Thursday, September 29, 2011

Police fire at, possibly wound dog that attacked woman at Brookside School

Once again, dog eludes capture by police

By David Weingrad and Scott Brinton, from Long Island Herald

A pit bull that mauled 64-year-old Shashi Sharma last Thursday at the Brookside School in North Merrick, digging its teeth into her arms, legs and head, eluded capture as police closed in on the animal in North Merrick on Tuesday.

Nassau County police officers fired at and possibly wounded the dog, but it ran off and was not found as of press time. Officials described the pit bull as brown and white, and said to stay away from the animal and call 911 immediately if it is spotted.

The dog, which was found in the area of Ott Lane, just north of the Southern State Parkway, around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, escaped into nearby woods along the parkway, causing police to lock down nearby Fayette Elementary School, the Sacred Heart School and the Brookside School. Police cordoned off the area around Ott Lane where the animal was believed to be hiding. Police searched extensively in the woods between the westbound entrance to the Southern State Parkway and Ott Lane, just off Meadowbrook Road.

Police taped off Ott Lane and blocked the entrance to the Southern State Parkway while the search was under way. Two helicopters circled overhead.

Initially, police said they were attempting to push the dog out of the woods onto Ott Lane, where they would shoot it on sight. At one point, they urged all reporters and bystanders to get back so they could extend the barricaded area. About five officers searched the woods, all armed with rifles. At 4:30 p.m., the search was officially called off, and police reopened the entrance to the parkway.

There were eyewitness reports that up to 10 gunshots were heard in the vicinity of Ott Lane during the early afternoon, but police would not confirm those reports.

Nassau County Police searched throughout the weekend for the pit bull that attacked Sharma on Sept. 29 around 11 a.m., but the widespread search failed to turn up the animal. It was one of two pit bulls involved in the mauling. Police shot the other one dead on Thursday.

Claudia Borecky, president of the North Merrick Community Civic Association, who is running for Hempstead Town Board, said the loose pit bull was seen by a member of the North Merrick Neighborhood Watch at 5 p.m. on Monday in the vicinity of South Drive in North Merrick. The dog was also reportedly spotted on North Drive in North Merrick around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

At press time on Tuesday, officials in both the North Merrick and North Bellmore school districts said they were keeping children inside during recess until police say the dog has been caught.

The two pit bulls, which were spotted by a surveillance camera wandering around the Brookside School campus, inexplicably attacked Sharma near a Nassau County senior center on the north side of the school, as Sharma was returning to her car after walking on the track there.

Sharma was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where, at press time, she remained in critical, but stable condition in the intensive care unit, said Shelly Lotenberg, a hospital spokeswoman.

There was no word on who the dogs' owner might be.

The Brookside School serves as the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s administrative office. It was closed on Thursday for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, when the attack occurred, though the senior center at the school was open. A number of youth groups and Central District teams practice at Brookside’s fields in the afternoon. The Central District cancelled all practices at the school until further notice.

A witness at the scene described the attack as horrific, saying the dogs tore skin off the woman. Smith said the victim suffered severe wounds to her left arm and legs, as well as cuts on her head and face.

The woman called 911 from her cell phone. When police arrived at the Brookside School, the pit bulls were still attacking. According to Smith, the dogs began to approach the officers, ready to pounce. After police fired their guns at one dog, killing it, the other ran off.

Ten police cars, along with New York State Trooper and Town of Hempstead Animal Control units, were circling the area around the Brookside School’s athletic fields, and a police helicopter was flying overhead on Thursday.

Borecky said she received an email from a member of the North Merrick Community Civic Association about a pit bull attack earlier on Thursday, around 2: 45 a.m. The email went, "Just wanted to let you know around an hour ago my husband heard yelling and dogs barking, so he went to see what was going on and called 911. An older man was riding his bicycle when he was attacked by two pit bulls. This happened on William Street between Richard Avenue and Maeder Avenue. Several police cars and trucks were back and forth in the area trying to capture the dogs. I just pray that they get them and that the man is OK."

On Tuesday, police cars and a police helicopter were seen in North Merrick, searching for the missing pit bull.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Public warned after two dogs launch attack in Newport

Police have warned people not to approach two dogs which attacked and killed another dog and injured its owner in Newport.

From BBC News

A woman was walking her two Yorkshire terriers when the other two dogs, not on leads, attacked on Saturday night.

She is being treated at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

Three men were with the offending dogs. One dog was an off-white pitbull-type, the other a brown Staffordshire bull terrier.

Gwent Police said the woman was walking along Alexandra Road near the Waterloo Hotel at 2215 BST on Saturday when the dogs attacked her pets.

She tried to intervene, but was bitten on her arm.

The attacking dogs were not on leads and were accompanied by three men who fled following the incident.

Officers and specialist dog handlers are trying to trace the animals, and people are advised to call police on 101, rather than approach the animals.

One is described as off-white in colour, with a long nose and tail. It is thought to be a pitbull-type, similar in size to a labrador, and was called Kane by the men who shouted at it, said police.

The second is described as a brown Staffordshire bull terrier, with a long tail.

Update: September 26, 2011 - The following article is by Lynn Curwin, from Digital Journal

Three men arrested following dog attack

Three men were arrested in Wales after an attack by two loose dogs resulted in the death of one small dog, and left the owner and her second dog with injuries.

A woman was walking her two Yorkshire terriers in Pill at around 10.15pm on Saturday when two loose dogs went after the smaller animals. When she tried to protect her pets she was bitten on the arm.

The BBC reported that the three men who were with the dogs fled following the incident.

One of the Yorkies died as a result of its injuries and the woman was treated at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

According to the South Wales Argus three men, aged 23, 30, and 31, were arrested Sunday afternoon under section one of the Dangerous Dog Act and two dogs are being kept by police while an investigation is carried out.

Wales Online described one of the dogs as an off-white Pit Bull-type terrier and the other as a brown Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a long tail.

Irresponsible owners have caused much harm for the reputation of this type of dog.

A 2010 Daily Mail article reported that almost half of the dogs which arrive at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home are Staffies - and that often it is because they have not received proper training.

In a 2010 article in The Guardian Roy Hattersley pointed out that people should not judge specific breeds, but should support harsher penalties for irresponsible owners.

"The so-called fighting breeds – particularly the much-maligned Staffordshire bull terrier – are as much in need of protection as the people who fear them," he wrote.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mother charged after dogs kill Bladen infant

By Matthew Burns, from WRAL

A Bladen County grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old mother after dogs mauled her 9-day-old daughter to death last month, authorities said Monday.

Chelsea Briggs, of 10140 N. College St. in Clarkton, was charged with involuntary manslaughter after a grand jury met in special session on Friday.

Addyson Paige Camerino was killed on Aug. 30 after several dogs in the home attacked her, authorities said. Five dogs were removed from the home, which authorities said was shared by Briggs, the baby, Briggs' parents, brothers and a tenant.

Neighbors said the family's dogs included a rottweiler and a pit bull.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sheriff's deputies kill dog in search for armed man in Norwalk

By Leanne Suter, from KABC

The owner of a dog shot dead by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies Saturday is speaking out about the way the situation was handled.

Deputies were canvassing a Norwalk neighborhood for a man with a gun at 161 Street about 3:30 p.m.

Eddie Perez says they asked him to remove his pit bull from the backyard so they could search it. He says he told the deputies he needed a leash for the 2-year-old dog, Ziggy, but says he was ordered to bring the dog out anyway.

A neighbor captured what happened next on camera: Ziggy spotted the deputies' canine and broke free to attack the police dog.

"I'm telling the Sheriff's, 'Taser my dog, Taser my dog.' His exact words were, 'No, shoot that (expletive) dog,'" Perez said.

With his assault rifle drawn, witnesses said one of the deputies shot Ziggy in the head as about a dozen kids looked on.

"They shot the dog in front of everybody," said Eric Castaneda, a witness. "My daughter, she's 12 years old, she just ran in crying. How could they do that?"

Witnesses said the dog limped back to its home before collapsing in the driveway.

Perez said he is devastated by Ziggy's death, but what upsets him most is how the situation was handled.

"They don't apologize," he said. "They saw their dog was more important to them than my dog. They're the ones that told me to do what I did. They're not taking responsibility for it."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has not commented on the incident.

Perez said the deputies didn't end up searching his backyard and that he later found the suspect's weapon.

Perez said he has hired an attorney.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby suffers critical injuries after pit bull attack inside home

By Andre Dykes, from WBTV

A child was severely injured in a dog attack inside a west Charlotte home Tuesday afternoon.

The incident occurred at 5:20 p.m. at 5201 Pinebrook Drive and involved a pit bull dog in the home, the police report said.

The 1-year-old girl suffered "severe lacerations" and was transported to Carolinas Medical Center-Main with life-threatening injuries where she immediately underwent surgery.

Tuesday night, the child's condition was upgraded from life-threatening to critical.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said the dog's owner voluntarily surrendered the dog to animal control officers and the owner cooperated with police.

The CMPD's Youth and Family Services Division is investigating the case due to the severity of the child's injuries.

Investigators have not said if any charges will be filed against the dog's owner, or what circumstances led to the baby being attacked.

Update: September 14, 2011 - The following article is by Amy Cowman, from WCNC:

Pit bull mauls 1-year old baby girl

A 1-year- old girl is in critical condition Tuesday after being mauled by a pit bull.

It happened Tuesday around 5:30 in the evening at a house in West Charlotte.

Debra Spann lives just a couple houses down on Pinebrook Drive from where the 1- year- old baby girl was attacked by a pit bull. She was home and saw the aftermath in the street.

“It was really very emotional to watch, very. Just so sad,” Spann said. "There was a lady very hysterical, and she was like ‘I couldn't get him off of her,’" said Spann.

Spann says she saw the mother run out with the baby while another woman called the ambulance.

"They had towels around her neck so I can only assume the dog grabbed her by the neck, but it was really an awful scene to hear all these ladies screaming hysterical,"added Spann.

According to the neighbors, the home belongs to the mother's boyfriend's parents and they were over there visiting.

A police report says the mother is Janae Johnson. She lives in apartments of Fernwood where neighbor Sean Carter says he's just seen her in passing with the 1 -year -old baby girl and another young child.

"Typical mother. Very protective, making sure she doesn't go down the stairs wrong you know, "said Carter.

According to police, doctors operated on the baby Tuesday night, and she is still in critical condition.

As for the dog, it was taken away by Animal Control. In fact, Spann says she believes they might have had seven or eight pit bulls at the house.

"They actually had a total of six Animal Control vans and I know for a fact they filled three of them," said Spann.

Now she's just praying for the baby and that it doesn't happen again.

"I hope this will bring attention to people concerning animal control and safety even in your own home because sometimes things can turn tragic," said Spann.

Update: September 15, 2011 - The following article is from WSOCTV:

Child seriously injured after being attacked by dog

A 1-year-old child has life-threatening injuries after she was attacked by a dog.

Police said the child was visiting a home in the 5200 block of Pinebrook Drive in west Charlotte Tuesday evening when the homeowner's pit bull charged her inside the home.

A police report said the child suffered "severe lacerations."

Police, medics, and multiple animal control officers arrived on scene, according to neighbors.

"My daughter said her neck appeared to be covered in blood, and the dog had blood on his face as well ... she didn't so much as whimper. I assume she was really in shock," said Deborah Spann.

Animal Control officers seized the dog from the property while the girl was taken by ambulance to Carolinas Medical Center Main.

Other residents said it is not the first time the pit bull has escaped.

"I saw the dog escape out," said Pyxa Vongxay.

Vongxay lives across the street from the home and said the pit bull had attacked another dog on in the neighborhood.

"I hope they'll be able to understand the point of being able to secure their dogs properly," another resident said.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dog-fighting operation near Columbia raided

By Sammy Fretwell, from The Post & Courier

Authorities have broken up a large dog-fighting operation in an area of northern Richland County that has drawn scrutiny in the past over drug-dealing and pit-bull fighting.

Acting on a tip, deputies raided a dog fight off Campground Road late Thursday. People watching the fight fled, and some dogs scattered through the wooded area of rolling hills and mobile homes north of Interstate 20.

Stanley W. Taylor Jr., 23, was jailed after being charged with two counts of violating the animal fighting and baiting act.

Deputies spent part of Thursday night and Friday seeking other suspects and rounding up loose dogs, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. Deputies had seized 24 dogs by Friday.

"This was a large-scale dog-fighting operation that we feel has been going on for some time," Lott said Friday.

He said he knows from personal experience that dog-fighting was occurring in the area near Campground Road, but it had been difficult to locate pit-bull fights until the department received Thursday's tip about barking dogs.

During the past five years, Lott said he has found about 15 dead pit bulls on hunting land he owns not far from Campground Road. "These were pit bulls. They were killed either in the dog-fighting, or were unsuccessful (fighters), and were killed by the owners and were just dumped."

Most of the dogs seized this week were pit bulls, the main animals used in dog fights. Lott said the seized dogs were being kept at an undisclosed location as the investigation unfolds.

When authorities arrived at the fight scene Thursday, they found some dogs chained up and others running loose, the sheriff said.

Court records show the Campground Road area has a history of dog-fighting activity.

According to a 2003 federal court transcript, a mobile home on Campground Road was used to receive drugs from Georgia and keep pit bulls bred for sale to dog-fighters.

Update: September 12, 2011 - The following article is by Jason Old, from WCSC:

Dog fighting bust pushes other dogs out of shelter

A dog fighting bust last week has had a potentially deadly ripple-effect inside the Midlands animal shelter community.

One Midlands animal shelter needs help taking care of at least 30 dogs displaced from Richland County's animal shelter by dozens of dogs confiscated from a dog fighting bust that took place last week.

On September 8, deputies stumbled upon a dog fight taking place in a wooded area off of Camp Ground Rd. in North Columbia. When the people running the fight saw law enforcement, they all scattered. 30 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were confiscated from the scene.

Animal control ordinances in Richland County dictate that the dogs from the fighting ring must be held at Richland County Animal Care. In order to make room for the confiscated fighting dogs, the county shelter needed to move or euthanize dozens of dogs.

Pawmetto Lifeline stepped in and offered to care for and provide shelter or foster homes to the displaced dogs. The shelter sent out an urgent plea Friday evening to try to help the pups. The shelter said it needs at least $200 per dog to ensure that it can cover the housing and medical care of the canines.

Had Pawmetto Lifeline not intervened, it is possible those dogs would have been put down by Richland County Animal Care because the confiscated pit bulls have to be kept alive during the investigation into the fighting ring.

Over the weekend, the shelter raised almost half the money it believes it needs to save the original shelter dogs. Some of the dogs are available for adoption, but several of them need medical care before being considered. Click here to contact Pawmetto Lifeline.

One person was arrested in the raid, but deputies are still searching for the people who ran from the fight.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ayen's Law: family's call for national ban on savage dogs will be heard

THE family of the four-year-old savaged to death by a pit bull wants a national ban on dangerous dogs - and the Federal Government has agreed

By Nick Calacouras, from

Ayen Chol's family told they would like to see a blanket ban on savage breeds like the one that killed their daughter last month.

And in a win for parents across the nation, Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has promised to raise uniform bans with his state and territory counterparts, saying "we should be doing everything we can to prevent these kinds of horrific attacks."

He added: "One attack on a child is too many."

The Victorian Government passed urgent dog laws following Ayen's death three weeks ago when a pit bull entered her family home.

But other states are lagging behind and the girl's grieving parents have called for a national ban to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

"We would like that type of dog, the pit bull, to be banned and any other dangerous breed," the family told through a spokesman.

"That should apply Australia-wide."

Ayen died while clutching her mother's leg as the dog chased her through the front door. Her 31-year-old and five-year-old cousins were also attacked by the animal.

States and territories are responsible for their own dog laws, but now the Federal Government will step in and lead an overhaul.

Mr McClelland told there needed to be national consistency on registration, penalties and management of dangerous dogs

"Clearly, we should be doing everything we can to avoid these kinds of horrific attacks. Unfortunately, they occur far too frequently. One attack on a child is one too many," he said.

He said the discussion would also look at which laws were most effective and how best to enforce them.

"Ayen Chol’s death touched the heart of the community and every parent, and reinforced the need for dog owners and the wider community to work together to make our homes and streets as safe as possible," he said.

Only five of the eight Australian jurisdictions automatically restrict dangerous breeds.

And some jurisdictions still allow these breeds to be sold or given away.

The Northern Territory has no laws regarding dangerous animals and relies entirely on local council by-laws.

This comes after fears pit bull owners have started dumping their pets on the streets of Melbourne to avoid a recent crackdown.

After the attack, Premier Ted Baillieu said the incident was unacceptable and dangerous breeds had lost the right to exist.

"There cannot be a more tragic situation than to see a young child like this killed in this horrible, horrible way," he said.

Under the new laws, dog inspectors were sent on a search and destroy mission to rid Victoria of thousands of pit bull terriers.

Council officers are now armed with seize and destroy powers for unregistered restricted breed dogs.

But there have been at least four pit bulls caught wandering the northern suburbs of Melbourne in the past week.

Rangers fear the dogs are being dumped by owners trying to avoid being caught breeding or importing the dangerous animals.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Victorian vets fight pit bull crackdown

By Pia Akerman, from The Australian

THE peak vet association has warned that its members will face pressure from dog owners under laws designed to crack down on pit bull terriers following an attack that killed a four-year-old girl.

The death of Ayen Chol, who was savaged by a neighbour's pit bull cross at home last month as she clung to her mother, has spurred the Baillieu government to bring forward regulations requiring all pit bulls to be registered by the end of this month.

Unregistered dogs can be immediately seized and destroyed.

The legislation provides visual guidelines identifying pit bull features. Any dog meeting that description will be considered a pit bull unless the owner has a certificate identifying its breed.

Australian Veterinary Association Victorian president Susan Maastricht said it was difficult to conclusively identify breeds by appearance, and vets could face pressure from clients to certify dogs as non-pit bulls when the breed was unclear.

Suburban councils and stray-dog homes say some owners are voluntarily handing pit bull crosses to be euthanased. And Hume Council, in Melbourne's northern suburbs, has caught and destroyed four pit bull-type dogs found on the streets in the past week, sparking fears that owners have decided to abandon dogs rather than have them registered.

The association is campaigning against the laws, arguing that targeting specific breeds was unlikely to reduce the risk of attack.

Melbourne vet and former AVA state president Bill Harkin said the government's criteria for identifying pit bulls could also apply to other breeds, leaving vets vulnerable to lawsuits if dogs certified as non-pit bulls attacked someone.

"I'm sure the government wouldn't indemnify us in subsequent claims, and our professional indemnity insurance won't cover us for those sorts of amounts that could occur if a child was badly injured or killed," he said.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Owners dump dangerous dogs to avoid penalties

PIT bulls have been cut loose to roam the streets as irresponsible owners try to avoid a crackdown on restricted breeds

By Grant McArthur and Alex White, from Herald Sun

At least four pit bull types have been caught wandering the northern suburbs on Melbourne in the past six days.

Rangers fear dogs are being dumped by owners trying to avoid being caught breeding or importing the dangerous animals.

The Victorian Government's Dob in a Dangerous Dog hotline has received tip-offs for 125 pit bull and pit bull crosses in its first week.

Councils are following up the calls.

Pit bull owners have until September 29 to place their dogs on a restricted breed register. Unregistered dogs found from September 30 will be put down.

Animal welfare patrols may be introduced as part of the crackdown after Ayen Chol, 4, was savaged to death in her family's St Albans home on August 17.

Hume Council yesterday confirmed it had caught and destroyed four pit bulls "wandering at large" since last Thursday.

The council seized three more pit bull types yesterday, and another 15 were awaiting a decision on their fate after being found unregistered in homes or dobbed in by neighbours.

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the changes made last week to tighten laws around ownership of restricted breeds were already having an impact.

"People are starting to think twice about the risk of owning a pit bull," he said.

Geelong Animal Aid manager Robyn Stewart has put down six pit bulls in the past two weeks and suspects the number will rise as the amnesty draws to an end.

Lost Dogs Home spokeswoman Sue Conroy said there had been a surge in the number of aggressive dogs being surrendered.

Six had been destroyed at the shelter in the past fortnight and the fate of 11 others was being decided by the council.

"People need to get some sound information on the dog. Get expert advice on whether it needs boundaries or could benefit from a little training," she said.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's rah-rah for Vick and the pit bulls

By Paul Carpenter, from The Morning Call

With the Philadelphia Eagles' glorious regular season upon us, there already is a scent of victory in the air.

The Eagles' $100 million quarterback, Michael Vick, will forever be associated with a breed of dog that has recently enjoyed a series of triumphs over adversaries. They range from a pit bull attack on a carriage horse in the historic Old City section of Philadelphia to a splendid display of teamwork in which five pit bulls ripped a Philadelphia woman's face and head to shreds, killing her inside her home.

Other recent pit bull targets included a 10-year-old girl in Philadelphia; a suburban Delaware County woman who was attacked, along with two people who tried to help her, as she retreated into her own car; and a little Chihuahua, killed by a pit bull on a New Jersey beach set aside for people with pet dogs.

Last month, an Alburtis man pleaded guilty after siccing his monster on a stranger in Upper Milford Township while yelling, "My mom is Satan."

In Lancaster County, the owner of a pit bull was let off with probation and a $150 fine after her dog attacked and injured a 5-year-old boy in a park.

One gruesome incident occurred recently up in Schenectady, N.Y., where three pit bulls teamed up to blitz a woman as she walked down a street, tearing off her ears and much of her face, although she survived. The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society responded to that attack by announcing it was seeking a $25,000 grant to work on reversing the "bad rep" of pit bulls.

Similarly, when a pit bull attacked the carriage horse, Melissa Levy, executive director of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, said the dog is "actually a sweetheart." It must be that the horse was asking for it by cheering for the St. Louis Rams.

In any case, it seems the animal rights crowd holds some animals — Chihuahuas and horses, for example — in lower regard than pit bulls, and humans don't count at all, especially not the small children who seem to be a favorite target of the sweethearts.

The rash of recent pit bull attacks coincides with the football frenzy swirling around Vick, who has been elevated to heroic role-model status by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie. The only thing that matters to Lurie and Eagles fans is whether Vick can help bring victory over the Rams on Sunday.

Vick spent nearly two years in prison for running an illegal dogfighting ring. He has been more successful dodging other glitches, from his presence at a saloon shoot-em-up involving one of his dogfighting cohorts, to accusations in court that he knowingly infected a woman with genital herpes, to failure to pay child support. In the herpes lawsuit, settled for an undisclosed sum, Vick was accused of hiding his ailment by getting treatment under the alias "Ron Mexico," a name that shows up on number 7 jerseys worn by some fans. Boy, what class!

The message the Vick/Lurie team want to send young people: Don't worry, being a lowlife criminal and engaging in other reprehensible conduct is an excellent way to achieve fame and fortune. (Lurie, by the way, is a former Hollywood wheeler-dealer and educator who taught young people — are you ready for this? — social policy.)

Meanwhile, Vick and other pit bull fans can celebrate another form of victory. Nearly all suggestions for "breed specific" legislation to protect human beings, or for tougher controls on dogs that are obviously dangerous, have been crushed by the politically powerful animal rights lobby.

Any problem with pit bulls or similar breeds, the lobby keeps yelping, is not because of the innate traits of savagery bred into these dogs for centuries. It's only because bad owners force the lovable dogs to be nasty, or because the victims did something wrong to provoke the attacks.

Still, some of us fret over statistics.

The website says 71 percent of dog attacks that injure people are by pit bulls or similar breeds, even though such breeds represent only 5 percent of the American dog population. There are 100 times as many cases of bodily harm caused by those breeds as by big bad Dobermans.

The federal Centers for Disease Control says there are 800,000 dog attacks on people each year, and a half of the victims are children. The CDC says the biggest share of fatal attacks, by an overwhelming margin, involve pit bulls and Rottweilers.

So it's rah-rah for the home team, for that team's thuggish role-model quarterback, and for the savage breed of dog with which he is associated and which continues to roll up victory after victory over horses, Chihuahuas, little children and other villains.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cops wondering why 'cranky' pit bull didn't bark before supposed gunman 'shot' Queens couple in bed

By Larry Celona, Hannah Rappleye and Kevin Fasick, from New York Post

Cops are zeroing in on Princess the pit bull.

Authorities probing the brutal slayings of a working-class Queens couple want to know why the family's pooch, infamous in the neighborhood for being vicious and cranky, didn't even bark, much less attack, the supposed gunman who first shot the couple's youngest son outside their home early Friday, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.

The son, Shane Jaggarnauth, 23, has told cops a gunman pushed himself through the front door of the family's Springfield Gardens home as he was letting the pit bull outside at 4 a.m.

Shane told investigators he was then shot in the shoulder by the shooter -- whom he couldn't describe at all -- before the killer ran to his parents' bedroom and fired a slew of bullets at them.

His father, Sugrim, 64, who works in a print shop in Manhattan, was shot once in the head. His mother, Rosie, 56, a clerk at Home Depot, was riddled with five bullets fired execution-style into her head and torso.

At one point before she died, the hysterical mother called 911, screaming, "I hear two shots. Hurry! Hurry!" Her last words, according to investigators, were, "We've been shot."

Shane called 911 four minutes later. He was hospitalized over the weekend and released.

The Grayson Street home was not ransacked. The only thing missing is a Toyota RAV4, the family car.

Both Shane and his older brother, Shawn, 30, were questioned over the weekend by police.

Shawn went on TV on Saturday, telling NBC News, "Whoever did this is a ruthless person."

Sources yesterday said surveillance footage from a local diner shows Shawn, described by neighbors as a "rowdy guy," eating with his girlfriend at the time of the murders.

Both men have had brushes with the law, authorities said.

Shane has a sealed criminal arrest, and Shawn has at least two criminal charges, in 2008 for drugs, weapons possession and trespassing, and last year again for narcotics.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Therapy dogs hearten patients at Baylor Hospital

By Laura C. Morel, from Star-Telegram

Behind Jim and Bettye Baker's Seagoville home sits the kennel for Oak Hill Animal Rescue, the pet organization the Bakers founded to save animals from being euthanized.
Since it opened in 2006, the Bakers said they have found homes for at least 500 dogs.
So when a veterinarian called them about an ailing pit bull pup named Chili, the decision to adopt her was a no-brainer.
When Chili was 8 weeks old, someone threw her over a fence onto concrete, breaking her back and cracking her pelvis. A vet told the Bakers she had suffered neurological damage and would never be able to use her hind legs.
Chili grew to be 42 pounds. Her chest is broad and muscular. The Bakers swear she can smile because when Chili pants, the corners of her mouth curl into a wide grin.
Eventually, Chili learned to get around by using her front legs and dragging the rest of her body. But the dragging took a toll on her tail, which is covered in scar tissue.
When she was a year old, the Bakers discovered Eddie's Wheels, a Massachusetts-based company that makes lightweight aluminum wheelchairs for pets. A padded saddle in the shape of a figure-eight holds their back legs in place.
The Bakers bought one of the wheelchairs - which cost between $325 and about $1,400 - for Chili, who enjoys running around the backyard.
"She just flies in the thing," Jim Baker said.
Last year, the Bakers were with Chili at a pet adoption event in North Dallas when a woman approached them.
"This dog needs to go to Baylor," said the lady, a nurse at Baylor Hospital who was familiar with its Animal-Assisted Therapy Program. According to a study by the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, a majority of patients who suffered from acute psychiatric problems showed lower anxiety levels after interacting with therapy dogs.
But not all dogs who try out make the cut for Baylor's program.
"Just because your dog likes people or is a friendly dog does not mean that they would make a good therapy dog," said Linda Marler, the program's director.
Animals accepted at Baylor must pass a 15-minute test during which pans are dropped, and crutches and wheelchairs circle the dog to determine its reaction. There is also a pain tolerance portion to make sure the dog will not bark or bare its teeth if it is hurt.
Chili and Arlo, a disabled dachshund adopted by the Bakers three years ago, have been a big hit with Baylor patients. Of the 86 dogs making rounds at the hospital, they are the only two disabled ones, and this month marks their first anniversary of bringing smiles to patients' faces.
At a therapy gym inside the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation, some patients laughed recently when they spotted the canine visitors. Others stared, wide-eyed.
"Patients just absolutely love them," Jim Baker said. "There's something about that contact, seeing a dog in a wheelchair who is so happy and thriving."
Kristen Hill, an occupational therapist at the institute, has seen the dogs repeatedly boost the attitudes of her patients.
"It definitely makes them smile," Hill said. "They're able to relate to the dogs" because most patients use wheelchairs themselves."
Tanner Perales, 17, was lying down on a therapy bed when he spotted Arlo. The dog has a degenerative spinal disease, a common condition in dachshunds because of their long backs, and his lower body is paralyzed. Now 6 years old and weighing 12 pounds, he is short and scrawny. When he looks up, his long, chocolate brown ears flop back.
The animal's visit lifted the spirits of Perales, who broke his neck in June when he jumped into a lake unaware that the water was only a foot deep.
When Bettye Baker placed Arlo on the bed with Perales, the dog nuzzled the teen's arm with his nose. Chili dropped by, too.
"It was neat seeing them," Perales said with a smile.
"She's adorable!" said Sandy Wilson as she stroked Chili's head and looked into the dog's brown eyes. "You've made me so happy today."
Wilson, from North Dallas, had a brain tumor removed earlier this year and was at the institute for four weeks. She said therapy dogs are "nonjudgmental."
"Especially these two," Wilson said. "They're handicapped. But look, they're happy."
Although the wheelchairs offer Chili and Arlo more independence, they still have some limitations. When Chili is outside in the yard, she sometimes runs into a hole, flipping her wheelchair.
The dogs can only use their wheelchairs for about four hours at a time because it's so demanding on their upper bodies. And both animals have what Bettye Baker calls "plumbing problems." Chili wears a skirt to hide the diaper she wears when she visits patients. Because she is in a wheelchair, she can't squat to relieve herself like other dogs.
And with Arlo, the Bakers have to press his bladder to make him urinate.
"If somebody else had them, (they) probably would have just been euthanized," Bettye Baker said.
Instead, Jim Baker said Chili and Arlo are an inspiration to patients who face similar struggles.
The dogs, he said, have "been a blessing for a lot of people."

Tethered dog killed by hundreds of bee stings


A six-year-old male pitbull tethered behind a house was found stung to death by bees Wednesday.
A bee exterminator was at the house in the 200 block of Plum Tree Drive Thursday morning to assess the situation.
As of July 1, it is illegal to tether a dog unless you are physically present with the dog. The pitbull's owner, Concepcion Medina, was inside the house at the time of the attack and called 9-1-1 when she heard her dog named Chico, yelping during the attack.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Fire-Rescue and Animal Care & Control all responded to the home. Firefighters sprayed the dog down with foam but it was already dead.
Medina was cited for violating the county's tethered dog ordinance. Animal Care & Control gave Medina a $100 ticket. She told authorities the dog was tethered because it had a habit of getting loose and running around the neighborhood, although Animal Care & Control has no records of problems involving the dog.
She has three other dogs she keeps in the house. Medina told authorities she knew about the bees about a week ago but didn't have the money to remove them because she is on disability and her husband is out of work.
Bee remover Tim Barbeck came out Thursday morning to kill the hive for free.

13-day-old baby killed in attack by family dog


A newborn baby was killed after it was attacked by a family dog in northwest Harris County on Saturday.
It happened at a home at 16542 Cypress Bridge near Whispering Cypress around 8 p.m.
Deputies said the 13-day-old child was left in a swinging sleeper in the same room as the family’s Pit Bull when the incident occurred.
An adult who was in the other room hear the noise and found the child badly injured. The newborn was airlifted to the hospital, where the child later died.
The Pit Bull, which weighed more than 100 pounds, was taken by Harris County Animal Control and put in quarantine.
The case will be referred to a grand jury, which will decide if charged should be field.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pit bulls, crocodiles and panthers targeted in Egelston Township's proposed dangerous animal ordinance

By Lynn Moore, The Muskegon Chronicle

Pit bulls would have to be kept indoors or in a covered kennel and walked with a muzzle under a new ordinance proposed in Egelston Township.
The township board is expected to discuss the ordinance, which was prepared by the planning commission, at its Sept. 19 meeting.
Based on Muskegon Township's ordinance, the proposal targets dangerous animals ranging from wolves to poisonous snakes to elephants. But the primary target of the ordinance are pit bulls, also known as American pit bull terriers or Staffordshire bull terriers, or dogs with the “appearance and characteristics of being predominately” pit bull.
Also subject to the ordinance would be “any dog or cat having a disposition or propensity to attack or bite any person or animal without provocation.”
The ordinance would require owners of pit bulls and other dangerous animals to register with the township clerk within 90 days of the ordinance's effective date, and annually thereafter.
Other proposed requirements of owners include:
• Confining pit bulls or other dangerous animals indoors or in a locked pen or kennel that has secure sides and a top attached to the sides.
• Keeping dangerous animals muzzled and on a 4-foot leash any time they are outside of the home or pen.
• Not keeping a dangerous animal inside a house when “the windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dangerous animal from exiting.”
• Posting prominently on their property, within 10 days of the ordinance's effective date, a sign that reads “Beware of Dangerous Animal.” A similar sign also would have to be posted on the animal's pen or kennel.
• Providing proof to the township clerk of public liability insurance in a single-incident amount of $50,000 for bodily injury or death or property damage as a result of the animal's actions.
Anyone who doesn't comply with the ordinance faces having their animal seized and removed from the township.
Township Planning Commission Chairman Gerald Luttrull said the township board had requested the planners come up with a dangerous animal ordinance. Luttrull said he didn't want to discuss “specifics” of the ordinance.
“This was asked by the township board for us to look at,” Luttrull said. “It's up to them now.”
Luttrull said the planning commission reviewed about a half-dozen ordinances before settling on the one adopted by Muskegon Township. He said that was because Egelston Township contracts with Muskegon Township for ordinance enforcement.
Exempt from all aspects of the ordinance would be guard dogs used to provide security on commercial premises.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Puppy litter abandoned in Lake Montezuma Park


Five two-week old puppies were found abandoned near the restrooms at a northern Arizona park Wednesday.  
At around 10 a.m. an Arizona Department of Public Transportation worker discovered the puppies inside a covered box at Lake Montezuma Park. One of the puppies appeared close to death due to the heat, a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said.
According to YCSO, an Animal Countrol Officer rushed the liiter to the Sedona Humane Society, where they were examined by the on-duty veterinarian and provided food and water.
The puppies remain in the care of Humane Society staff, who will continue to monitor their condition.
According to YCSO, the puppies appear to be about two-weeks old, and are described as possibly a mix of Shepherd and Pit Bull breeds.  There is a tri-colored male, a tan and black male, a white and black male, a tan female and a black and tan female.
The box that contained the puppies is yellow and white, with the brand "Bacardi" printed on the exterior.
According to YCSO, a plain white t-shirt was found covering the box.
If anyone has information identifying the persons responsible for abandoning the five puppies, YCSO is urging people to call them at (928) 771-3260, or they can contact Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.
When calling, please refer to case number 11-027975.