The American Veterinary Medical Association next month could give final approval to a policy that discourages feeding pets “raw or undercooked animal-source protein diets” — on the grounds that they are unsafe for dogs, cats and humans.
Some people see the measure as a proactive and well-reasoned stance, aimed at making our dogs and ourselves safer.
Some see it as meddling.
And some see it as a conspiracy.
I, not being a dog food expert, fall into the middle ground — those vast numbers of folks who are highly confused by our dog-feeding options, puzzled over what truly is best for our dogs, befuddled by how so-called experts can be telling us exact opposite things, scared by anything from China, fretting over what we can afford, and, all the while, wondering how something like dog food has managed to become the volatile topic it has.
Emotions about dog food, given all the scares and recalls of the past decade, sometimes seem to run nearly as high as those in the abortion debate, and proponents of one kind of food or another are just about as firmly entrenched in their beliefs.
My dog Ace thrived on a raw diet the two years he was on it. His coat was shinier, his health was good, his stools were less massive, leading a layman like myself to belief that, as its proponents claim, it was a more natural choice for his species, and one he seemed to absorb something from, unlike kibble, which just seemed to go in one end and out the other.
(We switched back to kibble and canned when we entered a refrigerator-less phase of life, and haven’t gone back on raw for budget reasons.)
Even without Ace as a customer, the raw diet has continued to grow in popularity — probably at least in part because of all the issues surrounding other forms of dog food, which, we’d point out, the AVMA hasn’t felt a need to take a stand on.
Next month, at its meeting in San Diego, the AVMA House of Delegates will be voting on a policy discouraging feeding pets a raw diet, based on scientific studies that have shown raw meat, unless it has been subjected to a process that eliminates pathogens, can be contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus.
These infections can sicken pets and pet owners alike, and even be life-threatening, the AVMA says.
All that is true enough. Then again, it’s also true of the hamburger meat you bring home from the grocery store. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek July 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, animals, avma, bacteria, barf, brenda bax, conspiracy, delta society, director, dog, dog food, dogs, feeding, house of delegates, industry, marketing, meat, meeting, pet food, pets, policy, proposal, purina, raw, raw diet, raw meat, salmonella, san diego, susan thixton, the truth about pet food, theory
Chief Gene Wrinn , acknowledged that his officers didn’t follow procedure during the March 21 incident and that they failed to call animal control officers, in accordance with policy.
His remarks came during a meeting Tuesday with residents, held at a local library, according to the Brattleboro Reformer
“We screwed up. We apologize for that, and we’re going to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We’ve gotten some good feedback. We’re not sweeping anything under the carpet. We’re having conversations.”
Wrinn said two officers responded to the Green Street School playground for a dog complaint, and one of the officers used a shotgun to kill the animal, believed to be a pit bull or pit bull mix.
“It was truly unfortunate that the department had to take the dog’s life, but it had to happen,” Wrinn said.
While some have described the dog as “dying,” other residents say it may have just been ill. “It probably was hungry. It probably was dehydrated,” said one.
Wrinn declined to say if the two officers involved had been disciplined. “That’s a personnel matter, and it can’t be discussed,” he said.
Wrinn noted that department representatives have met with the Windham County Humane Society. “This may be a great opportunity for training for the officers,” he added.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal control, animals, brattleboro, citizens, complaints, dog, dogs, dying, gene wrinn, meeting, officers, pets, pit bull, playground, police, police chief, residents, school, shooting, shot, shotgun, sick, vermont
The council, while nixing plans for a dog beach in the California town, instructed staff to start working on a plan to allow leashed dogs in more parks and build more fenced open space for dogs to run. The city now has one dog park.
The council’s main concerns seemed to be that dog waste could compound existing problems with bacteria levels on the city’s beaches, and that its limited and eroding beach space should be reserved for use by people.
“I do think we need to increase the amenities for dogs and pets,” council member Tim Brown said at a Tuesday council meeting. “[But] we don’t have an abundant beach line — we have a strand that has been disappearing over the years.”
Tom Bonigut, assistant city engineer, said any increase in bacterial levels in San Clemente’s coastal waters could result in steep fines from regional water quality agencies.
Even Councilman Bob Baker, a dog owner, was against letting dogs run on the beach, according to Patch.com.
“Your dog should be on a leash at all times when you’re in public,” Baker said. “If you’re letting your dog run around on the beach without a leash, you’re making a big mistake.”
The strand of beach in the proposal runs from Dije Court to Mariposa Point and would have been open to dogs from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“I don’t want to swim in dog poop water,” Mimi Lane (pictured above) told the council, according to the Orange County Register.
About a dozen residents spoke against the beach plan, while about two dozen spoke in favor of it.
The city estimates it is home to about 16,000 dogs, only about 5,000 of which are licensed.
(Photo: Fred Swegles / Orange County Register)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: against, animals, bacteria, beach, beaches, california, city council, concerns, dog, dog beaches, dog parks, dogs, eroding, erosion, feces, leash free, limited, meeting, parks, pets, poop, proposal, rejected, san clemente, unleashed, waste
Tis the season for putting ornaments on trees, hanging stockings from the mantle, and, if you’re a dog, placing your nose directly into the crotch of any and all visitors who drop by the house for a bit of Christmas cheer.
Ah yes, the crotch sniff, next to the leg hump about the most embarassing behavior — for us, anyway — that our dog can engage in.
If you’ve ever wondered why your dog, while showing little or no interest in your crotch, is so fascinated by the laps of visitors, help is on the way.
That sketch on the left shows where dogs sniff their owners — mostly, as you can see by the lines and darkened areas, the arms and face.
The one below shows where dogs sniff strangers, and there seems a much greater focus on the groin.
This comes courtesy of our friend Julie Hecht, who produces the blog Dog Spies. She’s nosing through existing research, and has posted the first of a two-part series on the phenomenon.
Hecht works with Alexandra Horowitz at the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, which regularly tries to figure out why dogs do the things they do — the scientific reasons, as opposed those we tend to arrive at anthropomorphically.
“Behavioural variability of olfactory exploration of the pet dog in relation to human adults.”
(Riotous bunch, those scientists.)
For their sniffing simulation, researchers had human volunteers lay motionless on the floor with their eyes closed for five minutes.
The researchers first observed pet dogs sniffing their owners. Then they watched as dogs sniffed an unknown person. They kept count of the areas sniffed, and made charts. (I’m guessing they didn’t use those red arrows, though.)
Dogs spent more time sniffing strangers than their owners, and, with strangers, more time poking about the crotch zone.
The simple explanation: Your dog already has a good sense of how you and most regular visitors smell. With a new person though, they tend to want to get better aquainted. They do that primarily with their noses.
As for why they sniff where they sniff, I don’t know — and I’m hoping part two of Julie’s post will clear the air and explain the allure of the crotch; whether it’s a matter of going for the most pungent spot, or the most personal and guarded one, or if maybe it, scent wise, it’s simply the most revealing.
Dog only knows.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, aroma, barnard college, behavior, body, crotch, dog, dog cognition lab, dog spies, dogs, explained, exploration, filiatre, getting acquainted, groin, humans, julie hecht, lap, meeting, olfactory, pets, regions, research, scents, science, scientists, smell, sniff, sniffing, study
Bombarded by 18,000 emails and faced with a crowd of more than 100 dog lovers, the Cumberland County Animal Control Board last night dropped a proposal to ban adoptions of pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows and other breeds.
About 10 breeds were included in the proposal — as were any mixes of them — all of which would have been euthanized within three days of arriving at the North Carolina county’s shelter.
Instead, the Fayeteville Observer reports, the animal control board directed Dr. John Lauby, the animal control director, to look into ways the county can better screen people who adopt animals to ensure they’ll be responsible owners.
The proposed breed ban was recommended about two months after Cumberland County hired a contractor to round up stray and feral dogs in and around Fayetteville — most of which ended up getting euthanized.
That step, and the breed ban, were prompted by complaints from the public about free-running dogs that posed nuisances and dangers.
In October, the Animal Control board recommended that the county deem “unadoptable” any and all bully breeds, as well as Rottweilers chow chows, Great Danes and German shepherds, according to some reports.
Those breeds, and mixes of them — labeled “attack dogs” by one county official – would have been euthanized within 72 hours, unless other shelters or rescues took them.
By Monday night, Lauby said he had received more than 18,000 emails about the proposal, many from activists who — based on online petitions and erroneous news reports — believed the county was to start euthanizing all such breeds Monday.
“We’re not trying to kill anything,” Lauby said. “We’re trying to adopt animals.”
Among those who addressed the board were pit bull owners, rescuers, trainers and groomers, many of whom voiced their opposition to breed specific policies and laws.
“Some of the best dogs I groom are dogs that are on the list,” said Karin Miller, a groomer in Hope Mills. “We can’t categorize the dogs any more than we can categorize people.”
Troy Duke, who runs a Cumberland County pit bull rescue, said the dogs are “suffering from the same stereotypes that racists label other people with.”
Lauby told the board that dog adoptions have increased from 700 per year to about 2,000, but the county still euthanizes some 11,000 dogs annually.
About 1,000 pit bulls arrive at the county shelter a year, most of which are euthanized.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption ban, animal control board, animals, attack dogs, ban, breed, breed-specific, chows, cumberland county, dangerous dogs, dogs, emails, euthanasia, euthanize, fayetteville, feral dogs, german shepherds, great danes, john lauby, meeting, north carolina, petitions, pets, pit bulls, policy, proposal, protests, rottweilers, stereotypes, stray dogs, uproar
Supporters of a law that would ban tethering dogs for extended periods filled the Forsyth County Commission meeting last night.
No one at the meeting spoke against a ban of the practice, but scores showed up in support of it, including Spiderman’s aunt.
Academy Award nominee Rosemary Harris Ehle, a member of the Forsyth County Humane Society and a Winston-Salem, N.C., resident for 42 years, can be seen in the Fox News video above.
Forsyth County is in the process of writing up a proposed ordinance that could be approved by the end of the month, but even if passed, it would not fully go into effect for at least two years.
“I know there have to be guard dogs, but they don’t have to be chained to a stake. They should be able to move around,” Ehle said.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actress, animal control, ban, chained, chaining, county commission, forsyth county, law, meeting, proposal, rosemary harris ehle, tethering, unchain forsyth, winston-salem
Case in point: today’s “Dear Abby” column, in which a reader relates how a 9-year-old visitor to his home climbed aboard his Labrador retriever, possibly causing her permanent injuries.
“Isaac,” the visiting child, who apparently had little experience with canines, was playing with Layla, the retriever, when the homeowner heard him say, “Look, I’m riding your dog!”
“I immediately intervened, but I was too late,” the letter writer said. “A day or so later, Layla was unable to descend our stairway and was clearly in pain. She has been on pain medication for three weeks and is growing progressively worse. The next step is to get X-rays and/or an MRI to see if she has a spinal injury, and then determine her treatment. It’s possible the damage is irreversible.”
The letter writer wasn’t seeking veterinary advice, but wondering how to tell Isaac and his parents about the harm he caused, and keep him from doing it again, without placing “undue guilt on a 9-year-old boy.”
Abby responded to “Heartbroken in New York” this way:
“Children are not mind-readers. If you don’t tell them when they make a mistake, they won’t realize they have made one. Contact Isaac’s parents and explain what happened. If your dog needs treatment, they should be responsible for whatever damage their son did.”
I — though nobody asked — would add only two things to that. First, that any guilt Isaac might feel on learning what he had done isn’t exactly “undue.” Second, that when your dog is meeting someone new — especially a child — you should be in the room, watching and, if necessary, teaching. It’s very easy for a dog owner to assume everyone knows how to behave around dogs, but it’s also very wrong.
Riding a dog, no matter how big he or she is, no matter what the Internet might tell you — and the photo above is just one example of some incredibly irresponsible online “expertise” — should simply never be done. Period.
(Photo: Taken from wikiHow.com’s article on “how to ride a dog”)
(Postscript: The day after this article appeared on ohmidog!, the wikiHow article on “how to ride a dog” was taken down.)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animal welfare, breeds, children, dear abby, dog, dogs, expertise, health, heartbroken, injuries, injury, internet, irresponsible, kids, kids and dogs, labrador retriever, layla, meeting, new, responsible, ride, riding, riding dogs, rode, safety, wikihow
Humans need a play stance.
I came to this conclusion yesterday — adding yet another item to the list of things dogs do better than us – as Ace and I arrived for the first time at the only dog park in Winston-Salem proper (and Winston-Salem is pretty proper).
Being new and mostly friendless in the town in which we’ve decided to temporarily base ourselves, we left our quarters in the basement of a mansion and, for a little socialization, headed a couple miles down the road to Washington Park, where dogs can run and play in a fenced-in area.
Of course, Ace hardly romped at all. It being a new scene for him, his first priority was to give all things a good sniffing – other dogs included. But, on this day, he was more the sniffee than the sniffer.
The second I closed the gate behind us, five other dogs — realizing there was a new face — bounded over for a whiff, following so close behind his rear end that, when he stopped abruptly … well you know the rest.
Butts aside, it’s an intriguing thing to watch, this seeming welcome, and one I noticed often back at Ace’s old park in Baltimore. When a first-timer arrives, all the other dogs come over to give the new guy a sniff. To view that as an act of kindness is, of course, anthropomorphic. But still it’s kind of sweet.
This weekend, Ace — though he was used to being the dean of his old park — was the new kid on the block.
He courteously sniffed those who sniffed him, but was more interested in checking out the space, the water bowl and the humans than in playing with the other dogs. We’d been there a full hour before he even chased another dog — all of whom were playing energetically with each other.
Dee Dee, a beagle, and Bailey, a whippet mix, (both pictured atop this post) had great play stances and used them often: Butts pointed skyward, front legs stretched all the way out, heads lowered. It, in the canine world, is a universal signal, a way of saying “You don’t need to be afraid of me, this is all in good fun, it’s playtime, let’s go.”
I can think of no counterpart when it comes to human body language — no gesture or stance we have that is as easily noticeable and understood. The handshake? No, that’s just standard procedure, basic manners. Perhaps the one that came closest was the peace sign.
Rather than having a universal play stance, we resort to words, which often only make things more confusing. We try to make sense of subtle body language and interpret what we think are queues, neither of which we’re that good at, either.
All that could be resolved if we only had a human play stance — a position we could place our bodies in that signifies we’re open to getting to know a fellow human.
We’ve got the war stance down. We all know the fighting stance, or at least enough to put our dukes up. But there’s no simple gesture or motion we humans can make — at least not without possibility of criminal charges or restraining orders – that sends a signal that peace, harmony and fun are ahead.
But why can’t we come up with a play stance — one that says I’m open to getting to know you better, and perhaps even frolicking a bit?
Because that would be too easy for a species as complex as ours? Too honest? Too direct?
It was easier when we were children. A simple ”Wanna play?” sufficed. Somehow, on the way to becoming adults, we started opting instead for far less direct, far stupider comments, like “Do you come here often?” and “What’s your sign?”
Adopting a play stance for the human race, at this point – with all that we have evolved, with how sophisticated and suspicious and manipulative we as a society have become — would be difficult. It might be too late.
Two thumbs up and a grin? Standing with arms outstretched, knees bent, while waving people toward you? Most anything I can come up to signal you are accepting new people into your life would have the exact opposite effect, and send them running.
Ace will make friends his way, and I will make friends mine (which is most often with his help). But between him and my conversational skills, I’ll be fine. And by the way, do you come here often?
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, behavior, butts, crouch, dog parks, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, friends, humans, interaction, interpret, meeting, north carolina, park, people, pets, play signal, play stance, queues, reaching out, road trip, signals, sniff, sniffing, social, socialization, socializing, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, winston-salem, wshington park
If you walk your dog in Baltimore’s Patterson Park — and are wondering where all that talk about off-leash possibilities has led — there’s a chance to find out the latest this Sunday (April 25).
The group pushing for off leash hours or areas is meeting from 3 to 6 p.m. in the field below the pagoda.
The meeting is an opportunity to “learn about where we are in this (long) process, find out about upcoming events, and learn what you can do to help,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, areas, baltimore, city, dog parks, dogs, facebook, hours, meeting, off-leash, page, pagoda, park, parks, pets, recreation
The reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever shot and killed two dogs in Pennsylvania has reached $50,000, the Chester County SPCA said yesterday — and the gang at Rescue Ink has joined in the investigation.
The reward fund was established last October after the two family pets were found near the railroad tracks along Brandywine Creek in Pennsbury Township. Both had been shot between the eyes at close range.
Emma, a one-and-a-half-year-old German shorthaired pointer, and Luna, a two-year-old mix of the same breed, had been placed tail to tail, said Rich Britton, spokesman for the Chester County SPCA. The two dogs were reported missing from a Pocopson Township farm Oct. 25.
Today, the search for the killer will get an additional boost from Rescue Ink, a group of tattooed animal rescuers who appear on National Geographic Channel’s Rescue Ink Unleashed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Rescue Ink, which targets animals in danger, will participate in a news conference today at 2 p.m. and meet with the public from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Chester County SPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester. A town-hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Chadds Ford Historical Society, 1736 Creek Rd.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, chester county, chester county spca, dogs, emma, executed, execution-style, german shorthaired pointer, luna, meeting, news conference, pennsylvania, pets, railroad tracks, rescue ink, rich britton, shot, spca, town hall, west chester, woods