Friday, June 23, 2006

Missing American Bulldog in Toronto


Please keep an eye out for this fellow. He should be easy to spot with his blue eyes.


Vegas is missing, most likely stolen. He is five months old.

His home is in the Toronto area. If you have seen Vegas, please e-mail:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dogs maul boy

Dogs maul boy
Child, 3, killed in attack

A northern Manitoba reserve is in a state of shock after a young boy was killed by dogs while playing outdoors.

A three-year-old boy was playing with his cousin, a little girl, on the Sayisi Dene First Nation in Tadoule Lake when he was attacked by two dogs just after 4 p.m. Thursday.

Thompson RCMP Staff Sgt. Bill Ritchat said the mauling was so severe the boy died before adults knew what had happened.

"Apparently there were just children who saw it," he said. "By the time anyone got there it was over and done with."

Police would not release the name of the boy yesterday but local residents identified him as Rory Clipping.

An autopsy performed in Winnipeg yesterday confirmed he died of multiple injuries stemming from dog bites, including wounds to his throat.

Ritchat said investigators believe a couple of dogs were involved in the attack. One of the dogs, a husky-cross, was shot and killed by a band member shortly after the mauling.

Tadoule Lake, a remote fly-in reserve with about 350 residents, is 960 km north of Winnipeg. Chief Joe Thorassie Jr. said the community was stunned by the grisly death of one of its children.

"Right now everybody's in shock," he said.

Shauna Duck, who moved to Winnipeg from Tadoule Lake a few months ago, said she lived next door to Clipping and her daughter is around the same age.

"He was a very outgoing and happy little boy," she said.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Steve Colwell said many reserves have problems with dogs running loose.

"It's not like in the city where they have to be tagged and licensed and kept either in a fenced compound or on a leash," he said.

Ritchat said the dogs involved were not strays and he's unaware of any previous fatal dog attacks at Tadoule Lake.

First fatality
"There may have been people bit by dogs there but this is the first fatality that I'm aware of on this particular reserve," he said.

Fatal dog maulings occur in small communities from time to time but are extremely rare in urban centres.

"I have never heard of anyone being killed by a dog in Winnipeg," said Tim Dack, the city's animal services spokesman.

How humane is the Humane Society?

The head of the Toronto Humane Society points with pride to the agency's remarkably low euthanasia rate. That achievement, say concerned veterinarians and a respected wildlife agency, may be the problem.
By Andrew Chung
Jun. 18, 2006. 01:00 AM

The historically embattled Toronto Humane Society has come under scrutiny once again as a group of veterinarians raises serious questions about the quality of care the agency provides for the homeless and wild animals under its roof.

The veterinarians, who all worked for the society, other former employees, and unionized workers in the fourth month of a bitter strike, claim animal care is being compromised in a number of ways, including:

-Unlimited admissions to the facility, and maintaining a very low euthanasia rate — going as far as to send unsocialized dogs, which in the past would have been put down, to Chicago for retraining — have contributed to overcrowding and disease;

-Non-domestic animals are not being cared for properly, prompting a wildlife rehabilitation agency to cancel its contract with the society;

-Managers are interfering with professional decisions on euthanasia and adoptability.

An investigation into these and other concerns was launched last year by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). The results have not yet been released.

This is the first time the veterinarians are going public with their concerns.

Tim Trow, president of the society's board of directors, denies the allegations by these veterinarians and past employees, and says he's proud of how the society is doing.

"We have more public support, more members, more donors, 75,000 of them, more donations than ever. We can intervene more with the animals, afford to care for them more. I'm very proud," Trow says. "Look at the statistics."

Those statistics are prominently displayed on the society's website, where they are contrasted with much higher euthanasia numbers for the City of Toronto's animal centres.

They show that from 2000, the year before Trow was installed as president, to last year, adoptions of dogs and cats at the society increased from 51 per cent to 75 per cent of the animals admitted to the shelter, and the euthanasia rate declined sharply from 43 per cent to 9 per cent.

But looks can be deceiving, argue Trow's critics, of which there appear to be many.

The last straw for Esther Attard came one day last October in the form of a scraggly feral cat. When the veterinarian came into work she saw the cat inside her cage, dead, emaciated and yellow discharge oozing from her mouth and nose.

The cat, Speedy, had been at the shelter for about a month, Attard says, and it was difficult to handle or even touch the wild feline.

Shelter workers had hoped to place her with a cat rescue group, but she caught an upper respiratory system illness, and stopped eating.

Meanwhile, Attard says infection was rampant inside the shelter. It was overcrowded, she says, illness was spreading, and animals were taking much longer to recover. The society's known very low euthanasia rate was contributing to the pressure, she adds.

"It died in its cage overnight," Attard says, "and nothing was done for it. It really suffered unnecessarily."
Shortly after Speedy's death, Attard resigned her full-time position of 11 years.

Two other veterinarians have also left since last summer for similar reasons, out of a full- and part-time veterinary staff of nine. Another veterinarian resigned three years ago.

Many of their concerns mirror those of unionized Teamsters employees, most of whom were employees in direct contact with the animals, who have been on strike over a wide range of issues since Feb. 18.

Veterinarian Carolyn Murray parted ways with the society last December after 14 years, disillusioned and disgusted by what was going on.

"There is more than just numbers," she says. "You have to look at the quality of the care, what was actually happening to those animals."

Because of what some veterinarians say is overcrowding and insufficient staff to clean, feed and treat the cats, viruses causing highly contagious upper respiratory infections and distemper were rampant. Animals have died in their cages, they say.

"There were a lot dying of dehydration, not eating well, stressed, picking up diseases because they weren't receiving the optimal preventative care," Murray says.

A year ago, Murray wrote a letter to the society's board of directors, outlining her concerns. She reported how the room designated for cats with respiratory infections was full, and sick cats were placed in the back hallway. Cages were "filthy with diarrhea, food material and nasal spray," Murray wrote.

The shelter's policy is not to refuse any animals that arrive at its doorstep. That does not make the society unique. Some other shelters also have the same practice.

Given the conditions, however, "if you wanted unlimited intake, you have to have higher rates of euthanasia, if you're not looking after them properly," Murray says.

Another veterinarian, Peter Copeland, resigned in 2003 in part because of the overcrowding, he says.
"As a vet, I didn't have input, to say, `I think we've reached our limit, I don't think we should take any more in.' There were times I was dissatisfied with the care as a result," he says in an interview.

When the OSPCA (which, ironically, has been grappling with its own problems over its mandate) hired investigators to look into staff concerns, Murray was one of many employees interviewed.

Tim Trow sits in a conference room adjacent the main office on the society's second floor. As a volunteer board president, he doesn't have an "office," but staff say he is in this room almost every day.

The retired lawyer sits behind piles of paper, signing cheques for dozens of bills. "It's very expensive running this place," Trow, 60, sighs. In 2004, the latest financial statement available, the society spent $10.7 million.

Outside his window, a vast concrete shell has been laid for the new $2 million Cat Sky House, which, when finished, will hold 380 cats and relieve crowding on the main floor.

Behind the building, Trow has built three new grassy dog parks, with agility-training equipment that even the Toronto Police use with their dogs.

Trow's desire to keep animals alive runs deep and wide. Near the main office, a room has been annexed for the isolation of cats with FIV, the feline version of HIV, waiting for adoption.

Another conference room houses cats that have not been socialized and need special attention. "These animals would have been put down in the past," Trow says.

The shelter is overcrowded, he admits, but limiting animal admissions is not the answer.

"It's a terrible suggestion," he argues. "Should we let them die on the street?"

He blames the city's five animal shelters for not taking in the number of animals they should — one-third fewer animals than the society admitted last year.

The city, meanwhile, says it accepts all strays and surrendered pets that come through its doors. The Humane Society receives more animals because it is better known and publicized, says Ron de Burger, the city's director of healthy environments.

Trow is not overly worried about disease incidence. "There are always diseases in pounds and shelters." He says the animals arrive harbouring disease and don't necessarily pick it up at the shelter. "These are minor respiratory diseases along the lines of a cold."

He also rejects claims that animals are dying. "Far, far fewer animals are losing their lives than before," he says, because of low euthanasia.

In fact, deaths inside the shelter are up, Trow's statistics show. The numbers are small in relation to the thousands admitted each year, but in 2000, the death rate (excluding euthanasia) was 0.5 per cent or 48 animals. In 2005, it was 1.8 per cent, or 170 animals, almost four times more.

This, Trow says, is "because of efforts to save them, rather than saying, `This is a sick animal, we need to euthanize them.'"

So why are the veterinarians making these claims?

"I think they genuinely disagree with trying to save more lives," he says.

A thickly built dog bounds through the room, and soon demands to go outside with a few loud whimpers. "Poor doggie," Trow says. "I feel sorry for him."

This is Bandit, the infamous pitbull/Labrador cross that a Justice of the Peace sentenced to death in October of 2004 for biting three-year-old Daniel Collins in the head and leaving him with 200 stitches.

Despite a court order, the society refused to kill Bandit. It is now appealing the sentence. (A new court date has yet to be set.)

"He's not aggressive," Trow says. "Does he look aggressive to you?"

The society has become a haven for dogs that some consider aggressive. On a recent tour of the facility, many larger pens were filled with pitbull- type canines that barked uncontrollably and jumped at the bars.

The society is more apt to keep these dogs alive, even though aggressive dogs at most other shelters are euthanized. The veterinarians that left the shelter say that in Toronto, many of these dogs languish in the shelter.

That's not the case elsewhere. "If it's an animal that we believe will attack and bite a child, we will euthanize it," says Bruce Roney, executive director of the Ottawa Humane Society, which deals with more animals yearly than does Toronto.

"If we receive a court order to euthanize, we euthanize. The Toronto Humane Society is not doing that.

"Of the larger humane societies across the province and the country, most of us operate very similarly and have similar philosophies and assumptions — except the Toronto Humane Society."

Such is Toronto's philosophy now that dogs with major aggression or socialization problems are even being sent to Chicago for intense retraining. About a dozen dogs have taken this trip, at a cost of about $12,000, Trow says.

`There is more than just numbers. You have to look at the quality of the care, what was actually happening to those animals'
Dr. Carolyn Murray

`If I say to Dr. So and So, "Can you tell me why you believe this animal should be euthanized?" I don't see anything wrong with that'
Tim Trow

Why Chicago? The behaviourist, he ventures, is "the best there is."

"It's very successful," adds Trow, because the behaviourist adopts the dogs out from there "and reports back to us."

When it comes to Bandit, more than one veterinarian interviewed by the Star documented him as unadoptable. They, Trow says bluntly, "were wrong."

Veterinarians complain they are no longer asked to assess behaviour to determine adoptability at the society. Canine or feline services co-ordinators or a behaviourist make those decisions now.

But even those decisions can be overridden, says one employee who left the society recently.

"Decisions on euthanasia were often overruled by management," says the employee, who asked for anonymity because staff had to sign a confidentiality agreement this year.

The employee tells of a cat that was recently returned three times by different adoptive owners for aggression. The cat was recommended for euthanasia. "But it's waiting to be adopted again right now."

Vets are also now questioned about their decisions on euthanasia. Attard was shocked when, after she had euthanized three squirrels last August, she received a letter of suspension from the then-shelter manager.

Though Attard had thought the squirrels weren't thriving and should be put down for humane reasons, the letter stated that the squirrels, in fact, "seemed to be quite healthy," and that wildlife euthanasia required "permission from the shelter manager or the shelter supervisor."

The suspension was eventually quashed after she took it to the senior vet, she says.

"I was devastated that they would think I would euthanize just because. I don't make those decisions lightly. I agonize," Attard says.

"This was management interfering with the veterinary procedures."

Trow counters that management is not doing anything wrong.

"I'm the president, I'm responsible for these animals. If I say to Dr. So and So, `Can you tell me why you believe this animal should be euthanized?' I don't see anything wrong with that."

In Ottawa, management stays out of the picture, Roney says. "There's no permission from me or any others. I'm not a vet. I'm not an expert in animal behaviour. They're trained professionals. I'm a not-for-profit manager."

The Toronto Humane Society's chief veterinarian, Steve Sheridan, didn't return requests for an interview. However, at least two current veterinarians say they don't object to management's interference.

Vivian Unger, for instance, says, "I don't mind speaking to a supervisor" about euthanasia cases. Rob Rock says, "Management helps me do my job."

Unger recently went to Trow to discuss an 8-week-old golden retriever puppy, paralyzed with neurological problems. Trow authorized him to be driven to Guelph to be seen by a neurologist and even to buy a new "cart" — akin to a wheelchair for dogs — a cost of thousands of dollars.

"We had a canine cart here in the building someone had donated to us, and his attitude was, `Don't even think about giving this dog an old cart, get him a brand new one,'" says Unger.

This is the second time Trow has been president of the society. The last time, in 1982-83, a group of directors alleged mismanagement and poor animal care and called for a city investigation. The city ended up taking over its management for a year and assuming control of dog catching.

The society's chief veterinarian at the time, Angelo Filiplic, also shocked the public, saying the society itself "should be charged with cruelty to animals." He said a new foster care program and a policy to no longer kill pregnant or newborn strays was leading to overcrowding and rampant disease, and animals were dying. An independent commission concurred.

Nevertheless, Trow says the commission and Filiplic have been "proven wrong." It was the start of animal foster care, in which animals are placed in homes as they wait for adoption. "Every shelter, every pound, now has foster care programs. Our board was visionary."

Current staff members say that since the strike began in February, management has hired more replacement workers, and the facility is cleaner.

But certain policies are still causing concern. Several former staff members say that animals are being taken in and placed in the adoption room sometimes without screening first by a vet, and that some strays are not being held long enough for owners to come by and find them.

Others are concerned about one of the society's main mandates: to investigate claims of animal cruelty.
Linda Vitarelli, a licensed animal cruelty inspector who is on strike, says her department went from four full-time investigators three years ago to just herself when the strike began.

There is now just one "agent" whose sole job is investigations. Unlike "inspectors," agents can investigate but cannot lay criminal code cruelty charges without an inspector's approval.

Veterinarian Sue Carstairs says there were problems with the wildlife. By the time she resigned from the society last July, she says management had "basically closed" the wildlife centre. Trained staff had either retired or were reassigned, and weren't replaced, Carstairs says.

Sandra Prins, a veterinary technician who resigned last January, says the technicians were asked to take on the wildlife work.

"We had no training with respect to wildlife," she says. "I touched a baby racoon maybe once in my life." She called the unit "an absolute mess. Sometimes there wouldn't be anyone to clean or feed there."

Carstairs says some animals were admitted without seeing a vet. She says her decision to leave was fuelled by seeing baby birds, which should be fed every 15 to 30 minutes, being kept in shoeboxes and fed only three times a day.

"They'll starve to death," Carstairs says.

"When I couldn't do anything to make it better, I decided not to work there anymore."

Trow shows a visitor a courtyard that houses three cages filled with baby racoons. A worker is scooping wet food into a garbage bin.

"Does this look closed to you?" he says with a laugh.

Turning to the employee, he says, "You're not working, I guess."

But a highly respected wildlife rehabilitation agency remains dissatisfied with the care the society is providing to wildlife, and last month decided to cancel a five-figure contract it had with the society to take in wild animals from the charity.

Earth Rangers, based in Woodbridge, Ont., took in the animals. Before being transferred, they were to have been first stabilized — given fluids, or pain medication — at the society.

However, Earth Rangers found that the society was providing improper care of animals, says wildlife director Kip Parker. Animals arrived there from the society that should have been euthanized right away, he says, while others weren't transferred in a timely way. "Many of them had to be euthanized," Parker says.

Parker was one of the first staff members at the Toronto Humane Society's wildlife centre when it opened in the mid-1980s (after Trow's first stint as president). He left the society in 1987.

"When I looked at their program to assess what they were doing, I was distressed. It was now gutted, trained staff had been removed, space had been cut back severely. It's been destroyed. It's disheartening. It makes me extremely sad, and it doesn't provide care for wildlife in the City of Toronto."

For his part, Trow says the contract with Earth Rangers was cancelled on a mutual basis, and that the society was finding it expensive and inconvenient to constantly transport the animals through the city.

The Toronto Humane Society has been plagued by internecine fighting for decades. The dysfunction dates as far back as the 1970s, with boards of directors repeatedly swept from office by "rebels."

After Trow left in the early 1980s, radical animal-rights activists gained control. The society faced an audit by Ontario's Public Trustee and lost its affiliate status with the OSPCA (then the Ontario Humane Society), although that affiliation has since been restored.

In 2001, the city stripped the society of its role as the city pound for stray animals.

It was also during this time that management attempted to implement changes to society bylaws to bring its governance in line with modern standards — and possibly end the dysfunction for good.

Two changes considered vital were term limits and a more stringent separation between the board and shelter management. Term limits would have prevented people from sitting on the board indefinitely, as is the case with some current board members, to ensure fresh ideas, says Bruce Reid, a former board member involved in the changes.

"There were people that weren't contributing to the betterment of the Humane Society but didn't want to leave," Reid says. "It was a bit like the Senate, actually."

But management's attempt to remove voting privileges from general members without telling them ended with a judge invalidating all the changes. Eventually, the progressive board members were voted out, and Trow returned as president.

Most non-profit organizations now have term limits, says Agnes Meinhard, director of the Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies at Ryerson University. Indeed, the Ottawa Humane Society does. Without them, research has shown, "the leadership becomes very possessive and the transparency of what the organization does and what they're doing is compromised," Meinhard says.

Current and former staff now say Trow is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the shelter. That's unacceptable for an organization the size of the Toronto Humane Society, Meinhard says, where management should be clearly separated from the board, which is there only to set policies.

Board presidents should restrict their contact to an executive director — in this case, the shelter's three managers. Trow "shouldn't even be even talking to the vets," Meinhard says.

Without such separation, staff might get confused and feel they have two bosses. It's also harder to oversee an organization's finances. "The more you micromanage from a board level, the more dysfunction you can get," she says.

The system is "working fine," Trow responds. "Amending the bylaws is the last thing we need to worry about here. They work well. They're the members' bylaws, and I'm not going to interfere" with them.

As he shows his visitor the adoption cages in the shelter, Trow beams when he talks about how the place has evolved. He says that in the 1920s, nearly 100 per cent of the cats brought in were killed. Now it's the opposite.

Trow walks past an isolation room housing a dog whose intestines are rife with the debilitating parvovirus.

"You see?" he says, peering through the small window. "We can save him."

Spencer to live out his life at animal sanctuary in Utah

Spencer to live out his life at animal sanctuary in Utah
Last Update: 6/16/2006 8:03:06 PM

(MOBILE, Ala.) June 16 -- His fate has gained national andinternational attention, and he doesn't even know it. Now it appears "Spencer" the pit-bull terrier is getting "a new leash on life."

At a Friday news conference, Mayor Sam Jones announced while he supports the shelter's policy of not adopting out pit bulls, he istaking a special interest in Spencer's case. The dog will betransported to a sanctuary half-way across the country to spend therest of his days.

Spencer is to be picked up from the Mobile Animal Shelter by Hearts of Gold Pit Rescue, a group based in Tennessee. They have arrangedtransport and foster-care for Spencer until he can be taken to the Best Friends Network, another group which is based in Utah.

Spencer was discovered May 30 when he was walking down a midtown Mobile street dragging a 10-foot chain. He was dehydrated andstarving. The dog was so thin it was able to slip through the bars ofa wrought iron gate of a residence. It is obvious the dog had suffered physical abuse. He was wearing a leather collar with the name "Spencer" stenciled on it. Spencer is believed to be about 18 months old.

Residents of the area took him to the shelter. Janet Jordan, kennelmanager at the Animal Shelter, commented that the dog is not aggressive towards other dogs at the shelter. "He seems to be real friendly," she added. "He doesn't bark at any of the other dogs." It was obvious to her Spencer had been starved as well as beaten.

Amanda Kramer filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to stop the euthanasia of Spencer. Amanda pleaded to adopt Spencer. Judge Stout granted that petition which stayed the euthanasia pending a hearing. In the subsequent hearing, however, the court ruled Kramer had no standing in the case and the city had the right to follow its unwritten policy, meaning Spencer should die.

Bill Fassbender, director of animal control at the Mobile Animal Shelter, who testified at the hearing, claimed it is a nationwide practice to destroy pit bulls because of the possible danger from them. No evidence was presented, however, to show proof of that statement.

In fact, there is nothing in the Mobile, Alabama ordinances or Alabama law that requires the shelter to kill Spencer or refuse to adopt him to the many people who have offered to take him and give him a good home. Instead, it is the shelter's policy to kill pit bulls not claimed by their owners regardless of their temperament. Apparently, it is an unwritten policy followed by many shelters throughout Alabama.

On their website, David Phelps, a representative for Best Friends Network told readers the organization had contacted the city of Mobile and arranged for Spencer to be given "sanctuary," so he will not be killed, but he will also not be adopted out to anyone else.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Horray for Spencer

June 16, 2006
Mayor Sam Jones Rescues Pit Bull Terrier
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones has negotiated a new home for the Pit Bull Terrier found in Midtown last month - a move that will protect the safety of the public and not alter the city's policy on these breeds.

The Pit Bull, which was found underweight, ill-fed and dehydrated, will be sent to the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society, a group found Friday by Jones and animal shelter officials.

"The issue with the dog has taken away from the city's award-winning adoption program at the shelter," said Mayor Jones. "This arrangement will hopefully return the focus back to the need for good homes for adoptable animals in our shelter."

There are currently 109 dogs in our kennel, with 51 up for adoption. Jones said the Best Friends Animal Society has assured the city that the dog will not be adopted.

"This will allow the city's policy to remain intact," said Mayor Jones.

FROM: Drummond, Barbara []

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Suspect's Dog Bites Him in Police Chase

Suspect's Dog Bites Him in Police Chase

CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) - A police pursuit ended when the suspect's dog, not happy about being bounced around in the car, bit its owner on the face.

Iron County sheriff's officers approached Nicholas T. Galanis, 47, of Salt Lake City to talk to him about some stolen property.

Galanis got in his car and fled with his dog.

The chase went southbound on Gold Springs Road, a windy, bumpy dirt road about five miles northwest of Modena, at around 5:38 p.m. Monday, said sheriff's detective Jody Edwards.

"Deputies could see the dog in the passenger seat getting slammed into the window,'' he said.

The dog, which is partly pit bull, "became so agitated that he bit his owner in the face,'' Edwards said. "And this is what ended the chase.''

The bite removed part of Galanis' nose and he stopped.

Galanis was taken to Valley View Medical Center before being booked into Iron County Jail.
His dog was taken to the Enoch Animal Shelter.

Galanis was held for investigation of supplying false information to police, receiving/possession of stolen property and theft.

Information from: The Spectrum,

Dog Attack on a 3 Year Old

Exclusive: 3-Year-Old Recovering After Dog Attack
June 13, 2006 06:06 AM EDT

A three-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after a dog attacked him. What's surprising is the little boy was attacked by a common family dog, a golden retriever mix.

The boy's father spoke exclusively with Your Newschannel 3. He said his son is making an amazing recovery after a very serious attack.

Three-year-old Phillip Shifflett is alert and talking. But his wounds tell a scary story.

"This portion [the cheek] of the child was hanging on his shoulder, where I could literally see skeleton," said his father, Phillip Shifflett.

Last Tuesday, a golden retriever mix, named Trouble, attacked Phillip in his backyard. Phillip has known trouble his whole life, even lived in the same house.

"What we considered a friendly, tame household pet came close to killing my son," Shifflett said.

Phillip went outside to play, his father trailing just seconds behind. His dad said he didn't see what provoked Trouble, but saw the dog mauling his son.

"We grabbed the dog by his neck and threw him off the child, and scooped Phillip up," Shifflett said. When I picked the child up, the dog lunged back at us."

But Trouble had already torn off the little boy's cheek, biting him several times.

"He also tore off the facial nerve or the nerve that works the muscles of the face," said Dr. Richard Rosenblum, a pediatric plastic surgeon with CHKD. "So, Phillip is going to need a series of surgeries, not only cosmetic, but functionally to repair muscles, nerves and work on scars."

It took 300 stitches to repair the damage, and Dr. Rosenblum said Phillip was lucky not to lose his eye.

"Children always have to be watched, and you have to be hyper vigilant when your child is with any breed, even the family pet like this," Rosenblum said.

Phillip's dad wants parents to listen to that warning, too.

"They saved his life, and put him back together," Shifflett said. "I am fortunate. They next child may not be so lucky."

Phillip will have more tests Monday, and doctors said he could go home as early as tomorrow.

Phillip's dad said he is thankful for the doctors and staff at CHKD who acted quickly to save Phillip's life.

As for Trouble, he is still under quarantine with his owner. After the 10-day quarantine is over, police said Trouble will stay with his owner.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pit bull owners get final notice

Pit bull owners get final notice
Mon, June 12, 2006
They're told to register their dogs by June 30.
After that, 'hardline' enforcement is planned.

The City of London is warning nearly 300 pit bull owners that they have till the end of the month to register their dogs.

Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services, estimates there could be about 290 unlicensed pit bulls in London, based the number of owners who haven't renewed their dog licences from last year.

A bylaw passed last fall requires all pit bulls in London to be licensed.

On May 30, the city issued its fifth and final notice to pit bull owners to have their dogs licensed, demanding full compliance by June 30.

Stanford described the enforcement approach as "balanced" as opposed to "hardline," especially given the uncertainty created by a court challenge of a provincial law banning the breed.

"If a situation requires a hardline approach, it will be implemented immediately," he said.

The issue of dangerous dogs was thrust into the spotlight last month when a 77-year-old Middlesex County man was fatally mauled by his unlicensed pit bull crossbreed.

John Martin's wife and a taxi driver witnessed the attack in the driveway of Martin's home in Welburn, south of St. Marys.

The dog is in quarantine but is expected to be euthanized.

The city has issued 685 licences to pit bulls owners since the province passed legislation last year banning the breed.

When the province amended the Dog Owners' Liability Act, the city followed up with a supporting bylaw.

Existing pit bulls were grandfathered under the law.

The laws require owners to have their pit bulls sterilized and microchipped. The dogs must be leashed and muzzled in public. The licensing fee is $50 plus an application fee of $10.

Bylaw infractions carry fines ranging from $200 to $500. Violations of the Dog Owners' Liability Act carry fines up to $10,000, six months in jail, or both.

Some pit bull owners may have moved or shipped their dogs outside the city or province, Stanford said.

"Some people don't believe they have a pit bull . . . so there's potential for denial," he said.

Some pit bull owners may be awaiting the outcome of the court challenge of the Ontario ban before spending the estimated $200 to $300 to sterilize and microchip their dogs, Stanford said.
"And there are people out there who are just taking the chance of not getting caught," he said.
The law bans pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog "that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs."

The province imposed the ban after a number of vicious attacks by pit bulls on people and pets.
This year, London police have laid eight charges under the Dog Owners' Liability Act, compared with two last year and one in 2004.

Police have responded to 56 pit bull related occurrences this year, compared to 29 last year and 22 in 2004.

Cesar Millan sued by TV Producer

Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan sued by TV producer who claims his dog was injured
Canadian PressPublished: Friday, May 05, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A television producer is suing dog trainer Cesar Millan, star of TV's The Dog Whisperer, claiming that his Labrador retriever was injured at Millan's training facility after being suffocated by a choke collar and forced to run on a treadmill.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Superior Court, 8 Simple Rules producer Flody Suarez says he took five-year-old Gator to the Dog Psychology Center on Feb. 27 to deal with fears of other dogs and strangers.

Hours after dropping off the dog at the facility, Suarez claimed a worker called to inform him the animal had been rushed to a veterinarian. He later found the dog "bleeding from his mouth and nose, in an oxygen tent gasping for breath and with severe bruising to his back inner thighs," the lawsuit claims.

The facility's workers allegedly placed a choke collar on the dog, pulled him onto a treadmill and forced him to "overwork." Suarez says he spent at least $25,000 US on medical bills and the dog must undergo more surgeries for damage to his esophagus.

A call to the Dog Psychology Center, also named as a defendant, was not immediately returned. A spokesman for National Geographic Channel, which airs Millan's show, declined comment.

"As of this time, the National Geographic Channel has not been served with either lawsuit, and we do not comment on pending litigation," said Russell Howard, the channel's vice-president of communications.

The complaint claims breach of contract, fraud, animal cruelty and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other allegations. It seeks more than $25,000 in damages.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Public Appeals for Maximum Sentencing of Premeditated Dog Killers

Public Appeals for Maximum Sentencing of Premeditated Dog Killers
Target: Matt Kelley, Assistant District Attorney, Cape and Islands District Attorney's

On May 31, 2006, two young pit bulls were found dead on a small path near the town's firing range. They had been shot 37 times.

With two high-powered rifles in the back of their car, two men drove their victims to a desolate dirt road at the edge of a wooded area of Cape Cod. Then, police said, Todd A. Soderberg and Keith B. Kynock let their victims go, watching them flee for safety, 40 feet, then 50 feet down the road, before the two lowered their rifles and opened fire. After allegedly firing 37 rounds, their victims lay dead, their bodies shattered from the rifle blasts.

''This was an execution,'' Barnstable police Sgt. Sean Sweeney said. ''This was not a humane act in any way.''

We are not only outraged at this cowardly act of premeditated brutal and cold blooded murder, but that they pleaded NOT guilty! Aside from the weapons charges, the items found in one vehicle denotes these men had other intentions besides the premeditated murder of the two Pit Bulls. We, the People, respectfully ask that each man be convicted on two counts of felony and serve the maximum allowed by the laws of MA.

Keith Kynock, left, and Todd Soderberg are arraigned yesterday in Barnstable District Court. The men were charged with shooting two pit bulls to death. (Staff photo by Steve Heaslip)

ANONYMOUS SIGNATURES WILL BE DELETED, (as will inappropiate language) so please state your name!

How Could You? - Great story.

How Could You?

When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be.

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided
my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I
realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a
thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What Animal Do I Speak Of - Poem

"What Animal Do I Speak Of?"
By Patty Letawsky

Their love is like no other; their heart is pure as gold.
Yet while going on a friendly walk, they're faced with stares of cold.
They're so very close to humans, in how they act and what they do.
Unless you've known their devoted love, it's impossible to explain to you.
They are greatly more MISUNDERSTOOD than any other breed.
We tend to punish this loyal dog, instead of mankind's deeds.
They are always and forever clowns, with a wish for center stage.
Yet while displaying this sense of humor, most people disengage.
They, oh, so want to make new friends, and run and jump and play.
Yet when they happily approach, most people shy away.
Often I've seen children poke, or hop on for a ride.
And when I felt they might get mad, they've only beamed with pride.
I've seen these children yank and pull, with nary a reaction.
Yet media's not interested, unless they've put someone in traction.
They love to snuggle up real close, to give lots of loves and kisses.
Yet they suffer more than any, from unfair prejudices.
What animal do I speak of, whose love is so unique?
If you've truly known one, you know of whom I speak.
There is no creature on this earth who will ever make you merrier.
The animal I do speak of, it's the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dalton McGuinty's Worst Nightmare

Monday, June 05, 2006

Save Spencer - Sign the Petition

Save Spencer the Pit Bull Puppy from being killed!!!!!

Thank You! We need all the help we can get. After speaking to my lawyer, I have learned that I need at least 1,000 signatures to "Keep Spencer Alive" if we want our case to have more leverage. If you wouldn't mind, could you help me get those through MySpace. All I need are names, addresses, and phone numbers to be sent to my messages. I WILL NOT give anyone's information out--we just need the signatures to back us. Also, just in case anyone would like to help flood our mayor with calls, his Chief of Staff's name is Al Stokes, and his number is (251)208-7346. The mayor's name is Sam Jones. Thank you so much for helping out! We need all the help we can get!
Sincerely,Cherish Lombard

My name is Cherish Lombard. I am a Morning radio host at WABB, 97.5 FM in Mobile, AL. I am also a member of the Animal Rescue Foundation, which is a no-kill rescue group in the area. The following was brought to my attention and now I'm trying to get all the help and support that I can. If you cannot help, please forward this email to anyone you think may be able to. A Pit Bull puppy is being put down because of his breed. I have contacted the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Al Stokes, who told me, "The dog will be put to sleep--the city has spoken". I asked about a rescue group here, or out of state taking Spencer, and was told no. (Mr. Stokes's phone number is 251-208-7346). After the following articles were printed, we filed an injunction against the City of Mobile. We have a court date scheduled for Friday, June 9. If we lose, this friendly dog, who has never shown any aggression, will be put down shortly after. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please contact me if you can offer any suggestions to help Spencer, and others like him in the future.
Thank You,Cherish Lombard

Mobile Register
Rescued pit bull terrier to be euthanized
Thursday, June 01, 2006
By RON COLQUITT Staff Reporter

Some Midtown residents rescued a starved, dehydrated pit bull terrier found dragging a 10-foot-chain Tuesday night by calling Mobile Animal Shelter, but the dog will be put down next week because such breeds aren't put up for adoption, authorities said.

The leather collar around the dog's neck had "Spencer" stenciled on it, according to one of the residents who found it wandering the neighborhood. The dog was so thin it was able to slip through the narrow bars of a wrought iron gate to get near the barbecue it smelled being grilled in the back yard of a Hunter Avenue home in Midtown.

Janet Jordan, kennel manager at the Animal Shelter, said Wednesday that the brown-and-white dog appears to be about 1½ years old. It doesn't have scars or open sores that would indicate it had been used for fighting, and it was not aggressive toward other animals at the shelter.

"He seems to be real friendly," the kennel manager said. "He doesn't bark at any of the other dogs." "He's been neglected as far as food," she said. "And when you do that ... their internal organs suffer too because of the lack of caloric intake."

Jordan said the dog will be fed and given water and made comfortable for a week in case the owner wants to claim it. The dog will be euthanized Tuesday if not claimed, the kennel manager said.

"Our policy is we do not adopt out pit bulls because a lot of people use them for fighting, and because he is a fighter, you never know," she said.

Sarah Hopson, director of Mobile County Animal Control based in Prichard, said they have the same policy when it comes to pit bulls.

"We don't adopt out pit bulls. The liability is too great," Hopson said.

Jordan and Hopson said owners of pit bulls never claim them because they know they could be fined or jailed on a cruelty to animals charge.

A person can be fined $172 for allowing a dog to "run at large," Jordan said.

Elizabeth Flott, humane officer with the Mobile Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Wednesday that cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,000 and a year in jail.

Jordan said Mobile Animal Shelter gets about five pit bulls a month. Bill Fassbender, director of animal control at the Mobile Animal Shelter, said Wednesday that most of the pit bulls they pick up show signs of starvation and dehydration.

"It's almost the fighting weight," he said of the pit bull found in Midtown. "They (owners) like to keep them down thin for the fighting. I guess because they're quicker or something."

Mobile Register
Drive under way to save stray dog
Saturday, June 03, 2006
By RON COLQUITT Staff Reporter

WABB radio personality Cherish Lombard has begun a drive to stop the destruction of Spencer, the male pit bull terrier scheduled to be killed Tuesday at Mobile Animal Shelter.

Lombard said Friday that she is seeking the help of the national and regional offices of the Humane Society.

Workers at the Animal Shelter said earlier in the week that the dog appears to be gentle, even though pit bulls have a reputation of being very aggressive and vicious when they attack. Spencer was rescued earlier in the week by Midtown residents.

I think the dog deserves another chance," Lombard said of the dog. "He is being judged for his breed and nobody is looking at his individual, good characteristics."

According to Lombard, a Humane Society official at the national level expressed her concern for the dog, but she had not heard back from the regional official in Pensacola.

"Spencer" was stenciled on the grown dog's collar, and Lombard believes that is the dog's name. The starved, dehydrated animal was discovered Tuesday night dragging a 10-foot chain along Hunter Avenue in Midtown. An Animal Shelter worker took the dog to the shelter where it was given food and water.

The 23-year-old radio host said she will try Monday to get an injunction to delay or stop the euthanization.

Lombard said she contacted Al Stokes, Mayor Sam Jones' chief of staff, but he refused to intervene. Stokes was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Bill Fassbender, Animal Shelter director, said pit bulls brought to the shelter are destroyed unless the owner claims them, because the breed is considered too dangerous to be adopted.

"The decision has been made," Fassbender said Friday.

"I don't want to put the animal down no more than anybody else does, but we have to look out for the liability of the city and look out for the safety of the public

Child mauled Friday

Mayor weighs law on pit bulls
Child mauled Friday is set for more surgery
By Kevin O'Neal

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson is considering an ordinance that would try to curb attacks by pit bulls, his spokesman said Wednesday.

I will post the picture when Blogger allows me to.
VICTIM: Amaya Hess, 2, whose injuries could leave her blind in at least one eye, is scheduled for surgery today to repair her scalp. - Photo provided by family

The announcement came as the family of Amaya Hess for the first time described the 2-year-old's struggle to survive an attack last week that could leave her blind in at least one eye.
She faces more surgery today. Doctors at Riley Hospital for Children are expected to take a muscle from her back and transfer it to her scalp, according to the girl's attorney and family. It's one of many operations expected for the child, who was attacked Friday in the 1300 block of South Belmont Avenue on Indianapolis' Near Westside.

"Should we look into creating a law that can prevent attacks from happening?" said Justin Ohlemiller, spokesman for Peterson, who said it was too soon to talk about specific rules. "There are other cities like Denver and Toledo that have breed-specific laws in effect."

An advocate for the breed, however, quickly criticized the possibility.

"I would be very much against that -- it's a knee-jerk reaction," said Amy Lyon, owner of two male pit bulls and a member of the Indy Pit Crew club of pit bull owners. "The dogs aren't the problem, it's the people. . . . All dogs, in the wrong hands, can be dangerous."

The attack unfolded as Amaya sat in a stroller, her mother said.

"It happened really fast," said Bobbie Tomlin, 20. "I looked down, and the dog was on her."

She had been walking with her daughters through the residential neighborhood, Tomlin said, and stopped on Belmont at the house where Michael Hamilton lived. Hamilton opened a door, and the dog ran from the house and attacked her daughter.

The assault was so intense that a claw hammer was needed to pry the dog's jaws off the girl, Tomlin and her attorney, Shawn M. Schilling, said.

Amaya is heavily sedated, and Tomlin said she has been able to only barely acknowledge her mother's presence.

The dog, named Ozzie, has been euthanized, said Leslie Fatum, administrator of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. A second pit bill mix, named Early, is being held by the agency because of squalid conditions in the area where the animal was kept. "We felt it was not healthy for the dog to be kept there," said Media Wilson, community outreach coordinator for Animal Care and Control.

Any decision on criminal charges against the dogs' owner will not come before Friday, according to Roger Rayl of the Marion County prosecutor's office. He said the prosecutor first needs to receive a report from the animal control agency before considering charges.

Even more time will pass before Amaya's family will decide whether they will sue. Schilling said they're waiting to clear up any questions about the dog's ownership.

Dog that mauled toddler to be put to death today
By Vic Ryckaert

A dog that mauled a toddler last week at a Near-Westside home will be put to death today, the dog's owner and an animal control official said.

Mark Hamilton, 44, voluntarily surrendered his dog Ozzie to Marion County Animal Care and Control, a move that allows officials to kill the animal.

The dog, a pit-bull mix, attacked 18-month-old Amaya Hess on Friday, sending the child to the hospital with critical injuries to her face and eyes. In a report describing the mauling, Indianapolis Police Officer Lawrence Hoskins said "half of the child's face was missing."

"He don't like strangers, but I never saw him do anything like that," Hamilton said Tuesday. "If I would even imagine he could do something like that, I would have gotten rid of him a long time ago."

A second pit-bull mix, Early, also was taken from the home. Her fate has yet to be decided.

Animal Care and Control officers on Tuesday issued nine citations to Hamilton and two more to a nephew, Michael Hamilton. The citations were in connection with the injuries to Amaya and violations involving the care of the dogs.

The men also are under investigation for possible criminal charges stemming from the attack. Detective Karl Willis said he is still gathering evidence and hopes to meet with prosecutors by Friday. Willis also is investigating allegations that the same dog bit two other people within the past year.

"Why anybody would keep a dog around that's predisposed to biting people is beyond me," Willis said.

Yadira Mejia, 32, told police the animal bit her on July 2. According to a police report, Mejia said she was knocking on the door when it opened and the animal bit her hand.

In November, Martha Short said the animal bit her on the stomach as she was walking on the sidewalk.

On Friday, police said, Amaya and her mother, Bobbie Tomlin, 20, went into the front yard of a duplex in the 1300 block of South Belmont Avenue to speak with Michael Hamilton.

He went inside to get a cigarette for Tomlin and left the front door open. Ozzie was supposed to be locked in a cage, he told an animal control officer, but somehow the dog escaped to attack the toddler.

Michael Hamilton hit the dog several times with a hammer and a piece of wood before he managed to pry its powerful jaws from the child, an animal control officer said in a report.

Efforts to reach the child's family were unsuccessful. They are scheduled to discuss Amaya's health today at Riley Hospital for Children.

Dogs chase, bite girl - IN, Boxer and Bulldog

Dogs chase, bite girl in Northside park
By Courtenay Edelhart and Vic Ryckaert

An 11-year-old girl was bitten in the back of the leg after two dogs chased her at Holliday Park on the city's Northside this morning.

Sydni Yates had been on her way to the park's nature center, 6363 Spring Mill Road, around 11:30 a.m. to view some exhibits when a large, white American Bulldog began bearing down on her. The bulldog was followed by another dog, a black boxer.

"I was running around like a maniac, screaming and trying to get away," Sydni said.

Her aunt, who was nearby, shouted at her to stop running, hoping that might calm the animals. It only afforded the bulldog the opportunity to bite her on the back of her left thigh.

The dog released her when she started screaming.

Park police and animal control officers arrived on the scene quickly and captured both dogs about a half hour after the incident.

The girl's wounds were minor and she was given first aid at the nature center, but will be taken to a hospital later as a precaution.

Her mother, Dana Yates,39, of Greenwood, was grateful it wasn't worse.

"If you are going to have those kinds of dogs, those vicious ones, why can't owners be more responsible?" she said. "We have dogs, too, but we keep them under control."

Control officers captured the dog and a brindle-colored Boxer it was roaming with. Officials are currently trying to locate the animals’ owners, said Media Wilson, spokeswoman for Marion County Animal Care and Control.

Also today, officials killed a pit-bull mix that mauled a toddler last week at a Near-Westside home. Wilson said the procedure to dispose of the animal went smoothly this morning.

Mark Hamilton, 44, voluntarily allowed the county to kill his dog Ozzie. The dog, a pit-bull mix, attacked 18-month-old Amaya Hess on Friday, sending the child to the hospital with critical injuries to her face and eyes.

In a report describing the mauling, Indianapolis Police Officer Lawrence Hoskins said “half of the child’s face was missing.”

People, not dogs, are responsible for how their pets’ behavior, said Laura Gonzo, a spokeswoman for Indy Pit Crew, a group of pit bull enthusiasts who want to change the breed’s tarnished image.

“Everybody needs to be responsible,” Gonzo said. “It’s about personal responsibility. Keep your dogs on leashes. Keep your dogs under control. If you are a parent, keep an eye on your children and don’t let them approach strange dogs.”