Opposition is mounting to the new game app “Dog Wars,” and among those speaking out is Michael Vick.
According to the NBC blog, Digital Life, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who served 21 months in jail for operating a dogfighting ring, released a statement, in conjuntion with the Humane Society of the United States, against the free app, now available as a free download through Google’s Android Market.
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street. Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app,” Vick is quoted as saying in the statement.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, added, “Android should drop ‘Dog Wars’ from its online market and join the national movement to save dogs from this violent practice. Because “Dog Wars” actually instructs players on how to condition a dog using methods that are standard in organized dogfighting, this game may be a virtual training ground for would-be dogfighters. Its timing and message are all wrong.”
Meanhile, a petition calling for the game’s removal from the marketplace has been launched at Change.org, the same open petition website on which 150,000 people signed a petition demanding Apple drop a “gay cure” game from its App store.
(Android is an open source operating system created by Google. While Google does not approve every app offered there, it does maintain a website where people can complain about objectionable content in games and apps. You can find it here.)
The Massachusetts SPCA also has spoken out against the dogfighting game app.
“Although illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, dog fighting remains a pervasive problem in America and is investigated inby the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement department. Dog Wars is a sickening tool that can be used to recruit potential dogfighters about how to train future victims, perpetuate breed specific stereotypes, and undermine the many years of hard work that animal protection agencies, including the MSPCA-Angell, have contributed to ensure strong penalties against dog fighters and spectators,” said Carter Luke, MSPCA-Angell president
“In the past, dog fighting instruction remained underground; however this ‘game’ brings this knowledge to the mainstream public through a tool attractive to young game players. Similar to the Dog Wars application, real life trainers work to ensure a mean temperament in kind animals from puppyhood, subjecting the young animals to ongoing cruelty and neglect, including living without shelter, enduring bouts of starvation, and sustaining beatings. To improve stamina and muscle mass, trainers also impose exhausting treadmill exercises on their dogs and force them to wear heavy chains around their necks. Identical to Dog Wars, the dogs are fed steroids and stimulants to increase their aggression. Dogs who refuse to fight, or consistently lose, may be shot, hanged, drowned, or electrocuted by their trainers. To further promote viciousness, trainers bait their dogs with intentionally wounded dogs, puppies, cats, and other small animals.
“The training ground that Dog Wars provides has the potential to increase occurrences of animal cruelty as well as violence against humans. In a study performed by the MSPCA and Northeastern University we definitively discovered the correlation between those who abuse both animals and humans. Our research proved that those who abuse animals have the same psychological detachment as those who abuse humans and may harm animals after purposefully injuring people.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: android, animal welfare, app, carter luke, cruelty, dog wars, dogfight, dogfighting, game, google, hsus, humane society of the united states, michael vick, mspca, mspca-angell, pit bulls, society, video games, violence, wayne pacelle
The ASPCA has made its first felony arrest of the year — a 265-pound Queens man accused of punching his 8-pound Chihuahua, the New York Post reported.
ASPCA officials say Jerry Melendez, 33, struck his dog, Spotty, hard enough to fracture his skull and cause a hemmorhage to his left eye.
Melendez took the dog to a veterinary clinic, but, being unemployed, was unable to pay for the medical care vets said would be necessary to save him. So Spotty, 5, was euthanized.
Veterinarians notified the ASPCA about the case, and a necropsy determined Spotty died of blunt-force impact.
“It appears he was just frustrated and became angry at his family dog,” ASPCA Assistant Director Joe Pentangelo said of Melendez, who recently lost his job at a pharmacy.
Melendez’ wife, Lillian Vargas, said her husband only yelled at the dog after discovering the couch had been soiled. The dog, she said, jumped off the couch and ran into the leg of the dining-room table. Authorities didn’t buy that account.
Melendez was charged with animal cruelty and faces a maximum two-year sentence and a fine.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, aspca, beat, beaten, charge, chihuahua, cruelty to animals, dogs, fracture, hit, jerry melendez, necropsy, new york, pets, punch, punched, queens, skull, spotty, violence
The first trial ended Monday in a hung jury.
The new trial is scheduled for May 4, ABC2 in Baltimore reported.
The announcement came after a series of meetings held by the prosecutor’s office this week.
The dog, named Phoenix, was doused with accelerant and set on fire in the summer of 2009 — an act that would make headlines across the country, lead to the formation of a citywide animal abuse task force and provoke outrage from animal welfare advocates.
The five-day trial came to a close Monday after the jurors deliberated for more than 20 hours over three days, but couldn’t agree on a verdict. One juror wasn’t convinced of the brothers’ guilt in the attack, according to news reports.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruetly, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, brothers, burning, courts, crime, dog, dogs, fire, hung jury, johnson, may 4, new trial, pets, phoenix, phoenix case, pit bull, pitbull, prosecutors, retrial, torture, travers, tremayne, trial, twins, violence
We can’t remember a week — at least not since 2007, when federal authorities raided 1915 Moonlight Road – that pit bulls have grabbed so many headlines … without even biting anyone.
Here in Baltimore, the week began with a pit bull parade, sponsored by B-More Dog and designed to improve the image and shatter the misconceptions about the breed — such as the one that they are innately inclined to inflict violence.
Those who ran into the pack of four-legged goodwill ambassadors at the Inner Harbor Sunday got a chance to see beyond the myths.
The very next day, a mistrial was declared in the case against twin brothers in Baltimore accused of setting a pit bull on fire in the summer of 2009. Phoenix, as the dog was dubbed, died five days later. The police investigation that followed, testimony at the trial indicated, was something less than thorough — likely, I think it’s safe to say, because the murder victim was a dog, and, in particular, a pit bull.
Jurors were unable to reach a decision, and a new trial is a possibility, but as of now, it appears the fatal burning of Phoenix will go unpunished. Despite that, she leaves a legacy.
“We waited almost two years for justice for Phoenix and though justice was not met for her, she became the change agent and public figure for animal abuse,” said Jennifer Brause, executive director of Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). “Thousands of people offered their support on her behalf. Because of her, a Mayor’s Commission on Animal Abuse has been formed and the seriousness of animal abuse has been elevated to a national level.”
No dog, I will go out on a limb and educatedly guess, is more often the victim of abuse and neglect than the pit bull type — just as they are the most often maligned. Society, rather than simply label them as aggressive, and ban and muzzle them, needs to come to terms with the fact that, in those instances when they are violent, our fellow humans are responsible for it, training them to fight, attempting to breed for viciousness, and trying to turn their natural born tenacity into something mean and macho.
Which brings us, once again, to Bad Newz Kennels.
Down in Dallas, the adoptive parent of one of Michael Vick’s dogs confronted the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and offered him an opportunity to meet Mel, a shy and fearful pit bull who was apparently used as a bait dog at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels.
The convicted dogfighting ring operator — in Dallas to receive the key to the city — declined, and his entourage shoved Mel’s new owner, local radio personality Richard Hunter, who captured the whole episode on his shaky camera, out of the way.
A few days after that, reports surfaced that Vick’s former estate on Moonlight Road, the Surry, Virginia, headquarters of Bad Newz Kennels, which has sat empty for three years, may be getting a new owner — Dog Deserves Better, a Pennsylvania-based dog rescue and advocacy group.
They hope to turn the former Vick mansion — where 51 dogs were seized by authorities and eight more were found dead and buried on the grounds — into a training and rehabilitation center for rescued dogs.
As usual, bringing up Michael Vick brings on lots of comments, on this blog and others, from his supporters — those who say “give it a rest,” those who say “he served his time,” those who say he’s a different person now who should be permitted to move beyond his besmirched reputation.
Be that as it may, I’m wondering when pit bulls — given they are regularly accused and punished without any trials, given that any violence they display has been instilled into them by humans, given that their bad reputation is mostly undeserved – will be afforded that same opportunity.
As a breed, they’ve done their time.
(Photo by Tim Quinn)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, aggression, animal abuse, animal welfare, animals, bad newz kennels, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, brothers, burned, burned dog, cruelty to animals, dogfighting, dogs, doused, fire, image, investigation, media, mel, michael vick, myths, news, parade, pets, phoenix, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, prosecution, richard hunter, stereotypes, trial, vick, vick dogs, violence
Ace made a big impression on pre-k and kindergarten students at Baltimore’s Lakewood Elementary School yesterday, dazzling them with tricks, soaking up their pats and hugs and swearing in two classrooms whose students took the “Oath of Kindness,” a pledge to be kind to animals.
How this latest stop in our continuing travels came to pass was actually pretty simple, and amazingly bureaucracy-free.
A teacher friend asked if we’d visit. We said yes. She got the necessary clearances and, before you know it, a 130-pound Rottweiler-Akita-chow-pit bull mix was being snuggled, stroked and hugged by a bunch of children half his size.
Karma Dogs, the therapy dog organization of which Ace is a member, came up with two more volunteers who visited the school along with Ace and me – Janet Shepherd and her dog Tami, and Kathryn Corrigan and her dog Puddy.
Together, we covered six classrooms in just over an hour, administering the oath, passing along some basic dog safety tips and stressing the importance of treating animals kindly.
Karma Dogs developed the ”Oath of Kindness” after the death of Phoenix, a pit bull puppy who was set on fire by Baltimore teenagers in the summer of 2009 — not the first, or last, case of its type in the city.
The oath reads: “I … pledge always to be kind to animals. I promise never to hurt an animal, be it dog or cat, furry or fat. I promise to tell my friends to be kind to animals and if I see an animal that is being hurt I will tell an adult right away. Scaly or slimy, feathered or blue, to this promise I will be true.”
After reciting the pledge, the children receive a certificate,which is “pawtographed” by the dog, in this case, Ace. The hope is that children who have openly declared they will not be violent towards animals will remember that, tell their friends and inform adults when they see an animal being taunted or abused.
Of the students Ace and I appeared before, about a dozen raised their hands when I asked who was afraid of dogs. But only one declined a chance to pet Ace. Several more had some trepidations, but those seemed to melt away as they watched the other children interact with him.
They were eager to ask questions, and talk about their own pets. One girl spent three minutes talking about her Chihuahua, which she said had the same name she did. Not until the end of her dissertation did she reveal that her dog was a stuffed toy.
I cautioned them against approaching stray dogs, told them to always to ask the owner before approaching a dog, showed them how to let dogs sniff their hands as an introduction and encouraged them to treat dogs as they’d like to be treated — calmly, kindly and lovingly.
Ace made an impression on the children in several ways, I think –through his size alone, his gentleness and his back story: a stray adopted from the shelter, like most of the other Karma Dogs, who went on to try and help humans.
The teacher behind the event (who also took these photos) was Marite Edwards, a longtime friend of Ace’s. When she took the idea to her principal, she learned that the school and district were looking at ways to add dog safety and kindness to animals to the curriculum.
That another case of animal abuse surfaced in Baltimore over the weekend — that of a cat set on fire by two teenagers — confirmed just how much those lessons are needed.
You can find more information about Karma Dogs at its website.
(Photos by Marite Edwards)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, approach, baltimore, certificate, children, city, compassion, curriculum, dog, dogs, hand, karma dogs, kids, kind to animals, kindergarten, lakewood elementary, marite edwards, mittens, oath of kindness, pets, phoenix, pre-k, safety, schools, sniff, teacher, therapy dog, violence, volunteers
On Tuesday evening, a man walked into his neighbor’s yard and attacked the dog in the face and head with the machete, inflicting injuries that went all the way down to the bone, authorities said.
The dog, named Okashia, lives on the 3000 block of Wylie Avenue in northwest Baltimore.
While she lost a lot of blood, the dog is expected to recover, though vets were worried she might lose an eye.
Okashia, a shepherd-pit mix, was taken to the Emergency Veterinary Center in Catonsville, where she was sedated and given intravenous fluids. She was returned to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where she was expected to be evaluated by a surgeon this morning.
As a result of Okashia’s treatment, and other recent emergency cases, BARCS’ Franky Fund — reserved for the most serious cases of sick and injured animals — is seriously depleted, according to officials at the shelter.
Contributions may be made here.
Caroline A. Griffin, head of Baltimore’s Anti-Animal Cruelty Task Force, said that in addition to injuries to her head, the dog has been found to have bruising to her lungs. Because of that, the decision was made to postpone surgery for her facial injuries until tomorrow.
According to police, Levar J. Bailey, who lives several doors down from the dog’s owner, attacked the dog in her own yard. When police arrested Bailey, 33, he was yelling, “The dog was trying to bite my daughter,” according to charging documents.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Bailey was taken to an area hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and that, according to police, he has a history of mental illness.
The two-year-old dog is owned by Shea-Quan Moore-Williams, who went outside after hearing the dog yelping to find her bloody dog and Bailey in the yard with an 18- to 24-inch black machete.
(Contributions to BARCS are also being collected this week at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, in connection with the ongoing photo exhibit, “Hey That’s My Dog!” Checks can be made payable to BARCS or BARCS Franky Fund.)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, attack, attacked, baltimore, depleted, dog, dogs, emergency, franky fund, machete, mix, neighbor, news, ohmidog!, okashia, pets, pit bull, shepherd, surgery, violence
Dr. Phil’s not one of my favorites — nor are most of the others who appeared on his show yesterday — but at least the program brought the scourge of dogfighting to the afternoon TV talk show forefront.
In addition to Rescue Ink and Paris Hilton, the show featured Rob Rogers, former leader of a dogfighting ring who said “animal fighting has nothing to do with violence whatsoever” — even though he admitted to killing a “couple hundred” dogs.
He was such a moron that even Paris Hilton, by comparison, appeared scholarly when she came on the show to promote dog adoptions and said of dogfighters, “I kind of want to punch them in the face.”
Dr. Phil said on his blog that the show was intended to “shine a harsh spotlight on the animal abuse that still plagues our country.
“We’re not only going after people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to leave their pets cramped in cages with little or no water and blatant neglect, we’re going after those professional ‘dogfighters’ who diligently train their pit bulls to fight other pit bulls to the death and every other form of abuse.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, dr. phil, news, ohmidog!, paris hilton, pets, rescue ink, rob rogers, talk show, television, tv, violence
A mystery mutt has become an unofficial mascot of the riots in Greece by turning up at every major demonstration in Athens for the past two years.
As this video shows, when there’s violence and unrest — and in Greece, that means almost daily – the dog has a habit of appearing amid the crowds.
Fans have even created a Facebook page for him.
“He doesn’t seem to get scared of tear gas, explosions, petrol bombs and people screaming all over,” wrote one blogger. “He actually seems to enjoy himself a lot!”
The dog wears a blue collar, indicating he’s a stray who has been vaccinated.
Some Athens-based bloggers claim his name is Kanellos, which is Greek for “cinnamon.” But others say that dog died in 2008, and the one pictured is Louk. Still others say his name is Theodorus and he lives in Syntagma Square, which has become ground zero for violent protests.
As for why he keeps turning up at the riots, nobody knows.
Some suspect he belongs to either a photographer or police officer. But in most recent photos, the New York Post says, he seems to be “showing solidarity with hooded rock-throwers and barking at cops in riot gear.”
More likely, being a dog, he’s neutral.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, Athens, blue, collar, demonstrations, dog, dogs, facebook, Greece, kanellos, louk, mascot, news, ohmidog!, page, pets, photographs, photos, riot, riot dog, riots, stray, theodorus, unrest, video, violence
The American Humane Association is urging Congress to act immediately in light of Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a federal law that prohibited videos, photographs and other depictions of acts of cruelty to animals for commercial gain.
The association — which bestows the “No animals were harmed” disclaimer on movies — says a new law is needed to “protect animals from the type of horrific cruelty this law was meant to prevent.”
The law, the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, was intended to prevent the creation and sale of dogfighting, other animal fighting, and “crush” videos that show real and intentional harm to animals for “entertainment” purposes.
“Deliberately killing animals for entertainment has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” said American Humane’s interim president and CEO, George C. Casey. “Americans are within their right to keep blatant animal torture and killing out of the marketplace, and the Supreme Court should have made that the priority over the supposed protections of those who take sick pleasure in this material.”
The American Humane Association, whose mission is to protect both children and animals, says the connection between violence to people and violence to animals is undeniable, and many studies indicate that animal maltreatment is “part of a complex constellation of family violence.”
The Supreme Court Monday ruled on the case of Robert J. Stevens, who was convicted of selling videos of dogs fighting each other and attacking other animals. The court ruled the law was overly broad, and that such depictions are protected by free speech.
Stevens, who made the video “Catch Dogs and Country Living” — sounds almost civilized, don’t it? – was the first to be prosecuted under the federal law.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, american humane association, animal cruelty, animals, crush videos, depictions, dog fighting, dogfighting, films, freedom of speech, news, no animals were harmed, pets, pit bulls, robert J. stevens, supreme court, videos, violence
On Easter Sunday, a bloodied 1-year-old dog who’d been pelted with rocks and bricks was brought into Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Staff named her Christy.
Christy was treated for injuries that included several wounds on the top of her head, a swollen and bruised snout, a bloodied nose, hemorrhages in both eyes and a wound on the dorsal surface of a front paw.
The Baltimore Bureau of Animal Control is investigating the case, which was reported by a witness who saw a group of youths — estimated to be 12 or 13 years old — throwing rocks and bricks at a dog who was tied up in the 3700 block of Greenspring Avenue near the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School.
When a concerned citizen went to rescue the dog, BARCS officials say, the youths began throwing rocks and bricks at him.
Animal enforcement officers are contacting the school to determine if the surveillance cameras captured the incident.
Jennifer Mead-Brause, BARCS executive director, appealed to any one with information about the case to step forward.
“This is another shocking incident of animal abuse. Once again the fact that perpetrators are so young … is very disturbing. These young people are in urgent need of help. Incidents of animal abuse are a key predictor of violent criminal behavior.”
Any one with information is asked to call the Baltimore city Bureau of Animal Control at (410) 396-4698.
Mead-Braus added, “I urge people living in the neighborhood to pay close attention to their companion animals. Animals who are allowed to roam at large are an easy target for this type of abuse.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal resuce and care shelter, barcs, beaten, bricks, children, christy, dog, dogs, easter, enforcement, greenspring avenue, injured, injuries, martin luther king jr. elementary school, pelted, pets, rescue, rocks, shelter, stoned, violence, youths