Jenna Beardé made an exception to her “no dogs on the bed” rule when her son, River, said he wanted to read a story, before his nap, to one of their dogs.
Ronnie, a deaf pit bull, jumped up and made himself comfortable, which meant Macy, another family dog, had to get up there, too.
As they settled in, River started reading, and Jenna, who normally reads her two-year-old son a naptime story, sat back and watched.
By about the third book, both dogs — resting on their backs, legs splayed — appeared to be asleep, Jenna told the Kansas City Star, which reported on the video Jenna took after it went viral.
She posted the video to Facebook, and a week later it had been viewed 22 million times.
On top being atrociously cute, the video, in her view, gives some much needed positive attention to pit bulls, which are illegal in several municipalities around Kansas City.
Ronnie, the dog lying closest to River in the video, is a rescued pit bull. Macy, a black and white terrier mix and the first dog the family rescued, was often mistaken for one, prompting her and her husband Michael to move from Prairie Village, which banned the breed.
The couple — hairstylists who own Beardé Salon in Mission — relocated to Spring Hill to raise their family.
Ronnie, between his disability and his designation as a pit bull, had spent 500 days in a shelter, and been returned twice, when they adopted him.
Jenna has documented Ronnie’s life with the family on a Facebook page called Ronnie’s Life. That’s where she first posted the video of her son reading to him.
River also reads to his pet pig — and anyone else who will listen, according to his mother.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bans, breed, dog, dogs, jenna bearde, kansas city, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, read, reading, river bearde, ronnie, video, viral
Due to centuries of selective breeding, and the efforts of breeders to keep the breed “pure,” the English bulldog has become so inbred it cannot be returned to health without an infusion of new bloodlines, a genetic study says.
The study, appearing in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, reached the stark conclusion that health issues created by human manipulation of the breed could lead to its doom.
“We tried not to be judgmental in our paper. We just said there’s a problem here, and if you are going to decide to do something about it, this is what you’ve got to work with, said co-author Niels Pedersen of the University of California, Davis.
“If you want to re-build the breed, these are the building blocks you have, but they’re very few. So if you’re using the same old bricks, you’re not going to be able to build a new house.” told the BBC.
Pedersen and colleagues from the Center for Companion Animal Health at UC Davis examined the DNA of 102 registered English Bulldogs and found an alarmingly low level of diversity.
That, they say, is the result of a small initial pool of founding dogs, and “bottlenecks” caused by breeding for “desirable” traits like a big head and a short snout.
Those traits have led to many of the breed’s health problems — difficulty breathing, poor mobility and reproductive issues among them.
The researchers say efforts to return the breed to health by using existing bloodlines alone are “questionable.”
Introducing new bloodlines, from outside the breed, are likely the only solution, but many breeders are resistant to that idea.
“The fastest way to get genetic diversity is to outcross to a breed that looks similar but is genetically distinct… Trying to manipulate diversity from within a breed if it doesn’t have much anyway is really very difficult,” Pedersen said. “If all your dogs are highly related to one another, which ones are you going to pick?”
One possibility suggested by the researchers is the Olde English Bulldogge, a 1970s attempt by an American breeder to recreate the healthier working bulldog that existed in England during the early 1800s.
“The English bulldog has reached the point where popularity can no longer excuse the health problems that the average bulldog endures,” Pedersen said in a statement.
The features of today’s English bulldog are the result of hundreds of years of breeding, but changes to the breed’s traits — flatter face, shorter nose, stubbier legs, more skin folds — have become particularly rapid in recent decades, Pedersen said.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, bloodlines, breed, breeders, breeding, bulldogs, diversity, dna, dogs, english bulldogs, genetics, inbreeding, mixing, niels pedersen, outcross, pets, physical traits, selective breeding, study, uc davis
Pit bulls could end up being banned from all of Quebec — as they are from all of Ontario.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday the province will probably follow Ontario’s lead in outlawing pit bulls and other “dangerous dogs.”
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said officials will “definitely do something significant” by fall, after more research into what other breeds of dogs should be included in any ban.
Ontario’s pit bull ban was enacted in 2005 after several highly publicized cases of people being badly injured in pit bull attacks.
The legislation banned ownership of new pit bulls, placed restrictions on existing pit bulls, and toughened the penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public.
In Quebec, at least four local governments around Montreal have announced pit bull bans — all in the two weeks after the death of Christiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old woman who was found dead in her own backyard after a suspected pit bull attack.
Montreal Mayor Dennis Coderre announced Saturday morning that the city plans to amend its animal control bylaws to ban acquisition of new pit bull dogs in Montreal. All existing pit bulls would have to be sterilized and wear muzzles when they are in public.
In Quebec City, Mayor Regis Labeaume announced that, starting Jan. 1, 2017, pit bulls will be prohibited and anyone caught with one will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense.
Candiac, which just lifted its pit bull ban two months ago, will stop licensing pit bulls in August, while waiting to see what action the province takes.
Brossard will vote on a proposed ban next month. Brossard Mayor Paul Leduc says the city has been looking at a ban since an eight-year-old was bitten in the face by a pit bull at a park last summer.
The head of Montreal’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals described Montreal’s ban as “knee jerk.”
“If we are trying to find a way to reduce the number of animal bites in a community by starting with how the animal may look, we are starting down the wrong path,” said SPCA executive director Nicholas Gilman.
“It is a rabbit hole that doesn’t lead to effective results. Instead, let’s focus on how animals become aggressive in the first place and work from there.”
(Photo: CBC News)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bans, breed, brossard, canada, candiac, cities, dogs, laws, montreal, muzzles, ontario, pets, pit bull, pit bull bans, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, provinces, quebec, quebec city, restrictions, specific, sterilization, towns
Diggy was adopted by Michigan musician Dan Tillery, and a heartwarming photo of the two of them with big smiles on their faces (left) has been shared widely on social media.
But once Tillery brought the dog home to Waterford Township, they were met with a frown.
The township bans pit bulls, and when police received “several complaints” about Diggy — not based on any bad behavior, just based on his looks — police officers visited Tillery’s home.
“Based on their observations, it was determined the dog was part pit bull/pit bull terrier,” Police Lt. Todd Hasselbach said.
Listen more closely to his remarks and you can hear they are oozing something very close to what, in the human community, we’d call racism.
He confirms that Diggy is being judged based on looks alone. He says any percentage of pit bull in Diggy — no matter how small — makes him a pit bull. And he says Diggy can’t be permitted to live in Waterford Township because of the “zero tolerance” ordinance, which has been “in effect for many years.” As if that makes it right.
Sounding like a lawman from the old west, or maybe more like a 1960’s sheriff from the deep south, went on to say Diggy has three days to get out of town.
And he may not be.
Diggy was picked up as a stray earlier this year by Detroit Animal Care and Control, which classified him as an American bulldog.
Detroit Dog Rescue, the only no-kill shelter in the city, later pulled Diggy from the facility and put him up for adoption, according to ABC News’ local affiliate WXYZ.
Tillery and his girlfriend adopted Diggy after seeing a photo posted on the nonprofit rescue group’s Facebook page. In that post, Diggy — then named Sir Wiggleton — was described as a “2 year old American bulldog/pit bull mix that loves the water and is just a big goofball.”
In the week after his adoption, Diggy became an internet sensation after Tillery posted a photo of him smiling with his new dog.
Owning a pit bull in Waterford is an ordinance violation that can carry a $500 fine. Police didn’t cite Tillery but told him he had until today to relocate the dog to another town.
Waterford police said if a veterinarian deems Diggy to be an American bulldog or another permitted breed, with no pit bull in him, then he can stay — but they say it has to be a vet of the police department’s choosing.
Kristina Millman-Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, said the organization already had a vet deem Diggy an American bulldog, and called the Waterford Township city clerk’s office beforehand to make sure there were no restrictions on that breed.
Waterford Township defines pit bulls as dogs that “substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club” for American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, or American Staffordshire terriers.
And the ordinance allows police officers to make that call — based on the dog’s looks and their previous experience with pit bulls.
An online petition to lift the dangerous dog ban in Waterford has garnered nearly 40,000 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, american bulldog, animal control, animals, appearance, ban, breed, breeds, dan tillery, determination, detroit, detroit dog rescue, diggy, dogs, identifying, looks, michigan, petition, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pitties, pitts, police, shelter, shelters, smile, smiling, smiling dog, viral, waterford township
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