When you think about it…looks can kill.

Breed Bans and Dog Fighting 1

Public enemy or just a dog?

Some people believe the look of a dog is enough to justify killing the dog. However, visual identification of dog breeds is inaccurate most of the time. In a study done a couple years ago, many of the subjects failed to correctly identify the dominant breeds for most of the dogs used in the study. Yet, the study subjects were individuals who worked with dogs on a regular basis. Additionally, a recent article indicated that dog bites occur for several “preventable factors; breed was not one of these.”

So, if breeds don’t bite but dogs do, why malign one breed? Why are we enacting legislation to ban certain breeds from our communities when many people can’t tell one breed from another? Why are we condemning dogs to death based solely on their looks? When you think about it…looks can kill…but should they?

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Service Animal Fraud

Many people are fraudulently identifying their animals as service animals in order to receive certain disability rights.

Many people are fraudulently identifying their animals as service animals in order to receive certain disability rights.

In a world where nothing seems to surprise us any more, there seems to be a new surprise—people fraudulently applying for service animals or purchasing service paraphernalia to identify animals who are not trained as service animals. The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill, HB 1568, an act relative to service animals, that would make it a “crime to impersonate a person with a disability in order to receive a service animal or service animal accessories.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) grants certain rights to people with service animals and prohibits discrimination related to them. Service dogs, in particular, are the most often recognized animals who help perform tasks for people who have mental and physical disabilities. As the number of pet owners trying to pass their animals off as service animals grows, there may be a backlash against those who are validly entitled to use service animals.

The ADA does not require animals to be certified; it does require an owner to have documentation of a disability.

New Hampshire residents can contact their representatives to encourage them to support HB 1568. Residents of other states, contact your legislators to see if there are laws in your state. If not, ask them to sponsor a law that would protect the rights of service animals and their owners and punish those who fraudulently misrepresent their animals as service animals.

When you think about it…dogs bite.

It is often times the situation, not necessarily the breed of dog, that will prompt him or her to bite.

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings. When I’m feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things. And then I don’t feel so bad.” (“My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music) What happens when the dog bites? Depending on the breed, the dog may be feeling much more than sad or bad; the dog may be euthanized for his or her behavior. Certain breeds of dogs are maligned when in fact, all dogs have teeth and all dogs are capable of biting.

The circumstances under which most dog bites occur, regardless of breed, are when a dog and a child are interacting and no responsible adult is present, when a dog is not spayed or neutered, and when a dog or a human has not been well socialized around the other species. How guardians of dogs interact with their companions and how they socialize their companions around other dogs and humans affects the dog’s inclination to bite. The breed of the dog has nothing to do with the bite of the dog. So, when you think about it…dogs bite; breeds don’t.

When you think about it…fox penning and dog fighting seem alike, yet only one is illegal in all states.

Although fox penning is a cruel sport similar to dog fighting, it is still legal in several states.

Although fox penning is a cruel sport similar to dog fighting, it is still legal in several states.

The Washington Post carried an article in August about the practice of fox penning in Southern Virginia. Briefly stated, foxes and coyotes are trapped, transported miles to a location, and placed in pens. Then packs of dogs are put into the pen to chase the animals. If captured, the foxes and coyotes are often torn apart by the dogs. How is that any different from dogfighting? It isn’t, yet penning is legal in some Midwestern and Southern states, whereas dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Animal fighting of any kind as spectator sport is reprehensible. Yet some of these animal fights go unnoticed, especially penning, as few people know about the practice.

When you think about it…fox penning and dog fighting seem alike, yet only one is illegal in some states. Why?

When you think about it…saving lives is all you can think about.

Some people will go to great lengths to find forever homes for rescued animals.

Some people will go to great lengths to find forever homes for rescued animals.

Recently 1,200 rescued hens were flown from California to the East Coast for rescue. A book, titled Dogtripping, recently posted on the NHES website, relates the story of a couple who rescued dogs in Southern California and eventually moved 25 of those rescued dogs to Maine.

There are organizations like Pilots N Paws and Animal Rescue Flights, among many others, whose volunteers fly rescued animals around the country to find them forever homes.

Why do these people do this? Why do they spend their free time flying or driving rescued animals from one place to another to find them homes or sanctuaries where they can live out the remainder of their lives? What’s in it for them?

If you have to ask, then you probably won’t understand their answers. But those who do understand know that when you think about it…saving lives is all you can think about.

When you think about…planned pethood is not so farfetched.

Planned Parenthood Plus is an organization working towards ending animal overpopulation. They plan to sterilize 300 feral dogs in September with a birth control vaccine.

Planned Parenthood Plus is an organization working towards ending animal overpopulation. They plan to sterilize 300 feral dogs in September with a birth control vaccine.

There exists an organization, Planned Pethood Plus, that works globally to end animal overpopulation. Here in the United States, there are an estimated 6 million feral dogs. What is the solution to this overabundance of dogs, especially feral dogs? Birth control. A test using a government vaccine is scheduled to begin in September on two Indian reservations in the West to help curb the proliferation of feral dogs who in previous years would have been left to die or simply shot. The plan is to capture and inject 300 female dogs with a birth control vaccine.

Of course, sterilization of dogs is the best way to curb the dog overpopulation in any area. Responsible canine guardians should ensure their dog is unable to reproduce. In some areas of the country, spay/neuter services have done such a fine job that those areas, especially the northeastern part of the country, often have few dogs for adoption but are able to help out areas of the country, south and west, where too many dogs exist and not enough adopters are available. Dogs are transported from these areas to shelters in the Northeast, often by car or van and sometimes by air.

The only way to reduce the number of dogs being born is to use birth control for those dogs who are not good candidates for surgery (feral dogs, in particular) and to spay/neuter all other dogs as soon as they are old enough to undergo the surgery.

Because, when you think about it…planned pethood is not so farfetched.

Greyhound Victory

PawsUp

Greyhound racing in the state of Florida continues, but with more restrictions in place in order to monitor their standards of care.

Greyhound racing in the state of Florida continues but with more restrictions in place to monitor their standards of care.

Paws Up!
To the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for filing a new rule to protect racing greyhounds in the state.

According toa news story, “Florida greyhound trainers will soon have to be more transparent with their dog care. A new state animal welfare rule…requir[es] trainers to notify state regulators every time a dog dies at a track or kennel. Trainers at the state’s 13 greyhound tracks also will be banned from keeping more than one dog per cage and be forced to maintain a roster that identifies each dog. Racetrack officials have to complete weekly walk-throughs of kennels.”

Greyhound racing is still a viable “sport” though its numbers are on the decline. However, the guess is that anywhere from 20,000 to as many as 50,000 greyhounds are born each year and anywhere from 20,000 on up are killed either as puppies unsuitable for racing or retirees whose racing careers are over. While NHES would ultimately prefer to see the sport banned outright, protection of the dogs in the system is of paramount importance.

Take Action: Florida residents, contact the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to thank the agency for protecting greyhounds. Residents of other states where greyhound racing occurs (Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, and Iowa), contact your state agency that oversees greyhound racing to determine if they are protecting the dogs who race in your state.

Leon M Biegalski, Director
Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
1940 North Monroe Street, Suite 50
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1035

When you think about it…the words “gas chamber” and “euthanasia” do not belong in the same sentence.

Many animal shelters still consider the use of gas chambers a humane form of euthanasia.

Many animal shelters still consider the use of gas chambers a humane form of euthanasia.

Unwanted shelter animals are often euthanized (from the Greek, means good death) by means of a gas chamber (which means a horrible death). Depending on the size of the chamber, as many as 20 animals may be placed in an airless metal container where they are piled one upon another. The lid is closed and carbon monoxide (CO) is pumped into the chamber until all the animals die, which can take upwards of 30 minutes. The animals are in a panic and show fear and possibly aggression toward others in the crowded environment. Some come out of the chamber alive only to be placed in with another group. Such barbarism does not meet the criteria of euthanasia.

So, if euthanasia by gas chamber is so abhorrent, why is it still the method of choice for many animal shelters across the country? Convenience is often cited as one reason. A shelter can euthanize more animals at one time than it can inject each individual animal with a euthanizing agent. Cost is another, though in reality the cost to operate a gas chamber is approximately $5 an animal and for euthanasia by injection $2.30 an animal. Finally, often lack of training and lack of access to controlled substances and/or the personnel authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to administer them keeps a shelter from using the humane choice of hundreds of national, state, and local protection agencies—euthanasia by injection.

It is time to replace abhorrent methods of euthanasia with humane methods. Because when you think about it…the words “gas chamber” and “euthanasia” do not belong in the same sentence.

Puppies Are Protected in WV

PawsUp

West Virginia has recently passed SB 437, a bill that will ensure proper standards of care for dogs in commercial breeding facilities.

West Virginia has recently passed SB 437, a bill that will ensure proper standards of care for dogs in commercial breeding facilities.

Paws Up!
To the West Virginia State legislature for enacting and Governor Tomblin for signing into law SB 437, the puppy mill bill.

West Virginia has joined with a number of other states that want to ensure safe, healthy standards of care for dogs living in commercial breeding establishments often referred to as puppy mills.

According to a bill recently signed by the governor, a “‘Commercial dog breeder’ means any person who (A) Maintains eleven or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year; (B) Is engaged in the business of breeding dogs as household pets for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration;”

Take Action: West Virginia residents, please thank your legislators and governor for protecting dogs in commercial breeding operations in West Virginia. Residents of other states, if you do not have laws protecting dogs in commercial breeding facilities, please contact your legislators and urge them to introduce legislation today.

Police Need Training or Dogs Will Continue to Be Shot

By supporting SB 226, law enforcement officials will receive training on how to handle dogs in dangerous situations.

By supporting SB 226, law enforcement officials will receive training on how to handle dogs in dangerous situations.

We read too often of a police officer shooting a family dog. A recent Colorado incident underlines an issue that all police departments need to address—are their officers adequately trained in how to handle, in a non-lethal manner, off-leash dogs?

A police officer’s job is not an easy one. But officers should be trained in all aspects of their job including how to handle confrontations with off-leash dogs.

When police encounter dangerous humans, they are required to maintain restraint and use non-lethal means of subduing that person. We would like police to use that same caution and restraint when it comes to a family dog. Unfortunately, our laws do not require this: in most states shooting a dog is legally the same as breaking a car window or kicking in a door.

We need our police departments to provide clear guidelines and training on how officers can accurately assess the threat of a dog and, if dangerous, deal with it through non-lethal means. We must act on what can be done now for training police in how to handle confrontational dogs, while continuing to talk and educate on broader issues like the property status of animals.

Colorado residents, please contact your state legislators and let them know you want your law enforcement officers trained in how to handle dogs in a non-lethal manner. Tell them to support SB 226, which will provide training to law enforcement officers in how to deal with dogs.

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