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Tag: control

Burned mobile home housed up to 50 dogs

Officially, six dogs were killed in a mobile home fire near Mesa, Arizona at the end of March. But the owner of the property, neighbors and witnesses say two dozen or more dog carcasses could remain in the rubble.

Possibly as many as 50 dogs were living on the property; 26 dogs survived the fire.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says its Animal Cruelty Enforcement unit will not be investigating and considers the case closed.

Deputy Lindsey Smith, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said animal crimes investigators went to the property and found nothing that fit the definition of animal cruelty. Smith said the investigators didn’t comb through the rubble, but found only six dogs that died in the fire.

According to neighbors who dug out the carcasses last week and delivered them to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, some of the dead animals were in plain sight, but the majority of them were buried in a 10-foot by 12-foot area, under rubble from the burnt mobile home.

The owner of the burnt property, Jamie Endicott, provided the Mesa Tribune with a receipt from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control for 31 dogs that were eventually found.

Twenty-six dogs that lived at the residence were rescued, according to Kathy Swaney, who runs Valley of the Sun Dog Rescue.

The woman who lived on the property, Beth Schmeltz, said she didn’t know how many dogs she had, but she had provided shelter for them all since she began living there in 1996. Endicott was set to file the  paperwork to evict Schmeltz the day the property went up in flames.

On Wednesday, residents in the neighborhood held a memorial for the dead animals. About 50 people attended.

L.A. to halt low-cost spay-neuter program

Citing a budget shortfall, Los Angeles animal control officials say they will end a voucher program that enabled residents to get low cost spaying and neutering for their dogs.

The program started last year, when the city voted to require all Los Angeles dogs and cats be neutered or spayed, with the exception of show animals, law enforcement and service dogs, and those deemed too old or sick for the surgery.

L.A. Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks says the agency was compelled by the city to make up a budget shortfall of $414,000. Ending the spay and neuter vouchers will save about $150,000, he said.

Animal welfare advocates, and some city council members, are displeased with the decision to end the program, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Councilman Dennis Zine’s office said he ”strongly opposes the recent decision made by the department to halt the voucher program” and will move later this week for the council to reinstate the program.

For dogs, slaughter continues in Baghdad

“While human beings in Iraq were killing each other in huge numbers, they ignored the dogs, which in turn multiplied at an alarming rate,” the New York Times reported last week.

Now stray dogs are such a menace that municipal workers are hunting them down and slaughtering them — about 10,000 in Baghdad just since December.

“With fewer bombs going off and hardly any bodies being dumped anymore, the dogs are perhaps the biggest problem on the filthy and rubble-strewn streets of Baghdad. Packs of strays scare schoolchildren and people who get up at dawn to go to work. They gather at open-air butcher shops where customers choose their meat from flocks of live sheep.

“Some people believe that the dogs spread disease, not a difficult case to make in a society that generally shuns dogs as pets, believing them to be contrary to Islamic edicts on personal cleanliness.

“Thus a relative peace has changed priorities, and not just in Baghdad. The holy Shiite city of Karbala was so overwhelmed with stray dogs last year that officials there offered 6,000 dinars ($5.30) for each animal caught and handed over to the municipality. The dogs were shot and buried en masse.”

In Baghdad, dogs are killed with rotten raw meat laced with strychnine. On the outskirts of town, articularly around the city’s sprawling garbage dumps, the dogs are shot. By the time the cmapgin ends this month, perhaps 20,000 dogs will have been exterminated, said Shaker Fraiyeh of the ministry’s veterinary services company.

“Our work may be against animal rights, but there is a more important issue, public health,” said Dr. Fraiyeh, a veterinarian in his 30s.

Abdul-Karim Ismail, a veterinarian with the state-owned company dealing with the dogs, said building and maintaining animal shelters and introducing spay/neuter programs to control Baghdad’s dog population are considered too costly and complicated in a nation where people had so many more pressing needs.

Some stray dogs have been fortunate enough to find new homes outside Iraq. S.P.C.A. International, a Washington-based charity, began “Operation Baghdad Pups” in 2007 to help American soldiers adopt and take home stray dogs they befriended while serving in Iraq.

Dogs shoo birds at 20 U.S. airports

Here’s one way to reduce the number of birds at airports, and cut down on accidents like the forced Hudson River landing of US Airways jet last week.

Her name is Sky.

Sky (click the link above for the video) is a 1-year-old border collie about four months into her job shooing birds away from Southwest Florida International Airport.

“She’s not aggressive at all, but to the birds, she looks like a predator — a wolf or a coyote,” said James Hess, airport operations agent and Sky’s handler. Big birds or flocks of birds, in addition to getting sucked into jet engines, can disable wing tips, dent the fuselage and break windshields.

Southwest Florida International is among about 20 airports nationwide using dogs for some form of wildlife control, according to Rebecca Ryan, owner of Flyaway Farm and Kennels in North Carolina, which has supplied dogs to both military and commercial airfields.

Southwest Florida International was among the first U.S. commercial airports to employ a bird dog, beginning in 1999, according to airport director Bob Ball. Sky is the third generation of her breed to patrol the airport southeast of Fort Myers.

According to USA Today, Charleston (S.C.) International and Canada’s Vancouver International also use dogs for wildlife control.

Unleashed desires in the state of Maine

Residents of Ogunquit, Maine, voted this month to allow dog owners to let their pets off leash in public areas — as long as those residents can prove to animal control officials that said animals are under voice control.

The change in the dog law was the work of dog owner John Mixon (Go, John!), who gathered enough signatures on petitions to have a rewording in the town’s leash law — one that added the words “or under voice control” — put on the ballot. Voters passed it.

Then, a few days after the election, Mixon was nabbed and charged for having his dogs off their leashes.

Now, things have escalated to the point where Mixon has complained to the Maine Secretary of State that his civil rights have been violated, according to Seacoastonline.

It seems town officials are refusing to honor the change, and debating its wording, saying it — the change, not the leash law — is vague and unenforceable.

Mixon was issued a ticket by Ogunquit Police Department on Nov. 8 for walking his dogs without a leash, despite his claim that they were under voice control.

Town Manager Phil Clark said ensuring that a dog can always be under someone’s voice control is next to impossible. “There are no criteria of what to make the dog do,” he said. “The Animal Control Officer said there’s nothing he can take to certify that he can judge that. You just open yourself up to liability.”

(Photo: Lobster collar and leash from