Powered by Blogger.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meet Coffee: The panhandling, pipe-smoking baseball fan dog at the centre of animal cruelty investigation

By Rachel Quigley

Cruel?: Coffee's owner said he has trained the dog to hold the pipe in her mouth and sit outside baseball stadiums begging for money

With his pipe, sunglasses and Yankee's shirt, he could be any other baseball fan - except when he is dressed in his Groucho Marx disguise of course.

But rather than being just your normal Yankee's fan, Coffee is actually a dog and one which is at the centre of an animal welfare investigation.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are currently investigating the treatment of the panhandling dog, known for holding a pipe in his jaws for hours outside New York City's professional baseball stadiums.

Outfits: Coffee sometimes wears a Groucho Marx disguise while he is 'working'

She has a plastic container for donations at her feet.

The welfare group sent investigators to Yankee Stadium on Sunday to look into allegations by some baseball fans who say Coffee is being abused by its owner.

But the ASPCA were unable to locate the dog or its owner.

NBC New York managed to track down the owner of Coffee, Norberto Fernandez, from Queens, to get his response to the animal cruelty allegations.

Mr Fernandez insists he is a professional dog trainer who rescued the dog from the streets and taught her to pose and hold a pipe in her mouth.

He said: 'All I do is train dogs and people are starting to hate on me -- they're surprised of all the tricks my dog can do.'

He also admitted he makes about $75 in tips per game.

But some animal lovers have accused Mr Fernandez of making the dog work with no food or water for hours at a time and even believe that he uses a shock collar to make sure she doesn't lie down while on the job.

Money maker: Mr Fernandez says he makes about $75 in tips a game from the dog

Daughter: Wendy Fernandez said she has never seen a shock collar on the dog which she insists is given water when he is at 'work'

Fans of Coffee are so concerned about her well-being they have set up the dog's very own Facebook page 'Stop Abusing Coffee' which already has 8,000 fans.

The people responsible for setting up the page insist they have proof that the dog is forced to wear a shock collar.

Mr Fernandez's daughter Wendy told NBC that her father always ensures that the dog has water and the allegations are not true.

She said: 'I've never seen a shock collar myself. Maybe they got it confused with something else as I would have noticed that.'

Worried: Jason Long and his wife believe that Coffee's owner uses a shock collar to get the dog to sit at the games and want action taken

Popular pooch: Coffee is well-known all over the neighbourhood he lives in

Mr Fernandez insists it is an ice collar to keep Coffee cool on hot days.

Belkis Cardona-Rivera, who helped create the Facebook page, said she recently took her mother to Citi Field for a Mets game where they saw Coffee try to lay down next to her tip jug.

She said: 'We could see she wanted to lie down and she did, and within two seconds flat she got up very quickly and we said "What could cause her to sit up very quickly?" We kind of knew we suspected she might have a shock collar.'

The ASPCA said it is monitoring the situation and remains 'prepared to take appropriate action, as warranted'.



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants