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Tag: inspections

NBC report questions AKC inspections

The American Kennel Club is doing a much better job of protecting bad breeders than it is protecting dogs.

That’s the gist of this investigative report that aired yesterday on NBC’s  “Today” show

The accusations aren’t exactly new, and weren’t exactly uncovered by NBC, but it’s good to see the issue getting some national attention.

The AKC, investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen notes, calls itself ”the dog’s champion …

“But critics say there’s an ugly reality you don’t see: Some AKC breeders raising diseased dogs, malnourished, living in their own filth. It’s so disturbing that now two of the country’s largest animal welfare groups, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society, are condemning the AKC.”

The report included an interview with one dog owner, who purchased a Great Dane from a kennel  only weeks after that kennel was inspected by the AKC and found in compliance. The puppy turned out to have intestinal parasites, an upper respiratory infection and a congenital eye defect.

“Law enforcement went into the kennel just two months later, and rescued dozens of dogs,” Rossen reported.

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, is featured heavily in the report, and makes the point that the AKC should be working with animal welfare groups to protect dogs instead of protecting bad breeders and fighting laws that would crack down on them.

AKC Director of Communications Lisa Peterson, also interviewed for the report, says she would give the AKC an “A” for its inspection program.

But when the reporter asked how many breeders are producing AKC-registered dogs, she said, “That’s a great question. We don’t know.” And when asked what percentage of AKC registered breeders end up getting inspected, she wouldn’t offer a ball park figure.

“We do thousands of inspections annually,” Peterson said. “We’ve done 55,000 inspections since the year 2000.”

“But what percentage of breeders actually get inspected?”

“… I don’t have that figure,” Peterson said. “I’m sorry.”

Peterson said there are nine AKC inspectors in the U.S. Asked “Do you think that’s an adequate number?” she said, ”That’s the number that we have.”

BBB confirms Missouri is tops in puppy mills

missouriMissouri is the puppy mill capital of America — even the St. Louis Better Business Bureau says so.

A study by the BBB says the state — home to 30 percent of the nation’s large scale, federally licensed puppy sellers – has no hope of keeping the industry in check.

The state has four times more puppy mills than the next highest state, according to Chris Thetford, of the St. Louis BBB.

“Consumers end up with diseased animals from the outset, which ultimately end up costing them large amounts of money in veterinarian bills, and that was what motivated our study,” Thetford told KMOX News.

According to the BBB study, Missouri law mandates yearly on-site checkups of the state’s 1,800 licensed dog breeders, but there are only about a dozen inspectors, who also have other duties.

“Ultimately the issue is that there are so many puppy breeders in the state of Missouri, and a lack of ability of the state government to keep up with those, which leads to an ineffective enforcement of the laws.”

The bureau recommended raising annual licensing fees, which have stayed the same for nearly two decades, and better educating consumers to adopt pets from a shelter.

Are dogs the answer to lax airport security?

Could dogs have prevented Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab from boarding a plane with explosives hidden in his underwear?

CNN asked the question yesterday — the answer to which is, with enough properly trained dogs, probably.

But explosives-detecting dogs, the report points out, aren’t generally trained to sniff out humans, and having them do so might raise some privacy concerns.

Still, those quoted in the report say, something as low-tech as dogs could be our best solution to the problem.

“The fact that this individual showed up with a one-way ticket, purchased with cash and no checked baggage — he should have been pulled aside,” said security expert Larry Berg, a consultant with Berg Associates. “And at that point, if inspected by a dog, he literally could have been detected.”

“A well-trained dog and a very good, well-trained handler can find explosives with little or no false alarms,” said trainer Patrick Beltz said. “And if they had been doing it, it might have deterred him from trying to get on the plane in the first place.”

About 700 bomb-sniffing dogs currently work at U.S. airports, and they are trained to detect up to a dozen different explosive compounds, including PETN, the compound that AbdulMutallab is alleged to have smuggled aboard Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on December 25.

The report also looks at research underway at Auburn University in Alabama, where dogs are being used to sniff not people, but the air they leave in their wake when they pass by. The Auburn trainers believe their dogs can detect very small traces of explosives and then follow the trail to the person carrying a bomb.

NC Senate passes puppy mill bill

The North Carolina Senate narrowly passed a bill that will require licenses and set of basic standards for large dog breeding operations.

S.B. 460, intended to crack down on abusive puppy mills, passed the state senate by a vote of 23 to 22.

The bill calls upon the Department of Agriculture to establish basic humane care standards. It requires facilities with more than 10 female dogs and more than 30 puppies to register with the state, undergo yearly inspections and provide proper veterinary care.

The Humane Society of the United States applauded the bill’s passage.

“Citizens in North Carolina want to see the state crack down on puppy mills,” said Amanda Arrington, The HSUS’ North Carolina state director. “We urge the House to move quickly to enact this important legislation to prevent further animal suffering and protect consumers.”

In February, The HSUS and local authorities rescued more than 300 dogs from two abusive North Carolina puppy mills. The dogs were housed in filthy, cold, cramped cages without access to exercise, adequate veterinary care, or human contact. Many of the dogs were covered with feces and suffered from severe skin and eye infections. Some had chain collars embedded in their necks.

A similar bill was passed in Virginia in 2008 after a large puppy mill raid there.

Nearly 100 dogs seized in Pa. kennel closure

A Lancaster County dog kennel that continued to operate even when denied a license was shut down Sunday by state dog wardens, who removed 96 dogs.

Ervin Zimmerman, owner of the Ephrata kennel, had fought to keep his dog breeding operation in business since the state revoked his kennel license in 2007.

On Dec. 5, a Lancaster County judge granted an injunction request from the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and gave Zimmerman 14 days to shut down his kennel. He was to keep no more than 25 dogs, the maximum allowed without a kennel license.

Dog wardens and officers from the Humane League of Lancaster County inspected the property Sunday and removed all but five of Zimmerman’s personal farm dogs. The dogs seized during Sunday’s inspection are now with the Humane League. Read more »