Tag: veterinary surgery

George Santos Allegedly Stole $3,000 From Veteran Whose Dog Needed Life-Saving Surgery

The George Santos story just keeps getting worse.

My first reaction to the initial New York Times story outing newly-elected New York congressman George Santos as a serial fabulist was surprise, then sadness because I knew his election was in large part made possible by the death of local news. If there’d been competent local media still operating in the area, Santos’ campaign would have ended as suddenly as it started in a flurry of revelatory news coverage, and Santos himself would have been a footnote, a political oddity and embarrassment to the local GOP.

Then for one glorious moment I thought maybe Santos was a performance artist, that we’d find out George Santos is the alias of some comedian or media provocateur whose congressional run was designed from the start to show that politics has become so polarized, so divorced from issues and hitched to ideological loyalties that even a widely disliked grifter — with no roots in the community and a completely fabricated resume — could win simply because he said the right things, pushed the right buttons and kissed the right behinds.

Alas, no Dax Herrera or Ari Shaffir came forward to claim credit for inventing the George Santos persona.

And it just kept getting worse. There were the stories about pending criminal charges for using stolen checks in Santos’ native (?) Brazil, former roommates who saw Santos on TV wearing expensive clothes he’d allegedly stolen from them, and Santos working as the director of a company under investigation for running an alleged Ponzi scheme.

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Sapphire, veteran Rich Osthoff’s service dog.

The latest story might be the most infuriating: Santos is accused of stealing $3,000 from a homeless, PTSD-suffering veteran whose beloved service dog needed life-saving surgery.

Rich Osthoff, who was living on the streets at the time, needed money to pay for veterinary surgery to remove a large and life-threatening tumor from his service dog, Sapphire. Osthoff says Sapphire was his lifeline during difficult times and he was desperate to get her the surgery she needed.

In 2016 a well-meaning vet tech and another veteran connected Osthoff with Santos, who claimed he ran a charity called Friends of Pets United and could help. At the time, Santos was going by the name Anthony Devolder.

Santos set up a GoFundMe drive for Osthoff and Sapphire, raised $3,000 with a tear-jerker of a plea, then basically ghosted Osthoff and his veteran friend Michael Boll, founder of New Jersey Veterans Network. After fobbing them off with a series of excuses, he stopped responding to their calls and vanished with the proceeds.

“It diminished my faith in humanity,” Osthoff said of the experience.

Santos denied the accusation.

“Fake,” Santos texted news startup Semafor on Wednesday. “No clue who this is.”

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Osthoff with Sapphire.

But dozens of other people besides Osthoff, Boll and the vet tech were involved and confirmed Santos’ role in the fundraiser, there are publicly visible tweets from 2016 linking to it — and crediting “Anthony Devolder” for running it — and GoFundMe acknowledged the existence of the drive.

In addition, news reports have confirmed Friends of Pets United, Santos’ “charity,” was never registered as a non-profit. Santos also defrauded an animal rescue group in New Jersey when he pocketed the proceeds from a 2017 fundraiser he ran on behalf of the organization, according to dozens of media reports. Santos was terse in his response to the accusations from Osthoff and Boll, but he was eager to talk about his non-existent pet charity during his campaign, when he claimed Friends of Pets United “saved” more than 2,500 cats and dogs over a four-year span and trapped and neutered more than 3,000 cats.

Santos’ lies are so numerous and so outrageous it’s difficult to keep track of them, and it’s doubtful he remembers all of them.

He claimed his mother worked at a financial firm at the World Trade Center and died in the 9/11 attacks, but Fatima Devolder left the US for Brazil in 1999 and never returned. She also never worked in finance. He claimed four of his employees died in the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives. Santos never had any employees, his company didn’t exist, and he didn’t know anyone who died at the nightclub. He claimed ownership over an impressive and burgeoning real estate empire, but never owned any properties and owes more than $40,000 in back rent on a Queens apartment he shared with his sister for years. (His sister was also the recipient of a $30,000 FEMA handout and contributed a hefty $5,000 to his campaign, but still owes tens of thousands in back rent on the apartment, reports say.)

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George Santos has refused to resign from congress despite calls from his own constituents, other lawmakers, figures in his own party and media commentators demanding his exit. Credit: Official congressional portrait

There are too many lies to list here, too much insanity to digest in one sitting, and it’s probably not good for the blood pressure to dwell on this weasel of a man allowing a homeless veteran’s service dog to die while pocketing the money raised for her surgery.

But we’re not done yet. We still don’t know how Santos bolstered his campaign with $750,000 of his own money, or where that cash came from. It’s not even clear if Santos is his real name, or if he’s actually a U.S. citizen, with some reports — like a New York Times story from last week — suggesting he may have married his former wife for citizenship.

While New York Republicans have been among the loudest voices to condemn Santos and demand he resign or be removed from congress, national party leaders haven’t made any moves to get rid of him — and have actually given him committee assignments — because they believe they need his vote in a slimmer-than-anticipated congressional majority.

As the lies keep piling up, the biggest question is: How long will this farce be allowed to drag on?

South Carolina Cat Dies After Surgery To Remove 38 Hair Ties From Her Stomach

Juliet the cat and her two feline siblings were unceremoniously dumped outside their former home when their humans moved out of state a few weeks ago.

A Good Samaritan realized the trio had no one taking care of them and nowhere to go, and brought the cats to the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina. After some time, Juliet stopped eating. A scan revealed why: The cream-and-white cat had an amorphous mass inside her stomach, a “seemingly endless bundle of strings” in the words of one veterinarian, which blocked Juliet’s stomach and prevented her from being able to eat or process food.

A vet performed emergency surgery on Juliet earlier this week and removed 38 hair ties.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Leigh Jamison, the shelter’s associate director of veterinary care.

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Hair ties removed from the stomach of Juliet the cat.

Vet techs monitored Juliet closely and fed her carefully, making sure she got the nutrients she desperately needed without overwhelming her shocked system, which had suffered a buildup of fat in her liver.

They thought Juliet would pull through, but the ailing kitty took a turn for the worse on Friday and died a few hours later, the shelter announced.

“Our expert veterinarians and lifesaving team perform what we think are miracles every single day. Unfortunately, even with the best care, not every animal makes it,” staff wrote in an Instagram post. “Even though Juliet was loved and was not suffering during her last days, she did succumb to this tragic accident. We are all heartbroken.”

Pica, an eating disorder that affects humans, also occurs with cats. Defined as the consumption of items which are not food, pica can manifest in cats as a predilection for things like paper, plastic bags, rubber bands, small pieces of plastic and, as was the case with Juliette, items like hair ties that are made of fabric, wool or synthetic materials.

While there are medical reasons pica can present in felines, it’s also sometimes brought on by environmental stress, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine the kind of people who would abandon their pet cats may not have been good caretakers. No one except her former caretakers know what Juliet’s been through, and they’re unlikely to come forward.

Likewise, adoption isn’t a part time, halfway or temporary thing. Adopting a cat means committing to taking care of the animal for his or her entire life. Despite the stubbornly persistent idea that cats are aloof, solitary animals who are indifferent to companionship, research studies show felines are just as sociable as dogs and form strong emotional attachments with their humans. They care deeply, but they express affection in different and less overt ways. That doesn’t mean they suffer less when they lose their homes and the people they’ve grown to love.

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Credit: beytlik/Pexels

 

Buddy’s Attackers Have Turned Themselves In

Two people responsible for a vicious attack on a Philadelphia cat have owned up to it and will hopefully face justice.

While the surveillance footage appeared to show a pair of men siccing pitbulls on a semi-stray cat named Buddy, the suspects are 17 and 12 years old respectively, according to the SPCA.

Investigators were able to ID the pair after getting leads from the public, and on Friday the 17-year-old came in accompanied by a parent to surrender himself to authorities. The 12-year-old has agreed to turn himself in today, March 26, according to the local NBC affiliate.

Authorities said they’ll charge the pair with animal fighting, aggravated animal cruelty and conspiracy for the unprovoked attack, in which they encouraged their dogs to hurt the much smaller cat. The first two charges are felonies.

However, there are caveats. Because the suspects qualify for youthful offender status, they cannot be tried as adults and may be able to wipe the convictions from their records in the future. Such deals are at the discretion of judges, and typically involve the completion of certain programs and require that the offenders stay out of trouble for a set time period after conviction.

Because of that, their names will be sealed in court records. Youthful offender deals are usually reserved for first-time offenders. It’s not clear if the teenagers in this case have priors, and it will be up to the judge to decide the terms of their sentencing if they are convicted or agree to plead to the charges.

The SPCA has taken custody of the dogs, although their fate remains unclear. Hopefully they can be rehabilitated and adopted by experienced owners.

There’s been an outpouring of support for Buddy, with well-wishers across the world donating tens of thousands of dollars toward his veterinary care and related costs, Pennsylvania SPCA’s Julie Klim said.

“While we certainly see a lot of bad as we fight to end animal cruelty, we also see how much good there is, especially in a case like this, from all corners of the globe,” Klim said. “We will do everything humanly and medically possible to ensure Buddy’s future will be a bright one.”

In the meantime, Buddy still clings to life. He remains in critical condition, according to the SPCA, but veterinarians are “hopeful” he’ll pull through. Here’s a video of the little fighter trying to comfort himself by making biscuits on a soft blanket at a veterinary hospital:

Welcome, new readers! This blog is about a different Buddy the Cat, but we also cover news about felines, animal welfare, the pet industry and other cat-centric topics, in addition to frequent humor posts about our benevolent, furry overlords. Buddy the Cat from New York is pulling for Buddy the Cat from Philadelphia, and hopes his fellow Buddy makes a full recovery before finding a loving family and forever home.

Cat Who Was Shot In Head With Arrow Finds A Loving Home

Google News is a wonderful thing if you put it to good use.

A handful of alerts keep me abreast of cat-related news, arming me with potential topics and stories to share with you, the readers of Pain In The Bud.

Unfortunately when it comes to cat news, bad comes with the good. Lots of it.

For every story about lovable chonksters, cute kittens or miraculous reunions with lost cats, there are articles about dying felines rescued from hoarding situations, future serial killers torturing innocent animals and lunatics putting cats in microwaves.

Sometimes I have to stop, click off the browser and go find something to distract me from how disgusting the human race can be.

That’s why I’ve taken a pass on writing about Cupid the Cat — until now. (The story has a happy ending, thankfully.)

Last month, a Good Samaritan contacted the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, about a stray cat suffering from a horrific injury: The poor boy had been shot in the head with an arrow, leaving the shaft protruding from the side of his face.

The cat’s rescuers dubbed him Cupid because he was found on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and appealed to the public for help to cover the costs of several surgeries little Cupid would need to survive.

Despite the horrific act of violence committed against him by humans, and despite the pain he was enduring, Cupid was happy to see his rescuers, Chelsea Jones of the Animal Welfare League said.

“When he arrived and we opened his crate, we’re kind of shocked to see this cat with an arrow shaft sticking out of his face, is making biscuits …. That’s when cats knead their paws,” she said. “It’s a very comforting, positive behavior. And he was purring, and he wanted us to scratch his tummy and his chin. And we just could not believe that this cat was being so affectionate and friendly in how much pain he must be in.”

“So, it was kind of right there and then,” Jones said, “we were like, ‘We gotta call this guy Cupid.’”

Veterinarians worked for several hours to remove the arrow, clean the wound and stitch the little guy back up, putting him on antibiotics and painkillers. The arrow miraculously missed Cupid’s brain, eyes and other vital organs, but his rescuers feared he could succumb to a serious infection from the wound.

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Cupid was placed on antibiotics and pain killers after his surgery. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League

The Animal Welfare League put out an emergency appeal for $6,500 to cover the cost of Cupid’s surgery. Well-wishers covered the cost within hours, and by week’s end the League had taken in more than $87,000, allowing it to fund life-saving surgery for two other animals in addition to Cupid.

The young cat fought hard and recovered from his wounds, and after whittling down dozens of applications to 14 finalists, the League held a drawing.

“It would be amazing if we could send him home with everyone but only one lucky person gets to take cupid home,” Jones said.

Well, two people: Cupid went home with a loving couple from the Washington, DC, area. No more cold, no more hunger, no more loneliness — and protection from the kind of horrible people who would hurt an innocent animal. Congratulations to Cupid on getting better and finding a forever home!

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Cupid finally has a home — and humans — of his own after an incredible ordeal and a rough start to life. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League