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Tag: maryland

Animal welfare fares well in Maryland

At the end of the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly, animal welfare advocates are celebrating passage of five major animal protection bills, and the defeat of two that they say would have had an adverse impact on animal welfare.

And to top it all off, as of July, dogs can legally dine in the outside seating areas of restaurants that opt to permit them.

“In the past animal protection laws in Maryland have been weaker than other states.  But now we are making huge progress to improve the treatment of Maryland’s animals,” said Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals.

Kilborn attributes the gains to animal welfare advocates being better organized and more outspoken.

The General Assembly passed the following bills during the 2011 session:

  • Senate Bill 839, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, which requires commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the county in which they operate, and requires counties to report basic information about these commercial breeders once a year to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.  This bill will provide critical information to understand the impact of puppy mills in the state.  Companion legislation, HB 990, was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery County.
  • Senate Bill 639, sponsored by Sen. Joanne Benson, D-Prince George’s County, which will set up a task force to study the need for funding of spay and neuter programs in Maryland.  An estimated 48,000 homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in Maryland shelters annually.  Affordable, accessible spay/neuter programs can help prevent this tragedy. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have a public funding mechanism to subsidize the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for those who cannot afford it.  The task force will be comprised of representatives from animal control, humane societies, non-profit spay/neuter organizations, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Department of Agriculture and others.  Companion legislation, HB 339, was sponsored by Del. Barbara Frush, D-Prince George’s County.  
  • House Bill 227 sponsored by Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, D-Montgomery County, which will allow courts to prohibit someone convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals as a term of probation. This legislation had strong backing from organizations addressing the issue of domestic violence.  Companion legislation, SB 115, was co-sponsored by Sen. James Robey, D-Howard County.
  • Senate Bill 747 sponsored by Sen. Norman Stone, D-Baltimore County, which allows courts to include protections for pets in domestic violence protective orders.  Research has repeatedly shown a link between animal abuse and domestic violence.  Children and animals in the family are often threatened, or actually harmed, as a way to manipulate and coerce others in the family.  Victims of domestic violence often delay leaving abusive situations because they fear for the safety of their companion animals.  This legislation benefits both people and animals and had strong support for organizations which address the problem of domestic violence.  Companion legislation, HB 407, was sponsored by Del. Susan McComas, R-Harford County.
  • House Bill 897, sponsored by Del. Peter Murphy, D-Charles County, to require the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze.  Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in most major antifreeze brands, has an aroma and a sweet flavor which can tempt animals to drink the highly toxic substance.  Adding a bittering agent makes it less attractive to companion animals and wildlife.
  • House Bill 941, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim, D- Baltimore County, which permits restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor seating areas.

Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA) works to create an ever-growing voting bloc of animal advocates who will elect representatives willing to champion and vote for animal protection legislation.

Maryland SPCA’s March for the Animals

Over 5,000 animal lovers and their four-legged friends are expected to attend the Maryland SPCA’s 16th Annual March for the Animals at Druid Hill Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Participants, whether they are hiking the 1.5-mile walk-a-thon or checking out vendors and entertainment, will be helping to support homeless animals in the Baltimore area.

For the walk-thon, registration opens at 9 a.m. and starting line ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. 

The event also features a demonstration by Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs, pet training tips, an agility course for dogs, low-cost micro-chipping, a “flea-less” market of pet friendly vendors, musical chairs for dogs, and a pet costume contest judged by celebrity guests, food and entertainment.

Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers, including a grand prize trip to the Bahamas. Participants will receive a special “doggy bag” that includes treats, corporate giveaways and other gifts. Dog bandanas will be given to those who raise at least $30, and the 2011 March for the Animals t-shirt will be given to walkers who raise at least $40.

Dining with dog? Maryland makes it legal

Maryland restaurants may allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas as of July 1 under a bill approved by the Senate yesterday and headed for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk for final approval.

O’Malley, whose family has two dogs, is expected to sign the bill, the Baltimore Sun reports on its Maryland Politics blog.

The bill permits restaurants with outdoor patios and tables to welcome dogs, if they want to.

Del. Dan Morhaim sponsored the legislation, and said it will provide a financial boost for restaurants and bars heading into the outdoor dining season.

The Dining Out Growth Act of 2011 permits restaurants statewide to have outdoor space for humans and dogs to eat together — as is already the case in Frederick County, for which similar legislation was passed last year.

Opponents of the bill said it could lead to more dog bites and other health hazards.

“Ducky” captured in western Maryland

After numerous sightings, an elusive stray dubbed “Ducky” — because his snout was wrapped in duct tape — was snagged by animal control officers in western Maryland, and two men have been charged with animal cruelty in connection with his mistreatment.

Ducky, as he has been referred to on the “We Love Ducky” Facebook page, had eluded animal control officers and volunteers for a week.

On Sunday morning, though, he was found resting on the porch of a home in Lonaconing, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

The resident called the county 911 center, which dispatched animal control officials to pick up the dog. By Sunday afternoon, after biting one of the officers, Ducky was being treated at the Western Maryland Animal Hospital by Dr. John T. Fox, according to Elizabeth Care, a volunteer at Ark of Hope Rescue.

Ricky Allen Adams, 25, of Cumberland (left), and Frederick Newton Lease, 27, of Mount Savage, have been charged with animal cruelty. Neither of them owned the dog, police said.

Sightings of Ducky had been reported Saturday on U.S. Route 40 near the Garrett County border. Ducky was first spotted near Corriganville more than a week ago.

“Overall, Ducky is in good health and is being treated for parasites,” said a veterinary technician at the animal hospital. Ducky is in quarantine, however, because of the bite, and will remain there for 10 days before a transfer to Ark of Hope.

“We will get him socialized and trusting people, then he will be put up for adoption,” said Care.

No one knows where the dog came from.

Updates on Ducky’s condition will be provided on the Allegany County Animal Shelter Management Foundation Facebook page.

To help with Ducky’s vet expenses, contact Ark of Hope Rescue at 301-478-3300, or by click here.

(Photos: from the We Love Ducky Facebook page)

Disabled vet seeks a new chickapoo

Seventy-one-year-old Paul Franklin Hudson Sr. got around Pocomoke City in a motorized wheelchair, often with his small dog, Foxy, a three-year-old “chickapoo,” riding in his lap.

On a Saturday earlier this month, they were on their way to McDonald’s — motoring along in the grass on the shoulder of Route 113 – when a black SUV ran off the road and struck him.

The impact knocked Hudson, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, from his wheelchair and killed Foxy. The SUV, Delmarvanow.com reported, fled the scene and police are still investigating.

Hudson said he spent the next day crying.

“She was like a part of my family,” Hudson said of Foxy, described as a Chihuahua and poodle mix. “She slept with me. She ate with me. We did everything together.”

Hudson told police four or five people stopped to help him after the accident — assisting him in getting back in his wheelchair and placing Foxy’s lifeless body on his lap.

Since burying Foxy, Hudson has been looking for a new dog, similar to his old one, and an anonymous donor has come forward to help him find one, Delmarvanow.com reported this week.

“God bless him,” Hudson said. “I’m going to keep looking, because I sure miss my baby.” 

(Photo from Delmarvanow.com, by Amanda Rippen White)

BARCS celebrates St. Pittie’s Day

A dozen adoptable pit bull-type dogs from Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) will put on the green and march Sunday in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Crystal, Wisteria, Penny and others will don green T-shirts, beads, bowties, shorts and shamrock headbands. Volunteers will walk the dogs in the parade, beginning at 2 p.m., and carry posters with pictures of other pit bulls available for adoption at BARCS.

The volunteers will dress the dogs at 1 p.m. Sunday, meeting at the Washington Monument, 600 N. Charles St.

The parading dogs are meant to show that pit bull terrier-types who are loved, spayed or neutered, properly trained and socialized, make happy and affectionate pets — and that anything else you might have heard to the contrary, according to BARCS “ is just a bunch of blarney.”

In conjunction with the parade, the shelter is having an adoption promotion March 13-19. All week, adopters of pit bull-type dogs will go home with a a goody bag filled with dog treats, toys, T-shirts, collars and leashes, as well as educational information on pit bull terrier-type dogs and tips on responsible dog ownership.  

BARCS works in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society on the Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project, with funding support from PetSmart Charities. The project is designed to encourage responsible pet guardianship and reduce euthanasia of pit bull terriers and similar-type dogs, as well as to improve the public’s perception of pit bulls.

Lollie Wonderdog finds her family

Lollie Wonderdog, the pit bull mix reclaimed from a Maryland trash bin and lovingly fostered for nearly five months in a Takoma Park home, has been adopted.

Lollie, whose experience as a foster dog was recounted in the blog Love and a Six-Foot Leash, was adopted by a family of four — a family (that’s part of it to the left) whose mom saw in Lollie a fellow survivor.

It’s a lovely ending to a tale well told by Aleksandra Gajdeczka, whose family took Lollie in temporarily and blogged about the experience — partly in an attempt to find a permanent home for the three-year-old dog, partly to tell the world about the joys of fostering.

Including, last week, the bittersweet and often tearful feeling that accompanies the successful conclusion of that experience.

In a letter to her departed foster dog, she wrote, “You pass through the world with a carefree grace that I have rarely seen in a dog, and have never seen in a person. Your ability to make everybody like you and the whole world smile, paired with your ability to overcome anything with a wagging tail and a flapping tongue is truly remarkable. I hope you don’t remember the specifics of how you ended up in that dumpster in September, bruised, half-starved, and filthy, but I hope you always remember that you have overcome so much — and come out a shooting star. An eternal firework.

“Lollie Wonderdog, it’s an amazing thing when a sad little dog can teach a bunch of humans so much about perseverance, patience, and overcoming the odds. You have touched our lives forever, and we love you very much.”

Emotions ran strong on the receiving end, too. After Lollie — whose new name is Lily Fireworks — was situated in her new home, her new owner wrote down her thoughts about it all, which were published on Love and a Leash this week:

“I had breast cancer at 24, had a few breast surgeries, lost all my hair, all that fun stuff … Fast forward six years, and we’re looking for a dog. We found Daisy, a beagle with giant “udders.” A breast cancer survivor finds a dog with udders…it was meant to be! Last year I went through chemo again when my cancer returned, and Daisy beagle was the sole reason I got up and got any exercise some days. She lay next to me on the couch when I felt pukey, she sniffed my head when my hair fell out again, she saw me through the whole year of chemo. That’s a lot of walks together … Sadly, we lost Daisy very unexpectedly a few months ago, and I didn’t want another dog …”

Then she came across Lollie’s blog, through the Montgomery County Humane Society website.

“We contacted Aleksandra and set up a time for John and me to meet her Lollie Wonderdog. If we thought she’d be a good family member, then we’d tell the little ones. We went to meet Lollie. I couldn’t get over her itty bitty waist. She was adorable. Those giant eyes … she licked my stinky shoelaces, and it was love. How could a dog who had been through so much still have so much love to give? I thought about it — Lollie and I are both survivors …”

(Photo by Aleksandra Gajdeczka, courtesy of Love and a Leash)

Techno-whipped? I pity the fool

In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.

For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.

Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.

Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.

It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.

I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.

All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »

Does your Valentine await?

Here’s your chance to find true love in Savage, Maryland.

Once again, Camp Bow Wow in Columbia is holding a “Cupids & Canines” event, designed to match up adoptable dogs from various rescue groups with new, loving homes.

This year’s event will be held at Historic Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry Street, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 12.

Similar events are being held throughout February by Camp Bow Wow’s 108 locations across the country, and you can visit their website to find one near you.

The events aim to place rescue dogs in homes, and raise awareness and funds for local animal rescue organizations and Camp Bow Wow’s Bow Wow Buddies Foundation.

The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health and welfare of dogs worldwide by finding foster and lifetime homes for unwanted dogs, advancing humane education and treatment, and investing in research and treatment for dogs devastated by illness and disease.

“As we grow, it’s truly wonderful to see so many of our franchisees giving back to their communities by helping dogs and shelters in need,” said Heidi Ganahl, founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow. “The money we raise for our foundation will not only support foster care and adoption programs, but it will also help fund research for canine cancer which takes one in four of our beloved pets.”

Guests at the Savage Mill event can speak with representatives of various rescue groups and meet some of the available dogs. There will also be refreshments, door prized and raffles, as well as discounted micro-chipping. Unless your dog is getting micro-chipped, Camp Bow Wow advises you to leave him or her at home, due to the number of rescue and shelter dogs that will be there.

Out of a Dumpster, into your heart

Here’s a blog we’re hooked on, and one we hope comes to an end soon — for, when it does, that will mean Lollie, the 3-year-old pit bull whose adventures in foster care it chronicles, will have found a forever home.

The blog recounts the foster care experiences of Lollie — full name “Lollie Wonderdog” — who was discovered in September by animal control officers after they received a call about an animal making noise in a dumpster. When they arrived and opened the container, there was Lollie, filthy, half-starved, and covered in cuts and bruises.

Lollie licked the hand of the officer who reached in to scoop her up, and she’s been winning hearts ever since — first at the  Montgomery County Humane Society, where she was known as Lolita. She spent a month there before being taken in as a foster dog by Aleksandra Gajdeczka and family, in late October, at their home in Takoma Park, Md.

“She had clearly been bred for money, abused, and then thrown away — quite literally,” Gajdeczka writes on the blog, entitled ”Love and a Six-Foot Leash: One family’s quest to open minds, win hearts and save lives through the foster program.”

Lollie’s foster family took things slow, introducing her to their other dog, Chick. They taught her to walk on a leash, sit and cuddle — though that last one seemed to come pretty naturally once Lollie became less fearful and more playful.

Gajdeczka says the blog has multiple purposes, but it’s mainly aimed at finding Lollie a home.

“We have a few humble goals in this pursuit: to find our current foster a great ‘forever home’ by revealing her sweetness and her big personality; to encourage others to fostering by sharing our experience; and to show the gentle, loyal nature of pit bull type dogs when kept as family pets.”

Lollie, believed to be a pit bull-bulldog mix,  is available to families within a two hour drive of DC.

“Lollie comes to you with a heart full of love, a clean bill of health, all of her shots/vaccines up-to-date, and already spayed. She is housebroken, does not chew on furniture, shoes, or clothes, and is quiet and cuddly. She is a smart dog, an ultra-fast learner, and has a lot of energy– she would make a great running partner, and may excel in agility training … She is wonderful with adults and children alike, and fine with some dogs– though she would be happiest in a single-dog house. Per MCHS rules, she cannot be adopted by a family with small kids, small animals (cats, rabbits, hamsters . . .), or no prior dog experience.”

The blog tells you all you need to know, should you be interested in adopting Lollie.

It has some great photos (Aleksandra is also a photographer, reachable at dcpetographer@gmail.com), some sweet videos, and nicely depicts not just Lollie’s growth during her time in foster care, but all the love she, like all dogs — even those spurned, ditched or dumped — has to give.

Even better yet, it shows that humans do, too.

(Photos and video by Aleksandra Gajdeczka)


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