Given this dog’s situation — dumped inside a plastic bag at a recycling plant that processes 400 tons of debris a day, loaded by bulldozer onto a large conveyor belt, and on her way to a chute that would have dropped her 20 feet into a landfill — you might think nothing short of a miracle would save her.
While there may have been some of that involved, the three-month-old, five-pound poodle puppy has some alert workers to thank as well.
Just yards from the chute, one recycling worker noticed the bag moving. He slammed on the conveyer belt’s emergency brake as another worker climbed onto the belt to remove the dog.
Since named Gem, the dog, rescued — and we do mean rescued — the Friday before Christmas, is recovering from her injuries.
“It’s difficult to imagine how the dog survived this ordeal,” said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, a recycling program in San Francisco that sorts through heavy debris from construction projects, such as concrete, metal and lumber. ”Nothing like this has happened before.”
Reed said the dog was likely thrown, inside the bag, into a bin for construction material, picked up by a garbage truck and hauled to the dump. Once in the dump, the dog likely had large amounts of debris dumped atop her, only to be later scooped up by a bulldozer and end up on the conveyor belt.
While riding along the conveyor belt, Gem went through a shaking process, aimed at removing excess dirt from the debris, and she was yards from passing into the chute when workers stationed along the conveyor belt noticed her.
“I was on the line working on the conveyor belt and there was a black trash bag coming down the line,” Gregory Foster told ABC News. “It had a hole in it and I could see it moving.”
After he activated the belt’s emergency brake, another co-worker climbed up on the belt and pulled the dog — wet, bloody and shaking – out of the bag.
The San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control was called, and Gem is now in its care.
“We’re getting a lot of people calling, wanting to adopt her, foster, and offer donations for her care,” a spokesperson said. The agency received more than 100 telephone calls inquiring about the dog in three hours.
Many remain mystified how the dog survived what she did.
“It’s a miracle, it’s a Christmas miracle. That’s what it is,” Pena said.
But we’d give some of the credit to assembly line workers who managed, amid the monotony of their jobs, to stay alert.
And we’d give at least an equal amount to Gem, one plucky little dog.
(Top photo, CBS News; bottom photo, Arturo Pena)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 27th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, alert, animals, animnal care and control, assembly line, bin, bulldozer, christmas miracle, conveyor belt, dog, dogs, dump, dumped, gem, landfill, miracle, pets, plant, poodle, puppy, recology, recycle, recycling, rescue, rescued, rescues, san francisco, saved, shelters, trash, workers
Once a week, Meredith College art professor Shannon Johnstone takes a homeless dog for a walk to the top of what used to be a landfill.
The Raleigh area landfill has a new life now, as a park.
The dogs she photographs there are still waiting for one.
They all come from the Wake County Animal Center, where, after being abandoned or surrendered, they’ve been living anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than a year.
The park, located atop a 470-foot peak formed from 20 year’s worth of Raleigh’s trash, serves as a scenic backdrop, but also, for Johnstone, as a metaphor.
Johnstone has photographed 66 “landfill dogs” so far — either on her climb up or atop the hill, according to a column in the Raleigh News & Observer.
Shot at what’s now one of the highest points in Wake County, the pictures of throwaway dogs playing atop a hill made from other things people threw away are sometimes haunting, sometimes hopeful, sometimes a little of both.
Some of the dogs she photographed have found homes right away; others remained at the animal shelter. Five have died.
Johnstone has photographed shelter dogs before. While she declined to name the city, one project she was involved in photographed animals before, during and after euthanasia.
She said the idea for the current project came from Wake County’s former environmental director, who envisioned dozens of dogs at the park.
Instead Johnstone brings them there one at a time, and doesn’t remove their leashes (except later with Photoshop).
Landfill Dogs, according to its website, is a project with three overlapping components: fine art photographs, adoption promotions, and environmental advocacy.
The project was made possible by a year-long sabbatical granted by Meredith College’s Environmental Sustainability Initiative, and with cooperation from the staff and volunteers at Wake County Animal Center.
(Top photo by Shannon Johnstone; bottom photo by Corey Lowenstein / News & Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, animal welfare, animals, art, dogs, environment, hill, landfill, meredith college, mountain, north wake, park, pets, photographs, photography, professor, raleigh, shannon johnstone, shelters, trash, wake county, wake county animal center
Patrick, the dog found starved nearly to death after he was dumped down a high-rise apartment building’s trash chute in Newark, now weighs in at more than 35 pounds.
And that’s without the petrified hairball that was surgically removed from his stomach this week.
Dr. Jason Pintar, an internist at Garden State Veterinary Specialists, removed the long flat hair mass from Patrick’s stomach using a video endoscopic procedure while Patrick was under anesthesia.
After the hair mass was removed, Patrick was transferred to another surgery suite for neutering, Associated Humane Societies in New Jersey reportsAfter surgery, he’ll still need treatment for mange, and physical therapy for weak rear legs, AHS says.
The non-profit organization says it’s receiving thousands of emails a day — and that it has been contacted by several people who say Patrick was their dog. Some say he ran away, some say he was stolen, and one told AHS they’d contacted an attorney.
Also casting a cloud over Patrick’s story is the emergence of people hoping to profit off his name and image.
The number of Internet sites related to him — some well-intentioned, some not — has steadily grown, and some are selling ”Patrick” items such as t-shirts, keychains and posters, and using his story to ”solicit funds for their own use,” AHS says.
(Photos: Courtesy of Associated Humane Societies and Popcorn Park Zoo)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, associated humane societies, chute, cruelty to animals, discarded, dog, dogs, hair mass, hairball, neutered, new jersey, newark, patrick, pets, recovery, scams, surgery, trash, treatment, update
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is asking the public for a birthday present — a new animal shelter to be built in honor of Patrick, the pit bull dumped down a high rise apartment building’s trash chute and left to starve.
Booker called the act “one of the most heinous incients of animal cruelty that I’ve seen since I’ve been mayor” and he noted that it has led to outrage across the country.
But, he added, “This is a time that, instead of blame, we all take more responsibility for what’s going on to animals in Newark, New Jersey and around the world.
“For my birthday wish … we would like you to join our cause” — a state of art animal shelter that can be No. 1 in honor of Patrick but also in honor of those many other animals in our larger Newark community that face severe problems and challenges. We must be there for them, too.”
The mayor’s YouTube video refers viewers to a website where donations be made.
The campaign seeks to raise $50,000 towards construction of a facility that would serve Essex and Hudson Counties. Already, Booker said, a site has been identified and architects are working on the design.
“By working to build a modern, state-of-the-art shelter through public and private funding, and by employing innovative policies to improve responsible pet care, decrease birthrates, increase adoptions, and help keep animals with their responsible caretakers, we believe that Newark’s animal shelter operations can become a model for the rest of the nation.”
Patrick is now in the custody of Associated Humane Societies and is receiving treatment at Garden State Veterinary Specialists, both of which say they’ve received enough public donations to cover his care.
Kisha Curtis, with whom Patrick lived, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of abuse and abandonment.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, abuse, animal cruelty, animals, apartment, associated humane societies, chute, cory booker, discarded, dog, dogs, garden state veterinary specialists, high rise, kisha curtis, mayor, neglect, new jersey, newark, patrick, pets, pit bull, pitbull, starved, trash
A not guilty plea was entered Friday on behalf of Kisha Curtis, the Newark woman accused of animal cruelty charges stemming from the discovery of a dog who’d been tossed down a trash chute and left to die in a garbage bin.
The 1-year-old pit bull, whose rescuers named him Patrick, continues to recover at an area animal hospital.
Public defender Regina Lynch entered the plea in Superior Court in Newark on behalf of Curtis, 27, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. She appeared at the hearing via a video hookup from the Essex County Jail.
Curtis faces two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature by failing to provide sustenance and two counts of abandonment, said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello.
After the hearing, Kisha’s mother, Tammie Curtis, said her daughter didn’t discard the dog, but only left him tethered at the high-rise Garden Spires apartments in Newark — while she went on a trip to Albany. She implied that the dog was stolen.
“Anybody would take that dog,” the mother said. “If she tied the dog, she didn’t leave the dog to die.”
A security guard at the 520-unit complex told the Star-Ledger that the dog had been seen tied to a railing with a leather leash, and had been the subject of resident complaints for more than a month.
“It would whimper, and it would yelp when you would come up to it,” Ortman said.
A custodian found Patrick on March 16, inside a trash bag at the bottom of a 22-story garbage chute.
Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez kept Curtis’ bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash and forbid her to have contact with pets. If convicted, she faces 18 months in prison, a $3,000 fine and community service.
Patrick has been recovering at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, where he has gained two pounds since being found.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, bail, bin, bond, charges, chute, courts, entered, essex county, garbage, garden spires, hearing, justice, kisha curtis, neglect, newark, news, not guilty, patrick, pit bull, pitbull, plea, sentence, tormenting, torture, trash, video
Here’s a video update posted by the Newark Star-Ledger yesterday on Patrick — the starved, abused and discarded pit bull who has captured America’s heart.
Two weeks have passed since Patrick was rescued — minutes before the bin he was in was headed to the trash compactor — after being tossed down a garbage chute in a high-rise Newark apartment building.
Caregivers at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls say Patrick continues to improve, but an ultrasound shows that he has an object lodged in his stomach.
Once he gains a little more weight, vets will perform an endoscopy to remove whatever might be lodged inside him.
The Associated Humane Society of Newark, which has official custody of Patrick, will determine who adopts Patrick once he is completely healed. Thousands across the country have expressed interest.
Kisha Curtis, who has been identified as the dog’s owner, has been charged with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance, according New Jersey SPCA officials. The charges — two criminal counts and two civil counts — carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service.
Curtis told police that she couldn’t take care of Patrick anymore, but she denies responsibility for tossing the 1 year-old dog down the apartment garbage chute.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, adopt, animal welfare, animals, apartment, arrest, associated humane societies, bin, charges, chute, compactor, cruelty, dog, dogs, garbage, garden state veterinary specialists, high rise, kisha curtis, neglect, new jersey, patrick, pets, pit bull, rescue, trash, update, video
And considering the condition he was found in — by a maintenance worker who noticed a soon-to be-compacted plastic bag moving — that’s pretty close to miraculous.
According to Associated Humane Societies, Patrick, as he was later named, was living — and just barely — somewhere in the Garden Spires apartment building, which is equipped with garbage chutes on each floor.
“Someone had no more use for this dog. They had starved it to near death, put it in a garbage bag and threw it down the garbage chute,” AHS reports on its website.
Normally, the contents of the bin at the bottom of the building are sent directly into a trash compacter, but on Wednesday, March 16th, a maintenance worker noticed a bag moving, opened it and found the dog inside – about one year old, pathetically thin and on death’s doorstep.
“His eyelids were moving a little. But he was just lifeless — his body hung there when we picked him up,” Monmouth County animal control officer Arthur Skinner said.
Skinner took the dog to Associated Humane Societies Newark Animal Care Center, and he was sent from there Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, veterinarians and technicians have been giving him transfusions of blood, feeding him intravenously and warming him with heated blankets.
By Monday, Patrick, who was named by hospital staff on St. Patrick’s Day, was able to sit up and walk. He’s now off IV fluids and eating canned dog food.
Patrick — and we’ll warn you now that the picture below, taken shortly after he was discovered, is highly disturbing — is slowly becoming more than skin and bones. He spends most of his time in his cage, napping next to stuffed animals donated by the hospital’s staff. He doesn’t bark or wag his tail, but lifts his head whenever someone passes by, accordingn to the Star-Ledger in Newark.
The Associated Humane Societies reported this week that Patrick is now able to stand, eats little bits of food several times a day and is having normal bowel movements. The organization is accepting donations towards his continued care. You can find AHS updates on Patrick here.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animals, associated humane societies, compactor, cruelty, dog, dogs, dumped, garden spires, garden stat veterinary specialists, monmouth county, new jersey, newark, patrick, pets, pit bull, pitbull, popcorn park, starved, trash, trash bag, trash chute
Say you forked over $650 to spend the month in a trailer in the desert – actually one of those big pull-it-yourself RV campers with popouts – and when you arrived the next day to move in, a little earlier than expected, you saw that not only were the pop-outs popped in, but the trailer was hitched to a truck, appearing as if it was ready to hit the highway.
(A) Immediately assume you’d been scammed?
(B) Shoot first and ask questions later?
(C) Politely inquire as to what might be going on?
Fortunately I chose (C) when Ace and I pulled into Petite Acres last week to move into what, after six months on the road, we’d arranged to be our home – we presumed, a stationary one – for a month in Cave Creek, Arizona.
As it turned out, my landlady wasn’t hauling the trailer away, only moving it a few feet over so that I might enjoy my entire concrete slab patio, as opposed to just the half of it that the trailer wasn’t resting on.
After a week of trailer life, Ace and I (though I shouldn’t speak for him) couldn’t be happier.
I can sit at the dinette (across from the kitchenette — midway between the bedroomette and the living roomette) and blog while looking out my windowette and enjoying a view of the mountains, strutting quail and rabbits everywhere. At night, I hear whinnying horses and howling coyotes and a few other sounds, and soundettes, I haven’t identified yet.
He has learned, somewhat, not to wander off to visit other trailers, though twice I’ve caught him at the homes of my two closest neighbors, where he tends to venture when they are cooking or eating.
One of them, who introduced himself as Romero, informed me that he didn’t mind Ace dropping by, but asked that I pick up any poop he might leave there, which, unknown to me, he had done yesterday. I apologized, and Romero, who was slow cooking some pork on an outside stovetop, was very nice about it.
Romero’s dinner smelled so good that I couldn’t be too hard on Ace for the transgression. Besides, it had happened hours before.
We’ve yet to encounter any javelina, those wild pig-like creatures who roam in the desert nearby, but I thought one morning I heard some snorting outside the trailer. We have a woodpecker friend who hangs out on the telephone pole in my dusty yard, and other birds — since I generally keep the trailer door open — have wandered inside to look around.
Yesterday, I went outside to absorb some sun — not to tan, just to bake out the morning chill. I’d just about dozed off on my lounge chair when a bird landed on me. Feeling little webbed feet on my thigh, I jerked awake, scaring him off before I could see what kind it was.
I found my temporary home on Craigslist, and, though it’s a trailer, it’s actually wider than my former rowhome in Baltimore — at least when the pop-outs, in the living room and bedroom, are popped out. I worried a little bit about hitting the wrong switch while in bed and getting compacted — hydraulically turned into a John-ette — but it turns out keys need to be inserted for the pop outs to move.
My landlady, Tami, has been wonderful, jumping on any problems that arise, showing me the ropes of RV life, and intent on making sure — though I’m only here for three more weeks — that I feel at home.
She took me to the library to get a library card, introduced me to some of her dog-loving friends and left me stocked up with movies on DVD, since there’s no TV reception. She invited me to join her and some friends at the American Legion Hall last night.
Ace and I have checked out the biker bar next door, The Hideaway Grill, enjoying some nice time there before being informed that, because of a recent incident involving a customer tripping over a leash, dogs are no longer invited to sit on the patio, at least not on busy nights. Last night, I visited the next closest bar, The Buffalo Chip, where Wednesday nights feature bull riding. Not mechanical bulls. Real ones. Dogs are welcome there, but not on bull riding night, or Friday nights, so Ace stayed home. I didn’t ride a bull. Maybe next week.
In addition to not getting TV reception – maybe a good thing — we don’t get mail delivery, and I have to walk my trailer trash down to the Dumpster next to the biker bar.
We’ve had some minor plumbing issues — the trailer, not me — but they were quickly resolved. (Oh, and that missing dental crown? I found it on the car floor while unpacking, and have reinstalled it in my mouth.)
I couldn’t imagine pulling this trailer — it’s a late 90′s Sea Breeze — down the highway, getting it leveled and hooked up at every stop, but, sitting still, it makes for a cozy little home that sways only slightly when Ace jumps on or off the bed or the couch.
I’ve thought I should give it a name, like John Steinbeck did with his camper, Rocinante. (Feel free to submit nominations.) There’s one I like — it’s both modest and Spanish-sounding — but it isn’t original. I saw it etched into a sign at a gift shop:
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, almosta ranch, america, animals, arizona, bars, buffalo chips, bull riding, camper, campers, cave creek, desert, dogs, english bulldogs, hideaway, javelina, john steinbeck, mobile, monthly, name, neighbors, petite acres, pets, pop=outs, quail, rabbits, rental, restaurants, road trip, rv, steinbeck, trailer, trailer life, trash, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, wildlife, woodpecker
My sister (not a big dog person) and her husband (a big dog person) don’t have a dog, but they do have Oscar.
Walk by Oscar, as they’ve named him, and (thanks to motion-detecting technology) he opens wide, accepting whatever you toss in his mouth. A second or two later he closes his lid and sits quietly until feeding time comes again.
Ace, though he bonded quickly with my sister Kathryn and her husband John, was a little wary of Oscar, who he made the mistake of thinking was an inanimate object.
As Ace’s nose, drawn by Oscar’s multitude of odors, would inch closer to Oscar’s electric eye, Oscar’s lid would open wide and Ace would jump back. He’d watch warily until Oscar closed his mouth. Then Ace would slowly approach and sniff again, and Oscar again would snap at him again.
Eventually, they became friends.
Oscar is one of several devices at my sister’s home aimed at making day to day chores easier for her and her husband, both of whom have multiple sclerosis.
The last thing people with MS want in their home is a new obstacle, so it’s understandable that they’d have some conditions when it came to me and my 130-pound dog taking up temporary residence. On top of that, my sister is allergic to some dogs.
So the decision was made that Ace would stay on the porch. I decided I would sleep out there with him, and set up my camping cot.
As it turned out, while we slept on the porch, both Ace and I have spent most of our time inside, where, in addition to treats from my sister, Ace enjoyed much snuggle time with John, cozying up alongside him while we watched a 1960s science fiction movie on TV.
What happened during my days at my sister’s house was that everybody adapted — me, them and, probably better any of us humans, Ace, who, with only minor coaxing, showed a calm and quiet presence when in the house, staying put and, for the most part, out of the way.
It was yet another case of doggie intuition — that ability he has to sense that he’s in a setting with different rules, and then follow them.
Something Oscar — dependable as he is — will never be able to do.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, deforest, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, inanimate, kathryn, kitchen, madison, motion sensor, multiple sclerosis, object, oscar, pets, trash, trash can, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, wisconsin, woestendiek
Police in Florida say they have solved the mystery of how six severed dog heads ended up in a Largo restaurant’s trash bin last week — but they’re not sharing many details with the public.
Attempting to ease concern among dog lovers, police said this week that the heads were used for legal veterinary training purposes by a licensed medical company. But, citing the continuing nature of the investigation, they declined to disclose the name of the company and other details.
That’s a courtesy that wasn’t extended to Tucson’s Southwest Grill, the restaurant in whose Dumpster the dogs were found on March 30, and which has had to suffer through the bad publicity since.
“I don’t want to tip our hand on anything,” Largo police Lt. Mike Loux told the St. Petersburg Times. “Our goal is to ensure that if there’s a violation of law, we enforce it.”
The canines’ heads were legally obtained and were from animals that had previously been euthanized, according to police, who say they are still researching the rules that govern the disposal of biological waste.
Be that as it may, the public deserves to know, and now, both the name of the company and what it was up to — “pending” investigation or not.
Otherwise, the information released by police, whatever fears it might put to rest, only raises more questions, including why the company’s name isn’t being revealed.
“I think it put people at ease that there’s not some crazy person running around doing bad things to animals,” Rick Chaboudy, executive director of the Suncoast Animal League, But he added, “How legitimate is someone if they pull up to somebody’s Dumpster and put in body parts? There’s still something wrong with this picture.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, biological, dog, dogs, dumpster, heads, investigation, lab, laboratory, largo, medical, news, ohmidog!, pets, police, severed, trash, tucson's southwest grill, veterinary, waste