A scary headline about adoption – but underneath is not so bad

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I ran across a troubling headline on the Raining Cats and Dogs blog on the Chicago Now website. The headline: “Why you should think twice before you adopt a dog.”

My first reactions included: ‘What? – They prefer you purchase a puppy?’ and ‘Oh no – they’re anti-adoption.’

But the body of the blog post offers more in the way of a primer for people who want to add a furry family member. And it seems to be an effort to make sure fewer homeless pets are returned to shelters, because some people might go into the decision with blinders on.

But the writer is not suggesting people go out and buy puppies.

It is important to note that people can be better assured of matching a dog or cat to their families if they adopt – as opposed to buying a pet. This is one myth often promoted by supporters of breeding and breeder groups.

But those who buy from a breeder before they’ve fully researched the operation and before they have taken a full tour of the breeding facility, are taking the risk of not knowing what the outcome will be. And those who purchase puppies who are younger than 12 weeks are making a risky choice. In both cases, it’s risky for the puppies and the breeding dogs.

So the best choice is to talk with the volunteers at local rescue groups, who have fostered or otherwise cared for the homeless pet you might want to adopt. Often, they have a clear picture of the pet’s behavior and health and how well they might get along with other pets and children.

In every way – including the fact that a life is being saved – adoption is the best option.

 

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack News Wire: The good, the bad and the ugly

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The last week of news has featured some real ugliness and evil and clueless behavior, mixed in with some touching stories of compassion.

Lets start with clueless, mixed with ugly.

New York plea bargain lets animal abuser off the hook

A man in Nichols, NY was offered a plea deal last week, after being charged with several misdemeanor charges and one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty. The Daily Review reports he was charged with “overdriving, torture and failure to provide sustenance; inappropriate shelter for animals; and harboring unlicensed dogs.”

One dog was found dead and frozen to the ground. A necropsy found the dog died of starvation. But despite all of this, the deal will allow the man to walk free, with about a $400 fine and a ban on having animals for 10 years.

How any court system could believe this level of punishment for these crimes is acceptable is beyond reasonable and beyond clueless. In this case and other similar cases, it’s called the Criminal Injustice System.

The Good: Afghan animal shelter reuniting dogs and cats with soldiers

Louise Hastie, a former British soldier , is working with team of Afghanistan citizens to operate the nation’s only official animal shelter, according to a NBC News article.

Over the last six years, the shelter has transported over 400 dogs and cats over to the United States and the United Kingdom where they were adopted by former soldiers.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

A prediction we hope comes true – the closing of six greyhound tracks

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A new report indicates six greyhound race tracks could shut down if the coupling effort is successful in Florida. The state legislature has been debating for some time the possibility of dropping the requirement that casinos there hold a set number of races each year.

Decoupling would end this requirement, which has been an ongoing effort from racing insiders to gain a level of protection no other industry enjoys. The state has for a long time required greyhound racing to exist. It was a horrible move when it was enacted and it continues to be horrible.

But thankfully, both race track owners and animal-welfare groups such as Grey2K USA are supporting the effort to decouple. It is the breeder groups and others and some members of the state legislature who are still holding on.

The News Herald article includes a wildly inaccurate statement from Mark Hess, associate manager of Ebro Greyhound Park:

“I mean there are millions of tourists that visit Panama City Beach every year, and they come from states that don’t have greyhound racing, and they really enjoy coming out and watching the dogs run.”

That’s quite a stretch, since every photo I’ve seen of late from any US dog track shows more dogs on the track than bodies in the stands. Attendance is down and betting on racing is down and dog racing is a money loser. But despite these facts and despite the suffering and death for the dogs, the state of Florida is still offering this disappointing and uncaring protection for the industry.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack News Wire (10.2.13): Dog Fighting

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ANOTHER weak sentence for dog fighting

In another example of how dysfunctional our criminal justice system can be, an Alabama man who recently pleaded guilty to dog fighting will serve no jail time. He will ONLY serve 100 hours of community service – working around dogs at a shelter.

And in a completely clueless move on the courts’ part, the man will ONLY be banned from having dogs for two years. In the meantime, the court will put homeless dogs in the shelter at risk.

Something is really wrong with any judge or any sentencing guidelines that allow for this level of weakness in punishment being handed out for violent felons. And there is no doubt that dog fighters are violent felons. What we’ve seen in too many cases puts innocent people and innocent animals at risk.

The top mission of our criminal justice system should be to protect the innocent. Because too many people involved in the system all over the country seem to be lacking in education and in the reality of what is going on, the innocent are at risk.

Couple ran dog fighting ring out of home – where five kids lived

A Pennsylvania couple has been accused of running a dog-fighting operation out of their home, where their five children lived. The woman has pleaded guilty and has agreed to testify against her husband.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Big News: NBC Sports cancels Under Wild Skies

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After finally realizing what a huge blunder it was to ever air a series like Under Wild Skies and after tremendous public outcry after the airing of a very controversial episode, the NBC Sports Network has cancelled the show.

Somehow, some NBC Sports executive thought this show was good idea. And somehow – through the process of shooting the episode where NRA strategist Tony Makris shoots an elephant in the face – and through the process of editing the episode and setting it up to air – someone approved it to be shown on the network.

It shows an unbelievable lack of awareness about the plight of endangered elephants, who are being slaughtered off the face of the earth by poachers and by people like Makris. How could anyone be this clueless about something so prevalent in the news and so important?

I realize people make mistakes, but even considering this show to air is more than a mistake.

After cancelling the show, NBC Sports released a statement that in part said –

Under Wild Skies will no longer air on NBC Sports Network due to the program’s close association with its host, whose recent comments comparing his critics to Hitler are outrageous and unacceptable.”

So the big deal for NBC Sports was his act of comparing his critics to Hitler – but not shooting an incredibly intelligent, important and feeling animal in the face, before openly celebrating the horrible act? It took a good bit of twisted, reverse non-logic to bend around his critics as Hitler. It took a complete lack of compassion to shoot the elephant and celebrate the suffering.

It’s 2013, not 1713. We should have advanced to a point in our society where acts such as those depicted in Under Wild Skies are only shown as part of a criminal investigation or to make a point about the suffering of elephants at the hands of people like this. But apparently, some people are still living in 1713.

The Guardian article I linked to above notes that killing elephants in Botswana will finally be illegal as of  January 1, 2014. How it took so long defies logic. But at least the time is approaching.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality for Monday – Puppy Mills and Dog Fighting

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A couple of news articles from this month put Wacky Mentality on display – again.

Dog fighting and animal cruelty charges were filed last week against a Utah man. Witnesses saw two men holding the leashes of two dogs as they fought. An officer responded and also saw what was happening, as reported by Opposing Views.

So what was the excuse given by one of the men charged? – He said he was letting the dogs fight because they weren’t getting along and this was a way to “help them “get along.”

That is Wacky Mentality.

Over in Oceanside, Calif., the city council voted down a proposal to ban the sale of puppies from puppy mills in retail stores. The vote was 3-2.

The U-T San Diego article included the following:

But Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller said they didn’t have enough information about what constituted unethical breeding to move forward with changing the city’s laws.

They didn’t have enough information about the definition of an unethical breeder? How is that possible in 2013?

And others speaking out against the ban tried to claim a ban on the sale of dogs in stores would send dog breeding underground and somehow hurt the long-term viability of breeding.

What a load of what I regularly scoop from our backyard. And then a store owner claimed he had to sell puppies to make a profit, as he could not make it selling supplies.
Again – a load of dung. There are pet stores all over the county that profit from selling pet supplies. It’s one of the consistently-performing elements of the economy.

There are examples of Wacky Mentality all through that news piece.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Big rescue effort nears for dogs in Liberty County, Ga. – for training as therapy dogs

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I received a press release this morning concerning a major rescue effort for homeless dogs in Liberty County, Ga.:

“” “”

Guardians of Rescue Saves Dogs and Cats at Fort Stewart Animal Shelter

Teams with Animal Aid USA and Pilots N Paws For Large Scale Animal Rescue Caravan and Flyaway

SMITHTOWN, NY  (September 30, 2013) – Guardians of Rescue, a nationwide animal rescue organization, is teaming up with animal welfare groups, Animal Aid USA and Pilots N Paws, to launch the largest scale rescue effort for abandoned dogs in the history of Liberty County, Georgia.

The rescue effort will begin on October 4th at 12 p.m., when Guardians of Rescue volunteers arrive at the Fort Stewart Army Base in Fort Stewart, GA, to remove all of the dogs from the animal shelter on base and then transport them to Animal Aid USA’s, Miracle Ranch, in Georgia. Through their Paws of War program, Guardians of Rescue will train the abandoned animals to become therapy dogs, and pair them with military veterans suffering from the emotional effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Dispelling a Myth: The phrase ‘puppy mill’ does have a legal definition

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I continue to read insane propaganda from those who support puppy mills and those who fight against any and all legislation directed to shutting down more mills.

One of the myths circling around websites, message boards and comment sections is the one making the false claim that the phrase ‘puppy mill’ does not have a legal definition. It’s as odd as claiming the moon does not exist.

Within any existing piece of legislation regarding the regulation of breeders, where standards of care are part of the legislation, we can find the standards that define a substandard breeding operation – a puppy mill. It is true that in many cases the regulations do not go far enough.

But there are penalties involved for breeders who fall below the basic standards.

In many cases, the breeders are required to offer regular veterinary care, house their dogs to minimum standards (some banning the use of wire flooring), offer the dogs regular periods for exercise and provide them clean food and water. So in a very minimum level, a puppy mill operation would fail within any one or more of these areas.

Clearly, a substandard breeding operation is define and therefore a puppy mill is defined. So the next time you read a comment from someone claiming ‘puppy mill’ does not have a legal definition, point out the clearly defined definition. Although these individuals often have a lot of trouble with reading comprehension, others might better understand the topic.

I was reading a news article recently about a store planning to open in a Toledo, Ohio – where puppies will be sold. How the mall – in 2013 – could even consider this move is beyond belief. But some of the comments under the story might be funny if the topic was not so serious.

One person used the same old tired propaganda about there being no definition of a puppy mill. And she went further, claiming bad breeders could not possibly hide from view now. And get this, she claims all of the videos from puppy mill raids are old. (These people will claim anything at this point.)

She goes on to claim:

— Sick puppies don’t sell, so puppy mills couldn’t possibly sell sick puppies. (Of course she fails to note that these breeders don’t take sick puppies back and in some cases, the puppies get sick later or develop cancers later.)

— She claims most commercial breeders have state-of-the art kennels and are inspected every year. (Clearly, this is not true, as we only recently saw the USDA change the rules to cover the thousands of breeders who sell over the Internet or in ads.)

— She tries to claim improved regulations won’t help shut down puppy mills. (If that was the case, the puppy mill supporters would not be working so hard to stop the improved regulations from passing – in states across the county.)

But in too many cases, current regulations are far too weak, in regard to the housing, exercise time and veterinary care – and in the punishment for animal cruelty. So clearly we need better regulations.

— And she leaves one the highly-false claims for last, one we see spewed out often. She claims breeders are not responsible for dogs going into shelters.

She is partly correct in suggesting irresponsible people are to blame. But in too many cases, people are buying puppies from substandard breeders – through stores or over the Web – and then turning them in to shelters after they show behavioral problems or health problems.

If these puppy mill breeders would follow breeding practices that include genetic health factors and if they would stop selling puppies at 6 weeks old, the situation would be greatly improved.

 

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

New strategy could save the rhino

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At the end of this NBC News video, it is reported that in at least one preserve, rhino horns are being injected with a poison that will not harm the animal.
But anyone consuming the poison could be harmed.

The plan is make the horns worthless on the market and therefore worthless to poachers.

I would hope the rhinos are going to be tagged in a way that alerts everyone that that horn for that individual is poisoned. And I hope the word is distributed worldwide, especially where selfish (or otherwise uneducated) people are using products made from rhino horns.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wiping a species of majestic wildlife off the face of the Earth ranks as one of the highest forms of greed and selfishness.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic