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Maryland SPCA announces major expansion

A major expansion of the adoption center at the Maryland SPCA was announced last week.

“We need facilities to reflect the changes that have enabled us to adopt out every healthy pet in our adoption program for the last two-and-a-half years,” Mary-Ann Pinkard, board president, said at the March 11 reception where the announcement was made.

The expansion will include creation of the Morton Gorn Center for Animal Adoption, a new area for adoption interviews, a waiting area, office space and two “animal showcases” for dog and cat housing of “long-timers” to promote their adoption.

A new animal intake center, separate from the adoption area, is also planned, including spaces to  assess animal behavior and a dog exam room.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and work is expected to be completed within six months.

Other projects announced will be an expanded cat room, fire safety improvements, and improved accessibility.

The new adoption center is being named in memory of Morton Gorn, a real estate developer who cherished his dogs and his horses. The gift to name the center in his memory was made by his widow, Arlene Gorn, who was introduced to the Maryland SPCA by her daughter, Karen Colvin.

“Mrs. Gorn and the Colvins motivated and inspired us to move forward with this project at a time when many people were pulling back because of the economy,” said Aileen Gabbey, SPCA executive director. “Their generosity was an important cornerstone to making this project happen.”

The project is estimated to cost $1.8 million.

“Twilight” star urges adoption

Canadian-born actress Rachelle Lefevre, one of the stars of the movie “Twilight,” has taped a public service announcement for Best Friends Animal Society, urging viewers to adopt rather than purchase from a pet store or breeder.

Lefevre, who plays Victoria in both “Twilight” and its sequel, “New Moon,” is the new spokeswoman for Best Friends’ Puppies Aren’t Products campaign.

 As a spokeswoman, she appears in public service announcements urges holiday shoppers who are thinking of getting puppies as Christmas presents to “adopt, don’t shop.”

Bad taste: Poop poster proving effective

kidandpoopRepulsive as they are, posters showing a small girl consuming a brown substance while seated in the grass next to a pile of dog poop seem to be working, according to officials in Torbay, England.

Torbay Council launched the controversial campaign at the end of April, according to the BBC.

Since then, the amount of dog waste not cleaned up has dropped by half

That’s according to Councillor Dave Butt — (please hold your sophomoric giggling until the end of the story) — a cabinet member for community services. He said there were more than 400 ”incidents” in April, but only 185 in June. (Apparently Torbay conducts a monthly census of dog droppings.)

Butt said there had been no complaints about the posters, which are six feet high and contain an image in which a young child at a playground appears to be eating dog feces

The posters were displayed in local bus shelters and dog mess offenders were warned about the penalty which is a fine of up to £1,000.

Butt told BBC News: “The poster was rather unpleasant, but helped drive the message home very forcibly. “We did not have any complaints, but we did have people ringing us to say it was about time and they were pleased we went in so hard.”

Plans call for campaign to continue, with the message being spread to schools and community groups.

“We are not against dog owners, we are against people that ignore safety and health issues,” Butt said.

Torbay, a popular tourist destination, is located on the Lyme Bay in western England in an area known as the English Riviera.

AKC announces Top 10 dogs of 2008

Labrador Retrievers are still No. 1 in America, for the 18th straight year, but bulldogs are moving up fast, according to registration statistics released today by the American Kennel Club.

More than twice as many Labs were registered in 2008 than any other breed.

Also growing quickly in numbers is the bulldog, which made it to the AKC’s Top Ten list last year for the first time in 70 years. The new figures show it has advanced two more spots, to eighth place.

Here is the full list:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle
6. Boxer
7. Dachshund
8. Bulldog
9. Poodle
10. Shih Tzu

The AKC is celebrating its 125th Anniversary during 2009. In 1884, the year it was founded, the AKC registered only nine breeds, versus the 161 it recognizes today.

They were the Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel and Sussex Spaniel.

These original breeds are all current members of the Sporting Group — dogs bred to help man find and retrieve game.

“I think the comparison of our original nine to the current top 10 illustrates the different needs that dogs fill today,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “In the 1880′s most breeds served a specific purpose or function. Today dogs still serve man and in even more diverse roles — from guide dog to bomb detection K-9 — but most of all, dogs are now companions that ground us to nature in a busy and increasingly technological world.”

Baltimore to build its first dog park

   Mayor Sheila Dixon announced today that the city will build a 7,000-square-foot, enclosed dog park in Locust Point, Baltimore’s first city-funded dog park ever.
    And, the mayor said, it could be one of as many as eight dog parks coming to the city.
    Currently, the only other dog park within city limits is Canton Dog Park — built, funded and maintained by the Canton Community Association.
    The city will pay $150,000 for the design and construction of the fenced in dog play area in Latrobe Park. Construction is expected to start in April and could be complete by next August. Maintenance of the dog park will be the responsibility of the Locust Point Dog Park Committee, which has been pushing for the dog park for more than 18 months.
    The head of that committee Barbara Wilson, also speaking at a press conference in the park this evening, credited committee members and community backers with help making the park a reality.
    “The City couldn’t help but take notice of our motivation and granted us to be their first project,” the  dog park committee’s website says.
     Today’s press conference drew a bit of media attention to an issue that gets little coverage. Other than this WBAL report, from back in July, there has been little reporting on the need for dog parks, and (though we first  told you nearly two months ago) little mention in the mainstream media about the city’s new plan. The Baltimore Sun ran a six paragraph story on Dixon’s pending announcement this morning.
    Also appearing at the press conference was council member Edward L. Reisinger, who has been pushing for a dog park since 2003. Some community groups, such as the one trying to bring a dog park to Patterson Park, have been pushing even longer than that.
     After the press conference, Mayor Dixon and Recreation and Parks Director Wanda Durden confirmed that the city is looking at adding as many as eight dog parks in Baltimore.
    Mayor Dixon, who managed to get through the press conference with her cream-colored suit unsullied — despite the presence of about 75 dogs in the crowd, agreed to pose with Ace afterwards for a photo commemorating the occasion.
    And she didn’t even get mad when Ace took a seat — as he’s prone to do — directly atop one of her cream-colored shoes.
    A crowd of more than 100 turned out for the press conference, with nearly that many dogs in attendance as well.
    Here’s an artist’s rendering of what the dog park might look like.

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