rhodes College, with about 1,700 students, occupies a 100-acre wooded campus in an historic neighborhood near downtown Memphis.

Here’s a closer look at what the plaque says:

Memphis opens first dog park this weekend

It might not have all the fancy features some doggie playgrounds do — or for that matter even running water — but the city of Memphis is finally getting around to opening its first official dog park this weekend.

The Division of Park Services announced they will open their first dog park Saturday. It’s located at 2599 Avery Avenue, behind the Board of Education.

The off-leash fenced in park has an area designated for dogs under 25 pounds and an adjoining one for dogs over 25 pounds.

Hours of operation for the park will be 6 a.m to 8 p.m. in the summer, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter.

“The Memphis Dog Park is something that we have been wanting to provide to the citizens of Memphis for some time,” said Cindy Buchanan, Director of Park Services.

The city’s first dog park will serve as a test site for future projects, Fox News in Memphis reported.

All dogs must be licensed and vaccinated, and each owner is responsible for the behavior and action of their dog.

Gayla’s Little Poodle Palace shut down

Gayla’s Little Poodle Palace, on the outskirts of Sparta, Tennessee, wasn’t so little.

More than 200 dogs — 221, according to the Humane Society of the United States — were seized from the puppy mill last week by the White County Sheriff’s Department after complaints that they were being housed in unsanitary conditions and lacked proper socialization and medical care.

All of the animals have been surrendered by the owner to the custody of the White County Sheriff’s Department, according to an HSUS press release.

The HSUS assisted in removing the animals and transporting them to an emergency shelter set up and staffed by the HSUS, the White County Humane Society and United Animal Nations. There, the dogs will be examined by a team of veterinarians before being transferred to animal shelters for evaluation and adoption.

“These dogs were being sold to unsuspecting consumers over the Internet and through newspaper advertisements. This should be a reminder to anyone looking for a new pet to first consider adoption, and only purchase a dog if you have personally visited the breeder,” said Leighann McCollum, HSUS Tennessee state director.

The dogs, mostly toy poodles, some with serious medical issues, were all living living in a small home.

Sheriff Oddie Shoupe said puppy mill owner Gayla Jackson was cooperating with authorities.

“She said she needed the help and didn’t know where to turn, and that this was a blessing in disguise,” said Shoupe. “She started grooming dogs, then it blossomed into a breeding operation, and it was too much for her to take care of.”

Dog seized after chewing up police car

patrolcar

 
Here’s an odd little story — and one that raises more questions than it answers –out of Chattanooga, where a dog apparently decided to eat a police car.

Police officer Clayton Holmes was sitting in his parked patrol car Sunday night — either to work on reports or to catch speeders on radar (the story seems to say both), when he suddenly felt his vehicle shaking.

He got out to investigate and found a bulldog had chewed two tires and the entire front bumper off the car.

(While cynics will wonder how the dog was able to consume so much of the police car so quickly, and speculate the officer was napping, we would never suggest such a thing.)

When another police car arrived, the dog attacked it, as well as two cars belonging to citizens who were driving by, police say.

Officers used pepper spray and a tazer on the dog, but neither seemed to faze it. Eventually McKamey Animal Center personnel responded to the scene and managed to capture the bulldog (how they did so isn’t described).

They also took into custody two other dogs that they say had managed to get through a fence of a nearby welding shop.

The owner of the dogs, Nancy Emerling, was issued a citation.

(Click  for an updated version of this story)

(Photo: Chattanooga Police Department)

Sheriff’s deputy treated like a dog

A sheriff’s deputy arrested on a DUI charge in Tennessee was thrown into a “K-9 cage” by state troopers who said it was for his own protection.

Samuel Monroe Bledsoe, 47, who has been terminated from his job as a deputy with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly tried to slam a squad car door on a trooper, kicked the inside of a squad car and was vomiting on himself, according to the Kingsport Times-News.

He was placed in a “K-9 cage” to prevent injury to himself or state property, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer’s arrest report and a court affidavit.

Troopers said Bledsoe was found asleep in the front passenger seat of his wife’s car, and was unable to perform a sobriety test as instructed, even though it was explained to him 18 times. He was arrested and placed in the back seat of an officer’s cruiser.

On the way to Bristol Regional Medical Center for a blood test, the officer had to pull over twice because Bledsoe was kicking the cage and the door of the cruiser, police said. After the second stop, officers got approval to transfer Bledsoe to the back of the patrol unit, which was equipped to house a police dog.

 “Due to the K-9 cage being smaller,” they said, he was less likely to injure himself there.

Neglect in Alaska, new questions in Memphis

There’s not an animal shelter around — public or private — that isn’t entering 2010 overloaded, overworked and overwhelmed. Some are handling the burden better than others.

Six dogs died of neglect in Alaska — while in a city animal shelter. And the troubled city-run shelter in Memphis, raided and closed in the fall, recently euthanized a dog scheduled to be adopted — again.

The six Alaska dogs represented the entire dog population of the Dillingham animal shelter, opened by the city five years ago and staffed by a single officer whose job duties also included picking up drunks.

The city suspended the animal control officer after finding the skeletal, partially eaten remains in early December, the Anchorage Daily News reports. An examination of the dead dogs by a veterinarian determined they died from dehydration, starvation and neglect.

dillingham“I’ve never seen animals desecrated quite to this extent,” said Jim Hagee, a Chugiak veterinarian who frequently practices in Dillingham. “The cannibalism is really what got to me.”

The city closed the shelter and state troopers are now investigating.

Police found the dead dogs Dec. 8 at the unheated shelter. Garbage, tools and feces covered the floor. Decomposed dog carcasses were in cages or curled on the plywood floor, among them a black husky found inside a plastic bag and a 14-week-old Rottweiler puppy wearing a pink camouflage collar.

Hagee estimates the dogs had been left alone for four to six weeks. 

Dillingham’s mayor is Alice Ruby (mayor@dillinghamak.us), and its city council members are Steve Hunt (dealernt@nushtel.com), Carol Shade (cashade@starband.com), Bob Himschoot (bhimschoot@gci.com), Keggie Tubbs (tubbs@dillinghamak.us), Sue Mulkeit (mulkeit@dillinghamak.us) and Tim Sands (sands@dillinghamak.us).

Meanwhile, in Memphis, a worker mistakenly euthanized a dog last week that was set to be adopted – the second time that has happened since  authorities raided the facility Oct. 27, and cameras were installed to allow the public to monitor the shelter on the Internet.

“I do not condone, I do not accept, I do not seek to excuse what happened to that pet,” said Mayor A C Wharton. “I accept responsibility for it, and I hope our city will say we collectively take responsibility for these innocent creatures.”

He added, ”When you’re in there and you’ve killed 25 dogs, and that’s what you’re doing, sometimes you lose sensitivity and you’re not as alert,” said Wharton. “What’s the difference, the fifteenth dog, and the sixteenth dog and the twenty-sixth dog? That’s the culture and somehow we have to break out.”

Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies raided the facility in October after reports of abuse and neglect. An investigation continues into the shelter’s finances and whether euthanasia drugs are missing. Criminal charges are expected.

One can contact the Memphis mayor and city council members here.

(Photo: Dillingham Police Department)

Dragged dog recovers, driver faces indictment

While a terrier mix dragged behind a truck in Tennessee continues to recover, felony animal cruelty charges against the driver have been sent to a Knox County grand jury for review.

Knox County Judge Patricia Long ruled Friday there was enough evidence presented to send the case against Jimmy Lovell on for possible indictment, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Lovell’s defense attorney argued the state had nothing to show that Lovell, 45, intentionally dragged his estranged girlfriend’s dog, known as “Little Brown Dog,” behind his truck on Nov. 3.

Prosecutors countered that witnesses warned Lovell a dog was attached by a leash to his pickup truck’s trailer hitch while he was stopped at a Knoxville intersection, but he kept driving anyway.

The dog was brought to an animal shelter within two hours of the dragging and continues to be treated at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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