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.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, aspca, breeders, breeding, club, conditions, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society, humane society of the united states, inspections, investigative, jeff rossen, kennel, laws, legislation, nbc, news, pets, report, today, today show, wayne pacelle
California earned first place for the fourth year in a row, while South Dakota remained in last place in the Humane Society of the United States fourth annual “Humane State Ranking” report.
The HSUS graded all 50 states and Washington, D.C. on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.
Ohio was the most improved state, leaping ahead in the ranks by passing laws regulating puppy mills and the private possession of dangerous wild animals.
You can find the complete rankings here.
“Members of The Humane Society of the United States want to know what their state lawmakers are doing to improve animal welfare. Our Humane State Ranking report demonstrates which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
California stayed on top for the fourth year in a row by passing a number of new laws, including banning the hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Other top states included Massachusetts (tied for second place), which passed laws allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders, and banning gas chambers for euthanasia.
South Dakota earned the lowest score (51st place). Also in the bottom five were Idaho (50th place), Mississippi (49th place), North Dakota (48th place) and South Carolina (47th place).
South Dakota and North Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only two states in the country with no felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota voters rejected a ballot measure to increase penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty on the November 2012 ballot.
The rankings are based on 75 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic pets; companion animals; use of animals in research; farm animals; fur and trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, california, cruelty, dogs, euthanasia, farms, fighting, hsus, humane, humane society of the united states, Humane state ranking, hunting, laws, legislation, north dakota, penalties, pets, protection, puppy mills, rankings, south dakota, state, violence, wayne pacelle
Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico are 2012’s five best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
The national nonprofit organization compared animal protection laws of every state in the country, analyzing more than 4,000 pages of statutes, to reveal the state’s that are strongest on animal protection and those that are weakest.
The weakest of all? Kentucky, which the ALDF says was the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the sixth year in a row.
The report ranks all 50 states, and top honors went to Illinois, for the fifth year in a row. ALDF has been releasing the annual analysis for seven years.
Rounding out the top five states were Maine, California, Michigan, and Oregon, all of which demonstrated strong commitments to combating animal cruelty.
States that ranked poorly either lacked or made limited use of felony penalties for the worst types of animals abuse, had weak laws covering basic standards of care for animals, and no restrictions on convicted animal abusers getting news pets and animals.
In the survey, Kansas saw its ranking drop from sixth to 13th, primarily due to its “ag gag” law. Such laws, now existing in five states, make it illegal to covertly take photos or videos at factory farms and other animal facilities as part of undercover investigations.
Idaho was the fastest rising state, moving up from 52 to 44 due to its enactment of felony provisions for animal cruelty.
Since the first rankings report in 2006, more than half of all states and territories have experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws, ALDF says.
“We look forward to further progress in the upcoming year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “Regardless of ranking, each state and territory has ample room for improvement. We hope lawmakers will recognize the need for immediate improvement in animal protection laws across the nation. Although animals do not vote, those who love and protect them certainly do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, analysis, animal, animal legal defense fund, best, best and worst, bottom five, california, cruelty to animals, felony, illinois, iowa, kentucky, laws, maine, michigan, new mexico, north dakota, oregon, protection, report, south dakota, states, statutes, top five, worst
To hear Fox 2 in St. Louis tell it, a massive round up of pit bulls was underway last week in the small town of Sikeston, Missouri.
According to the Fox report (above), animal control officers were seizing pit bulls from homes around town — so many that the Sikeston shelter had to send 20 dogs to St. Louis to make room for all the pit bulls they were rounding up.
Other TV news operations, and the Standard Democrat in Sikeston, were quick to report that the Fox News account was a little off the mark.
Sikeston, which does have pit bull restrictions, picked up three dogs it said were not in compliance with the rules — but no roundup took place.
Wednesday’s Fox News report by Chris Hayes that Sikeston held a “pit bull round up day” led to dozens of calls to the newspaper, and a flurry of online alerts and notifications.
Hayes reported that he “found out about the program after learning about a sudden influx of dogs coming to the St. Louis area” and that it was “to make room for seized pit bulls.”
Sikeston City Manager Doug Friend said allegations that the city held a “pit bull round up day” weren’t true.
There are 32 pit bulls registered in Sikeston, according to Friend, and the city audits those on an annual basis.
“It’s not a big process,” he said. “We just basically drive by, verify that somebody that had a registered pit bull still lives at a registered address. Our plan was to just do our annual look.”
During that recent audit, three pit bulls were taken into custody for non-compliance with the city code. It requires that the owners of pit bulls and some other breeds register those pets with the city, carry liability insurance, and keep their dogs in a fully enclosed pen if they are outside.
KFVS also reported that the Fox report was misleading.
According to KFVS, about 30 dogs were shipped from the Sikeston shelter to no-kill shelters across the country, including one near St. Louis.
Friend told KFVS that the transfers, the seizures, and the TV report added up to fear quickly spreading among pit bull advocates, in Sikeston and around the country.
“To suggest and sensationalize the way that the news reporter did is … I’m at a loss for words” Friend said. “I mean, we’re a rural town of 18,000. We try to serve the public to the best of our ability. Everything we do is tailored to the health and safety of our citizens after extensive public comment.”
Of course, none of that is to suggest pit bull bans and restrictions make sense. They don’t.
But for a news organization to suggest, based on a couple of unconnected facts, that a round-up of all pit bulls is underway is a similar sort of fear-mongering — and one that’s neither fair nor balanced.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, bans, breed, breed-specific, dogs, fox 2, fox news, laws, media, missouri, news, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, restrictions, sikeston, st. louis, towns
The U.S. Senate has passed an anti-dogfighting measure that prohibits attendance at organized animal fights, and another bill that improves care for retired military dogs.
While it’s already a felony under federal law to stage animal fights, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which the Senate passed unanimously yesterday, is aimed at cracking down on the spectators who finance animal fights through admission fees and making bets. It also impose additional penalties for bringing a child to those events.
Animal welfare groups commended the Senate’s passage of the act, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). Blumenthal also introduced the measure calling for better care for retired military dogs.
“The U.S. Senate has recognized the canine heroes who serve in our military as well as dogs victimized in underground animal fighting rings, passing legislation for both,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA applauds Senator Blumenthal’s brilliant leadership in the twilight hours of this Congress, ensuring that animals in need will not be forgotten by federal lawmakers.”
The Senate passed a provision to help retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.
Both measures still need to be approved by the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acts, adoption, animal fighting, animals, apsca, attendance, bets, bills, care, children, dog fighting, dog fights, dogfighting, dogfights, dogs, laws, measures, military dogs, pets, prohibits, retired, retirement, spectators, support, veterinary, wagers
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
Reacting to protests that erupted after a court decision declaring all pit bull type dogs “inherently dangerous,” the Maryland Senate has approved a new dog bite law that holds all breeds — and their owners — to the same standard.
The bill, considered emergency legislation, now goes to House of Delegates. Once signed by the governor, it becomes law, overriding the state Supreme Court decision that singled out pit bulls as dangerous and ended the requirement that, in liability cases, they be shown to have a history of aggression.
That resulted in a different standard for pit bulls, or any dogs deemed pit bull mixes, at least when it came to civil suits. While all other breeds would still have to be proven dangerous, pit bulls would not because, as the judges saw it, they were that way by definition.
Pit bull owners and lovers saw the dangers inherent in that — from the difficulties it could pose for those who rent, to pit bulls being abandoned at shelters — and began campaigning to have elected officials do something about it.
“It’s definitely a win for pit bull owners,” Katie Flory of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told WJZ in Baltimore. “We really do feel this is really the best way to go … It is very important that we look at the animal as an individual and not just the breed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, animals, bites, breed-specific, breeds, civil, courts, dangerous, decision, dogs, inherently dangerous, laws, legislation, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, senate, supreme court
The dog whose only crime was resembling a pit bull was euthanized today, after a deadline for legal appeals expired.
His execution – despite 200,000 signatures supporting a reprieve — brings an end to an international effort to save him.
The BBC reports that the city council issued a statement that read:
“Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier type) may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety.”
“The council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.”
In June, after two lower courts had already ruled that the dog should be put down, Northern Ireland’s highest court rejected Caroline Barnes’ legal bid to overturn an order calling for the destruction of her pet.
Ms. Barnes insisted that Lennox was not dangerous, and her battle to save Lennox snowballed into an often-heated international campaign to save his life.
One Belfast councillor has received a death threat over Lennox’s proposed destruction, the BBC reported, and workers in Belfast City Council have become the target of a fresh series of intimidating messages.
Lennox was impounded by Belfast City Council’s dog wardens in May of 2010, when a new breed specific law went into effect, banning pit bull types in the UK.
Among those calling for Lennox to be spared were boxer Lennox Lewis, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, and television dog training expert Victoria Stillwell, who had offered to have Lennox re-homed in America where he would not be in contact with the public.
Stillwell said she was “absolutely devastated” that Lennox had been put down. “I hoped Belfast City Council would realize that there were alternatives that provided a sanctuary for Lennox in the USA where he would be safe but they did not listen,” she said.
Stillwell said requests that the family be allowed to visit the dog one last time before he was put down were declined — as were requests to allow the family see the dog after he was euthanized.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: belfast, belfast city council, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, campaign, dangerous, denied, dog, dogs, euthanized, executed, global, international, ireland, killed, laws, lennox, news, pit bull, pit bull type, put down, put to sleep, resemblance, uk, victoria stillwell, visits
The Humane Society of the United States has released a report calling on the American Kennel Club to protect dogs from abuses at puppy mills.
The report accuses the AKC of “pandering to the interests of large-scale, commercial breeding facilities,” even though ”smaller-scale, high-quality breeders” make up the majority of its membership.
Numerous puppy mill operators who have been charged with animal cruelty have been selling AKC registered puppies and some of them even passed AKC inspections, the report notes.
“The American Kennel Club bills itself as ‘The Dog’s Champion,’ but our report shows a pattern of activity that is entirely at odds with that self-description,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
“The AKC has opposed more than 80 bills and proposals in the last five years that would have implemented common-sense, humane standards of care at large-scale breeding facilities. We are shocked that a group that should be standing shoulder to shoulder with us is constantly lined up with the puppy mill industry.”
The report is based on information uncovered during HSUS-assisted raids of puppy mills, AKC “alerts” sent to breeders, materials published on AKC’s website, and AKC’s lobbying activities over the past five years.
In just the past six months, AKC-registered dogs were among those removed from three puppy mills in raids conducted by authorities in North Carolina, HSUS says.
In 2012 alone, AKC asked its supporters to oppose laws in several states that would have required puppy producers to comply with basic care standards; legislation in three states that would have prevented the debarking of dogs without a medical reason; an ordinance in a Tennessee town designed to prevent dogs from being left in hot cars; a Rhode Island state bill to prevent people from chaining or crating a dog for more than 14 hours a day; and a Louisiana state bill that would have prevented breeding facilities from keeping dogs in stacked, wire-floored cages.
The HSUS report discloses that some puppy mills that had been inspected by AKC but were still the subject of law enforcement-led rescues – with their operators later convicted of animal cruelty based on the poor conditions of their dogs.
Most recently, AKC has been lobbying breeders to oppose a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would regulate Internet puppy sellers under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The HSUS report calls on AKC to distance itself from the large-scale, commercial dog-breeding industry and return to its original focus of representing small, responsible breeders who have the welfare of their dogs as their top priority.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animal welfare, animals, breeders, breeding, commercial, conditions, critical, criticizes, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspections, internet, large scale, laws, legislation, opposition, pets, puppy, puppy mills, regulation, report, sales, standards, wayne pacelle
Lennox the alleged pit bull is scheduled to be euthanized in Belfast this week, despite continuing international efforts to save him.
A protest Saturday in Belfast included demonstrators who flew in from the U.S., England and Dublin, according to UTV in Belfast, and demonstrations are scheduled at the British and Irish consulates in New York today, organized by No Kill New York.
Victoria Stilwell, host of “It’s Me or the Dog” on the Animal Planet network, offered to find Lennox a new home in the U.S., and cover all expenses, but on Sunday she told msnbc.com she has received no response.
The 7-year-old dog was seized in 2010 after pit bulls were banned under the UK’s Dangerous Dog act.
The dog’s owners say he is an American bulldog-Labrador mix, but dog wardens, after taking measurements, declared him a “possible pitbull type” and claimed that — though he has bitten no one and been the subject of no complaints — he had a personality disorder.
Protesters say they are trying to raise awareness not only about Lennox but also to show that breed specific legislation is unfair.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bans, belfast, breed, breed bans, breeds, dangerous, demonstrations, dogs, euthanasia, execution, facebook, ireland, laws, lennox, news, offer, pets, pit bull, pitbull, protests, save lennox, twitter, uk, victoria stilwell