House Bill 956 would create a new “aggressive dog” classification for pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and any dogs “that are predominantly” a mix of those, WRAL reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said of those breeds, ”I don’t want to say those were the ones with the most incidents, but they were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”
In other words, the proposed legislation doesn’t let facts get in the way.
Under the bill, prospective “aggressive breed” owners would have to undergo a criminal background check, apply and pay for a special state permit, notify their property insurer, and take a 4-hour education course before adopting, buying, or “otherwise taking possession of” one of the dogs.
Moore said the idea was brought to him by a concerned constituent.
“There needs to be some kind of accountability,” Moore said. “A lot of people breed them the wrong way. You have very harsh incidents of these dogs maiming children, maiming older folks, and sometimes even turning on their owner.”
The bill calls for county sheriff’s to provide the criminal background checks and report the findings to the state Department of Insurance. It would have the authority to deny a permit to anyone whose background check “is not suitable for the ownership of a dog belonging to an aggressive dog breed.”
The “aggressive dog permit” could cost as much as $25. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance could require additional insurance coverage be taken out by owners of the dogs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it, saying I’m trying to blacklist these dogs, and that’s not the intent,” Moore said. “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds.”
The representative’s email address is Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, background checks, bill, breeds, charlotte, chow, dog, dogs, fee, hb 956, house bill 956, insurance, law, legislature, mastiff, mixes, north carolina, ownership, permit, pets, pit bull, presa canario, proposal, representative, restrict, rodney moore, rottweiler, wolf hybrid
A Toledo-area rescue group is recovering from storm damage, but it’s facing repair bills nearly as big as its annual budget.
“Our annual operating budget is only about $2,000,” said Jane Huth, founder and president of You Lucky Dog in Oregon, Ohio. “This is really a huge hit for us because we are not very big.”
Storms caused the city sewer drain to back up into the facility, and while insurance covered much of the clean up, it didn’t cover the $1,500 bill to replace the waterlogged drywall and flooring, Huth said.
Huth said she went to the kennels where the group’s rescue dogs are kept after the storm and saw “water creeping toward the kennels … I knew I had to do something fast,” she said. She created a dam in front of where three dogs resided to keep the water from reaching them, according to the Toledo Blade.
The nonprofit organization, funded through donations, rescues about 25 dogs a year, most of which come from the Lucas County dog warden, Huth said. It recently celebrated its 11th year in operation and its 550th adoption.
Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said the group houses about four dogs at a time, and has found homes for many dogs rescued from the county shelter, including litters of puppies, nursing moms and dogs recovering from injuries.
Tax-deductible donations to help the rescue group can be mailed to You Lucky Dog, 1510 Blandin St., Oregon, OH 43616.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animals, damage, dog, dogs, donations, flooding, insurance, jane huth, lucas county, nonprofit, ohio, oregon, organization, pets, rescue, storm, toledo, warden, you lucky dog
The Maryland General Assembly failed to pass emergency legislation that would have overruled a widely criticized court decision that labeled pit bulls as “inherently dangerous.”
Both the House and Senate, in a special summer session, approved versions of a bill that would have ended singling out pit bulls, but the differences were too “stark” to be worked out before the session ended, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“It will be difficult to come up with a compromise on dogs,” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said. Miller said the Senate would neither concur with the House changes nor go to a conference committee.
The attempt at new legislation came after the state’s highest court ruled that pit bulls are inherently dangerous, upholding a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that imposed a higher liability standard on pit bulls than other dogs.
That stemmed from a 2007 dog bite case in which a 10-year-old boy’s family sued the dog owner’s landlord. The trial court judge threw out the lawsuit, ruling the landlord hadn’t been proven negligent. The Court of Appeals reviewed the case and decided no proof of negligence is necessary in the case of pit bulls.
Protests from pit bull lovers and animal welfare organizations led the General Assembly to take up the matter — along with gambling — in a special summer session.
Many say the court rulings have already led to landlords kicking out pit bull-owning tenants, or forcing them to surrender their dogs to animal shelters.
The Senate crafted legislation that required all dogs to be treated the same when it comes to determining liability in civil suits — but rather than mandating pit bulls be held to the same standard as other dogs, its proposal held all other dogs to the same standard as pit bulls. The Senate-passed law did away with the common law standard in Maryland that in effect allows a dog “one free bite.”
The House version maintained the “one free bite” rule, applying the stricter standard only in cases where dogs are running loose.
The Humane Society of the United States said it was disappointed the General Assembly failed to pass a bill before the special session adjourned.
“Due to their inaction, thousands of Maryland families may be forced to choose either their dogs or their homes in the next four months, until the General Assembly comes back in January,” said Tami Santelli, Maryland senior state director for The HSUS.
The HSUS said the court ruling has ”forced many Maryland residents to choose between their homes and their beloved pets, and has forced landlords and property managers to try to determine whether dogs are pit bulls or not. With the General Assembly’s inaction, these impacts are expected to multiply.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, breed-specific, breeds, dangerous, dogs, emergency, failed, fails, general assembly, house, hsus, humane society of the united states, inherently dangerous, insurance, laws, legislation, liability, limbo, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, renters, senate, session, shelters, solesky, special, standards, tami santelli, tenants, types, versions
After collecting $3,500 from the insurance company of a woman whose car rear-ended him, a Washington man apparently decided to return to the well — this time informing her insurer that his cat died in the accident, too.
Although more than two years had passed, he asked for $20,000 for the death of his beloved cat, Tom, and, when requested, he sent the insurance company some photos.
As it turned out, the only place he’d spent anytime with the cat, who he claimed to love “like a son,” was on Wikipedia.
Yevgeniy Samsonov, 29, was charged with insurance fraud and attempted theft, according to the Seattle Times.
According to the charges filed in Pierce County, Samsonov didn’t have a cat, and the photos he submitted to bolster his claim had both been copied from the Internet.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a news release.
In his initial claim, Samsonov said he required chiropractic treatment after his car was rear-ended in March 2009 while stopped at a traffic light in Tacoma. The other driver told her insurance company, Pemco, that her foot had slipped off the brake.
Two years later, Samsonov asked Pemco for more money to compensate him for his lost cat. The insurer sent Samsonov a check for $50, but Samsonov said, given the cat’s intense sentimental value, that didn’t begin to cover his loss.
When Pemco agents asked Samsonov for photos of the cat , he submitted two, which he claimed to have taken himself, according to court documents. Then a Pemco employee did a Google search and turned up the same images Samsonov had submitted, according to the insurer. The two pictures turned out to be of different cats, one from Wikipedia, and one from another website.
They refused to pay him any more money, and revoked the $50 check. Samsonov appealed to the state insurance commissioner’s office.
That led to an investigation and the filing of charges against him.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, car, cat, cats, charges, claim, death, fraud, insurance, insurers, internet, investigation, news, pets, photos, scam, strange, tacoma, washington, weird, wikipedia
The National Fire Dog Monument, a memorial to accelerant-detecting dogs, is scheduled to arrive today in Washington.
Over the weekend, the sculpture stopped in Bloomington, about halfway through a 12-city, 2,000-mile tour that began in Denver, where it was created. The tour is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and the American Humane Association.
“From Ashes to Answers” is a sculpture of a firefighter looking down at his Labrador retriever. Its destination, and forever home, will be Fire Station No. 3 in Washington.
You can learn more about the monument, which acknowledges the work of accelerant-detecting dogs used in arson investigations, at the monument’s website.
The life-sized, 450-pound statue was conceived by Jerry Means, an arson investigator from Colorado, and sculpted by Denver-area firefighter Austin Weishel.
“The work that the dogs do really inspired me to create something where they can be recognized and so, four years ago, we started raising money,” Means told The Pantagraph. “We raised over $100,000 and are bringing recognition to these dogs who are so important in finding out who or what is responsible for fires.”
Weishel, a 22-year-old, self-taught sculptor, spent more than 1,500 hours completing the project.
“It’s something I enjoy doing and being a firefighter myself, I made sure I took the time and effort to get every detail exactly right,” he said.
Photo: Sculptor Austin Weishel of Colorado and Bruce Abbott, a member of the Bloomington Township Fire Department, next to the sculpture; by Lori Ann Cook-Neisler / The Pantagraph)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accelerant, animals, arson, austin weishel, bloomington, detecting, detection, dogs, fire, insurance, investigations, jerry means, memorial, national fire dog monument, pets, sculptor, sculpture, state farm, tour, washington
Forbes, the magazine best known for listing the world’s richest people, now brings us a list of the riskiest dog breeds.
Or at least what insurance companies say are the riskiest dog breeds.
The magazine, to its credit, makes a point of saying the breeds aren’t the likeliest to bite, but, as the article points out, that often doesn’t matter to your insurance company.
The list starts out with Rottweilers, pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds — the breeds that most seem to frighten insurers.
And when insurers get frightened, you, the insuree, usually pay the price.
Fearing lawsuits from people hurt or bitten by dogs, companies offering homeowners and renters insurance are pickier than ever about which types of dogs they’ll insure, said Jeff McCarthy, an agent with Harrington Insurance Agency in Woburn, Mass.
Insurance companies, the article points out, may deny you a policy, or drop you like a hot potato if your “risky” dog causes harm, or even if he doesn’t.
That leaves you having to find a carrier that will cover your dog, which could cost more. It could also mess up your bundling discount.
While some people try to skirt the issue by not telling their insurance company about a new dog, insurers say that is risky.
“If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t disclose this information, the insurance company may deny your claim,” one said. “That could cost you thousands and it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Spoken like a true insurer.
Most commonly, insurance companies tend to resist covering these 11 types of dogs — or any mix of these breeds:
1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
2. Doberman Pinschers
4. German Shepherds
6. Great Danes
7. Presa Canarios
9. Alaskan Malamutes
10. Siberian Huskies
The article concludes:
“This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a pit bull — those little guys can be pretty darn lovable! — or another kind of ‘risky’ dog, but you should call your insurance agent to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, akita, alaskan malamutes, animals, breeds, chow chow, dangers, doberman pinschers, dogs, forbes, german shepherds, great danes, homeowners, insurance, list, perceptions, pets, pit bulls, presa canarios, renters, riskies, risks, risky, rottweiler, siberian huskies, stereotypes, wolf hybrids
That’s what most often leads owners of ailing pets to the veterinarian, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance.
VPI, which describes itself as the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, sorted its database of 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2011.
Ear infections, skin allergies and skin infections were the most common reasons for dogs to visit the vet.
With cats, the top three were bladder infections, chronic kidney disease and over-active thyroids.
“The large number of claims received for these medical conditions attests to their common, often repetitive, and sometimes chronic nature,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.
“While many pet owners fear major accidents and illnesses, which can cost thousands of dollars to treat for a single incident, repetitive and chronic conditions can be just as detrimental to a pet’s quality of life and financially burdensome to the pet owner.”
In 2011, VPI received more than 62,000 canine claims for ear infections. The average claim fee was $98 per office visit. For cats, bladder infections were most common, with an average claim amount of $233 per office visit.
The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous skin growth) cost an average of $220 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphosarcoma) cost an average of $426 per visit
Here are the top 10 conditions dogs for which dogs were treated, according to the VPI study:
1. Ear Infection
2. Skin Allergies
3. Skin Infection
4. Non-cancerous Skin Growth
5. Upset Stomach
6. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
8. Bladder Infection
9. Bruise or Contusion
10. Underactive Thyroid
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, animals, arthritis, bladder infections, cats, chronic kidney disease, common, dogs, ear, expense, growth, health, illnesses, infection, insurance, insurance claims, list, most, over active thyroid, pets, reasons, skin allergies, skin infections, stomach, top ten, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary pet insurance, vets, visits
When we hear about it, we like to pounce on big dog discrimination before it happens.
So let’s talk about Middletown, New York, where city officials think it would be a good idea to require all renters whose dogs tip the scales at more than 25 pounds to carry liability insurance.
This makes about as much sense as Wausau, Wisconsin’s two-dog limit, our topic Friday.
What fear-mongering, fact-ignoring, bandwagon-jumping city officials need to get through their heads, once and for all, is that it’s not the size of the dog, the breed of the dog, or even the number of dogs that cause dog problems — it’s the dog owner.
Be it “nuisance” or “danger” they are trying to protect us from, that’s who they need to be going after.
Not family’s like the Lecker’s in Wausau, who have four dogs, but bought a house not knowing the town limited households to two, and now face a choice between moving or ditching two dogs.
And not responsible dog-owning renters who, in the case of Middletown, might find themselves paying up to $300 a year to ensure any dog bigger than a breadbox.
Singling out breeds and setting arbitrary weight limits is doggie discrimination, pure and simple. (We’d argue the proposed Middletown law discriminates against renters as well.)
In Middletown, the Common Council is looking at a proposal that would require tenants to get at least $100,000 worth of liability insurance on dogs weighing over 25 pounds, according to the Times Herald-Record.
The proposed law is in response to a rising number of dog bites, city officials said. According to Mayor Joe DeStefano dog bites are covered under most homeowners’ policies, so the law would target only renters. The proposal doesn’t single out any breeds, but city officials have said they are concerned about the rising number of pit bulls in the city.
The city says there were 94 reported dog bites in Middletown over the past three years. Of them, 79 were from “large-breed” dogs, 37 of them from pit bulls or pit bull mixes. It also says two city employees have been attacked by pit bulls in recent months while on the job.
I wonder how many of those pit bulls were really pit bulls, as opposed to a convenient designation. I wonder, in the case of all those ”pit bull mixes,” why what else is in the mix isn’t mentioned. And I wonder, when it comes to those “large-breed” dogs doing the majority of the biting, if the city is referring to all dogs over 25 pounds.
But what I wonder most of all, since the requirement would do nothing to actually address the problem, is what purpose — beyond fattening up insurance companies — it would serve.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, big dogs, big dow owners, city, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, insurance, landlords, laws, liability, mandatory, middletown, new york, nuisance, pets, renters, required, requirement, tenants, wausau, wisconsin
Ohio Gov. John Kasich yesterday signed a bill that repeals the 25-year-old state law that automatically declared pit bulls vicious.
Once the new law takes effect, in 90 days, shelters will be able to allow them to be adopted, owners will no longer be required to buy additional liability insurance and pit bulls will be free of the restrictions imposed when the state declared them, based on their looks, a public enemy.
House Bill 14 was overwhelmingly approved 67-30 by the state House on Feb. 8.
In addition to dropping any reference to specific breeds, the new law redefines what makes a dog “vicious.”
The old law defined a vicious dog as one that, without provocation, has seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or belongs to the general breed of pit bull.
Dogs so labeled required additional liability insurance, restraints and were subject to other restrictions.
The new law revises the definitions for vicious, as well as the categories of “dangerous” or “nuisance” dogs. It also requires a dog warden to provide proof of why a dog deserves such a classification, and creates a process for dog owners to appeal law enforcement’s labeling of their dogs.
“A well-meaning but poorly conceived law is no more, and it represents a victory for Ohio dogs and their people,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based organization that opposes laws that discriminate against certain breeds of dog.
“It ends the practice of causing undue hardship to thousands of responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets,” he added.
Best Friends said it hopes that the Florida’s legislature follows suit, and votes to change a similarly archaic law in Miami-Dade County, the only county in Florida where pit bulls are banned.
“The change in Ohio law truly signals a new day for dogs that for years have been discriminated against just because of their looks — the same type of discrimination that’s been going on in Miami-Dade County for years,” said Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends.
Legislation that would repeal the Miami pit bull ban is under consideration in Florida, and recently passed through two more committees.
Florida outlawed canine profiling in 1990, but Miami-Dade County’s 1989 pit bull ban was grandfathered in. Hundreds of dogs and puppies are seized and killed in Miami-Dade every year because of their appearance, Best Friends says.
Ohio was the only state in the country to declare a type of dog vicious, based solely on appearance with no consideration of behavior.
(Photo: A smiling pit bull, from the website Three Little Pitties)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, automatic, bans, best friends, breed, breed based, breed-specific, breeds, dade county, dangerous, definition, discrimination, dog, dogs, governor, inherent, insurance, john kasich, law, legislation, liability, miami, nuisance, ohio, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, profiling, redefine, repeal, restraints, restrictions, signed, vicious
Better yet, I’ll spell it out: Single White Male in search of Single Female Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and by LTR I mean not just long term relationship, but marriage.
I might be willing to give the institution another try, but only with a veterinarian.
This decision is based not only on certain financial realities with which I am confronted, not solely on being a journalist without a real job, but on my belief that anyone who has devoted her life to dogs — as long as they are not all self-righteous about it, or hoarding them — is going to be a good person.
So, yes, I plan to marry, and live happily ever after with, a yet-to-be-chosen veterinarian.
(The unidentified one in the photo above, which I found by Googling, would be fine, but I’m not sure if she’s a veterinarian or a model, or, since her left hand is hidden behind the dog’s ear, whether she’s spoken for.)
In the interest of being totally frank, even though my name is John — nice to meet you, do you come here often? – I will reiterate that at least part of this life choice is based on practical, in addition to any romantic, interests.
Ace is nearly 7, beginning to get up there for a big dog. I am 58 (though, by making it a point to take poor care of myself, I can manage to still pass for 60). I’m feeling quite fine today, but Ace is showing signs of another ailment.
He has taken to acting like a cow, but only at night.
While seeming otherwise fine, he has been exhibiting two unusual behaviors. The first is standing like a cow, declining both offers and orders to lay down. When he does finally consent to joining me on the couch, or bed, he insists on putting the front third of his body on top of me.
None of his appendages seem to be bothering him, and I’ve manipulated them all to no end. No other spot I press on seems to cause him any pain. His symptoms are not like those back-related ones he was experiencing a few months ago. He acts mostly normal during the day, but once night falls, he becomes a cow.
He’s eating regularly, his bowel movements are on schedule and his stool seems fine. (Mine, too, in case any potential suitors are wondering.)
I have Googled myself silly trying to figure it out. At one point, I was convinced it was carbon monoxide poisoning, because he was standing by the door a lot, as if to say we must leave the premises at once. When he went out, though, he did nothing, except stand like a cow some more. I went out and bought a carbon monoxide detector. It hasn’t gone off.
Last night, I began suspecting bloat, even though what’s going in, food-wise, seems to be coming out, and he doesn’t seem inflated.
I’ve even asked myself if his ailment might be something other than physical — a cognitive disorder, though it seems to early, stemming from his advancing years. But then I forget that I’ve asked myself that.
Each day he seems fine, recovered, running, playing and happy, and I cancel my plan to take him to the veterinarian. Then at night he becomes an unmoving cow again, but, unlike a cow, seems anxious about something.
So he’s going back to his vet, who’s not an option when it comes to my plan to return to wedlock with a DVM, as he is a he and he is married.
But how wonderful would it be, now and moreso in the future, to have someone right in the same house who could observe Ace’s behavior and — contrary to my uneducated guesswork — come up with an immediate diagnosis and treatment plan?
To spare me from the anguish — and, despite any jest herein, it is anguish — that comes with knowing something is bothering your dog and not being able to figure it out?
And perhaps, even though her background is in dog health, to detect any excessive panting, or drooling, or other warning signs, that I might be exhibiting myself?
Til death do us part.
What I haven’t mentioned yet — because it’s a small thing, which has only a slight bearing on my love for veterinarians — is neither Ace nor I have health insurance, and we’re both getting to an age where that might be handy.
If I married a kindly, female, financially secure, unattached veterinarian, I can only assume Ace would get free medical care — given that Ace would become her dog, unless we parted ways, in which case, as spelled out in a pre-nuptial agreement, full custody of Ace would revert to me.
And if, in addition to making a good living from being a veterinarian, one of those rare careers that actually has a future, she had her own human medical insurance — the kind that covered spouses — that would be some highly appreciated icing on the cake. That would just make our bond even stronger.
I think we would be very happy together.
Yes, I kind of like time and space to myself. Yes, I probably work too much, definitely too much for a person who’s unemployed. True, I can’t shower you with luxurious or expensive things, but I do occasionally shower. I’m probably not “a catch.” As I’ve already stated, I will be 60 in a couple of years.
Nevertheless – and I”m going down on one knee now — I ask you, female veterinarian, will you marry me?
And, whatever your answer, can you help me back up?
(Photo: From Topcollegesonline)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ailment, ailments, animals, behavior, bloat, cow, diagnosis, dog, dogs, dvm, female, finances, health, health insurance, insurance, ltr, marriage, marry me, medicine, pets, proposal, sick, standing, symptoms, travels with ace, veterinarian, veterinary, wedlock