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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Clarifying Barking Ordinances
Los Angeles city council votes to create a barking limit

Often times, I wake up during the night to the sound of my neighbor’s dog barking. Sometimes it’s accompanied by said neighbor yelling at the dog to be quiet. This almost never works, but it can be self-rewarding in the moment to the person, and unfortunately the dog. I have Shelties, so I know from personal experience!

A neighboring town has a barking limit that they recently put in place (ten minutes during the day and five minutes after 10 p.m.), but my city does not. However, other places are starting to follow suit.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance amendment that clarifies their guidelines for barking dogs. A violation is now defined as a dog barking continuously for ten minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes in a three-hour period. The plan has to be passed by the mayor before it’s put into action.

Barking ordinances can be good and bad news for pets. If they’re loosely defined, it can make it harder to weed out the legitimate cases. Some dogs may be unfairly targeted by people who don’t like pets or are feeling vengeful towards a neighbor.  

But if the ordinance is well defined, like the proposed amendment in Los Angeles, it can protect well behaved dogs and preserve resources, such as off-leash runs and pet-friendly apartments. What’s nice about Los Angeles’ ordinance is that all complaints will be handled on a case-by-case basis through the hearing process.

I would love it if the ordinance required offenders to meet with a dog trainer or behavior counselor. People may find barking annoying, but we should never forget that dogs bark for a reason.

What do you think about barking ordinances?

News: Guest Posts
Occupiers Agree on One Thing: Dogs Rule
Shelby voted leader of Denver protest

The Occupy movement can be divisive, even among its supporters, but the Denver crew of Occupiers have agreed on one thing: They have a leader—a Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix named Shelby.

On Sunday night, an assembly of Occupy Denver protesters voted in three-year-old Shelby as their new boss. She accepted the mantle with good grace and set about her first task, an early evening nap.

Then, on Tuesday, Occupiers sat in at Colorado governor John Hickenlooper’s office, requesting a future meeting with him on Shelby’s behalf. The list of her concerns included unemployment rates, government spending, and budgets for law enforcement and education. There’s no word yet from the Governor’s office on setting up a meeting.

Shelby’s been visiting the Occupy camp in downtown Denver every other day for about a month with her owner, Boulder resident Peter John Jentsch. (He calls himself her “bodyguard.”) Shelby refuses to talk about her political leanings, but Jentsch says she’s an independent voter.

Jentsch recognizes that, as a canine citizen, Shelby’s a little impartial. “She has yet to come by herself,” he told Denver’s Westword, “so she’s only as passionate as I am.”

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Regulations Proposed for Dog Walkers
San Francisco looks to create dog walking standards

Dog walkers are a necessity for pets in busy cities where people work long hours. I know many great walkers who are knowledgeable about canine behavior and limit the number of dogs they walk. But any dog lover in New York will tell you about the irresponsible ones who overtake the dog runs with too many pups.

A bill was announced last week at the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco that targets these dog walkers. The legislation, introduced by Scott Weiner, will require dog walkers to have a permit, receive animal control training, ensure that their vehicle is safe for transporting animals, ensure that the dogs they walk are licensed and limit the number of dogs walked at any given time. The bill was created with input of the SPCA and local dog walkers.

Dog walkers would be limited to seven dogs at any given time, which still seems like way too many. When I walk my dogs in Manhattan, not only do I have to watch each of them, I also have to keep track of any potential hazards, like spoiled food on the sidewalk or unfriendly dogs approaching. I can't imagine watching seven dogs, plus keeping an eye out for everything around us.

What do you think about regulations for dog walkers?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Uptick in N.Y. Dog Theft
Even well identified pets are at risk

The recent increase in pet theft has hit close to home as there have been several dog kidnappings in my area this summer.

Some are straightforward, like Matsu, the Yorkshire Terrier who was stolen when he was tied outside of a deli. Others are a little more complicated.

A few weeks ago, Kumiko Masaoka and Michael Reinhardt were at a Brooklyn park with their West Highland Terrier, Winston, when the pup was spooked and ran off. They did all the right things--searched the area, contacted animal shelters and veterinarians, posted flyers, and informed the microchip company.

The next day the couple was put in contact with a girl who found Winston and handed him over to a police officer. Unfortunately, the police officer ended up giving the dog to another family (it's still in dispute whether the family tried to claim Winston or if the police offered him to the family).

Thankfully Winston has since been returned, but this story just goes to show that even a dog with proper identification can easily end up in the wrong hands.

When we lose a pet, our natural inclination is to contact animal shelters and veterinarian offices, but “non-pet people” may not think to go to these places. For many, the police seems like a natural fist resource, as in Winston's case. But police don't typically deal with lost animals, so they may not know the proper protocol, such as checking for a microchip or verifying the identify of someone claiming a pet.

As dog theft increases, it's important for key members of the community, like the police, to get training on how to handle lost and stolen pets. Additionally, it's probably a good idea to check with your local precinct if you're looking for a lost dog.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Man Saves Dogs With Lasso
They were trapped in a canal

Some skills are like riding a bicycle and never fade away. Those hard-won skills sometimes prove useful in unexpected ways years later. Take Jesus Villanueva, who learned to lasso in Jalisco, Mexico when he worked on a cattle ranch. It had been 30 years since he had roped an animal, but when he had the opportunity to save two dogs being swept away in a canal in Yakima County, Wash., he lassoed each dog on his first try and was able to pull them to safety.

Noya and Matt Deats’ dogs, Nia and Fawn, were at risk of drowning in a canal with fast flowing water and steep concrete sides. Noya had already run a long way along the canal trying to keep up with her dogs when she called her husband at work to come help, too. She also called the police. A sheriff’s deputy’s attempts to rope the dogs were not successful, and that’s when Villanueva, working nearby, heard the commotion and put his lasso skills to use. As they say: “Education is never a waste.”

News: Guest Posts
Bear v. Dog Mom

If dogs issued medals for bravery, this woman would get top honors: Brooke Collins, of Juneau, Alaska, took on a black bear—and won—to save the life of her beloved Dachshund.

Collins heard little Fudge barking hysterically in her yard and discovered the bear trying to make a snack out of her weiner dog. Her protective instincts took over and, without thinking, Collins ran up to the bear, punched it in the face, and scooped up Fudge.

The bear took off, and Fudge is recovering at home.

Collins admits that what she did was “stupid,” but she was caught up in fear for her dog’s life.

 “I wasn’t in my right mind at the moment but I would never think of doing it again,” she told the Juneau Empire.

Read the full story here.

Would you do the same thing? Have you ever done something crazy to rescue your pup?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Weathering Hurricane Irene
Emergency plans with the dogs in mind

This past weekend, everyone on the East Coast was hurrying to prepare for Hurricane Irene. I wasn't in an evacuation zone, but I put together a “go bag” for my pets and put crates by the door, just in case we had to leave home. Fortunately, we didn't end up needing any of the emergency supplies. By the time Irene reached New York, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and the damage was much less than expected.

I was impressed by the local efforts to accommodate pets in emergency planning. New York City evacuation centers welcomed pets, and taxis and subways were required to transport pets of all sizes to help people get to safety with their furry loved ones. The ASPCA worked closely with the New York City Office of Emergency Management to assist with the city’s disaster relief efforts. The Office of Emergency Management even had a dedicated Animal Planning Task Force. I'm glad that the government is learning from past relief efforts, such as Hurricane Katrina.

Natural disasters are stressful, but I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that I didn't have to worry about where I could go with my pets in the event of an emergency.

How did you prepare for Hurricane Irene? Did you take advantage of a pet friendly evaculation center?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Burglar Left His Dog at Crime Scene
That’s how police identified him

It’s Successful Crime 101: Don’t leave anything behind at the scene of a crime. Doing so might give law enforcement just the break they need to come find you and arrest you. It was a violation of this basic tenet that lead to the arrest of a man for alleged burglary. He apparently left his dog behind at a home that had been burglarized.

A police officer recognized the dog and had seen him with the man earlier in the day. The rope around the dog’s neck was distinctive, which made him even easier to recognize. Police officers went to his home where they found some of the stolen items. The man is in jail, charged with residential burglary.

That’s two alleged bad actions on his part: burglary and not attending to his dog.

News: Guest Posts
The Bond, Illustrated
Dying man reunited with his best friend

As a blogger, you can feel compelled to add interpretation, context and/or opinion when you link to another story. But not this time, this ABC report about a homeless man reunited with his dog during his last days in a hospice stands alone.

News: Guest Posts
AKC Recognizes Three New Breeds
A Coonhound, Lapphund and Terrier make the cut

The American Kennel Club (AKC) added what it calls “three new lovable breeds” to its registry this month—a move that brings the total number of breeds recognized by the organization to 173.

The three news breeds are the American English Coonhound, the Finnish Lapphund and the Cesky Terrier.

The AKC describes American English Coonhounds as “well-conditioned athletes.” These lively and affectionate dogs are avid hunters with great speed and loud voices. They were used to hunt fox in the day and raccoons by night during Colonial times. “Today, they still need regular daily exercise to stay in shape,” according the AKC press release, making them good companions for active owners.

The Finnish Lapphund is the newest member of the herding group. These alert and agile dogs were originally bred to herd reindeer near the Arctic Circle. They still have thick double coats. They were also helper dogs of the Sami—semi-nomadic people in Finland, Sweden, and part of Russia called Lapland. “They are intelligent, eager to learn, and are calm and friendly with people,” according to the AKC. “They make loving and devoted family pets that do well with children and other dogs.”

In welcoming the Cesky Terriers, the AKC describes them as smart and active dogs. These eager-to-please canines were bred to hunt such animals as badgers and fox. “Cesky Terriers are loyal to their families, patient, gentle, and get along well with people of all ages, making them a wonderful family pet,” the AKC said, adding the breed needs daily exercise. These terriers also need daily grooming as puppies—and brushing twice a week as adults—because of their coats.

Ever wonder how breeds become recognized by the AKC? The organization said there has to be a certain number of dogs “geographically distributed throughout the U.S.” and an established breed club has to watch over those canines.

More information about the new breeds is available on the AKC’s Web site: www.akc.org.

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