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Tag: breeds

USDA considers closer regulation of rescues


A Washington Post investigation that revealed 86 rescue and dog-advocacy groups and shelters nationwide have spent $2.68 million buying dogs from breeders at auctions has prompted the U.S. Agriculture Department to issue a bulletin stating that those groups may need to be licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Traditionally, they are not, and thereby operate independently of any federal regulations — even though they are, in effect, buying and selling dogs all while characterizing that work as “rescuing” and finding dogs adoptive homes.

“Our job is to ensure the humane treatment of the animals we regulate,” Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez, who leads the department’s animal-care program, said in the bulletin, which cited “dog acquisitions from an auction for resale (including adoption) as pets” as a reason that individuals or groups may require federal regulation.

SONY DSCThe USDA announcement came just days after the Washington Post investigation was published, triggering a public response that the Post reported on yesterday.

The initial report cited cases of bidders aligned with rescue organizations paying more than $1,000 per dog, in one case $8,000.

Altogether, the 86 rescue and advocacy groups and shelters that have registered to participate in the two government-regulated auctions, both in Missouri, have spent $2.68 million buying 5,761 dogs and puppies from breeders since 2009.

Most rescuers then offered the dogs for adoption as “rescued” or “saved,” and charge “adoption fees” that range from $50 to $1,000.

National animal welfare groups reacted to the report with differing levels of concern.

The Humane Society of the United States — which in March sued the USDA, claiming it has failed to release breeding-kennel inspection reports in violation of open-records law — said the agency should instead do a better job of regulating breeders.

“BREAKING: the USDA is planning to scrutinize pet rescue groups and require many of them to become licensed — even as it fails to crack down on puppy mills and covers up their inspection reports,” the Humane Society posted on the Facebook page of its Puppy Mills Campaign.

“This is not rescue; this is enabling abuse,” wrote Julie Castle, chief development, marketing and communications officer for the Best Friends Animal Society. “Buying puppies from puppy mill breeders and selling them to the public is not rescue. It’s the pet trade and it needs to be exposed.”

PETA said some rescuers are “propping up the dog-breeding industry. Handing thousands of dollars to the very people who are exacerbating the animal-homelessness crisis allows them to keep profiting from animals’ suffering.”

Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, urged a USDA investigation of the practice: “Federal regulators should require all organizations that operate as pet dealers under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) be licensed as such.”

While some in the breeding community cheered the USDA’s bulletin and said regulation of rescuers by the USDA was long overdue, others voicing an opinion said the federal government should leave rescuers alone and instead focus on what they call “puppy mills.”

“I will never donate to a rescue that buys dogs from an auction,” said one. “That article was an eye opener. I have never heard of such a thing, but will definitely check out the rescue I support to see if they do this. The rescues who do this should be closed down. The money spent to buy the dogs was astronomical and insane.”

Other animal lovers say rescuers are well-intentioned and above reproach:

“Why you would go out of your way to bash people for trying to help innocent animals is disgusting and idiotic!”

The Post’s investigation detailed the little-known business practice in which some rescue groups — mostly those dedicated to rescuing certain purebred breeds — buy dogs from breeders at auctions, then charge “adoption fees” to place them in new homes.

The rescue groups say buying auction dogs is necessary to remove them from the commercial breeding industry, while others said the practice just feeds money to the very breeders that rescuers often decry as puppy mills.

Nathan Winograd, founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center, which pushes for shelter overhauls, urged all sides to step out of what he called their ‘ideological straitjackets’ and instead take a reasoned approach to considering the facts.

Wrote one commenter, “I’m an executive director of a fairly large humane society in the South. . . . The premise of this story is that people are buying dogs at auction from breeders in an effort to ‘rescue’ them. This highlights the emotional problems you see in the rescue community, that blinds them to rational thought, or good judgment. If you think you are ‘rescuing’ dogs by buying them, in any way shape or form, you are in complete denial.”

The 86 rescue organizations named in the auction records reviewed by the Post are a tiny minority of the thousands of such organization in the U.S and Canada.

As one person commented on the Post article, “There are still a lot of dogs that need help, and a lot of good organizations trying to help them.”

German museum honors the dachshund

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A museum dedicated to the dachshund opened last week in Germany — the country in which wiener dogs originated.

It’s a labor of love, and the brainchild of two former florists, dachshund lovers both, who managed to bring more than 4,500 pieces and 2,000 exhibits featuring dachshund paraphernalia together over the last three months.

The Dackelmuseum (or Dachshund Museum) was opened in the Bavarian town of Passau on April 2 by
Josef Küblbeck and Oliver Storz, two former florists who share a bit of an obsession with the breed.

Among the items displayed are stamps, prints, figurines, stuffed animals, dachshund puppets, even a dachshund shaped from bread.

Their inventory took a leap recently when they purchased a Belgian punk rocker’s extensive collection of dachshund paraphernalia, Reuters reported.

“The world needs a sausage dog museum… No other dog in the world enjoys the same kind of recognition or popularity as the symbol of Bavaria, the sausage dog,” said Kueblbeck. “We wanted to give this dog a home where people can come and share their joy.”

Admirers of the breed over the years have included artist Pablo Picasso, actor Marlon Brando, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, scientist Albert Einstein and Napoleon.

One of Germany’s oldest breeds, the dachshund can be long-, short- or wire-haired and is one of the country’s most popular dogs. It was bred for hunting, starting in the Middle Ages. With their pointy snouts, they are renowned for being able to burrow into holes to catch small animals.

Dogs of the World

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There are plenty of nits one could pick about this “Dogs of the World” map, but it’s still a pretty awesome achievement.

The artwork is an offshoot of the “Dogs of the World” series of drawings Lili Chin, a Los Angeles-based artist, produced in 2014.

It features 345 dog breeds and their countries of origin.

Since some countries are home of many more breeds than others, the map is a stylized one. France, England and Germany, for instance, are drawn far larger than scale so that the many dogs who originated in those countries could fit in.

The U.S., while pretty much to scale, includes some dogs that one would think surely originated elsewhere, like the Australian shepherds, pictured as originating in California. The Chinese Crested appears to have originated somewhere around Houston. Chesapeake Bay retrievers are shown way over in Michigan, far from the Chesapeake Bay.


“Space limitations made it impossible to dial in all breeds exact locations, Chin says on her website.

“My goal was to include non-pedigree dogs, lesser-known breeds, mixed breeds, and pariahs/landraces, while sticking with the original theme of geographical origins,” the Malaysia-born artist said. “After kicking this idea around for a couple years, I was contacted by an American jigsaw puzzle company that wished to license a ‘dogs on a map’ graphic for a new jigsaw puzzle.”

The puzzle can be purchased here.

Chin, who specializes in dog illustrations, infographics, custom portraits, and gifts for animal lovers, is selling the prints on her Etsy site. Prints on paper go for $55. Prints on canvas are $105.

Colorado bill would prohibit discriminating against dogs because of their size

Pet-Property-Rules-SignApartment complexes have them. Homeowners associations have them. Motels have them, too — rules that allow dogs to be banned because of their size.

Now, a Colorado state representative wants to correct that long-running injustice, the Denver Post reports. He has introduced a bill that would stop HOA’s or landlords from blanket bans on dogs that exceed a specified weight.

It’s high time. Size restrictions, like breed restrictions, are ridiculous, imposed and enforced by people who just don’t know any better.

And, while not to diminish all the more serious examples of it in our history, they are a form of discrimination.

HB-1126, if passed, would stop HOA’s or landlords from banning large dogs.

“It doesn’t matter the breed or the size. In a lot of ways, it’s just: ‘is this a behaved dog?'” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) in introducing the legislation. “I think this is a fairness issue and right now people with big dogs are being treated unequally.”

The bill, even if it passes, would not override bans against certain breeds that some cities, like Denver, have imposed, and it would not stop landlords from banning dogs altogether.

Rosenthal said he proposed the legislation after hearing from a constituent in Englewood whose two German shepherds kept her from being able to find a housing situation she could afford.

Christy Wooten said she searched for six months for properties that would allow her two dogs, but ran into size restrictions at every turn.

“No one would accept them, and they’re not mean dogs. They’re the sweetest things. I rescued them. It broke my heart,” she said.

As a result, she gave the dogs to her ex, who now resides out of state.

“I’m surprised. With how dog-friendly Colorado seems to be, it’s a disappointment,” said Wooten. “They think they’re aggressive and they’re not.”

The bill apparently would not apply to motels and hotels, probably the worst when it comes to discriminating against large dogs. Yes, they’ll promote how “dog friendly” they are to reel in customers, but the small print often will specify “no dogs over 25, 45, 50 pounds.”

That’s ruling out a lot of dogs (and customers) — all under the false belief that a large dog is likely to cause more damage. Worse yet, it’s the kind of mindless discrimination, based on misplaced fears, that some Americans have practiced throughout history, to everyone’s detriment.

Consider how this would look in the human realm: “No customers over 225 pounds.” “We apologize, but due to liability concerns, we cannot accept NFL or NBA players.” “Sorry, fatty, there’s no room for you.”

Colorado should pass this law, and so should every other state.

American Kennel Club grants recognition to two centuries-old European breeds

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Rembrandt recognized the kooikrhondje nearly 400 years ago. It took the American Kennel Club until this week.

The breed — its formal full name is the Nederlandse kooikerhondje — is one of two the AKC announced this week have been added to its list of officially recognized breeds.

The AKC’s breed list is a fairly arbitrary one, and making it involves — more than anything else — jumping through the proper AKC hoops and paying the proper AKC dues. Usually, every year or so, a breed or two or three gets full recognition bestowed.

This year, it’s the kooiker, as it is sometimes called for short, and the grand basset griffon Vendeen.

They bring the number of AKC-recognized breeds to 192.

Both breeds will be eligible to compete in most dog shows this year, but can’t compete at the Westminster Kennel Club show until next year.

kooikerleashes1The Nederlandse kooikerhondje (if you want to try to pronounce it, it’s NAY’-dehr-lahn-seh KOY’-kehr-hahnd-jeh) are small, brown-and-white, spaniel-style dogs whose history goes back hundreds of years in Holland. They can be seen in the paintings of Rembrandt and even more commonly in those of another 17th Century Dutch Master, Johannes Vermeer.

Kooikerhondjes were trained to help hunters lure ducks into cages and net-covered canals. The practice waned in the 19th century, and the dogs neared extinction during World War II before a baroness began working to re-establish the breed.

There are now about 7,000 worldwide and roughly 500 in the U.S.

The other breed officially recognized by the AKC is the grand basset griffon Vendeen, which also has centuries-old roots in Europe.

gbgvleashes1The GBGV (for short) has a long and low-to-the-ground body and wiry hair, and the AKC describes the breed as laid back, intelligent and friendly.

A smaller cousin, the petit basset griffon Vendeen, has been recognized by the AKC for decades.

The process of getting a breed fully recognized by the AKC involves first establishing a National Breed Club.

After that, those seeking to get a breed established — namely, or at least mainly, breeders — get the breed listed with the AKC Foundation Stock Service by submitting a written request, and documentation that includes a written history and a written breed standard.

Before getting recognition, it must be shown that there are at least 300 dogs of the breed spread around at least 20 states.

If the criteria are all met and a substantial nationwide interest and activity in the breed is demonstrated, the AKC Board of Directors can vote to allow the breed to compete in the Miscellaneous Class.

Even after that, it can still be years before the breed is fully recognized, also by a vote of the board.

(Top image, courtesy of Rembrandt; breed photos, courtesy of American Kennel Club)

Holiday gift idea: Pit bull leggings

pitbulllegsDon’t worry, we’re not becoming one of those news outlets that is dropping news to turn to schilling products for fun and profit.

But, given the ongoing need for gift ideas this time of year, we may present in the days ahead a few items that are especially weird, wacky or wonderful.

We felt matching dog and human pajamas qualified. And so do these pitbull leggings.

What pit bull-owning female would not want these — perhaps with a pair of the matching high top shoes?

Clothing and accessories featuring more than 50 other breeds are also available from the TC Shop.

According to the website, the limited edition leggings are official Dean Russo designs made of a polyester and lycra mixture. They are, the website says, “super chill.”

Now we can’t attest to that, and we have a policy of not recommending any product, or advertising anything, or accepting “sponsored posts” — so take note, all you business people flooding the ohmidog! emailbox.

We can only say this product looks cool, which, the Internet has taught us, doesn’t always mean is cool, or is of high quality, or even that it will arrive on your doorstep.

(Photo: The TC Shop)

Canadian dog lover with autism created art featured on the National Dog Show program

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There’s a story behind the cover of the program for this year’s National Dog Show — one that strikes us as far more interesting than who won the annual canine beauty pageant.

(For the record though, it was Newton, a Brussels Griffon, who captured best in show at the Thanksgiving Day event, held in Philadelphia.)

The official show program this year featured a cover (above) designed by a Manitoba artist who began painting dogs as a way to cope with struggles associated with autism.

rottweilerAlec Baldwin’s parents were told when he was 2½ years old that he had mild to severe autism and likely wouldn’t be able to speak until he was 18.

They refused to accept that. When schools didn’t seem to be expecting much out of him, or doing much for him, they took him out, figuring they could do a better job themselves. But the big change came when they brought him a how-to-draw dogs book.

“He just took off,” his mother, Tanis, told CBC News

Alec drew every dog in the Canadian Kennel Club book, and then every dog in the American Kennel Club book. He used watercolour pencils and made 200 portraits of dogs that he gave to the owners of his subjects. He is a dog handler who shows at competitions and is a Special Olympics athlete going to Nova Scotia next year as part of the Manitoba team.

And, yes, at 24 now, he speaks:

It was after switching to paint that one of his pieces, a 40-by-60-inch night scene with 35 champion dogs, won best acrylic painting in the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba’s fine art show in Gimli last year.

Baldwin gave a poster of that painting to Wayne Ferguson, president of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, which runs the National Dog Show, who hung it in his den.

Ferguson then commissioned Baldwin to do a painting for the show.

The finished work shows the Philadelphia skyline at night, with 15 previous champion dogs in the foreground.

It appears on the cover of the program, the show’s VIP passes, posters and 8,000 brochures, even on the wrapper of the show’s official chocolate bar.

The painting was unveiled at a special gala for VIPs, including Baldwin and his mom.

“When I was at the show, I looked down at my VIP pass and it had his painting on it, and it dawned on me that everyone around here who was a VIP has his painting around their neck,” Tanis said.

“We’ve worked on his weaknesses and built on his strengths,” Tanis said. “That’s the best you can do with any child,” she added. “I’m really proud of him. He’s worked really hard — he’s had to work harder than anybody … But above all, he has a good heart.”