Monday, May 31, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

My new favorite study: Shark attacks are most likely to occur on Sunday, in less than 6 feet of water, during a new moon and involve surfers wearing black and white bathing suits, a first of its kind study from the University of Florida suggests.

A German Shepherd-Rottweiler Cross attacked his owner while the owner put down a plate of food. The dog had bitten the owner once before but this attack was far more serious.

Wagging his tail and acting friendly, a Pit Bull was rescued from a car accident. No one was eaten by the injured, friendly dog. Amazing. It sounds like he and his owner will be okay.

A man stabs a Golden Retriever to death because the dog barked too much. The dog tried to defend himself, biting the man once.

Should Calgary ban Pit Bulls and Rottweilers after an English Mastiff and American Bulldog attack? Calgary Sun, please tell us!

A loose corn snake at a pet store bit a child in the face.

A Pit Bull running loose was shot 9 times, including in the back as the dog tried to claw his way back into his own home. The dog did not bite or harm anyone.

A Shar-Pei mix bites an elderly woman and knocks her to the ground. The dog is apparently kept outside on a chain, regularly.

Tammy Devoll: Is Ownership of Pit Bulls Worth the Risk?

Didn't I just write about this? And didn't a commenter say that no one makes these kinds of arguments? Apparently people do.

Tammy Devoll has an opinion. Here's part of her opinion. If you are so inclined, you can read the rest of opinion here. You don't need to be inclined. In summation: Devoll doesn't like Pit Bulls, she doesn't like their owners, and you are practically a sex offender if you have a Pit Bull.
Any breed of dog will bite if provoked, however, the difference between a more docile breed is it will more than likely bite once and usually the bitten area will be a leg or a hand, not intentionally the neck as the pit bull targets.
 Ah, the magical "only Pit Bulls attack the neck/face and only Pit Bulls bite multiple times" argument.
On the other end are the Pit Bulls who aren't living up to Devoll's standards:
We have multiple exceptions on both ends of the spectrum- more docile breeds engaging in prolonged attacks on people's faces and less docile Pit Bulls not biting necks.

For Devoll to be right, she must reclassify breeds with individuals biting the neck of humans or biting more than once as less docile. She must then re-classify individual Pit Bulls who don't bite necks or only bite once as something else. More docile individual Pit Bulls? I'm not sure how the argument would flow.

Go pet your dogs. Try not to get bit in the neck. I mean, if I read this blog entry and thought it represented all dogs, I'd consider them pretty darn dangerous. I don't, of course. You probably don't either. But therein lies the problem with the microscope and slant of media bias. A picture is painted that is more impressionist than realist. This would be fine if we were talking about cotton balls. Not so fine when the painting results in the death of dogs, a reduction in public safety and discrimination.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flowers in Bloom

The past week's weather has been interesting. From rain and hail storms, temperatures down to the 40-50s F to bright, hot sun and temperatures in the 80s. Not our usual northern California May weather. The plants and flowers have not been liking the extra rain. Gardeners aren't either. It increases mold, fungus and mildew and decreases the growing potential of different veggies and fruits, especially melons. It's nice to see normal May weather - 80s!

I took some photos of flowers growing in my mom's garden. The flowers were stretching hard to reach the sun and pollinating insects. When the veggie garden we planted is in full swing, I'll take pictures. They're just babies now. We've got melons, tomatoes, corn, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, and chilis. Yum!


may 29 2010 flo smb

May 29 2010 flo sma

Saturday, May 29, 2010

When Grown Men Scream

No one in Oakland has ever seen a gopher snake. Or a 4' snake.

So this is what happens when one makes a debut - two grown men scream while flinging the snake around with a golf club.

I want all you country folk to know that not all us city folks are screaming wimps. Take Minnie. She is a 4' gopher snake who I caught bare-handed a few years ago. She is one of three gopher snakes I have personally handled with my bare hands. I don't really advise doing that. The largest was 5.5' long. He was big and heavy and angry. The 3' one was tough as nails and decided s/he was going to eat my arm. They're constrictors, you know. Another staff member had to prise her/him off of me. I love my city living but equally adore my country work.

Of course, Minnie isn't from Oakland, she lives out in Vacaville, CA. The houseyard of the sanctuary is her favorite spot. She comes back every year. They have unique markings and coloration, you know, so I might be telling the truth that the last 4.5' snake I accidentally stepped on was actually Minnie. She didn't move an inch.

If I were those two men, I'd be embarrassed. I'd be embarrassed if those two men were women too. If you're going to handle a snake, do it with a straight back and some confidence, for cripes sake. Otherwise, just don't do it. If I can wrangle a gopher snake in less than two minutes, anyone can. Forty five minutes is ridonculous. RIDONCULOUS.

Otherwise Your Dog Will Fear a T-Rex Attack

This is a true fact - do not throw chewable dinosaurs at your dog. It's just plain rude. Plus, they will develop an abnormal fear of rabid dinosaur attacks. Your life will be difficult as you try to traverse the urban jungle, avoiding dental-tipped Stegs and Brontosauruses.

Anyway, I buy most of my dogs toys and clothes (I know, I know) through PetEdge. I endorse the instructions for this product.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Second Report Clears Officer of WrongDoing in Dog Shooting

Earlier this month, Cabarrus County, North Carolina animal control officers shot and killed a dog after an unsuccessful attempt at capturing her. I wrote about it here.

The initial report cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

The dog's owners requested a second investigation. The report is available here.

The "incident" began when Jaxson and Bella got out of their yard. Neither dog had collars or id tags. Both dogs encountered a woman and her son walking their small dogs. All four dogs are barking at each other. The small dogs' owner feels threatened and calls a neighbor, a deputy. The deputy brings her service revolver and positions herself between the two loose dogs and the leashed dogs and their owner. Everyone gets away unscathed.

At 6:31 pm, two sheriff's deputies arrive and by 6:37 pm, Jaxson is safely ensconced in a patrol car. Nearly 20 minutes later, animal control officer Sean Austin arrives. This is the beginning of the end for the remaining dog, Bella.

The officers accounts are that they chased Bella around, cornering her at a few points in time. They say that Bella got low to the ground, growled and showed teeth, and charged them. Another witness flashes a broom at Bella and then claims she was acting agitated. Two other witnesses claim that the dog was not acting aggressively, that she did not growl or bark, and that she kept trying to get closer to Jaxson, who was locked up in a car. The attorney writing the report states that we cannot be sure which account is the most accurate because of witness biases and possible confusion.

For fifteen minutes after Sean Austin arrived, they chased Bella around and attempted to corral her using a variety of different methods. She was uncooperative.

That is when Sean Austin decided that the only course of action to take was to shoot Bella as she fled from him. That is, he felt the only necessary action was to shoot a fleeing dog in the back. Bella did not die after the first gunshot. Sean Austin shot Bella in an area of the neighborhood that was not in plain view of the public.

Later, the report goes over the appropriate ordinances in effect to determine whether Sean Austin violated county or state law by shooting a non-biting dog in the back.

The attorney determines that since the dogs were acting in a threatening manner that they could be, during the incident, classified as dangerous dogs. This label permits officers on scene to kill the dogs.

A brief discussion occurs regarding tranquilizer guns, a generally non lethal method of subduing aggressive animals. Sean Austin lacks training with a tranquilizer gun, but this is moot - Sean Austin  would still have shot Bella as she ran away from him. He admits that he would not have used a tranquilizer gun in this situation.

The attorney finds the facts inconclusive as pertaining to the ordinance on animal cruelty. A dog can be shot when they pose imminent danger to other humans. When Bella was shot in the back, she posed no imminent danger to Sean Austin, although perhaps an argument can be made she posed imminent danger to someone out there in the world. It seems to me, based on her previous behavior, that she did not pose an imminent danger since she had not attempted to bite, maul or place teeth/claws on any living being's skin. But I am not an attorney. I am just a dog lover with an opinion.

The attorney concludes that shooting a non-biting dog in the back as she runs away is perfectly legal, according to county and state law.

There is no question that Bella and Jaxson should have been wearing tags. They should never have had the opportunity to escape. I have seen videos of the dogs - they appear to be socialized, friendly dogs. They are not the dogs you see video of who are acting like idiots everywhere they go. They appear to have been family pets and, with the exception of the id tags and collars, responsibly cared for.

Which is neither here nor there. Lots of friendly dogs act differently when left to their own devices. But Bella did not attempt to bite anyone. Even when the initial deputy on the scene brought out her service revolver, she did not choose to shoot Bella. And this is when Bella was at her most "aggressive" - barking. At no point did Bella try to attack. She was afraid and, yes, fearful dogs can be dangerous. Still, it seems that Sean Austin, after fifteen minutes of a fruitless chase, decided that Bella's life held little value, that she was too much of a hassle to pursue further.

And as she ran, in abject terror and fear, away from Sean Austin, he pointed his rifle at her and pulled the trigger, shooting her in the back. And as she screamed in pain, paralyzed and on the ground, he shot her again and ended her life.

Fifteen minutes. That is how long Sean Austin seems to spend doing his job before busting out the .22. Pity the dogs in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. I sure do.

Rescued Dog Surprises Officer

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

Basset Hound survives fling with alligator.

A bull mastiff with a history of running loose and biting attacks a smaller dog and the dog's owner. The woman is expected to be fine.

Pit Bull clings to life after barely surviving a savage mauling by four other dogs. She never fought back.

A cattle dog bites a girl in the face. The bite occurred while the child was playing with the dog.

A toddler tried to pet a sleeping Cocker Spaniel and was bitten in the face. The wound required six stitches to close.

A 3-yr-old English Mastiff will be killed after he attacked a 7-yr-old boy. The victim had opened the door, which hit the dog. The dog responded by biting the child, causing 3 dozen stitches worth of damage.

A Boxer/Bull Mastiff mix attacks a boy, ripping open the child's throat. He had to be airlifted to the hospital.

Animal control killed a Border Collie who had bitten a woman on the dog's property. The owner of the dog did not realize that when the dog was taken away, it would be the last time she saw the dog.

A Labrador/Shepherd mix attacked a boy who had entered the property to play with the dog owner's child.

Two Boxers with a long history of getting loose and biting both people and other animals attacked a woman, inflicting more than two dozen stitches of wounds. The dogs will be killed.

A Bull Mastiff in the UK with a history of attacking pets and people will not be killed.

A woman's two Boxers were killed by animal control. The woman had been given five days to get $300 to cover the impound fees and neutering. She was one freaking day late. The dogs may have been let out by neighborhood kids.

If This Could Be A Felony Charge...

This is one of the problems with state anti-cruelty laws - they almost invariably exempt farmed animals and, if they include them, the penalties are often less harsh and restrictive than if the animals was someone's dog or cat.

One of the workers shown severely abusing cows and calves on Conklin Dairy Farm has been arrested. The charges? All misdemeanors.

Think about that. This is a man who is so angry, so depraved that he breaks tails of other sentient beings, stabs them with pitchforks, twists their necks and legs so that he can beat them, punches and kicks animals in the face and sensitive udder...and all he faces are misdemeanors. This is a dangerous person. As of yet, not even the agribusiness industry can step up and defend anything that went on at this farm.

The farm was visited three times last year by the state. 

Conklin is a 4th generation dairy farmer. He is the owner. He wrote a statement decrying the abuse seen in the video.

He could not comment on the footage showing him kicking a cow who could not get up several times. When your boss kicks the cows, why is it surprising that workers would do it too?

Sure, this may be atypical, but how are consumers supposed to know? How is your average citizen who is worried about paying bills, feeding their family, supposed to know whether or not the milk they drink comes from a farm where workers stab pitchforks into animals' bodies?

Here are a few faces of the dairy industry from the sanctuary:

Nicholas Looking Handsome
Nicholas. He is a male dairy calf. They don't produce milk. They are sent to auction and sold for $3-15. Farmers do not make money off of them. They are raised for veal or backyard slaughter.

Pretty Sadie
Sadie developed mastitis when she was 5. Very common on dairy farms. Not so common on cow-calf operations raising calves for beef. Producing too much milk has some negative consequences for the animals. Mastitis is one of the primary reasons dairy cows are sent to slaughter. She's 12. We treated her mastitis. So far, she's exceeded the dairy farm cow's life span by 7 years. She never nursed or groomed her calves. When the calves arrived from auction, she was in mom heaven.

Calf cuteness attack
Summer and Freedom, two more male dairy calves. They exhibited abnormal and stereotypic behaviors commonly seen in maternal deprivation and social iso studies involving cattle - cross-suckling, inappropriate nursing, compromised immune system, etc. They turn one in a few days. I remember holding them the day we rescued them from auction. They were so small and frail. The workers used paddles to move them along, even though they could have easily been picked up. They are not so small anymore. :)

And now back to your normal programming. ;)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Egregious Animal Cruelty on Conklin Dairy Farm

These videos are one reason I don't drink milk. I've interned at dairy facilities. No, they are not all like this. Enough of them are, though. Even if they were all nice, I would not drink milk. Not when they remove babies the day they are born. Not when males are raised for veal. Not when I don't need the breast milk of another species to survive.

I know not all of you will agree with me. I generally avoid the veganism topic on this blog, because most of you a) aren't vegan and b) read this blog for Pit Bull related stuff. But veganism is an integral part of who I am, of what I do. It's as important to me as protecting dogs who look like Mina.

I could not finish watching this video. I adore cows. I have special bonds with several of the cows at the sanctuary. To see them abused in such an egregiously cruel manner breaks my heart.

Here is my prediction: Nothing major will happen to these workers. They would encounter harsher penalties if the animals in question were dogs and cats. They would certainly be in prison as I write this if the animals in question were human beings. These workers are dangerous - to cows/calves as much as to other human beings.That much is sure. Here is one recent article from ABC News.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pit Bulls Only Breed to Maul

I am oh so very tired of the worn argument that Pit Bulls are the only dogs capable of inflicting massive damage on a human being. I have yet to read any statistical data that indicates Pit Bulls inflict massive damage at a more frequent rate than other breeds. It may be out there. Show it to me if it is.

This little toddler in Odessa may disagree about the first sentence. In April, he was savagely mauled by his grandmother's cattle dog. When I say savagely mauled, I mean that. This was not one dedicated bite, this was a prolonged, devastating attack. The child needed nine hundred stitches. Nine hundred, people. The most recent news is sad - the little boy is still alive but his left eye will be removed. He suffered extensive brain trauma as well. The medical bills are over a million dollars.

This 12-yr-old girl may feel differently about the notion that Pit Bulls can only inflict significant harm. She was bitten in the face by a Labrador Retriever and needed one hundred stitches to close the wounds.

Or perhaps this 2-yr-old may argue (if he could speak) that it wasn't a Pit Bull who tried to kill him, it was a German Shepherd Husky Mix who inflicted two hundred stitches worth of damage.

If you have a theory that states "X Breed should be banned because they are the only ones capable of inflicting significant trauma" then perhaps you need to rethink your theory. Or, you need to hold true to your anti-dog zealotry and include Labs, German Shepherd Husky Mixes, and Cattle Dogs in your quest to ban breeds or mixes that can cause severe damage to peoples' bodies.

Otherwise, your theory rings hollow. It takes one exception to prove it wrong. I've provided three. I can provide more. I am not stating Pit Bulls cannot cause severe physical damage. They can. I am stating that if your position is Pit Bulls should be banned b/c they are the only ones capable of dedicated and savage attacks, then you have to expand your horizons and include all other breeds whose individual members have caused significant harm. It would be only fair.

Bryce Dixon Has Something to Say About Utah and Pit Bulls

Dixon thinks Southern Utah cities should ban Pit Bulls.

Pit Bull owners are accused of relying on emotional rhetoric to sway public opinion (cause it's worked so well for us, amirite?)

Instead, we must focus on analytical data that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt something important, I'm sure. Dixon presents us with such evidence:
Pit bull owners fight hard with an emotional arsenal, but the pit bull lover cannot win a reasoned argument. Merritt Clifton, editor of "Animal People," (an online journal for animal lovers) conducted study of dog bites from 1982 to 2006.
Merritt Clifton writes and edits "Animal People". "Animal People" is the National Enquirer of the animal rights movement. I read it for giggles (I don't subscribe). Clifton likes to write copious and angry tirades. He rarely bothers with little things called facts and instead masks his opinion as reality. He also claims you cannot make a German Shepherd stop herding or a Chihuahua stop barking, ergo Pit Bulls cannot be stopped from eating people.

You can read the "dog bite study" here.

Merritt Clifton appears to think he is a dog breed expert. He seems to believe that people tail dock Pit Bulls to make them harder to read behaviorally. This was untrue in 1982 as in 2009, the range of years in which Clifton "studied" dog bite reports.  German Shepherds get a free pass because they don't ever bite hard - they are but gentle nippers, holding on kindly to wayward children. This is why they make great police dogs, right? Hurting is almost never, according to Clifton, a German Shepherd's intent. Clifton is also a dog psychic. Amazing, really.

His "study" is perhaps one of the first I've read that include such gems as "this is hell of a problem" and dog owners are getting "clobbered". I prefer my scientific studies to be full of obscure terms and dry, boring language. So do peer-reviewed journals, none of which I know of have accepted Clifton's "study".

Clifton uses news reports. He makes up his own subjective idea of what constitutes a mauling or just a regular bite. He excludes dogs of unknown breeds because apparently they just aren't as important. Bites by police dogs, guard dogs and "fighting dogs"are also excluded because these dogs apparently cannot misbehave (they are just expected to misbehave?)

More importantly - NEWS REPORTS! Can you imaging trying to get published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal with your entire data set composed of news stories? Or you share with the committee that, well, you don't have any sources or statistics with 95% confidence intervals? Or that you just made up your own rules for the methods and data?

Clifton is not a dog bite expert. He is not a dog breed expert. His report is an opinion based on faulty and fallacious information. That is fine - just market it as such. Don't be a silly "journalist" and present it as analytical data that is sound and valid.

Other companies have a vicious dog insurance exclusion, which, of course, includes the American pit bull terriers and their cousins. You have probably received an endorsement in the mail excluding your homeowner's coverage for damage done by pit bulls.

Anti dog zealots loves to point out that insurance companies exclude Pit Bulls.

They neglect to mention those same insurance companies exclude:
* Akitas
* Chow Chows
* German Shepherds
* Rottweilers
* Dobermans
* Huskies
* Malamutes
* St. Bernards (in some cases)
* Great Danes (in some cases)

Is Dixon proposing that being excluded from getting an insurance policy makes your choice in a dog a bad one? Or that exclusion from a homeowner's insurance policy means all members of that dog's breed is dangerous? If so, then Dixon needs to be honest and just say "the inability to acquire homeowner's insurance indicates a dog's level of aggression and danger to society". I love magic logic.

We all love dogs, but a group of people love all dogs more than they love humans. Their passion for dogs prevents reasonable minds from taking proper action to eliminate totally the danger to our children from pit bull attacks.
 First off, we don't all love dogs. That's silly.

Second, if you are trying to argue rationally and logically, don't commit the same appeal to emotion fallacy you blasted the opposition for earlier. Dixon says if you want Pit Bulls, then you must also want mauled children, and how utterly awful is that? Feel ashamed.

Dog bite fatalities are exceedingly rare. Dog bites requiring hospitalization are very rare. When dogs bite, they tend to show incredibly restraint. You may find sources for those truths that don't include "hell" or "clobbered" and are published in peer-reviewed journals (or that, at the very least, use objective and agreed upon measurements of behavior). True facts are clearly less interesting than hyperbolic, made up ones.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chained, Aggressive Dog Still Alive After 100-stitch Bite

Last week, a dog bit a child in the face.

Things you will see wrong with this story:

1. The dog is always chained. Constantly chaining a social animal is a bad idea. Chaining increases frustration. It increases aggression and boredom. It reduces a dog's ability to escape and avoid and increases his likelihood of resorting to the fight response.

2. The dog has a history of aggression and is only 15-months-old. The owner of the dog is clear about wanting to keep the dog away from children. This is because the owner knows the dog has exhibited undesirable behaviors directed at children.

3. The dog has been teased by children in the form of having rocks thrown at him. This ties into problem #1. A dog who cannot escape teasing is a lot more likely to try an alternative means of ending conflict, like with his teeth. Keeping a dog who does not like kids in a manner such that any child can easily reach the dog is asking for trouble.

Now, there are variations on how this bite transpired. (You'll notice that when you click to the article, the breed of dog is mentioned once.) The owner claims the victim ignored his warning of not approaching the dog, went up to the dog, and stuck her face in the dog's face. Isn't it in your best interest to physically intervene if a verbal warning is insufficient? That is, if a child ignores your spoken words regarding your dog's aggression, shouldn't you remove the dog from that situation or physically restrain the child?

The victim claims she was just walking by the chained dog when he got up, ran toward her and latched on to her face.

Either way, the owner of the dog is 100% at fault.

The dog, by the way, is a Labrador Retriever. The bite? It required more than 100 stitches to close. That is a hard, dedicated bite. That is a bite from a dog who meant business, who was doing more than just giving a warning. That child, in all honesty, is incredibly lucky that that dog's mouth did not wrap itself around her neck. When the rest of the victim's family arrived, they could not reach the child because the dog was running loose and acting aggressively. The dog was not taken into custody and is still alive.

In case you are wondering, with one exception, every single one of the seven articles on this story excluded the breed of dog.

Adding insult to injury, the three dogs belonging to the victim's family have been killed. One was poisoned, the other two were beaten to death. This is a little coincidental.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Switch the Species Around and Opinions Would Change

A woman in Scotland is appalled that the Scottish SPCA wasted their time investigating her over an incident involving her free-roaming cat.

The cat, who the owner/guardian admits, doesn't like dogs stands accused of attacking a Yorkshire Terrier.

By the look of the cat, I'm guessing she was larger or the size of the dog!

The owner just doesn't understand why the dog's owner didn't just come and talk with her. Because apparently everyone should know who this collarless, tagless cat belongs to. They should just feel comfortable tracking the cat as she goes about her day, playing with children and mauling dogs, and then finally ending up home for some dinner. Really?

I don't know the extent of the dog's injuries.

Even so, if you know your cat is aggressive towards dogs, why on earth let her run loose? I know of far too many dogs who are much larger than Yorkies who would not take kindly to a cat trying to attack them.

If this had been a small, loose dog attacking a cat on her property, the response would have been to kill the dog.

Instead, we get flippancy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Around the Interwebz

The Best Medicine, how a Pit Bull/American Bulldog mix is providing therapy to those who need it most.

A no-duh moment - bacon and hot dogs bad for your health.

Two off-leash Greyhounds maul a smaller dog, second attack an off-leash dog area. The first involved a Lab killing a poodle.

Though subject of breed bans, pit bulls earn love.

Folks seem surprised horses would comfort their herd-mate after she was shot with an arrow.

Two roaming German Shepherds attack a herd of alpacas, significantly injuring two of them.

A German Shepherd-Husky mix bites a 2-yr-old in the face, inflicting 200 stitches worth of damage.

A rescued Golden Retriever will be sent to a "no-kill", as yet unnamed, shelter after twice biting a woman who was interested in adopting him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pit Bull Saves Driver From Getting a Ticket

A well-deserved ticket, by the way.

In California, it is illegal to use a cell phone, unless you have a hands-free device. I had been waiting for a call regarding a possible euthanasia at the sanctuary. When that call came in, I ignored the law and took it.

Just as a CHP was driving by me.

Oh well, I thought.

Highway patrol officers like to approach from the passenger side, so as to avoid getting squished. I rolled down my window and announced that I had a dog. Two if you count the obnoxious, anxiety-ridden, panting beast in the very back. But since she wasn't sitting like a person in the front seat, I didn't mention her.

Mina sat up. A person? Score!

As the officer tried to chastise me, he had to contend with Mina and her tongue. Mina believes her tongue should be on you at all times. This is both endearing and gross. It also makes giving a lecture difficult. Nice doggie, the officer said.

Then he walked back to his car. After a second of pondering the meaning of life, he came back, gave me a stern warning and claimed that he wasn't giving me a ticket because of the rain.

I doubt it. It's because of her:

Mina Pink Nosed Pit Bull

True story.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

Authorities in rural Montana deny that a wolf went on a rampage. Instead, the dog was not a wolf. No duh.

A Maryland farm with horses and cattle was finally raided after four years of problems. Too bad for the animals - more than a dozen were already dead and the ones alive were close to it. I can't help but wonder if these had been dogs and cats instead of horses and cows if an intervention would have occurred sooner.

Justice for Bella is a petition created by the guardians of a Pit Bull named Bella who was shot dead by animal control in North Carolina. The reasoning? The officer didn't want to waste any more time chasing a non-aggressive animal. So the obvious solution was to kill her. Classy. The guardians are doing a great job at drumming up support and awareness.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Clarksdale, MS Amends Pit Bull Ordinance

And adds Rottweilers!

They were planning on adding German Shepherds until the chief of police, whose dogs specialize in attacking people, claimed that German Shepherds don't really attack people. Catch-22!

Only one commissioner voted no on adding Rottweilers - Commissioner Buster Moton. Good job, Mr. Moton! Too bad the only voice of rational reason was ignored. Although I am confused by the fact that Moton made the motion to add Rottweilers and German Shepherds, then voted no...

The ordinance was introduced because, according to Clarksdale Police Chief Hoskins, Pit Bulls "are getting to be a problem."


Oh, well, there were two attacks! One was an actual attack, although the extent of the injuries are not reported. The other "attack" was one of those magical ones in which no one got bit.

The commissioner asked the "experts" - an insurance agent. He said that his insurance agency asks about dog breeds and if Rottweiler or Pit Bull is mentioned, then they discriminate against those people and don't insure them. He neglects to mention that several insurance companies that his agency offers for possible insurance also refuses to insure those with: German Shepherds, Akitas, Huskies, Chow Chows, Dobermans, Wolf hybrids and Malamutes. I suppose Clarksdale better stop a possible epidemic of attacks by including those dog breeds too.

The ordinance isn't an outright ban, but the intent is the same - make it as difficult as possible for people to choose dogs who fit their lifestyle best. There are registration requirements, "caging" requirements, stricter penalties if some loose dog mauls your leashed Pit Bull and your Pit Bull retaliates, and liability insurance requirements ... which is virtually impossible when it is difficult to find an insurance agency to cover your dogs.

Improving public safety is a great concept, but it's only really valuable when there is a public safety problem. There isn't evidence being presented that Pit Bulls pose a significantly higher risk of irrational behavior than any other dog. There isn't evidence that there is even a dog bite problem. We know what works: educating both children and adults, achieving high license compliance rates w/ education/incentive (and offering educational opportunities during the licensing process) and making sure the agencies responsible for enforcing current laws can do so easily and effectively. Trying to mitigate dog attacks by criminalizing certain dogs has not yet proven to be an effective method.

Around the Intarwebz

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and The Humane Society of the United States are filing an ethics complaint against one of Rick Berman's organizations. Berman is the founder of the Center for Consumer Freedom, an organization that believes the obesity problem is a myth.

Broadway actress, Bernadette Peters, writes a children's book about a Pit Bull who wants to be loved by all, so she disguises herself as a Pig Princess. The dog is modeled after Stella, Peters own Pit Bull.

A German Shepherd who savagely mauled an employee at the kennel where the dog is being housed has not been killed or taken off duty as a police dog.

Oakland police are launching in inquiry into the shooting death of a healthy, juvenile deer by one of its police officers.

A stray mixed breed dog attacks a 3-yr-old, inflicting multiple bite wounds. It is unclear why the 3-yr-old had access to the loose dog.

A loose Akita bites a girl, causing minor injuries.

Creating fear in the media and politics.

Police dog, Ash, bites an employee, inflicting wounds that required stitches to mend.

A Rottweiler who bit a girl severely enough that 100 stitches were required to close the wound will not be killed. The dog apparently "bit" the girl when she fell on him. Officials are not classifying it as an "attack".

Thursday, May 13, 2010

OSPCA Kills Animals Over Fungus

I've had ringworm. It's sometimes itchy and rather unattractive. It's a fungus. I've had foster kittens with it and treated it successfully. I treated it easily myself and it resolved in a couple weeks. It wasn't a death sentence. In fact, it was only a minor inconvenience, in the grand scheme of things.

Yet the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is ignoring the whole "preventing cruelty" part of their name and killing dogs and cats infected with a fungus. A fungus. Not rabies. Not distemper. Not parvo. Not the types of viruses that can and often do kill those afflicted, but an irksome fungus.

Look at these dogs and cats. Adoptable. Some are probably dead. Over a fungus.

The best part? The OSPCA claims there was a miscommunication. They weren't just killing dogs and cats over ringworm. Crazy talk.

From their website:
These are the facts:

-99 animals have been humanely euthanized to date.

-96 animals have been fostered out to other accredited agencies, clinics, shelters and institutions capable of caring for them in isolation from other animals.

-15 animals have been stolen.

-15 animals who are not affected by the outbreak are in isolation in a portable structure on the site.

-23 dogs and 91 cats need to be tested further. We are seeking temporary shelter for these animals for up to a month.

Nearly a 100 dead animals. It is inconceivable these were all irremediably sick or aggressive animals. It is not a big leap to claim that many, if not all, are dead because of a treatable fungus.

They really should just call themselves the Ontario Society. They aren't preventing cruelty to animals by killing them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Geelong in Australia and Dog Bite Reporting

Geelong is a city in the state of Victoria, Australia. There are approximately 160,000 people living in the city.

Their local paper recently reported about dog bites. It's a little confusing. In 2008, there were 32 dog bites requiring hospitalization, with nine resulting in further investigation. Around 72 dogs were declared dangerous.

The title of the article, though, suggests a significant rise in dog attacks. There were 46 dog bite investigations in 2009. That's going from 0.02% of people being attacked to 0.028%.

35 of the attacks were said to be caused by mastiff crosses, rottweilers, cattle dogs, german shepherds and crossbreeds who were registered as guard dogs.

Out of curiosity, I searched the paper's archives for 2009:
Two mastiff crosses maul a man
Mastiff mix nearly scalps man - stray dog
A Pit Bull Mastiff mix scratches a girl trying to save her smaller dog from the larger, loose dog.
German Shepherd, bred on a puppy mill farm, deemed dangerous after biting two people (sire is also people aggressive).
Reports on loose dog attacks at beach (Staffordshire Bull Terrier kills a young dog while a German Shepherd mauls a woman).

Those are the only archived reports. There aren't 46 articles on each and every attack. There are no reports on the cattle dogs or the rottweilers or even the registered guard dogs mauling people. There aren't reports on the other eleven attacks. It's isn't surprising. The news agency has been drumming up discussions about large, "dangerous" breeds with every article. It makes sense they would handpick the attacks they'd report. I'm surprised about not reporting the Rottie attacks (they're large) but unsurprised about the Cattle dogs and "crossbreeds".

What this highlights, though, is the reality about journalism. Editors and journalists handpick what they want to report on. I get that. It's logical, in some ways. But in more meaningful ways, it's irrational. All too often it creates a problem where none existed.

Dog bites aren't that common in Geelong. Most folks aren't going to encounter biting mastiffs or cattle dogs. And unless there are only 50-100 dogs in Geelong, I'd say the Geelong Advertiser could do better by not reporting specific attacks and instead focus on educating its readers on how to avoid aggressive animals.

Or not.

A sort-of scalping sells more than a "how to prevent a sorta scalping".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some Boston Pit Bull Owners Dump Dogs Instead of Paying Fines

Back in 2004, the city of Boston required Pit Bulls to be muzzled in public.

Since then, nearly 518 fines have been issued and 80% of those people refused to pay the fines. Some even went on to dumping the dogs at animal control. Those dogs, if they are lucky, are placed up for adoption and rehomed.

"State data shows pit bull and pit bull breed attacks in Boston almost doubled between 2006 and 2008, from 25 to 46. But that trend reversed last year, when the city recorded just 30 attacks from pit bull and pit bull breeds."

I do not find this information useful.

How many American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are there in Boston? What is a "Pit Bull breed"? Is 25, 30, 46 attacks indicate a higher rate per number of APBTs and ASTs? In a city of 630,000, is 30 attacks significant? Are the attacks minor, moderate, severe and is that severity different by comparably sized dogs?

I'd like to know why Boston thinks this is a good law when, after six years of its existence, there hasn't been a reduction in Pit Bull bites or the overall number of Pit Bulls (so far as this article indicates, of course)? If there hasn't been a reduction in overall dog bites, again, why does Boston maintain this is an effective law?

Too many questions, no good answers.

Columbia Police Change SWAT Policies

Last week, a video emerged of a SWAT raid on a home. The raid occurred in February. You can see the video below. In it, a paramilitary SWAT team is seen approaching a home. They knock a couple times, announce they have a search warrant and then, without warning, break the door open.

What you hear next is a dog barking. Then a gunshot, followed by the sound of a dog screaming in pain. the dog is then shot several more times, ending in her death. Another dog was left wounded. The shooting occurred inside a home where a young child was present.

There is a moment in the video when the owner of the dog realizes his dog has been shot. You hear him cry.

All officers found was paraphernalia and a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

Recently,the Columbia Police Chief spoke about the incident and the changes that will now be implemented. One new rule is that raids will not occur with children present, except under extreme circumstances. Other changes include forced entries and surveillance requirements after a search warrant is issued.

Nothing will change about how dogs will be handled. A dog who does nothing more than bark and who looks a certain way will be killed.

The only reason the Police Chief is revising its paramilitary policies is because of public outcry. Amazing, really. A lot of people have been upset by this case.

But according to the chief of police, it's only the marijuana-legalizing advocates, animal rights activists and cop haters who are outraged. Goodness forbid regular folks, like parents and dog owners, might find the entire debacle offensive and frightening.

Let me share a story. Where I grew up, my duplex neighbor had a meth lab. By pure chance, two DEA (drug enforcement agency) agents approached me and my mom. They had the address wrong. That is, they had our address down as the neighbor's. Had we not encountered these two agents, two weeks later, it could have been my barking dog (a non Pit Bull) dead, my dad on the ground, me and my mom huddling in the corner as paramilitary SWAT officers raided our home in the dead of night. Instead it was my neighbor with his girlfriend and 2-yr-old son present.

Mistakes can result in death and injury. It can result in terror and ruin lives. Waging war on pot users just seems so, I don't know, pointless.

Of course, I can't help but be reminded of another infamous SWAT raid in Prince George County, Maryland in 2008. SWAT didn't even knock (the no-knock part of the warrant is disputed). They busted down the door of another city's mayor. The mayor's two dogs, Labrador Retrievers, were shot and killed. The necropsy showed the dogs were both running away when they were gunned down. The mayor wasn't a drug dealer. He was an upstanding citizen, victim of a drug-trafficking scam.

Victims of drug raids rarely get this kind of publicity. They're not mayors. Victims of drug raids are generally persons of color in very poor areas without any meaningful legal recourse. They don't get publicity. They don't get justice. And they aren't generally large scale producers of illegal contraband, narcotics or other illicit substances.

I mean, do we need paramilitary law enforcement agents busting down doors and blowing away pets based on hunches that turn out to be egregiously wrong? 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

Art studio buys recently vacated meat packing facility, turns it into an art gallery for animals.

A Boxer bites a toddler, causing minor wounds...made to sound like the dog went on a savage rampage.

After suffering a minor bite wound from a Bouvier, a police officer shot the dog who later died.

Sea Shepherd Society is the first group ever to try and stop the illegal overfishing of the near extinct bluefin tuna via direct action.

Rottweiler Mix spends a month defending her young puppies from loose, aggressive dogs.

A man shoots his own dog, a German Shepherd-Chow mix, after the resident, chained dog mauled his 2-yr-old daughter. The dog was euthanized by animal control due to his injuries.

How Long Is Too Long Before Animal Control Shoots A Dog?

I plan on blogging about another dog shooting that was in the news last week, but I need to gather my thoughts on it.

Let's go to Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Two dogs escaped their fenced yard while their guardians/owners were at dinner. The dogs, named Bella and Jaxson, ended up in someone's yard. The woman was apparently so frightened by two nonviolent dogs, she called police.

Police arrived and spent about an hour trying to catch the dogs. Jaxson was caught easily. Bella was more skittish and evaded capture with a greater tenacity.

This is when police should get their stories straight.

According to one officer, he heard the dog was charging and snapping. He wasn't a witness to the supposed charging and snapping or the shooting.

A mere line later, we get this gem: " Archer (the aforementioned officer) says his deputy, Sean Austin, never witnessed the animal act aggressively toward adults or children nearby, but he chose to shoot and kill it. "We couldn't do anything with the dog, we had to finally make a decision,” says Archer."

Make up your mind, Archer. Either the dog was charging and snapping or your animal control deputy was too lazy to try and catch the dog and, instead, just shot her dead.

According to witnesses, this is what happened: Bella was shot while running away from the deputy. She was not acting aggressively. She wasn't snapping or charging. This is verbal witnesses and one written statement.  Here is a Facebook note with witness statements from three different witnesses, including the woman (a police officer) who called police. All stated the dog was nonviolent, not aggressive and was frightened. 

The best part is this - the owner of the dog, upon arriving home to find his dog had been shot dead, approaches the shooting officer and, bless his smart head, videotapes his questions.

The video shows Daniels saying "But you said that she didn't show any aggression toward you, you know? You told me that. She didn't show any aggression...why can't you..." Austin is seen in the video saying, "I'm not sitting there for three hours when I got calls in!” Daniels then asks, "So what's your time limit? Is it 20 minutes? Is that what it is?"
I'm not sitting there for three hours when I got calls in.

Here's the video. The officer shows absolutely no remorse for gunning down a frightened, nonviolent, family pet. He is not apologetic at all for killing the dog of the two people in front of him.

I get you got calls, Austin. I understand it's quite irksome chasing down an dog who doesn't want to be caught. Truly, I do.

But really?

So long as the dog is not eating people or other animals. So long as she is safe and sound. So long as you are employed in the animal control division, you damn well better avoid using a freaking lethal weapon to solve a problem like Bella.

Bella's owner has retained an attorney. I am not an overly litigious person, but this seems like a good idea. The officer abused his power. A dog's life was taken. A dog who had done nothing wrong, except explored her outside world a bit. She did not deserve this at all.

And for an animal control officer to disregard his duty to help animals (while protecting public safety) and kill a nonviolent, non dangerous pet is utterly offensive. He should not be working with animals. Period. Probably shouldn't work with humans, either, not if his odometer for when to stop chasing and start shooting is 40 minutes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tulsa Police Don't Care About a Pit Bull Being Stabbed

A Pit Bull was unleashed on his own front lawn. This was not on purpose. The dog slipped out the front door. And in that moment, life changed for the dog. Another dog was running loose and engaged the Pit Bull in a fight. The owner of the loose dog was able to separate the dogs.

So even though the second dog was loose and the Pit Bull was on his own property, and even though neither dog was really hurt, the owner of the second dog left, came back with a friend, and proceded to slit the throat of the Pit Bull.

The dog has survived but has some neurological problems from the stab wound to the head.

The Pit Bull's owner contacted police but they said nothing could be done.

Seriously? A man brought a box cutter to another person's home, grabbed their dog from his harness and proceded to cut the dog's throat...and there's nothing police can do about it? They should rephrase - there's nothing they WANT to do. There are anti-cruelty laws in all states, including Oklahoma.

Thankfully the SPCA is opening up a cruelty investigation. Hopefully the man will be prosecuted for animal cruelty. The fact is HE let his dog run loose. HE let his dog attack another dog. And HE made the decision to leave the scene, grab a friend and a box cutter, and viciously attack the victim dog. That is a sign of serious problems. He needs help and, yeah, I'd say a few days in prison.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

An Australian Shepherd mix running loose was "acting aggressively" and so police shot and killed the dog.

A Labrador Retriever mix allegedly bit a boy.

Two Pit Bulls were illegally killed in California, even though a qualified rescue was willing to take them and even though the owner was willing to pay an exorbitant "bail-out" fee. It's a horribly sad story.

A Labrador Retriever Mix bites a volunteer firefighter going door to door to raise funds.

A police dog attacked the wrong man. But hey, they were following procedure and, as such, having teeth embedded in the leg and head of the wrong person is, you know, just part of protecting and serving the public.

A Rottweiler slips out of his home and grabs a girl by the face. The dog needed to be physically wrenched off of the girl's head. The victim is still in intensive care.

A child was left with minor injuries after a loose police dog bit him in the face during a visit to the school.

Dog food arriving for Tibetan mastiffs left homeless after an earthquake.

A police dog attacked his/her handler after the person tried to correct the dog for biting someone else.

Denver Officials Can't Keep Their Baseless Claims Straight!

Denver and Aurora, Colorado are both facing federal class action lawsuits over their Pit Bull ban. They are being sued by three individuals who claim the Pit Bull ban, which does not offer exemptions for service animals apparently, are in violation of federal law. I wrote about this previously.

The Denver Daily News just covered the story. It's not new, but there is some startling information in it.

"But when Plitz’s sister called Denver animal control, she says she was told by division director Doug Kelley that the dogs would only qualify as service animals if Plitz were “blind or deaf.”"
Is Mr. Kelley telling people in wheelchairs they don't qualify for service animals b/c they aren't deaf or blind? Or people with epilepsy who have signal dogs? Or people with severe anxiety disorders? Does Mr. Kelley get to be the one to decide who is or is not "disabled" enough to qualify for a service dog? I think not.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is rather vague. It does not specify a person needs to be blind or deaf. This confusion is acceptable with your average person but not so with the director of your animal control agency. Doug Kelley should know better.
"But he notes that there is no national program or database of service dog certification and the open-ended language of the ADA makes it difficult for local agencies to determine if a service animal is legitimate under federal law."
Fair enough, Mr. Kelley. That's when you err on the side of caution. If you are unsure about whether the ADA covers people with chemically-induced panic attacks or folks in wheelchairs, then avoid lawsuits by being all inclusive. If you want to be the precedent setting city that gets federal law changed that only blind and deaf people get to have service dogs, fine Just don't hide behind the excuse that "oh, the language is vague, so we're just going to make it up as we go along." 
"“We need to see some type of documentation that this is a bona fide service animal,” he says. This would be in the form of a doctor’s letter stating the patient would benefit from a service animal or papers showing that a particular dog was trained specifically to help with their owner’s disability. (In a phone call to Denver animal control separate from Face the State’s interview with Kelley, a staff member explained to this reporter that the division “does not accept letters from doctors saying you need a service animal. We only take documents from certain training agencies.” The staff member was unable to say which agencies, just that “we know them when we see them.”)"

Wrong, Mr. Kelley. Federal law does not require anyone to show their dog's documentation. The issue here is not whether requiring documentation is right or wrong. The issue is that Mr. Kelley is making a claim that is both wrong and illegal. 

It would be nice too if Mr. Kelley could communicate his logic to the rest of his staff. Kelley claims a doctor's note is all that is needed. Yet one of his staff members is saying no, that's not true, a person has to have documentation from certain training agencies. And there isn't any particular protocol - the staff person just "knows them when they see them." Both are wrong, of course. No one needs a doctor's note or documentation. And until the laws are changed to require such things, Mr. Kelley and anonymous staff person should just keep their mouths shut.

This isn't just about breedism. It's about discrimination and ableism. We live in an able-centric society. Many of us do not understand what it means to have panic attacks or physical "disabilities" or severe anxiety disorders that literally stop us from functioning. We don't understand what it means to be capable of functioning outside of our comfort zone. If a dog can help with that, help make living enjoyable and tolerable, then it should not matter what that dog looks like. I'm hoping the courts agree with that logic than with Denver and Aurora's discriminatory one.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vermont Wants Calves To Suffer

That's all I can get from Vermont's attempt to stall and water down a bill that would have required repeat offenders to be shut down permanently. Now they just want the livestock panel to be in charge of what happens to farmed animals heading to slaughter. Fox. Guarding. Hen House.

The legislation is in response to an HSUS investigation of Bushway Packing Plant.

This is a slaughterhouse specializing in male dairy calves. The calves are less than a week old. In industry terms, they are "bob veal". Cute.

The video showed workers skinning fully conscious calves, stunning calves improperly (en masse), and slitting throats while the animals were still conscious.

Get this: Government inspectors - those responsible for enforcing food safety and minimal humane handling laws - saw all this and did nothing. They did not report the egregious violations of the law. In fact, when the undercover investigator commented about some of the mishandling, the government inspector is shown telling the investigator that he can't say stuff like that, it might get the plant shut down.

What a system we have in place - it virtually guarantees animal cruelty and poor food quality control.

And Vermont doesn't want to take a stand against animal agriculture. What a shame.

Before you go thinking this is just the result of sensational reporting on HSUS part (which is silly, at best), this is the same company that a Food Safety Inspector (a veterinarian) tried to get shut down previously. No one listened. It's not an aberration, not at all. Even the FSIS veterinarian whistleblower acknowledges that.

The slaughterhouse is back in operation. Even with multiple handling violations. Even with multiple food safety violations. No one thought to themselves - hey, this might be the kind of plant that needs to go. Instead, the company now operates under a different name.

For the calves, it's business as usual.

I'll just end w/ what I wrote in the last post:

You may not like undercover investigations. Or, perhaps, you just don't like the groups doing them. But when our entire system is set up to oppress internal whistleblowers and reward inspectors who ignore violations, then something needs to change. If undercover videos shed light on how animals are handled before their final breath, well, I happen to think they should be mandatory viewing for anyone who eats those animals. And if those videos show violations of the law, then the laws need to be enforced better (I mean, come on, this isn't a complex law) and actions need to be taken.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

March/April Reads

 Gone - Lisa McMann (3/21/10): In a word - satisfying. This is McMann's 3rd and final book  in her wake trilogy about a girl who can catch dreams. McMann is a sparse writer. I ended up liking this style. There is good character development. This book was probably my favorite of the series.

Captivate - Carrie Jones (3/22/10): In a word - cliffhanger! This is the second book in a series. This is the anti-Bella series in which the female lead isn't a wimpy, pathetic female who has to rely on the males in her life to shine. She shines on her own, dammit. There are pixies and shape-shifters and maybe some elves. There is romance and action and big choices to make and really they're all too young for it, but hey, this is a young adult book. I rec'd it, but start with the first book, Need, the ending of which I really didn't like but gets resolved (sorta) in Captivate.

 Ash - Malinda Lo (3/26/10): In a word - refreshing! In the world of YA literature, the most popular books lean towards the Bella Swan's of female leads and creepy-stalker male leads. That isn't what I want young women to read. Ash is a spin on the Cinderella story, but no worries, there won't be any magical prince who "saves the day". This is about Ash's personal transformation, coming of age on her own terms. Ash saves herself. After losing her mother and father, Ash becomes the servant of her, yes, evil stepmother. She finds comfort in a fairy, Sidhean, who promises her peace and salvation if only she would come with him to the fairy world. But then she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, and a strong friendship forms, possibly something more. Who will she choose? I enjoyed this book immensely.

 The Everafter - Amy Huntley (3/27/10): In a word - predictable. The story follows a girl who has died. She is in a place she calls the Is, which contains all the items she's lost in her life. Each item holds a memory. She has to piece together her memories, find herself, and figure out how she ended up dead. I thought the writing style was repetitive (she'd say the same thing twice in two sentences, for example - "I propelled myself forward" and a sentence later "the air propelled me forward"). It was a quick, easy read.

The Dead Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan (4/24/10): In a word - disappointing. I really liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was a disturbing look into how small communities might react to devastating events. It's definitely a dystopic, post-apocalyptic (in some ways) novel. This is its companion book. It did not go the way I wanted it to go. I like Ryan's writing and character development but, well, I wanted a conclusion to the first book that wrapped up the unanswered questions. Instead, it skipped several years and ended with me asking more questions. I can only assume a third book is in order.

The Third Angel - Alice Hoffman (5/2/10): In a word - circle. I love Alice Hoffman. A lot. She's one of my favorite authors. I can never describe her novels. They are beautiful and lyrical. They speak of love and loss. They always come full circle. I love that. It's always about your past, present, future and the unknown. I wish I was better at describing her and her books. But I suck. That is all.

The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman (5/3/10): In a word - hopeful. Be careful what you wish for. That's how it opens. A girl, then woman, wishes things. They come true. She never wishes again. Lightning strikes and a new world opens up for her. There is fiery love, the kind that literally burns. There is the glacial love, the kind that runs cold and long. Her prose is beautiful.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Identify This Tree For Me, Please.

ETA: I'm leaning towards red maple.

There are three of these trees in my backyard. They are beautiful. I want them to survive. They are deciduous. I'm guessing they are maple. Right now, they stand at least 40-50' tall.

What are they? I'm in love with them.I love most trees. Willows and dogwoods are two of my favorite. And these trees. I can't describe what I feel when I stand below them, looking up into their gently waving branches. I'm afraid they are not doing well. I had them trimmed and there were a lot of large, dead branches.

Anyway, tell me what they are!

Tree 2

Tree 3

Tree 4

Tree 5

Celeste at the Sanctuary

Mina is my morning work dog, Celeste comes in the afternoon. We like to take breaks and go on walks. They both enjoy it immensely.






Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the trade

Shovel for digging up weeds.
Snake tongs for wayward rattlers.
Gasoline tank for weed-eater refilling.
Vitamin water for vitamin water.
Bucket for grass clippings.
Gloves for thistle.
Spattered bunny barn for contrast.

Volunteers came out to clear the outdoor bunny enclosure at the sanctuary. There is a poisonous plant that, although the rabbits avoid it, we needed to remove for our piece of mind. Weedeating occurred first due to the fact we found a rattlesnake in the tall grass. The snake was tonged and moved to another part of the property, far away. He will probably come back. This will annoy us. We've had rattlers in with the rabbits and chickens before. Interestingly, they've never killed and eaten any of them.

Anyways, these are but a few of the tools needed to clear out a 1/4 acre of outdoor bunny haven.

Tasmania Attempting to Phase Out Pit Bulls

Tasmania is an Australian island state located off the southern coast of the country. It has a population of 500,000, which ends up putting it as the 6th most population of the six states and two territories.

It is really concerned about the 500 Pit Bulls on the island. So concerned that they passed legislation to phase out the dogs. They cannot be bred. They must be castrated. Animals must be muzzled and on a short lead.

My favorite is owners/guardians have to post this sign, which appears to depict a non Pit Bull dog:
I am sarcastic when I say "favorite". The sign is offensive.

Breed specific legislation isn't new to Australia. With the exception of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, every state restricts one or more breeds, all of them include Pit Bull type dogs. Fifteen years ago, Australia banned the importation of Pit Bulls. Most other states ban the breeding of Pit Bulls.

Have no fear, though, the Tasmanian Council has a FAQ on this new law. Cross breeds won't be included. This is magic. If I say Mina is a cross-breed, but the "trained" officials say otherwise, who is to be believed? If Mina does not have a paper pedigree, how can anyone say with certainty she is or is not a Pit Bull. Officials have confused the following dogs for Pit Bulls: Rhodesian Ridgeback, Catahoula/Great Dane/Not Pit Bull Mixed Breed, Boxer, Cur dog, Curly-tailed mixed breeds, Boxer again, Boxer mix. I have to wonder if Tasmanian "trained" officials will take their cues from the likes of Ontario, in which animal control officers are so knowledgeable they can make a pie chart of breed composition, this dog is 75% Pit Bull. Or maybe they'll call up Denver and ask how superb their identification system is and how it feels killing nice, family dogs. And if a dog is a cross-breed Pit Bull, does that count as a Pit Bull or a cross-breed? Tell me, Tasmania, tell me!

Now, of the 98 dogs in Tasmania to receive the dangerous dog label, 13 were Pit Bulls. That's maybe 2% of all Pit Bulls. That means an amazing 98% of Pit Bulls are not biting people. The dangerous dog label also applies to dogs who bite other animals.

I'm not sure what Tasmania gains with breed specific legislation. They will lose money. Dogs will die unnecessarily. Safety will not improve. This has yet to occur with most dog laws that address physical appearance over education and behavior.