The American Kennel Club is doing a much better job of protecting bad breeders than it is protecting dogs.
That’s the gist of this investigative report that aired yesterday on NBC’s “Today” show
The accusations aren’t exactly new, and weren’t exactly uncovered by NBC, but it’s good to see the issue getting some national attention.
The AKC, investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen notes, calls itself ”the dog’s champion …
“But critics say there’s an ugly reality you don’t see: Some AKC breeders raising diseased dogs, malnourished, living in their own filth. It’s so disturbing that now two of the country’s largest animal welfare groups, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society, are condemning the AKC.”
The report included an interview with one dog owner, who purchased a Great Dane from a kennel only weeks after that kennel was inspected by the AKC and found in compliance. The puppy turned out to have intestinal parasites, an upper respiratory infection and a congenital eye defect.
“Law enforcement went into the kennel just two months later, and rescued dozens of dogs,” Rossen reported.
Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, is featured heavily in the report, and makes the point that the AKC should be working with animal welfare groups to protect dogs instead of protecting bad breeders and fighting laws that would crack down on them.
AKC Director of Communications Lisa Peterson, also interviewed for the report, says she would give the AKC an “A” for its inspection program.
But when the reporter asked how many breeders are producing AKC-registered dogs, she said, “That’s a great question. We don’t know.” And when asked what percentage of AKC registered breeders end up getting inspected, she wouldn’t offer a ball park figure.
“We do thousands of inspections annually,” Peterson said. “We’ve done 55,000 inspections since the year 2000.”
“But what percentage of breeders actually get inspected?”
“… I don’t have that figure,” Peterson said. “I’m sorry.”
Peterson said there are nine AKC inspectors in the U.S. Asked “Do you think that’s an adequate number?” she said, ”That’s the number that we have.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, aspca, breeders, breeding, club, conditions, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society, humane society of the united states, inspections, investigative, jeff rossen, kennel, laws, legislation, nbc, news, pets, report, today, today show, wayne pacelle
Fox News is reporting that country singer Mindy McCready’s fatal shooting of her own dog before she commited suicide Sunday was “not an act of malice at all.”
Fox quotes an unidentified friend as saying, “Mindy really loved her dog … It would have been more of a case where she just didn’t want to leave the dog alone.”
Not to speak ill of the dead, or to suggest rational behavior should be expected from those in the clutches of mental illness, but there are better ways of securing a future for your dog when you’ve decided you no longer want one for yourself.
And to describe an act like that as anything close to kind-hearted is just plain wrong.
A better description — even if the misguided thinking behind it was a hope they would end up in the same place in the hereafter – would be selfish.
McCready, who had attempted suicide twice earlier, had reportedly been depressed since the father of her youngest child, record producer David Wilson, died earlier this year from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. That took place on the same front porch where McCready shot the dog and herself.
“Based on what we have found at the scene at this time, we do believe that she took the life of the dog that we are being told by family members belonged to Mr. Wilson before she took her own life,” said Sheriff Marty Moss of Cleburne County.
McCready’s two sons, aged ten months and six, were removed from her home by a judge on Feb. 6. After that, McCready was committed to a rehabilitation facility for mental health and alcohol abuse examinations, but released two days later.
“She didn’t really have a support network and coming home to an empty house seems to be what really did it,” the source told Fox News. “It is tragic. She was a sweet and kind girl at heart.”
Whatever other morals her tragic life holds, however kind her heart was, whatever her legacy might be, one thing stands out — given the course she chose for her beloved dog — about her messy end:
How much more tragic the story might have been had her children not been taken from her.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addiction, alcohol, animals, arkansas, children, cleburne county, country, david wilson, depression, dog, dogs, drugs, fox, fox news, friend, heart, irrational, killing, kind, malice, mental health, mindy mccready, news, not, pets, rational, report, shooting, shot, singer, source, suicide
The office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott has shed more light on what happened to Reagan, the dog the governor’s family rescued during his campaign.
Reagan, after his much publicized adoption, disappeared from public view when Scott took office.
The governor said last week that the dog — whose name had been chosen by his fans on Facebook — was returned to the grooming shop where his family got him, due to behavior problems.
The governor told the Tampa Bay Times that the dog never hurt anyone, but it turns out Reagan both barked and bit.
A spokeswoman for the governor said this week that Reagan was returned to the grooming shop after biting a governor’s mansion employee who moved his water bowl.
“The governor and first lady love dogs, and they had to make a hard decision when it was clear that Reagan was very anxious around lots of different people,” Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said.
The dog bite occurred while the governor was in Orlando on Jan. 7, 2011 — three days after he took office.
Mansion grounds employee Jennifer Kinsey was arranging flowers when Reagan bit her on the right hand, according to an incident report released by Scott’s office. The injury required no medical treatment.
Scott introduced the yellow Lab to Facebook readers on Sept. 7, 2010, shortly after he won the Republican nomination. Facebook friends chose the name Reagan from a list of three choices suggested by the campaign and they praised Scott for adopting a dog.
Sellers said Scott flew Reagan back to Naples on his private jet to return him to All Pets Grooming and Boarding. The shop’s owner has told one television station that Reagan’s name has been changed to Pluto and that he now lives on a horse ranch in Collier County.
“The family decided that the best decision for the dog and all those who visit would be to have the grooming business find Reagan a more appropriate home with less people and activity,” Sellers said. “It was a hard choice that sometimes pet owners have to make.”
The Scotts have since adopted Tallee, another yellow Lab.
The governor’s communications directors initially refused to respond when asked about the disappearance of Reagan. Scott, when asked directly, said he returned the dog to previous owners because it barked a lot and frightened mansion staffers.
Sellers said Scott had been out of town and did not recall the biting incident when he talked to reporters.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, behavior, bit, bite, biting, campaign, communications, dog, employee, facebook, florida, governor, groomer, incident, mansion, news, pluto, problems, publicity, reagan, report, returned, rick scott, spokesperson, tampa bay times, yellow lab
Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico are 2012’s five best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
The national nonprofit organization compared animal protection laws of every state in the country, analyzing more than 4,000 pages of statutes, to reveal the state’s that are strongest on animal protection and those that are weakest.
The weakest of all? Kentucky, which the ALDF says was the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the sixth year in a row.
The report ranks all 50 states, and top honors went to Illinois, for the fifth year in a row. ALDF has been releasing the annual analysis for seven years.
Rounding out the top five states were Maine, California, Michigan, and Oregon, all of which demonstrated strong commitments to combating animal cruelty.
States that ranked poorly either lacked or made limited use of felony penalties for the worst types of animals abuse, had weak laws covering basic standards of care for animals, and no restrictions on convicted animal abusers getting news pets and animals.
In the survey, Kansas saw its ranking drop from sixth to 13th, primarily due to its “ag gag” law. Such laws, now existing in five states, make it illegal to covertly take photos or videos at factory farms and other animal facilities as part of undercover investigations.
Idaho was the fastest rising state, moving up from 52 to 44 due to its enactment of felony provisions for animal cruelty.
Since the first rankings report in 2006, more than half of all states and territories have experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws, ALDF says.
“We look forward to further progress in the upcoming year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “Regardless of ranking, each state and territory has ample room for improvement. We hope lawmakers will recognize the need for immediate improvement in animal protection laws across the nation. Although animals do not vote, those who love and protect them certainly do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, analysis, animal, animal legal defense fund, best, best and worst, bottom five, california, cruelty to animals, felony, illinois, iowa, kentucky, laws, maine, michigan, new mexico, north dakota, oregon, protection, report, south dakota, states, statutes, top five, worst
Here’s an in-depth report out of Canada on the rising concerns about chicken jerky treats from China.
CBC television’s Tom Harrington looks at the lack of pet food regulations in this Marketplace segment, called “Fighting For Fido.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, canada, cbc, chicken, china, chinese, dead, dogs, dying, fda, government, health, jerky, marketplace, news, pet food, pets, regulations, regulatory, report, safety, sick, tom harrington, treats
A recent CNN report raises questions about Operation Baghdad Pups, and the charity that oversees the program, SPCA International.
CNN, whose sister network presented a positive and heartwarming portrayal of the program last year, found that SPCA International spent nearly all $27 million it received in donations to raise more money through a direct mail company.
The report also said SPCA International “misrepresented” Baghdad Pups on its tax filings, and that it hired an officer for that program with a “questionable background.”
Two immediate thoughts:
One, in an ideal world, which of course we’re not in, it would have been nice of CNN, or even its less probing sister network, HLN, to do its digging before tugging at our heartstrings to the extent we cough up money.
Two, with animal charities becoming big business, where should the line be drawn when it comes to how much of the money they rake in actually goes to helping animals?
A charity needs to spend money to raise money, of course, but Bob Ottenhoff, president of the charity watchdog group GuideStar, told CNN that the SPCA International’s tax records raise “a number of red flags.”
“No. 1, there is an enormous amount of money going into fund-raising,” Ottenhoff said. “It’s not unusual for a nonprofit to fund-raise. In fact they need to fund-raise. But this organization has an enormous amount of fund-raising costs, certainly relative to the amount of money being spent.”
Of the $14 million raised in 2010, SPCA International reported it spent about $60,000, less than 0.5%, on cash grants to animal shelters across the United States. About $450,000 — about 3% of the total raised in 2010 — went to bring back animals from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its “Baghdad Pups” program.
The CNN report seems to make much of the fact that most of those animals weren’t actual members of the armed services — but, from our coverage of the organization, it never seemed to making the claim that they were.
Baghdad Pups is a program that “helps U.S. troops safely transport home the companion animals they befriend in the war zone,” it states on the website.
As CNN put it, “the charity admitted that only 26 of the nearly 500 animals transported to the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan were actually service animals. The rest were stray animals … And those 26 service animals were not attached to military K-9 units but belonged to Reed Inc., a private contractor that built roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
While dogs abandoned by contracting companies have been a concern of the program, stray animals, as I understood it, were what the program was all about — seeing that, in cases where they bonded with soldiers, they had a chance to come home with them.
While the CNN report may have been barking up the wrong tree in that regard, it was on the money in other ways — namely, in looking at what happens to the money.
SPCA International funneled nearly all the donations to Quadriga Art, one of the world’s largest direct-mail providers to charities and nonprofits. The payments to Quadriga Art and its affiliated company, Brickmill Marketing Services, were for publicizing the organization and helping it raise more funds.
It is the same company hired by two veterans charities that spent tens of millions of dollars for its services, triggering a Senate investigation last month. One of the charities,Washington-based Disabled Veterans National Foundation, collected nearly $56 million in donations over the past three years yet paid Quadriga Art more than $60 million in fees, raising questions about whether it should retain its tax-exempt status.
SPCA International is still $8 million in debt to Quadriga Art, according to a spokeswoman for the direct-mail firm.
Lat week’s CNN report also brought up previous problems Operation Baghdad spokeswoman Terri Crisp encountered while working on behalf of animals.
Crisp, who appeared on CNN’s sister network, HLN, last year with two dogs rescued from Iraq, is the former head of a California-based animal rescue charity called Noah’s Wish. It took in $8 million in contributions to support its work “rescuing and caring for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.” An investigation by the California attorney general was looking into whether that money was being used for that purpose when a settlement was reached in 2007.
Crisp, while not admitting to any wrongdoing, agreed to return $4 million in donations, and to not ”serve as an officer, director or trustee or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director or trustee, with any non-profit organization” for five years.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, animal welfare, animals, armed service, baghdad, bringing, charities, cnn, contractors, direct mail, dogs, finances, fund raising, fundraising, guide star, hln, home, investigation, iraq, K-9, k9, noahs wish, non profits, nonprofits, operation baghdad pups, organizations, pets, pups, quadriga art, reed inc, rehoming, report, rescue, saving, shelter, soldiers, spca international, stray, strays, terri crisp, troops
The Humane Society of the United States has released a report calling on the American Kennel Club to protect dogs from abuses at puppy mills.
The report accuses the AKC of “pandering to the interests of large-scale, commercial breeding facilities,” even though ”smaller-scale, high-quality breeders” make up the majority of its membership.
Numerous puppy mill operators who have been charged with animal cruelty have been selling AKC registered puppies and some of them even passed AKC inspections, the report notes.
“The American Kennel Club bills itself as ‘The Dog’s Champion,’ but our report shows a pattern of activity that is entirely at odds with that self-description,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
“The AKC has opposed more than 80 bills and proposals in the last five years that would have implemented common-sense, humane standards of care at large-scale breeding facilities. We are shocked that a group that should be standing shoulder to shoulder with us is constantly lined up with the puppy mill industry.”
The report is based on information uncovered during HSUS-assisted raids of puppy mills, AKC “alerts” sent to breeders, materials published on AKC’s website, and AKC’s lobbying activities over the past five years.
In just the past six months, AKC-registered dogs were among those removed from three puppy mills in raids conducted by authorities in North Carolina, HSUS says.
In 2012 alone, AKC asked its supporters to oppose laws in several states that would have required puppy producers to comply with basic care standards; legislation in three states that would have prevented the debarking of dogs without a medical reason; an ordinance in a Tennessee town designed to prevent dogs from being left in hot cars; a Rhode Island state bill to prevent people from chaining or crating a dog for more than 14 hours a day; and a Louisiana state bill that would have prevented breeding facilities from keeping dogs in stacked, wire-floored cages.
The HSUS report discloses that some puppy mills that had been inspected by AKC but were still the subject of law enforcement-led rescues – with their operators later convicted of animal cruelty based on the poor conditions of their dogs.
Most recently, AKC has been lobbying breeders to oppose a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would regulate Internet puppy sellers under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The HSUS report calls on AKC to distance itself from the large-scale, commercial dog-breeding industry and return to its original focus of representing small, responsible breeders who have the welfare of their dogs as their top priority.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animal welfare, animals, breeders, breeding, commercial, conditions, critical, criticizes, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspections, internet, large scale, laws, legislation, opposition, pets, puppy, puppy mills, regulation, report, sales, standards, wayne pacelle
As part of the city’s newly amended animal code, veterinarians, groomers, pet shops and dog walkers are all designated as agents of the city, authorized to sell dog licenses and – here’s the scary part — expected to turn in customers who fail to get one.
Those operations “must report people who decline to license their dog,” according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Under the changes in the law, which went into effect in mid-February, the newly increased minimum fine for having an unlicensed dog is $500.
Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to the city managing director, said the idea for a stricter law came about two years ago, when it was reported that only 5 percent of dogs in the city — about 25,000 of an estimated 400,000 — were licensed.
Other revisions in the law require that all shops that sell dogs must have them spayed or neutered, unless an exception is made and an owner has a license for breeding. Owners of dogs that are not spayed or neutered must pay an annual licensing fee of $40 instead of $16 for sterilized dogs.
The revised law contains some progressive measures, but requiring all those whose jobs involve dogs to become licensing clerks — and snitches — seems bone-headed, and a shirking of responsibility.
“They are dumping it on everybody else because they weren’t able to do it,” veterinarian Howard Wellens said of the city. “I am not happy with being the policeman for someone without dog tags.”
Wellens, a vet at Queen Village Animal Hospital, said the law could put veterinarians in a position of declining treatment to dogs who aren’t registered — or withholding treatment until licensing takes place.
Abernathy said he doubts that would happen: “Under no circumstances do we expect a vet to turn away a sick animal,” he said. “That is not the expectation of the law and not the intent.”
Abernathy said that stores, shelters, and hospitals could collect a $2 fee for each dog license sold.
That seems a pretty small price to reap in exchange for losing a customer’s trust, if not a customer.
Requiring stores that sell dogs – and unlike some cities, Philadelphia hasn’t banned that — to issue licenses makes some sense.
But expecting groomers, veterinarians and dog walkers to become doggie deputies is asking — or is it ordering? — too much.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agents, animal control, animals, businesses, dog, dog walkers, dogs, groomers, licenses, licensing, pet shops, pets, philadelphia, registering, registration, report, selling, snitch, snitches, unlicensed, veterinarians
Cats ended up in animal shelters in the United States less often and were euthanized less often in 2011, according to a report by PetHealth, Inc., a company that aggregates data from animal welfare organizations.
The report, to be published annually, noted a 6% decline over 2010 in overall cat intakes, including a 5 percent decline in owner surrenders and a 9 percent decline in strays.
Euthanasia of cats declined 11 percent in 2011.
For dogs, the report notes little change in 2010′s intake and surrender numbers. Dog adoptions increased 2 percent, while euthanasia of dogs declined 3 percent over the same period.
The 2011 year-end report aggregates data from 795 animal welfare organizations. Findings were based on 1,537,961 intakes and 1,508,754 outcomes for dogs and cats that entered or left animal welfare organizations in 2011.
“We are very excited to be able to offer the first annualized PetPoint Report to our network and the interested public,” Brad Grucelski, a company vice president, said in a press release. “From this larger pool of aggregate data we can see beyond monthly fluctuations in intake and outcome types and measure the widespread impact of animal welfare efforts in the United States.
“Based on the information disclosed here, 2011 was a good year for animal welfare,” he said, “and all key indicators point to continued success in 2012.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, animal shelters, animal welfare, animals, cats, dogs, euthanasia, intakes, organizations, outcomes, pet health, pet point, pethealth, pets, population, report, shelters, strays, surrenders
Examiner.com is reporting what it’s calling a “national outrage” — that Michael Vick has gotten a dog.
” …the latest cosmic injustice in the up-and-down saga of Michael Vick takes the cake … Judge Herman Wilton, who presided over Vick’s 2007 trial, has rescinded his order that Vick never again be permitted to own a dog. Vick is now the proud owner of a Beagle named HutHut.”
“The judge’s reasoning, if it can be called that, is (1) that Vick has been thrilling football fans with his play, (2) that he has won over the hearts and minds of the people of Philadelphia, and (3) that his young daughters really wanted a dog.”
The source for the Examiner report? The Weekly World News. The same people, or at least the latest incarnation of the publication, that brought us Bat Boy, Elvis sightings and predictions of an apocalypse at least every month.
Apparently, the Weekly World News and its playful reputation are fading from public memory — at least enough that a blogger for Examiner.com saw this report and took it at face value.
Even with such clearly doctored photos as this one, many people bought it — judging from the comments both on the Weekly World News piece and the Examiner’s. (The Examiner piece has since been taken offline.)
This proves three things. One, there is no limit to how gullible some people are. Two, legitimate newspapers had their place (bring them back). Three, this Internet thing, all this cutting and pasting and regurgitating what other people have said — at least when the original source is not one to be trusted, when the facts are not checked – is giving truth a beating.
In its paper version, on the grocery store checkout line, it was always clear to most people that the Weekly World News was a purveyor of hoaxes, sometimes mean spirited, sometime delightful.
I once went to its Florida offices to do a story on the collection of characters that put it out, in a backroom of the National Enquirer. They were a fun and creative group — from the grizzled editor to the artist who came up with Bat Boy, and insisted of course, like a professional wrestler, that the monster was real.
On the Internet, though, which is the only place where a semblance of it still exists, the Weekly World News pops up in searches just like any other publication, with no indication that it’s dispatches are meant in fun — and a slogan that even reads “The World’s Only Reliable News.”
The Weekly World News report quotes William Tacatoo (no such person), president of the Humane Society of the Pennsylvania (no such organization), as saying he has been around Vick a good deal over the last two years and feels confident Vick would be a great pet owner: “He loves dogs, he really does.”
It quotes West Virginia Judge Herman Wilton (no such judge) as saying he lifted the order banning Vick from owning dogs in the interest of the quarterback’s daughters: ”Ah, come on, we can’t deny the girls a dog.”
It reports that, as soon as the judge announced his decision, “Vick immediately went out and bought a cute, little beagle.”
Vick, though he has expressed a desire to have a dog, doesn’t have one.
The world is not coming to an end next week.
Elvis is still dead.
Bat Boy, though? I’m still not sure he’s not real.
(Photos: Weekly World News)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bat boy, beagle, bloggers, dog, dogfighting, examiner.com, hoax, humane society, huthut, joke, judge, michael vick, new dog, news, philadelphia eagles, quarterback, report, tabloids, vick, weekly world news