Most people involved in animal rescue know that homeless dogs in America are routinely shipped from southern shelters to northern ones to improve their chances of adoption.
But here’s a canine pipeline I hadn’t heard of — dogs from Las Vegas, like Pono (above), are being flown to Canada to find new adoptive homes. He was the 1,000th dog to make the trip.
Pono, a 3-year-old male Pomeranian, left a Las Vegas animal shelter in September and ended up either for sale or up for adoption (depending on your point of view) at Petcetera, a large pet store chain in Canada.
He made the trip through a program called Foreclosed Upon Pets Inc., which has been operating since 2008. The non-profit organization began shipping Las Vegas shelter dogs to Vancouver two and a half years ago, and now ships eight to 16 every week.
Both stories describe what’s happening — troubling as it is on some levels — as a simple matter of supply and demand: The U.S. has millions of surplus dogs; Canada, with its stricter regulations on spaying and neutering, has what some might call a shortage, especially when it comes to smaller breeds.
“For whatever reason, we have a shortage of small dogs here, and to be quite honest, we were shocked at the size of the problem in Las Vegas,” said Richard Kaga, the executive vice president of Petcetera, which operates big box pet stores from Alberta to British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
“Over here in the United States, we’re just one big puppy mill,” said Everett Croxson, FUPI executive director. “Las Vegas included … Let’s face it. People are breeding for money in their backyards, and the concept of spaying and neutering never enters their heads, even if the laws exist. Even if there are such laws on the books.”
Every week, Croxson picks up dogs from the Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas and takes them to the airport. After a layover in Seattle, they arrive in Vancouver. Since the program started in 2010, Croxson said he has exported as many as 1,100 small dogs, nearly three-fourths of them Chihuahuas. Croxson calls Las Vegas “the Chihuahua capital of the world.”
He started the organization to find homes for dogs that had been abandoned due to foreclosures, most of which ended up at Lied Animal Shelter, a very high volume regional shelter that takes in more than 100 dogs and cats each day. In 2012, nearly 43,000 unwanted animals — nearly 23,000 dogs and 18,000 cats — came in, and many never left. An estimated 65 dogs and cats are put to sleep there every day.
Given that ugly alternative, it’s hard to find any fault with a program that’s bringing dogs happy endings in another country.
But what’s happening seems to make a pretty sad statement about our own country: “No, we can’t take care of our own.” “True, we tend to shirk responsibilities.” “Yes — cough, cough — our economy is a little unhealthy right now.” America in 2013 is producing refugees — albeit canine ones — who must be airlifted out of the country to stay alive.
Kaga, the Petcetera official, says there are no puppy mills in Canada and that Canadian pet owners “would not think of having a pet” without spaying and neutering it. Some might argue with that, but clearly Canada is a step ahead — or at least enough ahead that, when it comes to canines, it’s accepting our tired, poor, homeless and hungry.
Noble as it appears, the adoption program isn’t hurting business at Petcetera stores.
Kaga says the $500 fee the store is paid for each adopted pet covers the cost of the animals’ transportation, spaying or neutering, shots, health certificate, and their care and boarding at Petcetera.
But each dog adopted is going to need some food, and toys, and treats, perhaps a dog bed, and maybe a nice warm sweater.
“Like people, dogs have to have toys and food,” he says. “When we adopt a dog out, we hope the customer will come back to us for all that dog’s needs for the rest of its life. It’s worked out really well for all concerned — especially the dogs.”
(Photo: Foreclosed Upon Pets, Inc.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $1, $500, 000, adopt, adopting, adoption, alberta, animal, animals, breeds, canada, canine, chihuahua, demand, dogs, economy, euthanasia, everett croxson, export, fee, foreclosed upon dogs, foreclosure, import, las vegas, neuter, nova scotia, over-population, petcetera, pets, pipeline, pono, population, refugees, rescue, responsibility, richard kaga, shelters, small, spay, stores, supply, surplus, united states, vancouver
When a German shepherd mix named Rex arrived at Puriton Horse and Animal Rescue in the UK, he wanted nothing to do with anyone. He’d been found tethered in a junkyard eight years ago, and had been kicked out of at least one shelter since then after biting a staff member.
Geraldine the goose wasn’t exactly the picture of warmth, either, when she arrived at the same shelter three months ago, surrendered by owners who could no longer cope with her.
Individually, in their lives up to that point, the dog and the goose were given labels like vicious, mean and nasty. Neither seemed particularly thrilled with humans, members of their own species, or those belonging to others.
But when the two cranky creatures were given a chance to hang out together, something magical happened.
The snarly 11-year-old dog and the domineering goose are now best of friends. Staff at the sanctuary believe they’ve brought out the softer side in each other, The Daily Express reports.
“Normally any bird that crossed his path would have been eaten by now. He’s that kind of dog …” said Sheila Brislin, who runs the sanctuary near Bridgwater, Somerset.
Brislin said there was some chasing and squawking when they were first introduced, but Geraldine “stood up for herself and that was that. They just fell for each other.”
“I’ve been doing rescue work since 1997 and seen all kinds of strange animal behavior, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” she added.
Brislin said Rex was rescued from his previous shelter, where he was going to be put down after a biting incident. The dog seemed to immediately mellow once he was introduced to Geraldine.
Now they take walks together, and sleep together in Rex’s bed every night.
“It’s so comical to see them because they love each other to bits,” Brislin said. “She just runs around alongside him all day long and whenever we take him for a walk in the woods she has to come too … They are very affectionate and he’s always licking her head and kissing her.”
(Photos: SWNS via The Daily Express)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, cranky, dogs, friends, geraldine, geraldine and rex, german shepherd, goose. dog, interspecies, love, mean, nasty, pets, puriton horse and animal rescue, rescue, rex, rex and geraldine, sanctuary, shelter, soft side, together, togetherness
He doesn’t have 101 – not yet – but Nelson Vergara, a.k.a. “The Dalmatian Man,” has 42 of them as of the latest count, all living in the back yard of his modest home in Santiago, Chile.
The unemployed 55-year-old man, who says he was inspired by the movie, has a soft spot for dogs, and Dalmatians in particular. So obsessed is he with the breed, he has painted black spots on his white van.
“It all started because of that film,” Vergara is quoted as saying in an Associated Press story that appeared on ElSalvador.com.
Vergara says he wants to raise awareness about the millions of stray dogs in Chile.
He feeds and cares for the Dalmatians and other breeds as well through donations.
“I wanted to help – not just the Dalmatians but all dogs, because in Chile we need a solution to the canine problem. Every day you see news of abandoned dogs roaming, but no one does anything about it. If we had a shelter, we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems,” he said.
As you might guess, his neighbors are none too thrilled with his altruism.
The article reports that neighbors constantly complain about the noise and smell coming from his home and he and his dogs risk being evicted.
(Photo: ElMercurio.com, via ElSalvador.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 101, 42, animal, chile, dalmatian man, dalmatians, dog, dogs, homeless, Nelson Vergara, pets, rescue, santiago, stray, stray dogs, strays, street dogs
A pit bull shot by police and left for dead in East St. Louis was scooped up by an animal advocate the next day, rushed to the vet and may survive.
Fox 2 News reports that police were called to the 900 block of East Broadway in East St. Louis on Tuesday after an eight-year-old boy was bitten by a black and white dog who witnesses say the boy had been throwing rocks at.
On Wednesday, Jaime Case, the executive director of Gateway Pet Guardians, was driving through the area and saw the dog moving in a field. She and her husband, who feed stray dogs in East St. Louis, loaded the dog in their truck and rushed him to Hillside Animal Hospital in St. Louis.
Why the dog remained in a field nearly 24 hours after police shot him, why no one apparently checked the dog after he was shot, why what was thought to be his lifeless body wasn’t hauled away are questions police haven’t answered. But on the surface it all seems to show a huge lack of respect — both for dogs and the community.
At least one department official wasn’t happy about it. Police returned to the street the next day, after neighbors who had gathered to watch the dog get rescued started expressing anger about how the police had handled the incident the day before. Fox News 2 caught one officer on video, who was wearing a hat reading ‘Asst. Chief’ and shouting into his phone at someone about the incident.
“We should have down something proper. How do we shoot a dog and leave a damn dog in a field?” the officer asked. “And you wonder why these people say the (expletive) they say about us.”
X-rays of the dog, who the rescuers named Colt, reveal he was shot once in the shoulder and once in the head.
But animal rescuer Case said when they arrived at his side he seemed to have some fight left in him.
“He was fighting us to get in the car so he has got some oomph left in him,” she said. “I am hopeful all those things mean he is on his way to recovery.”
Because the dog was found alive, the child who was bitten may be able to avoid a series of five rabies shots.
The dog, who was wandering at the time of the incident, is microchipped, and is registered to a home in Belleville.
If the dog survives, there’s still a good chance he could be put down if he is deemed dangerous.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: anger, animals, bit, bite, bitten, child, dog, dogs, east st. louis, gateway pet guardians, killed, law enforcement, left for dead, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, rescue, rises, rocks, shot, survival, survivor, throwing, undead
Elle, a 5-year-old pit bull who helps children become more confident about reading, has been named the 2103 Hero Dog by the American Humane Association.
But it wasn’t just her listening skills that won her the honor. She also helps teach children about dog safety, and overcoming prejudice and stereotypes – “something a pit bull knows too much about,” the association noted in announcing the award.
The therapy dog and her owner started a reading program called “Tail Wagging Tales” that helps students at two North Carolina schools — Vaughan Elementary in Macon and Chaloner Middle School in Roanoke Rapids — become stronger readers. Students take turns reading out loud to Elle for 20 minutes.
“She provides confidence for students and a comforting ear,” Leah Brewer, 42, told TODAY.com.
Elle and the other finalists for the American Humane Association award attended a ceremony Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It will air as a 90-minute special on the Hallmark Channel on Oct. 30.
After a six-month natonwide search, 141 dogs from across the country were nominated. More than one million Americans cast votes for the eight finalists online. Those results, along with the choices of a panel of celebrity judges and animals activists, were combined to determine the winner.
Among other nominees were Carlos, an explosive detector dog who worked in Iraq and Afghanistan; John D, a rescue dog who uses his scenting capabilities to detect cancer in patients; Cassidy, a three-legged dog who visits rehabilitation centers to comfort children with disabilities; and Lola, a rescued guide dog who connects her deaf owner to the surrounding world.
“Choosing a top dog is difficult because they are all so terrific, but we are proud to announce Elle as the top American Hero Dog for 2013,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association.
“As an organization that for years has fought breed-specific legislation (BSL), we are also pleased to honor a breed that has been often been unjustly maligned. We hope that Elle’s story will help to underscore the many tremendously positive qualities of this breed.”
(Photo: American Humane Association)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2013 hero dogs, aide, american humane association, animals, assistance, awards, carlos, cassidy, ceremony, disability, dog, dogs, elle, guide, hallmark, helps, hero dog awards, image, leah brewer, lola, macon, maligned, misconceptions, north carolina, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, reading, rescue, roanoke rapids, robin ganzert, special, stereotypes, students, tail wagging tales, therapy, therapy dog, working dogs