Cities/States and Laws
Missouri is working to shed its image as the "Puppy Mill Capital" after some new rules and increased enforcement of existing rules has caused many of the state's commercial breeding operations to shut down.
In the UK, there is more discussion that the country's breed ban is not doing nearly enough to protect people from dogs, and that the law is "woefully inadequate". Breed bans are a terrible form of public policy because instead of focusing resources on aggressive dogs (based on behavior) regardless of breed, it uses resources to round up breeds of dogs because of how they look, even if they are not aggressive. The UK has been struggling with their breed ban for decades, and continue to face pressure to provide better support for the law.
The Oakland Press (MI) is supporting a move to repeal Waterford Township's breed ban that was enacted 23 years ago to a breed-neutral bill that would focus on responsible pet ownership.
The community of Watertown, WI is looking at a potential law that would put special restrictions on 'pit bulls' -- and residents overflowed city hall in opposition to the bill. According to their own numbers, the new restrictions would impact dogs responsible for less than 20% of their total dog bites in the community with no attention paid to dogs involved in the other 80%+ of dog bites.
Dogs are very loving to humans -- and in spite of our inadequacies at times in understanding their needs, they are outstanding to adapting to the environment we put them in. But there are times when dogs do bite or attack, and in those cases, it's important to look at the CIRCUMSTANCES that led up to the attack, not the type of dog involved. Here are a couple of stories from the past week:
A six year old boy in Mansfield, MA required 400 stitches -- mostly to his face -after being bitten by his babysitter's "Pointer/Hound mix".
In Arizona, a story about an increase in dog bites at an area hospital that notes that training is essential to minimizing dog bites, as well as being careful around strange dogs. It also notes that most bites are highly preventable. It's great to see a story that focuses on the causes around bites and not just fear-mongering.
A pit bull that was found abandoned in Limestone County, AL had a 22 lbs chain embedded in her neck. Honestly, there are times when you hear stuff like this and see how humans treat dogs that it's a wonder that more of us aren't attacked by dogs each year -- and a testiment to how loving and forgiving dogs are of humans.
No Kill News
A newly formed group, St. Catharines Pets Alive, is seeking to win the contract of their local animal shelter so they can have access to saving more lives. This group has some major hurdles to overcome (such as the need for a shelter facility), but it's a smart, compassionate group that is seeking to do right by the shelter animals in their community.
The West Valley City/Taylorsville, UT animal shelter is working toward no kill status. Last year they had 3 months with save rates above 90%, and another 3 that were in the 84-88% range. I'm always encouraged by shelters making progress toward the goal and that the last 5-8% to get to 90% is HARD.
Petaluma, CA, a city with a population of 58,000 people (and home to the best brewery in the world) is reporting a life release rate of 94% after Petaluma Animal Services Foundation took over the open-admission shelter in August of 2012. The live release rate had been around 83% prior to them taking over.
The CBS Affiliate in Philadelphia highlights the positive side of pit bulls -- as working dogs, therepy dogs as family pets.
An Albany, NY man seeks to de-demonize pit bulls.
A Missouri Company helps console pet owners by freeze-drying their pets so they can keep them around forever. Would you consider doing this? It seems pretty creepy to me, but does show how attached people are to their pets and how important a part of our lives they are....but still.
This is a fantastic video about an HSUS program "Pets for Life" that helps low income people in urban Philadelphia be better pet owners by providing them some much needed resources. I LOVE programs like this, and while HSUS gets a lot of grief (deservedly so at times), they also have some very good programs, and I believe this is one of them.
"I didn't call the vet because...." - Christie Keith looks at reasons why people say they did not take their dog to a vet, one of which is that people really, often, don't want to follow the advice the vet willl give them.
Benefits and risks of neutering, an evidence update: Study Investigates Effects of Neutering in Golden Retrievers -- this is a great look at the study I discussed last week from SkeptVet Blog
Ripples in the Rescue World -- Paws Abililites looks at shelter dogs, and how most dogs end up in shelters not because they're damaged, but because they're unlucky. Yet, there are ripples that hurt all rescue dogs when aggressive dogs are irresponsibly adopted out into the public. It's a thought-provoking post and one that you should definitely take the time to read....
Know the opposition: "Why are you blaming shelters? -- Christie Keith notes that many accuse the No Kill movement of blaming shelters for the problem, and Christie notes that it's because that's where the animals are dying.
The Radical notion of not killing our friends -- some good thoughts on No Kill from Francis Battista at Best Friends.
Another myth bites the dust -- a great look at appointment systems for owner surrenders from No Kill News that looks at Lynchburg, VA and how their appointment system did not increase intake at neighboring shelters as critics often say it will.
It's not how they're raised, It's how they're managed that matters most -- This is an older blog posting (from November), but I think it's an important look at the mantra "it's how they were raised". While there is some truth to the mantra, the reality is that dogs live "in the now" much more than humans do, and generally adapt pretty quickly to new environments. And it's how they're managed NOW that is the most influential part.
I'm posting this because it's the opposite of a good blog posting -- "The Truth behind "Free to Good Home" Ads -- it's this type of post that drives me crazy -- when someone poses something as "The truth about" and then just says oft-repeated mantra's that actually have no real factual evidence to support outside of an occassional annecdote. There is no evidence that "free" means people won't care about their pet. In fact, 2 of my 3 I got "free" off the streets. Geting a dog "free" does not mean someone will abandon their dog to the streets, or hand them over to animal control, or abuse them as this writer suggests.
Neutering and behavior -- Angry Vet looks at the science behind the behavioral effects of neutering of male dogs.