Monday, August 31, 2009

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The Hopkins Co Humane Society in KY sounds all right on their website. They offer low cost neuter, reasonable adoption fees which include neuter and they investigate cruelty.

Turns out though, they kill roughly 8 out of 10 pets that come through their doors. The community wants to work toward less killing and has mobilized at all levels to make that happen. But the HCHS President wants to maintain the status quo. She doesn't want volunteers helping out at the shelter because "they become too attached to the animals". Which would be a terrible quality to have in someone caring for pets because that attachment might foster some motivation to do something for the pets besides kill them. Of course there is no room at a "Humane Society" for something like that. In fact the shelter President is not at all concerned about killing pets or leaving kittens in urine filled bins overnight although she is concerned about pesky potential adopters and apparently makes it difficult for anyone to adopt a pet from her shelter.

I wonder how much longer this one lady will be allowed to dictate cruelty and death to the pets in her care. On the taxpayers' dime.

Hat Tip: For Your Entertainment

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Checking Up on TLAC

Another Day in the Death at Town Lake Animal Center in Austin:


Adoption: 16
DOA: 27
*slams on brakes*
Twenty-seven dead on arrival? Listed are 14 cats, 12 dogs and 1 "other". ??? Also: !!!

Euthanized: 35
  • 5 killed due to "Agg policy"
  • 22 due to "no pick"
  • 2 due to "rabies risk"
  • 2 due to "sick/injured"
  • 4 due to "suffering"


Adoption: 9
DOA: 3
Note: There is also 1 bird is listed as "died in kennel"

Euthanized: 32
  • 1 killed for being a kitten less than 4 weeks old
  • 12 killed due to "Agg policy"
  • 16 due to "no pick"
  • 1 due to "rabies risk"
  • 1 due to "sick/injured"
  • 1 due to "suffering"

Should I still keep hoping that the Committee who voted for major change in the killing policies at TLAC will have any real impact? It's hard to remain optimistic when I read stats like these. Because I can't help thinking these aren't "stats" so much as "pets".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Treats on the Internets

NYT Op-Ed on family farms vs. factory farms

This lady doesn't need animal cruelty charges, she needs mental health counseling

Mississippi animal control officer sounds like a pretty good guy

Lassie, Get Help has an interesting discussion going on

UC Davis study finds racehorses die more often due to injury on synthetic tracks vs. dirt

In PA, new law states only Vets can perform ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, debarking and c-sections

Proposed BSL in MA would require owners of litters from Pitbull type dogs to turn pups over to the city for killing

Eagles lose no sponsors after signing Vick

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

If anyone actually signs a pet up for this, please let us know how it goes

I am a sucker for this type of thing: Unusual Animal Friendships

Offspring of Boston Terror wants to find & eat your dog

Lost dog: I hate it when that happens

Could you produce 5 neighbors in favor of your dog in court?

Should be easy to hide: "Man with Britney Spears tattoo accused of stealing Chihuahua with pink earrings from gay bar"

Python in CA yard, another at Serbian ATM and still another in English woman's shopping bag (Papillon mix hero in that story)

It's August

If you live in SC, FL or any other place that has extreme Summer heat and humidity, you'll need to provide shade and water for your dog. Shade means an open air area in which shade is maintained throughout the day. The sun travels during the day so a shady part of the yard in the morning will not be shady in the afternoon. Water means fresh, cool water provided multiple times throughout the day. Cool water left in a bowl in the morning heats up. It also gets lapped up by thirsty dogs. It must be replenished throughout the day.

Without access to open air shade and cool water, your dog will die:

Police say Wombley, a year-old yellow Labrador retriever, was found dead Thursday evening on a second-floor balcony at a Tampa hotel.

The dog's owner had recently moved to Florida from South Carolina.

Police say the dog was left on the balcony late Thursday morning. Investigators found a dried-up water bowl, saliva and scratch marks were found near its body.

A car does not qualify as "open air shade". If you leave your dog in the car in the extreme Summer heat, your dog will die:

"A person can't crack the windows enough to cool down the dog without letting it out of the car. This is the worst case scenario and it only takes a few minutes before it becomes a matter of life and death."

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

* Heavy panting
* Dog begins huffing and puffing or gasping for air
* Dog begins to weave when it walks because of dizziness
* Dog lays down or collapses and can't get up
* Dog becomes unconscious

I personally know someone I would describe as a responsible dog owner who left 3 dogs in her vehicle with windows rolled down (dogs in wire crates) on an overcast Spring day in Seattle. She checked on them periodically and ultimately found 2 of the dogs dead from the heat with the third dog in distress. Not at all the typical circumstances that come to mind when we think of dogs dying in cars but it was a lesson for me and I'll never forget it.

When in doubt, err on the side of safety and leave your dog at home with access to open air shade and cool water.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Help Me Brainstorm!

We are out a fridge for the time being. My usual food routine for the dogs involves preparing batches in advance and storing them in the fridge/freezer. Since that won't be an option for now, I need some alternative suggestions. Please recommend any commercial food (specific brands) or homemade ideas you might have. All I've got so far is one that I already use about once a week which is canned new potatoes with canned fish. Anything that doesn't require refrigeration and is affordable by non-Bill Gates standards is most appreciated!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Note: I'm on a sort of mini-vacation, monitoring Emily's post surgery recovery (also using convenient excuse to avoid exercising - "I can't, my dog just had surgery") so not too much reading going on but here are some I wanted to share:

Theories on what caused a pack of dogs to kill a GA couple

ASPCA Pres Ed Sayres weighs in on Vick

Judge orders IL school to allow 5 year old's service dog in class

AVMA vs. HSUS on industrial farm animal production

Entertaining and useful website by chicken producer Foster Farms on the practice of "plumping" chicken with additives

Attention Shoppers: My friend Rochelle found this I heart Obama collar & leash

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's Going on with Pitbulls at NYC Shelters?

This sounds pretty good:
This year New York City Animal Care & Control has not had to euthanize any healthy animals because of space and officials say they would like to keep this going for the remainder of the year, if not indefinitely.

Note: This same info appears on NYC Animal Care & Control's own website.

But then a whistleblower provided some of the animal info from the shelter for the same time period surrounding the above news story. Apparently "New Hope" is code for "Killing" in these records:

My name is HANK. My animal ID # is A819916.
I am a male, brown and black am pit bull ter mix. 2 YR, 0 MO of age. SCAN NEGATIVE BRIGHT, ALERT, RESPONSIVE, HYDRATED PHYSICAL EXAM eent clear, mild dental staining, mild gingivitis h/l sounds wnl smi: bcs 5/9, amb x 4 hyper during exam but sits when asked FECAL FLOAT INCONCLUSIVE FECAL FLOAT NEGATIVE FOR PARASITES

Reason for New Hope: SPACE.

My name is WONGSTER. My animal ID # is A821269.
I am a male, black and white american staff mix. 1 YR, 6 MO of age. BAR; hematochezia; tenesmus A: Large bowel diarrhea/hematochezia P: metronidazole 250 mg: 1 1/2 tab BID x 5 days; panacur sid x 5 days; parvo test (unlikely positive) Exposed to sick ward, monitor for cough/nasal dc SCAN NEGATIVE BRIGHT, ALERT, RESPONSIVE, HYDRATED PHYSICAL EXAM Too tense and nervous Nosf

Reason for New Hope: SPACE.

My name is XENA. My animal ID # is A820324.
I am a spayed female, br brindle and white pit bull. 15 YR of age. Intake Date:
7/16/09 Reason for Surrender: OWNER SURRENDER/ LANDLORD ISSUES Pet Profile: Loves men, women, children and cats SHE IS A VERY SWEET DOG GOOD FOR A HOME THAT DOESNT HAVE A LOT GOING ON NO CONCERN by vet staff SAFER Test and Date Performed: 7/22/09 BEHAVIOR-MODERATE Stare:2.Pulls out three times, still body ears back,mouth closed Sensitivity:3.Pulls away from the touch ears back mouth closed Tag:3.Not fearful but unresponsive, pulls body weight back, does not approach when game ends Pinch:2.Quickly pulls out Pinch2:^ Food Aggression:1.Lifts head allows dish to be moved Toy aggression:1.No interest Rawhide aggression:^ Dog to dog:1.Approaches to investigate and turns away Volunteer Bios: N/A Advertised 7/23 Zip Code: 11385 Medical entry and behavior: BEHAVIOR AS PER MEDICAL-NO CONCERN scan neg barh amb x4 sociable and tolerance of handling umbilical hernia severe tarter and gingivitis, nuclear sclerosis over grown nails-trimmed possible heart murmur geriatric nsf QARH - BCS - 4/9; EENT - nuclear sclerosis, mild dental tartar Hr/Lung - regularly irregularly heart beat did not hear murmur w/synchronous pulses Integ - 1 cm diameter soft tissue mass on left prescapular region, 3cm ST mass on left thorax, 2cm mass on ventral abdomen, fatty deposits present on bilateral thorax MS - amb x 4, nsf GI - nonpainful/soft abdomen GU - nsf NS - nsf A: geriatric -Ventral ST mass r/o umbilical hernia vs neoplasia (benign vs. malignant) vs. infectious -ST masses Thorax and prescap - r/o lipoma vs other neoplasia P: recommend cardiology consult - monitor for lethargy, syncope, cough; FNA masses; +/- CBC/Chem/TXR for geriatric workup Weight:56.0LBS Additional notes: Advertised 7/26

Reason for New Hope: SPACE.

My name is JENIFER. My animal ID # is A820178.

I am a female, brown and white american staff mix. 2 YR, 0 MO of age. Dog tolerates handling and did not become aggressive towards the handler during the assessment. Dog growls while in the vicinity of other dogs. DOG AGGRESSION IS A BEHAVIOR THAT CAN BENIFIT FROM BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION AND/OR MANAGEMENT. Assessment items are scored from 1 - 5 ( least aggressive - most aggressive) Look; 1 - Dog leans forward or jumps up to lick the Assessor's face with tail wagging, ears back and eyes averted. Sensitivity: 1 - Dog leans into the Assessor, eyes soft or squinty, soft loose body, open mouth. Tag: 1 - Dog assumes play position and joins the game or indicates play with huffing, soft 'popping' of the body, etc. Dog might jump Assessor once play begins. Squeeze 1 & 2: 1 - Dog gently pulls back his paw. Dog may lick hand. Food: 1 - Dog lifts head and ceases eating when you reach to pull the bowl away or push him out. Toy: Dog takes toy away, keeps a firm hold. his body is between you and the toy, and he is loose and wiggly. No growling or stiffness. Rawhide: No interest Dog to Dog: 4- Dog approaches with stiff body, high tail and piloerection. Dog growls after prolonged exposure to helper dog. Initial exam Scan negative Barh Slight dental tartar Alopecia located on both front paw's forepaw area Has diarrhea,was parvo tested results:Negative Bring stool to medical sign for fecal float was placed on cage A litlle tense Nosf

Reason for New Hope: SPACE.

My name is MISSY ELI. My animal ID # is A821255.
I am a female, white and tan pit bull mix. 1 YR, 6 MO of age.

Reason for New Hope: BEHAVIOR.

My name is TYSON. My animal ID # is A820961.
I am a male, white and black pit bull mix. 3 YR of age.
sURENDERED 7/21 No pets allow Loves men,women, children, dogs WALKED TWICE A DAY. ONLY FED PEDIGREE DRY FOOD. EXTREMELY LOVING AND CARING ANIMAL. EXTREMELY HYPERACTIVE AS WELL. LOVES TO PLAY ALOT. Friendly by intake Mild by vet staff Questionable on SAFER below Look 1:Jumps up to the assessor while licking the assessors face with ears back and averted eyes Sensitivity 1:leans in to the assessor with soft relaxed body,open mouth ,ears back and wagging tail Tag 1 :Follows at the end of leash with soft body ,wagging tail,ears back and open relaxed mouth Squeeze 1 :Pulls paw away Squeeze 2 :Pulls paw away Food 1 :Calmly allows food to be moved follows the dish while soft in body Toy 1:No interest Rawhide 1:No interest Dog to dog 4 :Approaches the helper dog by rushing in with stiff body ,ears forward and growling Advertised to rescue groups

Reason for New Hope: BEHAVIOR.

I can't help noticing every one of these dogs is a Pitbull type. Does NYC Animal Care & Control kill other breeds as well or just Pitbulls? And why was the apparently inaccurate info given to the press about not killing for space when records seem to indicate that killing for space does occur, at least for Pitbulls?

Related Reading: Metro City Tails

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog Posting from Vick?

I don't know if this is actually Michael Vick's posting or an internet hoax but you can make your own judgment:

What I did was horrendous. Awful. Inhumane. And I've no excuses for my actions. It makes my heart hurt now to think about what I've done. And I'm gonna be real honest, it took a while for me to get to this place.

Sitting in a prison cell didn't make me feel remorse. It was meeting so many animal lovers, speaking with them and looking them in their eyes. Staring at them. Looking so deep into their eyes that I began to feel their pain. Allowing that pain to enter into my body is when I started to understand how bad it really was. I have been trying hard to connect with people who feel this pain,because for my whole life I was disconnected from the suffering of animals. And you might say, "come on Mike, how could you do those things to those dogs?" And you're right... I ask myself those questions every day. What kind of person does this? How does a human-being treat dogs or any animal with such pain and cruelty? And the hard part for me is the answer to these questions. Because the answer is ME. And I am trying so hard right now to become a better person, because who I was, I am ashamed of.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Treats on the Internets

In FL, pet horses being killed, possibly for food

Also in FL, from VIN News: Fla. clinic sees outbreak of hemorrhagic diarrhea in dogs

Anyone owning 5 (or more) cats or 3 (or more) dogs qualifies as a "kennel" in Camden Co, NC and needs to pay a licensing fee as such

Looking for a t-shirt?

I catch up on a lot of my dog news at KC Dog Blog's Weekly Roundup. This week's story about the WA grandmother who unintentionally set her dog up to bite her grandchild two days in a row caught my eye. Another example of the importance of owner education in dog bite prevention and the insignificance of breed.

Reminder: The list of Philadelphia Eagles sponsors and their contact info is here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

Not too many oddities this week that really struck my fancy...

Wedding party tuxedo savings

OK - what?

Crappy Taxidermy:
Q: Am I supposed to be scary?
A: I have no idea.

Cute alert: That's just ducky.

What is a Rape Rack?

Ever since Vick was signed to the Eagles, this blog has been deluged with Googlers trying to find out what a rape rack is and what it has to do with Michael Vick. I'm writing this brief post to answer those queries.

A rape rack (aka "rape stand" or "breeding stand") is a torture device used to force a bitch in heat to allow a male dog to breed her against her wishes. As a breeder, I have always believed "bitches know best" - that is, most bitches will mate willingly with most dogs and if my bitch ever refused a particular male, I would follow her lead. Mating is an instinctive act for dogs and therefore, if a female wants nothing to do with a certain male, I have to believe she may instinctively have a reason for it. And if I'm wrong in my thinking - so what? I'd still never force a bitch to be bred against her will. Luckily I've never encountered that problem.

The idea of justifying the use of a rape rack because it "protects the male" is hogwash. Normal dogs need no extreme "protection" during mating such as this evil device provides. And if a female is so aggressive she refuses all suitors, well obviously that is not normal and you wouldn't want to breed from her anyway.

According to published reports, authorities found a rape rack (among other things) on Michael Vick's property during the 2007 dogfighting raid.

Dignateh: i haz it

This is our Pot Bellied Beagle, Graham. She'll be 10 next month. There is no spot in this house that you have to walk more than 4 paces before running into one of her dog beds. None of our other dogs have dog beds. How did she manage this?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Charity Begins at Home

See now, this is funny.

Wayne Pacelle of HSUS says this about Vick's deal with the Philadelphia Eagles:
Michael Vick admits that what he did to dogs was cruel and barbaric, but now that he has served his time, he wants to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. He has pledged to make a long-term commitment to participate in our community-based outreach programs to steer inner-city youth away from dogfighting. At events with Michael in Atlanta and Chicago, we've seen him deliver a powerful message against animal cruelty. Like so many other major American cities, Philadelphia has a serious dogfighting problem, and groups like the Pennsylvania SPCA have excellent programs to combat dogfighting locally.

Vick commented today that he'd like to continue his animal welfare activities locally. But a local Philly news station reports this:

Fox 29 was there when the top leadership of the Pennsylvania SPCA tried to drive into the Novacare Complex on Friday morning.

The group wanted to attend the Michael Vick press conference and to kick-start a dialogue with Eagles management.

But they never got past the gate and security turned them away as the newest - and most controversial - Eagle made his press conference debut.


[...]SPCA leaders say they're dumbfounded no one from the Eagles contacted them before dropping the Vick bombshell.

Vick spoke at the presser today saying good sounding things about being a part of the solution, not part of the problem (just like it says in Pacelle's press release). My thoughts on redemption are complex but to simplify: If you truly wanted to do good and help dogs and demonstrate that you're a changed man, wouldn't you just, you know - do that?

For Those about to Boycott, We Salute You

Update, 8-15-09: The Eagles have apparently removed their list of corporate sponsors. Game on bitchez.

Original post:

Here is a clickable list of corporations who sponsor the Philadelphia Eagles. Take a moment to contact the ones you do business with and let them know why you'll no longer be supporting them.

Contact the Philadelphia Eagles directly here.

Hey HSUS - They're Gonna Let Squeaky Fromme Out, Can You Do Anything for Her?

Another coincidence of timing: Vick makes two closed-door appearances for HSUS which are taped for a 60 Minutes story this Sunday and he gets signed to the Eagles on Thursday night.

Michael Vick has many to thank for getting his old job back as NFL quarterback, not the least of which is HSUS:
But they [the Philadelphia Eagles] also understand that they did every bit of research they could to support their decision. They spoke extensively with Goodell. Reid spoke with Dungy. The team spoke with the president of the National Humane Society and everyone who had a voice in the outrage that surrounded Vick's involvement with dog fighting.
1. HSUS was hardly "outraged" that Vick killed Pitbulls. In fact, post rescue, HSUS advocated that all Vick's Pitbulls be killed, in keeping with their (now supposedly former) policy of death for all seized Pitbulls.

2. The Eagles didn't speak with everyone:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Name That Animal

(Cheaters: Answer is in the photo file name)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gosh, Lookit All the Dogfighting Raids

Post HSUS going through "the change", seems like Pitbulls are being rounded up faster than Obama can kill the elderly and disabled with his death panels. I guess that's just a coincidence. And the concurrent timing of HSUS's double super secret Michael Vick "I'm sorry I got caught dogfighting" motivational speeches to young people is another coincidence. If we watch the 60 Minutes show about Vick and HSUS, will the truth be revealed? Hint: Watch for code delivered via eye blinks.

80 Pitbulls Seized in IN Dogfighting Raids

The AP reports one man arrested in connection with the raids:

Authorities have seized about 80 pit bulls during raids at two southern Indiana sites suspected of breeding and training dogs for illegal fighting.

State police say dog carcasses and dog fighting paraphernalia were also seized when the Indiana Gaming Commission and other agencies executed search warrants Tuesday in Orange County.

Adam Parascandola of the Humane Society of the United States says many dogs had scars and marks consistent with fighting.

More info as I come across it...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SC Dogfighting Bust, 5 Pitbulls Seized

Seven people have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty and dogfighting in an alleged dogfighting operation in Sumter Co, SC:

While the pitbulls have been rescued from their life of dog fighting, investigators say it appears from their overall condition that they may not get a second lease on life.

"They're very skinny, you could see their ribs. They didn't live in good conditions,"says Sumter County Sheriff's Department Captain Allen Dailey.

Five pitbulls being used in what authorities say was an illegal dog fighting rind are in the custody of animal control. Investigators say a sixth dog died Monday.

I guess Sumter Co hasn't gotten the HSUS/Michael Vick "We've changed" memo. For the record, skinny can be fixed by a thing called feeding and it's not a valid reason to kill a dog. The dogs in the video do not appear emaciated to me.

Contact info for Sumter Co Sheriff's office is here. Hopefully HSUS has already contacted them to advise that bust dogs should be evaluated and sent to rescue if the owners have signed them over to the county. But if you don't want to count on HSUS, you might want to contact the Sheriff's office yourself.

NC "Puppy Mill Bill" Out for the Year

Good job North Carolinians:
Senate Bill 460 was delivered a final defeat for the year today when its sponsor, Sen. Don Davis, pulled the bill from consideration by the House Finance Committee.
This was a bad "legislation by numbers" dog breeding bill that HSUS tried to force on the people of NC. I'm glad it's off the table, at least for now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

You're Either With Us or You're Against Us

Life is full of grey. So is dog ownership. But for the sake of argument, I'll try to boil it down to simple, black and white terms:

If you have a dog as a pet and you take good care of him - providing food, water, shelter, exercise, discipline, affection, and veterinary care - I'm with you.

If you have a dog that you view primarily in terms of profit and loss, or a fight win record, or as a thing to kick around when you feel so inclined - I'm against you.

I personally believe there are lobbying groups out there who would like to see an end to dog ownership and are working to influence legislators to take incremental steps in that direction. Maybe that makes me crazy or wacky or silly and you don't want to sit next to me on the bus anymore. Too bad. Because remember: If you love your pet dog, I'm with you. I'm on you like white on rice and I'm not letting go. We won't agree on everything but we agree on the most important thing - we want the right to keep dogs as pets. I'm going to continue working to protect that right. And if I'm wrong about the animal rights lobbyists seeking an end to pet ownership - well, no harm done. Just another crazy lady on the blogosphere who loves her dogs.

Proving My Innocence

Pursuant to my post on dog non-abuse, I am taking my hypothetical scenario one step further and thinking about how I would prove to authorities (or a judge or whomever) that I was actually a good dog owner. I'm envisioning a scenario where I am raided by AC, I behave badly at the time (Heaven forfend! I know none of you would, but I might) and they find a list of "offenses" similar to what we discussed in the previous post on the topic. Here's a list off the top of my head, please chime in if you have ideas:
  • Veterinary Records - Although my vet records will reveal that I do not comply with all the recommendations made by my Vet, I believe they would adequately demonstrate a long term commitment to care of the dogs, including puppies.
  • Photos/Videos - I take a lot of photos of the dogs, usually outside, and those could serve to document the appearance of healthy dogs and clean yard over the long term.
  • Testimonials - I could request eyewitness testimonials regarding the care of our dogs from people who have been to our house and/or bought pups from us. I'm not sure how useful those would be because someone would have to actually sit down and read them which might be outside the realm of reasonable expectation.
  • Certificates - I could compile documentation of any achievements for which the dogs have earned recognition such as earning a Canine Good Citizen award.
  • Community Service - I might offer this blog as a means of demonstrating my volunteer commitment to the promotion of responsible dog ownership. I donate to my local no kill shelter as well although I have always declined getting a receipt for the donations. Maybe I should start accepting receipts and saving them.
What else would help convince someone I am not a (complete) loon, despite my less than desirable behavior during the raid and the supposed offenses of which I might be accused? How would you defend yourself if it ever became necessary?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner at Chez Dog

Yesterday I did some marathon dog food making (just a couple batches but I have a lot of dogs and I'm only a short distance runner) and wanted to share:

The first batch was a non-meat menu so I used a rice/squash/spinach base and added some chopped hard-boiled eggs and cottage cheese. I stirred in olive oil in the process.

For the second batch I used the same base and then did one of my classic "Hmm, what's in the back of the cupboard?" menus: Can of low salt wild rice & chicken soup, leftover chicken broth from the fridge, can of sardines in tomato sauce, two cans of chunk chicken breast and a can of Brandon Farms chicken.

And while I was dl'ing these pics from the camera, I found one Billy had snapped of Linus. He likes to roll in things (Linus I mean), and this one happens to be publishable:

Linus does not get along with other male dogs so we are hoping to find a single dog (or all girl) home for him. Besides rolling in things and fighting with other males, he also whines and barks. Contact me if interested! (He actually is a very good dog, maybe I shoulda said that first?)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shenanigans! I Call Shenanigans on you Vick/HSUS!

The AP is reporting that Vick showed up for work at an HSUS event today in Atlanta. But apparently you had to know the secret password to get in:
However, several members of the community were barred from entering the building. The human (sic) society also refused to allow The Associated Press to enter.
What's the HSUS trying to hide now? Are they so ashamed of hiring Michael Vick that they have to keep the press and others from covering it?

Pitbull Owner Testimonial

Anyone NOT cry listening to this story?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Confessions of a Dog Abuser

Some people might consider me guilty of cruelty if they knew only a few facts about me. I would hope, if they knew the full story about how I take care of my dogs, they would think I'm not at all abusive or cruel and in fact a responsible owner. But taken out of context - for example, if I got written up for some sort of violation, these things might sound really awful:

  • Sometimes I find mats on the dogs, especially in those oh-so-mattable tufts that fluff out the ears, and I don't take them out immediately.
  • I don't always scoop the yard as often as I should, especially in the Summer.
  • I rarely bathe my dogs. They roll in dirt and mud, lay in puddles, and do other dogly things. And still, they don't seem to need a bath to me.
  • I don't follow every single recommendation my Vet makes. I love her and I value her advice but I don't comply with every recommended vaccine, treatment, etc. (The same goes for my own Doctor, but that's another story!)
  • I don't take a bitch and her newborn litter of pups in to the Vet unless there is a serious problem.

So let's say someone showed up for a surprise "inspection" at my house when I hadn't recently scooped the yard because I was staying up around the clock to care for a large, healthy, newborn litter of pups who needed supplemental feedings. Maybe some of the dogs had found a mud puddle to play in and another dog had ear mats.

Here is my write-up of my abusive self, again taken out of context of the big picture:

The breeder had a litter of newborn pups lacking veterinary care, other dogs who were dirty and matted, the yard was unsanitary, and some of the dogs had been denied treatment recommended by a Vet.

Sounds pretty bad, no? And without the full context of how I care for my dogs, it might be easy for some to condemn me. But let me offer an alternate write-up:

The breeder had a large, healthy litter of newborn pups for whom she was preparing homemade puppy formula for supplemental feedings in order to reduce the drain on the bitch. This was a time consuming task, in addition to preparing homemade food for the adults, the whelping box cleaning and daily puppy care the breeder provided. Understandably, she hadn't scooped the yard recently although it was obvious the yard was generally in good condition. While some dogs had mud on them from a puddle they had been playing in, they appeared to be happy, healthy and in very good condition. The breeder explained that dematting the ears of one of the dogs was on her to-do list as soon as the pups were off bottle feedings. Daily records kept on each of the pups showed they were thriving and not in need of any veterinary care. The breeder explained she does not vaccinate her dogs yearly, even though her Vet recommends it, based upon the recommendations of other Vets who have published alternate vaccine schedules. She is highly concerned for the health and welfare of her dogs and utilizes many resources in determining how best to care for them.

Sort of paints a different picture, doesn't it?

I guess my point is that, although we know there are truly cruel and abusive dog owners in the world, I assume most owners are good people, doing what they think is best. We don't usually get to hear all the facts surrounding any particular case and therefore we are only getting a partial picture. If I can do a mock cruelty indictment on myself (when I actually believe I'm a good owner), it seems reasonable to me to think there may well be more to actual cruelty stories reported in the media. Unfortunately, we rarely get to hear both sides.

As an exercise, try indicting yourself on a cruelty complaint. It's interesting, rather humbling, and more than a little scary when you realize the implications.

HSUS: Vick Enablers

While many people are understandably distraught over the idea that someone in the NFL might give Michael Vick a job, it's worth mentioning that someone at HSUS did give Vick a job. And obtaining that position with HSUS was an important element in getting Vick reinstated to the NFL. Vick is set to play a role in the HSUS dogfighting campaign which is managed by another convicted felon, John Goodwin. Vick's history on killing Pitbulls is clear. So is Goodwin's. And neither Vick nor HSUS has ever publicly expressed remorse over their Pitbull killings. In a way, I guess you could say they were meant for each other.

My question is this: Will the general public hold HSUS accountable for giving Vick the job which, in part, enabled him to get reinstated to the NFL so he might get his old job back? Or will all the wrath be directed at whatever team signs him?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

NC: SB 460 Passes by One Senate Vote

SB 460 was passed by the state Senate in NC yesterday by a vote of 23 - 22. Since changes have been made in the bill after it left the House, I assume the bill has to go back to the House for their approval. North Carolina residents can find their Representatives here and urge them to vote NO on this HSUS sponsored "puppy mill bill".

BARC in Houston Still a Trainwreck

The chief Veterinarian and a Veterinary Technician for BARC are out:
The firing comes nearly two weeks after Mayor Bill White hired Gary Fusco to turn the agency around. While Fusco was hired to be a “change agent,” some council members have questioned the decision to hire a man with a background in the manufacturing industry.
BARC has been rocked in recent weeks by well-publicized images of emaciated animals in their care, the mistaken euthanasia of a family dog and the discovery of improperly-designed cages after a puppy died in a drain last month. The puppy was brought in July 23 with its pit bull-mix mother and two siblings and mistakenly placed in a cage meant for older animals, officials said at the time. The puppy slipped through the floor grating in the cage and fell into an open drain — about the width of a soda can, officials said.
Not to mention the sad death of Coltrane. I hope BARC can get things turned around.

Why the Numbers Game isn't a Game

Note: There is a story regarding the seizure of the Murder Hollow Bassets in Philadelphia circulating on message boards, e-mail lists and blogs. I have no way of knowing the full facts of the case or whether the post making the rounds is accurate. But to my mind, even if we totally discount it as fiction, the scenario is at least plausible which is what concerns me most. And since I just covered the topic of legislation by numbers yesterday, I thought I'd add some additional thoughts. Added: PSPCA has posted a bit about the seizure on their website. Added, 8-7-09: A blog at has posted on the case as well. Added, 8-8-09: Article at Philadelphia Daily News

As I have often said, legislation sponsored by HSUS and other animal rights lobbyists fails to take into account that number-of-dogs does not correlate to quality-of-care. There are good dog owners who keep more than the number of dogs HSUS tells lawmakers is ok. That number by the way, varies from state to state and even within states - so why do we need a number- of-dogs stipulation in legislation exactly? If we can't come up with a consistent number for the country to point at and shout "Bad owner!", how can we possibly place any stock in "X is too many for here but Y is too many there"? It makes no sense. Breeders have different setups. One might be perfectly outfitted to care for 15 dogs very well while another living right across the street may be ill equipped to care for 2 dogs. But they would both fall under the same numbers rule.

And while we're at it, warrantless searches and seizures of dogs, included in many of these HSUS sponsored bills, are prohibited by the US Constitution. I know there are some Constitutional law experts who own dogs and I hope one of them will step up and help the many dog owners who have had their dogs seized illegally or been coerced into surrendering them by crafty liars in fancy logo jackets.

I can guess what many of you are thinking: That's just paranoia and things like that don't happen to normal dog owners who take care of their dogs. Maybe you're right.

My view is that this is exactly why these laws are dangerous: They dress themselves up as "puppy mill cruelty" bills but effectively target most all dog breeders. They lull dog owners into thinking the laws would never be used against them because they are responsible owners. But once these extremists get a foot in the door, they will whittle away at the rights of dog breeders and owners "until there are none". From the city of Philadelphia:

Limits on animals are currently not based on size of property. At this time, a resident may keep 12 cats and/or dogs in a property. This Law is currently under review for an amendment to decrease this number. [emphasis=mine]
See what I'm saying? These laws aren't about the cruelty of puppy mills, although groups like HSUS like to solicit donations under that guise. They are, even if unintentionally, about driving dog breeders out of business - all breeders. And eventually putting an end to dog ownership. But hey, maybe I'm just a tin foil hat wearing freak. Maybe they won't come for your dogs. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Good post on dog breeding: Husbandry and Hypocrisy

SmartDogs looks at the connection between aggression and training our "furkids"

Free obedience training for Pitbulls in Chicago area

Humane Society of North Texas awarded nearly 500 dogs seized from local couple

City of Rock Hill, SC adopts dog chaining policy

Response to a dogfighting article featured in Texas Monthly

Denver city council member proposing changes to Pitbull ban

NC "Puppy Mill Bill" Set for Final Senate Vote Today

NC Senate Bill 460 is a "puppy mill bill" which HSUS played a key role in developing:

"We will soon introduce legislation that will help to crack down on the cruel puppy mill industry in our state." [said Amanda Arrington, North Carolina state director for The HSUS.]

That bill is set for a final vote today. If you are a NC resident, a list of your state Senators can be found here.

Included in the current version of the bill:
  • "Commercial breeder" means any person who owns or maintains 15 or more intact female dogs of breeding age and 30 or more puppies for the purpose of sale. Nothing in this Article shall apply to those kennels or establishments operated for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs.
  • "Commercial breeding operation" means the physical location or facility at which a commercial breeder breeds or maintains intact female dogs of breeding age and puppies.
  • Commercial breeders shall provide adequate veterinary care to the intact female dogs of breeding age and any puppies in their care and custody. An intact female dog of breeding age shall not be bred without an examination from a licensed veterinarian to determine that the dog is in suitable health for breeding.
  • Commercial breeding operations shall be subject to inspection by duly appointed employees of the Department unless otherwise requested by a local animal control officer and authorized by the Department. In conducting such inspections, the Department employee or local animal control officer may inspect the records of the commercial breeder, the premises where animals are bred and maintained, and any animal used in the breeding program or any puppies in their care and custody.
I interpret this to mean that a breeder with 30 puppies for sale who cares for dogs in her home is prohibited by law from making decisions on breeding bitches unless a Vet signs off on it. Further, the breeder is subject to warrantless searches of her home and inspection of adults and pups by whoever shows up to do the inspecting. I don't know about you but I don't allow visitors when I have pups, especially if they've had contact with other dogs. It's too great a risk to the health of the pups to my mind. And I prefer to make my own decisions on breeding bitches. Not that I wouldn't consider input from my Vet, but my Vet may or may not be a breeder and his opinion would not trump mine. As for warrantless searches of my home - put me down for "nuh-uh".

Commercial dog breeders are already regulated by the USDA. They've been falling down on the job for years but that is not an excuse to pile more intrusive laws on top of the already unenforced ones on the books. Let's get the USDA the funding, manpower and resources it needs to enforce the laws as they stand. After they get their feet under them, let's hear from them what tools they need to better insure humane care of dogs. Maybe laws will need to be strengthened, or more funding provided to enforcement, I don't know. But to my way of thinking, it's better to fully utilize what the government already has in place rather than add more laws, expense and burden to taxpayers. The idea that we can't enforce the commercial breeding laws we have now therefore we must add more laws just doesn't make sense to me.

We all want good quality care for dogs. I can't see how this bill accomplishes that. We are a humane society, not a police state. Let's work within the existing framework and see how things can be improved. I am all for progress but this bill is a giant step backwards to me.

Related: The Long Arm of HSUS in NC

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

Vibrating litter box scoop

Tossing around the old pigskin

Did you personally pack your suitcase?

Owner tries to bust Pitbull out of pound, gets caught despite having an accomplice and two-way radios

Cops skeptical of the old snakes-in-the-pants story (Swine flu excuse for drunk driving also questionable)

Vegas tiger teaches magicians how to disappear

What's for dinner?

Mosquitoes forced by scientists to do good

Monday, August 3, 2009

IA Councilman's "Vicious" Dog Stolen

If you've been following the story of Sioux City, IA Councilman Aaron Rochester, you know that he's been an advocate for banning Pitbulls and that his Lab recently bit someone. The councilman tried to appeal the ruling that the dog is "vicious" and must be killed under the law - cos you know, it's not fair if it happens to my dog - but was denied.

Well now:
A Sioux City councilman's dog that has been deemed vicious and could be euthanized is missing from an animal shelter.

Police say someone broke into the shelter Sunday afternoon and stole Jake, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, from an outdoor kennel. No other animals were taken.

Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick says there are no suspects as of Monday and the dog hasn't been found.
Yep, no suspects. And I bet there aren't going to BE any suspects either. Not now, not ever. Just sayin'.

400+ Seized Dogs Await Judgment

Article on the recent multi-state dogfighting bust:

Last week, specialists completed behavioral evaluations of the more than 400 dogs that are temporarily being held near St. Louis. After receiving recommendations from the Humane Society, expected later this month, federal judges will decide the fates of those dogs and the 39-and-counting puppies born since the raids.

The ASPCA's Randall Lockwood, who also analyzed pit bulls in the Vick case, said that most dogs from fighting operations go into foster homes or special sanctuaries for further care. Eventually, some dogs may be safe for the general public to adopt.

Lockwood said that usually, as in the Vick case, some especially sick or aggressive dogs must be euthanized.

Since none are being adopted out to the public straight away, what's the rush to kill? Couldn't we let them ALL live at least until they have a chance to get acclimated to their new routines and surroundings? I can't see any harm in that. If any dogs are killed based upon some pass/fail type evaluation, that does a disservice to the whole idea of evaluating dogs. Individual tests are not intended to be pass/fail - they are a guide to determining a future direction for each dog. Pass/Fail temperament tests are just an excuse to kill to my mind and we have enough of those excuses already. As for the "39-and-counting puppies" born since the seizures, I am assuming they are all guaranteed a chance for rescue. HSUS doesn't kill bust puppies anymore, right?

The article gives an overview of some other recent dogfighting busts as well:

At Wildside Kennels in North Carolina, authorities seized more than 100 of Faron's dogs. Many of the dogs were "significantly scarred" and at least one had a broken jaw.
Broken jaws are treatable, last I heard. And scarring is nothing in comparison to the pile of carcasses HSUS left after killing every last one of these dogs, including puppies still nursing from their dams.

But they don't mention that - they never do. So I will bring it up. Because dead dogs can't speak for themselves. And I won't forget.

HSUS on Twitter

HSUS recently presented a "Taking Action for Animals" (TAFA) Conference in VA. One thing I learned from following Tweets on the topic: 1000 lawyers donate their services to support HSUS.

From Michael Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Twitter name "mmarkarian":

Had a great time at #TAFA reception and Pro Bono Litigation Awards tonight. Thanks to all law firms who did amazing pro bono work for HSUS.

From Jennifer Fearing of HSUS, Twitter name "HumaneCA":
Appreciating the awesome work of the 1,000 pro bono attorneys who work to protect animals, supporting our litigation section. #TAFA

Imagine if we could get 1000 attorneys to donate their services defending the rights of pet owners against HSUS. Maybe the folks in IN who had their dogs seized by the Attorney General, sold to HSUS under a "do not disburse" order and then apparently disbursed by HSUS might have a chance to get their dogs back.

And on the subject of HSUS Tweets, this one inspired a post of thanks from Local Humane.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mr. Nobody Strikes Again

If you've ever had roommates, you know that dirty dishes pile up in the sink, all by themselves. That is, Mr. Nobody used them.

From Houston:
One moment, Brad Lovelace's beloved dog, Coltrane, was in his garage, getting a weekly bath. The next day, he was in the agonizing throes of a fatal case of heatstroke.

What happened in between has become a bitter dispute between Lovelace and the city of Houston. The Kingwood man says his dog, a Labrador-German shepherd mix, escaped his backyard for about 15 minutes after a meter reader left his fence gate open. In that time, Coltrane was picked up by police and turned over to animal control, where he was caged inside a truck for six or seven hours.

The next day Coltrane was vomiting blood and bile all over Lovelace's home. He spent the next two days at a private veterinary clinic, where he was euthanized.

The city denies any culpability in the heatstroke that killed Coltrane, but Lovelace and local animal activists are convinced that the dog's death is another sad episode in Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care.

Although the blame for Coltrane's death lies with solely Mr. Nobody, I can't help thinking that after everyone gets through denying responsibility, and the house is quiet, there's going to be a broken-hearted owner and an empty chair by the window. I'm sorry Mr. Nobody failed you Coltrane.