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Tag: euthanize

Your Friday flashback: Owner asked that her dog be put down; stronger wills prevailed

Sido in the wind.jpg

When Mary Murphy died in San Francisco 35 years ago, a provision of her will named her dog, Sido — but not as what you might call a beneficiary.

Murphy asked in her will that Sido, an 11-year-old part collie, part sheepdog, be killed.

Murphy didn’t want her dog languishing in a shelter, or ending up as part of a laboratory research project, and she feared that even if she did get adopted, her new family might not be as loving and caring as she had been.

In short, she thought Sido would be better off dead.

It all made for a fascinating little story (with big implications) back in 1980, with the case ending up in court and making it onto the June 17 broadcast of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”

It was animal advocate Richard Avanzino who, after the terms of Murphy’s will became known, took up Sido’s cause, and took in Sido, serving as the dog’s foster parent until things got straightened out in court. At the time, he was head of the San Francisco SPCA.

“There’s no justification for her life to be taken,” Avanzino said at the time. “She’s committed no crime. The only crime that she committed was that she loved totally her master and for that she’s been condemned to die.”

CBS dug up the original news report this week, and reinterviewed Avanzino — soon to retire as head of Maddie’s Fund, the largest dog and cat charity in the world.

Today, Avanzino considers Sido the original poster child for the no-kill movement.

sido2“Sido was just the quintessential champion for animal rescue,” he said. “I’m eternally grateful for the time that I had with her but more importantly for the great role she played in telling America that we can be a no-kill nation.”

“I took Sido into my home realizing that the lawsuit would probably take months to resolve the outcome and Sido joined my family as a foster pet,” Avanzino told CBS News this week from San Francisco.

Avanzino fought in court for Sido’s life, arguing that the dog wasn’t “property.”

At the same time, he and others lobbied state politicians to work on a measure that would save Sido’s life.

A bill was drafted, passed and sent to then-Governor Jerry Brown to consider.

The judge’s ruling came the same day the governor signed the bill.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jay Pfotenhauer — whose name, CBS pointed out, translates to Paw-Slapper from German — decided that the killing of pets as personal property no longer had validity and that pets have rights.

Sido was spared, and spent the next five years as a member of Avanzino’s family.

On Sido’s 16th birthday, just hours before the cake was to be cut, Sido had a stroke and was rushed to UC Davis Veterinary School. She died three days later.

Avanzino says he believes Sido’s case served to inspire animal lovers, and help stem the number of euthanizations across the country.

In 1980, 16 million dogs and cats were killed in shelters; today that number is closer to 2.7 million.

(Photos: Courtesy of Richard Avanzino)

Another N.C. county retires its gas chamber; invites the public to come give it a whack

clevelandcounty

Another North Carolina county has abandoned use of the gas chamber to kill unwanted dogs — and it said goodbye by allowing critics of the ghastly contraption to take a few whacks at it with a sledgehammer.

Animal advocates from Cleveland County rallied against use of the gas chamber last summer, and the county ceased using it a couple of months ago, switching to lethal injections to “euthanize” dogs.

(We put euthanize in quotes because the word means mercy killing, and, as we see it, killing animals due to overcrowding isn’t really merciful.)

Especially not in a gas chamber — a device still used in eight North Carolina counties.

In Cleveland County, where hundreds petitioned to end its use, the gas chamber met its doom Saturday, when, as part of a fundraiser at Tractor Supply in Shelby, residents were invited to take a whack at it with a sledgehammer.

One whack was $5; three whacks ran $10, the Shelby Star reported.

A balloon release was held to close the event, commemorating dogs and cats that lost their lives in the gas chamber.

“We talked about a lot of different things but it seemed to be that the most common thing in different places was that they used a sledgehammer,” said Deb Hardin, a volunteer with the Clifford Army Rescue Extravaganza (CARE), a nonprofit animal assistance organization in Cleveland County.

All proceeds from the fundraiser support the care of animals at Cleveland County Animal Control.

North Carolina is one of about a dozen states still killing shelter animals in gas chambers, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Eight of the state’s 100 counties still use gas, the Charlotte Observer reported last week.

Iredell and Cabarrus stopped using gas last year.

(Photo: Shelby Star)

Despite euthanasia, Wall-e’s tail still wagging

Here’s a pretty amazing story out of Sulphur, Oklahoma, about a dog who apparently was euthanized, declared dead and, the next morning, was found scurrying around the trash bin in which he had been dumped.

As a result of his tale of survival, hundreds have expressed interest in adopting Wall-e, as the three-month-old dog is being called.

Wall-e and his littermates were dropped off outside the animal shelter in Sulphur. Because all seemed seriously ill, shelter officials say, they were euthanized. After being pronounced dead by a veterinarian, they were all disposed of in a bin outside the shelter, which was scheduled to be emptied that night.

The next morning, though, Animal Control Officer Scott Prall looked in the bin and saw it still held its contents, including Wall-e, who was alive.

“He was just as healthy as could be,” Prall said.

Amanda Kloski of the Arbuckle Veterinary Clinic, took him in, and word about Wall-e, named after the movie robot, spread on Facebook, leading to hundreds of calls from people interested in adopting him.

The vet clinic said they would review the offers this week and choose a permanent home.

Both the clinic and the animal control officer say Wall-e and the others may not have been put to sleep at all if Murray County had a better animal shelter, according to KWTV.

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.

Dog who bit pitcher’s wife wins reprieve

gabriellaGabriella, the English mastiff scheduled to be executed for biting the wife of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and another woman, has won a reprieve.

A decision issued Friday by Hingham District Court would allow the dog to be sent instead to a New York shelter, where she would serve life, without parole, the Boston Globe reported.

Gabriella was ordered euthanized by Hingham selectmen after a lengthy hearing in late October because of two biting incidents, both of which took place at her owners’ art gallery in Hingham Square.

Read more »

Struck dog leads to ugly roadside scene

dog_kennedy_t600An ugly scene on the side of the road turned uglier in McClellanville, S.C. last week, leaving a dog dead, one man in the hospital and another in jail.

Sheriff’s officials said William T. Youngman, after accidentally striking a dog with his pick-up truck, used a hammer and a machete to try and end the pet’s suffering.

Upon seeing his dog being attacked (but not having seen the accident) James Brian Kennedy took the hammer from Youngman and began beating him.youngmansc1

Youngman, 57, suffered multiple skull fractures, broken ribs and a punctured lung, according to his family.

The Charleston Post & Courier, quoted family members as saying Youngman is an animal lover and was only trying to put the dog out of his misery.

Youngman’s daughter told the newspaper her father lives in a rural area where there is no veterinarian nearby. He did not have a gun to end the dog’s pain, she said.

Youngman, against whom animal cruelty charges may be filed, was listed in fair condition in the intensive care unit at the Medical University Hospital on Friday afternoon. The dog, named Dingo, suffered a spinal chord injury and was euthanized Friday night.

Kennedy paid bail and was released from jail, but faces charges of assault and battery with intent to kill.

Councilman’s seized dog stolen from pound

There’s some irony in here somewhere:

In June, Sioux City Councilman Aaron Rochester had his dog seized by authorities after the dog bit a man and was deemed vicious. Under the local dangerous dog ordinance, the dog has to be euthanized.

The councilman appealed Animal Control’s decision twice, and has until Aug. 16 to appeal again. But he said he has no plan to do that, according to an Associated Press story.

Many others came forward to try and save the dog, including someone who came forward with wire cutters, broke into an outdoor kennel at Sioux City Animal Control, and stole the councilman’s dog. No other dogs in adjacent pens were taken — only Jake, the councilman’s 3-year-old yellow Labrador.

Police say there are no suspects, and Rochester was adamant that he didn’t take his dog and has no idea who did.

To top it all off, Rochester is the councilman who led a successful effort last year to ban pit bull terriers from Sioux City, Iowa, saying they were too dangerous.

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