Monday, November 30, 2009

West Virginia: Lowell Bowden, 70, in critical condition after being attacked by a pit of pit bulls

WEST VIRGINIA -- A 70-year-old Monroe County man is in critical condition at a Virginia hospital after being attacked by a pack of dogs Friday near Lindside.

Lowell Bowden was severely injured by what Sheriff Michael Gravely described as “four or five dogs — all of the pit bull breed.”

 Initially taken to a local hospital, Bowden was later flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital where he was listed in critical condition Monday.

 The attack occurred in the Pine Grove area near Lindside, according to the sheriff.

 Deputy Michael Heller responded to a 911 call received at around 4:20 p.m. Friday, reporting a man being attacked by dogs.

 “Charges are pending at this time,” Gravely said. “We’re getting all the information and evidence together before releasing the details. We hope to wrap up the investigation in the next day or so.”

 He added, “This is a terrible thing.”

 A woman answering the telephone Monday afternoon at the home of the victim’s daughter-in-law, Linda Ludwig, said the family was with Bowden at the hospital in Roanoke.

( - Nov 30, 2009)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Colorado: Bicyclist mauled by Great Pyrenees tasked with protecting livestock

COLORADO -- As soon as Renee Legro saw the sheep, she screamed.

The herd, 1,300 strong, has been coming for 30 years to graze in this valley on the backside of the Continental Divide. But as Colorado has become an adventure sports destination, the once-empty valley has filled with hikers, campers and mountain bikers like Legro, and she was about to tragically embody the collision of the old West with the new.

Legro, 33, screamed because she knew what came with the herd -- guard dogs. Shortly after she rolled down a hill and came upon the sheep, a dog leaped at her, locked its jaws on her hip and yanked her off her bike.

A second dog pounced as she fell. The two enormous canines, powerful enough to fend off bears, tore at her until her cries drew two campers who drove them off. The emergency-room doctor lost count of how many stitches she required.

To Legro and her husband, Steve, there was one person responsible -- Sam Robinson. One of a dwindling number of sheepherders in Colorado's mountains, Robinson, 54, turned to guard dogs a decade ago, after the state banned the use of traps to prevent mountain lions, coyotes and bears from destroying herds.

"We don't have any other option," Robinson said.

The Legros see things differently. In their years of hiking, biking and skiing the magnificent open spaces near Vail, they have fled from ranchers' dogs several times. "I cannot bring my dog up to the forest and let it run wild and attack people," said Steve Legro, 37. "Neither should anyone else."

They wanted Robinson charged with a crime.

This fall, on a blustery day 14 months after the attack, Robinson drove through the high mountain valley in his beaten Ford F-250 pickup. A rifle leaned against the dashboard, and an empty can of Rockstar energy drink sat in the cup holder.

With the perpetually tan face of someone who spends his time outside, Robinson explained how his way of life was under attack.

"It's the suburban mentality -- they think their milk comes out of a plastic jug, they think their meat comes out of a container," he said. "They don't realize you have to live like a Third World person to produce meat in the United States."

A herder who can trace sheepherding back generations in his family, he grew up helping his father run sheep on the Flat Tops, 10,000-foot-high plateaus northwest of here. Robinson's three children learned to walk at a pass at 12,000 feet -- on 25,000 acres where the National Forest Service permits his herd to graze each summer.

At the center of the land lies Camp Hale, formerly an Army base, now a huge draw for summertime recreation. Robinson would move his herd when warned of a major event at the camp, such as a religious meeting that drew tens of thousands. But the Lycra-clad vacation crowd irks him.

"My dad warned me, this state was going to be turned into one big playground," Robinson said. He sees sheepherding as environmentally virtuous, unlike the recreation industry, which has filled his beloved mountains with bike shops, hotels and spas -- and the sewers and electrical lines to support them.

"You're producing a very high quality product from fresh air, sunshine and rain," he said of raising sheep. The recreation industry, he said, "produces smiles and giggles but not much else."

Robinson revels in his unusual lifestyle. "It's almost like time travel. During the day I'm doing the same thing they were doing 6,000 years ago," he said. "Then we go to Denver and see the opera, watch planes land at the airport."

Robinson and his wife, Shari, were returning from a trip to the Midwest on July 9, 2008, when they swung by to check on the herd, being tended by a hired Peruvian shepherd. They were startled to find the area overrun with mountain bikers. Vail's recreation department had scheduled a bike race and never informed the herders.

The Robinsons figured their dogs wouldn't be a problem, though five days earlier one, Lucy, bit a jogger and was taken away by animal control. It was the first time, the couple said, any of their dogs behaved aggressively toward a person.

The Robinsons ordered the remaining two -- Tiny, 9, and Pastor, 11 -- tied up during daylight to avoid another incident. The race was set to conclude before sundown.

Though not trained to attack people, the dogs, both white Great Pyrenees, were fierce protectors of Robinson's herd. Pastor's muzzle bore scars from skirmishes with coyotes. Tiny once chased a mountain lion up a cedar tree.

For Renee Legro, the July 9 event was to be her first race in years. A Chicago native who fell in love with Colorado on family ski vacations, she moved near Vail after getting her degree in speech pathology in 2000.

She married Steve Legro, a fugitive from Boston's urban sprawl. They hike and bike, but in outdoor-crazed Colorado they are more a normal, middle-class couple than extreme adventurers.

Caring for their daughter, Megan, born in 2007, had kept Renee off a mountain bike until she and a friend signed up for the race. "This was going to be my one big night out," she said.

During the race, she was beset by problems with her bike, first a snapped chain, then a flat tire. By the time she fixed the flat, the sun was setting and the race largely over. Renee could have returned to the start with a race organizer but decided to finish the course.

She was almost done when she descended the hill and saw the sheep in her path.

Eagle County animal control officers told the Robinsons there would be no criminal charges. Tiny and Pastor were quarantined and could never be let loose again, so the Robinsons requested they be destroyed. They asked their insurers to contact Renee and figured that was the end of it.

But the Legros were outraged. They felt the Robinsons weren't showing remorse and heard -- inaccurately, the Robinsons say -- that they were still using guard dogs even after the attack.

The Legros spent weeks scouring state laws and collecting stories of other recreationists threatened by ranchers' dogs. Finally, they persuaded Eagle County Dist. Atty. Mark Hurlbert to treat the case like any dog attack. He charged Robinson with a single misdemeanor -- ownership of a dangerous dog.

"Unfortunately," Hurlbert said, "his dogs committed a crime."

In Colorado, owners of a dog that protects livestock are exempt from civil liability for bites. There is no exemption in criminal law. To convict Robinson, prosecutors merely had to prove his dogs bit Renee.

Alarmed, Robinson decided he couldn't get new dogs to protect his herd. "I would never touch another of them, not the way that law reads," he said. "No matter how good a dog is, you never know."

But free of the protective dogs, Robinson's herd was raided by predators. He lost 26% of his sheep in the last year. His sense of victimization grew. First the state had outlawed the traps that kept his herd safe. Now, he said, it was taking away his last line of defense.

I believe that the government pays ranchers for livestock killed by wild animals.

In September, Robinson appeared in Eagle County Municipal Court and argued that other dogs, not his, could have been responsible for the attack. But after Renee recounted the mauling in agonizing detail, the six-member jury convicted Robinson at the end of a one-day trial.

At the sentencing in October, the Robinsons, including Sam's 87-year-old father, and their supporters sat on the left side of the courtroom. The Legros -- and Renee's parents and brother -- sat on the right.

Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Sullivan tried to promote a reconciliation, or at least a truce, but that was not to happen. "These two sides of the room," she said, "don't have any understanding of what the other side has gone through."

The Legros spoke first. Tearing up, Renee Legro said she had to close her fledgling speech pathology business after losing a month to hospitalization and weeks after that to depression and insecurity.

She faces more surgery and has trouble walking, and she is terrified around dogs -- including the family's 16-year-old pet, Sarah. "I'm not as confident as I used to be," she told the judge. "I'm not as strong as I used to be."

Legro asked for jail time, but Sullivan was clearly reluctant. "Dogs end up being the last protection the herd can have," the judge said.

Sullivan asked Robinson if he had thought of moving his herd out of Camp Hale. Robinson, who was forbidden by his insurance company from admitting to the attack, said he was required to graze there under his deal with the Forest Service. If he had been warned of the race, he reiterated, he could have moved them and avoided what he called "this whole horrific thing."

Sullivan asked the Legros if that changed their stance.

It didn't. "No one seems to get the idea that these dogs need to be taught not to bite someone," Steve Legro said.

Sullivan spared Robinson jail -- he could have received up to 18 months -- but ordered him to perform 500 hours of community service and to donate $500 to charity.

Each side left the courtroom unhappy. "This is a Sunday school teacher who has no record who's suddenly a criminal," Shari Robinson said of her husband.

The Legros said they had been torn about asking for jail time but felt that Robinson remained unrepentant. "He is so focused on his right to be there that he couldn't bring himself to see what it is like on the other side," Renee Legro said.

The couple returned to their home in Eagle, a middle-class community largely inhabited by families priced out of Vail. They live in a new two-story house in a development designed to resemble the Victorian and Craftsman-style homes that speckle these mountain towns.

The small subdivision and its nearby park are filled with young families walking their dogs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Jersey: Holland Township decides against wolf hybrid ban, don't care that your pets are being mauled to death

NEW JERSEY -- Wolf-hybrid dogs will not be banned in one in a rural northwestern New Jersey town.

Holland Township officials had proposed the ordinance in September, after five of Cliff Zager's 14 wolf dogs escaped. The animals have gotten out twice since then.

The Township Committee rejected the proposal late Tuesday night,just one day after the latest escape - the fifth such incident since 2005.

However, the panel will consider another measure that may limit the number of wolf dogs that may be kept to seven.

Wolf hybrid dogs are defined as dogs with a wolf ancestor in the past three generations.

No one has been injured by the animals, but police say the dogs killed two domestic turkeys the last time they got out.


(News12 - Nov 25, 2009)


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oregon City man gets jail time for killing 6 puppies

OREGON -- A Oregon City man who slit a dog's throat and beat six puppies to death will serve 130 days in the Clackamas County Jail.

Joshua Kyle Stitt, 21, pleaded guilty Friday to four counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree and a misdemeanor charge of animal abuse.

Joshua Kyle Stitt. Just 21 years old and he
already has a long mugshot history
"There are people who are going to read about this sentence and ... be more angry than if you killed a child," said Circuit Judge Robert D. Herndon.

Herndon also sentenced Stitt, to 18 months of supervised probation followed by 3-1/2 years of unsupervised probation.

On Sept. 4, Stitt stabbed his father's blue heeler-Doberman mix, Blue, 10 times using a pocket knife with a three-inch blade and cut the dog's throat, said Sarah Dumont, a Clackamas County deputy district attorney.

The dog did not die quickly, Dumont said.

Stitt also beat six puppies to death with a metal rod, dismembering some of the dogs, Dumont said.

Stitt did not offer any explanation for his actions. His attorney, Charles A. Moore said Stitt killed the older dog because he feared it was going to bite his wife. He killed the puppies because he was moving and didn't have the money to take them to the pound, Moore said.

Blue belonged to Stitt before he joined the U.S. Marines. While he was away, the dog bonded with Stitt's father, John.

John Stitt told deputies his son was discharged from the Marines because of mental problems.

Herndon ordered Joshua Stitt to undergo a mental evaluation and to follow whatever treatment is recommended. He also prohibited Stitt from possessing any animals for the five years he is on probation.

"If it were up to me, you'd be prohibited from owning any animals for the rest of your life," Herndon said.

(The Oregonian - November 13, 2009)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Peru: Santos Garcia, 85, killed by his own pit bull

PERU -- An 85-year-old man who owned a pit bull bled to death after being brutally attacked in the leg and face by the animal, which apparently became enraged after being punished, Peruvian media reported Thursday.

Santos Garcia died Wednesday at the Casimiro Ulloa Emergency Hospital after suffering severely torn muscle tissue in one of his legs and the loss of part of his nose, his upper lip and right eye, the El Comercio newspaper said.

The elderly man had punished the dog two days ago for destroying some household objects and did so again on Wednesday, which prompted the dog to retaliate.

The victim, who lived in Lima’s San Juan de Miraflores district, died en route to the hospital.

The dog was locked in a room in the house after the attack and later taken at the request of the family to an anti-rabies center, where a decision will be made on the animal’s fate.

Pit bulls have become very popular in Peru in recent years as guard dogs, but they also are used by gang members to attack their victims.

(Latin American Herald Tribune - Nov 12, 2009)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Toledo woman pleads not guilty in animal cruelty case

WASHINGTON -- A Toledo woman charged with 20 counts of second-degree animal cruelty pled not guilty Friday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Theresa Hahn, 26, was accused of animal cruelty after Lewis County deputies seized 20 dogs, most of them Pomeranians, after they were found living in allegedly inhumane conditions at her property in early October.

Theresa Hahn

Judge R.W. Buzzard released her, without bail, on the condition she would allow a Lewis County Animal Shelter official to inspect her property and the living conditions of the other 100 plus animals on her property located on the 100 block of Rockridge Lane.

Prosecuting attorney Shane O'Rourke asked Buzzard earlier to consider bail to be set at $5,000.

Early last month, Lewis County deputies, accompanied by animal control and animal health officials, found dogs that were being kept in a double-wide modular home that smelled of animal waste. Over 150 dogs were estimated to be on the property.

Workers had to put on breathing apparatuses before entering the residence.

One Pomeranian puppy died an hour after being rescued, and another had its eye removed because of an infection.

Hahn denied the allegations of animal cruelty saying many of the animals were ill and had been rescued. She denied deputies claims that there was fecal matter all over the house.

She moved to Lewis County following a separate investigation into animal cruelty in Clackamas County, Ore., where she once lived.

She said she will fight to get her dogs back from the animal shelter.

(TDN - Nov 7, 2009)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dog attack girl has 17 stitches

UNITED KINGDOM -- An eight-year-old girl has had 17 stitches in her face after being mauled by the family dog.

Courtney Charlesworth was stroking the pet at her home in East End Park, Leeds, when it turned on her.

Her mother said she was "very lucky" not to have been blinded as one bite narrowly missed the schoolgirl's eye.

Courtney's parents, who bought the animal for £20 to save it from being abandoned, have warned other families to be more careful when getting a dog.

The schoolgirl's father, Christopher Charlesworth, said he offered to take the dog in after hearing it was going to be tied to a tree and abandoned by its owner.

'No indication'
He said the animal, who the family had for a month, got on well with his three daughters and there had been "no indication" that it would attack.

He told BBC News: "It's just heart-wrenching. If it's going to bite anybody you want it to be yourself, not your kids. It's just not nice at all.  No more dogs. We'll stick to goldfish."

Courtney said she was "very frightened" during the attack.

She said: "I was just stroking it when it was on his bed and then he just went for me. He bit me then I had blood all over my face. It was all over my pyjamas, my top and all in my hair and I went to hospital."

Courtney's mother Julie was in the bath when the attack happened downstairs.

She said: "I'd left [the dog with the children] loads of times by themselves, even when we got the dog and he was fine with them.

"I just heard the dog barking and growling so I rushed downstairs and by the time I'd got downstairs Courtney was at the bottom of the stairs covered in blood.

"She was screaming... she was terrified, she didn't know what had happened to her. If I thought for one minute [the dog] would have hurt them I would never have left them in the first place."

[In the video clip, the dad is talking about the dog and how it seemed safe with the kids - at first. It sounds at the very end that he says that anyone thinking of getting a Staffordshire should get another... as in another breed of dog. But it's hard to tell with his accent and then the clip abruptly ends.]

(BBC - November 6, 2009)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Man accused of pouring bleach on girlfriend's cat, then punching her

OREGON -- A 32-year-old Portland man is accused of pouring bleach on his girlfriend's cat, then punching her in the face when she begged him to tell her what had happened to her missing cat.

She later found the bloodied short-haired feline, meowing in a kitchen cabinet of her home, with injuries to its nose and face, according to court documents.

Portland Officer Gabe Hertzler rushed the cat to Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, and took photos of the cat owner's face, which was red and swollen.

Faces of Evil: Daniel Warren Clark
Daniel Warren Clark now faces fourth-degree assault, harassment and second-degree animal abuse charges. He's pleaded not guilty and is being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center.
The incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 24 during a domestic dispute.

The girlfriend told police she was trying to help fix her boyfriend's computer, but that angered him, sparking a confrontation about her suspicions that he was cheating on her, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

The girlfriend said she left the house. When she came home around 2 a.m., she noticed two of her cats and her dog hiding in the living room, looking scared. A third cat was missing.

When she walked into the bedroom, she saw spots of blood on the wall, and feared that her boyfriend had harmed her cat. He told her the blood was his own, but she didn't see any injuries to him, she told police.

She begged him to tell her where her missing cat was, and called her boyfriend a "punk," the affidavit says. He pushed her over the back of a sofa, causing her to fall to the floor. He came at her again. She tried to hit him, but missed, and he punched her in the right side of her face, knocking her to the ground, the affidavit says.

The girlfriend left her home, taking two of her cats and the dog to a neighbor's home.

By 4:30 a.m. Oct. 25, she returned to her home, and again urged her boyfriend to tell what happened to her cat. Clark left the house, and the woman heard the cat meowing from the kitchen cabinet. She found the cat with blood on its face and mouth.

Dr. Kathy Keenan, of Dove Lewis animal hospital, said bleach is very abrasive, can burn the cornea of the eye and potentially be blinding. But tests showed the bleach didn't burn the cat's corneas, Keenan said.

The nearly year-old cat, named Nemesis, was released the same day.

Clark is on post-prison supervision stemming from 1996 convictions for attempted first-degree rape and first-degree assault of an ex-girlfriend.

As he awaits trial on the recent charges, the court ordered him not to own, possess or supervise any animal, and undergo random urinalysis tests if released from custody.

Court records show he's been dating his girlfriend for nine months, is unemployed and had completed an anger management class in prison.

Last month, another Portland man who beat his ex-girlfriend and impaled her pet fish was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation.

A 1997 national survey by a Utah State University professor and two others found that the overwhelming majority of battered women shelters surveyed indicated that women seeking shelter mention experiences of pet abuse. The animal abuse is done by perpetrators to frighten their partners, as a threat of interpersonal attacks, and, as a form of retaliation or punishment.

(The Oregonian - November 4, 2009)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tennessee: Little girl, 10, gets media attention in small town newspaper for killing a deer.

TENNESSEE - Gretchen Elmy, 4th grade student at Woodbury Grammar School, killed her first deer on 11-01-09 at 4:00 p.m. at a distance of 100 yards.

I do not have a problem with most legal hunting (people who use dogs and use bait animals like dog fighters to "train" their dogs are another story). I do have a problem with people not having respect for the animals that they maim and kill. 

First, let's quit referring to maiming and killing animals as "bagging" them. You didn't "bag" them, you killed them (hopefully quickly, but we all know that rarely happens). They also say they "harvested" them; no, you killed it. 

Statistics from Wildlife & Game commissions say that about half the wildlife shot at, whether with bows/arrows or guns, are not retrieved by the hunters. The animal is wounded and running for their lives and the hunter either cannot find them to finally put them out of their misery by killing them or they are so engrossed in finding animals to kill that they don't care that this wounded animal ran off and is somewhere suffering, slowly dying. Sometimes the crippled animal lies there for days or drags itself around, gut shot or with a broken leg or wing, until finally dying of starvation and its injuries.

Show me that this kid was respectful about taking this animal's life. Show me that her family paid to have it processed and utilized everything they could from this animal. Show me that she cares about animals; not just being driven somewhere, handed a gun and told to pull the trigger on a deer that was likely been baited for months with corn at a certain spot (and possibly one of those somewhat tame deer that roam around subdivisions).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ohio: Mastiff Breeder Sues Cops for $2.3M

OHIO -- A man who breeds rare mastiffs for police departments says a police chief violated contract and ruined a bloodline by having one of his female dogs spayed, costing him as much as $2 million in lost puppies.

Ohio-based TNK9 sued The Village of Harwood Heights and Police Chief Martin Podesek in Cook County Court.

Thomas Hockett, one of only a few Cane Corso mastiff breeders in the country, donates the large, intelligent dogs to police departments for use in narcotics investigations.

I have NEVER seen a Cane Corso or a Mastiff being used in the USA by police.

The Cane Corso, which is large even for a mastiff, has an ancient lineage; Romans used them in wars. Hockett says he funds his donations by selling puppies for $2,000 to $3,000 each.

He says that the contract he signed with Harwood Heights clearly prohibited spaying the dog. But he says he saw a surgery scar while visiting the dog and learned that Podosek had had it spayed.

When asked why he had breached the contract, the chief said that “Hockett could take him to court,” according to the complaint.

So he did.

Hockett says the dog’s bloodline has been destroyed, and he will have to import another female from Europe for more than $10,000.

The dog could have had up to five litters in her lifetime – about 50 puppies – of which about 35 would be female. By the third generation, there would be 525 salable puppies, Hockett says.

He demands $2.3 million for breach of contract. He is represented by The Moran Law Group.

(Courthouse News - Nov 3, 2009)