While Amish breeders are notorious for running puppy mills, some of those in southern Indiana are working with Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science to improve their breeding practices and, in the process, their reputations.
“It was time that we as breeders recognize that there are professionals out there that can help us and we need to involve them in our businesses,” said Levi Graber, a member of Odon’s Amish community who helps several breeders in the area.
Though the Amish aren’t known for reaching out, or letting people in, Graber contacted the university a few years ago about improving Amish-run breeding operations in the region. That led to a pilot program in which the operations are reviewed, and suggestions are made on how to improve them.
Already, those behind the program say, they’ve found that improving conditions and practices at the kennels leads to happier, healthier, better behaved dogs.
Under the program, which is open to non-Amish breeders as well, a set of voluntary standards will be created for breeders to follow, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
“Many folks hear about breeding and animal welfare and they don’t know what (breeders) actually do. They just want to put them out of business,” said Purdue’s Candace Croney, director of the animal welfare center.
Most dogs she and her team of researchers have observed have been in good physical health, Croney said, but some had room for improvement in their behavior. Some facilities’ dogs were loud and dogs became over-excited when they saw people, which Croney said indicated they weren’t used to seeing people often.
The research team advised those breeders to make sure something positive happens for the dogs, such as receiving a treat, every time someone comes into the kennel area. They also suggested letting the dogs out in the yard daily to exercise and socialize.
The changes made a big impact, Croney said. Over four months, the dogs in the kennel with the most behavioral issues became calmer when they saw people, and they physically looked better.
“We’ve seen a very positive impact on some of the things she recommends,” Graber said. “I’ve seen more contented, happy dogs.”
Once the trial program is complete, a third party will audit the breeders’ practices, Croney said.
Breeders who qualify will receive a certification that she said goes beyond the standards mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cover areas such as housing, sanitation, food, water and protection against extreme weather and temperatures.
Graber said the community feels fortunate to work with Purdue and emphasized that the breeders don’t want to sell puppies that disappoint anyone.
Not all Amish-run breeding operations are like those that end up on the news, noted Dale Blier, who works for Blue Ribbon Vet & Supply in Odon and sells supplies to many breeders in town.
“The majority of dog breeders in Indiana treat their dogs the same way they treat making furniture: They want to be the best at it they can,” he said.
(Photo: A child sits with puppies at a breeding operation in Odon that’s working with Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science program; by Levi Graber)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amish, behavior, breeders, breeding, center for animal welfare, conditions, health, improvements, improving, indiana, kennels, odon, operations, perceptions, program, puppies, puppy mills, purdue university, reputation, southern indiana
Police investigating the source of a stench in Paramus found 67 puppies packed in a van parked behind Just Pups, a North Jersey pet store.
The pups — some covered in feces — were seized early Monday and taken to a North Jersey animal hospital, where 15 of them were determined to be in need of medical treatment.
Found locked in steel crates, the puppies were scheduled to go to other stores in the Just Pups chain. They had come from the Missouri breeding kennel of store owner Vincent LoSacco.
That’s him in the video above — responding last week to allegations of animal cruelty filed by the New Jersey SPCA in connection with the chain’s largest outlet in East Brunswick, N.J.
Last week, East Brunswick’s council unanimously voted to revoke LoSacco’s license at that store, prompting him to post a video he called “The Truth About Just Pups.”
Despite the scrutiny, LoSacco still apparently saw no problem with leaving 67 puppies in a parked van in Paramus on a night that temperatures dropped to 35 degrees.
Authorities said that about 3 a.m. Monday, Paramus police officers approached the van and detected the stench of urine and feces.
The officers, hearing whines coming from inside the van, opened an unlocked sliding door and found the dogs.
LoSacco on Monday told NorthJersey.com that the van was temperature controlled, and leaving puppies parked in the van overnight was not an uncommon practice.
“It’s not unnormal to leave them in the van, as long as they have air conditioning or heat — depending on the season — and food and water,” LoSacco said. “It’s the same thing with the pet store. People aren’t there 24 hours.”
He denied that the cages were overcrowded, and suggested that any dogs who were covered in feces got that way when police officers loaded the van onto a flatbed truck to transport it.
As of Monday night, four pups remained at the vet’s office. The rest — golden retrievers, Labradors and terriers — were transferred to Tyco Animal Control, which has contracts with more than 20 municipalities in Bergen and Passaic counties.
The incident is being investigated by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force, Paramus police detectives and the Paramus Health Department.
The Paramus was closed Monday pending the investigation. It reopened Tuesday.
The mayor said a Paramus inspector visited the store in response to the complaints and found some unsanitary conditions, but no signs of cruelty. The store was closed for about 24 hours while those sanitary conditions were addressed.
Just Pups has four New Jersey locations — in Paramus, East Hanover, East Brunswick and Emerson, according to its website.
“Just Pups is the only puppy or pet store that you can shop at where you have a 100% guarantee that 100% of our puppies have come from reputable breeders only,” the website says. “..We have never ever purchased a single puppy from a questionable source or a puppy broker.”
In February, LoSacco’s attempts to renew his license for a Just Pups location in Valhalla, N.Y., were denied, according to the New York Daily News.
The charges filed by the NJSPCA against the East Brunswick store came after three dead dogs were found in the store’s freezer on Feb. 29. In total, 267 animal cruelty charges were filed by the NJSPCA, alleging, among other things, that LoSacco exposed puppies to illnesses by commingling healthy and sick animals.
An online petition calling for that store to be shut down and for a state Department of Health investigation into all Just Pups locations has gathered nearly 160,000 signatures.
(Photos: Paramus Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 6th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 67, animal cruelty, animals, breeder, breeders, chain, charges, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, east brunswick, east hanover, emerson, feces, investigation, just pups, new jersey, njspca, north jersey, paramus, parked, pet shop, pet store, pets, police, puppies, pups, seize, spca, truth, van, vincent losacco
After realizing a surrendered dog had recently given birth, staff at the Marin Humane Society in California contacted the dog’s former owner and asked about the pups.
The owner was “evasive” and “unwilling,” but eventually admitted there were pups and agreed — in the interest of the puppies’ health — to surrender them to the Humane Society as well.
That’s what led to this joyful reunion at the shelter on Monday.
The shelter says that when the mother dog, named Cora, was taken in for a routine check-up, vets found that she had recently had puppies — so recently they became concerned about the health of the puppies.
The Humane Society captured the reunion on video.
The puppies have been named Carson, Branson, Moseley, and Edith, all in honor of Downton Abbey characters.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, cora, dog, dogs, marin, marin county, marin humane society, mother, owner, pets, puppies, pups, rescues, reunited, shelters, surrendered, video reunion
A dog at a Canadian pet motel and foster care center broke out of her kennel and positioned herself outside the kennel of two whimpering foster puppies spending their first night there.
The center’s employees had gone home for the night, but when one checked surveillance cameras they saw that a dog named Maggie had somehow gotten out of her kennel and was sitting in front of the kennels the puppies were in.
When Maggie indicated she wanted to be with the pups, Sandy let her into that kennel.
“Sandy stayed in there for about 15 minutes and then said, ‘Well it looks like they need each other,’ and then let Maggie stay the night in their kennel,” Alex Aldred, who also works at Barker’s Pet Motel and Grooming in St. Albert, explained.
“When we came back in the morning they were all still cuddled up together,” he added.
Turns out Maggie had recently had a litter of her own, and all the pups she gave birth to had been adopted.
“We think that’s why she got so attached to the puppies,” Aldred told ABC News. “We’ve never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them.”
Deanna Thompson, who works at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), the organization that rescued the puppies, said she was not surprised by what Maggie did.
“It’s innate in a lot of female dogs, especially if they’ve had a litter in the past. It’s just in their nature. We’ve seen it in a lot of dogs, even with male dogs, when they hear other puppies crying they want to console them and make sure they’re feeling safe.”
(Photos: ABC News)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alone, animals, barker's pet motel, cage, cameras, canada, center, comfort, comforts, crying, dog, dogs, foster, foster puppies, kennel, maggie, pet motel, pets, puppies, rescue, shelters, st. albert, surveillance, whimpering
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, biscuit, candidates, carly, carly fiorina, checkers, cruella, dogs, dogs and politics, fiorina, ijreview, independent journal review, obama, pets, politics, politics and dogs, presidential, puppies, republicans, richard nixon, video
Ten years after a dog was first successfully cloned, scientists have managed to produce the world’s first litter of pups to be born through in vitro fertilization.
In July seven puppies were born through IVF at Cornell University — five beagles and two “bockers,” or beagle-cocker spaniel mixes.
The achievement was not revealed until this week with the release of the research study.
Seems like science would have happened the other way around — that a “test-tube” puppy would have premiered long before we entered the even more science fiction-like era of cloned dogs becoming available on the marketplace.
But, while IVF has been used for decades in other animals, including humans, scientists had never succeeded in using it to produce a newborn pup.
Previous attempts to use IVF in dogs had resulted in very low rates of fertilization, and no live births at all once IVF embryos were transferred to a host.
“Since the mid-1970s, people have been trying to do [IVF] in a dog and have been unsuccessful,” said co-author Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
What made it so difficult were some of the same factors that proved challenging in cloning dogs — females only ovulate once or twice a year, and their eggs are not transparent, making it harder to see the structures inside of the egg.
The Cornell researchers, in a joint project with researchers from the Smithsonian Institution, found that by waiting an extra day for eggs to mature before extracting them, they met with more success.
Adding magnesium to the environment where the sperm and egg met also helped with fertilization, the team found, according to a Cornell press release.
The achievement was revealed this week in a study published online Dec. 9 in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.
The seven surviving puppies (out of 19 embryos) are genetically the offspring of two different fathers (a cocker spaniel and a beagle) and three different beagle mothers, carried by the same beagle surrogate.
Unlike cloning, which involves transferring an existing (or dead) dog’s DNA into a donor egg, IVF involves the creation of a new genome through fertilization. Each each animal has a unique set of DNA.
The researchers say the development will open the door for preserving endangered canid species using assisted reproduction techniques.
It could also enable researchers to eradicate heritable diseases in dogs and facilitate the study of genetic diseases in dogs and humans, they say.
(Photo: Cornell graduate student Jennifer Nagashima and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research biologist Nucharin Songsasen — lead author and co-author of the study — walk some of the puppies born through IVF; by Jeffrey MacMillan / Cornell University)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assisted, beagles, biology, bockers, cloned, clones, cloning, cocker spaniels, cornell, cornell university, dna, dog, dogs, egg, first, in vitro, in vitro fertilization, ivf, pets, puppies, pups, reproduction, research, science, sperm, study
Some researchers are suggesting that selfish mama dogs may have played a role in the early domestication of the species by keeping the good food to themselves, as opposed to sharing it with their pups.
As a result, the researchers theorize, pups and young dogs ventured out of the wild and into human communities where they didn’t have to compete as hard for food — at least not with their own mothers.
(Being a cartoonist at heart — albeit one who can’t draw — I am picturing a young pup, sneaking away from the home of his domineering mother with one of those sacks on a stick over his shoulder, muttering to himself, “That bitch. That bitch. That greedy bitch!”)
Sure, there may be some substance to this research, but it mostly makes me laugh.
The researchers conducted experiments with feral dogs in India, then theorized that ancestral dogs thousands of years ago must have behaved the same way.
First, they offered low-quality biscuits to mother dogs, and the mother dogs tended to share those with their pups, with no conflicts arising.
Then they brought out the good stuff. Protein-rich meat seemed to make the mother dogs forget their motherly ways, growling at their pups to keep them away, and even grabbing meat from the mouths of their puppies.
The authors, Anindita Bhadra and Manabi Paul of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, say ancestral dogs, once they reached 8 or 9 weeks old, became able to clearly distinguish between protein rich food sources and the un-nourishing filler their mothers were trying to pass off on them.
At that point, the researchers theorize, many young ancestral dogs would set out for farming communities where they had access to what humans threw away. There is evidence also that the earliest farmers fed these dogs, making life among humans even more appealing.
The theory, outlined in the journal Royal Society Open Science, could help to explain the origins of dog domestication and how some ancestral dogs so willingly elected to live with people instead of with their own kind, Discovery reports.
“Ancestral dogs” is kind of a safe term scientists use — just in case dogs didn’t evolve from wolves, but from some other species.
As for why ancestral dog moms turned so selfish when a good cut of meat became available, Bhadra said, “We feel that the mothers just tend to grab the best resources when available.”
Ancestral mother dogs are not available to respond to those charges, so I will speak for them:
“Hey, you think it’s easy giving birth to 14 kids at once, and then raising them? Alone?
“Yeah, where IS dad? Good question. Haven’t seen him since he knocked me up.
“So, yes, I get a little anxious, a little snippy. But I’ve got to feed the whole lot of them, and protect them. It’s not like I can walk into the Food Lion and get all I need. You have no idea how tired I am. And yes, I get hungry, too. If I am not nourished, how do you expect me to nourish all of them? Go research that, why don’t you?”
(Photo: From Lovethesepics.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ancestral dogs, animals, dog, dogs, domesticated, domestication, feeding, food, greedy, humans, mothers, pets, puppies, pups, research, science, selfish, study, wolf, wolves