It may not be a model puppy mill law. It could even be described, and has been, as “watered down.” But after repeatedly failing to pass legislation regulating large commercial breeders, North Carolina lawmakers will again consider a measure to ensure dogs in such facilities are treated humanely.
House Bill 930, which made it through a first reading this week and is now before a committee, would require breeders with 10 or more breed-able females to provide their dogs with basic necessities, such as food, water, sunlight, exercise and veterinary care.
But it would not require breeders to register, be licensed or submit to regular inspections.
“We hope that all parties can be happy with it,” said Kim Alboum, state director of the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s been a four-year battle to get to this point of this compromise bill. We just hope that this bill will move forward this year.”
You can read the bill here.
The bill was introduced last week by Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican. Breeders found to be in violation of the requirements in the bill could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined from $25 to $1,000.
“This bill protects both dogs and consumers,” Saine said. “Our citizens have made it clear that they are no longer willing to tolerate animal cruelty in the dog breeding industry, and neither am I or my colleagues who support this bill. This legislation will help protect dogs in North Carolina commercial dog breeding facilities by requiring operators to adhere to these basic standards of care.”
The HSUS estimates there are about 200 commercial dog breeding facilities in North Carolina, all operating without any oversight. Last August a raid at one in Brunswick County led to the rescue of about 160 dogs, including 70 puppies and their nursing mothers living in stacked cages in a structure with no working air conditioning.
That was one of 13 large-scale breeding operations in North Carolina that, in the past 18 months, the HSUS has and law enforcement officials have removed dogs from, due to illnesses, injuries and lack of humane care, Saine said.
From 2 to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States — commonly in pet stores and online — while 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year for lack of homes, the Humane Society estimates.
Saine said the bill gives law enforcement the tools to go after those who abuse dogs by spelling out what is required of large-scale commercial breeders.
The bill requires dogs have access to food, water, clean bedding, sunlight, and exercise on a daily basis. It mandates the health of dogs be monitored, veterinary care be provided, and that any euthanizations be performed humanely. It specifies that cages be at least big enough for dogs to stand up and turn around in. It doesn’t ban wire flooring, but requires it to be solidly in place and of a type that doesn’t hurt dogs’ feet.
While the legislation under consideration this session doesn’t go as far as previous proposals, most animal welfare advocates in the state have gotten behind it, including North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare, Susie’s Law, the ASPCA, Humane Society of Charlotte, SPCA of Wake County, and United Animal Coalition.
Previous efforts to pass a puppy mill law ran into opposition from pig and poultry farmers and hunting dog owners, wary that the measures could extend to them. The new bill specifies that it does not apply to dogs used for hunting purposes.
A recent poll commissioned by the ASPCA showed 87 percent of North Carolina voters are in favor of the state legislature passing a law that would set standards of care for North Carolina’s commercial dog breeding facilities.
“Puppy mill operators want to keep their costs down and their profits up, and nothing short of a legal mandate will convince them that they must treat the animals in their care more humanely,” said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. “North Carolina voters care about this issue and expect a strong puppy mill bill to pass this year…”
(Photo: One of the dogs seized in the Brunswick County puppy mill raid, after being transferred to a shelter in Guilford County / DigTriad.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bill, breeders, brunswick county, care, commercial, compromise, conditions, dog, dogs, hb 930, house bill 930, hsus, humane society of the united states, introduced, jason saine, large, large scale, law, legislation, legislature, north carolina, pets, proposal, puppy mills, raid, standards
A hearing on the request to move the dogs out of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control’s shelter is scheduled for Friday.
Prosecutors want to place the dogs in a private kennel, which they say would be better equipped to provide long term care until the court case is resolved.
The dogs were seized two months ago in what local authorities described at the time as one of the largest dog-fighting operations they’d ever encountered.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they found 27 pit bulls, tethers and a fighting arena in east Mecklenburg County, and they arrrested two men.
Lefonze Williams, 42, was indicted on 36 counts of dog fighting, and Melvin Smith, 46, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit dog fighting, according to the Charlotte Observer. Both were identified in court documents as the dogs’ owners.
Police said the property, near J.H. Gunn Elementary School, was used for training and fighting dogs.
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Cole says the city’s shelter “is not meant for long-term placement of animals, and seized canines may suffer behavioral and physical harm if maintained in this space.”
A court hearing on what to do with the pit bulls is set for Friday.
Prosecutors are also asking the judge to order Williams and Smith to pay for the cost of shelter, food and care, according to court documents.
If Williams and Smith decline to assume responsibility for the animals, prosecutors have asked that the dogs be forfeited. In that event, it would be up to the animal shelter to determine whether the dogs are suitable for adoption or will be euthanized.
(Photo: John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, care, charlotte, dog fighting, dogfighting, euthanasia, expense, forfeit, health, investigation, judge, kennel, mecklenburg county, moving, operation, ownership, permission, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, private, raid, responsibility, seized, shelter, well being
A German shepherd, Ape was shot in the chest when he walked through a door with cameras attached to his body. Officers returned fire, killing Kurt R. Myers, who was suspected of killing four people.
They performed CPR on Ape, then rushed him in an armored vehicle to a nearby veterinarian.
“We were trying to do everything we could to try to save its life,” said Dr. Emily M. Green, one of the veterinarians at Herkimer Veterinary Associates.
Ape was 2 years and 4 months old, and had been on active duty for the FBI for a little over two weeks, according to the New York Times.
“Ape was doing what he was trained to do and made the ultimate sacrifice for his team,” the agency said in a statement released by Special Agent Ann Todd. “His actions were heroic and prevented his teammates from being seriously wounded or killed.”
Ape will be buried at the agency’s headquarters in Quantico, Va., and his name will be added to a memorial wall dedicated to dogs killed while on duty.
Ape was the second FBI tactical dog killed in the line of duty. In 2009, a 2 ½-year-old Belgian Malinois named Freddy was killed while accompanying agents attempting to make an arrest.
The FBI and police declined to discuss the specifics of how Ape was used in the raid. While a police robot equipped with a camera was ready, it might not have been able to navigate the gunman’s debris-strewn hiding place, the Times reported.
Agents sent Ape, equipped with a camera, into the building first. The cameras allow a handler to see what the dog is seeing from as far as 1,000 yards away. The gunman had been holed up for hours in the empty building in Herkimer, N.Y.
The FBI said that Ape had just started working on active duty on Feb. 25.
“He will be missed by his FBI family,” the agency said.
(Photo:by Ann Todd / FBI)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, Ape, bar, cameras, dogs, fbi, gunman, herkimer, herkimer veterinary associates, killed, kurt myers, law enforcement, new york, pets, raid, robot, shot, suspect, tactical dog, upstate
Officer Willie Bryant is a member of a multi-jurisdictional gang task force that was serving a drug-related warrant at a home in north Memphis.
He was wearing a bulletproof vest when the shot — intended for a Cane Corso police said was charging at officers — struck him in the back last Thursday.
Two men inside the home were arrested and charged with possessing a handgun during attempted commission of a felony, and possessing crack cocaine and marijuana with intent to sell.
The dog, along with three others, were later picked up by Memphis Animal Services.
When police entered the home, two dogs — a pit bull and a Cane Corso — were inside, James Rogers, administrator of Memphis Animal Services, told the Commercial Appeal. The Corso was loose and the pit bull was in a kennel.
Police say the loose dog charged at them, leading officer Byron Willis to fire his weapon. The dog was not struck, and apparently, after the shot was fired, didn’t cause problems requiring officers to use lethal force .
That dog, the pit bull, and two more Cane Corsos in the backyard of the property were taken in by animal control.
Bryant, 32, who has been on the force for nine years, was rushed to a hospital, where he remains in critical condition. Willis, 43, who has been with the force since July, was been placed on leave pending an investigation.
During a search of the home, officers found crack cocaine, three body armor vests, and five handguns, police said.
“Dogs, armed parties, you never know what you are going to encounter when you kick a door in,” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said. “We have to make life or death decisions, not only about our lives, but about other people’s lives, in less than a second’s notice.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrests, cane corso, critical, dogs, gang, home, hospital, law enforcement, north memphis, officer, pets, pit bull, police, raid, shooting, shot, shotgun, task force, unit, warrant, willie bryant, wounded
To get inside a live dog’s brain, at least as one scientist sees it, you must first get the dog inside an MRI, which turned out to be a pretty big challenge for researchers at Emory University
In an effort to get a better grasp on what dogs are thinking, Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy, sent his own dog and others into an MRI — not with the use of force or restraints, but after training them to willingly enter the noisy, claustrophobia-inducing machine.
That was no simple task, as the video above shows, and as he recounts in the current issue of Psychology Today.
The knowledge gained from all that work? Hardly earth-shattering, but it’s a beginning that could end up leading to some amazing places:
“Critically, we found that the reward system of the dog’s brain behaves very much like the human’s. When Callie and McKenzie saw us giving a hand signal that indicated they were about to receive a hot dog treat, a part of their brain called the caudate lit up with activity. This is the same part of the brain that in humans becomes active when we anticipate something good about to happen. In fairness, this was exactly what we expected, because all animals have reward systems that respond to incentives.”
The research was inspired by the dog that took part in the Navy Seal raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, Berns said:
“This should not have been particularly surprising, and certainly not to anyone associated with the military. Dogs had been part of military units throughout the 20th century. But the fact that a dog had helped kill the most wanted man in the world was something special. It showed that dogs were not just companions. Even though it could have no concept of democracy or freedom or individual liberty, a dog had helped defend a way of life…
“After learning the incredible things these dogs can do, I resolved to figure out what was actually going on in the mind of man’s-best-friend by using the tools of my trade: brain scanning technology.”
Berns started out with his own dog, a feist named Callie, and a border collie named McKenzie. Researchers watched what went on in their brains as they responded to two human hand signals.
But it took a long time to get to that point.
“ … We were naïve, and there were many hurdles. Ultimately, we wanted the dogs to walk up a set of steps into an MRI scanner, and shimmy inside a ‘head coil,’ which detects the signals from the brain but looks like a small birdcage lying on its side. Once in the coil they would need to put their head on a chin rest and remain absolutely motionless. A few millimeters of movement would completely destroy the image quality. And one more thing: when the MRI is running, it sounds like a jackhammer.”
Because of the scanner noise, the dogs had to be trained to wear ear muffs. All the dogs were allowed to quit the experiment at any time. “We used only positive reinforcement,” he said. “Just food and praise.
Berns said the research started year ago and is aimed at answering “the eternal question of what dogs are really thinking. More specifically, we wanted to know what a dog is thinking when it looks at its human owner.”
“As a lifelong dog owner, and currently living with dogs #6 and #7, I would like to think that I know something about what goes on in my dogs’ heads … If you saw me walking the feist you might naturally conclude that I really knew what she was thinking. After all, I talk to her like a person. Never mind that she doesn’t respond. We have developed a relationship that transcends human language. We gaze into each others’ eyes like people do. So surely there must be a bond there.
“Or is it all one-sided? Is the dog-human bond all a sham, albeit one played willingly by both parties, with the dog getting food and shelter in return for making goo-goo eyes at its owner, and the owner getting a simulacrum of undying love?
Berns believes “gazing into our dogs’ brains is like a portal back in time. We now have the tools to see how they see us. We can see the things activating in their heads that our hominid ancestors selected from the dogs’ wolfen brethren. And now we can see it from the dog’s perspective…
“Now we can begin to answer questions like: can dogs map human emotions onto their own feelings, in other words, do they have empathy? How much language do they understand? Just because they don’t speak doesn’t mean they can’t tell what we are saying.”
To learn more about The Dog Project, go here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, border collie, brains, callie, dog, dog brains, dogs, emory center for neuropolicy, emory university, empathy, experiment, feist, gregory berns, killing, language, mckenzie, mri, neuroscience, osama bin laden, pets, psychology today, raid, relationship, scanner, science, the dog project, training
More than 300 pit bulls were seized from a farm where fighting dogs were kept in a town south of Manila, and eight South Koreans were arrested — many of whom were out on bail after earlier arrests on dogfighting charges.
Many of the rescued dogs — taken during raids on a dogfighting arena and a dog farm south of Manilla — had ripped ears and tongues, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities said the fights between pit bulls were streamed live on the Internet, and gamblers, mostly foreigners, placed bets using credit cards or Paypal.
Chief Inspector Renante Galang of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s national office said five of the suspects were out on bail after being arrested Dec. 3 at a dog fight club in Cavite.
“We received information that while they were out on bail they moved and set up another gaming facility in Laguna,” Galang said Saturday.
The dog fight arena in Calauan was raided just before a fight was to take place Friday evening, Galang said.
After the raid, police went to a San Pablo City dog farm, where more than 300 were rescued.
The suspects were to be charged today with violation of the Animal Welfare Act and illegal gambling, he added.
Many of the dogs were in bad condition and some had been injured in previous fights, said Anna Cabrera, executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.
Each of the dogs on the farm was chained to a steel drum, which served as a doghouse.
PAWS veterinarians said 10 pit bulls were so badly injured they had to be euthanized.
(Photo: Philippine Animal Welfare Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrests, bets, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, fighting, gambling, injured, internet, manila, pets, philippines, pit bulls, pitbulls, raid, rescued, seized, south koreans, streamed, videos
Authorities seized 18 dogs, thousands of dollars and several guns, according a news release from the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agency (ALE).
Those arrested were from the Carolinas, Ohio and Maryland, and charges included dog fighting, animal cruelty, animal neglect, weapons violations and possessing controlled susbstances, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
“Dog fighting is unquestionably a cruel and vicious event,” ALE Director John Ledford said in a release. “An event can last as long as several grueling hours while the dogs bite and maul each other to death,” he said. “With the help of state and federal partners, this inhumane bloodshed was stopped.”
The arrests were made at the home of Jimmy Jacobs, where almost everyone in the crowd tried to run away when authorities arrived. The state’s Air National Guard provided a helicopter to help track them down, the release said.
Some of the dogs that were seized had serious wounds as well as scars from previous injuries. Veterinarians from North Carolina and the Atlanta Humane Society provided medical care for wounded dogs.
ALE agents were assisted by state Wildlife Resources Commission and Department of Correction officers, Highway Patrol troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and representatives from Norred & Associates, an Atlanta security company whose owner donates services to help break up dog fighting rings.
It was a tip to the company’s dog fighting hotline that led to the investigation.
(Photo: Atlanta Humane Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alcohol law enforcement, ale, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, arrests, atlanta, charges, cruelty to animals, dog fight, dog fighting, dogfight, dogfighting, dogs, fbi, highway patrol, hotline, jimmy jacobs, maxton, norred & Associates, north carolina, pets, raid, robeson county, security, seized
More than 150 dogs were seized Tuesday from a Danbury, N.C., breeder who was selling dogs for thousands of dollars but raising them in conditions authorities described as unhealthy and inhumane.
“I’m very ashamed that this happened in my county, and I’m appalled at how the dogs were being kept,” Phil Handy, Stokes County Animal Control officer, told Fox News in Greensboro.
The dogs were seized from Dan River Bullies, which sold English bulldog, French bulldogs and Shih Tzu puppies. (Its website was taken down yesterday.)
Officials with the Humane Society of the United States said the dogs appeared never to have been groomed or vaccinated, and lived in stacked cages, their food thrown on the floor next to their feces.
The Guilford County Animal Shelter in Greensboro took in 130 of the animals, many of which had multiple health problems, including infected eyes, skin and teeth, shelter director Marsha Williams said.
The rest of the animals were taken to Raleigh and Charlotte.
Veterinarians said several of dogs were old, but appeared to have spent most of their lives being bred.
The property is owned by Lucile Mabe, who authorities said could face multiple animal cruelty charges.
Williams said the case once again shows the need for strong puppy mill legislation in North Carolina.
“We need to change that and make it stricter, where they’re getting inspected and they’re required to have medical attention for their animals,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, breeder, breeding, dan river bullies, danbury, dogs, english bulldogs, french bulldogs, guilford county animal shelter, hsus, humane society of the united states, lucille mabe, marsha williams, north carolina, pets, puppy mills, raid, seized, shih tzus, stokes county
Chuwie, described as a mix of miniature pinscher and Pomeranian, survived the fall, but the family says he hasn’t been the same since police burst into their Bronx apartment a year ago, guns drawn, for what turned out to be a failed drug raid.
“How could a police officer do that to a tiny dog?”’ the New York Post quoted Iris Ramos as saying. Her son-in-law, Ronald Estevez, 27, owns Chuwie.
The family says Chuwie, though he barked at police, never tried to attack an officer.
“Children were crying. Guns were being pointed in their faces,’’ said family lawyer Jeffrey Emdin, who filed the suit in Bronx Civil Court. It names the city and NYPD as defendants and seeks $300 for vet bills and unspecified other damages.
Emdin said Iris Ramos’ brother, daughter, son-in-law and niece were arrested for drug possession, but that their cases were later dismissed.
The lawsuit says Chuwie jumped on a bed and began barking when the police came in. When one officer slapped him with the back of his hand, the dog flew four feet, through the bars in the open window and plummeted three stories, landing on a patch of grass.
(Photo: Matthew McDermott / New York Post)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, bronx, brutality, chuwie, dog, dogs, drug raid, drugs, lawsuit, miniature pinscher, new york, nypd, officer, pets, police, pomeranian, raid, ronald estevez, slapped, third floor, window
A former business partner of NFL quarterback Michael Vick is facing charges in Henry County, Georgia, after authorities found kennel dogs living in deplorable conditions and one dead dog stuffed in a plastic trash bag, according to WSBTV in Atlanta.
Art Washington owns Premier K-9 in Ellenwood, which the television station reported is operating on a revoked business license.
Fox 5 in Atlanta reports that Washington was issued 16 citations in connection with the conditions at the kennel, and may face additional charges after further inspection of the facility.
Animal control officials say Washington also was operating without a breeders permit.
Washington told investigators he is selling the business, which raises, sells, trains and imports German shepherds, Rottweilers and Presa Canarios.
Washington has had extensive business ties to Vick, WSBTV reported, including a partnership in a former car rental venture. ESPN Magazine reported the Vick and Washington were also partners in a horse farm at one point.
According to the Premier K9 website, the company has provided dogs to many athletes and celebrities, including the NBA’s Joe Johnson and Ron Mercer, baseball players Rick Ankiel, Kris Benson and Brian Jordan, NFL players Fernando Bryant and Dunta Robinson, and recording star Monica.
Apparently, in 2007, Michael Vick was briefly pictured on the satistifed celebrity customer page, too.
The Premier K9 website describes the company as “responsible, well respected breeders who have established a reputation for meeting and surpassing their customers’ expectations.”
But according to the county’s animal control director, the business may have been abandoning many of its dogs — and calling animal control to pick them up as strays.
Gerri Yoder said the “strays” were of the same breeds the kennel sells — Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers and other purebreds.
“These dogs were extremely fearful or they were extremely aggressive, and in every case they were malnourished to the point of emaciation,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.
Yoder said inspectors visiting the kennel found debris and animal waste on the floor, animals with feces matted to their hair, piles of dog hair, overflowing sinks and thick spider webs. “The lack of cleanliness of the kennel was not something that happened over a weekend,” she said. “The conditions at the kennel were a direct result of long-term neglect.”
Washington, in a statement, said he had been out of the country and blamed the conditions on employees. You can see his full statement here.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art washington, atlanta, dead, dogs, ellenwood, former, georgia, german shepherds, henry county, investigation, kennel, michael vick, partner, pets, premier k9, presa canarios, raid, rottweilers, sales, trainer, trash bag