If some of the bulging biceps, shaved heads and never-ending tattoos you see on Animal Planet’s new series, “The Guardians,” look familiar, that may be because they are.
The Guardians, when it comes to both personnel and concept, is a reincarnation of Rescue Ink, the National Geographic Channel program that featured burly and biker-esque “heroes” rescuing dogs in need.
Rescue Ink, the rescue group on which the old reality show was based, underwent a splintering about six years back. Its website remains in existence, but, on TV, it exists only in reruns.
Guardians of Rescue, put together by former Rescue Ink co-founder Robert Misseri, formed not long after that, and now it’s the focus of a six-episode Animal Planet series. It premiered last month, and airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m.
As was the case with Rescue Ink, its members seek out the most heart-wrenching of animal abuse and neglect cases, and do whatever it takes to correct the situation, making sure the cameras don’t miss a second of it.
As with Rescue Ink, some of the tales they tell seem to get a little embellishment — in the name of dramatic license, or, to take a cynical view, evoke more financial support from viewers.
In the video above, for example, the Guardians of Rescue say the Long Island dog they are so dramatically freeing of its chains, is being freed for the first time in 15 years.
Once released, he doesn’t behave too much like a dog that spent 15 years on a chain; instead he trots up and happily greets those who are watching.
Still, this being reality TV, we have to take their word for it.
“The poor dog had spent his whole life attached to a heavy chain,” Misseri told the New York Post.
The dog, a Lab-chow mix named Bear, is now at Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue in Port Jefferson Station, waiting to be adopted.
According to a New York Post feature earlier this month on the group — one that strangely makes no reference to its roots in Rescue Ink — the Guardians of Rescue is a slightly more diverse collection of animal lovers.
“The Long Island-based group counts ex-military personnel, retired police detectives, carpenters, electricians and even former convicts among their unpaid volunteer ranks,” the Post reported.
Rescue Ink’s members spawned a TV show, a book, and some criminal charges.
Member John Orlandini, who ran the Long Island shelter they took over, was charged with grand larceny and accused of personally profiting from public donations. In 2014, though, a grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to go to trial.
Some of those questioned whether the group was more focused on achieving fame and fortune than rescuing dogs.
A lot of those concerns show up on this Facebook page, created to inform the public that the group — even though people are continuing donating to it — is no longer in existence.
The group fractured in 2010, with about half of its members leaving, including Misseri.
“(Rescue Ink) was an organization I started,” Misseri told a blogger for Newsday. “I was against doing a TV show at the time, but there was another guy who was the face of the show and it got to his head. I refused to go on and subsequently National Geographic shut it down…”
Clearly, he had no objections to a TV show this time around.
Animal Planet is billing the show this way:
“Though they may be an eclectic team – ex-military personnel, retired police detectives, former FBI investigators, carpenters, electricians and even former convicts and gang members – they unite in their passion and dedication for animal advocacy. With this group, first impressions are not always what they seem. When an animal is in need, their tough facade washes away and clients see their true love and compassion come forth.”
Let’s hope, this time around, the pack of tough guys with hearts of gold stay out of trouble, keep the hype and exaggeration to a minimum, cool it on the self-promotion and portray what they do with some honesty.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal, animal planet, bear, chained, dog, dogs, guardians of rescue, national geographic, neglect, rescue, rescue ink, rescued, robert misseri, series, television, tethered, the guardians, tv, unchained, video
Cesar Millan will not be charged with animal cruelty in connection with an episode of “Cesar 911” in which a dog he was training attacked a pot-bellied pig.
Los Angeles County animal control authorities said Monday that they’d completed a month-long investigation into the complaint and found no evidence of neglect or harmful intent, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“After a comprehensive investigation by our officers, we presented a very thorough and complete report to the District Attorney’s office and they were unable to find anything to charge Mr. Millan with,” said Aaron Reyes, deputy director for animal care and control. “It’s a fair decision.”
Reyes said investigators watched the full video “several times,” interviewed people involved in the episode and reviewed veterinary reports.
“You can tell that it was not intentional and [Millan’s] reactions were swift and effective,” Reyes said. “The injuries to the pig looked worse than they really were, and they got immediate veterinary care.”
In the episode, which aired Feb. 26, a French bulldog Millan was training bit a pot-bellied pig standing nearby.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Jacobs wrote in a case evaluation statement that “there is no evidence that the pig was used as bait, and all parties who witnessed the incident felt it was an accident. Although in the video the pig is seen bleeding, the dog’s act was merely a nip and did not tear or bite the skin off.”
The dog, named Simon, remains with his owner.
“The clip caused some concern for viewers who did not see or understand the full context of the encounter,” National Geographic Wild said in a statement. “The pig that was nipped by Simon was tended to immediately afterward, healed quickly and showed no lasting signs of distress.”
Millan said in a statment he was pleased with the investigation’s findings.
“My team and I are 100% dedicated to the proper care of all animals, including the farm pig in this case,” he said. “I am continuing my work rescuing and rehabilitating even the most difficult problem dogs, which has saved the lives of thousands of animals that otherwise would have been euthanized.”
(Photo: National Geographic Wild)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attack, bite, bitten, cesar, cesar 911, cesar millan, charges, district attorney, dog trainer, dog training, dogs, french bulldog, investigation, national geographic wild, pets, pig, pot bellied pig, simon, television, training, tv
I would have no problem with a dog winning Australia’s Got Talent — and, no, that is not any sort of commentary on the amount or quality of talent in Australia — but a robot dog?
PerezHilton.com reports that Erik The Dog — a sassy and highly mobile four-legged hunk o’metal — might be about to win the show this season, which would mark the first time a singing and dancing robotic has won a quarter of a million dollars in a talent contest.
I’m sure at least some of that would go to his partner, Joel Salom, an Australian born circus performer, juggler and comedian.
During the semifinals, Erik joined a team of dancers and sang “I’m Too Sexy.”
PerezHilton.com says hosts Sophie Monk and Kelly Osbourne seem particularly enamored with the robot dog.
Here, in case you haven’t seen enough, is some more Erik, including some not at all exclusive behind the scenes video:
Posted by John Woestendiek March 1st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, australia, australia's got talent, competition, contest, dancing, dogs, erik, erik the dog, finalist, finals, joel salom, pets, robot, robot dog, robotic, robotic dog, robotics, robots, singing, television, tv, video
Here’s a swingin’ dog pad — or maybe dog pod is a better term — and it only costs $30,000.
Samsung’s Dream Doghouse, on exhibit this week at Crufts, comes complete with an AstroTurf-covered treadmill, hydrotherapy pool, entertainment wall, and paw-controlled snack dispenser.
What, no fireplace? No bar? No dim-able lights?
International Business Times reports that a team of 12 designers and builders collaborated on the project, which took six weeks to complete.
“The Samsung Dream Doghouse looks sleek and modern, featuring the kind of tech the discerning dog of the future will need,” Andy Griffiths, president of Samsung Electronics in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a press release.
“From dogs who have social media profiles, to owners who use video calling to check on their pet while away, technology is fast becoming an integral part of everyday life,” he added.
(Too fast, we think.)
You can’t order one just yet — Samsung only made one of the “dream houses” and gave it away via a social media contest.
But they’re hoping it will create a buzz at the Crufts Dog Show, which runs March 5-8 at Birmingham, England’s National Exhibition Centre. Samsung is one of the dog show’s sponsors.
Griffiths said the company surveyed 1,500 dog owners and found that a quarter of them wanted their pets to have their own treadmill, as well as a tablet or TV. Of the dog owners surveyed, 64% believed their pets would benefit from more technology and gadgets, and 18% said they’d like their furry companion to have a hot tub.
The doghouse has a vinyl wall that can be covered with photos. On the opposite wall, there’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet — not so much because dogs can’t live without them, but because Samsung makes them.
So let’s review. The dog of the future will ensconce himself in a plastic pod, and watch videos, and soak in the spa, helping himself to treats whenever he wants one, but having the option to stay in shape by running on artificial grass while getting nowhere.
If that’s the dog of the future, I prefer to remain in the past.
(Photo: Gracie, a terrier cross, tries out the Samsung Dream Doghouse created by the tech firm to celebrate their sponsorship of Crufts 2015; by David Parry / PA Wire)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artificial grass, crufts, display, dog house, doghouse, dogs, exhibit, future, hot tub, hydrotherapy, pets, pool, samsung, samsung dream doghouse, screen, tablet, tech, technology, treadmill, treat dispenser, tv
You’d think Brian Andrews, as an investigative reporter at CBS News in Miami, would have plenty of legitimate and important issues to pursue — given all the land-raping, government corruption, injustice, drugs and sleaze the state of Florida has to offer.
Instead, he took his investigative skills inside a dog’s mouth. And he discovered there were germs in there.
News flash? Not exactly. We present it here not because it’s breaking news, but because it’s a good example of broken news — the kind of dopey reports that are increasingly common these days as TV news outfits, like newspapers, and websites, opt for quick and easy, crowd-scaring or crowd-pleasing, stories, then do their best to hype, tease and sensationalize them.
To determine whether you should let your dog lick your face, Andrews, a member of the station’s “special projects” team, gathered saliva samples from dogs in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and sent them to a lab to be tested, as part of the station’s continuing series called “How Dirty Is It?”
He was trying to determine if the adage nobody believes in the first place — the one about a dog’s mouth being a pristinely clean place — was really true.
We all know, or should, that there are going to be germs in a dog’s mouth, based simply on the sort of things that go in there. We also know, or should, that there are also plenty of germs in our own.
Upon completion of the doggy saliva tests, Nova Southeastern University microbiologist Dr. Julie Torruellas-Garcia concluded, “There was quite a bit of bacteria that grew from the dogs’ mouths.”
Based on the cultures grown in the lab from the samples, she said, there was “evidence of Nyceria, which is linked to STDs, pneumonia and plaque.”
“While our testing did not reveal the presence of any e-coli or bacteria that could cause a staph infection, Dr. Torruellas-Garcia and her students found globs of other microbes,” the news report said.
“You may want to think twice,” the report reads, “before you and your dog exchange siliva.” (We’re pretty sure they meant saliva.)
After raising fears about mouth to mouth contact with dogs, Andrews, in a complete turnaround, goes on to present a veterinarian who said kissing your dog isn’t all that dangerous. West Palm Beach Veterinarian Ken Simmons said any bacteria in a dog’s mouth doesn’t stay there for long.
“In the end, the testing didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary,” the story reports.
So the point of it all was …?
Yes, the canine mouth, like the human mouth, is a breeding ground for germs. (Perhaps a more interesting story approach would have been if Andrews swabbed inside his own mouth, and compared the germs he might be carrying behind his own well-flossed grill with those of dogs.)
And, yes, dogs can pass on illnesses to us, and vice versa.
But spare us the scare tactics, news guys. Stop wasting our time by telling us the obvious, because, obviously, we already know that. And don’t bad-mouth dogs, no matter how bad their mouths are.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 15th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adage, bacteria, breaking news, brian andrews, broken news, dog, dogs, fear, germs, health, investigative, kiss, kisses, kissing, lab, laboratory, lick, licking, licks, manipulation, mouth, news, news media, reporter, reporting, saliva, scare tactics, special projects, television, tests, tv, zoonosis, zoonotic
As of this week, we can add one more item to the growing list of once uniquely human things that we have, with mostly good intentions, bestowed/inflicted upon dogs.
Dogs now have their own television station.
DogTV, which debuted yesterday, features short clips of canines romping and playing. It airs 24 hours a day, and is designed to keep your dog company, providing him with relaxation and stimulation when no one is home. It costs $4.99 a month and is available on DirecTV.
Now they, too, can be couch potatoes — just like us.
Maybe that’s what we want — for our dogs to be human. Maybe we just assume, given their willingness to please, that if we like something, they’re going to love it, when in fact the reason they love it is because we’re doing it. Maybe we just like free, or $4.99 a month, babysitting.
Whatever the case, we keep passing on or making available to them our curious and not entirely healthy habits, quirks, trendy “must haves” and addictions — be they pharmaceuticals, beauty contests, bling, funny haircuts, halloween costumes, spa services, day care, neuroses, high tech health care no one can afford, or gourmet food.
We seem to keep trying — consciously or not — to make dogs more like us, when the actual truth of the matter (and the secret of life) is that we should be more like them.
(Maybe, if we watch DogTV, we can learn how.)
On human TV Wednesday night, NBC ran this feature on DogTV, introduced by Brian Williams, who closely resembles a Bassett hound, and reported by Kevin Tibbles, who dutifully includes about every canine-related pun there is.
As Tibbles notes, pets are a $55 billion industry in America, and the nation’s 78 million dogs could make for a lot of viewers. That, even though dogs don’t have disposable income, could prove lucrative.
DogTV bills itself as “the perfect babysitter for dogs who have to stay home alone.”
Therein lies the problem.
Dogs don’t want electronic babysitters. Dogs want to be out in the real dirt, bug, critter and scent-filled world. We do, too, though often we don’t realize it, mainly because we get so caught up in and numbed by TV, video games, Facebook and the like.
I do often leave my TV on for my dog Ace when I leave the house, even though he’s never shown a great deal of interest in it. His ears will perk up when he hears a dog whining or barking on television, and he’ll watch for maybe 10 seconds or so before moving on to more important things, like sleep.
I, on the other hand, who grew up being babysat by TV, will stay up past bedtime and sit riveted for 60 minutes watching a “Law & Order” episode I previously viewed less than a month ago.
Who, I ask you, is the superior being?
“For those of us who suffer the guilt of leaving a dog alone for hours each day, the prospect of forking out five bucks a month to allay our dogs’ separation anxiety might sound attractive. It’s certainly cheaper than hiring a daily dog walker,” Ryan Vogt writes in Slate. “There’s only one problem: It won’t work. ”
Vogt goes on to explain that dogs “see the world at a faster frame rate than humans do … Humans’ flicker fusion rate is about 50-60 Hz, meaning we see the world in 50 to 60 images per second. For dogs, that rate is closer to 70-80 Hz… To them, it looks like a slideshow powered by a dim strobe light.”
I don’t begin to understand that (probably because I’ve watched too much TV), but the article goes on to quote some experts, including Alexandra Horowitz. She explains that, in addition to the “frame rate” differences, the fact that no smells come out of the television keeps dogs from getting too interested. “Dogs are not primarily visual … and what interests them is typically smell first, sight second.”
In other words, they know it’s not real.
I don’t have a problem with DogTV existing — just with the possibility it could be overused by busy dog owners. There are better ways to keep you dog occupied during the day, even when you’re not home. And too much TV — be it forensic drama, cooking shows, or even just watching dogs romp — can’t be good for anyone, two or four-legged.
What we fail to realize as we continue to work the wild out of dogs, continue to make them more human, is that dogs don’t need vicarious thrills.
That’s just us.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 2nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, babysit, babysitter, babysitting, behavior, brian williams, channel, couch potatoes, directv, dog, dogs, dogtv, for dogs, home alone, humanize, humanizing, humans, images, nbc, network, pets, play, relaxation, station, stimulation, television, thrills, tv, vicarious
A woman who didn’t want to tell a TV news team “how she felt” about her daughter being shot threw a rock at them, shook a baseball bat at them, and then sent her dogs after reporter Abbey Niezgoda of ABC 6 News in Rhode Island.
The crew was on assignment in Providence, seeking to interview the mother of a teenage girl who was shot at a graduation party over the weekend.
Instead of politely declining to speak on-camera, Melissa Lawrence hurled a rock at ABC6 photographer Marc Jackson, then went inside for a baseball bat. Seconds later, she told her dogs to attack.
As Lawrence shouted commands, the dogs chased Niezgoda into a backyard a few houses away.
Niezgoda was a treated for a bite on her forearm.
Melissa Lawrence was charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon.
Lawrence’s daughter, who was shot in the lower back, has since been released from the hospital.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abbey niezgoda, animals, bite, bitten, chase, crew, dogs, interview, media, mother, news, pets, providence, reporter, rhode island, shooting, team, teenager, television, tv, victim