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Dog-killing Artist Gets Rich off your Money

Last month, a New York “community board” approved a $750,000 installation by artist Tom Otterness for a public library in lower Manhattan: lion sculptures, paid for by a private donor, in a public space. Now, a cry has gone round the neighborhood to reject the work.

Tom Otterness

You may not recognize his name, but if you’ve spent much time in New York you’ve probably seen Otterness’ cartoonish bronze men and animals. Largely thanks to public art funds–paid for with public revenue–he often places his sculptures near schools, playgrounds, parks and libraries.

His little guys can be seen throughout the 14th St. subway station at Eighth Ave., hiding in nooks and crannies. He has made pieces for Europe and Asia and even designed a float for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. With a seemingly inoffensive cast of characters, Otterness has proven irresistible to art world bureaucrats, who continue to give him commissions.

But now, Otterness is being exposed as a killer. In 1977, he made a film in which he “rescued” a dog from a shelter, tied it up and, as the animal wagged its tail, shot it dead. The movie, which Otterness called “Shot Dog Film,” repeatedly shows the brutal execution.

Otterness has been apologizing for his despicable act ever since it came to light a few years ago and began to threaten his lucrative public support. In 2008, he said, “Thirty years ago, when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

We were all young once, but most of us didn’t shoot dogs and call it art. Through news reports and an online petition, enough people learned of Otterness’ past to question the members of Community Board 1, which nevertheless voted to support the new downtown installation.

Many observers have been wondering why Otterness has yet to make a significant public donation to animal welfare to atone for his misdeeds. Meanwhile, the New York Public Library has, for its part,disowned any involvement in the project, claiming that the Battery Park City Authority has sole jurisdiction. “We in no way solicited this project, and are learning much of the detail in public meetings,” the NYPL said in a statement.

Otterness’ supporters may think that his cuddly sculptures are a lifetime apart from his violent past. In fact, his critics are right to expose his more recent work to closer scrutiny.

Otterness’ sculptures might seem sweet, but they are meant to leave you with a bitter political aftertaste, because Otterness continues to be the angry artist who once executed a defenseless creature. His work remains a meanspirited comment on the “evils” of capitalism.

For example, at the 14th St. station, the little figures of “Life Underground” (2004) really make up a diorama of class struggle. Fat cats with bags of money roll over smaller worker-men. A mean-faced cop leers over a sleeping bag lady. A rat chews on a penny. A triumphant woman reads a book over a dead Monopoly Man, with coins spilling out beneath him.

Otterness has owned up to his radical politics. “I just want to be somebody who is talking straight-up in a public forum about sex or class or race,” he said in 2006.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority spilled a lot of pennies – $200,000 – to pay for “Life Underground.” The fact that Otterness now uses public venues and funds to preach his angry politics is not a vindication of his past, but just another example of his depravity.

by James Panero at Big Government and x-post New York Daily News

May 12, 2011 Posted by | animal abuse, animals, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, NO KILL NATION, Patrick, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , | Leave a comment

Jesse Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Since this article was written, Vick has been signed… ” Michael Vick Signs Two-Year Deal With NFL’s Eagles” read the headline.  $1.6 million the first year and $5.2 million the second.  Nice reward for brutal treatment of animals and being a despicable example for America’s Youth!  And being compared to Jackie Robinson is absolutely an insult to Robinson’s memory!

Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says signing Michael Vick will require someone to make a courageous move and asks why lesser players have jobs in the N.F.L.

Published: August 7, 2009

The Rev. Jesse Jackson became the latest public figure to offer an opinion on the future of Michael Vick. Jackson said he wondered whether there had been collusion among N.F.L. owners to keep Vick out of the league.

“I want to make it an issue,” Jackson said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I want teams to explain why they have a quarterback who has less skills but is playing or at least is on the taxi squad, and a guy with more skills can’t get into training camp.”

Two years ago this month, Vick pleaded guilty to felony charges related to his participation in an unlawful dogfighting ring and was indefinitely suspended from the N.F.L. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison in December 2007.  (Definitely not long enough based on the level of cruelty of his offenses  including the drowning, electricution and hanging of dogs and even throwing his family dogs into the ring to watch them torn up as he laughed.  That is a level of evil that I certainly would not want to reward or have out on the field and by any standard would require years of counseling to counteract.  Vick can’t even make the sorry case that he needed the money!)

He was conditionally reinstated to the league last month by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Under terms of the reinstatement, Vick can take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and may play in the final two preseason games — if a team signs him.

When the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games. Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6.

“Democracy does not guarantee success,” Jackson said. “Democracy guarantees an opportunity. It’s not fair to de facto try to lock him out of his right to compete. If he can’t make the team, don’t let him play. If he can, let him work.”

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jackson, born in 1941, has been a civil rights activist for most of his adult life. He said that in some ways, Vick’s attempt to re-enter the N.F.L. was similar to Jackie Robinson’s entering Major League Baseball.

Although their situations were drastically different, Jackson said, the challenge was the same: Which owner would have the courage to make a controversial signing?

Viewed from a 2009 prism, that comparison seems blasphemous. Robinson became an American icon because of his courage and perseverance. The only thing he did wrong — in some eyes — was to be born African-American.

But in the era in which Robinson came of age, his admirable qualities mattered to Major League Baseball owners. A significant segment of the American population knew little to nothing about Robinson, and saw him as someone who threatened a way of life. Owners were not going to allow Robinson or any other African-American to play major league baseball, regardless of how much character and fortitude he possessed.

If we are going to make a comparison of unfair scenarios…  How about comparing Vick’s rehiring by the NFL after only 23-months in prison for torturing and killing numerous dogs with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Ted Kennedy after his involvement in Chappaquiddick; running away and leaving a young girl to die in a car he had driven into the water accidentally at best and perhaps not so accidentally in the opinion of others, and never spending a moment in prison. The comparison is indeed closer.  The comparison of Vick to Robinson is blasphemous and insulting to Robinson’s memory!!  What do they have in common other than the color of their skin?!?  Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing that Jesse Jackson would rip a white person into pieces for…  for making that kind of comparison because of race?

Many fair-minded baseball owners had the same concerns about Robinson that fair-minded N.F.L. owners today have about Vick: What will critics say? How will the public respond?

Finally one organization, the Dodgers, and one man, Branch Rickey, were bold and pragmatic enough to weigh the risks and take the leap of signing Robinson.

Vick, unlike Robinson in 1947, has a proven track record. Vick has performed at a star level in the N.F.L. Robinson performed briefly in the Negro Leagues before joining the Dodgers.

The question is: How severely have Vick’s skills eroded? You would think that one owner, one team would at least be curious; training camps have been open for only a week.

“If the guy has paid his dues to the criminal justice system, paid his debt to the N.F.L. and shows remorse, what else does he need to do?” Jackson asked.  23-months in prison for torturing and murdering dogs is hardly enough of a punishment for his crimes. He should have received at least a year or two for every dog her mistreated, tortured, abused and killed and should have been from playing football for life.  If you are really going to compare unfairness, what should be compared is Ted Kennedy receiving the

For many, the nonnegotiable issue in the Vick case is cruelty to animals. But let’s climb off our high horses. We know many fans hunt. They track down innocent animals, blast them with shotguns, shoot them out of the sky with rifles — for sport. Some take off animals’ heads and mount them as trophies.

Perfectly legal.

But the issue here is that Vick served his time in prison for breaking the law. The issue is degrees of cruelty. Who is worse: someone who tortures in the name of sport and then apologizes, or the one who kills in the name of sport and continues to hunt?

Vick was cruel and was punished. Now he has promised to be compassionate.

Jackson pointed out that Vick had satisfied the demands of the legal system. Now, like thousands of young men who are released from prison each year, Vick is eager to become a productive citizen. So far, he has been unable to find a job and his options are limited.

The Canadian Football League will not consider Vick or any player under full or partial suspension by the N.F.L.

“One of the big issues of re-entry is that when people come out, can they get gainful employment?” Jackson said.  Sure… How about a job somewhere between minimum wage and $35,000 a year, spending the rest of his time giving free talks to young people about compassion and kindness and volunteering at animal rescue events, while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet like child abusers?!?

Vick is fortunate. As a quarterback, he has skills that are highly valued.

“He has a right to compete,” Jackson said. “If he doesn’t make the team, then he can’t play. If he can, let him work.”

So far, everyone has said no. Someone should have the guts to say yes.

By WILLIAM C. RHODEN – E-mail: wcr@nytimes.com

Notes by Ask Marion – Marion’s Place/JOMP

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August 14, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Father Arrested for Allegedly Killing Family Dog in Front of Children

A Wisconsin man has been arrested for allegedly killing the family dog in front of his children. After an 11-year-old drew a picture at school, his father now faces felony charges in Waukesha County. 52-year-old Michael Tessmer will appear in Waukesha County Court on Thursday.

Authorities found out about what happened after the man’s son drew a picture of a dog at school along with the phrase “My Dad Is A Killer”. The boy told police his father was angry because the dog had relieved itself inside the home. Police say Tessmer shoved a urine soaked paper towel in the dog’s mouth then kicked it five or ten times.

The boy’s mother who is getting a divorce from Tessmer brought the dead dog to the Humane Society. If Tessmer is convicted he could be fined ten thousand dollars and get three and a half years in jail.

If this father truly did this I hope he gets the maximum sentence as well as extended probation that includes long-term required psychological counseling!!  I also think someone really needs to look  at ‘only  supervised visitation’ with his children and Michael Tessmer should be restricted from owning or working with animals ever again. There is no justification, explanation or excuse for his actions!!  Many serial killers and batterers of all kinds started with harming, torturing or killing animals.  This type of behavior should not be tolerated or excused in any way and should always be reported!

It is everyone’s responsibility to stand up,  intervene and report violance and abuse ofany kind toward animals, children and all victims no matter how small or how heinous.  It is the only way it will stop!  You can bet that this isn’t the first and only time this man has been abusive and violent and this would have been prevented if someone had stood up to him or reported him before.  I also must wonder about the accuracy of this story.  If the wife had taken the abused and murdered dog to the Humane Society why had they not reported it to the police?

As the saying goes…  You are either part of the solution or part of the problem!! Let us all always be part of the solution!!

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March 12, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments