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Tag: cuts

Dog calls falling to deputies in Wicomico

Budget cuts at the local humane society have forced sheriff’s deputies in Wicomico County, Maryland to take on dog-related duties, and some animals may be dying as a result.

Reports of aggressive animals — once the domain of animal control officers — are now falling to deputies, who often don’t have much training in dealing with them.

Sheriff Mike Lewis says deputies have been forced to kill aggressive animals that in the past might have been subdued.

“We have to shoot it with a .45 – nobody wants to do that,” Lewis said.

In addition to lacking training, deputies don’t have the proper equipment, such as tranquilizer guns, Lewis told the Daily Times.

A year ago, the Wicomico County Humane Society had three full-time animal control officers. It now has one who works four hours a day. Under next year’s budget, the Humane Society will receive $248,000 from the county, compared to the $327,000 budgeted last year.

Executive Director Linda Lugo said the Humane Society took in 2,030 stray animals from the county from July 2009 through May of this year. The animals are held for at least six days, under law, before being put down or transfered elsewhere — at a cost of about  $122,000, Lugo said.

Funding from the county pays for three-fifths of the Humane Society’s operating budget. The city and independent fundraising by the Humane Society help cover the rest.

Future looks bleak for Baltimore’s animals

phoenixWhat is the city of Baltimore doing in light of an animal abuse task force study that showed animal welfare and animal control agencies were underequipped, understaffed and underfunded?

Underfunding them a little more.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has proposed a preliminary 2011 budget that would reduce both the grant the city gives to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter and funding to the city’s Bureau of Animal Control.

Despite the lip service the mayor’s predecessor, who created the task force, paid to stamping out animal abuse, the new mayor, faced with difficult choices and huge deficits, has proposed a budget that ensures few of the task force’s recommendations — at least those involving expenditures — will be met anytime soon.

So don’t be surprised to hear more stories like that of Phoenix (top), the pit bull who was doused with gasoline and set on fire a year ago, christy1[1]or Gabrielle, the 8-month-old cat set on fire twice by two boys last summer, or Christy, the pit bull pelted with bricks and rocks by a group of youths on Easter Sunday.

Don’t be surprised if the success BARCS has achieved in reducing the euthanasia rate since the former city shelter became a non-profit agency, starts regressing as well.

And don’t be surprised when the kind of senselessly violent behavior unleashed on animals — left ignored — escalates to violence against humans, as it almost always does.burnedcat

Under the proposed budget, BARCS would see its annual grant from the city cut by $120,000.  The Bureau of Animal Control, already woefully understaffed, would lose two positions.

“I don’t see how in God’s name they can cut Animal Control any more,”  Bob Anderson, who retired as director of the bureau late last year, told the City Paper . “How can they say ‘You’re woefully understaffed’ and then say ‘OK, we’ll cut you back.’”

As for BARCS, it is already “extremely understaffed,” according to Jennifer Mead-Brause, executive director. The shelter, which turned non-profit five years ago, has reduced its euthanasia rate by almost 60 percent since then.

About 40 percent of the 33 animals it takes in each day end up being euthanized, compared to as many as 98 percent in recent years. But, Mead-Brause noted, the budget cuts could mean the percentages will rise again.

Dog sticks tongue in paper shredder

shredderHere’s a household pet hazard that — dastardly as it is — you don’t hear about too often.

But first the moral of the story: If you have a pet at home, or a child for that matter, don’t ever leave your paper shredder on automatic.

The owners of a mixed breed dog named Diamond found that out the hard way last week, when their 8-year-old dog licked their’s, only to have her tongue pulled into the sharp blades.

“She had licked a paper shredder in the house that was set on automatic,” Dr. Marc Wosar, of Miami Veterinary Specialists, told TV station WPLG.

Fortunately, Diamond’s owners were home and responded quickly. They disconnected the head of the shredder, carefully taking it and the dog whose tongue it held to the animal hospital.

“We anesthetized her first, then reversed the shredder off the tongue and assessed the damage,” said Wosar. “There were a lot of lacerations to the tongue as well as a lot of bite wounds. In her panic, she’d also bitten her tongue.”

It took more than a 100 stitches to repair Diamond’s tongue. A portion that was too severely damaged had to be removed, but doctors expect her to make a full recovery.

“She just won’t have a perfectly round tongue. She’ll have a little nick in it,” said Wosar.

(Photo: WPLG)

K-9s get their walking papers

How bad is the economy? So bad even dogs are getting laid off.

On top of the ill effects dogs undergo when their guardians lose their jobs and homes, some dogs are getting pink slips, too.

Last week, the Mason County Commission in West Virginia voted to ask the sheriff to send two of the departments three police dogs packing, citing the need to save on labor costs.

The county says a recent settlement requiring it to pay deputies who handle the animals for expenses related to the dogs, even when the deputies are off-duty, led to the shortfall. The dogs will be removed from the department as soon as possible, the commission president said.

Dogs enjoyed a huge increase in employment opportunities after 9/11, when concerns about homeland security led to a high demand for dogs trained to sniff out explosives, cadavers, live humans and more. With today’s the sagging economy, and local governments being pinched for funds, I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin hearing more tales like this one.

Unnecessary entanglements

Every once in a while an invention comes along that seems quite brilliant, makes life easier for a while then — with more frequent use — turns out to be more trouble than its worth.

Such, I think, is the case with the retractable leash.

After one brush with death — fortunately not my own — and lots of time spent disentangling other pets and my own, I put my retractable leash away more than a year ago, and haven’t used it since.

I had bought it at the recommendation of a friend, but after several uses, the disadvantages (entanglements, rope burns and the flying hockey puck effect) seemed to outweigh the advantages (giving the dog a wee bit more freedom, having my arm nearly jerked off less often.)

Evidence is mounting that retractable leashes — technically illegal in Baltimore, as they extend more than the mandated 8 foot leash maximum — may not be as good an idea as they originally appeared.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced one recall of retractable leashes. Last September, 223,000 “Slydog” brand retractable leashes were found to have metal clips that broke and flew off — like the one that struck and became lodged in the eye of Dereka Williams, a Dallas-area girl whose family has filed a lawsuit against Worldwise, Inc., the maker of the SlyDog retractable leash.

“She was like, ‘Mom, I can’t see! I can’t see!’” her mother Joy Williams told ABCNews.com

Slydog has since fixed the problem and changed to plastic clips.

But according to the March 5, 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, retractable leashes — often banned from many dog events — have been causing ongoing injuries for years.

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