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Tag: meeting

NC puppy mill law pronounced dead after senator’s remarks are taped

ncpupmill

Backers of increased restrictions on dog breeders in North Carolina recorded a conversation with a state Senator who opposes the bill at a meeting earlier this month and, as a result, some Republican leaders say there will be no vote on a proposed puppy mill law this year.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca said Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, was recorded without his knowledge during a private meeting, and that those who taped him planned to use the recording to “force” senators into passing the bill.

“It is wrong to secretly record private conversations with members of the General Assembly and then threaten to expose those conversations to the media to force legislators to meet specific demands,” Apodaca said. “That is nothing short of political extortion and represents a new low in lobbying for legislative action. To dignify those actions by moving ahead on this issue would set a dangerous precedent while condoning and encouraging these unethical tactics.” 

Janie Withers, the community activist who recorded the Jan. 16 meeting with Rabon, said the recording wasn’t a secret. She said she routinely tapes meetings, and that the tape recorder was sitting in plain view to all, including Rabon.

The bill passed the House last year, and has been pushed by both Gov. Pat McCrory and his wife, Ann.

In the recording, Rabon, using more than a few expletives, criticized the McCrorys for publicly supporting the bill.

Rabon“It was bullied out of committee by the executive branch,” Rabon (pictured at left) says in the tape recording, obtained by WRAL-TV . “The executive branch had absolutely, absolutely no business sticking its nose in the legislature on that sort of issue.”

He said Ann McCrory’s advocacy, including a visit to the House chamber to watch the May 9 vote, was “against all laws. … There is a strong line between opinion and lobbying. When you pick up the phone and you are in a position of power and call individual legislators and offer advice or praise or this or that, you are, under the law, lobbying, and you must be a registered lobbyist in this state to do that.”

Coming across as a bit of an Alpha dog, Rabon makes it clear that he is against the bill, and that it would be unable to pass without his support.

“That bill is not going to pass,” Rabon, a veterinarian, told the group. “Angels in heaven cannot make that bill pass.”

He said he planned to introduce a “stronger” bill that he said would not negatively impact on hunters and livestock owners: “ … When I do it, it will be done at the right time, and it will pass,” he said. “I’m in the top five members in power in the Senate. The best shot you folks have ever had, you’re talking to.”

Gov. Pat McCrory and his wife, Ann, have both pushed for the legislation, which is designed to set minimum standards for people who keep at least 10 female dogs primarily to breed and sell the offspring as pets. McCrory urged its passage again on Monday.

“Just because someone uses foolish tactics, there is no reason to stop good legislation which needs to be passed here in North Carolina,” McCrory said.

(Top photo: From a 2012 puppy mill raid in NC, courtesy of Humane Society)

Alabama town bans pit bulls after sheriff shoots what he thinks might have been one

claycouncil

Citywide pit bull bans are often knee jerk reactions — maybe even more so when a county sheriff”s knees are involved.

One week after Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was approached in his yard by four dogs “acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds” — and fired a shotgun at them, grazing one — the Alabama city of Clay passed a “vicious dog” ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

sheriffhaleThe sheriff, according to a spokesman, fired a warning shot into the ground, then another round of ”bird shot” in the direction of the dogs, leading them to turn away. Animal control arrived to round up the dogs, and their owner was charged with letting them run at large. The dog hit by Hale’s shot survived, AL.com reported.

That incident prompted the city council in Clay, with a speed seldom seen in government affairs, to pass an ordinance banning pit bulls and other “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs. 

The ordinance bans new pit bulls and mixes that include pit bull. Such dogs already kept in the city limits are grandfathered in but must be registered with the city in the next 60 days. The ordinance requires they be kept indoors and mandates owners post a prominently displayed ”beware of dog” sign. Owners are also required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

Having sought little public input before passing the law on June 3, the city council has gotten some since, AL.com reports.

A standing room only crowd filled Monday night’s meeting of the Clay City Council, with most citizens arguing the breed is not “inherently dangerous” and criticizing the law for unfairly penalizing responsible owners. Many, including a representative from the Birmingham Humane Society, urged the council to consider a non-breed specific dangerous dog law instead.

One speaker continued to voice his concerns after his turn to speak was over. When told he was interrupting, he continued his comments, leading Mayor Charles Webster — perhaps deeming him to be inherently dangerous — to ban him from the room.

“You are turning us all into criminals,” the man, identified as Mark Lawson, said as a deputy led him outside.

City Attorney Alan Summers said he would try to have a new or modified ordinance for the council to consider at its next meeting on July 1.

(Top photo by Jeremy Gray / AL.com)

Dear Isaac, Please do not ride the dog

We’re not real big on stating the obvious, but there are times it needs to be stated, especially when it comes to children and dogs.

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.) 

 

Getting to (sniff, sniff) know you

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.

We can’t, without repercussions, do the butt-sniffing thing. We can’t, of course, go around peeing on each other’s pee. 

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.

In the final analysis, being human, maybe we’re stuck with words, and small talk, and being less straightforward, sincere and, quite likely, pure of heart and motive than dogs.

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?

Off leash in Patterson Park … an update

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.

Emma and Luna: Deaths still unsolved

emmaluna

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.

Bo and Michelle surprise White House visitors

In honor of the one year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, Michelle Obama signaled their commitment to creating a more accessible White House by surprising visitors attending public tours.

That included access to Bo, as well — though he’s barely visible in this clip. We’ll just have to assume that he does indeed have a tongue.

Anti-animal abuse panel hears from public

About 75 people showed up for the first public meeting of Baltimore’s newly appointed Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force tonight, with many calling for improved education, harsher penalties for animal cruelty and creative measures to instill empathy for animals among young people.

Others ideas included bringing pets into schools; recruiting local celebrities, such as Ravens players, to become role models on how to treat animals; hiring an investigator trained in animal abuse cases for the police force, beefing up the 16-member staff of the city’s Animal Control Office; and mandatory spay/neuter laws to cut down on the number of homeless animals that often become targets for animal abuse.

The task force was appointed this summer after a pit bull puppy, later named Phoenix, was doused with gasoline and set on fire. The dog’s injuries were so severe he had to be euthanized a few days later. Since then, several cats have been discovered tortured, burned and abused.

The panel is expected to make recommendations to Mayor Sheila Dixon next July.

Reminder: Abuse task force meets tonight

Baltimore’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force holds its third meeting tonight – the first to which the public is invited. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Coldspring Lane. That task force — made up of  representatives from city offices, the police, the states attorney’s office, animal welfare organizations and city residents — was formed in July after several highly publicized incidents of dog and cat abuse.

Animal abuse task force invites comments

The Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force will hold its first public meeting next Wednesday (Sept. 16).

The task force invites members of the public to attend and voice their concerns about animal abuse in Baltimore. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Coldspring Lane.

The meeting is scheduled to last two and a half hours, and those wishing to speak are asked to sign in when they arrive.

The newly formed task force, because it has just begun its work, won’t be answering questions, said Caroline A. Griffin, task force chairperson. Instead, the meeting is intended to allow the public to express their comments and concerns regarding animal abuse in Baltimore.

The task force was appointed by Mayor Sheila Dixon in the wake of several highly publicized cases of animal cruelty. It includes representatives from city offices, the police, the state’s attorney’s office, animal welfare organizations and city residents.

The task force will assess the effectiveness of Baltimore’s cruelty laws, brainstorm ways to raise awareness of animal abuse and consider ways city agencies and animal advocates can better coordinate their efforts.

After a year of study, it will issue recommendations to the mayor.

In May, someone doused a pit bull puppy with gasoline and set it on fire in Southwest Baltimore. The dog, who came to be known as Phoenix, had to be euthanized. A reward fund of $26,000 was raised, leading to the arrest of twins, who were charged as juveniles. In June, two cats were found within two weeks in the same Northwest Baltimore neighborhood, burned, beaten and tied to a school fence. In August, a cat was set on fire twice in a West Baltimore neighborhood.