True colors of greyhound racing come out again with news about payments to breeders

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It is predictable and disgusting at the same time – the news that the West Virginia Racing Commission has handed over more than $10 million to greyhound breeders.

This dying industry is being held up to just benefit a few. The casinos could drop racing and hire the employees into the rest of the facilities. But they can’t because some elected officials in states like Florida and West Virginia are in their seats for no other reason than to benefit the few. These officials certainly are not there to represent the public and they certainly do not have any concern for animal welfare.

We should offer our thanks to the elected officials who are pushing for decoupling legislation.

The money being given to breeders could instead help with job training and caring for the dogs in need of new homes when greyhound racing shuts down for good.

And then there’s the breeding. My wife and I know of one couple in our state that has adopted four rescued racing greyhounds who all died of Osteosarcoma, a nasty form of cancer.

We have faced cancers with our rescued greyhounds. And we keep running into people at veterinary hospitals who tell their emotional stories of racing greyhounds with cancer, many at far too young an age.

When I’ve debated the pro-dog racing crowd online, they typically throw out the tired line that other big dogs get Osteosarcoma. My response includes the fact that comparing bad breeding practices with with bad breeding practices is a losing argument – every time.

And we have always argued about inbreeding. The racing insiders call it “line breeding.” But line breeding is just inbreeding on steroids. Every time we adopt a new, rescued greyhound, my wife goes on the racing site and looks up the dog’s lineage.

Way more often than not, she finds family connections to our current and previous greyhounds. And we find the same dogs are regularly listed as the parent or grandparent or great-grandparent of an unending list of dogs.

That’s inbreeding and it’s a small gene pool and both are not what we want. But in greyhound racing, the post-racing career doesn’t matter to the insiders. It’s about the profit motive.

I’ve written about cancer in dogs for many, many years and I’ve researched into the issue – a lot. Now that I have brain cancer, I plan to ramp up my efforts in speaking out against bad breeding that lead to cancers in dogs.

$10 million to breeders? That money could have gone to job training for track employs – as the state legislatures do what they should do today – shut down dog racing. Thanks to a request put in by Grey2K USA, these payments where brought to light.

The money came from the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund. It’s almost too nutty to believe. But we’ve heard enough out of racing to not be shocked.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Back to Blogging – But Fighting Cancer

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I’ve been away from the Pack Mentality keyboard for a time, as I was diagnosed with – and immediately underwent surgery for – a brain rumor back in early March.

So while I’ve written for many, many years about canine cancer and health conditions in all animals, now I’m facing the crisis. I don’t know the outcome at this point, other than to state that I will beat this crisis with total determination – period.

My family has been great and fully supportive – from my wife to my brothers and kids. My friends, coworkers and neighbors have been great as well. This was out of the blue and as is the case for everyone in this situation, completely unexpected.

But through my family and friends and my work, I have much to live for – a ton to live for. Our band of rescue dogs have been a source of support and love.

If you spot a few more misspelled words here in this space, it is most likely due to visual problems brought on by the tumor. These issues do seem to be improving.

My plan is to jump back into blogging now and to be an an even more determined advocate for animals. So please come back often and join the battle to protect animals from abuse and neglect and to address issues that involve animals and human health.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

We’ve lost two family members to cancer

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My wife and I are sad to report that we’ve lost two family members to cancer. Thelma Lou was a terrier-beagle mix and Chester was a basset hound.

Chester, probably around 13 years old, passed away on Thursday, after battling mast cell tumors. We rescued him about eight years ago and adopted him out. After several years, he was returned to us and we decided he needed to be in our family.

A tumor was removed from under his armpit this summer. Later, smaller tumors developed all over his body and into his spleen. His treatments managed to keep him comfortable for some time. But over the last week, his condition worsened.

Thelma Lou was around 8. Over the summer, we found a lump on her side and at first it was believed to be an injury. But it continued to grow. We had her evaluated locally and at a specialty hospital. Both examinations should she had a hemangiosarcoma. The cancer had quickly spread into her lungs.

Earlier this month, we said our final goodbyes to her.

Thelma came to us from an area shelter, where the dogs had to be sent out because a cruelty case meant a number of other dogs had to be housed during an investigation.

Cancer is far too prevalent in canines. We’ve seen more than our share over the years in our family of rescues. I tend to believe poor breeding practices are a primary cause. I hope to soon begin more research in this area.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Two of our dogs face serious cancers

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Two of our rescue dogs were recently diagnosed with cancers. Chester, a basset hound who is about 12 or 13 years old, has mast cell tumors. Thelma Lou is around 8 years old and has a hemangiosarcoma on her side.

A couple of months ago, Chester had a mass removed from under his armpit. The mast cell tumor had cropped up very quickly. A few weeks later, we found smaller growths forming. It turns out they are more mast cells and the condition has spread to his spleen.

Thelma Lou was in great health, when we began to notice something strange about the area near the end of her rib cage on one side. Later, a test determined it most likely a hemangiosarcoma. The diagnosis was confirmed last week at a specialty hospital in North Carolina.

Sadly, both Chester and Thelma Lou, a terrier-beagle mix, may not be with us much longer. Thelma’s cancer has spread into her lungs.

Because we’ve adopted so many dogs and cats over many, many years – including the adoption of older dogs – this has happened far too often with our family. But having to face the loss of loved ones so frequently does not ease the heartache.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

New study of golden retrievers could lead to important findings on canine cancer

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A new study that I hope will be groundbreaking will feature 3,000 golden retrievers, who will be tracked for genetic, nutritional and environmental risks to cancer. The Associated Press reports much of $25 million needed for the research is coming from the Morris Animal Foundation.

The AP article includes this interesting note: “” The study will also try to measure factors in a dog’s life, such as how fun and an owner’s love affect the animal’s health and longevity. “”

It seems to be a very comprehensive approach. But I hope the researchers will not be squeamish about publishing any negative findings about breeding practices. Certainly, a good bit of blame on the rate of cancers in dogs can be placed on poor breeding factors or breeders who ignore rates of cancer in the offspring of the canines they breed.

Not all breeders do this.

 

Sad news to report: We say goodbye to Dash

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A truly special member of our family has passed on. Dash was a 13-year-old greyhound who faced many challenges over his lifetime with courage and strength.

He was the second rescued racing greyhound we adopted, some eight years ago. We were told Dash and others in the racing kennel were routinely kicked when they did not perform well. He came to us with an injured shoulder.

But he survived the horrors of racing, where so many others never make it out alive each year. So many never make to it their senior years.

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