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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Proposed Ban in NYC for Chained Dogs
Bill to limit tethering to three hours

In New York, it’s common to see dogs tied to parking meters and trees while their family runs errands in nearby stores. I’m always afraid the pups will get stolen or get too hot or cold, depending on the weather. But even worse are the pets that get left behind at home, chained to fences for hours on end. This is more common in the outer Boroughs of the city, like the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Earlier this month, New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., introduced a bill that would ban people from tethering dogs outdoors for longer than three hours. New York is behind the times as other major cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, have stricter regulations that ban chaining dogs completely.

Besides being subject to extreme weather conditions, tethering unattended dogs is a risky decision for many reasons. Chained pups are vulnerable to being attacked by other animals, injured by the tether, or even stolen. Tethering for long periods of time can also encourage behavioral problems to develop, like aggression.

If the bill is passed, unfortunately the New York City Health Department isn’t optimistic that the city will be able to enforce the law. Inspectors would have to witness the three-hour violation in order to issue a summons, which is logistically challenging. Even so, I hope that passing the bill will cause people to think twice about leaving their dogs tied outside.

 

 

News: Guest Posts
Veterinarians Improve Their Oath
And provide shelter standards

Every day a veterinarian has a good chance of being a hero—extracting a painful tooth, diagnosing the source of a lump, helping a dog to a much-needed sleep. It should be enough that they take good care of patients each day, but lately vets have been articulating a larger vision that means good things for animals.

  In November, the American Veterinary Medical Association revised the veterinarian’s oath by adding a few words to signal the true scope of the veterinarian’s mission, vowing to protect not just animal health but also welfare and to aim for not just the relief but the prevention of suffering. Read revised oath here.   And in December, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians released 51-pages worth of advice for the care of animals in shelters to help these organizations review their standards for animal care, identify areas that need improvement, allocate resources and implement solutions to optimize welfare, minimize euthanasia and prevent suffering.   The guidelines are based on “five freedoms” developed in 1965 in the United Kingdom by a commission looking at welfare concerns in agricultural settings. Now recognized to have broader application across species, the freedoms include the right to freedom from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease, fear or distress and the freedom to express normal behavior.  

 

News: Guest Posts
Trim Your Tree with Hope
Special ornaments send lucky dogs home

Our Christmas tree decorations are an eclectic mix that’s long on backstory and short on thematic unity and good taste. I like ornaments that show their age or are handmade by friends and family. Others have strong memories and associations with people and pets long gone. I’ve always had a rule that I would never buy an ornament, but this year I will make an exception to purchase one from the Shelby Humane Society’s Shelter Partners Program.

  It’s not just that these ornaments are adorable—featuring the portrait of a hopeful, sweet shelter pup destined for a forever home in the Northeast all framed with bows and glitter. It’s that the $50 cost covers the expense of getting that dog out of central Alabama, which is experiencing extreme animal overpopulation, to New Hampshire and Maine, where animal laws and spay and neuter initiatives have limited the number of pets available for adoption. The $50 goes toward gas and a hotel night or two for volunteer drivers, and also any vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery the dog needs to be ready for a new home.   Since November 22, 2006, more than 3,600 Shelby Humane Society canines have found new homes with families through a partnership with New Hampshire Humane Society, New Hampshire SPCA, the Humane Society for Greater Nashua, Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Salem Rescue League in New Hampshire and Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston, Maine. With rare exceptions, the dogs and puppies transferred are placed with adoptive families within a few days of becoming available for adoption.   Read about the ornaments and purchase your very own. 

 

News: Guest Posts
It’s Cool to Adopt!
Earworm alert: Catchy tune with pawsitive message

Yesterday, my editor sent me the link to “It’s Cool to Adopt”—a down-home video (watch below) with a spot-on message, charming stars and, as I soon found out, a refrain that’s pretty tough to shake. It’s cool to adopt over eggs. It’s cool to adopt in the shower. It’s cool to adopt while walking the dogs. And on and on…

  The man to praise (or blame) for penning this earworm is Michael Raab, whose wife is the founder of Monty’s Home, which produced the video in partnership with New Hanover County Animal Control Services. In honor of her own beloved dog, Raab established the nonprofit Monty’s Home to provide support for people facing geriatric care and end-of-life issues for their dogs and humane education for children. More recently, Monty’s Home paired up with the Pender Correctional Facility in Burgaw, N.C., where inmates provide nine weeks of training for dogs awaiting adoption at the Pender County Animal Control. The aim of the training and socialization is to improve each dog’s odds for successful placement.   "It's cool to adopt" is part of Monty’s Home’s Pet Ed 101, “which teaches children of all ages about pet responsibility, safety around dogs and pet overpopulation problems,” Barbara Raab says. “With the under 7 kids, we needed a way to teach them without talking about euthanasia and spay/neuter like we do with the older kids. Hence, the creation of the song to get them thinking in another direction about where to get a puppy or dog. It worked! Kids at summer camp loved it so we decided to hit a bigger audience with You Tube.”   Everybody join me: It's cool to adopt! It's cool to adopt! It's cool...

News: Guest Posts
Pet Food Pantry
Seniors often share what little food they have with their pets

No one should have to choose between feeding herself and feeding her dog. Sadly, volunteers with the mobile food pantry Meals On Wheels discovered that many elderly and disabled clients were sharing their hot meals with their pets. Dog Scout Troop 208 of North Aurora, Ill., teamed up with its local Pet Supplies Plus to hold a "Meals for Seniors Pet Food Drive" from November 27-December 15. All food and monetary donations will go toward pre-filled gift bags, which will be distributed by Meals On Wheels to seniors with pets. To participate or start a pet food drive in your area, contact your local Meals On Wheels and/or Dog Scouts chapters.

News: Guest Posts
Congress Bans Crush Videos
Bill awaits Obama’s signature

Animal rights advocates are urging President Obama to sign a recently approved bill that bans the sale and distribution of gruesome “crush videos,” which depict the intentional torture of puppies, kittens, and other live animals.

 

Congressional leaders in mid-November overwhelmingly passed the legislation—H.R. 5566, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010—to halt what the head of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) calls “the most sickening cruelty” he has witnessed (this link includes a timeline at the end regarding debate over this issue).   The bill targets a seedy industry that profits off the sale of grisly videos containing graphic images of screaming and bleeding puppies, kittens and other animals deliberately tortured for the sexual titillation of viewers. According to the HSUS, crush videos often feature scantily clad women in stiletto heels crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling helpless animals. The “unimaginable torture” inflected on the animals is often prolonged for minutes or even hours, the organization said.   Lawmakers on Capitol Hill introduced the bi-partisan bill in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in April that overturned a similar, but “unconstitutionally overbroad,” 1999 law. The High Court ruled that law—the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act—was too broad and “therefore invalid under the First Amendment.”   The day after the court’s decision, federal legislators introduced a narrowly crafted bill designed to give law enforcement the tools needed to crack down on creation, sale, and distribution of crush videos.   Sales of those macabre videos have mushroomed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the HSUS said. One website, for example, had more than 700 crush video titles for sale, the organization said.   “After federal judges struck down the law banning the sale of animal crush videos, this horrible and cruel industry stepped into the legal void and resumed its commercial creation and peddling of these videos,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS.   He and other animal rights advocates applaud lawmakers’ efforts to shut down this abusive industry, which “all but disappeared” after Congress enacted the 1999 legislation.   They hope history will repeat itself.   “We need this law on the books to halt some of the most sickening cruelty I have ever witnessed in my life,” Pacelle said. “We urge President Obama to sign H.R. 5566 into law quickly.”   The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) echoes those sentiments.   “Crush videos depict an extreme form of animal cruelty,” Ann Church, senior director for the group’s Government Relations, said in a written statement. “The ASPCA is hopeful President Obama will voice his conclusive support for this important legislation.”   Anyone convicted under this new bill faces up to five years in prison.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Adopt a Senior Pet Month
November brings attention to homeless canine elders

This season, there are many things that I’m thankful for, one being the wonderful relationship I have with my dog, Nemo. 

Someone once told me that cute puppy eyes are no match for the deep, loyal eyes of an older dog. Nemo is my first dog and, for the longest time, I didn’t understand. How could anyone resist a puppy? But now that Nemo is almost six years old, I finally know what they meant. When I look into his eyes, I can see how much trust he puts in me and the wonderful relationship that we have.

Puppies have to be cute because they’re so much work! Young dogs are usually the first to be adopted from animal shelters, even though they’re not always the right fit for many families. To bring attention to those older animals, who are often overlooked, November has been named Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

There are so many positives to adopting a senior dog. Older dogs are easier to housebreak, they’re typically more mellow, and their size and personality are more predictable, making it easier for shelters to match families to their perfect dog.

Check out the ASPCA’s Top Ten Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog and add the Petfinder senior pet widget to find your perfect match.

 

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Ball of Fur
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! sponsors abandoned pup

I’ve heard a lot of inspiring rescue stories, but recently I read about a Poodle from Louisiana with a particularly incredible story, and the most amazing makeover I have ever seen. This tenacious pup could’ve given any of the Worlds Ugliest Dog winners a run for their money… until he got the second chance of a lifetime.

A couple weeks ago, a dog was found in a ditch, covered in insects and so matted he couldn’t walk or eat. Fortunately he was rescued by My Heart’s Desire, a local animal rescue group.

The poor pup was so matted that he had to be sedated in order to shave off all of the hair.  It took him one week to walk again. The rescue group named the Poodle Ripley after Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, since they could barely believe there was a dog under all of the mats.

When officials at Ripley’s Believe It or Not heard about their namesake, they were so inspired that they sponsored his care by making a donation to My Heart’s Desire. When Ripley is adopted, the company will be sending him home with a gift card to a local pet store for food, grooming, and toys.

Love for special animals is not new to the company. Founder, Robert Ripley, was a pet lover and even had a one-eyed dog named Cyclops.

After grooming and lots of love, Ripley the Poodle is now doing well and is looking for a forever home. My Heart’s Desire says that Ripley is a social butterfly and is constantly wagging her little stub of a tail. 

With her amazing turnaround, Ripley is a perfect example that you should never judge a book by its cover!

 

News: Guest Posts
Dangerous Dog Breed List Has No Bite
Daily Beast fearmongering should be muzzled

I don’t know how to break it to my family and friends, but there’s a Pit Bull mix and two Dalmatians in my house! According to the Daily Beast, I should be scared to death to live among the #1 and #11 most dangerous dog breeds, respectively.

Just because you don’t have one of the common banned breeds—Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds—you think you’re safe? Greyhounds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers and Poodles all made the list of 39 dangerous dog breeds. Guess all of us dog lovers should run for our lives!

The irreverent online news digest (founded by former Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor Tina Brown), attempts to persuade the reader at how much research went into creating its “39 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds” list.

Problem is, it relied on a faulty study—which had been discredited several years ago—as its main source. Not to mention, both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association have stated that breed is not the primary indicator for a bite. As most dog lovers and professional dog trainers know, socialization, training and supervision are key to bite prevention.

When glancing through the photo gallery illustrating the 30 breeds, be sure to note the breed name as printed because the Daily Beast posted photos that do not match the breed listed. For example, the Bull Mastiff “pictured” is a Dogue de Bordeaux, and both the Australian Shepherd and the Collie feature photos of what appear to be Border Collies. Perhaps if the Daily Beast had focused more on finding accurate breed photos than digging up muzzled and mean dog pics, readers could take this pet project a little more seriously.

News: Guest Posts
Canada’s First Pet Store Ban
Vancouver suburb just says no

Months after San Francisco officials tabled the hot-potato discussion of shutting down the sale of puppies in the City by the Bay, the city council in Richmond, British Columbia, unanimously passed its own ban on the sale of pets from local stores. The move by the Vancouver suburb makes it the first ban of its kind in Canada.

            And the impact could be significant. “Fifty-one percent of British Columbians annually buy their dogs from a breeder, many via pet stores, rather than adopting, compared to the North American average for a municipality of 25 percent,” reports the Vancouver Courier. “In Richmond, the average number of residents purchasing puppies from breeders annually is 57 percent.” Shutting down stores will not only slow the demand for pet store puppies, it will bring attention to the issue of puppy mills and overpopulation, which will have a more lasting impact.   In a related and interesting twist, recent legislation in Victoria, Australia, outlaws the sale of animals to anyone under the age of 18.

 

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