AKC fighting against ban on gas chambers

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The American Kennel Club is stepping way over the line. I don’t even know where the organization is going. It seems to be opposing ANY animal-welfare bill. I would not be surprised at this point to read where it was speaking out against bans on dog fighting.

I say all this after reading – on the Philly Dawg blog – about the latest news that the AKC is opposing a bill to ban gas chambers to euthanize pets in Pennsylvania. Anyone with a minimal amount of knowledge about animals such as dogs and cats understands the level of suffering that can take place inside a gas chamber, most notably the mental suffering.

Gas chambers are horror chambers. And too often they are used in ways not allowed by local regulations. The vast number of shelters that are not using gas chambers are proof-positive. No shelter should ever use a gas chamber.

But again, I wish we were not even having this discussion of euthanizing homeless pets. And I ask again, when will society and our justice system start holding the people and entities that are responsible for this problem – responsible.

The AKC and Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs are also opposing a bill to require those charged with animal cruelty either turn over their pets or pay for animal’s care until the case is completed.

Pack Topics: Homeless pure-bred dogs; and teaching kids compassion

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The Go San Angelo website featured a great editorial last week by Jenie Wilson, under the headline – “Teach children pets are living beings not to be cruelly discarded.” Wilson is the executive director of Concho Valley PAWS group.

Wilson encourages animal lovers to get involved with local rescue groups, promote spay/neuter and adds, “The only way to enact change is to be a part of it.”

And this is equally important “… thousands of purebred dogs are euthanized by San Angelo Animal Control every year.” So here is someone on the front lines in Texas who reports purebred dogs are dying by the thousands each year in a single shelter.

Yet, the folks on the other side, who constantly fight against any and all new regulation on dog breeding, continue to spread the lie that only mutts and pit bulls are in the homeless ranks. Their propaganda has their pants on fire.

Animal-welfare headlines from around the globe

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Animal welfare in China gaining ground: Famous Chinese celebrities are speaking out about animal welfare issues and ABC News reports one top animal-welfare advocate notes the affect has been to see the “interest in animal rights snowball in China over the last few years.”

Basketball star Yao Ming has been speaking out against bear bile farming and shark fin soup.

Bear bile farm opens its doors to journalists – not: The Guizhentang pharmaceutical company in China claimed it was opening it doors to one of its bear bile farms to journalists on Wednesday. But like the greyhound racing industry, it was all a scam.

Turns out journalists were not allowed to ask questions during the “show.” And foreign reporters were not allowed in – according to a story posted today on TheWest.com.au.

And the troubling news from this evil industry only gets worse, as the this company plans to increase the number of bears its tortures each and every day from 470 to 1,200.

And then there is this from the The West article, via AFP:

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To extract the bile, bears are often placed in cages so small they cannot move, while tubes are inserted in their gall bladders to extract the bile for extended periods of time, animal rights groups have said.

According to the non-governmental group Animals Asia, official figures state that around 7,000 bears still languish in bile farms across China, but many more could be used in illegal establishments.

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300 elephants slaughtered for their tusks: In northern Cameroon, poachers have killed 300 elephants in the last month. Estimates put the elephant population at only between 1,000 and 5,000 left in Cameroon.

The people who murder these elephants and the people who create the demand by purchasing the ivory or the products are as evil as anyone on the planet. They all should be housed in the worst basements in the dirtiest prisons on Earth.

New sled dog regulations deemed a fail by welfare folks: In Vancouver, BC, animal-welfare supporters are crying foul over new regulations, developed in the light of the horrible sled-dog massacre last year.

The Vancouver Sun article reports the Sled Dog Code of Practice, developed by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, contains “instructions on how to humanely shoot unwanted dogs.”

From the story – “” The new document contains detailed instructions on how to humanely shoot a dog, including diagrams, illustrations and advice on restraining and calming the animal before shooting it and what to expect when the deed is done. “”

What in the world were these people thinking? The outrage that led to these new regulations spread far and wide because of the inhumane manner in which the dogs were killed. So in response, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture decides to develop a how-to pamphlet on inhumanely killing dogs.

This would be like the Catholic Church apologizing for the abuse of children by some priest – and in response issuing a how-to booklet on improperly touching kids, for reduced impacts. No, the church wouldn’t do this because it’s stupid and it’s wrong.

The only humane way to euthanize a dog – or any other higher-order animal – is by injection.

But the article also includes this – “” Another working group member, Nancy Clarke, an animal science professor at the University of British Columbia, said a gunshot can be just as humane as other methods of euthanizing dogs — if it’s done correctly. “”

How could an animal science professor say something like this? I’m floored. The statement is amazingly false. To suggest a gunshot is “just as humane” as injection shows a lack of understanding of self-awareness and state of consciousness.

Lifeforce and the Vancouver Humane Society have called for a total ban on sled-dog tours and races. I fully agree. Too many bad things are happening.

Pethealth’s PetPoint Report shows slight improvement in shelter intake and euthanasia rates

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Pethealth, Inc has released its PetPoint report, with analysis on the data for the rate of shelter intakes and euthanasia for dogs and cats.

The data comes from approximately 1,770 animal-welfare organizations in the United States and Canada that use PetPoint to manage their day-to-day operations. The following numbers are based on comparisons with 2010 and 2011 numbers.

MarketWatch.com published the results, which offer better news for cats – notably a 6 percent drop in feline intakes,  including a 5 percent decline in owner surrenders and a 9 percent dip in stray cat intakes.

The figures for dogs was not quite as good – with an increased in dog adoptions of only 2 percent in 2011 and a decline in the euthanasia rate for dogs of 3 percent.

Hopefully, we can see these rates improve significantly going forward. But we should remember that any analysis of euthanasia rates and shelter intakes doesn’t include the dogs and cats that never make it into a shelter or are never saved by a rescue organization.

Until we see a significant rise in the number people who become aware of the importance of spaying and neutering and until we see laws and enforcement that shut down the entities that contribute monumentally to the over-population of homeless pets (puppy mills, greyhound racing, etc) the problem will continue.

AP-Petside Poll: 70 percent want limits on shelter euthanasia

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An AP-Petside reveals 7 out of 10 respondents would limit shelters from euthanizing healthy homeless pets and would allow this practice only in cases where the animals are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted.

I do have concerns for the dogs and cats turned away when the shelters reach capacity. We must understand the complexities of this topic. Until we have better regulations on entities such as puppy mills, kitten mills and greyhound racing, which by the nature of their operations produce homeless pets, we will continue to see homeless pets die.

The level of this problem varies by region of the country.

Yes – We need better programs to ensure the municipal shelters are using every means available to find homes for pets and we must attack the problem at the sources as well. People who refuse to spay and neuter their pets and then dump the puppies and kittens off local rescue groups and shelters must be held accountable.

I’m in full agreement with the 70 percent in this poll, but we can’t get there unless we face the problems from all aspects.

An article on Huffington Post includes some promising data on spay/neuter programs. — “” Before 1970, about 20 million animals were euthanized each year in this country. In 2011, fewer than 4 million abandoned animals were euthanized. “”

Four million is still a horrible number, but it shows reducing the birth rate through sterilization programs is a huge, key factor. No-Kill is the goal. We just have to get there – and getting there means using a comprehensive approach.

Utah cat survives twice in gas chamber of horrors

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After a cat survived two attempts to kill her in a West Valley City gas chamber in Utah, a push is underway to ban the chamber of horrors there.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports after a second attempt in the gas chamber, the cat was checked for vital signs and stuffed into bag and then into a cooler, only to be found later still alive in the bag.

Thankfully, the Community Animal Welfare Society has stepped in to help Andrea and a volunteer is fostering her until a home can be found.

From the article – “” Aaron Crim, West Valley City’s director of public relations, said the shelter workers followed proper procedures. “” – No, they followed procedures they were told to follow, but “procedures” that are anything but proper.

It’s 2012. It has become mainstream science – thankfully – to understand that animals suffer both emotionally and physically. There is no longer ANY DOUBT  that injection is the ONLY humane option when the time comes to euthanize a family pet or any animal for that matter.

It is a terrible tragedy that even one homeless pet will die in a shelter this year. The millions that will die only multiplies that tragedy millions of times. But to add to the tragedy by using gas chambers and heart sticks is totally unwarranted.

And I most continue to point out that these victims continue to suffer every day of every year, while the guilty parties – puppy mills, greyhound racing and irresponsible people who allow their pets to breed more pets into homelessness – rarely pay the cost or suffer the consequences.

Until local cities and counties and state governments and the federal government get serious about this problem and start holding the offenders accountable, millions of homeless pets will continue to suffer each year.

Breaking News: Pennsylvania a step closer to banning euthanasia of animals in gas chambers

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It is terrific when good news crosses the Pack Mentality News Wire. I just received word that Daniel’s Law is closer to becoming a law in Pennsylvania. The press release reports – “The law makes it a crime for animals to be euthanized in a carbon dioxide gas chamber.”

From another source, Amy Rossi (via the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Examiner on Examiner.com) reports SB1329 was “passed unanimously by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee this morning.” – That’s the morning of Dec. 14.

Also from Rossi’s post – “If passed, the bill would prohibit gassing and also require that cats and dogs be euthanized by injection of sodium pentobarbital or one of its derivatives – the method widely considered the most humane, as opposed to gas chambers, which are a barbaric and inhumane form of euthansia and hopefully will be banned everywhere.”

Also from the release –

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The law was named after Daniel the beagle (www.danielthebeagle.com), who survived an Alabama carbon monoxide gas chamber this fall. Since surviving the experience, Daniel has been adopted by New Jersey dog trainer Joseph Dwyer, and has embarked on a trail of animal advocacy that has taken him from the Statehouse to animal rights rallies to the Anderson Cooper television program.

“Today is a victory for thousands of animals in Pennsylvania, but there are more than 30 states that still permit the gas chamber and other inhumane forms of animal euthanasia,” said Dwyer. A listing of states that have banned this form of animal euthanasia, as well as those who still allow carbon dioxide gas chambers is available at www.danielthebeagle.com.

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Dog euthanized in Raleigh, NC shelter hours after TV appearance

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A shelter dog in the Wake County (NC) shelter was euthanized just hours after she appeared on TV to promote her adoption. Sassy, an 8-month-old labrador/hound mix was on WRAL TV’s noon news show Tuesday, as a shelter staff member reported her ready to go to a new home.

The shelter even posted her on its Facebook page.

But WRAL News reports later that day she was “put down around 5:30 p.m. because she showed signs of an illness.”

A spread of illness and an increase in the number of dogs coming into the facility are being used to explain away a troubling increase in the number of dogs being euthanized of late. WRAL reports the rate was approximately 18 percent (131 dogs) in January. And the number had increased to 327 loosing their lives in August, a rate of 42 percent.

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Utah cat survives two rounds in gas chamber

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A cat in a Salt Lake City, Utah shelter survived two attempts to kill it in the facility’s gas chamber.

The obvious bad news is the fact that this method is used anywhere in 2011. The good news is the cat is recovering has been turned over to a local rescue organization.

But I also have a Pack of Putrid Punditry Award to hand out. The WPTV.com article includes the following quote –

This is actually a recommended method by the American Veterinarian Association and we follow all the procedural guidelines that they give us,” said Aaron Crim, a West Valley City, UT Spokesman. “We’ve never had an instance like this since we started using this method so it does work. It’s actually very humane and it’s very quick. This is just an anomaly.”

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Shelter Exchange offering no-cost software to animal shelters

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The Shelter Exchange is offering at no-cost to rescue groups, shelters and animal welfare organizations what is being billed as a “collaborative software application.” The mission is to reduce the euthanasia rate for shelters, through improved strategies and promoting better cooperation between local shelters and area rescue groups.

The Shelter Exchange – out of Raleigh, NC – seems to be taking the right approach, even in stating on its website that – “Animal euthanasia is a complex problem.”

On occasion, I’m seeing some people blame it all on the shelters or on some other single aspect of the problem. The blame lies largely on the people and entities who are creating the problem – people who refuse to spay or neuter and allow their pets to breed into the homeless numbers, puppy mills, greyhound racing, etc …

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