Sunday, November 27, 2011

Can the Bulldog Be Saved?

English BulldogNY Times article, read it.

My first experience with English Bulldogs occurred in the back room of the vet clinic I worked at in college.

An in estrus female and an intact male were being prepared for breeding purposes.

Neither dog could have normal intercourse. At least not successfully.

I watched as a vet tech "massaged" the male dog's penis until it was erect. She continued until the dog ejaculated into a collection tube. I don't think horrified quite covers my reaction. If you discovered your neighbor molesting the family dog in this manner, you would probably call the cops. In the name of producing "cute dogs", though, the practice of artificial insemination is the gold standard of breeding English Bulldogs.

The female's experience was more distressing. She had never mated before (not that she physically could, so grotesquely abnormal were her proportions).

Because English Bulldogs can have difficulty with anesthesia (although I would see this dog a couple months later for a surgical c-section), some (many?) breeders choose to artificially inseminate the female while she is conscious.

The process involves inserting a catheter into the dog's vagina and depositing the semen into her uterus.

The young Bulldog female was physically restrained by two technicians. She screamed and yelped when the rod was inserted. Her body was violated by humans for reasons I find unfathomable. I think of this happening to Mina and I feel numb. It would feel like a violation of her trust in me. Not to mention a violation of her body that does not improve her welfare or health.

I don't think the question is can the English Bulldog be saved, but should it. Should we continue artificially selecting for dogs whose physical structure prohibits them from engaging in basic behavior? I'm not just talking about Bulldogs having sex like normal dogs. English Bulldogs do not breathe normally. They cannot. English Bulldogs cannot exercise normally because they might keel over.

Allowing a dog to exist in perpetual discomfort, unable to act in normal ways, because they provide human beings pleasure is not merely misguided, it is cruel.

Full disclosure, I do not believe dogs should be purposefully bred. But I do not want a world without them. Ah, being human.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leave Dogs Off The Construction Site

Yesterday, I took Mina to the veterinarian because I thought she had cancer. She doesn't. I see one weird mark on her and jump to the conclusion she is dying from some rare sarcoma.

While there, an emergency arrived. A man carried in a young 4-mos-old Pointer puppy who had been attacked by two dogs.

The man was working at a client's house and brought his brand-new puppy with him. Seriously. He brought a recently purchased dog wearing no collar to this client's home and let him run loose. Guess what? This curious puppy ran over to the neighbor's house, under the fence, and was promptly attacked by the neighbor's dogs.

Lucky to be alive, I had the misfortune of seeing his leg bones sticking out of his leg. He suffered two severe breaks but will recover.

I have never understood why private contractors feel it necessary to bring their dog with them and allow them out of the vehicle. It's stupid, reckless and irresponsible. This guy is lucky his dog survived and he still had the audacity to blame the neighbor for, oh I don't know, properly confining his dogs in his own backyard! Only person to blame is holding a broken puppy, standing in the lobby of an emergency vet clinic.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Racially Offensive? Nevada County Says Historically Significant!

When Gail Smith bought a home in Rough and Ready, California, she discovered the creek running through her property was called Nigger Creek. She wrote a letter to the US Board of Geographic Names and requested it be changed to something more appropriate. She suggested Butterfly Creek for the numbers of butterflies.

The Assessor's Office renamed it Negro Creek.

Enter the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. They don't want to change the name. They feel it is not offensive (probably because they are white dudes, down with the patriarchy!) and that it is historically significant.

Their argument in support of retaining a racial slur as the name of a creek is a doozy.

“The name Negro Creek is therefore of historic importance as it is one of the few designations that allude to the importance of the Negro miners in the area. The current efforts of many to eliminate what are called derogatory names in this case would actually cause the efforts of these early miners to be deleted from the historical record of this area.”

Think of the black miners, people. They will essentially be erased from history if the name Nigger/Negro Creek is not retained. Alternatively, books - where lots of people get their history - could include the information on the importance/presence of African American miners in California's gold country. Of you can find the information on the internets.

White man supervisor states as if fact that if you are adverse to calling a creek Nigger/Negro, then you are in full support of wiping out all mentions of black miners in Nevada County. If this creek's offensive name is changed to something less so, then we will have erased all knowledge of black miners in California. I refer you back to the internets.

White man Supervisor said, "he was not in favor of a name change, unless a compelling case was made by the NAACP."

Seriously? He needs black people to make the case that calling a creek Nigger/Negro is offensive? Like what century is this guy from?

Well, here, ""If you are going to change that name, change it to something that black people living in your county today can take pride in, too," says Irma Jordan, the head of the Butte County NAACP, the closest chapter of the organization to Nevada County. She agreed that "Black Miners Creek," would be appropriate - a name that would both recognize the historic past and not offend anyone. She added that the use of "Negro" is offensive to her."


"Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, believes that African American or Black would be a more appropriate term than Negro."

That's like what, two actual black people? Does the Board of Supervisors need a third? 

As an aside, I'm about as embarrassed by the Board of Supervisors as I am by local reaction. Like, are these people for real? Is this 2011 or did I get shoved in a space-time continuum that honestly believes "Negro Creek" was really named after a "color"? I mean, these people could be my neighbors!
  • What a complete waste of time, money & resources (racism, it brings in the dough)
  • Negro translates to black from Spanish. Many California sights have Spanish names. Will every one with the word "Negro" be changed? I agree with John F. Way to make something out of nothing. (Yes, because Nigger/Negro is Spanish and not at all racist).
  • Ummm butterfly? lol why not "black creek" then? But seriously, the word Negro is on the 2010 us census bureau, soooooo, no. Leave it alone. Historical value :)) (seriously, the census bureau knows its shit)
  • Don't we have better things to do in this county? It's the name of a color in spanish for goodness sake! Ridiculous!!! (yeah kike is just a letter, yo)
  • I'm not offended and it's not my place to judge for others' if they should be offended. However, I don't care if anyone is offended. The nuances of NevCo are what make it what it is.  (99% white?)
  • It's called "Negro Creek", not "Nigger Creek" so save my taxes as the former is not offensive, unlike the latter. (because changing the name is gonna cost a bazillion dollars and jap is also not offensive if written with a lower-cased J!)
  • Negro is a color and the history that goes with "nigger" has been resolved as the creek maintains it's name minus the slur. Should we change the name of Grass Valley to "Marijuanaville" in keeping with "politically correct" and now that everyone has come to their senses? :-) haha (hahah, super funny, cuz calling someone a Marijuanaville-head is just another way to oppress them and also it's just like calling a black person a Negro/Nigger).
  • No. And, what next change the name of Rio Negro, The Black Mountains, The Black Sea, ... ... really, quite ridiculous. (Totally ridiculous, too true.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Detroit Animal Control Riding the Shame Boat of Fail

Yet another Pit Bull has been killed by Detroit Animal Control.

Detroit Animal Control claims they did not receive a Wayne County Judge's injunction to not kill the dog. The millisecond the dog's 4-day hold ended, they injected this dog with euthanasia solution. They took his life, not because he ate people or was medically hopeless, but because he looks like a Pit Bull.

Detroit officials don't really like being in the spotlight - just check out the statement they made.

Let me translate.

However, if we grant this one exception, we are simply not set up for what will undoubtedly lead to overwhelming appeals in similar cases.

Translation: The slippery slope of NOT killing dogs is just unfathomable. It may lead to dogs getting adopted. Rescues may flood the shelters with requests to save lives. Adopters may enter the shelter and exit with an actual, breathing canine. This will put an undue burden on our staff who will have to stop killing dogs and start getting money for adopting them out. Chaos will undoubtedly follow.

Urgent calls for help from elderly citizens, school principals, postal supervisors and the police are going unanswered because our Detroit Animal Control dispatch line is overwhelmed with calls from outside of the city, state and even the country.

Translation: Every time you care about a dog at Detroit Animal Control, a grandma is killed by rampaging packs of rabid canines. Stop caring about dogs, think of the grandmas. We have no actual evidence of this occurring, but the public is still at fault.

There are several communities in Southeastern Michigan who not only refuse to return pit bull dogs to owners but go beyond that and ban ownership of these dogs entirely.

Translation: See? Killing nearly all of the dogs entering our shelter isn't really that bad, our city could refuse to return Pit Bulls to their guardians or just ban dogs who look a certain way entirely. Be happy with what you got, thankless public.
Further, DAC does not adopt out or release pit bulls or pit bull mixes and will not release any dog (regardless of breed) unless proof of ownership can be established through a dog license or supporting documentation such as prior veterinary records.

Translation: We are equal opportunity killers.

We are proud of the dedication of Detroit Animal Control Manager, Harry Ward and his officers for risking their lives every day protecting residents of this city. Attacking their character and integrity is disingenuous, disconcerting and disappointing. We receive calls every year from hundreds of citizens who are appreciative for the work they do.
Translation: Stop it, meanies.
Goodness forbid you tie up the phone lines of Detroit Animal Control. But if you live in Detroit, please speak to their "bosses" and contact the city council asking that they overturn the policy that permits the senseless killing of adoptable, healthy animals. Hug a grandma before you do it, though, just in case.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Judge Agrees That Ace's Story is Ridiculous

Read about Ace here

A Wayne County judge has halted the senseless killings of adoptable dogs at Detroit Animal Control until Ace's situation is resolved. Of course, the best resolution is to completely stop killing adoptable dogs at Detroit's shelter, including dogs who are either misidentified as Pit Bulls or who are adoptable Pit Bulls.

Real Sight Can Also Be 20/20

"This is a tragedy," Paterno said. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

Maybe Joe Paterno, the coach with the most wins in the collegiate football universe, needs to get his glasses checked. In 2002, he had the benefit of "real sight" when he learned that the coach who had high hopes of taking over as head coach was  caught raping a young boy. He reported the "alleged" abuse to athletic director  Tim Curley and a vice president Gary Schultz. After that, I guess the buck changed hands and the responsibility of handling a sexual predator was shifted. Not to police, just off campus. Jerry Sandusky - accused of violating the body of a young boy - was allowed to work offsite with boys. Failure to protect children on so many, SO FREAKING MANY, levels.

And for the next several years, Jerry Sandusky "allegedly" sexually assaulted multiple children.

Jerry Sandusky was not turned over to authorities. He was not immediately suspended until the resolution of any criminal charges. His victims did not receive immediate psychological care or an opportunity at justice through the court system. Sandusky "retired" while maintaining an office on campus and continuing with his off-campus charity in which he could easily access vulnerable boys.

Joe Paterno and company let a sexual predator go. They permitted the future violation of an unknown number of children. And they did nothing.

So to all those fans who are pissed off that Joe Paterno has been fired - shame, shame, shame. Shame on you for supporting someone who allowed a man get away with sexual crimes against children. Shame on you for believing that just because one man is "good", that he wins a lot at football, that that somehow precludes him from being held accountable - in some small way - for turning his back on hopeful children, for letting loose a sexual predator. For choosing a man who preyed upon innocence and received a hall pass from Paterno and Penn State athletics. For picking an adult man who should have known better and done right over children who cannot themselves be advocates, who need us adults to be the ones to speak up and out.

My prayers and thoughts are with the real victims. You know, the ones who were sexually assaulted by a man they trusted and violated by a system they admired. Who never felt they could tell the truth. Who will undoubtedly become victims again against a public and system which somehow believes winning football is more important than stopping child molesters.

-One pissed off, upset football fan (who thinks convicted felons or alleged rapists should also not be able to play professionally, call me crazy).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ace's Story Is Ridiculous

Ace is a Pit Bull. He is named after the store he entered on November 4th, seeking shelter. The dog is emaciated and injured.

Ace had the misfortune of being found by Detroit animal care and control. If a dog looks like a Pit Bull, behavior aside, s/he will be killed if unclaimed by a guardian. Detroit animal control does not allow the transfer of Pit Bull type dogs to humane societies or reputable rescues. You cannot go into Detroit animal control and adopt a Pit Bull type dog. After four business days, these dogs are killed based solely on how they look.

So Ace, who is injured, has been left medically untreated for days while individuals have had to rally support and outcry over what should have been a simple shelter transfer.

To save Ace's life requires a special tax-payer funded session of Detroit's city council. A resolution will need to be passed to save this dog's life.

That is ridiculous.

This is one of those stories that leave you wondering, what could be done for ALL the dogs at Detroit Animal Control? Think about it. The calls to media could have been standard phone calls to a list of rescues. The video footage taken could have been daily or weekly photo and video sessions with adoptable or rescue-only dogs. The time starting a Facebook page, maintaining it, and getting people to sign a petition or call the city council could have been the weekly check-in of "how many dogs do you have who need rescue?"

I think of all this time, precious and amazingly important time for the dogs at Detroit Animal Control, being spent on one dog who should have, the second he was impounded, been medically treated and, after his "hold" period, immediately sent to rescue and it makes me sick. NOT because Ace does not deserve the love, respect and chance at life, but because ALL dogs at Detroit Animal Control do, length of hair and musculature be damned.

City Council President Charles Pugh might heed his own words and rescind the outdated, cruel law RULE that allows for the automatic death sentence of healthy, adoptable animals. ""We don't want our policy to get in the way of the dog's life," Pugh said. "If we can save the dog, then let's save the dog."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Police Sgt. Saves the Lives of Two Pit Bull Mixes

Mason and Kenzi are alive because one person advocated for them. One person. 

In Old Town, Maine, the "Animal Orphanage" took in two Pit Bull crosses who appeared to be brother and sister. The small shelter does their best to refrain from killing adoptable animals. However, they were ill-equipped to deal with the resource guarding male and the withdrawn female.

Enter Police Sgt Mike Hashey. 

He saw two dogs who needed a spokesperson. When he learned the two dogs were slated for death, he found that unacceptable. Hashey enlisted the help of friends, including fellow police officers, to work with the frightened, stressed out dogs. Instead of seeing "unadoptable", he saw two scared dogs who needed some help.

And get this, Hashey brought his own dogs - two Labrador Retrievers - and guess what? No one was eaten. Mason and Kenzi learned how to interact with both people and dogs in positive manners.

The hard work paid off. The dogs are going to their new home because one person cared.

And if you have any doubt on the power of one person inspiring multiple people to goodness, check out the story of Mari(o) over at Yesbiscuit who somehow manages to thank everyone else but herself! But Mari(o) would not be alive had it not been for Shirley. One person.