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Dog burial site dates to Aztec times

burialsite

A dog cemetery that goes back to Aztec times has been uncovered beneath an old apartment building in Mexico City.

Archaeologists announced the discovery Friday and said that — while the remains of dogs have been found in Aztec ruins before — this is the first time a group of dogs has been found buried together at one site.

The 12 dogs were buried around the same time in a small pit between 1350 a 1520 A.D., according to the Associated Press.

Aztecs believed dogs could guide human souls into a new life after death, and it was not uncommon for dogs to be buried under monuments under the thinking their spirits would provide protection.

The team of archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried through ceramics and other items found in nearby pits under the apartment building in the populous Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco.

Archaeologist Rocio Morales Sanchez said digging deeper could help reveal why the dogs were buried there.

Experts with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, called the find “exceptional.”

Archaeologist Antonio Zamora, who works at the excavation site, said a biologist told the team the remains belonged to medium-sized dogs, likely Techichi dogs, a breed believed to be an ancestor of the Chihuahua, and Xoloitzcuintlis.

(Photo: Courtesy of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History)

Dog helps couple catch abusive babysitter

finn

For any family that has feared their dog might not adjust to a new human baby in the house, here’s a story that shows dog and babies can, and usually do, mix quite well — and that dogs might not be the biggest worry.

It was a 22-year-old babysitter who was abusing Finn, the seven-month-old son of a South Carolina couple.

It was the family dog, Killian, who helped catch her.

Benjamin and Hope Jordan moved to Charleston last year, and, after a background check, hired a babysitter to help care for their son.

After a few months, they began noticing that Killian behaved strangely when the babysitter arrived.

“We started to notice that our dog was very protective of our son when she would come in the door,” Jordan told Live 5 News. “He was very aggressive towards her and a few times we actually had to physically restrain our dog from going towards her.”

Based on that, the parents decided to leave an iPhone under the couch and record what was going on while they were at work.

When they listened to the audio recording that night, they heard cussing, slaps and crying.

“It started with cussing,” Jordan said. “Then you hear slap noises and his crying changes from a distress cry to a pain cry. I just wanted to reach through the audio tape, go back in time and just grab him up … To know that five months I had handed my child to a monster, not knowing what was going on in my house for that day…”

Charleston City Police arrested Alexis Khan a few weeks later. She pleaded guilty to assault and battery earlier this month in Charleston County Circuit Court and was sentenced to one to three years in prison.

Paws4ever: The Walk for Animal Protection

p4ePaws4ever is holding its 8th annual Walk for Animal Protection next month.

The event raises funds for the guaranteed-adoption animal shelter and sanctuary, located on 50 acres in western Orange County, N.C.

Paws4ever is dedicated to improving the lives of cats and dogs through adoption, training and education.

The event starts at noon on Oct. 6, with the 2-mile walk scheduled to start at 2 p.m. It is held at Southern Village in Chapel Hill.

Other activities include live music, agility and flyball demonstrations, a blessing of the animals, over 20 vendor booths and performances by the Paws4ever Canine Drill Team.

Walkers pledge $30 and kids under 10 are free. Each walker receives a gift and all proceeds benefit the lifesaving work at Paws4ever.

Paws4ever’s Waggin Wagon, the only food truck for dogs will also be on site.

Here’s where you can pre-register.

The walk is hosted by Southern Village and sponsors include Animal Hospital of Carrboro, Auto Logic, Carrboro Plaza Veterinary Clinic, Chapel Hill Mobile Veterinary Housecalls, Copperline Books, East Coast Veterinary Imaging, Erickson Advisors, Falconbridge Animal Hospital, Hillsborough Veterinary Clinic, Lucky Dogs Daycare and Grooming, Phydeaux and Saratoga Grill.

Woof in Advertising: Trifexis

This ad for Trifexis depicts a dog living in a bubble — albeit it one that’s outside and has plenty of tubes to run around in.

It serves to protect him from heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, flea infestations and all those other frightening hazards that exist in that place where dogs, for centuries, managed to survive:

Outside.

What we find most interesting about it, though, are the disclaimers, which seem to have risen with doggie prescription drugs to the same level they have with human ones, where three-fourths of the advertisement are devoted to a listing of potential scary side effects, quickly recited in monotone, in hopes you — or your dog — won’t really hear them.

With Trifexis, it goes like this: “Treatment with fewer than three monthly doses after the last exposure to mosoquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. The most common adverse reactions were vomiting, itching and lethargy. Serious adverse reactions have been reported following concomitant extra-label use of ivermectin with spinosad alone, one of the components of Trifexis.”

On top of the warnings recited, more appear in small print during the ad:

“To ensure parasite protection, observe your dog for one hour after administration.”

“If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, give another full dose.”

“Puppies less than 14 weeks of age may experience a higher rate of vomiting.”

In their print ads, the makers of Trifexis additionally advise the drug be used with caution in breeding females, and in dogs with epilepsy. Its use in breeding males has not been evaluated. Print ads also list lethargy, depression, decreased appetite and diarrhea as possible side effects.

The chewable, beef-flavored tablets — administered once a month – are a combination of spinosad and milbemycin oxime, and they serve to prevent heartworm disease, kill fleas and prevent infestations and treat hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections.

The tagline for the ad is “You don’t have to go to extremes to protect your dog from parasites.”

Apparently you do, though, if you’re selling prescription drugs — for canines or humans — to protect your ass from lawsuits.

To see all our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.

Padding Michael Vick, and his bank account

Michael Vick’s first post-prison endorsement contract — with a company called Unequal Technologies — appears to already be paying dividends, both for the quarterback and the company.

Vick, in exchange for a piece of the company,  is now shilling for Unequal, which makes protective padding for athletes, designed to help prevent injuries among those who take part in contact sports — dogfighting, of course, not included.

For Vick, who once raked in $7 million a year in endorsements, the contract puts him back on the lucrative path of touting products for pay — and, though it’s not quite on level of Nike and Coke, it’s another step, as he sees it, to redeeming his image, left tarnished by a dogfighting scandal and prison term. He also reveals, in this interview, that he has a “V 7″ shoe and clothing line in the works.

For Unequal Technologies, teaming up with the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback meant an immediate burst of publicity and a huge surge in sales. Chief Executive Rob Vito said within a day of Vick’s signing, there were 10 million hits on Unequal Technologies website. ”The sales went up 1,000% when Mike came on board,” he said, adding that they are still about triple what they were a year ago.

The company declined to disclose the terms of the agreement, but both Vito and Vick, in this interview with the Wall Street Journal, say the quarterback was given a share in the company, as opposed to a flat fee.

In the wide-ranging interview, Vick seems to contradict himself several times. He says he doesn’t read newspaper accounts about himself,  then says he reads them before games because their negativity motivates him. He says he’s not a Christian, but that his connection with God is ”uncanny”.

He says he wouldn’t change anything about his life, except maybe shortening his prison sentence, from 18 months to five months. His dogfighting conviction and imprisonment, he says, led to an opportunity to read, and work on improving himself.

“Because I handled it so well, I think that’s why the Lord is continuing to bless me,” he says.

Read more »

Animal welfare fares well in Maryland

At the end of the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly, animal welfare advocates are celebrating passage of five major animal protection bills, and the defeat of two that they say would have had an adverse impact on animal welfare.

And to top it all off, as of July, dogs can legally dine in the outside seating areas of restaurants that opt to permit them.

“In the past animal protection laws in Maryland have been weaker than other states.  But now we are making huge progress to improve the treatment of Maryland’s animals,” said Carolyn Kilborn, chair of Maryland Votes for Animals.

Kilborn attributes the gains to animal welfare advocates being better organized and more outspoken.

The General Assembly passed the following bills during the 2011 session:

  • Senate Bill 839, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, which requires commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the county in which they operate, and requires counties to report basic information about these commercial breeders once a year to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.  This bill will provide critical information to understand the impact of puppy mills in the state.  Companion legislation, HB 990, was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery County.
  • Senate Bill 639, sponsored by Sen. Joanne Benson, D-Prince George’s County, which will set up a task force to study the need for funding of spay and neuter programs in Maryland.  An estimated 48,000 homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in Maryland shelters annually.  Affordable, accessible spay/neuter programs can help prevent this tragedy. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have a public funding mechanism to subsidize the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for those who cannot afford it.  The task force will be comprised of representatives from animal control, humane societies, non-profit spay/neuter organizations, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, the Department of Agriculture and others.  Companion legislation, HB 339, was sponsored by Del. Barbara Frush, D-Prince George’s County.  
  • House Bill 227 sponsored by Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, D-Montgomery County, which will allow courts to prohibit someone convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals as a term of probation. This legislation had strong backing from organizations addressing the issue of domestic violence.  Companion legislation, SB 115, was co-sponsored by Sen. James Robey, D-Howard County.
  • Senate Bill 747 sponsored by Sen. Norman Stone, D-Baltimore County, which allows courts to include protections for pets in domestic violence protective orders.  Research has repeatedly shown a link between animal abuse and domestic violence.  Children and animals in the family are often threatened, or actually harmed, as a way to manipulate and coerce others in the family.  Victims of domestic violence often delay leaving abusive situations because they fear for the safety of their companion animals.  This legislation benefits both people and animals and had strong support for organizations which address the problem of domestic violence.  Companion legislation, HB 407, was sponsored by Del. Susan McComas, R-Harford County.
  • House Bill 897, sponsored by Del. Peter Murphy, D-Charles County, to require the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze.  Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in most major antifreeze brands, has an aroma and a sweet flavor which can tempt animals to drink the highly toxic substance.  Adding a bittering agent makes it less attractive to companion animals and wildlife.
  • House Bill 941, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim, D- Baltimore County, which permits restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor seating areas.

Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA) works to create an ever-growing voting bloc of animal advocates who will elect representatives willing to champion and vote for animal protection legislation.

Bella the boxer to the rescue

Joseph Thomas was pushing his 4-year-old daughter Jada on her swingset when two gunmen entered their back yard in Bradenton, Florida, and demanded money.

Bella, their boxer, and the other family dog, ran toward the men, who fired several errant shots before they ran off.

“If someone offered me a million dollars for her right now,” Thomas said of Bella, “I wouldn’t take it.”

The five best states to be an animal abuser

aldfmap

 
Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota are the five best states in the country to be an animal abuser — making them the five worst states in which to be an animal.

Based on an analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes, a new report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund recognizes the states where animal law has real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky – the single worst in the nation again this year for animal protection laws – where animal abusers get off the easiest.

The annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the comprehensiveness and  strength of their animal protection laws. Maryland falls in the bottom 15 states.

The legislative weaknesses seen in the states at the bottom of the animal protection barrel include severely restricted or absent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting provisions, and lack of restrictions on the future ownership of animals for those convicted of cruelty to animals.

Many state laws have improved since ALDF’s last state rankings report was released in 2008; Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country in 2009 due to a host of statutory improvements.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged from the 2008 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon demonstrating through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty; Illinois was ranked the best for the strength of its laws protecting animals.

“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws. Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protections that our country’s animals need and deserve,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report.

“Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. Especially important during our country’s current recession are laws that help to save limited community resources by reducing the costs of caring for abused animals and ensuring that those who are responsible for such crimes shoulder this burden instead of taxpayers and private interests. While animals do not vote, those who love and care about them certainly do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

ALDF was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, including a copy of the state rankings report, visit www.aldf.org.

Bulletproof vests that give dogs a voice

k9Picture this: A police dog chases a suspect into a dead-end alley and has him cornered against a wall. It’s a standoff. And then the dog says, “Drop your weapon and lay down on the ground.”

It’s a scenario that could come true in the year ahead. A Canadian company plans to start marketing a bulletproof vest for dogs that comes equipped with a wireless camera, speakers and a microphone — allowing the dog’s handler to see what the dog sees and issues commands.

The vest is made by K9 Storm in Winnipeg, Canada, a company that sells $5 million of custom dog armor a year for canines in Army, Navy, Marines, police departments in 13 countries and security firms worldwide.

“This will change the way dogs are managed in emergencies,” Glori Slater, vice president and co-founder of K9 Storm, said of the new vest, called “K9 Storm Intruder.” The vest relays sound and images over a distance of up to 300 yards.

Slater and her husband, Jim, a former dog handler for the Winnipeg Police Department, spent 11 years perfecting the vest, according to CNNMoney.com.

The Slaters say they have dozens of preorders for the Intruder, prices for which start at $20,000.

Follow the bouncing celebrity guard dog

floydYou might want to have your pencils and celebrity scorecards handy for this one:

“West Wing” actress NiCole Robinson is defending the reputation of her dog Floyd, a German shepherd who was accused of attacking a woman on a private jet, back when he belonged to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

Lopez and Anthony purchased Floyd for $39,000 in 2005 from a South Carolina breeder and trainer of security dogs.

In 2006, a flight attendant named Lisa Wilson claimed Floyd attacked her on a private jet, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn.1024-jennifer-lopez8marcanthony

Not too long after that, Lopez and Anthony returned to the dog to the breeder. Whether they got a refund, I do not know.

In 2007, Robinson and her husband, political consultant Craig Snyder, bought Floyd from the same  K-9 security outfit in South Carolina, after a robbery scare in their Manhattan apartment. They paid $35,000 for him.

Upon reading that, in connection with the Lopez lawsuit, an animal behavior expert had branded Floyd a menace, Robinson apparently felt the need to speak out.

nrobinson“He’s the biggest, sweetest baby,” Robinson, who played Margaret Hooper on The West Wing,  told the New York Daily News. “I will go to court to defend Floyd’s honor.”

While Floyd growls when strangers approach family members, Robinson’s husband said the dog — whose full name is Floyd vom Meierhof — allows the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to ride on his back. “He’s under very strict rules of engagement,” Snyder said.

“You can get security dogs for half or one-third the price, but to me those dogs would pose a risk to my family,” he said. “Cheaper dogs are not trained to distinguish between a real threat and a kid who pulls their tail. The dog is 100% peace of mind.”

Robinson and Snyder were informed of Floyd’s past – including the alleged incident on the plane – when they made the purchase.


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