Jun 24, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Tough Economic Times Especially Tough for Pets and Shelters

Who could imagine looking back at 2020 and the first waves of COVID lockdowns with fondness? But for many folks who adopted “pandemic pets,” perhaps hoping to alleviate isolation, to provide a sense of routine and normalcy, or simply for some company, it was the start of a beautiful, lifetime bond. A warm, if odd, time to remember. Unfortunately, while we can point to some factors – even seemingly rough ones, like COVID-19 – as leading people into the joy of keeping pets, other well-known factors lead people into surrendering them.

One painfully common factor is simple economics, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that in the face of inflation and a looming recession, shelters and rescues across the country are reporting a dramatic uptick in surrenders. This, unfortunately, isn’t a new or unexpected phenomenon. For example, 2007-2009 saw many “foreclosure pets” dropped off at shelters across the United States. While there are support systems such as pet food banks, this isn’t always enough. The sad fact of the matter is that many people, when forced by the times they live in to tighten their budget or relocate, simply can no longer keep their pets – and we now appear to be moving into one of those times.

Resources
★     Local animal sanctuary asks public to stop throwing animals onto their property
★     The Recession And Pets: Hard Times For Snoopy (2009)

Jun 6, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

A Co-Owner Custody Dispute in Atlanta

Co-ownership nightmare in Atlanta, Georgia! A dog breeder and family signed a co-owner contract that allowed a dog, Gracie, to live with the family as an emotional support pet, while the breeder retained competition and breeding rights for Gracie.

Later, the family left Gracie with the breeder while on vacation… and upon their return, were informed via text that they couldn’t have the dog back, due to the breeder’s suspicion that the dog had been abused. During Gracie’s stay, the breeder discovered marks on the dog’s neck, which she thought were signs of an improperly used prong collar. The family says the marks were due to the dog scratching at ear infections and skin inflammation (this is documented by several pages of veterinarian treatment), that they would never abuse such a “spoiled rotten” member of their family, and that the kids are utterly distraught. As this is a civil, not criminal dispute, most likely the contract would err on the side of what the breeder believes.

You’ll need to sign here, here, and here….

It should be noted that the vast majority of co-owner contracts work out well for owners and the animals, which is why they don’t make the news. And in this era of smaller homes and properties, where fewer dogs can be kept together, co-ownership can be a powerful tool for maintaining breed health and genetic diversity. But regardless of how this particular situation is resolved (or not), it serves as a reminder that co-ownership is not without risks. It is vital to know what’s in the contract you’re signing, and, as much as possible, to have a sense of the person with whom you are signing the contract.

Resources
★     Tips For Show Dog Co-Ownership Contract Agreements
★     Pets Are Part of Our Families. Now They’re Part of Our Divorces, Too

May 24, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Dog Who Rescued Owner from Mountain Lion Making Quick Recovery

Dogs have been man’s best friend for the last 15,000 years, and perhaps twice as long as that. They don’t ask very much of their people, and in return, offer us company, entertainment, working partners, activities and hobbies, routine and stability, and near-limitless levels of acceptance. Sometimes forgotten is that one of the earliest and most important roles of dogs in their relationship with mankind was in the form of security and protection.

Fortunately, for Erin Wilson of California, her dog had no hesitation going into protection mode after seeing her owner clawed by a mountain lion. Eva, a 2½ year-old Belgian Malinois leapt into action after Wilson was attacked, attempting to fight off the aggressive and emaciated cougar. While Eva did not fare well and ended up with her head clamped in the cougar’s mouth, Wilson (now joined by another woman) struck the hungry animal with a tire iron and PVC pipe, and doused it with pepper spray until it let go of the dog and left the area. After the incident, a grateful Erin Wilson was quoted as saying “I will never be able to live up to how amazing and loyal she is to me.”

Belgian Malinois: we’re lucky she’s on our side!

It’s a great thing when a dog has your back. And even better, Eva’s owner has her back: after receiving some fantastic veterinary care, Eva should be ready to come home today!


Resources
★     Woman’s dog saves her from mountain lion attack: “She’s a fighter. Clearly”
★     Your Safety in Mountain Lion Habitat

May 10, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Owners Surrendering Pets As Rent and Inflation Creep Upward

The more rent goes up, the more pets are dropped off, according to Orange County Animal Services in Florida. Posting a 37% increase in surrendered pets compared to the same time in 2021, they report seeing family pets that owners simply cannot care for anymore as the owners are forced out of their old homes into more affordable housing (or in some cases, evicted).

One comment that is often made in these situations is “So what if a big dog makes your new place feel crowded? You should still keep them.” But the fact of the matter is, many of the smaller, less expensive units that people downsize into have size, breed, or other restrictions on pet ownership that make moving in with their pets impossible. It is a sad fact that the joy of keeping a pet can become too large a burden during hard times.

Resources
★     Animal rescues reporting more owners surrendering pets due to housing crisis, inflation
★     As evictions rise, people may have to give up their pets. Animal shelters are calling for help.

May 10, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Aggressive Dogs, and no Help from Animal Control

The most basic role of animal control is protecting public health and safety, but in Nashville, Tennessee, residents have been complaining bitterly for the last year about their needs not being met. Their complaints: aggressive dogs roaming the street, vicious bites, and people scared to step outside to walk their own dogs. Pretty serious stuff! This is compounded by a perceived lack of caring and response by animal control, as well as its dangerous request that people catch, contain, and feed aggressive animals themselves until animal control can come out and pick them up.

Enforcing leash laws is a time-worn way of making communities more pet-friendly.

For its part, animal control says it is simply beyond capacity, and can’t take in any more animals – but this doesn’t do anything to help people and pets who have suffered injuries or who are afraid for their safety right now. There are myriad issues compounding outrageous stories like this, but the good news is, all of them can be solved – and have been in the past. Hopefully, the exposé on Nashville Animal Control stirs change; stories like this feel like stepping into H.G. Wells’ time machine and setting the destination back 60 years.

Resources
★     ‘We’ve been sweating with it;’ Dog dumping continues to cause problems in Greene County
★     (NAIA) Responding to the Data: Constructing successful pet friendly ordinances

Apr 15, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case Against California Proposition 12

The U.S. Supreme court is set to hear pork producers’ legal challenge of California Prop 12 by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Prop 12 is a 2018 HSUS-backed California ballot measure that defines the housing currently used by virtually all United States pork producers as “cruel,” and prohibits the sale of pork from said producers in the state of California.

This ballot measure and its standards were pushed by several activist fundraising groups with no expertise in raising animals. Groups that would, for the most part, prefer simply to ban animal agriculture than regulate it. Unless you are a vegan yourself, they’re probably not the type of folks you’d want to have in charge of animal care standards (“The truth [is] animal rights requires empty cages, not larger cages.”). That alone raises a lot of red flags, but what the NPPC is focusing on in their legal challenge is whether Prop 12 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which places restrictions on states’ ability to regulate commerce outside their borders. Given that California consumes 15 percent of the country’s pork products, and imports the vast majority of said pork, it is impossible to argue that the effects of Prop 12 do not reverberate outside the state. Whether these reverberations violate the Commerce Clause will now be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Resources
★     (NPPC) Supreme Court to Hear NPPC Case Against Prop. 12
★     (The Fence Post) Supreme Court to Hear NPPC case against Prop. 12
★     (NAIA, 1993) The Animal Rights Agenda

Mar 28, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Animal Care Panel Sues University to Protect Privacy

Members of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) from the University of Washington have sued their own institution to keep their names from being released to PeTA. PeTA claims that the committee is trying to hide that it is not constituted in accordance with federal law; they say committee member names must be released in order to gain more oversight.

But the IACUC members weren’t born yesterday. They know it is a near certainty that if PeTA’s request is approved, their personal information will find its way to groups and individuals who will harass them at their homes and/or work.

Classic photo. Just a hunch, but maybe this is why researchers aren’t keen on having their personal information published?

The leaders of the IACUC are using the lawsuit to protect its members and keep them safe. PeTA, no doubt delighted at finally receiving attention for something other than the kill rate of their Virginia shelter, is not backing down. They claim their protests are legal and that their members are told to only use polite language. PeTA can still appeal the federal judge’s injunction if it becomes permanent.

Resources
★     Activists protest UCLA’s use of animals in laboratory research at Murphy Hall
★     (2007) Animal rights protesters torment scientists

Mar 21, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Animal Rescue Founder Facing Federal Charges

A founder of an Oregon rescue faces federal fraud conspiracy charges after having over 100 animals seized from her operation. She faces separate charges of neglect, identify theft, and forgery.

What really gets our attention are the 280 counts of misrepresenting animal health and behavior to potential customers. Aside from the emotional toll of an ailing pet, chronic issues can place a massive financial burden on a new owner. While many owners expect and even plan for their pets’ occasional illnesses or medical emergencies, knowingly passing on sick or aggressive pets is just deplorable. Unscrupulous practices such as these are not only unethical and dangerous, they also cast a shadow on the reputation of other rescues.

That this woman was allegedly able to cheat so many customers speaks to the fact that people want dogs, and that they find the idea of adopting – or “saving” – a dog especially appealing. The human-animal bond is powerful, and pets are certainly a place where we often lead with our hearts rather than our brains. This makes the damage – to trust, public safety, and to the reputation of all the rescue groups that do a great job – especially egregious.

Portland Animal Rescue Founder Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Resources
★     Patti Strand: More regulations needed for animal shelters and rescues
★     Couple arrested for embezzling Humane Society funds

Mar 13, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Oklahoma Bill on Elephant Care Heads to State Senate

A bill to preserve the management of elephants in Oklahoma was introduced to the OK House and has progressed to the OK Senate. In a collaborative effort from the Endangered Ark Foundation (EAF) and representative Humphrey, HR 3281 hopes to make it a state law for any institution housing elephants to manage them as they see fit, using either free contact or protected contact methods. The reason this is so important is multifaceted: Oklahoma is home to two AZA accredited facilities that use protected contact and one facility that has a mixture of both protected and free contact. This last facility, EAF, is the largest breeding herd of Asian elephants left in the United States.

The EAF uses bullhooks, livestock goad-shaped tools ESA refers to as “guide sticks,” which have long been decried by animal rights activists as, essentially, instruments of torture (quick clarification, if needed: they are not). The EAF uses guide sticks with its free contact elephants as a tactile cue to work alongside visual or verbal cues. Elephants have poor vision, but are extremely tactile creatures, making the guide stick a vital tool. Hopefully, this same law can be passed in other states like Texas and Florida, where major zoological institutions and private owners can benefit from the preservation of all elephant keeping methods.

Hugo elephant sanctuary welcomes change to animal cruelty law

Resources
★     The Endangered Ark Foundation
★     National Geographic Animals 101: Asian Elephant

Oct 4, 2019 - Animal Rights    1 Comment

Justin Bieber Tells PeTA to “Suck It.”

After buying two Savannah kittens, Justin Bieber was criticized by PeTA, who predictably came at him with one of their very favorite false choices: if you don’t get your pet from a shelter, you don’t care about animals!

When you hiss upon a star…

Oh my. The claws are out! But refreshingly, instead of grovelling, vaguely promising to “do better” in the future, and/or donating money to PeTA, Bieber told them to go suck it. Hey, now that’s the spirit! Considering the number of animals PeTA’s “shelter” has killed, and their views on pet ownership (spoiler: people shouldn’t have pets, period), they really don’t have the moral authority to lecture anybody on pet ownership or the requirements one must meet to “care about animals.”

Bieber went on:

“Every pet we get must be a rescue? I believe in adopting rescues but also think there are preferences and that’s what breeders are for.”

While that likely won’t be good enough for PeTA, it echoes what approximately 95% of the world believes. Would we have phrased it exactly as such? No — but we’ll take it!

Here are the scandalous kittens, by the way:

$35,000 on two cats is probably not something a typical pet owner even considers, but the choice of where to get your next pet is a universal concern. And for many potential pet owners, the predictability of temperament, size, coat, health, and other factors that come with a well-bred pet are preferable — as are the guarantees and education one receives from a quality breeder. If seeking out a companion that is an ideal fit for your family and lifestyle isn’t a demonstration of caring about animals, then nothing is!

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