OUR BEST FRIENDS

whs-logo

The Sergei Foundation

shelterpet_logo

The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog

aldflogo

Pinups for Pitbulls

philadoptables

TFPF_Logo

Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

mabb

LD Logo Color

Tag: dna testing

Could a DNA test prove dog’s innocence?

Up to now, DNA testing on dogs has been used mostly to satisfy owner curiosity over what breeds are in their mutt, or by apartment managers who want to identify dogs whose owners didn’t pick up after them.

Now comes a chance to put it to more noble use. (Cue up the “Law & Order” theme.)

jebThe owners of a Belgian Malinois accused of killing a neighbor dog say a DNA test could clear their dog of a murder rap.

A district judge in Michigan ordered Jeb, the Belgian Malinois, to be euthanized after hearing the evidence against him on Sept. 19.

But Jeb’s owners, Pam and Kenneth Job, have filed a motion for DNA testing to be conducted on the dead dog, a Pomeranian named Vlad.

Vlad died Aug. 24, and his owner, St. Clair resident Christopher Sawa, says he saw Jeb standing over his dog’s body. Both dogs were inside his backyard.

St. Clair County Animal Control took possession of Jeb after that.

Vlad was found with severe bruising over both shoulders and a puncture wound on his right front leg. There was another deep wound found on his left side that penetrated his chest and broke two ribs, the Detroit Free Press reported.

vladThe veterinarian who examined Vlad said his injuries were consistent with being picked up and shaken by a larger animal.

Ed Marshall, the lawyer for the Jobs, is asking the judge to allow them time to have an independent lab test conducted on Vlad’s body — to see if traces of Jeb’s DNA can be found in his wounds.

A hearing on his motion is set for Monday.

The Jobs say Jeb is an unofficial service dog who helps Kenneth with a condition that causes his muscles to deteriorate.

They say Jeb is a gentle soul and that Vlad’s death could have been caused by a fox or coyote, both of which can be seen from time to time in the rural area in which they live.

Condo considers DNA tests to track poopers

DNA testing, which may have its place in crime solving — not to mention pinpointing your baby daddy — is increasingly being considered around the world as a way to nab dog owners who fail to pick up poop.

Now, in addition to government bodies from Germany to Israel, a ritzy Baltimore condominium is considering using the technology to help track down the owners of the dog or dogs who are not being picked up after.

Some residents of the Scarlett Place Condominiums are so steamed by dog poop — at least some of which is being deposited indoors — they’re willing to watch thousands of dollars be spent in an effort to figure out whodunit or, more appropriately, whodroppedit.

Under the condo board’s proposed plan, all dogs in the building would be swabbed for DNA testing to create a database. Dog owners would pay $50 each to cover the costs of tests, and an additional $10 per month for the cost of having building staff pick up wayward piles of poop.

The staff would then send the samples to BioPet Vet Lab, a Tennessee-based company, which would compare the mailed-in samples to those in the dog poop database.

When the company is able to identify the owner of the dog whose poop was not scooped, that owner would pay a $500 fine.

“We pay all this money, and we’re walking around stepping in dog poop,” resident Steven Frans, the board member who proposed the plan, told the Baltimore Sun. “We bring guests over and this is what they’re greeted by.”

The Scarlett Place condo board is expected to make a decision later this week.

I, for one, would not want to live in a complex whose management, or for that matter, a city whose government, is so anal that it  goes around collecting dog poop and sending it in for analysis.

Such a program is underway, on a trial basis, in the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv in Israel, and other jurisdictions in Europe, as well as New York City, have considered it.

As for the Scarlett Place Condominiums, perhaps a cheaper route would be to hire a poop picker upper, adding that service to what its website describes as its “a plethora of desirable amenities.”

“Entering the lobby, you will be greeted by one of the Front Desk attendants who will take care of your packages, guests, concerns, and deliveries. Attendants are on duty 24 hours a day … A full service, recently remodeled health club is available 24 hours a day and a spectacular indoor pool is at your disposal complete with magnificent walls of glass overlooking The Inner Harbor and Scarlett Place Condominiums courtyard.”  

Meanwhile, if they pursue testing dog poop for DNA, I’m wondering what the more-money-than-they-know-what-to-do-with condo board’s next initiative will be: Establishing a database of their human residents so they can ascertain who’s wiping boogers on the elevator walls?

Does Denver know a pit bull when it sees one?

pitornotThe city of Denver’s faulty logic just got proven even faultier.

As if  the city’s ban on pit bulls, which has led to hundreds of dogs being put to death, weren’t ill-advised enough, there’s this: Apparently even experts can’t correctly identify a pit bull visually.

Denver Post columnist Bill Johnson took part in experiment this week , along with about two dozen animal-shelter directors, volunteers, dog trainers and others. They viewed 20 dogs on videotape and were asked to identify each one — whether it was purebred or mixed and, if the latter, what it was a mixture of.

Johnson got the breed correct one time, and the professionals didn’t fare much better.

The breed identification study was administered by Victoria L. Voith, a professor of animal behavior in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University in Pomona in California.

Shelter workers, she explained, are generally 75 percent wrong when they guess the breed of a dog — and most do just guess. The only sure-fire way of knowing, she said, is DNA testing, which most shelters don’t use.

“Visual identification simply is not in high agreement with DNA analysis,” Voith said. “Dogs in Denver may be dying needlessly,” she said.

Does what’s in the mix really matter?

Now that I know Ace is a “Rokita” mix (50 percent Rottweiler, 25 percent Akita, 25 percent anybody’s guess), what can I do with the information?

And what of Elliot? Does knowing his somewhat fuzzier lineage — 25 percent golden retriever, 25 percent boxer, and 50 percent unknown — provide any information that might be helpful to him and his owners?

The experts at Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel MX mixed breed analysis, say yes — that knowing what’s in your mutt can help you better understand his or her behavior, and better be on the lookout for potential medical problems.

With Ace, they say, I should be aware of the potential for hip and elbow dysplasia, as both of the known breeds in him are prone to that. I should keep him on the lean side (something I’ve been unable to do with myself), and consider supplementing his diet with glucosamine, for optimal joint health. Also, since Rottweilers and Akitas are both prone to cataracts and other eye problems, I should keep an eye on his eyes.

With Elliot, hip dysplasia is also a concern, as, later in life, is cancer, which has a high incidence in boxers and golden retrievers. Elliot, based on the breeds found in him, could also be predisposed to skin issues, allergies and hypothyroidism.

Depressing as it all sounds – I, for one, would rather not know what afflictions lay ahead for me – I’ll admit that the information is somewhat useful.

Read more »

Crazy mixed up dogs: Breeds revealed tonight

We doubt that Baltimore’s mayor — upon whose shoes my dog once sat — will be showing up but, if you want to drop by, here are the details for our “ohmidog! Identity Crisis and Breed Reveal Party.”

Where: Idle Hour Tavern, 201 E. Fort Ave., Baltimore

When: Today, 6 – 9 p.m.

Background: My dog Ace had his DNA tested a year and a half ago, as part of a series of stories and dogumentary I did for the Baltimore Sun. The test, based on a swab from his cheek, showed him to contain Rottweiler and chow. Since then, the tests have become more sophisticated, and capable of detecting more breeds. So we tested Ace again, this time, using the Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed test kit, which analyzes DNA through blood samples. It came out differently. We also tested Elliot, who won our “What’s In Your Mutt?” contest. Two breeds were found in him as well.

Tonight, you can meet the dogs and, in exchange for a donation to the Franky Fund for sick and injured animals at BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter), make a guess as to what breeds are in them. The two who guess correctly will receive (in the mail) ohmidog! hooded sweatshirts. (In the event of ties, the earlier guess wins.) We’ll start taking guesses at 6 p.m. The “reveal” takes place at 8 p.m.

Our little celebration of mutthood will also include a raffle for a treat basket from K-9 Kraving Dog Food, human snacks (including, of course “mixed” nuts), information on how to find out what’s in your mutt, and other prizes.

All proceeds will go to the Franky Fund.

Mutts’ breeds to be revealed this week

Ace

Elliot

 

My dog is not the dog I thought he was.

Some of you may remember that, a year and a half ago, I had the DNA of my shelter dog Ace tested as part of a series I did about trying to determine his heritage.

Rottweiler and Chow were the breeds that showed up, as we reported in the seven-part series for the Baltimore Sun, “Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”

We used the Canine Heritage breed test, which had just come out on the market and whose makers said they could, with a fair degree of accuracy, pinpoint which — of the 38 breeds that they were able to test for then — were in your dog.

About a month ago, given the rapid pace of technological improvement in doggie DNA testing — they can now identify up to 150 breeds — we decided to test Ace again, this time with the Wisdom Panel MX, from Mars Veterinary.

The results are in, and they’re different, and — even though I no longer work at the Baltimore Sun — a correction is in order. And, we think, a party.

Seeing as I have lost my identity (after 30-some years, I can no longer call myself a newspaper reporter) and seeing as Ace, has lost his (being no longer a Rottweiler-Chow), and seeing as Elliot (the dog on the right) has never known his, we’re proud to announce the “ohmidog! Identity Crisis and Breed Reveal Party,” to take place this Wednesday night at the Idle Hour Tavern at 201 E. Fort Avenue.

If you’re reading this, you’re invited. Come as you are. (We ain’t exactly purebreds and this ain’t exactly Westminster.) To the contrary, it’s a celebration of mutthood.

Read more »

Ace and Elliott: What’s in the mix?

Ace and Elliott both bravely submitted to having their blood drawn yesterday for DNA testing, meaning it’s only a matter of time until our “What’s in Your Mutt Mystery Contest” reaches its final chapter.

Elliott was the winner of our reader contest in which mutt owners wrote about their dogs and why they wanted to know the breeds that were in them.

Ace is my dog, whose DNA test last year — not long after the tests first came out — was recounted in the Baltimore Sun series, Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”

The Canine Heritage test — a home version in which the pet owner swabs the inside of the dog’s cheek and sends the swab in for analysis — found him to be Chow and Rottweiler, two of the 38 breeds that particular test, at that particular time, checked for.

Since then, the technology has improved.  The new Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis, from Mars Veterinary, tests blood, drawn and sent in by your veterinarian, and can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. The new Canine Heritage test, available from MMI Genomics, can now detect more than 100 breeds through cheek cells collected on the swab.

When Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel, offered us a chance to try out the new product we agreed. The company sent us two free test kits, one for Ace, one for our contest winner, who turned out to be Elliott.

On Saturday, we all gathered at my house for the blood drawing — Ace, Elliott, his humans, Andrew and Kelly Gould, and Dr. Johnny Slaughter, a mobile veterinarian in Baltimore, and ohmidog! advertiser, who volunteered his services. Read more »