The Dog Lover

The Dog Lover, a film produced by Forrest Lucas, founder and chair of Protect the Harvest, was recently released into select theaters, and is available through on demand, and on DVD at Walmart. The story is based off of various real-life events, most notably, an HSUS raid on a breeder, where the judge ruled that the search warrant was wrongfully obtained by an animal control officer who intentionally misled the court, and stars Allison Paige, James Remar, and Lea Thompson.

For a brief synopsis:

SARA GOLD is a rising star at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a major animal rights organization that conducts animal rescues and lobbies for better animal welfare laws. Handpicked for a major assignment, Sara goes undercover as a college intern to infiltrate a suspected “puppy mill” run by the enigmatic DANIEL HOLLOWAY.

Sarah soon ingratiates herself with Daniel and his family, and learns all about the world of dog breeding but is hard pressed to find any sign of animal abuse. The UAPA teams up with local law enforcement and raids the farm, accusing Daniel of the inhumane treatment of animals. Sara finds herself torn between doing her job and doing what’s right, and she awakens to the moral contradictions of her work with the UAPA.

If you have even a passing interest in dogs and a curiosity about the worlds of dog breeding and animal activism (especially the big-name animal-rights fundraising groups), we can’t recommend this highly enough!

On side note, the film asks its viewers to “investigate before you donate,” a message that is essential if we are going to break through the barriers of propaganda and social media outrage and have a serious discussion on issues of animal care and welfare. With that in mind, it is sadly telling how so many discussions in the online community about this film choose to ignore or reject its message in favor of questioning Forrest Lucas’s background and motives (like this LA Times review that seems rather disinterested in covering the movie itself). We know cognitive dissonance is painful, folks, but part of making intelligent, helpful, and adult decisions is investigating all facets of an issue, even if it involves some of your sacred cows.

Click here to see if The Dog Lover is playing near you, to order it online, or to read more about the film!

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Jul 7, 2016 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Responsible Rescue, Responsible Breeders: We All Want the Same Thing!

Many rescues and humane societies are struggling with the same set of issues that dog breeders were 20-30 years ago, as well as the same quandary: what is the best way to confront bad players and practices in an open and honest manner, and to solve the problems they have created while keeping those examples from defining the group as a whole?

On one hand, this task is easier than the one facing breeders, as there are no movements, organizations, or ideologies hell-bent on destroying rescues or shelters. But on the other hand, the task is more difficult due to the age we are living in. Headlines of “Shocking!” “Inhumane!” and/or “Scandalous!” behavior tied to organizations that are supposed to be helping animals are the very definition of clickbait: easy to sensationalize, subject matter that people have a strong emotional investment in, and an example of supposed moral authority figures behaving dishonestly or hypocritically. And on top of that, there is a large — or at least highly vocal — contingent within the rescue and sheltering community that views any form of criticism as an attack that needs to be deflected or quashed, rather than discussed.

So is it complicated and difficult task? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that rescues and humane societies are remaining silent about the way some dogs are being moved and placed today — irresponsibly, without oversight, and inhumanely — and we applaud the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA for speaking out in recent months, and thank them for using NAIA as a resource:

Excellent, and much appreciated commentary. And this really brings home the larger truth: that we are all after a culture where animals are treated humanely and responsibility, where you can’t simply change your name or label in order to market yourself and/or avoid oversight.

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Jun 29, 2016 - Animal Law    1 Comment

NAIA Trust Expands with Hire of Animal Enthusiast Attorney

NAIA Trust is excited to announce the addition of Sara Chisnell as the Legislative Director. Ms. Chisnell is a Michigan based attorney with an extensive background in animal law. Sara’s role with NAIA Trust will focus on expanding state and federal outreach by promoting reasonable laws, policies and regulations to protect animals and the people who care for them.

SaraChisnellSara has successfully petitioned for moderate animal-related laws at a grassroots and national level. She was previously involved with NAIA through National Conferences and various legislative issues where she connected with NAIA President, Patti Strand. “One of Sarah’s greatest assets is that she’s an animal person. She’s heavily involved in the animal world in all aspects of her life. This is an enormous strength when working with animal related legislation,” Patti says of Sara.

Sara graduated from Otterbein College with a BA in Equine Science. She then went on to Michigan State University College of Law, where she focused on animal law.  Sara spent nine years with the United Kennel Club (UKC) focusing on canine legislation. She also served as in-house counsel and the representative for pointing breeds. Ms. Chisnell is active in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, and regularly trains and tests her German Shorthaired Pointers in Hunting Retriever Club. She is passionate about canine performance sport, in particular dock diving. She also trains young horses in basic dressage for a Warmblood breeder.

Sara commented on her new role saying, “I’m very excited for this opportunity to use my education and background to help NAIA in its quest to promote animal welfare, while also protecting the rights and interests of those whose livelihoods are animals. The human-animal bond is a very important and primary part of my life; preserving it is essential. I consider myself quite lucky to have found a position so intricately entwined with my life’s passion of both dogs and horses.”

NAIA Trust is a 501(c) (4) organization. The Mission of NAIA Trust is to promote the welfare of animals, strengthen the human-animal bond and safeguard the rights of responsible animal owners, enthusiasts and professionals through education, legislation and the courts.

May 23, 2016 - Pet Care    No Comments

Close Call with a Miraculous Ending

It is hard to read this without feeling a chill. What a close call:

Vet intern spots tick just before paralyzed dog was to be euthanized

Was the dog suffering from Cancer? A spinal fracture? No…

A tick was found lodged behind Ollie’s ear, and Fate thought he may have picked it up on a recent camping trip.

The parasite was discovered just in the nick of time by a veterinary intern.

“He was in the room about to get put to sleep, and it was just pure grace that the people found something and decided to check it out further,” Fate explained.

“They have a neurotoxin in their saliva that prevents nerve transition to the muscles, and that takes time to build up in the body and cause paralysis like what we saw in Ollie,” Stone said.

In less than 10 hours after having the tick removed, Ollie the Collie was up and about — thank goodness. If there has ever been a more powerful reminder of the value of sharp eyes, of a willingness to run through all the possibilities, we’d certainly love to hear it!

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May 11, 2016 - Pet Care    2 Comments

Am I Bad for Getting a Dog from a Breeder, 900th Edition

Another day, another “Am I bad for getting a dog from a breeder?” self-flagellation…

It has become a very tired conversation, but the answer provided in the link above is reasonable (though some of the numbers are questionable), and there is a wise reminder in the final sentence:

“Having a preference for one kind of dog (or person) is not morally equivalent to being hostile to all others.”

There is truth in this. Are you drawn to a specific breed because you have always loved that breed’s traits? Awesome! Does this mean you are hostile toward shelter dogs? It shouldn’t! Is your best friend a dog of unknown heritage that you bonded with while visiting the local shelter? Great! Does this mean you are hostile toward breeders and deliberately bred dogs? Again, it shouldn’t!

And really, we think this may be the ultimate niche issue: there are so many people out there who own — and love — multiple dogs from different backgrounds and sources without feeling a need to beat themselves up over it. It is a shame that otherwise thoughtful dog lovers are wracked with guilt over a simple matter of choice.

At the end of the day, as long as people are informed, behave ethically, and are able to put the interests of their dogs ahead of their egos, there are no bad choices.

 

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May 2, 2016 - Animal Husbandry    No Comments

Shout-out to the Canine Breeder Excellence Seminar at Penn Vet!

Dog breeders attending a conference at the University of Pennsylvania last weekend got one heck of a lesson in the finer points of animal husbandry:

[…] a serious, sophisticated group of about 40 dog breeders who had traveled from as far away as North Carolina to learn about reproduction, genetics, behavior, and the dog microbiome at a scientific conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Serious and sophisticated? Do those adjectives sound snobby, maybe even a little cold? They shouldn’t — at the heart of the work so many purebred dog breeders put into the dogs they love is the “serious and sophisticated” knowledge offered by seminars like this!

Doing it the right way, with the health and well-being of your dogs and puppies (and their puppies’s puppies!) as prime concern is a lot more complicated than just “throwing two intact dogs together,” especially with the smaller populations many breeds of dogs are working with. How cool it is to see these breeders putting in the time and effort to ensure the best lives for their dogs — and how cool it is that there are so many opportunities like this available today!

 

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NYCLASS subpoenaed

Surprise, surprise…

NYCLASS, a key de Blasio donor, hit with subpoena in mayor fund-raising probe

A key donor to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed Thursday, as it became clear the growing investigation is zeroing in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall, the Daily News has learned.

For those of you who are out of the loop: NYCLASS is an animal rights organization that has been running a smear campaign against the carriage horse industry for the last 8 years, while de Blasio is the mayor of New York City who came into office inexplicably obsessed with banning the city’s iconic carriage horses (horses that receive excellent care and are loved by the public, we would like to add!). A very, very interesting coincidence indeed…

This is one developing story that is definitely worth following and sharing widely!

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Maryland Legislation: Anti-Research Wolf in Beagle’s Clothing

Unfortunately, due to legislation that is currently being considered, the state of Maryland may place onerous mandates on how institutions handle the adoption of dogs and cats following the completion of research studies.

HB 594

This legislation is duplicative of what is already required by the federal government, creating unnecessary hurdles in the path of the research community and their widely embraced practice of adopting out post-study animals.

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This legislation is also duplicitous. It is alarming that this legislation is being put forward by activist animal rights groups, such as the Beagle Freedom Project — the kind of groups whose threats have forced research institutions to shut down their adoption programs in the past due. This is not about animal welfare. What is happening here, is groups that want to end animal-based research are trying to write themselves into the adoption process as a way to use these animals as props, control the narrative, to pat themselves on the back and raise funds while “forcing” researchers to do something they are already doing! Hey, as long as we’re playing this game, why not pass a law that “forces” Five Guys to sell cheeseburgers?

Research with animals is critical for saving and improving human and animal lives, and helps us understand and treat a variety of cancers and disorders. This is why NAIA partners with Homes for Animal Heroes, which works with the research community to foster, train and place research animals in permanent, loving homes.

Learn more about this dangerous legislation in Maryland that would hinder the research community’s advancement in discovering important cures for our pets and families:

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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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