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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pedigreed Pups for a Pittance

Want a purebred Yorkie? That'll set you back about $3,500.

So, what if I said you could get one for $1,150? I'm sorry-- make that $11.50.

You can, right down the block from where I sit at this very moment, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Thing is, they're made of chocolate, at a place called Martine's, which I pass every day while I'm here visiting my parents. I don't dare go in, because chocolate is beyond my power to resist.

But from the window you can watch the chocolatiers make the stuff from scratch, then mold it into many shapes, including a variety of candy canines.

To drool over Martine's goodies, click here.

Horses Help Wounded Soldiers Recover

We all know what pleasure we get from interacting with critters; they're good for our nerves, our moods, our overall outlook on life.

Turns out they're also a valuable resource for soliders wounded in war. Horses are being used to help leg amputees regain a sense of balance and rhythm through the hips.

To read a story about it, click here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bark at the Park

That's what the Florida Marlins call the day they welcome you and your dog to Dolphins Stadium, this year June 15 at 7:05 p.m. They'll face off against the Atlanta Braves.

Tickets are $12 for adult humans, $6 for kids 12 and under, and canines of all ages. All proceeds from the sales of dog tickets benefit the Humane Society of Broward County.

Now, I'm just picturing a stadium full of retrievers every time someone gets a hit.

"No! Don't fetch!" How confusing.

For tickets and information, call the Humane Society of Broward County, 954-266-6816, or visit the web site,

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Your Pet Pix!

This is a new feature: photos of your pets. I now have a dedicated mailbox to receive them: Send me snaps of your critters and I'll post them here.

The first one is from Mary and John, of their georgeous cat, Topaz. Look at those eyes!

And this is from Etan, of his adorable dog Truman, on Truman Avenue in Key West.

And They're Off!

It is, after all, racing season, with the last leg of the Triple Crown pending. That involves thoroughbred horses, of course, but I've been alerted to an upcoming race involving animal athletes who are considerably smaller.

Chihuahuas. Racing chihuahuas.

Seems that PETCO, the pet-products store, hosts races around the country, and there's one coming up in South Florida on June 3 at the PETCO, 12012 SW 88th St., Kendall. It's a biggie: the South Florida regional competition "in the company’s national Search for America’s Fastest Chihuahua," according to the press release.

"PETCO expects up to 300 Chihuahuas (and their owners) to compete in a day of races that will determine who from South Florida will compete in the national finals, to be held between innings of a major league baseball game on Sept. 3 at San Diego’s PETCO Park. Finalists get an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego, of course."

Bill Menezes, who boasts the amazing title of "Senior Media Relations Strategist," notes that while the whole idea sounds "silly" (and that it does), registration for the Los Angeles regional race, June 10, has topped out at 300 dogs. Other races are planned for New York City, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco.

"Given that the Chihuahua is the seventh-most popular breed in Miami (according to the American Kennel Club), Petco expects a pretty big turnout for the South Florida event," he said.

So the action begins at 9 a.m. Should be fun. (These pictures are from a race last year).

Today's Pet Hero

A HUGE attaboy to Mike Rubin of Coral Springs, FL, for literally snatching his puppy from the jaws of death: an alligator. To read the story in today's Miami Herald, click here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I Know What MY Revenge Fantasy Is...

There were two strikingly similar (and similiarly barbaric) abuse cases in the past few days that make me want to sentence the sicko perps to the same punishment they inflicted on these poor animals.

(I'm reprinting the stories rather than sending you to a website because one of them makes you pay for the story).

From The Olympian (Olympia, Washington)
May 25, 2006 Thursday

Animal rights activists protest but target is a no-show; Bench warrant issued for suspect in death of dog dragged behind vehicle

BY Scott Gutierrez

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a Yelm man suspected in the dragging of a dog behind a boat trailer for about three miles.

Mark D. Mossberger, 20, has been charged in Thurston County Superior Court with one count of first-degree animal cruelty. Judge Richard Hicks signed the warrant after Mossberger did not appear for his arraignment.

Mossberger has been under investigation since May 6, when the animal was left for dead in a parking lot at the Maytown Tavern. A blood trail wound from the tavern to the site of a Cinco de Mayo party near Millersylvania State Park, where the dog's owner had been.

The road peeled back the dog's skin and muscle, exposing bone in several places. The dog, a golden retriever-German shepherd mix named "Chewie," survived but had to be euthanized at an animal shelter, officials said.

Mossberger's hearing drew about 15 animal rights advocates, who were disappointed he didn't show up.

The defendant allegedly tied the dog to a wheel well because he was angry at it for barking. A man and woman driving the vehicle said they did not know the dog was behind them. They said the defendant had stopped them before they drove away, bent down to inspect their wheel well, and told them, "You're good to go," court documents say.

It was unclear why they left the injured animal in the parking lot.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Debra Eurich declined comment on whether they face charges.

"At this point, they're witnesses," she said.

Two animal rights groups, Pasado's Safe Haven and Concerned for Animals, a Thurston County organization, filled the courtroom.

Rita Morgan, of the Pasado animal sanctuary, said she and others attended the hearing because they want to see Mossberger held accountable and because they want to publicize their services for anyone who encounters a wounded animal like the one in this case.

"We're all here because we want to be that voice for that animal. Our message is people can't do this. They can't walk away from their sensibility and their humanity," Morgan said.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler said a summons was mailed to Mossberger's home.

Mossberger could still turn himself in and have the warrant quashed. If he is arrested, he would be forced to stay at least a day in jail because the warrant does not allow bail.

If convicted, Mossberger could be sentenced to up to a year in county jail.

From The News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida)
May 26, 2006

Hearts go out to injured dog; Support overwhelms Cape animal clinic

BY Grant Boxleitner

Shawney eats Science Diet canned food and gingerly takes steps in her cage, despite open wounds and a broken front leg.

Until Thursday, a tiny camera perched in the kennel recorded her movements and beamed them to a monitor in the waiting area of Viscaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital in Cape Coral. People who stopped by to ask about the 10-pound Chihuahua mix could see her progress themselves.

The outpouring of support for the injured dog, which was dragged behind a car last week, has overwhelmed the animal clinic at 920 Country Club Blvd.

Hundreds of people have called the Viscaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital, offering to pay for medical costs, adopt Shawney or both.

Students at Golden Gate Middle School in Collier County sent a handmade card wishing speedy recovery for the dog.

"We were getting 50 calls a day," said Lisa Gote, a veterinarian who is caring for the dog.

The couple who rescued the dog after it jerked free from a leash behind the car said it was dragged for nearly a third of a mile.

Cape Coral resident Jeffrey Candler, 46, 2113 N.E. 33rd St., was charged with animal cruelty. Police said he showed no remorse for the dog and had been drinking. He paid a $25,000 surety bond and was released.

His son said the incident was a mistake, but Candler declined to discuss it.

"It is really amazing the response the community has shown, but unfortunately an animal is abused in this country every day," Gote said.

The decision on whether Shawney will be put up for adoption has not been completed because the dog is part of a criminal investigation, and legalities of taking possession of the dog have not been worked out, Gote said.

Nevertheless, the clinic is keeping a long list of people who want to adopt Shawney.

The state attorney's office still was reviewing the cruelty case Thursday.

Meanwhile, Shawney will need about a month of care at the clinic.

"It's just easier to keep her here because we're changing dressings every day," Gote said.

Spay Lee, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, has worked with the clinic in the past and would be willing to conduct the process of finding a home for the recuperating dog.

The organization initially offered to help the animal, but its leader Judie Piccola said so many people came forward the dog's needs were easily met.

"If they would release the animal to us, we would have no problem making sure it finds a good home," she said.

Piccola also said a potential owner would be screened to ensure Shawney would be a companion, given regular veterinarian visits with preventative care, such as heartworm medication, and not be tied up outside.

"With all the people who have come forward, they can probably find that dog the best home in the world," Piccola said.

Clinic workers decided to remove the cage camera later Thursday, but not because interest had waned.

Apparently, Shawney is beginning to show her personality.

The tiny dog was becoming annoyed by the camera being so close to her, clinic officials said.