Local Pennsylvania store chain drops puppy sales; makes important statement

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I was really pleased to see this headline flash up on the Pack News Wire earlier today: “Pets Plus stops selling animals raised in puppy mills.”

The Montgomery News article reports Pets Plus stores in the Philadelphia area are joining the Humane Society of the United States program to end the sale of puppies. The article notes more customers are going into the stores to shop, since the change to holding adoptions only.

There is an ever-growing understanding in the general public as to the risk of buying puppies from stores. The odds are far too great that the puppies are bred in puppy mills.

The last local store in my home city that was selling puppies went out of business a few years ago. The only other puppy seller shut that store down several years prior.

A new pet-supply store just opened here, part of a national chain. Before the site opened, I spoke with the manager who emphatically stated they would not be selling dogs or cats and would be hosting adoption events.

Stores still claiming they need to sell puppies to stay in business are living in the 1950s and need to update their business models in a huge way. Many of the national chains and a host of local stores all across the nation learned long ago that selling puppies is a loser in every aspect of the term.

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Puppy mill busted in North Carolina

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I’m a bit late getting this up on the blog. But it is important to report – for the benefit of those who might have missed the news – on a puppy mill bust in Rutherford County, NC.

Thank you to the local law enforcement officials there and once again to the Humane Society of the United States.

Thankfully, these dogs were saved. But because too many states have failed to enact and put into practice better protections for puppy mill dogs and animals across the board, the raids are scattered.

A massive number of puppy mills will continue to slip under the legal radar.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

When will we see an end to greyhound racing?

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There has been a scattering of news of late on the topic of greyhound racing. I’m hoping with every passing day, we are getting closer to a complete shutdown of this horrible industry.

Over in the UK, an important article ran on the Independent website on November 8. Apparently a BBC1 documentary ran several days ago entitled – “Panorama: Drugs and Money – Dog Racing Undercover.”

The Independent piece used the terms – ” … but the overall impression was of a sport in which the dogs mean nothing at all beyond their gambling potential” in reviewing the documentary.

The greyhounds are being given drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and the sedative cyclazine. Some 2,500 dogs are being killed there each year when their racing days are over.

A BBC News article ran on November 3, detailing how the dogs are “drugged to rig bets.” The article contains some really disgusting information.

Back in September, VeroNews.com referenced an independent report funded by the Florida legislature. The state spent $4.1 million to regulate greyound racing in 2012, but the tax revenues over the same year only amounted to $3.1 million.

On an interesting side note, a judge in Texas has ruled the industry there cannot offer terminals where patrons gamble on images of historical races. A group of charitable bingo operations challenged the use of the terminals, because they might reduce the level of patronage on bingo games.

The CEO of the Sam Houston Race Park was quoted in the Chron.com blog entry linked above as saying the ruling was a blow to the racing industry in the state. That is actually great news for dogs and horses.

And in another bit of good news, the University College Dublin has announced it will stop purchasing greyhounds for veterinary training. Yahoo News out of the UK reports the League Against Cruel Sports and GREY2K found that 212 former racing dogs were purchased and killed by the university over a six-year period.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

BREAKING GOOD NEWS: Federal court tosses lawsuit that challenged new crackdown on puppy mills

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The Humane Society of the US just released a statement concerning the actions of a federal court. A lawsuit that challenged the USDA’s new rules directed to the Internet sales of puppy mill puppies, was shut down by the court.

“We are delighted the court has thrown out this baseless lawsuit challenging USDA’s new rule cracking down on Internet sellers of puppy mill dogs,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation and investigations for the HSUS, in the press release.

“In a detailed opinion, the court concluded that the breeders ‘are barking up the wrong tree’ because ‘their complaints are more policy disagreements with APHIS’s regulatory approach than they are valid legal objections to APHIS’s authority.’

“Dismissing the breeders’ legal claims as ‘a dog that won’t hunt,’ the court granted judgment in favor of USDA and the HSUS – which intervened to help defend the rule because every large-scale operation should be inspected and every dog provided a bowl of clean water and enough space to move around.”

Add me to the list to animal-welfare advocates who are grateful to the court for flushing this nasty lawsuit down the toilet, where it belongs.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Bad news for puppy mill dogs in Illinois

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Reports out of Illinois, leading up to the election of Bruce Rauner Tuesday as the state’s new Governor, indicate bad news for dogs suffering in mass production breeding facilities – puppy mills.

Back on October 29, Steve Dale noted on his blog that Rauner was getting support from Petland, a national chain that sells puppies in its stores. Dale rightfully reminds his readers that Petland is actively fighting regulations against puppy mills.

Rauner has thanked Petland for its support of his election campaign.

How anyone could support any company that fights against protections for dogs suffering in puppy mills is stunning. Before Rauner even begins officially serving as the state’s Governor, it appears he is unable understand this easily-understandable issue.

That’s a horribly bad first step.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality at the forefront this month

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Maybe it’s the approach of Halloween or maybe it’s a decay of common sense, but we’re seeing an ever-growing level of Wacky Mentality in recent news reports.

But first, a commercial break: A new, regular video feature is coming soon for the Pack Mentality Blog. Stay tuned for more details. Hint: It will be a news show like no other.

Now – on to the latest Wacky-ness:

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quoted this week as stating that allowing all people to vote in a democracy would give too much power to the poor.

So you oppress people into poverty and then cry-baby that letting them vote would give them a stake in their government. That’s wacky and evil.

The national government in China has presented a plan where the people of Hong Kong could vote on their leaders, but only among a list of candidates hand picked by the sitting government.

We’ve got our own problems with voting laws in some US states. I hope leaders in these regions don’t get any new ideas from China.

Allowing fracking companies to keep the list of chemicals they use secret from the public is more than wacky – it’s sneaky, underhanded wacky. But this is exactly what the government is currently doing.

An Environmental Integrity Project report notes the companies don’t even have to obtain a permit to inject potentially-dangerous chemicals into the ground. Why? – because the lobbyists keep reminding the politicians about those big campaign donations.

And get this, it’s called the “Halliburton Loophole.” If that’s not a slap in the face to the environment and to the public across the board, I don’t know what is.

And if both of those stories weren’t enough for the week …

Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American – in 2014!! – is finally banning the act of smoking in its offices. Most indoor areas will be off limits to smoking, but the company will set up smoking rooms.

It took Reynolds this long to consider the health of its employees. That’s stunning, even for a cigarette company.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

BP Translated: “Whaaaaa, no fair; Everybody’s pickin’ on us ’cause we polluted the Gulf”

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So BP has huge hand in the worst man-made environmental disaster in US history and now the company talking heads want to downplay the horrible impacts.

Geoff Morrell, the senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs at BP, penned an op-ed for Politico Magazine, which published the drivel on Tuesday of this week. It’s seems the endless train of propaganda-filled TV ads weren’t enough.

The headline of the op-ed (or in this case – odd-ed) – “No, BP Didn’t Ruin the Gulf.”

Morrell fails to mention impacts on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico and the coral reefs and fails to touch on the impacts to wetlands and marshes along the coast.
Earlier today, Media Matters noted the misleading nature of the op-ed. And of course, BP seems to want us to forget the horrible images we saw as oil-coated animals suffered and died.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Survey Says – We’re making progress on adoption and spay/neuter messages

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PetSmart Charities’ 2014 US Shelter Pet Report contains some interesting findings that show progress on the animal-welfare front. But it should be noted that one of the troubling aspects of the report explains that about 8 million homeless pets are entering US shelters every year and only half find homes.

Some of the other findings include the chart that shows the number of households with pets increased from 63 percent in 2011 to 81 percent three years later.

The percentage of those are choosing adoption over buying a new pet rose from 58 to 66 over the same 2011 to 2014 time frame. Only 28 percent purchased the most recent dog addition to the family.

The education level is rising within the American public, thankfully. But we can’t scale back on the effort. The more people who receive the message, the better.

One of the many great sections of the report notes “adoption is one of the safest ways to acquire a pet.” It is the safest means. Purchasing a pet is only safe if the person engages in significant research into the breeder and visits the breeding facility for a FULL tour.

But still, if you ask the right questions at the shelter or when dealing with a rescue group, you can be more assured that you’re getting the right pet for you.

And of course, spay/neuter is a key element in the battle to greatly reduce the number of pets dying in shelters. Clearly education is so important, as noted in the PetSmart report, where 85 percent underestimated the number of pets euthanized every year.

I found this statement from the report interesting: “In the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians says that spay/neuter surgery is safe for pets as young as 8 to 10 weeks old.”

I would tend to suggest going a bit older, if possible, just to be safe. But how about this stat – 86 percent of pet dogs and cats are spayed or neutered. Of course, we still have a bigger problem with roaming cats and dogs.

So the end result is, progress is being made and we’re moving in the right direction. But we still have a long road to travel and far more in the way of education is needed.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Report: Another family dog shot by law enforcement officer

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I will routinely lead in post such as this with a statement of general support for law enforcement officers. A vast majority are in their jobs because they want to fight crime and protect the innocent.

But we’ve seen a number of cases of late where the innocent has been the target of a few officers. The latest case where an animal is concerned is in Michigan, where a team of officers surrounded the wrong house, in engaging in raid to arrest a wanted suspect.

The Huffington Post reports that even after the group realizes they are at the wrong home, an officer in the back yard shoots the family dog – an elderly mixed-breed dog.

Thankfully, the 15-year-old canine survived, after struggling through three surgeries. The article states the family is not getting a response from either the Michigan Department of Corrections or the Michigan State Troopers.

Clearly, a 15-year-old dog would not be perceived to be a threat. So any officer in a case such as this who fired the shot should be – at minimum – suspended for a long period of time and forced to undergo extensive daily training on both the use of a firearm and how to handle cases where they encounters dogs.

If the facts of this case show no more important evidence in favor of the officer, he should be fired and his permit to carry a gun revoked.

We can’t have law enforcement officials encountering the public (including pets) anywhere, with little or no apparent training in the use of a dangerous weapon.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More bad news for Earth’s oceans and ice caps

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Two recent articles point to troubling trends for our oceans. If only more than a few political leaders had the courage to stand up to their Big Oil/Big Coal donors – and then move in the right direction on climate change.

Climate Central describes the oceans as “warming and acidifying.” And recent reporting indicates 90 percent of the planets warming is on the seas.

Before you think, “oh, it’s only the oceans,” read this from the article – “That rapid ocean warming has consequences for the Earth’s climate and its shorelines.”

And then there’s the Daily Beast, from October 5. Despite what the anti-science crowd is putting out, Antarctica is melting fast. It is even reportedly impacting the Earth’s gravity.

Over a three-year span of a recent study, three Antarctic glaciers lost about 2014 billion US tons of ice each year.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic