Courtesy of the blog ModifiedK9, and courtesy of Dan Waskiewicz, here’s a police officer meets pit bull story with the best kind of ending.
Modified K9 is a pit bull-loving group in Pennsylvania that works to improve the image and future of pit bulls through education, training, rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming.
Dan Waskiewicz is a Baltimore police officer, who wrote Modified K9 a letter about his experience a few months back responding to a vicious dog call in the city.
Here’s his note:
I’m a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids.
Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the “vicious dog” over to me.
The dog came over with it’s tail between it’s legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up.
My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car.
Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home…”
That new home was with Waskiewicz, where the pit bull, now named Bo, resides with his other dogs.
His act drew praise from Modified K9, and lots of commenters.
“Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help,” the blog post reads. “Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!! Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!”
We couldn’t agree more: Dan is the man.
(Photos: Dan Waskiewicz, via ModifiedK9)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: account, adopted, animals, baltimore, blog, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dogs, image, law enforcement, modified k9, modifiedk9, note, officer, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelters, stereotypes, vicious, vicious dog
Forbes, the magazine best known for listing the world’s richest people, now brings us a list of the riskiest dog breeds.
Or at least what insurance companies say are the riskiest dog breeds.
The magazine, to its credit, makes a point of saying the breeds aren’t the likeliest to bite, but, as the article points out, that often doesn’t matter to your insurance company.
The list starts out with Rottweilers, pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds — the breeds that most seem to frighten insurers.
And when insurers get frightened, you, the insuree, usually pay the price.
Fearing lawsuits from people hurt or bitten by dogs, companies offering homeowners and renters insurance are pickier than ever about which types of dogs they’ll insure, said Jeff McCarthy, an agent with Harrington Insurance Agency in Woburn, Mass.
Insurance companies, the article points out, may deny you a policy, or drop you like a hot potato if your “risky” dog causes harm, or even if he doesn’t.
That leaves you having to find a carrier that will cover your dog, which could cost more. It could also mess up your bundling discount.
While some people try to skirt the issue by not telling their insurance company about a new dog, insurers say that is risky.
“If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t disclose this information, the insurance company may deny your claim,” one said. “That could cost you thousands and it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Spoken like a true insurer.
Most commonly, insurance companies tend to resist covering these 11 types of dogs — or any mix of these breeds:
1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
2. Doberman Pinschers
4. German Shepherds
6. Great Danes
7. Presa Canarios
9. Alaskan Malamutes
10. Siberian Huskies
The article concludes:
“This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a pit bull — those little guys can be pretty darn lovable! — or another kind of ‘risky’ dog, but you should call your insurance agent to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, akita, alaskan malamutes, animals, breeds, chow chow, dangers, doberman pinschers, dogs, forbes, german shepherds, great danes, homeowners, insurance, list, perceptions, pets, pit bulls, presa canarios, renters, riskies, risks, risky, rottweiler, siberian huskies, stereotypes, wolf hybrids
In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester
On Sunday May 20th, they’re planning their biggest yet.
Up to 100 participants are expected to showcase their dogs in the wake of the Maryland Court of Appeals Court ruling which labeled all pit bull and pit bull mix dogs to be “inherently dangerous.”
“B-More Dog’s goal for Pit Bulls on Parade is now — and has always been — to introduce people to real pet pit bulls and their people, thereby reducing the stereotype and myths that surround these dogs,” the organization said.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Rash Field and continue around the promenade to the Coast Guard Cutter Taney and back.
Participants in the walk will include family pets as well as pit bulls available for adoption at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS). Local rescue groups such as Jasmine’s House, Adopt a Homeless Animal and FurEver Love often participate in the walk as well.
“B-More Dog was extremely disappointed to learn of the new ‘pit bull’ law in Maryland as a result of the Solesky v. Tracey case. B-More Dog has been working around the clock with regional and national experts to determine the best course of action to have this law changed,” said Pauline Houliaras, President of B-More Dog.
B-More Dog provides humane education in Baltimore city by taking trained and well-mannered pit bulls to community centers, after school programs, schools and churches.
For more information about Pit Bulls on Parade or any of the programs offered by B-More Dog, contact Pauline Houliaras at 410-292-3869 or email@example.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeals court, b-more dog, baltimore, bmore dog, bmoredog, dangerous, dogs, education, events, inherently dangerous, inner harbor, maryland, parade, perceptions, pets, pit bull owners, pit bulls, pit bulls on parade, pitbull, pitbulls, rash field, ruling, stereotypes, training
Mitt Romney says, if he had a chance to do it all over again, he would not put the family dog in a carrier on top of a station wagon for a 12-hour ride to Canada.
“Certainly not with the attention it’s received,” Romney said in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
In other words, he regrets getting caught. But does he regret the act?
His comments sound a lot like those Michael Vick has uttered since serving his sentence for dogfighting-related offenses. Like saying he regrets how the public perceived his acts. Like saying he’d still be doing it, if not for getting caught. Like saying it was all part of urban culture.
Dogfighting is no more a part of urban culture than putting a dog on your roof is part of suburban culture.
The tale of Seamus, the Romney’s Irish setter, is an old one, from the 1980s, first disclosed when Tagg Romney told the story in 2007 — how Seamus got sick during the trip, how Seamus got hosed down during the trip, how the Romneys continued on, dog still on the roof.
The question posed by Sawyer was submitted by a Yahoo! reader: “Would you transport Seamus like that again?”
Though the presidential candidate said no, his wife, Ann Romney, again pointed out how much Seamus “loved it.”
“He would see that crate and would … go crazy because he was going with us on vacation,” she said. “It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel…”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 12 hours, abc, again, animals, ann romney, apology, canada, car, carrier, crate, cruelty, diane sawyer, dogs, getting caught, irish setter, michael vick, mitt, mitt romney, perceptions, pets, politics, presidency, public, regrets, ride, romney, roof, seamus, statements, trip
But, being a big dog’s human, I’d have to agree with Joan Klucha, a British Columbia dog trainer: It’s not entirely right — emphasis on entirely — for big dogs, and their humans, to be held to a higher standard than small dogs.
Klucha, in a column for the North Shore News in Canada — one I’d guess she’s going to take some grief for, diplomatic though it is — points out that little dogs can get away with a lot more than big dogs can.
A case in point is poop, which is what she starts the discussion with, recalling a visit to a client who, once she saw the condition of her home, Klucha assumed wanted help with house training.
“Oh, we don’t care about that,” the client said. “They are little dogs. Their poop is so little we clean it up and it’s not a bother at all. It’s their barking; it’s driving us nuts.”
A little dog can jump up, drop a load, be yappy, be rambunctious, even attack, but it’s often not taken as seriously as when a big dog does those things. As Klucha notes:
“There is a general consensus among many people that the size of a dog determines its behaviour, meaning a small dog automatically means a good dog. Let me set the record straight: The size of a dog is never the issue that determines whether a dog is good or bad. It is always the owner.”
Klucha points to a recent case in Ontario in which a small dog bit a child and the dog’s owner argued her dog was too small to be vicious, and not a threat to anyone.
“If this was a large dog, the outrage over the incident would have demanded that the dog be euthanized,” Klucha says.
“When someone sees a small dog lunging, barking and snapping while pulling at the end of a leash, they chuckle to themselves or don’t give it much thought. If it was a large dog behaving like that, animal control would surely be called out to deal with the situation.
“Small dogs get away with many inappropriate behaviours simply because they are small … Large dogs live under a microscope and are scrutinized for every misdeed.”
When you have a big dog (and mine’s 130 pounds) you do have a heavy responsibility. But small dog owners have a responsibility, too, and while most live up to it, there are those — not you, of course — who think their precious little one can do no harm and let them get away with anything short of murder.
Where the double standard most offends me is when it’s in the form of rules – at motels, in apartment complexes or from other entities that set weight limits under the thinking that big dogs automatically cause bigger problems. That’s just wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m going to go pet a little dog now. His name is Bogey. That’s him in the picture. He lives a few doors down, and he’s very well behaved. I will try to make sure my dog Ace doesn’t pee on him again. Even though Bogey likes to walk under Ace — perhaps for the shade, perhaps for the view, perhaps for the sake of sniffing – he doesn’t deserve a surprise shower.
Being a big dog owner, making sure that doesn’t happen is my responsibility.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, big dogs, bogey, discipline, dogs, double standard, joan klucha, manners, obedience, pee, perceptions, pets, poop, rules, small dogs, standards, train, trainer, training
What happened when a locally-aired McDonalds ad noted that eating new Chicken McBites is safer “than petting a stray pit bull?”
McDonalds has since pulled the radio ad and issued an apology.
(For all our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apology, backlash, breeds, chicken, complaints, discimination, dogs, dogs in advertising, fast food, marketing, mcbites, mcdonald's, mcnuggets, misconceptions, nuggets, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, protest, risk, safer, safety, stereotypes, video, woof in advertising
This could get ugly, if it hasn’t already.
This week, a newly formed national organization called The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) began making itself known, with full-page ads in national newspapers aimed at discouraging people from contributing to the Humane Society of the United States.
The new organization’s point: HSUS, despite public service ads that seem to indicate it helps dogs and cats in shelters, provides little direct funding to local shelters, which need help more than ever.
While polls show 71 percent of Americans believe HSUS is affiliated, represents or helps fund local humane societies, HSSP says “the reality is that just 1 percent of HSUS’s $126 million budget goes to needy hands-on pet shelters.”
“The Humane Society of the United States continues to fundraise on the perception that they give millions of dollars every year to local pet shelters with misleading advertising campaigns. Unfortunately for the dogs and cats in our local pet shelters, that is not the case,” said Diana Culp, HSSP co-director. (Culp is a former director of education for HSUS and former supervisor of animal control in Frederick County, Maryland.)
HSSP, while noting on its website that it doesn’t contribute directly to shelters, either, does provide a database enabling visitors to obtain all the information they need to donate to local shelters.
However philanthropic that may be, and whether or not you agree with HSSP that HSUS is misleading the public in its fundraising approach, HSSP may not be the angelic organization it makes itself out to be.
For one thing, it has ties to Richard Berman, who, through his Center for Consumer Freedom, has been a long-time, highly vocal critic of HSUS. Berman has raised millions from industries that, at least in the view of HSUS, are cruel and abusive to animals.
In response to the HSSP ads — they’ve appeared this week in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and New York Times – HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle fired back earlier this week.
On his blog, A Humane Nation, Pacelle, called Berman a “king of charity fraud,” and went so far as to show a photo of Berman’s mansion in McLean, Virginia.
“He sets up phony front groups to do the dirty work of bad actors in industry. He takes their money and then takes on their critics. He runs ‘charitable’ organizations, like the Center for Consumer Freedom (which fights The HSUS), the American Beverage Institute (which fights Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and the Center for Union Facts (which attacks public employees and unions), yet his groups don’t feed one animal, shelter one homeless person, or provide any other tangible social service.
“They are charitable organizations in name only, and Berman and his for-profit public relations company pocket a large share or even a majority of the total revenue. It’s a personal enrichment scam of the highest order, and he’s the architect of the con job. He’s got the mansion in McLean, Va., and the Bentley in the driveway as the spoils, with his accountant wife standing by to tally the profits.”
Pacelle said the HSUS has never presented itself as an umbrella agency that funds local shelters, and he points out that HSUS television ads include a small-print disclaimer: “Local humane societies are independent from HSUS.”
While the HSSP ad states that HSUS gave just 1 percent of the $131 million in donations it received last year to local shelters, Pacelle says that figure doesn’t include the campaigns HSUS has conducted nationally and globally to fight such things as puppy mills, dogfighting, animal cruelty laws and pet overpopulation.
Pacelle says about 20 percent of the Humane Society’s efforts involve companion animal issues, and that, in the last five years, HSUS has given more than $43 million in grants to other animal organizations.
Berman, while not listed as an official of HSSP, has been hired to do its public relations work and to help bring HSSP “to fruition,” said HSSP Co-Director Jeffrey Douglas.
“… HSSP is a product of the efforts of a group of individuals with deep ties to the animal welfare community and dedicated to improving the well-being of shelter animals across the country,” he added. “Who we hired as our PR firm should be immaterial to the project.”
As Pacelle sees it, though, Berman is its backbone: “Now, this Beltway con artist — who has probably spent as much time as anyone in recent years fighting against animal welfare — has formed a new supposed animal welfare charity … He’s the man behind the curtain … He’s reached a new level of fraud and deception.”
Pacelle said that between CCF and HSSP, Berman’s outfits have taken out 25 full page “attack” ads in national newspapers, at an estimated cost of $2 million.
Berman, meanwhile — whose full response to Pacelle’s comments can be found here — says HSSP has been welcomed “warmly” by the shelter community.
The question the HSSP ad raises is not entirely illegitimate: Are those heartstring-tugging HSUS ads, even with disclaimers, contributing to the misperception that the national organization helps foot the bill for all local shelters that call themself by that name?
But a question can also be asked of the HSSP: If you really care about animals, why not, instead of those full page ads, send that $2 million to animal shelters?
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ads, advertisements, animal cruelty, animals, attack, campaigns, causes, center for consumer freedom, charities, chicago tribune, con man, diana culp, dogs, donate, donations, fight, formed, full page ads, fund raising, funding, hssp, hsus, humane society for shelter pets, humane society of the united states, industries, jeffrey douglas, lobbyist, local, local shelters, logo, los angeles times, misleading, misperceptions, money, national, new york times, newly, non profits, perceptions, pets, politics, polls, psas, public, public service announcements, richard berman, shelters, wayne pacelle
This year fewer than 4 million unwanted dogs and cats will be euthanized, down from as many as 20 million before 1970, the Associated Press reported this week.
That figure’s still nothing to brag about, but it’s a massive improvement, and a testament — not just to surgery, but to the work shelters, rescue groups and animal welfare organizations do to encourage adoptions.
Most animal experts, though, according to the AP story, believe spaying and neutering has played the biggest role in reducing the number of unwanted, euthanized pets.
Nearly every public shelter, private rescue or animal welfare organization in the country now donates money, space or time to low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and spaying and neutering, in addition to becoming a requirement for most adoptions, has become the law in some states, counties and cities.
Spaying and neutering have also become less traumatic — for pets and owners.
“Now they make a one- or two-inch incision and use self-absorbing sutures” that mean a much quicker recovery for the animals, said Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Zawistowski recalled when he got his first dog spayed 50 years ago, “she had an incision that must have been a foot long and was sewn up with what looked like piano wire.”
In addition to eliminating shelter kills, spaying and neutering can make pets easier to manage, less aggressive and healthier, said Andrew N. Rowan, president and CEO of Humane Society International and chief scientific officer for the Humane Society of the United States.
The first public spay and neuter clinic in the U.S., according to the AP story, was opened in Los Angeles in 1969.
What makes the figures all the more impressive is that the decline in the number of animals being euthanized each year comes even as the pet population has boomed. There were about 62 million companion pets in 1970, versus about 170 million today, Zawistowski said.
In years ahead, sterilizing a dog or cat may not always mean surgery. Work continues on pills, implants and vaccines that render cats and dogs unable to reproduce.
Dr. Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon and founder of Found Animals, posted a $25 million prize in 2008 for the creator of an affordable chemical sterilant, and has put up another $25 million for grants to scientists doing the research.
“When we first saw grant proposals coming in, we saw old ideas that had been laying around for 15 or 20 years. What we are seeing now are proposals based on cutting edge science — areas related to cancer and stem cell research. The level and sophistication of the science has moved to a higher level,” said Zawistowski, who is on the prize board.
In 2003, the FDA approved the first sterilant for male dogs. But at about $50 a shot, Neutersol was too costly. It was reworked, the price was cut to about $6 a dose and it was again approved by the FDA under the name Esterilsol. After trials around the world, it is expected to be available in the United States later this year.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew rowan, animals, aspca, cats, chemical, clinics, contraception, dogs, esterilsol, euthanasia, euthanized, found animals, hsus, neuter, neutering, neutersol, perceptions, pets, pills, reproduction, rescues, shelters, society, spay, spaying, stephen zawistowski, sterilizing, surgery, unwanted
Neighborhood Pit Bull Day — a day to love on and learn more about your pit bull — is coming to Baltimore this Sunday (July 10).
The one-day event provides free resources, products, education and services to pit bull owners. It’s one of many being held around the country by Best Friends Animal Society, aimed at defusing the negative stereotype and helping communities “understand what loyal members of the family pit bulls can be.”
The Baltimore event will take place, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Carroll Park.
It’s free, and it will offer leash and collar trade-ins, microchipping and low-cost vaccinations, spay and neuter vouchers, a photo booth and advice from trainers and vets. Kids and families and pit bulls are welcome.
The events kicked off June 4 in Tampa, and are being scheduled in communities whose shelters see large numbers of pit bulls.
Upcoming events are also scheduled in Carlsbad, Calif., on August 27; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., on September 10; Salt Lake City, Utah on October 29 and in New York City and Los Angeles on October 30.
“This is a day of celebrating the community and family pet owners. We would like to see all pit-bull-type dogs and their families have a fun way to gain access to the resources that are out there, that’s what this event is all about,” explained Jamie Healy, manager of Best Friends’ Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls program.
Made possible by a PetSmart Charities® grant, this Best Friends program is dedicated to promoting responsible guardianship of pit-bull-terrier-type dogs, as well as reducing euthanasia and improving the pit bulls public image.
Best Friends currently has five shelter partner programs across the country in Tampa, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C. and San Diego and Rancho Cucamonga, California.
(Photo by John Woestendiek: Mike Reed and his three-legged pit bull Topaz, who I met a couple of years ago during a trip to Los Angeles)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, baltimore, best friends, carlsbad, carroll park, collars, dogs, education, event, image, leash, los angeles, mike reed, neighborhood pit bull day, neuter, new york, perceptions, pets, photos, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, public education, rancho cucamonga, resources, salt lake city, shelters, spay, stereotypes, tampa, topaz, trainers, vaccinations, veterinarians, vets, vouchers