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the United Animal Coalition, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that ran the shelter until last year — when its licensed was revoked after an investigation into charges of animal cruelty.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
Only in these mega-awesome modern times could a product that really doesn’t work well at all become a big hit.
And only in the Internet age could how badly it works be a selling point.
Fetch! is an app that lets you upload a photo of your dog and learn what breed it is, or, judging from my try, what breed it’s not.
It was released yesterday just in time for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, according to promotional material. (Last I checked, competitors at Westminster were pretty sure what breeds their dogs were.)
The app analyzes a photo and makes a guess as to breed — using its artificial intelligence and tons of data stored in clouds.
It’s just one of the latest products to hit the market offering to guess everything from your age to your state of mind to the significance of your mustache — all via the power of object recognition, a key facet of artificial intelligence.
It comes as a Web app or download for devices running Apple’s iOS, and you can also get an idea of what it’s all about at the website what-dog.net.
I generally avoid apps (I’m app-rehensive?) so I went to the website to give it a test. I fed it three different photos of Ace, and it identified him as a Rhodesian Ridgeback each time. (He’s not.)
Next I uploaded a photo of myself and was told I was a “Chihuahua … quick witted, loving, wary of strangers and other dogs.”
(Strangers and dogs are actually the two things I’m NOT wary of.)
Microsoft is using the device’s lack of reliability as a selling point, as if to say, “Well no, it’s not really accurate at all, but isn’t it fun?”
Seems to be a lot of that going around these days.
As in the series of ads from Time Warner that make light of the sheer hell the company — once, they’d have us believe — put customers through.
As in the direction the news media has been going in ever since it realized there was an Internet.
As in all those overused hooks designed to get us to click a link on the Internet – such as awesome, epic, jaw-dropping, life-changing, pee-your-pants-funny, you’re not going to believe what happened next.
With Fetch, in my case, not too much happened next.
But its developers say they expect it to wow the masses.
“There was an interest in creating a framework that would allow you to take a domain – in our case, dogs – and recognize numerous classes, such as breeds. We were interested in enabling an app to allow you to make object recognition extraordinary, fun and surprising,” said Mitch Goldberg, one of the Fetch developers
“If you want to take photos of dogs, it will tell you what dog breed it is, if it’s one of our supported breeds. If I choose to take a photograph of a flower, it’ll say, ‘No dogs found! Hmmm… This looks more like…flower?’ But if you take a picture of a person, it’ll kick into its hidden fun mode. And in a playful way, it’ll communicate to you not only what type of dog it thinks you are, but also why.”
Follow all that? When the app works, it’s an amazing example of artificial intelligence. When it doesn’t, don’t worry, it’s in playful, fun mode.
I sometimes wonder if artificial intelligence is gaining on us, or if we’re just getting more stupid.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 12th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ai, animals, app, apps, artificial intelligence, breed, breeds, dog, dog breeds, dogs, fetch, garage, identifier, identify, identifying, internet, media, microsoft, news, object, pets, photographs, photos, recognition
The American Kennel Club has announced full recognition of two new breeds — the American hairless terrier and the Sloughi.
The additions bring the total number of dog breeds recognized by the AKC to 189.
Joining the terrier group, the American hairless terrier is small to medium sized and very active — basically a bald (often) rat terrier.
The breed comes in both a hairless and a coated variety, although the coated dogs still carry the hairless gene.
According to the American Hairless Terrier Club, their rise began when a hairless puppy emerged in a litter of rat terriers in the 1970s, leading a Louisiana couple to begin breeding it to produce other hairless pups.
The Sloughi is an ancient breed that originated in North Africa, where it is treasured for its hunting skills, speed, endurance and agility.
Also known as the Arabian greyhound, it is a medium to large-sized dog, with short hair, a smooth coat and a sleek and graceful appearance.
Both breeds became eligible to compete in their respective AKC groups on Jan. 1, 2016, but will not be eligible for Westminster until next year.
To become an AKC-recognized breed there must be a minimum number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S., as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders.
(Photos: An American hairless terrier (at top) and a Sloughi, courtesy of American Kennel Club)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 7th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american hairless terrier, american kennel club, animals, announcement, arabian greyhound, breed, breeds, dog, dogs, hairless, hounds, new, new breeds, pets, rat terrier, recognition, sloughi, terriers
The breed of dog most often involved in attacks on humans in Liverpool is … the Jack Russell terrier.
In 2015 more canine attacks on humans were reported from Jack Russells than from other breeds often seen as more aggressive, including pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Police data show 71 dog attacks were reported to police in 2015. Jack Russells were responsible for six of the recorded attacks in which the breed of dog was known.
Pit bulls and Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs accounted for five recorded incidents in 2015, German shepherds were involved in three, and collies were involved in two.
If police seemed to waste no time in compiling the year end statistics, that may be because Liverpool is one of the worst cities in England when it comes to dog bites. The city’s dog attack rate is more than twice the national average.
Jack Russells are known as high-energy dogs who can be very territorial.
Other breeds involved in at least one incident included a Yorkshire terrier, a Rottweiler, a St. Bernard, a French bull mastiff and a Chihuahua.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 6th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacks, breed, breeds, collies, dangerous, dog, dog bites, dogs, german shepherds, jack russell terriers, jack russells, liverpool, pets, pit bulls, police, rottweilers, statistics
The pit bull, named Precious, sat by her owner as firefighters worked to extinguish a fire at their home yesterday, and they say she acted aggressively when they tried to approach the woman.
Eventually, firefighters sprayed the dog with a fire extinguisher, giving them time to get the woman onto a stretcher.
But it’s not the dog’s behavior that’s leading to her banishment; it’s merely the fact that she’s a pit bull.
The fire broke out at the home in Landover Hills early Wednesday morning.
The woman and her father were taken to an area hospital, and both are expected to be OK, according to NBC4 in Washington.
But they won’t be getting Precious back.
“It’s sad. I love that dog,” said the owner’s son.
The county passed a law banning pit bulls nearly 20 years ago.
According to a task force report, the county spends $186 per day per dog to confiscate, maintain and “dispose” of pit bulls — and between $250,000 and $500,000 a year on pit bull related costs.
Precious and two other family dogs are being held in a Prince George’s County animal shelter.
Officials say Precious won’t be put down, and that the family will be given time to find family or friends who live outside Prince George’s County to take the dog, and one of their two other dogs, who is also a pit bull.
If that doesn’t happen, the county will place the dogs with a rescue group or shelter elsewhere.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, bans, breed, dog, dogs, fire, law, loyal, loyalty, maryland, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, prince georges county, specific
Just as every dog breed has a distinct personality, so too does every neighborhood.
In a city as dog-loving, artistically inclined and fantastically diverse as San Francisco, perhaps it was only matter of time before a creative type decided to match them up.
The video above, in which 11 neighborhoods are portrayed as dressed-up dogs, may reinforce a stereotype or two, but it is really more about making you smile.
“This little animation is the long time brainchild of my obsession with dog breeds and the humorous stereotypes of SF neighborhoods,” says its creator. “Hopefully no-one is offended.”
An intense dog-lover, and San Francisco-lover, Libby Cooper is creative director of Videopixie.
She’d had the idea for the video in mind for a couple of years, but a creative-project stipend from Videopixie allowed her to make the notion a reality, reports the website, Curbed.
“My budget allowed me create 11,” she says. “But I hope to eventually cover all of the San Francisco neighborhoods.
In the short animated video, entitled “San Frandingo,” an Afghan hound with a pearl necklace represents Pacific Heights, a Shiba Inu wearing goggles and a “vegan leather jacket” symbolizes Potrero Hill, and a French Bulldog with a motorcycle cap, studded collar and harness serves as mascot for the Castro.
Other match-ups include a golden retriever with a tennis ball in its mouth as the marina, an American Staffordshire Terrier wearing a Giants cap as the Mission, and a Cairn terrier smoking a cigarette as the Tenderloin.
Cooper, who says she can recite all 184 dog breeds, relied on her personal impressions of the neighborhoods and her knowledge of dog breeds and their characteristics to come up with the concept.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghan, american staffordshire terrier, animals, animation, breed, breeds, castro, dog, dog breeds, dogs, humorous, libby cooper, mission, neighborhoods, pacific heights, pets, portrero hill, san francisco, shiba inu. french bulldog, stereotypes, tenderloin, video, videopixie
They say everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, but when it comes to an Alabama dog named Pig, she seems to have gotten short-changed on that middle part.
Between her sizable head and her rear end, there’s not much real estate, and as a result of her abbreviated torso, taking her out in public has always led to a lot of stares, and a lot of questions — chief among them, “What kind of dog is that?”
What accounts for Pig’s unusual appearance is called short spine syndrome, a birth defect that prevents the spine from fully forming and often makes everyday tasks — like running, jumping and eating — difficult.
Dogs with the disorder — though it can compress their organs and lead to health problems as they grow — generally can lead normal lives, and reach their full life expectancy.
They can also, as in Pig’s case, become international celebrities.
Pig developed a large following after appearing at this year’s Do Dah Day festival in Birmingham. She was featured in a story on AL.com, and her Facebook page, “Pig the Unusual Dog,” created in June, has more than 76,500 followers.
Now, following up on just what it is that makes Pig Pig, AL.com reports that her owner, Kim Dillenbeck of Helena, has received the results of a DNA test she had conducted on the dog to determine what breeds are in her.
A Wisdom Panel test says Pig is a Boxer, Chow Chow, American Staffordshire Terrier mix.
Dillenbeck who has heard guesses ranging from her dog being half rabbit to half not there, was surprised by the results.
“Everybody thought Akita,” Dillenbeck said. “I was was thinking something like a smaller dog, but I was wide open … Pig has all these interesting traits, and there are so many breeds out there.”
Other breeds showing up in the test results as possibilities include Portuguese Water Dog, Alaskan Klee Kai, Scottish deerhound, Lakeland terrier and Maltese.
Pig weighs in at just 16 pounds, much less than one of her siblings, who doesn’t have the disorder and weighs just under 40 pounds.
Dillenbeck’s experience with Pig led her to form the nonprofit Pig’s Foundation to help raise funds for people and organizations rescuing animals. Another mission of the foundation is to raise awareness that animals who look unusual can still have a happy life.
“Pig is her own breed,” Dillenbeck said. “To me, she is just one in a million. As much as I can see her potential in all these breeds, she is still just Pig.”
(Photos: Mark Almond / AL.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, american staffordshire terrier, animals, birmingham, birth defect, boxer, breed, breeds, chow chow, dna, dog, dogs, helena, pets, pig, short spine, short spine syndrome, shortened, spine, test, wisdom panel