L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
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Category: Pit Bulls

Patrick the pit bull: Judge decides abused dog should stay at animal hospital for now

NEWARK, N.J. -- Accusations of greedy motives and arguments over visitation rights made it easy to forget that a recent court hearing centered not on the child of warring parents but on a four-legged animal, albeit one with his own Facebook page and thousands of fans worldwide.

When the rancor had subsided, state Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III on Thursday ruled that Patrick the pit bull, the popular pooch found nearly starved to death in a Newark trash chute in March, will stay at an animal hospital while the criminal case against his owner proceeds.

The ruling ended -- for now -- a custody battle that has raged since the end of April, when Cassini issued an order that Patrick would stay at Garden State Veterinary Specialists, the Tinton Falls facility where he underwent surgery after he was discovered in mid-March at Newark's Garden Spires apartment complex.

"The judge considered the law and the evidence and ruled accordingly, and that means justice for Patrick," hospital administrator Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, who has been overseeing the dog's recovery, said outside court.

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Patrick the pit bull: New Jersey woman pleads not guilty to charges relating to animal cruelty

Patrick the pit bull

NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey woman pleaded not guilty in court Friday to charges of starving and abandoning a 1-year-old pit bull that has since become an Internet celebrity.

The judge in the case judge warned animal advocates that he would not let emotion rule the case.

Kisha Curtis entered her plea through an attorney during a brief hearing in state Superior Court attended by several news outlets and some members of an advocacy group that is seeking stronger animal abuse laws. About 40 people demonstrated outside Essex County Veterans Courthouse in support of the dog, nicknamed Patrick because he was found the day before St. Patrick's Day.

Curtis didn't speak in court, but  Superior Court Judge William Cassini departed from protocol and addressed the notoriety the case has attracted.

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Patrick, 'miracle' pit bull who survived fall down garbage chute, is on the road to recovery

A 1-year-old pit bull nicknamed Patrick sits next to flowers sent by a supporter in Alaska as he recovers at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., after being found starved and dumped in a trash chute.

A New Jersey pit bull named Patrick, starved and subjected to horrific abuse before his rescue last month, is being called a "miracle dog" after he survived being placed in a trash bag and thrown down the garbage chute of a Newark apartment building.

A maintenance worker removing the garbage to put it in a trash compactor noticed a bag moving slightly, opened it and discovered the emaciated dog inside. Patrick -- so named when he survived through the night into St. Patrick's Day after being found in the garbage chute March 16 -- was rushed to the local Associated Humane Societies shelter, where "veterinary staff immediately put him on intravenous fluid," according to a post on the society's website. "His temperature was so low that it did not even register on the thermometer. He was covered with heating pads and blankets. Society vet tech Gina DeSalvo held the pit bull in her arms -- she soothed him, gave him warmth, comfort and bits of food. From that moment on, he looked up with gratitude in his eyes to all of the staff."

Patrick was soon moved to a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital, where he received a blood transfusion and other treatment. His condition is reportedly improving. Kisha Curtis, 27, the woman identified as his owner at the time of his abuse, has been charged with two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature by failing to provide sustenance and two counts of abandonment, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. She has pleaded not guilty to the cruelty charges and maintains she didn't throw Patrick down the garbage chute, but has reportedly admitted that she failed to provide proper care for the year-old dog, New Jersey Newsroom reported.

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Most American pet owners blame owners, not genetics, for dangerous dogs

Pit Bull

The majority of American pet owners believe a well-trained dog is safe -- even if it comes from one of the "bully breeds."

Some dog breeds, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, are considered truly dangerous by 28% of American pet owners, but in an Associated Press-Petside.com poll, 71% said any breed can be safe if the dogs are well trained.

"It's not the dog. It's the owner that's the problem," said Michael Hansen, a 59-year-old goldsmith from Port Orchard, Wash. "The dog will do whatever it can to please the owner, right down to killing another animal for you."

"If they are brought up in a loving household, they can flourish just like any other dog," agreed Nancy Lyman, 56, of Warwick, Mass.

Sixty percent of pet owners feel that all dog breeds should be allowed in residential communities, while 38% believe some breeds should be banned, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

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Tucker Carlson thinks Michael Vick should have been executed

Tucker Carlson is on TV this week, as a substitute. Tucker Carlson does not have his own TV show, in part because Jon Stewart famously schooled him when Carlson was co-hosting CNN's "Crossfire."

Tucker Carlson wants Michael Vick to be executed Carlson never recovered.

What has happened to Carlson's career in the six years that Stewart knocked the bow tie right off the smug host? Carlson has three things going for him. He has a relatively new website, The Daily Caller, which launched earlier this year. He regularly calls into the Bubba the Love Sponge's radio show. And to pay the bills, he is under contract with Fox News, where he pops up on various political shows to punch up their panels and occasionally fill in for vacationing hosts.

This week Carlson is keeping Sean Hannity's seat warm. Tuesday he chose to punch up "Hannity" using the trifecta of any controversial conversation: religion, politics, and extreme stances on death. While setting up a segment on President Obama's recent telephone call to Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles (wherein the president praised the Eagles for giving ex-con quarterback Michael Vick a second chance after being incarcerated), Carlson casually stated that even though he is a Christian, he thinks Vick should be killed for the crime that the courts thought was only worthy of 19 months in the clink.

"I'm a Christian," Carlson quipped mere days after the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. "I've made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances, but Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should've been executed for that. He wasn't, but the idea that the president of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs? Kind of beyond the pale."

Job well done, Tucker. If there's three things popular on the "Hannity" show it's God, guns, and Obama-bashing. Carlson hit his quota in less than 16 seconds. And like a cherry on top, the Internet is buzzing with people typing out "Tucker..."

Some of the reaction after the jump.

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Michael Vick says he wants to have another dog

Football star and former dogfighter Michael Vick's statements that he would like to own a dog as a pet have incited intense debate among animal lovers, football fans and water-cooler gossipers.

Vick told TheGrio.com that he "would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process."

That comment didn't surprise us much, since Vick said pretty much the same thing -- that he wished he could have a dog again "more than anything in the world" -- at one of his anti-dogfighting speaking engagements more than a year ago. What did surprise us was the wording of a comment he made later in the same interview with TheGrio:

"I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that's the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions."

Wait, what? Did Vick really refer to himself as having "love and ... passion for animals"? We're pretty sure we weren't dreaming. He explains the comment in the video above -- saying he's a big fan of animals including birds and, ahem, dogs -- and mentions that his experience getting caught for dogfighting has helped him grow, both as a regular-old person and as a football player.

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Michael Vick tells high schoolers 'I think I'm being used by God'

Michael Vick speaking to the Wilbur Cross High School

The Michael Vick partnership with the Humane Society's "End Dogfighting" campaign made stops at two high schools in Connecticut on Tuesday to encourage America's youth to be kind to animals.

The Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback says that kids are more likely to listen to what he says about animal cruelty because they've seen where he has come from -- namely 18 months in prison -- due to his activity with Bad Newz Kennels.

Before his arrest for racketeering Vick said he was blind to animal rights, but he now sees the light. "I didn’t really care what people felt about animals," Vick told the students about his lack of emotion while involved in dogfighting with pit bulls. "I didn’t care about the welfare of animals."

But that ignorance has been turned into a blessing from on high, the NFL star said, which includes a tightening of legal restrictions across the country once the spotlight turned to lax laws surrounding dogfighting and minimal fines. "I think I’m being used by God," Vick said, "because all the laws have changed since my incident."

"In my opinion he means what he says and this is a healing process for him" Caleb Levy told News 8 in New Haven, Conn., after Vick spoke to Wilbur Cross High School.

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Michael Vick's Monday night performance didn't impress everyone

While many were marveling at Michael Vick's Monday Night Football heroics, some were wincing at it all while never forgetting about the victims.

One of those who was wincing was L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke, who wrote an emotional column that has quickly become one of his most popular screeds. An excerpt:

If he continues playing this well, he could end up as the league's most valuable player. In six games, he has thrown for 11 touchdowns, run for four more touchdowns, committed zero turnovers and produced nearly 300 total yards per game. Heck, at this rate, with his Eagles inspired by his touch, he could even win a Super Bowl, one of the greatest achievements by an American sportsman.

And yet a large percentage of the population will still think Michael Vick is a sociopath. Many people will never get over Vick's own admissions of unthinkable cruelty to his pit bulls -- the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating.

Some believe that because Vick served his time in prison, he should be beyond reproach for his former actions. Many others believe that cruelty to animals isn't something somebody does, it's something somebody is.

"Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick" has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, shared over 51,000 times on Facebook, and has received over 500 comments. A small sampling of those comments can be seen after the jump.

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Video goodness: Girl talks about her love for her 'best friend in the world,' a rescue dog

For every bad story out there about a member of a so-called "bully breed" of dog (pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers, American bulldogs and the like), we have found there is an equally good story about such a dog to counteract it.

Like Louis Vuitton, who wagged his tail and allowed himself to be petted by those assembled at a recent parole hearing for the man convicted of spraying him with lighter fluid, lighting him on fire and beating him with a shovel. Or Karma, a pit bull who helps her owner care for tiny foster kittens. Or the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels, whose inspiring stories of redemption were recently chronicled in the book "The Lost Dogs."

The video above shows another such story of a gentle, loving member of a much-maligned breed.

We don't want to give too much away -- you'll just have to watch it yourself (particularly if you're a pit bull fan tired of negative publicity) -- but it features a little girl describing her dog, a rescue who, she explains, "used to live with bad people and now he only has one eye. Some people think he's scary, but I think he's beautiful!" We recommend you keep tissues within reach while watching.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: tammyclewley via YouTube

Pit bull who was set on fire and beaten attends his abuser's parole hearing

Louis MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A scarred but friendly pit bull named Louis Vuitton was the star witness Tuesday as an Alabama state board denied parole for the man convicted of spraying him with lighter fluid, setting him on fire and beating him with a shovel.

After the 8-year-old dog was led into the packed hearing room, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 3 to 0 to deny early release to 23-year-old Juan Daniels of Montgomery, who was sentenced in 2009 to nine years and six months in prison, a record in Alabama in an animal cruelty case.

Daniels, whose supporters said he had been sentenced far more harshly than criminals who harm human beings, will be eligible for parole again in July 2012.

The dog stuck his head forward for everyone who wanted to pet him as he entered. He bears burn scars from his head to his wagging tail, including white lines on his brown body where the burning lighter fluid seared his skin.

"You have to see the scars to see what was done to him," said the dog's owner, Dee Hartley of Montgomery. She and her husband adopted the dog after the torture incident.

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