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Archive for May 20th, 2009

Fundraiser tonight for Locust Point Dog Park

Another in a series of fundraisers in support of the Locust Point Dog Park takes place tonight at Little Havanas.

Construction has begun on the dog park, located in Latrobe Park on Fort Avenue, and is expected to be finished later this summer. While the city is funding construction, the dog park group continues to raise money to pay for the park’s maintenance.

Tonight’s event starts at 6 p.m. at Little Havanas, 1325 Key Highway. For a $10 contribution, guests can enjoy reduced rate drinks, steamed shrimp and nachos until 10 p.m.

Vick heads home, may work with HSUS

Michael Vick left prison and is headed home today — and he hopes to team up with the Humane Society of the United States in a program aimed at eradicating dogfighting among urban teens.

HSUS President Wayne Pacelle said Tuesday that he recently met with Vick at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., and that Vick, who requested the meeting, wants to work with the group once he’s out of federal custody, according to Sports Illustrated.

Vick is returning to Hampton, Virginia, where he will serve the final two months of his 23-month prison sentence for dogfighting under home confinement. Vick is expected to be released to supervised probation July 20 after receiving two months off his term for good behavior.

“He indicated that he’s tremendously remorseful about this, and now he wants to be an agent of change, to work to end dogfighting and to specifically get young kids to cease any involvement in these activities,” Pacelle said.

“Sometimes folks who are reformed can be particularly strong advocates,” Pacelle said, adding the Vick would be expected to do more than simply record anti-dogfighting public service announcements. “We agree that he’s got to put boots on the ground and hit the issue hard and do it over a long time.”

Pacelle elaborates on the unlikely alliance today on his blog, Humane Nation.

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Does mimicking Cesar lead to dog bites?

Is “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan contributing to the number of dog bites?

That question is posed in an interesting piece by Sophia Yin in the Huffington Post, and it brings a long-simmering debate between two schools of animal trainers into the spotlight — right in the middle of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Yin, a veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist, cites experts as saying that “Dog Whisperer” watchers trying to mimic the dominance-based techniques Millan uses may be — as the phrase goes — asking for it.

The article includes an anecdote from Dr. Kathy Meyer, president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), which is on record as opposing such techniques.

“Last year I consulted with an owner who was having trouble with his Shar-Pei becoming aggressive toward the dog-walker when on walks. The owner had no trouble with his dog on-lead outdoors, but the walker complained of escalating aggression. Upon further discussion, it was discovered that the walker claimed he was utilizing some methods demonstrated by Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer. Instead of walking the dog on a loose lead, he would place a choke collar high up on the dog’s neck, where it is the most painful and can shut off the airway…

“When the dog didn’t respond to a command, he would punish the dog by tightening the collar, even lifting the dog’s front feet off of the ground. As the punishment escalated, the dog began to growl, snarl, and snap at the walker. The walker even began to take a tennis racket on walks to try to subdue the dog when he became aggressive, a technique he saw on Millan’s televised show. My advice was simple. Find another dog-walker who knew how to calmly walk the dog on a loose lead and did not try to intimidate him. A new walker was introduced and the dog continues to do well, with no aggression on walks.”

The article also cites a recent study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009) that suggests those who take an aggressive approach with their dogs might find their dogs being aggressive too.

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We’ll all end up with moo goo dog pan?

I’m not sure what U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, was trying to say when he spoke out against passage of the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009.

It’s clear he was against the act — that he felt the U.S. was in no position to be assisting other countries in preserving endangered species, that he thinks we’re falling too deeply in debt to China, and that he think it’s ironic that some of the funds authorized in the act might be used for preservation efforts in China

But I’m baffled by his statement that, by borrowing more money from the Chinese, we’ll “end up with moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan.”

The Chinese will take control of us and force us to eat dogs and cats, prepared in the style of their cuisine? Give it a listen and, if you figure it out, let me know.

Despite Gohmert’s objections, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009, which authorized $50 million to help save snow leopards, wild African dogs and other endangered species, passed the House.

Top five pet-friendly hotel chains named

Just in time for summer vacation, Petside.com has released its list of the Top Five Pet-Friendly Hotels — this time (thank you very much) focusing on budget chains that normal people can afford.

Unlike last year’s list — entirely made up of places in which Ace and I lack the bucks to bunk (The James Hotel in Chicago, The W Tuscany in New York, The Hotel Monaco in Denver, Bowen’s By The Bays in Hampton Bays, New York and the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles) — this year’s is aimed at the “cost-conscious” traveler.

The top honors went to Motel 6, where all 900 franchises allow one pet per room with no extra fees or deposits.

La Quinta Inns & Suites came in second. It allow pets at 99 percent of its 650 properties, according to spokesperson Teresa Ferguson. “People who travel with their pets generally have very well-behaved and well-groomed animals,” she says. Accordingly, LaQuinta does not require deposits, or fees for pets, although they do request a weight limit of 45 pounds. (My dog Ace, at 130 pounds, has yet to be turned away from a La Quinta, and if he ever is subjected to that arbitrary and discriminatory rule, our business will go to Motel 6.)

Also making the top five were Red Roof Inn, with 340 locations welcoming pets; Best Western, with more than1,900 pet-friendly locations, 1000 of which are in the U.S. & Canada; and Candlewood Suites, where pets under 80 pounds are always welcome — provided you pay an extra fee and have you vaccination records available.

Petside.com is a pet website created by NBC Digital Networks, in partnership with Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc.

Great Dane and pitbull honored as heroes

The Humane Society of the United States has announced the winners of its second annual Dogs of Valor Awards.

A Great Dane named Baby was chosen by judges as the Valor Dog of the Year.

Baby belonged to 82-year-old Elwood Cardon, who during an exhausting stretch of cancer treatment, slipped out of his daughter’s house with his dog.

On the way to his mountain home near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, Elwood became disoriented and took a wrong turn. As he turned the car around, his tires slipped off the road, and the car plummeted down a hill, becoming wedged upside down between two trees.

Pinned inside, Elwood honked the horn and screamed for help, but no one responded. Baby, a 5-year old Great Dane,snuggled with Elwood, keeping him warm and alert. Ten hours later, Baby crawled out of the car and got the attention of one of a nearby resident, who followed the dog back to the wreckage and called for help. Firefighters pulled Elwood to safety. He was treated for a cracked spine and recovered. Elwood Cardon passed away on January 28, 2009.

A pitbull named D-Boy, whose story we featured in December, won the People’s Hero award.

D-Boy was shot three times when he charged at a home intruder who busted through the front door of a home in Oklahoma City. When Roberta Trawick and her family were ordered to get down on the floor, D-Boy charged the gun-wielding intruder. Shot in the head, he continued to go after the intruder, who shot him two more times before fleeing from the home. D-boy survived the injuries.