Iditarod officials says changes are planned to help ensure the health and safety of dogs who get dropped from the race and have to wait at checkpoints — sometimes outside — for transportation home.
The changes were prompted by the death of Dorado, a five-year-old dog found dead at a checkpoint in Unalakleet four days after being dropped from the race because of soreness.
A necropsy showed Dorado died of asphyxiation while being buried in the snow.
Organizers of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said Wednesday that planned changes include construction of dog shelters at two major checkpoints, and more frequent checks on the animals, according to the Associated Press.
“This type of self-examination is an important part of ITC’s historical commitment to the improvement of the welfare of the canine athletes that annually participate in the Race,” Iditarod Trail Committee officials said in a statement.
Drobny’s husband, Cody Strathe, said this week that the couple asked the Iditarod Trail Committee to develop new protocols for the care of dogs that have been dropped from the race to Nome.
Race officials said they don’t believe Dorado’s death was a result of anyone acting negligently.
More dropped dogs than could be sheltered wound up at the Unalakleet checkpoint because severe weather prevented planes from landing to transport them.
Race volunteers housed more than 100 dogs in a hangar, but up to 30 more were tethered outside.
Unalakleet is one of the two communities where dog boxes will be built for shelter. Officials said they also plan to have more frequent flights to transport dropped dogs from checkpoints.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked that animal cruelty charges be filed in connection with Dorado’s death.
Nome District Attorney John Earthman said he was reviewing the letter.
Dorado’s death was the first since the 2009 race, when six dogs died.
PETA says more than 140 dogs have died since the Iditarod began in 1973.
(Top photo: Dogs await the start of the race, by Rachel D’oro / Associated Press; bottom photo, Dorado, from SquidAcres Kennel)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, announcement, changes, checkpoints, committee, cruelty, death, dog, dogs, dorado, dropped, iditarod, injured, monitoring, musher, mushers, officials, paige drobny, peta, pets, planned, race, sled, smothered, snow, trail, transporation, unalakleet
A dog was shot in the head and left on the doorstep of a worker for Dogs Deserve Better, the animal rescue organization that moved into Michael Vick’s old house in Surry County, Virginia.
Melissa Wischmeier with Dogs Deserve Better said the dog was taken to Roger’s Veterinary Hospital in Smithfield.
Wischmeier said the dog, named Leah, was left in front of the home of a Dogs Deserve Better worker.
Dr. Kathryn Bouvier at Roger’s Veterinary Hospital said x-rays showed a trail of bullet fragments from Leah’s snout all the way to her spinal cord.
Bouvier said the the dog was recovering, but concerns remained about shifting bullet fragments and infection.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, dogs deserve better, doorstep, dropped, left, michael vick, pets, recovering, rescue, roger's veterinary hospital, shot, shot in head, surry county, video, virginia
It has been nearly four years since Bosnia passed a law banning the killing of stray and wild dogs, but as of this year only one city is respecting it, according to the Associated Press — Sarajevo.
As a result, Sarajevo has become both a dumping ground and, relatively speaking, a safe haven, with people from around the country dropping homeless, stray and wild dogs on its streets.
The law was passed amid a sharp rise in dog killings, but it was largely ignored because the government provided few alternatives, like shelters and sterilization clinics.
In March, Sarajevo became home to a new city-funded dog shelter that also performs sterilizations.
Animal protection advocate Amela Turalic runs the shelter, and she and her team of animal lovers respond to calls to pick up strays, who have been increasingly arriving from other areas
Bosnia remains divided along ethnic lines, and different parts of the country deal with strays differently. Despite the national ban against slaughtering dogs, some local governments have passed laws contradicting it.
In Sarajevo, it took Turalic’s teams three months to get the problem of strays under control last summer with the shelter and sterilizations.
“But then we started noticing ‘new faces’ on the streets daily and people started telling us about overnight deliveries,” she said.
Not everyone in Sarajevo is happy about that, and some don’t think Sarajevo — the one place doing something about the problem — should be getting overwhelmed with needy dogs because of it.
Sounds a little like another country that once welcomed outsiders.
As Turalic sees it, those from other cities who drop off dogs on the streets of Sarajevo aren’t abandoning their own pets, just trying to give a stray a better chance of surviving.
“Let them come,” she said. “People do this with best intentions.”
(Photo: Amel Emric / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Amela Turalic, animal control, animals, bosnia, dogs, dropped, haven, neuter, pets, safe haven, sarajevo, shelter, spay, sterilization, stray, streets, wild
A starving dog with a coffee can around her neck was dropped off Sunday at Dallas Animal Services, along with a second dog who appeared to be looking after her.
Both dogs were brought to the shelter by a citizen who who didn’t wish to be identified. He said he found the two dogs.
Officials at the shelter say the emaciated dog, named Java by its rescuers, has had the can around her neck for some time. It had cut into her ears, nearly severing one. The can was removed and Java was transferred to Metro Paws Animal Hospital for treatment.
The shelter posted on its Facebook page that “the next few days are critical. We have to get her stable enough for surgery and watch out for organ failure due to her starved condition. But that tail is wagging.”
The second dog, who was dubbed Joshua, is healthy and up for adoption.
“He was shy and frightened at all that was going on,” the Facebook post says, “but he was determined to be a reassuring presence for the girl.”
(Photo: Dallas Animal Services)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal allies of texas, animal cruelty, can, coffee, coffee can, cruelty to animals, cuts, dallas, dallas animal services, dog, dogs, dropped, ears, emaciated, found, injuries, java, joshua, metro paws animal hospital, neck, shelter, starving, stray, texas
A bloody and dirty blob of fur found in a sealed plastic trash bag in downtown Louisville this week has been cleaned up enough to reveal he is a Maltese, treated for fleas, anemia and pelvic fractures, and given the name Karma.
Authorities suspect, based on his injuries, that the 3-1/2-pound dog was thrown from a car window.
A $2,500 reward is being offered by the Humane Society of the United States for information leading to an arrest.
Wave3 News reports that the dog was dumped Tuesday at the intersection of Chestnut and Louisville streets.
A woman stopped at a traffic light heard a noise, got out of her car, ripped the bag open and found the dog inside.
Rebecca Eaves of the Shamrock Pet Foundation said the dog was “”absolutely covered in flea nests, severely anemic, parasites inside and outside, the whole nine yards.”
Dr. Scott Rizzo of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners said Karma has pelvic fractures, likely the result of being thrown or dropped onto the concrete.
Believed to be 2-3-years old, the dog was originally thought to be a brown terrier mix, but once cleaned up he was revealed to be white.
“He’s a little Maltese and he’s white,” Dr. Rizzo said. “You never would have thought that when he came in.” He said Karma’s fractures may be able to heal without surgery.
Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Animal Services at (502) 363-6609.
The Shamrock Foundation’s Arrow Fund (P.O. Box 24033 Louisville, KY, 40224) is collecting donations for Karma’s medical care.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrow fund, bag, blue pearl veterinary partners, car, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, dropped, fractures, hsus, humane society of the united states, karma, kentucky, louisville, maltese, metro animal services, pelvic, pets, reward, shamrock foundation, thrown, trash, trash bag, window
After enrolling fewer than two dozen of a planned 230 dogs in the study — all paired with vets with PTSD — the VA has announced that the study has been suspended, and that, from now on, service dogs will only be paired with veterans with visible disabilities.
The new policy goes into effect today.
For the 400,000 veterans diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder, that means dogs — despite all the positive effects that have been reported — will no longer be part of their treatment and recovery.
Among those blasting the decision is the American Humane Association.
Just days before its second annual celebration of hero dogs, the organization took time to put together a petition, calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to reverse the new policy.
“Our focus on animal-assisted therapy dates back to 1945 when we promoted therapy dogs as a means to help World War II veterans recover from the effects of war,” the AHA said. ”We know from years of experience that the human-animal bond is a source of powerful healing, whether they are children suffering from cancer or military men and women who have suffered the stress of battle.
“Service dogs, in particular, are an amazing, positive resource for assisting our nation’s best and bravest though their physical pain and mental anguish. We call on the VA and the United States Congress to stand up for our veterans…”
Specifically, the new VA policy ends the program that reimbursed veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder for their use of service dogs while in recovery.
“It’s of the utmost importance that we provide our vets with every option available to treat service related ailments,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), who was also shocked to learn of the new policy.
“Especially as the wars are winding down, and more and more soldiers are returning home with mental trauma, the VA must continue to allow their doctors and mental health professionals to provide benefits to veterans who need mental health service dogs,” he said.
Congress mandated that additional scientific study be conducted on the impact of service dogs paired with PTSD vets several years ago. But apparently that study never got off the ground — at least not as ambitiously as planned.
Launched in June 2011, the study planned to follow 230 PTSD vets and their service dogs, tracking them and their families through 2014. Only about a tenth of that number were registered for the study, though.
The study was halted, according to reports, because of concerns about dogs biting children, dirty and cramped living conditions, and faulty record-keeping.
According to the VA, there are about 400,000 veterans currently in treatment for PTSD, and that group has higher than normal rates of divorce, substance abuse, unemployment and suicide. There are 32 to 39 suicide attempts daily among vets with PTSD, about half of which result in death, according to a column by the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Dale.
Dale’s column looks at the benefits of programs such as those provided by Paws for Purple Hearts – an improved quality of life, fewer flashbacks and nightmares. Vets paired with dogs are said to be more likely to find jobs; less likely to become recluses.
“One hallmark of PTSD is avoidance (of going outdoors and socializing with others),” says Robert Porter, executive director 0f Paws for Purple Hearts. “That’s hard to do with a 60-pound dog who just wants to go out and play.”
The study was a chance to prove, beyond the anecdotal, just how much therapy dogs could help vets with PTSD. But, for reasons that make little sense, both the study and the concept were canned.
Most of the dogs in the study were from Guardian Angel Medical Services of Williston, Fla., and its founder and director, Carol Borden, says there were no biting incidents reported.
Borden says that in the organization’s history, veterans with PTSD nearly always benefit from having a dog. Some patients have been able to cut their medication in half, or stop taking it altogether, she said.
That has raised questions among some about whether pharmaceutical companies lobbied for the new VA policy. That’s conjecture, of course — conjecture being something that tends to occur when no logical explanation is given.
The VA owes vets, not to mention Congress, an explanation.
And we all owe veterans afflicted with PSTD a chance to get past it, or at least cope with it. Ruling out dogs and dropping the study is an oath broken, a promising avenue bypassed, and a slap in the face to veterans.
“We’ve not experienced a single suicide attempt as far as we know,” Borden said of vets paired with dogs under the Guardian Angels program. “I have letters from wives thanking us because the husband has returned, and it all happens because of a dog who provides unconditional love.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aha, american humane association, animals, benefits, ceased, charles schumer, congress, department, disabilities, divorce, dog, dogs, dropped, drug abuse, employment, funding, guardian angel medical services, halted, paws for purple hearts, petition, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, programs, promised, ptsd, ptsd dogs, reimburse, reimbursement, senator, service, study, suicide, terminated, therapy, va, vet, veterans, veterans affairs
A lot of us think our dogs were gifts from above, but here’s one that truly was.
A seven-year-old boy in Salinas, California, got a new puppy after it escaped from the clutches of a hawk and fell out of the sky into his backyard.
KSBW reported that the two-month-old puppy was dropped an estimated 30 feet before it was discovered by a seven-year-old named Taylor.
The dog has been adopted by Taylor’s family and named T.J. Heavenly.
The family believes that T.J. Heavenly somehow worked himself free of the hawk’s talons.
“If you look at him right now, he’s so wiggly,” Elaine Bouchard told the TV station. “And his nose; he’s such a little bulldozer, I can see him wiggling right out of the talons.”
The dog was taken to a veterinarian to get treated for wounds and dehydration before the family took him home for keeps.
“When God drops a puppy from the sky, you keep it,” Bouchard said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, dog, dogs, dropped, Elaine Bouchard, fell, found, gifts from above, hawk, heaven, pets, puppy, salinas, sky, talons, taylor, tj heavenly, video, yard
Wonder why you’re not seeing any ads for Pedigree dog food during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Apparently, mutts like Roscoe (above) — especially homeless ones — aren’t viewed by the club as sending the right message, so they’ve cut their ties to long-time sponsor (as in 24 years) Pedigree dog foods.
Apparently, some of Pedigree’s ads — the ones promoting dog adoption, the ones featuring sad-eyed mixed breeds as opposed to well-coiffed, prancing purebreds – were just too hard-hitting and depressing for the kennel club’s tastes.
“We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” David Frei, the club’s director of communications and the host of the show for over two decades, told the Associated Press.
“Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs. When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message … Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me.”
Pedigree’s ads, club honchos agreed, were getting too heavy-handed.
Frei said the kennel club had expressed those concerns to Pedigree: “We told them that, and they ignored us.”
Taking a look at the newest series of ads that are part of Pedigree’s continuing efforts to encourage dog adoptions — you can see them here — I don’t see much sadness. They seem more an expression of pride. They come right out and say don’t feel sorry for me. They seem to say the shelter mutt is just as valuable, and will make just as good a pet (and we’d argue maybe even better) than a purebred.
Maybe that’s the kennel club’s problem. Maybe they want television coverage of Westminster — the big show began yesterday at Madison Square Garden — to keep the focus strictly on purebreds, which are, for it, the money makers.
Granted, some of Pedigree’s earlier adoption-oriented ads were pretty bleak in tone; and everybody (attention ASPCA and Humane Society) is getting tired of those ads that, while cool for the first two viewings, continue to tug so blatantly and repeatedly at our heartstrings we now switch the channels instantly when they come on.
Granted, too, the Westminster Dog Show is free to choose any advertisers it wants, and the American Kennel Club does fund research and offer programs that benefit all dogs, purebred or not. And, to keep things in context, it’s not necessarily dissing mutts with this particular action; it’s dissing downer, guilt-inducing adoption ads.
But it all comes across a little like snobbery; a little like denial, when it comes to the millions of dogs euthanized each year; a little like let’s stay here in our private fantasy world — not open to the unwashed masses, or those who might be of mixed breeds, even though every purebred, except the wolf, is in fact a result of mixing.
Pedigree has been replaced with Nestlé Purina PetCare, whose ads of peppy, happy dogs are more to the kennel club’s liking. The new partnership was announced last spring.
“They’ve shared with us, when we parted ways, that they felt that our advertising was focused too much on the cause of adoption and that wasn’t really a shared vision,” said Melissa Martellotti, a brand communications manager for Mars Petcare US, which makes the Pedigree brands. The kennel club, she said, is “focused on the purebred mission.”
Martellotti said the partnership had been a boon to Pedigree’s adoption initiatives. In 2007, $500,000 in pledges were received after its ads were broadcast over the show’s two days.
Nearly 3.5 million people watched last year’s show, broadcast on the USA Network and CNBC.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ads, advertising, animals, campaign, celebrate, company, david frei, dog food, dog show, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropped, euthanized, kennel club, message, mutts, pedigree, pets, purebred, sad, shelters, sponsor, westminster, woof in advertising
The Bosnian girl seen in a video throwing puppies into a river, and laughing while she did it, will not face any charges, the New York Daily News reports.
The News, citing as sources members of PETA in Europe, said police have dropped the case because the girl — whose identity hasn’t been released — is too young to be prosecuted.
While it was reported that allof the puppies were rescued down river by an old woman who found them along the shore, animal rights activists said they doubted that story was true.
“This is outrageous,” a PETA spokeswoman, Nadja Kutscher, told a German newspaper. “The puppies that the old woman was with were completely different ones to those thrown into the river in the video. The puppies would never have survived.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animals, bosnia, case, charges, cruelty, dogs, dropped, peta, pets, prosecution, puppies, pups, river, teen, thrown, video
Gun and drug charges against the Baltimore twins accused of setting a dog on fire were dropped this week.
The two still face animal cruelty and mutilation charges in a separate case accusing them of setting fire to a pit bull puppy, named Phoenix after her rescue.
Police searching the twins’ home during the animal cruelty investigation said they found a gun and some marijuana, leading to drugs and weapons charges against twin brothers Tremayne and Travers Johnson and their father.
Because of difficulties proving who owned the gun, prosecutors decided to drop all those charges and focus on the animal cruelty case, WJZ reported.
Phoenix was found on fire by a city police officer, who extinguished the flames with her jacket. The dog survived several days, but had to be euthanized.
The animal cruelty trial for the twins is scheduled for June.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, baltimore, burned, burning, charges, dog, dropped, drugs, firearms, gun, marijuana, news, ohmidog!, phoenix, pit bull, set on fire, travers johnson, tremayne johnson, twins