Friday, June 26, 2009

Twins arrested in pit bull's death face new charges


Two teenage twin brothers charged as juveniles with fatally burning a pit bull are being held without bail on new adult charges after police said they raided their Southwest Baltimore rowhouse and found guns and marijuana inside.
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, 17, are each charged with possession of firearms, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to police and prosecutors. Court documents say the two were suspects in the dog burning last month, and their father confirmed that they are charged as juveniles with animal cruelty in the case.
The death of the dog, which had been doused with gasoline and set aflame, attracted national attention, led to donations for a reward fund that grew to $26,000 and prompted calls for stiffer penalties in animal cruelty cases. Caregivers, who named the dog Phoenix, had to euthanize the animal because she had burns on 95 percent of her body.

This depressing story comes from the June 25 Baltimore Sun.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Volunteer’s Journey

This is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing feature.  Wanting to be a little more “hands on” with rescuing I recently decided to become a volunteer at the Contra Costa Animal Services facility in Martinez.  I’ll hopefully be chronicling my thoughts and experiences.

I attended the orientation yesterday.  I haven’t actually been accepted yet so I don’t have experiences to share as an actual volunteer but I learned quite a few things from the orientation.

Contra Costa County Animal Services serves as the county’s law enforcement agency where animals are concerned.  It’s their ACOs (Animal Control Officers) that serve the same kind of duties as the ones featured on Animal Planet programs such as Animal Precinct, Animal Cops Detroit, etc.  They’re not simply the “dog catchers”.

The one criticism I have of the otherwise wonderful “Hotel for Dogs” movie is that the municipal animal shelter portrayed in the film was basically a death camp and its ACOs were mean spirited buffoons.  These individuals are total animal advocates that definitely don’t fit the “dog catcher” stereotype. 

In recent years the county’s euthanization rate has dropped from 70% to 30%, still one of the highest in the Bay Area, but hardly makes it a “death house”.


County regulations require all abandoned, stray, and seized animals go through animal services first, and are not allowed to turn any animal away.  This is a double-edged sword because the most attractive, most healthy, most adoptable dogs must go through the county first, all the least of those dogs go through as well.  Further, other rescue organizations get their dogs from animal services as well, including “no-kill” rescues such as ARF and non-profits such as the SPCA.  They get their pick of which dogs to take into their care.  But don’t take that as a complaint.  Without them it’s all up to the county to get them adopted out and euthanization rates go up accordingly. 

My older dog, Zoe, was one of those that had originally been taken in by Contra Costa Animal Services and  moved over to the East Bay SPCA branch in Dublin where we found and adopted her.

Please remember that while nearly all non-profits like ARF and the SPCA are solely supported by public donations and county shelters do receive funding from local government municipal shelters are often no better off, sometimes worse.  When there are budget cuts during hard economic times like now local municipal animal shelters suffer greatly.

Hopefully, Contra Costa County will accept me as a volunteer and I’ll have more to report later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Child Flushed Puppy Down Toilet

from NBC Bay Area News:


Updated 3:30 AM PDT, Wed, Jun 17, 2009

You can tell by this kid's face that he has done something wrong.

A little boy's love for his new puppy nearly cost the animal its life this week in England.

A little boy learned a big lesson about bathing a dog.

Daniel Blair decided his new pet needed a bath and what better place to do that then in a toilet bowl?

The four year old was going for a rinse when the one week old cocker spaniel was flushed right down the drain.

Daniel's mom said she panicked when she heard what had happened.

"As soon as Daniel told me what he'd done, I ran out of the house where the manhole was behind the toilet," said Alison Blair.

Alison Blair said she lifted the manhole cover, hoping to find the puppy.  She couldn't see him, but she could hear him.

The flushed pup was stuck for hours.  His ordeal was captured and posted on YouTube.

Rescue crews didn't have the right equipment so they finally called in a plumber.

A little camera designed to take a peek in sewage pipes not only found the stuck pup, it was also used to push him out the other end to the loving arms of a fireman.

The tool is called a Dyno-rod.   The once nameless puppy is now called Dyno in its honor.

Although getting flushed down the toilet had to be dramatic, the little guy made it through the ordeal without a scratch, proving cats are not the only ones who have nine lives.

This is a great illustration of why unsupervised small children and puppies don’t mix.  Please do your best to educate your dog-owning friends and loved ones with small children.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Little Cutie Needs to be Rescued

Those who know me personally know I have a soft spot in my heart for little dogs and pit bulls. That makes this little runt pit bull below just about perfect. Thanks again, Ryoko.

This is a MUST see video, guaranteed to make you smile. Please share this video on your page and network her far and wide. The Pasadena Humane Society is full again and this playful girl is in danger. She is a little insecure and can be shy in new situations, but I have no doubt she will blossom in a foster/forever home with a patient loving family. Another friendly dog or two will speed up the process as she LOVES to play with other dogs. Please give this 10 month old pup a second chance. If you can rescue or adopt, please call 626/792-7151 x137 and e-mail IMMEDIATELY. Thank you.


From our friend Ryoko Matsui:

“Gypsy” (A250822), 1 year-old pit/catahoula mix at the Pasadena Humane Society needs networking! Please help her find her “forever home”! She has a beautiful white and red merle coat, and weighs around 47 pounds.

In her time here she has quickly become a favorite of the behavior department since she is so good with other dogs. She has been one of the “tester dogs” for behavior evaluations because she is so playful with everyone.

She has been out with the mobile outreach unit a couple of times, and at both events was terrific with everyone she met. She adores people and has a lot of affection for kids. She enjoys playing with toys, especially chasing tennis balls.

Gypsy would definitely do well in an obedience class- she quickly learned both “sit” and “down” commands. She needs some work on walking on leash without pulling, but she is manageable. Watch her show off:

Gypsy also has a very calm demeanor in the kennels. She quietly sits and waits for attention, even when other dogs around her are raucously barking.

Because of the high number of dogs coming in every day, we have to get a commitment for this lovely gal by June 19th.

If you are able to rescue or adopt “Gypsy” (A250822), please contact the Pasadena Humane Society adoptions office at (626) 792-7151 x 137, Kevin at x 119, or Ute at x 117. Or email Kevin at or Ute at

See how quiet she was amidst all that barking?  And how about that sit on the wet concrete?  Neither one of mine will even sit on linoleum!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Alabama Dog Fighting Bust—45 Dogs Seized, Remains Found

from the ASPCA website:

Courtesy of Randolph Leader/Matt Shelley

On Monday, June 1, a dog fighting operation in Randolph County, AL, was raided by the state’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. The ASPCA dispatched forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck and our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit to collect evidence in the investigation and aid in the prosecution of the case.

Dr. Merck examined 45 dogs who were discovered tied to heavy chains and living in deplorable conditions on two properties. She also examined partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found on site. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dog fighting have been collected into evidence.

“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dog fighters,” says Dr. Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another who is limping, and many who are injured, some severely.”

As a result of ASPCA participation, two suspects have been formally charged. William Alsabrook was charged with two counts of possession of dogs for fighting, and Artis Kyle was charged with one count of possession of dogs for fighting, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Check out video footage of the scene, and don’t miss our one-on-one chat with Dr. Merck about her role in this case.

Learn more about the brutal world of dog fighting and what you can do to help end this cruel “sport.”

Great work, ASPCA!  You see?  You don’t need to contribute to the HSUS or PETA to help the campaign to stop dog fighting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No charges for K-9 officer whose dog died

ALAMEDA, Calif., June 2 (UPI) -- Officials have declined to charge a San Francisco-area K-9 officer whose dog died of heat stroke after being left in a car for several hours.

The officer, whose name has not been released, could still face internal discipline in Alameda for the death of the Belgian malinois, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The officer was at a training session on the use of force for more than three hours while the dog sat in his personal sport utility vehicle.

Lt. Bill Scott of the Alameda police said the officer left a window rolled down and the high temperature that day was only 70 degrees at Oakland International Airport.

Charlotte Green, senior deputy district attorney for Alameda County, said there was not enough evidence to justify a criminal charge.

"It is very tragic when an animal dies under these circumstances, but there is insufficient evidence to prove that the officer acted unreasonably," Green said.

Considering that the Alameda Police had been withholding this from the press it’s not surprising that the officer is getting off scott-free.  This incident took place a month ago.