Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Animal Planet to Produce Pit Bull-Related Show

The Pit Bull Resource Center's blog site reports that Animal Planet will soon begin filming a reality show based upon the lives of Pit Bull shelter dogs:

The show centers around a nationally recognized rescue facility devoted to rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned and mistreated Pit Bulls and the day-to-day activities that take place in animal rescue.

The full story is available at

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Friend Passes

We are saddened to announce to passing of Smokey, the Pit Bull family member of our colleague and fellow blogger Jeni McNamara, a champion of Pit Bulls and shelter dogs everywhere. On her current blog, In the Shelter of your Heart, she tells us:

"Today, we took him to our veterinary clinic. We knew what we had to do. Casey spent the morning reading to him, her reading buddy to the last day. She told him good bye, and to be happy, after today there would be no more pain. Clint and I went with him to the clinic. We were with him to the last minute. To see him relax, stretch out, and rest with us with out pain, it made our decision no easier, but somehow less tragic for me. The tragedy would have been to watch him suffer on, make him suffer on."

We first learned on Smokey on her November 18 blog post:

"November is Adopt a Senior Pet month! I love my senior dog Smokey. He's well trained, and settled in. When we feel like going for a walk or out to play, he's ready to go. When it's time to tuck in and watch our favorite movies, he's the first under the covers to cuddle.

He's just turned 9 years old this month. Displaced when his original (and previously only) family had to relocate, Smokey didn't like shelter life.

It was loud, not like his quiet home.

There were strangers every where, he didn't know where his family went.

His favorite spot at the end of the bed was gone, he was sleeping on the floor.

No toys of his own, and there were the volunteers at the shelter wanted to but couldn't play with just him every day, there were so many dogs to help.

He just need to go home."

Our hearts go out to Jeni and her family and for memory of Smokey. To learn more about Smokey and the other dogs she has fought for please visit her site at

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dogfighting Making a Comeback in Afghanistan

From the New York Times:

Published: December 27, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a dingy butcher’s shop reeking of slaughter, a half-dozen sheep’s carcasses dangled from hooks, and two men spoke of dogs.

Dogfighting tournaments in Kabul draw thousands of men and boys as spectators.

“My dog is younger than his dog, I have the advantage,” said one of the men, known as Abdul Sabour, 49. “And my dog is more energetic than his dog.”

“He’s lying,” grumbled the other man, Kefayatullah, 50. “His dog is old. He’s just here wasting his time. How many dogs has my dog beaten? Sixty! My dog has been a champion for three years!”

The men were arranging a dogfight, largely in the international language of trash-talking. They represented two groups of bettors. The purse, they said, was $50,000, a fortune in this impoverished country and one of the biggest prizes here in recent memory.

Afghans like to fight. They will boast about this. They will say that fighting is in their blood. And for all the horrors of three decades of war, they still find room to fight for fun, most often through proxies: cocks, rams, goats, camels, kites.

And dogs. Dogfighting was banned under the Taliban, who considered it un-Islamic. But since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, the sport has regained its earlier popularity, with dogfighters entering their charges in informal weekly tournaments on dusty lots in the country’s major cities.

The sport has even experienced a resurgence in the south, where the influence of the Taliban is strongest, though the crowds have thinned somewhat since February, when a suicide bomber detonated himself at a dogfighting match. About 80 people were killed and more were wounded.

Here in the capital, there are two tournaments every week, both on Friday, the day of prayer. The bigger one unfolds in the morning in a natural dirt amphitheater at the bottom of a craggy slope on the city’s outskirts. It draws thousands of men and boys as spectators — like most sports and sporting events in Afghanistan, it is almost exclusively a male pursuit.

“It’s something from our ancestors,” said Ghulam Yahya Amirzadah, 21, whose family owns 17 dogs in Kabul and in their hometown in the northwest province of Badghis.

Mr. Amirzadah, who is known in dogfighting circles as Lala Herati, said he inherited the pastime from his father, who ran fighting dogs in his youth.

“It’s not about money,” Mr. Amirzadah said. “If my dog beats another dog, it makes me feel like I’ve won $100,000. I can survive just from the happiness.”

On a recent Friday, Mr. Amirzadah was at the dogfighting amphitheater, though without his dogs. He was watching the fights and arranging future matches for his stable.

More than 2,000 people were there — poor men who had arrived on foot as well as former warlords in sport utility vehicles accompanied by Kalashnikov-toting guards. And there were dozens of dogs — hulking, big-headed mastiff breeds that, in the right light and the wrong setting, might be mistaken for small bears. Some were so big that they had to be restrained by two men. A few owners, their arms tired, had lashed their dogs to the wheels of cars.

An informal committee of arbiters, including Mr. Kefayatullah and Abdul Sabour, was selecting the fights and matching up the dogs. Some fights had been organized days in advance, with hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands, riding on each.

A ringmaster, a toothless old man with a turban and a limp, presided over the event. He carried a wooden staff that he used to beat spectators who crowded the dirt arena and members of the dogfighters’ entourages who blocked the view.

Though dogfighting is again popular here, it is far from universally embraced. The country’s elite disparage it as the domain of the uncultured and the criminal.

“In my personal view, it’s not a good thing,” said Ghulam Nabi Farahi, deputy minister of information and culture. “In today’s world, these animals should be treated well. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of fighting.”

But dogfighters generally shrug at these sorts of remarks. In modern Afghan society, there are not many sources of entertainment, they argue. In addition, they say, the dogs are well fed and well treated.
Skip to next paragraph
Times Topics: Afghanistan

“The interest of the people is increasing day by day,” said Sher Mohammad Sheywaki, 50, who was standing on the edge of the fighting pitch. “Even if people are starving, they’ll still keep dogfighting.”

A fight was about to begin. Two dogs were brought close by their owners, then released. They lunged at each other, thrusting upward on hind legs and clamping their jaws onto each other’s face. They tugged and twisted each other, looking for leverage, each trying to knock the other off balance.

Their handlers pressed in, shouting encouragement and slapping the dogs on their haunches, as a jockey would a racehorse. A cameraman crouched nearby, recording the fight for collectors’ DVDs. A large cloud of dust enveloped the scrum.

This fight, like most others, was over in a few minutes when one dog had pinned the other to the ground and held him there. They were pulled apart and hauled out of the ring.

In some countries, dogfighters will fight their dogs to the death. But Afghan dogfighting is more akin to Greco-Roman wrestling. A dog is declared the victor when he clearly establishes his dominance over the other, or when the weaker dog displays one of the telltale signs of submission, including backing off from the fight or putting its tail between its legs. They are usually pulled apart before they can inflict serious damage on each other.

The stakes for dogfighters are too high to risk their charges any further. Dogs may be a costly investment for the average Afghan, but they can also make their owners money.

On the eve of the fight between Mr. Kefayatullah’s dog, Palang (meaning tiger), and Abdul Sabour’s dog, Zambur (bee), the planned $50,000 purse dropped to $10,000, according to Mr. Kefayatullah.

The fight took place on a sunny and chilly Friday morning this month. It was heavily anticipated, and the crowd was large. For more than 10 minutes, Palang and Zambur tore against each other, drawing blood. Mr. Kefayatullah, Abdul Sabour and others with money riding on the fight stayed close and yelled encouragement, according to Mr. Amirzadah, who attended.

Eventually, Zambur, Abdul Sabour’s dog, ran out of steam and Palang overwhelmed him, prompting the men to call a halt to the fight. In celebration, friends of Mr. Kefayatullah swarmed Palang, whose fur was wet with blood, and showered him with Afghani bills.

Except for deep wounds on a leg and an ear, Palang was O.K. But his owner was not. Minutes after the fight, Mr. Kefayatullah collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He had a heart attack.

“It was a stroke of joy and happiness!” he joked a week later, as he lay in a ward in the Wazir Akhbar Khan Hospital in Kabul. His wife and daughter sat at his bedside. “I’ll be up in no time,” he said, “and everything will be back to normal, like before.”

His wife’s face visibly tensed. “No you won’t!” she said, glaring. She was serious. He was smiling. The daughter looked embarrassed.

“It’s over,” Mr. Kefayatullah’s wife continued. “I will kill the dogs! I will give them some pills.”

Mr. Kefayatullah shrugged and smiled again, trying to defuse the situation. “She says a lot, but I don’t listen,” he said, and he vowed to be back at the Friday dogfights — with his champion dogs — soon enough.

Member of British Royal Family Accused of Beating Dog

This sad and disappointing story comes from the London Times Online.

Did he or didn’t he? Earl of Wessex accused of dog beating
December 29, 2008
by Valentine Low

As festive traditions go, it is as integral a part of the Christmas holiday as turkey leftovers and high street sales - the hapless member of the Royal Family pilloried by the animal rights brigade for some transgression of fur or feather.

This year it was the turn of the Earl of Wessex, who was accused yesterday of setting a “sickening example” for apparently hitting a dog with a stick while shooting at Sandringham.

The rumpus had all the usual elements of the annual Royal-Family-as-heartless-barbarians fixture. There was the photographic evidence (in this case, Prince Edward standing over two dogs as they fought over a dead pheasant, stick raised as if to beat one of them); there was the element of doubt, without which these affairs would not have the staying power (here, the question of whether the Prince actually hit the dog); and, of course, the outraged remarks by the usual suspects.

Step forward Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, who said: “It is an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering. Hitting a dog is a pathetic, cowardly and vicious act - it would appear he has had a royal tantrum.” Barry Hugill, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, added: “He has set a truly sickening example.”

Only one thing was missing, however: the queue of field sports enthusiasts rushing forward to defend the Prince. While none was ever going to condemn him, several suggested that hitting a dog with a stick was an action of last resort.

Assuming, that is, that the Prince did hit the dog. One onlooker who witnessed the incident said: “What I saw looked to me as if he hit the dog at least three times. But because it was such a long way away I cannot say he definitely did. He swung at the dog, then swung at it again, chasing it round the field. He was really angry.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “He broke up the fight with the dogs and pictures show him waving his stick around. We cannot confirm, however, whether he struck the dog.”

According to one field sports aficionado, it is a crucial difference. Jona-than Young, editor of The Field magazine, said: “There are occasions when you need to physically chastise a dog. But you would try to avoid using a stick if you could. Mostly with a well-trained gun dog if you growl at them and there is a threat of physical action, that is usually enough to do the trick.”

The countryside writer Duff Hart-Davis said that striking a dog with a stick was counter-productive, but not cruel. “You can alienate a dog quite easily. You can make it lose confidence in you if you are too rough with it.”

However, the Hampshire farmer Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, another well-known figure in the field sports world, said that using a stick was better than running the risk of being bitten. “I had an incident at the Royal Show where I had to separate two dogs and it was really quite difficult. If I had had a stick to hand I would have solved the problem a good deal more easily. Now and again with dogs one has to tap them with a stick to make sure they do what you want.”

The as yet unresolved question, though, is what the Prince’s mother would have made of it all. The Queen is a robust countrywoman, after all, but not known for raising a stick to her corgis, even under provocation.

As a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said in the Prince’s defence: “The Royal Family are great dog lovers . . . they don’t want to hurt dogs.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pits Receive Some Rare Good Press

We just don't see many stories like this so we're happy to see them. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pit bulls out to prove breed is great family dog, not aggressive
Sunday, November 16, 2008
By Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Buddy uses a plastic green donut to play tug of war with his cage mate. Camden licks her handler's face as he feeds her a hot dog. And Franco has eyes only for his tennis ball.

Those three dogs were among a group of "Super Seven" pit bulls on display yesterday at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, which held its first-ever "Super Star Pit Bull'' adoption event.

"We're trying to bring them back into the home," said Susie Gilbert, intake team leader for the North Side humane society and organizer of the event. "This dog is a great family dog. It can live with children. It's not going to be aggressive."

The "Super Seven" program, which started in July, gives special behavioral training to a group of seven pit bulls at the shelter. The idea is to make the dogs into "goodwill ambassadors" that may ease the fears of prospective adopters who might be nervous about pit bulls' bad reputation.

That reputation has suffered from their use in dog fighting rings, as well as from widely reported attacks on children around the country.

Since the "Super Seven" program began in July, however, 24 of the 27 dogs that have gone through the program have been adopted.

The dogs are taught commands such as "sit" and "down," they are discouraged from jumping up on people, and they are instructed on properly walking on a leash.

Nutmeg, a member of the Super Seven with a Little Rascals-esque brown ring around his eye, still needed work on his jumping lessons, as he nearly lept into the lap of a volunteer in the hallway yesterday.

Innately, pit bulls tend to be "giant goofballs," said Ms. Gilbert. "They're like giant puppies for four years. They don't know that they are big dogs."

Because of the Humane Society's urban location, the majority of the dogs that the shelter receives are pit bulls, she said.

All dogs that come into the shelter are inspected for scars or other signs that they were used for fighting or breeding, she said, and are given behavioral tests to determine whether they would be safe pets.

Any dogs deemed to be unsafe -- aggressive against humans or other dogs -- are not put up for adoption.

During the event yesterday, individual dogs were showcased in a makeshift pen in the Humane Society's hallway, while volunteers sold raffle tickets and distributed goody bags.

Across the street, visitors took tours of the 82-foot-long Rescue Rig of the American Humane Association. The giant bus -- equipped as a full veterinary hospital with living accommodations for 12 volunteers -- was deployed earlier this year during Hurricane Ike and rescued thousands of animals during Hurricane Katrina.

When it is not used to rescue animals from natural disasters, hoarders or puppy mills, the Rescue Rig tours the country to raise awareness about its work.

Program manager Connor Michael has worked on the Rescue Rig, or on one of its earlier incarnations, for the past 13 years.

He worked with cadaver-seeking dogs during the aftermath of Sept. 11 and coordinated rescue efforts as searchers used boats to reach abandoned animals during Hurricane Katrina.

"It seemed like you never, ever finished," he said. "There was no sense of closure down there."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dogfighters Walk Free, But Dogs Destroyed

Thanks to some barbaric animal control laws in Louisiana this father and son dog fighting duo walks away as free men while the dogs they victimized by forcing them to fight have already been judged and executed.

From the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, LA:

Two acquitted of dogfighting
Father, son had faced 48 counts

Shay Randle • • October 16, 2008

A 15th District Court judge acquitted two men of 48 counts of dogfighting on Wednesday.

The judge said a state prosecutor failed to provide substantial evidence of their involvement in the illegal sport.

Floyd Boudreaux, 74, and his son Guy Boudreaux, 44, were on trial for three days for the charges after being arrested more than three years ago.

The men faced the charges after an investigation led Louisiana State Police officers on March 11, 2005, to seize 57 pit bulls the officers believed were being used for illegal dogfighting. The dogs were seized from the men's Youngsville home.

Dogfighting has been illegal since 1982.

Investigators also seized and photographed items prosecutor Ronald Dauterive referred to as items associated with the training of dogs for dog fighting.

Those included home videos, dogfighting magazines, treadmills, break sticks and steroids, among other items.

During the seizure, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took custody of the animals and euthanized them the next day.

This left the defendants' attorney, Jason Robideaux, questioning why further investigation of the animals was not conducted before they were killed.

On Wednesday, prosecution witness Kathyrn Destreza with SPCA could not answer who gave direct orders to kill the dogs before the lead investigator and witness trooper Jacob Dickinson was notified.

The trial began Monday afternoon after the defendants waived their rights to a jury and opted for a judge to make a decision on the case.

The case began to unravel for Dauterive on Wednesday after Robideaux was granted the motion to exclude the prosecution's expert witness from the case.

Kathy Strouse, a superintendent for the Chesapeake Animal Control Unit in Virginia, was brought in as an expert witness by the United States Humane Society. She was involved in the dogfighting prosecution of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge in August 2007.

Strouse also testified that she helped investigate and testify against another Virginia man who was convicted of dogfighting charges.

The 15th Judicial District Court Judge Kristian Earls agreed with Robideaux's argument that Strouse's experience was not adequate, as this would have been the first time she was an expert witness in a case she had not helped investigate.

She was also not considered an expert because she had not established herself as an expert through written works.

Earlier in the trial, Dauterive brought forth veterinarian Wendy Wolfson, who reviewed her evaluation of the dogs at the scene during the seizure.

She testified that many of them had scar tissue and scars on the front of their bodies, which usually results from dogfighting.

But this, Robideaux argued, is all the prosecution had that stood as evidence that dogfighting may have taken place among the dogs.

Break sticks, which are used to pry open a pit bull's mouth, were used as evidence against the defendants.

But the sticks had no visible bite marks.

Home videos showed dog training and some dogfighting, but never showed either defendant as taking part of the activities.

"The only evidence the state has is scars," Robideaux said adding that the veterinarian was not able to date the scars or verify who had custody of the dogs before the defendants.

Dauterive said that although no single piece of evidence conclusively pointed to the Boudreauxs engaging in dogfighting, the "cumulative nature of the evidence" demonstrated that the illegal sport was being done.

But Earls agreed that the evidence was not enough.

"I'm not firmly convinced," he said.

The Boudreaux family and friends were overcome with emotion as they hugged and cried after the judge gave his ruling.

Guy Boudreaux, a single parent, said he is relieved that he can finally go back to raising his son after "3 1/2 years of having to worry" about his future.

His father was just as pleased with the news.

"I feel great in the justice system," Floyd Bordeaux said. "I thank the judge and my super lawyer."

Prosecutor Ronald Dauterive refused to comment on the court's decision.

BAD RAP's Donna Reynolds pointed out on the BAD RAP Blog:

We'll let Floyd's Maker sort out his life choices, but we can't let this go without highlighting the archaic Louisiana State Animal Law that gave investigators the green light to destroy nearly 50 dogs within 3 days of Boudreaux's arrest ---and all for naught.

(2) The legislature finds and declares that fighting dogs used or employed in violation of R.S. 14:102.5 are dangerous, vicious, and a threat to the health and safety of the public. Therefore, fighting dogs seized in accordance with this Section are declared to be contraband and, notwithstanding R.S. 14:102.1, officer may cause them to be humanely euthanized as soon as possible by a licensed veterinarian or a qualified technician and shall not be civilly or criminally liable for so doing. Fighting dogs not destroyed immediately shall be disposed of in accordance with R.S. 14:102.2. - LA State Animal Law

When we first learned of Floyd's arrest, we got on the phone to plead for the lives of his dogs, but they were already dead. The news was personally devastating to many of us - Not only were the dogs lost, they were branded as killers, and without any evidence or trial. That case subsequently lead to our fire to help the Vick dogs, before they fell to the same ugly fate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pit Bulls Betrayed by Houston SPCA

This recent report in the Houston Press revealed an ugly, unthinkable attitude taken by the Houston SPCA.

Pit Bull Laundering By The Houston SPCA

Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 05:04:53 PM

The Houston SPCA, in the form of Meera Nandlal, who’s in charge of public relations, got back to us finally today and made it clear there has absolutely been no change in policy by the SPCA about adopting out pit bulls.

The Houston SPCA, as we've noted, makes a big point of saying they do not adopt out pit bulls because they consider them unsafe.

Asked about the apparent change in policy -- why the SPCA didn’t kill the dozen pit bulls it picked up on Galveston Island after Hurricane Ike but instead handed them over to other rescue organizations -- Nandlal replied forcefully: “Explain to me how that’s an adoption!”

Complaining she was having trouble understanding my questions, Nandlal put me on speaker phone. Asked for the name of anyone else listening in – especially the person who she said would answer my questions – Nandlal replied: “Why do you need to know that?”

Eventually she relented and identified Ana Perez, the SPCA employee who worked with the rescue groups to facilitate the transfer of the pit bulls. (Actually, Perez was the first person we called today before we were bounced to two other people).

Perez seemed to understand my questions. “We do not adopt out pit bulls.” OK then, what did you do? “We asked our adoption partners to help out.” She said the dogs were “”behaviorally sound” and healthy.

Do you normally do this in cases with pit bulls? Send them out to other rescue groups?


Why this time?

“The circumstances with Hurricane Ike, we felt all the animals should get a chance.”

So we can all rest easy. The Houston SPCA will not adopt out pit bulls ever and it didn’t this time either. Because of Hurricane Ike and maybe the bad publicity that might come with killing perfectly healthy dogs that the humanitarian SPCA had just rescued (film at 10), this lucky dozen got spared. But make no mistake, it will probably never happen again (and they didn’t do it this time either!).

Margaret Downing

BAD RAP's Donna Reynolds had some interesting thoughts on this subject on the BAD RAP blog site.

It is beyond disappointing to learn that an authority like the Houston SPCA practices such breed prejudice.

Please keep in mind that all SPCA branches operate independently from each other. The Houston SPCA's backwards position about Pit Bulls do not in any way, shape, or form reflect on any other SPCA branch.

In spite of the good work they did during the Hurricane Ike disaster, their practice of breed prejudice have proven them unworthy of any support.

Dog dies after saving man in Trinidad from fire

from today's AP Wire:

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — A man whose dog rescued him from a house fire in Trinidad said the animal died after running back into the burning building. Trinidad & Tobago Express newspaper quoted Anderson Marcano as saying that he woke up because the dog kept barking and tugging at his pants. Marcano said he smelled the smoke and was shocked to find his house on fire.

The story published Friday did not say why the dog ran back in. Marcano said no one else was inside the house at the time.

Marcano did not immediately return a call for comment.

He said firefighters on Wednesday found the body of his dog, "Rebel," as well as the remains of the family's pet parrot.

Let's hope Rebel is given the honors he's earned.

"Marley & Me" Coming This Christmas

"Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog" by John Grogan was a best-seller when it was released in 2005. The true-life story of John & Jenny Grogan's trials and tribulations with their Yellow Lab Marley was filled with many laugh out loud moments and tears as well. "Marley & Me" has been made into a major motion picture starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. It will be released on Christmas Day. A short trailer can now be seen on the film's official website.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oakland dog receives honor as a hero


Dog that saved owner honored for courage

Henry K. Lee

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Buffy, the German shepherd who was shot and killed after fending off a gunman robbing her owner in East Oakland, has been posthumously named Valor Dog of the Year by the Humane Society of the United States.

Buffy was chosen to receive the highest honor in the companion dog category of the Dogs of Valor Awards "because of the extraordinary courage she exhibited when she intervened during a robbery to save her owner's life," the Humane Society said.

On Jan. 10, 2007, a gunman robbed Will Bartley of $400 and credit cards at his home.

That's when Buffy ran from the yard and jumped onto the gunman, who fired two shots. One shot hit the dog in her left forelimb.

The 7-year-old dog had a previously undiagnosed kidney problem that was exacerbated by the loss of blood after she was shot. Doctors at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists in San Leandro managed to save her leg.

Buffy eventually went home but had to return to the hospital twice because of complications. She grew weak and stopped eating. Buffy was euthanized Feb. 15, 2007.

The robber was never caught.

"We still love and miss Buffy dearly, but this award and the countless cards and letters of sympathy we have received have gone a long way to help us heal," Bartley said in a statement.

Woman shoots dog claiming couldn't afford vet

This tale of unbelievable irresponsibility come to us from

Dog shot, owner says she couldn't pay for vet

Oct 7, 2008


GREELEY, Colo. (Map, News) - A Greeley woman faces animal cruelty charges after she killed her sick dog by shooting it several times because she says she couldn't afford to euthanize it.

Police say 33-year-old Paula Harding was crying Sunday when police arrived at her house, saying she'd shot the dog because she "couldn't deal with it anymore."

Police say Harding first tried to kill the 15-year-old terrier/poodle mix by giving it as many as five anti-anxiety pills Saturday. Harding allegedly gave the dog more pills the next day but later shot it four times with a .22-caliber handgun because the medication didn't kill it.

Harding is free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Harding called the dog "a good friend" but says financial problems prevented her from affording a veterinarian.

OK, first of all, one of the first basic rules about being a dog owner is that if you cannot afford to pay a vet then you shouldn't own a dog in the first place. Second, if your dog needs veterinary care that you cannot afford, you can always surrender it to the local SPCA or Humane Society. And finally, if you have no other choice your vet can have your dog HUMANELY euthanized. According to the Greeley Tribune her local SPCA could have done it for $35.

BSL battle brewing in Mississipi community

from the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, MS:

Ridgeland postpones vote on dog ban
Aldermen may revise ordinance that would forbid certain breeds

Leah Square • October 8, 2008

RIDGELAND — City leaders had planned to vote Tuesday on a proposal banning certain dog breeds in the city but postponed the vote to gather more information and, possibly, soften the proposal.

The mayor and Board of Aldermen announced Monday they were considering amending the city's animal control ordinance to ban American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Rottweilers. Also named were dogs whose mothers or fathers are one of those breeds, dogs resembling one of the named breeds and dogs deemed "vicious" by a Ridgeland Municipal Court judge.

City leaders Tuesday decided to table the measure after being inundated with phone calls and e-mails regarding the proposed ban. Several residents showed up for the board meeting Tuesday intending to voice concerns.

"It's a very emotional issue on both sides," Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said.

McGee said the city may tweak its original proposal and revisit the issue at its next board meetings Oct. 20-21.

"We'll try to come up with something that does not penalize responsible animal owners and deal with those that are not responsible."

A breed-specific ban, however, is not off the table, McGee said.

The breed ban discussion comes after months of feuding between Pete and Gloria Grantham of 615 Ralde Circle and their next-door neighbor, April Scott, over the Granthams' pit bulls and Rottweiler.

Aldermen appear to be split on the possibility of an amendment that singles out certain breeds.

Gerald Steen, the alderman most vocally for a breed ban, said Tuesday he is willing to consider alternatives.

"We have a challenge in front of us. I am very open-minded to look and listen."

Alderman Scott Jones is against a breed ban and suggested instead amending the animal control ordinance to obligate owners of certain breeds to take "extra steps" in order to keep their dogs.

Jones also said he is unsure if citywide breed bans have been successful and would like to look further into those statistics before making a "knee-jerk" decision.

Clinton does not allow pit bulls or Rottweilers. Madison city leaders last month began talk of a pit bull ban.

Pete and Gloria Grantham, who own pit bulls and a Rottweiler, showed up at the board meeting Tuesday to protest the proposed ban and said they were upset the city didn't call a public hearing to allow residents to comment.

"If they're going to ban anything citywide, they need to have a public (hearing)," Pete Grantham said. "That's only right."

The Granthams have been involved in a heated battle with Scott over their dogs for months. Scott, the mother of two young girls, has said the couple's dogs are a danger and a nuisance - a claim the Granthams dispute.

All attempts at a private compromise on the dogs between the neighbors, as suggested by a Ridgeland Municipal Court judge, have been unsuccessful.

The parties are due to make a third appearance in court over the issue Monday.

Ridgeland aldermen voted unanimously last month to revoke a permit they had granted the Granthams in May that allowed them to keep six dogs on their property despite a city ordinance limiting households to three.

The Granthams at one time owned four pit bulls, a Rottweiler and a Jack Russell terrier. The couple now keeps two pit bulls and the Rottweiler on their property.

It's unfortunate that, once again, it's the bully breeds that get bullied because of the inability of human beings to get along with one another. Let's hope Alderman Jones stands his ground.

Halloween safety considerations for dog owners


Halloween Can Be a Scary Holiday ... for Pets

Last update: 5:08 a.m. EDT Oct. 9, 2008
SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Oct 09, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Ghosts and goblins walk the streets, approaching homes collecting treats. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cautions people about keeping their pets safe and preventing dog bite injuries this Halloween.

While some dogs may understand that costumes and excited children are all part of the holiday fun, many dogs are fearful of common Halloween activities. This creates an increased potential for dog bites.

"Dogs believe they are the guardians of their homes, and they can feel threatened if a stranger enters their space," explains Dr. James O. Cook, president of the AVMA. "If your dog is apprehensive in these situations, you need to be sensitive to that and make preparations before Halloween to keep your dog -- and all the little neighborhood ghosts and goblins-safe."

Dr. Cook explains that costumes can be very confusing for dogs and this can cause them to react in ways that they might not otherwise. For example, some dogs will bark in alarm or show signs of aggression even when an owner or friend puts on a mask or costume.

"What's important is that you be responsive to your dog and prepare ahead of time for the holiday," he says. "If your dog gets nervous when the doorbell rings, put the dog in a place where it will feel safe. This could be inside a crate with a favorite toy or treat, or inside a familiar room with the door closed. This will make the dog feel safer and calmer."

"If your dog appears to be excessively stressed, look to your veterinarian for help," Dr. Cook adds.
Dog bite injuries and stress are not the only hazards for dogs and their owners on Halloween; candy is another common Halloween problem. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and so is xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many chewing gums. Make sure you store Halloween candy where your dog cannot reach it, because most pets will eat it if given the opportunity.

"Children tend to want to share their treats with their pets, and the dog is all too happy to oblige," Dr. Cook explains. "Warn your children beforehand that table scraps are unhealthy for pets, and that candy can be deadly."

For more information, visit
SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association

Monday, October 6, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that your local SPCA or Humane Society is not financially supported from any national SPCA or Humane Society organization?

The ASPCA has commercials and advertising that reaches out on a nationwide scale, but they are not a parent organization to any local SPCA. Any donation you make to the ASPCA will not 'trickle down' to any other branch. The ASPCA, in fact, is the Manhattan branch of the SPCA.

This is not to say, or even imply, that they have been deceptive in any way. This is not to say that it is not a bad decision to donate to them. Quite the opposite, they provide law enforcement to animal-related issues in Manhattan as seen on Animal Planet's "Animal Precinct". Their Mission: Orange campaign reaches out to cities on both coasts. They offer pet insurance that is available nationally. They have provided valuable assistance in natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Ike and were asked to provide expert assistance in the Michael Vick case. Indeed, they are an admirable organization worthy of supporting. Just understand that they are not tied in to your local SPCA in any way.

By the same token the Humane Society of the United States does not provide support for any local humane society. In fact, the HSUS does not own or operate ANY shelter.

If you wish to help your local animal shelter please give to them directly. Most rely solely on public donations.

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

This month is national adopt-a-shelter-dog month and this year it just so happens to coincide with the release of Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". If you know of someone or are yourself considering adopting a chihuahua, or any dog for that matter, please keep a few things in mind.

First, of course, always make a shelter dog your first consideration. In any given area there are literally hundreds of dogs available for adoption at shelters or in foster homes that may otherwise face euthanizing. Most organizations will make sure the dog has been spayed or neutered and in relatively good health before taking it home. Most local SPCAs and Humane Societies that offer dog training courses will give a discount for a shelter dog.

Second, do your homework before you adopt. Read, read, read about what keeping a dog involves. Contact local veterinarians and find one you like. Find out if they take insurance. Pet insurance is available! Compare insurers, their different plans, and their costs and deductibles. You will, no doubt, want to let your dog off leash once in a while. Find out where to dog parks are in your area. They're great places to network with other dog owners.

Third, figure out how a new dog would fit into your life. Can you afford the food, supplies, medicines, and veterinary costs? Would your neighbors complain? Who looks after the dog while you're at work? Who looks after the dog while you're on vacation? Are you able to put in the time to walk and spend time with the dog? These are all things to consider.

Finally, research the breed you want to adopt. Understand that while all dogs are dogs every breed has characteristics that cannot be ignored. Chihuahuas in particular tend to be high strung and tend to attach themselves to one person and will aggressively defend that person. Chihuahuas can be biters and are usually not a good choice for households with small children. Another dog that should be heavily researched and carefully considered are Jack Russell terriers. Jacks are very intelligent and thrive in an environment where they receive lots of mental stimulation. Conversely, they can be easily bored and become destructive when mental stimulation is lacking. Those are just two examples.

Above all, remember that good dog owners are responsible owners. Adopting a puppy means a 13 to 15 year commitment. This is not a decision that should never be taken lightly.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

♥ In the Shelter of your Heart ♥: Thank You

Last month we told you about a fundraiser that was set up in the name of abused dog named Charlie. We are very happy to report that fundraising targets were not just met, but exceeded!
Thanks to all the donors, and a special thanks to author Nola Kelsey who generously donated advance copies of her upcoming book, "Dogs: Funny Side Up", due to be released October 15.
Please read on:
♥ In the Shelter of your Heart ♥: Thank You

Obama Will Adopt Shelter Dog

It has been reported that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is currently petless but the Obama family plans to remedy that condition after Election Day. Spurred on with the help of a petition of 50,000 signatures Michelle Obama has recently declared that the family will adopt from a rescue shelter. reports:

Senator Barack Obama To Adopt Rescued Animal From Shelter
Potential "First Dog" in a rags-to-riches story...
Filed under: animals — parrish @ 11:05 am

While Sarah Palin chooses to spend her free time shooting animals from helicopters and trying to manipulate the endangered species list, Senator Barack Obama is out and about rescuing animals from shelters.

Earlier this year, rumors began circulating that the Obamas were planning to add a doggy addition to their family. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, quickly penned a letter to Barack saying: “Senator, no one needs to tell you that this country is proud to be a melting pot and that there is something deeply wrong and elitist about wanting only a purebred dog. Millions of Great American Mutts—the dog that should be our national dog—are set to die in our nation’s extremely overcrowded pounds and shelters for lack of good homes. When you are ready, please adopt a homeless pound puppy—a grateful refugee from a society that has not always treated the true “underdog” kindly—rather than cater to special interests who do not have dogs’ interests at heart.”

Well it looks like the Obama family listened to PETA!! Michelle Obama announced yesterday on Entertainment Tonight that her family was indeed planning to “adopt a rescue dog,” and we couldn’t be happier about it! It’s no surprise that Obama is making the responsible decision here...

The Best Friends Animal Society have stepped forward to offer their assistance. Best Friends operates the country's largest facility for homeless animals, including "Dogtown". "Dogtown" is the famous canine arm of Best Friends that are best known for their weekly show on the National Geographic Channel, and for being host for some of the Vick dogs.

It should be noted that although the article implies it was PETA that was responsible for swaying the Obamas' decision there is no reason to believe that is the case as it also failed to mention the efforts of, a site run by the Best Friends Animal Society.

Republican candidate John McCain reportedly owns four himself, although it is not known if any are shelter dogs.

Meet Faith, One Incredible Dog

If you haven't yet seen her on Oprah or Animal Planet, Faith is one of the most amazing dogs you'll have ever seen. She was born with only two good legs, her rear ones. What she has done in learning to adapt has got to be seen to be believed.

Faith has her own website. Hopefully, we'll be seeing and hearing more from her soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Coast Guard bids sad farewell to dog hero

A touching story from the Contra Costa Times:

By Lucinda Ryan
Article Launched: 10/02/2008 05:43:58 PM PDT

The yellow Labrador, outfitted in a badged U.S. Coast Guard vest, stood smiling that friendly lab smile at his retirement ceremony Thursday.

The picnic table in the park area at Coast Guard Island, Alameda, was set with the usual outdoor party fare of hot dogs and chips and soft drinks, but most of the roughly 100 people weren't snacking.

Hawk, his front leg occasionally involuntarily folding inward, remained happily near his steady companion and handler, Boatswain's Mate 2 Sandor Csitar, who, by the end of the ceremony, was unable to speak when the moment came to make his address.

By then, the words and memorial gifts from his Coast Guard peers, Alameda and Oakland police departments and other law enforcement agencies had moved Csitar to tears. He beckoned to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Greg Thomas, who stepped to Csitar's side, patted his shoulder, and said a few words for him.

"Words can't express our loss, or our joy," Thomas said.

At age 6, Hawk is retiring from his service as an explosives-search dog. Such occasions are not always so emotional, but Hawk has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and this day of honor came one day before he would be euthanized at Travis Air Force Base, before his quality of life further diminished.

The gentle dog has in his four-year career found fireworks, submachine guns, handguns, live artillery and narcotics. He has searched baggage, freight, aircraft, piers, people and buildings to protect former presidents and foreign dignitaries. He took a trip to New Orleans where he searched through facilities.

Hawk first met Csitar in 2004 after being trained in search and rescue. His trainer donated him to the Customs and Border Protection training center in 2003. The two trained together for four months and Hawk officially went to work with Csitar on Dec. 23, 2004.

Csitar said of the many memories of working with Hawk among the best were when he worked with other law enforcement agencies, such as Alameda, Oakland and Berkeley police and the county sheriff's office. Besides the benefit of learning more ways to handle service dogs, it was the camaraderie, he said, gesturing toward several attending officers from those police departments.

Before the addresses began on the lawn, Csitar looked down as someone kneeled and petted Hawk, who gladly accepted the stranger's touch.

"He has no problem being gentle," Csitar said. "He's got nothing but gentle."

Csitar's 10-year-old stepson, Steel Jones, came up to stroke Hawk, who clearly was enjoying the visits from family and strangers.

Speaking of Hawk after the ceremony, Thomas said, "He literally worked himself to death for us."

Coast Guard Chief Clifford Fuller recalled his first meeting with Hawk.

"Three years ago when I first reported to Alameda for duty and saw the Canine Team was under my supervision, Sandor introduced me to Hawk, and Hawk (got up on his hind legs) and shed all over me," Fuller said. "I didn't know there was fur on my uniform and when I went to the CEO's office later, he said. 'I didn't know we had mohair uniforms.'"

"If someone decided to have a good Samaritan hanging around, they put him in the right place at the right time. He's one of those people who always helps out, whether it has anything to do with the Coast Guard or not," Fuller said of Csitar.

Hawk was awarded a citation of outstanding achievement for his work. After noting the details of his service, the document notes his presence after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"As a direct result of his positive attitude and unfailing spirit, his role as a canine was invaluable providing much needed stress relief and positive reinforcement to rescue workers, displaced families and distraught children in the area," the citation says.

After the speeches and awards, Hawk quietly lay on the grass, again enjoying the company of his young friend Steel.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another BSL Battleground

America's midwest provides another stage for the same old battle.  From KSPR in Springfield, Missouri: 

Councilman Opposes Pit Bull Law
By Natalie Swallow

Story Created: Sep 29, 2008

Story Updated: Sep 29, 2008
Springfield's pit bull law faces new opposition from within city government.

Councilman Doug Burlison says he's been against the pit bull ordinance since before he ran for city council last year.

He says the law is wrong because it singles out one specific breed, pit bulls.

Pit bull owner Betty Browning says her five pound Chihuahua is the dog with the bite, not her pit bulls.

She says people have a misconception about the dogs.

"They're labeled and it's not a good label, it's not a good label, and it's not a deserved label," Browning said.

Browning says she registered her pit bulls after the city's pit bull ordinance went into effect.

"We complied. We complied because responsible owners, they take care of their animals," Browning said.

She says the real danger is pit bull owners who don't comply with the law, making it ineffective.

Councilman Burlison agrees.

"I feel the ordinance itself is not very enforceable," Burlison said. "It's not like we can go visit every household and inspect for pit bulls or anything."

Officials at the health department refused to go on camera for an interview, but said according to department statistics, the ordinance is effective and has had a positive impact on the community.

But, Burlison also takes issue with the bill being breed specific.

"It makes an assumption that every pit bull that is out there is a vicious animal and not a correct assumption," Burlison said.

Just ask Browning, she says her pit bulls, Lilly and Blue-B, are anything but vicious.

"It's just a total misconception," Browning said.

Burlison says he is working on getting more council members on his side before bringing forward a formal proposal to repeal the ordinance.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Governator Terminates Anti-Lap-Riding Bill

Score one for "The Governator". California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have outlawed dogs from riding in the laps of drivers last week. Thanks to Republican Assemblyman Bill Maze for wasting everyone's time with this.

From the LA Times:

Yes, it's still OK to drive with the dog in your lap
11:17 AM, September 28, 2008

Think it's OK to drive with your puppy in your lap? Some folks in Sacramento were hoping to outlaw such behavior. But it looks like it won't happen this time. Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy reports:

Facing a backlog of legislation that he refused to sign until a state budget was passed, [Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger took his veto pen to 95 bills, including a measure that would have prohibited dogs from riding on the laps of motorists.

Many of the vetoed bills, including the lap-riding measure, received the same message from Schwarzenegger: "Given the delay, I am only signing bills that are the highest priority for California. This bill does not meet that standard and I cannot sign it at this time."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Man Travels 2800 Miles to Rescue Pit Bulls

Now THIS is a story with a happy ending. We first heard about Forrest in the Bad Rap Blog. Destined to be yet another victim of BSL, Forrest, a Pit Bull, had committed the dastardly crime of being born a Pit Bull. Did he attack someone? No. Did he do something else that would warrant identifying him as a menace? No. According to Denver, Colorado law you don't have to ANYTHING to be sentenced to DEATH beyond being born a Pit Bull. Forrest has thankfully been granted a reprieve thanks to a Southern California man who drove halfway across the country to come to his rescue.

This comes to us from the OC Register:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
2 'Denver death row' pit bulls come to O.C.
Fullerton man drives 2,800 miles to pick up dogs caught in mile-high city's ban.
The Orange County Register

FULLERTON – David Edelstein could have driven four miles from his Fullerton home to the county animal shelter last week to pick up one of three pit bulls available for adoption.

Instead, Edelstein traveled 2,800 miles round trip to rescue two pit bulls from what he calls "death row in Denver."

The animals were targets of the mile-high city's law that bans pit bulls from that city and its county.

One of the dogs, Forrest, grabbed national headlines last month when he was led away under police escort from the Denver Animal Care and Control Center for transport to a St. Louis, Mo., rescue group.

His owner, Chris McGahey, was facing a rule under which the city has the right to euthanize pit bulls if they are caught twice roaming Denver streets.

The pit bull revolt was linked to a 1989 law – and empowered again in 2005 – that prohibits people from keeping or selling a pit bull in the city and county of Denver. Pet owners were given 30 days to remove their pit bulls from the area.

"I'm totally against breed-specific legislation that outlaws certain dogs," said Edelstein, who introduced the dogs to Fullerton's Pooch Park on Tuesday.

The Fullerton resident read about McGahey's case and a protest in Denver. He put in an application to adopt Forrest, age 2, after the Best Friends Rescue Center in Utah stepped in to help – one of many rescue agencies in the country that takes dogs from the mile-high city.

While waiting for a reply, Edelstein learned that the Denver ruling was based on several deaths allegedly caused by the pit bull breed. He also learned 1,600 pit bulls have been euthanized by Denver Animal Control in the past three years, according to news reports.

Doug Kelley, the city's animal control director, agreed that if McGahey signed an affidavit, Forrest could escape death and be relocated to a rescue center, according to reports in the Rocky Mountain News. Kelley did not return calls to his office this week.

After Edelstein learned the Utah agency had too many relocated dogs, he tracked Forrest to St. Louis.

"I waited 10 days to hear if I could get the dog," said Edelstein, watching Forrest romp around the pooch park. "When a volunteer rescue group heard I was approved to get Forrest, they asked if I was willing to bring a rescued Rottweiler dog from Long Beach to Colorado, they would bring Forrest to Colorado."

Edelstein met up with Forrest at the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Grover, Colo. – a 640-acre ranch where the owner has rescued and rejuvenated 300 animals.

The Fullerton activist learned about another pit bull in trouble in the Denver area, and made arrangements to adopt Kane, 18 months.

On Monday, Edelstein arrived back in Fullerton to introduce the rescued dogs to his own pit bull-mix, Daze, 2, which he rescued.

"I never owned a dog until last year," said Edelstein. "And now I want fair treatment for all breeds."

He hopes to find a foster owner for Kane, and promised to someday to reunite Forrest with McGahey.

Meanwhile, he's an active spokesman for, an organization that protests breed-specific legislation.

The group will stage its fourth-annual Luv-A-Bully march at 10 a.m. on Oct. 25 in Brea to change the negative stereotype of pit bull breeds. The event will take place at Founders Vet Clinic, 330 N. Brea Blvd.

Passionate about the cause, Edelstein – who owns a catering and personal-chef business – said he is in a position to spend time fighting against the mistreatment of pit bulls.

"It's how the owners treat the dogs, not the breed, that determines their behavior," Edelstein said.

This guy's a true hero. Makes you proud to be a Californian, doesn't it?

Baby Killed by Dog Ruled Accidental

A tragic story from Youngstown, Ohio's

Published:Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By Ed Runyan

The parents wanted to bring the baby into the kitchen, but her bed was too large to fit through the doorway.

LEAVITTSBURG — The Trumbull County coroner’s office has ruled the death of a 3-day-old girl, killed by the family dog Monday morning, an accident.

But Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, the county’s forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on the infant, said the death reinforces the need for people to understand that dogs are not people.

“An animal cannot tell the difference between a plaything and a human being,” Dr. Germaniuk said, adding that dogs are “guided by instinct” and are sometimes territorial.

The baby had been home from the hospital only one day when the family dog, a Siberian husky, pulled her from her baby bed in the parents’ bedroom and dragged her into another room, police said.

The baby’s mother had fed the child before 10 a.m, put her back in her bed and had gone to the kitchen to make the family breakfast.

A little while later, at around 10 a.m., she and her husband realized the husky had the baby in its mouth in the family room, police said.

The husky complied when the husband ordered the dog to let go of the baby, but the child had suffered multiple blunt-force and sharp-force injuries and died at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital at about 10:45 a.m. The baby had been born there Friday.

Dr. Germaniuk said the baby suffered injuries to nearly all of her body, including chest, back, arms, legs and face. The baby weighed a little more than 5 pounds.

The baby had a pulse when paramedics first arrived but died either en route to or at the hospital, Dr. Germaniuk said.

The father told police he had let the dogs outside but thinks he may have let them back into the house a short time before the attack. The couple also has a beagle dog, police said.

Debbie Agostinelli, shelter director for the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County, said it appears the dog did not attack the child but more likely viewed her as a toy.

She said she has spoken with a member of the baby’s family, who said the 7-year-old dog was used to playing with squeaky toys and stuffed animals. Based on what the family member told her, it looks like the dog “simply mistook the baby for a toy,” Agostinelli said.

It’s possible the baby may have made a noise that excited the dog and made the animal want to play, she said.

Agostinelli said it is her understanding that the dog, which is being housed at Trumbull County Dog Kennel in Howland, will be euthanized.

She said standard advice given to parents bringing a newborn home to a house with a dog is to begin to make the dog feel comfortable with the child by introducing the baby’s smells to the dog before the baby comes home by wrapping the baby in a blanket and letting the dog smell the blanket.

Warren Township Police have not completed their investigation, Lt. Don Bishop said Tuesday.

Other sources that the fate of the husky has yet to be decided. Let's hope someone comes to their senses and realizes the poor dog had no idea he was doing anything wrong. It seems senseless to compound this tragedy by killing the dog, too.

The Dog Guide online has some very good advice about introducing dogs to newborns.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Heroic Pit Bull Saves Man From House Fire

Usually when you see the words "Pit Bull" appearing in a news report it's almost always something bad. Well, this was a nice change of pace. Not only is the following a good Pit Bull story, but the Pit Bull in question is a true hero.

From the Southeastern Missourian:

Saturday, September 20, 2008
By Paul Davis

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — After a fire gutted a house and basement apartment Jacob Ford lived in last Friday afternoon, the 20-year-old Poplar Bluff man said he's thankful to be alive, and even more so for the dog he "never really paid any attention to."

Ford was awakened Friday afternoon by the persistent whining of a pit bull owned by his mother's boyfriend, and knew something must be wrong.

"As soon as I stood up, I had smoke in my face," he said.

Grabbing a fire extinguisher, Ford headed upstairs, only to find the house's hallway full of smoke as well. He then ran outside to call the fire department and his mother.

Ford then realized the pit bull, Butch, had saved his life, because smoke alarms in the house failed to sound. Butch, however, was nowhere to be found.

"I went to the top of the stairs twice," Ford said. "I was yelling for Butch at the top of my lungs, but he didn't respond. That's when I figured he was probably gone."

A Butler County firefighter eventually found the dog, still alive and hiding in the smoke-filled basement, and led him to safety.

Tina Mobley, Ford's mother, said the dog apparently lost a lifelong fear of basements while attempting to wake her son. Butch, she said, had been abused as a puppy before she purchased him with "the last $52 I had on me."

The dog, Mobley said, had "only been in that basement one time up until that day," because he was terrified of the place, having been kept locked in one as a puppy.

Mobley, who's raised American pit bulls for years, said while the breed has a poor image, not all of the dogs are troublesome.

"They just need a lot of attention," she said.

Ford agreed, saying pit bulls are "family-oriented dogs if they're raised right."

For Mobley, all the extra work she went through to raise Butch from an abused puppy was worth the effort, and now, she said, she'll be forever indebted to him.

"He's a pretty heroic pit bull," she said. "That's the best $52 I ever spent in my life.

"If it had not been for that dog, there's no doubt in my mind my son would have died."

For his efforts, Butch received singe marks on his muzzle but seems to have has suffered no health problems. He has regained much of his puppy fear, though. "He doesn't want to be left alone now," said Mobley, "because he's scared all over again." Ford hopes to change that, he said, starting with the big steak dinner he's promised his new best friend.

Michigan Woman Gets Prison for Dog Attacks

from Thursday's AP:

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A woman whose bulldogs mauled two people to death, including a 91-year-old man, was sentenced Thursday to up to 15 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Stanley Latreille ordered Diane Cockrell to pay more than $30,000 in restitution as well as serve from 43 months to 15 years.

Cockrell, 52, pleaded no contest last month to two felony counts of keeping dangerous animals causing death and a third lesser charge. A no-contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

Authorities said four of Cockrell's dogs attacked 91-year-old Edward Gierlach in his driveway and pounced on 56-year-old Cheryl Harper, who was walking or jogging nearby. The attacks happened last September near Cockrell's home, about 45 miles west of Detroit.

Cockrell had a horse farm on the property, and authorities said the wooden fencing surrounding it was not adequate to keep dogs from escaping. Authorities euthanized her 10 dogs.

Defense attorney Daniel Blank said Cockrell "had no idea" the dogs were capable of killing people, and the case should be a lesson to all dog owners.

Cockrell will report to prison Jan. 2. The delay is to allow her to receive treatment for health problems, Blank said.

When you first see the headline you might think, "Good, make the owner responsible for once." But as you read further you see that there were four dogs involved in the attack but the powers that be decided to euthanize ALL of her dogs. Six of them didn't have anything to do with the attack yet have to pay for the irresponsibility of their owner with their lives.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't Let BSL Victimize This Dog

Who knows how many good dogs have fallen victim to unfair Breed Specific Legislation? Here is one dog's story. She still has a chance to have a happy ending.

From "In the Shelter of Your Heart":

This is Reina. She's a 35 lb female. Spayed, house trained, good with kids, likes cats, loves car rides. She's waiting to be adopted at the Siouxland Humane Society in Sioux City Iowa. She came to the shelter because her owner passed away. A small, well loved healthy dog. She provided love and companionship for a good owner who kept her safe and probably planned to love her tell the end of her life, not knowing their time would come first.

When first brought to the shelter she was scared, it was loud and frightening. She didn't know what had happened to the smiling face she used to wake up to every day, she didn't know what did she do to deserve this. Although the friend of the family thought she might not be good with other dogs, shelter staff have observed Reina in the shelter, and she passes other dogs with out a problem. She's even been making good use of her time, by getting some education. A local Girl Scouts troupe teaches obedience to select shelter dogs (what an awesome program by the way!) and they have chosen Reina. She is doing well in class and would be an excellent pet.

So why has this great dog not yet been adopted? Why is she at the top of the list to be euthanized, soon? She is a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix. In the last few weeks Sioux City has put severe restrictions on Pit Bulls, or "Pit Bull Type" dogs, included that no new adoptions can be made in the city. If no one from outside of Sioux City, or any other rescue or shelter, doesn't step up to take Reina she will die. Plain and simple. It is possible a Sioux City resident could adopt her quickly under the short grace period and license her as their own. But the stigma now applied to these dogs may prevent that.

If you can help Reina, please don't wait, act now and contact the Siouxland Humane Society today. Even a donation to her adoption fee, or transport fee would help tremendously if you are not able to adopt. This is the reality of BSL, good dogs will die, while bad owners multiply. Law abiding citizens will be prevented from giving good homes, and dogs like Reina suffer the consequence.

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" Draws Protestors

From the Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times:

Chihuahua movie protest
5:39 PM, September 19, 2008

While celebrities walked the red carpet Thursday night at the premiere of the comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," about 20 protesters stood by with signs urging people not to go nuts after they see the movie and impulsively buy a Chihuahua.

"We know the movie is cute," says Kim Sill, who runs the campaign against puppy mills for Last Chance for Animals, the group that organized the protest. "We don't want to say we're against the movie. We're against people going to a pet store after they see the movie. We want them to go to a shelter, because there are a lot of Chihuahuas there."

Animal welfare advocates have been concerned for weeks about the impact of the Disney movie -- which opens Oct. 3 -- on Chihuahuas. In the past, popular movies featuring a dog often cause a run on that breed. "101 Dalmatians" led to an uptick in Dalmatian ownership. And, according to Sill, the Taco Bell commercials featuring a Chihuahua helped create a Chihuahua craze. But when people realize the dog may not be right for them or their family --Damaltians are difficult and Chihuahuas are not always great with children --"they get dumped," says Sills.

And when a movie is about to open, puppy mills, she contends, gear up to produce more of that breed to supply pet stores. (Many animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of the U.S., contend that most pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills.) "It used to be you would walk into pet stores and see maltipoos and Yorkies. All of a sudden in the last two months, we've seen Chihuahuas infiltrate the pet shops," Sill says.

Sill says her group wanted Disney to air a public service announcement in theaters before shows telling patrons to think hard before choosing a pet. "We would have happily produced it for them and given it to them," says Sill.

It turns out that several of the Chihuahuas in the film were rescue dogs found in shelters in Los Angeles and Mexico, according to Disney's promotional materials. The lead dog, known in the movie as Papi --the face of the movie on all the posters around town -- was rescued from the Moreno Valley Animal Shelter and lives with his trainer.

The theme of responsible adoption echoes through the movie -- some of the dogs get adopted as part of the story -- and all the promotional material, says the spokesperson. The movie's website (at the bottom) and the movie itself (at the end before the credits roll) have written messages noting that getting a pet is a serious and lifelong commitment that should be researched first. "We felt this was an important message to visibly relay at the end of the movie," said the spokesperson.

The Disney spokesperson added that the cast of the movie and the trainer of Rusco, the dog who plays Papi, have been talking publicly about animal adoption.

--Carla Hall

Last Chance for Animals also made this video. It's kinda corny but does make its point.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Parvo Diagnosis Closes Lone Dog Park in Escondido

Escondido, California lies just north of San Diego. It has a population of over 140,000. The entire city has just one dog park that has now been closed over the threat of a Parvo outbreak.


Parvo Diagnosis Closes Escondido Dog Park
Reported by: Brooke Beare, September 18, 2008

Escondido city officials closed the Mayflower Dog Park on Valley Parkway today after a stray dog found abandoned there this week tested positive for the Parvovirus.

The dog had bloody stool and was vomiting when an employee from the Escondido Humane Society brought it in to the shelter, which is adjacent to the park.

Robin Bettin, Assistant Director of Community Services says staff members are working to determine how to disinfect the turf at Mayflower Dog Park as quickly as possible.

“We want to research it. We want to talk to those that are experts in the field, which is not park and rec staff by any means,” said Bettin.

Parvo is an extremely contagious virus that is usually deadly for puppies and unvaccinated dogs. It is harbored in the feces of infected dogs. According to Dr. David Zanders, a veterinarian at the Academy Animal Hospital, and a board member of the Escondido Humane Society, the virus can linger in an environment for a significant amount of time. Zanders said an exposed dog might not show symptoms for five to seven days. Symptoms include loose and bloody stool.

“It's just disheartening,” said Marc Lindsey, a dog owner who showed up to run Rosie at Mayflower on Thursday. “[We] lose use of the park, and apparently don't know when it's going to come back. [Plus] the dogs that could have gotten sick, and spread [the virus] through the city.” He said the problem all comes from “one careless owner.”

Yet another example of how the actions of one irresponsible dog owner can ruin it for everyone.

For more information on Canine Parvovirus please visit the American Veterinary Medicine Association's website, or see your local animal shelter or vet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Israeli City Fighting a "Severe" Dog Problem

Over the past few days we've seen our share of dog-related problems from different parts of the world. This is one of the most unusual.

From Great Britain's Sky News:

Israeli City is Hoping to Combat Dog Poo

Vets in Petah Tikva will collect doggy DNA from mouth swabs

Residents of the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv, have been asked to take their pooch to their local vet, where a DNA sample can be collected.

The city hopes to build a database so faeces can be matched to registered dogs and their masters.

Owners who scoop up their dog's poo and put it in specially marked bins on Petah Tikva's streets will be eligible for rewards - like pet food coupons and dog toys.

But owners who leave their pet's droppings on footpaths could face a fine.

If the voluntary programme takes off, the city will consider making it mandatory for owners to provide DNA samples from their dogs.

Tika Bar-On, the city's chief veterinarian, came up with the plan and said so far, dog owners had reacted positively to the initiative.

"[Residents] are co-operating because they want their neighbourhood to be clean," she said.

She added there was many other applications vets could use the DNA database for - such as research of genetic diseases, investigating canine pedigree and identifying stray animals.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Businessman offers $500 to replace boy's slain dog

Lately, we've been finding horror stories from all over Canada. Yesterday, it was British Columbia and Ontario, today it's Nova Scotia and Alberta.

From the Edmonton Sun:


PINCHER CREEK -- A 42-year-old Alberta woman charged after five puppies were thrown down an outhouse and left to die last winter has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Samantha Rieberger of Crowsnest Pass faces a trial in Pincher Creek provincial court Feb. 9.

A co-accused, Frederick Hoath, has already gone to trial, and a judge is to hand down a verdict Sept. 29.

The two were charged last January after RCMP were called to an outhouse along Highway 3 near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary.

A motorist who had stopped to use the outhouse heard whining coming from inside.
The eight-week-old Lab-cross pups were rescued after a lengthy operation that saw the outhouse taken apart, and all five of them were given a clean bill of health and adopted out.


HALIFAX -- RCMP say a Halifax-area man awoke to a disturbing scene on his front lawn early Monday.

They said the man was roused by a bright flash outside his Lower Sackville, N.S., home and noticed that something was on fire.

The man went outside and soon realized that a cat had been set ablaze.

Police said he covered the cat to smother the flames and then notified police and municipal animal control.

The cat did not survive.

The above two stories are just so maddening. Don't you wish that these sick people could be given reciprocal punishment? People like these are Jeffrey Dahmers in the making. Stop them now.

A final story from Canada today. A hopeful follow-up for that poor little Jack Russell puppy's family.

VICTORIA -- A Victoria businessman has donated $500 to get a B.C. boy a new puppy after the child's dog was shot by a hunter.

The Jack Russell terrier had belonged to 12-year-old Max Rose on Quadra Island, near Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

Bill Lang said when he heard the dog had been killed last weekend he wanted to do something about it and contacted the Rose family.

He said the breeder of the original dog has another similar puppy for the Quadra Island family, and the donation from Lang and his wife will cover the costs.

The puppy had replaced another dog that had helped the boy while he recovered from a brain tumour.

The hunter turned himself in to police, reportedly saying the shooting was an accident. The Crown is weighing charges in the case.

Canadians Dog Owners Face Problems, Too

In the Michael Moore "Bowling for Columbine" we are shown that in Windsor, Ontario, Canada the people feel so safe they don't feel the need to lock their doors when they leave their homes. He also states that Canadians own more firearms per capita than Americans yet only have a tiny fraction of handgun-related deaths per year. In another documentary of his, "Sicko", we are shown that Canada's system of socialized medicine is humane, efficient, and affordable. One comes away believing that perhaps the Canadian way of life may be a better way. It is deeply saddening to learn of these two stories. The first is of shocking heartlessness and cruelty. The second is of yet another case of prejudice and BSL.

From CTV in British Columbia, Canada:

B.C. family shocked after dog shot outside home

Updated Tue. Sep. 16 2008 3:36 PM ET News Staff

Police are hoping that a B.C. man, suspected of shooting a four-month-old Jack Russell puppy just metres away from its home on Quadra Island Saturday morning, will soon report to police.

"I'm hoping that he will turn himself in,'' said Cpl. Craig Peterson of Quadra Island RCMP.

Owner Nick Rose said the dog -- called Seymour -- was a gift to son Max, to mark the end of three-years of cancer treatment.

"My kids were happy and laughing like they haven't been in years. My son in particular since before he was diagnosed with cancer I hadn't heard those kind of giggles and that kid of laughter out of him."

But all that changed on Saturday morning outside the rose family's Quadra Island home.

"We had our new puppy with us, and we had a great night just the three boys, and we're staring our chores and down the road walked two hunters returning from an unsuccessful dear hunt."

Both of these hunters had shot guns. Not knowing any better, Seymour did what most puppies would do.

"He bounded out in his affable, puppy-like way wagging and simpering and practically peeing himself wanting to say hi."

But Rose knew the two men from an incident a few years earlier and he knew this was trouble.

Frantic he called Seymour back. But the puppy just followed the pair around a corner and out of sight. That's when a shot rang out.

"I ran to the end of our driveway and looked around the corner and there was our little puppy, quivering in his death-throws at the side of the road."

The hunters ran off leaving Nick and his kids in shock along with the rest of the island community. Even police are in disbelief.

"I'm like you, stunned, shocked that a senseless act like this has been carried out," said Peterson.

Police know the identity of one of the hunters and are hoping they turn themselves in to face possible charges.

"Right now we're looking at dangerous use or careless use of a firearm as well as endangering an animal, in this case killing a dog."

For Seymour's family, charges are taking a back seat to the emotional impact and senselessness of what happened.

With reports by CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart and The Canadian Press

If you click on the link to read the story from the CTV website, please read the reader comments as well. It may be of some comfort to know this story really seems to have struck a nerve, and that there is considerable outrage is being voiced.

photo from

This is a BSL case from a different province. From the Toronto Star in Ontario, Canada:

Dog owner challenges pit bull ban

Sep 16, 2008 08:25 AM
John Goddard

Pit bull regulations are too broad given that most of the dogs “make wonderful pets — are kind, gentle animals who harm no one ever,” lawyer Clayton Ruby said yesterday.

Dog owners are the problem, not the dogs, he said during a break at an Ontario Court of Appeal hearing on whether a law aimed at reducing the number of pit pull attacks should be struck down.

“It’s people who create dangerous dogs,” Ruby said on behalf of dog owner Catherine Cochrane, who is fighting regulations that went into effect three years ago.

“They want dangerous dogs,” Ruby said of some pit bull owners. “We should be attacking those people and stopping that process.”

The Ontario law bans new pit bulls from the province and orders existing ones to be sterilized, as well as leashed and muzzled in public.

Ruby, acting for Cochrane, earlier challenged the law as unconstitutional and won changes from a lower court judge. Yesterday, Ruby was further arguing before the appeal tribunal led by Justice John Laskin that the law should be struck down entirely.

For the Crown, Mike Doi listed numerous unprovoked pit bull attacks, including the 1994 Danforth Ave. mauling of 5-year-old Lauren Harper, who needed 300 stitches to her face.

“Pit bulls can attack unprovoked even when they are previously known to be friendly,” Doi said, supporting the lower court’s finding that the law should stand.

A key question on appeal is whether the law defines “pit bull” too broadly. The law specifically names Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers, then includes any other dog with traits “substantially similar” to those breeds.

The wording is unconstitutionally broad, Ruby said.

“The evidence was that there are 24 pure-bred dogs that look like these dogs — and those are just pure-breds, (not to mention) all the half-breeds and mutts,” he said during the break.

“Your dog at home will look like a pit bull in many respects.”

Crown lawyer Robert Charney argued the law responded constitutionally to “a real, serious problem of public safety.”
The hearing continues today.

'Pit bulls can attack unprovoked even when they are previously known to be friendly'. This is someone representing the Canadian government making this statement. It's sad and disappointing to see that ignorance and breed prejudice knows no boundaries.