Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time’s running out for this cute puppy

From our Facebook friend, Jennifer Warner:


Sooo cute!!! URGENT "Max" 5 month rednose chocolate kissabull pup is on the euth list if space is needed (so at any time) at the Pasadena shelter. Max was adopted out when he was tiny, but returned when their dog attacked him. His wounds healed perfectly. He is energetic and shelter staff reported he will play tug of war with the leash, and was stiff at first when introduced to the female tester dog, but then initiated play with a bow. Here's his adorable video of him showing off his sit like a star: -- please msg me if you can FOSTER or to adopt or rescue call 626-792-7151 for #A256278

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vick’s insincerity becoming more apparent

Earlier this week BAD RAP, the Oakland-based pit bull rescue organization that was instrumental in determining the fate of the Vick dogs, made the difficult decision of extending to Michael Vick an invitation to visit with some of his former dogs while Vick is in town with his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, to play against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Although it may have been a painful meeting it would have been an opportunity to bring healing and closure on many levels. It would have been a positive gesture on Vick’s part toward the rescue community, pit bull advocates, and dog lovers in general, not to mention the dogs themselves.

Vick didn’t even bother to answer himself. Through the Eagles’ PR director he declined.

Considering the fact that Vick has never mentioned the dogs in his many apologies and that his participation in the Humane Society of the United States’ anti-dog fighting campaign has consisted of three speeches at community-based events Vick seems to be coming way short of his pre-prison term promise to “redeem” himself.

His “no” answer also brings up other questions.

Whose advice is he following or is this solely his decision? If it was for legal reasons would he want to if legalities were not an issue?

As of this writing it has been a little more than 24 hours since Vick’s “no” to BAD RAP made the news. BAD RAP has a full post about it on their blog site. In Defense of Animals has a story along with plans for a protest at this Sunday’s game. The story’s being reported by all major news agencies. Since Vick now works with the HSUS why have they remained absolutely silent about it? I’ve been monitoring their website along with HSUS President Wayne Pacelle’s blog site. There hasn’t been a peep. What is the HSUS’s position on Vick’s answer? As the one animal rights organization that chose to associate themselves with him I think they owe us an explanation.

If this answer was solely Vick’s decision I’d like to know why. Is it that he doesn’t care about them and couldn’t be bothered? Are you too ashamed? Are you afraid of looking those dogs in the face or facing the questions of their new owners?

Are you afraid that the dogs might remember you? Are you afraid that they might attack you like you trained them to do or are you afraid they’ll cower?

In Defense of Animals is planning a peaceful protest of Vick at the Raiders-Eagles game at the Oakland Coliseum this Sunday. Visit the IDA website for more details.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BSL issue heats up in Denver

From the Denver Daily News:

Were innocent dogs killed?

Pit bull advocates wonder if city has put down misidentified dogs

Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Pit bull advocates would like to know just how many innocent dogs have been killed by the city simply because the dogs were wrongly identified as being part of the banned breed.

Suggesting that hundreds of innocent dogs may have been killed by the city, advocates are calling for an immediate re-evaluation of the city’s controversial ordinance.

At the center of the debate is a recent case in which an administrative judge ruled that animal control officers wrongly labeled a boxer-mix as a pit bull. Three so-called experts with Denver Animal Care and Control had labeled Kevin O’Connell’s dog Dexter a pit bull. But O’Connell’s own experts — American Kennel Club judges and professional dog handlers — testified last week that Dexter was in no way a pit bull.

The ruling was a victory for O’Connell and Dexter — but it came with a price. The owner will spend thousands of dollars in legal and city fees by the time all his bills are paid — all for an error on the city’s part. He will even need to pay boarding fees for the 10 days his dog was locked up — during which time Dexter developed kennel cough just from being inside the shelter.

While O’Connell was fortunate enough to have the money to fight for his dog, many are not, pointed out Jennifer Edwards, founder of the Wheat Ridge-based Animal Law Center and O’Connell’s lead attorney. She and her organization believe hundreds of dogs wrongly identified as pit bulls may have already been killed by the city or are currently sitting on “pit bull row.”

“It desperately needs to be addressed,” said Edwards. “I am positive that there are potentially hundreds, if not thousands of dogs that are similarly situated to Dexter, and I think that we need to call into question Denver’s procedures as far as their breed recognition and determination of these prohibited breeds.””

Click here for the full text of the article.

The horror of what’s taking place to Denver’s pit bulls can easily happen in any community where BSL is allowed to pass. That’s why we cannot give up and continue to fight. Kudos to the anti-BSL movement in Denver for not accepting defeat.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dog fighting ring busted in Buffalo

This is from the Buffalo News. The full article can be read here.

This is one of three pit bulls found Thursday at 39 Laurel St., where the attic floor was coated with animal waste.

Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Battle against dogfighting brings rescue of 25 pit bulls

In less than 24 hours, dogs found at 6 sites by animal control officers

By Lou Michel


Updated: October 09, 2009, 12:34 AM / 3 comments

In the battle to halt illegal dogfighting in Buffalo, animal control officers rescued 25 pit bulls in less than 24 hours at six locations.

Score a win for the battered and scarred dogs now safe in sanitized kennels at the city's Animal Shelter on North Oak Street. The owners of the dogs have not claimed them, and no arrests have been made so far.

In rescuing the dogs, animal control officers once again yanked back a curtain exposing the secretive world of dogfighting.

It wasn't a pretty picture.

"This dog was tied to a one-foot leash at the top of the stairs leading to the attic. You can see where railings to the banister have been chewed," said animal control officer Mark Young, pointing to wooden posts that were nearly shredded in half.

In the attic at 39 Laurel St. were even more disturbing sights: animal waste coating the floor, shredded stuffing from seat cushions, kennels bedded with straw to keep down the flea population, and dry dog food scattered amid the filth.

What’s more disturbing is the first reader comment below the article:

“I hope every da.n one of those pitbulls are put down.
An absolutely worthless and very dangerous canine.
I will not enter a building/home that houses a pitbull nor will I interact with any moron who publicly displays their total lack of concern by walking a pitbull w/out a muzzle.
The owners should be forced to wear muzzles as well.”

This is the kind of ignorance and prejudice we’re fighting. I hope this helps serve to spur us on to keep going.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Michael Vick’s new Nike commercial

The new commercial was recently debuted on the Jimmy Kimmel show.  Check it out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top honors given to Richmond dog park recently named it’s “Top 10 Dog Parks in the U.S.”. Topping the list is the dog park at Point Isabel in Richmond, California.

Having visited the park a few times myself I can tell you first hand what a great place it is to take your dog for a terrific off-leash experience. It’s located on the shores of the San Francisco Bay so there’s a usually a cinematic (but often fogged) view of the San Francisco skyline.

At the park’s entrance you’ll find the Sit & Stay Cafe where you can enjoy some very good sandwiches, gourmet coffee, sodas and ice cream. Situated right next to it is Mudpuppy’s which offers a dog wash along with treats, doggy toys, leashes, and other supplies. Many dog owner clubs use the facilities for meet-ups.

The approximately 1/2 mile paved path turns inward where a creek runs alongside giving water loving dogs a nice opportunity to romp and get themselves nice and muddy. Not to worry about the dirty factor, there’s a rinse-off at the end of the path.

I’ve only been there a few times but it’s always a treat to see dogs of all sizes running and playing together, catching frisbees, and just having a pleasant off-leash walk with their owners.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and haven’t yet paid a visit, come see for yourself why this is the best dog park in the nation. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Please help this victim of extreme cruelty

From Facebook (warning: the pictures on the link are extremely graphic):cezar

The story:
”My sister called me today while I was doing transport for the pregnant pitty. She had went to a yard sale in Kings Mtn, NC. The guy came out side and a dog came out with him that was skin and bones. The guy yelled at the dog and forced it back inside. When the dog turned around my sister noticed the back end of the dog was missing and appeared to have flies and bugs all over it. She called me....

I called animal control who did go there and the man denied it. He said the dog ran away. The officer searched his house and property but no dog was found. After speaking to a neighbor I confirmed the dog has been there for the last year or two and has been roaming the neighborhood with this wound for at least 2 weeks. I decided to take matters into my own hands and went and explained to the gut that I was not with animal control and am an independent rescuer and that if he would sign the dog over to me I would get it taken care of. He said ok and went outside and got the dog out of a drain pipe. He put the dog in my car and signed the papers. I informed animal control of this and he said he would take care of it from there.

The owner, if that is what you call him, claims the dog chewed his tail off and he could not afford to take it to the vet. In my opinion the it looks like an axe was used and chopped his tail off to make a wound for a bait dog.

Now, I have the dog at my house. If anyone is interested in helping with medical bills please let me know. The Shar Pei rescue of Virgina has agreed to take the dog if they can find a home for it. Until then he is here at my house.

10/3/09: I brought Cezar to the vet and vet tech at my local animal control who suggested that I get him on antibiotics and pain medications ASAP. I started him on some Keflex and Tramadol. They gave him a rabies vaccine. I brought him home and made him a soft bed which after he did his scratching the blanket to make it comfy just for him he took a nap. I gave him dinner and had to give water by syringe. He slept well.

7:00 AM 10/4/09: I got up this morning to check on Cezar and took him outside where he did urinate and then promptly wanted to go back in. He ate his breakfast but still did not want to drink water so I gave it to him by syringe again. He looked up at me and gave me some kisses. I cried my eyes out. He then went back to his bed an went to sleep.

10:00AM 10/4/09: Got a message from Samatha that she knew a vet that would see him today. I went and got Cezar and he went to his water bowl and drank by himself. Went outside and he urinated again and then off to the vet.

11:15 AM 10/4/09: Just left the vet. The vet says that his wound looks older, but needs to be cleaned and have the rectum evaluated since the wound does encompass the rectum. The vet gave him a pain shot and is going to give him some anesthesia so the wound can be cleaned today. He is going to put in a drain to help the infection drain. He also think that one of Cezar's front legs has been fractured in the past and has healed bad, but does not appear to give him any problems. He says that he has typical Shar Pei eyes with excess skin and does not think the infection is a problem.

12:45 PM 10/4/09: Just got a call from the vet and he says Cezar did wonderful and is up and awake. He said there was a dead piece of bone lodged in the wound (probably part of his tail) that he removed. He did put a few stitches in that area because it was so deep. He said it will need to granulate closed. As for his rectum he said that it was not as bad as we expected and is actually barely involved in the injury, just towards the bottom of the wound. He is keeping him overnight and will call me tomorrow. He thinks that Cezar will be just fine.

Thanks to Samantha Hodge, I was able to get a vet to take him in today with out emergency charge fees:

Dr. Thomas A Wallrichs, DVM
Animal Hospital of East Burke
202 Eldred St, NE
Valdese, NC 28690
***Please let him know how much you appreciate him coming in on a Sunday morning to take care of Cezar!!!!

Donations can be sent to my paypal account I just set up for him: (Cezar's Medical Funds):

Marin Humane Society shuts down San Rafael pet adoption center

from the San Jose Mercury News

SAN RAFAEL — The Marin Humane Society shut down an animal rescue group's San Rafael operations after uncovering "shocking conditions" at the center.

The Milo Foundation was forced to close its adoption center and animal holding site at 2060 Fourth St. on Friday, one day after an inspection by the Marin Humane Society uncovered health and safety violations including triple the number of dogs and cats allowed at the site, animals living in their own feces and untreated for contagious diseases and inadequate staffing or medical supervision.

"It was overwhelming," said Capt. Cindy Machado of the Marin Humane Society. "After witnessing shocking conditions for the animals at Milo in San Rafael, we issued a directive to the Milo Foundation that operations at its San Rafael facility must stop immediately."

Machado said last week's inspection was in response to complaints of mismanagement at the San Rafael site. In July, she accompanied an inspection of the foundation's sanctuary in Willits by the Humane Society of the United States that uncovered similar animal health and safety issues of inadequate housing and lack of care. That inspection was prompted by complaints from former sanctuary staffers.

Lynn Tingle, Milo's executive director, disputed the allegations, although she agreed the center had more dogs on hand than its city permit allowed. She said the foundation was in the process of requesting the city to update its permit to allow an additional 10 dogs on site.

"I disagree with their findings," said Tingle, of Berkeley. "I just think there's a big difference between animal control and animal rescue. We're about saving lives. We're going to fight this."

The foundation surrendered 19 animals to the Marin Humane Society for treatment.

The San Rafael center opened in 2008. The nonprofit foundation was created in 1994 to provide homes for unwanted pets.

The Milo Foundation is a reputable and well-established animal rescue in the San Francisco Bay Area and has found homes for countless cats and dogs over the years. Let’s hope their issues get resolved and the adoption center gets to re-open soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Update on a volunteer’s journey

My June 21, 2009 posting was about my attempt to join the volunteers at the Contra Costa County Animal Services facility in Martinez, California. I haven’t posted an update because, well, there’s nothing to report.

I didn’t realize this at the time, but until recently I’ve been ineligible because, frankly, I’ve been an irresponsible dog owner. The county requires that any volunteer that owns dogs must have their registrations up to date and I had foolishly allowed one of my dogs’ registrations to expire. This has now been taken care of.

I will be giving the shelter’s director a call this week to see whether or not I need to re-apply. Stay tuned and cross your fingers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another dog magazine to avoid: Atomic Dogg

While visiting a local book store’s magazine section I ran across a title I had never seen before nestled amongst all the dog magazines. I had never seen a copy nor had ever heard of “Atomic Dogg”. I turned to the first page of the magazine and was instantly disappointed. It was a full page ad from a pit bull breeder.

With trepidation I began thumbing through the rest of it, finding more and more to dislike with each turn of the page. There were pictures from various “bully events” that all had a similar theme to them. Tough guys in their best gansta poses holding their pit bulls that I guess were supposed to look similarly “gangsta”. Most were heavily muscled with cropped ears. Many were wearing collars with long metal spikes. There were a few pictures of dogs doing dead weight pulls.

What was even more disturbing were the breeder ads. They all boasted of things like their dogs being from “Gotti” and “Razor’s Edge” breeding lines and impressive pedigrees. This is the same kind of breed prejudice that produces the slanderous attitude that shelter dogs are somehow inferior.

Sprinkled throughout the magazine were a couple of phrases that might sound good to the rescue community, “helping to dispell the myth” and “stop BSL”. But not a word about “shelter” or “rescue”.

Even the pictures of the dogs themselves were disturbing. All the adult pits had their ears cropped and were all so heavily muscled they looked like they were all on steroids. Clearly, the owners of these dogs have gone to great lengths to give them a sinister appearance. It was particularly hard for me see pit bulls that looked that way. There are two things I love about the way pit bulls look. In addition to their big goofy smiles their ears are just the right length for them to give them the absolute perfect-looking ear flop. Seeing all those cropped ears just made me cringe.

Out of a morbid curiosity I visited their web site. (I’m not going to put a link to it.) The home page has videos that start playing automatically when the site comes up. The videos themselves were uninteresting. More tough guys in gangsta poses, more roided out pits with cropped ears. What did pique my interest is that one video began by saying it was being sponsored by “Killinois Kennels”.

What? I looked again. I did see it correctly the first time. “Kill”-inois. At this point I had to know. It’s that same kind of curiosity that keeps you staring at a train wreck in spite of the moral part of your brain that tells you to stop.

Sure enough “KILLinois Kennels” were based out of Springfield, Illinois. On the home page they tell us “Our dogs will possess immense strength for such activities as weight-pulling, along with quickness & agility, as well as non-stop determination & drive. Our dogs do not sit in kennels all day; we have a very large yard and our dogs use every bit of it: they have 200 foot zip lines to run on all day and get the exercise they need.” Of course, there’s a disclaimer near the bottom of the page they’re not bred or sold for illegal purposes but who are they kidding? Hmm, what kind of person needs a dog that “possess immense strength”, and needs to have quickness, agility, non-stop determination, and drive? We’re certainly not talking about ones that are going to be taught to catch frisbees. And maybe they didn’t realize that outside of the dog fighting community telling us that they’re chained dogs is not you should be boasting about.

Did I say dog fighting? I’ve been dancing around that term the whole time just like this magazine does. They might as well call this rag “Dog Fighting Illustrated”. At best it’s dog fighting culture they’re promoting.

Another cute catchphrase they used was, “protecting the breed”. This is what these people use to justify their activities as breeders. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re doing something noble. These people are the rescue community’s worst enemy. It’s not bad enough that they’re breeders, but they’re breeding pit bulls. Aren’t our shelters filled enough with unwanted pits?

Let’s be frank about why they are on the same side as us when it comes to BSL. They don’t care about the injustice of breed prejudice like we do, it’s because it would hurt their pit bull breeding businesses. For people like us BSL is an issue compassion and justice, for them it’s all about protecting their bank accounts.

If you should happen to see this piece of trash magazine at your local book seller or newsstand please encourage the owner to stop carrying it. I’ll publish a copy of the letter I’m sending to Barnes & Noble.

And just FYI, frisbee-catching pit bulls do exist. One of them is named Wallace, and he’s incredible! And guess what? He’s a rescued shelter dog. Wallace’s owner also fosters Hector, a Vick dog


Friday, October 2, 2009

Orphaned newborn chihuahua taken in by an unlikely foster mother

If you’re the type of dog lover that doesn’t particularly care for cats take a look at this news report from 3TV in Phoenix.  You may feel a little different about them afterwards.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Michael Vick’s “redemption” has been a failure

In August 2008 I took a viewpoint of the then then-federal prisoner Michael Vick that was shared by very, very few in the rescue community.  I wrote:

“…I'm sure that there are many who feel that Vick he is a horrible person that did horrible things and should be thoroughly punished and should not be allowed to play football ever again. And while that sentiment is understandable I believe it would be unfair to have given those dogs a chance at redemption but not extend that same chance at redemption to Vick as well…

…Here's my crazy wish for Michael Vick. My wish is that he really has seen the error of his ways, that decides to champion the fight against animal cruelty when he is released from prison, regains his superstardom in the NFL, and uses his fame to raise awareness for the cause.

I know it's nuts of me to hope for such a thing, but wouldn't it be great if it happened? I think it's worth giving it a chance."

It’s now 14 months later and 3 months since Vick’s release from federal custody.  To those of you in the rescue community that disagreed with me I have something to say to you.

I was wrong.

Vick has been a total disappointment in his promise to redeem himself.  To this date there is no indication that Vick nor anyone representing him have done anything to check on the welfare of the so-called “Vick dogs”.  In his first statement to the press following his prison release he apologized to his fans, family, teammates, his former NFL team, but failed to mention the actual victims, the dogs themselves.

He failed to make any conciliatory acts or gestures before the NFL chose to reinstate him.  And when he did finally chose a public path toward redemption who did he align himself with?  The Humane Society of the United States, the same organization that called for the summary execution of the Vick dogs before any of them had been evaluated for possible rehabilitation.  There’s something ironic about that.

I’m not a professional writer.  Anthony Brown of Bleacher Report makes this case much better than I do:

Michael Vick May Be Sincere. His Publicity Campaign Is Fake.


Anthony Brown


Scribe Written on September 30, 2009


Michael Vick made an entirely too clandestine visit to D.C. to preach against the dangers of dog fighting. he gave his message to a group of at risk...churchgoers.

The story of Vick's visit appears in today's Washington Post and on

According to The Post, Vick expressed the false glamour of the thug life and its impact on his family.

"Anything can happen when you're fighting dogs at two or three in the morning," he said. "I'm blessed to be before you and still have my life. It's like standing on the corner and dealing drugs. It's a criminal life."

It's a message that needs to be heard. The Humane Society thinks Michael Vick is a channel to a population they do not reach.

It's piddly-poor publicity when news of Vick's visit reaches us after he's left.

Michael Vick's agreement to make two public appearances a month to speak against dog fighting played a role in his reinstatement to the NFL. He's made similar appearances in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta. The story at the Church Solutions web site says the Humane Society reached out to inner-city churches that "often bear much weight in these urban communities and influence people’s behavior."

Laudable--if the target audience hears the message. The Post reported that "there was a small mix of high school-aged kids among the roughly 75 in attendance." Vick has also pitched his story at schools in other cities where there are more young people, at least.

Inadequate publicity of his visits makes the whole thing a charade. I get it with the church. But if you are in church, you already get that message. A church ringed by police officers deters the very at-risk youth The Humane Society wants to reach. The Post's article suggested as much.

Everybody needs to rethink the best, maximum use of Mr. Vick.

A good start would be the Humane Society itself. They sponsor Vick appearances and appear jointly with him. Yet, Michael Vick's speaking schedule appears nowhere on its own web site as I write this.

Michael Vick's official web page has no anti-cruelty message of any kind. What a missed opportunity!

Young people are unlikely to visit the Humane Society's web page, but they will look at Vick's. There's no better place to weave Mr. Vick's message, direct and edited by the man himself.

Where was the viral text message campaign informing teens that Michael Vick was coming to town? Why was there a police presence outside and inside Covenant Baptist Church where he appeared?

Will we see this on YouTube?

Where's the thought process to place Vick where young people are instead of where they ought to be? And why isn't he appearing at animal shelters to raise funds and volunteers?

Maybe there's a concern about animal rights extremists at a Vick sighting. Know what? There are a lot more people who want to see Michael Vick play and hear what he has to say.

Come on people, you are smarter than this. Or, is it all a charade?

For another eloquent opinion on the subject please check out the statement made to the Philadelphia Inquirer by Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Father Turns In Son After Finding Dead Dogs

This report comes from Fox 12 in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to Bob Hall for alerting us.

Joshua Stitt Faces 7 Counts Of Animal Abuse

POSTED: 6:22 pm PDT September 22, 2009

UPDATED: 6:57 pm PDT September 22, 2009

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A father turned his son over to authorities after finding six dead puppies Thursday.

Joshua Stitt was charged Monday and faces seven counts of first-degree animal abuse.

John Stitt, the suspect's father, said he called the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office after he found his son had killed a litter of puppies and destroyed a kennel.

"I guess he killed them with a long steel bar," Stitt said.

"(It's) very upsetting, not easy for a father who loves his child very much to turn him in for such a horrific thing. But I felt he might move on from animals to people," Stitt said.

Stitt said his son's problems started before the puppies were killed.

On Sept. 4, Stitt said he came home and found his son covered in blood.

Stitt said his son had stabbed a dog to death and was bragging about slitting its throat with a three-inch pocket knife because the dog had nipped at his leg.

"He killed it for that and it was in a dog run. He didn't even need to be over there where the dog was," Stitt said

Stitt said the Marines discharged Joshua in May for mental health issues.

"I want him to get medical help. I want him to get a good doctor. I want him to have medication that will keep him calm and I want him to realize his problems," Stitt said.

Joshua Stitt's bail is set at $150,000. He will be back in court Sept. 28.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tibetan Mastiff becomes world's priciest dog: Chinese woman pays $600,000

I’m happy that the Chinese value dogs so much, but this is silly.  This is from AOL’s Daily Finance.

MastiffWould you pay more than a half a million dollars for a dog? A woman from Northern China has just taken delivery of what has reportedly become the most expensive dog in the world for which she paid 4 million yuan, or about $600,000.
The 18-month-old Tibetan mastiff, called Yangtze River Number Two, arrived at its new home in Xi'an yesterday.

Upon its arrival in Xi'an airport, Yangtze River Number Two was greeted by dog lovers waving welcome banners. According to reports, the dog's owner, identified only as Mrs. Wang, arranged for a motorcade of 30 black Mercedes-Benz cars led by two sports utility vehicles to transport the canine to its new home in style.
To guarantee that her massive expenditure was not overlooked among her social circle, reports say that Mrs. Wang contacted her wealthy friends after making the purchase, and spread the word about the exact price of her new pet as well as her arrival time in Xi'an. The dog's welcome crowd was so large and lavish, that passersby gathered round thinking a human celebrity was in their midst.
The millionairess has reportedly been searching for the perfect dog for years. This dog, which she spotted in Yushu made the grade. "Gold has a price," she said, "But this Tibetan mastiff doesn't."
In China, this ancient breed goes by nicknames such as "Miraculous Beast", "Number One Dog" and "Antique Dog." Buddha and Genghis Khan kept them as companions. Marco Polo wrote of seeing them in the Orient. They are fabled to play a huge part in maintaining ecological balance (both spiritually and physically) in their native habitat, the Tibetan Plateau, where sadly, they are now quite rare. They are reputed to be one of the oldest breeds still in existence and archaeological evidence suggests they served as guard dogs in China as early as 1000 B.C..
With fewer than 160 pure bred descendants of the original Tibetan mastiffs currently in existence, these dogs are certainly rare. Mrs. Wang's new companion has a good shot at padding away with a trophy at a major kennel show if he's properly trained. In 2008, the breed was entered in the renowned Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the first time, although the ultimate prize was taken home by a much smaller dog -- a Beagle named Uno.
Chinese dog-watchers are certainly a new phenomenon in a land where keeping dogs as pets was banned under the reign of Mao Zedong who described dog owners as time-wasters. Large dogs are still outlawed in Beijing where it is illegal to register a dog larger than 35 cms (13 inches). Dog ownership in general is reserved for the wealthier population in cities like Beijing, where the annual license fee can run as high as 1,000 yuan or ($150) – an astronomical sum for the city's blue collar workers (textile workers' salaries averaged averaged less than 20,000 yuan or $5,689 in 2008).
Perhaps China's dog-loving elite, who now enjoy a level of wealth previously reserved for non-Chinese, will help shift the reputation of the lowly dog from a restaurant entree, to the position the animals enjoy in the rest of the world -- that of man's (or woman's) best friend.


What was that about lining up 30 Mercedes-Benz to greet him?  "Chinese millionaires”?  The last time I checked China was a communist country.  What is going on here? Seriously though, if such a rare breed is such a big deal what are mutts or shelter dogs worth?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lucy Lou doesn't want to go blind!

From our friend Stacy Parmer, who runs the San Diego dog rescue, The Barking Lot.


So this is sweet little Lucy Lou...she came to us from Mexico. Lucy was sitting in the Perrera (Mexican dog pound) awaiting her fate of electrocution when we happened upon her. We brought her back to the states thinking this little gal would be a slam dunk for getting adopted quickly, but all that got sidetracked when we discovered that Lucy Lou could hardly see!! Who knew this gorgeous, pudgy purebred Cocker was going blind? Yep, Lucy is 23 lbs and only 2 yrs old & has juvenile cataracts...all she sees is fuzz at the moment and she bumps into the occasional wall, but there is a treasure at the end of the rainbow! Lucy Lou's cataracts can BE FIXED!! She needs some rather expensive surgery ($4000), but once she's had her operation, our little lady will be able to see better than ever & our fun-loving gal can get on with life! She's an ABSOLUTE doll!! She loves people and is so engaging & excited to say hello, clumsy as it may be! Her friendly & outgoing disposition wins her many canine companions and she loves their company too!! Lucy deserves to have her sight and family that's willing to love and adore her for years to come! Please, please, please do what you can to help!! Even $10 will move us toward our goal & Lucy will once again be able to see!

Thanks, Stacy.  Please go to Lucy Lou’s Fundable’s site to make a donation.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

California Assembly Bill 250 Needs Your Support

From the Best Friends website:

Bill that aims to reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia in California moves forward in Senate
To California Residents Only
SB 250, the Pet Responsibility Act, needs your help to pass.
This legislation aims to reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia in California.
The group Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) has set up an entire website devoted to this bill.
Over half of the 1 million animals in CA shelters are euthanized
According to SCIL, each year, over $250 million dollars is spent housing and euthanizing homeless dogs and cats in California. Approximately 1 million dogs and cats enter California’s shelters each year, and over half of them are euthanized (killed) simply because there are not enough homes.
This enormous number of homeless pets actually means that every dog born in the state of California today has nearly a 1 in 4 chance of ultimately becoming homeless and dying in a shelter. Two-thirds of the cats entering California shelters are euthanized. And, the number of dogs and cats entering our shelters is currently on the rise.
SCIL reports that SB 250 provides a reasonable, fiscally responsible step towards reducing pet overpopulation in California. The bill simply requires that dogs be spayed or neutered unless their owner/guardian obtains an unaltered dog license when they license their animal.

This bill deals a blow to irresponsible dog and cat owners throughout the state and will help to drive breeders out of business. 

Similar ordinances were passed in Santa Cruz County and it has been a clear success in driving down the number of euthanizations.  The SF Examiner interviewed the director of the Santa Cruz SPCA.  Read about how it’s worked here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July Advice for Dog Owners

From the ASPCA website’s July 3, 2009 News Alerts.

Fourth of July Festivities: Should You Bring Your Pet?

As the country dons its red, white and blue to celebrate Independence Day, nothing says patriotism like a good old-fashioned barbecue with a side of fireworks. But beware pet parents, what’s fun for people can be a downright drag for our furry friends.

The ASPCA recommends keeping your pooch indoors as much as possible during backyard parties and Fourth of July festivities, even if he is a pro picnicker. From toxic food and beverages to raucous guests and fireworks, the holiday weekend is a minefield of potential pet problems.

"Even the most timid dog can leap a six-foot fence if he’s spooked by loud noises," says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. If your dog shows signs of distress from fireworks or boisterous revelers, Dr. Reid suggests giving him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. "The persistent licking should calm his nerves," she says.

The ASPCA offers some more expert advice to keep your pet singing, "Oh Say Can You See," all the way to the fifth and beyond:

  • Keep your pet on the wagon. Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ way.
  • Avoid scraps from the grill. Stick with your pet’s normal diet—any change, even for a day, can result in stomach upset. Certain foods like onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets.
  • Skip the sunscreen. Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent or sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.
  • Stay fire-smart. Keep your pet away from fireworks, matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
  • Be cool near the pool. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach problems.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. And be sure to check out our more complete list of holiday pet care tips for a safe and happy Fourth!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twins arrested in pit bull's death face new charges


Two teenage twin brothers charged as juveniles with fatally burning a pit bull are being held without bail on new adult charges after police said they raided their Southwest Baltimore rowhouse and found guns and marijuana inside.
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, 17, are each charged with possession of firearms, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to police and prosecutors. Court documents say the two were suspects in the dog burning last month, and their father confirmed that they are charged as juveniles with animal cruelty in the case.
The death of the dog, which had been doused with gasoline and set aflame, attracted national attention, led to donations for a reward fund that grew to $26,000 and prompted calls for stiffer penalties in animal cruelty cases. Caregivers, who named the dog Phoenix, had to euthanize the animal because she had burns on 95 percent of her body.

This depressing story comes from the June 25 Baltimore Sun.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Volunteer’s Journey

This is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing feature.  Wanting to be a little more “hands on” with rescuing I recently decided to become a volunteer at the Contra Costa Animal Services facility in Martinez.  I’ll hopefully be chronicling my thoughts and experiences.

I attended the orientation yesterday.  I haven’t actually been accepted yet so I don’t have experiences to share as an actual volunteer but I learned quite a few things from the orientation.

Contra Costa County Animal Services serves as the county’s law enforcement agency where animals are concerned.  It’s their ACOs (Animal Control Officers) that serve the same kind of duties as the ones featured on Animal Planet programs such as Animal Precinct, Animal Cops Detroit, etc.  They’re not simply the “dog catchers”.

The one criticism I have of the otherwise wonderful “Hotel for Dogs” movie is that the municipal animal shelter portrayed in the film was basically a death camp and its ACOs were mean spirited buffoons.  These individuals are total animal advocates that definitely don’t fit the “dog catcher” stereotype. 

In recent years the county’s euthanization rate has dropped from 70% to 30%, still one of the highest in the Bay Area, but hardly makes it a “death house”.


County regulations require all abandoned, stray, and seized animals go through animal services first, and are not allowed to turn any animal away.  This is a double-edged sword because the most attractive, most healthy, most adoptable dogs must go through the county first, all the least of those dogs go through as well.  Further, other rescue organizations get their dogs from animal services as well, including “no-kill” rescues such as ARF and non-profits such as the SPCA.  They get their pick of which dogs to take into their care.  But don’t take that as a complaint.  Without them it’s all up to the county to get them adopted out and euthanization rates go up accordingly. 

My older dog, Zoe, was one of those that had originally been taken in by Contra Costa Animal Services and  moved over to the East Bay SPCA branch in Dublin where we found and adopted her.

Please remember that while nearly all non-profits like ARF and the SPCA are solely supported by public donations and county shelters do receive funding from local government municipal shelters are often no better off, sometimes worse.  When there are budget cuts during hard economic times like now local municipal animal shelters suffer greatly.

Hopefully, Contra Costa County will accept me as a volunteer and I’ll have more to report later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Child Flushed Puppy Down Toilet

from NBC Bay Area News:


Updated 3:30 AM PDT, Wed, Jun 17, 2009

You can tell by this kid's face that he has done something wrong.

A little boy's love for his new puppy nearly cost the animal its life this week in England.

A little boy learned a big lesson about bathing a dog.

Daniel Blair decided his new pet needed a bath and what better place to do that then in a toilet bowl?

The four year old was going for a rinse when the one week old cocker spaniel was flushed right down the drain.

Daniel's mom said she panicked when she heard what had happened.

"As soon as Daniel told me what he'd done, I ran out of the house where the manhole was behind the toilet," said Alison Blair.

Alison Blair said she lifted the manhole cover, hoping to find the puppy.  She couldn't see him, but she could hear him.

The flushed pup was stuck for hours.  His ordeal was captured and posted on YouTube.

Rescue crews didn't have the right equipment so they finally called in a plumber.

A little camera designed to take a peek in sewage pipes not only found the stuck pup, it was also used to push him out the other end to the loving arms of a fireman.

The tool is called a Dyno-rod.   The once nameless puppy is now called Dyno in its honor.

Although getting flushed down the toilet had to be dramatic, the little guy made it through the ordeal without a scratch, proving cats are not the only ones who have nine lives.

This is a great illustration of why unsupervised small children and puppies don’t mix.  Please do your best to educate your dog-owning friends and loved ones with small children.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Little Cutie Needs to be Rescued

Those who know me personally know I have a soft spot in my heart for little dogs and pit bulls. That makes this little runt pit bull below just about perfect. Thanks again, Ryoko.

This is a MUST see video, guaranteed to make you smile. Please share this video on your page and network her far and wide. The Pasadena Humane Society is full again and this playful girl is in danger. She is a little insecure and can be shy in new situations, but I have no doubt she will blossom in a foster/forever home with a patient loving family. Another friendly dog or two will speed up the process as she LOVES to play with other dogs. Please give this 10 month old pup a second chance. If you can rescue or adopt, please call 626/792-7151 x137 and e-mail IMMEDIATELY. Thank you.


From our friend Ryoko Matsui:

“Gypsy” (A250822), 1 year-old pit/catahoula mix at the Pasadena Humane Society needs networking! Please help her find her “forever home”! She has a beautiful white and red merle coat, and weighs around 47 pounds.

In her time here she has quickly become a favorite of the behavior department since she is so good with other dogs. She has been one of the “tester dogs” for behavior evaluations because she is so playful with everyone.

She has been out with the mobile outreach unit a couple of times, and at both events was terrific with everyone she met. She adores people and has a lot of affection for kids. She enjoys playing with toys, especially chasing tennis balls.

Gypsy would definitely do well in an obedience class- she quickly learned both “sit” and “down” commands. She needs some work on walking on leash without pulling, but she is manageable. Watch her show off:

Gypsy also has a very calm demeanor in the kennels. She quietly sits and waits for attention, even when other dogs around her are raucously barking.

Because of the high number of dogs coming in every day, we have to get a commitment for this lovely gal by June 19th.

If you are able to rescue or adopt “Gypsy” (A250822), please contact the Pasadena Humane Society adoptions office at (626) 792-7151 x 137, Kevin at x 119, or Ute at x 117. Or email Kevin at or Ute at

See how quiet she was amidst all that barking?  And how about that sit on the wet concrete?  Neither one of mine will even sit on linoleum!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Alabama Dog Fighting Bust—45 Dogs Seized, Remains Found

from the ASPCA website:

Courtesy of Randolph Leader/Matt Shelley

On Monday, June 1, a dog fighting operation in Randolph County, AL, was raided by the state’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. The ASPCA dispatched forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck and our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit to collect evidence in the investigation and aid in the prosecution of the case.

Dr. Merck examined 45 dogs who were discovered tied to heavy chains and living in deplorable conditions on two properties. She also examined partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found on site. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dog fighting have been collected into evidence.

“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dog fighters,” says Dr. Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another who is limping, and many who are injured, some severely.”

As a result of ASPCA participation, two suspects have been formally charged. William Alsabrook was charged with two counts of possession of dogs for fighting, and Artis Kyle was charged with one count of possession of dogs for fighting, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Check out video footage of the scene, and don’t miss our one-on-one chat with Dr. Merck about her role in this case.

Learn more about the brutal world of dog fighting and what you can do to help end this cruel “sport.”

Great work, ASPCA!  You see?  You don’t need to contribute to the HSUS or PETA to help the campaign to stop dog fighting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No charges for K-9 officer whose dog died

ALAMEDA, Calif., June 2 (UPI) -- Officials have declined to charge a San Francisco-area K-9 officer whose dog died of heat stroke after being left in a car for several hours.

The officer, whose name has not been released, could still face internal discipline in Alameda for the death of the Belgian malinois, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The officer was at a training session on the use of force for more than three hours while the dog sat in his personal sport utility vehicle.

Lt. Bill Scott of the Alameda police said the officer left a window rolled down and the high temperature that day was only 70 degrees at Oakland International Airport.

Charlotte Green, senior deputy district attorney for Alameda County, said there was not enough evidence to justify a criminal charge.

"It is very tragic when an animal dies under these circumstances, but there is insufficient evidence to prove that the officer acted unreasonably," Green said.

Considering that the Alameda Police had been withholding this from the press it’s not surprising that the officer is getting off scott-free.  This incident took place a month ago.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fighting Ignorance

While browsing through a Chihuahua discussion group on Flickr, I ran across this one particular thread where this person was contemplating acquiring himself one Chihuahua or a pair of them.  One of statements caught my eye:

…I'm going to get my dogs from a local breeder, by the way, I am all for rescuing dogs or adopting dogs, but most of those pets tend to have issues and/or need extra or special care which I do not feel like I can deal with or provide.
So I doubt if I got one it would have behavioral issues from being alone. It's still possible. Nonetheless, I am wanting two because even without noticeable effects, your pet's mental health is much better off having another member of the pack always by their side when I'm away...

Oh, boy, did that set me off.  I had no choice but to reply:

It is absolutely not true that rescue dogs tend to have issues or special needs. There is no reason to ever assume a rescue dog is inferior or flawed. Nowadays many, many dogs that end up in shelters come from good families forced to move somewhere where they can't take their dogs because of the bad economy. It's not uncommon to find beautiful purebreds of all breeds in local shelters.
Have you ever seen Beverly Hills Chihuahua? The star Chihuahua, Papi, was discovered in an animal shelter.
Breeders are the real problem. Shelters and rescues are full of perfectly fine dogs needing permanent homes and yet these breeders keep adding to the population. And you know what happens to the ones that don't get adopted. They get euthanized, which is a nice way of saying "killed".
I realize that your original post was months ago so this information can't help you now, but anyone reading this should know that the number of Chihuahuas and other small breeds in shelters have boomed. In some places the Chihuahuas actually outnumber the Pit Bulls.
Please make going to a breeder a last resort, or even better yet, not an option at all.

Folks, please don’t ever let anyone devalue the worth of a shelter dog.

Oregonian cougar run off by Chihuahua

from the May 27, 2009 Corvallis Gazette Times:

Contributed photo
Rosie the border terrier and Chiquita the Chihuahua.

Gazette-Times reporter

Mountain lion seen in yard, rebuffed in Philomath
PHILOMATH — A local cougar picked the wrong backyard to prowl at Neabeack Hill on Monday night. Two small dogs — Rosie the border terrier and Chiquita the Chihuahua — charged the mountain lion after it jumped over a low-level fence, confronting the big cat, had a brief standoff and ultimately chased it away.
Pet owner Loren Wingert said her dogs are “invincible.”
“My dogs see something in the yard, they go after it,” she added. “Actually, they were pretty lucky. One little bite there and they probably would have been seriously injured, but they didn’t have a scratch on them.”
During the backyard melee, the cougar pinned down Rosie, who squealed, but Chiquita convinced the big cat to flee by barking ferociously.
“I think we’re more traumatized than they are. They’re fine,” Wingert said.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ban on adopting Pit Bulls to stand

Loudoun (VA) Judge Rules in Lawsuit

By Kafia A. Hosh

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Loudoun County judge has ruled that the county can continue its long-standing policy banning residents from adopting pit pulls from the county animal shelter.

Ruling in a lawsuit that sought to overturn the ban, Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill said that the county's policy does not violate state law and that publicly funded shelters are not required to make every breed of dog available for adoption.

For years, Loudoun euthanized all abandoned pit bulls. The county revised its policy in 2007, allowing the animals to be transferred to rescue groups or shelters in other jurisdictions if they passed a temperament test.

A Norfolk-based animal rescue group and Sterling resident Ronald Litz sued the county and its animal shelter in 2007, after Litz was turned down when he tried to adopt a pit bull from the shelter. During a two-day trial this month, the plaintiffs' attorney alleged that Loudoun was violating a state law that bars officials from finding a dog to be dangerous or vicious based solely on its breed.

In his 13-page ruling last Thursday, McCahill said that the state prohibition applies to courts trying to determine whether a dog is dangerous. But it does not prevent a public pound from having an adoption policy that treats some breeds differently from others, the judge said.

"We're obviously pleased with the decision and feel he put a lot of thought and careful consideration into it," said Laura Rizer, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun Department of Animal Care and Control.

Shelter officials have said that all of their unclaimed dogs go through behavior monitoring and a temperament test to determine whether they are adoptable and that breed characteristics are part of that determination.

"Any decision that we make regarding the disposition of an animal is based on a number of factors," Rizer said.

Lynne C. Rhode, an attorney for Litz and Animal Rescue of Tidewater, said she was disappointed in the ruling.

"The practical result of this ruling is that any public shelter can kill any dog if that particular shelter's management doesn't like the dog's breed," she said. "In other words, the court has ruled that a pound can kill every single adoptable golden retriever or pit bull or poodle if it wants to, without restriction or recourse."

The plaintiffs presented evidence that the Loudoun shelter had euthanized more than 80 percent of abandoned pit bulls since it began allowing the animals to be transferred, compared to a euthanization rate of 48 percent for other dogs.

"If one were to rely on the statistics . . . alone, one may come to a conclusion that there is 'breed bias,' " McCahill wrote.

But, he added, "if I were to rely on the statistics alone, I would have to ignore the evidence that there are differences in breed characteristics. More importantly, the statistics do not account for the individual characteristics that are attempted to be observed . . . as part of the overall assessment of the individual dog."

During the trial, the plaintiffs contended that the Loudoun shelter showed a clear pattern of bias against pit bulls. Sherry Woodard, animal behavior expert for Best Friends Animal Society, said that pit bulls that did well on behavior assessments were put down but that other breeds that did not do as well on the assessments were trained and put up for adoption.

"This discrimination against pit bulls is becoming a topic of discussion across the country," Woodard said in a statement Tuesday. "There are golden retrievers who attack other dogs, labs who bite people, pit bulls that love children, dogs and cats. Every dog, every time, deserves to be evaluated as an individual."

Loudoun's decision to allow some pit bulls to be transferred to rescue groups or other shelters came after a 2006 nonbinding opinion by then-Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R), who said that pit bulls taken to public pounds could not be euthanized based solely on their breed. In his ruling, McCahill disagreed with that portion of McDonnell's opinion.

Anthony F. Troy, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, said he feared that the judge's ruling would have a ripple effect in other localities.

"Under this opinion, the clear prohibition on euthanizing based on breed is applicable solely to those incidents of judicial cases," he said. "If other courts follow the logic, then you would have a public policy of the commonwealth being very narrowly defined."

Troy said the plaintiffs were considering their options, including appealing the judge's ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court or asking the General Assembly to clarify the state law.

THIS is what can happen when BSL is allowed.  We must take every opportunity to fight it whenever and whereever it rears its ugly head.

Police dog, alone in SUV, dies – probe launched

from today’s San Francisco Chronicle

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

(05-27) 14:56 PDT ALAMEDA -- An Alameda police K-9 officer is under investigation after his dog died when he left it in his personal sports utility vehicle for several hours during a training session, authorities said Wednesday.

The officer, whose name was not released, left the 6 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois inside his SUV while attending a use-of-force training exercise May 5 on Lincoln Avenue, police Lt. Bill Scott said.

The SUV had at least one window down for ventilation, Scott said. It also was not an unusually warm day - according to the National Weather Service, the high temperature that day at nearby Oakland International Airport was 70 degrees.

But when the officer returned to his vehicle after about three hours and 15 minutes, he found his dog "in distress," Scott said. It was declared dead at a veterinary hospital. The cause is under investigation.

Police investigators forwarded the case Wednesday to the Alameda County district attorney's office, which will decide whether to charge the officer with a crime.

Police dogs are supposed to be protected under a wider umbrella than other animals under animal welfare laws.  Please phone, write, or fax Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff and urge him to not dismiss this poor dog’s rights and not to be swayed by the fact that the perpetrator of this crime is a cop.  This is the DA’s contact information from their website:

1225 Fallon Street, Room 900
Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone: (510) 272-6222
FAX: (510) 271-5157

The Chief of Police of Alameda is Walter Tibbets.  He can be contacted at 510-337-8323.  Considering the fact that police dog training can take months of time, cost upwards of $10,0000, and typically only the most dedicated officers are considered for K-9 duty, wasn’t this cop derelict of his duties?  What if he had destroyed $10,000 worth of equipment due to negligence?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Steeler considers letting his Pit Bull live

From today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By Lillian Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette

Patron, the pit bull owned by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, is under quarantine at Triangle Pet Control Service in McKees Rocks after biting Harrison's 2-year-old son.

Now that James Harrison III is up and walking, his father is seeking a way to avoid putting down the dog that bit the 2-year-old.

Patron, the pit bull owned by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, became agitated when the toddler began crying last Wednesday at their Franklin Park home and bit the child. James III was released from Children's Hospital of UPMC and is now home. The child's mother, Beth Tibbott, and a friend also were injured as they tried to separate dog and boy. Both women have recovered. Mr. Harrison was not at home during the attack.

The dog was taken to Animal Control of McKees Rocks, and Mr. Harrison said he would have him put down after a 10-day quarantine.

A number of people responded to the planned euthanization by saying there were organizations that might take the dog. Mr. Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, said yesterday that they were seeking an alternative for Patron.

"I'm a dog lover, and I don't know what I'd do if I lost [my dog]," Mr. Parise said. "James was that close with Patron. One of the things James and I talked about was that this was a real tragedy -- the injury to his baby, and the baby's mother, and the loss of the dog. It's hard."

The responsibility to the family obviously had to come first, Mr. Parise said, and there was the issue of whether Patron could ever be trusted with people.

But with James III's improvement -- "the baby was actually walking [Monday], there is no muscle or nerve damage, no infection," Mr Parise said -- Mr. Harrison wanted to see whether there was a way to avoid putting Patron down.

"I just got done talking to James," he said yesterday afternoon, "and he would love to find a home for him, but only if it was a home that would provide maximum security. This decision is not being made lightly, and it would have to be in the best interest of the welfare of the animal as well as of people."

It won't be an easy task. Many shelters won't take dogs that have bitten people.

"No reputable rescue organization will take a dog that has bitten a person," said Daisy Balawejder of Hello Bully, a local group that rehabilitates and places pit bulls.

"When a dog is in the media, everyone wants to save that dog," she said. But her organizations and many like it are overloaded with dogs that are well-socialized and have no problems with people, she said.

Best Friends, the organization that has taken in former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's fighting pit bulls, said space is severely limited.

"Some dogs can be rehabilitated with training," said Ledy VanKavage, legislative analyst for Best Friends. "But so many healthy dogs are being put down. If we had room, we would [take dogs that bite people], but we're pretty full. Unfortunately there aren't enough sanctuaries out there."

A spokeswoman for Animal Friends in Ohio Township said her organization considers animals on a case-by-case basis.

"That's such a sad story, especially since pit bulls are always getting such a bad reputation," said Jolene Miklas, director of communications.

Some dogs might have a particular problem related to their background, she said.

"It may be a dog has been a stray and is now aggressive around food. In that case, that might be something that can be managed. We might say this dog is not good for a household where little kids might grab during feeding time."

If Patron were brought to the shelter, she said, he would work with the behavior team. If the group didn't believe there was any way to find a home for him, it would be one of the "sad instances in which we do consider euthanasia."

All of the shelter representatives contacted yesterday said breed-specific rules don't make sense.

"Any dog can bite," said Ms. VanKavage of Best Friends. "We had a woman killed by dachshunds in Florida, a child killed by a Pomeranian. Any dog can bite and kill."

Mr. Harrison hopes his dog will get a second chance, his agent said.

"This dog -- it's first time in his life he ever did attack," said Mr. Parise. "It's hard. I think what happens, when you try to get away from emotion, which is almost impossible, you have to weigh your responsibilities."

It’s disturbing that the article implies that the dog is some kind of unpredictable monster, that he was angered by the crying baby and somehow “snapped” and attacked.  It’s too bad that in articles like this the dog’s owner is never evaluated for how good of an owner he or she has been.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Save Scarface

Our friends from the Paws for the Cause dog rescue in South Dakota recently told us of a particularly special dog that has run into some extraordinary circumstances.

Hi everyone- meet Scarface! He is a 2 year old American Pit Bull Terrier. Scarface had a sad start to life- the backyard breeder whose dog had Scarface was going to kill the little guy because of his cleft palate- even though it caused him no problems.Save Scarface!!! Luckily he was saved for the first time by a family who took him in. Unfortunately, a little over 2 months ago, Scarfaces' owners lost their home and had nowhere for him to go. So, instead of taking him to a pound or shelter (where he most likely would have been euthanized or ended up in the wrong hands) they took him to a boarding facility until we could find Scarface a safe, responsible and caring rescue and foster home. The days passed and now Scarface has been in boarding for 2 months with no rescue. We are working hard on getting him out of there but he has quite a boarding bill- $700- and since our rescue is funded only by kind and caring donators, I am asking for your help. We all know that things are tough for bully breeds, so especially for all of you bully breed lovers, PLEASE HELP SCARFACE!!! Scarface is a wonderful, sweet and loving dog who gets along great with cats, dogs and kids. This dog has a heart of gold and is a perfect example of all the good qualities so many pit bulls out there possess. I am begging for everyone to forward and cross-post this to help poor Scarface. Also, please contact me if you would like to contact his boarding facility to verify any information!
Kitra Nelson
Paws for the Cause

It’s not often that Paws for the Cause makes a special appeal like this, but as you’ve just read Scarface is in need of some special consideration. Please help him however you can. A special site has been set up for him

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Giving up pets: Animals' fortunes fall in tough economy


From the Chicago Tribune:

More owners blame finances for giving up animals to shelters

By Sara Olkon | Tribune reporter
April 21, 2009

Looking for a home

Bruiser, whose owner put the boxer in foster care at PAWS Chicago, waits to be placed with a temporary family. (Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / April 14, 2009)

When people showed up to give away their dogs and cats at a local shelter last year, the main reasons they cited were "no time" and accidental pet pregnancies. This year, the No. 1 reason is a lot simpler: no money.

As the recession takes hold, Chicago animal control workers are taking in about 11 percent more pets than they did a year ago. And shelters are caring for more high-priced pets, including purebred and "designer" dogs, as people who are unaccustomed to economic distress start feeling the pinch.

Animal care workers are seeing more neglected pets, as well as animals who have had ID chips implanted, indicating that someone loved and cared for them before the financial downturn made ownership untenable.
"People are making very hard choices," said Rochelle Michalek, executive director of PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter. "Do I put food on the table? Do I feed my kids? It's heartbreaking."


Jeff Lapp, 47, is among those making difficult choices.

The Braidwood man was laid off from his job as a personnel investigator last June. By March, Lapp and his wife had lost their home. With four dogs to care for, they decided their two youngest and healthiest dogs would have the easiest time getting adopted. Lapp called Midwest Dachshund Rescue, which found a new home for 2-year-old Sammie. They brought Thor, a 6-year-old Norwegian elkhound, to PAWS, where he was snapped up within two days.

"You feel like you let them down," Lapp said of letting the two go.
For now, the motel where they are staying is letting them keep Rex, a purebred golden retriever who is 11 and has epilepsy, and Art, an elkhound-coyote mix who the couple found orphaned and rolling in mud a decade ago in Aurora.

At Chicago Animal Care and Control, staff took in 11.5 percent more animals that were lost, abandoned or surrendered in the quarter ending March 31 as compared with a year ago. Charles Craft, director of programs and services, said 5,201 animals were taken in during that period, versus 4,666 from the same period in 2008.

Some pet owners bring in animals in need of expensive veterinary care. In one case, a pet owner turned in a 7-year-old toy poodle that had multiple mammary tumors, staff later learned. The dog received surgery and was adopted, Craft said.

In March, Nadine Walmsley, vice president of development for the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, watched as 33 pets were relinquished by owners citing poor finances. In March 2008, only four pet owners cited money as the reason, she said.

About twice as many dogs who end up homeless these days appear to have come from good homes: Their coats look good, they are plump and they are well-socialized, Walmsley said.

"They were in a very stable environment—and suddenly they are in a cage," Michalek said.

The difficulties can reduce the most stoic of pet owners to tears. In February, Rebecca Weeks' divorce was finalized, shortly before her family's Bartlett home went into foreclosure. Forced to crash with friends, she was heartbroken to learn that she couldn't take along Hamper, her 4-year-old collie-Rottweiler-shepherd mix.

Desperate, Weeks searched online and learned that PAWS Chicago had a foster program for pet owners in crisis. A week after she left Hamper at PAWS, a family scooped him up for safekeeping. Weeks plans to take Hamper back by the end of the month, after she moves into her own home.

"They say he is getting along with everybody," said Weeks, 29, who gets updates from PAWS staffers but isn't allowed to visit Hamper during his foster stay.

Similarly, dogs named Sasha and Kaiser had to adjust to life at PAWS Chicago's Little Village shelter after their owner lost her home in unincorporated Hinsdale.

"All my reserves were gone," said Maria D., 48, a real estate agent who didn't want her full name published because she was ashamed of temporarily giving up her dogs. She is now living with her adult daughter in Burr Ridge, a home where the dogs are not welcome.
Since March 31, Maria's dogs have shared quarters at PAWS while staff members search for a foster home. The program is designed to accommodate 30-day foster stays, although pet owners in crisis sometimes request more time, Michalek said. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, people end up relinquishing ownership.

Of course, animal welfare workers would rather owners bring their pets to a shelter than leave the animals to their own devices.
Sandra Alfred, acting executive director at Chicago Animal Care and Control, said her staff members have been picking up more and more ostensibly "lost" dogs who are outfitted with microchip IDs—tiny chips injected under the animal's skin that contain the owner's contact information.

"We call, and they say, 'Um, we can't take him back,' " Alfred said.
True street animals seem to have an easier time in the shelters, observers said. Perhaps the animals appreciate the steady food supply. Once-pampered animals, on the other hand, often experience terrible stress, bark and pant like mad and obsessively pace in circles inside their cages, Michalek said.

At PAWS Chicago, 35 percent to 40 percent of the dogs are purebreds, up from 20 percent to 25 percent in previous years. On a recent day, a sampling of such dogs at the Little Village shelter included a 6-month-old golden retriever; a young, fluffy white Samoyed; and an 8-year-old Pomeranian who likes to eat wet food only.

Their fate hints at a new desperation that many pet lovers never expected to face.

Allison Rhode, a house painter from Rogers Park, placed her dog, Dollar, in PAWS foster care after she was evicted from her apartment.
She took him back a little more than a month later, after she settled into a new place.

Pets "make you forget about hard times," she said. "They are the one thing that helps you get through."

Friday, April 24, 2009

♥ In the Shelter of the Heart ♥: Lucy Is Lost! Can you help?

From today’s In the Shelter of the Heart


Friday, April 24, 2009


Just today, while sunning herself in the yard, Lucy disappeared. The Story family is searching for their beloved Jack Russell Terrier.

It is quite possible she is a stolen dog. Lucy's unbuckled collar was found near the street side of the property and her tether she'd been attached to was left behind.

Lucy is spayed, and loves children. She is from the East 49th St. area of Sioux Falls. If you have any information leading to her safe return please contact the local animal control or animal shelters in the area.

Bring Lucy Home!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet Marco…

Catherine Hedges is an extraordinary person.  She’s dedicated her life to rescuing animals and has become a true hero in the rescue community.  She works tirelessly to raise awareness and has even participated in rescue operations, some of them hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

Rescuing animals is not the kind of thing you do for the money, but there other kinds of rewards, the kind you cannot measure in terms of dollars and cents.


She recently shared this with us on Facebook.

“Meet Marco....he saved my life.

Marco was the Katrina dog that was the catalyst to our renting a van and driving back from Katrina with dogs instead of flying home. If I had not promised him he would go back with me, my car accident never would have happened, and the cancer would not have been diagnosed when it was. I saved Marco's life and he saved mine.

See the video of my journey (and Marco's!):

Rest in peace, Marco.”


Marco (left)

Catherine, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to share your story.