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Archive for January 27th, 2009

Veggie love: PETA ad banned by Super Bowl

‘Veggie Love’: PETA’s Banned Super Bowl Ad.

OK, sports fans, here’s the PETA ad deemed too hot for the Super Bowl.

According to a PETA blog, NBC found the pro-vegetarianism ad depicted “a level of sexuality exceeding our standards.”

The ad features a bevy of beauties showing their love for vegetables.

Specifically, NBC objected to the following depictions” “licking pumpkin … touching her breast with her hand while eating broccoli … pumpkin from behind between legs … rubbing pelvic region with pumpkin
… licking eggplant … rubbing asparagus on breast.”

NBC also complained about scenes in which it appeared that models were about to get more intimate with broccoli and asparagus.

It’s snowin’, dawg

With our first decent snow of the season, it’s time to break out my favorite dog-in-the-snow video.

It was shot in Ward, Colorado during a blizzard in the late 1990’s — one that brought more than 50 inches of snow over two days.

Bailey, the dog featured in the video, died in a house fire on December 26, 1998.

“So this is all I have left,” her owner writes of the video, which has drawn more than 3 million views on Youtube.

Prof advises Obama to get southern dog

A psychology professor in North Carolina has advised President Obama to look south for a First Dog — they’re friendlier, more abundant and make better pets, he says.

Hal Herzog, in an opinion piece in yesterday’s Washington Post, makes a couple of good points — and a couple with which we disagree. Chief among them is that the north, because of aggressive spay-neuter campaigns, has been left with a shortage of adoptable dogs.

“… The rush to pluck the reproductive organs from every household pet in America has been so successful that we may be running out of dogs,” he writes. ” … The more successful a region’s efforts are at controlling pet overpopulation, the more aggressive — and less adoptable — the dogs in their local animal shelter tend to be.”

As a result, he says, in the south — where spaying and neutering have been pursued less wholeheartedly and where shelter dogs are less likely to have rubbed elbows with nasty urban pit bulls — dogs are likely to be friendlier.

We disagree. Southern dogs aren’t any friendlier than northern dogs. Southern people? Maybe (Disclaimer: I’m from North Carolina). But not southern dogs.

For one thing, dogs in the south are certainly not any less likely to have been abused or neglected. And dogfighting operations are certainly not a northern phenomenon, nor strictly an urban one — as the cases of both Michael Vick, of Virginia, and Ed Faron, of North Carolina, attest.

Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., is a nice guy (I interviewed him a while back) who knows his stuff — his stuff being societal attitudes and behavior toward animals.  

He’s correct in pointing out there is a greater supply of shelter dogs in the south, and a greater demand for them in north — and that there is an informal pipeline in operation, shuttling southern dogs north. He notes that the animal rescue group in his rural North Carolina county ships 200 dogs a year to shelters in Connecticut, and that, since 2004, the Rescue Waggin’ program operated by PetSmart has transported 20,000 abandoned dogs from states such as Tennessee and Kentucky to places, mostly northern, where they are snapped up by grateful owners.

But to proclaim that southern dogs are, like southern iced tea, sweeter is a leap — one that disregards why so many of them end up in shelters there in the first place and ignores why shelters and rescue groups up north accept them. It’s largely because they know what will happen to them if they don’t. No kill/low kill shelters are less prevalent in the south.

And to suggest that there might be a shortage of adoptable dogs, anywhere, is off the mark, especially since the economy’s recent downturn. As he points out, there were 24 million dogs and cats put to death in animal shelters in the United States in 1970. By 2007, the number had fallen to 4 million.

Four million is still a whole lot of dogs.

(Photo from mooncostumes.com)

When barking grows unbearable

The city of Phoenix is enlisting help from Phoenix School of Law students to run a free, downtown barking-dog mediation service.

The service, which will start this month, is similar to one in nearby Chandler — Solve-It!, which opened in 2007. About one of every four cases it handles is about barking dogs.

According to the Arizona Republic, officials expect dog barking conflicts to increase amid the bad economy, as more people lose their jobs and stay home, exposing them to daytime dog barking.

They say most of the problems are caused by pet owners who leave their dogs outside when they are away and don’t realize that their bored or anxious animal is barking its head off.

The Republic article tells the story of Chris and Kara Horrocks of northwest Phoenix who spent more more than $1,000 defending their Labrador, Macchiato, from a neighbor’s complaint last year. As part of a plea agreement, they installed a gate that kept the dog away from the neighbor’s property line, pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor and paid part of a $300 fine.

The Horrocks were among 75 dog owners prosecuted in Phoenix last year, a number that city officials hope to reduce with the new mediation program.

“Dogs are members of peoples’ families, and they take it personally when someone complains. But the other side just wants the barking to stop,” said  Wendy Hollingshead of Solve-It, which has mediated more than 150 dog barking cases. 

Some of the most creative solutions have come when the people who have complained understand why their neighbor’s dog was barking, she added. In two of her cases, the annoyed residents now visit and console the lonely canines.

(Photo from stopthebarking.com)