Daily Archives: January 8, 2012

NY Animal Hospice Hit With Cruelty Charges

By MARY ESCH Associated Press
DELHI, N.Y. January 6, 2012 (AP)
Susan Marino started Angel’s Gate animal hospice more than a decade ago to care for animals with special needs: Dogs paralyzed after being hit by cars; cats with severe deformities; a Labrador retriever born without lower limbs, now fitted with orthotics.

A registered nurse who for more than 35 years specialized in emergency and critical care, mental health, and the care of critically and terminally ill children and their families, Marino went back to school and became a veterinary technician, got a certification in canine rehabilitation and a license to rehabilitate wildlife and had her efforts noticed by Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray.

Winfrey did a segment on Angel’s Gate; Marino’s center won $50,000 from the Food Network star. There was an appearance on Martha Stewart, an ASPCA Founders award and a Woman of Distinction honor from the state of New York.

Not all the attention was welcomed. The hospice came under fire from animal rights activists whose undercover investigation led to five cruelty charges against Marino.

Acting on a tip from a job applicant, an animal rights group sent in an undercover agent posing as a volunteer to scout the 100-acre ranch in rural upstate New York that 75 dogs, 230 cats, three horses and nine birds currently call home. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the investigation found paralyzed dogs dragging themselves around until they developed bloody skin ulcers while their wheeled carts hung on a fence unused; animals kept in diapers for several days, causing urine scald; animals with open wounds and respiratory infections that weren’t taken to a veterinarian.

AP
This Nov. 28, 2010 photo provided by PETA… View Full Caption

They turned over the video to a local prosecutor who charged Marino on Dec. 30 with failing to provide sustenance to five cats, a violation of the state’s agriculture and markets law. The district attorney also charged her with possession of a controlled substance. They’re all misdemeanors that carry up to a year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

Marino said the PETA video is edited in some places to give a misleading impression. She disputes claims that animals were neglected, and says many of PETA’s complaints amount to little more than a philosophical disagreement over whether a damaged animal should live or die.

Acting on PETA’s 27-page complaint, investigators from the county district attorney’s office searched Angel’s Gate in May.

“They had a warrant to remove any animal they deemed not properly cared for,” Marino said in a recent interview. “They never removed any animal from here.”

Holly Cheever, an Albany-area veterinarian with 30 years of experience in animal cruelty investigations, assisted in the probe of Angel’s Gate. She told The Associated Press that she cited about a dozen animals that should have been humanely euthanized, including cats with active cases of feline AIDS.

She called Marino an animal hoarder and Angel’s Gate a death camp.

“Hospice is a temporary situation that leads to humane euthanasia when the quality of life is no longer acceptable,” Cheever said. “With Marino, they’re essentially trapped inside of suffering bodies without the compassion to end their suffering. That’s a hallmark of the hoarder. They refuse to recognize suffering.”

After charges were filed, Marino invited a reporter to make a second trip to Angel’s Gate; her lawyer later instructed her to cancel the visit and decline interviews.

“I’ve had death threats,” Marino said before her lawyer intervened. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was do something good for these animals.”

The Oprah show featured Angel’s Gate in 2008 and donations poured in. Marino said the organization received more than $400,000 and its website got millions of hits from around the globe. Marino used the money to buy a farmhouse on 100 acres in rural Delhi, moving from suburban Long Island where neighbors had complained.

In 2009, Ray’s pet rescue organization chose Angel’s Gate as one of 64 shelters participating in a “Mutt Madness” competition. Angel’s Gate won the top prize of $50,000, which Marino used to build a food preparation building she dubbed “Rachel’s Kitchen.”

“There is a vetting process with any organization that gets donations,” Rachael Ray spokesman Charlie Dougiello said this week. “At the time of the donation, there were no allegations against Angel’s Gate.”

In videos on the Angel’s Gate website and Facebook page, dogs romp on spotless white tile floors and doze in peaceful piles on dog beds. At breakfast time, a worker sets out 25 bowls of meat in a room filled with dachshunds, shih-tzus, beagles and other small dogs, some of them dragging themselves to their bowls because they’re missing limbs or are paralyzed. Marino hugs, kisses and cuddles with the animals.

AP
This Dec. 7, 2010 photo provided by PETA… View Full Caption

Video shot by PETA presents a different picture.

Daphna Nachminovich, a cruelty investigator for PETA based in Northrup, Va., said the group acted on complaints including one “from a job applicant at Angel’s Gate who spent several hours there and was sickened by what she saw.”

“There were animals suffering horribly at death’s door, without the relief of euthanasia,” Nachminovich said.

PETA’s video, posted on YouTube, includes a frantic scene of dogs barking and fighting in the kitchen, apparently at feeding time, with Marino yelling and trying to break up the squabble.

When The Associated Press visited Angel’s Gate in April, dogs were dozing on cots or playing with toys in large, bright rooms with clean tile floors. Many were disabled and some with spinal injuries dragged their hindquarters. Cats were in little cottages equipped with climbing poles, cubbyholes and scratching posts. It was apparent that remodeling had been done recently on some of the main buildings, and more construction was in progress. All of the facilities were clean and neat.

“She was very aware that the boom was about to fall” when PETA began investigating in November, Cheever said. “She put a lot of energy into cleaning up her operation. By the time I went there in May the physical plant wasn’t as dirty, but was disorganized.”

Rosemary Throssell, a dog breeder who provides a custom-made raw meat diet for Angel’s Gate animals, said PETA’s allegations are unfair.

“Those animals have a fantastic quality of life,” said Throssell after she and her husband attended a brief court appearance for Marino on Wednesday.

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The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ntPXWHkwM

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Buffalo Police are investigating a reported dognapping

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Police are investigating a reported dognapping in the city’s Elmwood district. What’s unusual about it, according to police, is that four masked men reportedly surrounded a woman to steal the dogs she was walking.
This reported dog-napping happened while a dog sitter was out walking the dogs, which are two Boston Terriers named Gabby, a five-year-old female, and Gilly, a seven-year-old male.
According to a Buffalo police spokesperson, the dog sitter told police that last Wednesday, as she was walking the dogs near the corner of Norwood Ave and Summer Street at 10:15pm, four males, whose faces were covered by bandanas, got out of a gray Chevy and surrounded her.
Police said the victim told them she let go of the dogs and ran off, and then the men took the dogs.
The dogs are owned by Jordie Kindervater and Sarah Slusak of Buffalo. Since then, the two owners, who were away celebrating their engagement in Mexico, returned home and have been posting fliers all over the Elmwood District. They’re even offering a $2,000 reward.
“Our friends and family that have met them — everybody loves them,” Kindervater said.
“I always assumed that this was a safe neighborhood,” Slusak said.
The owners have even started a Facebook page to help find Gabby and Gilly. Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Buffalo Police anonymous tipline at 847-2255.
While some online accounts of this event have suggested the dog-nappers also tried to kidnap the dog-sitter, according to a spokesperson for the police department, in the initial police report, the victim never indicated that this also was an attempted kidnapping. The report, according to the spokesperson, only indicated that the dog-nappers surrounded the victim, and wanted the dogs.http://www.wgrz.com/news/article/149589/37/Buffalo-Police-Investigating-Reported-Dognapping

Homemade bird food for our outdoor friends

I’ve never paid attention to the birds outside in regards to feeding them. I have several friends who can tell
the name of every bird that lands in the yard, a tree or rest upon a telephone wire.
If you are one of those kind folks who hangs feeders, provides fresh water, bless you and here is a recipe
involving a cocunut for a base…who knew.
I’d love to hear your stories if you try it out.

Fat & Sassy
2 parts suet, lard,bacon drippings or saved kitchen fat
1 to 2 parts yellow cornmeal
Dash of salt and sand
1 part fine cracked corn, mullet or hulled sunflower

Melt suet over low heat. Allow to cool and harden, then heat again. Stir in peanut butter and other ingredients,
reserving some of the corn or seeds. Allow to cool somewhat and pour into molds or form into balls.
Roll balls into loose corn or seed.

Hanging Heaven
3 parts suet
1 part cornmeal
1 part peanut butter
1 part brown sugar
1 part raisins, dried cherries, etc.
1 part mixed seed or broken nuts
Sprinkling of sand
1 or more coconuts, split in half

Melt suet, allow to cool, then re-melt. Stir in other ingredients. Cook until the mixture is the consistency of porridge.
If too thick, add small amounts of water or milk; if too thin, add flour. Pour into coconut halves.
Hang coconut halves from tree limbs or eaves.