Southern California breaking news and trends

California is no. 1! (in dog bite insurance claims)

dog puppy fisheye

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California leads the nation in dog bite claims, says a report of 2011 statistics released Wednesday by State Farm Insurance.

With more dogs and people living in California than in any other part of the U.S., it's no great surprise that the Golden State would win Best in Show for the number of jaw run-ins.

With a 31 percent jump over the previous year, 527 claims were filed in CA in 2011, with victims receiving about $20.3 million, according to State Farm. 

A nationwide total of 3,800 bite claims paid out $109 million, compared to 3,500 claims and $90 million in 2010, said a spokesman for the insurance giant.

Overall, insurance companies paid a combined estimated total of $479 million for canine chompings in 2011, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In 2010, that number was estimated at $413 million.


33 caged dogs rescued from filthy SoCal puppy mill barn

animal cages

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Animal cages from an old zoo. The 33 dogs rescued on Wednesday from a puppy mill were found inside small collapsible crates inside a dark barn.

Officials from the Humane Society and SPCA rescued more than 30 caged dogs of different breeds, some pregnant, from an Ontario-Upland area puppy mill on Wednesday.

The dogs -- Shih Tzus, Yorkshire terriers, Pekingese, poodles, basset hounds, Chihuahuas, a husky and others -- were discovered standing in cages of their own feces and urine, said animal control officials.

Ranging in age from 3-weeks-old to 5-years-old, the animals were found without water, in small collapsible kennels, located in a barn without light or proper ventilation, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

45-year-old Luis Reynoso and 42-year-old Flor Sanchez will be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Puppy sales were the primary source of income for the pair, and they were selling the animals for $100 each, say investigators.


'Dog beach' pilot program is put down

dog beach

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An experiment in dog-on-beach action has ended in Rancho Palos Verdes. The RPV City Council killed the year-long dog beach pilot program in a 3-1 vote late Tuesday, citing financial and environmental concerns.

The program was embraced by canine enthusiasts, but others were not pleased with the state of the 5-acre beach located below the Ocean Trails Reserve and Trump's National Golf Course, said the Daily Breeze.

The program was approved on Feb. 21, but news of the proposed dog beach drew throngs of dog owners to the area, which in turn prompted complaints from area residents and businesses, including the Trump National Golf Club.

Several residents speaking at the meeting said the beach was "out of control." Heal the Bay and other opponents said the dogs were urinating and defacating in the local tide pools.


'Disturbing' discovery of severed dog heads in South LA dumpster, says LAPD

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"This is despicable and very disturbing and we want to find out who did this," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith about the discovery of two severed dog heads inside a South LA dumpster, reports the L.A. Times.

A resident called police after finding the remains around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday near the intersection of Slauson and S. Vermont avenue.

The animals were identified as a chocolate Labrador retriever and a tan German shepherd mix. The canines were beheaded with what investigators believe was "a very sharp object." 

LAPD's Animal Cruelty Task Force and the LA Department of Animal Services are investigating the killing. Authorities said it was unclear if the dogs were from the area or if their remains were just discarded there.

"If they could do this to defenseless animals, who knows what they are capable of," Smith stated.


Woof you like fries with that? Dogs now permitted on restaurant patios

dog chair patio restaurant

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Waiter, there's a dog in my soup.

L.A. County officials said Monday that dogs are now legally permitted to enjoy the luxury of outdoor restaurant dining alongside their owners. The new rule lets pups populate enclosed and fenced-off patios that were previously off-limits.

Under the new guidlines, they are not allowed on chairs or tables. You can not buy them a beer or rent them shoes or let them bowl your turn. And all pet pals must enter the restaurant patio through an outdoor gate (no dining room walk-throughs).

The change goes into effect immediately, KTLA reports, and each restaurant can decide whether or not to cater to canines or continue to ban the bark at outdoor tables.

Cities with their own public heath agencies, like Long Beach, Pasadena and Vernon, are not included in the measure.