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Tag: aspca

ASPCA: Chihuahua dies after beating

The ASPCA has made its first felony arrest of the year — a 265-pound Queens man accused of punching his 8-pound Chihuahua, the New York Post reported.

ASPCA officials say Jerry Melendez, 33, struck his dog, Spotty, hard enough to fracture his skull and cause a hemmorhage to his left eye.

Melendez took the dog to a veterinary clinic, but, being unemployed, was unable to pay for the medical care vets said would be necessary to save him. So Spotty, 5, was euthanized.

Veterinarians notified the ASPCA about the case, and a necropsy determined Spotty died of blunt-force impact.

“It appears he was just frustrated and became angry at his family dog,” ASPCA Assistant Director Joe Pentangelo said of Melendez, who recently lost his job at a pharmacy.

Melendez’ wife, Lillian Vargas, said her husband only yelled at the dog after discovering the couch had been soiled. The dog, she said, jumped off the couch and ran into the leg of the dining-room table. Authorities didn’t buy that account.

Melendez was charged with animal cruelty and faces a maximum two-year sentence and a fine.

Dogs anticipate bad weather, and more

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — at least not if you have a dog.

Two-thirds of American pet owners say their pets have a sixth sense about bad weather, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press and Petside.com.

Seventy-two percent of dog owners said they’ve gotten weather warnings from their pets, compared with 66 percent of cat owners.

And bad weather, many believe, is not all their pets are able to sense.

More than 40 percent of pet owners say their animals can sense the arrival of bad news, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

“A sixth sense is something we can’t explain but we tend to trust. It’s a matter of belief and faith,” psychologist Stephanie LaFarge, the senior director of counseling services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Associated Press.

Some scientists believe animals sense bad weather because of changes in barometric pressure, and that they can sense seizures, low blood sugar or other medical problems through changes in their owner’s hormone levels.

How some pets know when earthquakes are coming, or that bad news is on the horizon, remain more mysterious.

The ASPCA’s LaFarge says she has personally experienced the latter.

“I have been awakened in the middle of the night by a dog,” she said. “Very shortly after that, I received some very, very shocking bad news. I was awake when the phone rang. I couldn’t explain why I was awake except the dog was next to me nudging me. How did the dog know my father died at midnight?”

Rescued dogs featured in video

Well this is beyond cool.

It’s the official music video for OK Go’s ‘White Knuckles’.

The dogs — many of them rescues —  were trained by  Lauren Henry and Roland Sonnenburg and their team of trainers from Talented Animals.

If you buy the video, proceeds go to the ASPCA.

You can learn more here.

What the Vick dogs taught humans

In 2007, it was one of the most sickening, disheartening stories of the year — NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s arrest and imprisonment on dogfighting charges. Revelations of what transpired at Bad Newz Kennels showed just how cruel some humans can be.

By 2009, though, the story of Vick’s dogs had become one of the most heartening of the decade. What made the difference? Mainly, the dogs – the pit bulls. For despite what they’d been put through, despite being abused, trained as killers or used as bait, they were — once the decision was made not to euthanize them – amazing the world with their remarkable resiliency.

Saving and rehabilitating the former fighting dogs of Michael Vick was not achieved without a battle, and not without the efforts of a lot of dog-loving, self-sacrificing humans. But the silver lining that eventually shone through the dismal story was provided mainly by the dogs, who showed that, no matter how bad a human messes them up, there’s hope.

Once again, the irrepressible species was teaching us humans a lesson.

Vick’s former pit bulls have gone on to reside in new homes with young children, become cherished pets, serve as therapy dogs and, in many cases, serve as shining examples of what is right with and special about the much-maligned breed.

How all that transpired is rivetingly detailed in a new book by Jim Gorant, “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption.”

(For a preview, you can read an article by Gorant in today’s Parade magazine.)

In the book, to be released next month, Gorant expands on his 2008 Sports Illustrated  story on the Vick dogs (the one that featured Baltimore’s own Sweet Jasmine on the cover), recounting how they were rescued from Vick’s estate and how — though euthanasia was routine until then for animals seized from dogfighting operations – they were saved from that fate by an outpouring of public appeals.

The outcry helped lead to a court order that Vick pay nearly a million dollars in “restitution” to the dogs — money used to allow a handful of agencies across the country  to rehabilitate them.

The book recounts the ASPCA-led evaluations of each dog — and how, though there were a few hardened fighters among them, many more were dogs ready to be loved, ready to forgive and try to forget.

In “The Lost Dogs,” we learn more about Johnny Justice, the former Vick dog that participates in Paws for Tales, which lets kids get more comfortable with their reading skills by reading aloud to dogs; about Leo, who now spends three hours a week with cancer patients and troubled teens; and about Sweet Jasmine, who was coming out of her shell while living in Baltimore until she got loose and was hit by a car.

The book lists the outcomes for all 49 of the surviving pit bulls that were seized in April 2007 from Bad Newz Kennels, the Smithfield, Va., dogfighting ring run by Vick, then quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, now — getting a multi-million dollar second chance of his own — a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

While experts were expecting only 5 percent of Vick’s dogs could be rehabilitated, only two, initially, had to be put down. One was excessively violent and the other was suffering from an irreparable injury. For the rest, though, there was hope, and no small amount of faith – which, more than anything else is what “The Lost Dogs” is about.

Rather than showing aggression, the Vick dogs tended to be  “pancake dogs”— animals so traumatized that they flattened themselves on the ground and trembled when humans neared, much like our friend Mel, the former Vick dog we recently met in our travels through Dallas.

Many more seemed to be dogs with normal temperaments, but who had simply never been socialized.

Accomplishing that fell to the handful of animal welfare organizations that stepped forward, offering to take the Vick dogs in and work to rehabilitate them — among them Baltimore’s Recycled Love, California’s BAD RAP, (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), and Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.

As Gorant writes in the Parade magazine article, “… rescuers argued from the start that rather than be condemned as a whole, the dogs should be individually assessed and treated — and this has turned out to be one of the great lessons of the Bad Newz dogs. Generalizations and preconceptions are as unhelpful and counterproductive for pit bulls as they are for people.”

(To read more dog book news and reviews, visit ohmidog’s “Good Dog Reads” page. ”The Lost Dogs,” and some of our other favorite dog books, can be purchased at ohmidog’s Amazon Affiliate store.)

Subaru donates custom Outback to ASPCA

Subaru of America, Inc. has donated a custom-designed Outback to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to help them collect and process evidence at animal crime scenes.

The modified 2010 Outback has specialized lighting, a radio, computer, exam table, roof rack and refrigerator in which to store evidence.

“We created the Subaru Outback CSI vehicle to transport the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensics team to hard-to-access crime scenes,” said Todd Lawrence, promotions and sponsorship manager for Subaru of America, Inc.

“We needed a vehicle that allows us to reach some of the crime scenes where our larger unit cannot,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director for Veterinary Forensics at the ASPCA.

Dr. Merck said the older unit was primarily used to examine animals, but the new response vehicle focuses more on examining evidence from animal crime scenes. The new unit will be based out of Gainesville, Florida, home of the ASPCA’s veterinary forensics program.

New Yorkers offer home to abused dog, Spike

spikeDozens of New Yorkers have offered a new home to Spike, an 11-month-old English bulldog whose beating with a shovel was captured on a camera phone.

Spike was recovering Friday at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital from a broken hip, leg, teeth and injuries to his ears. He was left virtually blind in his right eye.

His owner, Maria Aguilar, 36, of Queens, was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty, the New York Daily News reported.

As of Friday, nearly 100 people had offered to adopt Spike, who can be heard howling with pain on the video.

Spike was not well enough yet to be put up for adoption, said ASPCA Assistant Director Joseph Pentangelo. The dog showed signs of earlier injuries, including a hip fracture, broken leg, three broken teeth and injuries to his ears.

“If this witness had not reported this cruelty to the ASPCA, Spike may well have continued to suffer abuse at the hands of his owner,” said Pentangelo.

ASPCA investigators were called to Aguilar’s house on Feb. 24 after witnesses reported hearing a dog crying. One of the witnesses used a camera phone to tape the abuse.

Life after Broadway is fine with Fred

*Feb 27 - 00:05*

A stray South Bronx mutt who was “discovered” in a shelter and went on to appear in the hit musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” is enjoying his retirement in a posh home on the upper West Side.

Found wandering the streets as an 8-month-old pup, Fred landed at an ASPCA shelter in New York in early 2005. 

There Bill Berloni, a theatrical animal agent who has trained stray dogs for Broadway shows for more than 30 years, found Fred, took him home and spent a year working with the dog.

Berloni, who also is a behavior consultant for the Humane Society of New York – a no-kill shelter that supports rescued animals — took Fred, a terrier mix, to try out against dozens of other canine hopefuls at the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” auditions.

The New York Daily News recounted Fred’s “wags to riches” story in an article today.

When the show closed in 2006, Berloni arranged for Fred (third from the left in the photo) to be adopted by Chris Grabenstein and his wife, J.J. Myers.

Grabenstein, an author of adult mysteries and childrens’ ghost stories, has created a character based on him. The couple also built a rooftop dog area, where Fred can continue to enjoy the bright lights of the big city.