JoJo, a lab mix, was tied to a pickup trailer hitch and dragged.   Katie, a lab, and Petey, a Boston terrier, were stung to death by honey bees.  Grace, an Australian sheperd, was pumped full of pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun.  Fox, a sheriff’s department canine officer, died of heat stroke.   An old, ailing Chihuahua was smothered to death by a pillow in Florida.

Dog Days are supposed to be when dogs lie around in the shade, waiting for autumn and some relief from the heat.  The time of dreaded July and August heat has been marked as Dog Days since Ancient Rome, but this year seems to be a particularly cruel time for some dogs in the South.

JoJo survived because a woman motorist driving along Old Tuscaloosa Highway in Jefferson County, Alabama, pursued the pickup truck and got the man driving the truck to pull over and listen to her lecture on animal cruelty.  The man gave her the injured dog after declaring “it’s just a little blood,” and she took JoJo immediately to the vet.  Authorities were looking for the driver of the pickup.

Tennessee authorities first thought Katie and Petey had been killed by African killer bees.  But tests arranged by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture showed they were done in by ordinary honey bees, the official state agricultural insect of Tennessee.

A Henrico, Virginia, man was convicted of animal cruelty for wounding Grace, a neighbor’s dog that he claimed was threatening him and his horses.  A district judge ordered the man to spend a month in jail and pay Grace’s $8,559 vet bill.

Fox, an 11-year-old tracking dog, had been the partner of Deputy Joe Shanes in Lauderdale County, Alabama, since arriving as a 9-month-old pup.  Shanes said he kept a fan on Fox in the sweltering heat but found him limp and unresponsive after leaving him alone for awhile.  A large black bow was placed on the door of the sheriff’s office in memory of Fox.

The Chihuhua case was a bit complicated, a mercy killing apparently gone awry.  Two St. Petersburg, Florida, roommates claimed they merely were trying to end the sick and dying dog’s suffering, but authorities said the method constituted cruelty.  First, they allegedly held a plastic bag over the Chihuahua’s head for about 30 minutes.  When that didn’t work, one of them allegedly covered the dog’s mouth with duct tape and placed a pillow over its head until it died.  The SPCA exhumed the dog’s body and planned to perform a necropsy.

Meanwhile, Memphis, Tennessee, police found eight dogs lying dead in a pile in the backyard of a  house near the University of Memphis.  Police said the owner of the house said he didn’t know anything about the dogs.

More Southern Oddities and Entities:

Crimson Tide Days: The campaign manager for Dorothy Davidson, a candidate for mayor of Bessemer, Alabama, admitted he photoshopped a picture appearing to show Davidson standing with University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.  He also admitted that Saban had not endorsed Davidson, as she had claimed.

Nor was she endorsed by Nick Saban: Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove sent a letter of apology to the president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for pole dancing at a party the organization had during a river cruise while holding its national convention in Memphis.”I went overboard because I was trying to do the Soul Train,” Fullilove said.  “I was dancing on the pole and I was just trying to have a good time.”

Tea Partying all over The Dream: African-American leaders from South Carolina planned to be among those protesting against Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C.  on Saturday.  The date of the Tea Partyers rally at the Lincoln Memorial also marks the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the same spot.

In other religious news: Gainesville, Florida, officials have denied a burn permit for a church seeking to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11.  The Dove World Outreach Center said it plans to burn Quarans anyway.

Check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for ajc.com and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.