Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

I always take spiders outside because I believe in karma - and because of this.

Not to be outdone, a sparrow may have seen a spider in his house too.

Animal control in WA: We don't do emus.

In a bush outside the press briefing room at the White House - a new family.

Pig owner says, “I just got them because they were so interesting to look at.”

Home Depot in Arkansas gets free pest control.

Right whale run over by federal ship out to protect it.

Your hourly dose of Swine Flu hysteria. Or not.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shelter Killing: Cruel to be Kind?

Nathan Winograd talks about one of the hurdles for No Kill: burned out rescuers who have witnessed so much animal abuse they come to feel that death is a kind and sensible option for the victims:
What makes this point of view especially disturbing is the illogical leap it causes people to make from a false assumption (animals are suffering in overwhelming numbers) to a violent conclusion: the idea that mass killing is acceptable, indeed desirable. Because even if the first assumption were true (it is not), the conclusion simply does not follow. There are many, many possibilities in between to combat it—education, adoption, redemption, sanctuary, rescue, rehabilitation—that are ignored simply because the notion that killing is the “logical” outcome has dominated the sheltering dialogue for so long and so completely. It is regarded as acceptable and inevitable even though it the most extreme, unnecessary, and inhumane of many possible responses.
In the end, their argument comes down to the false notion that there are fates worse than death. And, sadly, too many people who in rescue work have adopted this point of view, even though it is patently false on its face, all the more because it incorrectly assumes there are only two choices available: killing at the pound or killing at the hands of abusers or on the streets. Working hard to end the scourge of abuse and neglect—and to punish the abusers—is not mutually exclusive with saving the lives of the innocent victims. In fact, the moral imperative to do one goes hand in hand with the other.
No one is suggesting that shelters leave animals to their abusers or that we adopt animals out to them. Everyone agrees that abuse is terrible and something no animal should be made or allowed to endure. Of course, they must be rescued from these horrible fates. But once rescued and taken into protective care from former abusers, the question becomes do we find them homes, or do we allow them to become victims yet again by killing them? Why the leap to arguing that because they experienced abuse in the past, they should be killed now? Or that all the other animals entering shelters should be killed? It’s illogical.

Thank you Nathan for writing on this important topic. I reiterate my position on euthanasia: it should be performed by a Veterinarian using the gentlest method modern medicine allows to end the suffering of a medically hopeless pet. Killing unevaluated, abused dogs seized in dogfighting cases makes a mockery of the idea of "rescue". Killing unevaluated shelter pets to make space for more unevaluated pets who will be scheduled for killing shortly thereafter is a cruel cycle of insanity.

A recent news story hits close to home. The Lee Co animal shelter in SC has space for 35 dogs. The shelter has killed 100 dogs in the past 30 days. They are asking for food donations. How many in the community will be eager to come forward and offer support knowing that the food they donate will likely be a last meal for a dog on death row? I see a missed opportunity for community involvement had the shelter called in the media to appeal for food and homes while those 100 dogs were still alive. To my mind, people are much more likely to pitch in when the goal is to save pets. Even now, while making an appeal for donations, the shelter could and should make public a commitment to rehome the pets in their care, not to perpetuate the cycle of killing for space.

We all get burned out but killing is never the solution. There's no shame in asking for help when you need it. No one can do everything, but each of us can do a little something. Find your nearest no kill shelter here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Philadelphia Weekly investigates disease, death and misery for pets at the local shelter

If you've been trying to keep up with the dizzying back and forth of FDA's Nutro (non) investigation, good luck. My question: If the FDA is not investigating Nutro, why the heck not?

A succinct take on why the word "owner" is important when it comes to pets

Chained dogs and BB guns - what could possibly go wrong?

Hunters not happy with Limbaugh's support for HSUS

Wounded seal appears to have been used as handy backdrop in this outtake from AR documentary

haha - Source of Swine Flu

Monday, April 27, 2009

Op-Ed Calls for Reversal of FL Ban on BSL

An editorial (with poll) in the Orlando Sentinel starts out like this:

Spike is gone, mauled to death earlier this month by a pit bull on the loose.

The little Dachshund was the latest casualty of an out-of-control breed whose irresponsible owners are letting their animals terrorize dogs and people alike.

It's all downhill from there.

The piece goes on to say that because BSL is prohibited in FL, nothing can be done to protect people from dangerous dogs. And that Pitbull advocates don't post stories about Pitbull bites, only the nicey-nice stories.

Wrong, wrong and wrong-o-mundo.

There's no such thing as monsters and no such thing as "an out-of-control breed" of dog. Some individual dogs of all breeds bite, for various reasons. But most dogs don't bite. Some owners are irresponsible - they may own any breed of dog, including Dachshunds for example. But most owners are well intentioned people who, if they aren't already behaving responsibly, may need a hand up in the form of education and community support. Making low/no cost neuter surgery accessible to all pet owners who want it is just one way the community can make a difference. And the idea that nothing can be done to protect the public from dangerous dogs unless BSL is passed is utterly false. Non breed specific legislation regarding dangerous dogs is already on the books in many areas.

I'm a Pitbull advocate and I post stories about bites in addition to the hero dog and other positive stories. Some people don't like that. But we can always learn something from tragedy and every opportunity to educate is important. I don't blame the breed, I look at the backstory and try to figure out what went wrong. Too often, bite incidents could have been prevented by something as simple as not leaving a child unattended with a dog or keeping a dog confined. These are basic tenets of responsible dog ownership and yet the need for education is apparent. So I don't shy away from those. On the other hand, I don't fall for every "Pitbull Mauling Rah-Rah-Rah!" headline that makes its way on to the internet. We have seen time and again that the dog in question is in fact not a Pitbull, that there was no mauling, etc. while bite incidents involving other breeds get little media coverage.

As for who is terrorizing who, I'd say irresponsible journalism and wrong-headed thinking are partly to blame for perpetuating the myths (and ratings grab) surrounding Pitbulls. Everyone is entitled to his opinion but fear mongering and discrimination have no place in our communities. We are a no kill nation of pet lovers and a humane society. Join us.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dinner at Chez Dog

On the menu: beef heart (sliced into big chunks), rice, celery, yellow squash and parsley. Add a splash of olive oil and some Calcium and serve.

Don't Worry About Hurting My Feelings

I've been around the block. And I love intelligent, respectful discussion and debate. I also love humor, snark and lawling. But I hate rulez. So I'm not going to make any. Instead, we're going to have words:

A. If you don't like this blog, please feel absolutely welcome to leave. There's the door.

B. If someone is posting my blog on an e-mail list or forum which you are a member of and you don't like it, feel free to contact the list/forum owner. *I* am not the one posting it there.

C. If you do not actually read the posts to figure out what they say but just want to complain about what you think they might say, you are just blowing smoke. Refer to A.

D. If you are a scumbag dogfighter, you will find no friend here. I would put you in jail myself if I could and find your poor dogs some decent owners who don't have their heads so far up their asses they need windows in their stomachs just to see where they are going.

Summary: This is my teeny corner of the internet where I can speak my mind, pin up my Johnny Depp posters and turn up "Moon River" really loud. Visitors welcome. Cowards and ding-dongs, not so much.

That is all.

Indianapolis Proposal Punishes Pitbulls and Low Income Owners

There has been all sorts of controversy surrounding the profiling of Pitbulls in Indianapolis under a proposed ordinance which targets the breed for mandatory neuter, among other things. The Indy Star breaks down the proposal as follows:
» Require pit bull owners to spay or neuter their dogs.
» Prohibit residents from owning more than two pit bulls more than 8 weeks old.
» Require pit bull owners to register their dogs with the city.
» Allow the city to revoke an owner's pit bull permit if that owner mistreated the dog.
» Allow the city to require any dog it declared dangerous -- usually for attacking a person or animal -- to be muzzled in public.
» Allow the city to require any owner who mistreats a dog to purchase liability insurance.
» Fine the owner of any dog running loose that is not spayed or neutered.
» Restrict the ways owners can chain their dogs.

In a misguided attempt to justify a bad proposal, the article continues:
An Indianapolis Star review of dog bite data for 2008 revealed that pit bull bites soared 33 percent from the previous year and were three times higher than in 2006. Pit bulls also account for more bites and more severe bites than any other breed. Animal control officials say they often find pit bulls in the hands of neglectful owners who view them as a status symbol or, worse, train them to fight.

I suggest the Star provide its dog bite data in a complete form, including who identified the breeds involved, how many incidents were investigated, and how the severity of the bites was determined. While I may take AC at their word that they "often" find Pitbulls owned by people who neglect or fight them, I would be interested to know how "often" they find them living with responsible owners. Maybe AC doesn't have any idea how many Pitbulls are well cared for pets because they have no reason to encounter those situations. I don't know but it is irresponsible to report only one side of the story.

As for the proposed ordinance, I see it as not only discriminatory toward Pitbulls but also toward low income owners. Will the city provide low/no cost neuter services to those in need? If not, I can imagine a good many people would be unable to pay for neuter surgery as well as the cost of complying with the chaining provision and whatever the registration fee might be.

What will happen to owners and rescues who have more than 2 Pitbulls? They will apparently have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to rehome. If quality homes can not be found in time, presumably the city will seize the dogs. More Pitbulls at the pound. Great.

The proposal will appear on the agenda at the May 4 City County Council meeting, but will not be discussed until subsequent committee meetings. During those meetings, council members will lay out a procedure for accepting public input.
Watch this space.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

APHS Pitbull Policy: No Evaluation, No Adoption, Just Kill

How many dumbass ideas can you fit into one short article? A Texas TV news site goes for broke:

To keep animal attacks down, Amarillo Panhandle Humane Society (APHS) is euthanizing all pit bulls at the shelter if their families do not claim them in 72 hours.

ProNews 7 learned pit bulls are just "not eligible" for adoption to new families.

Humane society officials said they're a "problem breed" and they have the numbers to back it up. Since October, they’ve recorded 51 bites from pit bulls.


"If they're going to continue to be irresponsible, then maybe limiting the population will be a good thing," said Shannon Barlow of Amarillo Animal Control.

The article provides the "numbers to back it up". And I call SHENANIGANS on those numbers! Who ID'd the dogs involved in the bites? The overwhelming majority of bites were by "all other dogs" - what breeds were they? These stats are being reported by the people KILLING dogs with no known bite history! The only thing these dogs are "guilty" of is getting picked up the the local "Humane Society". Anyone else getting the stench of rat?

And where does a public servant get off pulling this Mother Hen crap? I suspect the community she's paid to serve would not support her "You're all bad people so I'm going to kill these dogs" philosophy. And does the 72 hour hold for stray Pitbulls apply to all strays or do non-Pits get held for longer?

APHS, please get out of the sheltering business already and take your mindless Pitbull killers with you. We are the real humane society. Join us.

Lack of Responsible Dog Ownership Contributes to Bite

A 10 year old boy was bitten by a loose Pitbull in Sumter, SC.
Two 3-year-old pit bulls a male and a female apparently got out of a fenced-in pen and came through a backyard path from a North Milton Street home.
The female was seized by the Sumter Police Department's Animal Control Unit and is being quarantined for 30 days.

I hate to read about kids getting bitten. It can be a physically and psychologically traumatic incident that plagues the kid for years. Whenever possible, I like to look at the details of the attack to see what can be learned. In this case, I didn't learn anything new, but rather got sucked into a WTF vortex:
“The dog was in the sewage behind the house, and then we (he and Wise) were standing in the yard talking about why the dog was in the sewage, and the dogs came running after us but mainly me,” Tobias [the victim] recounted[.]

Dog in sewage. m'kaaaaaaay.
The white pit bull later identified as the male, called “Big,” by his owner, Anthony Hayes tried to get at his neck, Tobias said, and that's when he was knocked over and the female pit bull, “Beauty,” bit his leg and didn't let go.

The dog's name is "Big". Is that really a NAME or does the guy have a Brittany named "Medium", a Pomeranian called "Small" and a Great Dane known fondly as "Extra Large"? Something is not right here.

Hayes, 30, said the dog is pregnant, which might be a reason it attacked. Both dogs were kept in the house until recently, when they got to be too large to stay inside. Hayes said either one or both of the dogs dug a hole to escape their fenced-in enclosure, which is partially covered with blue tarps to keep out bad weather.
“Once she has the puppies, I'm probably going to get rid of her. I don't need the drama or anything else happening,” Hayes said.

Item: Puppies reach their adult size long before they are 3 years old - years before. So what is this nonsense about they just recently got too large to live indoors anymore? Did the house shrink?

Item: Dogs dig. Is this new information to any dog owners out there? If you leave dogs in a pen for any length of time, they're going to dig. Especially if they are bored.

Item: Unspayed females get pregnant if they are made to live in pens with unneutered males. But since the cow is out the barn now, what exactly is the plan for raising and finding good homes for the dam and pups? Is there a plan? Was there ever? Whelping the litter in an outside pen with a male dog isn't the plan, right?

Oh Calgon, take me away!

We need education and community outreach to promote responsible dog ownership, especially in poor, rural areas. Time and again we hear about kids getting bitten or being killed in preventable situations that never should have developed. I know some people choose to ignore personal responsibility and 'you can lead a horse to water' and all that. But if we at least got the horse to the water, it might spare a tragedy.

Save Dale - Don't Balk!

My supa-clever blogger friendy Heather posted recently about a li'l chicken she has on her farm named Dale. Please read the delightfully entertaining comments in her post to learn about raising chickens and also about the grassroots movement to keep Dale out the crockpot.

Today Heather has thrown down the gauntlet and issued a challenge (or an ultimatum, if you're looking at it through chicken-colored-glasses):
If NESR [National English Shepherd Rescue] receives checks and paypal donations totaling the amount of my one-ton feed order by June 30, Dale McNugget will earn a permanent sinecure among the laying hens here. I'll keep his picture on the blog

I will have the total on the feed order in a couple of weeks, but we are looking at between $ 210 and $250.

Contributions must be marked Montana Rescue -- SAVE DALE.

Otherwise -- coq a vin.

OK peeps (haha), let's do this thing. Whether you want to save a chicken from the pot or you want to support the many dogs in English Shepherd Rescue or you just want to hand Heather a feathery beatdown, dig into your Paypal account and see if you can come up with a little donation. Remember to mark your donation "Montana Rescue -- SAVE DALE".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

'Scuse me Mrs. Kangaroo, I think you dropped something

Trap-Neuter-Release is good for more than feral cats

File under "What's the world coming to?": Bald eagle thug

A bus driver in Germany rescued a frog but her employer warns her to never let it happen again

Scooby-Doo wannabes in the UK can enter a look alike contest

Beagle has her own style of playing dead on Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks

Toy pet related: My Little Pony gets customized

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pitbulls Fly the Unfriendly Skies

There's been a lot of buzz over a new airline that exclusively flies pets called Pet Airways. But apparently some pets are flown only by special arrangement, which the customer wouldn't know unless they downloaded and read the Contract of Carriage (pdf) from the website:
The following shipments shall be acceptable for carriage by Carrier only upon Advance Arrangements:

(D) Shipments of the following breeds of dog: Pit Bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Saffordshire (sic) Bull Terrier, Presa Canario.
I wondered exactly what these "advance arrangements" were so I contacted the airline to inquire but so far, no response. I was hoping their answer might shed some light on why these special arrangements were required for just these particular breeds which are often the victims of breed profiling. Owners of these breeds may face extra challenges in trying to rent a home, obtain home insurance, or even keep their pets after someone else's dog bites someone in the community. It seems they won't catch a break on Pet Airways either which is too bad since the company's business idea is a good one.

If Pet Airways responds to my inquiry, I will update the post.

Bringing up from the comments, from EmilyS, 4-24:
according to a friend, PA has tweeted ""there are red carpets awaiting pit bulls 2 & we have revised our Contract of Carriage as we do not discriminate at Pet Airways"

I looked at their website and indeed, the offending part of the contract has been removed.


Biscuits for everyone!

The section naming the bully breeds has been replaced by:
(D) Shipments of pets with past aggressive behavior.

That sounds like it would even apply to my 10# mixed breed "Emily" who bites (she would have gotten a free pass under the previous language). So too bad Emily, you won't get to go on any flight crew eating binges anytime soon, hehe.

SC Red Cross Shelters Won't Allow Pets of Fire Evacuees

Thousands of people have been evacuated due to wildfires in the Myrtle Beach area of SC. The Red Cross has set up shelters but, apparently learning nothing from Katrina, they don't take pets:
Pets are not allowed in the Red Cross shelters, however, arrangements are being made with Horry County Humane Society to bring in a mobile trailer with individual cages to house pets.

It's only April but already too hot to leave pets in the car:

Several residents headed to the North Myrtle Beach Fitness and Aquatic Center with their pets in tow, but left that shelter after learning they couldn't keep their pets there.

``There wasn't anyone left when they told us we couldn't have animals,'' said Sharon Slater of North Myrtle Beach.

Many residents are keeping their pets in their vehicle or walking them outside The House of Blues.

I am in the midlands (not near the fires) of SC but if you have been evacuated and need assistance with your pets, please contact me. I will try to help in any way I can.

This post will be updated if I come across additional news on the shelter situation.

UPDATE: Various messages on Twitter about places to stay that accept pets. Also, Google maps on affected areas.

"You've got a super dog"

A shop in VA Beach has a resident dog - a one year old Pitbull named Rico. On Sunday, two armed men entered the store (presumably to rob it) and shot Rico in the head. Despite his wound, Rico acted on the threat and protected his humans, allowing them to escape:
“I know for a fact he saved our lives,” said Chuck Smellinger, 34, one of the shop’s owners. “It was amazing, because I’ve never seen him act out aggressively.”

“The vet said, 'You’ve got a super dog,’” said owner Christopher Selby, 31, who adopted Rico a few weeks ago from his previous owner, who couldn’t care for him anymore.

Rico’s heroic act speaks well for pit bulls, especially because he didn’t attack first, Smellinger said.

“Anyone who has a pit bull and doesn’t fight it will tell you they’re the smartest, coolest dogs,” Selby said. “It’s 100 percent the image and the owner and the socialization and how they’re raised.”

Rico will make an appearance at Saturday’s fundraiser [to help cover vet bills], sporting a sparkling “bling-bling” collar, Selby said. “He’ll be treated like a hero for the rest of his life.”

All the bling you can handle for the rest of your days Rico! And let's hope they catch the cowards who brandished guns in the store and shot the hero dog.

Greenville Co, SC: 2 Roaming Pitbulls Attack

If you can stand all the typos, a SC TV station site has a story on 2 Pitbulls whose owner was "out of town" when they got loose yesterday. The dogs bit a kid, killed another dog who was in his own fenced-in yard and then turned on police officers who shot them both to death. Obviously we don't have all the facts here - namely, who was responsible for the dogs during the owner's absence and how did they get loose? But not letting an absence of facts (or spellcheck) deter them on their mission o' stupidity, the station has a poll on whether Pitbulls should be illegal smack-dab in the middle of their homepage. Sensationalism, anyone?

I say again: breed bans do not solve the problem of irresponsible owners. Nor do breed bans address the fact that any dog can bite, although it's important to note that most dogs don't. Is it possible for MSM to engage the community in a reasonable debate on responsible dog ownership and forgo the whole Pitbull-maulings-get-ratings mentality? If not, I guess it's up to us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Leona Helmsley's money is being doled out to various charities. Among the pet-related recipients: ASPCA, Canine Companions for Independence, Dogs for the Deaf, and Puppies Behind Bars.

An owner reminisces about a senior Pitbull she adopted from a shelter.

The owner of a PA Pitbull who bit an unattended kid after whelping a litter is allegedly letting the dog roam (again).

FDA is investigating the many reports of illness and death associated with Nutro pet foods over the past two years. ADDED: Nutro denies. UPDATE #2: Oh my. In a classic move, now FDA denies.

EPA is investigating a large number of adverse reactions reported with the use of spot-on flea and tick products such as Frontline Plus.

Two members of John Goodwin's alma mater ALF have been indicted on felony charges for targeting UCLA researchers.

Congress is holding a hearing on HR 669 on Thursday, April 23. Act now.

Kim Campbell Thornton has an article on home prepared pet feeding - and I am quothed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Defining the Goals - My Wish List

I have been thinking about what my hopes are for the pet community I belong to and enjoy so much. I know I can't do everything, but I can do something. Defining my personal goals and beliefs helps me organize my thoughts and move forward on my actions. Although I call this a "Wish List", I do believe each of these goals is achievable - real world, in our lifetime, it-could-start-today-if-we-all-worked-hard achievable. So here is my list:

  • No shelter animal will be killed solely on the basis of its breed, its status as an abused pet or for population control.
  • Every shelter pet will receive a fair evaluation by at least one qualified individual.
  • Any dog deemed "dangerous" will receive an individual evaluation by a behaviorist, the results of which will be duly considered in determining the most humane outcome.
  • Euthanasia will be used to end suffering of pets deemed medically hopeless by a Veterinarian.
  • Euthanasia will be performed only by a Veterinarian, using the gentlest method modern medicine has to offer - currently, sedation followed by intravenous injection.
  • Shelters will keep accurate, detailed records which will be accessible to the public.
  • No laws will be enacted which require the forfeiture of a pet due to breed, reproductive status, or unreasonable burdens which the owner could not bear.
  • All pet breeders will be ethical and responsible in word and deed.
  • All pet owners will provide appropriate care for the life of their pets unless unforeseen circumstances prevent that, in which case they will responsibly rehome the pet.
  • In cruelty cases involving the mentally ill, provisions will be made to allow for mental health treatment of the abuser. Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine if circumstances exist which might allow for the person to own a pet in future, under close supervision by family, friends and authorities.
  • Pet food companies will manufacture their products with quality ingredients using NRC guidelines and feeding trials, test their food with transparency to consumers, label with COOL and advertise honestly.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will raise funds and/or lobby for legislation with complete and easily accessible transparency to the public.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will first, do no harm.

Yeah, there are challenges. I know. To name a few:

  • How do we fund the advancement of these goals?
  • How do we define the terms so that we are all on the same page (or at least reading from the same book)?
  • How do we legally enforce the mandates while maintaining a balance with our individual rights as American citizens?
  • How do we educate and assist pet owners in remote areas with high poverty levels?

I don't have all the answers. I have ideas though - and a blog! So I got that goin' for me.

I would love to read your personal wish list for the pet community. I'm sure there are important things I left off mine. I consider it a work in progress.

21 Polo Horses Die before Match

The polo team favored to win the U.S. Open tournament in Florida had 21 of its horses die suddenly on Sunday. The team has now withdrawn from competition and an investigation into the horses' deaths is underway:

Officials believe that the "very rapid onset of sickness and death" points to toxins or a drug reaction and also allows them to rule out other possibilities.

"At this time, there is no evidence that these horses were affected with an infectious or contagious disease, as there are no other horses affected at this time," according to Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesman Terence McElroy.

Officials are continuing to conduct tests, and Florida agriculture scientists are performing necropsies on the animals.

Pending test results, there is some speculation as to foul play:

Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian at the New York Racing Association and a 19-year veterinarian, said Monday that she suspected a tainted substance was injected into the horses.

"[It was] something that was administered for it to work in a short amount of time and have an animal succumb that quickly," Kunz said. "My thought is that something was injected, because it would have to affect the central nervous system."


Anabolic steroids are not likely to have caused the deaths, either, Kunz said.

"It takes at least five days for [anabolic steroids] to really work, and the effects aren't real obvious at first," she said. "Most of the time, [anabolic steroids] are used to build up their muscularity."

UPDATE, 4-23: Pharmaceutical error apparently caused the death of the horses

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vick Dogs on ESPN Tomorrow Night

The show E:60 on ESPN will air a program about the Vick dogs tomorrow night. They posted an "additional content" vid here.

Tidbits from Monday Reading

The case of a VA man originally sentenced for selling Pitbull fighting videos whose conviction was reversed on appeal will be heard this fall by the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court will consider reviving a federal law banning the sale of images of animal cruelty. A federal appeals court said the law illegally restricts this form of free speech.
For you SCOTUS watchers:

The case is U.S. v. Stevens, 08-769.


The city of Baltimore must have ZERO crime:

Animal Control and police officers from Baltimore’s Southern District set up a sting operation in Riverside Park on March 29th to catch dog owners violating the law.

"The law" being referred to is a leash/scoop law.  The "sting operation" presumably has something to do with the amount of revenue generated by each fine:

First-time offenders are being hit with $1,000 fines.

The city council is expected to consider lowering that fine to $250.


Good post on The Poodle and Dog Blog about one of the myths perpetuated by HSUS and other groups:

The Humane Society of the United States repeatedly states that 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred dogs.


Unless a dog comes into a shelter holding his AKC pedigree in his teeth, there is no way anyone can tell for sure if the dog is purebred. The truth is that there is no way to know how many purebred dogs are held in shelters for prolonged periods, but common sense should tell us it is nowhere near one-fourth of them.

As I commented there, all you have to do to figure out whether 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred is to visit one (or ten, or ninety-four).  Don't get me wrong, I love my shelter mutt and she won't be the last in our home by any means.  But for owners who have done their research and decided to get a purebred dog, a shelter is unlikely to fulfill their needs.  And that doesn't make them bad owners.  It just makes them people who cared enough to research and make an informed decision before getting a dog.  (Like the Obama family.)  I call those types of people good owners.

For those who want a dog that looks similar to a certain breed or who just want a nice dog, check your area shelters and rescue groups!  You never know who you might meet. 

Baby Animal Photos

6 month old Red Panda:

Newborn Rhino:

A 9-month-old female Golden Snub-nosed monkey:

In case you thought all baby animals were cute, here is a 4-week-old southern three banded armadillo eating a banana off a zookeeper's hand:

A newborn male Propitheque (a type of lemur):

Bonus: The kind of thing I never get bored of watching: Eaglet cams

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Moses Lake, WA Gleeful about BSL Victims in Local Shelter

The city of Moses Lake, WA enacted BSL on January 1st, 2009. In order for residents to keep their Pitbulls, Rottweilers or Presa Canarios, they must pay a $250 registration fee, neuter and microchip the pet, buy $200,000 worth of insurance in case the dog bites, and confine to the pet to an enclosed structure.

Why this sucks:
  1. Most Pitbulls, Rottweilers and Presa Canarios - and most dogs of any breed or mix - don't bite. Dogs that do bite may be any breed or mix. Forcing certain owners to purchase a costly insurance policy without any evidence that their dogs are high risk for a bite claim is unfair. The only true means of determining any dog's potential for human aggression is an individual evaluation by a qualified behaviorist. The idea that Pitbulls are high risk biters is perpetuated by lazy media in this country who squeal for joy when they get to put "Pitbull" and "maul" in a headline. Stories about attacks caused by other breeds and mixes are largely under-reported.
  2. Neuter and microchipping are decisions best made after consideration of the individual pet's circumstances by the owner and his Vet. Further, unless the city of Moses Lake is offering low/no cost neuter and microchipping to owners affected by this law, how are people supposed to pay for it on such short notice?
  3. Offhand I would guess that no one owns a Presa Canario in the city of Moses Lake (since they are an uncommon breed) but I bet there are some other dogs (purebreds and mixes) not affected by this law who are high risk for human aggression incidents. How is the public interest being served by ignoring those other (assumed on my part) "hazardous dogs"?

So how are things going after the first quarter of the year under the new law?

Of the 161 dogs impounded or surrendered by their owners from Jan. 1 through March 31, 50 dogs were pit bulls, two were rottweilers and no presa canarios were sent to the shelter.

City Manager Joe Gavinski told the council the information provides a different perspective on the effectiveness of the ordinance. Although few are registered with the city, many people are relinquishing their animals, he said.

Congratulations Mr. Gavinski. You've forced families to give up pets without any evidence those individual dogs were high risk for biting. You must be so proud. Has the city killed them all already or are some still languishing on your shelter's Death Row? Thank you for revealing the true face of BSL: Ignorance, Intolerance, and Cruelty.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

20 Pitbulls Seized in Henrico Co, VA Bust

From the Richmond-Times Dispatch:

Twenty-one pit bulls, one of which was dead, were found in the rear of a home, said Henrico police Lt. A.J. Scott. Animal-protection officers took four injured dogs to receive veterinary treatment and the rest to the county animal shelter.

[David W.] Robinson, who was arraigned in Henrico General District Court yesterday, has been charged with two counts each of cruelty to animals and promoting or engaging in animal fighting, both Class 1 misdemeanors. A trial is scheduled for June 9.

Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. confirmed yesterday that Robinson has worked as a deputy sheriff since March 2003. [emphasis added]

This represents another good opportunity for the HSUS, with its vast resources, to reach out to local law enforcement and the county shelter to offer education on the importance of evaluating dogs individually and to inquire if any assistance is needed in housing the dogs humanely while they are being held as evidence.

Treats on the Internets

Stuff to read and look at...

Oklahoma Veterinarian believes HSUS cruelty story was "a hoax designed to expand the political and fundraising agenda of Humane Society of the United States in Oklahoma".

If you like owning pets and haven't heard about HR 669 yet, better fix that.

Alaska's state House passes bill to outlaw bestiality.

People food, table scraps, rah-rah-rah!

Kittycat would like some breakfast please.

Lily the Pitbull flushes out and chases down robbery suspect.

Blitz the Pitbull does not put up with violence against women, yo.

Camp Lejeune becomes latest military base to ban Pitbulls
and other breeds with "dominant traits of aggression."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Limbaugh Does Dogfighting PSA for HSUS

HSUS has a new PSA on dogfighting featuring Rush Limbaugh:
In just one day recently in Georgia, peace officers and experts from the Humane Society swept in and busted two dogfighting operations...
Really? How "recently" was this and how many dogs were seized (I'm assuming more than a few in two dogfighting operations)? I haven't heard a thing about any recent Georgia dogfighting busts except the one in Wilkes Co Georgia last month. In any case, I'm hoping the HSUS is assisting law enforcement and animal control with getting the seized dogs humane care and individual evaluations. I'll be looking out for additional news on this front.

Also from the PSA:
There's no such thing as the other side of the story when it comes to dogfighting.
Yeah I guess the HSUS would like us to think that. Unfortunately there are many dogs seized from HSUS-led dogfighting busts whose fates remain unknown. And many others whose fates we do know. Sadly the "other side of the story" is what HSUS has done to the victims of these dogfighting cases. Supposedly that's changing which is why I am eager to hear how HSUS is helping the seized dogs sitting in animal control facilities right now. Why no reports on this activity from anyone?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let's Play Oddball

Good news - your dog doesn't have a huge tumor in his belly!

Kittycat with underwear fetish may get pet psychic

Man and teeny dog climb tree to escape coyote

13 finches stuffed in hair curlers found by airport security (Disappointment alert: The guy wasn't WEARING the finch impregnated curlers, he had them in a carry-on bag)

FL toddler takes a stroll to gator infested canal while his babysitter sleeps on toilet

Domestic dispute brings police who find dog taped to fridge: The fledgling dog-arts-n-crafts-er explained:
' I know this looks bad. We were going to get rid of him anyway. We usually don't do this.'
Oh well, ok then.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AKC Throws a Crumb to Mutts

From the AKC:
Today, we are delighted to tell you that AKC can now act even more broadly and effectively as the dog's champion. Our Board of Directors has voted unanimously to proceed with a program for mixed breed dogs.

Soooooooounds good, but I always like to know the details. AKC provides a pdf of the mixed breed program so you can read the specifics for yourself. I'll give you my breakdown:

  • Mixed breed dog owners get to pay $35 to register their dog and then they get a number AND they get to be BFFs with the AKC - wowza!
  • Registered mixes are eligible to compete in AKC Agility, Obedience and Rally events. No mention of hunt tests for retriever mixes or lure coursing for hound mixes or any other performance events. But at least they get the Obedience classes. Maybe.
  • Mixes can not compete at any AKC show which has conformation classes. That means all-breed shows and breed/group specialties are out - even if they are holding obedience classes anyway. No room at the inn.
  • Further, a club doesn't have to offer classes for mixes. It's up to each club to decide if they want to participate in the program. (Presumably some clubs might not want mutts poo'ing on their show grounds in the same spot the purebreds are poo'ing - ewwwww.)
  • If a club does offer mixed breed classes, the mixes have to sit at the back of the bus and wait for the purebreds to run. Then the mutts get their turn in their "Special Ed" classes. And just in case that doesn't make the owner feel special enough, their dog's titles will contain a distinct designation indicating the dog is a mutt and didn't compete against purebreds to earn the title. AKC uses the phrase "similar (but separate)" to describe the Special titles. ("Separate but equal" was already taken.)

So, um - yay mutt owners? Keep your $35 checks on standby though cos the fun doesn't start until October 1st. That'll give the snooty patooties 6 months to get the counseling they'll need to deal with the possibility that some mixed breed dog might be sucking up the same oxygen at an obedience trial.

ADDED: See a good post at Underdogged from the perspective of someone who competes in AKC and non-AKC obedience events. Terrierman shares his take on the whole scheme here.

Breed Bias in Home Insurance

Dear Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Labs, Goldens and friends,

Welcome aboard the breed discrimination bus!

Insurance companies are in the business of making money. One of the ways they do that is by minimizing their risks in writing a policy. Some insurance companies consider how likely the homeowner might be to file a claim for injury caused by a dog. So instead of having a qualified behaviorist evaluate each dog as an individual - the only true (albeit costly) means of assessing a dog's potential for human aggression - they rely on various other sources for their information:

Where are insurance companies getting their lists of what they perceive to be "aggressive" dogs? Without knowing, it's difficult for home- and dog owners to discern which breeds are acceptable and which aren't.

As it turns out, there's no standard list insurance companies follow, but dogs can factor in when an insurer is reviewing your new customer application. And it's not just the breeds typically thought of as aggressive, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds.


"The real problem is that there is so much conflicting information (about aggressive breeds), that you don't know what to believe," says Donna Popow, senior director of knowledge resources for the Insurance Institute of America, a nonprofit offering insurance education in Malvern, Pa. "Any dog will bite, given the right set of circumstances."

True, but most dogs don't bite. And fear of having to pay out on dog bite claims is an overhyped bit of hysteria to my mind, used by more than just insurance companies in advocating discrimination based on a dog's physical apprearance.

So what can a dog owner in need of home insurance do?

Before telling your insurance company that you have what they may consider an aggressive dog, [Ledy] Van Kavage, of the Best Friends Animal Society, suggests you have some coverage lined up with another insurance company. Insurance companies differ on breeds they deem aggressive and some go by which breeds in your state have bitten the most.

Van Kavage also cautions that when you own a mixed-breed dog, don't offer your insurance company a guess on what the predominant breed in the mix is. "It's impossible to guess correctly what the breed is unless you have a DNA test done," Van Kavage says.

And I guess you definitely would not want to say you have a Golden-Pit-Chiweenie mix.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HSUS on Bobama


The Humane Society's Pacelle acknowledged that the Obamas never flat-out promised to get a dog from a pound or rescue group.
Admitting a fact as truth FTW - yay!

And the society has kind words for Obama on its Web site: "Thanks, Mr. President, for giving a second-chance dog a forever home," it says.

"He's in a gray area," Pacelle said of Bo. "But I will say that many animal advocates are disappointed that he (Obama) didn't go to a shelter or breed rescue group, partly because he set that expectation and because so many activists are focused on trying to reduce the number of animals euthanized at shelters,[...]
Those would be "activists" who don't work for the HSUS I guess?

[...]and there's no better person to make the case to the American public that you can get a great dog from a shelter than the president."
Dude, really? It's true I look to the President for guidance on issues like why we need to send our troops overseas, how the new tax laws will impact our economy, etc. But he never claimed to be a dog expert and I certainly wouldn't consider him a source for guidance on how to get a dog any more than I would check what kind of socks he wears before I go to the dollar store to get me some new ones.

No, I think if I had to name someone who was in an excellent position to make the case to America on the joy of adopting a shelter dog, I might say perhaps someone who runs the frikkin' Humane Society of the United States! But apparently THAT GUY thinks the President should do HIS job (in his spare time, when he's not writing memos on his Leader of the Free World stationery). Dang, talk about buck passing. I say, let the President make decisions on how best to run the country and take the task of shelter dog promotion off his honey-do list. That'll be good. You know, one less thing.

The group later removed its congratulatory message and replaced it with: "First Dog Unveiled. Concerns about impact on shelters, demand for breed as Bo makes his debut."
[insert Debbie Downer sound effect] Hello again old friend Truthiness. Short trip, eh?

Treats on the Internets

Nathan Winograd speaks his mind, as always, on HSUS and more

KC Dog Blog's current post on puppy mills led me to an older post offering ideas on how commercial breeders can be regulated.  Interesting discussion.

Patricia McConnell on reading canine body language at the dog park

Marion Nestle pokes at pig study

Obama Dog Mania:

Interview with Obama pup breeder at Pet Connection

Lassie, Get Help quashes the Obama puppy naysayers

Retrieverman: “Obama should have adopted” and other things whiners say

Obamas DID get a rescue dog, in a way


Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama Dog - Say What?

In the flurry of reporting surrounding the arrival of a new dog for the Obama family, I have come across multiple references to a shelter donation being made by the Obamas.  Exactly where the donation is going is a bit puzzling.

Lynn Sweet is reporting it's "a Humane Society".

Dogtime says it's "the Humane Society" (with link to HSUS site)

CNN has confirmed that President Obama and the first lady will make a donation to the Washington D.C. Humane Society.

I think CNN is referring to the Washington Humane Society. They have a blog but it hasn't been updated since April 9 (before the Obama dog story broke).  Since the HSUS doesn't operate any shelters for pets and Washington Humane Society does, I'm thinking it's probably the latter who will receive the donation.

HSUS doesn't say anything about a donation but inexplicably, they write:
Families, like the Obamas, who are interested in a particular breed of animal or have special circumstances such as allergies in their household can turn to their local animal shelter or breed rescue group. About one-quarter of all dogs in shelters are purebreds, many surrendered by their owners like the new First Dog.

This certainly could be interpreted as indicating the Obamas got a dog whose original owner surrendered him to a shelter.  This is not only misleading but completely misses the point that has responsible breeders across the country cheering the coverage of this story:  The Obamas got a dog who didn't work out in his original home and so the breeder took him back.  This is what responsible breeders do - take dogs back who, for whatever reason, can no longer be kept by the original buyer.  This is why responsible breeders are not contributing to the shelter population and why, despite what radical AR activists say, all breeders are not alike.

I'm just happy the Obamas got a dog.  Dogs make good pets.  Per me. 

Name That Animal

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Randi - I Love Her!

Randi with one of the Beagle's toys. For
whatever reason, the big dogs seem to covet
the little dogs' toys. They snatch them any
chance they get.

Happy Easter!

Kids and bunnies are not necessarily a good match - As with
all pets, do your research in advance and select a pet that will
be a good match for your family's lifestyle and energy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spartanburg Humane Society and New HSUS Policy

When I read the Best Friends announcement on the new HSUS bust dog policy, I noticed a listing at the end naming the "major stakeholders" invited to the HSUS meeting:
Participants at the meeting included Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, BAD RAP, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, Maddie’s Fund, Nevada Humane Society, and Spartanburg Humane Society.

As I am a SC resident, the Spartanburg Humane Society (SHS) jumped out at me. Although I'm not familiar with the shelter, I was interested in learning about their record on saving bust dogs so I sent them an inquiry. In the meantime, I used The Googlie.

The President and CEO of the SHS is Sandy Christiansen.

USA Today reported in 2007:
Sandy Christiansen, president of the Spartanburg (S.C.) Humane Society, consults with law enforcement in several states, has been on about 30 dogfighting raids and also has served as an expert government witness at trials.
I decided to surf the web for any specifics I might be able to find on these raids and what the outcome was for the seized dogs.

According to an article published 11-23-04 regarding the sentencing of a SC man who plead guilty to 41 counts of dogfighting, Christiansen is described as a "dogfighting expert with the Humane Society of the United States". (More specifically, another 2004 article uses the title "program coordinator for the Tallahassee, Florida-based Humane Society of the United States".) 49 Pitbulls were seized in that case:

Tant's guilty plea means more than 40 pit bulls he owned will be put to death.

The animals have been kept on what Tant called "death row" in a Charleston County shelter since spring, pending resolution of the trial. But Charlie Karesh, a shelter official, said the pit bulls are too vicious to adopt out and should be euthanized. Housing them cost the county more than $100,000.

By the next day:

All 49 of his pit bulls, including 8 puppies were euthanized.
Prior to that, Christiansen was involved with a Schenectady, NY case in 2002 involving 13 seized Pitbulls:

The dogs were confiscated as physical evidence in the cases against their former owners, Christine and Thomas Provencher, both facing a total of 29 animal-cruelty and drug-related charges in Schenectady County Court. The pit bulls were put down two months after the couple failed to post the court-ordered $24,872 bond for the dogs’ care.
The death of the 13 dogs raises the issue of whether an animal bred to fight is a menace to society and should be put to death, or should have other options available for it.

“We offered to take the puppies and attend to them so they would not be allowed to go back with the people, but nothing came of that,” said [Cydney] Cross [president of "out of the Pits"]. “The older dogs maybe weren’t suitable for placement, but there would’ve been options for the puppies. The fallacy with game-bred dogs is that they can’t be rehabilitated.”

Cross said that some of the most amazing dogs she ever adopted were former fighting dogs. In fact, one of the pit bulls that she rescued from the fighting world, Alexis, has gone on to become a therapy dog working with recovering alcoholics and people in nursing homes and prisons.

But Cross may be outnumbered on this matter. Sandy Christiansen, director of field services for the Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County, agrees with [Gordon] Willard [executive director of the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady]. He said that with dogs trained and bred to fight like Rapid Roy, the dangers outweigh the success stories.

“With dogs that are so purposefully bred for fighting, animal shelters are being put in compromising positions,” said Christiansen. “You need to be selective when considering what kind of homes the dogs will be put in. If a dog is predisposed to aggression and the worst does happen, are you going to be OK with having taken that risk?”

Considering the motives and meticulousness with which breeders and trainers in the world of dogfighting turn pit bulls into killing machines, Christiansen said the 13 dogs could have met worse fates.

“Euthanasia is not the worst thing that can happen to a dog,” said Christiansen. “When they’ve been set up to go against other dogs and to rip each other to shreds, there aren’t many other options.”

Christiansen was also a member of the HSUS team involved in a 2003 case resulting in the arrest of James Fricchione in NY. 17 adult Pitbulls and one puppy were seized. They were held in a shelter for one year and killed within hours of the defendant's sentencing.

In 2005, Christiansen was involved in the Floyd Boudreaux case (more here) where all the seized dogs were killed before the defendant had his day in court and was ultimately cleared of dogfighting charges.

An HSUS magazine featured Christiansen in a 2006 article about dogs seized in fight cases:
“People get attacked for euthanizing these critters, and what gets lost in the shuffle is what the option is,” says Christiansen, who’s seen some of those terrible options up close. Dogs who aren’t rescued and taken in by a shelter are left to die in the brutal fights of the pit, or, if they fail to perform or get injured, the dogfighters often take the matter into their own hands, says Christiansen. For fighting dogs who haven’t had the fortune of intervention, this can mean a death by any means from bludgeoning to electrocution.
“The alternatives are far worse. … The euthanasia debate should focus on that. These animals are saved once somebody gets them out of the hands of the people who’re abusing them."

No, these animals are saved when they get out of the hands of "rescuers" who want to kill them and into homes where they can live as pets.

See this is where I'm having a hard time seeing how groups like HSUS and SHS, headed by Christiansen, can honestly embrace the new bust dog policy. I understand about people learning and growing and changing their minds. I can appreciate that. But in my experience, that usually happens in small increments, over time, such as "I used to believe X but I educated myself and came to feel that XY instead" - not, "I used to believe X but now I feel that PANTS". Know what I'm saying?

I checked the dogs available for adoption on the SHS website and there are many - 74 to be exact. Knowing that Pitbulls and Pitbull mixes are common in SC shelters, I expected there to be a fair number at SHS. There are, at present, zero. This could be a simple matter of coincidence, or perhaps SHS is so fantastically good at getting Pitbulls adopted immediately upon entry that they don't even make it on to the website. Or it could be something else: Maybe SHS doesn't adopt out Pitbulls. I don't know.

What I do know is this: I have questions. How does SHS qualify as a "major stakeholder" in the Pitbull community? How do they normally handle Pitbulls and mixes at their shelter? What are they putting into practice right now to help get bust dogs evaluated and into rescues? Are they going to be able to whole-heartedly embrace the new HSUS policy they signed onto while under the leadership of Christiansen?

If I hear back from SHS regarding my inquiry, I will blog it. And I'll continue trying to find the answers to my questions.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New HSUS Policy: Getting to Know You

My initial impression of the new HSUS policy on bust dogs is positive BUT (everyone I know has a big BUT), it's in my nature to ask questions. Lots of questions.

1. If this is in fact the new HSUS policy, why is Best Friends announcing it? Why does the HSUS website still say, for example:
Dogs used for fighting have been bred for many generations to be dangerously aggressive toward other animals. The presence of these dogs in a community increases the risk of attacks not only on other animals but also on people. Children are especially at risk, because their small size may cause a fighting dog to perceive a child as another animal.

For me to believe that HSUS has done a 180 on their attitude toward bust dogs, I need to hear it from them in clear, unequivocal terms. That's for starters.

2. I'm a detail person. I appreciate the summary provided but it lacks specifics. Maybe those specifics haven't been developed yet, I don't know. But I'd like to know all the details before making a judgment. I'd like to see the final draft, signed by the HSUS. I'm such a pain, I know.

3. I can guess with a certain amount of confidence that not everyone at HSUS believes in the new policy of evaluating bust dogs and adopting the approved ones out. Amanda Arrington and Chris Schindler, who just testified to a judge in the Wilkes Co case that all bust dogs must die, clearly wouldn't believe in the new policy. John Goodwin has an extensive record on advocating for death with regard to seized fight dogs. Obviously as the HSUS "Dogfighting Czar", he would have to be 100% behind the new HSUS bust dog policy, right? Can the HSUS effectively implement the new policy with people like these working with law enforcement and testifying in court? It seems unlikely to me.

4. How soon can dogs start being saved? Is right now too soon or do we need to kill some more bust dogs while we update websites and circulate paperwork in triplicate? How about these 7 Pitbulls seized in a Hampton, VA dogfighting case? Or the 9 Pitbulls seized in Washington, GA? Then there are the 22 dogs seized in Blue Ridge, GA in connection with a recent conviction obtained after an investigation arose via the HSUS dogfighting tipline. And there are other seized dogs sitting in animal control facilities right now, waiting for help. Can we help them? Can we reach out to law enforcement and animal control involved with these cases and educate them on the value of individual evaluations and adoptions for suitable dogs? Is the HSUS prepared to walk the walk?

This is my speed dating version of being introduced to the new policy. No doubt I will have further (annoying) questions and thoughts over time. Similarly, time will tell us if this policy is for reals or just something to do in a Vegas hotel to justify a tax write-off.


UPDATE: BAD RAP posts their statement from the Vegas meeting.

Bringing up from the comments (thanks EmilyS) - Winograd updates his posts

Best Friends on Results of HSUS Bust Dog Meeting

"Tails Wag for New HSUS Policy"

HSUS Bust Dog Meeting: Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

So the invited "major stakeholders" in the Pitbull world met with HSUS in Las Vegas this week regarding their policy on dogs seized in fight cases. (Previous HSUS policy=death, new policy=???) Now I'm not a supa-important, rilly offishal "stakeholder" mind you (more of a thorn-in-side-r perhaps), but since I am a dog owner and someone who feels passionately about getting bust dogs individual evaluations, I would like to know what the beautiful people discussed behind closed doors. Is that unreasonable or somehow too much to ask? Well, I'm asking.

And in that pesky, bothersome way of mine, I'm going to keep asking. Because there is a pile of bones in my mind - dead Pitbulls. Waggy adults, bouncing adolescents, and suckling pups - killed by the efforts of an unjust HSUS and their policy on bust dog extermination. That pile of skeletons represents life wasted, thrown away like trash, left to rot in some dark cellar. But that cellar door is open now and although those once vibrant dogs no longer have a voice of their own, we can speak for them. And we must.

We must not allow the HSUS to continue the killing of unevaluated dogs no matter what the excuse or supposed justification. There can be no justification for removing a nursing puppy from his dam and killing him. There is no right reason for taking a floppy-eared adolescent or a licky-faced adult who has never been fairly evaluated by a qualified individual and killing him. The end does not justify the means if killing puppies and unevaluated dogs is part of the equation. Bust dogs, like those seized from Michael Vick, have been successfully rehomed, despite what the HSUS says. And rescue groups are willing to step up and assist, despite what the HSUS says. Enough with the lies and the killing. No more dead dogs on the pile of shame.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

UPDATE from Nathan Winograd

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is This Thing On?

Helloooo? Is the internets working'? Cos why, after so much hype about the HSUS "Pitbull stakeholders" meeting in Vegas yesterday, are none of the attendees posting about it? Maybe The Google is failing me but aside from Nathan Winograd's post, I haven't seen a single thing about the meeting. And his post was a full day ago, which is like, a lifetime in the blogosphere. So what gives? In this age of instant connections, why are we "non-stakeholders" being left out in the cold? What the h-e-double-loser-signs came out of the meeting?

Let's Play Oddball

And that's all I need: 13 year old boy loads up 2 horses and dog before running away in family truck

Diva horsies

Cat comes in through cat door, then...

Happy Families program at Thai zoo

Every little thing you do could potentially cause distress to someone, somewhere

Volunteers help salamanders, frogs and newts avoid road squooshing

Fishermen in the Philippines catch the 41st megamouth shark known to man - then eat it

You snooze, you lose kittycat

Easter Oddities:

Chicks do the adds and the take-aways

Egg hunt for dogs

Vick's Movie of the Week

Since apparently HSUS and friends in attendance at the "Pitbull stakeholders" meeting in Vegas aren't ready to talk, I'll keep my thread open and update it when and if someone decides to say something.  To keep the blog from going all tumbleweedy in the meantime, I'll be adding in a few tidbits.  First on Michael Vick's financial status:

In his failed bankruptcy hearing, Michael Vick presented to the judge a pending source of income to pay back his debts:

Vick told the court that he is ready to sign what he and his lawyers claim is a $600,000 documentary television deal, but the judge was not impressed.


Vick's lawyers said he has agreed to a television documentary deal that will pay him $600,000 - half up front, the rest when the film is completed - but [Judge Frank J.] Santoro held up the one-page proposal from an organization called Red Bird and questioned whether it could be considered a bona fide deal.


One of Vick's attorneys also alluded to people in "the literary arts" working on Vick's behalf, but he provided no details.  

I thought criminals weren't supposed to profit via "movie and book deals" about their crimes?  Maybe these media productions will be exclusively about Vick's athletic career, I don't know.  And I won't find out either since it will be a cold day in Hell before I have any interest in a book or tv show about Michael Vick.   

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Open Thread for HSUS Pitbull Meeting in Vegas

Today was the day for the HSUS hosted meeting in Vegas to discuss their policy on how to handle bust dogs. I will update this post as I come across reviews of the meeting.

Nathan Winograd:
HSUS also refused to commit resources to help save the dogs (saying No Kill advocates were harming their ability to raise funds to do so), refused to revisit their dog fighting law enforcement manual which recommends that all dogs be killed, refused to back down from their statement that these dogs have an “unstoppable desire to fight,” refused to back down from their belief that we can’t save these dogs and that we shouldn’t really try because it isn’t fair to other dogs at the shelter, and basically reaffirmed the HSUS position that if dog lovers just shut up and let them quietly kill these dogs, they can continue to fight dog fighting.

As much as we would love to, it's not appropriate to share details of the meeting in this space[...]

Best Friends:
The HSUS has a new policy of recommending that all dogs seized from fighting operations be professionally evaluated, according to agreed upon standards, to determine whether they are suitable candidates for adoption.

Pitbull Death Advocates Rely on Phony Legal Threats

KC Dog Blog reports on a failed bid to modify Springfield MO's Pitbull ban to allow rescues to pull Pitbulls from local shelters and adopt them out in other, more reasonable, cities:
The council apparently agreed with City Attorney Dan Wichmer, who said the city would be at risk of a lawsuit if someone ever got bitten by a dog the let go.

This flawed logic, as KC Dog Blog points out, takes the responsibility for biting dogs off the owners and drops it into the lap of the city. And when I started thinkin' 'bout flawed logic, I got the HSUS testimony in the Wilkes Co, NC case in my head. In trying to convince the judge that death was the only option for the 146 unevaluated dogs and puppies in that case, an HSUS representative said:
You know, we could be a couple years down the road and one of these dogs could do something, and I think it ultimately could come back on the county of Wilkes.

So riddle me this, Pitbull death advocates: In how many bite cases in the US has this scenario come to pass? That is, someone gets bitten by a dog and pursues legal action - not against the dog's owner - but against the shelter where the dog originated. The bite victim's attorney would need to inquire to the dog's owner to find out where the dog was obtained. In the (theoretical) cases of the Springfield and Wilkes Co dogs, the answer to that would be a rescue group. The bite victim's attorney would then have to inquire to the rescue group to find out how they had gotten the dog. I'm not a lawyer but this doesn't pass my common sense sniff test. What say you lawyers - would you advise a client to pursue legal action - not against the biting dog's owner - but against the shelter who released the dog (presumably with a signed standard release form absolving the shelter of liability) to a rescue group?

Statistically speaking, in what percentage of dog bite litigation cases has this happened? I don't know the answer but my guess would be that it's very low, possibly statistically ZERO. If my guess is correct, how is it that legislators and judges feel threatened by this straw man - enough to kill unevaluated dogs who would likely never bite anyone anyway? (Most dogs don't bite and dog bites are declining due to a number of factors.)

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation. And responsibility for individual dogs lies solely with the owner - not with the friend of a friend's neighbor's Uncle who had the dog at some previous point in time. Dog owning is a right and a responsibility to be undertaken and protected with care.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Treats on the Internets

The No Kill Nation posts about the HSUS Las Vegas hotel shindig this week:

A number of stakeholders in the pit bull advocacy community have been invited to sit down and have a heart to heart with HSUS about their recently amended policy regarding dogs seized as part of a fighting case. 

As with No Kill, the position seems to be loaded with a lot of “ifs” and “buts” as in if we ask for evaluations, communities will be less likely to cooperate with us in conducting these operations. Once again the call is for the largest humane organization to take a leadership position in defense of these dogs. The messages from HSUS over time on this issue have been confounding, confusing and even contradictory. 

But in one respect, HSUS has been consistent regarding their philosophy on bust dogs:  kill them all, even the puppies still nursing from their dams.  I wish the meeting was going to be livestreamed on the net.  At least the unwashed masses could listen in that way.  I prefer to get my information straight from the horse's mouth whenever possible but I guess we'll just have to wait until the invited "stakeholders" in the Pitbull community serve us up their reviews.

Dogged Blog will be attending today's seminar at the HSUS conference by Maddie's Fund on no kill sheltering.  

Nathan Winograd sounds off on the HSUS court testimony in the Wilkes Co case:

The transcripts reveal that the court was struggling with what to do with the dogs and at one point asked HSUS why killing them, as HSUS was recommending, was humane? Not only did HSUS representatives mislead the court about the Vick dogs (falsely claiming none were rehabilitated), the cost to rehabilitate the Vick dogs (false claiming it cost $190,000 for each dog!), and about Best Friends offer of help (they offered to evaluate and then help get the dogs into rescue which was not conveyed to the court), they also lied to the court saying all the dogs posed a danger. To say that nursing puppies are a threat to public safety is very close to perjury in my view, and one that cost the little puppies their very lives.

Follow up story on Ted and Karen Koran in FL who were struggling to keep their pets fed.

In Texas, dogs over 40 pounds may be declared "dangerous" according to HB1982.

Also on the PetsitUSA blog, a post about banning the gas chamber to kill shelter pets - an idea whose time is way overdue

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Biting Dachshunds: How Cute

If you read this story, you'll note the "cute" tone and that it's filed under "weird news":

It aint the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog. Just ask the ten year old Brooksville girl who was walking her two pit bulls Monday.

According to a Hernando County Sheriff's report, the unnamed child was walking her friends two pit bulls when three dachshunds escaped from their home and charged the big dogs. The sheriff's report says, "The one dachshund nipped (the girl's) right leg in the back right above the ankle. (The girl) stated that the pit bulls did nothing but look at the three dachshunds."

It's all ha ha ha until somebody loses an eye. Which could happen if a Dachshund bit a kid in the face. No charges were filed in this case and clearly it's being viewed as a snicker-worthy story. But if it happened the other way around with the loose Pitbulls biting the girl and the Dachshunds looking on? Would the story be reported in the same way? My guess:
The "scratch" reported in this article would be described as a "bite", the Pitbulls would have been seized and destroyed, the owner cited for letting his dogs roam, and the community would be clamoring to enact breed specific legislation to "prevent another Pitbull tragedy".

Oh and by the way, a 10 year old girl walking multiple dogs of any breed on her own is a lousy idea. A child is not going to be able to control multiple dogs of any breed if they decide there is something more interesting to do besides walk nicely on leash. I could easily imagine this Dachshund incident turning into some kind of less-than-hilarious biting scenario resulting in injured/dead dogs and bitten child who attempted to intervene. Responsible pet ownership begins at home.

Dinner at Chez Dog

In this edition: Chicken, celery, carrots, parsley and a bit of leftover Basmati with sliced almonds. I boiled the chicken and after it was done, used the same pot and broth to boil the celery and carrots (successfully avoiding washing the pot!). I mixed up the meal in a separate bowl and put the pot with the broth in it in the fridge overnight (Pot washing avoidance numero dos). When it came time to serve, I heated up the broth to pour it over the food so that the meal wasn't cold. Once I did that though, there was no more avoiding it - I had to wash the pot. *sniff* I just hate sad endings.

Breakfast was oats that I'd soaked overnight in buttermilk, applesauce and ricotta cheese. As with the dinner, I just add Calcium and some form of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil capsules, flaxseed meal, etc.) before serving.