Tag: animal welfare
I generally dislike celebrities, often for no other reason than they are a celebrity.
Carrie Fisher was an exception — and an exceptional one.
Maybe it was her well-known compassion for dogs. Maybe it was her outspokenness and wry wit, or her droopy-tongued therapy dog, Gary, or the fact that she was batshit crazy.
(Batshit crazy isn’t a term you usually find in a remembrance, but somehow I don’t think she would mind.)
Fisher, who starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Tuesday after a heart attack. She was 60.
Gary, the French bulldog, was at her side in the hospital during her last days.
His (fan-written) Twitter page contained the following post yesterday:
Gary, a therapy dog who helped Fisher cope with bipolar disorder, accompanied her just about everywhere in her later years. She brought the pet along on interviews, and he became something of a celebrity in his own right.
TMZ reports that Gary, now 4, will be cared for by Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd.
Gary also accompanied Fisher to what was her final appearance in behalf of a dog-related cause — a protest against China’s dog meat festival.
In June, Fisher and Gary joined a protest against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival outside the Chinese embassy in London, at which a petition signed by more than 11 million people was presented, demanding a ban on the annual event.
“There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end, but stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy,” Fisher said.
“All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops … These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary.”
In 2013, when Gary was one year old, Fisher told the Herald Tribune, “Gary is like my heart. Gary is very devoted to me, and that calms me down. He’s anxious when he’s away from me.”
Clearly, the reverse was also true.
Fisher, who was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and the actress Debbie Reynolds, was an actor, author and screenwriter, and was outspoken about animal welfare, mental health issues and pretty much anything else.
“I think in my mouth, so I don’t lie,” she said in one interview. Unlike most celebrities, she didn’t hide behind a glittery facade. She let the public see the real her — warts, troubles, wrinkles (when they arrived) and all
In her book, Wishful Drinking, she wrote that she wanted her obituary to report that “I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra” — a scenario inspired by director George Lucas telling her people didn’t wear underwear in space, for it would strangle them.
In interviews, she generally laid herself bare, held nothing back and spoke her mind in a manner both fearless and funny.
Here she is on a recent Good Morning America segment, with Gary of course:
Posted by John Woestendiek December 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bipolar disorder, carrie fisher, celebrity, death, died, dog meat festival, dogs, french bulldog, gary, heart attack, mental health, pets, princess leia, remembering, star wars, therapy dog, yulin
We don’t expect Donald Trump to like this (so don’t anyone let him know) but if you’re returning from a trip to some exotic locale — Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, India, Turkey, Colombia, and the Carribean to name a few — you can bring someone back with you to live in the good old USA forever.
And you don’t even have to marry them — or even ever see them again.
Yes, we’re talking about dogs. (Aren’t we almost always?)
But we’re also talking about an easy-lifting way to accomplish a good deed and play a small role in making a dog and a family happy.
Our country’s incoming new leadership may no longer wants those tired, poor and hungry humans we once welcomed from other countries, but the door is still pretty open for dogs (my dog included) that have been saved from horrific conditions in other countries.
Many of them have gotten here thanks to Americans returning from vacations, who are willing to take a little extra time to serve as their official escorts.
How it all works was documented recently by The Washington Post, in a story by Andrea Sachs, who not only talked to people who have done it, but did it herself.
Sachs recently returned from a trip to Colombia with a dog named Max.
“To unknowing eyes, I was just a typical traveler with a strong pet attachment. But in truth I was a flight volunteer for Cartagena Paws, an animal-rescue center that, among myriad services, places Colombian street dogs with adoptive families in North America. My ultimate responsibility was to escort the 8-month-old puppy with the overactive tail to the District. I was headed north anyway, and, well, Max needed a lift.”
There are animal welfare groups around the world rescuing dogs who face bleak lives, or worse, and then finding themselves hard-pressed to find them homes.
One solution they’ve turned to is exporting rescued dogs to the U.S.
Often, though, they need a little help getting them from there to here.
“We use flight volunteers who are met at the airport by the adoptive parents,” said Lisa Anne Ramirez, executive director of the Humane Society of Cozumel Island in Mexico. Those meetings, she says are “usually very emotional and tearful.”
While most airlines will ship a dog traveling solo in their cargo holds, that’s the most expensive and least desirable method.
Dogs are generally permitted to travel as checked baggage, or as carry-ons in the cabin, but in those cases they must be traveling with someone.
The rescue organizations handle the paperwork, so, for the escort, it’s often just a matter of handing those papers over at customs.
Sasithorn “Sas” Moy of Harlem said little inconvenience was involved after she agreed to escort five dogs from Thailand to the U.S. when returning from a trip to visit family.
She contacted the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, which sends at least 25 dogs to North America a month.
“I just showed up at the airport and they gave me the paperwork,” she explained after a nearly 20-hour flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. “I said goodbye to the dogs at the X-ray machine. It was painless… There was extra time on the front end and the back end, but it was worthwhile.”
“I messaged Cartagena Paws two weeks before my departure and received a reply peppered with exclamation points: We would love to have some help! Yes please!”
She and Max flew from Cartagena to Atlanta to Washington — he making the trip next to her in a carrier in the cabin. In Washington, he was picked up for a trip to his new home in Texas.
Sachs also put together a list of international rescues seeking escorts for dogs coming into the United States. You can find more details and contact information at that link.
(Photos: Max arrives in Washington from Cartagena, Columbia, and waits to make the trip to his forever home in San Antonio; volunteers at Cartagena Paws say goodbye to Max at the airport in Cartagena; by Andrea Sachs /The Washington Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, airlines, animal welfare, animals, carribean, cartagena paws, columbia, dog, dogs, escort, flights, foreign, humane society, india, international, mexico, new homes, pets, refugees, rescued, rescues, returning, soi dog foundation, south korea, thailand, turkey, vacations, washington post
I doubt, at this particular point in this particular presidential election, that their records on animal welfare would be much of a factor in who you choose for president.
But let’s just dive in and do some documenting, anyway, here at the very last minute.
The Clintons have three dogs at present. Trump is believed to have one, but try to find a photo of Trump and Spinee together and you’re in for a long, and possibly fruitless, search.
Trump did tweet about his dog having surgery back in February of this year: “My dog Spinee needs your prayers. She just came out of a difficult surgery …. She is my beloved.”
It’s clear he is fan of purebreds, and we all know he likes winners.
Because he lacks any kind of voting record, never having served in office, it’s hard to predict what his presidency would mean to animals.
He did tweet his disappointment in Ringling Brothers for getting rid of their elephants, and he has been a vocal supporter of his sons and their big game hunting in Africa — which in turn led animal welfare groups to deem that he, as president, would be a threat to animals.
He has called for the Food and Drug Administration to stop regulating pet food — and that’s a scary proposition.
Then there were the diving horses of Atlantic City.
It was a show that began in the late 1920s at the Steel Pier and featured swimsuit-clad women on horses diving from a 40-foot platform. The show was discontinued after Resorts International purchased the pier in 1978.
In the summer of 1993, after Trump had bought the Steel Pier, the idea was revived by Anthony Catanoso who leased the property from him.
The new act would involve horses and mules, and no human riders, and it started back up amid protests by animal welfare advocates.
Some of those protesters would shout “Make Trump jump,” Catanoso recalls.
So , while he did shut it down, it also opened up and operated all summer while he owned the property.
Later, Catanoso bought the property from Trump, and a return of the show was announced in 2012.
Protests resumed and Catanoso opted not to pursue it further.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has an entire page on her website about how she plans to “promote animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty and abuse.” She says she would make sure animal breeders, zoos, and research institutions create plans to protect the animals in their care; that she would strengthen regulations on puppy mills, and that she would support the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.”
During her time in the Senate, Clinton co-sponsored the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007, as well as a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act, according to PetMD.com
As for the veep candidates, Tim Kaine, got a fairly low rating of 38 percent from the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) while serving in the Senate. The Richmond SPCA, where he and his wife adopted their dog, says he is “a compassionate and unpretentious friend to animals.”
Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has a dog and two cats. He was given a 0 percent approval rating in the 2012 HSLF scorecard for taking anti-animal stances on both the Hunting in National Parks vote and the Emotional Support Animals vote.
(Photos: Hillary and Tallie, Instagram; Donald Trump with Westminster’s 2015 Best in Show, the beagle Miss P, Instagram; a diving horse at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in the late 1930s, The Press of Atlantic City; a riderless horse dives from Trump-owned Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in 1993, AP Photo/ Charles Rex Arbogast)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2016, animal welfare, animals, breeding, campaign, clinton, diving horses, dogs, Donald J. Trump, donald trump, election, hillary clinton, horses, hunting, mike pence, pets, politics, presidency, president, presidential, ratings, records, research, tim kaine, Trump
A dream decades in the making — one that is said to date back to the early 1900’s and a dog who rode a streetcar to deliver lunch to his owner — became a shiny new reality yesterday.
The Forsyth Humane Society opened its new shelter on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem — one with double the old shelter’s capacity, lots of space for dogs to romp and more than 10 times as much parking.
Even so, the new parking lot was overflowing within an hour of the grand opening, and FHS reported on its Facebook page that 26 animals were adopted before the day ended — 21 dogs and six cats.
The landmark day began with a flag raising, and saw a non-stop stream of visitors — some there to adopt, some there to check out what, thanks to a $3.8 million fundraising drive, the humane society had turned a former seafood restaurant into.
For 75 years, the Forsyth Humane Society has acted as an advocate for unwanted and uncared for dogs and cats.
It owes its start to money left in a will by Lydia Schouler for the purposes of establishing a fund in the name of her husband, department store owner D.D. Schouler, that would help prevent cruelty to animals.
The Schoulers wanted to honor the memory of their dog, who would catch a streetcar every day to bring Mr. Schouler his lunch.
The facility is the third to house the Forsyth Humane Society, which first took up residence in an old house, then built and moved into a larger building on Miller Street in the 1980’s.
They soon found themselves cramped there, and about five years ago began looking at raising funds needed for a new shelter.
“This has been a dream of the Forsyth Humane Society for decades,” Sarah Williamson, the center’s executive director, told the Winston-Salem Journal.
The new shelter has space for up to 100 animals. There’s a new, more accessible intake center, storage space for food donations and a gift shop named “Re-Tail,” that features Forsyth Humane Society labeled clothing.
It is named in honor of longtime donors Chris and Mike Morykwas, who helped fund the construction of the new building. The old building, after the family helped fund its expansion, was named in honor of their two bassett hounds, Franklin and Peabody Morykwas.
It’s intriguing how so many of the good things done for dogs can be traced back to dogs — and the inspiration they provide.
It is to me at least. That’s one of the reasons I’m teaming up with the Forsyth Humane Society, in a volunteer capacity, to serve as their historian and archivist.
As it steps into the future, I’m going to dig up what I can about its past.
You’re invited to help. Please contact me if you have any documents, memorabilia, scrapbook entries, photos, memories or reminiscences about its history — especially its early years, and that lunch-toting dog.
The email address is email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal welfare, animals, archivist, bus, cats, d.d. schouler, dd schouler, dogs, dream, facility, forsyth humane society, future, historian, lunch, lydia schouler, morykwas, new, north carolina, opening, opens, past, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, streetcar, true, winston salem foundation, winston-salem
Bubba, a Jack Russell terrier-Chihuahua mix found high on methamphetamine in a seedy California hotel room four months ago, is headed to a new home.
No sooner was he pronounced healthy, drug free and available for adoption Wednesday than a couple walked into Orange County Animal Care and adopted the seven-month-old dog.
The couple, who had been following his story, asked not to be identified, though they did allow a photo to be taken of the new happy family.
Bubba had been at the shelter since March after being rescued by animal control officers from a drug-infested motel room in Tustin. He was only eight weeks old at the time.
Tests later show he had ingested methamphetamine and heroin.
His owner, Joshua West, 40, of Mission Viejo, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, heroin and drug paraphernalia and booked into Orange County Jail.
Another southern California man was arrested last week after his Chihuahua, named Jack Sparrow, was found to have ingested methamphetamine.
After months of treatment, Bubba’s test results came back clear for the first time, prompting the shelter to put him up for adoption, according to Jennifer Hawkins, shelter director and chief veterinarian.
“They were a really nice couple and told us that Bubba would have a sister,” Katie Ingram, assistant director of OC Animal Care, told the Orange County Register. “Bubba bonded with them immediately.”
“It made it more meaningful that they were able to help him out because of his rough start in life,” Ingram added. “We were happy they are home quite a bit. It’s what he deserves.”
(Top photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register; bottom photo courtesy of Orange County Animal Care)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal welfare, animals, arrest, bubba, california, chihuahua, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, drug, drugs, heroin, hotel, ingested, ingestion, jack russell, methamphetamine, motel, orange county, orange county animal care, pets, room, seized, shelter, tustin
What if, in the interest of fair play, ads for movies were required to present an equal number of negative snippets to go along with all the positive ones they highlight?
It would go something like this:
“Stilted … clunky … manipulative” … The Hollywood Reporter
“Heavy handed… spottier than a kennel full of caged Dalmatians” …The Los Angeles Times
“Wow, why was this made and for whom and what the hell?” … RogerEbert.com
All of those disparaging comments — and very few superlatives — have been directed at the new movie “The Dog Lover.”
It’s a tricky little movie that starts out appearing as if it is going to be an expose of the unsavory practices of dog breeders.
What it actually is is a defense of breeders, financed by Forrest Lucas, oil tycoon and founder of Protect the Harvest — a pro-hunter organization and a staunch opponent of animal protection groups.
In other words, it is pretty close to propaganda — or maybe out and out propaganda — and, judging from the reviews, it’s not particularly artistic or creative propaganda.
Lucas is president and CEO of Lucas Oil Products. He campaigned against Missouri’s Proposition B, which was aimed at preventing cruelty to dogs in puppy mills.
And he makes no bones about what he thinks of some animal protection groups.
Lucas says he produced the movie to discourage people from supporting and donating to large animal rights organizations.
“They’re collecting money in the name of dog welfare, but there’s no welfare about them at all. They’re out there to make money,” Lucas said.
That, remember, comes from the CEO of a big oil company. (And if you can’t trust big oil companies, who can you trust?)
Of the movie, Lucas said, “I guarantee you everyone will have a tear. But they’ll walk out of here feeling good, saying ‘I get it now.'”
In the movie, idealistic college student Sara Gold (played by Allison Paige), becomes an undercover operative of the United Animal Protection Society, a fictional PETA-like organization.
Her assignment is to work undercover at a rural dog breeding operation run by the Holloway family, consisting of the handsome but gruff father Daniel (James Remar); true blue wife Liz (Lea Thompson); and hunky son Will (Jayson Blair), who, of course, becomes Sara’s romantic interest.
Sara starts off suspicious of the operation. What, for instance, is going on in that locked shed she’s not allowed to enter?
With her cell phone camera, she begins documenting what’s transpiring at the breeding operation — including the killing of a vicious dog that wandered onto the property and threatened Holloway’s daughter.
When Sara’s video footage of that event is passed on to the animal welfare agency, they manipulate it, and broadcast it, and all hell breaks loose.
The operation is shut down, charges are filed, and a trial is held — but as it all unfolds Sara realizes the family is doing nothing wrong; that they are gentle, and loving and treat their animals well.
The ruthless ones, it turns out, are those with the animal welfare agency, who will go to any means to achieve their goal.
Sara, as a result, finds herself turning against the overzealous animal protection group she works for and trying to prove the family’s innocence.
At the movie’s premier in downtown Springfield, Missouri — a state long considered a haven for puppy mills — there were some protesters, according to KSPR.
Of particular concern was the fact that, as part of the movie’s publicity campaign, an Australian shepherd puppy was being auctioned.
“The fact that we’re auctioning off this puppy, there’s nothing bad about that at all,” Lucas said. “So if that’s the best they can find, then we’re in pretty good shape.”
Clearly, he hasn’t read the reviews.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, animals, breeders, dog, dogs, forrest lucas, hunting, lucas oil, media, missouri, movies, pets, propaganda, protect the harvest, the dog lover
The annual dog meat festival in the Southern China city of Yulin opened yesterday — despite what was probably the heaviest barrage of criticism and protest in its history.
As vendors slaughtered dogs and cooked their meat in dozens of restaurants across the city, animal welfare activists attempted to disrupt the opening of the 10-day festival.
Some bought dogs from dealers to save them from being slaughtered. Others argued with local residents, and police were intervening to prevent physical confrontations, according to news reports.
“We came to Yulin to tell people here dogs are our friends. They should not kill dogs in such a cruel way and many of the dogs they killed are pet dogs,” said Yang Yuhua, a volunteer from the central city of Chongqing.
While most of the meat used at the festival comes from farm dogs raised for that purpose, critics say strays and stolen pet dogs often end up in the mix.
One day into the festival, local residents were complaining that outsiders were ruining the tradition.
“It’s been a tradition for years for us to celebrate the festival. We can’t change it simply because they (animal lovers) love dogs,” a local resident told The Associated Press. “They don’t want us to eat dog meat. We eat dog meat to celebrate the festival, but since they’ve come here, they’ve ruined our mood completely.”
Promoters say eating dog meat during the summer helps ward off the heat and maintain a healthy metabolism.
More than 10,000 animals are killed each year for the summer solstice festival, which has become a focal point for those seeking to halt the tradition of eating dog in China and other Asian countries.
An estimated 10 million to 20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China.
This year, the list of celebrities speaking out against the practice grew.
Matt Damon, Pamela Anderson, Minnie Driver and Joaquin Phoenix were among those appearing in a video (above) produced by the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation.
Yulin’s local government has sought to distance itself from the event, forbidding its employees from attending and limiting its size by shutting down some dog markets and slaughter houses.
“The so-called dog-meat eating festival has never been officially recognized by government or by any regulations or laws,” said an official reached by telephone at the city government’s general office.
“We hold meetings every time before the so-called festival, discussing counter measures such as deploying local police, business and sanitary authorities to inspect and deal with those who sell dogs,” he said.
Between those efforts and the international criticism that seems to increase every year, some organizations say the number of dogs killed for the event might be decreasing.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal hope & wellness foundation, animal welfare, animals, celebrities, china, criticism, dog, dog meat, dog meat festival, dogs, festival, pets, protests, yulin