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Archive for December 7th, 2009

The carbon pawprint: Time to tax the dog?

Hummer ace11

A tax on dog ownership? Perish the thought.

But before we perish the thought of a dog tax — an idea being bandied about at the same time that giving pet owners a tax break is being pushed — we’ll at least afford it some further discussion.

The toll dogs take on the environment — their carbon pawprint, so to speak — is the subject of two recent books, Time to Eat the Dog and Eating Animals. The case that the family dog — primarily because of what it takes to make his dog food — puts a bigger strain on the environment than a road-hogging SUV received some further discussion this week on the website, Ohmygov!

 Ohmygov! (no relation to ohmidog!) is a news website founded by a government executive, a government contractor, and an  investigative journalist to “capture the passion and frustration that only government inspires.”

The ohmygov! piece says the numbers cited in “Time to Eat the Dog” appear solid. “The math may check out. A preliminary independent study has confirmed the claim, much to the chagrin of hippies everywhere. Man’s best friend is Mother Earth’s worst enemy … 

“All told, a 50-pound dog monopolizes two acres of land every year for food production alone. If you feed your dog beef or lamb, that figure is even higher.”

That means my dog is monopolizing five acres a year. Then again, he is supporting the American farmer, not to mention the city of Baltimore. Those of us who pay to license and register our dogs are under the impression we’re already paying something pretty close to a tax, even if it’s not called that.

Still, the ohymgov! piece makes some valid points, and in a pretty level-headed manner — one that even gives a nod to all those “priceless” components of having a canine companion:

“A vehicle won’t lower your blood pressure, or give you an excuse to get out and exercise.  A vehicle doesn’t help fight against depression or protect you from an intruder, and try as you may, you simply can’t teach your SUV to fetch.  Is it time to tax our dogs?  Probably not.  But perhaps it’s time to look beyond the old evils when searching for the answers to our ecological problems.”

Heigl helps relieve L.A.’s Chihuahua surplus

heiglTwenty-five west coast Chihuahuas were flown to the east coast in hopes of finding new homes, courtesy of actress Katherine Heigl.

The dogs were transferred from Kinder 4 Rescue in Los Angeles, where there is a surplus of Chihuahuas, to the Humane Society for Greater Nashua in New Hampshire, where the breed is in greater demand.

Humane society executive director Karen Bill and Kinder 4 Rescue director Laurel Kinder had been trying for about three months to move the dogs from Hollywood to the northeast. They contacted the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation — founded in honor of the “Grey’s Anatomy” star’s late brother — and it offered $25,000 to fly the dogs to Boston.

“It was amazing,” Bill told PEOPLEPets.com. “The ideal situation come true.”

Bill called the abundance of Chihuahuas in California a “Hollywood-made crisis …From ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ to Paris Hilton, people see these dogs and think they’re cute accessories, but they’re not. They’re living beings that need attention.”

Before the dogs even arrived, more than 40 people contacted the humane society in New Hampshire about adopting the dogs, who range in age from about 1 to 4 years old.

Police: Angry son tries to drown mom’s dogs

A Florida man who was angry with his mother tried to drown her two dogs in a nearby lake in Pompano Beach, tossing both of them into the water while they were enclosed in their crates, police said.

An animal control officer saved one of the dogs, a terrier mix. A second dog, a pregnant miniature pinscher, drowned, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“This was just a despicable act,” city spokeswoman Sandra King said. King said a witness called authorities after seeing a man take the crates to the lake and toss them in. She said an animal control officer, who is also a diver, pulled the dogs from about 15 feet of water.

Deputies arrested Deangelo Veus, 29, who was jailed on two counts of animal cruelty. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Veus spent about 19 months in prison for robbery, carrying a concealed firearm and felony driving with a suspended license.

Mother, son get probation in cruelty case

A mother and son accused of neglecting and abusing 21 dogs living at their home received a harsh scolding and probation, but no jail time at their sentencing last week.

“I am rarely at a loss for words,” District Court Judge Robert C. Wilcox said as he flipped through pictures of their Orchard Beach home. “But I have never, ever, ever seen a picture of a more filthy or more disgusting house. Caves are cleaner than this.”

Wilcox, during a hearing in Annapolis,told Janet Taylor and her son, Jeffrey, both Pasadena residents, that sending them to jail w0uld representative an improvement in their living conditions, The Capital in Annapolis reported.

“Putting you people in jail would be treating you better than these animals were treated,” Wilcox said. “Having said that, I’m not sure going to jail is the right thing. You’d be living better, and the taxpayers would be paying for it.”

The Taylors each pleaded guilty to five counts each of animal cruelty. Wilcox sentenced Janet Taylor, 62, to 90 days in jail for each count of animal cruelty, but suspended the sentence and placed Taylor on probation for three years.

Her son, 38, was sentenced to three months probation and six months of community service at the county landfill.  The judge said he was initially going to order him to perform community service at the county’s animal shelter, but “they don’t want you.”

Neither of the Taylors will be allowed to own a pet during their probationary period.

The Taylors originally were charged with 42 counts each of animal cruelty and inflicting unnecessary pain on an animal after animal control officers and other county workers raided their home Aug. 28. Authorities removed 21 Shar Pei mixes from the house and a camper in the front yard.