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Panhandling Pooch’s Owner Interviewed, Says No Abuse

Earlier today we brought you the story of Coffee the Dog, who baseball fans say is forced by her owner to sit outside New York...

Maria Goodavage  |  May 25th 2011


Earlier today we brought you the story of Coffee the Dog, who baseball fans say is forced by her owner to sit outside New York Citys professional baseball stadiums for hours with no food or drink and a pipe in her mouth. Observers say that when she tries to lie down, her owner uses a shock collar to make her sit back up.

NBC New York found out who the owner is, and went to his apartment to interview him. Apparently he has been bringing Coffee to the stadiums for years. He says he is a professional dog handler, and claims no wrongdoing, He says the dog isn’t wearing a shock collar, but an ice collar. (Is that indeed a remote for a shock collar in the owner’s hand, as the photo claims? I know it’s not a remote for an ice collar. Could by some stretch of the imagination be a walky-talky?)

The owner told a reporter he rescued her from the streets. And a woman in the household says she has seen the owner give the dog water at the games. Contrary to previous reports, in the video Coffee has plenty of teeth (although it doesn’t look it in the photo above).

You can see the video on the NBC site. It doesn’t come with embed code for me to be able to include it here.

On the Facebook page Stop Abusing Coffee, readers said the interview was a sham, and that the owner had time to prepare the ice collar for the visit. One wrote: “The evidence is in the videos and pictures. 1. Shock Collar. 2. Trained to hold a pipe in her mouth not allowing her to pant. Pipe held in with adhesive 3. Sitting in her own Urine for hours. 4. Sitting in a straight up right position not being able to lay down. If goes to lay down jumps right up immediately because of shock 5. Sitting more then 6 hours with no food and water in sight. 6. Covered in clothes, sunglasses and bandana to hide the shock collar. 7. Pandhandling over $400 a night but claming $75 in tips. 8. Quoted as saying all money raised goes to animal shelters. This is all backed up by VIDEO AND PICTURES”

What do you think, Dogsters? The dog was very waggy when she got attention from the reporter; Could she be being treated decently after all? Or is there indeed foul play involved with making the pooch into a panhandler?