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.:

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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

Mother nature invented the gear

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Humans came up with the invention of the gear in mechanics, but it seems at least one insect beat them to it.

The appropriately-named planthopper uses gears in its hind legs to leap on a level Superman might be amazed to see. An article posted September 12 in the Health & Science section of the Washington Post website notes the planethopper uses its “hind legs that mesh and rotate to synchronize the timing of each limb’s release during a jump.”

Amazing stuff.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Trunking is an evil form of an evil practice

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Dog fighting is horrendous on its basic levels. But some evil people have found a way to make it more horrible. They throw two dogs into a car trunk to fight – often so that the sound will be muffled and therefore less likely to be heard by nearby residents.

If we even needed more evidence that some criminals should never be allowed out of prison, this practice clinches it. People who can torture animals and children are screaming out a message that they are over the edge. They lack empathy to a level that is dangerous to others.

Commissioners in Miami-Dade (Fla.) are discussing a plan to increase the criminal penalties for “trucking.” But the proposal falls far short of what the penalties should be. I don’t get it.

The plan is to double the fine to $2,000. I realize we’re talking about a county fine here. State governments and the federal government should dramatically increase the punishment for dog fighting and similar acts of cruelty. The people who engage in these acts consider the current sentencing nothing more than a slight inconvenience.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Another weak sentence for dog fighting

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Too many courtrooms across the country are handing out very weak punishments for serious crimes – like dog fighting. I am consistently stunned by the light sentences we’re reading about.

A few days back, a dog fighter in Gary, Ind. was given just 18 months of home detention and probation for operating a fighting ring out of his garage. The criminal pleaded guilty last month to promoting or staging an animal fighting contest (Class D felony) and misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia, as reported by Opposing Views.

He will pay funds to cover the care of the dogs. But a ban on having “vertebrate animals” as pets only runs through the length of his sentence. So after a year-and-a-half, this dog torturer can obtain more dogs.

It is unbelievable that anyone with a functioning brain and moral compass could support allowing a convicted dog fighter to EVER possess any pets EVER again.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Editorial covers a lot of ground on animal welfare

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An editorial by Peter Fricker, projects and communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society, ran September 8 on the Vancouver Sun website.

Fricker covers a lot of territory on animal-welfare topics, from endangered species to habitat loss to horse racing to factory farming to fur farms to bull fighting. He offers one quote indicating that unlike the extinction of animals over the past history of the Earth, human activity is almost entirely to blame for the current extinction crisis.

Among the terrible statistics he cited is this:

More than 10,000 U.S. thoroughbred horses are shipped annually to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Most of these are young, healthy horses — their racing careers can end at three years old but they can live to 30.

This is a stunning number that outpaces the horrors of the awful greyhound racing industry. The convenient excuse is to claim we have to inflict suffering on animals in vast ways, for financial reasons – or for the jobs the suffering supports.

Is our society still so greedy or in other ways so apathetic that we’re supposed to support cruelty and torture as long as it supplies jobs? We should be at a point – in 2013 – where we’ve advanced beyond this point. But we are not there yet.

I think most people care. But there exist enough greed and apathy and cruelty around us to maintain these industries and entities and to maintain the protection the government is offering them. So horse racing, dog racing, puppy mills and other horrors still exist because too many politicians refuse to put compassion above profit margins.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Marijuana smoke harmful to pets

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I just received a press release from the Pet Poison Helpline, concerning the dangers of marijuana to pets.

For those who choose to smoke marijuana – fine. But those who expose others to the second-hand smoke, including the exposure to pets, are stepping over the line. It is clearly harmful to pets – and certainly kids should not be exposed to it.

And certainly this sort of thing should not promoted to kids in any way.

Thank you to the Pet Poison Helpline for distributing this information:

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2013) – On the heels of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, last week the Justice Department effectively announced it won’t challenge other states’ attempts to legalize the drug for medical or recreational use. While marijuana is still classified as illegal, eight new federal enforcement priorities were issued that essentially discourage federal prosecutors from pursuing non-violent marijuana users and focusing efforts on marijuana sales linked to criminal activity. Many believe these policy changes lay the groundwork for more states to legalize marijuana, especially for medicinal use in humans. Meanwhile, debates about whether or not medical marijuana is beneficial for ailing pets are becoming more frequent. While the jury remains out regarding the benefits of medical marijuana for pets, recent news coverage and an increase in the number of pets being treated for accidental marijuana poisonings are raising questions about the safety of marijuana, especially in dogs.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic