Puppy Doe, Puppy Don’t

October 7, 2013

It’s a dog-et-dog world in the local dailies today, with both papers working the canine beat, well, doggedly.

Start with the Boston Herald’s Puppy Doe Jour piece, in this case Joe Fitzgerald’s column.

9/21/13- Laura Hankins dog, KiyaBarbarian who tortured Puppy Doe is among us

More than a month has passed since the pit bull dubbed Puppy Doe was found close to death in the shadows of a Quincy playground, having been dumped there by the barbarian who inflicted such savage abuse that authorities felt the only way to end her suffering was to terminate her life.

Her tongue had been split. Her joints had been pulled apart. She had been beaten and stabbed, and it appeared she hadn’t eaten in a long while.

A month is a long shelf life for most stories; all that can be said has been said, and eventually the public moves on.

Yet papers and talk shows continue to keep Puppy Doe’s story alive . . .


Most notably, he might have added, his own paper.  But that’s good, Fitzgerald says, “because the perpetrator still walks among us, 
capable of again performing the unspeakable acts of a very sick mind. ”

Crosstown, the Boston Globe reports on the brighter side of Pit Bull Nation.

Rising pit bull adoptions reflect breed’s changing image

On a summer evening at JFK/UMass Station, police say, a Quincy man robbed a person standing on the platform. The robber’s weapon? The pit bull tugging on his leash.

A few weeks later, Eric Coldwell walked onto the back porch of his Weymouth home and watched as his own 60-pound pit bull terrier, Maizy, tackled his 9-year-old son, Thomas — then slobbered kisses all over him. “If you didn’t know better,” Coldwell said as he watched the scene unfold, “you might have assumed the worst.”Picture 1

Those two incidents frame the question: Is the pit bull an animal to fear, or to love? That question, said Rob Halpin of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “sums up the fight we’ve been in for years.”

If pet adoption rates are any indication, pit bulls have plenty of love to give. Pit bull adoptions are climbing statewide and, in the biggest surprise, extending into the suburbs.


The Globe piece, which has a Puppy Doe Index of 1.0  2.0 [we missed Jennifer Graham’s op-ed piece], spends about half its time chronicling horror stories about pit bulls, culminating with this fun fact to know and tell:

 [A] 2009 dog bite study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that over a five-year period in Philadelphia, 51 percent of dog attacks were carried out by pit bulls, 9 percent by Rottweilers, and 6 percent by mixes of pit bulls and Rottweilers.


But others, such as animal epidemiologist Gary Patronek,  make the opposite argument. “I’ve simply seen no evidence over the years that pit bulls are any more of a risk than any other breed,” he told the Globe. “In fact, what I’ve found is that the risk rests almost entirely in environmental factors like a dog’s surroundings and how it’s treated by its owners.”

Cue the happy pit bull owners who just want a little love for their pups.

Absolutely. As long as we can do it from across the street.

(Special K-9 bonus: This Globe Page One Metro piece about new regulations that would “ban the adoption of animals with contagious diseases or serious aggressive tendencies.” And so we’ve come full circle.)


Two-Daily Town Primer (Puppy Doe/Calle Edition)

September 30, 2013

(First in an occasional series illustrating the essential difference between the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald)

The Sunday Boston dailies provided a stark contrast in what they’re willing to devote major real estate to in their newsholes.

Start with the Boston Herald, which is obsessed with Puppy Doe, a pit bull that “was severely beaten, starved, burned and stabbed in the eye” after being adopted from the Craigslist pet section – and eventually euthanized.

Representative sample from a week ago:


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Now comes yesterday’s two-page spread (complete with the Herald’s ever-present E-edition Random Little Green Numbers – because the feisty local tabloid apparently has Joe Cocker as its webmaster).


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Crosstown at the Boston Sunday Globe, a very different tragedy occupied its attention.

Page One piece by Meg Murphy and Steven Wilmsen:


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The jump is four full pages of heartwarming heartbreak about five-year-old Caroline Cronk’s battle with cancer .


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Draw your own conclusions.