Sunday, May 28, 2006

More Dog Politics

A couple of days ago, I published a post called “Dog Politics Update”, which was a re-print of an internet posting from a dog related group. As I mentioned in my posting, I hadn’t yet had a chance to investigate all that was being said, so I invited reader comments to let me know what they knew of the situation.

I received a comment which indicated that the information in the post might be unfair, and therefore I deleted my past post today.

I am here to provide opinions on the dog world, and my opinion on this affair is that it is harmful to the entire dog community for us to be squabbling with one another when there are bigger fish to fry, namely, the Dog Haters of this world.

I won’t take sides in this dispute. I offer both sides the opportunity to state their cases here again, and I’ll publish them both, then let the readers decide. But, I want the posts to be published in one entire article. So, it is up to the parties involved in this dispute to clear up the facts and resolve this. You can write to me, I’ll send what each says to the other so you can make points and counterpoints, and then I’ll publish it all for everyone to see. But, there had better be verifiable dates, facts, names, etc. in these posts, from both sides, that can be checked out by my readers. This is a sophisticated dog audience, so they will be in on the gossip and the facts of the situation. Your arguments will either hold up under scrutiny or not.

This kind of situation is exactly why I started this blog… to air out the dog issues of the day and let the general public develop informed opinions. This is just like Hannity and Colmes, or Crossfire, or any other debate type of format. I'm just the moderator of the debate among the parties, which is why I publish this kind of stuff. Now, let the debate begin and let's see what the readers think.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Owners of Chicago's estimated 600,000 dogs would be required to microchip their pets, limit tethering, pay stiff fines for letting them roam free and choose between neutering and sharply higher license fees, under a sweeping crackdown proposed by an influential alderman.

Grooming, boarding and doggie day-care facilities would be licensed and subject to strict operating standards under the legislative package championed by License Committee Chairman Eugene Schulter (47th).

This is extremist legislation. Whoever would propose or support this kind of thing is a wacko. It is very alarming, and it won’t solve any problem we have with dogs. This is Dog Hating at its worst. If you love dogs, regardless of where you live, you’d better fight back on this one. Do you want this kind of thing in YOUR town? They are trying to do the same thing in New Zealand, and the ranchers are fighting back. Will you fight back? There are a number of good dog links posted here of non-profit groups that are pro-dog. Contact every one of them and ask them how you can help stop this in its tracks. Tell 'em Sam The Dog Trainer sent you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stabbed In The Back

Here is a typical case of how animal control disasters are handled...

The cruel death of pit bull puppy Mooie in Federal Way two months ago may lead to the reorganization of King County Animal Control and tougher enforcement of animal-cruelty laws.

A County Council committee was briefed on the proposal Tuesday and agreed to send it on to the full council for consideration June 5.

But, then the politics come in...

Mark Steinway, co-founder of Pasado's Safe Haven in Sultan, said Tuesday he was disappointed his organization wasn't notified of Tuesday's meeting because his group had suggested the critical look at the agency.

Whatever happened to the idea of open government? Pasado's Safe Haven was directly involved in complaining about how this case was handled. But, at the last minute, they are NOT invited to the decision making meeting? Who else wasn't invited or allowed to testify? This is a typical example of the types of kangaroo courts set up to address animal control and dog bite legislation.

I have seen this over and over again with politicians... the governing bodies pretend to listen to you, then, when it comes to decision time, they do it behind closed doors, or they don't invite those most affected or interested to avoid having to adddress legitimate concerns. They cut off debate, they play games and don't invite people who should testify, they sabotage decision making, and ignore the legitimate needs of the public, and doom more dogs to death.

So, beware if you are dealing with your local governing authorities over dog law. They will probably play parliamentary games and stab you in the back at decision time. Get them to agree to make all such meetings and decisions IN PUBLIC, and to agree to invite EVERYONE at those meetings. Get that in writing, or otherwise, all your hard work will be disregarded in the end. Also, assume the press won't be on your side. Read the linked article and ask yourself if this reporter did even an adequate job of investigating what went on. There is much more to this story, but where are the serious questions?

You can bet this so-called "reorganization" won't work. This is just a way for the politicians to say they did something, without really doing anything at all. They are just shuffling people around. That isn't a reorganization, and my bet is those higher ups responsible for the screw up in this investigation won't be either fired, retrained or punished.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's A Heartache

The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County erroneously euthanized five mixed-breed puppies less than six hours after they were dropped off by a concerned resident who found them on his property.

Stillwell said he’s particularly incensed the 7-week-old puppies were put to death during the Humane Society’s crusade to make Pierce County a “no-kill community” by the end of 2008.

“This pretty much throws a wrench” into the animal shelter’s End the Heartache campaign, Stillwell said. “They didn’t follow their policy and they had zero safeguards in place.”

So much for Ending the Heartache, eh?

I heard a rumor a few years back there was a shelter in Tacoma that would kill any pit bull, adult or puppy, that they took in. Was that story true? Is this that shelter? Were these deemed “pit bulls” and were they killed because of that? The photos in the news articles sure look like pit bull puppies.

To me, this whole thing smells rotten. Something is wrong here, and I don’t think we are getting the full story. What rescue organization would put 7 week old puppies to death? Especially when they say they are running a “no kill” shelter? Who would have the authorization to administer lethal injections in such a case? Would that person be a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician? Could any staff member do this? Isn't it true that the persons involved would have been much more qualified than just a "staff" member? And shouldn't that person, or persons, know the age of the dogs, status, breed, check in date, and goals / policies of the organization? And why wouldn't such a person stop for a moment and ask, when looking at 5 young puppies, why are these pups being put to death? Is there another way? Is this shelter so inundated with dogs that it has to put them to death almost as soon as they are dropped off? None of these types of questions are answered in any of the news articles I have read. Funny... the press doesn't seem to be doing their jobs either. Just the bare facts, no inquiry and no piercing questions. Something really stinks.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Postal Service Is Obsolete

Mail carriers beware: After a five-year lull, Houston is once again the undisputed Dog Bite, USA.

But then, United States Postal Service workers already know this. They are the ones who put together the list, which covers fiscal 2005, the latest available figures.

The Houston District, which also includes Beaumont and Port Arthur, recorded 108 incidents in which letter carriers were bitten by dogs that year. Of those, 73 were in the Houston city limits.

Green said that in problem areas, postal officials can require a homeowner to put a mailbox at the curb or rent a post office box. The agency also can curtail delivery for an entire block if a dog is interfering with mail service.

Isn’t it about time to recognize that the way we do mail delivery IS OBSOLETE?! It is basically a government jobs program that can and should be scaled back and made more efficient. Why in the heck do we have letter carriers walking the streets, going from door to door? It would be much more efficient, and less expensive, if each 2 block area had a centralized mail delivery drop off / pick up station. That’s what they do in apartment complexes. Why not in single family residential areas? Further, this would pretty much end these dog bite incidents with the post office. When you are a stranger, and you enter the property of someone who has a dog, then you are taking a chance that a dog is going to bite you. YOU are taking the chance. It is YOUR fault for doing something so stupid. YOU could prevent it by NOT going up to the doors of strangers (the Post Office knows the solution to a biting dog... requiring some kind of postal box... they just don't want to admit that because a lot of lard could be cut from their budget, and bureaucracies like to grow, not to be efficient. Does it even make sense any more to send letters, when just a stamp costs nearly half a buck?)

Yes, yes… I hear you saying… “but, isn’t the dog owner responsible for their dogs biting people?” Yes, they are… but should the dogs be punished when strangers come on their property unannounced? They are doing what dogs do. (On the other hand, free roaming dogs are a menace, and such dogs should be rounded up and given away to responsible dog owners, if the original owners won't do something about their stray pets.)

So, let’s be realistic about the nature of dogs. Dogs are territorial, and no amount of legislation is going to change that. Our laws should be changed to reflect reality.

As the old saying goes: “If the cat doesn’t like being petted in that direction, then turn the cat around.” If nature works in a certain way, why fight nature? Change what you are doing.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I hate retractable leashes. These are those spring loaded leashes that allow a dog to pull ahead of the owner. In my experience, these types of leashes a.) tend to cause dogs to act more aggressively and to pull hard on the leash; b.) are more likely to trigger a fight with another dog since the dog that is straining at the end of the leash looks like it is in attack mode; c.) tend to be purchased by lazy and irresponsible dog owners who do not train their dogs to obey, and who tend to spoil their dogs, causing more aggression and bratty behavior; d.) undo most of the important aspects of your obedience training and leadership over your dog, especially obeying around distractions and coming when called, and over time they teach your dog to charge after other dogs, animals and even people; e.) are hard to control once the dog is at the end of the line, and can get caught in the leashes of other dogs, increasing the potential for a biting or attack incident; f.) do NOT cause the dog to get more exercise on the walk; g.) can cause a dog to run away from you, because if you accidentally drop the leash handle, many dogs will run from the plastic handle "chasing" them from behind and that could cause your dog to run into traffic and die. I have seen many, many dogs and owners over the years, and the risks and the downsides far outweigh any supposed benefits. Whenever I see a dog on a retractable leash, I say to myself: there goes an untrained dog; there is a dog that might just attack me or my dog; and there goes a lazy and irresponsible dog owner. Have you experienced the same problems with these leashes as I have? If so, please tell me about your experiences so I can write some further articles.

Spray Painted Dog

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bad News Vs. Good News

Over the weekend, the youngster fell off a raft, into a chilly river.

Ryan said he was too cold to yell for help but that's when the dog, named Zion, showed up.

The dog waded out to Ryan, let him grab his collar then pulled the boy to shore.

Yep. Dogs really do this kind of thing. We hear so much about dogs biting kids, that we don’t realize how often dogs actually protect kids. Bad news makes headlines, but good news rarely does.

This is Bite Prevention Week. Note all the stories in the media about that. Bad stuff about dogs. More news about how dangerous it is to have a dog around a kid. Stories like that, when they aren’t balanced out with the good news, eventually lead to dogs being banned.

I have articles at my web page,
, detailing how to get a good dog; how to socialize the dog; how to train the dog; etc. You CAN have a good dog and it will be safe with your kids. But, that stuff isn’t emphasized in the news. We don’t get the exposure that the Dog Haters get. So, more and more laws are passed to restrict dog ownership.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When Should Cops Be Allowed To Kill A Dog?

Owners of a pit bull killed last summer by Richmond police say in a federal civil rights suit that officers had insufficient reason to shoot and the department did little to investigate their complaint.

Cynthia Peters and Mark Parr lived on the first block of Sixth Street last July 27, when police chased a man into their apartment building. Officers opened the gate to a side yard, and shot the couple's 90-pound pit bull, Blu, 12 times when he came bounding out.

Something needs to be done about this kind of thing. Dog killings like this happen all too frequently.

Here is another recent story showing the same problem:

An investigation was launched Monday after police in Winter Springs entered the wrong house Sunday and killed the homeowner's dog

If a suspect is fleeing the police, do the police have the right to do whatever they need to in order to get to the suspect? Could they drive a tractor through your living room? Could they rush through a crowd of kids and slam them all to the ground? Could they set your barn on fire to flush out the suspect? No. Then why do they get to kill our pets in similar situations? Just because they are the police doesn’t mean they get to use force in any situation they please.

Look, I am in support of law and order, and want the police to be effective in preventing and solving crimes. That’s their function and they are sorely needed. I have all the respect in the world for the police. I even support them killing dogs that are attacking people unprovoked, if necessary, to save the victim.

But, here is the mindset of the dog hating legal world. They see dogs as a nuisance, or something to be destroyed:

Government lawyers defended Ontario's controversial ban on pit bulls from a constitutional challenge Tuesday by insisting the law is a vital tool in the province's efforts to protect the public from what they consider dangerous weapons. Pit bulls have a "predilection to attack," Crown lawyer Michael Doi said as he described the broad-shouldered, snub-nosed animals as the dog preferred by criminals who want an extra level of security. "In many ways, pit bulls are the automatic guns of the dog world," said Doi, as some spectators in the courtroom groaned in disagreement. Doi described cases in which police were forced to shoot pit bulls dead because the dogs attacked officers trying to execute an arrest or search warrant at the home of a suspect. "With the criminal element, the dog of choice is a pit bull."

Of course, all this is a lie. Statements like this are used to justify the killing of innocent dogs, and to shape public perception and give the police the right to kill dogs that look a certain way, regardless of whether the dogs have done anything wrong. Note that in the two killings above, the dogs were NOT being used for any kind of criminal activity. They didn't deserve to die. They were pets, period.

But, the law needs to be changed regarding this kind of killing. It needs to be spelled out in writing, in the law, to define when it is OK for the police to kill a dog during a pursuit or search. The two examples above should be illegal and the officers punished in some way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rescuing Dogs From The Rescuers

The news that dogs and cats at Clayton County’s Animal Control might have to be destroyed since there was no place to keep them temporarily brought floods of calls and people coming from neighboring counties Friday to save the pets.

After state inspectors found a virus (Canine parvovirus ) in the facility, the floor is going to have to be resealed at the Jonesboro facility and this left the animals with no place to stay and raised the possibility that a mass euthanization might occur.

Ironically, the county’s no-kill shelter, the Clayton County Humane Society whose shelter is only a short distance away from the county one located near Jonesboro High School began getting angry calls on voice mail as early as 4 a.m. Friday, Society President Robin Rawls said. People mixing up the two shelters thought the Humane Animals were slated to be destroyed.

Isn't bureaucracy wonderful? These folks make a mistake, and then compound it by deciding they needed to kill all the dogs in their facility. How about just working with other rescue groups to take in the overflow? How about hiring help to take these dogs home to a different location while the repairs are being made? Why was euthanasia even considered a viable option? This place needs more than some physical repairs. They need to implement a few brain transplants in the senior staff.

But it doesn’t stop there… there is more to this story…

Rawls said what needs to be remembered is that people have to learn to be more aware of the problem and react accordingly. Those who adopt and move out of the county should know they can take their animals with them and they have to keep their animals from roaming around and creating more animals that have to be dealt with. They must be willing to care for the animals after they are adopted, she said.

So, the blame for all of this is pet overpopulation, not the shelter who apparently screwed up?

If I was in charge, here is what I'd be saying to them all:

"Right. Sure. Uh, huh. Yeah, I hear ya. Say it again.

Go home.

You’re Fired!"

Don't Be A Cheapskate

An Ohio woman's facing animal cruelty charges for her unique way of teaching her dog not to bark.

She would duct tape her Shar-Pei puppy's mouth shut so she wouldn't bark, and humane workers think she also used Chloroseptic to numb her throat.

I see people implement Do-It-Yourself methods of dog training all the time. Rarely anything as abusive as this, but still… How about not being a cheapskate and hiring a dog trainer instead, and doing what they say? How about not getting a dog at all unless you are willing to do it properly? How about considering what this is doing to your dog?

If you, or someone in your family, are doing something with your dog that you couldn’t do in public with a whole crowd of normal people watching, whether it is a game or what you’d call training or whatever, then you are probably doing something wrong with your dog. You should stop, hire a professional to help you out, or find a new home for the dog.

This woman is going to jail. How about you?

Dog Flu Update

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cesar Millan Update

Last week, we read that Cesar Millan, the “dog whisperer”, was being sued for allegedly injuring a dog at his training facility. Like I said then, it was better to withhold judgment of the case until we heard back from his people…

a.) A spokesman for the channel that airs dog trainer Cesar Millan's "Dog Whisperer" show denied that Millan injured a dog as claimed in a recent lawsuit… the dog's injury was not connected with the production of "Dog Whisperer."

b.) "From what we understand, Cesar was not there at the time the injury occurred, he never worked with this dog ...,"

c.) Workers at the facility were accused in the suit of placing a choke collar on the dog, pulling him onto a treadmill and forcing him to overwork.

So, here is my take on this, from what I have learned from studying Millan’s teachings, and from what I have read in the news:

What appears to have happened, at least from what is and isn’t being said, is that a dog was enrolled into the Dog Psychology Center, Millan’s dog training company. The dog had some kind of fearful behavior problem. Part of Millan’s behavioral modification program involves a significant amount of exercise, which normally involves taking a pack of dogs for a run in the Santa Monica hills. In addition, he advocates the use of treadmills to supplement the exercise for the dog. Apparently, the staff of his facility had this dog on a treadmill and the dog got injured. The claim is that the dog has severe neck and back injuries, and the skin on the underside of the dog was rubbed raw. It is also possible, and we won't know this until we get a report from a credible source, that the dog wasn’t in good health before the training began, which no one could have known or predicted.

My hypothesis is that the dog owner believes the staff at Millan’s facility weren’t somehow aware or watching as this dog got caught up in the machinery of a treadmill. So, the dog got injured. Millan’s spokespeople say he wasn’t there at the time of the incident and it didn’t happen during the filming of any TV episode. But, they don’t appear to deny, in these news stories, the dog was injured at the facility as claimed.

I still want to hear what Cesar Millan’s attorney has to say in response.

I do know this, regardless of what the truth here really is… I do believe that exercise can be useful in a program of behavior modification. I do believe that a treadmill can be useful in giving a dog focused exercise. However, a dog needs direct supervision on such a device. The dog can’t be tied to the machine and left unsupervised, and you have to be extra careful in how you introduce the dog to the treadmill, especially if you are dealing with a fearful dog, and consider which type of collar is the safest for that particular dog. And even with the best supervision, injuries can occur in dog training and exercise. Anyone who has owned enough dogs over time has seen their dogs get injured in some freaky way. I personally think that if this case against Millan is true, then it was a very unfortunate accident. Not malicious, but an accident.

Dog Dragged To Death

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cesar Milan Accused & Sued For Animal Cruelty

A television producer sued dog trainer Cesar Millan, star of TV's "Dog Whisperer," claiming his Labrador retriever was injured at Millan's training facility after being choked with a collar and forced to run on a treadmill… Flody Suarez said he took 5-year-old Gator to the Dog Psychology Center on Feb. 27 to deal with fears of other dogs and strangers. Hours after dropping off the dog, Suarez said, a worker called to tell him the animal had been rushed to a veterinarian. Suarez later found the dog "bleeding from his mouth and nose, in an oxygen tent gasping for breath and with severe bruising to his back inner thighs," according to the lawsuit. Workers at the facility were accused in the suit of placing a choke collar on the dog, pulling him onto a treadmill and forcing him to overwork. Suarez said he has spent at least $25,000 on medical bills, and the dog must undergo more surgeries for damage to his esophagus.

This is a serious charge. I hope it isn’t true. I never believe the first charges against anyone, especially a celebrity. Cesar Milan deserves the right to tell his side of this story.

Dog Curfew?

A small Norwegian town has grown so tired of its barking dogs that it plans to pass a curfew forbidding noisy animals from leaving their homes late at night, an official said Friday.

This is absolutely insane. Instead of blaming the dogs… how about finding outlets for all that energy? This is just irresponsible dog ownership, compounded by irresponsible legislation. As I've said before, dogs shouldn't be left outside alone. It causes neighbor problems, unintended dog bite situations, and now, silly legislation.