I've obviously been light on posting the past couple of weeks. It's been really busy in my personal, and professional life and just haven't had time to get to the blog. I'll have a bit more on some of those things in the coming week or so. Meanwhile, I've been stockpiling blog posts, some that just won't ever get written, but some I plan to get out there shortly.
Meanwhile, there are a lot of articles that I"m reading that I want to share in this week's roundup that I think you'll find interesting. Again, going to skip over the majority of bite stories (although there are a couple I want to share) and BSL fights (again, with exceptions). With that, sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the articles from the past couple of weeks.
Cities/States and Laws
Laws targeting specific breeds of dogs "not an option" for Great Bend, KS.
Mason City, IA approved a new dangerous dog ordinance that targets dogs based on behavior, not breed. The ordinance "promotes responsibility of the owner, supervision of the dog and safety to the public -- it does exactly what it was supposed to do" said Chairman Jay Urdahl.
Benton, AR passed a new dangerous dog law at a vote of 7-0. The law targets dangerous dogs based on behavior, not breed.
A Westwego, LA city councilman pulled his breed-specific law off the table after realizing there was no support for the law among his fellow city council members. The law was introduced as a form of panic policy-making after an attack in the community, but wiser heads have prevailed.
A dog owner in Richland, MS has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city's ban on pit bulls. The mayor of Richland says that the law doesn't deprive people of the right to own pit bulls, only the right to own them in the city. Um, yeah.
Speaking of panic policy-making, Garland County, AR passed a law targeting specific breeds of dogs which they refer to as "gripper breeds" including Am. Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentines (they're wording not mine), Persa Canarios (again, their wording, not mine), Can Corsos (yip, them again) and any mixes of those breeds. The law applies only to rural Garland County, but doesn't apply to first class cities in the county. Not to say that the law is a form of panic policy-making, but the passing of the ordinance comes after a fatal dog attack in the area 2 months ago -- in which a Bull Mastiff (not mentioned in the ordinance) attacked a young boy and less than 8 months after a committee was formed to discuss breed-specific language and determined it would not be effective. Anyone who thinks that passing breed bans is a rational conclusion reached to solve a problem needs to look no further than Garland, AR for how these small communities really pass these laws.
Collins, MS passed a ban on pit bulls and Rottweilers. The law was passed with no grandfather clause, so anyone who owns a pet of these breeds will have to lose their family pets. Collins, MS, a small community of about 2500 people.
Pasadena, CA passed a law requiring pets to be spayed or neutered by four months of age. I'm just amazed at the number of animal advocates that continue to support these types of laws in spite of their lack of success in controlling shelter populations, in spite of the reality that nearly no animal welfare organization supports them any more, and in spite of the potential health impacts that such early spay/neuter can create. Keep reading for more...
Positive Press for the Bullies
The Racine Journal Times (WI) notes: Defending the pit bull: Experts say the animals no more aggressive or prone to attack than other breeds.
Some positive press from Sioux Falls, SD on dog breed profiling.
A rural North Dakota man was tragically mauled by a pack of up to a dozen wild dogs that were roaming at large. While there were a dozen dogs believed to be involved, the media decided to single out "a rottweiler, a pit bull and several other dogs" -- as if those dogs didn't matter. In all likelihood, if they were wild dogs, they were all mongrels of unknown breed.
In Baltimore, a 7 year old boy was attacked by a 'pit bull". According to witnesses, the boy was one of several kids that was playing on the block and "teasing" the dog, causing the dog to jump the fence and come after them.
In Palmer, AK, a Husky is going to be allowed to live after it attacked a 2 year old girl back in May. The young girl was in the kennel yard with 52 huskies -- all of which were working dogs -- and this dog broke free from its chain and attacked the young girl. Authorities claimed the girl's mother, who was with her, took a "totall unnecessary assumption of risk" by bringing three children under the age of 5 to the center of a busy dog yard.
Three people in Sikeston, MO were attacked by a Japanese Akita -- two of them losing parts of fingers in the attack. You might remember that last fall, Sikeston Authorities were accused of going around neighborhoods and rounding up 'pit bulls' under the community's breed ban -- taking resources away from dealing with dogs that, regardless of breed, were a danger to the community.
A Des Moines area man was severely attacked by two dogs in his home. The two "Chow-Chows" were copulating and the man tried to break them up. When he tried to interupt them, they both turned on him and began to attack.
I'm including these attacks because I think they show several things: #1, the variety of dogs that can be involved in significant attacks, #2, that the circumstances around the attack are what lead up to them and that most are preventable, but human error and misunderstanding of dog behavior helped spur the attacks and #3 breed specific legislation does NOT protect people from attacks.
When "helping" is not "helping".
Sometimes rescue groups aren't what they appear to be. Raised with Wolves shares the story about a "rescue" that is simply a buyer of puppies from puppy mills and then redistributing them via "adoption". This is not the norm, of course. Most rescues are great, helpful people. But I share the recommendation to always do your research before you donate, or adopt, so you know you're getting what you're intending to get.
The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA (VA) is celebrating becoming "no kill" 2 years ahead of schedule.
Los Angeles, CA under the No Kill LA Coalition is also seeing success. For several years, the number of animals killed in LA shelters was around 19,500 - 22,000. In 2012-13, the number appears to be closer to 17,500, so roughly 4,000 fewer than in previous years. (It's worth noting that in 1971, the shelters killed 111,000 dogs and cats. By 2003, that number was decreased to 30,000 -- and has now nearly halved again). LA still has a ways to go, but they are making progress pretty quickly and I wish them luck...
Law Enforcement Today article advised police not to kill family pets. Finally it seems that awareness of this as a police issue is becoming more popular.
However, a lot more work needs to be done in this arena. Police shoots man's dog in front of him, and then arrests him for recording it on video. In response, police in the community are being given more training on how to deal with dogs noting that the officer's response was a last-ditch response, with no other measures even tried.
Science is studying the strikingly similar relationship that adult dogs have with their owners vs the way human children interact with these same adults. In another report of the same study: Your creepy friend who acts like their dog is a child is actually pretty normal.
The Tragedy of Wolf Dogs -- some interesting thoughts from Patricia McConnell.
Kennel Cough: Natural Prevention of the Canine Cold -- Dogs Naturally has a potential solution to kennel cough -- something that is a neussance for sure in almost every shelter environment. Has anyone tried this as a way to stop kennel cough in their shelter?
The Plot Thickens: Spay Neuter Effects and the Health of our dogs -- There isn't much new research here that I haven't covered elsewhere on this blog, but more and more the impact of the health impact of spay/neuter is coming to the forefront. This time from Patricia McConnell.
Your Dog Needs to be Spayed or Neutered, Right? -- Dogs Naturally also tackles the subject of the health benefits, and negative impacts, of spay/neuter.
"Raising them right" and "bad owners" -- Beyond Breed askes what message "it's how they were raised" sends about shelter dogs....
Reactive Dog: Foundation Exercises for your Leash-Reactive Dog --- a great training guideline for a popular problem of leash reactivity in dogs -- from Dr. Sophia Yin.
The dog bit me -- a New York Times Magazine writer talks about the day her dog bit her child and many of the circumstances that led up to the bite. It's interesting how important the circumstances become when you take "breed" (which is never mentioned in the article) out of the equation.
I was bitten by a dog as a kid and nobody freaked out -- I love this article because I think it represents a similar situation to when I was bitten as a child. No one freaked out. No one blamed the dog. Nobody blamed me. When rational judgment replaced hysteria....
Speaking of hysteria, a family in Salem, MO is struggling to keep their pet from having to be killed by local officials after the Labrador "nipped" a 7 year old child. In spite of passing a local professional's behavior evaluation, local authorities are insisting the dog should be killed.