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Tag: victim

“No comment” would have sufficed: TV reporter bitten while seeking interview


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.

Owner of dogs that killed California jogger is charged with murder

jacksondog1Prosecutors in Los Angeles County have filed murder charges against the owner of the dogs that attacked and killed a 63-year-old jogger in Littlerock.

Alex Jackson, 28, was arrested at his Littlerock home Thursday after DNA testing confirmed the presence of the victim’s blood on several of his dogs.

His bail is set at $1,050,000. If convicted, he faces life in prison, a district attorney’s spokeswoman said.

Six pit bulls and two mixed breeds — were recovered from his home, according to the Los Angeles Times. Four of the dogs were believed to be involved in the attack.

“We believe there was evidence that he was aware the dogs were vicious and they have attacked before and he knew of the danger they posed,” said Jane Robison, a district attorney’s spokeswoman.

Pamela Devitt, of Antelope Valley, was attacked by a pack of dogs on May 9 and died en route to the hospital. Coroner’s officials said the cause of death was blood loss, and that they found 150 to 200 puncture wounds on her body.

Since January, authorities had received at least three other reports of Jackson’s pit bulls attacking other people, according to the district attorney’s office.

Experts said the filing of murder charges in such cases is rare.

“When it comes to murder charges, there are very, very few over decades. But increasingly dog owners whose animals attack are facing criminal prosecution,” said Donald Cleary of the National Canine Research Council. Most dogs involved in such attacks aren’t family pets, and have usually been isolated, he added.

Cleary said he was aware of only two cases in the last 15 years in which dog owners have been charged with murder — one in San Francisco and one in Atlanta.

One of those was Marjorie Knoller, an attorney whose dogs mauled her neighbor to death in San Francisco. She is now serving 15 years to life in prison for the 2001 killing of lacrosse coach Dianne Whipple.

A jury convicted Knoller of second-degree murder. A judge later reduced the conviction to involuntary manslaughter, saying there was not enough evidence for Knoller to know her two 100-pound Presa Canarios would kill. The original jury verdict was later reinstated after an appeal.

(Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)   

Donations pour in for Barbara and Bowser

The Oklahoma tornado victim whose missing dog emerged from the rubble in the middle of a TV news interview may get another prayer answered.

Barbara Garcia’s Scottish terrier, Bowser, was spotted under a pile debris by the news team interviewing her after she lost her home in Moore.

“Well, I thought that God had just answered one prayer, to let me be OK,” Garcia said after freeing her dog. “But he answered both of them.”

Now, those touched by the scene, which went viral on the Internet, have donated enough money to make a new home a possibility.

A fund set up to help her get back on her feet and under a new roof was approaching $40,000 as of Monday night, just $10,000 short of its $50,000 goal.

“We’re still looking for a corporate sponsor who will match funds donated, so we can make the dream of building a new home for Barbara and Bowser a reality. Not only did Barbara lose her home, her daughter did as well,” said Erin DeRuggiero who’s spearheading the fund drive.

According to CBS News, the clip of Bowser emerging from the rubble has been viewed more than 3 million times.

“All of the other things … you know, one by one they can be replaced. A lot of it wasn’t even important, but I couldn’t replace him,” Garcia said in an interview.

Garcia didn’t have homeowner’s insurance.

“I was really just compelled, personally, to do something,” said DeRuggiero. In the first five days of the fundraiser, more than $35,000 was raised.

“Before the CBS piece aired, I didn’t know Barbara Garcia personally, but was incredibly moved by her story and of her reunion with her sweet dog,” DeRuggiero wrote on the Gofundme page. “… My goal is to ease her recovery, raise enough money to help her start to rebuild or relocate her life, and above all else, to show her that ‘life in the big city’ also means helping one another, even from 1500 miles away.”

Garcia says she’s overwhelmed by the support: “I didn’t know I was that important. Really, truly, I didn’t. I just thank everybody,” Garcia said in a follow-up interview with CBS News.

The “Build Barbara Garcia a Home” fundraising page can be found here.

Texas drowning victim’s dog is found

gollumGollum, the Italian greyhound whose owner died trying to save her other two dogs from an icy pond in Fort Worth, was found yesterday, not far from her home.

Andrea Benua, 34, died Monday night after plunging into an icy pond to rescue her other two dogs.

Gollum was spotted barking near the pond, and led authorities to where his owner drowned. As his owner’s body was retrieved from the pond Gollum disappeared, sparking an effort by friends and family of Benua to find him.

The SPCA of Texas offered a reward of $ 5,000 for the return of Gollum,

On Friday, a builder working near the Benua home spotted Gollum and returned him to the Benua’s house, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Two wheels for Tuzik

More than six months ago, a dog was hit by a car in St. Petersburg, Russia, and left to die.

But witnesses to the accident picked up the dog and brought him to a veterinary clinic. A veterinarian performed surgery, for free, but the dog’s spinal injuries were such that he lost the use of his back legs and wasn’t expected to walk again.

He was taken to an animal shelter, whose staff couldn’t bear the thought of the dog, who they named Tuzik, spending his life laying in the shelter’s dirt yard.

After a flurry of Internet searching and email exchanges, hampered by language differences, arrangements were made for Tuzik to be shipped to the U.S. and taken in by Pets With Disabilities, a non-profit group in Prince Frederick, Maryland.

The organization rescues and finds home for animals who have been injured through trauma or disabled by illness. It provides support and resources for the families of disabled pets and for shelters attempting to place special-needs animals into loving homes. Joyce Darrell and her husband, Michael Dickerson, founded the organization in 2000 after their dog Duke broke his back playing as a puppy. Tuzik10-09

Tuzik arrived in October.

“Why a dog from Russia? We were wondering the same thing for many months,” Darrell says on the Pets With Disabilities website, “But Tuzik was on a mission to find a better life – and meet a family that would appreciate all he had to offer.” Darrell says he has “brought a sense of royal majesty to the rescue. It’s hard to explain, but when you sit with him, you have no pity for him – he really is not looking for that…

“He’s moving around the rescue with more confidence everyday. He’s begun to play with toys – and he has a huge heart to offer the right family.”

Tuzik is available for adoption. To see more of him and the organization’s other disabled dogs in need of homes, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Pets With Disabilities)

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.