Shelter rescues artwork

Animal Control Officer Henry Casteneda looks at a steel sculpture of a Great Dane that was rescued from a San Francisco park before it was to be destroyed. Its new home is the San Martin Animal Shelter.

The San Martin Animal Shelter rescues animals before they are
about to be destroyed, but the shelter’s most recent addition isn’t
of the furry variety.
SAN MARTIN – The San Martin Animal Shelter rescues animals before they are about to be destroyed, but the shelter’s most recent addition isn’t of the furry variety. It is an 8-foot tall, 300-pound steel sculpture of a dog standing at attention in the parking lot, gazing toward U.S. 101.

“I think it has enormous eye appeal. You never know, there’s a lid for every pot. Someone might come by who likes that dog as much as one of our other dogs,” said shelter worker Sue Padgett.

The massive statue was headed for the scrap heap after artist Ken Farkash set it up in San Francisco’s South Park without a permit. The parks department, not appreciative of a 300-pound rusting steel Great Dane appearing overnight in a public park, ordered Farkash to either remove the statue or be billed for its destruction.

The San Martin Animal Shelter’s Animal Control Program Manager Phil Jewett saved it.

“Apparently Los Altos Park was interested in it. … Menlo Park was also interested in it,” Jewett said. “It’s art, and people are attracted by art.”

At least that’s what Jewett hopes. Part of the reason he says he bought the piece is to attract people from U.S. 101 that see it while commuting to and from San Jose.

“My opinion is that the shelter is a community resource, not just a holding tank for animals,” Jewett said.

With the sculpture moved into its new home, only one detail remains: a name. Apparently, no one at the animal shelter was satisfied with the original name, “Jacques,” and so a contest was begun to name the dog.

A box on the receptionist’s counter has been set up to receive suggestions for names from visitors. Some of the current suggestions include “Rusty,” “Rin Tin Tin,” “Beefcake” and “Murgatroyd.”

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