Anyone who follows dog news knows that (A) police departments are turning to dogs more than ever to help fight crime; and that (B) local police officers are shooting dogs more than ever; and that (C) those two trends don’t seem to add up.
You’d think that, as police departments become more dog savvy, reports of officers shooting dogs they feel threatened by would be declining.
Instead, nearly weekly, there’s news of another family pet being gunned down — often pit bulls, sometimes breeds not known for provoking fear, like retrievers.
It’s Arvada. All Arvada police officers are getting dog behavior training, ABC 7 in Denver reports — and they don’t have to go far to get it, considering the experts are often right in the same building.
Officers in the department’s K-9 unit are working with those who patrol the streets in an attempt to give them a better understanding of dog behavior.
“We can be a good resource for them and offer a different perspective,” said Jennie Whittle.
By working with and learning from the department’s K-9s and handlers, the program hopes to better equip officers on the street to deal with dogs, so that fear isn’t the first, and the dominant, reaction.
Often, all a dog that might appear aggressive needs is some time and space.
“Fido just came out here and he isn’t necessarily trying to attack me and if I just give that dog some space then we don’t have any further issue with that dog,” Ron Avila explained.
“Even our patrol officers are, I don’t want to say scared, but intimated at times when we go around our own canine police dogs,” said Arvada police officer Jason Ammons.
Ammons was on bike patrol when a pit bull ran after him and attempted to bite his leg. He used his Taser on the dog instead of his gun, which Arvada officers are being taught is the preferred option.
In light of recent shootings of dogs by officers in other towns, state Sen. David Balmer plans to introduce a bill that would make dog training mandatory for all police officers.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adams county, animals, arvada, behavior, canine, colorado, commerce city, david balmer, dog, dogs, K-9, k9, law, law enforcement, legislation, officer, patrol, pets, police, prevention, program, senator, shooting, shootings, training
Animal advocates in Maryland will probably recognize a familiar face or two in this public service announcement, scheduled to premier this week at Maryland Humane Lobby Day.
The PSA will officially premier on Thursday, Feb. 21st, during the Maryland Humane Lobby Day event at the Maryland Statehouse and Legislative Buildings in Annapolis.
The event will include awards, briefings, and an opportunity for people who care about animals to meet directly with their elected officials.
Thirty-four states have established funding mechanisms to support spay/neuter programs, leading to significant reductions in their euthanasia rates. New Jersey witnessed a 61 percent decrease and New Hampshire saw a 75 percent decrease after implementing state programs. In New Hampshire, statistics showed for every dollar invested, $3.15 was saved in reduced costs for shelter care and euthanasia.
The Save Maryland Pets Spay Awareness PSA, directed and produced by Dani Englander, features some of Maryland’s most dedicated animal advocates, workers, officers, and friends.
Appearances are made by Del. Barbara Frush, sponsor of the Maryland spay/neuter legislation, and Sen. John Astle and Del. Ron George, co-sponsors of the bills.
Among the other animal lovers and advocates who appear are Carolyn Kilborn, Tami Santelli, Matt Wieters, Valerie Leonard, Michelle Kownacki, Caroline Griffin, and Wendy Cozzone. The video was filmed in Annapolis and Baltimore.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, advocates, animals, annapolis, baltimore, bill, costs, dogs, funding, homeless, humane lobby day, legislation, lives, maryland, maryland votes for animals, neuter, pets, program, proposal, psa, public service announcement, save, save maryland pets, saving, spay, spay-neuter
Arnold has never been to Afghanistan. Or Iraq. But, under the auspices of the Department of Defense, he’s serving our country — in a manner you might envy, and with results most impressive.
Arnold, as you might guess from his full name — Arnold des Contes D’Hoffmann — is a stud.
Rather than getting deployed to war zones, the Belgian Malinois is sitting pretty at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where, working with a harem of 16 females, he’s fathered 149 offspring destined to become military working dogs.
Arnold joined the Department of Defense in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.
His working skills were so impressive that it was decided he’d be of more use reproducing. Thus he has avoided getting sent to conflicts and settled into a life of making love, not war.
He’s one of only three male dogs at the base with that job description.
Officials say Arnold, who has five more pups on the way, is one of the more productive males in the breeding program at the military working-dog program at Lackland.
The program’s goal is to produce dogs — about 100 a year — that serve longer tours of duty with fewer medical problems than the dogs bought from outside vendors.
The Times reports:
“Dogs capable of sniffing out buried bombs, guarding far-flung bases or displaying aggression on command have been in great demand since the U.S.-led assault on Afghanistan’s Taliban regime in 2001 and the Iraq war in 2003. Arnold, in his own fashion, has done his part for national security.”
Arnold is 7 now, and, of his offspring, about half have been found suitable as working dogs, said Stewart Hilliard, manager of the breeding program.
When Arnold’s not performing, he usually is in a kennel.
“If he gets to chase a ball for several hours, he’s had a good day,” said Hilliard.
About 15 percent of the working dogs that graduate from Lackland each year are from the Belgian Malinois breeding program..
(Photo:Darren Abate / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, arnold, Arnold des Contes D’Hoffmann, belgian malinois, breeding, dogs, iraq, lackland air force base, military dogs, military working dogs, pets, program, stud, working dogs
Vivian Peyton, a pit bull mix and former bait dog, was honored as a Purina Therapy Dog Ambassador.
Vivian was in the second graduating class of Philadelphia’s New Leash on Life USA, a program that, unlike some similar ones, actually sees dogs and inmates become cellmates.
It’s aimed at helping both dogs in need of homes and inmates in need of job skills. Poorly socialized or misbehaving dogs, through the training, get a better chance to be adopted; the inmates, in addition to getting a break from their otherwise mostly lonely and idle existence, learn to be dog trainers.
New Leash on Life USA is currently training their fifth class of dogs, with 28 dogs scheduled to graduate, according to a press release.
Vivian, was rescued by New Leash on Life USA and spent three months completing the prison training program.
When she arrived, she was wounded, severely underweight and apprehensive around people, but it only took a few days for her to come out of her shell. She went on to pass her canine good citizen test in prison.
Then she was adopted by Michele Pich, a Veterinary Grief Counselor at PennVet. Vivian, now a certified therapy dog, comforts grieving pet lovers and visits children at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We are incredibly proud of Vivian Peyton for showing the resiliency of animals and what can be accomplished with love and care,” said Marian V. Marchese, the founder of New Leash on Life USA. “She will always be New Leash on Life USA’s ambassador dog.”
(Top photo courtesy of New Leash on Life USA; bottom photo, of Vivian and Pich, by Connie Kang / Daily Pennsylvanian)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ambassador, animals, bait dog, counselor, dogs, grief, michelle pich, mix, national dog show, new leash on life, new leash on life usa, pets, philadelphia, pit bull, prison, prison dogs, prisons, program, purina therapy dog, rescues, shelters, socialization, therapy dog, therapy dogs, training, veterinary, vivian peyton
With continuing criticism of his methods, a suicide attempt in his not-too-distant past, and his reign as TV’s “Dog Whisperer” having ended, you might think Cesar Millan’s eight years of snowballing fame was starting to head in the other direction.
Probably, you’d be wrong.
Just two months after the “The Dog Whisperer” concluded its run – and two years after the death of his favorite dog, divorcing his wife, and dealing with a deep depression — a new show, a new wife and a new book (his seventh) are all on the horizon.
On top of that, he’ll be the subject of a documentary. In ”Cesar Millan: The Real Story,” airing Nov. 25 on Nat Geo Wild, he talks publicly for the first time about the overdose that almost took his life, according to the Associated Press
“It’s rare when someone with his level of celebrity is willing to completely open up and share the struggle and hardship it took to find success and happiness,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild. “Cesar doesn’t hold anything back, and I’m certain our audience will feel even closer to him for it.”
Millan, 43, rose to fame in 2004, when his first TV series, “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” became National Geographic’s top-rated show.
His success story began in Mexico, where he worked on his grandfather’s farm in Sinaloa, and began working with dogs in hopes of becoming a trainer. At 21, unable to speak English, he crossed the border and lived on the streets for two months before getting a job as a groomer and walker when Jada Pinkett hired him. It was Pinkett, before she hooked up with Will Smith, who got him an English tutor when she learned he wanted to be on TV.
He’d go on to build an empire after that, starting a magazine, a philanthropic foundation, a rehabilitation complex, selling his own line of dog products and writing books. (His seventh, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” is due out Jan. 1.)
In 2010 — amid all his fame and fortune — came some misery. He’d sunk into a depression after the death of his pit bull, Daddy, and a divorce from his wife and the mother of his two children. That May he attempted suicide by drug overdose.
“I felt defeated, a big sense of guilt and failure. … I was at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically,” he wrote in on his website.
He turned to his dogs for comfort and support, and got more of that from a new human love in his life, Jahira Dar, who now lives with Millan and his youngest son in Los Angeles. He calls her “the one,” and says he plans to propose soon.
His new show, “Leader of the Pack,” will premiere on Nat Geo Wild Jan. 5.
While it will feature his “pack-leader” training philosophy, the new show, filmed in Spain, aims to increase rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of the species that has brought him fame, fortune and solace.
“A dog would never see me as a Mexican or immigrant or think things people say about me,” the AP article quotes him as saying. “Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cesar, cesar millan, daddy, death, depression, divorce, documentary, dog whisperer, dogs, leader of the pack, nat geo, nat geo wild, national geographic, new, overdose, pets, program, suicide, television, the real story, trainers, training, tv
The west’s version of kudzu — a noxious weed known as Dyer’s woad — is being sniffed out by specially trained dogs as part of a program in Montana aimed at eradicating the fast-spreading, yellow blooming, Russian-born member of the mustard family.
First found in Montana in 1934, the weed, native to southeast Russia, can grow four inches in a week, produce as many as 10,000 seeds, send its roots five feet underground and climb waist high, leaving little room for native plants.
That’s where the dogs come in.
Deb Tirmenstein and her dogs — a Labrador named Wibaux and a border collie called Seamus — joined Montana’s Dyer’s woad eradication project in 2011.
Wibaux, initially trained to find cadavers, and Seamus, who was rescued from a Bozeman shelter, now scramble up and down mountains sniffing out pockets of the weed. When they find some, they get a treat, and the weed gets sprayed with herbicides.
The project grew out of research conducted at Montana State University, acording to an article by the Montana State University News Service, published in the Helena Independent Record.
Montana Dyer’s Woad Cooperative Project started in 1984, and it has seen the weed’s presence drop from 17 counties down to seven – Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Carbon, Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula and Park.
The dogs are just the most recent tool in the battle.
Kim Goodwin, a research associate in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in MSU’s College of Agriculture, started investigating the possibility of using dogs to detect noxious weeds when she was a master’s degree student at MSU.
Goodwin’s research showed that dogs and people complement each other when looking for noxious weeds. People can spot large flowering patches of the plants ; dogs can detect single plants, even before they start sprouting.
“Through our research, we found they are able to detect twice as many small plants as the surveyors do,” Goodwin said.
This year on Mount Sentinel in Missoula the dogs detected about 40 locations that humans missed, said Goodwin, whose original research used German shepherds and focused on knapweed.
Goodwin said she got the idea for using dogs to detect noxious weeds after reading about the ”Beagle Brigade,” which inspects luggage and boxes for the USDA at U.S. airports and ports of entry.
Trainers introduced Wibaux to Dyer’s woad by hiding the weed inside a box with holes in the lid and placing the box next to boxes containing other weeds.
When Wibaux realized she would receive a treat or get to retrieve a ball every time she detected Dyer’s woad, she started honing in on it.
(Photos of Wibaux and Seamus by Sepp Jannotta / MSU)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, border collie, control, Deb Tirmenstein, detection, dogs, dyers woad, eradication, idaho, kim goodwin, labrador, montana, montana state university, nature, noxious, pets, program, research, retriever, science, seamus, sniff, sniffing, weed, weeds, west, wibaux, woad
A suburban Cincinnati dog park is getting a massive mural — and no, it’s not advertising — that celebrates dogs, covers up an unsightly old lock-testing chamber alongside the Ohio River, and gives local artists some paying work.
The makeover is being done by a team of artists and students from ArtWorks, a local organization that connects student apprentices with professional artists to create public art around the Greater Cincinnati area.
About 20 dogs will be featured on the wall – all of them depictions of real pets who visit the members-only dog park — along with a famous quote from Plato:
“Life must be lived as play.”
The idea of painting the concrete structure that sits in the middle of Kellogg Park’s dog field in Anderson Township was put forth by resident Claudia Cline, who regularly visits the dog field with her beagle-mix, Pflash.
“I absolutely love it, … and it represents the dogs beautifully,” Cline told the Community Press & Recorder. “Not only does the park benefit, but the kids get jobs as artists. The whole area looks totally improved and like somewhere you’d want to hang out.”
Student apprentices are working with lead artist Elizabeth Hatchett and assistant teaching artist Laura McNeel to put a new face on the former lock-testing facility.
“We wanted it to be fun and whimsical, and we wanted to show the playfulness of dogs,” said Susan Romer, one of the student artists working on the mural. “It represents the dogs’ personalities and we tried to show each dog as they really are.”
The mural should be finished by November.
Cline said about $2,500 still needs to be raised for the project. About $32,000 has already been taken in through private donations from the owners of the dogs on the wall or those who support public art.
(Photo: Lisa Wakeland / The Community Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anderson township, animals, apprentices, art, artists, artworks, cincinnati, claudia cline, concrete, dog park, dogs, donations, employment, kellogg park, lock testing chamber, mentors, mural, ohio river, painting, park, pets, plato, program, work
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae graduated yesterday, meaning they will be leaving the prison where they’ve lived for the past 10 weeks and going to homes with new families.
The three dogs were members of the 16th graduating class of A New Leash on Life, a program in which inmates give shelter dogs the training they need to be welcomed into new homes.
The inmate trainers, all of whom received certificates, also get something more out of the deal — pride, self-esteem, and a job skill, for starters. Several of them spoke about what they’d gotten out of the program during yesterday’s ceremony, noting that dog training requires, above all, patience, compassion and love.
The program at Forsyth Correctional Center, a minimum-security state prison in Winston-Salem, is operated by the Forsyth Humane Society — and it’s one of 16 in prisons statewide.
Dogs from the shelter are referred to the inmates who, with help from professional trainers, straighten out any issues the canines may have, often while simultaneously straightening out their own.
Brody, Diamond and Ella Mae, all wearing bandanas and mortarboards, were each brought in front of the stage with their trainer, and later demonstrated their agility and obedience skills in front of the audience in a nearby field.
Brody, to the left, a one year old pit mix who was originally rescued from a kill shelter as a pup, departed after the ceremony with his new family, Dan and Denise Nelson and their daughter, Mari. They first came across him on the Internet, and later met him at an adoption fair before visiting him at the prison.
Diamond, a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer mix whose energy level was more than her previous owners could handle, left with her new family, too — but not until after demonstrating her skills on the prison’s agility course.
Ella Mae was destined for a new home as well.
Humane Society officials announced the next three canine members of the program, who will arrive at the prison this week. They’ll include two energetic husky mixes, Jonah and Dude. Dude ended up in the shelter after wandering alone into a pet supply store.
Inmates in the program are guided by professional trainers, provided through the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club, who donate their time to the program. The program receives no state or federal funding, and the humane society covers all medical care, supplies and expenses.
Forsyth Correctional Center launched the program in 2009, but it has been operating at some other North Carolina state prisons since 2004.
You can find more information on the New Leash on Life program — whose slogan is “Changing men’s lives one dog at a time” — here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a new leash on life, animals, brody, diamond, dogs, dude, ella mae, forsyth correctional center, forsyth humane society, inmates, jonah, new leash on life, north carolina, pets, prison, prisoners, program, rehabilitation, rescue, second chances, shelters, train, trainers, winston-salem, winston-salem dog training club
Officials in New Taipei City say their dog poop lottery was a resounding success – more than 4,000 people collected 14,500 bags of excrement.
For each bag they turned in, they were given a lottery ticket, earning them a chance to win gold and household appliances.
Officials in the Taiwan city credit the program with cutting in half the amount of dog droppings on city streets.
The program began in August and was initially planned to run until October, but it was so successful the city extended it a couple of more months — up until they started running out of gold, the BBC reported.
Final prizes were awarded this week, with the big winner receiving a gold ingot worth $2,200. The woman, in her 50s, was part of a team of volunteers that clean the streets regularly.
Smaller gold ingots, worth several hundred dollars, were given to four other prizewinners.
A total of 85 people won prizes, including household appliances.
City officials told the BBC they did not know how many of the winners were motivated by gold, as opposed to people who regularly pick up the poop of their own dogs or other’s.
Officials say they hope residents have gotten into the habit of picking up dog droppings, and that they will continue to do so without financial rewards.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, clean, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, gold, incentive, ingots, lottery, new tapei city, pets, pick-up, poop, prizes, program, rewards, scoop, taiwan, waste
Disabled vets and homeless pets would be brought together for the mutual benefit of both under legislation recently passed by the House and now headed to the Senate.
The legislation would create a pilot program that trains shelter dogs to provide therapy to help treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other war-related mental health conditions.
The House unanimously passed a package of veterans’ health care legislation that included the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act, introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
“As a veteran, and an American, I am thrilled that this legislation has passed the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass it without delay, so that it can be signed into law and allow us to begin providing assistance to our returning veterans,” said Grimm, a Marine combat veteran from Operation Desert Storm.
The many potential benefits of the program were outlined by Michael Markarian on his Humane Society Legislative Fund blog, Political Animal:
“For wounded warriors and disabled veterans, caring for a pet can help them re-enter society and minimize stress and depression. Service dogs can also reduce the suicide rate among veterans, and provide other critical help—such as letting them know when it’s time to take medication, waking them from terrifying nightmares, or detecting changes in their breathing, perspiration, or scent to ward off panic attacks. Such benefits can decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care…”
“Our veterans need and deserve every opportunity to heal. This innovative legislation gives the wonderful dogs in shelters a chance to live and to serve by helping to heal the stresses and wounds so many soldiers battle when they come home.”
The bill would establish a pilot program in VA medical centers for educating veterans with mental health conditions in the art and science of assistance dog training and handling. It directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to “consider dogs residing in animal shelters or foster homes for participation in the program.”
The Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act — one of six bills combined into a larger veteran’s health care bill — was the first Rep. Grimm introduced as a member of Congress, and his first bill to pass the House, according to a press release from his office.
(Photo: Courtesy of the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, bill, congress, disabilities, disabled, dogs, health care, house, michael grimm, new york, pets, pilot, post traumatic stress disorder, program, ptsd, representative, shelter, therapy, therapy dogs, veterans, veterans dog training therapy act, war