Another rescued dog rescues a family member

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I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had over many years as an animal advocate, concerning the special qualities of a rescued pet. And how many times have we read stories about rescued pets saving the life of a guardian.

It has happened again, this time in Portland, CT, where a dog awakened a couple, who then found their 9-week-old daughter was not breathing.

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WSFB reports the couple wanted to tell their story, as a way to promote the adoption of homeless pets.

Hero Georgia dog wins HSUS award

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A pit bull in Georgia has been honored by the Humane Society of the US for saving the life of one of his guardians and then coming to her aid later again.

Last July, Gloria Benton suffered an suffered an aneurysm, fell and fractured her skull – as reported by My Fox Atlanta. Titan alerted her husband that something was wrong, as he was headed out the door to go to work.

He came to Gloria’s rescue again when she broke her hip several weeks ago.

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Pack Topics: Animal cruelty; Dog Auctions; Paul McCartney against cosmetic testing on animals

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Kitten buried in concrete: A kitten discovered buried alive in concrete and inside a pipe died days after being rescued back in May. Law enforcement officials in Arizona are investing the case.

There are some strange allegations flying in the case, according to an article on the Star Tribune website. But the bottom line is this – the person or persons responsible need to spend a long time in prison.

Dog auctions in Ohio back in the news: Thankfully, some great people are working hard to enact a law to ban dog auctions. But the practice continues, in part due to the puppy mill practices of the Amish. WFMY News reported this week on a recent auction in Millersburg, Ohio.

Two dogs recently purchased by animal-welfare activists were found to have medical problems – from a degenerative disc and broken bones for one and an ear infection, major tooth decay and skin lesions for the other.

Paul McCartney supports Be Cruelty-Free campaign: The music icon is everyone to get behind the Humane Society International/India’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign. The mission is to end animal testing on cosmetic products – worldwide.

Abuse uncovered in training of Tennessee Walking Horses

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A leading trainer of Tennessee Walking Horses – those who compete in high-stepping competitions – faces a federal grand jury indictment, as reported by ABC News.

Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States is quoted by ABC News as saying, “All too often, you have to cheat to win in this sport.” Far too often, we see this as being true when animals are used in a variety of competitive, so-called “sports” or contests.

Once again, the Humane Society of the United States has uncovered people abusing animals. Sadly, people who engage in cruel training practices like this probably brag about the success with their methods. In reality, what they know about animals would not fit on the tip of sewing needle.

The video shows the lead trainer and others “beating horses with wooden sticks and using electric cattle prods.” This is not training. It is torture.

ABC News also reports painful chemicals and chains are used on the horses’ legs to force them to step higher. This is sick and the people involved in this sort of animal cruelty within any industry should be sentence to long spells behind bars.

WARNING: This video contains VERY disturbing images of horses being abused.

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The industry is claiming abuse is rare, but the article paints a far different picture –
“” But a random inspection by the agents of the Department of Agriculture at last year’s annual championship found that 52 of 52 horses tested positive for some sort of foreign substance around front hooves, either to cause pain or to hide it. “”

Another case offers more evidence of self-awareness in dogs

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I recently got into a back-and-forth about greyhound racing under a Huffington Post blog entry. A couple of folks on the pro-racing side talked about the dogs as “athletes” and about how much they are worth in monetary terms. And they claimed the dogs love racing.

I came out of the discussion thinking about how far behind these people are when it comes to understanding animal welfare, animal behavior and cognition. One side of the animal-welfare debate is pushing compassion for animals and pushing for better laws to protect animals from cruelty. The other side is fighting all of that and considers an animal to be nothing more than a physical possession.

The science is in, however. The research and study needs to go on, but the conclusion has been reached. Animals – most notably what we might call the higher-order animals – have self-awareness and a state of consciousness. A recent story out of Massachusetts piles more information on the ever-growing mound of proof that these theories have now advanced deep into the category of FACT.

And this story heaps more evidence into the research:

This pit bull – yes pit bull – pulled his unconscious guardian off a train track and saved her life. Lilly risked her own life and suffered severe injuries. After her leg has been amputated, Lilly is expected to recover.

As reported by My Fox Boston, the train engineer witnessed Lilly pulling Christine Spain off the track, but despite all of his efforts to stop the train in time, he could not avoid hitting the dog.

This is not instinctive behavior on Lilly’s part. What she did took a higher-order thought process, to recognize a danger and act on it to save another being from harm. How can we – as an advanced society – not advance our legal system to offer for animals better protection from cruelty?

How can we allow horse slaughter, knowing they have an advanced level of consciousness? How is it that particular entities in 2012 are fighting against stronger anti-puppy mill laws? How is it that certain entities are trying to hide from public view the cruelty that takes place on too many factory farms?

These people and entities fighting against animal welfare are not only on the wrong side of history, they are on the wrong side of the galaxy when it comes to compassion and science. I am excited and heartened by the fact that in the case of animal welfare, science and compassion have fully joined forces. The mounting scientific evidence clearly supports the animal-welfare movement and its compassionate message.

Follow-up: Austin Police issue apology for shooting family dog and release more details

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Before I get into this story more, I want to say that I’m not one to routinely or callously criticize law enforcement officers. I have a high degree of respect for anyone who puts their life on the line to protect innocent people – from law enforcement to firefighters to the brave men and women who serve the nation in our military.

But that being said, this level of service and bravery should not serve as a shield from being exposed for any wrongdoing.

The case in Austin, Texas where the police officer shot a family dog should serve as a call to better train officers across the country in dog behavior. Cases such as the one in Austin have happened enough now – as reported today by the Huffington Post – that it should spark some better training.

The Huff Post piece linked to a Daily Beast article from 2009 that reported dog attacks on US Postal workers have become rare. Why? – Because mail carriers are offered training on how to distract dogs and are “shown a two-hour video and given instruction on how to recognize and read a dog’s body language, how to differentiate between aggressive charging and playful bounding, and how to tell a truly dangerous dog from a merely territorial one.”

The Beast also noted that between 2000 and 2002, the Indianapolis police shot 44 dogs, as reported by the Indianapolis Star.

ABC News filed this video report, which includes interviews with the dog’s guardian in Austin and dash-cam video and audio from the incident in Austin. From the audio, it seems clear to me that the officer is one who should be trained the way postal workers are trained.

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I’ve been approached on numerous occasions by aggressive dogs and in none of these instances, barring one occurrence I recall when I was a small child, did the dogs bite me. And never did I have anything I could use to protect myself, other than my wits.



Sick puppies walk into human hospital for help

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Two sick puppies walked through the automatic doors Friday at Christus Spohn Shoreline hospital in Corpus Cristi, Texas. Despite the fact that they carried no insurance cards, the two dogs did get some help from the compassionate folks at the facility – as reported by KIII TV.

What a great story. The pups will soon be ready for adoption.