Six readers correctly guessed the name of the town to which Ace and I have moved.
And while I promised an autographed copy of my book to the one who guessed first, I’ve decided all six should get “DOG, INC.,” which exposes the stranger-than-truth story behind man’s cloning of dog.
The decision comes from my heart, with additional input from my back.
Book writing is a little like dog cloning that way — both are often exercises in selfishness that carry the risk of ending up with a surplus of unwanted editions.
I’ve sent all the winners emails to get their mailing addresses, but in case you missed them and see this, get in touch with me Cristina, Barbara Thompson, A.C., Maryjane Warren, and Bill Garrett.
You, too, Southern Fried Pugs — and since you’re going to sell them to raise money for your rescue, we’ll chip in three copies.
We’ll also be sending one along — assuming we get an address — to Vida, a frequent ohmidog! commenter who said she couldn’t bring herself to Google the answer because she felt that would be cheating.
That kind of honesty must be rewarded.
Supporters who showed up to back a proposed dog park in Ann Arbor learned it had been taken off this week’s city council meeting’s agenda — apparently out of of concerns that its location across the street from a historically African-American church would be viewed as culturally insensitive.
Ann Arbor officials pulled the plug on the proposal after New Hope Baptist Church leaders raised concerns about noise and safety and what they called “cultural differences,” according to AnnArbor.com. It reported:
“Leaders of the historically black congregation communicated to city officials that a number of the church’s members were born in the South and have different attitudes about dogs, and they simply see a dog park as incompatible with their ability to worship freely.”
I don’t think southerners and northerners, or for that matter blacks and whites, have widely varying attitudes about dogs. People do. Some look at dogs and see joy; some look at them and see danger, or at least a nuisance. That is, most often, a product of their environment and experiences — rather than their region of origin or skin color.
A well-maintained dog park in the neighborhood doesn’t lower home values, it raises them. It’s neither direspecful or insulting.
Tabling the plan seems to send the opposite messages, and to lend credence to the faulty preconception that one can’t be both black and a dog lover.
Sometimes — maybe even especially in progressive communities like Ann Arbor – sensitively tiptoeing around a subject can land you in a big pile of stereotype. No matter which side you’re on.
In expressing the church’s opposition to the dog park’s location in West Park earlier this month, The Rev. Rodrick Green said:
“There’s no reason why it has to be placed in an area that’s going to be offensive to us as a people and as a church, and right now it’s offensive,” he said earlier this month.
That, with all due respect, seems a leap — whether he’s talking about African-Americans, Baptists, or members of his congregation.
But apparently it was enough for the council, not wanting to appear politically incorrect, to take the matter off its agenda.
Despite doing so, council members still got an earful from supporters of a new and centrally located off-leash playground for dogs in Ann Arbor.
One of the speakers at the city council meeting, John Lawter, a former parks commissioner who has led the effort for more dog parks in Ann Arbor, went so far as to suggest that church members work to overcome any fear they have of dogs.
“Let’s break this culture of fear,” Lawter added, calling fear “an ugly thing” that should be put down whenever possible.
Lawter said he believes members of New Hope Baptist Church are sincere in their concerns, but he still feels they are founded in a “gross misunderstanding of canine behavior.”
Several residents noted that the Arise Church, a United Methodist congregation in Pinckney, established a two-acre dog park on its property and that it led to increased church membership.
“We believe that God created people to be in community, and that we are at our best when we’re in relationship to one another,” the church’s website reads. “Therefore, we provide this dog park not only as a fun safe place where dogs can get good exercise, but our greatest hope is that dog owners will make friends here and enjoy great conversations together.”
” … These folks in Pinckney have grown their congregation by having people first come visit the dog park and then decide, ‘Geez, these are good Christian values of inclusion, tolerance, charity and love,’ and then they join the congregation,” said Ann Arbor resident Harold Kirchen.
City officials say a dog park close to downtown remains a priority, and that other locations will be reviewed.
Ann Arbor has two-off leash dog parks — one at Swift Run in the southeast part of the city and one at Olson Park in the northeast part of the city.
Lawter said he believes the city should have stuck with an initial proposal to construct a dog park at West Park as a temporary facility that can be removed after a year if there are problems.
“Ann Arbor is a culturally diverse city,” Lawter said. “Our dog owners are a culturally diverse group, and our parks should be open to all cultures, including the four-legged variety.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: african american, animals, ann arbor, baptist, city council, compalints, concerns, congregation, cultural, differences, dog park, dogs, insensitive, location, michigan, new hope baptist church, pets, West Park
A fact of life — or should we say death? — in this country is that whether or not you, as a human, get executed for a crime can depend largely on where your trial is held.
The same is kind of true of impounded dogs — one big difference being they get no trial, there’s usually no crime involved, and, having been surrendered or abandoned, they’re more often victims than criminals.
With dogs, most executions are not a matter of justice, but population control; and the likelihood of that fate varies not just from state to state, but from county to county. By and large, a dog’s chance of getting out of a county-run shelter alive depends primarily on what county they happen to be held in.
Just how much of a toss of the dice it can be was shown in a story Sunday by the Columbus Dispatch. It analyzed data from 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and found that, in 2011, they had kill rates varying from 1 percent to 81 percent.
Dogs who enter the shelter in Lawrence County, in southeastern Ohio, have less than a two in ten chance of getting out alive. Meanwhile, in Carroll County, in northeastern Ohio, only 1 percent of dogs were destroyed, the lowest rate in the state.
The story included a county-by-county interactive map, showing kill and adoption rates.
It’s some exceptional reporting — the kind newspapers should be doing more of — and it clearly shows that, even when they’re right next door, some places value dogs’ lives more than others, and work harder to place and save them.
Statewide, more than 100,000 dogs are impounded annually in Ohio’s county-run animal shelters, and roughly 30 percent, or 30,000, were euthanized in 2011. (Nationally, it’s estimated that 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized a year.)
“It looks bad. That’s awful,” Lawrence County Dog Warden Bill Click said of the data showing his shelter had the highest kill rate in the state. He added that the county is working to improve those numbers. Lawrence County, like many others, often euthanizes dogs when the shelter gets too crowded.
The best dog wardens, the story points out, are more than wardens. (Is it time to change that outdated term?) They publicize their county shelters, welcome volunteers and visitors, post photos and profiles of their adoptable online and work with rescue groups.
But while some fight daily to keep euthanasia rates low, it seems a lower priority in many counties: 13 have kill rates higher than 50 percent.
Some dog wardens question whether it’s fair to compare the rates of urban and rural dog shelters, saying urban areas generally take in more aggressive animals that have been trained to guard property or fight other dogs, as well as more dogs that have been injured by cars.
But even among urban areas, some county shelters do a far better job than others.
Of Ohio’s urban areas, Hamilton County had the lowest kill rate, at 30 percent. The county contracts with the Cincinnati SPCA, which has worked to reduce adoption prices, extend foster care and bring animals with heartworm and other medical problems back to health, rather than putting them down.
Pit bulls have been most often destined for euthanasia — at least until Ohio dropped its ban and put a new law in place in May of this year that no longer automatically brands them vicious.
Animal welfare advocates have also succeeded in pressuring two counties, Athens and Fairfield, to stop using the gas chamber to euthanize dogs.
They were less successful in Hocking County, where, despite demonstrations and a call to switch to lethal injection, county commissioners decided to continue using gas.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption rates, animal control, animal welfare, animals, carroll county, chances, columbus, control, counties, county, death, death penalty, dispatch, dog wardens, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, execution, gas chambers, interactive, justice, kill rates, lawrence county, lethal injection, life, location, map, news, newspaper, ohio, pets, population, rescues, shelters, survival, wardens
At least 38 dogs entrusted to a Texas pit bull refuge whose mission was to provide them with care and find them new homes never came out, perishing instead from heat stroke, and being buried in a mass grave on the ranch.
Not too much news has been coming out of Spindletop Refuge in Willis, either.
Since authorities last week seized nearly 300 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and removed them from conditions generally described as cramped and unhealthy, there have been a lot more questions than answers.
On Friday, after hours of private negotiations, Spindletop owner Leah Purcell agreed to relinquish ownership of the 287 dogs, and through her attorney, she agreed to terms prohibiting her from future rescue and boarding in the county.
That court action was related strictly to the custody of the dogs. No charges have yet been filed against Purcell, and there has been no clear word that they will be.
Instead, there are a heap of questions unanswered — most of them from rescue groups around the country that sent animals to Spindletop, and now want to find out if they’re still alive, and reclaim them if they are.
On top of that, there’s another all-important one — what led what was once such a highly respected refuge to end up keeping dogs in conditions more like those you’d find at a puppy mill or the home of a hoarder?
Members of at least 50 rescue groups attended a Friday custody hearing in Conroe, but it was behind closed doors that an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Purcell. Except for 11 dogs that belonged to her mother, she surrendered the rest, and custody was awarded to the Humane Society of the United States and Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a grand jury, also meeting behind closed doors, will decide whether Purcell will face criminal charges.
According to the Houston Press, several rescuers learned Friday then that the dogs they had surrendered to Spindletop — and were told had been adopted — died of heat stroke last summer.
“It was definitely not a sanctuary. Definitely not. Those dogs were left in a living hell,” said former Spindletop employee Brandon Louth, who says he’s the one who contacted authorities about conditions at the refuge.
Of the mass death he said, ”The dogs had suffocated, because the building was not ventilated. The electricity had gone off in the building, and basically I had to bury the dogs, put the dogs in sacks and dig a mass grave for them.”
Officials are still working to catalog all the rescued dogs, and were putting together a website where they’ll be posting photos of all of the dogs. The Animal Farm Foundation, which is helping coordinate the effort, said this week on its Facebook page that approximately 40 dogs have been claimed and returned to owners or places of origin, or will be in the next few days.
They advise those seeking dogs that were in Spindletop’s care to:
“If you have not already done so, please send extremely detailed information about dogs you wish to reclaim to firstname.lastname@example.org and to Constable Tim Holifield at email@example.com . Include a phone number and an email address. Put the word SPINDLETOP in the subject line. Animal Farm Foundation is coordinating the communication with owners and places of origin and schedules appointments for reclaiming dogs.”
At Friday’s court hearing, Montgomery County Constable Tim Holifield assured the crowd that the animals were being well cared for and that the Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Spindletop seizure, is committed to not euthanizing any of the dogs.
“It’s especially painful to see people and places that purport to help animals do precisely the opposite,” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote yesterday on his blog, A Humane Nation.
“We tell people shopping for a dog from a breeder to go see the parents of the dog, to make sure the place is not a puppy mill. With so many of these cases of neglect by those who say they are helping animals cropping up, it’s also wise to do background work or a site visit to any self-described rescue or sanctuary. There are so many good rescue groups and sanctuaries doing important work for animals every day, and every one of them would agree with me on that point … Calling yourself a sanctuary or a Samaritan isn’t enough. You have to act like one.”
It’s also important, we’d point out, to get to the bottom of what happened — what made such good intentions go astray — and for that information to be public. So far, that doesn’t seem to be happening with Spindletop, which only increases the chances that, sometime soon, somewhere else, we’ll be hearing the same story again.
(Photo: One of the rescued pit bulls in Texas; by Scott Dalton, via A Humane Nation)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, catalog, custody, deaths, dogs, hsus, leah purcell, location, mass grave, montgomery county, news, ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, private, public, refuge, rescue, sanctuary, seized, spindletop, surrender, texas, wayne pacelle, willis
Since Ace was the first dog in America to see the sun rise (above) — back on Oct. 3, when we were on the other side of the country – I thought it would be fitting for him to be the last dog to see it set as we make our way down the west coast.
On the road, I called my son on my cell phone and asked him to look it up on the Internet. Thirty minutes later, he called back with the answer, or at least one of them — Cape Blanco, Oregon.
That was back when I was still in the state of Washington, and I’d filed it away in the back of my mind (translation: I’d all but forgotten about it) until, while driving south down Highway 101 in Oregon, I saw a sign for Cape Blanco State Park.
Where have I heard of that before, I wondered. You know how you can set your computer to delete your Internet history when you log off? That’s kind of how my brain works sometimes.
Five more minutes down the road, it registered, and I decided to seek out a motel in Port Orford, and drive back up to the park around sunset time.
Suitable lodgings eluded us though (more on that bizarre episode tomorrow), so Ace and I killed some time sniffing around Port Orford before heading to the park, hoping the clouds and drizzle might clear up enough to see some sign of a sun setting.
We turned off 101 and followed the road, past the park and towards the Cape Blanco lighthouse until the road — and seemingly the continent — came to an end.
And as — we can only guess — the sun went down, here is what we saw:
I got only close enough to the edge to see that it dropped off pretty severely, but I could see nothing more than the vague outline of a huge rock in the ocean, or at least what I thought was the ocean.
As for Ace — our visit to Niagara Falls still in the front of my mind – I kept him on a very short leash and right at my side, fearing he might venture into oblivion, or pull me into it. In the thick fog, it was a scary place — and maybe it is in the light of day too, like something you’d see in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Two people would get into an argument at the edge, and pretty soon you’d only see one.
Here’s what the cape looks like in the cloud- and fog-free light of day:
But not all agree with that — or even with the contention that Cape Blanco is the westernmost point in the contiguous 48. Some say Cape Alaya in Washington is westernmoster.
Apparently, the confusion is caused by land shifts and measurement anomalies and whether the measurements are taken at high tide or low tide.
One can tour the Cape Blanco lighthouse between April 1 and Oct. 31, and, for a fee, climb the three flights of stairs and one ladder to the tower.
This isolated lighthouse holds at least four Oregon records: it is the oldest continuously operating light, the most westerly, has the highest focal plane above the sea, and employed Oregon’s first female lighthouse keeper.
And it’s a great place to see sunsets.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 48, acadia national park, ace, america, american, animals, cadillac mountain, cape blanco, coast, coastal oregon, contiguous, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, first, last, lighthouse, location, oregon, pets, place, port alaya, port orford, road trip, state park, states, sunrise, sunset, tourism, travel, travels with ace, viewing, washington, west coast, westernmost
A dog collar that will allow pet owners to map their pets’ location on their computer or other wireless devices will soon be hitting the market, Apisphere, Inc. and AT&T announced.
“The dog collar, with an embedded wireless SIM, will leverage Apisphere’s award winning geo-mobility platform to transmit location-aware data across AT&T’s nationwide wireless network directly to a pet owner’s wireless handset or personal computer,” according to an AT&T press release
In other words, what the communications company is saying, I think, is that the new gizmo will tell you where your dog is.
Apisphere is a provider of “location-smart technologies” for mobile applications and devices.
Pet owners who use the technology will be instructed to register their pets and important contacts as soon as they attach the collar. Owners may establish a “geo-fence” around the home where the pet can roam freely. Through the technology, owners can locate their dog if he strays outside of his established parameters.
Apisphere software will transmit street level data for easy pet location. Owners will have the option to program text, email, video or audio alerts, to be distributed as often as they like.
“There are few things as important to my daughter as knowing the whereabouts of our dog,” said Glenn Lurie, president, AT&T Emerging Devices, Resale and Partnerships. “The peace of mind that a wirelessly connected collar will bring my family and pet owners across the country is long overdue. We’re extremely excited about this product and its possibilities.”
Pricing, distribution, and design details of the collar will be made available at launch, expected later this year.
(Art: From Peterclarkcollage.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apisphere, applications, at&t, collage, collar, communications, computer, devices, dog, dogs, inc., launch, location, lost, map, news, ohmidog!, peter clark, pets, product, software, stray, tracking, wireless
The theory that the domestic dog originated in East Asia has been challenged by an international group of researchers who say African dogs are just as genetically diverse.
The huge genetic diversity of dogs found in East Asia had led many scientists to conclude that it was where the domestication of the dog began.
But newly published research, based on analyzing blood samples from dogs in Egypt, Uganda and Namibia, shows the DNA of dogs in African villages is just as varied, according to the New York Times.
The research was originally aimed at tracking down a newly discovered “small gene” that led to wolves being downsized in their transition to dogs. Instead, as reported in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found information they say calls into question where wolves were first domesticated.
Lead scientist, Adam Boyko of the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology at Cornell University, says he decided to look at village dogs at least partly because his brother, an anthropologist as the University of California-Davis, was head there on a honeymoon. Also there are more mutts there — dogs more genetically diverse than bred dogs.
It’s the mutts that may hold the key to the learning the origins of dog domestication.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: africa, diversity, dna, dogs, domestication, east asia, eurasian, gene, genetics, humans, location, origin, research, science, small ene, study, villages, wolf, wolves
Finally, a good reason to get an iPhone.
Eukanuba is offering an iPhone application that gives dog owners the location of the nearest dog parks. By simply tapping the “Locate Me” feature, users can get information about the five nearest dog parks — complete with map and driving directions.
The application will work on all iPhone and iPod Touch models, according to a company press release.
The Eukanuba OFF LEASH iPhone application can be downloaded for free at www.Eukanuba.com. Users are encouraged to share their favorite dog parks so that they can be added to the evolving park database.
Users of the application can also access Eukanuba TV 24-hours a day and see original dog-related content, including “Planet Puppy,” “Champions and Heroes,” “Eukanuba Legacy” and more.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: app, appliation, directions, dog parks, dogs, download, eukanuba, free, iphone, ipod, locate, location, map, nearest, off-leash, tech, technology, walk, walking