An Argentine mastiff named Max chomped out a piece of history last week when he bit 9News morning anchor Kyle Dyer on the lip and was subsequently quarantined by animal-control officials. Max had already made headlines the day before after a firefighter rescued him from a nearly frozen pond in Lakewood he'd fallen into while chasing a coyote.
But while Max may be the most infamous dog in this state's history, that history is plenty long in the tooth. Here are some of Colorado's other famous — and infamous — canine celebrities.
In 2007, a volunteer at the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter took a full-grown basset hound behind the building for a little PB&J party — hold the J. Gustavo Castanon was arrested and charged with being Dog's Worst Friend. An employee had spotted the half-naked 34-year-old Denver man using peanut butter to coax poor Skippy (not his real name) into giving him a blow job. Castanon pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to two years' probation.
Spork, a ten-year-old miniature dachshund, wreaked havoc in 2009 when he bit a veterinary tech in the face at the Jasper Animal Hospital in Lafayette. The dog was labeled "vicious" and could have been sentenced to euthanasia. The case made national news, with a Save Spork Facebook page collecting tens of thousands of followers. Spork, his owners and Lafayette authorities eventually reached an agreement whereby the dog was allowed to go free if he behaved for a six-month period.
Have your heard about Harbor, a black-and-tan coonhound in Boulder? Well, he's probably heard you — with his ridiculously long ears. Last year, Harbor won the Guinness World Records title for "longest ears on a living dog." Eight-year-old Harbor has a left ear that is 12.25 inches long and a right ear that sounds off at 13.5 inches.
Pit bulls are public enemy number one in Denver, where the breed is specifically banned. It's a law that makes half the people happy (those who can do without pit bulls, which are often in the news for vicious attacks on humans or other dogs) and half the people fighting mad (those who believe the breed is mischaracterized and that Denver's law is arbitrary, unfair, wasteful and generally Draconian). The issue rears its dog-eared head every few months and will likely do so again in 2012, since Occupit Denver reports that it has collected half the signatures to get a breed-ban repeal on the ballot.
Occupy Denver became the first of the leaderless Occupy Wall Street groups across the country to elect a leader: a border collie mix named Shelby. Meant to make a statement, the dog's election inspired considerable debate within the overly sincere movement — including Twitter pages and fake Twitter pages. But so far, Governor John Hickenlooper has not acquiesced to Shelby's request for an interview.
Pirate, a dog owned by Denver resident Stoney Jackson — a prominent figure in the 1950s-era quiz-show scandals — ran for president in 1984 and again in 1992 on a platform of keeping the White House from going to the dogs. Both Pirate and Jackson have since passed on, but their quest lives on.
Duane "Dog" Chapman
Denver's own bail-bondsman-turned-reality TV star has had his share of fame and foibles over the years. But that hasn't stopped the tenacious bounty hunter, who has garnered lots of fans and also stirred up plenty of trouble while filming his A&E show in Breckenridge (a bar fight), Colorado Springs (a shooting) and in Grand Junction, where Mesa County sheriff Stan Hilkey bared his canines and accused Dog of dropping off a pepper-sprayed fugitive without first decontaminating him.