Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dog Scares Off Birds To Protect Airplanes

"Sky the dog just one part of airport's efforts to combat bird strikes... Southwest Florida International Airport uses dogs as part of strategy to keep wildlife from aircraft"

Dogs continue to play a vital role in the lives of humans. There is almost no end to the number of creative things dogs can do... bed bug detection, seizure alert, therapy, guide, hearing ear, hunting, drug detection, bomb detection, oil pipeline rupture alert, and so forth.

And your dog can earn you money for doing all that fun stuff...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dogs With Cancer - Pain Evaluation And Euthanasia

"She pointed out that chemotherapy for dogs, unlike humans is usually palliative rather than curative. In this study, two-thirds of the dogs survived. But all of the owners, she said, reported their dogs had a better quality of life after six weeks of treatment for pain."

Dogs with cancer are often in pain. Chemotheraphy for dogs tends to reduce pain (which is what "palliative" means), but it doesn't usually cure the cancer.

Pain management is an important consideration when deciding whether to euthanize a dog. I have addressed this in my article, "Euthanasia Criteria". It all comes down to the dog's quality of life.

I also think it is important for veterinarians to be absolutely clear about the dog's chances of survival and the possible and probable outcomes. The death of a dog is extremely traumatizing for a dog owner, and they need to know that they are doing the right thing. They can only do that with honest advice.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Siberian Husky Rescue

Huskies and sled dogs are being abandoned at an alarming rate and going into pounds across the UK. As a breed, sled dogs are massively increasing in population because they have become so popular. Unfortunately, people may not always research the breed before getting one or their circumstances might change leading to the dog being abandoned. Huskies and sled dogs are highly intelligent and need a lot of mental stimulation. They also have higher exercise needs than other dogs. Historically, they were bred to pull fast and light sleighs across the Arctic tundra. They are very energetic and lively animals and are incredibly attractive. Some people are getting them as puppies when they are small bundles of fluff but when they mature into a large bundle of hyperactivity, they are finding it hard to cope.”

I'm surprised how many people get a dog without doing any of the necessary research beforehand. Every breed is different, was created for different purposes, and therefore will have certain enhanced characteristics.

Each breed also has specialized care and training needs. You know, most dogs are never trained professionally. Our shelters and rescue operations are full of untrained and abused dogs. You can't learn dog training watching a TV show. It isn't like raising kids. It isn't like what you see in a cartoon. When I got my first dog, I didn't have a clue... so a paid for lessons. I attended them diligently. That's what you've got to do.

Mixed bred dogs are mixes of pure bred dogs... so they come with the traits of all the genetics of their parents. These dogs deserve the same care, investment, time and training that all other dogs require. But, owners of mixed bred dogs do even less for their dogs than those with pure bred dogs.

Bottom line is: don't get a dog if you are a lazy, ignorant cheapskate. Dogs deserve better than that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Employers Offering Pet Health Insurance

"If your pet is injured its trip to the vet could end up costing you some serious money. But now some companies are offering pet insurance as an employee benefit. Home Depot, T-Mobile, and Chipotle are all offering this rare benefit to workers who would otherwise be faced with staggering veterinary bills."

Wow. Just wow!

These companies get it. A small cost to them, but a huge incentive to work at these companies.

With so many people owning dogs these days, it only makes sense that if you are looking to work someplace for long hours, and especially if your significant other... or no other... isn't around to watch the dogs... then you're going to feel obligated to protect your dogs.

These companies are clearly acting on internal data showing that quality employees are more likely to be people that will sacrifice for their dogs. Dog owners are a special group, and they show the typical characteristics of the kinds of people that any good employer would want on their team.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When Innocent Dogs Attack

"The witness who saw the attack and called 911 told officers the dog’s owner “would hold the dogs and wait for someone to go by and would release them” in order to attack people in the area of Freeman Drive and Nowhere Road"

If this story is accurate, then in my opinion, dogs that attack people in these circumstances are innocent, should be taken away from their owner, and given to a good home. (I've seen people do this with their dogs, to get their dogs to attack other dogs or cats, too).

Bad people can force innocent dogs to attack people. The dogs are doing what they "think" is the right thing to do, to protect their owner or handler. This is not an indication of a vicious dog, but of a vicious owner or handler.

In these cases, if convicted, I think the person who sent the dogs after innocent people should go to prison.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Abandoning Dogs To Let Them Suffer And Die

"Mixed with the trash dumped illegally, they have continued to find dogs; some are left clinging to life and others are dead. “This half-mile area has just become a killing field for dogs,” Hudson said"

In every major city, there's a place where people abandon dogs to let them suffer and die. It should be a crime, punishable by prison time.

Sometimes, these are the losing dogs from underground dog fighting rings. Other times, they are just dogs that people abandon, for a variety of reasons, ranging from poverty to cruelty.

This is where the police should intervene, investigate, arrest and seek prosecution. Criminals who victimize dogs typically don't just commit one type of crime, they are involved in other crimes, as well.

Get them. Prosecute them. Then put them away for a very long time.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Animal Abuse In Animal Shelters

"In a disturbing video, however, an animal shelter in Memphis was exposed for actually inflicting the very things that we have come to believe shelters are protecting animals from. Some of the allegations and photos show dogs being muzzled for eight hours without food and water and one dog with an embedded collar left untreated for days. These are examples of workers violating city policies, and it's happening elsewhere. Abuse at animal shelters, is something on the rise."

We tend to think that animal abuse only happens by some weirdo at their home. What we don't expect is that the dogs that are being rescued and housed by animal control, a government agency, are being abused.

I have heard countless stories of animal abuse at animal control. I've been in shelters where the dogs are starving, covered in flies, injured... and the government workers just walk on by. And good luck exposing the crimes and getting the abusers fired, fined and imprisoned. The average citizen can't do this... it is up to the police to do something about it... only the police have the power... but will they do it? Will they investigate other government workers?

Imagine a traumatized dog being brought into a government shelter, only to be tortured to death. Yes, it is happening.

All shelters should have full time web cams on all their operations. Full time security cameras in all areas, and requirements to keep the recordings. Even the area where the dogs are euthanized should be open to the public to view what's going on. And accurate statistics need to be kept of the condition of all the dogs.

If we treated zoo animals or farm animals the way we do dogs and cats in shelters we'd be appalled. The time for change... and criminal convictions... is now.

Pet Flipping Is Theft

"For pet owners, the thought of someone else claiming their dog and selling it is devastating. It is a scam called "pet-flipping," and it is on the rise"

Dog theft has always been around. Old stories of dogknapping have been published since before I was a kid.

But, there seems to have been a marked increase in the past few years, and now that is being confirmed in more news stories.

Moral of the story: protect your dog by...

1.) Having your dog microchipped;
2.) Installing burglar alarms and, yes, cameras;
3.) Don't leave your dog unsupervised... in your yard, car, or tied outside a store;
4.) Have a "lost dog" file on your computer so you can put out notices immediately if your dog is taken.

And for those looking to buy a dog, don't be a dummy....

Take any dog you're interested in to the vet to be scanned for a microchip before you hand over your money. Get the name, address and phone of the person selling the dog. In fact, a better way to get a dog is to work with a reputable dog rescue organization.

We can't stop this, but we don't have to be dumb, either.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Pit Bulls Attack Kid?

"Riley, 48, entered the house where the boy was being attacked and, armed with a wooden plank, walked into the rear dining room. He found two pit bulls, each weighing more than 150 pounds, biting the boy... Langford said the boy apparently wandered in on the dogs, one of which may have been agitated after having recently given birth"

OK, first, let's always remember that the media does a horrible job of reporting the facts of any dog bite story. I never trust what they say. So, when I comment on such a story, they are only my opinions, always written as if what is being reported is the whole truth... and we know it isn't. We know stories are often changed, manipulated, and such by the reporter and the editor. I know this from personal experience, being interviewed and then reading back the published story, with words and concepts attributed to me that I never said. Further, obvious flaws in logic are not even worked out, such as with this story. So, let's assume the story is truthful and go from there...

The reporter says that the two "pit bulls" were each more than 150 lbs. I have never met a pit bull that was over 150 lbs. So, what kind of dog are we talking about here? Pit bulls get slammed in the media all the time, blamed for attacks, and leaving the impression with the public that they are at fault for all these horrific injuries we see in the media. An American Staffordshire Terrier, the purebred version of the pit bull, is between 35 to 80 lbs in size. The same is also typically true of the "pit bull", which is a mixed bred dog that is part bull breed and part something else.

Second, we see that the child was apparently unsupervised by the parents or his relatives. Why isn't that the headline of the story? I tell people all the time that kids under 10 years of age should not be left unsupervised with dogs, regardless of the breed or mix.

Third, it is NORMAL dog behavior for a female dog to guard her puppies. You will see this in almost every dog, from Chihuahua to Great Dane. If you are going to breed a dog, then this comes with the process. Knowing this, you keep kids and strangers away from the mother and her puppies. We know that if you get near a momma bear with cubs, she's going to attack. It happens with cattle. It happens with lions. It happens with chimpanzees. If a 3 year old child wandered into a barn with a female pig and her piglets, the momma pig would attack him. Would you blame the pig? So, the attack is NOT an indication of abnormal behavior, not an indication of the dogs being vicious.

Fourth, why were these dogs being bred? Who breeds a "150 lb" pit bull? You breed dogs to make money, usually. So, if it is a business, then treat it as a business.

This is a tragic accident. But, from what I see here, I blame the parents and relatives, not the dogs. Some day I hope the parents and relatives explain to this kid why they didn't care enough to protect him or their dogs from this tragedy.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Hoarders And Animal Cruelty

"When officers got there, they found a home in deplorable conditions with trash piled two- to three-feet high in some areas. Inside, they also found several dead dogs"

This story looks to me like a case of a hoarder. Hoarding is a serious mental health issue that affects not only the hoarder, but everyone and every animal involved. The home becomes a health and fire hazard, and anyone or any animal that lives there is at risk of disease, injury or death.

I'm all for the Constitutional protections of private property, and that your home is your castle. I get that. But, there comes a point where what another person does on their property affects others. For example, you can't torture someone on your property. You can't build a nuclear bomb and detonate it on your property. And you can't criminally neglect animals on your property.

Hopefully the one surviving dog can find a new, healthy home. And this person, if found to be guilty, gets the appropriate mental health assistance, including a trustee, and some bright lines by the court as to future conduct.

Rat Bastard Rapes Pit Bull

"A 50-year-old man who had been on a tour at the city pound was charged with having sex with a pit bull, prosecutors said in court today. Gerardo Perez, of the 2500 block of West 38th Street, was charged with having sexual conduct with an animal, a felony, and burglary, according to police. Perez was arrested after he and a group took a tour of the Chicago Animal Care and Control Facility"

Do I have to explain why this is so wrong, so sick, and should result in a long time in prison? Bestiality wrecks a dog. And is a sign of someone who none of us wants to ever have in public ever again. Here we are trying to save all these abandoned animals in shelters, and some sick bastard comes along and does this.

There are a lot of crazy people. You can't cure crazy, so lock them up.

Take this case to trial... innocent until proven guilty and all... but if he did it and is guilty, then let's give him 20 years in prison. Don't remind him to not pick up the soap off the shower floor...

Saturday, June 01, 2013

What Should Be Done With Wolf Hybrids?

"A gentle, big dog at the Sacramento city animal shelter that experts say has a bit of wolf in him may be sent to a sanctuary in Southern California. "We had him evaluated by a wolf organization called Never Cry Wolf," said Gina Knepp, shelter manager. "He is on the low spectrum, less than 25 percent wolf. So he does have wolf in him, according to the experts. How much? We don't know without DNA testing."

This is a dog. It's not a wolf, and it isn't behaving like a wolf. It is silly and inhumane to take a wolf hybrid like this and send it off to a sanctuary. It's abuse. Give the dog to a good home and be done with it.

This is all the result of silly dog laws and eco/ enviro- nuts influencing such laws. What in the heck do you think a dog is? It is a domesticated wolf. Take a wolf, and put enough dog in it, and it is a dog.

My Thoughts Regarding: ‘I’ve never seen a dog do that much damage’: Neighbor shares harrowing details of dog attack on Bibb County woman

"The black dog scaled an 8 to 10 feet fence with ease and started charging at the deputy... “I was in great fear for my life, at which time I shot at the dog,” Mock said in his report. The dog ran off back into the trailer park, leaving bloody paw prints on the road and a driveway. Fearing others were in jeopardy, Mock drove his patrol car around to near Lot-13, where the dogs stayed in a small pen that backs up to McNicholas’ property. On Thursday, boards were stacked on top and along the bottom edges of the fence and appeared to block prior escape routes."

Here are my thoughts...

Dogs are animals. They do what dogs do, do what animals do. They guard territory. You can't breed that out of a dog. All dogs guard territory because their wild ancestors, the wolf, guard territory. It is part of being a dog. Can a dog read a law book? Read a sign? Can a dog know right from wrong like a human? No. So, the responsibility is ours and ours alone to prevent these kinds of things. And in fact, in many cases like this, if you were properly introduced to the attacking dogs, the dogs would most likely be friendly and totally safe. It all depends upon how you house, socialize, contain, supervise, and train your dogs of any breed or type.

Speaking of types of dogs, pit bulls are a type of dog, not a breed. They are often a mix of many dog breeds, and therefore vary a great deal in their general behavioral patterns. Let's put it another way... If a person is half Italian and half English, and the person beats their wife... is it the Italian part of them or the English part of them that is at fault? Or do only half Italian, half English men beat their wives? You could have this kind of attack with lots of dog breeds, if they were set up to escape in groups. People who want to ban pit bulls are saying, whether they know it or not, they want to ban mixed breed dogs. There are lots of breeds that I could mix to create a guard dog that would bite people, never using any type of bull breed at all in the mix, which if they escaped would do this same exact thing. It wouldn't be that hard to cross a Chihuahua with some giant breed and create a dog that would do this same exact kind of damage. If I could ban some people from ever owning a dog, I would. I see abused dogs all the time, for example, from my rescue friends, of all breeds. I wish there was a way to keep dogs out of the hands of some people. There's just no fair and legal way of doing that which also is congruent with the principles of living in a free society according to the Constitution. So, it comes down to personal responsibility, and laws that enforce personal responsibility, and laws that spell out exactly when a dog is or is not allowed to bite. Otherwise, we'll end up banning dog ownership altogether, or it will only be for the rich and famous, the well connected, the police, military and influential politicians.

I have said over and over again, that what people don't value, they don't take care of as much. When people get a dog for free, or for a couple hundred bucks, they tend to not take as much care to train the dogs as if they spent $2,000 for the dog. Lots of pit bulls fall into this category. There are always more pure bred dogs in dog training classes than mixed bred dogs. And there are relatively few people who live in low income areas that train their dogs at all. In some low income communities, the dogs are allowed to run the streets in packs. In this article, does the fencing used sound like a well made, well kept fence or a piece of junk? It sounds like a piece of junk to me. And I don't see anywhere in the article that the owner was anywhere to be found when it happened. I see lots of dogs become way too territorial when left in a yard with nothing to do and with the owners away or not supervising.

Lastly, what should happen here?

As I've said for years: "when a dog bites, then the owner and dog should be judged by the severity of the situation and punished accordingly".

If all I have to go on are my hunches, and what this article says, it would be my opinion this will be found by a court to be an unprovoked attack. If the dogs were alive, then I would have recommended that they be evaluated by professional dog behaviorists. If the dogs were vicious then put to death, otherwise given to a new owner. It is very possible, in cases like this, that in different hands, these dogs would never have escaped, and would have never harmed anyone or any animal. Regarding the owners, I think that they should be made to go through the legal processes, and laws should be written and enforced to hold dog owners responsible for the actions of their dogs if an attack is unprovoked, according to the severity of the attack. Should a court of law determine, after a fair trial, hearing all the facts, and given expert testimony from those who understand dog behavior, that the owner is at fault, then the appropriate penalties should apply for the level of injury that person's dogs inflict. I'm guessing that might mean prison time and serious financial consequences in cases like this. In most cases, we don't need new laws, we just need the ones we have to be enforced. On the other hand, we need clear definitions of when it is OK for a dog to bite, so there is a clear bright line to tell everyone what is allowed and what isn't allowed.

For the victims of cases like this... they often don't get any money, unless the owner has renter's or homeowner's insurance. Yes, that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that doesn't really seem to cover the injuries that these people receive. No amount of words can make this kind of thing right, either.

Update: One thing that has to be considered in these cases is that the reports we get in the news aren't always accurate. The owner of the dogs has been charged with "two counts of failure to restrain the dogs and two counts of failure to inoculate the dogs... The Bibb County District Attorney conferred with investigators last week and decided not to file criminal charges. Deputies consulted with the Bibb Solicitor’s Office to determine which misdemeanor charges would be appropriate"

Failure to restrain and failure to inoculate are kind of BS charges as far as I'm concerned... sometimes prosecutors feel the need to charge people just so it looks like they are doing something... and they have to also deal with the fact that if they bring a bogus case to court that it blows their credibility and can get them sued, as well. I can think of several alternate scenarios that might have happened here which might have led up to this case, and the police and prosecutors probably know that, was well. So, clearly, there's more to the story than originally reported. More than once has a person been accused, tried and "convicted" by the media, while the real story comes out later, new facts emerge, and then your opinion changes 180 degrees. I wish that reporters would hold back a bit, do more investigation, before publishing their stories. So, I now have no idea what really happened, and I don't think the public now knows, either. Certainly, those people who are condemning the owner of the dogs in the comments section of these articles don't know, either. Let's see how this gets settled. I feel bad for everyone involved.

Safety Tip: Using A Leash For Your Dogs

"Martin says when they arrived at a family member's home, the owner's dogs, although friendly, came running toward Abbey, frightening her and causing her to run into nearby woods"

I presume this case is an off leash situation, based upon the way this article is written. And if I'm right, then it's another case, out of millions, where dogs run away when the owners take them off leash in situations where the dogs aren't capable of being managed off leash.

I see this kind of thing all the time. I saw it this morning while hiking. A couple took their Golden Retriever off leash as they walked down the trail towards the parking lot.... about 3/4 of a mile away. Yes, the dog stayed relatively close, but clearly the dog didn't obey their verbal commands to come back when it was getting too far ahead. These people took way too big of a risk with their dog.

I saw another case a few days ago with one of my students. The husband let the dog off leash in the garage simultaneously when the wife came home in her car and opened the other garage door with her garage door opener. The dog started running down the driveway, and the husband didn't even see what was happening. Fortunately, I was there, just arriving for a lesson, called her to me, she came, and all was well. I've told them repeatedly not to let the dog loose until it is inside their fenced yard, because they've been lax in their supervision a number of times, including leaving side doors to the home ajar, and therefore their dog has gotten loose, and learned how fun it is to get loose, from the property.

I generally do not take dogs off leash in public places, and only certain dogs that I know very well, and know that they will obey in the circumstances I'm putting them in. Hunters, for example, let dogs off leash in the wilderness to hunt for animals. But, they don't do that with untrained dogs. Police will let dogs off leash to search for and capture criminals, but again, those are very well trained dogs.

Most people don't have well trained dogs. Shelters are full of untrained dogs, or dogs that have been abusively handled by people who did their own, stupid, do-it-yourself dog training. So, the dogs get loose, cause mayhem, or get injured or hopelessly lost.

Keep your dogs on leash. I know your dog isn't well trained. Don't be stupid. Don't put your dog at risk. This story had a happy ending. A lot don't.