"Signature Surgery" Could Help Dog Find Family
If this pretty dog were microchipped, she would already be home. Instead, the approximately two-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog is waiting to be claimed at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County in Vero Beach, FL. The shelter staff has named her Jenna. Veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Bybee made the astonishing discovery that Jenna underwent an expensive, specialized surgery that could be the key to finding her family. The shelter staff is not publicly disclosing details of the "signature surgery" in hopes that Jenna's rightful owner will be able to do so and thus, make a positive ID. For more info, please call the shelter at (772) 388-3331.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Soldier Pleas For Pup to Leave Iraq
Five months ago, Sgt. Gwen Beberg and a fellow soldier saved a little black and white puppy from a pile of burning trash in Baghdad. Soon, Beberg will return home to Minnesota and she requested that her beloved dog, Ratchet, return with her. The Army said no, according to Defense Department rules. Worried that Ratchet would not survive the streets of Iraq, or worse yet be decreed a "nuisance" by locals and killed, Beberg's supporters started an online petition urging the Army to reconsider. The petition has already garnered more than 12,000 signatures. Donations to help Ratchet and other Iraqi pups return home with their U.S. soldiers are gratefully accepted at Operation Baghdad Pups.
Something to keep in mind before you open your wallet: Terri Crisp serves as program coordinator for Operation Baghdad Pups. If you refer back to my post, "Noah's Wish Settles Katrina Allegations," from August 10, 2007, the Attorney General of California investigated Crisp's former rescue group, Noah’s Wish, for its alleged misallotment of Katrina funds. As part of a settlement that followed, Crisp agreed that she would not "serve as an officer, director or trustee, or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director, or trustee, with any nonprofit organization for a period of five (5) years from the execution of this Settlement Agreement.” Granted, the title of program coordinator does not appear to break the agreement but I'm wary that she is involved with a rescue group again so quickly after the Katrina investigation.
Julia Kamysz Lane
German Shepherd Dials 911, Saves Owner
Given a chance, dogs are capable of mastering extraordinary skills. Buddy the German Shepherd called 911 when his owner, Joe Stalnaker of Phoenix, had a seizure. Help quickly arrived and thankfully, he survived.
Stalnaker adopted Buddy as a puppy from Paws With A Cause so he could be trained as a Seizure Response Dog. As a dog trainer, I'm always looking for fun, new things to teach my pack of five dogs or my students' dogs. But I'll leave dialing 911 to service dogs only! What tricks can your dog do? Or what trick would you like to teach your dog?
Julia Kamysz Lane
Rotties Survive 11 Days in Sewer
I know this was supposed to be a feel-good story, but for me, it brought up more concerns than warm fuzzies.
How did young Rottweilers Trixi and Boscoe end up stuck in a sewer pipe in the first place? Well, these two pups live on site at a construction company -- probably not the safest environment for any animal. Which brings up my next question: are they left there unsupervised to "guard" the property? Seems like it. Owner Tracy Lampignano said they assumed the dogs had been stolen when they went missing. If a dog is inside a home in a residential area, I imagine they are far less appealing to would-be dognappers.
Now I know some dog owners would roll their eyes at seeing my dogs slumbering (and slobbering) on my living room couch, but I had sincerely hoped that our society had moved beyond the "junkyard dog" mentality. Why couldn't Trixi and Boscoe go home with the company owners every night? It would certainly be safer and in my view, more humane.
At the height of the drama, Trixi was found first, but they couldn't find Boscoe. Lampignano told the local paper, "We didn't hear a sound but knew Boscoe had to be down there too. She was in heat and he was following her everywhere."
Yeah, that gasp you heard was from me. Trixi and Boscoe are almost one year old. Why aren't they spayed/neutered? Also -- and I hate to ask -- since they're so close in age, are they siblings? In which case, at least one of them needs to be spayed/neutered NOW.
On the upside, it was refreshing to read about Rottweilers in the paper without a single mention of BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). I just wish the story had been completely free of breed stereotypes.
Julia Kamysz Lane
A Compassionate Development
The Walters Group of Barnegat, New Jersey, recently built a $1 million facility to serve the animals of Ocean County Animal Shelter. The developer donated the cost of materials and construction in exchange for the opportunity to redevelop the land where the old shelter existed.
Improvements include 5,000 square feet of space, air conditioning, quarantine areas, new cages, indoor-outdoor runs, surgical facilities and a ventilation system with filtration that will help prevent the spread of airborne diseases. The cats and dogs in their care will be far more comfortable, which lowers their stress levels and improves their chance at adoption. "We also hope to encourage more traffic from potential adopters,” says Dr. Ella Boyd, Public Health Coordinator for the Ocean County Health Department, which oversees the shelter.
The shelter is open seven days a week thanks to volunteers and dedicated staff such as employee Kristen Schools pictured above with Kibbles (who was recently adopted!). To see dogs and cats available for adoption, click here. The adoption fee includes a vet exam, vaccinations, deworming and spay/neuter. Volunteers are always welcome to help with adoptions, donations and other projects.
For more info, please call (732) 657-8086 or email NOCAF@ochd.org.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Man Who Axed Dog Gets Slap On Wrist
Last month, Freddie Mock of Manito, IL, bludgeoned a four-year-old Cocker Spaniel with an axe and left him for dead in the woods. Someone passing by heard the dog's cries and rushed him to the vet. The dog's injuries were so severe that he was put to sleep.
Mock was charged with aggravated cruelty and admitted that the dog's owner, Connie Vanderheiden, paid him $25 to kill her dog. (She has since been charged with aggravated cruelty and will appear in court Aug. 21.) What's even more outrageous is that after Mock's arrest, more people came forward to confess that they had paid him to kill their unwanted dogs, too. His own 14 dogs were thankfully surrendered to a local rescue group, Pets Without Parents (PWP).
Mock deserves the maximum penalty of three years in jail and a $25,000 fine, but Mason County State's Attorney Kristin Miller has made a pitiful plea offer of just 90 days and two years of probation. This is unacceptable. Please contact Miller and the parties listed below and politely request that Mock serve more jail time befitting his horrific, cowardly crime:
Mason County State's Attorney Kristin Miller, (309-543-4212, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mason County Courthouse, (309) 543-6619, email@example.com
Judge Thomas Brownfield (217) 277-2055, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, (217) 782-7884, email@example.com
For more info on how to help, please call PWP President Susan Oldham at (309) 543-4652. Donations to Pets Without Parents are gratefully accepted through PayPal or snail mail: PO Box 25, Havana, IL, 62644.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Commercial Breeder Closes Doors, Gives Key to Shelter
Commercial breeder Wallace Havens, who owns Puppy Haven Kennel, one of the nation's largest dog-breeding kennels, and the Wisconsin Humane Society have agreed to, surprisingly ... agree. Now retired, Havens has closed his breeding business and allowed the WHS to assume his business assets. Most dog lovers wouldn't consider dogs to be "business assets," but the deal includes his handing over more than 1,100 dogs to the WHS for spay/neuter and adoption.
That's right, more than 1,100 dogs. All of them have lived at the kennel their entire lives and have never been socialized or lived with people. The WHS has an extraordinary task before them. More importantly, this single-handedly is an impressive feat in the fight against puppy mills. Havens said he sold about 3,000 dogs a year. He was in business for 40 years. Do the math and the number of dogs he created (don't forget the intact dogs he sold that were purposely or accidentally bred) is astronomical.
According to the WHS press release, Margaret Stratton, president of the board of the Wisconsin Humane Society said, “Assuming the assets of this facility will allow us to provide wonderful homes for more than a thousand dogs. These dogs will soon enjoy the love and companionship of people who will treat them as members of their families. To our knowledge, this groundbreaking action is unique in the humane movement. This is consistent with the Wisconsin Humane Society’s mission to build a community where people value animals and treat them with respect and kindness. We are always working to educate people interested in obtaining a dog that they must consider the physical, social and emotional needs of the dog and find out as much as they can about the dog’s background.”
If you'd like to donate needed items or money to help the Havens dogs, please go to Wisconsin Humane Society and click on "Wish List." Or you can call (414) 431-6104 for more info.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Pets Seek Shelter From Floods
When folks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other river communities near the Mississippi evacuated in anticipation of flooding, many of them didn't get a chance to retrieve their pets. Or if they did, they couldn't find a safe haven that would accept them. The New York Times reports on animal flood victims, the good people who are volunteering their time, energy and money to temporarily shelter them and hopefully, reunite them with their families.
As someone who experienced Hurricane Katrina firsthand, I'm heartened to know that authorities now recognize the importance of pets in people's lives. However, awareness doesn't necessarily lead to action; people should not have to resort to living in a car with their dogs because there are no pet-friendly, temporary housing options.
To ensure that your pets will be safe in case of an emergency, create a disaster plan now. Make a list of items you would need to bring, such as food, bowls, medicine, collar, leash, etc. Contact out-of-town family and friends to ask if you and your pets could stay with them in case of an emergency.
Challenges for Backyard Rescues
As more citizens open their homes to foster shelter dogs and support small independent rescue efforts, conflicts with neighbors are bound to increase. The travails of a backyard rescue in Brookfield, Wisconsin, reveal some of the nuts-and-bolts challenges and consequences for activists -- and the electeds who regulate them.
Search Dogs to the Rescue, ASAP
There's an interesting story about search and rescue dogs in the current issue of The Forensic Examiner, the official journal of the American College of Forensic Examiners. (You never know where you'll find worthwhile canine news.) John Lechliter reports that studies frequently show search dogs are the most effective way to find missing people. That's probably not a big suprise to BARk readers. What is surprising is how often authorities hesitate or call in search dogs only as a last resort. Lechliter says dogs should be an early option and that volunteer SAR teams deserve greater visibilility and support. Hear, hear!