America is going to run out of dogs.
That, stunningly, was the conclusion of a Mississippi State University study funded by (and this is the important part) an organization that represents the American Kennel Club, the American Pet Product Association, PetSmart, breeders and other pet industry leaders.
The study disputes oft-cited figures from the leading animal welfare organizations, which estimate between 1.9 million and 2.5 million dogs are euthanized by shelters every year.
Instead, the study says, fewer than 780,000 unwanted dogs are being euthanized a year, many of them dangerous or damaged, and America will soon not to be able to meet the demand for dogs through shelter dogs alone.
Not that it currently does, or ever has.
The Pet Leadership Council funded the study, then hired additional analysts to “interpret” (read, spin) the results.
As a result, the message they are putting forth is not that progress is being made in reducing the numbers of unwanted animals that end up euthanized (the reality), but that America is going to run out of dogs (the new myth).
In a press release, the PLC says it is “welcoming” the study’s findings — as opposed to saying they paid for it — and that those findings show a need for more “responsibly bred” dogs.
“Mississippi State’s study will also have a significant impact on the national conversation about responsible pet ownership,” said Mike Bober, President of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and consultant to the PLC. “Without this concrete data as a starting point, it has been all but impossible to discuss solutions because we couldn’t agree on the scope of the problem. This data also provides valuable information for those contemplating legislation that impacts the availability of dogs in their communities.”
Here are the far from solid numbers the study came up with.
American shelters are taking in 5.5 million dogs a year, about half of which end up euthanized. America, based on census figures, ownership patterns and the life-span of dogs, needs about 8.1 million dogs a year to maintain current levels of ownership.
With only 2.6 million dogs being adopted out of shelters each year and far fewer transferred or euthanized, “that means millions more must come from other sources.”
Meaning breeders. Meaning large scale puppy mills and store bought dogs and all those other things that helped lead to the dog overpopulation problem in the first place and are better off gone.
“It’s a total myth for anybody to say or think that every American who wants a dog can go to a shelter and find one,” said Mark Cushing of the Animal Policy Group, the lobbying firm that “crunched the numbers.”
“Increasingly the ones we are euthanizing are very sick or dangerous,” he added.
So shelter dogs are going to run out, they’d like to have you believe, except maybe for the dangerous and sick ones you wouldn’t want in the first place.
That’s not only balderdash, it’s the kind of fear tactics that have become so common in the world of politics and persuasion — somehow even more loathsome when applied to the world of homeless dogs.
The study seems to assume that shelters are the only source of homeless dogs, when in fact rescue groups, formal and informal, have become an increasingly popular option and are finding homes for more and more dogs. Nor does it seem to address the number of non-professionally bred dogs being born, despite more spaying and neutering. Nor does it address the hundreds of millions of unwanted dogs in other countries in need of homes.
The Pet Leadership Council commissioned the study as a follow-up to a survey it previously commissioned on dog ownership rates and where people get their dogs. A lobbying group that advises the council then used the study to extrapolate that Americans wanted more than 8 million dogs in 2016 and will want more than 9.2 million by 2036, the Washington Post reported.
The study suggests that euthanasia estimates by the Humane Society of the United States and the No Kill Advocacy Center, both of which say about 2.5 million animals are killed in shelters each year, may be based in large part on animals other than dogs.
The research was funded by the Pet Leadership Council, which represents organizations including the American Kennel Club and the American Pet Products Association; PetSmart and other large retail stores; and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which is the legislative and lobbying voice of the pet industry.
Mike Bober, the president and CEO of PIJAC, which regularly lobbies on behalf of commercial-scale dog breeders and pet stores at the legislative level, said the study shows dog breeding and retail sales must remain protected under state and federal laws.
“Adoption can’t be our only option when it comes to helping Americans find their ideal, lifelong companions,” Bober said. “Responsibly bred puppies are an essential part of the equation.”
The industry push comes at a time that “adopt, don’t shop” campaigns urging consumers to shun breeders and pet stores are showing some results.
According to the Humane Society, more than 200 localities have passed “puppy mill” laws in the past two years that sometimes make it illegal for pet stores to source dogs anywhere other than shelters and rescuers. A similar state-level law is under consideration in New Jersey.
Breeders and pet-store owners see such legislation as misguided, saying there are not enough dogs in U.S. shelters to fill annual consumer demand.
“Our concern was that so many very different estimates have been generated by a number of entities that have often led to conflicting conclusions,” said Bob Vetere, president and chief executive of the American Pet Products Association. “It is important to have a solid understanding of the facts before making decisions impacting the supply and availability of healthy dogs.”
The study’s findings were presented Tuesday at the North American Veterinary Community conference in Florida. While the Pet Leadership Council issued a press release about the study Wednesday, it has yet to be published in a scientific journal.
The study is based on a telephone survey of 413 shelters, out of an estimated 7,100 shelters nationwide.
Using data from the surveyed shelters, the researchers concluded that more than 5.5 million dogs enter shelters each year, about 2.6 million get adopted, and that fewer than 780,000 are euthanized. The remainder are returned to their owners, or transferred to other rescues or shelters, the study said.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, akc, american kennel club, american pet product association, animals, breeders, demand, disinformation, dog, dog shortage, dogs, euthanasia, lobbying, lobbyists, misinformation, mississippi state university, pet industry, pet leadership council, pet sales, pet stores, pets, petsmart, puppy mills, research, shelter, shelter dogs, shortage, spin, statistics, supply, veterinary school
In most big city animal control departments, dogs who are brought in often don’t come out alive.
But here’s a story with a different twist — of a dog in Philadelphia who was brought into animal control by a good Samaritan, but apparently given away by staff before he got much past the front counter.
If you need some idea before you continue of whether this is going to have a happy ending, be advised, yes, sort of. The pit bull mix who was given away before he was fully taken in is still alive, but slightly the worse for wear.
Most fingers are pointing at the front desk staff of the city’s Animal Care and Control Team, which apparently decided to make an exception to its 48-hour hold policy.
Chris Ferraro, 30, was walking his dog near his home in Manayunk when a pit bull mix wandered up. He played with Ferraro’s dog, but when no owner showed up, Ferraro took him to the city’s animal control office.
As columnist Stu Bykofsky explains in the Philadelphia Daily News, Ferraro was filling out the necessary paperwork to turn a dog in when another man approached the desk and asked if Jake was his dog.
When Ferraro said no, the other man asked if he could have him.
“No,” Ferraro replied. “He’s someone else’s dog.”
An ACCT kennel attendant interrupted the exchange, and told the man he could have the dog — after the owner had a chance to reclaim him.
By policy, the office holds dogs 48 hours before allowing them to be adopted.
But, as Ferraro watched, and protested, that policy was apparently violated. The second man’s information was taken by ACCT and Jake — who had no tags or microchip — was later allowed to leave with the man.
Meanwhile, Jake’s owners, Vickie and Mark Remolde, were working to find him. They’d checked with the Montgomery County SPCA, and put up fliers when he disappeared July 13.
On July 15, Mark went to ACCT, looked for Jake among the animals sheltered there and left some fliers.
As it turns out, that visit was within the 48-hour window for owners to reclaim their dogs. But Jake was long gone — given to that other man, who from the sound of it, was not too thoroughly vetted.
It wasn’t until a few days later that the Remoldes heard that Ferraro had turned a dog that looked like Jake into ACCT, made contact with him, and returned, twice, to the animal control office.
ACCT staff, this time, was able to locate the man who had Jake and, unable to reach him, went to the address he had provided.
He wasn’t there.
“I started crying,” said Vickie. “This guy took him for purposes that were not good, and how could you give my dog to a man in the lobby who was there to intercept dogs?”
Several days later, the man brought Jake in.
According to Vickie Remolde, “Jake is 10 to 15 pounds lighter; he had a red rash on his neck; and something was wrong with his tail … It was black, like charcoal.”
ACCT executive director Vincent Medley told the Daily News that Ferraro had left before completing the intake form. Ferraro denies that and says he was told he was no longer needed.
The new owner’s form was being processed when he left, Ferraro said.
Medley said that if Ferraro was uncomfortable with the proceedings, he should have asked for a supervisor.
Spoken like a true bureaucrat, right?
Rather than shift the blame and cover its butt, ACCT should be investigating that second man, and what happened to Jake, and why staff didn’t follow the agency’s own policy.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 48 hour, adopt, adopted, adoptions, animal care and control, animal control, animals, dog, dogs, hold, holding, intercepted, jake, owners, period, pets, philadelphia, pit bull mix, shelters
For years, there were only two ways for an unclaimed pit bull, Rottweiler or chow to get out of the Guilford County Animal Shelter in Greensboro, N.C.
One was for a rescue group to step in, take custody of the dog and find it an adoptive home.
The only other alternative was euthanasia.
Due to “liability concerns,” the shelter had a policy against allowing pit bulls, Rottweilers and chows to be adopted — instituted by the non-profit group that managed it for 15 years.
That group was ousted last year, and last week the Guilford County Board of Commissioners reversed the long-standing rule.
The old policy was established under the United Animal Coalition, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that ran the shelter until last year — when its licensed was revoked after an investigation into charges of animal cruelty. The county assumed management of the shelter.
Last Thursday, the Board of Commissioners voted to change the policy that prevented the adoption of certain breeds, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
According to the shelter’s director, Logan Rustan, about 8 of every 10 dogs in the shelter at any given time are pit bulls.
“A lot of our cages stay empty because I cannot put these three breeds on the floor, and that’s most of what we get,” Rustan told the commissioners. “If I can have this approved … I guarantee when I get back today I can fill the adoption floor, fill it full, with adoptable animals.”
Rustan said the shelter had worked with area rescues to find pit bulls, Rottweilers and chows adoptive homes, but was often left with adult pit bulls that could not be placed.
The change in policy is in keeping with recommendations from the state Department of Agriculture, which has urged the shelter to give more consideration to a dog’s temperament than to its breed when assessing its adoptability.
(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, animal shelter, bans, behavior, board of commissioners, breed, breeds, changed, chows, greensboro, guilford county, north carolina, pit bulls, pitbulls, policy, rottweilers, shelter, shelters, united animal coalition
Many of those 650 dogs and cats removed six weeks ago from an unlicensed shelter in Hoke County, North Carolina, will be available for adoption, starting this Friday.
In what sounds like it could be the mother of all adoption events, the ASPCA will make the dogs and cats available through the weekend at the temporary shelter in which the animals have been living in Sanford.
Adoption fees will be waived during the event, and each animal will have been micro-chipped, and spayed or neutered.
Adoption counselors, as well as behavioral and veterinary experts, will be staffing the event, and adoptions will take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 2215 Nash St. in Sanford.
Those wanting to adopt a dog or cat should bring identification, proof of address and an appropriate-size carrier for the animal they adopt.
The ASPCA and Hoke County authorities seized nearly 700 dogs, cats, birds and horses in January from The Haven – Friends for Life shelter.
Its operators, Linden Spear and her husband, Stephen, were charged with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
During the seizure, dozens of animals were found buried on the property. One dog and one cat had to be euthanized because of health problems.
Numerous animals were treated for emaciation, open wounds, ringworm, respiratory illnesses and other issues.
ASPCA officials said the raid at The Haven was the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
(Photo: Courtesy of ASPCA)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, adopt, adoptable, adoption, adoptions, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, fee, free, friends for life, hoke county, lindan spear, no fee, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spear, the haven, unlicensed, waived
A Cincinnati area man whose dog was ordered put down after it attacked another dog tried to pull a fast one on the local SPCA.
Jason Dotson, as ordered by a court, turned over a pit bull mix for euthanization alright — but it was not the one court ordered to be put down.
Instead it was one he adopted just days earlier.
Dotson, 32, of Springfield Township, was sentenced to 28 days in jail for trying to get the SPCA to euthanize the decoy dog.
“In my 10 years as a judge, I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” said Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg.
According to FOX 19, Dotson’s original dog was not on a leash when it attacked a therapy dog and its owner as they were walking.
Police say the pit bull caused severe injuries to the therapy dog, who has been recovering for the last few months.
Dotson was charged with failing to confine his animal and he was ordered to put the dog down. But when he brought the substitute dog to the SPCA to be euthanized an “alert” worker spotted the difference in the dog’s coloring.
Through a microchip, the SPCA confirmed it was a different dog.
“Defendant brought a dog that wasn’t his dog, said it was his dog, and turned that over to the SPCA so they would destroy an innocent dog that hadn’t done anything to anybody,” said Ryan Nelson, assistant Hamilton County prosecutor.
Dotson had adopted the dog nine days earlier according to Fox 19, two days earlier according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The original dog has since been put down, according to SPCA officials.
Baby, the pit bull puppy who Dotson tried to pass off as his other dog, remains with the SPCA and will be getting a second chance at adoption.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoptions, adopts, animals, attack, bite, cincinnati, courts, decoy, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescues, shelters, spca
Apparently that was the case with Boo, a Chihuahua mix who was spotted a couple of weeks ago in a rural area in Sonoma County, California, living inside a hole in a large tree.
A call to Sonoma County Animal Control led Shirley Zindler and other officers to the spot.
It was an area, they say, where people commonly abandon dogs.
It took a few hours, but the small dog was finally coaxed out of the knothole.
The officers named her Boo — after the To Kill A Mockingbird character, Boo Radley, who left gifts for children in an oak tree’s knothole.
Possibly, she picked the hiding place because she was about to deliver a litter of pups. Unfortunately, none survived.
Zindler says Boo is skittish around people and was likely mistreated.
“She thinks the world’s out to get her,” Zindler, who is also the author of The Secret Life of Dog Catchers, told The Huffington Post.
Zindler is caring for Boo now, while seeking a “very, very patient person” to give her a forever home.
Boo’s recovery is being documented on Zindler’s Facebook page,The Secret Life of Dog Catchers.
“She’ll stay with me until the right home is found,” said Zindler, noting it’s not the first time she has taken an unwanted dog home. She has four others.
“I take them home and fix them up so they can find a forever home.”
(Photos by Shirley Zindler)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 5th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, adoptions, animal control, animals, author, boo, boo dogley, boo radley, california, dogs, hiding, hole, home, knothole, officer, pets, pregnant, rescued, shirley zindler, sonoma county, the secret lives of dog catchers, to kill a mockingbird, tree
In hopes that potential adopters will find a “Chiratoodle” or a “golden Chinscher” more appealing than a plain old mutt or “Chihuahua mix,” an animal shelter in California has begun DNA testing some of its dogs to determine their breeds and market them under more exotic names.
The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in Burlingame, south of San Francisco, says initial results show the DNA tested dogs are getting adopted twice as fast.
Not too surprising in a world that prefers labels over mysteries — at least when it comes to what we bring into our homes.
DNA testing is not widely practiced by America’s animal shelters, mainly because of its expense. As a result, most people who adopt a dog from a shelter leave with a mystery mutt, or one whose heritage has been guessed at by shelter staff.
My dog Ace, for instance, when he was adopted nearly 10 years ago, was listed as a “hound mix” on his shelter paperwork, referred to as a “shepherd mix” by shelter staff and listed on Petfinder.com as a “Labrador mix.”
When DNA tests came on the market in 2007, I purchased one, swabbed his cheek and learned he was Rottweiler and Chow. In the next few years, as the tests became capable of identifying more than the original 38 breeds, I tested him two more times. The second test determined he was Rottweiler, Chow and Akita. The third test showed him to be all of those, and a little bit pit bull.
The tests allowed me to answer the question I was asked at least once a day: “What kind of dog is that?” It wasn’t so much that I had to know. All three tests were done mostly as research, for the purpose of writing about them. And once I learned the breeds he was made up of, I kind of missed the mystery.
I don’t think the information is all that vital, but I can understand how a purchaser, or adopter, of a dog might like to know what’s in his or her mix.
In California, the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA conducted the tests in an attempt to increase the adoptions of Chihuahua mixes, which make up nearly a quarter the dogs in its shelter.
The campaign, conducted under the slogan “Who’s Your Daddy?” is aimed at “finding great homes for dogs at risk of being overlooked,” said Scott Delucchi, the shelter’s senior vice president.
“People love mutts. Still, we’re betting shelter dogs with DNA results included, for free, will be quite fetching,” he says in a commercial for the campaign.
The shelter picks up the cost of the $50 tests, which they say can help owners identify what breed-specific traits the dogs might exhibit. The tests also allow the shelter to have some fun coming up with clever breed names — like “Chorgi” (Chiuahua-corgi), “golden Chinscher” (golden retriever-miniature pinscher-Chihuahua) and “Chiratoodle” (Chihuahua-rat terrier-poodle).
In February, the shelter conducted tests that determined the breed make up of 11 small dogs. All found homes within two weeks — twice as fast as any 11 untested small, brown dogs in the previous months, according to an Associated Press story.
Twelve more dogs have been tested since then and once they are all placed in homes the shelter plans to test 24 more.
Chihuahuas have replaced pit bulls as the most prevalent breed in the shelter, largely due to the “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” movies, and the breed’s popularity among celebrities.
While some visitors to the shelter are seeking Chihuahuas, others are looking for mutts — small dogs who, thanks to another breed being in the mix, might have a less nervous dispositions.
While shelter officials have proclaimed the new program a success, they note that it’s going to take more than a gimmick to reduce the “alarming” number of Chihuahua mixes coming in.
“Another part is making spay-neuter low-cost or free to the community,” Delucchi said. The shelter also exports some of its smaller dogs to shelters in Florida, New York and other states where they are in shorter supply.
(Photo: Lynn and Tony Mazzola, with Lily, their newly adopted “Chorkie;” by Eric Risberg / AP)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptions, animals, breed tests, breeds, burlingame, california, chihuahuas, chiratoodle, dna, dogs, golden chinscher, mutts, mystery, peninsula humane society, pets, rescues, shelters, testing