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Tag: regulations

My half-ashed plans for the hereafter


I try not to think about my own death too much, but I do have a general plan for the hereafter.

I want my cremated remains to spend eternity with my dog’s cremated remains — or at least those remains of him that remain after I, earlier this year, spread some of his ashes in his favorite ocean and some in his favorite creek.

I still have about half his ashes left (he was a big dog), and, if I revisit another place that was dear to us, I may spread a little more of him there.

But I’ll keep the rest so that they may join my own. As I see it, that should be my right as a dead man.


But it’s not always — at least when it comes to the rules of individual cemeteries, and the many local, state and federal laws, rules and regulations that govern how we dispose of our remains and those of our pets.

In most cases, state laws prohibits burying pets in human cemeteries, even just their ashes, but they are unenforceable laws — to be honest, needless laws — and they’re generally overlooked by funeral directors.

Most funeral directors go along with it when the family of the deceased requests their pet’s ashes be placed with the deceased — even when it’s technically against the rules.

Sometimes cemetery rules prohibit it; often state laws do. In recent years, though, some states have reexamined those laws.

Virginia passed a law in 2014 permitting cemeteries to have clearly marked sections where pets and humans may be buried alongside one another — as long as the animal has its own casket.

In New York, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation last month making it legal for the cremated remains of pets to be interred with their owners at any of the approximately 1,900 not-for-profit cemeteries regulated by the state.

“For many New Yorkers, their pets are members of the family,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will roll back this unnecessary regulation and give cemeteries the option to honor the last wishes of pet lovers across New York.”

The new law does not apply to cemeteries owned or operated by religious associations or societies, and any cemetery still has the right to say no.

But it’s a step closer to reasonable, and better than an interim measure passed three years ago, when New York made it permissible to bury the cremated remains of humans and their dogs together — but only in pet cemeteries.

State lawmakers approved the new bill during the final days of the legislature’s session June, according to The New York Daily News

“For years now, New Yorkers have desired to have their pets interred in their grave, and cemeteries will now be able to offer this burial option as a result of this new law,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County), who sponsored the law in the Senate.

One of those New Yorkers was Leona Helmsley, the hotel magnate who died in 2007 and specified in her will that she wanted her dog, Trouble, interred with her in the family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County.

Trouble died and was cremated in 2011, but could not be buried with her owner because of the state law prohibiting it.

Call me crazy (just don’t call me as crazy as her), but I want my ashes with Ace’s ashes, and not just in adjacent airtight containers.

I want them mixed, or at least — should I opt for my own to be spread — spread in the same location.

That could violate a law or two — because there are thousands of them governing how and where dogs and humans can be buried, cremation procedures, after-death mingling of species and where ashes can be spread.

According to Time.com scattering human ashes at sea must be done from a boat or plane three nautical miles from shore. That’s an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule.

The EPA says scattering a pet’s ashes in the sea is prohibited.

Woops, I already violated that rule.

Before it’s all over, or, more accurately, once it’s all over, I might violate some more. Blame my rebellious streak.

My advice is to check your city, county, state and federal laws, and then break them — at least as much as you, being dead, can.

Burying an entire dog or human body is one thing, and there should, for public health reasons, be some rules regulating that.

glennBut ashes have no germs, no odor, no dangerous implications. What pet owners might have spread in rivers and streams over the centuries is non-toxic and only a drop in the bucket compared to, say, the coal ash Duke Energy unleashed in a day.

My plan to combine the ashes of myself and my dog still has some details in need of being worked out.

For one, I’ll need an accomplice to carry out my wishes and do the mixing, assuming the crematorium balks at my afterlife recipe — mix one part Ace with two parts John in a large Folgers Coffee can. Shake well.

After that it would be sent along to my designated spreader, to be named at a later date.

(I was joking about Folgers, any brand will do.)

When we leave the coffee can, we would like for it to be somewhere scenic and not too noisy.

Somewhere with a view of the sunset would be nice.

Someplace where I’m not in a neat row among other rows.

And somewhere free — in both meanings of the word.

Ace and I were thrifty in our travels, and our travels were all about feeling free and liberated as opposed to crated, coffined or cubicled.

I want our ashes to have that same freedom, together.

(Photos: Top and bottom, spreading Ace’s ashes in an unspecified ocean on the east coast, by Seth Effron and Glenn Edens; middle, more of Ace’s ashes being spread along a creek in Bethania, N.C., by Joe Woestendiek)

Depp and his wife apologize to Australia

Johnny Depp’s wife totally out-acted her more famous husband, or at least came across as more sincere, in this video apologizing to the Australian government for sneaking their two Yorkshire terriers into the country without declaring them.

In what more than a few think looks like a hostage video, the couple talks about the importance of Australia’s strict biosecurity laws — aimed at preserving the islands diverse plant and animal life.

“When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly,” Depp somberly — almost sleepily — intones.

“I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared,” says his wife, Amber Heard.

Clearly, this recorded apology was part of a deal reached between the couple’s lawyers and the Australian government. Heard was initially charged with smuggling, conviction of which can carry a 10-year prison sentence, but she pleaded guilty yesterday only to knowingly producing a false or misleading document.

In exchange for that, and the apology, she got little more than a slap on the wrist. She received a one-month “good-behavior bond,” which means she would be fined ($1,000 Australian dollars) only if she broke that bond.

The apology was posted to Facebook by Australia Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, who, after the charges were first filed, suggested that the dogs, if they weren’t “buggered off back to the United States,” might otherwise face being euthanized.

After that, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Depp called Joyce a “weird, sweaty-pated gut man who decided two five- or six-inch teacup terriers would harm the country in some way.”

Quite a contrast with the apology video, yes?

Depp and Heard failed to filed the proper paperwork when they arrived by private jet last year in Australia, where Depp was filming “Pirates of the Caribbean 5.” Normally, arriving dogs face a quarantine period.

After photos of Depp’s dogs going to a groomer in Australia went public, the government began an investigation into how they entered the country.

Joyce told ABC News that he hopes the recorded apology serves as a warning to future travelers to Australia.

“The more widely viewed it is the more we have people who might be unaware of our biosecurity requirements and, as they come into this nation, they say this is one thing that the Australians are red hot about, biosecurity.”

How many dogs can a dog walker walk?


How many dogs should a dog walker walk at once?

After half a century as an amateur dog walker, and three months as a professional one, I’m prepared to give a qualified answer to that question.

It depends on the dogs. It depends on the dog walker. But three at a time should be plenty.

Many a dog walker might scoff at that — and view the idea of limiting the number of dogs a person can walk at one time as cutting into their profit margin.

It would be nice if dog walking was the one industry in the world not obsessed with upping its profits. But it’s not.

Many dog walkers balked when San Francisco — one of very few cities that regulates professional dog walkers — suggested limiting them to walking no more than eight dogs at once.

I can’t imagine doing that.

I can’t even imagine walking all three of the small dogs I walk for residents of at an assisted living facility all at once.

bgdogs 042Their leashes would get tangled, I’d trip and fall, and, given a couple of them tend to snarf up anything that resembles food — including Punkin, the handsome Boston Terrier to your left — I wouldn’t be able to monitor all three at once.

So — even though it takes three times as long — I opt for walking them one at a time. Bean counters and efficiency experts would say that’s stupid of me.

But then again, I’m 60, and not as agile and speedy, maybe, as once I was.

Here’s a news item that came out of Mill Valley, just up the road from San Francisco, this week:

A 71-year-old dog walker who fell more than 200 feet down a ravine in California was found by rescuers — with all six dogs she was walking huddled around her.

Carol Anderson fell into the ravine near a remote fire road during a storm Tuesday in Mill Valley, KTVU reported.

It’s not clear from news reports whether all six dogs fell with her, but she did manage to hold on to her cell phone during the tumble, and use it to contact one of her dog walking clients.

A Mill Valley Fire Department official said Anderson told the client, “I fell down, I don’t know where I’m at. I have the dogs. I’m dizzy. I’m nauseous, come help me.”

Authorities were able to track her down through her cell phone signals. The first rescuers to arrive found all six dogs curled up around her, which authorities said probably protected her from the cold. Firefighters climbed into the ravine and hoisted Anderson back up.

Anderson was hospitalized in fair condition. All the dogs were returned safely to their owners

It wasn’t the first time the dog walker has run into some bad luck.

In 2007, three of seven dogs Anderson had been walking — all at once — all got sick and died, just hours later, from what turned out to be strychnine poisoning intended to exterminate gophers.

After a morning walk on the Alta Trail above Marin City, the three dogs experienced high fevers and seizures. Two died at an area pet hospital, and a third was dead on arrival.

Walking six, seven, eight or more dogs at once strikes me as asking for trouble — no matter how well behaved the dogs are, or how experienced and physically fit the dog walker is.

I don’t think the rest of the country needs to go all San Francisco and regulate the industry. Dog owners can do that themselves, simply by asking, or insisting if necessary, that their dog not be walked in a group the size of a baseball team, or jury.

The dog walker who refuses to comply with such a request is probably more of a money seeker than a dog lover and may be better off avoided anyway.

(Top photo, a dog walker in San Francisco, by Mike Koozmin/ San Francisco Examiner; bottom photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)

Gov. McCrory shows his soft side

While he’s not viewed as particularly warm and cuddly by Democrats — at least when it comes to helping humans in need — N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says he wants the public to adopt abandoned and mistreated dogs, and he and the first lady are opening up the governor’s mansion (or at least its yard) for an adoption event tomorrow.

McCrory is shown in this News & Observer video petting a pomeranian, seized in a recent puppy mill bust in Pender County.

Lexi will be among as many as 30 dogs — some coming from as far away as Greensboro and Charlotte to attend — who will be available for adoption at the event, which runs from 10:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

While it seems odd protocol for an adoption event, anyone wishing to attend is asked to RSVP by today — by emailing eventrsvp@nc.gov.

The governor and first lady Ann McCrory are also promoting a bill to set minimum standards for breeding operations.

While the proposal isn’t too tough, relative to measures passed in other states, it sets standards ensuring that dogs have daily exercise, fresh food and water, shelter and veterinary care at breeding operations with at least 10 females.

The measure passed the House but didn’t get heard in the Senate before it recessed. The General Assembly reconvenes in May.

“I’m not going to give up on the bill,” the governor said at the press conference announcing the adoption event Wednesday. “This dog issue is not a Democratic or Republican issue — it’s an independent issue for every one of us.”

The McCrorys have one dog, Moe, who lives at their Charlotte residence.

Kanab: Overflowing with dog friendliness

Kanab, Utah is by and large a dog-friendly town. About a third of its motels permit dogs, as do most of the restaurants with outdoor dining. You can hardly drive down the main street of this one-stoplight town without seeing someone walking a dog.

It’s the headquarters of Best Friends, the world’s largest animal sanctuary. It’s in Utah, a place  whose major religion has so many rules, state and local governments don’t feel obliged to constantly come up with new ones (though I’m told there’s a two-dog limit in Kanab proper). And it’s in the west, free and open, where a man can be a man, and a dog can be a dog. Many an old-time western was filmed in the surrounding hills and canyons.

But even here, there’s truly “dog-friendly,” and there’s “well, ok, since nearly half of American homes have dogs, and more people are vacationing with dogs, we’ll put up with them because we’ll make more money that way.”

Which brings me to yesterday’s shoot-out. It was just one of words, left on notes, attached to my motel room door.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary doesn’t permit volunteers to bring their own dogs, and for legitimate reasons. Making things more incovenient, there are no kennels in town, just a couple of pet sitters. It would make enormous good sense — given the number of visitors, some who come to town with dogs — for either Best Friends or some entrepreneurial type to establish a kennel and day care business nearby. (Note to self: add that to the possible future careers list.)

Anyway, given those circumstances, when I reported for duty at Best Friends, I left Ace in my air conditioned room at the Bob-Bon Inn, where, judging from the autographed photos on the lobby wall, most of the cowboy stars you’ve heard of, and many you haven’t, stayed — back when they were alive.

I left a note on the door of my room that there was a dog inside, and that I didn’t need my room cleaned, and I came back to check on Ace and take him for a walk around lunchtime before returning to Best Friends for a couple more hours.

When I returned to the motel late in the afternoon, another note had joined mine. It said:

Sure enough, their written rules had specified just that (without the exclamation points), but somehow in my Internet search for a dog-friendly room, bouncing between five or six motel websites, I’d missed that.

Ace, of course, caused no trouble. He didn’t bark, or soil the new carpets (though the overflowing toilet came close to doing that yesterday morning). Even though the room, nice as it was, was only the size of a prison cell, Ace was content to peacefully hang out in the air conditioning.

That night, fortunately, I was scheduled to meet a member of the Best Friends staff for dinner at a dog-friendly restaurant. And this time, at the Rocking V Cafe, the dog friendliness was real. The first thing Terrah, our waitress, did was to check and make sure there was water in the dog bowl, provided at every outdoor table, and bring out some dog treats.

Then she fell in love with Ace. Then all the other diners fell in love with Ace. As usual, he stopped traffic, made friends and, except for a few pedestrians who veered around him, made people happy. It was a true dog-friendly experience — so much better than the phony variety.

(Willow Canyon, an outdoor gear, book and coffee shop, also passes the dog-friendly test, and I’m told Laid Back Larry’s, a vegetarian restaurant/coffee place on Highway 89, is also an especially dog-friendly venue.)

After dinner, Ace and I walked downtown, then returned to the motel. I had planned to ask to stay a third night, but, in light of the exclamation points, I decided not too, leaving my key in the room and checking out quietly and without confrontation.

Unfortunately, I left behind a clogged toilet — which I’d say is the fault of the plumbing not me. As much as the proprietors probably fear dog waste, they were left with the human variety. I briefly thought about going to the office and asking for a plunger.

But I’m a motel guest! Not a plumber!

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Citizens push for off-leash hours in Denver

A citizens’ initiative in Denver would, if voters approved, allow dogs to be off leash in sections of almost all of the city’s parks from 5 to 9 a.m.

Proposed by Ronald “Byron” Williams, and still requiring the city’s approval, the initiative would go on the ballot in November if Williams is able to collect 4,000 signatures on petitions.

“We’re considered to be an extremely dog-friendly city, and we need to live up to that and do something about it,” Williams told the Denver Daily News.

Williams began work on the initiative after becoming frustrated with the lack of dog parks in Denver. He believes designated leash free hours would be a good compromise, allowing dogs some time romp off leash while not significantly impacting those using the parks for other reasons.

The city considered and scrapped a similar plan earlier after complaints from nearby neighborhood groups.

Denver is now working on a “dog park master plan,” a final version of which is expected to be approved this month.

” The plan would implement a fee for existing dog parks, use that money to pay for additional park rangers who could write tickets for people who illegally have their dogs off-leash, and identify possible new areas that could be used for off-leash dog parks,” the Daily News reported.

At first glance, that seems more like plan to build revenue than to provide some running room for dogs.

Williams initiative, if approved, would likely lead to more immediate, and less expensive, results and make Denver — except for that nasty pit bull ban — a dog-friendlier city.

Doggie dining gets closer for Frederick

dog-at-the-restaurantMaryland’s  House of Delegates has approved a proposal that would allow dogs in the outdoor dining areas of restaurants in Frederick County.

An identical measure passed the Senate, but one of the bills still has to be approved by the other chamber before landing on the governor’s desk.

The measure lets Frederick County Commissioners create an exception to silly state health regulations that ban dogs — except service dogs — from dining areas, both indoors and out.

Allowing dogs at restaurants has been touted as a way to increase tourism in downtown Frederick, especially at the Downtown Frederick Partnership’s event, Dog Days of Summer, according to the Frederick News-Post.

If the bill becomes law, county commissioners would need to enact an ordinance or regulation to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.

The bill passed the House of Delegates 130-3 with delegates Charles Jenkins of Frederick County, Emmett Burns and Stephen Lafferty opposed.