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Tag: kennels

Program works with Amish in southern Indiana to improve breeding conditions

odonamish

While Amish breeders are notorious for running puppy mills, some of those in southern Indiana are working with Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science to improve their breeding practices and, in the process, their reputations.

“It was time that we as breeders recognize that there are professionals out there that can help us and we need to involve them in our businesses,” said Levi Graber, a member of Odon’s Amish community who helps several breeders in the area.

Though the Amish aren’t known for reaching out, or letting people in, Graber contacted the university a few years ago about improving Amish-run breeding operations in the region. That led to a pilot program in which the operations are reviewed, and suggestions are made on how to improve them.

Already, those behind the program say, they’ve found that improving conditions and practices at the kennels leads to happier, healthier, better behaved dogs.

Under the program, which is open to non-Amish breeders as well, a set of voluntary standards will be created for breeders to follow, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

“Many folks hear about breeding and animal welfare and they don’t know what (breeders) actually do. They just want to put them out of business,” said Purdue’s Candace Croney, director of the animal welfare center.

Most dogs she and her team of researchers have observed have been in good physical health, Croney said, but some had room for improvement in their behavior. Some facilities’ dogs were loud and dogs became over-excited when they saw people, which Croney said indicated they weren’t used to seeing people often.

The research team advised those breeders to make sure something positive happens for the dogs, such as receiving a treat, every time someone comes into the kennel area. They also suggested letting the dogs out in the yard daily to exercise and socialize.

The changes made a big impact, Croney said. Over four months, the dogs in the kennel with the most behavioral issues became calmer when they saw people, and they physically looked better.

“We’ve seen a very positive impact on some of the things she recommends,” Graber said. “I’ve seen more contented, happy dogs.”

Once the trial program is complete, a third party will audit the breeders’ practices, Croney said.

Breeders who qualify will receive a certification that she said goes beyond the standards mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cover areas such as housing, sanitation, food, water and protection against extreme weather and temperatures.

Graber said the community feels fortunate to work with Purdue and emphasized that the breeders don’t want to sell puppies that disappoint anyone.

Not all Amish-run breeding operations are like those that end up on the news, noted Dale Blier, who works for Blue Ribbon Vet & Supply in Odon and sells supplies to many breeders in town.

“The majority of dog breeders in Indiana treat their dogs the same way they treat making furniture: They want to be the best at it they can,” he said.

(Photo: A child sits with puppies at a breeding operation in Odon that’s working with Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science program; by Levi Graber)

Good Newz, Bad Newz: Michael Vick’s house to become rehabilitation center for dogs

An animal rescue group says it has been able to raise enough money to make the down payment on Michael Vick’s former home in Virginia, which they plan to turn into a center for rescued dogs.

It will be called Good Newz (a play on Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels) Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.

The group Dogs Deserve Better announced on its website it had received an approval for a loan and hopes to close on the Surry County property that served as headquarter’s for Vick’s dogfighting operation in mid-May.

The group, which has already raised a third of the sale price,  is still raising money to pay off the remaining two-thirds — the amount the loan was approved for. They hope to build a fence around the property and start accepting dogs while they raise the money to build the facility, WVEC reported.

Members have previously said say they’d need an estimated $3 million to create the dog center, which would also serve as the new headquarters for the Pennsylvania-based rescue group.

After the forfeit of Vick’s five-bedroom, 15-acre property, potential buyers were few — in part because of a down real estate economy, maybe too, though real estate agents played it down, because of the horrors that occured there. Assessed at more than $700,000, the house is being purchased by Dogs Deserve Better for $595,000.

In an interview with Care2, DDB’s Tamira Thayne said,  “I felt when I was there that the dogs who lost their lives and suffered there welcomed us and were grateful to us for both preserving their memories, continuing the fight against dog abuse, and bringing happiness to a place of such sadness.”

DDB announced in February that it had obtained an option to purchase the property, located at 1915 Moonlight Road.

Vick served 21 months of a 23 month sentence in federal prison for bankrolling the dog fighting operation at the property. 

DDB plans to build a state of the art dog facility there, with help from volunteers and donations.

Thayne said the group hopes to house, train, and sent to adoptive homes about 500 dogs a year at first, moving up to 1,000 dogs a year. The group will be rehabilitating primarily dogs that been abused and  neglected, penned and chained.

“For us, having a standard shelter is not the answer, because we have to be teaching these dogs how to live within the home and family,” Thayne told Care 2. “So we want to design a center where they will be trained in a house setting every day, working one on one or in small groups with a human to assess and deal with issues and teach housetraining and people skills.”

For information on how to donate, visit the Dogs Deserve Better website.

Tibetan earthquake also took toll on mastiffs

The earthquake in northwest China that killed more than 2,000 people and left an estimated 100,000 homeless also took a huge toll on Tibetan mastiffs.

Officials say that 300 Tibetan mastiffs were crushed to death in the small Tibetan town of Yushu when their kennels collapsed in, and those that survived have been running wild and terrified without their owners.

Yushu, the breeding center for Tibetan mastiffs,  is believed to be home to as many as 20,000 members of the breed. 

The dogs — a status symbol in China, where they can sell at upwards of $100,000 — were once housed in elaborate kennels that lined the only road on the edge of the town. Now, the Times of London reports, they, like their human masters, are homeless.

The relief effort has seen about 8 tons of dog food have arrived in Yushu, where all local supply shops were razed in the earthquake.

(Photo: Joe Chan / Reuters)

22 greyhound deaths probed at Florida track

The owner and operator of a kennel at the Pensacola Greyhound Track neglected 22 dogs to the point that she had to have them euthanized, investigators in Florida say.

The State Department of Business and Professional Regulation initiated an investigation into Billie Ard, the owner of W.R. Etheredge Kennel at the track, after a tipster from a Florida greyhound rescue group reported animals had been neglected and euthanized.

Investigators said they found evidence that Ard’s greyhounds had been underfed, and kept in unsanitary conditions, TV station WEAR in Florida reported.

“Upon entering the kennel it was apparent from the overwhelming urine smell… that the bedding materials in the crates had not been cleaned in quite some time. The smell was so strong and overwhelming that it burned the eyes,” investigators reported. They noted that the dogs also appeared to be underfed.

In August of 2009, a local veterinarian euthanized 22 of the dogs.

“This severe case of animal neglect calls into question the ability of track management to monitor the health and welfare of dogs at their facility,” said Carey Theil of Grey2k USA, a national greyhound protection group.

Ard lost her license as a result of investigation, but does not face any criminal charges.

All of the dogs that were in Ard’s care at the time of the investigation have since been placed with other kennels or adopted out.

Trial for ex-owner of Almost Heaven begins

Testimony began yesterday in the trial for Derbe “Skip” Eckhart, accused of animal cruelty and dog law violations at the kennel he operated in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

The first witness, a state dog warden, described conditions at the Almost Heaven Kennel — shut down by authorities last year — as “foul,” according to the Allentown Morning Call.

“I couldn’t breathe. I wish I could give you what I smell in my mind right now. I’ll never forget it. Ever,” Kristin Donmoyer testified, recounting what she saw during an October 2008 raid at the kennel in Upper Milford Township

She said drains inside the kennel were filled with feces and stagnant liquid that could attract pests and promote disease. “This was foul,” Donmoyer testified. “You couldn’t walk past it without gagging.” She said she saw accumulations of feces, soiled and saturated animal bedding, “gunk” covered fencing, rusty pipes, exposed fiberglass and ripped up flooring.

The state Department of Agriculture found the violations to be so egregious, she said, that it revoked Eckhart’s breeding and boarding licenses.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad, in his opening statement Monday, had warned the jury that they would see some excrement in the trial:

”Are you gonna see turds? You betcha,” he said.

”That fella right there is Derbe ‘Skip’ Eckhart,” Conrad said during his opening. ”This fella right here loves dogs, loves critters … The problem with this guy is that Skip can’t say no to any mutt. That guy right there is just dumb enough to take your ugly dog.”

The defense attorney said Eckhart is the innocent victim of officials seeking media attention: ”Those folks at the Department of Agriculture and the SPCA love money and they love headlines,” he said. “What we have here is a man that loves animals and a government that loves headlines.”

Made in Maryland: Kuranda Beds take off

kurandaHard times for Mike Harding led to dogs around the world resting comfortably.

Harding got laid off from his Wall Street firm in 1987, and it was that setback that led him to start his own company — Kuranda Dog Beds in Glen Burnie, The Capital in Annapolis reported yesterday.

Quickly becoming an industry standard, and a fixture at kennels and shelters, the chew resistant, elevated cots are sold out of small office near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport — about 30,000 of them a year.

Harding says he never expected the dog bed to make a profit. Instead, he had higher hopes for another product — a roller that absorbs water from tennis courts and ball fields, called the Super Sopper. It never took off.

But Kurunda beds have since 1993 when Harding’s friend and investor, Paul Connolly, took the bed to a local kennel to gauge interest. The interest was there but the bed — the prototype was round — took up to much space.

That sent Harding back to the drawing board, where he came up with a new rectangular model.

“We immediately started making sales to boarding kennels, breeders, and hunters,” Harding said.

Since then, the bed has continued to evolve, and draw praise from kennels and shelters who need durable beds that stand up to high pressure washing.

All of the beds come out of the Glen Burnie building, where employees assemble the kits that are shipped to customers from Texas to Hong Kong.

In 2005, Connolly came up with the company’s “Donate a Bed” program, which allows anyone to use Kurunda’s website to buy a bed at wholesale and then donate it to a shelter. Forty of the donated beds recently went to Iraq for the dogs used by the military to sniff out explosives.

Shelter cancels plan to euthanize 50 dogs

Officials of a New Mexico animal shelter say they have canceled plans, announced earlier this week, to euthanize more than 50 dogs to make room for 12 pit bulls being held as evidence in a two-year-old court case.

The pit bulls were confiscated in 2007 from Daron and Duryea Scott amid allegations of dog fighting and animal abuse against the brothers. Those charges are still pending before the state’s appeals court, requiring the dogs to be held as evidence.

Dona Ana County animal control supervisor Curtis Childress had said the pit bulls were arriving Friday or Saturday at Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley because a grant covering their expenses at another site was expiring.

Because each would have required an individual cage, that would have meant euthanizing nearly 50 dogs now at the shelter, according to an Associated Press report.

Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison said yesterday that funds had been raised to allow the pit bulls to be sheltered at another site.