Mar 29, 2016 - Human-Animal Bond    No Comments

Healing Horses

In a very cool story out of Mississippi, horses are a source of healing for veterans.

Oak View Stables, partnering with the VA, allows military veterans — some without any prior hands-on experience — to a groom, handle, and ride their horses; interactions that not only create a bond between veteran and horse, but have the power to heal:

“Animals have a healing power. They don’t judge. They listen. They’re gentle giants,” said Jeremiah Shields, Army veteran.

Very true.

Dogs so often take the spotlight when it comes to the realms of work, therapy, service, or simply companionship; it can be easy to forget the importance of horses and the amazing bond we share with them… but it is always great to be reminded!

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Mar 25, 2016 - Pet Care    No Comments

Amazing Lifetime Study of 3,000 Golden Retrievers

San Jose dogs, owners join DNA studies to help find cures

3,000 Golden Retrievers and their owners are participating in a lifetime study for the Morris Animal Foundation, with the goal of finding out why (and eventually how to prevent) so many of them get cancer. The dogs will be checked on regularly, their owners tracking everywhere they go, everything they eat, taking samples, and dutifully sending in the data.

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This is the kind of thing we love to see! And what an inspiring undertaking! This research coupled with breeders sharing their own data can and will lead to great advances in both canine and human health.

Also worth noting, given the current rhetorical climate as it relates to purebred dogs and canine health:

Despite golden retrievers’ high vulnerability to cancer, Anita Oberbauer, a geneticist at UC Davis, has found that purebreds as a whole are not less healthy than mixed breeds.

Oberbauer’s team analyzed over 27,000 dogs through electronic records and compared the frequency of genetic diseases in mutts versus purebred pups. She found that mixed breeds suffered just as much as pure breeds from 13 disorders, including hip dysplasia and cancer. In a follow-up study, the researchers found that increased vulnerability to other diseases did not apply to all purebred dogs but only to certain subgroups.

For example, the fact that golden retrievers are especially vulnerable to cancer does not mean all purebreds are. Because studies tend to focus on purebred dogs rather than mixed breeds, diseases in mutts get less play.

Fascinating and inspiring stuff!

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NAIA Applauds the Iditarod!

The competitive start of the Iditarod starts in about two-and-a-half hours in Willow, Alaska!

It is more than the “last great race” — as mushers and dogs work as a team braving nature they are also paying tribute to important role sled dogs have played in Alaska’s history (for a great example, read about the Great Race of Mercy). We salute the people who keep, breed, train, and compete with these amazing dogs and the traditions they uphold!

Check out the infographic below for some quick facts about the Iditarod (man, that’s a lot of calories!):

 

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Feb 9, 2016 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Colorado Holding Rescue Transports Accountable

Colorado showing leadership.

With tens of thousands of dogs being imported into Colorado by rescues each year — and a corresponding increase in diseases and illnesses — a well-known rescue transporter has been asked by the Department of Agriculture’s Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act to get a pet handler’s’ license. This is something that adds a layer of basic accountability and humane/health requirements, such as allowing transported dogs out of their crates for a walk every six hours (anybody who sells, transfers, adopts, breeds, boards, trains or grooms, shelters or rescues may need to be licensed, though there has been no pressing need to enforce it until recently). As of today, instead of getting a pet handler’s license, they simply aren’t importing dogs into Colorado anymore. This is a very telling response.

At NAIA, we strongly urge people who are looking to get a rescue dog to choose from their own community (or AKC parent club rescue networks) whenever possible, and we believe regulations that protect public health and the humane treatment of animals should apply to everybody.

Furthermore, we also believe that issues of surplus dogs and owner retention can only be effectively solved when dealt with at the source; transport is, at best, akin to bailing water from a sinking boat, at worst a cynical marketing scheme that perpetuates tragic conditions and outcomes for dogs.

 

No matter your stated intentions, everybody needs to be accountable for the health and humane treatments of the animals in their care.

No matter the stated intentions, everybody must be accountable for the health and humane treatments of the animals in their care.

 

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Remember the Breeders!

In light of the ridiculous outrage over a shelter director *gasp* buying a Collie from a breeder, and the petitions and attacks from online activists (two of whom have now been cited for harassment, by the way), it is easy to get mired in that totalitarian absurdity, to respond with outrage of one’s own, to point out the contradictions and inevitable extinction (usually unintentional) of healthy, well-adjusted dogs that awaits us at the end of the activists’ road…

But do not stare too long into that abyss, move in the positive, hakuna matata (ok, maybe worry a little)… let us never forget that there are so many wonderful things good breeders have to offer! It may be stated regularly, but it can never be stated enough:

Our communities need reputable, responsible breeders. They work hard to screen their dogs for diseases, to eliminate health problems, to protect and preserve the breeds they serve, and they provide us with with healthy, well-tempered dogs. And no matter what the activists try to tell you, remember that these people do not contribute to the number of homeless dogs; a good breeder sells on a contract and will take back a dog from an owner who can not or will not provide proper care. A great many of them also work in breed rescue, which helps keep dogs out of shelters.

People want dogs. You could argue that people need dogs. So guess what? Without breeders, people are still going to sell dogs to one another — the only difference being that pet sales would be driven underground. No regulation, sales taking place in the shadows with no contracts, guarantees, or accountability — the prime concern being to simply “move the merchandise.” Isn’t this exactly what we don’t want?

And speaking of serving their communities, remember that breeders not only provide companions, but also service dogs that help our police, military, and fellow citizens with special needs.

We, too, are appalled by the intolerance of people who would deny a shelter director her choice of dog, but we will never forget to applaud all of the passionate breeders who provide us with loving, healthy pets.

Thank you!

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NY City Council Will NOT Vote to Restrict Carriage Horses Tomorrow.

Great news out of New York City: the Teamsters have pulled their support for a bill restricting carriage horses to Central Park, and there will be no vote on it tomorrow.

Predictably, Mayor Bill de Blasio shows no signs of giving up his quest to eradicate these majestic and well-cared-for animals (as well as the jobs and tourism revenue they generate), and has said he is looking for a “new path.”

But with no vote tomorrow and opposition to his plans only growing, things are not looking good for de Blasio. As lovers of carriage horses and the people who work with and care for them, this is news we can cheer!

 

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Feb 3, 2016 - Shelter & Rescue    11 Comments

Western PA Humane Society Director Placed on Leave for *gasp* Buying a Dog from a Breeder

The director of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society has been placed on paid leave for allegedly purchasing a Collie from a breeder. Activists took to the Internet to call the director a “disgrace” and “hypocritical.”

According to humane society boarder member Anthony Pardo:

“She’s been put on paid administrative leave pending what’s going on. Allegations are allegations and we don’t know what’s true. We thought it best to get her out of the limelight while we try to figure out what’s happened and formulate a proper response on behalf of the board and the humane society.”

It is both telling and troubling when merely buying a dog from a breeder can be an “allegation” that requires a “proper response.” A dog lover should never be punished for valuing and choosing the traits a specific breed has to offer.

 

Bred with love and purpose for predictable traits... the horror!

Bred with love and purpose for predictable traits… the horror!

 

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Guard Birds: Drone Edition

Check out this video of a raptor taking out a drone:

Video provided by a Dutch company, Guard from Above, that has partnered with police to train these birds to disable drones.

While the idea of a bald eagle squadron guarding the white house may be far-fetched, if the technique can be perfected, we agree with the company’s founder that this is a very cool “low-tech solution for a high-tech problem!”

 

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Jan 29, 2016 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Tragic Conditions in North Carolina Shelter

In an alarming story out of North Carolina, dozens of dead animals were found at The Haven animal shelter, a no-kill shelter which has been riddled with health violations and adopted out sick dogs. This is a facility that has had issues for years, including several months of complaints leading up to it being shut down. The tragic conditions these animals were kept in reinforces the need for faster investigation and enforcement (when necessary) in order to protect animals and the public at large, and to prevent situations like these from spiraling out of control.

 

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Jan 28, 2016 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Congratulations, Dr. Goldman!

NAIA board member Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, DVM, MPH was recently presented with the 2015 Bebout Memorial Award for his groundbreaking work in advocating for the rights of responsible breeders and dog owners. In addition to being a proven leader in the veterinary field, Dr. Goldman developed legislation addressing retail pet sales and consumer protection that serves as a model for communities nationwide. All of this while owning and working in his own animal hospital. He is as active and engaged as anybody in the world of animal health and welfare — we are lucky he’s on our side! Please join us in congratulating him on this well deserved honor!

From Left: AKC Gov’t Relations Director Sheila Goffe, Dr. Arnold Goldman, CT Federation’s Laurie Maulucci, AKC President/CEO Dennis B. Sprung

From Left: AKC Gov’t Relations Director Sheila Goffe, Dr. Arnold Goldman, CT Federation’s Laurie Maulucci, AKC President/CEO Dennis B. Sprung

Learn more about Dr. Goldman’s exceptional work in animal welfare policy:

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