Tag: new zealand
Those New Zealand shelter dogs we told you about last week — the ones being trained to drive a car — succeeded. And two of them may soon be moving to new adoptive homes.
The New Zealand Herald reports that adoption offers have been pouring in for two of the three dogs that made their driving debuts on Campbell Live.
Monty and Porter seem to be in high demand, while Ginny, a 1-year-old whippet mix — though she can drive as well as the others — isn’t generating lots of interest.
The dogs underwent eight weeks of training, culminating in piloting a Mini Cooper around a track Monday.
It was all part of a promotional campaign by the Auckland SPCA to show how intelligent, and worthy of adoption, shelter dogs can be.
Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin said many adoption offers have been received for two of the driving dogs – Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross, and Monty, a giant schnauzer cross.
She thinks Ginny receiving less “airtime” might be the reason there is less interest in her.
As for Porter and Monty, the SPCA is still determining which of the many applicants will get to adopt them.
“The key issue for us is about finding the best home possible for those dogs because they’ve done an exceptional job of being ambassadors for all SPCA animals throughout the country,” Kalin said.
You can find more details at the Auckland SPCA website.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, applicants, auckland, car, dog, dogs, drive, driving, driving dog, driving dogs, drove, ginny, intelligent, monty, new zealand, pets, porter, shelter, spca, success, trained, video
Three shelter dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car by a local SPCA, and one of them will be demonstrating his skills behind the wheel on live television next week.
The SPCA in Auckland had the dogs trained in how to shift gears, brake and steer — all part of a marketing campaign aimed at demonstrating the intelligence of rescued dogs.
The SPCA hired animal trainer Mark Vette to teach driving to the dogs — Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer whose owner was unable to control him; Ginny, a one-year-old whippet cross who was rescued from abusive owners; and Porter, a ten-month-old bearded collie cross who was found roaming the streets.
The dogs underwent five weeks of indoor training to encourage them to touch and move brakes, gear sticks and steering wheels, and received treats along the way, New Zealand’s TV3 reported. Once they mastered the basics, they were given a mock car to practice with.
“No animal has ever driven a car before so what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a straight and we’re going to head off, so we’ll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon along the straight and then stop.”
(Not speaking New Zealandese, we can’t tell you what “hoon along” means.)
“In this case we’ve got ten behaviors we’re all putting together, so each behavior is a trained behavior and then you put them into a sequence,” Vette said. “So it’s a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time.”
On Monday, Monty the dog’s driving abilities will be tested on the television show Campbell live, shown nationally in New Zealand. (You can learn more about the project on its Facebook page.)
“I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal, SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin to Newscom.AU. “This really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”
(Photos: Auckland SPCA)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adoption, animals, auckland, bearded collie, brake, car, dog drives car, dogs, drive, driving, gear, giant, ginny, learn, mark vetter, mix, monty, mutts, new zealand, pets, porter, rescue, schnauzer, shelter, shift, spca, stray, taught, trainer, whippet
Technically, maybe it’s correct to say no animals were harmed during the filming of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
But away from the set, when the cameras weren’t rolling, 27 animals signed up to take part in the production died, and more were injured – mostly at a New Zealand farm where they were being kept.
Animal wranglers involved in the making of “The Hobbit” movie trilogy say the production company is responsible for the deaths because it kept the animals at a farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other “death traps,” according to an Associated Press report.
Despite that, the movie’s credits do carry the American Humane Association’s “No animals were harmed” stamp of approval — the exact wording of which is “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.”
The AHA says its monitoring of animals is limited to the actual filming of a movie or television show, and that it lacks the manpower, funding and authority to police animals when they are away from the set.
But others, PETA included, think that’s splitting hairs.
“How can something like this happen when the unit production manager was warned and the production was monitored by the AHA,” asks PETA, which has been critical of AHA in the past, and which was involved in breaking the story.
PETA also wonders why — given the state of the art of computer graphics — live animals had to be used at all:
“This movie was directed by Peter Jackson, a master at computer-generated imagery (CGI). In a movie that features CGI dragons, ogres, and hobbits, CGI animals would have fit in perfectly. Jackson could have made The Hobbit without using a single animal—and he should have.”
AHA called the deaths “needless and unacceptable,” and said they show that there are shortcomings in the oversight system, which monitors film sets but not the facilities where the animals are housed and trained. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 27 animals, aha, american humane association, an unexpected journey, chickens, deaths, director, entertainment, filming, goats, horses, making, movie, movies, new zealand, no animals were harmed, peter jackson, sheep, the hobbit, trilogy, warner bros, warner brothers, wellington
A cat hacked to pieces, a terrier beaten by youths with a cricket bat and a dog whose owner inserted a caribiner through its neck all made the Royal New Zealand SPCA’s 2012 “List of Shame.”
The list of inhumane acts toward animals is compiled annually by the SPCA and shared with the public — partly to increase public awareness, and partly as a warning.
“Violence towards animals both co-occurs and is a predictor of violence towards humans,” said Robyn Kippenberger, national chief executive of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.
“The sheer level of violence meted out on animals by some of the perpetrators in the cases in this year’s List of Shame is shocking, and underlying of wider issues in New Zealand.”
Incidents that made this year’s list included a tethered goat stabbed to death in Greymouth, a dog left to starve on the side of a road, and “a family cat deliberately cut up in Timaru.”
The lists recounts 30 acts of abuse and neglect, and their outcomes.
In Rotorua, a dog owner put a metal caribiner, such as used in climbing, through the skin of his Shar Pei mix’s neck and used it to connect a leash. An infection resulted and the dog had to be euthanized. The owner was prosecuted, fined and banned from owning a dog for a year.
In Te Atatu, Auckland a 3 year old cat was found outside an archery club with an arrow in his head. Further investigation showed he’d also been shot with pellets. The SPCA is still investigating.
In Waitara, a man trapped cats in his backyard, then put them in sacks and drowned them. He was banned from owning an animal for five years.
In July, two men who were prosecuted for shooting 33 dogs and puppies during a feud between neighbors in Wellsford, received sentences of 6 months home detention and 6 months community detention, 300 hours community work and reparation.
“The SPCA’s work is made less effective by the low level of sentencing being awarded in animal welfare cases,” Kippenberger said. “ The sentencing in most of these cases is appallingly inadequate, and is no way indicative of the range of penalties that can be handed down under the Animal Welfare Amendment Act.”
“Considering the close links between violence towards humans and animal cruelty, courts should be recognising these crimes as significant in a continuum of violent behaviour. If these crimes are not punished significantly, an opportunity is lost to send a message that no violence is acceptable.”
The Royal New Zealand SPCA, in partnership with Women’s Refuge, recently released a study into the link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand.
In the study, “Pets as Pawns,” 50 per cent of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence and 25 per cent said their children had witnessed violence against animals.
(Photo: One of the 33 dogs shot in Wellsford; New Zealand Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrow, beaten, behavior, caribiner, cat, children, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, domestic, humans, inhumane, link, list, list of shame, new zealand, pets, pets as pawns, research, robyn kippenberger, royal new zealand spca, shar-pei, sharpei, study, violence
A retriever mix named Juanita was rescued from an otherwise empty yacht off the coast of New Zealand yesterday.
Juanita reportedly poked her head out of a hatch when a rescue vessel pulled alongside the drifting yacht Tafadzwa, which had been at sea for 17 days.
The 2-year-old dog belonged to the yacht’s missing owner, Paul Janse van Rensburg, according to the New Zealand Herald.
“When we pulled up alongside, she poked her head out for a bit, but went down below again,” said fisherman and diver Floyd Prendeville, of the fishing boat Legionaire, which towed the Tafadzwa to the Chathams.
Prendeville said the dog was shaking and silent as he approached. “She was very wary of me, and then I just pulled her in and gave her a couple of comforting pats, and she was shaking, and then she came right.”
Juanita somehow managed to fend for herself after Janse van Rensburg, 40, was lost overboard within days of setting sail from Tauranga for Gisborne on March 12. The boat drifted from the East Cape to the Chathams.
Juanita was carried to dry land, and after trotting around the wharf for a while, was led to a vehicle and taken to the local constable’s house.
(Photo: New Zealand Herald / Mark Mitchell)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boat, dog, dogs, gisborne, juanita, missing, mix, new zealand, news, ohmidog!, paul janse van rensburg, pets, recovered, rescued, retriever, sea, tafadzwa, tauranga, yacht, yachtsman
Shyla, a Chihuahua mix in New Zealand, has undertaken the nursing of seven kittens born to a stray.
The kittens were taken in by a Pets n Vets clinic to save them from being euthanized, and Shyla, who has nursed a previous litter of kittens, was called to duty.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cats, chihuahua, dog, dogs, interspecies, kittens, mix, new zealand, newborn, nurses, nursing, pets, shyla, stray, surrogate, video
New Zealand professors Brenda and Robert Vale say the title of their book was partly tongue-in-cheek, partly shock tactic.
“Time to Eat the Dog?: A Real Guide to Sustainable Living” — and we’re thankful they at least used a question mark — doesn’t actually propose pet owners eat their dogs and cats, but it does suggest switching to pets like chickens and rabbits, which then can be eaten.
Of course, if their fate is to be eaten, they wouldn’t be pets. They’d be livestock. But the Vales, both New Zealand professors of architecture and non-dogs owners (as maybe you’d guess), don’t seem to see the distinction.
By eating our pets, the Vales say, we’d reduce their carbon footprint.
And dogs and cats, granted, make some pretty big ones — according to the Vales, the amount of land and energy it takes to make one dog’s food for a year makes for twice the carbon footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser driven 6,213 miles a year.
A cat’s carbon footprint, meanwhile, is “slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf.
New Scientist magazine, in an editorial, stopped short of backing the authors’ suggestion – that we should recycle our pets by eating them or turning them into pet food at the end of their lives – but it did call for reducing the impact of pets on the environment, and for the pet food industry to be more environmentally responsible.
“In a world of scarce resources, can we justify keeping pets that consume more than some people?” the editorial asks. “… Giving up our pets in the name of sustainability may seem like a sacrifice too far, but if we are going to continue to keep animals purely for our enjoyment then we have to face uncomfortable choices.
“At the moment, pet-food manufacturers thrive by selling us the idea that only the best will do for our beloved animals, but once owners become more aware, what they demand from the industry is likely to change,” the editorial notes. “The first manufacturer to offer a green, eco-friendly pet food could be onto a winner. Sustainable lifestyles require sacrifices, and even cats and dogs can be made to do their bit.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, brenda vale, carbon footprint, cats, chickens, dogs, earth, eating, editorial, evironment, greenhouse gases, new scientist, new zealand, pets, pigs, robert vale, sustainability, time to eat the dog
The SPCA in New Zealand is calling for a change in the law after its investigation into the killing and cooking of a pet dog by a Tongan family in Auckland.
As long as the animal is slaughtered humanely — how’s that for a contradiction of terms? — eating a dog is not illegal in New Zealand.
The family who barbecued their pet dog say back home in Tonga dog meat is considered a delicacy, and they didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong.
Paea Taufa was found roasting his pitbull mix in a pit at his home. The dog had been skinned and gutted and was partially charred when SPCA inspectors arrived.
Auckland City’s mayor, John Banks, said the family needs to be educated rather than charged with a crime, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Banks, an animal rights activist for years, says better education on local customs and sensibilities is needed. “This activity is deeply offensive and totally wrong in our New Zealand society. For many people, this is absolutely repulsive,” the mayor said. “But the way forward is education. This man has obviously not been taught that killing and eating a domestic pet is not right in New Zealand.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: auckland, barbecue, barbeque, cooked, crime, customs, dog, dog meat, illegal, john banks, lega, mayor, new zealand, pitbull, slaughter, spca, tonga, tongan
Through his blog and Twitter, Talbot — an actor, filmmaker, writer, comedian and veterinary surgeon — is searching for a dog to play Scrap, a role in his new movie, “Lucky & Rich.”
The ideal candidate is missing a hind leg, is medium-sized, non-aggressive and has “big cinematic doggie eyes,” according to an entry on his blog, “seven sentences.” The blog entry also carries pictures of the contenders so far.
The movie is described as a “24-hour Bohemian love story between a Czech prostitute called Lucky and a homeless New Zealand bum named Rich.”
The film will be shot in Prague from November 2009 to February 2010 and both dog and guardian will be transported there by the moviemaker. The dog playing Scrap will be under constant veterinary supervision and care, he assures candidates.
Photos of possible candidates can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo: Frankie, one of the dogs submitted for consideration, from Talbot’s blog)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, blog, bum, canine, casting call, czech, dog, film, filmmaker, geoff talbot, help find scrap, hind, homeless, leg, lucky & rich, missing, movie, new zealand, prague, prostitute, scrap, seven sentences, star, three legged dog, tripawd, tripod
The idea is, as with the Michael Vick chew toy (see below), dog owners will purchase the candidate toy they would most like to see chewed up and spat out, thereby determining which candidate is most likely,come election time, to be “dog tucker,” which means dog food in New Zealand and Australia.
Masterpet will monitor sales of the toys, and report results on the political blog kiwiblog.co.nz.
Masterpet North Island sales manager Peter Couchman urged people to make their choice quickly, saying that, as with politicians, the toy’s shelf life might be limited.
“Early data in our reverse poll (the “dog tucker” poll) suggests a preference for Helen Clark. But this is one poll she may not want to be ahead in,” he said.
Early figures had Clark (she’s the incumbent, and a member of the Labour Party) cornering 59 per cent of the chew toy market, far ahead of Key (he’s the multi-millionaire challenger, representing the National Party).
Masterpets offered a list of tips for those considering a purchase, including ”Wear suitable ear protection when supervising your dog’s playtime with the toy. As with real politicians, the squealing can become quite deafening… If your dog destroys the politician in the first five minutes don’t hold this against your dog – the media do it every week.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 26th, 2008 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: candidate, chew, chew toy, clark, dog, election, Key, michael vick, new zealand, news, poll, prime minister, toy