Big month for greyhound racing news

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Iowa could take a big step in the direction of ending greyhound racing in the state. The Newton Daily News reports the Dubuque City Council will ask the state government to drop the mandate on holding dog races at Mystique Casino.

The article includes this paragraph:

But since then, city officials said, the greyhound racing industry has fallen into a “death spiral,” turning the once lucrative track into a financial drag.

Certainly, the racing greyhounds across the nation face a death spiral every day. But the article also notes $4.5 million in subsidies was handed over to the state’s racing industry last year and over the last three decades, $55 million has been diverted from “charitable organizations and the city’s capital projects fund.”

The state pulled money earmarked for charities and gave it to the dog-racing industry? Who could do something like that?

At the Mardi Gras Casino in Charleston, W.Va., allegations are out concerning a track employee abusing greyhounds. The accused told a commission he was having a bad day.

The Charleston Gazette reports:

… 4,700 greyhounds were injured at the state’s two dog-racing tracks within the past five years. More than 1,400 of those injuries were catastrophic, career-ending injuries, according to the study.

In Australia, the news is extremely horrible. The Illawarra Mercury ran an article Monday concerning the disappearance of thousands of greyhound puppies each year. In 2011 alone, 3,440 puppies were born but went missing before they were named.

This has been the fear about dog racing for many, many years – that puppies are “culled” before even being given the chance to survive. It is estimated that 28 percent of the Australian racing dogs are killed as puppies.

And then there is the following from the article:

Other submissions told of abuse of dogs kept in bare paddocks with little care and no socialisation. Some were kennelled in darkness to control barking and had Velcro attached to their paws to stop them making noise.

The article suggests injured dogs or those deemed too slow for racing are killed by the thousands each year.

The stories out of New Zealand are horrible as well. A Yahoo Sports article from Nov. 15 quotes an animal-welfare advocate as saying dogs there are killed when they are no longer of value to the industry.

And yet – somehow – greyhound racing continues. And states such as Florida and Iowa are not just ignoring the horrors, the elected officials there are in full support, requiring the industry to exist.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

So that’s the problem with those who oppose breeding regulations

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Every time I read a comment from someone who states there are no definitions for a puppy mill, I respond with the definition. But of course, those who oppose breeding regulations continue to make this false claim.

But it hit me this morning as I read through some alerts on the Pack News Wire. These people just don’t know what a puppy mill is. That’s the problem. It’s people who don’t understand what it means for an animal to suffer.

I’m sure for some of them, it’s a matter of pure propaganda. But for so many of them, it’s a complete lack of knowledge in this area. They don’t understand that dogs and cats and other animals possess a state of consciousness and therefore can suffer both emotionally and physically.

Sadly, for some people, animals are nothing more than property, with no more capacity to experience emotion than a washing machine.

So there it is. For some of those opposed to important breeding regulations that can protect dogs and cats from suffering, it is matter of protecting the profit margin. But for others, it comes from a lack of understanding and awareness of the level of emotion animals can experience.

For either source of the position, the outcome is horrible for breeding animals. They really don’t know what a puppy mill is. In 2013, with all of the information available on various web-enabled devices and with the advancements and findings in scientific research, it is sad to consider that some people still don’t get it.

So here it is: A puppy mill forces the parent dogs to live 24/7 (or nearly) in small cages, with very little or no time for exercise or play. The dogs are offered no veterinary care to speak of and often live in unsanitary conditions. The moms are bred too often. And overall, profit takes precedent over health.

HSUS: Rescued from NC puppy mill, Stella is finally home

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Stella was rescued during a raid on a puppy mill in Sampson County, North Carolina.

The video is touching and also offers more evidence – on top of the mounting evidence – on why we need strong national and state regulations against puppy mills.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Press Release: Don’t Buy a Sulcata for Christmas

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I received the following press release today. Spread the word about the pet trade:

“” “”

American Tortoise Rescue Warns Don’t Buy a Sulcata for Christmas

Giant Sulcata Tortoises Overwhelm U.S. Rescues

Malibu, CA – December 9, 2013 – Turtle and tortoise wildlife groups and rescue organizations throughout North America led by Malibu based American Tortoise Rescue are calling on the pet industry and private breeders to stop the sale of tortoises called sulcatas.  These tortoises, when sold as hatchlings, are typically an impulse buy for the holidays because they are so tiny and cute.

According to Susan Tellem, co-founder of American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), the sale of sulcatas today is similar to the pet trade’s large-scale sale of iguanas during the early to mid-90s.  Many people bought cute baby iguanas not realizing that they could grow to six feet and become aggressive.  Just like iguanas, Sulcata breeders and pet stores that sell them create problems that other people, especially reptile rescuers, have to solve.

“The pet industry looks for small, adorable exotic animals with a big price tag,” Tellem says.  “We’ve conducted a survey of sulcata owners about what they were told when they purchased their tortoises.  Whether at a pet store or reptile show – the answer is the same.  ‘It won’t get bigger than its tank.’   This is patently ridiculous and often a deliberate lie to make a sale.”  She added, “Breeders won’t turn their backs on an obvious money making machine.  So what we are requesting this holiday season and beyond is simply market driven economics. People shouldn’t buy sulcatas.  Pet stores should stop selling them.  Reptile shows must have a ‘no sulcata’ policy.  Only then will breeders have no choice but to stop breeding them.  There are plenty available through rescues like ours.”
Continue reading

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Another dumb idea: Shark Culling

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It seems any time a problem arises where animals are involved, all some people can come up for a solution involves killing the animals.

It’s simplistic. It takes very little thought, or little more than a tree stump can develop. And of course, for those who enjoy killing things as a pastime, it’s right up their alley.

It’s happening in Hawaii and Australia, where recent shark attacks have government officials turning to mass killing. God forbid any drownings might occur in these regions, or officials will call for the oceans to be drained.

Of course, everyone who enters the Earth’s oceans knows about the risks involved.

An editorial posted on The Conversation website offers some important information, including the following:

So often the argument in favour of a cull comes down to the emotional question of who is more important: a human or a shark. Rather, we need to ask the question, will culling sharks actually reduce the risk of an attack?

The answer is no. In fact, when shark culling was carried out in Hawaii, between 1959 to 1976, over 4,500 sharks were killed and yet there was no significant decrease in the number of shark bites recorded.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Animal welfare protests at Georgia Regents University

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The Humane Society of the US alleges, through video, that dogs are being abused during research studies at Georgia Regents University. With the release of this news, a group of animal-welfare advocates protested this past weekend at the Augusta, Ga. campus.

A response from Dr. Christopher Cutler and Dr. Mark Hamrick of the university ran on the WRDW-TV website. In the editorial, the two state the HSUS is claiming abuse where no such abuse is occurring. They support their position – in part – with the following:

Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university. In this and every study at GRU, they are only obtained from vendors licensed and inspected by the USDA.

Puppy mill supporters use this same excuse, and it’s not a good one. The USDA is extremely short-handed with inspectors and we know puppy mills are operating unimpeded across the nation. And we know the regulations are extremely weak, as even puppy mills that are finally raided have often been allowed to stay in operation despite a history of infractions.

I would feel better to hear school officials were visiting the breeders on a regular basis for full tours, to ensure the parent dogs are being treated humanely. Are the breeders allowing the dogs regular, daily time for exercise and play? If not, these dogs are not being treated humanely.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Connecticut city considers ban on puppy and kitten sales in stores

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Hartford, Conn. held a second of two public hearing last week on a proposed ban on the sale of puppies and kittens in stores that originate from kitten or puppy mills. The legislation would limit the “sales” to what the Fairfield Patch website calls “humanely sourced puppies.”

The article reports one opponent of banning the sale of puppies in stores read from a newspaper ad concerning pit bulls needing new homes. He was quoted a saying, “We are in business because people don’t want an old pit bull dog.”

That’s ridiculous and it is the typical propaganda that falsely claims all homeless dogs are either pit bulls or mutts. Clearly, the nation would NOT have the thousands over thousands of breed-specific rescues operating, if the only dogs in the homeless ranks were pit bulls and mixed-breeds.

Puppies and kittens should not be sold like toasters in stores. Adopting or purchasing a pet is a lifetime commitment, where an adoption-application is part of the process. It is not something that should be an impulse decision by shoppers.

In addition, the buyer has no way of confirming the conditions where the puppies are bred. No one should purchase a puppy or kitten without confirming how the parent dogs are being treated. It is far too risky.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Article highlights weakness in current animal-cruelty regulations

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Ignorance as a primary factor in animal-cruelty cases was the primary theme for an article posted November 30 on the Topeka Capital-Journal website.

But the article also notes how much local law enforcement agencies can be handcuffed by current regulations. Which clearly indicates these current regulations do not offer enough protections for animals suffering from abuse.

So when you read a statement or hear someone state that enforcement of current regulations is all that needs to happen – and claim new laws are not needed, we know these claims have little basis in reality.

The Topeka Capital-Journal piece offers this:

Unless the situation is life-threatening, officers can’t do much within the first three to four days of a complaint.

And this:

Officers also have authority to act under exigent circumstances — those instances in which they know an animal will die if they don’t intervene immediately, Hamilton said.

But it seems in cases of severe suffering, but where the officer might not be able to show the animal is about to die, they cannot act to rescue the pet immediately.

We need stronger regulations nationwide. Clearly, animals can be suffering greatly where the abuse is not to a level where they are going to die immediately. We see this often in puppy-mill cases, where the abuse had to reach horrible levels before


A lack of understanding of basic logic can lead to statements that defy logic

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Oddly enough, the headline over an editorial published Sunday on the Globe and Mail website reads “Hunting for logic in the WTO’s seal-hunting ruling.”

The World Trade Organization recently upheld the European Union’s important ban on products imported from the Canadian seal hunts. It is a great ban, but the aforementioned editorial shows an opposition to it, noting other animals slaughtered for food are killed under inhumane conditions.

But suggesting we should not work to ease the suffering for one species, merely because other species are being treated horribly too, is far from logical. In fact, it is great that progress can be made in any areas possible.

And then there’s this from the piece:

On the contrary, the Canadian government insists the highly regulated seal hunt is humane, a claim supported by veterinarians who have studied it.

Who could logically claim beating an animal to death is humane? Clearly this is not the case. And the more science advances and uncovers, in terms of self-awareness in animals, the more the evidence mounts to show these acts are not humane. The statement above is based on old notions and has no basis in modern science and has no basis in our current understanding of what animals actually feel.

It’s time to put the old, antiquated thinking in the trash bin of history.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Thought for the Day: Recovery from Dog Fighting

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We often read about dogs rescued from dog-fighting rings and about their rehabilitation from the horrors they faced. So often the stories show how many of the dogs can recover and become loving family members.

This is because dogs are inherently good. But the dogs are – after all – are the victims in all of these cases. But the people who operate and attend and bet on the dog fights are far, far less likely to recover any level of compassion or morals in their lives.

So while the dogs have been trained to engage in a vicious activity, with their trainers and other evil people looking on, it is the dogs rescued from the rings who often end up becoming responsible, loving members of society.

I think this says something about the horrible people roaming about in our society.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic