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Tag: employee

Sled dog slaughter leads to calls for ban

The slaughter of 100 sled dogs in Canada has reenergized efforts by some animal activists to ban or boycott dog sled rides, the Associated Press reports.

There are hundreds of North American businesses offering dog sled rides as part of winter vacation getaways — from New England to Alaska — but the industry is not regulated or licensed, and kennels go largely uninspected.

And some animal welfare activists suspect that the kind of “culling” that took place in British Columbia takes place regularly, if on a far smaller scale.

“I don’t think society is willing to accept that animals, particularly dogs, should be killed just because they are surplus or don’t suit the purpose they were born for,’’ said Debra Probert, executive director of the Vancouver Humane Society, which has called for a provincial ban on tour businesses.

The 100 dogs killed last April belonged to Howling Dog Tours Whistler Inc., and its parent company Outdoor Adventures Whistler, located in British Columbia. The dogs were killed by a company employee, who shot some dogs and slit the throats of others.

The incident came to light when he applied for workers’ compensation, saying he has suffered posttraumatic stress since carrying out the orders from his boss.

Documents from the workers’ compensation probe said the company acquired the dogs in anticipation of extra business during the Olympic Games in Vancouver, and that the animals were destroyed after bookings fell. But in a letter to the editor published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper, Howling Dog’s owner, Joey Houssian, said “some old and sick dogs needed to be put down’’ and the company thought the worker assigned the task would perform the culling “in a professional and humane manner.’’

PetSmart fires manager for dog on the job

petsmartA PetSmart in New Jersey may be dog-friendly, but its recent firing of a staff member who brought his dog to work  is making it look something less than employee-friendly.

Eric Favetta was fired from his job at the PetSmart in Secaucus for bringing his dog into the closed store while working a last-minute overnight shift.

Favetta, 31, a PetSmart employee since July 2008, placed his dog Gizmo in the store’s empty day care facility while he spruced up the place for a special showing to potential business partners.

“I have always been the type of employee to go the extra mile,” Favetta told  the Newark Star-Ledger’s “Bamboozled” column.

The store, which encourages its customers to bring pets inside, labeled his deed “theft of services,” and fired him.

Favetta served nearly seven years as a dog handler for various military units in Afghanistan and Bahrain. He became operations manager at the PetSmart in Wayne and, based on his good record, was sent to Secaucus.

At 5 p.m. on Dec. 15, Favetta was asked to work a special overnight shift to prepare the store for a viewing by representatives for Martha Stewart’s company, which was considering adding its product lines to PetSmart.

“I brought my dog with me because I knew if I didn’t, he would have been home alone all day and all night until I returned home at 6 a.m. the next day,” Favetta said. Gizmo, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, spent the night in the empty store’s doggie day care facility as Favetta toiled.

Two weeks later, he was called on the carpet and fired.

PetSmart spokeswoman Jessica White explained the situation this way:

“In our eyes, our services business is huge, with our grooming and training and care. Those are viewed as sale items the same way items on the shelf are,”  she said. “To use the facilities and not pay for it — it falls under the same lines.”

A few days later, PetSmart reconsidered and offered him another job. But Favetta has since moved on. He’s now working as a dog handler for a company that uses animals to search for hazards.

(Photo: MITSU YASUKAWA/Newark Star-Ledger)

Road dog starts new life with his rescuer

highway“Highway,” at last, has a smooth road ahead.

The stray who survived for more than a year surrounded by converging freeways east of downtown Fort Worth now belongs to a former employee of the Humane Society of North Texas who helped rescue her 18 months ago. He adopted her last week.

“She’s jumping around, wagging her tail, happy,” Blake Travis, 25, of Watauga. told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which wrote about the dog, a reddish shepherd mix, two years ago — back when she was still a road dog.

During 2007, the dog was often spotted near the busy interchange at Interstate 35W, U.S. 287 and Spur 280. She slept beneath an overpass, crossed busy on-ramps and ambled alongside streams of speeding traffic.

Highway’s nickname came from a motorist, Lori Adams of Arlington, who began stopping on her way to work to leave food and water for the dog. Another motorist contacted the Humane Society and asked it to capture the mutt before she was injured or killed.

Travis, a veterinary technician, and another Humane Society employee trapped the dog Nov. 28, 2007, and placed her with more than 400 other animals in the society’s facility. She was basically feral,” Travis said. “She hadn’t had any human contact and didn’t want any.”

For a long time, the dog cowered in the back of her cage, but eventually she began socializing with other dogs and bonding with Travis.

Travis made that bond official last week, adopting Highway and taking her home.

(Photo: From the Star-Telegam by D.J. PETERS)