Congo is innocent! Cue sobbing children. Cue death threats. Cue barf bag, because I think I'm going to hurl.
"God makes them, they find each other," my dad used to say about folks like the Congo supporters in the photo above. Actually, what he used to say was, "Dios los cría, ellos se juntan," which is an adage I'm reasonably sure Guy James has never heard in his life. Guy James owns Congo, the Iggy du jour, and I suspect James "speaks Spanish" the way George Bush "speaks Spanish," which is to say that I suspect he doesn't speak much Spanish at all.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This week's top story:
A fast-moving variant of mad cow disease has incapacitated many of the internet's dog bloggers and pet lovers. According to a CDC spokesperson, the disease " temporarily disables areas in the front of the brain known as 'managerial knowledge units,'" sometimes called the "sense God gave a goose" region. Symptoms include severe anxiety, nativism, repetitive email-forwarding and a strong aversion to the behavior that journalists, back in the day, used to call "verification."
For what it's worth, here are the first news articles published in The Times of Trenton about Congo's severe mauling of a landscaper. All were written by Debra Friedman:
Man attacked by pack of dogs in Princeton Township
Posted by The Times of Trenton June 05, 2007 4:54PM
Categories: Crime, News
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- A man is in serious condition after being attacked by five dogs early Tuesday morning, officials said.
Giovanni Rivera, 42, arrived at a residence on Stuart Road West at about 7:05 a.m. with a landscaping company to begin work when he encountered six German shepherds roaming free within the fenced back yard of the home, police said.
According to the township's animal control officer, Mark Johnson, Rivera became startled when the dogs began to growl and he ran toward the house in order to get the homeowner's attention. The dogs pursued Rivera and five attacked him, police reported. The home owner eventually contained the dogs and called 911, according to police.
When police arrived, Rivera was found with his shirt and pants ripped off and was bleeding heavily. He was treated by paramedics for multiple dog bites and taken to the University Medical Center at Princeton.
His condition was unknown Tuesday evening.
Johnson said he issued three summonses to the dogs' owner for failure to license and vaccinate the animals. The dogs did not have a history of aggressive behavior, but as a result of the attack, they will be declared dangerous and are being quarantined for the next 10 days while the investigation continues, he said.
5 dogs in custody after attack
Posted by The Times of Trenton June 06, 2007 9:28PM
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- Five German shepherds that attacked a landscaper Tuesday morning have been taken into custody by Princeton's Office of Animal Control, animal control officer Mark Johnson said Wednesday.
The animals, which belong to Elizabeth and Guy James, badly mauled Giovanni Rivera after he and four co-workers arrived at the James' home on Stuart Road West to work on a patio.
A sixth German shepherd owned by the Jameses did not take part in the attack and was not impounded.
Johnson said all six dogs were unlicensed and four were not vaccinated. He said the animal control office has issued three summonses to the dogs' owners for failure to license and vaccinate the animals.
Rivera, 42, of Trenton underwent three hours of surgery Tuesday afternoon to repair the damage caused by the numerous dog bites he received during the attack to his abdomen, legs, back and right arm.
He is recovering from his injuries at the University Medical Center at Princeton.
Landscaper back in hospital with infection
Posted by The Times of Trenton June 19, 2007 4:36PM
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- The landscaper who was attacked by five German shepherds nearly two weeks ago at a residence on Stuart Road West is back in the hospital because of an infection that has developed from serious wounds received during the incident, according to his attorney, Kevin S. Riechelson.
"He has scars all over his body, from his ankles to the top of his head," Riechelson said.
Giovanni Rivera, 42, of Trenton was severely mauled by the dogs when he arrived at the residence of Elizabeth and Guy James with a landscaping crew to work on a patio. Upon arrival, the dogs allegedly began to chase the landscaping crew, catching up with Rivera and biting him all over his body.
"The only part of him that was not bitten were his feet, face and throat," Riechelson said.
Yesterday, the fate of the dogs was supposed to be decided in Municipal Court. However, due to new evidence in the form of photographs of the victim's wounds, the judge postponed the hearing in order for the James' attorney to examine the evidence before the case proceeded.
Yet even with the evidence, the timing of events appears to be the most central element of the case.
According the initial police report, the attack took place just after 7 a.m. on June 5.
The James' told police that the landscaping crew was not scheduled to arrive until 8 a.m., which is why the dogs were allowed outside.
But in an interview on the night of the attack, Rivera said his landscaping crew had confirmed with the James' the previous day to come an hour earlier, in order to make up for lost time caused by rain at the start of the week.
So, five months after the mauling [which lasted some three minutes, according to court documents] Guy James says that when the landscapers "arrived an hour early," he leaned out the window and shouted to them in Spanish to wait in the car until he finished taking his shower.
Does Guy James speak fluent Spanish? Dunno, but one vowel makes the difference between "wait in the car" and "they're waiting in the car," and darned if Mrs. James and her son didn't show up in her car fifteen minutes after the landscape crew arrived: one of the dogs had escaped the yard, and they'd been out looking for it. I suppose it's possible that Guy James leaned out the window and shouted [in Spanish], "I'm about to take a shower. My German shepherds are loose --- stay in your truck until I come downstairs and lock them up," but I doubt it. If he shouted anything, I imagine it was more along the lines of "Wait fifteen minutes in the car."
Or "They're waiting fifteen minutes in the car," depending on that vowel.
Mr. Johnson, did confirm, however, Mr. James’ charge that Mr. Rivera changed his account — of exactly where he was when he was attacked — immediately following the incident.Were any of those nurses fluent Spanish speakers, I wonder.
However, Mr. Johnson said the different details came from three different nurses who were interpreting for Mr. Rivera at the hospital.
Others have pointed out that Guy James seems to be a textbook backyard breeder. [Neuter Congo!] And it's good to know that not everyone believes the victim was a "scam artist" who deserved his injuries for "beating" Mrs. James. How predictable, though, that the victim's ethnicity brought the bigots out of the woodwork.
Meanwhile, back in Ohio:
Tears fell down Elizabeth Rhay’s face and she gasped as she listened to the judge’s words.
Rhay’s fiancé had just gotten a 180-day jail term (which was suspended) and was ordered to do 100 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine.
When it was Rhay’s turn to stand before Municipal Court Judge Mary Falvey, she got a similar punishment with 50 hours of community service work.
Walking their dogs down a city street.
“I’ve never been in trouble before. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong,” Rhay told Falvey, who paused while the 27-year-old regained her composure. “I was trying to be a responsible dog owner.”
What kind of people own pit bulls, anyway?
It would be pretty indeed if the Ohio insanity triggered just half the public outrage of the Congo "jailing," but I'm not holding my breath.