Doing a little catching up, and here are some links to some of the articles I'm finding interesting this morning:
A new report from the Koret Shelter Medicine Program shows that the average adopter coming intoa shelter to interact with cats is NOT a large risk factor for transmitting disease between animals. Meanwhile, the ability to interact with cats is a major factor in getting people to adopt. So in other words, the potential benefit of potential adopters interacting with cats greatly outweighs the risks that are posed.
This story is done just down the road, in St. Louis, and it is done by Chris Hayes, who has been doing a lot of VERY good animal reporting lately including breaking the news about the Sikeston Pit Bull Roundup back in December., this article about how many shelters hide behind the word "adoptable" at shelters, this story about how a family pet was threatened to be killed due to how it looks, among others.
If only all reporters were as well-informed on these topics as Hayes seems to be.
This article shows how Stray Rescue in St. Louis is helping save lives at the city shelter, how the county shelter is improving even though they are still killing 1/2 the animals in their care, and how the Humane Society of Missouri, probably the wealthiest organization in the state with a budget of around $18 million a year, is one of the shelters killing the most animals in the community.
Animal Farm Foundation has an interesting article about the framing effect that comes with how shelters name animals. Positive associations are good. Negative ones can harm an animal's ability to be adopted.
Patricia McConnell takes a look at DNA tests, and concludes that after a fair amount of research, she has more confidence in the results than she did previously. The test makers note that the test is about 90% accurate at this point (which means, it's 10% wrong, which is still signicant, and mostly likely why some very rare breeds seem to crop up in distant histories of the test -- advice, take these with a grain of salt). I also think it's interesting that dogs with a heritage of being bred for looks have more reliable markers than breeds with a closer history to function -- such as Jack Russell Terriers and Catahoula's.
An interesting read from Vet Street. While there is obviously a huge variance from group to group, there certainly seem to be a lot that side with being overly particular.
An interesting read from "Balanced Trainers". You may or may not agree with this, but it's an article calling out 'aversive free" dog trainers for sometimes not using all the tools available that might help rehabilitate shelter dogs -- leading to their deaths in shelters. I think it's important to note that the author here claims to be very pro-positive training (as am I), but also willing to use aversives if that is the only way the dog responds (and sometimes it is).
I think it's also interesting to note that they note there is even a difference in philosophy when dealing with shelter dogs vs owned dogs. As they note: "Even in situations where an aversive free only approach can work, it often takes a very long time, and time is something that many shelter dogs just don't have".
I'm certainly not going to defend everything in the article (and I think the article is a bit too hasty to group all positive trainers into their term 'aversive free', and there is a differenc), but I think it's worth a read and would love to hear your thoughts.