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Tag: demonstrations

Bucharest voters to decide fate of stray dogs

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The tens of thousands of stray dogs that roam the streets of Bucharest would be captured and killed under a plan proposed by the city just days after the fatal mauling of a four-year-old boy.

But first they will give voters a say — a referendum is scheduled for Oct. 6.

After the fatal mauling of a boy playing with his brother in a park, Romanian President Traian Basescu called on the government of Prime Minister Victor Ponta to pass a law that would allow for stray dogs to be killed.

“Humans are above dogs,” Ponta said.

Mayor Sorin Oprescu, in announcing the referendum, said, “We will do what Bucharest’s people want, exactly what they want.”

The controversial plan has divided Bucharest, a city of 2 million people.

bucharest2An estimated 40,000 to 64,000 stray dogs roam its streets — some peacefully minding their own business, some begging, trespassing, rifling through garbage and, sometimes, attacking humans.

In recent years, a Bucharest woman was killed by a pack of strays, and a Japanese tourist died after a stray severed an artery in his leg.

But it was the killing of a boy earlier this month that has brought the debate over strays to a fever pitch. Hundreds have demonstrated both for and against the proposed measure and have vowed to continue rallying, according to the Associated Press.

Those who see the dogs as a threat and nuisance say — ironic as it sounds — that exterminating the strays will make for a more civilized society.

“We want a civilized capital, we don’t want a jungle,” said Adina Suiu, a 27-year-old hairdresser. “I will vote for them to be euthanized. I drive a car most of the time, but when I walk around my neighborhood, I am always looking over my shoulder. If we don’t stop them now, we will be taken over by dogs.”

Burgeoning stray dog populations are a problem in several countries in the former Eastern Bloc. In Ukraine, authorities in Kiev were accused of poisoning strays as they prepared to host the Euro 2012 soccer championships. In the Kosovar capital of Pristina, officials gunned down nearly 200 strays in a three week “culling” campaign.

Vier Pfoten, an animal welfare group, says the solution isn’t killing strays but sterilizing them. The group has sterilized 10,400 dogs in Bucharest since 2001, but says a far more massive effort is needed to control the canine population.

Bucharest’s stray dog problem became more acute in the communist era when former Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu razed large swaths of the city. Residents, forcibly moved into high-rise apartment buildings, had to abandon their dogs.

“When the great demolitions came, many houses were knocked down and owners moved to apartments and could not take dogs with them,” Livia Campoeru, a spokeswoman for Vier Pfoten said. “People are irresponsible, they abandon their dogs, and there is a natural multiplication.”

Among those speaking out against the mass extermination is Brigitte Bardot, the French actress and animal rights activist. “I am extremely shocked to find that revenge, which has no place here, will be taken on all the dogs in Romania, even the gentle ones,”  she wrote in an open letter to Basescu.

(Photo:  Top photo by Eugen Visan, Associated Press; bottom photo by Vadim Ghirda, Associated Press)

Zeutering — the non-surgical neutering alternative — hits New Orleans

There’s a new way of neutering, and it’s slowly making its way across the country.

This weekend’s stop on the national tour is the New Orleans area, where local veterinarians and animal advocates will get a chance to learn more about ”Zeutering,” which involves an injection into the testicles of a new zinc-based drug, called Zeuterin.

(Warning to the faint of heart, or the faint of scrotum: The process is shown in the video above.)

ARK Sciences, the manufacturers of Zeuterin, say it could revolutionize the way male dogs are sterilized and help reduce animal overpopulation. The procedure takes only 10 minutes.

Zeuterin has been approved by the FDA for use in dogs from 3 to 10 months old, and Ark Sciences says it anticipates the agency will soon approve it for use in dogs of all ages.

For now, the company, and its nonprofit branch, Ark Charities, Inc., are demonstrating the product and training veterinarians in its use in select cities across the country.

In Ponchatoula this Sunday, veterinarians will have a chance to learn more about the treatment at a presentation sponsored by Ark Charities, Inc. and Friends of the Shelter, an organization based in Hammond, according to the Times-Picayune. At least eight area veterinarians will participate, and gain certification to administer the compound. 

The shot consists of zinc gluconate and arginine and is adminstered to the testicles, killing sperm-producing cells and reducing testosterone by about 50 percent. Testicles, while shrunk, remain visible. Because a Zeutered dog still has his testicles, each dog injected receives a tattoo on his inner thigh, indicating he has received the procedure.

Unlike traditional neutering, general anesthesia is not required — just a mild sedative. No slicing is involved either, meaning quicker recoveries, less risk of infection and much less expense. It costs about $20.

Zeuterin was used in Japan to control the dog population in abandoned areas after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and it also met with success in controlling feral dogs in the Philippines.

In the first U.S. clinical study, involving 270 dogs, only 1 percent had adverse reactions to Zeuterin, and half of those were attributed to improper administration.

Zeuterin lowers testosterone rates 41 percent to 52 percent compared to neutering, which eliminates testosterone entirely.

Maryland SPCA’s March for the Animals

Over 5,000 animal lovers and their four-legged friends are expected to attend the Maryland SPCA’s 16th Annual March for the Animals at Druid Hill Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Participants, whether they are hiking the 1.5-mile walk-a-thon or checking out vendors and entertainment, will be helping to support homeless animals in the Baltimore area.

For the walk-thon, registration opens at 9 a.m. and starting line ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. 

The event also features a demonstration by Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs, pet training tips, an agility course for dogs, low-cost micro-chipping, a “flea-less” market of pet friendly vendors, musical chairs for dogs, and a pet costume contest judged by celebrity guests, food and entertainment.

Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers, including a grand prize trip to the Bahamas. Participants will receive a special “doggy bag” that includes treats, corporate giveaways and other gifts. Dog bandanas will be given to those who raise at least $30, and the 2011 March for the Animals t-shirt will be given to walkers who raise at least $40.

Ricochet helps 6-year-old get over fears

Surf Dog Ricochet continues his amazing work in California, where he recently hit the waves with Ian McFarland, a 6-year-old boy who suffered a brain injury in a car accident that claimed the lives of his parents.

Ricochet, who we first showed you last year, was a service dog reject — he was just too prone to chasing birds — who went on to become a “surf-ice” dog, raising money for charities through surfing demonstrations and assisting people with disabilities in other ways.

Most recently, he helped Ian, who used to surf with his dad, overcome his fears and get back in the ocean.

On top of the individuals he has helped, Ricochet’s website says he has raised more than $30,000 in an 8-month period.

Riot Dog becoming a familiar figure in Greece

A mystery mutt has become an unofficial mascot of the riots in Greece by turning up at every major demonstration in Athens for the past two years.

As this video shows, when there’s violence and unrest — and in Greece, that means almost daily – the dog has a habit of appearing amid the crowds.

Fans have even created a Facebook page for him.

“He doesn’t seem to get scared of tear gas, explosions, petrol bombs and people screaming all over,” wrote one blogger. “He actually seems to enjoy himself a lot!”

The dog wears a blue collar, indicating he’s a stray who has been vaccinated.

Some Athens-based bloggers claim his name is Kanellos, which is Greek for “cinnamon.” But others say that dog died in 2008, and the one pictured is Louk. Still others say his name is Theodorus and he lives in Syntagma Square, which has become ground zero for violent protests.

As for why he keeps turning up at the riots, nobody knows.

Some suspect he belongs to either a photographer or police officer. But in most recent photos, the New York Post says, he seems to be “showing solidarity with hooded rock-throwers and barking at cops in riot gear.”

More likely, being a dog, he’s neutral.

DogFest is tomorrow

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DogFest, the Baltimore Humane Society’s biggest fundraising event of the year, kicks off  Saturday morning at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley.

The day-long event starts with a 5K-9 Fun Run at 7:40 a.m. At 10 a.m., the gates open and the activities begin — and there are a ton of them.

DogFest will feature agility runs, dog contests, pet education,  a sandy beach and pools for the dogs to play in and a puppy pumpkin patch, where dogs can pick their own pumpkins.

In addition to numerous dog rescue groups on hand, DogFest will also feature Equine Rescue groups that will be exhibiting horses for adoption and offering horseback riding for kids and adults.

Admission is $10, with children in strollers admitted free.

Here’s a partial schedule:

Read more »

Protests held in South Korea over dog meat

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Protests were held in Seoul yesterday — the International Day of Action for Dogs and Cats in South Korea — calling for an end to using dogs and cats as food.

In Seoul, members of the group Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth wore dog costumes and climbed into cages in a downtown plaza to draw attention to the issue.

“Dogs and cats are not livestock, but they are our partners. They are not food, but they are our friends,” one protester told New Tang Dynasty Television (click the link for a video). “We should abolish the bad habits of eating dogs or cats.”

Other demonstrations were planned at South Korean consulates and embassies around the world.

Although the practice is illegal under South Korean law, an underground industry continues to flourish, with thousands of restaurants in Seoul alone serving dog. Some studies have estimated as many as one in three South Koreans have eaten dog meat.

Animal advocacy groups argue that eating dog — whether its part of the country’s culture or not — is a practice that should be ceased. Others disagree. “It’s my country’s own food culture, so South Koreans will continue to eat dog meat no matter what other countries say against it,” Park Seo-ho, who owns a restaurant that sells dog meat, told the BBC.

An international online petition campaign at has been launched in 10 languages world wide to stop the consumption of dog meat , where some groups estimate more than 2 million dogs are raised and killed for food at dog farms in South Korea every year.

United Dogs and Cats is hosting an online petition campaign to draw the world’s attention to the cruel treatment of many dogs in South Korea despite animal protection laws that have been in place since early 1990s. During the first week of the campaign, over 50,000 signatures were gathered world wide.

“This is probably the cruelest thing that could happen to companion animals – many are tortured and end up on dinner tables. And the strangest thing is that it is happening right under our noses in one of the most rapidly developing countries in the 21st century,” said United Dogs and Cats head Ragnar Sass.

(Photo: Dogs awaiting butchering at the Moran Market near Seoul, by John Woestendiek; not to be used without permission)

A fine day for a March for the Animals

Rain or shine, $1,000 fines or no $1,000 fines, The March for the Animals takes place tomorrow at Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park — and what better way to show this sometimes less than dog-friendly city how much you care about your dog and all dogs.

Not to tarnish the Maryland SPCA’s largest fundraiser of the year with politics, but it is an opportunity — in addition to having fun and raising money for homeless animals — to take stock of our numbers, and realize that for every four paws pounding the pavement tomorrow, there’s usually one or two registered voters behind them.

The past couple of weeks in the city of Baltimore have served as an example of what can happen when a community of dog lovers is uninformed and unconnected. And what can happen when they unite.

It was revealed that the city had raised the fines for unleashed dogs ten-fold, to $1,000, with little effort made to inform us about it, either before or after the fact. And this in a city that has yet to open a single government-funded dog park. (Several council members say they plan to try and revise the law and lower the fine Monday.)

It’s time for dog lovers to unite, and for “dog park” groups to unite — again, we use the term loosely, since the city has yet to open an official dog park. (The only one that exists is in Canton, and it was built by private donations.) The March for the Animals is an excellent opportunity to let the networking begin, and, of course, the ohmidog! booth will welcome any rabble-rousing activists who care to gather there.

Again, the day isn’t about politics, but there’s no reason we can’t at least make initial contact, and exchange emails and phone numbers, amid all the fun, festivities and fund-raising.

At the ohmidog! booth, we’ll be holding contests (free Furminators will be among the prizes), bringing back our popular “Kiss My Ace” kissing booth, and offering our new hand-made, all-natural dog treats, ohmidog-O’s” all profits from the sale of which will be turned over to the Maryland SPCA.

The march runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; registration begins at 9:00 a.m. Sunshine is predicted in the morning, with rain expected to hold off until later in the day, so the event won’t likely be the soggy affair it was last year.

It’s still not too late to raise pledges for the March, the Maryland SPCA says, by asking your friends, family members and co-workers to sponsor you and your dog. Bring your pledges and donations to the event. With at least $30 in donations, you receive a doggie bandana and goody bag. With $40 and over, you also receive a March for the Animals T-shirt.

Additional information is available at the March for the Animals website, and if you need some help figuring out how to get there, here’s a map.

Among the day’s highlights:

  • A ribbon cutting ceremony with Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes, which will be filmed for his Food Network show (10:00 a.m.). 
  • The march itself – 1.5 miles around the lake with your dogs at your leisure (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • A Canine Agility Course, courtesy of Oriole Dog Training Club, where your dog can run through tunnels and jump through hoops (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • Consultations with a pet communicator (limited to 20 people; 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.). 
  • Discount micro-chipping; it’s only $25 at the micro-chipping table (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). 
  • Sign your pet up to appear in the 2010 SPCA Pet Calendar and have a photo of your pet taken for the calendar for $50. The fee includes a 2010 calendar(10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • A demonstration by Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs (11:00 a.m. to noon).
  • Training tips from the SPCA’s Training and Behavior Manager (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). 
  • A Pet Costume Contest with celebrity judges and the Muttiest Mutt Contest (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.).  
  • Petland stores protested nationwide

    Protesters turned out at about 25 Petland stores in 15 states over the weekend in a choreographed series of demonstrations against the marketing of puppy mill puppies.

    Petland, after an 8-month investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, was identified by the organization as the largest retail supporter of puppy mills in the nation.

    HSUS says its investigation revealed that many Petland stores across the country are marketing puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers.

    Petland denies the accusation.

    “To encourage the company to mend its way, we’ve organized rallies at 22 Petland stores across the country this Saturday,” HSUS President Wayne Pacelle said in his blog, “A Humane Nation.”

    HSUS is encouraging Petland to allow adoptions in its stores, as PETCO and PetSmart do, rather than selling puppies.

    The protests took place Saturday in Maryville, Tenn.; Tampa, Fla.; Hilliard, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and nearly a dozen other locations.

    Petland says the charges are untrue and slanderous. Here’s the full text of a press release the company issued Friday:

    Read more »

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