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Friday, August 25, 2006

Slaughter of Katrina Dogs Still Unsolved

About a month after the storm - today's the one-year anniversary - animal rescuers and distraught pet owners made a grotesque discovery at a St. Bernard Parish school: dozens of dead, decomposing dogs, all of them shot. Evacuees had been told by sheriffs' deputies that they needed to leave, but that their animals would be safe at the school.

They were anything but safe; they were murdered, probably by cops. Ballistics tests have shown that the shells and bullets are the same type that police use. There's an ongoing investigation, and no one has yet collected a rescue group's $25,000 reward.

Click here to read the rescue group's account of what they found, then click here for an update that's months old but the last thing I could find on it.

Click here for a transcript of Anderson Cooper's live report for CNN at the time the animals were found. It's down at the bottom.

Highway the Flyover Dog, One Year (and a bit more) Later

If you were headed south on I-95 to Miami the morning of June 15, 2005, you may have gotten caught in a traffic jam courtesy of this guy.

For an hour, cops chased him around the Golden Glades flyover, the whole escapade covered like the OJ chase, from hovering news helicopters.

He was finally caught and given to Friends Forever, a rescue group. It took a couple of months to cure his heartworms and mange, and remove a cancerous leg tumor. He'd been horribly abused, and still has a BB in his chest.

Then Highway went to a new home in South Miami. Which happens to be that of my newsroom colleage Penny McCrea, and her husband, Dan (serious critter freaks).

She reports: "He’s my teddy bear and I am his moon and stars. (Such adoration!) The day I adopted him, he was very unsure of what was going to happen but by the evening he gave in. The funny thing was how he was trying to make up his mind about wanting to trust me; his front half went down in preparation for the submissive roll (and belly rub), but his rear end wouldn’t let him do it.

"He has the most gentle of natures and has never so much as issued a warning growl, which makes him useless as a guard dog; but he’s pretty good as a watch dog.

"Every morning, after he and Maggie (a chocolate lab who simply materialized on my front lawn one morning years ago in Hollywood, and ended up at Penny's) are fed, I follow up with a rawhide treat. Highway developed a priceless ritual for this: First he throws it up in the air, gamboling like a springtime lamb, next he rolls on it and, tail wagging wildly, squirms like he’s got the mother of all itches. Only then does he settle in for a good chew.

"He continues to eat like the starving refugee he was, so he’s rather portly and needs to go on a diet. And he still terrorizes one of my two cats."

Sounds like a happy ending for all (except the terrorized cat.)

If you want more information about Friends Forever, click here. They're a worthy group that deserves support.

Recent Pet-Related Stories in the Herald

I'm remiss in not having posted links to recent stories of interest in the Herald (I was gone last weekend and Monday, and have just caught up with the papers).

There was a dreadful incident in Broward County involving the mauling death of a young mom as she bathed her Presa Canario guard dog. It happened in front of her 9-year-old. Police shot the dog, which fell into the pool. This is the huge, powerful breed you might recall from an incident in San Francisco in which two Presas mauled a woman to death in an apartment hallway.

It has spurred local discussion of vicious and banned-breed laws (pit bulls are illegal in Miami-Dade County but not Broward).

Click here for the initial story and here, here , and , here for the followups.

Now here's a lighter story about kayaking with your pet. Click here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Belle, The Little Mermaid, Needs a Home

Does it get ANY cuter than this? The little mermaid is the featured pet of the week at Miami-Dade Animal Services. If she's been adopted by the time you read this, remember that there are hundreds more dogs and puppies (and cats and kittens) at the shelter who need someone to love them. Click here for the shelter's website.

Answer to a Question About Tri-Rail

A guy left a comment several posts down about the award-winning Tri-Rail posters: "Does this mean dogs are welcome on Tri-Rail? I sure hope so. Otherwise, this would be a pretty disingenuous ad campaign."

Yes indeed they are; go to the archives and look up the May 23 posting on the subject. (Of course service dogs of any size can right uncrated).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Small Dog; Big Bone

This is Dolly, who lives with the Moss family in Aventura. She's a 4-month-old "min pin" who clearly has a lot of spunk, taking on a bone that's nearly as big as she is.

E-mail a jpg photo of your critter to, and I'll post it here.

From the Mom of the South Florida Rescuer in Israel

Scroll down to the post about Anabelle Taub's trip, for background. Here's what her mom, Eva, reports:

"They need desperately $50,000 to build a shelter for the dogs that were collected by a Canadian lady who lives in a kibbutz next to Kiriat Shmona," heavily damaged in the fighting. "She rescued over 600 dogs [but] can only hold up to 200...The
kibbutz gives the land; they just need the funds."

Eva says that according to Anabelle, "it is so very, very hot that not even a fly is out during the day. They are moving some 30 dogs tomorrow to Tel Aviv, and then leaving for Zfat, where they where told they have many dogs that need to be
rescued. As for the Kiriat Shmona rescue, they will have to start working at night, as all the animals hide during the terrible heat. She said it is about 120 F in shade.

"They also, with the help of a local vet, vaccinated against rabies hundreds of the kibbutz where the Canadian lady keeps them."

If you want to communicate directly with Eva, her e-mail is

Pet B&B Opening in South Florida

Got a press release from the Country Inn Pet Resort & Animal Hospital, billing itself as a five-acre "state-of-the-art boarding, daycare retreat and veterinary facility [offering] its four-legged guests massages, acupuncture, leash-free playtime, and soft music throughout the pet suites and bungalows. Canines can also enjoy swimming in the bone-shaped pool and relaxation in the 'pawcuzzi,'" in Davie, which is horse country.

This actually sounds like a place HUMANS might want to go on vacation!

"The doggie boarding, daycare bungalows and cat cabins are equipped with their own full kitchen, laundry, and bathing areas," the release goes on. "The boarding bungalow includes suites with individual access to the outside recreational area. The day care bungalow has an indoor exercise training room and resting cages."

The clinic has a blood machine and "all of the latest veterinary equipment and technology, such as heated surgical table and ICU cages, oxygen that drops from the ceiling in each treatment room, a digital X-ray dental machine, to name a few. Resident Veterinary, Cecilia Magalhes, says, "Having a blood machine on site allows us to get blood results in 10 minutes, which lets us provide faster, more efficient diagnosis and treatment.'"

Dr. Magalhes is certified in veterinary acupuncture. The owner is Dr. Monica Silva.

And here's an important detail for this part of the state during this time of year: the place "is outfitted with hurricane-impact windows, and a future direct connection to the fire department. In addition, all necessary steps have been taken in order to increase the number of animals it can house from 140 to almost 200 during a hurricane or other crisis."

For more information, visit the website:

This Makes Me Crazy

It's a story about the lame reasons people give at shelters when relinquishing a pet. I don't think you have to be a hard-core animal nut to believe there are few valid excuses for dumping an animal that you're responsible for nurturing. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Scary Racoons Terrorize Neighborhood

A new breed of nasty and fearless racoons is making life miserable for people and pets in the Pacific Northwest. Yikes! Click here to read the story

A Rescuer's First Dispatch From Israel

Last week I wrote about Anabelle Taub, a South Florida rescuer headed to northern Israel to work with local humane groups on rescuing lost, abandoned and injured animals in the area near the Lebanese border that was heavily bombed.

Sunday, she sent her first e-mail about conditions there. I've exerpted from it and included one of the photos she shot. Another, of a decomposed dog that had been hit by a rocket, is too graphic for this blog.

A couple of hours into my arrival a call came in from an IDF (Israel Defense Force) soldier about a donkey struck by mine. We arrived at an army base on the border of Syria. Due to security reasons, I was only able to get one picture, which does not show location of base.

The donkey was struck in the a land mine area about 300 feet from the base. Because of the land mines...we could not go in to save him...His leg was blown off on Thursday (and) he has been sitting in this position for three days...We were supposed to go figure out what we were going to do today. Sadly, this morning the donkey died.

As we left the army base we got word of injured animals from the katushya rockets sent in by Hezbollah...This is the reason why I made this trip, because there is such a need for help. More photos to follow of those that are injured and are now in an animal clinic. I am devastated at what I saw on the first day of my arrival.

Remembering Katrina's Lost Critters

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Friday, there will be many restrospectives in the media. I expect most will focus on what happened to the human casualties of the storm and the vast remaining property devastation.

But no animal lover can forget the heartbreaking stories of stranded pets - starving, forlorn and frightened - crying from attics, porches, even floating cars.

The Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society sent in a team of rescuers, who ultimately helped save some 4,000 pets.

Now that effort has been chronicled in a book that's sure to bring a tear or two. It's called Not Left Behind; Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans. Troy Snow, a Best Friends photographer, has put together a 96-page book with eerily beautiful color images of the flooded city, the animals that were trapped in it, and the volunteers determined to save their lives.

Here's a passage about a dog named Goldie, who looks something like a tan samoyed.

"She was just lying there, completely listless," said Ethan Gurney. "She was badly dehydrated and suffereing from the heat, and she seemed sick, perhaps from drinking dirty water."

The photos show her staring apprehensively but allowing herself to be picked up and carried to safety.

For Goldie, there was a happy ending. She was taken to the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah, then adopted by a Maryland couple with four other dogs on a 10-acre property.

The book costs $19.95, with all proceeds going to support Best Friends. Go to to order it.