Thursday, January 31, 2013

UPS driver finds dog emaciated, freezing with no food, water

INDIANA -- A dog found emaciated and freezing, tied up outside without any food or water, is recovering thanks to the quick thinking of a delivery driver.

A UPS driver spotted the dog tied to a tree on a short leash with no shelter outside a home in Bowling Green in freezing conditions last week.

The Clay County Humane Society seized the dog from the home, but he was nearly skin and bones and wasn't initially expected to survive.

Since then, the dog, who was renamed Phoenix, has rallied, gaining weight and energy with the help of a foster family.

Shelter officials said Phoenix is deaf, has lost an eye and is recovering from frostbite on his ears.

He's amassed quite the Facebook following, with the shelter posting daily updates and pictures . So-called Phoenix Fans have sent letters and donations from across the country.

"When I look at the pic of him in the almost 'fetal position' nothing but skin over bone, with a chain around his neck tied to a tree (chain no longer than 4 ft) in the freezing cold, no food, no water, no shelter.. It breaks my heart," the dog's foster mom posted on the shelter's Facebook page. "Now, to see this boy playing with my kids, sleeping beside my bed, (waking up to his big ol face resting on my mattress) it is truly amazing how gentle of a soul he really is!"

The Clay County Sheriff's Department did not have any information about the incident.

(WRTV - Jan 31, 2013)

Onset Water Department employees save abandoned dog

MASSACHUSETTS -- Onset Water Superintendent Paul Bokoski was outside the department's East Wareham building early last week, when he heard an unusual sound coming from the snow.

It was 6:30 a.m., and something was whining, in obvious distress.

Bokoski had trouble spotting the 10-pound poodle on the snowy hill adjacent to the building, but when he did, he scooped her up and brought her into the office.

It was one of the coldest days this winter. The pup had nearly frozen to death.

She was covered in fleas, blinded by cataracts, and nearly deaf from an infection that started in her mouth and packed her ears. Her nails were so long that they curled under the pads of her feet, preventing her from walking.

The employees were in shock.

Melissa Goodell, who has two dogs of her own, wrapped the dog in her sweater.

Everyone anxiously waited for 9 a.m., when Animal House, a nearby veterinary clinic on Redbrook Road, opened.

Goodell brought the pup to the vet, and the Water Department employees helped foot the bill.

"They were incredible, wonderful," Goodell said of the Animal House staff. "They were amazing with her. ... The two techs never left her side."

The pup got a warm IV -- her body temperature was four degrees below normal -- and antibiotics for the infection. Her nails were clipped, and she got a flea treatment.

And that was the first of what will likely be many hurdles for the dog, which vets estimate is between 10 and 14 years old.

The Water Department employees called Onset Firefighter Rachel Rawlings, a dog-lover who is involved with animal rescue efforts across the country.

Rawlings took the pup home to foster her, and her daughters named her after 6'9" Bruins hockey player Zdeno Chára.

While the canine Chara is no where near that stature, her spirit certainly is.

She is rebounding quickly from the ordeal. She is regaining her hearing, and trots around, curiously sniffing all she comes in contact with.

"They said everything looks good. Her heart looks good, her blood work was great," said Rawlings, who has been providing Chara with veterinary care.

On Monday, Chara was especially happy to reunite with her rescuers at the Water Department, and kept returning to the room where she sat wrapped in Goodell's sweater after Bokoski got her out of the snow.

"She's lucky," Goodell said of Chara. "She was found."

Not all animals are so lucky.

Wareham Animal Control Officers Cheryl Gorveatt Dill and Joe Singleton say the downed economy has especially taken a toll on pets, and owners often act in desperation when they can no longer take care of their animals.

"If they're struggling to put food on the table for their family, a pet is a luxury, a pet is expensive,"
Dill said. "I have received numerous amounts of calls from people that are basically, 'Can you help me? I can't afford my animal anymore.'"

Dill and Singleton say they've seen many instances of animals going without proper food, water, and shelter.

"A lot of it is, people just fall on hard times, and they don't understand what's cruelty, what's not cruelty," Singleton explained.

If owners aren't properly caring for their pets, Animal Control can charge them as such under Mass. General Law. Animal cruelty is a felony.

Despite whatever caused Chara's owners to leave her outside, Singleton explained: "That's willful abandonment. If that person gets caught, they will be charged."

Dill deals with a lot of stray cats, many of which end up on the streets because owners simply cannot take care of them, she said.

She operates the "Friends of Wareham Animals" page on Facebook, where she places photos of pets who need homes.

The bottom line is, Animal Control wants to help, and can connect pet owners with much-needed resources such as help with veterinary bills or getting pet food.

"I'd rather somebody call me and surrender [an animal] if they can't take care of it than to just leave it be," Singleton said. "We're here to help."

(Wareham Week - Jan 30, 2013)


1/29/13: Mauled mom’s sons demand responsible dog owners

CALIFORNIA -- The sons of an 84-year-old Jurupa Valley woman mauled by pit bulls to within an inch of her life called on pet owners to be responsible and asked the public to keep Wauldtraut “Waly” Nichols in their prayers.

Ray Nichols, 54, said Tuesday, Jan. 29, outside his mother’s house on a dirt road in the Pedley area that his mother is battling infections at Riverside Community Hospital.

On Jan. 17, two pit bulls got out of their fenced yard on 54th Street and attacked Nichols after she had placed a letter in the corner mail box. The son who lives with her, Gary Nichols, 55, kicked the dogs until they scattered.

Waly Nichols suffered two fist-sized bites on her right calf and bites on her arms and head. Doctors plan skin grafts after the infections subside, Ray Nichols said.

The dogs were euthanized and the owner, Juan Ortiz, was cited by Riverside County Animal Services for allowing his dogs to get out and for failure to license the dogs, give them rabies shots and implant microchips. No criminal charges are pending. Ortiz expressed remorse the day of the attack.

“I’m a big animal lover, but there is a responsibility that comes with owning animals,” Ray Nichols said. He said he believes owners of potentially dangerous pets should watch them more closely.

He said his mother is “very much against suing people,” but others have encouraged the family to seek compensation from the dogs’ owner. The family hasn’t decided what it will do. Medicare is paying his mother’s bills, he said.

Waly Nichols came to the United States from Germany in the 1930s, Ray Nichols said. She has been a nurse and a professional photographer. She still enjoys photographing flowers and teddy bears and writing uplifting, Christian-themed stories. Nichols attends Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside every Sunday.

Her recovery has been uneven, with good days and bad.

“It’s taken a lot longer than they thought at the start,” Gary Nichols said.

Ray Nichols thanked those who are keeping his mother in their thoughts.

“I can see the pain that she’s going through, and as soon as you bring it up that people are praying for you, it brings a smile to her face,” he said. “I definitely know that’s where she gets her strength.”

Nichols’ recovery can be monitored at a website,, where visitors can leave messages in a guestbook.

( - January 29, 2013)


San Diego police help wayward sea lion pup find the ocean

CALIFORNIA -- Police officers in San Diego received what some would consider an unusual call for assistance when they were asked to help a wayward sea lion pup find his way back to the ocean.

At around 3 a.m Tuesday morning, police received a call regarding a sea lion pup wandering along Ocean Blvd. near Grand Avenue in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California.

By the time officers arrived, the pup had made his way to a parking lot, making himself comfortable under a SUV. Officers attempted to coax the animal out from under the vehicle, but according to 10 News, the pup refused to move.

NBC San Diego reports a police lieutenant finally arrived at the scene with a catch pole, and as another officer slowly backed the SUV away from the animal, the lieutenant was able to snare the pup. Officers then released him at the nearby beach where he finally wandered back into the water.

According to CBS8, the sea lion was not injured during the incident.

(Digital Journal - Jan 29, 2013)

Mauldin Woman Charged with Mistreating Puppy

SOUTH CAROLINA -- A Mauldin woman who allegedly abandoned a puppy overnight on a stranger's porch during the area's recent ice storm faces charges of mistreating animals, according to Mauldin Police.

Karla N. Cuellar, 19, of 317 Elm Dr., was cited by police and faces a March 13 court date to face charges of ill-treatment of animals and abandonment of animals, a police department incident report said.

Cuellar allegedly left a boxer-mix puppy in a small box on a stranger's front porch on Salado Lane in Mauldin on the night of Jan. 25, when the area experienced intermittent sleet and freezing rain along with sub-freezing temperatures.

The puppy was discovered alive the following morning by the home's occupant still inside the box, which also contained old t-shirts and some dog food, the report said.

A Greer man who had adopted the dog and another on Jan. 9, said he had given the boxer puppy to Cuellar. When questioned by police, Cuellar said she had given the puppy to a friend about three weeks earlier, but could not provide the person's name or address.

"I confronted Ms. Cuellar with the fact the dog was adopted on 01/09/2013 which was not three weeks ago. She provided no response," an officer said in the report.

The man who originally adopted the puppy advised that he would take the puppy and return it to the adoption agency, the report said.

(Maudlin Patch - January 31, 2013)

U.S. wildlife agent accused of trapping a neighbor's dog

ARIZONA -- The arrest of a federal Wildlife Services trapper in Arizona earlier this month on a charge of animal cruelty has sparked renewed concern about the little-known agency.

Russell Files

Wildlife Services, which was the focus of a Bee investigative series last year, is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that specializes in destroying and dispersing animals considered to be a threat to agriculture, the public and the environment.

Since 2000, employees have killed more than 1 million coyotes and other predators, along with many other species, from nonnative starlings and wild pigs to migratory shorebirds, beaver, porcupines, river otters and other native wildlife.

What officers saw when they pulled up to Russell Files' home

In the process, they have also accidentally killed more than 50,000 non-target animals, from domestic dogs to golden eagles and black bears, The Bee investigation found.

In Arizona, Wildlife Services employee Russell Files is accused of setting traps with the specific intent of capturing a neighbor's dog he found troublesome.

Local law enforcement officers were called to Files' home in El Mirage, on the outskirts of Phoenix, in December by a frantic 911 call from a neighbor.


"The neighbor was real upset. He was like: 'You need to get somebody here now. This is ridiculous. This is animal abuse,' " said El Mirage Police Department detective Kim Walden.

"When I first pulled up, the first thing one of the officers said was: 'You don't want to go over there and look,' " Walden said. "Of course, I have to, to investigate it."

"I was pretty shocked," she said. "There are different kinds of animal abuse. This kind, because I have not seen trapping and what it does to an animal, ranks up there with one of the worst I've seen."

She said the dog, a 7-year-old female named Zoey, lay on its side in Files' yard, with a front and back leg caught in two leg-hold traps.

"She was covered in blood from trying to chew her way out," she said. "The traps themselves, which I took as evidence, were covered in blood."

Walden said that as officials struggled to free the dog, Files showed up himself.

"He assisted us with getting the dog out of the traps," Walden said. "He said he was tired of the neighbor's dog coming into his yard. I asked him specifically if he was on duty when he set those traps, and he said: 'Yes I was.' "

Files was arrested Jan. 8 and charged with felony animal cruelty. He could not be reached at Wildlife Services' office in Phoenix this week.

The dog, which lost more than a dozen teeth in the ordeal, is recovering.

Wildlife Services spokeswoman Carol Bannerman said the agency is investigating the Arizona incident and could provide no details.

"Since this is an ongoing law enforcement and agency investigation, we cannot comment on it at this time," Bannerman said.

The episode marks the second time in recent months that Wildlife Services agents have been accused of animal abuse.

In late October, photos posted on a federal trapper's Facebook page stirred anger among wildlife advocates.

The pictures show two dogs savagely attacking a coyote in a leg-hold trap and the employee posing with the tattered carcass of a coyote.

Olson encourages his dogs to attack a trapped coyote, which is
already dehydrated and weak from its earlier struggles to escape
the leghold trap. They rip the coyote to pieces.

They also show other trapped animals, dead and alive.

The employee, Jamie Olson, works in Wyoming for Wildlife Services.

Olson, happily posing with a dead coyote, doesn't regret torturing animals,
but regrets that everyone saw the photos of him torturing animals.

The photos sparked an agency review, as well as calls from two U.S. congressmen – Reps. John Campbell, an Irvine Republican, and Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat – for a probe of Wildlife Services.

"We continue to see more and more acts of cruelty coming from this clearly out-of-control, mismanaged and misdirected department," Campbell said of the latest incident.

( - Jan 31, 2013)


Man who put dog in hot oven sentenced to 30 days in jail

OREGON -- A Lyons man accused of putting his grandmother's little dog in a hot oven pleaded guilty to aggravated animal abuse.

Kevin Parrish entered his plea Wednesday and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years probation.

Parrish, 20, was arrested after attacking a 6-year-old Chihuahua-pinscher mix named Kudo.

Investigators said his grandmother, who he lives with on North Fork Road, went out of town and left the dog in Parrish's care.

Deputies said Parrish admitted to losing his temper when the dog nipped at him. Deputies said he grabbed the dog, choked it and punched it in the head.

Parrish had been preparing lunch before the attack started and had the oven heated to 350 degrees.

Parrish told deputies he put Kudo in the hot oven and was prepared to leave the animal in there, but his brother entered the house and eventually confronted him about it.

The suspect's brother and father took the dog to the veterinarian for treatment.

The veterinarian told deputies Kudo had lost the knowledge of his leg location from the abuse and was unable to stand properly.

Parrish does not have any previous criminal history.

As part of his sentence, Parrish is not allowed to possess domestic animals for 15 years and he must submit to a mental health evaluation and recommended treatments.

There is a one-year additional jail sentence that was suspended, but will be imposed if Parrish violates his probation.

(KPTV - Jan 30, 2013)


Woman Sentenced for Killing Dog

PENNSYLVANIA -- A judge in Montour County gave a woman a harsh penalty on Wednesday for shooting and killing her neighbor’s dog.

Suzanne Thomas must spend between 45 days and 18 months in jail for shooting and killing her neighbor’s dog in 2012 near Danville. The dog’s owners believe this sets an example for animal cruelty. Thomas believes she should have gotten probation instead.

“All I did was save my rabbits. He didn’t even care about my rabbits,” said Thomas.

Suzanne Thomas, 57, of the Danville area hid behind a newspaper with an article about herself on the front page as she walked out of the Montour County Courthouse. She said she was justified last January when she shot and killed a Yellow Lab named Georgia.

“These dogs came on my property, scaled my four-foot fence and killed my rabbits,” said Thomas.

Thomas admitted to tying Georgia to a tree last January on her property near Danville, and shooting the dog three times in the head. Thomas said the dog was vicious and killed one of her pet rabbits.

The dog’s owners said Georgia was anything but vicious, and called her a family member.

“The dogs are always around. They’re always playing with my kids. If I had any inkling the dogs were vicious my kids wouldn’t be around them,” said Astin White.

“She was always on my lap in the house and on my lazy boy chair. She was a wonderful dog,” said James White.

Thomas was sentenced to 45 days to 18 months in jail. She must also pay restitution and do community service.

The judge sentenced Suzanne Thomas within what is known as the aggravated sentencing range. He told her, “Shooting the dog under these circumstances is downright cruel.”

“This sets a precedent for people who do things like this. Too many times, people get let off with just a slap on the wrist,” said Astin.

“I really hope she realizes you don’t just go around tying dogs to trees and then shooting them,” said James.

Thomas and the Whites are still neighbors, but no longer speak to each other.

“I didn’t know it was his pet, or I would have walked up to his house and given it to him. Those people didn’t care. They left the dog loose and didn’t care,” said Thomas.

The judge in Montour County also told Suzanne Thomas what she did was mean to the dog and mean to the dog’s family. She must report to jail by Monday.

(WNEP - Jan 30, 2013)


Ron Jackson case involving the shooting, strangling of dog dismissed

MISSOURI -- The criminal case against a north St. Louis man charged with felony animal abuse has been dismissed by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office.

29 year old Ron Jackson was arrested and charged last November for allegedly shooting a dog a dozen times, strangling the animal with an electric cord, and dumping it into a trash dumpster to die on September 21, 2012.

A city sanitation worker found the dog, still alive, and contacted authorities.  Animal advocates with Stray Rescue of St. Louis took possession of the paralyzed animal, who has improved significantly under the rescue team, and founder Randy Grim's care.

Jackson was arrested in the case after investigators with the Animal Cruelty Task Force tracked down witnesses who told police they saw Jackson with the dog, standing alongside the dumpster in the 6000 block of Emma where the injured dog was found, holding a handgun.

NewsChannel 5 has learned the case was dismissed after the witnesses became uncooperative with the prosecution of the defendant.

(KSDK - Jan 31, 2013)

Testimony begins in fatal pit bull mauling

CALIFORNIA -- The manslaughter trial against two pit bull owners opened Tuesday with the testimony of their next door neighbor, who became a widower when his wife was fatally mauled in the couple’s backyard nearly two years ago.

Alba Cornelio, 41, and her daughter, Carla Cornelio, 21, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and owning mischievous animals that caused death — both felonies — as well as six misdemeanors. The pair face up to four years and eight months in prison if convicted. The trial in San Diego Superior Court is expected to last about two weeks.

James Mendoza, who had lived at the home on Alleghany Street in Paradise Hills for 43 years, testified that the Cornelios’ pit bulls had never escaped into his neighboring yard before the June 18, 2011, attack.

So he was surprised when his neighbors came to his door that morning, insistently asking if they could get their dogs from his backyard.

Moments later, he found his 75-year-old wife, Emako Mendoza, lying bloodied in her flower garden. Alba Cornelio became hysterical when she saw the scene, he testified.

The dogs had left the yard by then, escaping through a hole in the southeast corner of the fence dividing the neighbors’ yards.

A San Diego police officer who was the first to arrive on the scene said the gap in the fence was marked with blood, and the two dogs were also covered in blood after the attack.

Mendoza recounted the trauma his wife sustained, including the immediate hospital amputation of her left arm and leg. After infection had set in, the limbs had to be amputated even higher.

“She just suffered a lot, a lot of suffering,” he said. “She was constantly in pain.”

Doctors tried to save her right leg and arm, but a severe infection meant the right leg also had to go.

“She was really depressed after that surgery,” Mendoza said. “She completely changed.”

His wife died at the age of 76 on Christmas Eve of that year from complications of her injuries.

Much of Tuesday’s testimony revolved around the hole in the wooden fence. Mendoza said the gap had been made a few years earlier, when other neighbors behind the Cornelios cut a portion before installing another chain link fence.

He said the Cornelios tried to put up timber over the hole, but it didn’t seem sufficient to keep the dogs out. So Mendoza, a handyman, bolted a chain link gate over it.

He said he saw the gate a few days before the attack, and it appeared to be holding fine.

The police officer testified that when he inspected the Cornelios’ backyard right after the attack, he found empty food and water bowls.

(UT San Diego - Jan 29, 2013)


Children taken from 'home blanketed with dog feces'

TENNESSEE -- One 5-year-old boy and two 3-year-old boys, who lived in a home blanketed with dog feces and urine, were taken into state custody and their parents were arrested Tuesday by detectives with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Travis Krueger, 24, and his live-in girlfriend, Jennifer L. Winstanley, 22, both of Cedar Street off County Farm Road, were charged with reckless endangerment by Detective Steve Craig.

Krueger is the father of one of the 3-year-old boys, and Winstanley is the mother of the 5-year-old and the second 3-year-old boy.

Craig accused the parents of keeping the children in a house with dog feces that could cause multiple health hazards.

Deputy Joshua Anderson responded about 10:30 a.m. to the home after a neighbor saw the 3-year-old boys playing outside with no supervision. Anderson located the parents who were asleep and received consent to enter the home.

“I encountered abominable conditions,” Anderson reported. “Nearly the entire floor inside the residence was covered in dog feces and saturated with urine. I observed one of the children walking around the house, through the feces, with no shoes or socks on.”

Craig responded to the home where he found clothing scattered in the living room and multiple dogs roaming.

“There was dog feces and urine on the floor of every room I entered,” Craig reported. “Newspapers, used drinking cups and soiled paper towels were scattered about the residence. Used dishes were piled in the sink with discarded food scattered around the stove.”

According to the Sheriff's Office, detectives also found old food and several bottles of alcohol in the refrigerator. A pair of soiled pull-ups was discarded in a box in the kitchen. More urine and feces were left on the children’s bedrooms, laundry room and utility closet.

“The smell inside of the residence was deplorable,” Craig said.

Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services paramedics examined the two boys. Kruegar’s 3-year-old son returned to his mother’s custody while the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services took the other 3-year-old and his 5-year-old brother, who was at school, into state custody.

County Codes Director David Jones and staff members responded, saying the home was unsafe. They issued an order that no one should enter the home.

Officers from Pet Adoption and Welfare Services took possession of 11 dogs, and also cited the couple with animal cruelty.

Winstanley told Craig she planned to clean the home Tuesday.

Both parents were booked into Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, where they were later released on $2,500 bond.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11, in Rutherford County General Sessions Court.

(MURFREESBORO POST - Jan 31, 2013)

1/28/13: Dedham Fire Department rescues deer from icy river

MASSACHUSETTS -- The deer that was rescued Saturday morning from icy Charles River was later put down due to injuries, the Dedham Fire Department said.

Paul and Martha Podolski, of 131 Jenney Lane, called the fire department shortly after 11 a.m. , on Jan. 26, when they saw a deer stuck in the icy water behind their home.

“He (Paul) went out to his car to leave to his hockey game. He heard a splash in the water and saw a deer stuck,” Martha Podolski told the Dedham Transcript on Monday, Jan. 28.

Deputy Fire Chief James Neilan said firemen used a rescue sled to retrieve the deer from the water – a process that took about three hours.

“It was probably 17 degrees out and they were up to the neck in water,” Podolski said. “I was really worried when the firemen were in the water.”

After retrieving the deer from the water, firefighters took the animal to the basement of Podolski’s brother’s home, 129 Jenney Lane, and placed the deer near a woodstove for about 45 minutes.

“We had a big comforter over him and (firemen) were rubbing his fur,” Podolski said. “The deer was definitely improving, but he wasn’t able to get up on his own.”

The deer was taken to the Dedham branch of the Animal Rescue League of Boston on Saturday afternoon, but it did not survive.

“He ended up going into shock,” Neilan said. “Obviously with this cold weather, his body just didn’t survive.”

Animal Rescue League and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife assisted with the rescue.

Martha Podolski and her brother Mike Newman went to the Dedham Animal Rescue League Sunday morning to check on the deer, she said.

“I did think he was going to survive because he improved so much when he was in the basement,” Podolski said. “I thought they would be able to get him warmed and that he would survive.”

[Even though the deer died, at least they didn't let it continue to suffer. Unlike Colorado wildlife officials who refused to help a stranded deer: "Officials refuse to help stranded deer"]

(The Dedham Transcript - Jan 28, 2013)

Columbus woman attacked by pit bull

GEORGIA -- A woman is recovering after being attacked by a pit bull on Wednesday.

Police were serving an eviction notice for a home on Mobley Road when a dog of the person being evicted mauled a 46-year-old woman's fingers.

The victim was treated at the scene by EMS.

The dog was tased and then shot by deputies to get him to stop the attack.

(WTVM - Jan 30, 2013)

Police rescue 28 cats from Battle Creek home

Unhealthy animals seized there for second time in three years
MICHIGAN -- Felony warrants charging animal cruelty and neglect will be sought for a Battle Creek couple after 28 cats and two guinea pigs were removed from their house.

Battle Creek animal control officers said the action Tuesday was the second time in less than three years that more than two dozen cats had been seized from the same home.

On Wednesday a veterinarian checked each of the animals and said he found they had parasites, missing teeth and sores.

“I found they had poor weight, fleas and ear mites,” Dr. Dale Borders of Battle Creek said. “They were not getting fed properly.”

Battle Creek Animal Control Officer Mike Ehart said the house on South 24th Street was condemned after an inspection by the city and the couple were forced to leave.

“The ammonia smell from the cat urine was overwhelming,” Ehart said, “and we found feces on the floor, in the kitchen, on the refrigerator and the litter boxes were overflowing.”

He said the cats were fed Rice Krispies and tangerines, even though citrus is a repellant for cats, and the guinea pigs were in very small cages and were fed Honeycomb cereal.

Ehart said officers went to the house after a report from someone who had been inside.

“They were concerned for the cats and the people in the house,” Ehart said.

The residents would not voluntarily allow the officers inside so they obtained a search warrant and Ehart, Animal Control Officer Ronda Burgess and two other officers spent six hours at the home Tuesday.

All of the animals were taken to the Calhoun County Animal Shelter at 165 S. Union St. where Borders examined them on Wednesday.

Ehart said many of the cats also had upper respiratory diseases and skin conditions and they will be checked for other diseases.

Two of the cats were pregnant and another gave birth to three kittens about two weeks ago.

The animals will be kept at the shelter while the court process begins, including a forfeiture hearing. In the meantime the cost will be high for the shelter, said owner Sindy Buford.

She said the two hours of examinations Wednesday will cost $300 and each of the tests and vaccinations will be $23.

The shelter is always accepting donations but when they have a large number of animals the demand for supplies is high.

“We need lots of kitty litter, food and cleaning supplies,” she said, “and cash donations are always needed.”

She said the animals will be held at the shelter while the the case is pending. They could be placed in rescue shelters in Kent or Gratiot counties and most could eventually be adopted.

“We will adopt out as many as we can,” she said. “The bulk of them will find homes.”

In October 2010 police seized 26 cats from the house after smelling a strong odor of urine and feces.
The couple living in the house were allowed to keep five cats and were cited for unsanitary conditions and not having licenses.

Ehart said the couple soon began to accumulate more cats, either from litters born at the house or strays they brought inside.

Ehart said the number of cases of hoarding animals is growing. He can recall at least seven in the city in the last two years in Battle Creek and four more in other parts of Calhoun County.

“That is what we see in cases with this number of animals,” he said. “Many times it is a person who wants to rescue animals. They try to do something good but they get overwhelmed and then are scared to call anyone.”

He said animal control officers will try to help someone who has too many animals.

( - Jan 30, 2013)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Family dog attacks Macon woman

GEORGIA -- Sheila Farr was there when Monk, the family’s white dog, was born.

Four years later, the 55-year-old Macon woman was rushed to the hospital after the dog attacked her shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday. Farr was bitten in the face, arm and leg. As of late Wednesday afternoon, the family was still waiting to hear from doctors about the extent of her injuries.

Farr, who helped deliver that pit bull and chow mix puppy, was attacked as she handed the phone to her stepdaughter, Janice.

“I pulled him off of her three times and she started hollering,” said a distraught Janice Farr. “The more she hollered, the more he went on her.”

The 100-pound dog was always very protective of the family, she said.

Janice Farr was about to call in sick to her job when the pet lunged for her stepmother inside their home on Beddingfield Avenue in south Macon.

“I was hurting and my hands were hurting, and when she handed me the phone, I think he thought she was going to hurt me,” Janice Farr said.

Danny Farr, 64, is recovering from recent surgery and was sitting in the living room when his wife was mauled.

“I couldn’t get up out of the chair to do anything. No telling what he would have done to me because I’ve just been sewed up,” Danny Farr said. “If you made any quick moves, he was like a real guard dog.”

Sheila Farr told rescuers the dog had bitten her two or three times before, according to a Macon police report.

The dog recently killed two animals in the backyard -- an opossum about three weeks ago and a wharf rat about a week later, Danny Farr said.

“I don’t think we want him back,” he said.

Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare officer Darrell Watts grabbed a long, metal pole and lassoed the dog, which was locked in a bedroom when police arrived.

Monk resisted by lying on the floor and jumping on the couch, but Watts removed him without incident about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“He was scared because he didn’t know me,” Watts said. “You could see it in his eyes.”

If both women were screaming during the attack, it likely intensified the dog’s violent behavior, he said.

“They can sense fear,” he said.

The incident was particularly traumatic for Janice Farr, who does not have children.

“I feed that dog with a spoon. He is like a baby,” she tearfully told Watts. “I can’t bring him back here. You should see the way he attacked.”

After the terrifying event, the family was grieving the thought of giving up their beloved pet.

“We’re probably not going to keep him,” Danny Farr said. “Kids come by and throw rocks at him in the backyard and that makes him meaner.”

( - Jan 30, 2013)

Shelburne man, wife plead not guilty in animal cruelty case

Former TV anchorman says the authorities overreacted by seizing horses and bulls from thefamily farm

VERMONT -- A former longtime newsman at WCAX-TV in South Burlington are vowing to fight charges of animal cruelty arising from the seizure of three horses during a raid on their Shelburne home.

George C. Wilson, 63, pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington, then told reporters he believes the authorities overreacted to the complaint at his farm.

His wife, Ann Gilbreth, 64, pleaded not guilty to an identical charge later in the day.

Judge Michael Kupersmith initially said he could not find probable cause to charge Gilbreth, because the Shelburne police affidavit did not state she also owned the horses. Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said he would re-file the charge against Gilbreth after police provided the missing information, which they did by mid-afternoon.

The updated information noted that Shelburne town records show the couple co-own the property, and before Wilson allowed authorities to seize the horses, he consulted with his wife.

Wilson also told reporters after his arraignment that he and his wife co-own the animals.

“It’s my wife and I. It’s our operation,” Wilson said. “I wish she was left out of it. Her health isn’t terrific.”

The charge alleges they denied the animals adequate sanitation or necessary medical attention. If convicted, they face a possible one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine.

Wilson worked for about 34 years at WCAX as a reporter, anchor, assignment editor and assistant news editor, leaving the CBS affiliate in 2006.

Wilson and Gilbreth were released from court on conditions, including a ban on buying, owning or possessing large domestic animals. Public defenders Luke Collins and Rachel Westropp represented Wilson and Gilbreth at their hearings.

“There is a lot more in this matter and we will address it as this goes along,” Wilson said. “I don’t really want to go any further than that. ... It’s a long story. It’s a complicated story. We will tell it and keep you guys informed.”

Wilson, in a phone message, told the Burlington Free Press he would like to invite a reporter to tour the barn, but might have to wait.

Donovan said several bulls also were seized during the Jan. 15 raid at the barn, at the corner of Irish Hill Road and Heather Lane. Wilson opted to sell six bulls to a slaughterhouse in Addison County, court records state. The documents stated a seventh bull was found dead in the barn.

Authorities said one stallion and two mares were found in small, pitch-black stalls, standing in
manure and surrounded by the remains of dead horses. The three horses that were impounded are being cared for at Spring Hill Horse Rescue in Clarendon, health and police officials said.

“They have essentially been held captive for the last six or seven years,” Donovan said. The hooves were allowed to grow up to 24 inches. Neighbors thought the barn was empty and did not learn until the raid that horses were inside, Donovan said; nobody had seen them for years.

Deb Loring of Burlington of Spring Hill Horse Rescue in Chittenden County said her team spotted two carcases and several bones while impounding the three live horses.

Wilson said Spring Hill officials were turning the case into a media event. He said a Shelburne official who was part of the raid had promised the case would be handled in quietly.

“I was told by the town that they wanted to keep this as low-keyed as possible,” Wilson said. “The town did their part. The folks at the rescue have an agenda, and they played it out.”

Wilson said he did not recall who promised the town would try to avoid publicity in the case.

Longtime Police Chief James Warden continued to be unavailable for comment Tuesday. Multiple attempts to reach him at his office and his home since the raid have been unsuccessful.

The police said that Wilson tried to grab one of his rifles during the raid.

Donovan said he ordered Shelburne police to go back Tuesday morning with a search warrant and seize any guns, along with delivering to Wilson and Gilbreth citations ordering them into court immediately.

Wilson disputed that he had tried to go after his rifle, which was in the barn.

“I just never did. It never came to my mind. I was unhappy that we had a large invasion force come onto our property without any notice. Who would like that?” he said. “It was way, way, way, way, way, way, way overblown.”

Wilson said he left WCAX in 2006 when he was invited to join the campaign for Republican Martha Rainville, who was running against Peter Welch for a U.S. House seat. Wilson said at the last minute he decided she couldn’t win, so he opted to go work part-time at Walmart. Wilson said he left after 5-1/2 years.

He said he has been unemployed for about two years.

Wilson questioned how the raid was carried out. “The abuse took place when there was a rescue,” he said.

“It was as if the aliens landed at your house, took your dog, cat, your wife and absconded with them. And how would you feel as a horse with having a huge force come in, strangers, and take you away?”

(Burlington Free Press - Jan 29, 2013)