Some good news – hopefully – for dogs in Iowa and Ohio

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Proposed legislation in Ohio to regulate dog breeding and in Iowa to shut down greyhound racing could offer better times for canines in both states.

Senate Study Bill 1064 in Iowa would permit Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs and Mystique Casino in Dubuque to shut down their greyhound track if they pay the state a total of $70 million over seven years.

The Des Moines Register quotes Jim Carney, a lobbyist for Ceasars Entertainment, as saying the following during a Senate State Government subcommittee meeting this week – “Dog racing is matter of fact dead. The only thing sustaining it here is this pool that we have to pay of which over 40 percent is going to out of state dog owners.”

It’s true in Iowa and Florida. Dog racing is being propped up by the two state governments and/or casino operators. The industry can’t stand on its own and that is why insiders are fighting the decoupling legislation in both states.

What is happening in Ohio doesn’t seem to be perfect, at least according to an article on the Chicago Tribune website, but it could be a step in the right direction to regulate d0g breeding shut down more puppy mills.

The State Senate voted 30-0 to advance the dog-breeding bill to the House. But Mary O’Connor-Shaver of the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions is concerned that the legislation instructs a committee made up largely of reps from retail pet stores and commercial breeding interests to develop the breeding standards.

That is mistake. The committee should be comprised of veterinary medical experts and animal-welfare advocates. Hopefully, more reasonable heads will prevail in this case.

Trailer: Big Miracle

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This move is definitely on my must-see list. Big Miracle is the true story of a family of whales trapped under a growing area of ocean ice and the community that came together to save them.

It is always fantastic to see acts of compassion as a major theme of any movie, especially in a major motion picture such as this. There are a lot of people who oppose animal welfare who really need to watch this one, including government officials in countries like Japan that are still engaged in torturing and slaughtering whales.

Amazing: Service dog saves woman’s life with multiple tasks

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An elderly woman in Glendale, Ariz. is alive and recovering in the hospital thanks to her service dog, who performed multiple tasks in coming to her aid, after she fell in her home and broke her femur.

ABC News reports Bethe Bennett was losing consciousness on the floor when Danny, a miniature schnauzer, began licking her in the face. Bennett then signaled Danny to get the phone for her and he knocked it off a table and pushed it to her with his nose. She called 911 for help.

When she realized the doors to her home were locked, she used the command “paper” to get him to bring her pages that contained neighbors’ phone numbers, so they could unlock the front door with a hidden key.

Danny is able, thankfully, to visit Bennett in the hospital and nap in the bed with her. How great is that?

How many times do we need to read stories such as this before the naysayers drop their claims that animals lack intelligence and don’t deserve added protections in our society?

How much evidence do some people need before they come to the realization that animals do indeed possess self-awareness and abilities beyond so-called instincts? This story alone offers clear evidence that dogs (in this case) are more than instinctive in their thought patterns and problem solving.

Pack Line Headlines: Animal cruelty laws, puppy mill legislation, compassion education

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The next generation of animal lovers, hopefully: I believe we need compassion education in our schools, with programs such as the following –

The Santa Ynes Valley News reported Tuesday on third-graders from Los Olivos Elementary School in California visiting Happy Endings Sanctuary. The students were there to learn about animal welfare and how they can help.

Better regulations against puppy mills in Hawaii: The state legislature is proposing better laws to combat puppy mills, according to an article posted Monday on

It is suggested that the push to stiffen breeding regulations comes after 150 dogs were rescued last February from an alleged puppy mill in Waimanalo.The article reports several bills are being discussed that could firm up the enforcement of existing laws and enact harsher penalties.

HSUS study ranks North Dakota at 48 on animal-welfare front: A letter to the editor posted Sunday on notes North Dakota is near the very bottom of a recent state ranking by the Humane Society of the US and calls for improvement. She asks why this has not happened to date.

Video: Kansas City REGAP group shows off adoptable greyhounds

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Fox 4 News out of Kansas City, Mo. ran an info piece Monday on its website featuring two rescued racing greyhounds.
Thankfully, the Kansas City REGAP representatives spoke about the horrible life the dogs lead in racing. They mentioned the dogs are fed 4D meat and often come to their group with intestinal parasites.

They mentioned the dogs found with their ears cut off so that no one can trace their ear tattoos and those found buried in mass graves. The interviewer was trying to maintain a level of impartiality and that is understandable, but the main spokesperson did a great job of covering some serious bases.

Pack Line Headlines: Dog Fighting

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A variety of articles concerning the topic of dog fighting has arrived on the Pack Mentality news wire over the past week.

Stolen dogs used as bait in fighting rings: Officials in Yakima, Wash. are seeing what they fear is an increase in pets being stolen to be used as bait to train fighting dogs. One rescue group in Yakima told that prior to November of 2011, it was receiving two to three calls each month about stolen dogs. Now that number has climbed to 30 to 40.

The problem is not limited to the United States, as we see in an article posted on the Herald Sun website out of Australia. Numerous Staffordshire terriers and mastiffs have been reported stolen in the areas of Geelong, Werribee, Wendouree and Melton.

Ian Somerhalder Tweeting about dog fighting and puppy mills: Ian Somerhalder of Vampire Diaries fame is using the Twitterverse to get a particular animal-welfare message out to the masses.

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Iowa puppy mill operator was previously cited in ’99 for violating Animal Welfare Act

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Over 90 animals were found recently living in horrible conditions in an alleged puppy mill in Kiron, Iowa. has now exposed a report from the USDA noting the breeder had previously violate the Animal Welfare Act in 1999.

The story notes the report involved the individual’s store at the time, called Fifth Avenue Pets.

And reports 18 of the dogs are being cared for at the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines, Iowa. And surprise, surprise – the breeder did not have a current USDA license.

Five of the dogs found on the property were dead. The dogs at the Animal Rescue League were described as having “feces-crusted fur.” Hopefully, some really serious charges will be filed in this case.


Article spins the pro-greyhound racing talking points

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I found a surprisingly one-sided article on the Florida decoupling bill posted Saturday on the Tampa Bay Times website, one that is decidedly pro-dog racing, in terms of only including information presented from the racing side.

The writer notes two bills are under review – in the state house and senate – but he then states, “Similar bills last year failed.” This is not exactly true. Both bills passed, but time ran out in the legislative session on a compromise bill.

The president of Greyhound Pets of America, Tampa Bay Chapter is quoted as saying – “If all of a sudden we have 1,000 dogs (Derby Lane’s kennel population), we wouldn’t have any place to put them, and (you know) where the dogs would go.” Is she suggesting the dogs would not make it out alive if racing was suddenly shut down? That’s an odd thing for an insider to say. What about the dogs dying every year now?

In reality, adoption groups from far and wide would come to the rescue to save the dogs.

Another person makes the tired, old, inaccurate, warped suggestion that racing dogs receive better care than dogs living with loving families. Reality is not a strong point for these people.

There is one statement in the article that offers hope – If the bills pass, dog racing in the state could end by July 1. What a great day that would be for greyhounds. But unfortunately, a Derby Lane spokesperson states that track would continue racing.

Local news organizations need to make sure editorials are posted as opinion pieces on their websites. Nothing on the Tampa Bay Times page where this story runs indicates it is more than a straight news story. The writer includes quotes from four individuals on the pro-racing side and then fails to include a single paragraph with a quote from the anti-racing side or from those supporting the bills. The writer even calls the Derby Lane facility an “iconic greyhound track.”

I think all sides on any particular issue have a right to a voice and I don’t mind reading editorials from those with opposing views. But news sites need to label their blogs and editorials as such.

Pack Line Headlines: Elephants, dog saves guardian, man stabs dog 11 times, adoption groups slammed

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Editorial slams adoption groups: A editorial that ran Thursday on the website suggests the adoption process through rescue groups can amount to an “inquisition.”

I don’t doubt that some rescue organizations can have detailed adoption application processes that turn some people off. The process varies from group to group. But the fear that homeless dogs and cats might end up back in the wrong hands is the primary reason why applications are part of the system.

A lot of pets find homes through local rescue groups all over the country. It happens every week in thousands (many thousands) of communities across the nation. But I also don’t doubt that on occasion some potentially good homes are blocked out.

So maybe there are some groups that could ease up  a bit. But I fully support the system. So many homeless pets have already lived a rough life. We need to insure as best we can that their next family is a good one.

Endangered elephants face more threats from food poachers in Thailand: This story is just disgusting. In Thailand, some people have taken to eating the meat from the trunks and sex organs of elephants. So because they think something is tasty, they are willing to wipe a majestic species off the face of the Earth.

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