Not worth waiting for…

James Lech has finally released “Part 1” of his statement on the “incident” on Clifton beach. You can read it here, nestled neatly below an ad for yet another Pack Walk – this time in the Full Moon (rather you than me) – and a recipe for completely harmless Raw Cauliflower, Cashew and Chilli Mash.
That said, it’s probably not worth the effort of the clickthrough:

Learning is a Gift. Even when pain is your teacher.
Accidents are unfortunate, traumatic events that often have dire consequences. I have learned a hard lesson. Yet, I am not the first in my profession to be faced with this kind of challenge and I undertake to be more vigilant around such cases in the future. D has made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation process and has become a treasured pet and a valued member of my pack. I stand by my business ethic and rehabilitation practice as will be supported by the positive results and outcomes experienced by many dog owners and their pets, who have benefited from my assistance in South Africa and abroad over the past several years.

Unfortunately, due to this matter still being under official investigation that involves other parties, I am not yet at liberty to release documentation, reports and or specific details regarding the incident. Once the investigation has been completed and officially assessed, I shall then be given permission to publish material and information. We are working hard at fast tracking everything.

Meanwhile, Lech has been asked to remove more dodgy claims from his website:

Camps Bay “Dog Whisperer” James Lech has been instructed to remove “misleading, untruthful and deceitful” information from his website linking him to the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) and the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL).

Lech has been asked to remove claims that he is linked to both organisations. His website lists him as a “consultant and speaker to the AACL” and a “guest speaker at SPCA fundraising and education events”.

NSPCA spokeswoman Christine Kuch said the claims were false.

“Both the Animal Anti-Cruelty League and the National Council of SPCAs afforded Mr Lech the opportunity to substantiate the statements, which he has been unable to do. We have approached him to substantiate it, and if he cannot, then to remove the information. We have circulated it to all SPCAs, and there is no link or endorsement of Lech.”

And the Cape Times reports today that the dog which attacked toddler Meeka Riley Lackay is to be “privately euthanased” at Lech’s request. Sadly, it seems the dog cannot request the same fate for its owner, who shouldn’t have been walking it on the beach where it attacked the little Meeka in the first place.

No comment

15 days on from the incident and shamed “shaman” James Lech still hasn’t released his statement detailing his version of events when of the dogs he was walking illegally on Clifton beach attacked a two-year old girl.

A post on his blog from 20th January states:

We are still awaiting information from 3rd parties. It is important that we receive the correct and confirmed facts due to the wide spread speculation that has been occurring in the media.

Obviously, we can only speculate what “correct and confirmed facts” he’s waiting for, but we’re guessing that they will surely be something along the lines of “one of the dogs I was walking illegally on Clifton beach attacked a two-year old girl”.

Thankfully however, James has found time to organise another “Pack Walk” this weekend.

Life’s all about priorities, right James?

The Dangers of Raw Fennel & Almond Salad

Tune into James Lech’s blog today and there is a recipe for a Raw Fennel & Almond Salad. James, lest we forget, is not only “Africa’s #1 Dog Whisperer”, with powers that don’t include stopping his dogs from attacking young children, he also follows a vegan diet (as do his dogs).

While there’s plenty of evidence out there suggesting that James may be a fraud when it comes to his claims of canine control, I fail to see how following his recipe for a Raw Fennel & Almond Salad could possibly harm you (as long as you thoroughly wash all the ingredients first). I’d therefore like to suggest to James that he gives up on the dog stuff and instead concentrates on delivering us instructions for making tasty meat-free dishes. That way, no-one gets hurt.
Least of all a two year old girl playing on what should have been a dog free beach.

James Lech has been fined R1,500 for taking his dogs onto the beach that day, and a charge has been laid against him by the parents of the little girl involved. But James was still out and about on Saturday on that “Pack Walk” we mentioned in that last post. Let’s just be thankful that apparently this time there were no toddlers around to “witness the POWER of the PACK”.

James has promised us a public statement about the Clifton incident:

A public statement and interviews shall be available regarding the facts and comments concerning the incident. Currently documentation is being compiled with our advisors and should be ready within the week.

Hmm. How many lawyers does it take to spell “I’m sorry”?

We’ll share James’ public statement “and interviews” (?!?) when it’s released. And I can’t wait to hear his version of “the facts” on this attack. After all – the last time one of his dogs attacked a young girl, it seemed that his version of “the facts” didn’t quite match the CCTV version of “the facts”.

I saw the child running, coming around the right of my table, jumping over the dog while he was lying down and resting and accidentally stepping on it at the same time.

When told that the video footage showed otherwise, Lech responded:

I saw it with periphery vision because my head is tilted, correct.

This strange periphery vision may also account for James missing the “No Dogs” sign on Clifton Beach and also his not putting a disclaimer on his site stating that he is NOT endorsed by the “World’s Number One Dog Whisperer”, Cesar Millan, despite clearly being instructed to do so.

The good news is that fennel is reputed by many (including Chief Prawn Lance Armstrong) to contain many nutrients that may promote healthy eyes and good vision.

So like I suggested above, James: Fewer dogs, more salads.
Please. For the safety of all our children.

When rules are ignored…

I really don’t want this topic to become a theme for 2012. I thought we’d covered it enough in 2011.

Why do some people think that rules apply to other people and not to them?

Yes, we’ve seen CyclistsParking, Seatbelts, Cellphones, Whaleways – and now it’s dog owners. You only have to go walking in Tokai Forest  or the Green Belt or Newlands or (what’s left of) Cecilia Forest to see the contempt that the dog owners of Southern Suburbs have for rules on cleaning up after their animals. Putting it concisely, there’s shit everywhere. (Sorry Mum).

The recent case of the 2-year old girl attacked by a rottweiler on Clifton Beach earlier this week was both saddening and confusing, given that there is a ban on dogs on that beach at the time she was attacked. But if this report on iAfrica is to be believed, that rule apparently didn’t apply to dog owner James Lech and that’s why Meeka Riley spent four hours in an operating theatre yesterday.

Of course, there are other issues here as well – but the fact that the dog (one of three) was unleashed and the fact that even though Mr Lech is apparently regarded as one of the best known animal behavioural “specialists” in the country (more of that below) not withstanding, the little girl would not have been attacked by the dog if its owner hadn’t been ignoring the “no dogs” rule.

And now Mr Lech – the self-appointed “Dog Shaman” who, according to his website:

…is able to understand the communicate the information between the animal dog world and the human world. This understanding helps heal both psychological and physical problems in both dogs and humans.

Riiight. Sad then that this modern day Dr Doolittle seemingly couldn’t communicate the word “stop” to his dog.

But look, if you search deeply enough between the adverts for healing crystals and the like, you’ll learn that:

the methods he uses and abilities are proven through hard science and fact.

Neither of which he actually eludes to, but I’m sure he just ran out of time when writing it up. I’m sure those links to a whole host of peer-reviewed journals, demonstrating the proven powers of canine shamanism are just around the corner. Although, I’m told that he is a little busy right now.

Incidentally, James’ blog also includes a video on “How to walk 16 dogs… or just one” and news of a (now rather dangerous sounding) “Pack Walk” this weekend. However, if you want to go on the walk and “witness the power of the pack” *gulp*, the cost is R120 per person and before you… er… walk your dog, it must have passed a “physical exam” at the Gooddog Psychology & Physical Rehabilitation Clinic.

The physical exam involves a 30 min walk on the treadmill. The cost of this physical examination is R280.

Which is fair enough, because if you’re going to walk your dog, you need an “expert” to make sure your dog can walk. Kerching!

It sounds to me as if most of the stuff printed on James’ website could do with being scooped up, placed in a small plastic bag and deposited in a handily placed bin.

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: Of course, I should have mentioned that Lech and his Rottie have previous form.
(Thanks Jeremy)

UPDATE 2: Apparently, the main man in the whole international dog whispering thing is an American called Cesar Millan. I learnt this because I saw a photo of James Lech and Mr Millan while I was researching this. In fact, Cesar Millan is mentioned no fewer than 16 times on Lech’s blog, e.g.

I sometimes get criticisms from dog trainers and animal behaviorists that like to mis-diagnose and state that what I and Cesar Millan do is domination theory or negative to the dog and that we don’t believe in “reward” theory.

Of course, if you pop onto Cesar’s site, you can find James Lech’s names as well – right under the heading:

The Following Sites, Products, Individuals, and events are NOT Affiliated with Cesar Millan, Inc. or Dog Whisperer

Where we are also asked to note that:

Please be aware that Cesar takes photographs with many of his fans at seminars and elsewhere. A photograph does not confirm that the trainer has worked with Cesar.


 If you are a trainer posting a photograph taken with Cesar at a seminar or a similar event on your website, we ask that you post a disclaimer clearly stating that you have no official affiliation with Cesar Millan or the Dog Whisperer program.

Not the recent evidence suggests in any way that James Lech is a fraud, but I couldn’t find that disclaimer anywhere on James’ site, but perhaps I was sidetracked by the irony that James’ dogs are fed a vegan diet.

You are welcome to make your own vegan dog food, but I would rather recommend purchasing a pre-made mixture from us…


So no meat at all. Except on the beach on Wednesday, of course.