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Canine pipeline: Dogs who run out of luck in Las Vegas are ending up in Canada

pono

Most people involved in animal rescue know that homeless dogs in America are routinely shipped from southern shelters to northern ones to improve their chances of adoption.

But here’s a canine pipeline I hadn’t heard of — dogs from Las Vegas, like Pono (above), are being flown to Canada to find new adoptive homes. He was the 1,000th dog to make the trip.

Pono, a 3-year-old male Pomeranian, left a Las Vegas animal shelter in September and ended up either for sale or up for adoption (depending on your point of view) at Petcetera, a large pet store chain in Canada.

He made the trip through a program called Foreclosed Upon Pets Inc., which has been operating since 2008.  The non-profit organization began shipping Las Vegas shelter dogs to Vancouver two and a half years ago, and now ships eight to 16 every week.

In Canada, they they are adopted out — for a $500 fee — through Petcetera’s 18 stores, according to a story initially reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and picked up by ABC News.

Both stories describe what’s happening — troubling as it is on some levels — as a simple matter of supply and demand: The U.S. has millions of surplus dogs; Canada, with its stricter regulations on spaying and neutering, has what some might call a shortage, especially when it comes to smaller breeds.

“For whatever reason, we have a shortage of small dogs here, and to be quite honest, we were shocked at the size of the problem in Las Vegas,” said Richard Kaga, the executive vice president of Petcetera, which operates big box pet stores from Alberta to British Columbia to Nova Scotia.

“Over here in the United States, we’re just one big puppy mill,” said Everett Croxson, FUPI executive director. “Las Vegas included … Let’s face it. People are breeding for money in their backyards, and the concept of spaying and neutering never enters their heads, even if the laws exist. Even if there are such laws on the books.”

Every week, Croxson picks up dogs from the Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas and takes them to the airport. After a layover in Seattle, they arrive in Vancouver. Since the program started in 2010, Croxson said he has exported as many as 1,100 small dogs, nearly three-fourths of them Chihuahuas. Croxson calls Las Vegas “the Chihuahua capital of the world.”

He started the organization to find homes for dogs that had been abandoned due to foreclosures, most of which ended up at Lied Animal Shelter,  a very high volume regional shelter that takes in more than 100 dogs and cats each day. In 2012, nearly 43,000 unwanted animals — nearly 23,000 dogs and 18,000 cats — came in, and many never left. An estimated 65 dogs and cats are put to sleep there every day.

Given that ugly alternative, it’s hard to find any fault with a program that’s bringing dogs happy endings in another country.

But what’s happening seems to make a pretty sad statement about our own country: “No, we can’t take care of our own.” “True, we tend to shirk responsibilities.” “Yes — cough, cough — our economy is a little unhealthy right now.” America in 2013 is producing refugees — albeit canine ones — who must be airlifted out of the country to stay alive.

Kaga, the Petcetera official, says there are no puppy mills in Canada and that Canadian pet owners  “would not think of having a pet” without spaying and neutering it.  Some might argue with that, but clearly Canada is a step ahead — or at least enough ahead that, when it comes to canines, it’s accepting our tired, poor, homeless and hungry.

Noble as it appears, the adoption program isn’t hurting business at Petcetera stores.

Kaga says the $500 fee the store is paid for each adopted pet covers the cost of the animals’ transportation, spaying or neutering, shots, health certificate, and their care and boarding at Petcetera.

But each dog adopted is going to need some food, and toys, and treats, perhaps a dog bed, and maybe a nice warm sweater.

“Like people, dogs have to have toys and food,” he says. “When we adopt a dog out, we hope the customer will come back to us for all that dog’s needs for the rest of its life. It’s worked out really well for all concerned — especially the dogs.”

(Photo: Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc.)

Atlantic City casino goes dog-friendly

You won’t see dogs playing poker — they’re banned from the gaming room floor — but one casino in Atlantic City has  turned dog friendly, welcoming dogs into guest rooms and providing treats, food and water bowls and even a keepsake duffle bag.

Showboat has officially marked its territory as the only dog-friendly casino in Atlantic City.

The casino-hotel has set aside a collection of rooms in its New Orleans Tower to accommodate all kinds of canines.

“We’re thrilled to bring Pet Stay Atlantic City to our guests and provide the royal treatment to man’s best friend,” said Joe Domenico, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Showboat and Bally’s Atlantic City. “This initiative puts Showboat at the forefront of Atlantic City’s world-class offerings and will bring more customers to our casinos without having to leave their pets behind.”

A party to kick off the new program was held last week in Showboat’s Club Harlem.

The pet program is open to dogs only and allows a maximum of 2 dogs up to 50 pounds per room. There is a $40 fee per night for pets, but the fee will be waived during the first two weeks of the program’s launch.

Dogs are allowed in the hotel but are not permitted on the casino floor or in food and beverage areas, the spa or retail shops.

For more information, check the Showboat website.

(Photo: Courtesy of Showboat Casino)

Tiger Woods has nothing on Yogi

YogiStep aside Tiger Woods, Jesse James, even Wilt Chamberlain. You’ve got nothing on Yogi, the Hungarian vizsla who won best in show at Britain’s prestigious Crufts competition this year.

The  champion Aussie show dog has fathered 525 puppies  in the five years since he emigrated to the UK. That’s well over 100 pups a year and, records show, more than 10 percent of all vizsla puppies registered.

Yogi, you dog you.

The impressive/shameful statistics were gathered by Jemima Harrison, who prepared the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, and who says — though we joke somewhat about Yogi”s rampant sex life  – they should raise serious concerns about his growing gene pool dominance.

“Yogi is an absolutely beautiful dog who deserved to win,”  Harrison said. “However, the concern is that this dog has been massively overused as a stud dog already … As far as the breed is concerned it’s a genetic time bomb.”

Even England’s Hungarian Vizsla Club is worried about Yogi, who is already grandfather to 340 pups and great grandfather to 10 pups, according to a report carried in The Herald Sun in Australia.

“When you lessen the gene pool you open the breed up to the possibility of auto-immune-related diseases,” said a club spokeswoman.

Yogi earns up to $1,230 per litter, and has fathered 79 registered litters in the UK up to December last year. With his Crufts victory, his stud fee and demand for his studly services can only be expected to increase.

With so many of his pups out there, it’s no surprise there is a Facebook page, called “I have a Yogi vizsla,” dedicated to his offspring.

BARCS waives adoption fee for dogs and cats

Starting tomorrow (Dc. 15),  Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) will be waiving the adoption fees for dogs and cats seven months or older through the end of the year.

BARCS is also offering gift certificates to people who would like to give the gift of an animal. The certificate allows the recipient to pick the shelter animal of their choice.

Included with all adoptions are spaying and neutering, rabies vaccination, DHLPP vaccination, bordatella, de-wormer, flea preventative, a general examination, a food sample, a month of free veterinary care insurance, and Felv testing for cats and kittens. Baltimore City residents adopting animals will need to purchase a $10 pet license.

BARCS handles more than 11,000 animals each year — more dogs and cats than any shelter in Maryland.

BARCS is open for adoptions Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 24 and will be closed on December 25.

Freedom won’t be free at Patterson Park

park

 
Letting your dog off leash at Patterson Park — if and when it becomes legal — will most likely carry a fee, city officials said at a Thursday night meeting to discuss proposals that range from creating off-leash hours to building a dog park.

Described by Baltimore Sun Unleashed’s Jill Rosen as heated, the meeting drew about 100 people, and resulted in some news: Park rangers will be given the authority to issue citations for off-leash violations, and enfocement will be increased, according to city Department of Recreation and Parks Director Wanda Durden.

But as for what manner dogs might be permitted to play off leash, that, after years of pushing, still seems up in the air.

One suggestion is to build a fenced-in, 20,000-square- foot dog park along Baltimore Street on the western end of the park.  That proposal, drafted by Friends of Patterson Park Dog Park, calls for, rather than full time dog parks, two zones, both northwest of the lake, for off-leash hours — one for small dogs, the other for large ones.

Otheres prefer the idea of designating certain areas to be leash-free during certain hours.

While the city hasn’t figured out the what, when and where, it did have plenty of rules ready, among them:

An annual fee of $20 for those who wanted to use the off-leash area, as well as proof of a city dog license and current vaccinations. A limit of three dogs. Professional dog walkers can’t use the area for business. No dogs in heat. No dogs under four months old. No children under 8 years old. Children 9-15 must be accompanied by an adult. Dog handlers must be 16 years old or older. Dogs must wear a collar or harness with an ID tag, a special off-leash tag and rabies tags.

The city of Baltimore’s only existing dog area is Canton Dog Park, built by private citizens. The first city-funded dog park, in Locust Point, was supposed to open this summer, but with delays, September is now looking like the earliest it might open.

Dog eats rent … Then it gets even weirder

As further proof that for every strange dog behavior, there are human ones 100 times odder yet, comes this from Kenya:

A man in Kenya persuaded police to arrest his pet dog after the dog ate his rent money.

The dog’s owner says he left the money on his bed as he left for work. All that was left when he returned home later that day were a few shredded remnants of cash on the floor.

The man then took the dog to police and asked them to lock his pet up, according to Bartlesvillelive.com. They initially refused, but relented after the owner agreed to pay a “fee” to one of the officers.

That police officer was then fired for taking a bribe and the dog was returned to his owner.

The dog owner, still in need of rent money, has put the dog up for sale.

One week remains in “Baltimore 500″

Baltimore area animal shelters have one week to go in their race to place 500 cats in adoptive homes by the end of the month — and so far they are on target to make the goal.

“It is so wonderful to see the people of the Baltimore area opening their hearts and homes to cats and kittens during this campaign,” said Jennifer Mead-Brause, executive director of Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). “We still have plenty of wonderful cats and kittens who need new homes. This is the best time to consider adoption. And if you already have a cat and kitten, this is the very best time to adopt a playmate for him or her.”

During the month of June, cat and kitten adoption fees are being waived at BARCS, the Maryland SPCA, and the Baltimore Humane Society.

From June 1 through 21 Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) and the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MD SPCA) adopted out 344 cats. Information about the campaign is available at Baltimore500.org.

Adoption fees for cats and kittens are being waived for the entire month, and six local veterinary clinics are offering free exams for cats and kittens adopted at participating shelters in June.


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