Sunday, October 31, 2010

1.49 lbs? Animal Shelter Kills You!

Anne Arundel Animal Care and Control in Maryland created a hand-written policy 16 months ago requiring the automatic death of any puppy, kitten or young wildlife who enter the shelter and weigh 1.5 lbs or less. This isn't a novel policy, it's reflective of the draconic animal control paradigm in which any animal requiring a modicum of effort to care for is killed.

Now the shelter is coming under scrutiny from animal welfare groups concerned about the - I can't get over this - hand-written policy. For one, that's not a policy, that's a memo. For two, it's a stupid policy anyways.

The police officer who oversees animal control defends the policy as "necessary". I am not sure what is necessary, as in essential, about taking the lives of animals who may need nothing more than a few extra minutes of care a day. How is killing animals essential to the mission of an animal shelter? The officer trots out old reliable - young animals survival rate is "negligible" and they are more prone to disease. Has the shelter never heard of isolation, foster homes, or that thousands of puppies and kittens make it past the age of 3-weeks without a mother?

If the hand-written memo policy debacle isn't bad enough, the SPCA of Ann Arundel county is not second-guessing someone else's policy. If a protocol in place unnecessarily costs the lives of animals our society has deemed worthy of protection, then perhaps it's time to second-guess that policy. If animal control's police officers were electrocuting dogs or cats as their "euthanasia" policy, would the executive director of the SPCA not second-guess it? Now maybe the quote was taken out of context, but toeing the line, when it costs lives, just isn't right.

Euthanasia, the taking of another being's life, is a last-option taken only after all reasonable options have been exhausted. No medically or behaviorally treatable animal should be killed. Kittens and puppies who don't make the weight cut don't deserve death IF there are options available and IF the animals are otherwise healthy. Puppies and kittens who arrive at a shelter in critical condition and at death's door may be candidates for a "good death" that euthanasia provides. Otherwise, all reasonable efforts should be made to foster, heal and place these young animals.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ear Cleaning Ideas

Celeste has problems with chronic ear infections. Right now, she's suffering from a pseudomonas infection and is receiving treatment with an oral antibiotic (cipro) and panalog cream in her ear.

She'll be on cipro for several weeks, but I want to clean her ear either every day or every 48 hours. I have a feeling this will be a long-term problem with Celeste.

Anyone have dogs with chronic ear infections and have to do daily or weekly ear cleanings? If so, what do you use to clean? I was thinking a chlorhexidine dilute mix?

Celeste would not appreciate it and feels the same way about ear cleaning as she does about wearing costumes:
Celeste Hates Halloween

Friday, October 29, 2010

Elle The Pit Bull Therapy Dog Lifts the Spirits of Officers after Dogfight Bust

Elle, a therapy Pit Bull, visited the Roanoke Rapids police department to help them after a rather traumatic call involving a suspected dogfighting operation with about 30 poorly treated and scarred Pit Bulls.

As you can see, Elle is helping them out through Therapeutic Kissing and Secret Telling. A rare gift.

Around the Intarwebz

A really balanced article about Minidoka animal control in Idaho and how it continues to struggle with public perception and trying to achieve a no-kill model. Several shelters are profiled, including a similar shelter that has a similar budget and has reduced their kill rate to 4 animals last year, proving that even government-run shelters in less urban areas can truly be no-kill or extremely low-kill.

"Chupacabras" are really just wild canids, victims of a parasite that doesn't affect humans in a major way, affects some domestic dogs negatively, and can wreak extensive havoc on wild canids and other species.

A Labrador Retriever named Henry helped save his owner's life after the man was savagely beaten. The dog ran from the scene and went home, scratched on the door and led the victim's wife back to the scene.

Dog Attacks
The dog warden in Goshen, NY is angered that a German Shepherd who killed several feral kittens at the humane society was adopted out. The kittens had been brought into the shelter in a dog crate. No cages were available, so the crate was placed next to a dog run until the kittens could be processed. When the dog was walked by, he knocked the crate over, which was apparently unlocked, and ended up killing a few of the kittens. The dog now lives with a cat and two small dogs and has not eaten any of them.

A German Shepherd in the UK was off leash when he attacked a young boy.

A dog trainer has been fined after a training session went bad. The dude was "training" two sheep dogs (Border Collies) off leash when they attacked a young woman. In the UK. Where Pit Bulls are banned.

A wolfhound attacked a young boy after escaping from his yard. The child was hospitalized but is in stable condition.

A Shih-Tsu mix was attacked by an unleashed Bull-mastiff but luckily survived.

A 4-yr-old girl was attacked by a neighbor's Akita while she played at the neighbor's home. The girl spent two days in the hospital.

A Hound Mix allowed to run loose attacked a smaller dog so severely, the other dog's leg needed to be amputated.

A woman is facing misdemeanor criminal charges in relation to the multiple dog attacks her Australian Shepherds have caused.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Midland School District Vice President Clint McCance Is A Bully

He is worse than a bully, actually.

I don't need to say much. Clint McCance's cruel words speak for themselves:
"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."
If you are in a position of authority in an educational institution, like as a vice president of a school district, keep your homophobic fears to yourself. Better yet, get a different job. Our school districts don't need leaders who discriminate, insult and, worse, wish death, on a portion of the children who attend schools in their district. Conflict of interest, much.

There is no reason for Clint McCance to still have his job. None.

Facebook Fire Clint McCance page.

The Midland School District put this up on their website:

The Midland School District, Board of Directors, administration, faculty, and staff do not support or condone the comments Mr. Clint McCance posted on his personal social networking page. Mr. McCance was not acting as an agent of the school board, but as a private citizen when this comment was posted. This post does not reflect the thoughts of the board or administration of the Midland School District.
The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate of all of our students. The district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses. 
Dean Stanley, Superintendent
Midland School District
 That's all fine and dandy, but what you going to DO about Clint McCance and the fact he still has a job with your school district? No apology can fix this. No "he won't do this ever again" will fix this. No "he's a private citizen" can fix this. He posted it on facebook, for cripes sake. He needs to be fired. The message must be loud and clear - if you wish death upon the children you are supposed to protect, you don't get to keep your job, end of story.

This is the email available on the website:

Wake Up To Goats!

That's right, folks. Good morning WITH GOATS.

Haven't had your coffee? GOOD, try to find the goat in this picture! HA!
Rock. Or Sebastian?
Sebastian is the goat posing as a rock.

He doesn't just look like a rock, he uses them as head-rests too. That's how he rolls.

Sebastian is a La mancha cross and small nub ears are the genetic norm for the type.

Good morning, goats!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Court Case Dog Program Saving Lives

Court cases involving animals can drag on for prolonged periods of time, especially when the accused strives to regain custody of the animals. I can remember dogs languishing years in kennels with limited human contact at the shelter I used to volunteer at. A wolf spent three years in the dog bite quarantine until finally he was released into the custody of a wolf rescue - I met him six months later and was amazed by his complete 180. Life in a kennel, for many animals, is frustrating. Boredom and lack of physical and mental stimulation lead to behavioral problems and significantly reduces the welfare of the individual animal.

Like with Pit Bulls confiscated from fight busts, neonatal puppies and kittens, injured or geriatric dogs and cats, court case animals are generally killed. Few, if any, are given the individual care they needed after such prolonged sensory deprivation. It seemed they too were being found guilty of a crime they did not commit. But as times have changed for the unwanted, the young and old, the medically treatable dogs and cats, so they have for our perception of court case dogs.

In January of this year, Safe Humane Chicago started the Court Case Dog Program in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society, Chicago Animal Care and Control and D.A.W.G. Court Advocacy. While there is still that period in which the dogs suffer AT the shelter, the Court Case Dog Program seeks to create an opportunity for the dogs to be placed into permanent homes after the court case is over and they have been signed over to the custody of Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Truly Happy Cows

These are some bovines from the sanctuary where I work. I love taking photos of them.

This is Summer- he's a Jersey steer rescued from auction. He is incredibly gentle and sweet.

Maddie is 6-7 years old. She was used as a blood donor cow at a veterinary hospital. When she got tired of all the needles (don't blame her), their big "thanks for saving so many lives" was to send her to slaughter. A veterinarian intervened, thankfully. She's a freemartin. When a female calf is twinned with a male, the female is always sterile and thus not useful for milk production. So she looks super masculine and is more the size of a Holstein male.

This is Elsa. She was used at a small school's teaching farm. After fifteen years, she stopped giving birth and, well, I guess her "worth" wasn't so worthy anymore. They planned on showing their gratitude by killing her. One school official called us and we were able to take her in - she's never been in a herd before, but she immediately took charge. Jersey cows are like that. She may be the smallest, but she's the toughest!

Merritt Clifton Strikes Again!

Animal People is the "brainchild" of Merritt Clifton. In it are various articles on animal related issues, from farming to hunting to vivisection. Clifton is a vegan and purports to be an animal rights activist. But he has something against Pit Bulls and what he calls "close mixes". He is well known for his unscientific "dog bite study" based on media reports and his made-up dog bite severity scale. You can google it yourself.

Animal People is available online and in the September 2010 issue, you can find a book review of The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant.

I cannot say I'm surprised with the review - Clifton will find any argument to bolster his anti-pit bull zealotry.

Gorant's book discusses the 51 Pit Bulls and "close mixes" confiscated from Michael Vick. The case, no matter how you cut it, made it possible for dogs from other fight busts to be viewed as individual dogs and treated accordingly.

In his review, Clifton immediately asserts the following, "But, contrary to hype, this does not mean anyone has achieved magical advances in handling authentic fighting Pit Bulls."

Authentic fighting pit bulls. Granted, many of the dogs confiscated from Vick's property didn't fight or were puppies. But that could be said of those so-called "authentic fighting pit bull" fight-busts. Perhaps Clifton could take a gander at these photos and let us all know which are the authentic fighting pit bulls. He seems to consider himself an expert:

At least one of these dogs pictured was rescued from the largest dog fight bust in history. Five hundred dogs were confiscated, nearly 70% were people friendly, and about half were able to find placement with shelters and rescues. One dog pictured is from an Oklahoma cruelty confiscation - the dogs were not being fought. One picture is from another dog fight bust and a few pictures are from the Vick bust. If Clifton can tell me who the "authentic fighting pit bulls" are, awesome. I mean, that's totally creepy and ridiculous but awesome.

I can't help but think Clifton is just trying to conjure up some reason to deride the successful strides made by many of the former Vick dogs, and he's picked the good 'ol "they weren't authentic enough" argument.

So what else does Clifton got? Oh, the settlement. Because apparently troubled dogs don't deserve a chance at life unless it comes with a full money clip? No shelter in the world asks for donations to raise funds for amputations, surgeries, or other expensive medical treatments? These dogs with treatable medical problems should just be killed? Dogs with treatable behavioral problems should be killed? That's the message Clifton is sending - that these dogs, because of human errors and mistreatment deserve to die. Pretty harsh, don't you think? I wonder if Clifton would sing a different tune if the dogs weren't much-dreaded Pit Bulls. Probably not - Clifton is not a no-kill advocate.

But the best part is yet to come. Clifton makes up some numbers about Pit Bulls. I mean, literally he makes them up. He thinks he knows how many Pit Bulls exist and thus the rate at which Pit Bulls bite (he thinks he knows the Pit Bull population based on, wait for it, classified ads). This goes beyond ridiculous and into la-la land. There is no accurate count of American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers (those are Pit Bulls, people) in this country. None. Nada. Zilch. Truth! And if you don't have numbers, you don't get to claim that 1 in 100,000 Pit Bulls kills people or 1 in 30,000 ADOPTED Pit Bulls turn and maim people. For reals? Can you imagine if the world worked with Clifton Logic as its driving force? I could just say there are five million red SUVs and that 1 in 250,000 kill people each year and 1 in 35,000 pre-owned red SUVs maim people or that there are 2 million pieces of rye grass and that 1 in 100,000 of them give me allergies and we should probably just slash and burn them now, thanks.

There isn't much of a book review involved in Clifton's book review.

We've finally made strides in the world of dog rescue. We've progressed from uniformly killing medically treatable dogs, killing all neonatal puppies and kittens, killing all dogs with resource guarding or treatable behavioral problems. We aren't perfect, but we are making strides in how we treat dogs and cats who we have domesticated and bred to be our companions and friends. They are owed a lot from us, and it's time we start paying up, including with how we treat and work with dogs rescued from the cruelties of dog fighting. Anyone who claims to like nonhuman animals, including dogs, can't ever support the killing of healthy animals when reasonable alternatives exist.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Howl-O-Ween - Or How I Torture My Dogs

Before anyone claims I'm showing a bias here, let's start with Celeste and her big fat fail as a honey-bee of lurve.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
You can pretty much tell she is unhappy with the whole situation, but not just a "woe is me" unhappiness...a more SINISTER feeling lurks beneath!

Celeste Hates Halloween
Soo. I kindly asked Mina to refrain from doing cute things, like giving nose kisses to Celeste, and then I tortured her!

I Would Like Honey Now
Mina is perfect as a honey-bee. She is saving the world through cute pollination.

Yeah, try to overcome that level of cute. You can't.

You Fail as a Human
This is Celeste's costume, but she didn't even gets to wear it. Mina does, because she is channeling her inner insect.

Ladybird Mina

My dogs rule.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Play - Training for the Unexpected

I was going to throw this in an "Around the Intarwebz" but really want you to read it. It's a look into the fascinating world of play behavior in nonhumans.

The Scientist - "Recess"

The biggest problem with studying play behavior has been defining it. Now there is a possible definition. I do find this a bit silly, actually. While I appreciate the love of learning and discovery inherent to the scientific process, I can't help but chuckle at the notion that other species, including octopi, can't possibly engage in play behavior because *we*, the supposedly superior species, just can't identify it. Or worse, the idea that when a puppy play bows, some scientists maintain he's not engaging in play behavior! I would find that a sad world!

Here are the five characteristics to help scientists better "define" play behavior in other species. Don't worry, you won't need this with you every time you think your dog is playing.

Around the Intarwebz

Dog Attacks

A Cairn Terrier attacked a toddler's face, causing 50 stitches worth of damage. I am almost certain the anti pit bull zealots will claim it was actually the Staffordshire Bull Terrier who did it. Another article with a picture of the mauled girl.

A geriatric German Shepherd was killed after his owner was unable to comply with rules regarding his "dangerous dog" designation, including building fencing and purchasing a dog crate. The dog had escaped and attacked two people.

Two loose dogs, one a German Shepherd, killed a Bichon Frise and attempted to attack a pregnant woman. The dogs owner captured one, while the other was taken by animal control.

A loose German Shepherd attacked two Beagles, nearly killing one.

A police dog "accidentally" bit a jogger running by the leashed dog.

A hunting Beagle loose with a pack during a hunt in the UK attacked a woman.

A Doberman in the UK bit a woman playing soccer.

A loose Bloodhound attacked a couple women and was then shot by police and later euthanized.

A Chihuahua tried to bite off his owner's nose three times.

A Rhodesian Ridgeback in the UK attacked a 3-yr-old girl, grabbing her by the shoulder, lifting her off the ground and attacking her before the owner could get the dog off. The dog had growled at several other children that day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why You Should Vote

If you are a woman, you should vote. You have only had this right for less than one hundred years. For the first 144 years of the United States existence as an independent nation, you were less than a human being. In some ways, you are still a second class citizen. You make less than men doing the same job. You are objectified and denigrated in pop culture, media, and by many men. Sometimes, you self-victimize. Crimes against you, particularly sexually related crimes, are not treated the same. You still live in a rape culture. But you can vote, you can help choose the path which will create a better future for women. You can still make a difference.

For the women who were beaten, assaulted, jailed, tortured so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a woman and a citizen - must vote. You just must.

If you are black, you should vote. If you are male, you garnered the "right" to vote with the passage of the 14th amendment in the mid 1800's, but you did not actually get to vote. If you are female, you didn't get the "right" to vote at all. And in all honesty, none of you got to vote until the mid 1960's. And it was still hard. You were treated as less than a human being. In some ways, you still are. You are routinely imprisoned at ridiculously higher rates than any other demographic, unfairly so. You are still living in a culture of poverty and routinely discriminated against. But you can vote, you can help choose the path your city, county, state, country takes. You can still make a difference.

For the men and women who were beaten, killed, assaulted, tortured so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a black citizen - must vote. You just must.

If you are Asian, you should vote. You were considered less than white men from the very beginning and even denied citizenship starting in 1790. While you could become citizens later on, if you were Chinese, you were once again excluded from being a citizen in the early 1880s, an act that wouldn't be repealed until the 1940s. You helped build the railroads, dig for gold, you helped make life easier for white men. If you were Japanese, and you were born in this country, you could not become native citizens until the 1950s.  And you were treated as less than a human being. You are still stereotyped. But you can vote, you can help choose the path your children will take. You can still make a difference.

For the men and women who were denied legal entry into this country because of how they looked, were beaten and subjugated for being Asian or imprisoned unjustly so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as an Asian American - must vote. You just must.

If you are latino, you should vote. Even when you could vote, you couldn't because of government sanctioned literacy tests created to prohibit you, blacks, Asians and anyone "different" from infringing upon the white man. White legislators have tried for years to redistrict so that you would suffer. You are today judged for how you look and how you speak. You are assumed "illegal" until proven otherwise, and in some states, your rights can be legally over-ridden based on how you look or whether you happen to have your id on you or not.

For the men and women who rallied, were beaten, treated as "less than" so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a latino - must vote. You just must.

And if you are gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual, you should vote. You may have always had the right to vote if you happened to be a white man and kept your sexual identity hidden. You may not have because you were a woman or black or asian or latino. Now you fight for your identity to be legally and justly recognized as inherently worthwhile. You cannot legally marry in most states, and some states have tried and will continue to try to change their constitutions so that you can never do what heterosexual couples have the legal right to do. You are mocked, stereotyped, judged, and discriminated against across this nation - by your family, friends and people who know next to nothing about you. You are feeling so lonely, so judged, so hated that some of you are even taking your own lives because society still sees you, - a perfect, wonderful being- as sinful. But you can vote. You can help create a future that respects all American citizens and doesn't discriminate based on sexual orientation.

For the men and women who have been killed, who have killed themselves, who have been treated as less than so that you could live life with the same rights as a white man, you - as a gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual - must vote. You just must.

If you are a white man, you should vote. You have to make up a lot. You've always had the right to vote, to have your voice heard in every meaningful way. You have oppressed and disenfranchised every single demographic in this country. Every. Single. One. Some of you whine that you are now being oppressed and discriminated against - reverse racism is apparently everywhere, holding your poor white-maleness down. Hopefully, most of you realize the offensiveness of this suggestion. You've held the reins for a very long time in this country, and you can share. Really, it is okay. You can trust the rest of us, those you have helped hold down, to not do the same to you. You can help us create a better, more fair world. Some of you have fought tooth and nail to make this possible - the rest of you have to let that happen.

There is no reason not to vote. None. Get past the attack ads, the failing parts of our legislative system. Get over the feeling that nothing you do makes a difference. Just get over it. You are a member of a nation that allows its citizens to vote for change or to keep everything the same. You are not a member of a perfect nation - we still discriminate against each other, we still hate and judge and commit horrible acts of cruelty against one another.

I want to help change that. I will do it many ways. I will treat people kindly. I will act with compassion and integrity. I will be a part of the many solutions. I will speak up when I must, even if shackled with the chains of fear. I will do what I can, and the absolute easiest thing I can do is vote.

And you have no excuse not to.

Please. Vote.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Camanche Officials - Some Alternatives For You

Camanche is looking at discriminatory dangerous dog legislation that targets people who own dogs resembling Pit Bulls.
"He said that while Camanche does have a good ordinance for dealing with dangerous dogs, it is reactive instead of pro-active" - City Administrator Tom Roth
I understand this feeling. We all want to prevent dog bites. I do not think anyone on either side of the "dangerous dog" issue feels differently. When we think of ways to prevent dog bites, I agree - we should be proactive. While dog bite fatalities are exceedingly rare events, we care for about 75 million dogs in this country. We interact with dogs on a daily basis.

My proactive suggestions would be the following, rather than punitive, discriminatory legislation:
    • Mandatory classes in school every year on the proper interaction with a dog. One study showed that even one 30-minute course on proper dog interaction can significantly increase awareness of appropriate dog-human interaction.
    • Free or affordable workshops on dog behavior offered by the local animal shelter, dog trainers or veterinary behaviorists.  
    • Take the approach of Calgary and Kern County and see your licensing and bite rates decline.
    • Offer or increase free/low-cost spay/neuter clinics and rabies vaccine clinics and offer free demo training classes. Make training a dog cool.
    • Educate through ad campaigns, brochures, in school, at veterinary clinics, in supermarkets that tethering a dog increases frustration and aggression, encourage other methods of housing and exercising animals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beef Industry Scared of Kid's Recipe Contest

The USDA, in conjunction with Let's Move, launched a kid's recipe contest. Submissions can be made in one of three categories: Whole Grains, Dark Green and Orange Vegetables, and Dry Beans and Peas. The grand prize is $3,000 and a chance to have your winning recipe served to the discerning tastebuds of children.

Nothing scares animal agribusiness more than Orange Vegetables and Dry Beans. Carrots are pretty disconcerting vegetables. 

The National Cattlemen's Association is up in a tizzy over what they feel is a discriminatory contest. This is because there is not a "Dead Animal" option in the healthy recipe category, and now the Cattlemen's Association is mad.

According to spokespersons for the beef industry, the USDA continues to perpetuate the "myth" that Americans eat too much meat. This despite the fact that Americans eat too much meat, and that the US government spends hundreds of millions of dollars buying up beef and other animal products at twice the rate of fruits and vegetables to feed as part of the National School Lunch Program. That is, our government helps subsidize and actively endorses animal agribusiness twice as much as they do carrots and peas.

What is so off-putting about the beef people is how seriously afraid of vegetables they are. Eggplants, I get. They're purple and bulbous. But what is so fear-inducing about apples and kale? The contest isn't a mind-blowing, overhaul of the school lunch program. It's a snazzy media ploy. That's it, really.

But I guess the Cattlemen's Association is scared of cute. Sort of how the Pork Council was concerned that unicorn meat might become the next "other white meat". Can't make that stuff up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Bully The Right Image?


a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
In 2002, Dog Fancy magazine issued a Popular Dogs series with "BULLY BREEDS" emblazoned at the top. The cover implores us to "Get the Truth" about "bully breeds", including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers.

The term has stuck, with organizations like HSUS, Best Friends, and multiple Pit Bull rescues using it to refer to Bulldog-type dogs (or, "Pit Bull type" dogs, which is a bit like saying "Golden Retriever type" dogs and referring to Goldens, Labs, and Chessies...admittedly, I'm guilty of using "Pit Bull type"). The term sometimes is used to refer to Rottweilers and Boxers. "Bully breeds" has been used in news stories, both positive and negative, about Pit Bulls and, sometimes Rottweilers. 

It is bandied about almost blithely without any real consideration to the message it sends and the connotations your average person makes. Heck, I love Pit Bulls, and when I hear them referred to as members of the "bully breeds", I cringe. Really cringe. 

When you think bully, do you think "family pet"? Or, like anti-pit bull zealotry*, do you think mean, dangerous, aggressive? In the absence of context, "bully breed" is hardly an endearing term. Even in context, it's use does not inspire a great faith in the stability of the dog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black-out on Black-Animal Adoption Only Kills Animals

When was the last time you heard of a black cat in the United States actually being sacrificed during a "satanic ritual"? By an actual "satanic cult"?

Experts on cults and also on animal cruelty all agree that this is a myth.

So why is it that some animal control agencies, shelters and some rescue agencies suspend the adoption of black cats during the month of October or on Friday the 13th? For example, three shelters in Palm Beach, Florida have suspended adoptions of black cats out of fear of cats being harmed or, oddly enough, used as decorations (nothing screams Halloween like a freaked-out newly acquired cat hiding under the bed).

Palm Beach Animal Control, one of the shelters, kills about 18,000 of the approximately 30,000 dogs and cats who enter their shelter. That's a 60% kill rate. Of that number, 14,000 are cats. That's an 85% kill rate for cats. If I am a shelter with an 85% cat-kill rate, I'm not about to reduce the chances of an animal's placement by the absolute prohibition of cats who happen to be black. Palm Beach Animal control IS trying to alleviate that problem with the allowance of "reserving" a black cat and only banning their adoption briefly.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Should Adopt This Dog

I was at the Sacramento SPCA today to teach a Chicken Care Class for the organization I work for (it went great) and because I MUST, I walked through the dog kennels just to say hi. It's a biological imperative whenever I enter a shelter.

And my heart melted. I fell in love about forty different times. Oh gosh, how my heart aches seeing dogs in kennels, seeing them stare imploringly atpassing people.

One girl stood out amongst them all. When she saw me look at her, pop! she was up and ready. All she wanted was to rub against the cage for love. When calm and relaxed, her ears were pinned back like a normal Pit Bull's...and when I started to talk baby talk as I moved away, her ears! Oh, it was a magical transformation - they turn into this

RIGHT? You know you want her!


Let me know if you do it. Because you will become my hero or heroine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

Rufus, the Bull Terrier most known for his win at Westminster several years ago, continues to be an ambassador for Bull Terriers and Pit Bull type dogs as a therapy dog.

At least five whales have been killed by ships off the coast of California, including one very pregnant female. Experts are now suggesting action be taken...good luck with that, the east coast has the same problems and not only does no one follow the rules, no one is enforcing the rules.

Last year, a Yorkshire Terrier's owner suffered a heart attack. The dog ran from the owner and approached, of all people, a postal employee, barking to get her attention and leading her to his owner. Good dog!

A former deputy in Llano has been indicted for the shooting death of a Pekingese in August.The dog, Munchee, had wandered out of her backyard and was shot and killed by the former deputy on his property. The dog was not being aggressive or dangerous. The dog survived but later had to be euthanized from complications.

Best Friends and Where DO we go from here?

Negative publicity often leads to follow-up posts, and Best Friends is no exception. Here is their follow up blog entry to the "incident" in which three dogs escaped out of separate kennels and one dog died.

Because I feel some people will misconstrue, let me just clear the air - I like Best Friends just fine. I like any organization that provides permanent and safe refuge to dogs who can handle it. I don't believe there is any valid reason to kill healthy or treatable animals, and Best Friends is a place that can provide haven to animals who may not function well in a more chaotic setting.

As an employee of a non-profit farmed animal sanctuary, I understand the delicate nature of handling  something when it goes wrong due to human error. Screw ups are a part of human nature made all the more heart-wrenching when they involve other living beings in our care. So I empathize immensely with those who love(d) Beans and Tug and Denzel or who provided direct care to them. I don't think calling Best Friends out on this safety issue is in any way demeaning that love.

But (and you knew it was coming) I have not one ounce of patience for an organization that, through its own negligence, refuses to admit anything was wrong!

No matter how you cut it, three dogs chewing through their enclosures to get at each other is not accidental. It just isn't. I don't care if you think Best Friends poops gold - they screwed up.

Hindsight is 20/20, so being sensitive to that, this is what I'd suggest BF say and do, take it or leave it:

"We made a grievous error that has cost a dog his life, shamed our organization and injured two dogs. We've had some concerns in the past and some real problems with dogs getting at each other through the fence. We know they got amped up over normal occurrences, like deer. We've had some escapes. We thought we had fixed some of these problems with concrete barriers, etc. These things happen, but what they should have taught us is that the best prevention is good management - and we failed at that. We know in large traditional shelters that the bite kennels are often double fenced for both the public and animals safety and to prevent escapes. Henceforth, we are installing double-fencing around all enclosures, with an initial focus on those dogs with aggression issues but eventually incorporating all enclosures. In the next six months, we will be placing security CCTV cameras in potential hot spots and within the year around the entire property where animal escapes are likely. If you'd like to donate toward those efforts, which will improve animal safety and security, great"

Instead we get a "woe is me" post. Which is fine, in good time. But when you're in the hot seat, when you're a national organization that has a real problem, then you've gotta let go of the "stop being mean to me" sentiments and start telling us what the hell you're going to do to fix the problem. That's good management.

- Marji Beach

Two Years Ago in Photos

Mendocino, 2008, The Stanford Inn

Flower craziness

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Friends Dog Fight Death

I find it interesting the way Best Friends has handled a recent case of negligence - you can start by reading Sad News from Dogtown.

One dog is dead and two others are injured after one or all three escaped from their individual kennels.

One dog escaping is an accident. Two dogs escaping is unacceptable. Three dogs is negligence, in my book.

But read their article..."One of the dogs escaped from his run..." Well gee, how nice of Best Friends to give the dead dog an honorable mention. That "one of the dogs" was Beans, a Pit Bull* mix.

But guess who does get a mention? " he broke into one of the runs of Tug, a dog rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case, who in turn broke into the run of Denzel, another of the Vicktory dogs. A fight ensued."

Beans, the dead dog, isn't mentioned except to point out that he broke into the kennel of one dog confiscated from Michael Vick's dogfighting property. Those two dogs (housed separately), one of whom was significantly injured, don't just get honorable mentions, they get their names and history included!

Beans is blamed, but so are deer. That's creative. "but we suspect their return might have over stimulated the dogs to behave in this way." 

How is it that three dogs somehow got out of their enclosures, especially knowing that all are dog aggressive? And knowing that deer, a "regular fixture", overstimulate the dogs...why were their kennels so shoddy that not one, not two, but three powerful dogs could have busted out of their enclosures?

There is a lot of information missing, and I can't say I'm entirely pleased with how Best Friends handled the description of the events that transpired or the lack of personal responsibility. Beans is not responsible. Tug and Denzel are not responsible. Deer aren't responsible. Best Friends is responsible, period, end of story. I'd give them leeway if one dog got out because of an unknown integrity problem with an enclosure, but for three dogs to get out? Sorry, I'm not buying that dogs or deer are the ones at fault. For an organization that likes to preach personal responsibility, it's the people not the dogs, rhetoric, they sure haven't listened to themselves on this case.

What do you think? Is Best Friends management and caregivers culpable or was this really a really big fluke of nature?

*I am sure you will find it interesting that anti-Pit Bull zealot sites and some of the comments on BF's article insist on calling Beans a "cur" or a if Pit Bulls cannot be victims of dog attacks and if their attackers are Pit Bulls themselves, better to call the dead dog a mutt or cur instead of, you know, a Pit Bull mix.

- Marji Beach

Monday, October 11, 2010

100 Mile Walk for Pit Bulls - Denver

Denver's Pit Bull ban is the best example in the United States of a failed dangerous dog law.

Some highlights of the ban
* Nearly 4,000 nonviolent dogs who resemble Pit Bulls have been killed based on a physical assessment
* Pit Bulls are still the 2nd most common biter, preceded by Labrador Retrievers
* Denver is the only city in Colorado with the highest rates of hospitalizations due to dog bites
* Director Doug Kelley believes that people in wheelchairs or with epilepsy are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act AND that Denver is exempt from this federal law...this is wrong, not to mention ableist and discriminatory.
* Director Doug Kelley and several other "experts" have no evidence that the breed ban has worked
* Denver has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars funding a law that no one seems to know whether it works or not (all evidence points to it doesn't).

Chef David Edelstein is going to walk 100 miles with his Pit Bulls from Colorado Springs to the edge of Denver county line (not past that, he could be arrested and his dogs confiscated, whoa America). This will be happening from October 18-23.

On October 23rd, at Cushing Park in Englewood, Colorado, locals (or anyone in the area) are invited to bring their well-behaved dogs to participate in National Pit Bull Awareness Day. You can read more information here.

Why I Don't Celebrate Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day. As a kid, the only joy I took in this holiday was the free day from school I got. Like all children in the United States, I was indoctrinated to believe that Columbus "discovered" the Americas and was a really awesome dude. He even had a catchy song-tune!

Much of what I learned were lies or half-truths created to perpetuate a myth.

Myth #1: Columbus discovered the Americas
I don't know about you, but if I "discover" an island with people already living on it, I can't say I'm the first to discover it. For thousands of years, people lived fine and dandy without anyone to announce that they had "discovered" a new land. And if you don't count native people as people, then you still have to acknowledge that Leif Erickson landed on present-day Canada hundreds of years before Columbus. (Also, if you don't count native people as people, stop reading my blog).

Myth #2: Columbus was a hero
For example, the native people of the Bahamas were so freaking nice when Columbus arrived that he found it distinctly easy to enslave them. The native Arawaks were described by Columbus himself as generous, kind-hearted...and what do you do to the generous and kind-hearted? You enslave them, rape their 9-yr-old girls, and feed their babies to hungry dogs. That's a no-brainer, right? Within two years of Columbus' landing, he helped exterminate 50% of the 250,000 Arawaks living on the island. That's nothing but a genocide.

It's time we stopped glorifying and admiring this man. He did not discover the Americas. He was not a hero. He was a mass-murdering slave trader, and our government must stop endorsing him as a mythical hero. School children should be taught compassion and respect, and they should be taught to celebrate role models who emulate those qualities. Columbus does not even come close.

And that is why I don't celebrate Columbus Day and encourage you to do the same.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Trusts HSUS & PETA More than Farmers

The Center for Food Integrity is an agribusiness-sponsored non-profit corporation, and their list of supporters include Foster Farms and Monsanto, corporations not well-known for their animal welfare or environmental stewardship.

According to their website, the Center for Food Integrity was formed to "serve as a resource where consumers and other stakeholders can find accurate, balanced information about the food system and engage in constructive dialogue" and yet I cannot seem to find any information on results from one of their most recent surveys. 

CFI conducted an opinion survey posing a variety of attitudinal statements, requesting respondents to rank them according to importance. You can see a summary of their presentation at their Food Safety Summit here, minus some important information.

I am guessing presenting this information to your stakeholders might...ruffle some feathers. Oh yeah, bad pun intended.

The survey showed that when it comes to who the public trusts about farmed animal welfare, it isn't Foster Farms - it's the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). And People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A.) It wasn't even close - HSUS was the most trusted source twice as much for information on farmed animal welfare. Farmers, like Foster Farms, ended up pretty much dead last.

I'm biased. I'm vegan, so I am probably more receptive to what an animal welfare or animal rights organization has to say over a multi-billion dollar corporation that kills animals. 

I guess I don't know why people wouldn't trust the companies they buy their meat, dairy and eggs from...after all, they're endorsing what they do by purchasing their products. But humans are interesting, sometimes contradictory creatures. I know I am, so that isn't me being judgy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How Mina Would Vote If She Could

Californians have a kajillion propositions to think about this November. A KAJILLION.

Mina is here to let you know how she would vote, if she could. Fact is, Mina wouldn't have elections, because if she was in charge, she'd have a totalitarian dictatorship but it would come with free cookies.

So for you Californians who read this blog and trust the sage advice of one patchy-eyed Pit Bull, please read on. Mina's opinions are hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this blog's writer.

Proposition 19: I am a fan of sniffing stuff, and I don't believe pot is any exception. Not that I have sniffed the stuff. I haven't. But I would. And Proposition 19 would let me. If persons over the age of 21 want to smoke or bake delicious carob chip brownies, I say let them. Plus, it would bring in the monies for the Californians. I don't have any opinion about money, except if I can eat it, and if I can't, who the pup cares? More importantly, my minion just bought Square Foot Gardening and Proposition 19 would let her grow 25 square feet of marijuana. If she wanted to. And she does not. But it could mean a brand new chapter for the book's author.

Proposition 20: Will the Pit Bulls of Santa Monica and San Francisco and Lancaster be free from the shackles of oppression if this passes? If not, then leave the redistricting up to me. San Francisco can become part of Oakland and Santa Monica can go into the sea and Lancaster's crazy mayor can buy some pot and chillax a bit.

Mina is noble times twoProposition 21: This proposition would ensure that dogs can piss on trees and bushes in our state parks for years to come. Or at least until another proposition says an additional $18 tax on cars is so rude. Well, it's not, peoples. What's rude is letting me walk through an unkempt state park. Do I look like a wilderness dog to you? DO I? I have artwork painted and framed for me hanging on the minion's wall, for pup's sake.

Proposition 22: Sometimes, during temperature hardships, my minion steals the covers from me. I would like to see this practice banned, even if temperature hardships are an undue burden on my minion because I insist on double-covers. If Proposition 22 includes minions stealing from Pit Bulls, I support it fully.

Proposition 23: Everybody knows global warming is real, except for Valero and the Republican Party, but fact is IT EXISTS. I created it. Check it. So why is the Adam Smith Foundation from Missouri donating $498,000 to stop California from having one of the most stringent clean air legislation? Do they hate air that much? I like it. I INVENTED IT. I didn't come into existence just so some foundation could fulfill their mission of "promoting conservative principles and individual liberties in Missouri" in California. I do not do silly talk. It is why Celeste and I have a hard time communicating.

Proposition 24: Where are my tax breaks at? Nevermind that I don't pay taxes, I deserve a break! This proposition would repeal tax breaks inflicted upon this great state by one Arnold Shwizzle-stick who is also a Governor and an actor and an Austrian. THREE POINTS AGAINST HIM. Anyways, Swhizzle-stick wanted to give corporations tax breaks, because Genentech and GE and Cisco and CBS and Time Warner are doing so horribly that the can BARELY afford the 5.3 million combined they've donated to the opposition campaign. I wish I had a million dollars so that I could buy a diamond-encrusted cape and a penthouse where I can send Celeste. But I don't. Genentech, I will tell the minion to vote no if you give me a million dollars.

I know, you're probably all like this now
Mina is uber bored
Toughen up. Only three more Propositions to go. Californians do love their propositions. It's Democracy for Rich People in action, Jackson.

Proposition 25: Let's say you and ten of your best canine buds are sitting around trying to decide whether to watch The Dog Whisperer or It's Me Or The Dog. This is life or death stuff here. If you had to make a decision based on California budget rules, you'd need 7.26 dogs to choose a show. This is just a physical impossibility, folks. But, say you had a Proposition like 25, then it would just take six of you crazy canines to make a decision. And if you didn't make a decision, you wouldn't get fed. Hmm. That part sort of sucks, because I like eating.

Proposition 26: Okay, let's say you and ten of your best canine buds are sitting around trying to decide if the evil Maltipoo next door who only speaks in tongues should be charged 5 cookies for every dog-language violation she commits. You'd be totally rich and you would all vote yes, but let's say Proposition 26'd need a SUPERmajority vote to tax that bitch. Oh, yeah, I said the b-word, because it is an anatomical reality for this Maltipoo. Truth.

Proposition 27: This is what I like about California. Back in 2008, voters thought California should have a commission that redistricts stuff. They also voted to hate gay people. Now voters may vote to repeal what they voted for, probably because they smoked too much illegal pot to remember how they voted two years ago. They'll also have to vote to decide if they want to have a commission that redistricts stuff with Proposition 20. Did no one get together from the Prop 20 camp and the Prop 27 camp and realize they're the same proposition? It's like McCain/Palin 2008 but without the dead elk. This is once again silly logic, and I do not do silly logic. Unless it is actually funny. But this isn't, because a lot of cookies were wasted to get two similar propositions on my minion's ballot. And if she has to spend time trying to decide how to vote for similar propositions, that's less time for my back massage. Which I like. It says so on my collar.

Now you know how to vote, Californians. You are welcome.

Around the Intarwebz

Trooper, a Pit Bull whose mouth was taped shut and mauled by other dogs, is recovering at a vet hospital. Gets to wear a sweater.

Intellectual honesty on the effects of trials and shows - a provocative post by Retrieverman...what we see as diversity in, for example trial dogs like Border Collies, may be nothing more than a genetic bottleneck and not an indicator of a healthier, more well-balanced dog.

A Labrador Retriever who fell off a 50' cliff is deemed "okay" after he tries to attack the postman.

Dog Attacks
A German Shepherd has been ordered killed for a July attack that cost the life of a Schnoodle. The German Shepherd could not be beat off the dog, even with a hiking stick (must have been a Pit Bull, actually).

An off-leash German Shepherd in the UK (Pit Bulls banned) mauled a Bedlington Terrier and had to be physically wrestled off the dog.

A German Shepherd in the UK bit off the finger of a postal worker.

A Boston Terrier  has been required to be penned at all times and may still face death for an attack that sent a woman to the hospital (initial visit and then re-visit when the multiple bite wounds became infected).

A Labrador Retriever involved in an attack on a person has been spared death thanks to a dog trainer.

A Doberman in the UK who attacked a little boy has been found, thus allowing the boy to avoid rabies treatment.

A Bernese Mountain Dog in Austria bit off his owner's lips.

A mixed breed dog (who is described as a Collie, maybe Border Collie mix?) was being walked unleashed at a playground when the dog bit a young child in the face, causing scarring and permanent disfigurement.

-Marji Beach

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Insects Attack

In my annual tradition of torturing the dogs, I have purchased ONE ladybird costume (the insect) and ONE honeybee costume (also, the insect).

Celeste has tried both on. The ladybird is arguably the cutest, which of course makes me want to put it on Mina (oh, I will), but the honeybee is so her color schema (black and yellow, yo).

Once I get my cameras back from my parental units, there will be pictures. Oh yeah. Then you can decide which costume should go with which dog. It will be epic.

-Marji Beach

Adopt a Bat Today, Be Happier Tomorrow

Truth time - bat dogs make you happy. Although I do not have the time to verify, I am almost certain a scientific study has been done on this very subject. The results? Adopt a bat dog today and be a happier human being tomorrow.

If you live in the Baltimore, Maryland region, adopt a bat dog at BARCS. And if the dog is black, HALF PRICE for you!

This is Shelley, but really they meant Chiroptera. Chi, for short.

Bat-dog Chiroptera is nocturnal, loves eating mosquitoes but hates sucking blood (she's not THAT kind of bat, peoples).

Chiroptera has a tongue as big as her ears so she can hear you with it. Amazing, I know.

Chiroptera is looking for her perfect castle where she may nestle upside down and snore. Gives it to her!

More of a cat person? For shame! Anyways, there are black cats at this shelter who are in desperate need of being saved...from their rescuers!

Check it! Kittens do not DO tulle. I mean, they do, but it's usually during fits of rage and ends in a tulle massacre.

Save this poor kitten from her rescuer, and put her in a more appropriate costume. Like a box. Box-cat. I like it.

During October, BARCS dogs and cats born black or wearing black or channeling their inner black are HALF-PRICE. Okay, just the actually black dogs, but you get what I'm saying.

So if you're in the Baltimore area, drop on by and adopt yourself a bat-eared dog or an evil princess black kitten, and help us get closer to a time when no treatable animal is killed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And the Sky Was Torn By Thunder

This morning, around 2:30, the sky was torn asunder by thunder. Nothing thrills me more than a silly rhyme. It was the kind of storm in which you think the sky is being shredded by an angry centipede, his angry 100-arms working in tandem to cast aside ozone and rip apart the space between stars. Well, at least I think. Most people probably don't like to ponder over-sized, multi-armed insects disemboweling the universe.

Growing up in the Bay Area, we didn't get these kinds of thunderstorms. Or they happened rarely.

But the Sierra Foothills likes lightning and thunder as much as it likes pine trees and snow-capped mountain tops. That is to say, a lot.

I thought the thunder was an earthquake, a natural phenomenon with which I am more intimately familiar. The house shook and Celeste shot up, staring intently at the door. I am not sure why the door. After a few more bouts of thunder, she gave up staring and went back to bed.

Mina didn't stir. Flashes of electricity, booms of sound, that is not more important than sleeping beneath the covers.

What do your dogs do during thunderstorms?

-Marji Beach

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Around the Intarwebz

A German Shepherd (allowed to run loose in a rural area) went missing eight years ago. Luckily, the dog was microchipped and the guardians still reside at their current address so when he was found, the family could be reunited. It's been eight years, but it was a happy reunion.

Topeka has repealed its Pit Bull legislation.

Pit Bulls get bad publicity.

Fighting the past, NY Post article on the former Vick dogs and their new lives.

Dog Attacks
Up to seven of eleven dogs living in a residence attacked and mauled their owner. The dogs are various breeds.

Four mastiffs, living at a residence with a history of dog violations, got out of their backyard and mauled a man for 5-10 minutes in Delaware. The man is in critical condition.

A bull-mastiff jumped over a fence and attacked the neighbor's dog. When the owner interfered, she was bitten, nearly severing two of her fingers.

A loose Great Dane attacked a pregnant woman. No word on her condition.

A Husky who attacked and nearly killed a dog a few weeks ago has a history of attacking other dogs, including one other terrier and a German Shepherd. The dog is still with his owner and no charges have been the UK, where Pit Bulls are banned.

A German Shepherd in Minnesota mauled a woman's face, ripping off part of her lips.

A German Shepherd/Rottweiler mixed breed bit a child in the face, for unknown reasons. The child had to be airlifted to the hospital but is expected to recover.

An unleashed mixed breed attacked a woman. The dog aimed for her throat and face, but hit the woman's arm when she put it up to defend herself.

A large white, mixed breed dog attacked a 9-yr-old girl, aiming for her face and neck. She was able to stop the attack after she kicked the dog. No one stopped to help during or after the attack. The girl needs major surgery to repair the wounds.

A dog described as a Labradoodle bit a Yolo County city worker. The owner took the dog and left the scene.

A Greyhound in the UK mauled a Jack Russell Terrier cross, crushing the dog's leg and causing irreparable internal organ damage. The dog had to be euthanized.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stories Like These Highlight the Egregious Failure of American Justice

I am not an enormous fan of our (American) penal system. I've written about it before. The reality is we spend billions of dollars putting non-violent, low-level "criminals" behind bars.

And just when I think the penal system can't get any more embarrassing, any more horrifying - I read this.

In case you don't want to read the article - in 2005, a 15-yr-old girl was scheduled to make an appearance in court. She had been physically assaulted, but it wasn't her attacker on trial. She was for lying to police about knowing who had harmed her. While at the court house, this girl was handcuffed and escorted by one Tony Simmons, a court counselor. Instead of going to the courtroom, Tony Simmons headed to the basement and then raped her.

She wasn't his only victim. Tony Simmons has raped multiple young women. These are teenagers who've already been failed by the system, probably in multiple ways. They already fear authority figures, so it was probably easy for Tony Simmons to take advantage of that fear and victimize them further.

Tony Simmons is a serial rapist who raped at least three young women in the courthouse. He's probably raped more women and girls than that.

And his punishment? Nothing. He will not see a jail cell. Even if he had been found guilty and faced the stiffest penalty, guess how many years he could have faced in prison? One to three. Three years. Here in California, if you are found with a few ounces of cocaine three times in a row, expect a mandatory 15-yr sentence!

But If you are a juvenile counselor in New York, you get a free pass for raping multiple teenage girls in the courthouse. Sit in Cassandra Mullen's courtroom and you'll get a state-approved stamp of endorsement!

And if you are found guilty of lying about who assaulted you in an unrelated case, expect to serve 12-months in prison. That's what the aforementioned 15-yr-old endured.

Let me recap: Rape multiple, already abused teenage girls = free pass.
Lie to police = year in jail.


I blame....
#1 Cassandra Mullen. She doesn't even deserve "judge"in front of her name. She actually suggested and encouraged a plea deal of 10 years probation and register as a sex offender. Probation and a registry? I did not know it was a judge's duty to get rapists probation. Who knew!
#2 The District Attorney. Or, rather, the DA Cyrus Vance's assistant who did not object to the plea deal proposed. Which again, in case you forgot, was probation. For ten years. I was unaware that prosecutors were supposed to make life super easy for serial rapists!
#3 A rape culture that creates such an aura of fear that young women who are sexually violated by those in authority are too fucking petrified to speak up. And when they do, big fat fail for how we choose to prosecute the perp and view the victims.

And of course, I blame Tony Simmons, but he's not coming close to receiving the justice his victims deserve. That all of us, as a society that SHOULD criminalize rape more than drug use, deserve.

My heart goes out to Tony Simmons' victims. I hope they have been able to find the strength to love themselves and find love and good in others. I'm sorry they even have to find that strength - they shouldn't ever have to. I'm so sorry that our system and culture and world has failed them so miserably. They deserved protection and compassion and love, and instead they were raped by someone who was supposed to protect them, by a judge who was supposed to dole out justice not probation to a rapist, and a prosecutor who is supposed to fight for, not against the victims.

-Marji Beach

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Michael Vick Not Electrocuted or Drowned After Injury

I would like to first thank the Washington Redskins for clobbering Vick. I subtract McNabb from this gratitude because he was all "Michael Vick, I lurves you, come back and plays the footballs with us!!" Wrong.

I would also like to thank Vick's ribcage for being all, "I shall fail you today, because secretly I think you suck." Truly, that is what his ribcage said.

BUT! I do believe the Eagles management needs a slap on the wrist. I mean, treating his injury? Vick essentially failed himself and his team and got himself injured.

And what does one do with failing sports players? We SHOULD take a page from the Vick playbook and electrocute and/or drown and/or choke them to death. No duh, where your head at, Coach Urban? Can't you just breed a new quarterback?

Anyways, I wish Vick a slooooow recovery.

The end.

PS: I am so sad for you, 49ers. You were SO close. SO CLOSE. Alas.

How Idiots Get Kids Bitten

Check this dog out - is he super scary or what? I mean, he's already inhaled that dude's fingers, I'm sure he's going for the throat next!!

So the weekend of September 25th, a woman went out and got this dog. He's like a 100 lbs of mush.

Now, what we are taught at Fostering For Dummies school is to leash yourself to the dog for about 2-weeks so you can get to know the dog, he's stuck getting to know you and also? You're 6-yr-old kid doesn't start tugging on the dog's face.

But no one educated this woman and so she let her young child - who stands at face level to this 100 lb dog - play really roughly with the dog...who AGAIN, he had only known a few days. When the dog tired of the whole "tugging my face off" bit, he nailed the child in the face.

One bite. Now, a bite to the face can be wicked deadly, no matter the size of the dog. But obviously, a comparable bite from a 100 lb dog versus a 10 lb dog is going to do a bit more damage. The child needed 28 stitches to close the bite wound. This was not a dedicated attack, it was not a "I'm going to rip your throat out" attack. It was one bite that, yes, did damage to a 6-yr-old's face.

Thankfully, the dog will not be returned to the previous owner (who I doubt wants the dog back). Setting your dog up to fail is awful enough, but to set up your child to fail is, in this situation, potentially deadly. Sure, some dogs will tolerate being manhandled from day one, but most have limits and you should probably find those limits out BEFORE your kid does.

I wish the child a speedy recovery, and I hope he is taught by someone more responsible how to appropriately interact with doggies (I also hope he isn't petrified of all dogs from now on). I hope the woman chooses not to get a dog until she can handle the responsibilities inherent to dog guardianship. And I hope the dog is given a second chance in an appropriate, responsible setting.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dear Little Terrier Dog

I want to know more about you. I want to know what made you happy and what made you sad. I want to know if you liked car rides or baths or long walks at the arboretum.

I want to know when your legs gave out, when your body stopped keeping up with your mind, what compelled someone to throw you alive into a dumpster.

I want to hope you lived a nice, long life. I really want to hope that, because no dog's final moments should be their best. No dog deserves to die in a loud, raucous kennel surrounded by strangers.

I'm sorry that, after giving so much, after being yourself perfectly and wonderfully for many years, that your big send-off was so awful and mean, so reflective of our ugly throwaway world.

I don't know if you were nice or mean or afraid or steady and solid in this world. I know you existed only because you died.

Around the Intarwebz

A rescued Rottweiler who stopped a sexual attack on a woman received a bravery award from the RSPCA, where he was adopted.

Students raise $1,300 with lemonade sales to benefit local humane society.

Citty Pittie has a good post on how easily statistics can be created to skew the reality of dog bites.

Dog Attacks
A German Shepherd, living in the UK where Pit Bulls are banned, has been ordered muzzled after attacking a woman twice.

A 14-yr-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier was savagely mauled by two off leash mixed breed dogs. In the UK. You know, where Pit Bulls are banned.

A Bull-mastiff, in the UK (see above), tore the lip off a young girl after he freaked out hearing a dog barking on a video game. Oh, but perhaps the girl kicked the dog and THAT is why he bit. My favorite is the grandma wants video games to come with a warning!

A sheepdog attacks a woman.

A Boxer/Bulldog mix attacked a girl as she was riding her bike away from her friend's house, requiring 18 stitches to close the wounds.

A stray, old Labrador Retriever bit a 2-yr-old child.

A dog described as a German Shepherd was running loose in Colorado Springs when he attacked a young girl, biting her several times on the legs. The wounds were not major, thankfully.

Several months ago, a Great Dane - in the UK, where Pit Bulls are banned - bit off the nose of a postal worker, causing significant facial injuries.

A woman is suing the owners of a Labrador Retriever who attacked her after being hit by a car.

The owner of a Great Dane, leashed in a public spot, who bit a man's arm down to the bone will not be prosecuted nor his dog required to be muzzled.

A Labrador Retriever being walked in the UK, attacked and bit a child on the arm, requiring 15 stitches to close the wound. The woman walking the dog left the scene with the dog.

Two Malamutes who had killed another dog a few months ago were let off-leash at a dog park. They killed a 20-lb mixed breed dog within minutes of entering the park.

A German Shepherd attacked a man in the UK, biting so hard that the wound exposed deep muscle and bone.

A small mixed breed dog bit a 6-yr-old child on the thigh, after the owner said he could pet the dog. The owner then left the scene, not bothering to see if the child was okay.

A St. Bernard-Bernese Mountain Dog mix was shot and killed after a neighbor's child climbed over the fence and was attacked by the dog. The girl suffered moderate wounds.

A cattle dog attacked a police officer in Independence, MO - where Pit Bulls are banned - after the dog's owner got into a fight with the officer. The officer went to the hospital for treatment and the dog was confiscated (hey, they didn't shoot the dog, either).

A Landseer inflicted significant wounds on a 10-yr-old girl in Austria.

A woman was bitten more than 20 times by a cattle dog in Tasmania, Australia. The dog was chasing sheep and goats, then got into a fight with the woman's German Shepherd. When she went to intervene, the cattle dog mauled her.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Books Week Ends - Remember Why It Exists

Today marks the end of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of books and a reminder of why freedom to read diverse, fascinating, provocative books is imperative to us all.

Every year, parents, teachers and "concerned" citizens challenge the availability of books either in libraries or the school curriculum. In 2009, the following books were the most challenged. If you want to keep this issue alive, why not check one of these books out at the library?

  ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
   Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, offensive language, drugs,
   and unsuited to age group

   And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality

   The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
   Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually
   explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

   To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: racism, offensive language, unsuited to age group

 Twilight (series), by Stephanie Meyer
 Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

  Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
   Reasons: sexaully explicit, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group


   My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
   Reasons: sexism, homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, drugs, suicide, violence

  The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things
, by Carolyn  Mackler
   Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

   The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
   Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

   The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
   Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

Or, check out the books most frequently challenged throughout the year here.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us. - Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas