The Soho Weekly News, February 5, 1976

Dog Cathouse Still Thrives in Village?

By Maxwell Firbank

The "Cathouse" (SWN Jan 22, 76) is still open for business. And proprietor Joey Skaggs seems confident that his peculiar catering service will continue to flourish, in spite of the apparent indiffernece to the health and mental stability of both its stable of canine cuties and the horny hounds that make up its clientele. Skaggs was unrepentent when he spoke to this reporter, gloating over the money he expected to make and amused at the apparent ineptness of the ASPCA's alleged investigation. I spoke to Skaggs in a small village bistro. He was wearing dark galsses and what appeared to be a false moustache and chainsmoked throughout the interview.

SWN: How did you first get the idea for the Cathouse?

JS: Well there are a lot of dogs in the city, and many of them aren't getting any. The Cathouse fills a need in a dog-oriented community. I must admit though that I first envisioned it as an L.A.-type operation. We would have blended in perfectly with the Institute of Oral Sex and all those other places on the Strip.

SWN: Is it true you're planning to open more Cathouses?

JS: Yes, we're hoping to open a second place uptown which will have an artificial environment so that the dogs feel more at ease. There'll be Astroturf, sandboxes, plastic hydrants, etc.. We've also had bumperstickers printed: "Get a Little Tail For Your Dog."

SWN: Have you had any problems with the ASPCA or any other city agencies?

JS: Well, the ASPCA did send two guys down here in their monkey suits, who were supposedly looking for me, but they were, to say the least, very inept. (Laughter.) You could say though that right now we're "underground" until I am certain of my legal situation. My attorney says there's ntohing to worry about, but still I don't want the ASPCA coming down here all the time and harassing me and/or my clients.

SWN: What kind of people have been answering the ads?

JS: We've had a whole cross-section of people wanting to participate: wealthy Upper East Side types, Soho people, in fact a lot of Soho people, plus we get a lot of people calling up who are just curious, and a few crank calls, and calls from irate ASPCA supporters. (Laughs.)

SWN: So there are a lot of people who would spend $50 on their dog?

JS: Well for a lot of them it's more of a novelty. They would have paid any price.

SWN: Just to see their dogs fuck or for more noble reasons?

JS: A mixture of both I think. Some of them were getting off on it, others were genuine doglovers who wanted to see their mutts have a good time. Which is not always the case, since some of the clients (i.e. male dogs) had a hard time responding to the situation, and were unable to perform. But we do guarantee complete satisfaction.

SWN: How?

JS: Well we have a take-out service now. So if a dog selects a bitch he likes but can't perform, we'll bring the bitch to the dog's home, his own territory, where he's more secure. The normal procedure is for the dog to choose his partner, after which the bitch is injected with Estradial, and then when the customer brings the dog back, his bitch is ready. This way it also enables us to "recycle" the bitch. She can service other dogs too. So we don't have to shoot up all of our stable at one time.

SWN: We were told by a veterinary surgeon that excessive use of Estradial is dangeorus - How do you feel about that?

JS: According to our vet, Dr. Parker, we don't use it in heavy enough doses for it to be dangerous to the dogs. It doesn't seem to interfere with their normal cycle or have any adverse reaction on them (This is not the opinion of other NYC veterinary surgeons. -Ed.)

SWN: What about your vet's credentials? He's not licensed in the state of New York.

JS: No I think he's licensed in Baltimore or somewhere. I have complete confidence in Doctor Parker.

SWN: Where do the female doggie hookers come from?

JS: Well, we're not dognappers, as some people have suggested. We're very ethical about the ladies we have. They're loaned to us by donors, who are paid a commission depending on the services the dog performs for us. The owners are sort of dog pimps in a way. And they seem to get a lot of vicarious pleasure out of wtaching their dogs get fucked, just like the peole who bring their dogs to get laid. It's very interesting really.

SWN: And do most of your customers also request photographs of the dogs in action?

JS: Oh, definitely. In fact a lot of them bring their own cameras.

SWN: By the way, is that a false moustrache?

JS: Certainly not! (Tugs at moustache.)

SWN: Can you tell us something about your background, with or without dogs?

JS: Well, not too much really. I used to breed boar hounds in Jersey. In the Pine Barrens. So I know enough about dogs to qualify me to run a place like this.

SWN: Well, what about hygiene, the possibility of the dogs transmitting diseases like bruchellosis etc.?

JS: My establishment is cleaner than most whorehouses! Apart from Doctor Parker, we also have experienced handlers who will bathe the dog before and after, if the owner requests it.

SWN: So you don't feel that there are going to be problems about running a place like the Cathouse?

JS: No. Obviously, from the response we've gotten so far, we're catering to a definite need here. And we're also going to make a lot of money from it.

SWN: Thank you Mr. Skaggs.

Despite the fact that the Cathouse's first ad appeared in the Village Voice three weeks ago, and the establishement is flourishing, city agencies seem reluctant to make any real move against it, even though it would seen at least to be liable under Statute 353 of the Cruelty To Animals Act ("general cruetly"). The Bureau of Animal Affairs (Tel. 556-7185): The Environmental Protection Agency (488-5123) and the Department of Consumer Affairs (566-5456) have all so far shown very little interest in the Cathouse, even though according to a reliable source (an animal lover who is trying to initiate some form of legal action against the Cathouse) they have been told about Skaggs' operation on numerous occasions. It's amazing that such a place can operate so freely in a city that must contain at least a million friends of man's best friend. Could this be a Rabidophobe conspiracy? Skaggs' blatantly arrogant attitude might be an accurate reflection on the apparent inability of any of these city agencies to take action against him and his bizarre establishment. At this writing it seems that he will continue without harassment, and the "Cathouse" will become just another weird scene in a decadent town.


© 1997 Joey Skaggs