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News: Guest Posts
Tough Times Hit Dogs in Taiwan

As many as 400 stray dogs may be wandering Yangmingshan National Park, a recreation area in northern Taiwan, at any given time. According to a recent story in the Taiwan News, former companion animals have been abandoned in the park based on the misguided belief they can survive on food left by visitors and small wild animals. Many more dogs roam city streets.

Economic hardship is driving the wave of abandonments in and around Taipei. Large breed dogs are especially hard hit and, in a sign that tough times don’t discriminate, even expensive breeds are showing up in shelters. And, this may not be the worst of it. Reporter Flor Wang talked to a pet shop owner in central Taiwan, who worries more dogs will be abandoned around the Chinese New Year in late January “because money will be tight for many families then.”

 

News: Guest Posts
Dog Dumped for Looking Like David Bowie

If you thought you’d heard every excuse people give for abandoning their dogs, read this list. Each year around this time, Dogs Trust, the United Kingdom’s largest dog welfare charity, compiles a list of the ten most “irresponsible reasons” people give for moving on. Yes, these include having eyes like David Bowie and not matching the furniture! It’s part of a campaign to remind shoppers that dogs aren’t just for Christmas ... or decorating.

 

News: Guest Posts
No Love for Pet Love

Any day now, Hollywood starlets-without-a-clue will have to go somewhere other than Pet Love at the Beverly Center mall to drop big money on sickly purse pups. In a press conference this afternoon, Best Friends Animal Society will announce that the shopping center will terminate Pet Love's lease in the next few months. It's a victory for the “Puppy-Store-Free L.A.” campaign that began with a boycott of the store last summer. According to Best Friends, Pet Love “sold thousands of animals from irresponsible breeders and puppy mills for 15 years.”
 
In 2006, Pet Love got seriously punked when an undercover CBS news crew filmed illegal and improper usage of medication on store puppies. The shop was also cited by Los Angeles Animal Control for similar violations. According to a statement from Best Friends, the group unsuccessfully tried to convince the store--and offered to help with the transition--to place rescued animals. Apparently, it got ugly.

The campaign continues with a protest of Pets of Bel Air on Saturday, December 13.

 

News: Guest Posts
Vets Oppose Ear Cropping and Tail Docking

Somewhere between packing my car and dicing celery and cranberries, I missed it. On the day before Thanksgiving, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released a statement opposing ear cropping and tail docking for cosmetic purposes, and encouraging the elimination of cropped ears and docked tails from breed standards.

Not surprisingly, the American Kennel Club (AKC)—which was not consulted on the policy—took issue with the position and use of the term “cosmetic.” AKC calls these “acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health, and preventing injuries.”

In particular, the AKC highlights the importance of these procedures in insuring the safety of dogs "that perform heroic roles with Homeland Security, serve in the U.S. Military and at Police Departments protecting tens of thousands of communities throughout our nation.”

Setting aside, for the moment, the AVMA's clear exception for procedures essential to good health and preventing injuries, are we really talking about Homeland-protecting heroes? Isn't the bulk of this surgery performed for the conformation ring and breed standards? Maybe it's time to look across the pond, where European nations banned these practices in 1987.

 

News: Guest Posts
Convictions in California Dog Fighting Ring

Despite defense attorneys' efforts to characterize systematic animal cruelty as a less-than-serious crime, a California judge has handed down a second multi-year prison sentence for felony dog fighting. With several recent convictions, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force looks pretty serious about tackling this scourge.

 

News: Guest Posts
Paw It Forward

With Black Friday in the rearview mirror, it's time to think outside the big box store. In the spirit of do-good, feel-good opportunities, I introduce Maggie (Magnum, officially). He's been living in a Dogs Deserve Better foster home for three years. Now, I'm not suggesting you run out and adopt Maggie in a burst of egg nog-fueled euphoria. Adoption is obviously a serious commitment. But how about simply showering him with presents—a collar, leash, treats or a new washable bed, in particular—through DDB's Sponsor A Foster Dog Program?

And he’s not the only one. Maggie is one of many foster dogs, who were chained or penned for their entire lives before being rescued by DDL. They and their people could use a lift this season. Read the stories, view the photos, and tackle the wishlists of Freckles, Banshee, Maizy, Hannah Banana and the others. And deal with your own gift list by sponsoring a dog in the name of a pup-loving friend.

News: Guest Posts
18 Legislators Fail Animal-Protection Test

Five senators and 13 representatives scored big fat zeros for their efforts to protect animals this year, according to the latest Humane Scorecard. Every year, the folks at the Humane Society Legislative Fund provide a neat and tidy breakdown of the action on animal protection measures in the U.S. Congress, and this year, citizens can see which members did right (through key votes and cosponsorship) on initiatives including increasing dog-fighting penalties, stricter regulation of animals used in research, and incentives to relieve veterinarian shortages in rural areas. The scorecard is an excellent opportunity to bone up on the issues, gauge the efforts of your U.S. senators and congressmen, and gear up for action when the new Congress reconvenes in January.

Of the five senators to receive goose eggs, only George Voinovich of Ohio, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina will return will return next year. (We’ll be watching!) John Sununu of New Hampshire was defeated in the 2008 race and Pete Domenici of New York did not seek reelection for health reasons.
 

News: Guest Posts
Does Petland Support Puppy Mills?

An eight-month-long investigation by the Humane Society of the United States alleges that Petland, the nation's largest puppy retailer, sells puppies from large-scale commercial breeders (otherwise known as puppy mills), despite telling customers that the pups come from reputable breeders. Last time I checked, reputable breeders do not sell puppies to be treated like retail merchandise, nor do they keep dogs in cages their entire lives, or dump or shoot them when they can no longer breed. Watch the "Petland Linked to Puppy Mills" video for more details.

News: Guest Posts
First Dog Bites Reporter

Reporters are always on the lookout for a sound bite, but I don't think this is what political writer Jon Decker had in mind. The Reuters reporter spotted First Dog Barney on a walk with his handler and asked if he could pet him. The dogwalker said sure but the Scottish Terrier wasn't as agreeable. Or perhaps he was making a political statement of some kind. Fortunately, Decker was treated by the White House physician and will be fine.

News: Guest Posts
Greyhounds Are Also Big Winners

More election night news: Massachusetts voters decided to end greyhound racing in the state. Passed by a healthy margin, the Massachusetts Greyhound Protection Act puts an end to 75 years of dog racing and its attendant suffering. Woof.

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