The Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dogs Project Saving Endangered Dogs

by Denise Carey-Costa

Redland, Florida is described as an area of many farms, and a mecca for agriculturists, botanists, and naturalists from around the world. The area is so wildlife friendly it has been designated as a Wild Bird Sanctuary.  

But for all its natural beauty, there is a sinister side to Redland. Heartbreaking acts of cruelty to “man’s best friend” are committed daily; cruelty that is beyond comprehension.  There in the heart of Redland, unwanted pets are dumped and abandoned to fend for themselves.  

For years, individuals have driven to the secluded areas of Redland and thrown dogs and cats from their vehicles.  Oftentimes, the dogs run after the car until they can’t run any further and drop from exhaustion.  These poor animals, domesticated and used to home life are now sharing the terrain with wild animals including alligators, snakes, spiders, insects and countless other predators. With no source of food, they don’t stand a chance for survival. 

Countless dogs are left roaming the area, unattended, struggling to survive. The dogs that are not killed by traffic are poisoned, injured or shot by local workers and residents who don’t want them in their neighborhood. Many of the dogs starve to death or become infested with parasites, mosquito bites, and diseases which leads to their death.

According to Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of abandoned dogs inhabiting the area. 

Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project, an official 501(c)3 was formed in 2015 by Ale Ochoa and five of her friends. Ale Ochoa had heard that Redland had become a dumping ground for dogs. When she drove out there to see for herself, she was shocked to see sick, injured, and malnourished dogs everywhere.

She and her friends began feeding the dogs every day. They set up a Facebook page in hopes that Miami Dade County Animal Services would get involved. Unfortunately, they did not take the situation seriously.   

However, rescues from other areas answered the call for help and responded to Redland. Twenty volunteers from rescue organizations in Brevard County joined Ochoa and her friends in Redland and saved the lives of 23 dogs.

Volunteers from nonprofit organizations across Florida have rescued more than 130 strays from Redland and relocated them to cities like Orlando and Tampa, Florida.

Rescuers from Brevard also collected more than $20,000.00 in donations to feed, vaccinate and care for the dogs that were rescued.

That was in 2015, but today in 2017 hundreds of dogs are still being dumped in the Redland area.

They continue to face threats of injury, illness, disease, getting hit by cars, and becoming victims of dog fighting. Various rescue groups have tried to help. They have compiled countless haunting photos and videos of dogs, all shapes and sizes, sickly and undernourished sharing bowls of food put out by Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project. The dogs are friendly though many are frightened and run from the rescuers.

The main question is; why isn’t more being done by government agencies such as Miami Dade Animal Services to help these dogs and to eliminate the problem? Why is the responsibility on nonprofit rescue groups such as Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project?   

The goals of Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project area simple; to educate the public on the appropriate care of dogs, feeding and providing emergency care for abandoned and free roaming dogs while safely capturing and transferring dogs to reputable non-profit rescue organizations for re-homing, and to raise awareness for the plight of free roaming dogs in Miami-Dade County Florida.

Donations are very much needed to remove abandoned dogs from the dangers they are threatened with and give these terrified animals the safety they deserve so they can live and know full, happy lives.

While many lives have been saved in the Redland, many are still being lost.

To donate to Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project visit their website https://redlandrockpit.org/.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/redlandrockpitcrew/?fref=ts

There is also a YouTube video showing the tragedy in Redland and the valiant efforts of rescue groups and concerned citizens.

*This story has been reposted from Pet Rescue Report with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters. 

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven – ‘World’s Greatest Cat House’

by Denise Carey-Costa

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is a no-kill cat hospice and rescue shelter located in Englewood, Florida. They humorously bill themselves online and on Facebook as the “World’s Greatest Cat House.” And indeed, they are. The founders and operators, Rick and Chrissy Kingston, work very hard, day in and day out caring for two hundred special needs and unwanted kitties on their own.

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven takes care of the largest amount of special needs cats and kittens in the area. They care for cats with feline leukemia, FIV, blind cats, feral cats, epileptic cats, senior kitties, kitties with only one eye and more. All of these special needs cats and kittens would have been euthanized because they would be deemed un-adoptable. None of the cats or kittens are put down due to behavior problems, space or adopt-ability issues. The only ones that are humanely euthanized are those with medical conditions that cause pain and suffering and have no chance of survival.

Also, Puffy Paws is the first rescue in the area to feature adoptable and special needs cats live on the Internet. It all started 16 years ago in the loving home of Chrissy and Rick Kingston. There they took in cats and sometimes even families of cats. In the fall of 2009, Puffy Paws Kitty Haven moved outside the Kingston’s home. To better handle the different medical needs, they have separated them into two separate living quarters. The “Haven Home” is a 2200 square foot building which houses the healthy, adoptable kitties and a permanent resident for those that have physical, emotional and behavioral problems. The second building is 800 square feet with a 400-square foot used solely for kitties with feline leukemia. This section has been nicknamed the “The Kitty Angel Club.”

Over the last 11 years, founder Chrissy Kingston estimated that she has worked thousands of hours caring for the kitties and spent over $100,000.00 on unwanted though loving cats and kittens.

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven was named after a small, sickly kitten that was part of the Kingston’s family for only one year. The kitten’s name was “Poo-Puffy Paws,” or “Poo Puff” for short.  Although he was a happy, well loved, and well cared for kitten, he passed away during Hurricane Charlie in 2004. Naming the Haven after this very special kitten represented to the Kingstons something they wanted others to know and appreciate; one kitty at a time can change the heart of one person at a time.

On November 20th, 2006, Puffy Paws Kitty Haven became a not-for-profit corporation. This allowed Puffy Paws to raise funds for the cats currently in their care as well as future cats that will come to them needing a safe haven. But caring for 200 cats can be very costly and difficult to maintain when you rely solely on donations. It costs $946.00 a month to feed the cats and $275-$300 a day for cleaning supplies to keep the two buildings spotless and the litter-boxes clean.

(Photo of cat hospice via Facebook)

To read more about Puffy Paws Kitty Haven, donate or adopt one of their cats visit their website.

Also, visit their Facebook page.

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
Charles Dickens (author, Great Expectations)

*This story has been reposted from Pet Rescue Report with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters. 

Breezy’s Legacy: Hope for Central Florida’s Injured and Orphaned Animals

by Denise Carey-Costa

On Monday night, May 22nd, 2017, a severe thunderstorm blew across the Orlando, Florida area. Above the sound of thunder and pelting rain, the mewing of a tiny kitten was heard. Two good Samaritans ran outside in the storm with flashlights in hand to find a newborn kitten, no more than 2 days old struggling to keep its head afloat in a deep puddle. The mother cat was nowhere to be found. The baby was wrapped in a towel and rushed inside. Soon after this rescue, the distinct sound of another kitten in distress was heard. This one was lying in the mud a short distance away from where the other was found.

The good Samaritans dried off both kittens, whose eyes were not yet open, and placed them in a box tucked in between warm, soft towels. An emergency message went out across Facebook for someone knowledgeable in the care of newborn, orphaned kittens to come forward and help.Dawn Marie, founder and operator of Breezy’s Legacy in Longwood, Florida responded, although it was 10:00 p.m. She advised she had a nursing mother cat to care for the newborns.

Breezy’s Legacy is best known for rescuing and rehabilitating injured, orphaned, or displaced wildlife and unwanted exotic animals. Their mission is to successfully rehabilitate and release all wildlife back into their natural habitat. Dawn Marie does not turn any animal away. According to her, no animal is too sick or too small to be taken in. She accepts all cases and does not euthanize any animals. If the animals are unable to be adopted or returned to the wild, they are kept at the rescue shelter to live out their natural lives. However, ministering to so many sick and displaced animals is not only heroic but also costly.

Dawn Marie has set up several donation lists for things needed daily for the shelter; items such as gift cards for grocery stores and Walmart, KMR formula, puppy replacement formula, paper towels, puppy food, hamster food etc…

Donations can be purchased via their Amazon Wish List. Cash donations are also welcome and can be done through the website or through PayPal using breezyslegacy@gmail.com. For more information on Breezy’s Legacy and the amazing work they do, visit their website or their Facebook page.

Not only will you see firsthand the many animals saved by them but also informational write ups for the novice rescuer including tips on baby raccoon and baby squirrel care.

According to Dawn Marie, the two kittens rescued during the storm are doing well. The black male kitten is Thunder and the gray female is Stormy.

Please consider a donation to Breezy’s Legacy, or sponsoring one of the animals in their care so they can continue their important work.

It was Mahatma Ghandi who said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

*This story has been reposted from Pet Rescue Report with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters. 

Annie – Abandoned Dog in Florida Awaiting Adoption Since December

by Denise Carey-Cost

Seaside Bully Rescue, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida is a smaller rescue group but has had much success rescuing and adopting out many dogs over the past few years.

According to their website they were founded on the belief that our community and our animals are our number one priority.

Their success rate is amazing as they make unadoptable dogs their specialty. While some rescues will only help dogs or puppies they know they can easily re-home, Seaside Bully Rescue takes the time to evaluate each dog and try to find them the best forever home possible no matter how long it takes. They are not quick to accept labels of aggression etc. that are often placed on certain breeds and shelter dogs. Unfortunately, since they are a small organization, their rescue dogs may take a little longer to place so they are constantly filled to capacity.

In December of 2016, Seaside Bully Rescue assisted with a seven year old black Pit Bull named Annie. Although Annie was in Panama City, Florida three hours away from Seaside Bully Rescue, they still intervened to help her.

Annie’s hard luck story is like so many other dogs. Her owner was homeless so she was placed in boarding in Panama City. Her owner has since disappeared leaving her abandoned and stuck in boarding for four months. Meanwhile funding for her boarding has run out.  Basically, she was surviving in boarding thanks to the help of Facebook friends who helped pay for her boarding.

According to Annie’s original owner, she’s an aggressive Pit Bull that cannot be around kids or cats. However, Seaside Bully Rescue strongly believes that since Annie has been away from her owner for four months she may have mellowed some or changed her personality. The rescue believes these behaviors were possibly brought about by jealousy, protectiveness and possibly some prey drive.

Annie has never had a professional assessment done by a trainer or dog behaviorist, just by her owner. What Annie desperately needs is a rescue that has the resources and the funding to hire a trainer to meet and work with her, not only to give her a professional, educated assessment but to also curb some of these negative behaviors to make her more adoptable. Annie would do best in a home where she is the only dog.

Currently Annie is in boarding at Critter Care in Panama City, Florida. Her boarding costs are $20 a day. If you can contribute to Annie’s boarding, donations can be called in to 850-726-0838.

If you are a rescue and can take Annie or are willing to adopt her, please contact Patti Florida on Facebook or Ann Winicki McClemore.

Or post on Annie’s Facebook thread https://www.facebook.com/copper1818/posts/706427186203576?comment_id=710415035804791&notif_t=feed_comment_reply&notif_id=1489813112159530.

Annie is just one of many dogs saved by Seaside Bully Rescue. As mentioned prior, they are a small rescue and rely solely on donations. In addition to helping Annie please also consider donating to their fundraising site at:

 https://www.youcaring.com/seasidebullyrescue-680911

Or via Paypal to seasideanimalrescue@gmail.com.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters.

 

 

Miami – Animal Advocates Outraged Over Killer of Puppy Going Unpunished

According to Florida State Statute 828.12, “a person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree.” Per Florida State Statute 775.082, the punishment for a felony of the third degree is imprisonment not to exceed five years.

           Molly the beagle and Mathew

Unfortunately, the statute and the sentencing were completely ignored when it came to deciding one of the cruelest and most disturbing acts of animal cruelty committed in the state of Florida. It all started on November 11th, 2011 when Mathew Milewski, a Miami Beach resident received a four-month-old Beagle puppy from Outback Beagles in Arkansas.  When little Molly arrived by plane, her paperwork included a note saying,

“I hope she brings as much joy to you and your family as our dogs have brought us. I wish her a long life of happiness and contentment.’’

There is a feeling of poignancy now when reading these words as Molly got none of this. She was dead within 24 hours of being with Milewski. No sooner had he picked her up from the Miami International Airport, when residents of The Crown Apartments witnessed Mileweski dragging the helpless seven-pound puppy across the parking lot until she bled; beating her with the leash and slamming her against a hard surface.  Per one resident who lived on the seventh floor, “This for me was a nightmare. For everybody in the building it was a nightmare.’’ She heard Molly screaming and witnessed from her balcony Milewski torturing the puppy. Another witness, a valet attendant Carlos Gregorio told police he was bringing a car from the garage when he “heard a loud scream from a dog.’’ Thinking he’d hit an animal, Gregorio got out of the car. That’s when he saw Milewski “striking his dog with the leash,’’ he told police.

Within 24 hours the dog was dead. Milewski tried to cover up his abuse and killing of the puppy, by telling police that he dropped the puppy in the shower.

He was arrested on November 18th, 2011. During a 20 minute, taped interview with investigators Tracy Sierra and Gus Sanchez, he (Milewski) consistently referred to the puppy as “it” and denied any wrongdoing.   He claimed the dog’s death was merely an accident. He described in detail how he took Molly back to his apartment after he noticed one of her paws bleeding and tried to clean her in the shower. At one point in the interview, he said he “pushed’’ the dog in the shower. At another, he said he’d told a veterinarian at Alton Road Animal Hospital: “The way I threw the dog was definitely bad.’’

Milewski said after the dog hit the shower floor, he tried to revive her; then he took her to the vet. Dr. Heidi Foster, at Alton Road Animal Hospital, told police she tried to stabilize Molly, and although she was unconscious, Molly’s heart was beating normally. Twenty minutes later she received a call from Milewski saying the dog’s heart stopped beating in the car. Dr. Foster found this to be impossible as Molly’s heart was perfectly fine when she left the office and her vitals were also good.

Milewski returned to the animal hospital with the dead dog and relinquished her remains to Dr. Foster. Animal Services investigators retrieved the body to do the necropsy. Dr. Rosandra Manduca, a veterinary pathologist, determined that Molly’s death was due to brain injury caused by head trauma. Injuries on the dog’s body suggested being shaken and slammed against a hard surface. Bruising around the dog’s mouth and nostrils indicated she may have been smothered.

Since his arrest in 2012, Milewski’s case has gone through many twists and delayed for years due to a legal disagreement over whether investigators violated Milewski’s rights in seizing the dog’s remains from the animal clinic. But the Third District Court of Appeals agreed with prosecutors that Milewski abandoned his expectation of privacy in the puppy’s remains when he left her remains at the clinic.

On February 10th, 2017, Judge Yvonne Colodny, a judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Division, despite testimony from eyewitnesses, investigators, a veterinarian, and a necropsy report, only sentenced Milewski to one year probation and ordered him to donate $1000.00 to the ASPCA. How can a person who commits such a calculated, intentional act of cruelty against a helpless puppy walk away with such a light sentence?

To express your concerns regarding Molly the Beagle and the light sentence received by Milewski contact Judge Yvonne Colodny via phone at 305-548-5182 or write letters to:

Judge Yvonne Colodny
Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building
1351 NW 12th Street #322
Miami, Florida 33125

A petition has been started asking the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission to force Judge Yvonne Colodny to step down from her position deeming her unfit to make ethical decisions.

https://www.change.org/p/remove-judge-yvonne-colodny-from-eleventh-judicial-circuit-court

* This story was first published in Pet Rescue Report and is reposted here with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters. 

Sophie and the Rising Sun

 

Sophie and the Rising Sun

interracial lovers, 1941, South Carolina, World War II, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray and Bobby Henline

Starring: Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray and Bobby Henline

Screenplay by: Maggie Greenwald

Based on the novel by: Augusta Trobaugh

Directed by: Maggie Greenwald

Produced by:  Brenda Goodman, Nancy Dickenson, Lorraine Gallard, Maggie Greenwald

Co-Producer: Susan Lazarus

Running Time: 105 min

MPAA:  R

Genre:  Drama

Set in the autumn of 1941 in Salty Creek, a fishing village in South Carolina, the film tells the dramatic story of interracial lovers swept up in the tides of history. As World War II rages in Europe a wounded stranger, Mr. Ohta, appears in the town under mysterious circumstances. Sophie, a native of Salty Creek, quickly becomes transfixed by Mr. Ohta and a friendship born of their mutual love of art blossoms into a delicate and forbidden courtship. As their secret relationship evolves the war escalates tragically. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, a surge of misguided patriotism, bigotry and violence sweeps through the town, threatening Mr. Ohta’s life. A trio of women, each with her own secrets – Sophie, along with the town matriarch and her housekeeper – rejects law and propriety, risking their lives with their actions.

Based on the novel by Augusta Trobaugh

https://www.montereymedia.com/sophieandtherisingsun/

Click Here for an automatic download link

Source:  GIG News

ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass

 

ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass

When the ChatterBait bladed jig burst onto the scene in 2006, many anglers considered it another ‘flash in the pan’ lure that would quickly slide off the radar, as seems to be so common in the fishing world.  However, over the last ten years, this unique spinner/jig hybrid has carved out a permanent spot in the tackle boxes of most serious bass anglers and has repeatedly been a top producer in bass tournaments—particularly early in the year during ‘pre-spawn’ conditions.

A ChatterBait lure consists of a hexagon-shape stainless blade connected directly to the eyelet of a jighead.  The fishing line is tied to a snap that is secured to the blade via two mounting holes, and when the bait is pulled through the water, the blade vibrates and flashes erratically, drawing attention from far off and provoking vicious strikes from otherwise stubborn fish.  Most bladed swim jigs are dressed with silicone skirts, and anglers add a variety of different plastic trailers, most commonly swimbaits or crawfish imitations.  The ChatterBait brand lure, manufactured by South Carolina lure maker Z-Man Fishing Products, is far-and-away the most popular bladed jig because of the company’s patents covering the direct head-to-blade connection, an orientation that consistently outperforms other similar baits.

While many anglers consider the ChatterBait to be a spinnerbait alternative that is fished by simply casting it out and reeling it in quickly, astute bass fishermen have found that it is much more than a standard ‘chunk and wind’ style bait, particularly in colder water.  Mixing up presentations by slowing down or varying retrieves, working the bait along the bottom in deeper water, and fishing it more like a jig than a spinner has resulted in multiple pros hitting paydirt in early season derbies.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Stephen Browning sees the ChatterBait’s versatility as one of its biggest draws early in the year.  “There are so many different ways you can fish it,” remarks Browning.  “I use it a lot as a search bait, but it’s a great big fish bait too, and that’s what makes fishing it so exciting.”

During the early season pre-spawn period—just prior to when bass move up shallow to spawn—Browning prefers winding the ChatterBait slowly through deep grass, particularly around contour changes like underwater channels and submerged points.  His favorite cold water retrieve is a stop-and-go style retrieve, and the key to this cold water presentation is using his reel—not his rod—to move the bait.  Holding his rod at about a thirty-degree angle, Stephen winds the reel quickly before letting the bait fall, varying the number of turns of the reel handle to mimic the erratic movements of injured baitfish.  He pays close attention to what he is doing when he generates a strike, noting the retrieval pattern so he can duplicate it going forward.

In the first two months of 2017, several professional-level tournaments—not to mention a number of local events—have already been won on the ChatterBait, further cementing its position as a lure that is here to stay.  Whether you are a serious tournament angler or a weekend warrior, learning the different ways to fish this versatile bait in the relatively cooler water during the first few months of the year will undoubtedly help you up your catch rate, and maybe even help you catch the bass of a lifetime!

Visit Z-Man Fishing.com Today!

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

 

Concerned Father Creates Children’s Book Series To Help Make Learning About Valuable Black History Information Fun Again

 

Concerned Father Creates Children’s Book Series To Help Make Learning About Valuable Black History Information Fun Again

 

Orlando, FL (January 16, 2017) – EOTO Books & Publishing announced today the immediate release of “The Christopher OluFela Series of Books for Kids” written by father and creative children’s picture book author Lee Chavous. The books take a unique approach to inform young readers of a rich African American history books for kids, Christopher OluFela, heritage, American history, freedom, African American, ancestry, young readersand their critical stories played throughout American History. Chavous said “The level of information in the books and the attention to details for young learners is often missed and too often not taught.”

The full set is comprised of four (4) titles thus far with the next currently in the writing process. Volume 1: “A Journey to Freedom” an easy-to-read, very informative book that gives kids a great overview of the African American ancestors’ journey when they first arrived in the Americas; Volume 2: “The Wonders of Africa” introduces young readers to why the African continent is such an important and interesting place in our world; Volume 3: “Dreams of My Ancestors” gives young readers a long-overdue look at who the African American ancestors were before they came to the Americas; Volume 4: “100 Roses” turns a bright spotlight on the many extraordinary African American women who displayed enormous bravery, courage, intelligence, and enterprise to overcome the tremendous odds against her to help African Americans gain civil rights and fair treatment in America. The book series is recommended for young readers and use by storytellers of every age.

 

The Christopher OluFela Series of Books for Kids:

A children’s book series to point out, not only were the African American ancestors multi-faceted human beings, but also they had a human history! They fought extremely hard to restore their human rights from the beginning against great obstacles, and paved the way for us to enjoy the many freedoms and liberties we enjoy today. Website: EOTOBOOKS.com

 

books for kids, Christopher OluFela, heritage, American history, freedom, African American, ancestry, young readers books for kids, Christopher OluFela, heritage, American history, freedom, African American, ancestry, young readersbooks for kids, Christopher OluFela, heritage, American history, freedom, African American, ancestry, young readers

 

Source:  GIG News

Niko – The Dog Facing Execution in VA without Evidence of Wrongdoing

by Denise Carey-Costa

A tragic turn in the case regarding Niko the Staffordshire Terrier in Albemarle County Virginia has animal lovers, Pit Pull Advocates, and many others devastated. The dog and his owners Toni Stacy and Audrey Wells have been living a nightmare since December 2014 when Niko was accused of killing a cat.

To date, no evidence and no witnesses have surfaced proving Niko was the culprit in the cat killing nor was a necropsy ever performed on the cat to prove cause of death.  The cat’s owners have even admitted they did not see Niko kill their pet.niko-and-toni

Since that day in 2014, Niko has been imprisoned at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA while his case has gone through the Albemarle County General District Court, Albemarle County Circuit Court, the Virginia State Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court. 

However, despite lack of evidence and the fact that a dog behaviorist assessed Niko during his stay at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA and deemed him non-aggressive, Niko has been sentenced to die.

The decision-maker who handed down Niko’s death sentence on December 8th, 2016 is Albemarle Circuit Court Judge Chery Higgins.

However, Toni and Audrey and Niko’s 6,500 supporters are not going to let him go without a fight.

Elliott Harding, Niko’s family’s attorney filed a motion in court on Friday December 16th, 2016 asking the court for an injunction to spare Niko’s life. The motion requests a temporary suspension of the first court ruling from July 2015 that deemed Niko vicious and charged Tony Stacy $4,100.00 in restitution. The motion argues that because Niko is technically the property of Audrey Wells, Tony Stacy’s partner, his being put down would be an “unconstitutional deprivation of property in violation of due process” because Wells was not provided a chance to defend Niko and argue as to why his life should be spared.

According to Harding “…. the lives of animals aren’t considered the same as the lives of humans in the court system, so they treat it like any other piece of property. This is a case where the facts were a little shady anyway. In the criminal case, as far as I understand, a cat was killed, no one saw the cat die, a dog was on the property and ultimately he fell victim.”

Another group fighting in Niko’s corner is “Against All Oddz” an animal shelter in upstate New York run by Matt Albert that is willing to take Niko in.  Albert, a New York Attorney is angered at the court’s decision to euthanize Niko when there is another viable option to spare the dog’s life.  

“It’s just bizarre that they can do such a thing and I’m hoping, at some point, their conscience kicks in and they do the right thing and allow us to take the dog,” Albert said.

Niko in Cage

Against All Oddz has sent certified letters to the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci and to Judge Cheryl Higgins explaining their intention to take Niko in and their success rate in dealing with other dogs who have been accused of aggression or biting.

They further stated that Niko should be easy to work with and easily placed in a safe environment as other dogs in their care have successfully done in the past

To date Robert Tracci has not responded to this request nor has the court responded to the motion filed by Elliott Harding.

Niko supporters are hoping something will happen to save the doomed dog from execution on Sunday December 18th, 2016. They have organized a Peaceful Protest for that day starting at 1 pm at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. 3355 Berkmar Drive, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901.

For those that cannot attend, please call the Albemarle County Court House at 434-972-4083 and express your support for Niko and encourage Judge HiggIns to allow him to go to Against All Oddz Rescue.

Or sign Niko’s petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/supreme-court-of-virginia-please-over-turn-niko-s-death-sentence

It will cost the court nothing to send Niko to the upstate New York rescue but to execute him will cost the county taxpayers money. Killing is never justified no matter how the decision makers try to whitewash it.  

Unfortunately, this injustice is happening over and over again not only in this country but all over the world.  There is a certain breed specific prejudice and hysteria taking place which is causing countless dogs to be killed and the rights of their owners totally disregarded.

For updates on Niko and to show your support, visit the Facebook page Prayers for Niko/Niko Strong:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1624006214525923/.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.     

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s Tale, Tragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three Tails, Edwin’s Flight, Lucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters.