Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Authorities search for kids who poured kerosene on cat

MICHIGAN -- Authorities are searching for three youths who were last seen running away after pouring kerosene on a cat in Alpena on Saturday.

The police and Huron Humane Society in Alpena are looking for two boys and one girl who were spotted quickly leaving the scene on Golf Course Road.

The community is offering a $1,500 reward to find the three people involved.

Officials believe the group was going to set the cat on fire.

The cat, named Hello Kitty, has burns on his body from the kerosene.  The vet believes that he may have ingested some of the kerosene and is being treated for internal burns.

The cat is expected to recover.

(UpNorthLive - Sept 30, 2014)

Felony Charges Being Sought In Local Kitten Stomping Deaths

MICHIGAN -- Criminal charges could be filed in connection with an unsettling animal cruelty case out of the Hartland area in which a half a dozen kittens appeared to have been intentionally stomped to death.

Animal Control Director Debbie Oberle tells WHMI their report has been completed and submitted to the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office. Six felony animal abuse/neglect charges are being sought, although the ultimate decision lies with the prosecutor.

Animal Control began investigating after the incident was reported via a 911 call on September 20th. Six kittens three to four weeks old appeared to have been intentionally stomped to death with a large shoe or boot inside a home in the area of US-23, south of M-59.

Oberle previously said there was a grown cat in the same home that appeared to be the mother of the kittens but it was unharmed.

Anyone with an un-wanted litter of kittens can contact Livingston County Animal Control or the Humane Society of Livingston County as well as other animal shelters and local rescue groups.

(WHMI - September 30, 2014)

Man gets jail term for torturing puppy in front of 4-year-old daughter

CALIFORNIA -- A Redwood City man was sentenced to two years in jail for torturing and suffocating his family's puppy in front of his 4-year-old daughter, officials said Monday.

Alan Benjamin Velete, 32, was also ordered Friday to serve a third year in a residential rehabilitation treatment center, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office.

Velete was placed on four years' probation and ordered to stay away from his daughter and ex-girlfriend. He was forbidden from owning or caring for any animals.

His sentence comes nearly two months after he pleaded no contest in July to one count of felony animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

Prosecutors said Velete punched and kicked the 4-month-old puppy named "Lucky" in December after it defecated on the apartment floor.

The abuse went on for a month -- all in front of his daughter, prosecutors said.

Velete allegedly kept the puppy in a crate in the bathroom and sprayed its eyes with household cleaner.

At one point, he placed the puppy in a duffel bag and hung it in the shower, leaving the trapped puppy to whimper for hours, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Velete also taped the puppy's mouth shut and fed the dog his psychiatric drugs.

(LA Times - Sept 29, 2014)


The high school yearbook pic to beat all others: Student gets his wish to pose with principal, their pets and lasers

NEW YORK -- All Draven Rodriguez wanted was a memorable yearbook photo and in the end that's what he got.

While the senior at New York's Schenectady High School originally wanted an image of himself and pet cat Mr. Bigglesworth surrounded by lasers, school officials wouldn't put it in the portrait section.

But now he's he and Mr. Bigglesworth are sharing the the principal's page with administrator Diane Wilkinson, her mixed chihuahua Vivienne, and, yes, a whole lot of lasers.

Photographer Vincent Giordano described Vivienne as a nervous model while Mr. Bigglesworth was more interested in the technical aspects.

'Diane and Draven were all laughs, they really enjoyed the photo session,' he told Buzzfeed.

'Vivienne and Mr. Bigglesworth really broke the rules of cats and dogs and got along famously for a trouble free photo session!'

Coolest principal ever!

Draven had tried to start a petition to get an image of he and his cat in the yearbook's portrait section.

His campaign soon went viral, prompting support from publications like Gawker, Time, and Cosmopolitan.  His original goal was to get 500 signatures; he received more than 7,000 signatures on ipetitions.com.

The final picture will include an urge for animal rescue and adoption. Both animals are rescue pets. The principal's dog's name is Vivian, the photographer, Vincent Giordano, said, and the goal is to raise awareness of rescue animals through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

(Daily Mail - Sept 29, 2014)

Kennett couple - Crystal Holloway and Robert Holloway - charged with animal cruelty after turning their Doberman into a walking skeleton

MISSOURI -- Animals, particularly domesticated ones, have such a way of offering up unconditional love, that it seems almost inconceivable anyone could purposefully harm them. It is even worse when the animal being abused was once a service dog.

However, that is reportedly at the heart of a matter currently in the hands of the Kennett Humane Department (KHD). KHD Officer, Tena Petix, said the recent case clearly illustrates the fact that animal cruelty and neglect is an urgent, ongoing problem within the Kennett city limits.

On Friday, citations and a warrant for a dog were issued to Kennett residents, Crystal D. Holloway and Robert J. Holloway, on two counts, each, of violating the city's animal health and safety, and vicious animal ordinances.

In a report filed with the Kennett Police Department and released through the city attorney's office, Petix said she responded to a neighbor's call about a red Doberman Pinscher, located on Wimberly Street. The caller stated that the dog was being forced to live in such poor conditions, and neglected to the point of starvation, that she could not bear watching it anymore.

Petix said when she arrived at the residence, she was initially confused, because there was a healthy, aggressive pit bull chained in the front side yard. However, as she drove around the residence, Petix said she could then see into the back yard and was both shocked and outraged at what she found there.

"It looked like a skeleton painted brown, in the northwest corner of the back yard," said Petix. "It was heartbreaking to see this animal in such a pitiful state, while in the front yard, the pit was healthy and well fed."

In her report, Petix said that when Mr. Holloway came to the door, she asked if she could go into the back yard to see where the dog was being housed. The report described the area as bare dirt, scraped free of any grass by the chain the dog had been tethered to, while pacing back back and forth. The report went on to say that the dog was living in an undersized pet carrier and drinking green water from a bowl, with no visible food.

"It was in such an emaciated state, that all of its bones were visible," said Petix, with tears in her eyes, as she recently talked about the discovery. "And, in some places, the skin had broken down, and the bones were (showing) through."

Petix said that, at first, the owners said the dog had become that emaciated over the last week.

"There was no way the dog could get that thin in a week." Petix said. "It had been abused over a very long period of time."

Petix said the Holloways refused to surrender the dog, and that, by the time KHD was able to procure the warrant, the couple had taken the dog to Dr. Carol Brigance, at the Kennett Veterinary Clinic.

"The dog needed medical attention, but Dr. Brigance said the Holloways claimed they couldn't afford it and were taking the animal with them," said Petix. "The doctor asked the Holloways several times to surrender the animal to KHD, but they continued to refuse."

Petix was eventually able to serve the couple with the warrant and take the dog. She said that, after speaking further with the pair, she found out they had purchased the Doberman, named "Rusty," from CraigsList, for $100, about a year ago.

"He was a service dog (therapy animal) for autistic children. If that it true, it is sad to see this animal, who did so much for children of special needs, reduced to this condition."

Petix went on to say that Dr. Brigance felt Rusty, at one time, had lived in a caring home, because his teeth were in very good shape for an animal of his age, approximately five to seven years old.

"He has minimal heart worms, and that's because of not being on some type of heart worm preventative over the past year," added Petix. "However, he is neutered. Also, on the brighter side, since we have had him, he has gained four pounds in four days."

She added that, after putting together a soft bed for Rusty, she had to wrap in him blankets, because his body temperature had dropped so low. Petix described Rusty's demeanor as very gentle.

The KHD report stated that the Holloways are scheduled to appear in the Municipal Court on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Petix said Rusty will remain in the care and custody of the city.

"He deserves better, and we would like to get him to a rescue that focuses on the specific care of older dogs," she said. "He should be able to live out his days, well cared-for and happy."

Petix added that KHD appreciates the help it continues to receive from the community, surrounding areas, and throughout the country.

"Right now, we have three dogs that are being vetted at the KenMo Veterinary Clinic and the Kennett Veterinary Clinic," she said. "We have had so many that have been brought in, in poor condition due to neglect and abuse, that within just the last week, we have had five under vet care."

Petix said Rusty will continue to require medical care for a while, but that he gradually continues to improve and gain weight.

Medical donations for KHD may be made directly to both local veterinary clinics. For more information about donations or adoption, contact Petix at 573-888-4622, or visit the KHD Facebook page.

(Daily Dunklin Democrat - Sept 30, 2014)

Palm Coast man accused of kicking, killing 4-month-old puppy

FLORIDA -- A Palm Coast man is accused of kicking and killing a 4-month-old puppy while at his girlfriend's house "because he was very annoyed," deputies said.

Wesley Jackson, 27, was arrested Friday and charged with cruelty to animals in connection to the Sept. 16 incident involving a Chihuahua puppy named Little Man, according to a Flagler County Sheriff's Office report.

The puppy was already dead by the time it was brought to a veterinarian's office on Sept. 16, the report states. The puppy's owner, Mark Mitchell, brought the puppy to the veterinarian's office and requested a necropsy — an animal autopsy —  to determine the cause dog’s cause of death. 

The puppy suffered "multiple bruises on its body and a broken back right leg," the report states. It also had blood coming out of its nose and mouth.

The veterinarian determined the cause of death was "severe pulmonary contusions caused by blunt force trauma," the report states.

The veterinarian told a Sheriff's Office deputy that the puppy could have lived (and suffered) about one hour with the injuries without treatment.

"She stated that it appears that the dog could have been forcefully kicked or possibly throw against something like a wall," the report states.

The veterinarian asked deputies to further investigate the case because of the possibility of animal abuse.

Deputies then spoke with Mitchell, who stated the puppy was fine when he left for work at 7 a.m. Friday. He told deputies the dog appeared "normal and in good health," the report states.

Mitchell's 13-year-old daughter returned home from school around 3 p.m. that same day and observed her older sister's boyfriend, later identified as Jackson, "standing over the dog in their computer room looking down at it," the report states.

The girl stated that the dog appeared to be choking and blood was coming from its mouth.

When the girl asked Jackson what happened to the dog, he stated that he came to the house to get on the computer and "found the dog lying on the floor by the front door," the report states.

According to the report, Jackson then told the girl that he picked the puppy up and brought it to the computer room to see what was wrong with it. Jackson also said that's when the puppy started to choke and bleed from the mouth.

Mitchell told Jackson to bring the puppy to the animal hospital and that he would meet him there, but Jackson refused at first. He eventually agreed. Jackson then called Mitchell while he was on his way to the animal hospital to tell him that the dog died, according to the report.

After further investigation, detectives determined the puppy "continued to jump on (Jackson's) leg."

Jackson, according to the report, then told detectives that he kicked the dog "so hard that it slammed against the corner of the computer table and it ran off yelping (and) screaming."

Jackson then left the house without checking on the puppy before he returned around 2 p.m. He told detectives that he attempted to CPR on the puppy by preforming chest compressions. Jackson also admitted to trying to clean up some of the blood to "hide it."

(News 13 Orlando - September 30, 2014)

Local animal control officer resigns, charged with animal cruelty

NEW YORK -- The Town of Pompey animal control officer has resigned her position after being charged with animal cruelty Monday evening, according to the Town Supervisor.

More than 200 dogs and 50 cats were found hoarded at her home in Tully, the CNYSPCA says.

The agency took a call Monday afternoon and responded to the home on Tully Farms Road. The agency says it found the some of the animals living in deplorable conditions with feces and urine.

SPCA staff began removing the animals on Monday, working as long as they could in the dark, and returned Tuesday to remove the majority of them.

SPCA Chief Investigator and Executive Director Paul Morgan said charges of animal cruelty were filed against the homeowner - former Town of Pompey Animal Control Officer Susan Snavlin.

The Pompey Town Supervisor says Snavlin was given a satisfactory status after an inspection by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on March 19. It's not known if this was a routine or special inspection.

A veterinarian will examine the animals Tuesday to see if they're suffering from any illnesses or diseases. Their condition isn't known yet.

The CNYSPCA will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday to focus on the hoarding investigation. Some staff will continue the rescue in Tully while others begin assessing the dogs at the shelter, which is now filled beyond capacity.

Morgan says monetary donations to the shelter are critical because of this new rush of animals. Donations can be made through the shelter's website.

(WSYR - Sept 30, 2014)

Arrest made after Galva cat shot by arrow

ILLINOIS -- A Galva man has been arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after a family’s cat was shot by an arrow and later euthanized.

On Monday, Sept. 29, Galva Police concluded their investigation of a feline that was severely wounded by an archery arrow on Galva's southwest side Saturday, Sept. 20.

The investigation was forwarded to the Henry County State's Attorney’s Office and an arrest warrant was issued for Duane Michael VanDeSampel, 35, for the charge, which is a class 4 felony.

 At about 1:10 p.m. Monday, VanDeSampel was taken into custody at his Galva home without incident.

As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, VanDeSampel was incarcerated at the Henry County Jail on $50,000 bond.

The cat was owned by the Quentin Osborne family.

VanDeSampel is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

The Galva Police Department reported that it appreciated the cooperation of Galva citizens in the investigation.

(Galva News - Sept 30, 2014)

Lebanon man charged with animal cruelty

PENNSYLVANIA --A Lebanon man was charged with cruelty to animals after police said he moved out his house and left his dog behind.

Gerald Garcia, 33, had the dog tied up in the basement when he moved out of the 200 block of East Maple Street, according to city police.

Police said the animal was in the basement for three days before officers retrieved it Monday.

(WHTM - Sept 30, 2014)

Fort Myers man beats dog with hatchet

FLORIDA -- A Fort Myers man was arrested on Saturday for allegedly hitting a dog on the head with a hatchet.

A neighbor and property manager told the Fort Myers Police Department they believed Thomas Middleton II had taken a Tomahawk and whacked a dog on the head he was dog-sitting.

When Officers arrived at the apartment in the 3000 block of Cleveland Avenue, they found a bloody hatchet with what appeared to be dog hairs on it.

Thomas Middleton II

Middleton told officers the dog, referred to as "Bruno," in the report had bitten him. When officers saw the dog, they noticed a large open cut on its head consistent with a cut from a sharp instrument.

Middleton told officers he was defending himself from the dog.

Middleton said, "It's just a ... dog."

Animal Control Officers removed the dog and a cat at the residence.

Bruno the dog is alive and well, under the care of the Lee County Domestic Animal Services.

Middleton was charged with one count of causing cruelty, death, pain and suffering to an animal.

Middleton is being held at the Lee County Jail on $10,000 bond.

(News Press - Sept 29, 2014)

Animal shelter draws criticism from state over euthanized dog

NORTH CAROLINA -- Gaston County Animal Control’s swift decision to euthanize a dog with a limp has drawn a reprimand from the state.

But even before the criticism, the department took measures to have injured or sick animals more immediately seen by a veterinarian, an animal control official said.

The state Veterinary Division’s Animal Welfare Section issued a Notice of Warning on Friday after reviewing a complaint from the owner of a Chihuahua-dachshund mix put down by lethal injection.

The dog, Acey, was not wearing a collar or tags when he escaped a backyard enclosure and was picked up as a stray in May. He was put down at the Gaston County Animal Shelter in Dallas within approximately 24 hours, despite the owner’s efforts to contact the shelter over the weekend and locate his pet.

Acey was put to sleep after a Gaston Animal Control officer
 failed to distinguish the dog’s chronic hip problem from an acute injury

Owner Brian Humphries

Authorities still insist they were only following state guidelines pertaining to strays that are picked up and deemed unadoptable due to injury or sickness. Dogs and cats typically must be held 72 hours before being euthanized, but severely injured or ill animals may be put down sooner.

Dr. Steven Wells, interim state veterinarian for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, determined the shelter may have violated the state’s Animal Welfare Act. A Gaston Animal Control officer failed to distinguish the dog’s chronic hip problem from an acute injury, Wells wrote in a letter to the county.

“Had the shelter held this dog pending an evaluation of its hip condition until Monday and placed a photograph of the dog on its website, its owner would likely have been able to recover it from the shelter,” Wells wrote.

New measures
Wells advised the shelter to change its procedure in order to prevent a reoccurrence.

One suggestion was to contract with a veterinarian who could visit the shelter at least twice a week to evaluate the health of animals. Current staff are not qualified to determine the severity of animal injuries or illness, he said.

Gaston County Police Capt. Bill Melton, interim supervisor for Animal Control, said the office has already taken steps to address the situation. As of May, any animals that appear injured or sick upon being picked up are taken to an emergency veterinarian in Gastonia for assessment — before being considered for euthanasia, he said.

“Prior to this complaint, our Animal Control division was following state statutes concerning the euthanasia of seriously sick or injured animals,” Melton said. “Since this complaint was filed, we went a step further by requiring that all seriously sick and injured animals be evaluated by a veterinarian prior to euthanasia.”

For the last 18 years, the shelter has solicited local veterinarians to inspect its facility and animals regularly, Melton said. Veterinary inspections are conducted an average of two to three times per month, and the last one took place Sept. 15, he said.

Gaston County Animal Control must send a written reply to the state in response to the warning. Wells emphasized that future violations of the Animal Welfare Act could prompt fines of $5,000 per occurrence.

Owner still upset
Penny Page, an official with the Veterinary Division’s Animal Welfare Section, said it’s hard to specify how frequently warnings are issued to public shelters.

“It’s relatively typical, but it’s not so common that every shelter has violations and warning letters,” she said.

The warning is considered a disciplinary course of action, Page said.

Brian Humphries, of south Gastonia, was the owner of Acey — a small dog who was 8 to 10 years old — and said he and his children were heartbroken by what happened. Acey walked with a limp as a result of a handicap he had from birth, but “could run faster on three legs than two of my other dogs can on four,” Humphries said.

Humphries said he has yet to receive any type of apology from anyone with Gaston County Animal Control. He has since adopted a new dog from a rescue group in York, S.C., but feels the local shelter should have offered to let him adopt another pet without charging him the standard fees.

“If they want to make it right, I think they ought to reimburse me for the money I paid for a new dog,” he said.

Melton said the county is considering and planning further measures to enhance the shelter.

“Our ultimate goal is not just to follow state statutes, but to provide the best care for the animals that are in our shelter, to find homes for all our shelter animals, and to reunite as many pets as possible with their owners,” he said.

(Gaston Gazette - Sept 29, 2014)

Rescued coyote had been hit by car, stuck in bumper

ILLINOIS -- Groups of people at the Waukegan train station couldn’t believe their eyes Sept. 24 when a train conductor pulled into the employee parking lot before work with what looked like a fox stuck in the grill of his vehicle.

“It was 6:30 in the morning when dispatch called me,” said Amber Manley, an animal control officer for the Waukegan Police Department. “I asked if it was alive and they said, ‘yes.’ I told them I’m on my way,” she said.

When Manley arrived, the owner of the vehicle, Kenosha resident Mark Armour, told her that he thought he hit something at Green Bay and Yorkhouse roads on his way to work as a train conductor.


“He said he thought he hit something, he could feel it, but he didn’t see anything,” Manley said.

Right away, Manley knew the animal wasn’t a fox, but a coyote. She was stunned the coyote happened to be the right size to fit in the tight space.

“It was even more amazing he survived,” she said.

Using safety equipment so the animal couldn’t bite her, Manley helped the coyote get loose. The animal appeared to be in shock.

“He seemed docile,” she said, adding that she placed him in an animal control crate and then into her van.

Manley then called Susan Elliott, director of animal control in Waukegan, to see if the coyote could be taken to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation for medical attention.

Dawn Keller, executive director and founder of the Barrington-based wildlife center, agreed to take the coyote. She found the coyote had suffered three fractures in his legs.

Keller set the fractures, gave the coyote antibiotics and reported that the coyote is now resting comfortably. By the next day, he was more alert and eating. The wildlife center hopes to release him into the wild after winter.

“I think it was just an amazing call,” Manley said.

On the wildlife center’s Facebook page, Armour named the coyote Vern.

“I am so glad Vern will recover,” Armour wrote, adding that he is raising money to donate to Vern’s recovery. “Thank you so much for taking care of him.”

For more pictures of Vern, visit www.flintcreekwildlife.org.

(Lake County News Sun -September 30, 2014)

Streetcar dog attack: Case may end with pit bull's return to Colorado

OREGON -- It looks as if the case of a pit bull that attacked and killed a Pomeranian on a Portland street car last week may end with the dog's return to its Colorado owner.

How is that possible when an animal is dead in such a public and horrifying way?

It's a combination of the unexplained circumstance about how the pit bull came to Portland and also laws that over time have shifted from blaming the dog or a particular breed to holding dog owners responsible for their pet's behavior.

The teenager who took the dog on the streetcar hasn't stepped forward to claim it, so it remains at the county shelter, said Mike Oswald, director of Multnomah County Animal Control.

"We had phone numbers of people who might have had the dog in their possession, but no one here is saying 'that's my dog,'" Oswald said Monday.

The dog's Colorado owner wants the female pit bull back, so Oswald is working with the humane society office in Longmont, Colo., to send it back home, he said.

The owner reported the dog missing in June and had adopted it from the Longmont Humane Society several years ago, said the agency's director, Sarah Clusman. The dog had an embedded microchip, which allowed animal control workers to track it back to Colorado.

Multnomah County and the Longmont Humane Society have declined to release the owner's name, citing confidentiality regulations.

It's still not clear how the dog made its way to Portland, but it officials in Colorado were told it was living with a group of homeless youths on Portland streets.

After the attack last Wednesday night, the 16-year-old girl who had possession of the dog left the streetcar, but police stopped her several blocks away. County animal control workers were called to the scene and took the dog to the shelter.

The teenager was crying and told an officer that the dog "has never done this before," according to the police report.

Moments earlier, the pit bull had lunged at a black Pomeranian named Lady that was already aboard the streetcar and clasped its mouth over the Pomeranian's head.

The Pomeranian's owner grabbed her dog and rushed out of the streetcar to go to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. One witness said she recognized the Pomeranian owner and said Lady was a service dog, the police report noted. 

Officers initially found that no city or state law had been violated, but police requested a copy of the county animal services investigation and plan further review after learning the pit bull's registered owner lives in Colorado.

In the police report,  the 16-year-old  told police she was the registered owner.

"No determination has been made yet on whether charges will filed or citations issued,'' police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said Monday.

Blood spatter where the Pomeranian was ripped apart by the pit bull

Oswald said he found that the pit bull falls in the category spelled out in the county ordinance as a "potentially dangerous dog": one that "aggressively bites any person" or "kills or causes the death of any domestic animal."

That kicks in the following restrictions: The dog must wear a muzzle and must be kept in a secure enclosure. The owner would have to buy public liability insurance or complete a pet ownership program. Owners also can be required to post warning signs on their property.

But since the ownership is clouded in this case, it's not clear what will happen to the teenager or if the Colorado owner would have to follow the restrictions, Oswald said.

Both Oregon and Colorado laws are similar to Multnomah County's ordinance as are laws in neighboring states.

The county and Oregon laws are endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruely to Animals.  California's law regarding dangerous or vicious dogs also allows for restrictions on dog owners and a hearing before a judge or hearings officer to decide the dog's fate. Washington state has similar laws, too.

"Each incident is looked at individually based on their severity," Oswald said. "You identify the owners who dogs that are aggressive and put restrictions to prevent further incidents. It's a prevention program and it works."

Studies have shown that Multnomah County's approach to dealing with dangerous dogs reduces the chance the dog will reoffend from 25 percent to 7 percent, he said.

As a matter of course, Oswald said, a potentially dangerous dog whose owner doesn't honor the restrictions or a dog that continues its aggressive behavior can be euthanized and the owner can face civil penalties and fines.

That decision would be made by either a hearings officer or a judge.

The pit bull in last week's attack doesn't fall into the definition of a "dangerous dog," the most serious classification under county law that can bring euthanasia.

A dangerous dog is one that causes "the serious physical injury or death of any person, or the dog is used in commission of a crime," under state and Multnomah County laws.

Penalties for maintaining a dangerous dog can include fines and tickets for violations, or a misdemeanor criminal charge.

Euthanasia – for dangerous animals as well as healthy animals due to overcrowding -- has become increasingly uncommon in the Portland metro area after the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland was formed in 2006.

In 2006, what's known as the live-release rate, stood a little over 60 percent; in 2013, the combined live-release rate for dogs and cats in counties in the alliance — Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Clark in Washington state — stood at 91 percent.

Britta Bavaresco, co-founder of the Animal Shelter Alliance, said while the pit bull has a big strike against it for killing another dog, officials may never be able to determine what the dog went through during the three months since it was reported missing in Colorado.

"I'm not making excuses for the dog," Bavaresco said. "A small dog was killed — it's horrible and should not have happened. But the pit bull may have been fighting for her life, it could have been confused or stressed. But in plain speak, the dog is not returning to our streets. We are getting the dog out of the county and here is an owner."

(The Oregonian - September 29, 2014)


Abandoned Shih-tzu found with feces and rubbish in fur

UNITED KINGDOM -- This abandoned Shih-tzu was found in an “utterly shocking” condition in east London.

The dog, named Puffin by RSPCA staff, was found in Thamesmead near Yarnton Way on September 8, and later taken into the care of a vet.

The fur on Puffin’s paws was so matted that they were four times their usual size, making it painful for him to walk.

Feces and rubbish were also found matted in his fur.

The RSPCA has now launched an appeal for information about how the animal came to be in such poor condition.

Inspector Joanna Bishop from the RSPCA said Puffin had clearly been neglected for his entire life and that he was “abandoned on the streets and just left to roam".

“Thankfully it looks like he will make a full recovery, but the mating was so severe we had to sedate him in order to remove it,” Insp Bishop said.

“But he is such a sweet-natured little thing, despite all the pain he was obviously in.”

(Standard UK - Sept 17, 2014)

Delaware: Daughter, 8, of Newark politician critically injured after pit bull attack in her home

DELAWARE -- The eight-year-old daughter of a Newark politician is in a critical condition after she was attacked by a pit bull in her home.

Emily Ruckle was bitten multiple times by the pit bull and suffered severe soft-tissue injuries and blood loss from the attack, in Stafford neighborhood on Saturday afternoon.

The child, whose father is city Councilman Todd Ruckle, was with her 15-year-old sister when the dog became aggressive.

The animal prevented the two girls, who were home alone, from leaving the room where the attack occurred.

The girl's sister called the emergency services and stemmed the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

When officers arrived they shot the dog dead.

New Castle County paramedics took the girl to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland.

She was then flown to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, where she was listed in critical condition.

'Today is the hardest day of my life. My daughter is alive and will survive,' Todd Ruckle posted on his Facebook page, reports the Delaware Online.

'She has 4 to 6 hours of surgery with three different teams of surgeons. 

'We are praying we can save her arm. I am truly in need of love and support. Please send every ounce of positive thoughts right now.'

Jerry Clifton, a longtime family friend told the website the dog was not the family pet, but was staying at the house.

'She's such a friendly girl. She loves animals and my heart goes out to her family and I feel awful,' said Dee Wagman, family friend told 6ABC.

She said her children would often play at the Ruckle's home, but they 'would ensure me that the dog was locked separately and they would have no contact with that dog,' she said.

Yesterday the family spokesman issued a statement saying: 'The Ruckle family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, but have asked that the media and public respect their privacy during this difficult time.'

The reason for the dog's attack is unclear.

(Daily Mail - Sept 29, 2014)

Cedar City man arrested for bestiality, intoxication, assault

UTAH -- On the evening of July 13, Cedar City Police responded to a report of a fight. When they investigated, Zechariah Berrett, 28, of Cedar City, was arrested for assault, intoxication, and bestiality.

According to information received by way of the Government Records Access Management Act, Cedar City Police were dispatched to an assault in progress. Upon arriving at the home, they found Berrett, intoxicated, and assaulting persons inside of the home who were attempting to keep him from his dog.

According to the police report, the people in the home had begun to suspect that Berrett was sexually abusing the dog when he was intoxicated.

The report revealed that after keeping the dog from him, Berrett grabbed one of the people by the arm and began assaulting them. The other person tried to intervene and during the struggle, received injuries to the neck.

During the investigation, Berrett admitted to police that he has stimulated the dog multiple times in the home while he was intoxicated and while he was sober.

Berrett was arrested by Cedar City Police and transported to the Iron County Detention Facility. He was originally charged with two counts of assault, a class-B misdemeanor; bestiality, a class-B misdemeanor; and intoxication, a class-C Misdemeanor.

On July 15, Cedar City Attorney Paul Bittmenn dismissed charges in the Iron County Justice Court without prejudice, therefore allowing for the case to be re-filed.

“We discovered that he has a history of domestic violence,” said Bittmenn. “We are giving the district court a chance to pick up the case, with the enhanced charges. If they don’t we will re-file in justice court.”

Later on July 15, the Iron County Attorney’s Office did pick up the case and filed on two counts of domestic violence assault, now both enhanced to class-A misdemeanors; bestiality remained a class-B misdemeanor; and intoxication remained a class-C misdemeanor.

His initial appearance was held on July 17, where he was appointed a public defender and his bail remained set at $4,000. His preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.

Iron County Attorney’s Office officials did not return attempts for comment as this report is published.

St George News Editors note: Due to the graphic nature of the crime, certain details were omitted.

(St George News - July 31, 2014)

Officials seeking public's help after dog found shot, killed in Walworth County

WISCONSIN -- Deputies in Walworth County are investigating a disturbing case of animal abuse.

Capt. Dana Nigbor said walkers discovered a dog Sunday along the White River Trail in Geneva Township that had been wrapped in a blanket and shot.

Deputies believe the dog was a female Bull mastiff, yellow in color with a black face and weighed about 90 pounds.

Officials said the dog had been shot eight times.

Police have been unable to locate the dog's owners and hope anyone who recognizes the blanket comes forward.

Cindy Wrobel, a Walworth County Humane officer, said the dog was not microchipped.

The 2- or 3-year-old dog appeared to have been in good health as well, she said. The dog had all its teeth, trimmed nails and was well-groomed.  There was also matted fur around the neck, suggesting it had worn a collar.

"I'm sure somebody has to know or have seen something, knows somebody who had a mastiff that no longer had a mastiff. Anything could help," she said.

Officials released this photo of the type of dog
 found and the blanket it was found wrapped in.

"With no identification, you know the chances that we will find someone are probably slim, but we're holding out hope, so maybe we will have justice for her after all," Wrobel said.

For now, the body of the dog is being held at the Lakeland Animal Shelter. The shelter plans to hold the dog for 7-10 days and if there are no leads after that, they will make plans for cremation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Walworth County Sheriff's Office online at www. tipsoft.com. Click on 'For Citizens,' then 'Submit a Web Tip.'

(WISN - Sept 17, 2014)

West Virginia: Charleston WV Shih Tzu finds new home in Ohio

WEST VIRGINIA -- All it took was one look.

When Suzanne Shriver saw the picture of two Shih-Tzu puppies on the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association’s Facebook page, she knew she had to have them.

“They were laying in a pile,” she said. “You couldn’t tell one from another. All I could see was a pile of matted fur and four big eyes looking at me.”

So, the next day, Shriver and her husband made the hour-and-a-half drive from their home in Proctorville, Ohio, to be at the shelter when it opened.

They adopted the 1-year-old brothers, who had been surrendered by their owner, and dubbed them Lewis and Clark.

How exactly did the Ohio couple come to adopt from Charleston? Were they originally from the area? Did they have family here?

Nope. Shriver is simply a dog lover who is active in animal rescue and follows a number of shelters and rescues on Facebook. While not a new development in her life, the passion for pooches was something she didn’t acquire until adulthood.

“I didn’t have any pets as a child,” she explained. “I didn’t know I liked dogs. I got my first dog when I was in my 30s, and that did it. I’ve had dogs ever since, and they’ve all been rescues or strays I’ve found and taken in.”

When Lewis and Clark joined the family, they brought the canine count up to six. Sadly, though, the number was not to stay that way for long.

When the dogs were taken to be neutered, the vet diagnosed them with kennel cough, a common canine ailment equivalent to a human cold. The puppies were put on medication, but after a few days, they were still listless.

The Shrivers returned to the vet, who told them the symptoms looked like parvo, a highly contagious virus that is often fatal.

“Clark came down with it first, then Lewis,” Shriver said. “We had them in intensive care at the Proctorville Animal Clinic on IVs and medications.”

After about a week, Lewis’ condition started to improve. Clark’s didn’t.

“We kept Clark there, and he never came out of it,” Shriver said. “He didn’t make it. It was very sad.”

It was still a few more weeks after that before Lewis returned to full health, but once he did, he became the friendly, loving dog that he is today.

“He just loves everybody,” Shriver said. “He thinks everybody comes to see him. He follows me everywhere,” she added. “When I go from one room to another, he follows me. When I sit down to read, he lays on the back of the chair and puts his head on top of my head.

“He doesn’t know he’s little. All the other dogs are big, so he thinks he’s one of the big guys.”

He doesn’t know it, but it’s a good thing Lewis isn’t one of the big guys. If he were, he wouldn’t get to indulge in his favorite treat: car rides.

“He loves to go in the car. If I pick up my keys, he runs to the door,” said Shriver. “He’s the only one I take in the car with me because he’s small enough I can handle him.”

Car rides have an added treat for Lewis and that’s, well, another treat.

“Lots of drive-through places, like the pharmacy and the bank, give doggie treats. He knows if he goes with me, they’re going to give him treats. He pokes his little head out the window, like, ‘Here I am. Give me my treat!’”

The only place Lewis doesn’t like to go is the groomer, though Shriver isn’t sure why. After all, he loves the results from his visits.

“We keep him in a puppy cut, so he’s all furry,” she said. “He is very proud when he gets a shampoo and a new haircut. We tell him how beautiful he is, and he struts around, thinking he really looks cool.”

Currently, Lewis has five other doggie brothers and sisters, all from Homestretch Hounds, a rescue and animal sanctuary near Cincinnati. There’s Abbie, an older terrier mix, as well as the senior greyhounds Gibbs and Vallie. His 2-year-old beagle brothers are Frankie and Jesse, named for the James Gang.

That gives them a full house, Shriver said.“We’re pretty much at our limit. We don’t have any intentions of taking any more,” she said.

“I try to kind of skip all those Facebook pages now,” she added. “I scroll by really quickly.”

If you think your adopted pet has a unique story, send your contact information and some details about your pet’s story to Amy Robinson for consideration for a future feature.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4881.

(WV Gazette - Sept 7, 2014)

Dog Taken From Geneva Home

NEW YORK -- The Ontario County Humane Society investigated an animal cruelty complaint Saturday, at 146 William Street in the City of Geneva.

Police arrested 41-year-old, Mark Bullock, and 33-year-old, Rita Bullock, for aggravated animal cruelty, after finding a 10-year old Cocker Spaniel, named "Abbey," that was undernourished at the residents.

According to the Ontario County Humane Society, Abbey's fur was matted with feces, she was covered with fleas that ulcerated her skin and her toe nails were overgrown. 

She was taken to a vet where she was found to be undernourished and filled with parasites.  These conditions were all signs of maltreatment.

(WROC-TV - Sep 27, 2014)

Adding insult to injury.... pit bull owners drag their dogs to art memorial

MICHIGAN -- Upset PIT BULL lovers say an ArtPrize entry that memorializes the victims of dog attacks unfairly focuses on pit bull breeds.

The entry, “Out of the Blue” by Julie Kowal of Wyoming, is made up of crosses and the faces of 30 people who were killed this year in dog attacks in the U.S., the artist says. Several of the victims are children. Most of the attacks featured in the entry involved pit bulls.

Sunday, pit bull owners brought their dogs to Calder Plaza, where the entry is displayed, in hopes of balancing the message. They wanted to show the breeds most often mentioned in the memorial have a softer side.

Tonya Choryan brought her dog Micah, who is in the it pit bull family. She described him as “very gentle.”

“We’re here to show the other side of our dogs — that responsible ownership is the key to owning these animals,” said Choryan, who is also certified to train pit bulls.

In the video clip, Choryan badgers a little girl to come over and pet her pit bull

She said the display is as troubling to her as anyone else.

“It saddens me because there’s a lot of lives lost here,” she said. “I’m glad it’s here, actually, because it opens the dialogue.”

This woman complained that most of the victims listed had been killed by
"bully breeds" and thinks it would be "better" if it didn't mention the breed
because, of course, any dog could have done this

Kowal, the artist, wasn’t at Calder Plaza Sunday as the protesters in pro-pit bull T-shirts gathered. They took blame for attacks off of the animals.

(WOODTV - Sept 28, 2014)

Cat Hair Helps to Convict Man of Murder

MISSOURI -- For the first time ever, mitochondrial DNA from shed cat hair was accepted as evidence in a U.S. legal proceeding and helped to convict a suspect of murder.

The case, which will be outlined in the November issue of the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics, could set a precedent, such that pet hair may be more commonly introduced as evidence in U.S. trials.

"Dog hair has been used in both state and federal courts," co-author Beth Wictum told Discovery News. "Cases range from animal theft to animal cruelty, murder, sexual assault, bestiality, and pretty much anything you can think of."

Henry Lee Polk, convicted of murder

Wictum, who is associate director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensics Unit at the University of California at Davis, and her colleagues analyzed the single light orange-colored cat hair that was found in one of the victim's jean pockets. The individual, from Clay County, Missouri, was found severely beaten with his throat violently lacerated to near decapitation.

Both the victim and the primary suspect lived with cats, so the cat hair by itself did not mean much, given how frequently felines shed. As any cat owner knows, strands of cat fur seem to wind up everywhere. Prior studies have demonstrated how shed cat hair can cling to everything from curtains to clothing.

The researchers therefore obtained and sequenced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the single hair. This is a type of DNA that passes down from mothers to their offspring. Another type of DNA, nuclear, provides more information because it encodes for the majority of the individual's genome.

"Shed hair usually doesn't have nuclear DNA because it is in the hair follicle, so we test the mtDNA in the hair shaft," Wictum explained. "However, because cats and dogs groom themselves, we sometimes get nuclear DNA profiles from shed pet hair."

For this case, only the mtDNA was available, but the researchers were able to compare and contrast it with mtDNA from a large general database as well as from samples of fur obtained from both the victim's and the suspect's cats. That was quite a challenge, since the suspect lived with 11 cats, and 8 of those were reported to be related.

The scientists, however, were able to exclude that the hair originated from the victim's cats, but it could not be excluded from the cats living with the suspect, who claimed that the victim owed him money for carpet installation.

The suspect was found guilty of first-degree murder, due to cat hair mtDNA and other evidence, and was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Criminal profiling expert Wayne Petherick of Bond University told Discovery News that he was not shocked that such evidence was accepted by a U.S. court, "but I was surprised it had taken as long as it had. It was really only a matter of time."

He said that human hair is more commonly presented as evidence, but he believes that as mtDNA databases increase in size, pet hair as evidence will strengthen.

University of Leicester forensic scientist Jon Wetton agrees, but added that "it is currently an expensive specialist test which cannot offer strong evidence, so its use will be limited to high profile cases where more conventional approaches have failed to build a strong enough case."

Wetton and his colleagues, however, have created the U.K.'s first cat DNA database. Cat hair was used as evidence in a case in the U.K. last year. It has also been used in casework in Canada, Austria and Belgium.

Wetton said, "As more countries accept cat DNA as admissible evidence, I am sure that its use will become more commonplace as pet hairs are frequently recovered when taping evidential items."

(Discovery.com - Sept 28, 2014)


Cat Hair Leads To Charges In Murder Of Contractor

MISSOURI -- Cat hair helped investigators bring charges against a Kansas City man in the murder of a self-employed contractor last year.

Henry Lee Polk, 40, is accused of first degree murder and armed-criminal action in the death of Stephen M. Nolte.

Nolte was found dead by a relative at a home he was working on in the 5500 block of North Troost on March 8, 2004.

Investigators found cat hairs on the victim's pockets that had been turned inside out.

Officers learned that Polk kept several cats at his home.

The hairs from the crime scene were sent to a California laboratory.

"The results of these tests indicated a genetic DNA match between a hair found on the victim and two of the cats from the Polk residence," Clay County Prosecutor Daniel L. White said in a press

According to court documents, a witness told investigators that Polk went to the home on North
Troost on March 7, 2004 to talk to Nolte about money he was owed for installing carpet for him.
The witness also told investigators that Polk later took Nolte's pickup truck and dropped it off in
Kansas City, Kan. Two days after the murder, the witness claimed Polk had her drive him to a spot
in Liberty where she saw him burn clothing that he was allegedly wearing the night of Nolte's
Polk is being held on $300,000 bond.

(KMBC - January 21, 2005)

Pit bull rips privacy fence apart to attack two small dogs in their own backyard

OKLAHOMA -- A pair of dog owners in Norman are in shock this weekend after an alleged attack by their neighbor's pit bull. Their dogs were hurt badly, and the dog they say is responsible for the fight, is still in its backyard.

Mary Quickle is still reeling over Friday morning's alleged attack on her dogs.

“It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my entire life,” she said. “I will never get those visions and those sounds of those babies crying out of my mind.”


Quickle said her neighbor's dog tore its way through her wood fence.

“It started ripping boards off … pushed me out of the way,” Quickle said.

And that is when it got hold of Maggie, a Jack Russell terrier. When it let go of her, Quickle said it went after another small dog, Lola.

“Her whole body was in her mouth,” Quickle explained.

The whole family tried to fight off the dog and after a 30-minute struggle, it finally let go, according to Quickle. Quickle said she held the dog until authorities showed up and then rushed her pets to the veterinarian hospital.

“Lola was just covered in blood and I had her in my arms,” Quickle said.

Maggie had several wounds and a draining tube, while Lola is still at the hospital.

“Her shoulder, the muscles and the tendons were shredded. The ball joint was damaged and there's a fractured split that goes down her leg.”

The owners of the dog allegedly involved in the attack didn't answer the door on Sunday. And while Norman police confirm they responded to the incident, no one with Animal Welfare could be reached Sunday.

Quickle said the dog owner was given a ticket. And she doesn't think that's enough.

If it got out of this fence once, my guess is that it can do it again
Would you want to live next to this?

“That dog needs to be put down … the dog is still in the backyard. What are the chances of the dog getting out again?”

Both injured dogs are still recovering, but the one that's at the hospital could get to come home as early as Monday.

The vet bills have already reached $2,000... think the pit bull owner will cough up the cash for what his monster did???

(News9 - Sept 28, 2014)