Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rescuers urge police to investigate case of fatally starved dog Kingston

Kingston, sick and starving, abandoned by owners, ignored by neighbors
Photo credit:
Yvette Holzbach
The following entry was also posted on Animal Policy Examiner, another page written by your Dozen Dogs Diarist.

On a broiling hot day last weekend, a small team of volunteer animal rescuers ventured into one of Houston’s most impoverished neighborhoods. They spent five hours under the urban sun, combing a large apartment complex for a sick, starving dog who a visiting health care worker had reported as needing help.

Finally they spotted “Kingston,” severely emaciated, his skin grotesquely bald, flaking, and inflamed. The friendly animal tried to approach one of the rescuers, but he was too weak. He simply collapsed on the side of the road.

Although his rescuers revived him, held him, got him to a veterinarian, and kept vigil around the clock, Kingston was only to enjoy their love and care for one day.

Abandoned, it is believed, by his owner months ago, and subsequently ignored by the hundreds of residents in the two-block long complex as he struggled to survive heart worm, sarcoptic mange, and harsh weather on little or no food or water, Kingston passed away on Sunday.

He left behind profound grief and troubling questions for his rescuers and for the many who closely followed his harrowing story.

Today Animal Policy Examiner posed some of the questions to Anna Barbosa of Corridor Rescue, Inc. (CRI) the group that worked together with Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project to help Kingston.

Barbosa is a board member, PR coordinator, and fundraising director for CRI.

Interview with Anna Barbosa of Corridor Rescue, Inc.

Animal Policy Examiner: Do you know if there's any possibility of Kingston's owner being located and charged for abandoning or neglecting him?

Anna Barbosa: A police report is expected to be filed. From there, all we can do is hope.

I think that since the owner had been gone from that location for so long, it likely is not going to happen. We still need to go through the process of filing the police report and hope for an investigation.

We can’t give up.

Animal Policy Examiner: What does it mean to you and to CRI to have been involved in helping Kingston?

Anna Barbosa: We help so many animals in various stages of distress. These cases tear us apart because it is inconceivable that so many people just ignore and turn away. I don't understand how you can look away when you see an animal in pain. We are grateful to have assisted with Kingston. Hopefully he understood that he was loved.

Unfortunately, we've come across this several times. My own Freddie is a CRI dog who was is serious shape with broken bones, mange, worms. I think he survived because he was a younger dog. We also, recently rescued Crockett, but it was also too late for him.

Animal Policy Examiner: What role did CRI play for Kingston?

Anna Barbosa: When Kelle Mann Davis of Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project put out the plea to help her with Kingston, our board members wasted no time stepping forward to be of assistance. We never considered the cost for care; we would figure that out later. This dog was suffering and we needed to help him.

Animal Policy Examiner: Did you plan to pay for his medical expenses?

Anna Barbosa: We were prepared to pay for all of his medical expenses. These types of dogs require extensive immediate care and extensive long term care. We knew it was going to be expensive as we have experienced with so many of our other rescues.

Corridor Rescue operates solely on donations. Fortunately, when we have such a critical dog, our donors feel the call to help and their donations will help to mitigate the financial cost of care.

Animal Policy Examiner: Would you have fostered/re-homed him?

We absolutely would have fostered and re-homed Kingston. Once we commit to a dog, we give the best medical care, socialization, training if necessary, and we carefully interview potential adoptive families. We will continue to advise the adoptive family if additional issues arise.

Animal Policy Examiner: For many observers the most troubling part of Kingston's story is that out of all those local residents and for all that time nobody helped him. Why do you think that was so?

Anna Barbosa: That is an excellent question and puzzles us. I think depending on the perspective, some would say it is a cultural issue, others might say lack of education about animal care, or maybe it is a function of some type of social psychological thinking: "someone else will take care of it."

Animal Policy Examiner: Is CRI doing any sort of outreach, perhaps especially in those lower-income areas of Houston, to educate residents about animal care and what they can do when they see strays, etc.?

Anna Barbosa: Yes, we have an education team that goes into the schools and talks to the kids about animal care and animal abuse. We are getting requests from more schools to present and we hope that this will help educate these kids with a better understanding about how to interact with animals and how to respect them. We want to give them information about what they should do in a situation like this.

We have a program called C.A.R.E.S., where we go into this area and provide education, pay for spay/neutering, and provide pet food to low income pet owners.

We also have a program called Project HEEL. It is a partnership with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. Our volunteers mentor the boys in the program and three of our rescue dogs live with the boys. A professional dog trainer works with the boys and the dogs. This program helps them with a sense of accomplishment, compassion, and responsibility.

Animal Policy Examiner: I know the following question would probably take pages upon pages for you to answer, but what are your opinions about where the Houston city authorities are in all this?

Anna Barbosa: We feel that attitudes are slowly turning for the better. Of course it has been frustrating for us but we just have to keep doing what we do to help these animals and continue to bring awareness to the public and city authorities.

Animal Policy Examiner: Why isn't the city penetrating those neighborhoods with education campaigns and better enforcement of animal welfare laws?

Anna Barbosa: That would be a lovely idea.

Animal Policy Examiner: Why is it up to private rescue volunteers like yours and not city authorities to go out and help all these animals?

Anna Barbosa: Perhaps we just need the right people in office who take these issues seriously. I don't know about the workings of city authorities and budgets, etc. We do know that it is in our best interest to get more involved at that level, but for now, we are just trying to stay afloat with all of the dogs and cats who need rescue.

We do it because it is a passion for us. We care deeply about these animals.

I wish we could better enforce the chaining law, better enforce animal cruelty law, better enforce animal abandonment law.

I would love not to have to find one more injured, mangy, and starving animal hiding in a ditch.

I would love not to find a dead pit bull on the street on a Sunday morning. Dead because it lost a dog fight from the previous night.

I would love not to read the story about the female dog whose ears were cut with scissors so she could pass as a pit bull.

Case after case, you get a sickening feeling in your stomach so until we can change minds, prosecute the abusers, solve the homeless animal problem, we will all be involved in helping these dogs.

The Dozen Dog Diaries (DDD) would be delighted if you'd spread the links to these articles. Please just keep in mind that reprint or re-post of more than a paragraph or two of the text or of any of the photos is allowable only by explicit permission from DDD, who may be contacted at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday Snickers: Researchers hail benefits of dog spit

Laboratory technician Skipper applies substance in question to skin of research subject #22
Photo: Elena Gerostathopoulou

The question has loomed for as long as canines have hung around with primates. Should we or should we not allow dogs to kiss us?

According to a new study, if we wish to preserve our health and well-being, we definitely need to let the pooch give us that smooch.

Researchers at Laika University in Rin Tin Tin, Virginia today announced their findings that not only is dog saliva harmless, it is actually beneficial.

Writing in The Journal of Human-Animal Symbiosis Dr. Patrick J. Pupwhipt reported that the controversial substance possesses demonstrably curative powers, especially in the larger quantities produced in the mouth of, for example, a St. Bernard or a Great Dane.

Further, Pupwhipt and his colleagues maintain that humans who abstain from regular applications of canine oral fluids run the risk of falling prey to several debilitating illnesses.

Doggie drool boosts immunity

Titled “Canine Saliva and Human Health,” the study found that:

  • Certain enzymes in dog spit can boost human immunity to a variety of ailments such as hissy fits, temper tantrums, tempests in teapots, and worry warts.
  • Thirty-two percent of the humans used in the study were genetically incapable of long-term function without semi-regular applications of canine slobber. They were found to be prone to such behaviors as curling up into balls and telling everybody to “Go away and just bring me a dog,” banging their heads against the wall and moaning “Only my dog understands me,” hoarding food from meals in the hope that they would encounter a dog, and babbling streams of nearly unintelligible endearments through grateful tears when they finally did.
  • The beneficial potency of dog spit increases by approximately 92% when applied directly by a dog, either transdermally to the hand, cheek, nose, or ear, or most powerfully, onto the lips in the traditional “pooch smooch.”
In the double-blind, four-year-long study technicians administered thrice-daily doses of doggie drool to some of the 107 human subjects while leaving other subjects spit-less.

Ranging in age from one to 86 years, the humans were obtained from Sunny Dell Farms, an Arizona breeding and boarding facility, and selected based on a variety of criteria including their genes, overall health or lack thereof, psycho-emotional temperament, socialization level, and touch tolerance, so as to provide a broad sampling of people in general, according to Pupwhipt.

Study results questioned

Critics of the study, such as the American League of Observant Felines (ALOOF) allege that the Laika University scientists relied on too many indeterminate variables.

ALOOF Chief Science Analyst Dr. Mittens questions some of the methods used by the researchers. “For example, how recently had the dogs from which the slobber was collected performed personal hygiene?  If a good deal of time had elapsed since they last did, well… you know, the kinds of things that dogs do… then the dog germ level in the samples might appear more benign than would be accurate. Dog germs are a real and present threat. That is fact.”

Mittens also charged that the researchers received the majority of their funding for the study from Canine Association for Relaxation and Enjoyment (CARE), an organization with whom ALOOF is frequently at odds.

“Receiving money for a study from any particular interest group is never a good way to ensure reliability,” she said. “Results could easily be skewed this way or that to suit those sponsoring the research.”

CARE top dog under scrutiny

Mittens went on to point out that CARE president and CEO Bowzer currently faces investigation by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Sources within DOJ confirmed to The Dozen Dog Diaries that the four-year-old Labrador retriever is alleged to have accepted bribes from several dog biscuit manufacturers in exchange for his group’s endorsements of political candidates supported by the companies.

“Are the results of that Laika University study really the kind of information you want to accept without question?” Mittens queried. “I think this issue deserves a great deal of further examination.”

CARE’s Bowzer did not reply to several email and telephone inquiries from The Dozen Dog Diaries.

However CARE Media Relations Manager Reggie responded with an email stating: 

“The Laika University research team has finally provided the definitive answer to a question long debated. CARE celebrates the conclusion that we and many others have always known in our hearts to be true.

“It’s a well-established fact that the company of a canine is the best medicine for most human troubles. Now we can all rest assured that to cure what ails you, there’s just about nothing better than the love, fidelity, and now scientifically-proven therapeutic value contained in that simple and ancient natural remedy: a dog’s kiss.”

The Dozen Dog Diaries wishes to thank laboratory technician Skipper and research subject #22, a.k.a. Benedikte Bjerre of Graeske Hunde, for allowing use of their images on this page.

The Dozen Dog Diaries (DDD) would be delighted if you'd spread the links to these articles. Please just keep in mind that reprint or re-post of more than a paragraph or two of the text or of any of the photos is allowable only by explicit permission from DDD, who may be contacted at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom. Thanks for visiting!