If you live in North Carolina, and you care about dogs and other animals, here’s a number to program into your cell phone.
It’s the state’s new Animal Welfare Hotline and it’s now in service, fielding calls from citizens who have seen animals being mistreated.
“As a pet owner, I understand how important it is that our animal companions get the care they need,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in announcing the new hotline. “I encourage North Carolinians to use this new tool if they have information to report about animals being harmed.”
The Attorney General’s Office will review animal welfare complaints submitted via the hotline and refer them to the appropriate authority. North Carolinians can report animals experiencing physical harm under the care of an individual, pet shop, kennel or animal shelter.
Complaints can also be filed by mail: P.O. Box 629, Attention: Animal Welfare Hotline, Raleigh, NC 27602.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 7th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal cruelty hotling, animal welfare, animal welfare hotline, animals, attorney general, complaints, cruelty, dogs, hotline, neglect, north carolina, north carolina animal welfare hotline, pets, roy cooper
Want all the joys of having a dog and none of the responsibility?
You could do the smart thing, and avoid getting a dog.
You could volunteer with a shelter or humane society, or go to dog parks and get your doggie fix by hanging out and bonding with other people’s canines.
Or you could turn to a company — and make no mistake, it is a company — like Hannah the Pet Society.
Based in Oregon, it is a pet leasing company, and more — much more.
Picture a combination of a pet store, Jenny Craig, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motel 6 and eHarmony, with your own personal trainer and what used to be called burial insurance thrown in.
Hannah the Pet Society will match you up with a dog, and provide that dog with what it calls “Total Lifetime Care” — from dog food to boarding, from veterinary care to final arrangements.
All for a start-up fee and “low” monthly payment.
Founded in 2010, it offers a whole new model of pet ownership that really isn’t pet ownership at all.
Hannah retains ownership of all the dogs it places, which means that, under the law, it can apparently do with them as it pleases, including euthanizing them.
Last month, after Seattle Dog Spot exposed some of the questionable practices at Hannah, an investigation began into complaints against the company that include unnecessarily euthanizing three dogs in November.
The Oregonian reported yesterday that the state Department of Justice is looking into the euthanizations and the 10 complaints and two lawsuits filed against the company since 2012.
The euthanizations were brought to light by a dog rescue in Vancouver, Washington, which posted about them on Facebook to warn other shelters and rescues that may be providing dogs to Hannah:
“Two weeks ago Hannah the Pet Society euthanized 3 shelter dogs – Pip, Charlie Bear and Kelso. Rather than offer them back to the shelters they came from or provide the support that they needed to rehabilitate them, Hannah chose to kill them. We’re sending this information to as many shelters as possible to get the word out.
“These may have been dogs that they received from you. I know that you work hard to save as many animals as possible. Unfortunately Hannah does not have the same passionate commitment as you do. When you provide an animal to Hannah, there is no guarantee that they won’t put to sleep an animal that could be re-homed with a little bit of effort. There is no guarantee that they will return an animal to you.
“You may want to reconsider working with Hannah. At the very least, please think twice before putting an innocent life into their hands.”
Hannah chief executive Fred Wich said all three dogs had bitten people and been deemed aggressive. Here’s one of them:
Wich said returning the dogs to the shelters they came from would have been irresponsible.
Those who have gotten dogs through Hannah are required to feed that dog the food Hannah supplies, get veterinary care from the vets Hannah specifies and, to get out of their contract when a dog dies, bring proof of that death — often the dog’s carcass — to Hannah headquarters.
Hannah also offers to provide a dog that is a perfect and “harmonious” match for a potential customer, using a “proprietary placement process was created exclusively by Hannah with the help of psychologists, veterinary behaviorists and personality testing experts.”
Hannah offers, or claims to offer, so many things that it defies simple description.
But we’ll describe it this way — it’s creepy, and becomes even creepier yet when you throw in the fact that company officials decline to say where the dogs it places come from, except to say some come from shelters.
Several shelters in the northwest say they had relationships with Hannah in the past, but have terminated them.
Apparently they’ve come to realize what has been proven over and over again — dog leasing, for profit, isn’t a good idea. It’s a business model that may work with automobiles, but not with family members.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, complaints, department of justice, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, hannah, hannah the pet society, investigation, leasing, legal, match, oregon, ownership, personality, pets, portland, rent, rental, rescues, responsibility, shelters, total lifetime care
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina has been holding a dog raffle for years, but this year’s contest has been called off after a flood of criticism on social media.
The raffle, held to raise money for the department’s canine unit, is part of the county fair and it offers a chance to win a German shepherd pup for $1.
But after posting details of this year’s raffle on its Facebook page, the department drew thousands of complaints — most of them calling the contest irresponsible and objecting to randomly awarding a dog to a family that had not been screened first.
“I’m sure this is being done with good intentions. However, please reconsider,” one resident wrote. “You have no way of knowing what kind of home this pup will go to… Perhaps you could pair up with the local shelter and do a fundraiser with them and in turn encourage residents to adopt from the shelter.”
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman did not comment on what precautions might be taken to screen the raffle winner when contacted by the Shelby Star.
But Captain Richard Acuff later said the sheriff’s office has used a screening process in the past, including a visit to the winner’s house to make sure it’s a safe environment.
Nevertheless, on Friday, the sheriff’s office posted notice on its Facebook page that the raffle was cancelled:
“The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has cancelled the raffle for the German shepherd puppy that was going to be raffled at the Cleveland County Fair. Our original post did not state that in the past years we have required the person that won the drawing to be subjected to Cleveland County’s Animal Adoption Policy.
“Due to the overwhelming outcry we have teamed with a reputable 501.C3 animal rescue that has agreed to help in finding a suitable owner for this puppy… The Sheriff’s Office will be looking into other fundraising projects to help support our K-9 program. If you purchased tickets you will be contacted and your money will be refunded.”
A spokesperson for a local animal rescue group says the raffle is risky because the puppy could end up in the wrong hands.
“Just because someone can afford a dollar for a raffle does not mean that they can afford lifelong care for an animal,” Brianna Duffy, a spokesperson with Catering to Cats and Dogs told Fox 46 News.
“We rescue a lot of dogs that have been used as bait dogs, dogs that have been sold to any person on the side of the road to just have it for their own personal use, which is not positive,” she added.
A GoFundMe page was set up Friday on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
Posted by The American Pit Bull Foundation in Charlotte, it seeks to raise enough funds to cover what the sheriff department would have made through the raffle.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canceled, cancelled, cleveland county, complaints, concerns, county, county fair, dog, dog raffle, dogs, fair, fundraising, german shepherd, irresponsible, north carolina, pets, raffle, sheriff, sheriff's department, social media
The Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt has banned Saint Bernards from being used in photo sessions with tourists.
The town’s council came to the decision after complaints by an animal protection organization that the dogs being used by two local businesses were being kept tied up without access to food and water and forced to carry children on their backs.
Posing with the dogs with the snow-cappped Matterhorn in the background has long been popular with tourists — even though St. Bernards are no longer commonly used in rescue operations. Nowadays, Alsatians are more often used to find lost skiers and avalanche survivors.
Still, Saint Bernards — with or without the whiskey barrel around their necks — remain a symbol of Swiss mountain heritage, and getting a photo with them is a must-have souvenir for many a tourist.
Swissinfo reports that at least two entrepreneurs are making a living supplying Saint Bernards for photo ops for tourists.
The Swiss Animal Protection Agency, which recently published a report on the dogs’ mistreatment, welcomed the decision ending the practice.
By banning the practice, Zermatt shows that “it loves these animals, and it will put an end to the contemptible and dangerous shows these dogs were made part of by being used as tourist props,” the organization said in a statement.
In March, the agency filed a legal complaint against the Saint Bernard owners, claiming that the dogs’ living and working conditions were abusive.
Concerns had been raised over the dogs being forced to pose for hours on end without moving and sometimes having to carry children on their backs. The dogs were also tied up for hours, not taken for walks and often went without food or water for long periods, the report stated.
Zermatt Mayor Christophe Buergin said the two local firms providing the service were in talks with tour operators to come up with alternative offerings for visitors to the Matterhorn, such as posing for photos with a person in a Saint Bernard costume, or posing with an alphorn, a traditional herdsman’s instrument.
The mayor says the practice of offering photos with Saint Bernards would be phased out by next winter, allowing the companies to honor existing contracts.
(Photo: Keystone, via Swissinfo.ch)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, companies, complaints, dogs, matterhorn, mistreatment, neglect, pets, photo ops, photographs, photos, resort, saint bernard, saint bernards, souvenir, st. bernard, swiss, switzerland, tourism, tourists, zermatt
Go Daddy previewed its Super Bowl ad today, but hours later decided to drop it amid a flood of criticism from dog lovers who said it was tasteless, mean-hearted and irresponsible.
The video of the ad was taken off YouTube, where hundreds of commenters had blasted it, including top officials of animal protection groups.
A back-up ad will be used during the 2015 Super Bowl, the company said.
The ad was intended to poke some fun at Budweiser’s puppy ads — both the highly acclaimed one that aired during last year’s Super Bowl, “Puppy Love,” and a follow-up ad that the beer company will during Sunday’s Super Bowl, called “Lost Dog.”
The 30-second Go Daddy ad featured a retriever puppy finding its way home after falling out of a truck, only to find its owner has used Go Daddy to set up a website that lets her promptly sell the dog to a new owner.
Many in the animal welfare community responded, pointing out that dogs purchased online often come from puppy mills. (For a sampling of their anger, check out hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy, or read the comments left on the YouTube page where the video itself has been deactivated.
The ad was made by Barton F. Graf 9000, but heads of the agency declined to comment.
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving responded to the ad’s critics on Twitter this afternoon, vowing “we will not air it.”
Earlier in the day, though, Irving had defended the ad, according to AdWeek, saying, “Buddy was purchased from a reputable, loving breeder, just as the ad suggests. Sell or adopt, both need an online presence.”
Around 6:30 p.m., Irving posted a statement confirming the ad won’t run, and that another ad will be substituted.
“You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh,” he wrote.
The YouTube video was removed around the same time.
A petition launched on the website Change.org by animal rights advocate Helena Yurcho demanding the ad be pulled had more than 42,000 signatures by afternoon.
“Essentially, GoDaddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse—to be euthanized,” she wrote. “They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online; the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals, or to someone who cannot adequately care for the animal. Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such is cruel and irresponsible.”
On YouTube, the clip received more than 800 comments, many of them negative. Dog breeders and animal rescuers alike were critical of the spot for sending a negative message.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2015, advertisement, animals, bad taste, budweiser, complaints, criticism, dogs, go daddy, humor, irresponsibility, lost puppy, online, petition, pets, pulled, puppy, puppy mills, satire, selling, super bowl, super bowl ad, websites
Three North Texas families say the diabetic alert dogs they received from a Virginia-based nonprofit aren’t alerting them to anything, and have turned out to be nothing more than expensive house pets.
Each of the three paid up to $20,000 for what they were told were specialized service dogs trained to alert them to spikes and drops in blood sugar and help them manage Type 1 diabetes.
Mindy Guidry said the dog she received to help her daughter manage her diabetes has failed to detect any blood sugar spirals. On top of that, the dog is afraid to go out in public.
“I cannot take her out in public at all. Even in our own household she’s scared,” Guidry said.
Krista Middleton told NBC 5 that her dog doesn’t alert her when her blood sugar is dropping dangerously low.
“And then I’m passing out. I’m going into comas. My kids are finding me in seizures,” said Middleton. “It gets to the point where, as a mom, I wanted to make sure my kids weren’t the ones to find me convulsing.”
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers says it offers a one- to two-year training program with initial in-home sessions of up to five days, long-distance training and education and up to seven more multi-day visits.
Middleton and Guidry both failed to complete the training program, a spokeswoman for the agency said, and both still owe the agency money.
Middleton said when she informed the non-profit her dog wasn’t working, she got no response.
But Warren Retrievers spokeswoman Jennifer Bulotti told NBC 5 when a dog isn’t working “instant intervention and training is provided.”
Dan Warren, founder and president of the nonprofit, was convicted of passing forged documents in 2008, before he started his service dog agency. While working at a car dealership, he had someone prepare phony tax returns to help customers get loans for cars, NBC 5 reported. He was sentenced to five years’ probation
Tax records from 2012 list his salary from the service dog agency as $157,411.
The Virginia Attorney General’s office has received 30 complaints against Warren Retrievers, but declined to discuss the details of any of them.
Providers of service dogs operate relatively free of government regulation or required standards, and some think it’s time for that to change.
“This is an industry that’s fraught with fraud,” said Brent Brooks, president of The Diabetes Alert Dog Alliance (DADA). “It angers me to have to say it but you have to be skeptical.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 2nd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alert, alerting, animals, blood sugar, complaints, dallas, diabetes, diabetic, dogs, health, industry, investigation, nbc 5, news, pets, regulation, report, service dogs, spikes, standards, virginia, warren retrievers
After thousands of reported illnesses and 1,000 dog deaths, PetSmart and Petco have announced they will stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China.
What took the retailers so long to reach the decision, and why it will take them seven to ten months more to purge store shelves of such items, remain questions worth asking.
So too is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has been investigating the treats for years — without determining what about them is making dogs sick — can’t tell us much more than “CAUTION,” with an exclamation point.
PetSmart said it will pull from the shelves all of the China-made treat it sells by March 2015.
Petco said it will accomplish that by the end of this year.
Both retailers have about 1,300 stores nationwide.
The two national pet retailers’ decisions came after seven years of complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about jerky treats from China making pets sick, or worse.
“We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially chicken jerky products, and we’ve heard their concerns,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO, in a statement.
A PetSmart spokesperson, meanwhile, told USA Today it has been working toward this goal “for some time, and feel it’s the right thing to do for pets and our customers.”
Taking questionable Chinese-made treats off the shelves strikes us as a pretty simple task, as opposed to “a goal to work toward.” You just pick them up and put them in the garbage. And while “hearing customer concerns” is commendable, it shouldn’t take three or four years for them to sink in.
The move comes as sales of Chinese made jerky treats diminish, amid increasing public concerns about them.
Five years ago, 90% of the pet industry’s jerky treats were made in China, said Lisa Stark, spokeswoman for Petco. Currently, about 50% of the jerky treats sold by Petco are from China.
Since 2007, the FDA says it has received about 4,800 reports of pet illnesses, and 1,000 dog deaths, possibly related to the consumption of jerky treats. The FDA, while issuing warnings, says it has yet to establish any direct link between the pet illnesses and the China-made treats.
Most of the complaints involved chicken jerky, but others included duck, sweet potato and chicken, according to the FDA.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canyon creek, chicken jerky, china, china-made, chinese, complaints, deaths, dog, dog treats, dogs, duck, fda, health, illness, industry, jerky, jerky treats, kingdom pets, made in china, milos kitchen, national, nationwide, petco, pets, petsmart, pulling, removing, safety, sales, stores, sweet potato, treats, vitality, waggin train