Ghost of Christmas Past

If you’ve visited animal shelters between here and the SF Bay Area, you may have noticed the name George Whittell on a building. It’s on the SPCA’s Education Center, in fact. The made for Hollywood story behind this would be a perfect vehicle for Bradley Cooper or Gary Oldman.

George Whittell Jr. died in a Redwood City hospital at the age of 87 in 1969. He left three quarters of his $40 million estate to the National Audubon Society, the Defenders of Wildlife and a number of animal hospital and pet cemeteries. Of the remainder, $6 million was bequeathed to the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to “relieve the suffering and pain of animals.” The problem was that no such organization with that exact name existed.

Naturally, the ambiguously worded will created a field day for animal groups. More than 50 staked claim to the $6 million remainder, some with stronger cases than others. The humane society located near Mr. Whittell’s Woodside estate had a good case, as did the San Francisco SPCA, since he owned property there and belonged to many social organizations. He purchased several acres on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe and may have had landholdings in Carmel.

(As a New Year’s resolution, you might review your own estate plans to ensure your wishes are honored and not left to courts to figure out).

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SPCA Urges Community to Be Cautious about Door to Door Solicitation

The SPCA for Monterey County has received multiple reports of people soliciting door to door asking for donations to “the humane society”. The solicitors lead residents to believe they are fundraising for the local SPCA. These fundraisers are not being performed on behalf of the SPCA, and it appears they are fraudulent.

The two most recent reports received by the SPCA occurred this Monday and Tuesday and were from La Salle Avenue as well as Waring Street between Ord Grove and Military Avenue in Seaside. This same issue with a similar description of the solicitors took place in September on Prescott Avenue in Monterey and Surf Avenue in Pacific Grove, and in South Salinas in November. Residents reported the solicitors as demanding and aggressive, most recently knocking on doors at 8:00 and 9:00 in the evening.

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Pretty Paper, Pretty Ribbons, Ugly Sweaters

Ugly sweaters have jumped the shark. Now that sweaters are specifically designed and made to impress at ugly sweater contests, that goes against the spirit.  I mean, it started as a simple idea where people would pull out their ugly sweater that wasn’t designed to look ugly. It just was. That was the beauty (or ugliness) of it.

For decades, animal shelters placed a moratorium on adoptions in the days leading up to Christmas and would forbid people from adopting pets as gifts to protect them from being sent back, just like ugly sweaters that get returned in the days after Christmas.

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Picture Perfect

As they say, a photo’s worth a thousand words. To me, this photo is worth much more, but I’ve kept it to a tidy 567. Hey, we’re all busy this time of year. Busy decorating homes, addressing holiday cards, and shopping.

Our neighborhood is holding a holiday lights decorating contest; $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.  My 8-year-old pleaded “Go big, Dad!” He doesn’t have a great sense of money yet and I don’t have the heart to tell him I already spent the equivalent of the first-place dough on extension cords. My wife asked if I knew what I was doing with all the cords and multi-pronged outlets snaked around the garage and front yard. I said yes with Clark W. Griswold confidence, but I’m also holding my breath when anyone plugs-in a hair dryer.

Two custom, almost life-sized gingerbread men (people?) we made for our front yard could push us into contention. Why buy inflatables, when you can spend far more time jigsawing, sanding, painting and sealing plywood? One of the cookie cutter figures needed minor surgery after a button eyeball I attached with glue slid halfway down his face, making him look more like a deformed Halloween decoration. The eye is screwed back where it belongs. We’re looking good now, ready to be judged.

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The SPCA Offers $1,000 Reward in Abandoned Dog Case

The SPCA for Monterey County is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who abandoned a dog in Monterey today.

The terrier mix was found by a local resident inside a taped-up diaper box at 900 Cass Street. He is approximately one or two years old and matted, dirty, and dehydrated.

The dog, named Linus by the SPCA, was immediately examined by a veterinarian and is now resting comfortably with clean water, fresh food, and cozy bedding.

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