Hospital culling vaccine registrations to weed out ineligibles
BAR HARBOR, Feb. 2, 2021 – MDI Hospital is sorting out its Covid vaccine registration list after it was discovered some were using a link sent out by the hospital to jump the line.
“An appointment link sent privately to eligible 1a and 1b recipients who had preregistered was shared publicly this week,” a hospital spokesman said. “All appointments made using this link by those not eligible to receive the vaccine have been/will be canceled and adjustments are being made to our system to avoid this in the future.”
Meanwhile, vaccinations at the hospital are proceeding slowly. “To date, MDI Hospital has administered 1,234 doses of vaccine. This includes 825 first doses and 409 second doses. Currently, our hospital is receiving zero to 200 doses each week and we have more than 6,000 people preregistered to receive the vaccine when doses become available,” the hospital stated on its Facebook page.
At this pace it will be well into summer before that cohort completes vaccinations. Of course, many of those have also pre-registered elsewhere.
“Per state guidelines, we are focused on phase 1a and 1b, which prioritize the oldest in our community, those with high-risk medical conditions, and health care workers. Community members will be notified in a variety of ways when vaccine is more widely available—including public announcements, website postings and information at providers’ offices and clinics.
“There are many vaccination clinics across Maine that you may be able to access. At MDI Hospital, our preregistration process is still the best way to ensure that you will be contacted when a dose becomes available for you. MDI Hospital vaccine preregistration is available on our COVID-19 vaccine webpage found here: www.mdihospital.org/covid-19-vaccine. Due to the limited supply of vaccine, a timeline for available doses cannot be provided. Those who need assistance completing the form may call our Coronavirus Call Center at 207-801-5900.
“MDI Hospital has also set up an email address for vaccine-related questions, email@example.com. We know many in our community are eager to receive the vaccine and we appreciate your patience as we await increased state and national supply.”
MDI remains a very safe haven. Two new positive tests were reported by the hospital on Jan. 28. That brings the total to 60 resident cases and seven non-residents who tested positive at MDI Hospital.
The Maine CDC, meanwhile, is reporting at least 46 cases in Bar Harbor, 20 in Southwest Harbor, six in Mount Desert and one each in Seal Cove and Bass Harbor. The CDC camouflages the exact number with a range for smaller towns. The CDC number is different because some residents chose to test somewhere other than MDI Hospital.
County, Healthy Acadia agree for opiod coaches to return Friday
SOMESVILLE, Feb. 2, 2021 – The public health organization Healthy Acadia and officials from Hancock County are working on a written agreement that should have Healthy Acadia’s opioid recovery coaches back working with inmates in the county jail on Friday, the Bangor Daily News reported. https://bangordailynews.com/2021/02/01/news/hancock/hancock-county-healthy-acadia-plan-to-have-recovery-coaches-back-in-jail-on-friday/
The agreement will revive the recovery coaching program after it was put on hold seven months ago when Sheriff Scott Kane barred Healthy Acadia from working at the jail because it issued a statement in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement. Kane has characterized Black Lives Matter as an anti-law enforcement group that has called for violence against police officers and said he was offended by Healthy Acadia’s statement.
County sheriff – ‘man without a boss’ – has great unchecked power (Maine’s Joe Arpaio lite)
SOMESVILLE, Jan. 30, 2021 – In 2018, when running for re-election, Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane cited drug abuse and mental health as the most serious issues among the county’s jail population and praised the work being done by Healthy Acadia which provided counseling for inmates.
“It (drugs) drives our jail population.” Kane said in an interview with the Ellsworth American “We’ve really created some great partnerships to help us supplement what we can’t supply,” Kane told the paper. “The associations are seamless. Those are just a phone call away.”
But apparently those concerns took a backseat to Kane’s personal views when he unilaterally canceled Healthy Acadia’s services last June after Healthy Acadia supported Black Lives Matter which he said was a “terrorist organization.”
Kane banned Healthy Acadia’s substance abuse coaches from continuing their work with inmates in the jail, citing “philosophical differences” and said his action was taken during “the height of the rioting and looting and the burning that Black Lives Matter was associated with….My responsibility as a police officer is to keep people safe. Those types of protests when they turn violent, nobody’s safe.”
Since the Bangor Daily News broke the story Jan. 26 about Kane’s actions, calls for Kane’s removal have been circulating on social media. Kane, a Republican, ran unopposed in 2014 and 2018 for four-year terms. He was opposed only during the 2014 Republican primary by the late Alan Brown, Southwest Harbor police chief who died of a heart attack last year. The race was close, with Kane getting 2,227 votes to Brown’s 2,052.
Kane may be removed only by the governor for misconduct, or perhaps in a recall by voters which is being researched by State Rep. Lynn Williams.
“I completely disagree with Sheriff Kane’s action, and the language surrounding it. To call ‘Black Lives Matter’ a terrorist organization is not only a lie but it is likely an actionable case of defamation that both BLM and Healthy Acadia could pursue,” Williams said.” Healthy Acadia is an excellent agency and the program that they were providing to those Hancock County Jail prisoners in recovery was effecting positive change in their lives.
“I call on the Hancock County Commissioners to address this issue immediately, just like the Maine Commissioner of Public Safety addressed the issue of the Chief of the Capital Police regarding his highly inappropriate, and demonstrably false, comments on his Facebook page. The Chief has now been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The Hancock County Commissioners should do likewise.”
State Rep. Louis Luchini added, “I disagree with the sheriff’s decision. Healthy Acadia has done great work in providing recovery coaches for inmates. Treatment is key to resolving the opiate crisis.” State Rep. Genevieve McDonald had no comment.
The commissioners called an emergency Zoom meeting for tonight but will conduct it in executive session. Commissioner Paul Paradis, who owns a hardware store in Bar Harbor, said the meeting was called to discuss what options the commission has. “Clearly, the best would be for counseling to start again,” he said. But he is not clear what authority commissioners have. Paradis said the commission has heard from many people unhappy about what Kane did. He made it clear he would like Kane to defuse the situation and bring Healthy Acadia back.
“This is a man without a boss,” said a senior police official who once worked in the sheriff’s office, describing the wide latitude given the county sheriffs. Last year the Bangor Daily News did an excellent investigative series into the unchecked power of Maine’s county sheriffs https://bangordailynews.com/2020/12/09/mainefocus/how-we-investigated-wrongdoing-at-sheriffs-offices-in-maine/.
Maine law gives the governor broad authority to remove sheriffs from office who are not faithfully executing their duties. Under Article IX, Section 10 of Maine constitution, the Governor has the ability to remove the sheriff, “after he officiates a hearing, which may occur after someone files a formal complaint against a sheriff and the sheriff is then notified.”
“Sheriffs, like a lot of us, are employees at will. In this case, it’s the will of the people every four years, but even more directly, it’s at the will of the Governor” … as long as someone files a complaint, said Marshall Tinkle, a constitutional lawyer.
Removal of sheriffs is rare in Maine. In one of the few known cases, Gov. Ralph Brewster removed Kennebec County Sheriff Henry F. Cummings in 1926 after receiving complaints he did not uphold Prohibition laws. Cummings was giving away liquor.
The constitutionally controlled process of removing a Maine sheriff from office has been launched numerous times over the years, but in most recorded cases – as with Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant – the sheriffs have resigned or complaints have been dismissed before a governor took action. Gallant resigned in 2017 a day after county commissioners asked the governor to remove him in the wake of sexual harassment charges.
This was not Kane’s only brush with controversy in 2020. He made headlines when he was roundly criticized for seeking to acquire riot gear – helmets, batons and gloves for crowd control – for his officers who mostly patrol rural towns which do not have their own police, like Tremont. He later withdrew his request after he was publicly criticized.
Kane is a lite version of Joe Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” the Arizona anti-immigrant promulgator who investigated Barack Obama‘s birth certificate, and, as of 2018, continued to claim that it was forged. He was ousted by voters in 2016.
Kane wouldn’t reconsider his decision even after Healthy Acadia toned down its public statement about police brutality. Officials in Washington County also objected to Healthy Acadia’s statement, but decided to stick with the group and its recovery coaches in the jail in Machias.
Healthy Acadia was “devastated” when Kane canceled the group’s recovery coaching contract, said Executive Director Elsie Flemings.
“The American Public Health Association has identified racism as a key force of the social determinants of health,” Flemings told the Bangor Daily News. “As a public health organization, the issue of racial equity is well within our mission and can and should be considered and prioritized across our program areas.”
To try to appease the sheriff, the group changed mentions of “police brutality” in its initial June 10, 2020, statement to “violence” and re-worded a declaration that the group stands “together with Black Lives Matter” to “we affirm that Black lives matter.”
It also added a reference to a separate statement published June 3, 2020, by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, the Maine Sheriffs Association, the Maine Prosecutors Association and the Maine Department of Public Safety, that said “there is no place for racism and police brutality in Maine or in our country. Maine law enforcement officers can and must do better.”
The recovery coaching program had been in place in Hancock County since 2017, first with Open Door Recovery Center involved and then just with Healthy Acadia after the Ellsworth treatment center shut down in 2019. The county has used community benefit funds it has received from windpower developers in the county’s Unorganized Territory to fund the program.
In Washington County, where Healthy Acadia continues to provide recovery coaches to inmates, county officials initially objected to Healthy Acadia’s racial equity statement and considered cutting ties with the group. Flemings met last June with Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis and his jail administrator, Rich Rolfe, as well as with Kane, to talk it over, but Curtis and Rolfe decided to stick with Healthy Acadia.
Rolfe declined to comment on the Healthy Acadia racial equity statement, other than to confirm he and Curtis discussed it with Flemings and that, after thinking it over, they decided to continue working with the group. He said Washington County officials do not keep track of whether inmates who receive recovery coaching stay sober after they are released from jail, but he and Curtis fully support having recovery coaches available.
“It’s a huge benefit,” Rolfe said. “If they are addicted to substances, it often leads to illegal activity because they have to support their habit. They need resources and they need help to get past that.”
THIN BLUE SKIN
On Facebook, Gail Marshall, former Hancock County assistant district attorney and daughter of a former Maine state trooper with two half-brothers currently serving in law enforcement in another state, wrote the following post:
In the Bangor Daily News on January 26, it was reported that Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane severed ties with Healthy Acadia last spring because he was offended that in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Healthy Acadia issued a statement that decried the death and supported the racial justice work of, among others, the group called “Black Lives Matter”(BLM).
Baselessly labeling BLM “a terrorist group” that advocates overthrowing the government and killing police officers, Kane banned Healthy Acadia’s substance use disorder recovery coaches from continuing their work with inmates in the jail. A day later in the Islander he characterized the reason for his abrupt termination of Healthy Acadia’s services as “philosophical differences” and said his action was taken during “the height of the rioting and looting and the burning that Black Lives Matter was associated with….My responsibility as a police officer is to keep people safe. Those types of protests when they turn violent, nobody’s safe.”
This was accompanied by a self-assessment that the Sheriff is not racist.It was not accompanied by any sentiment of concern for George Floyd, or the tens of millions of citizens who might logically harbor concerns about law enforcement after watching the video of a human being coldly murdered in broad daylight by a police officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
That Sheriff Kane chose to act in a thin-skinned manner, based on a highly questionable set of facts and logic, stands in contrast to his colleague in Washington County. They too had concerns about the language of Healthy Acadia’s statement. After a dialogue, the statement was amended. Washington County kept Healthy Acadia’s recovery coaches, calling recovery coaches a “huge benefit.”
Those suffering from substance use disorders are at increased risk of overdose and death if, after a period of non-use, they suddenly begin to use again. Helping them prepare while incarcerated for a successful release from jail is often crucial. It’s also important for the rest of the community that people remain clean once they are released. Someone using is far more likely to commit crime in order to finance his or her needs.
The Bangor Daily reported there were still no recovery coaches working with Hancock County Jail inmates even as overdoses rise in Maine in the midst of the pandemic. The next day, and many months after the original contretemps, the Sheriff announced to the Islander there will soon be a replacement.
Police work is hard and officers do it on our behalf. To put it very mildly, they don’t usually get to interact with people on their best days. It can be dangerous. They aren’t paid well enough. We owe well-functioning police departments-and there are many-a huge debt of gratitude.
However, it is everyone’s right and responsibility to question, and, when warranted, criticize what police do in our name and to us and our fellow citizens. Sheriff Kane has treated inmates as collateral damage to his pique about a statement of concern and support for people of color who have been killed by police elsewhere in obviously troubling circumstances.
Sheriff Kane and those officers who are similarly disposed to lash out in an ironic display of “cancel culture” should know that given the enormous power granted to them, we expect them to wield that power wisely, with openness and restraint, and always for the benefit of the entire community they are sworn to serve.
If that’s not in Sheriff Kane’s wheelhouse, and if he stands for re-election in 2022, the voters of Hancock County should look elsewhere for the essential qualities of a good Sheriff.
Conservationists cite Janet Mills’ words as opposing in-water farm
SOMESVILLE, Jan 30, 2021 – Did Gov. Mills just declare the salmon farm proposed for Frenchman Bay dead in the water?
Friends of Frenchman Bay and some lobstermen certainly think so.
“New, commercial-scale offshore wind projects do not belong in state waters that support the majority of the state’s lobster fishing activity, that provide important habitat for costal marine and wildlife species and that support a tourist industry based in part on Maine’s iconic coastal views,” Mills stated in a letter this week defending her actions on off-shore windmills.
Mills is asking the state legislature to place a 10-year moratorium against construction of wind turbines inside state waters, after fishermen criticized a 12-turbine experiment in federal waters. https://www.mainepublic.org/post/janet-mills-proposes-10-year-moratorium-wind-development-maine-managed-waters
But in doing so, her paragraph above appears to commit the state to protect lobster fisheries, habitats which support other species and tourist-friendly vistas such as Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands which draws millions of tourists a year to the top of Cadillac Mountain to view.
A Nordic businessman, operating as American Aquafarms, is preparing an application for state permits to operate a massive salmon farm in waters just north of the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay.
The company’s website does not mention that CEO Mikael Roenes is a convicted felon who spent two-and-a-half years in prison for defrauding investors. Some of the conservationists worry that he is hoping to flip the permits in another financial scheme.
In a meeting last week with local residents, the company said it plans to moor two large barges in Frenchman Bay to house staff who will manage the pens farming the salmon. Apart from the issue of water pollution from fish waste, a new concern surfaced about air and noise pollution from the diesel generators and in-water lights.
The company said it would build not place pens over “hard bottom” portions of the Bay where lobstermen say the catch is better. “But we also catch a lot of lobsters on the mud,” said James West, long-time Sorrento fisherman who said opposition is growing among area lobstermen to the proposal.
One man in Lamoine presaged the Fiberight fiasco and steered the town away from MRC
SOMESVILLE, Jan. 30, 2021 – On the pecking order of least desirable waste management solutions, landfills rank at the very top. Incineration would probably be next. And of course, recycling is the piece de resistance.
Yet, members of the 117-town Municipal Review Committee have been using the two least desirable solutions now for most of the last two years as it awaits the promise of the shuttered Fiberight plant to bear fruit.
But long before the recycling plant in Hampden had its untimely seizure last May, one man saw the train wreck coming and steered the Town of Lamoine away. Today, Lamoine is the only town in Hancock County still recycling, as well as incinerating its solid waste.
Ken Smith, Lamoine resident, environmental engineer and seasoned facilities operator, was tapped by Lamoine selectmen to offer his recommendation in 2016, as MRC towns were raging to join up with a new player, Fiberight, to replace an Orrington incineration plant they used for 20 years.
Smith observed that he had never seen a “pilot concept” as devised by Fiberight be employed as a major facility without being fully tested. Smith said if the Fiberight plant works, there will be a great benefit, according to the minutes of the 2016 selectmen’s meeting, but he had many doubts. http://www.lamoine-me.gov/Town%20Hall/Boards/Selectmen/Minutes/2016/smin032416pdf.pdf
“There is a significant effort to putting 5-technologies to work together in one plant, and that’s a risk,” The minutes stated. “He said such ideas often underestimate the costs, and there is risk prior to construction.”
Smith cited potential liabilities if the project failed, including having to incinerate and haul trash to landfills.
And of course that’s exactly what happened – during both the startup period for the plant in 2019 and since May 2020 when it closed – MRC having to truck hundreds of thousand tons of waste to the Orrington incinerator and the landfill in Norridgewock.
Meanwhile, Lamoine residents fill up two large containers each week with paper, boxes and plastics to be taken to ecomaine, which serves 65 communities, mostly in Southern Maine, and its solid waste to the Orrington incinerator. (See related story below).
Waste consortium failing to fully vet new vendor, SWH official says
SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Jan. 28, 2021 – The vice chair of the SWH Warrant Committee and an environmental expert on waste disposal is questioning the level of scrutiny being conducted on the company seeking to re-open the mothballed recycling plant in Hampden.
Jim Vallette, president of Materials Research LC3, appeared Tuesday at the Zoom meeting of the Municipal Review Committee, the consortium of the 117 Maine towns which relied on the plant for recycling until it was shut down last May. He cited the failed financial history of Delta Thermo Energy’s operation in Allentown, Pa. and asked members if they knew of it.
Delta is seeking to replace Coastal Resources Inc., a division of Fiberight Corp. which ran out of money and closed the plant in May, forcing the towns to ship their waste to an incinerator in Orrington. There has been no recycling since.
MRC chair Karen Fussel said on Zoom the financial “due diligence” was being performed by the bondholders who own the plant as the MRC only owns the land. But MRC Director Michael Carroll said he has reviewed the financial records of the company and is satisfied it has the needed financing.
Fussel has not returned several of QSJ requests for an interview. QSJ would have asked her if she understood that the bondholders are only concerned with a financial deal and not whether Delta can truly execute its promised environmentally disposition of waste from the member towns.
For instance, Vallette asked about Delta’s plans for handling sewage sludge as mentioned in an earlier board meeting. MRC consultant George Aronson said any proposal to burn such sludge would require new state permits.
Vallette called MRC’s level of due diligence “shocking” in an interview with the QSJ. “They seem to be getting all their information from the company.”
Delta CEO Rob Van Naarden has a colorful and complicated history, including a troubled past as CEO of a kosher chicken producer, engagement with the City of Allentown which resulted in Delta losing its contract amid an FBI corruption probe, a returned check from the State of Pennsylvania for lack of funds and this statement from Mark Pederson, president of the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association in December 2013 to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
“Delta Thermo made a number of materially false statements to the public regarding
their proposed project and the waste disposal industry as a whole…. Delta Thermo’s continued use of false environmental marketing claims in discussing its project are
unacceptable to PWIA and its members, and are wholly inconsistent with the
environmentally responsible management of solid waste upon which our members pride
themselves…. Delta Thermo denies that it is in the waste disposal business or subject to
the stringent air permitting requirements that apply to companies in the waste disposal
business… (T)here is no indication that anyone has ever ‘commercially’ operated a plant
of this design, field by a mixture of MSW and wastewater treatment plant sludge,
anywhere in the world…. Delta Thermo’s discussion of ambient air impacts on the
neighboring citizens was intentionally misleading.”
Vallette shared a document with QSJ consisting of his recent research into Delta. https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ghk9IGV1eCNYaUvpVKuWfc7DxhxuWUqO7vWfoajP58/edit
“Southwest Harbor is one of 115 communities relying upon the Municipal Review Committee (MRC) to find positive uses for our town’s waste, through technologies that are not expensive, recycle waste, don’t pollute, and do not expose us to potential liabilities,” he wrote. “Our hopes are threatened when a cutting-edge (that is, high-risk) facility like Fiberight is placed in the hands of a company – Delta Thermal Energy (DTE) — with no track record, or worse, a company that has been rejected by at least seven communities and has the ultimate goal of burning toxic sewage sludge, to be barged into the Penobscot Bay from cities throughout the East Coast.”
“The bottom line: this company, with a mysterious overseas owner and no fixed address, and a troubling track record, has been rejected by town after town in the mid-Atlantic. Now it plans to deliver NYC sewage sludge by barge to Hampden for incineration, and the MRC thinks this is going to be good business for the towns.”
QSJ has been conducting its own research, especially the FBI investigation in Allentown which resulted in the conviction of its mayor and a half dozen city officials in 2018.
Van Naarden said in an interview he voluntarily turned 10,000 documents over to the FBI seven year ago when he learned of the investigation. Asked whether the FBI relied on those documents, he said, “I have no idea.”
City officials canceled its contract with Delta and publicly blamed the company for failing to attain the necessary financing to proceed which Van Naarden said were untrue. Delta won the contract in a public bidding beating out 47 competitors.
Van Naarden said he disclosed this sordid history to the management team and board members at MRC. However, two members, Bob Butler of Waldoboro and Irene Belanger of the town of China, said they had no recollection of an FBI investigation in Allentown when QSJ called them over the weekend. There is no evidence Delta was ever a subject of the probe, only that it cooperated with the FBI.
MRC Director Michael Carroll affirmed that board members were told after his management team discovered the Allentown history while doing due diligence on the company. His team included two attorneys. He was not aware of Van Naarden’s previous history in selling chickens, nor was he aware of the returned check in Pennsylvania.
In 2004, while Van Naarden was CEO of Empire Kosher products, Trader Joe’s removed Empire products from its shelves, according to the Jewish Journal reported, “‘The Empire chicken people are no longer able to supply our needs,’ said Pat St. John, vice president of marketing for Trader Joe’s West Coast corporate office…. Managers at the Trader Joe’s in West Hills and West Los Angeles attributed the change to Empire short-weighting their products. One manager said that packages Empire marked as containing 3 pounds of chicken were found, when weighed at the store, to contain only 2.5 pounds.”
In 2005, Empire Kosher Poultry’s supplier, Alle Processing Corp., detected Listeria spp in its processing plant in Maspeth, N.Y. and was temporarily shut down by the USDA. Subsequently, Alle voluntarily recalled two Empire branded products — IQF Buffalo Style Wings and Fried Chicken Assorted Pieces — produced in Alle’s facility. Van Naarden left the company in 2006.
The MRC board is notoriously hands off. Members relied heavily on information provided by the previous operator of the plant, Coastal Resources, which repeatedly claimed it was solvent and even was adding new customers as late as April 2020. At its April 2020 board meeting, executives from Coastal’s parent company Fiberight said they expected to close on a $14.5 bridge loan “by the end of the week.” That closing never happened, Carroll said the bondholders, wary of the impact of the pandemic, decided against the bridge loan which forced the plant to close.
MDI has three different contracts with MRC. Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor have their own. Mount Desert, Tremont, Frenchboro, Cranberry Isles and Trenton comprise the Acadia Disposal District, whose chair, Tony Smith, MD public works director, did not return calls from QSJ.
Carey Donovan, who represents Tremont in the district, expressed concern about whether MRC will be able to avoid incineration. “Van Naardan stated clearly that he believes nothing should go to an incinerator, and yet it appears that incineration is his mainstay for dealing with trash,” Donovan said.
The MRC appears to be on fast track to close its new contracts with Delta. It signed a memorandum of understanding in secret in December and refused to disclose the name of the company. It invoked an exemption to the Maine Freedom of Access Law. It then introduced Delta in a “town hall” meeting Jan. 19 but has been selective about what information it discloses. Vallette and QSJ unearthed all the above information in less than a week.
MRC is a hurry to re-open the plant, saying Delta will operate the current technology and execute all the municipal contracts. But long term, Van Naarden said the technology will have to be replaced. Exactly what that entails is unclear.
Support Tony Smith’s Gofundme campaign for Murphy the dog
NORTHEAST HARBOR, Jan. 30, 2021 – WARNING! This is a three-hanky post.
I was at the end of a call with the loquacious Tony Smith when he lobbed a non-sequitar, “Yeah, I gotta take my dog to Annapolis for a hip replacement,” said the dog lover who spends his weekdays as public works director for the Town of Bar Harbor.
Whaaat! That’s probably not cheap, I averred, to which Tony replied, “You’re right.” That’s why he’s seeking donations to help with the cost. https://www.gofundme.com/f/murphys-hip?qid=aba34e0e23428963a9183e4b2f0a63a1
I’m of the opinion that some animal care centers exploit pet owners by performing unnecessary and expensive end-of-life procedures which often extends mortality for a few months. But the dog in this case is only two.
Tony adopted the rescue dog from an agency in Annapolis operated by “a wonderful person, Seville, and her family from Turkey.” Murphy is an Anatolian shepherd mix He was estimated to be 4 weeks old when he was rescued in the hills of northern Turkey in November 2019. “Wonderful volunteers in the area take it upon themselves to feed as many of the stray animals on a regular basis as they can,” Tony wrote on his Gofundme page. “In that area there are so many stray and abandoned dogs, it is nearly impossible to care for them all. Heavy snowfall and strong winds sometimes makes it impossible to drive to the dogs to feed them, but they try.”
Murphy was found with other dogs trying to survive in the deep snow and harsh conditions. “He was so small; was shivering and was having a hard time staying on the surface of the snow. Tony stated. “A very short video clip we were given by the rescuers taken by flashlight and cell phone shows him in the falling snow lifting one paw off the snow after the other trying to keep his legs from freezing.
“Ultimately, all of his legs were affected by the cold but, through the efforts of the rescuers, three of them survived just fine without having any problems. Sadly, his rear left hip was not functioning properly due to the freezing conditions he endured and, it was discovered that it was also dislocated,” Tony said.
Murphy was flown to the U.S. and even had his own passport. The surgery will repair a ball joint in his hip. At only 2-years-old, Murphy should give Tony many years of companionship. QSJ promised to help spread the word.
Turkey, particularly Istanbul, has a strong history of stray dogs.
In 2012, thousands of people marched in the streets of Istanbul and several other cities to stop the passage of an updated version of Turkey’s Animal Protection Law which would have allowed cities to capture and euthanize some of the strays that roam the streets unclaimed, but apparently not unloved. The estimates for the numbers of street dogs in Istanbul alone sway wildly from 70,000 to 150,000. No one knows exactly how many there are, but they are unavoidable. They seem to be everywhere, reported CNN.
Mark Twain couldn’t help noticing them when he visited Istanbul in 1897 and mentioned the pitiful condition of the strays in his travel book “Innocents Abroad.”