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Tag: politics

He’s always liked photo opps with winning purebreds, but will Trump have a First Dog?

bananajoe213

Last month, while comparing the records of the two major presidential candidates when it comes to dog friendliness, we questioned whether Donald Trump, as some reports suggested, even had a dog.

We noted that he had reportedly tweeted about his dog undergoing surgery back in February.

While various media outlets would go on to make references to that dog — named Spinee — the tale turned out to have come from a fake Trump Twitter page.

malachy2012Trump has no dog, according to a post on the Washington Post’s Animalia blog.

The Post post speculates his fear of germs might be the reason — and it goes on to say that, as president, he probably should have a dog, for political reasons alone.

“In the digital age, when interest in online animal content dwarfs interest in political news, the absence of a Trump pet amounts to a forfeiture of low-hanging political fruit,” the Post post says.

(This kiwi, for one, resents that last remark.)

The Post says every president except James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson has owned a pet (if you count horses) for at least part of his term in office, and that having one can serve to soften a politician’s image.

Trump seems to be a man who, though he might soften a stance or two, wants to keep his image hard-edged.

misspOn the other hand, there is his curious habit of being photographed with Westminster winners, an annual big-money, high society event he has long supported.

While there is not a single photo of Trump with a pet of his own on the Internet, he regularly invites the best in show winner to Trump Tower and poses for a photograph, which then makes its way onto social media.

What’s Trump’s motivation for that? I suspect it’s just his way of showing support for the show, as opposed to wanting to hitch a ride on their moment of fame.

Can we expect the next four winners to be invited to the White House — especially if and when those approval ratings (prone to falling once a president takes office) take a substantial dip? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Will he give the White House a new first dog? Doubtful. It’s probably safe to assume that, while he enjoys hobnobbing with purebreds (how he is with mutts is another question), he is not the kind of person who must have a dog.

hickorywind

Then again, maybe his son Baron will push for one at some point.

Trump, a self-identified “clean hands freak,” may be “averse to the microbes that come with a four-legged friend,” the Post speculated.

“While it is not known whether Trump enjoys the company of animals, he has been publicly criticized by the Humane Society of the United States for his close relationships with critics of animal welfare activists as well as for his sons’ passion for trophy hunting.”

It was exactly a year ago that ohmidog! declared Trump an Afghan hound — back when there were 12 Republicans vying for the candidacy, and we assigned a dog breed to each of them, based on looks, personality, and breed stereotypes.

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In the years ahead, he could prove himself to be some other breed — maybe one that’s not so widely considered aloof, stubborn and slow to learn.

In the meantime we’ll just wait and see — among much else — how good a dog might be for him and, much more importantly, how good he is for dogs.

(Photos: From Facebook, at top, Trump with Banana Joe, an affenpinscher who won Westminster’s Best in Show in 2013; Trump posing with Malachy, the Pekingese who won best in show in 2012; Trump and Miss P., the beagle who won in 2015; and Trump with Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, the Scottish deerhound who won in 2011)

In the unlikely event you are still undecided

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I doubt, at this particular point in this particular presidential election, that their records on animal welfare would be much of a factor in who you choose for president.

But let’s just dive in and do some documenting, anyway, here at the very last minute.

The Clintons have three dogs at present. Trump is believed to have one, but try to find a photo of Trump and Spinee together and you’re in for a long, and possibly fruitless, search.

Trump did tweet about his dog having surgery back in February of this year: “My dog Spinee needs your prayers. She just came out of a difficult surgery …. She is my beloved.”

2015-westminster-winnerWhile photos of Trump and his dog are rare, he does get photographed nearly every year with the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, of which he is an ardent supporter.

It’s clear he is fan of purebreds, and we all know he likes winners.

Because he lacks any kind of voting record, never having served in office, it’s hard to predict what his presidency would mean to animals.

He did tweet his disappointment in Ringling Brothers for getting rid of their elephants, and he has been a vocal supporter of his sons and their big game hunting in Africa — which in turn led animal welfare groups to deem that he, as president, would be a threat to animals.

He has called for the Food and Drug Administration to stop regulating pet food — and that’s a scary proposition.

Then there were the diving horses of Atlantic City.

steelpierIt was a show that began in the late 1920s at the Steel Pier and featured swimsuit-clad women on horses diving from a 40-foot platform. The show was discontinued after Resorts International purchased the pier in 1978.

In the summer of 1993, after Trump had bought the Steel Pier, the idea was revived by Anthony Catanoso who leased the property from him.

The new act would involve horses and mules, and no human riders, and it started back up amid protests by animal welfare advocates.

Some of those protesters would shout “Make Trump jump,” Catanoso recalls.

1993diveThe pressure led Trump to shut the show down by the end of that summer. In a press conference, he said he had disliked it from the start.

So , while he did shut it down, it also opened up and operated all summer while he owned the property.

Later, Catanoso bought the property from Trump, and a return of the show was announced in 2012.

Protests resumed and Catanoso opted not to pursue it further.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has an entire page on her website about how she plans to “promote animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty and abuse.” She says she would make sure animal breeders, zoos, and research institutions create plans to protect the animals in their care; that she would strengthen regulations on puppy mills, and that she would support the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.”

During her time in the Senate, Clinton co-sponsored the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007, as well as a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act, according to PetMD.com

As for the veep candidates, Tim Kaine, got a fairly low rating of 38 percent from the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) while serving in the Senate. The Richmond SPCA, where he and his wife adopted their dog, says he is “a compassionate and unpretentious friend to animals.”

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has a dog and two cats. He was given a 0 percent approval rating in the 2012 HSLF scorecard for taking anti-animal stances on both the Hunting in National Parks vote and the Emotional Support Animals vote.

(Photos: Hillary and Tallie, Instagram; Donald Trump with Westminster’s 2015 Best in Show, the beagle Miss P, Instagram; a diving horse at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in the late 1930s, The Press of Atlantic City; a riderless horse dives from Trump-owned Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in 1993, AP Photo/ Charles Rex Arbogast)

Candidates your dog can chew on

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As you sit breathlessly riveted to your TV screen for the Republican National Convention (now underway) and the Democratic National Convention (July 25-28) what’s your dog supposed to do for fun?

You could get him or her a presidential candidate to chew on.

A Vermont-based company is offering chew-worthy likenesses of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and, though he’s out of the running, Bernie Sanders.

donaldThe canvas-covered, fiber-filled toys, designed by Sarah-Lee Terrat and Anne Lika of Fuzzu for Pets & You, come in three sizes: nine inches tall for cats, 17 inches for dogs, and a 27-inch jumbo size for cuddling, punching, berating or whatever else you might want a stuffed presidential candidate for.

They run $19.99 each.

And of course they squeak — they’re presidential candidates.

The cat-sized toys contain catnip, aimed at making your feline even more attracted to the candidate.

The Hillary doll wears a red pantsuit and pearls and campaign buttons reading “Pro-whatever” and “Anti-whatever.” On her back is a facsimile of a light switch to turn her smile on and off.

The Trump doll has a sourpuss look on its face, and hair that is swooped back, topped with golden plush. A pamphlet in his pocket is titled “Great Wall Building for Idiots.” On his back is a button that reads, “Push to inflate head.”

The Bernie doll, put on the market before he withdrew, has a button on the back that reads, “Push to activate the revolution.”

hillaryI can’t vouch for how safe any of the chew toys are — both the Trump and Sanders dolls look like they could cause hairballs, as both come equipped with fuzzy shocks of “hair” — but the company does have experience making dog toys.

According to Sevendaysvt.com, the Likas operated a pet toy company called Fat Cat for more than a decade before selling it in 2007.

They launched the new company recently with help from a Kickstarter campaign.

Anne Likas said she missed the dog toy business, and was happy to get back into it. “We love the humor around our toys,” she added, noting that other pet toys “don’t get edgy.”

(Photos: Fuzzutoys.com)

I Think My Dog’s a Democrat

Bryan Lewis is pretty sure his dog is a Democrat — certain enough, at least, to write a country song about it.

He premiered “I Think My Dog’s A Democrat” on radio station WTVN, and the YouTube video of the debut has garnered close to a half million views since early March.

Why Donald Trump prefers dogs to hecklers

You’ve probably seen the hecklers that seem to be dogging Donald Trump at his campaign appearances — the ones who have the audacity to disagree with him, and go so far as to voice that disagreement.

Generally, he orders them to “shut up,” or “sit down,” and when that doesn’t work he calls for security to muzzle them.

Perhaps a better trained, more obedient audience, such as the one in this video, would be more to his liking.

Even though it’s not until the third “sit down” that the dogs heed The Donald’s edict, and even though only three out of four obey, we find it disheartening that dogs would listen to him at all.

We can only guess that these are Republican dogs — or that they haven’t yet figured out that Trump provides treats only to fellow fat cats.

Can dogs rescue Carly Fiorina’s campaign?

In this bizarre new video, Carly Fiorina almost eats a dog biscuit, steals my shtick, and tells a group of dogs that “President Obama ate one of your cousins; vote Republican.”

Fiorina cuddles and converses with a variety of young and mostly uncooperative pups in the video, which was produced for the conservative website Independent Journal Review.

I don’t know if her comments were written advance, if her staff or the website’s came up with them, or if she is just winging it as she goes along. In whichever case, the video succeeds in making an otherwise intelligent woman look like a blathering idiot.

“A dog is happy to see you,” she says. “… A dog is sad when your gone. Fluffy white dogs are always so friendly.”

The video is part of a series from IJ Review depicting presidential candidates in humorous or self-deprecating situations. (In other words, trying to make them seem human.)

Independent Journal Review isn’t really that independent, at least not politically. It’s a two-year-old, highly profitable, social media-savvy website started by a pair of Republican operatives that mixes some hard news with lots of fluffier “shareable” pieces and an unrelenting dose of conservatively slanted articles about politics and policy.

In the video Fiorina notes that dogs, unlike her critics, “never tell me to smile more,” or that she looks like Cruelle de Vil — a comparison she tells one one dog is “totally unfair…although your coat is exceptionally soft.”

(Cruella is the fictional character in “The Hundred and One Dalmatians,” who kidnaps dalmatians to make a coat of their fur.)

Near the end of the video she starts comparing some of the pups to some of the other presidential contenders, which comes pretty close to being a rip off of our post last month, assigning dog breeds to each of the Republican candidates. (Carly, our investigation found, was an Italian greyhound.)

“I think I could use you all for debate prep,” Fiorina says. “You could be Donald Trump … You could be Chris Christie … You could be John Kasich.”

The video is not really a campaign ad, definitely not news and — even with the dogs — barely rates as entertainment.

There’s a long tradition of politicians turning to dogs to help them out, with Richard Nixon’s exploitation of Checkers probably standing out as the most blatant. Even it, sappy as it was, proved successful.

You can bet your biscuit this one won’t.

She’s one tough cookie (but with soft spots)

She has been called “America’s deadliest DA,” “the queen of death” and “one tough cookie.”

But Lynne Abraham, the former Philadelphia district attorney who sent hundreds of humans to death row, has a soft spot for animals.

And one supporter thinks that’s worth highlighting as Abraham runs for mayor of the City of Brotherly Love — so much so that he produced a campaign ad for her, at his own expense.

It all goes back to 2007, when the ad’s producer, Bill Whiting had to deal with a horrific situation: Some neighborhood kids took his dog, Edna. They held her for ransom, tortured her as Whiting listened over the phone, and killed her.

Abraham went after the suspects with her trademark bulldog-like tenacity, and earned Whiting’s undying respect.

“I could never have realized justice without the help of Lynne Abraham who was Philadelphia’s District Attorney at the time,” Whiting said in the video.

A 15-year-old was arrested, tried and punished in the case.

abrahamadWhiting appears in the ad with his new dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named Winnie, praising Abraham’s commitment to fighting animal cruelty. Abraham, and other owners and their dogs, are featured.

Whiting produced the video himself with the help of some friends who donated their time, according to a Newsworks report.

“The ad cost $14 in dog treats,” Whiting said. “That’s all there was.”

The video highlights her stance on animal cruelty, but also describes Abraham, a Democrat, as “a sharp, fair-minded elder stateswoman” who has the skills and experience to become Philadelphia’s first female mayor.

Whiting said he made the ad out of gratitude, and says he hopes it will “humanize” a woman the New York Times called “America’s deadliest D.A.” because of how often she sought the death penalty. That same 1995 article made note of Abraham’s practice of carrying cans of Little Friskies in the trunk of her official car, doling out portions to street cats in need of nourishment.

She’s hardly the only “hard on crime” public official that goes gooey when it comes to animals. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been called the country’s “toughest sheriff” has a well-known soft spot when it comes to dogs — and it has served to help humanize him a bit.

As for Abraham — it was none other than Frank Rizzo (no softy himself) who first called her “one tough cookie” — she’s seen as a “very no-nonsense, straightforward district attorney,” Whiting said. “But I also wanted people to know that she has an extremely kind heart.”

The case of Edna, was “one of many that is emblematic of Lynne’s strong commitment against cruelty to animals,” Abraham’s campaign spokeswoman, Cathie Abookire, wrote in an email promoting the video.

Abookire said Abraham, as district attorney, appointed Philadelphia’s first prosecutor devoted to animal cruelty cases.