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Archive for January 5th, 2009

PETA asks network to drop dog show

PETA sent a letter to the president of USA Network today, urging the network to cease showing the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, sponsored by the American Kennel Club.

The letter requested that USA Network follow the lead of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), which announced last month that it will no longer televise Britain’s Crufts dog show because of harmful breed standard policies. The action followed a BBC special report on how breed standards have created health problems in many purebred breeds.

The standards of the British Kennel Club and the AKC are almost identical, PETA said.

“The AKC has failed to help reduce the debilitating health problems that plague purebreds. Furthermore, it specifically encourages painful mutilations such as ear-cropping and tail-docking. Dog breeders routinely perform these cruel procedures, which can lead to infection, and often use genetic manipulation or inbreeding to achieve certain “desired” breed standards,” a PETA press release said.

PETA also said purebred breeding adds to the nearly 8 million animals in shelters every year — many of them purebreds –about half of which are euthanized.

“Countless dogs suffer painful cosmetic surgeries and millions of wonderful dogs die in animal shelters because of the AKC’s inhumane policies,” says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “USA Network can take a stand against the cruel treatment of animals simply by denying air time to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.”

EV-uh-oh: Is Rachael Ray poisoning our dogs?

The quick answer is no. Despite a recent boo boo — actually a boo boo repeated from 2006 — in one of her “dog-friendly” recipes, Rachel Ray, whether you find her endearing or annoying, appears to be a true dog person, dog lover and dog philanthropist.

That one of her recipes — reprinted alongside a profile of Ray in this month’s Modern Dog magazine — calls for onions, which can be toxic to dogs, was an unfortunate oversight, a result of either the conflicting information that’s out there or a reflection of Ray’s learning curve when it comes to canines.

The recipe in question, “Isaboo’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheddar,” originally appeared in Ray’s own magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, which runs a “pet friendly” recipe in every issue — a meal you can make for both you and your dog to eat.

The macaroni and cheese dish, which calls for half an onion, was the first of those to appear in the magazine, back in March 2006.

Ray also has her own dog food company, Rachael Ray Nutrish, some of the profits from which go to her own rescue organization, as she’s quick to point out on her website:

“There are no fillers.  No junk.  Just lots of good, wholesome stuff. How cool is that? And you know me.  I’m all about giving back, so some of the proceeds from Rachael Ray Nutrish go to charities that take care of animals who have no one else to look out for them.  Wow.  How good do you feel now?”

But back to poisoning dogs.

After the onion episode came to light, we went back and checked all the “dog-friendly” recipes Ray has published in her magazine, starting in April 2006 — all 27 of them — and we’re pleased to report that none of them are likely to kill your dog.

True, some of them call for avocados, which are toxic to dogs, and scallions, which are toxic to dogs, and nutmeg, high levels of which can result in seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems and death.

But almost always those recipes point out — either in the ingredient list or in the directions — to use those items only in the human portions.

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SPCA previews “Hotel for Dogs” Saturday

The Maryland SPCA is holding a special screening of Hotel for Dogs Saturday morning at Regal Cinemas Hunt Valley.

Admission is free, but a $5 donation is requested. Donations will help provide food, vaccinations, spay/neuter, shelter, care and enrichment for homeless and lost animals at The Maryland SPCA.

The film stars Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin as two kids who secretly take in nine stray dogs, using an abandoned building as a dog hotel.

Several adoptable dogs from The Maryland SPCA will be at the theater. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. The movie starts at 10:30 a.m. The theater is at 118 Shawan Road in Cockeysvile.

All moviegoers will be automatically entered into a drawing for one of ten free special edition stuffed dogs. Additional stuffed dogs will be available for a $15 donation.

Because space is limited the SPCA recommends registering by Thursday if you plan to attend. To do so, contact Tami Gosheff at tgosheff@mdspca.org with the names and email addresses of those attending. Names must be on the list for admission.

PEOPLE (the magazine) turns to pets

As if one species weren’t enough, PEOPLE magazine has branched out, establishing a new website called “PEOPLE Pets.”

Like the original magazine, the online pet version is short on edge and depth, heavy on fluff (we’re referring to both the animal and journalistic variety), with a heavy dose of celebrities stories and send-us-your-cute-dog-pictures contests.

It has a news section, and a style section, (“Mariah Carey celebrates the Holidays with her two loves. Plus: Mary-Kate Olsen, Dennis Quaid and other stars with their furry pals!”), and plenty of opportunities for readers to submit pet pictures.

It also has — for reasons I don’t grasp — lots of ads for Slim-Fast, the human weight loss beverage.

“It’s a site from the folks who do PEOPLE magazine, and it’s dedicated to all the things we love about our pets – funny photos, silly videos, heartwarming stories and, of course, styling pet gear,” Carol Vinzant, PEOPLE Pets community manager, said in an email about the new website.