Back to blogging – as we mourn the loss of a family member

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It’s been a very difficult time within the Grady household, as we mourn the loss of JoJo, a 13-year-old rescued greyhound and loving member of our family.

Back in 2010, part of her jaw was removed after a tumor was found to be mandibular osteosarcoma. Typically, these tumors are found in legs or shoulders – and studies have shown racing greyhounds face this cancer more than any other breed of dog.

At the time of her surgery, her medical team expected the procedure and corresponding radiation treatments to extend her life for about a year or so. She lived for more than 2-and-a-half years. And she battled with grace and strength.

We are not sure what caused her health to decline over several days. At first, she was unsteady on her feet for a few hours, but rebounded later in the day. On Friday of last week, an EKG determined she had a very irregular heart beat. But by the next morning, she was better again.

Overnight Saturday into Sunday morning her condition worsened, into a somewhat comatose state. So we had to say our final goodbyes Sunday morning. JoJo was a special girl. We called her Audrey Jo, because she had the regal look of actress Audrey Hepburn.

JoJo and my wife had a special bond and this has been most difficult for Nan. We love and have loved every homeless pet we have ever adopted into our family, over two decades. But for some, there is a special connection.

We will never forget the gift she offered us every day; the gift of unconditional love.

Pack Topics: dog fighting and greyhound racing

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In Georgia on Tuesday, police uncovered a dog-fighting training facility. One individual has been charged with dog fighting and cruelty to animals.

An Examiner.com piece reports a group of prison inmates was clearing brush in the wooded area and found a cooler with the remains of a dog inside. When officers raided the site, they found cages, chains, a treadmill, vitamins and steroids with used syringes.

AND – way over in New Zealand, it is the same-old, same-old, sad-old story, when it comes to greyhound racing.

A 3News story includes the following: “” The 60 Minutes investigation found the track isn’t the biggest killer – it’s the dog trainers themselves. Up to 1000 are euthanised every year once they’re no longer fast enough to race and win. “”

And it seems many of these dogs are listed as “retired” in the industry’s records. It is all about greed and profit – period.

No-kill shelter debate heats up in Pennsylvania

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When the Humane League of Lancaster County (Pa.) announced this week it was going to be a no-kill shelter in February, it set off another debate on the issue of no-kill shelters.

No-kill advocates firmly believe in policies where no healthy pets are euthanized in shelters. Some areas have seen success in this effort, where the trends are better in terms of spaying and neutering and puppy mills.

The other side worries about the homeless pets turned away when these shelters reach capacity. This is a real concern in many areas of the country that have not caught up in reducing the rates of homelessness.

A post on the Philly Dawg blog quotes a representative of the Humane League as saying “strong licensing laws, spay/neuter initiatives and animal control programs” are needed in the local, county and state levels. And that – “Pet owners will need to take responsibility for their pets, and pet lovers will need to support life-saving programs throughout the community.”

This is true. But for example, some counties in my area do not have strong licensing laws or good spay/neuter initiatives – and too people are NOT taking responsibility for their pets. I write often about this issue in my local animal-welfare column and blog.

My continued view on this debate is that no-kill is the goal. But we have to get there. Until we have better regulations across the nation to shut down puppy mills and hold the people responsible who are creating the problem of homelessness, we will continue to have this problem.

In my home state, programs are place where at least some homeless pets are being transported to other states with shelter space. It is helping, but the area animal-welfare groups are overloaded with a constant stream of more homeless dogs and cats.

Until we serious as a nation in holding people accountable, this problem will go on.

I wrote this recently in my Animal Tales column –

Some pets enter shelters for more legitimate reasons. But far too many are there because they have been coldly discarded or someone failed to spay or neuter the parent dogs or cats. Or the dogs were purchased through a puppy mill and later developed physical or emotion problems.
At this point, the burden turns to taxpayers, to local rescue organizations and to the people who donate to these groups or shelters. So while one side creates the problem, the other side – the side  populated with compassionate people who care – pays for the costs.
So I keep going back to it. What is wrong with this picture? Why are we not placing the burden on those responsible for creating it?

Pack Topics: Dog fighting, puppy mills and animal cruelty

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More news off the Pack News Wire:

Dog Fighting: Two New York State men have been charged with animal cruelty for staging dog fights in their homes. With this news, New City Patch is reporting state Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) has “renewed his call to strengthen New York State’s laws” to protect animals.

“Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated in any forms, said Senator Carlucci in the Patch story. “This has become a national phenomenon but make no mistake about it, we will take decisive action at the state level to enable our law enforcement to go after the worst abusers of this practice.”

For that statement, Carlucci earns a Pack of Justice Award.

The article also notes Carlucci co-sponsored legislation back in 2011 to criminalize attending a dog fight, as a “misdemeanor punishable for a period not to exceed one year, or by a fine of up to $1,000, or both.”  And he supported legislation that became law in 2012 that bans these evil people from “owning, selling or manufacturing animal fighting paraphernalia used for the intent of animal fighting.”

I will have to say that these acts should be felonies, with serious prison time involved.

Puppy Mills: A county in Washington State is struggling to shut down puppy mills in the region.

The Daily News article included the following important paragraph on a puppy-mill raid from three years ago: “” Many of the 157 Pomeranians and Labradors at Albert, Sandra and Theresa Hahns’ Rockridge Road property were sick or malnourished. Dozens were housed in stacked crates in the Hahns’ “dark, poorly ventilated and filthy” home, where the smell of ammonia burned inspectors’ eyes and feces covered nearly every surface, according to investigative reports. “”

The breeder’s parents are still breeding dogs.

An ordinance there now limits breeders to 50 breeding dogs. But the problems continue and more needs to be done. Stronger penalties and stronger regulations would help greatly. One breeder was found to have been slaughtering horses to feed his dogs.

Animal Cruelty Legislation: Measure 5 in North Dakota, if passed by vote on November 6, would elevate acts of animal cruelty to a Class C felony. It specifically targets cruel acts against dogs, cats and horses.

An editorial on the Bismarck Tribune website calls for a no vote on the measure, largely because it does not cover farm animals or hunting. That would be better. But I don’t want dogs, cats and horses to suffer in the meantime. A step in the right direction is better than no step at all.

Abandoned dog waited daily for his family’s return

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After his family reportedly moved and left him behind, a little beagle-mix sat on the porch every day waiting for their return. As of the publication of an article Sunday on Examine.com, he is waiting now for a new family to adopt him.

A neighbor took the dog to the Montgomery (Ala.) Humane Society. He found that the dog loves to chase cats and because the man has cats, he was unable to keep him.

Hopefully, a loving family or individual will offer this dog a second chance, one that does not include abandonment. I will never understand the mentality some people possess, that allows them to feel no compassion for other living beings. It is decidedly beyond my reach.

Another rescued dog rescues a family member

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I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had over many years as an animal advocate, concerning the special qualities of a rescued pet. And how many times have we read stories about rescued pets saving the life of a guardian.

It has happened again, this time in Portland, CT, where a dog awakened a couple, who then found their 9-week-old daughter was not breathing.

WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather

WSFB reports the couple wanted to tell their story, as a way to promote the adoption of homeless pets.

Actress Shannon Elizabeth is 2012 spokesperson for the Adopt A Turkey Project

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The Farm Sanctuary has announced actress Shannon Elizabeth is the 2012 spokesperson for its Adopt A Turkey Project.

From the press release:

Shannon Elizabeth

“” “”
As 2012 spokesperson of the Adopt A Turkey Project, “American Pie” star urges dog and cat lovers to extend their compassion to turkeys this Thanksgiving

LOS ANGELES – October 18, 2012 – What do dogs and turkeys have in common? According to Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), the new 2012 spokesperson for Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt A Turkey Project, they both want our attention. “The first time I met turkeys face-to-face, I couldn’t get over how they enjoyed my attention just as much as my dogs do!” exclaims Elizabeth. “Seeing firsthand how sweet and affectionate turkeys are, I could no longer separate them from how I thought about my dogs at home, who I always want to feel safe and protected.”

As spokesperson for the annual project, which gives people the opportunity to “adopt” one of the rescued birds who reside at Farm Sanctuary’s shelters in New York and California, Elizabeth has a simple message for fellow dog and cat lovers: “If you are like me and oppose animal cruelty, start a new tradition and adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project.”

More than 26 million turkeys are currently confined in miserable conditions and slaughtered each year for the Thanksgiving holiday. For more than 25 years, the Adopt A Turkey Project has provided support for the care of more than 1,000 rescued turkeys, while inspiring people everywhere to make more compassionate choices that protect animals. For a one-time donation of just $30, adopters receive a special adoption certificate complete with color photo and fun details about their adopted turkey.

To learn more about the Adopt A Turkey Project, visit adoptaturkey.org or call the Turkey Adoption Hotline at 1-888-SPONSOR.
“” “”

More Legal Scooping: Variety of results from animal-cruelty cases

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The Pack News Wire today featured several news stories concerning the outcome of legal cases involving animal cruelty.

OHIO: As part of her legal punishment, a woman has been banned from ‘owning’ animals for 10 years. It was part of a plea deal that knocked down 14 misdemeanor counts.

MARYLAND: A man was charged Thursday with charged Thursday with 134 counts of animal cruelty. ABC2News.com reports – “” Authorities discovered a number of dead of malnourished animals, including a cow, a rabbit, a quail and a turtle. “” The accused, who reportedly worked two years as a veterinarian’s assistant, claims he was planning to nurse them back to health.

CALIFORNIA: The manager of a San Francisco doggy day care center was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in jail for starving four of his dogs.

The SF Gate article noted authorities said the dogs were found unable to walk and “” were terrified of human contact. “”

FLORIDA: A Lee County judge is being called out for dismissing animal-cruelty cases.

 

Legal Scooping: Defense in puppy mill breeder case is a stinking pile of ….

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Montana: A puppy mill operator was found guilty on 91 counts of animal cruelty on Thursday. He now awaits sentencing.

About 160 dogs were taken from the property back in October of 2011 and they were found to have not been provided “adequate food and water, shelter and medical attention,” according to a story by the Independent Record.

The article reports the breeder’s attorney blamed the Humane Society, as having an “agenda” “” to put large breeders out of business by accusing them of abuse. “” She she blames the people who found horrible conditions at the kennel, but also claimed the breeder had fallen on tough times and that is why the conditions existed. SO WHICH IS IT?

This is a typical defense from abusers – blame the victims or blame the police or blame everyone else. Ignore that video. Ignore that evidence. Nothing is ever their fault. How dare some animal-welfare group actually take photos of abusive conditions. The lawyer also cried that the video and photos were released to the media too early.

But the dogs were found in emaciated condition and four veterinarians testified that “” most of the dogs were severely underweight, and had scars and parasites. “”

But for the breeder and the attorney in this case, they blame the Humane Society. Thankfully, it was very easy for the jury to see through the crater of a hole in that defense. This sort of disconnected and twisted thinking by the anti-animal and anti-compassion side is really pissing me off.

It seems a growing segment of society has completely turned away from science and logic. For these people, facts no longer matter at all. They have an agenda and nothing will stand in the way of pushing that agenda – nothing.