Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stray dog recovering after having head split open


By Fallon Silcox, from WWSB

Manatee County Animal Services is asking for help finding the person responsible for striking a dog in the head with either an axe or machete.

Officers picked up the dog in Bradenton after receiving calls from neighbors who spotted it walking the streets with a bloody head that was split open. Officials with Animal Services say this is one of the worst cases of abuse they've ever seen. And despite its injuries, they say the dog they have named ‘Axel’ was and is in good spirits.

An officer found the 2-year-old pit bull mix walking along 60th Avenue West in Bradenton.

Dr. Luke Berglund says he believes the incident happened two days ago. And even though Axel had been wandering the streets after the injury, he came into Animal Services in good spirits -- tail wagging, and happy.

Dr. Berglund removed bone fragments from Axel's face, stitched him up, and put in a drain.

Now, officials with Animal Services need your help in finding who's responsible. “This is probably one of the worst cases that I've seen. We've had some other minor cases, but people have to understand if they're having issues with animals, call us and get us and get it taken care of. Don't try to take things into your own hands. There's no reason for it, the animal didn't ask to be treated like that,” says Chief Kris Weiskopf with Manatee County Animal Services.

Manatee County operates as a no-kill shelter, and No Kill Manatee County is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for doing this to Axel.

If you have any information, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

Animal Services is also in need of donations for its no-kill medical fund, which is where the money for Axel's treatment came from. If you would like more information or would like to make a donation, log onto the Animal Services website.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Star of ‘Pit Boss’ promotes bull terriers in book signing, events this weekend



By Patrice Wilding, from The Times-Tribune

Shorty Rossi, the star of the hit Animal Planet series "Pit Boss," will make appearances at several area stops Saturday and Sunday to espouse the value pit bulls can have as therapy dogs and family pets.

He'll also encourage spay and neutering while promoting his book, "Four Feet Tall & Rising."

The timing couldn't be better for the breed, as recent news reports of a dog attack in Olyphant in which a woman was severely injured and her small dog was killed by a loose pit bull, that was subsequently shot and killed by a neighbor, have perpetuated ill will toward the canines.

Upon hearing about the attack during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, Mr. Rossi acknowledged that reports of run-ins with pit bulls can undermine his message, but it's nothing he isn't used to.

"People don't understand these dogs were bred to be very powerful, and when you have a very powerful animal and don't train it right, bad things can happen," he said. "These dogs are high maintenance.

Same old story

"No matter if it's the owners' fault, (media reports of attacks) always backtracks us, and a lot of times the story is not what it seems," Mr. Rossi continued. "Dogs need to be well secured in (their) backyard. Some things will never change as long as there's people with stupidity in this country."

One of the biggest misconceptions most people have about the breed, he added, is that the dogs are more likely to attack innocent people and animals than other types of dogs.

"You have a one in 15 million chance of being bitten by a dog, and only 6 to 8 percent of that is a pit bull," Mr. Rossi said. "People need breed awareness of pit bulls.

"That's why I bring Hercules, to show he is a well-mannered dog," he explained. "It does make an impression to let everyone see (him) and see how much of a docile dog he is."

Hercules, of course, is Mr. Rossi's pet pit bull and his main therapy dog. The animal has gained its own fan base by being the focus of the show in which Mr. Rossi works to provide support and awareness through his business Shorty's Pit Bull Rescue. Mr. Rossi also manages and owns a talent agency for other little people like himself in the entertainment industry called Shortywood Productions.

Mr. Rossi's life wasn't always so constructive, as detailed in his book, he said. He left his parents, who were dwarfs, when he was a teen due to a combative relationship with his abusive father. Then, at the age of 18, Mr. Rossi was involved in a gang-related shooting and convicted of several felonies, which led to a stay in a youth facility and a term at Folsom State Prison that stretched 10 years, 10 months and 10 days.

After he was released, Mr. Rossi found work as an actor and at events calling for a little person. Throughout all of his ups and downs, pet pit bulls were a constant in his life, and helped him weather many difficult times.

Turned it around

His own story of redemption is not unlike theirs, Mr. Rossi said.

"No matter what happens in your life, you can change," he said. "You can turn it around.

"People need to give back something to humanity, and my redemption is my pit bulls," he said. "They, like little people, are misunderstood, so we have a bond."

When they're not filming, Mr. Rossi and his dogs travel around the country for autograph and book signing events and to help local pit bull groups. He also makes appeals to the government for stiffer penalties for reckless dog owners and to further the cause of spaying and neutering to cut down on dog overpopulation.

This year alone, he and Hercules have logged more than 11,000 miles on the road, he estimated, but it's all well worth it, Mr. Rossi said.

"I think he's happy traveling with me and always (being) by my side," he said. "I think the show itself has done a lot. We've made some changes, made shelters reconsider policies on euthanizing pits. Or when you meet people all across the country who say, 'Because of you, my father let me get a pit bull,' it's a good thing.

"It's very much impacted not just the U.S., but Canada and Latin America, too," Mr. Rossi said. "But there's a lot more to go."

Follow @pwildingTT



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pleasantville family disputes police account of pit bull shooting


By Anjalee Khemlani, from Press of Atlantic City

Christina Salcedo said she has questions about why her father’s pit bull, which attacked a small Yorkshire terrier last week, was fatally shot by responding officers.

Jose Salcedo, 56, was issued three complaints: for letting a dog run at large, for a dog biting, and obstructing the administration of law by refusing lawful commands by two officers, according to police reports.

The police report stated the dog threatened the responding officers in the Sept. 20 incident and that police attempted to separate the dogs.

An officer “attempted to break the pit bull’s bite by placing my baton in between his jaw (and) throat area, but he wouldn’t release,” the report stated.

After more attempts, the dog was finally shot three times before it ran away to the rear deck of the house where it died, police said.

But Christina Salcedo, 29, is upset with that account of how the pit bull, Mamita, was killed.

"They didn't do anything," she said of the responding officers.

The incident began when Christina Salcedo was in the kitchen with her father, while the pit bull was outside running around the yard. Both suddenly heard "Stop! Stop!" and ran outside to find that Mamita had a grip on Pauline McKinley’s terrier just outside the fence.

Police officers arrived after being flagged down by McKinley, 80, according to the police report.

At first, Christina Salcedo said, they tried to calm McKinley, who was screaming, “He’s killing my dog!”

Salcedo said they explained that she was clearly trying to separate the dogs.

The police report said one witness said the pit bull jumped the fence and attacked McKinley’s terrier.

“The gate wasn’t locked, that dog did not jump over a fence,” McKinley said.

Christina Salcedo said officers tried to coax her away from the dog as she was on the ground trying to pull the terrier away from Mamita. She told her father in Spanish, "I don't want to let go because they will shoot her.”

The police kept yelling orders to let go, and Jose Salcedo screamed out, "Ay, no lamate!" which means don't kill her, Christina Salcedo said.

Eventually, Salcedo’s father convinced her to let go, she said.

“As soon as I let go, he shot her,” Salcedo said.

The police report stated: “The pit bull was pulled slightly away from the smaller dog for a split second and then unprovoked went after the injured small dog and the female holding the dog.”

Neighbor Reynaldo Soto heard four shots and watched the pit bull run back into the house. Moments earlier, while Salcedo was still struggling with the dog, he screamed out to the officers to use pepper spray.

McKinley said when her dog was released from Red Bank Veterinary Hospital this week, she was told he had one leg that would never function fully again.

Based on the report, the officer felt threatened by the dog, and in such situations it is standard for the officer to fire a shot, said Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Project.

Typically though, using pepper spray, a baton or physically grabbing the dog to try and separate it are encouraged methods, Lockwood said in a phone interview.

The Salcedos grew up with pit bulls from when she was at least 12 years old, she said, and they have always been normal, friendly and loving dogs.

“They are not vicious. I know sometimes people train them, and those are the wrong ones,” Salcedo said.

No one knows what instigated Mamita to attack the small terrier, but McKinley said she is now afraid to walk by the area with either of her dogs.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Moron Reporter: John Monk of The State (South Carolina)

Over the past three weekends there have been a rash of thefts of pit bulls from the Columbia, South Carolina Animal Shelter.
If that's not bad enough, we have another know-it-all reporter pushing pit bulls as a "fierce breed" in his write-up of the story.
I left a comment on the article, which you can read here, and, of course, it has been deleted.
I simply wrote:

"fierce breed"
John Monk is, apparently, uneducated and an idiot.

Mr. Monk probably feels that my statement is derogatory and incorrect and therefore removed it from the comments.
That didn't, however, stop him from making derogatory and incorrect - as well as inflammable - remarks maligning pit bull dogs.

When you read the article, you'll read where it states: "... made off with five more of the breed popularly known as among the most fierce of canines."
The original article, which I commented on, stated: "... made off with five more of the fierce breed."


Lest you think I lie, here is a screenshot of the original article courtesy of Yahoo! cache:





Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2012/02/12/2150735/more-pit-bulls-stolen-from-columbia.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dear McDonalds

What a shame.
I really did like the new Chicken McBites.
I enjoyed having coffee with my partner each and every morning at our local McDonalds while we discussed the days upcoming business.
My dogs enjoyed two, sometimes three, double cheeseburgers a week - each.
Your ad stating that McBites are safer than "petting a pit bull" just ended these enjoyments.
I have to question your thinking. I buy 14-21 burgers a week for my dogs alone. Do you seriously think that no one else buys for their dogs? Unbelievable.
I've read that you've pulled the ad and apologized, but in no way is that enough.
I, for one, will no longer patronize your restaurants unless and until I see an ad from you that is more befitting to the true, proper image of pit bulls, not just the sensationalistic views that are reported in the media.
In addition, I want to see a public donation to a pit bull rescue group or foundation to support the already discriminated-against dogs that you just helped to denigrate.
Until then ... adios.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dog destroyed following attack on toddler


From ONE News

A pitbull-staffordshire cross dog was destroyed this morning, following an attack on an 18-month-old Porirua toddler at her home last Saturday.

The girl has since been discharged from Hutt Hospital after undergoing extensive facial reconstruction surgery at the weekend.

Police said today that the girl's family gave permission for their dog to be destroyed.

No charges will be laid in relation to the incident and no further police action will be taken, said Detective Inspector Ross Grantham, Acting Kapiti Mana Area Commander.

The girl was playing in the backyard of her home on Dorset Grove when the dog launched at her while it was on a five-metre chain.

Council officers seized the animal.

On Sunday, a nine-year-old Rotorua girl became the third youngster to be attacked by a dog in a matter of days, sparking an assurance from the Government that it will investigate laws on dangerous dogs.

The child suffered minor injuries to her face and arm after being bitten by a neighbour's American Bulldog.

Local Government Minister Nick Smith said he was concerned about the recent spate of serious attacks and promised to kick-start an inquiry into laws governing dangerous dogs.

The investigation was originally scheduled to take place last year.

Last week a three-year-old boy was bitten in the throat by a family Doberman-Staffordshire-Pitbull cross in Ashburton.

The boy was in a stable but critical condition in the intensive care unit of Auckland's Starship Hospital at the weekend.

The dog was destroyed the same day at the owner's request.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Dogs bite children in three separate attacks


By Leighton Keith, from Stuff

A dog attack in Taranaki was one of three around the country yesterday and the Government has promised to kick-start a stalled pledge to investigate laws governing dangerous dogs.

Dog rangers seized two pitbull-type dogs from a Waitara address yesterday after a young girl was bitten.

The 11-year-old girl was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital following the attack in Mace St.

New Plymouth District Council senior animal control officer Jim Aitken said staff were called by police just after 1pm and the dogs were impounded.

"Our first priority is to get the dogs seized or secured so that they can't offend again."

Mr Aitken did not have details of the girl's injuries or where the attack had taken place.

"I can't comment on that because I believe it is a matter of dispute.The people do dispute the facts over the dog bite incident."

Mr Aitken said he hoped to interview the girl today.

Meanwhile, in Porirua a pitbull-staffordshire cross that mauled its owner's 18-month-old daughter is still alive as authorities must wait for the family's permission to destroy it.

The Porirua girl – described as a "dog-lover" – is recovering from surgery after she was savaged by her family's "mongrel cross-breed" dog.

There was also another dog attack on a child – the sixth in four weeks – yesterday in Rotorua.

A girl, 9, suffered deep cuts to her head and arm after being bitten by her neighbour's American bulldog.

She was taken to Rotorua Hospital with moderate injuries.

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy was bitten in the throat by a dog in Ashburton and remains in a critical condition, and on Christmas Day, a 15-month-old boy was savaged by the next door neighbour's pitbull.

Another 3-year-old boy at Auckland's Red Beach needed plastic surgery after an attack a few days before that.

Local Government Minister Nick Smith said last night he was concerned about the seriousness of the latest attacks and promised to revisit the promised investigation into rules covering dangerous dogs. The inquiry was supposed to take place last year.

His office would investigate the incidents and identify whether there were any issues that had implications for dog control legislation in relation to public safety.



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Third dog attack in less than a week


From Radio New Zealand

A nine-year-old child has been attacked by a dog in Rotorua, the third dog attack in less than a week.

An ambulance spokesperson says the child suffered minor injuries and was taken to Rotorua Hospital.

The attack happened about 2.30pm on Sunday.

No further details are available.

Two young children are still in hospital after being bitten in attacks, one in Ashburton and the other in Porirua.

A one-year-old girl from Porirua, was taken to Hutt hospital by ambulance at about 11.15am on Saturday with moderate facial injuries after being attacked by a staffordshire pit bull cross.

She is now in a satisfactory condition following surgery.

The dog was seized by Porirua District Council which says it will likely be put down.

On Wednesday, a boy, aged three, from Ashburton was in a critical condition after being bitten on the throat by a dog which was put down on the request of its owner.

The boy is now in Starship hospital, Auckland.

And on Christmas Day, a 15-month-old boy was bitten in the face by a dog in the Bay of Plenty town of Edgecumbe.

More attacks foreseen

Auckland SPCA says it tried to stop the Government from importing pitbull dogs years ago and tougher laws now will not prevent attacks.

Executive director Bob Kerridge says a pitbull dog is violent in nature and that is excelled when cross-bred.

He says there will be dog attacks as long as pitbull crosses are in New Zealand and cautions anyone from owning one.

The pitbull dog is classed as a dangerous breed and can no longer be imported.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Search for body parts ends but mystery not over


By John Rogers and Bob Christie, from The Seattle Times

A search for more human body parts in a secluded hiking spot within sight of the famed "Hollywood" sign has ended, but the mystery is far from over.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office was attempting to identify the remains - a severed head, feet and hands - found in Bronson Canyon Park - as police searched for a motive and the person or persons who dismembered and hid the body. Police said late Thursday that there had been no arrests.

So far, police believe the unidentified man is between 40 and 60 years old.

They also believe the body parts, found by a dog walker who let one of her animals off the leash, had been there only a short time. Just a few days at the most. The head was found Tuesday, the feet and hands on Wednesday.

They note that the coyotes that roam rugged Bronson Canyon Park in packs at night - their howls are the only sounds people hear after dusk - would have destroyed the remains if they had been there longer than a few days.

"If it had not been for the dog walker, we might never have found it," police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Thursday at the park.

As if to make Smith's point, a coyote strolled by a hillside at that moment, stopping no more than 30 yards away and turning its head curiously toward the assembled reporters as the officer continued to speak.

As 120 officers and firefighters on foot and horseback fought their way through 7 acres of brush this week looking for the victim's torso, some searchers used ropes to rappel into a steep drainage culvert.

Smith said coroner's investigators would try to identify the man through fingerprints first and, if that doesn't work, search DNA databases and dental records.

Police are still searching for a motive, reviewing hundreds of theories provided by both detectives and local residents.

They don't believe the head, feet and hands are connected to a torso police in Tucson, Ariz., found on Jan. 6, Smith said.

That was too long ago for the head and other parts to have survived in the condition in which they were discovered. The head was found inside a plastic bag. Police also believe the victim was killed somewhere else and brought to the park.

They don't believe a serial killer was involved.

"We have no indication there is a serial murderer running around," Smith said.

The discovery, just inside Bronson Canyon Park's front gate, also was the first time police could recall finding a head or other body parts there.

Griffith Park, a huge, rugged expanse on the other side of the hill, is usually the dumping place for bodies, Officer Bruce Borihahn said.

Bronson Canyon is a quiet neighborhood of homes of various architectural styles and sizes that dead-ends at the rustic park, which features picnic tables, hiking trails and the so-called "Bat Cave," where segments of the "Batman" TV show were filmed.

"We're the area even celebrities come to hike when they don't want paparazzi following them," said Susan Moss, who has lived just seven houses down from the park's gate for the past 12 years. "It's so quiet the paparazzi don't even come up here."

Until the remains turned up, the most serious things residents said they had to worry about were the coyotes and the smash-and-grab burglars who sometimes target hikers' cars.

Renee Dake Wilson, who was walking her boxer-pit bull mix, Sweet Pea, near the park, said she was unnerved by the find, especially the fact that the head was uncovered right off the trail where she and her dog walk every day.

"I'm a little worried," she said. "It's a concern to have such an event happen in your neighborhood. But I do think it's an isolated event."



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dog put down after pre-schooler bitten on throat


From ONE News

The dog which bit a three-year-old boy in the throat in Ashburton this afternoon has been destroyed.

The boy was taken by ambulance to Ashburton Hospital after the attack but was later transferred by helicopter to Christchurch Hospital.

The boy is in a critical condition after being bitten by a family member's Doberman-Staffordshire-Pitbull cross while in a lounge at an Ashburton address.

The boy was bitten on the throat and it is thought the dog was trying to get chocolate the boy was eating.

The dog was picked up by Ashburton District Council and put down.

Update January 19, 2012 - The following article is from Radio New Zealand:

Toddler critical after dog goes for throat

A toddler attacked by a dog in Ashburton remains in a critical condition following hours of surgery on Wednesday.

Police say it appears the pitbull doberman staffordshire cross was trying to get a chocolate the three-year-old boy was eating and bit him on the throat.

The attack happened at a family member's home in King Street. St John Ambulance was called about 12.20pm on Wednesday.

The toddler was initially taken to Ashburton Hospital but has been transferred to Christchurch Hospital for surgery.

Ashburton District Council's regulatory manager Richard Wade said the dog has been put down by animal control at the request of its owner, who is a relative of the boy.

Mr Wade said the dog had been registered since 2006 and had never come to the council's attention before this incident.

"As far as we were concerned, it was a normal family dog."

Update January 19, 2012 - The following article is from Radio New Zealand:

No further action taken over badly bitten boy

Police say no further action will be taken against the owner of a dog that seriously injured a boy in Ashburton.

The doberman pitbull staffordshire cross bit the three-year-old on the throat as it tried to get a chocolate he was eating.

The attack happened at a family member's home in Ashburton about 12.20pm on Wednesday.

The boy has undergone emergency surgery and remains in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital on Thursday.

The dog was has been put down at the owner's request.

Police say their inquiries have been completed.

The boy's parents have thanked road workers and St John Ambulance staff first on the scene for helping to save their son's life.

Update January 19, 2012 - The following article is from ONE News:

Breed not a factor in dog attack - expert

A dog expert does not believe breed was a factor in an attack on a toddler in Ashburton yesterday.

The boy is in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital after the attack by a family member's pet dog in a lounge at his aunt's house yesterday afternoon.

It appears the Doberman-Staffordshire-Pitbull cross was trying to get chocolate the boy was eating and bit him in the throat.

New Zealand Kennel Club director secretary Richard Brown said the breed of the dog does not determine the nature of the dog.

"The nature of the dog I think is more down to the training and the behaviour of the people that look after it," he said.

Brown said parents should always keep a close watch on children playing with dogs.

"It's possibly not a good idea to be eating near a dog, particularly if it's not trained," said Brown.

"A dog, just like any other animal, has its own space and you don't want to get in the way of a dog and its food."

Ashburton Council Regulatory Manager Richard Wade was on the scene shortly after the attack and said the dog was well-behaved.

"The dog didn't behave in any kind of aggressive way, in any way, shape or form to the dog handler," said Wade.

"He was very easily picked up, very compliant."

Wade said there was no reason for the dog to be on the council's radar because it was registered and microchipped.

"It was a normal family dog."

The boy's parents released a statement today thanking those that came to their son's aid.

"We would like to acknowledge the quick efforts of the Ashburton road workers and the St John paramedics that were first on the scene to help save our little boy's life," they said.

"We are also very thankful to the crew from Garden City Helicopters, who transported our son to Christchurch Hospital, as well as hospital staff."

The dog was put down at the owner's request.

Police are continuing their enquiries into the incident.

Update January 21, 2012 - The following article is from ONE News:

Preschooler bitten on throat remains critical

A three-year-old boy who was attacked by a dog in Ashburton remains in a critical but stable condition this morning.

The boy is in Auckland Hospital and was attacked by a family member's pet dog at his aunt's house on Wednesday afternoon.

It appears the Doberman-Staffordshire-Pitbull cross was trying to get the chocolate the boy was eating and bit him in the throat.

The dog was put down at the owner's request.

Police are continuing their enquiries into the incident.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Shark attack at South Africa's deadliest beach


A South African man fatally mauled by a shark while swimming off one of the country’s most notorious beaches on Sunday afternoon has been named as Lungisani Msungubana, 25.

By Aislinn Laing, from The Telegraph

Mr Msungubana was swimming with a group of friends in shallow water off Second Beach in Port St Johns, a town on the country’s southeastern coast, when the attack took place.

John Costello, local station commander for the National Sea Rescue Institute, said he sustained “multiple traumatic lacerations to his torso, arms and legs” where the shark bit him repeatedly.

His death marks the sixth in just over five years at the beach, making it the most dangerous in the world for fatal shark attacks. In South Africa, one in five attacks by the ocean predators ends in the death but every single attack at Second Beach has proved fatal.

Zambezi or bull sharks, known as the “pitbulls of the ocean” for their ferocity, have been blamed for most of the incidents. Experts from the nearby Natal Sharks Board have been brought in to investigate the phenomenon and the town authorities have closed the beach to swimmers.

Pictures taken on Sunday show lifeguards wading nervously into the sea to pull the badly-injured Mr Msungubana to safety. They placed him on a surfboard to bring him to shore where, Mr Costello said, he was treated by a doctor who had been on the beach before paramedics arrived.

“At the clinic medical staff declared the man dead after all efforts to save him had been exhausted,” he added.

Witnesses told how they watched in horror as the shark approached Mr Msungubana who, perhaps mindful of the risk, was only waist-deep in the water.

Eyewitness Cebo Mafuna told The Daily Telegraph that he was bodysurfing close to the shore when he saw the creature’s fin.

“It was about a foot high but it didn’t look like a big shark,” he said.

“When it came up out of the water, I saw it open its mouth and saw its teeth. It turned the guy on his side and went for him. He tried to fight it off with his arm but it kept attacking.”

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said “brave” Mr Msungubana fought with the shark for a “good five minutes”.

“His injuries were severe, but while he was fighting for his life, he was shouting for others to get out of the water,” he added.

Nonceba Madikizela, a spokesman for Port St Johns municipality, said it had decided to close the beach to swimmers until the Natal Sharks Board completes its investigation - said to be in August.

“We were constantly putting warning signs on the beach about the high number of shark attacks but people were vandalising them and removing them,” she said.

“Lifeguards have now been instructed not to allow anyone in to the water and police will be monitoring the beach to ensure people comply.

“We understand that we will lose some revenue from the tourists that come down but we believe that the safety of people is more important than any revenue.”



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pit bull attack kills 1-year-old boy at home


From Houston Chronicle

A 1-year-old boy was killed when he was attacked by his family's pit bull at his grandparents' home on Saturday night, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said.

The baby was mauled in the 27000 block of Medina Circle in far west Montgomery County, authorities said in a statement.

A deputy responding at about 8 p.m. tried to control the dog, but the animal lunged at him, officers said. The officer then shot the dog. There was no information on the dog's condition.

According to authorities, the child was in the home with his 45-year-old grandmother when he was attacked. The woman was not injured, but was taken to the hospital after enduring emotional trauma in the tragedy, officers said.

The victim's grandfather made the call for help when he arrived home. The child and his mother recently moved in with the grandparents. Officers say the mother left the home earlier in the day and has not been located.

Authorities are investigating. Identities of the little boy, his grandparents and mother have not been released.



Friday, January 13, 2012

'New beginning' for evicted LI family


By Joie Tyrrell and Jo Napolitano, from Newsday

Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey spoke Friday of a "new beginning" for her and her family.

The same holds true for their spunky pit bull, Pulga, whom they were able to spring from a shelter thanks to an anonymous donor.


The family, evicted from their rented home on New Year's Day, will move from a homeless shelter to a three-bedroom, county-owned house in Bay Shore this month.

Garvey, a Brentwood High School senior who was among 61 Long Island semifinalists named this week in the Intel Science Talent Search, said she never thought her biggest worries would be eliminated in a day.

"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a new beginning."

Garvey said she wanted to cry upon learning the news but couldn't. She said her mother, Olga, told her: "Sammy, this is all because of you."

Her father, Leo Garvey, 60, joked about the Mega Millions winners, whose names were announced at the same time he learned he soon will have a stable home for his wife and three children. The couple also have 13-year-old twins Erika and Kenny.

"Today, I feel rich," he said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the family's new living arrangement Friday morning at a news conference at the high school. He said the family's pets, which include a cat and turtles, are welcome in the new house.

Until the move, Pulga will be kept in a kennel. But Garvey's mom and the twins had a joyful reunion with the pit bull when they picked her up from a Huntington shelter.

Tail wagging, Pulga jumped up, licking Erika's face, and climbed all over Kenny, whose pants soon were covered in her white fur.

"We missed you a lot, mama," Olga Garvey cooed, wiping tears from her face.

Bellone also offered Samantha Garvey an internship with Suffolk County to work on marine and fisheries issues -- the area of study that earned her accolades from Intel.

Garvey's parents fell behind on their bills and rent after a February car accident left them injured and out of work for months. They also had to shoulder unexpected funeral expenses for her maternal grandmother.

The home they'll soon move to is one of five owned and operated by the county after the charity that ran the properties went under. One of the homes came available last month after the previous tenant was evicted.

But the house was left in disrepair, which is why the Garveys can't move in sooner. Employees with the county Department of Public Works are readying it for occupancy.

The family's cohesion and earnings -- Garvey's father is a cabdriver/dispatcher and her mother is a nurse's aide -- make them ideal candidates, Suffolk County officials said.

Thirty percent of their gross income will go toward rent, and they'll also pay utilities, said Gregory Blass, commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.

No one was cast aside for the Garveys to be placed in the home, Blass said. He said the county doesn't keep lists of people in waiting.

The agency matches families and individuals with homes as soon as dwellings become available, based on a variety of factors, he said. The county transitions 30 to 40 families per month out of shelters and into more permanent habitation, he said.

"The key to the success of the program is that things have to move fast," Blass said. "We don't have the luxury of slowing down. It's like a haphazard system that works."

Currently, there are 506 families and 282 individuals in the county's shelter system, Blass said.

Garvey said her mother is in disbelief, having feared for years that the family would always struggle financially.

Now, she said her mom told her, "We actually have a house."

The high school senior, launched into the media spotlight after she was profiled in Newsday on Thursday, will share a bedroom with her 13-year-old sister.

"I know there are going to be people who say, 'Why do you a get a house and why don't I?' " Garvey said. "But it's just one of those things that happened out of luck, out of chance. I'm no more special than anyone. I didn't ask for a house, but it worked out that way."

Garvey, fourth in her class of 433 students, has applied to two Ivy League schools -- Brown and Yale universities. She was deferred at Brown.

Her Intel project focused on striped mussels and how their shells grew thicker and stronger in the presence of predators.

Update January 17, 2012 - The following article is from FOX News:

Homeless teen science whiz invited to State of Union

A homeless Long Island teen, who is in the running for a $100,000 national science prize, has been invited to Washington, D.C., to watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Samantha Garvey, an aspiring marine biologist currently living in a homeless shelter, will sit in the Capitol gallery for the Jan. 24 speech as a guest of her representative, Democrat Steve Israel.

"The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance," Israel, who is head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Newsday.

"She is the epitome of the American dream. She worked hard and she is a story that I want to share with my colleagues and even with the president of the United States."

The Brentwood High School student, who just turned 18 on Monday, "can't wait" for the big day, her father told Newsday. "She deserves it. She needs to meet people like that," Leo Garvey, a taxi driver, told the paper.

The teen's inspiring story made headlines this month after she was named one of the 300 semifinalists in Intel's prestigious national science competition for her research project on mussels.

Both of her parents were seriously injured in a car accident, which put them temporarily out of work, and the Garveys became homeless on New Year's Day when they fell behind on their rent.

As part of the outpouring of support in response to the girl's story, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that the teen and her family will be able to secure a three-bedroom, rent-subsidized home in Bay Shore.

They are due to move in later this month, along with their array of pets including a pit bull named Pulga. Garvey had feared the dog would be put down after her family was forced to bring it to a shelter when they were evicted.



Pit bulls left out of tighter animal code


Update stiffens breeding rules, jacks up fines

By Erica Mitrano, from South Maryland Newspapers Online

A contentious revision of Charles County animal control laws ended quietly Tuesday, when the county commissioners unanimously approved a version that increases fines and more tightly regulates some animal breeding.

The adopted rules do not single out pit bull-type dogs for special restrictions, a proposal that infuriated dog lovers last year.

Animal Control Chief Ed Tucker persisted in recommending mandatory cat licensing in the animal control ordinance despite pleas by feral cat advocates that the measure would lead to strays being killed unnecessarily. While some arguments against “managed colonies” of feral cats were overblown — for instance, very few cats carry rabies — “no domestic animals should be exempted from the regulations,” Tucker said.

While the lives of outdoor felines being cared for by responsible cat lovers are important, “the right of county residents not to be bothered by free-roaming cats is a matter of equal importance,” he said.

Tucker said the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville already works with feral cat lovers to return cats with notched ears — the sign that the animal is part of a known colony — but that, ultimately, cats not reclaimed or adopted will be put down.

The commissioners praised Tucker for navigating the demands of passionate interest groups.

“You guys have really struck a balance between public safety or public nuisance and recognizing the rights of pet owners, too. I know it’s been an arduous task. You seem to have included all of the opinions,” Commissioner Debra M. Davis (D) said.

The final version, which was endorsed by the Humane Society of Charles County, is the first revision to the ordinance since 2006.

Among the changes are new standards for the treatment of outdoor animals, including new requirements for space, shelter and shade; a restriction limiting outdoor tethering to four hours at a time; and a prohibition on tethering with a collar or harness primarily made of metal.

The new law also maintains a “dangerous animal” designation imposed by another jurisdiction if the animal moves to Charles County.

Lying to an animal control officer or hiding an animal under investigation from the authorities became offenses, while increases to a raft of animal-related fees were made, including raising the fine for interfering with an animal control officer from $50 to $250 and the maximum fine for animal cruelty from $500 to $1,000.

It also introduced what Tucker previously deemed an anti-hoarding measure, an annual license for an “animal fancier,” defined as someone who keeps at least 10 animals in a location for purposes other than breeding, boarding or livestock husbandry. The rule also gives the county grounds to supervise people who have many animals that the county suspects, but cannot prove, are being bred, Tucker said. An annual inspection would be required.

The rules don’t affect very small-scale breeding, like someone “breeding the family dog,” he said.

Other revisions would ban the sale or possession of exotic animals including poisonous snakes, monkeys and apes; wolves and wolf-dog hybrids; wildcats weighing more than 30 pounds; and wild animals including skunks, raccoons and bears, bringing county regulations in line with state law, according to a previous presentation by Tucker.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Four Jailed Over 'Barbaric' Badger Baiting


Four badger baiters who laughed and joked as their dogs ripped apart a heavily pregnant badger in a field near York have been jailed

By Gerard Tubb, from Sky News

Scarborough Magistrates Court heard how a group of six men and a teenage boy encouraged their dogs to dig out and kill two badgers from a sett on farmland at Howsham in January last year.

The mutilated bodies of the badgers were found, along with a tail of a third badger and three unborn badger cubs scattered across the field.

The gang had used terriers to find the badgers in their sett, then dug them out and thrown them to powerful lurchers crossed with pit bulls or bull mastiffs.

Alan Alexander, 32, Richard Simpson, 37, Paul Tindall, 31, all from York, and 26-year-old William Anderson, from Pickering, will each spend 16 weeks behind bars after they were found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.

Two other men, Christopher Holmes, 28, and Malcolm Warner, 28, both from York, were given 12-week sentences suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to similar charges.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, was given a youth rehabilitation order with 12 months supervision.

The gang was caught in the act by wildlife artist Robert Fuller after he heard the sound of dogs barking excitedly and a badger squealing in distress and went to investigate.

Mr Fuller photographed the men as they used 13 dogs and five guns on their organised badger baiting trip, the court heard.

District Judge Kristina Harrison described the men's behaviour as "barbaric" and "abhorrent".

She said the sentences were intended "as a clear signal" to anyone who was deliberately cruel to badgers.

North Yorkshire Police Sergeant Paul Stephenson praised the judge for her strong stance.

"The judge has given a verdict here that represents what the public think in relation to the horrific and barbaric acts that took place," he said.

RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmonds said it was the worst case of badger baiting he had seen in over two decades.

The court was told that between them the six adults had previous convictions for 34 offences and one caution.

Firearms licences held by three of the men have been revoked and North Yorkshire Police say they will not be allowed to own guns in the future.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Parents Plead Guilty in Neglect of Son, 8, in Fight Against Curable Cancer


From International Business Times

A Cleveland couple pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter on Monday, after failing to seek medical care for their ill son, William Willie Robinson Jr., 8, who suffered from a common, treatable form of cancer.

The parents, Monica Hussing, 37, and William Robinson Sr., 40, claim they could not afford to take their son to the doctor even though they spent $78 on a veterinarian appointment for their pit bull dog.

Prosecutors argue that Willie begged his parents to take him to a doctor because he felt ill. On Mar. 22, 2008, Willie collapsed at his family's home. When Hussing and Robinson finally took him to the hospital that day, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a common and treatable form of cancer. He died an hour later.

If the family had sought the help of trained medical professionals, prosecutors argue that Willie would have had a 96 percent chance of making a full recovery.

It's just been an absolute traumatic experience for all the parties involved. It's a really a very sad case, John Luskin, Hussing's attorney, told WJW.

However, Hussing's lawyer claims Willie's unfortunate death was unavoidable due to the parent's lack of health insurance and the fact that they have five other children.

Unfortunately, these people did not have that ability to get the proper health care and I think the entire system both in Warren, in Trumbull County and in Cuyahoga County...it was just a little bit of... the ball was dropped, Luskin continued.

The coroner's report ruled Robinson's death a homicide; the parents neglected to take action to protect their son and he eventually died from the cancer and pneumonia.

Hussing and Robinson's five other children, ages 8, 9, 10, 16 and 17, have been removed from the parents and are reportedly living with their aunt. The children had previously been kept out of school.

The couple has been free on bail for $150,000 each in Cleveland, Ohio since their son died in 2008. The couple will be sentenced on Feb. 16, 2012. They face between two and eight years.



Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicago jogger mauled by pit bulls


From UPI

A 62-year-old man was mauled by two pit bulls while he jogged along the lakefront in Chicago Monday morning, officials said.

The attack happened about 6 a.m. along a path in Rainbow Beach Park, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The pit bulls bit the man, whose name was not reported, all over his body, including his legs, arms and face, police said.

A person in a nearby apartment building saw the attack and called police.

When officers arrived, the dogs attempted to attack them as well. Officers then fatally shot the animals, police said.

The man was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Update January 3, 2012 - The following article is by Kate Thayer, Carlos Sadovi and Mick Swasko, from Chicago Tribune:

Jogger mauled by two pit bulls in lakefront park

62-year-old in critical condition after surgery

It was overheated in Stanley Lee's South Shore apartment Monday morning, so he cracked open a window. That's when he heard the screams for help.

Lee's apartment overlooks Rainbow Beach Park along the lakefront, and through his window he witnessed a frightening scene: two pit bulls attacking a 62-year-old jogger.

"He was saying, 'Help me, help me,'" Lee said. Grabbing a baseball bat, the 35-year-old Lee ran outside to try to chase the dogs away from the jogger. He said he hit the dogs repeatedly with the bat, to no avail.

"They just wouldn't let the man go," Lee said.

Arriving police officers were confronted by the dogs and fatally shot them around 6 a.m., authorities said.

The jogger, Joseph Finley, was in critical condition Monday night after undergoing surgery at Stroger Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Finley, who was believed to live in the neighborhood, was bitten over his entire body, including his legs, arms and face, police said. Lee noted a deep wound to the man's leg.

After an ambulance took Finley away, a pair of running shoes and ankle weights lay near the bloodied grass in the park at 7715 S. South Shore Drive. Bloody snow also remained on a path where one of the dogs was shot to death.

Police later cited the owner for failing to restrain the dogs and not having licenses for them, authorities said. Meanwhile, residents near Rainbow Beach Park were wondering why two pit bulls had been in the park off-leash.

Darlene Henderson, who was out walking her two small dogs in the hours after the attack, said she often sees dogs unattended or off their leashes.

Despite reports to animal control officials, "nothing ever happens," she said, adding that she now carries Mace on her twice-daily walks. Henderson's own cocker spaniel mix, Keefer, was attacked two years ago in the park by a Rottweiler but survived after surgery.

Henderson also once saw a pit bull tear a child's coat off, though the child wasn't harmed, she said.

"I don't know what it is with the pit bulls," she said, referring to how many she sees living in the neighborhood, which has struggled with violent crime in recent years.

Adesoji Adeyinka, who also lives near the area of the attack, said he will rethink his weekend walks along the beach with his two young daughters.

"I won't let them out there, even with me," he said, adding that he has seen unleashed pit bulls in the area but usually with owners standing nearby.

TeResa Gaddis also lives near Rainbow Beach Park. She saw the dead dogs as she walked her two German shepherd mixes Monday morning just before animal control officials cleared the scene. "It's a shame all the way around. It just broke my heart to see them lying there," she said.

Through the Stroger spokeswoman, Finley's brother said: "We would like to thank everyone. We are grateful and appreciate the good Samaritans and the police who came out to rescue him."

Cherie Travis, commissioner of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said the dogs did not have a microchip embedded under their skin or identification tags on their collars.

Travis described the dogs as unneutered adult males, which at 70 pounds were large even for their breed. Police said one dog was chocolate brown in color, and the other was white with dark spots. The dogs had matching 2-inch nylon collars that appeared new.

She said animal control veterinarians planned to perform a necropsy on the bodies. Public health officials will also test for rabies.

Though dog bites are common throughout the city, Travis said the most recent death she could recall was in January 2010, when a man was killed by his daughter's pit bulls inside their home.

Monday's incident bore similarities to a January 2003 incident when two female joggers were attacked — one fatally — by wandering dogs in the Dan Ryan Woods forest preserve.

The incident sparked Cook County forest preserve officials to close the path until they were sure the responsible dogs had been destroyed. Officials also added bicycle patrols to the area, along with signs about reporting stray dogs.

Travis emphasized that a dog's breed is not the leading cause of aggressiveness. Rather, it's how owners treat and train their dogs.

"The problem with (pit bulls) is not that they are bad dogs. The problem with the breed is people get them and don't socialize them and don't take them for training and they're strong dogs," she said. "The reality is we need to hold people responsible that if you get a dog, you are responsible for everything that happens."

Joggers are especially susceptible to aggressive dogs, Travis said, because they're in constant motion.

"The sad part is, joggers are interesting to dogs. A jogger is almost by definition appealing to a dog," she said. "Our advice to anybody is if you're out someplace (and a dog charges), you're not going to outrun it so be as still as possible, don't make eye contact and look down. If a dog is acting threatening, curl up into a ball and try to protect your internal organs."

Update January 3, 2012 - The following article is by Carlos Sadovi, Kate Thayer, Naomi Nix and Mick Swasko, from Chicago Tribune:

Pit bulls' owner faces fines after attack on lakefront jogger

The 57-year-old owner of the two pit bulls killed by Chicago police after they attacked a lakefront jogger on Monday has been ticketed for failing to restrain them and not having city dog licenses, authorities said.

Jimmy Johnson, of the 7600 block of South Coles Avenue, was ticketed twice for each dog, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez. He is scheduled to appear for an adminstrative court hearing in March.

Johnson could face fines of $30 to $200 dollars for failing to license each dog, and $300 up to $10,000 dollar fines for failing to restrain each dog, according to Animal Care and Control officials.

Police attempted to get upgraded charges, but prosecutors believed there was not enough evidence to determine that the dog owner's actions were intentional, Perez said.

Cherie Travis, commissioner of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said the dogs' owner told her that someone had left the gate at his home open, allowing the dogs to escape.

“Somehow they got out of the yard,” said Travis.

She said the owners have not been cited for any dog-related violation at that address before.

“The owner and the owner’s family were extraordinary responsive,” said Travis. “They were hoping that the dogs were not theirs. …The fact that they came forward says a lot of about their character.”

Travis said Animal Care and Control has not received increased call volume for stray dogs from the South Shore neighborhood. Travis said she has reached out to Alderwoman Sandi Jackson to see if they can work together on tackling the issue.

Jackson said she wants to encourage “residents to call us to let us know when they see bands of dogs roaming about" or dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior.

“Oftentimes, they think someone else is going to do it,” Jackson said.

On Monday, only hours after he tried unsuccessfully to rescue the jogger, hitting the dogs repeatedly with a baseball bat, Stanley Lee described what happened.

It was hot in his South Shore apartment, Lee said, so he cracked open a window. That’s when he heard the screams for help.

Lee’s apartment overlooks Rainbow Beach Park along the lakefront, and through his window he witnessed a frightening scene: two pit bulls attacking a 62-year-old jogger.

“He was saying, ‘Help me, help me,’” Lee said. Grabbing a baseball bat, the 35-year-old Lee ran outside to try to chase the dogs away from the jogger. He said he hit the dogs repeatedly with the bat, to no avail.

“They just wouldn’t let the man go,” Lee said.

Arriving police officers were confronted by the dogs and fatally shot them, authorities said.

Jogger Finley, believed to live in the neighborhood, was bitten over his entire body, including his legs, arms and face, police said. Lee noted a deep wound to the man’s leg.

Minutes after an ambulance took Finley away, a pair of running shoes and ankle weights lay near the bloodied grass in the park at 7715 S. South Shore Drive. Bloody snow also remained on a path where one of the dogs was shot to death.

Meanwhile, residents near Rainbow Beach Park were wondering why two pit bulls had been in the park off-leash.

Darlene Henderson, who was out walking her two small dogs in the hours after the attack, said she often sees dogs unattended or off their leashes.

Despite reports to animal control officials, “nothing ever happens,” she said, adding that she now carries Mace during her twice-daily walks. Henderson’s own cocker spaniel mix, Keefer, was attacked two years ago in the park by a Rottweiler but survived after surgery.

Henderson also once saw a pit bull tear a child’s coat off, though the child wasn’t harmed, she said.

“I don’t know what it is with the pit bulls,” she said, referring to how many she sees living in the neighborhood, which has struggled with violent crime in recent years.

Adesoji Adeyinka, who also lives near the area of the attack, said he will rethink his weekend walks along the beach with his two young daughters.

“I won’t let them out there, even with me,” he said, adding that he has seen unleashed pit bulls in the area, but usually with owners standing nearby.

TeResa Gaddis also lives near Rainbow Beach Park. She saw one of the dead dogs as she walked her two German shepherd mixes Monday morning just before animal control officials cleared the scene.

“It’s a shame all the way around. It just broke my heart to see them lying there,” she said.

A statement released by Stroger from Finley's brother said the man's family was grateful for their actions. The hospital would not release the brother's name.

“We would like to thank everyone, we are grateful and appreciate the good Samaritans and the police who came out to rescue him,” according to the brother.

Earlier, Travis said the dogs did not have a microchip embedded under their skin or identification tags on their collars.

Travis described the dogs as unneutered adult males, which at 70 pounds were large even for their breed. Police said one dog was chocolate brown in color, and the other was white with dark spots. The dogs had matching two-inch nylon collars that appeared new.

She said animal control veterinarians planned to perform a necropsy on the bodies. Public health officials also test for rabies.

Though dog bites are common throughout the city, Travis said the most recent death she could recall was in January 2010, when a man was killed by his daughter’s pit bulls inside their home.

Monday’s incident bore similarities to a January 2003 incident when two female joggers were attacked — one fatally — by wandering dogs in the Dan Ryan Woods forest preserve. The incident sparked Cook County forest preserve officials to close the path until they were sure the responsible dogs had been destroyed. Officials also added bicycle patrols to the area and signs about reporting stray dogs.

Travis emphasized that a dog’s breed is not the leading cause of aggressiveness. Rather, it’s how owners treat and train their dogs.

“The problem with (pit bulls) is not that they are bad dogs. The problem with the breed is people get them and don’t socialize them and don’t take them for training and they’re strong dogs,” she said. “The reality is we need to hold people responsible that if you get a dog, you are responsible for everything that happens.”

Joggers are especially susceptible to aggressive dogs, Travis said, because they’re in constant motion.

“The sad part is, joggers are interesting to dogs. A jogger is almost by definition appealing to a dog,” she said. “Our advice to anybody is if you’re out someplace (and a dog charges), you’re not going to outrun it so be as still as possible, don’t make eye contact and look down. If a dog is acting threatening, curl up into a ball and try to protect your internal organs.”

Update January 2, 2013 - The following article is from CBS Chicago

Jogger Attacked By Pit Bull Wants Tougher Laws

One year after a pit bull attack that left a South Shore jogger near death, he is still recovering–and urging tougher laws for pit bull owners.

“Basically, I shouldn’t be alive,” said Joseph Finley, 63. “There were things going on that they didn’t think that I was going to make it.”

Finley lost his left leg in the pit bull attack last Jan 1.

Recovery, he says, has been a day-by-day process.

“The mental state of not wanting to accept that my leg wasn’t there anymore,” he said.

Finley says owning a pit bull is comparable to owning a gun.

“People who have licenses to carry guns, they have to show proof that they are mentally stable and know how to use those guns,” he said.

“Well, people who have these pit bulls, a lot of them don’t know how to take care of a pit bull. They don’t know how to be responsible owners.”