There’s a rising star in the North Carolina legislature, and she has four legs.
A miniature Pomeranian named Diva comes to work every day at the General Assembly with her owners, Republican representative Nathan Ramsey and his wife, Robin Ramsey, a legislative assistant — and the fuzzy four-pound dog is said to be developing quite a following.
The Ramseys, who live on a farm in Fairview during the off-season, say they started bringing Diva to work in February, because they thought she’d be lonely staying at the condo they reside in while in Raleigh.
Since then, she’s shown herself to be a valuable asset, both a diplomat and a crowd-drawer.
“… In a short time, the taffy-colored rescue pup has arguably become the most chased after creature at the legislative building. Walk in on any given day and you’ll see a steady stream of bipartisan visitors knocking on the Ramseys’ office door,” North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC (91.5 FM) reported.
“It certainly opened the door to more visitors, which is good,” said Robin Ramsey.
On building tours for visiting schoolchildren, Diva’s office has become a regular stop — and, we’d guess, one of the more exciting ones.
“I make it a point to stop by,” said Democrat Rick Glazier of Fayetteville. “You can’t leave after playing with Diva and talking to the Ramseys unhappy or in a bad mood, and that is not always true around here.”
Ramsey, a former county commissioner, says Diva helps breaks the ice and cut through frosty exteriors. And he suspects she has helped him garner support for at least a couple of measures he has introduced.
“A lot of this is about relationships, and really, unless you’re a seat-mate with someone, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to reach across the aisle,” he said. “You don’t develop relationships by sitting in a committee meeting. You have to find out about other people’s lives and families and get to know them in more depth.”
Speaker of the House Thom Tillis recently stopped by Ramsey’s office with his boxer, Ike. A spokesman for the speaker reported the get-together was ”like many meetings in this building — more sniffing around than anything else.”
Back home on the family dairy farm, Diva likes to spend her time circling the baby calf pen.
She likes to round things up, Ramsey says, and those skills seem to have translated from barnyard to state house.
(Photo by Jessica Jones / WUNC)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, diva, dog, dogs, dogs and politics, fairview, fans, farm, general assembly, ice breaker, legislature, nathan ramsey, north carolina, pets, politics, pomeranian, raleigh, representative, republican, robin ramsey, state house, visitors, workplace
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
It may not be a model puppy mill law. It could even be described, and has been, as “watered down.” But after repeatedly failing to pass legislation regulating large commercial breeders, North Carolina lawmakers will again consider a measure to ensure dogs in such facilities are treated humanely.
House Bill 930, which made it through a first reading this week and is now before a committee, would require breeders with 10 or more breed-able females to provide their dogs with basic necessities, such as food, water, sunlight, exercise and veterinary care.
But it would not require breeders to register, be licensed or submit to regular inspections.
“We hope that all parties can be happy with it,” said Kim Alboum, state director of the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s been a four-year battle to get to this point of this compromise bill. We just hope that this bill will move forward this year.”
You can read the bill here.
The bill was introduced last week by Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican. Breeders found to be in violation of the requirements in the bill could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined from $25 to $1,000.
“This bill protects both dogs and consumers,” Saine said. “Our citizens have made it clear that they are no longer willing to tolerate animal cruelty in the dog breeding industry, and neither am I or my colleagues who support this bill. This legislation will help protect dogs in North Carolina commercial dog breeding facilities by requiring operators to adhere to these basic standards of care.”
The HSUS estimates there are about 200 commercial dog breeding facilities in North Carolina, all operating without any oversight. Last August a raid at one in Brunswick County led to the rescue of about 160 dogs, including 70 puppies and their nursing mothers living in stacked cages in a structure with no working air conditioning.
That was one of 13 large-scale breeding operations in North Carolina that, in the past 18 months, the HSUS has and law enforcement officials have removed dogs from, due to illnesses, injuries and lack of humane care, Saine said.
From 2 to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States — commonly in pet stores and online — while 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year for lack of homes, the Humane Society estimates.
Saine said the bill gives law enforcement the tools to go after those who abuse dogs by spelling out what is required of large-scale commercial breeders.
The bill requires dogs have access to food, water, clean bedding, sunlight, and exercise on a daily basis. It mandates the health of dogs be monitored, veterinary care be provided, and that any euthanizations be performed humanely. It specifies that cages be at least big enough for dogs to stand up and turn around in. It doesn’t ban wire flooring, but requires it to be solidly in place and of a type that doesn’t hurt dogs’ feet.
While the legislation under consideration this session doesn’t go as far as previous proposals, most animal welfare advocates in the state have gotten behind it, including North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare, Susie’s Law, the ASPCA, Humane Society of Charlotte, SPCA of Wake County, and United Animal Coalition.
Previous efforts to pass a puppy mill law ran into opposition from pig and poultry farmers and hunting dog owners, wary that the measures could extend to them. The new bill specifies that it does not apply to dogs used for hunting purposes.
A recent poll commissioned by the ASPCA showed 87 percent of North Carolina voters are in favor of the state legislature passing a law that would set standards of care for North Carolina’s commercial dog breeding facilities.
“Puppy mill operators want to keep their costs down and their profits up, and nothing short of a legal mandate will convince them that they must treat the animals in their care more humanely,” said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. “North Carolina voters care about this issue and expect a strong puppy mill bill to pass this year…”
(Photo: One of the dogs seized in the Brunswick County puppy mill raid, after being transferred to a shelter in Guilford County / DigTriad.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bill, breeders, brunswick county, care, commercial, compromise, conditions, dog, dogs, hb 930, house bill 930, hsus, humane society of the united states, introduced, jason saine, large, large scale, law, legislation, legislature, north carolina, pets, proposal, puppy mills, raid, standards
Doggie seat belts may not always be life savers.
Restraints for traveling dogs in cars have become increasingly popular, and lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a bill mandating them.
But in simulated accidents, the four brands tested didn’t perform well.
“It was just astounding what we saw,” said Lindsey Wolko, who founded the non-profit Center for Pet Safety in 2011 after getting into a car accident while traveling with her dog. The harness failed and her dog Maggie suffered spinal injuries.
The tests applied the same federal motor vehicle safety standards for testing child seats. Using a 55 pound stuffed test dog, Wolko and her team simulated a 30-mile-per-hour collision. You can find video of all four tests here.
In one case the harness allowed too much slack, and the dog crashed into the back of the front seat. In two others, the harnesses snapped, sending the dogs flying through the air. And in a fourth, the harness slid up to the dog’s neck on impact.
“I don’t think that there’s any doubt that those dogs would have been seriously injured, if not fatally injured,” Wolko said.
The manufacturers are not being identified by the center. “Our primary concern is NOT to attack individual manufacturers for selling well-intentioned products. If we share brands at this early stage in our work, we shift the focus away from what is truly needed: measurable, safe standards that manufacturers can follow for the benefit of consumers,” the center says on its website.
Unlike with human restraints, those made for dogs are not tested or regulated by the government and there are no existing safety standards in place.
The American Pet Products Association, in response to Wolko’s findings, released a statement saying, “.. there are an increasing number of reported accidents where a pet distracting the driver is being cited as the cause. A pet restraint that merely limits a pets access and distraction to the driver and limits its motion in the event of an accident is still an improvement over no restraint.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assembly, cars, center for pet safety, dog, dogs, harnesses, law, legislature, lindsey wolko, mandatory, new jersey, pets, research, restraints, safety, seat belts, seatbelts, study, travel
Christie termed the proposal ”stupid,” Bloomberg reports.
He also said the proposed law was an example of how Democrats, who control the state Senate and General Assembly, are wasting time with trivial issues when there are bigger ones to be solved.
“This will tell you everything you need to know about how New Jersey runs under the Democrats,” Christie said in his monthly “Ask the Governor” broadcast on Ewing-based WKXW-FM radio. “They’re actually spending their time on this.”
If the bill makes it through the legislature for him to sign into law, Christie said, he wouldn’t put his name “near something that stupid.”
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Newark Democrat who owns a Pomeranian , introduced the bill to require harnesses for animals not being transported in cages. Violators would be fined $25.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, cars, cats, chris christie, christie, democrat, dogs, governor, grace spencer, harnesses, law, legislature, pets, proposed, republican, restraints, seat belts, signature, stupid, transporting
A year and a half after a starved pit bull was found at the bottom of a trash chute at a Newark high rise apartment — looking more like a corpse than a pet — the dog who would go on to be named Patrick is doing great.
Progressing far less quickly are court case against his former owner, and a proposed bill, named after Patrick, that would bring stiffer penalties against those who abuse and neglect animals.
Patrick’s Law would increase penalties against those who abuse and neglect animals. Last week, it cleared the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee, but it still requires approval by another committee and both houses of the legislature.
The bill (S1303) would make certain acts of neglect and abuse fourth-degree offenses and increases the civil penalties — up to $3,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second offense, according to NJ.com. If an animal dies, offenders could be charge with a third-degree crime, which carries stricter penalties.
Sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., it would also increase the penalties for dogfighting; failing to provide an animal with proper food, water and shelter; and leaving animals unattended in hot cars.
Patrick was found in March 2011 in a garbage chute at Garden Spires.
His former owner, Newark resident Kisha Curtis, was charged with animal cruelty and remains free on $10,000 bond. Curtis has entered a plea of not guilty and has rejected a plea deal under which she would serve 18 months in prison, pay a $5,000 fine and serve 30 days of community service.
Instead, she wants to enter a pretrial intervention program,which would involve no jail time and, once completed, leave her without a record.
That’s now under consideration by Newark Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III, who agreed last month to review documents from the Department of Children and Family Services regarding Curtis and her childhood.
Curtis admits to abandoning Patrick, but says she “never harmed” the dog and that she had only had him for a few days. She is not accused of throwing the dog down the chute, only of neglecting and abandoning him.
Patrick, meanwhile — after months of veterinary care and intensive rehabilitation at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J.– is happy and healthy.
Who will eventually be awarded custody of him is still at issue, but it definitely won’t be Kisha Curtis.
(Photo: Tony Kurdzuk / The Newark Star-Ledger)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, apartment, bill, chute, court case, courts, crime, cruelty to animals, davis, dogs, garbage, garden state veterinary specialists, high rise, kisha curtis, law, legislature, neglect, new jersey, newark, patrick, patrick's law, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, proposal, starvation, starved, starving, trash
The cairn terrier — the breed that played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” — won’t become the official state dog of Kansas, at least not this year.
The House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources declined to hear House Bill 251, leaving its chances of passing in the current session somewhere between slim and over the rainbow.
But State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, who introduced the bill, said he plans on re-introducing it again next year, according to a Wichita Eagle report.
“We had great responses from kids,” Trimmer said. “And, I think this will give me a chance to go into the classrooms and visit with them, let them know this is part of the learning process and sometimes when you ask the first time, and the answer is no, you have to learn how to ask again. If it is something you want, you have to be persistent.”
PETA came out against the bill, saying it would create high demand for the breed and add to the state’s puppy mill problems.
But Brenda Moore, obedience chairwoman with the South Central Kansas Kennel Club who pushed for the proposal, says she doubt PETA’s action played any role in the bill’s apparent demise.
“I don’t think PETA made a dent in what we are doing. I just think it had more to do that this is an election year.”
She said she wants to create a petition drive and collect signatures from Kansans to present to state politicians; she also wants to raise awareness for existing state laws that have created stiffer penalties for puppy mill operations.
“Over the last six years, we have cleaned up a lot of the nasty people,” Moore said. “Most of the breeders are on the up and up. We want people to know that dog breeders are responsible people and that if we do get a state dog, we will not capitalize on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, breeders, breeds, cairn, cairn terrier, committee, dog, ed trimmer, house, kansas, legislature, peta, pets, proposal, puppy mills, state dogs, terrier, toto, wizard of oz
Animal advocates in North Carolina are hoping last week’s seizure of 160 dogs from a large scale breeding operation in Stokes County helps propel the state legislature to finally pass a puppy mill law.
The dogs were removed from Dan River Bullies in Danbury, described by authorities as a crowded facility where dogs slept in their own waste in makeshift, mouse-infested kennels with exposed wires.
It was a “heartbreaking” scene, in the view of Kim Alboum, director of the Humane Society of North Carolina. She said she hopes it serves as a catalyst that will push North Carolina to demand more regulation of commercial dog breeders.
“My expectation is that our legislators are going to see the outcry from the general public and hopefully help us move something forward and get some regulations in place,” Alboum told the Raleigh News and Observer.
“The majority of people want to have regulations for commercial dog breeders in North Carolina,” she added. “They want to have some level of accountability.”
A bill to regulate commercial breeders passed the state Senate in 2009, but didn’t make it through the House. Alboum said she’s working with North Carolina animal control officers and legislators to come up with a new bill.
The Humane Society of the United States, which took part in the raid, estimates there are 250 to 300 commercial dog breeders operating in North Carolina. While most may be responsible and caring owners, Alboum said, not all are, and the state has been drawing unethical breeders from other states that have passed puppy mill laws.
Nationally, at least 19 states have some level of regulation in place for commercial dog breeders, the Humane Society says.
More than 500 dogs were recovered in the five puppy mill raids in North Carolina last year – in Wake, Caldwell, Franklin, Perquimans and Lincoln counties.
The dogs seized last week have ended up in shelters in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte.
Marsha Williams, executive director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter, which received 129 of them, said their problems include eye issues, hematomas, heart murmurs, severe dental problems, matting and dermatitis. Some of the dogs have broken jaws and teeth.
The dogs included French and English bulldogs, Boston terriers, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas.
Charges are expected to be filed against the owners, Willis and Lucile Mabe, after veterinarians finish evaluating the dogs.
(Top Photo by Brooke Cain / Raleigh News & Observer; bottom two photos courtesy of Humane Society of the United States)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, boston terriers, breeders, breeding, chihuahuas, commericial, dan river bullies, danbury, dogs, english bulldogs, french bulldogs, humane society, kim alboum, large scale, legislation, legislature, north carolina, operation, pets, puppy mill law, puppy mills, shih tzus, stokes county, yorkshire terriers
In honor of his Shiba Inu, 12-year-old Aaron Coash is lobbying the Kansas legislature to pass a law aimed at stemming the number of dogs killed by antifreeze poisoning.
With the help of the Humane Society, he’s proposing a law that would require all antifreeze sold in in the state contain a chemical that turns its sweet taste bitter.
He’s calling it Nikko’s law, in honor of his dog, who died last month.
Antifreeze poisoning kills an estimated 10,000 animals and more than a thousand children each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“The doctor said without a doubt it was antifreeze poisoning,” Aaron told Fox News in Kansas City.
Aaron said Kansas Senator Carolyn McGinn has offered to help with the cause.
“Nikko was a champion, so I want to be a champion,” he explained. You can sign a petition in support of Nikko’s law at his website
Other states that have passed similar legislation are Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Ethylene glycol’s sweet smell and taste makes antifreeze and coolant attractive to animals and children. It costs manufacturers an estimated additional two to three cents per gallon to add the bittering agent.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aaron coash, agent, antifreeze, attracts, bittering, ethylene glyol, humane society, kansas, kills, law, legislature, manufacturers, nikko, nikkos law, poison, poisoning, shiba inu, sweet, taste, toxic
It took two years, but the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions says it has acquired and submitted enough signatures to bring an end to the annual flesh markets known as dog auctions.
The sales — similar to what you might see at an auction of livestock, or trafficked humans — are revolting affairs that seem out of kilter with the times.
“It’s a major distribution channel for puppy-mill breeding, and it’s a form of commerce that has not been good for the dogs or Ohio voters or taxpayers,” says Mary O’Connor-Shaver, leader of the coalition.
The group submitted 150,000 signatures last week to the secretary of state’s office. If at least 115,570 are proven legitimate, the General Assembly has four months to either pass a ban or pass a modified version approved by the coalition, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The proposal would ban the auction of dogs in Ohio and the sale or trade of dogs acquired through an auction.
Violations would be misdemeanors, punishable by fines of as much as $250 and jail sentences of as long as 30 days.
O’Connor-Shaver said she expects to know by Jan.6 whether enough signatures have been certified.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the auctions are now held only in Holmes County and involve about 2,500 dogs and puppies a year, with most of the dogs sold destined for pet stores or lives as breeders.
Activists say many of the animals sold are sick, injured, and genetically-flawed. Cameras and cell phones are not permitted at the auctions. The video above was taken five years ago during an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States.
(Photo: Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, auctions, ban, bid, bidding, breeders, buy, cameras, coalition, coalition to ban ohio dog auctions, consumers, defective, dog auctions, dogs, general assembly, hsus, humane society of the united states, legislature, mistreated, ohio, pet stores, petition, pets, puppy mills, sell, sick, signatures, slavery, undercover, video