The west’s version of kudzu — a noxious weed known as Dyer’s woad — is being sniffed out by specially trained dogs as part of a program in Montana aimed at eradicating the fast-spreading, yellow blooming, Russian-born member of the mustard family.
First found in Montana in 1934, the weed, native to southeast Russia, can grow four inches in a week, produce as many as 10,000 seeds, send its roots five feet underground and climb waist high, leaving little room for native plants.
That’s where the dogs come in.
Deb Tirmenstein and her dogs — a Labrador named Wibaux and a border collie called Seamus — joined Montana’s Dyer’s woad eradication project in 2011.
Wibaux, initially trained to find cadavers, and Seamus, who was rescued from a Bozeman shelter, now scramble up and down mountains sniffing out pockets of the weed. When they find some, they get a treat, and the weed gets sprayed with herbicides.
The project grew out of research conducted at Montana State University, acording to an article by the Montana State University News Service, published in the Helena Independent Record.
Montana Dyer’s Woad Cooperative Project started in 1984, and it has seen the weed’s presence drop from 17 counties down to seven – Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Carbon, Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula and Park.
The dogs are just the most recent tool in the battle.
Kim Goodwin, a research associate in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in MSU’s College of Agriculture, started investigating the possibility of using dogs to detect noxious weeds when she was a master’s degree student at MSU.
Goodwin’s research showed that dogs and people complement each other when looking for noxious weeds. People can spot large flowering patches of the plants ; dogs can detect single plants, even before they start sprouting.
“Through our research, we found they are able to detect twice as many small plants as the surveyors do,” Goodwin said.
This year on Mount Sentinel in Missoula the dogs detected about 40 locations that humans missed, said Goodwin, whose original research used German shepherds and focused on knapweed.
Goodwin said she got the idea for using dogs to detect noxious weeds after reading about the ”Beagle Brigade,” which inspects luggage and boxes for the USDA at U.S. airports and ports of entry.
Trainers introduced Wibaux to Dyer’s woad by hiding the weed inside a box with holes in the lid and placing the box next to boxes containing other weeds.
When Wibaux realized she would receive a treat or get to retrieve a ball every time she detected Dyer’s woad, she started honing in on it.
(Photos of Wibaux and Seamus by Sepp Jannotta / MSU)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, border collie, control, Deb Tirmenstein, detection, dogs, dyers woad, eradication, idaho, kim goodwin, labrador, montana, montana state university, nature, noxious, pets, program, research, retriever, science, seamus, sniff, sniffing, weed, weeds, west, wibaux, woad
Codi, before she blacked out, called for her mother, but her mother didn’t hear her.
Her dog Mickey did.
The 8-year-old Alaskan Eskimo dog woke up Codi’s mother, Debbie Denning, who found her daughter in the middle of what doctors would later say was a pregnancy-related seizure.
“She was not responsive, limp, sweaty,” Denning, of Idaho Falls, told Local News 8.
Denning called 911, and Roberston was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where her baby boy was delivered two months premature via C-section.
Doctors told the pair that both Codi and the baby could have died had Denning not reached her daughter when she did.
Codi said the baby, named Wyatt — 10 days old today — will be in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit until November.
As for Mickey: “She’s one amazing dog,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby, birth, codi robertson, dog, dogs, hero, hospital, idaho, idaho falls, mickey, pets, pregnant, seizure, teen, teenager
About four months ago, I gave Petside.com a hard time for choosing Dallas as the second-most dog friendly city in America — this just after the Big D bestowed the key to the city on Michael Vick.
My point — and I did have one — was that a city’s dog friendliness is, or should be, based on more than mathematical formulas that tally how many groomers, pet boutiques, veterinarians, etc., it has per capita.
Now, along comes Dog Fancy magazine with its picks — based on similar criteria — for the five dog-friendliest cities in 2011.
Among them: Santa Cruz, Calif., which for 33 years has banned dogs from part of its downtown area.
True, the ban — finally — has been lifted, conditionally, effective this week. And true, there are other very dog-friendly parts of Santa Cruz, including some beaches, and plenty of fine services as well. But a city that has banned dogs from its main drag for three decades being chosen as among the dog-friendliest in the nation?
Were I one of the other cities vying for the honor, I’d have a bone to pick with that.
The world’s most widely read dog magazine, as Dog Fancy calls itself, named Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the winner of the 2011 DogTown USA competition, saluting it as America’s most dog-friendly city.
While we couldn’t agree more with Dog Fancy’s top choice last year — Provincetown, Mass., as we showed you during our travels, is indeed highly dog friendly — we have some trouble with this year’s selections.
The other three cities in the top five were Bend, Oregon; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Doylestown, Pa., where, earlier this month, a dog was found to have been given poisoned hot dogs and shot 32 times — allegedly by his owner, the golf course superintendent — while tied to fence of the Doylestown Country Club.
The acts of one deranged person shouldn’t blow a city’s chance at being proclaimed “dog-friendliest,” but we do think the number of animal cruelty cases that surface in a city should be a small part of any formula assessing dog friendliness.
The criteria used to select winners in the Dog Fancy contest — sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods and Wahl Clipper – include the amount of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, veterinarians, pet supply stores and other services, events celebrating dogs and their owners, and municipal laws that support and protect pets.
“Journalist Barbara Walters has saluted Coeur d’Alene as one of her favorite cities, calling it a little slice of heaven,” Dog Fancy Editor Ernie Slone said in announcing the results — though, Barbara being human, what the heck that has to do with anything I don’t know.
“What we discovered is that whether a dog likes a place to run and hike, loves to mingle downtown, or needs a new home, dogs and their owners have it made in Coeur d’Alene, a little slice of dog heaven.”
Slone traveled to Coeur d’Alene to present $5,000 to the Kootenai County Dog Park Association. Additionally, Natural Balance Pet Foods will donate 1,000 pet food meals to Kootenai Humane Society on behalf of Coeur d’Alene, and 500 pet food meals to each of the regional winners.
Given all that, I don’t want to totally disrespect these lists and the organizations that put them together, but I will suggest that they are not as much about truth or reality as they are about politics, public relations and sales.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bend, cities, coeur dalene, contest, dallas, dog fancy, dog fancy magazine, dog friendliest, dog friendly, doylestown, formula, idaho, key to the city, knoxville, kootenai county dog park, list, lists, michael vick, natural balance, petside, picks, politics, provincetown, public relations, reality, sales, santa cruz, wahl clippers
Breed: Saint Bernard
Encountered: At a rest area in western Montana, just a couple of miles before the Idaho state line.
Backstory: Charlie, a female with a sweet disposition, was headed back home to Seattle from a road trip to Wisconsin. She lumbered out of the car to meet Ace, but Ace was more interested in the treats her owner — a former Baltimore resident — had in her pocket. Ace and Charlie stared at each other, sniffed, and munched some more treats together before doing their business and climbing back into their respective cars and rolling through Idaho.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, charlie, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounter, encounters, idaho, montana, pets, rest area, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, saint bernard, st. bernard, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota are the five best states in the country to be an animal abuser — making them the five worst states in which to be an animal.
Based on an analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes, a new report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund recognizes the states where animal law has real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky – the single worst in the nation again this year for animal protection laws – where animal abusers get off the easiest.
The annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the comprehensiveness and strength of their animal protection laws. Maryland falls in the bottom 15 states.
The legislative weaknesses seen in the states at the bottom of the animal protection barrel include severely restricted or absent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting provisions, and lack of restrictions on the future ownership of animals for those convicted of cruelty to animals.
Many state laws have improved since ALDF’s last state rankings report was released in 2008; Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country in 2009 due to a host of statutory improvements.
On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged from the 2008 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon demonstrating through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty; Illinois was ranked the best for the strength of its laws protecting animals.
“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws. Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protections that our country’s animals need and deserve,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report.
“Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. Especially important during our country’s current recession are laws that help to save limited community resources by reducing the costs of caring for abused animals and ensuring that those who are responsible for such crimes shoulder this burden instead of taxpayers and private interests. While animals do not vote, those who love and care about them certainly do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”
ALDF was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, including a copy of the state rankings report, visit www.aldf.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, aldf, animal, animal fighting, animal law, animal legal defense fund, best, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, felony, hawaii, idaho, kentucky, law, laws, legislation, legislatures, map, mississippi, north dakota, protection, provisions, rankings, report, state, states, welfare, worst
A dog in Idaho fell down a 270-foot deep well, spent 24 hours at the bottom of it, and survived.
Jordan, a 10-year-old English pointer, suffered a broken back and a bruised heart, and veterinarians said it’s it’s almost inconceivable that she’s still alive, KIVI reported. (Click the photo above for the video report.)
After lowering a video camera down the well to determine the dog was still alive, rescuers hauled her up. She spent five hours in surgery. Veterinarians say there is a 50 percent chance she will regain use of back legs.
Either way, her owner is happy to have her back. “She has this will to live, I think, that’s unbelievable,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: broken back, dog, english pointer, fall, idaho, jordan, miracle, surgery, survived, survives, veterinary, video, well
Nobody has busted out of the Idaho Correctional Center in more than 20 years, and prison officials say the credit goes to the Dirty Two Dozen — a team of snarling guard dogs that patrol the perimeter.
Their names sound friendly enough – Cookie, Bongo and Chi Chi among them — but the dogs, they say, are a mean lot, former death row inmates deemed too dangerous to be pets. Most would have been euthanized at the local pound if not for the prison duty that served as their reprieve.
The program began in 1986, when 24 dogs — German shepherds, Rottweilers and Belgian malinois, boxers and pit bulls — were placed in the space between the inner and outer chain-link fences that surround the prison.
The canines require no salary, don’t join unions and are more reliable during power outages than electrical security systems. They also seem to have a powerful deterrent effect.
“We’re basically giving them a second chance at a good, healthy life,” Corrections Officer Michael Amos, who heads the sentry dog program, told the Associated Press. ”Those same instincts that make them a bad pet make them good sentries.”
“The average offender has no problem engaging in a fight with a correctional officer — they’re used to fighting with humans. But they don’t want to mess with a 100-pound rottweiler who has an attitude and who wants to bite the snot out of them for climbing that fence,” said James Closson, a dog trainer in Boise. He arranged the donation of some overaggressive dogs to the prison when the sentry program was new.
Over the years, the dogs have bitten handlers, badly mauling a staff member who in the late 1990s entered the kennel without first making sure all the animals were caged. But no inmates locked up at the prison have been bitten, authorities said.
Interestingly, the prison also has a program in which inmates train and care for shelter dogs, designed to give the dogs a better chance of getting adopted. But those dogs, though they may have behavioral issues, aren’t as hard core as those that guard the fence.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam golfarb, angus love, belgian malinois, boise, boxers, center, correctional, corrections, criminals, deterrence, deterrent, dogs, escapes, fence, guard, humane society, idaho, mean, pennsylvania institutional law project, perimeter, pit bulls, prison, prisoners, rottweilers, sentries, shepherds
Dogs from the Pocatello Animal Shelter in Idaho are being used in a “surgical skills” lab at Idaho State University, where participants meet once a year to perform tracheotomies, and practice inserting chest tubes and catheters.
When the doctors are done practicing, the animals are euthanized.
According to an Associated Press report, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has condemned the program, and asked that it switch to using mannequins instead of dogs.
Officials with the Idaho Committee on Trauma, which sponsors the yearly surgical skills lab at Idaho State University, say mannequins aren’t as effective for training as live animals. They say they’ve offered the training for 25 years without complaint.
“I’m disappointed this group would suggest we’re doing something illegal, because we’re not,” said ISU professor Alex Urfer, the school’s physical and occupational therapy program chairman. He said his program was accredited three weeks ago by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animals.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine told the Idaho State-Journal it plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month, alleging the ISU lab violates the federal Animal Welfare Act. He said said the ISU lab uses sedatives and shock collars to keep dogs docile.
According to the organization, based in Washington D.C., only a handful of 200 Advanced Trauma Life Support classes in the country still use live animals for training.
“We have been able to communicate information with other facilities to change their practices,” Dr. John J. Pippin said. “We’re hoping that the light of day will cause people to say, ‘Gosh, we should have stopped using this a long time ago.’”