A British talk show host – while he was quite genteel about it, at least from an American perspective — threw some hard questions at Cesar Millan last week.
Alan Titchmarsh, a UK afternoon talk show host, politely accused Millan of using old-fashioned and inhumane techniques that include punching, kicking and using shock collars on dogs.
“You punish dogs, you hit them,” Titchmarsh said. “I’ve seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave and to most people, like myself, I would say that is totally unacceptable as a way of training a dog.”
“Well obviously I would respectfully disagree with that,” Millan replied. “It’s not a punch, it’s a touch.”
The “Dog Whisperer” — appearing just slightly uncomfortable at some points — responded calmly, asserting that he never punches dogs, but only touches them to redirect negative behavior.
Millan, while some in America are critical of his methods, is even more controversial in the UK, where many, including the RSPCA, view his techniques as unacceptable.
“Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioral problems,” the RSPCA said in a statement read on the air. “The RSPCA believes that using such techniques is unacceptable, nor are they necessary to change dog behavior for the better when other dog trainers use reward-based methods to train dogs very effectively.”
“We’ve never had so many complaints about a guest,” Titchmarsh told Millan.
More than 1,000 people joined a Twitter campaign calling for the appearance be cancelled, and a Facebook page set up by protesters attracted 1,600 followers. Animal welfare activists threatened to disrupt the show, leading to extra security staff being called in.
After the appearance, critics and supporters of Millan continued to go after each other on various Internet forums, including YouTube, where comments grew so heated they were removed and shut down.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alan titchmarsh, animals, barbaric, beating, british, cesar millan, cruel, dog, dog whisperer, dogs, host, inhumane, kicking, methods, pets, rspca, shock collars, talk show, techniques, television, training, uk
Kos, rescued from an RSPCA shelter 18 months ago, is trained to detect drugs, currency and firearms.
On his first day on the job, with the Avon and Somerset Police, Kos found a lump of heroin in a car.
The 2-1/2-half-year-old dog was being cared for at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Rescue Centre near Taunton before he was taken on by police, according to SWNS.com
“What is nice for ourselves and the RSPCA is Staffordshire Terriers get such a bad name but this dog is so lovely with people and other dogs,” said his handler, Lee Webb, with whom Kos lives. “There are other dogs out there that have potential we could use and it is a shame that people do not give them a chance sometimes.”
Webb says Kos seems as pleased with the arrangement as police are: “Kos was very excitable on his first day on the job – he absolutely loves it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avon, breeds, britain, currency, department, dog, dogs, drugs, firearms, heroin, K-9, k9, kos, law enforcement, pets, pit bulls, police, rescue, rspca, shelter, somerset, staffordshire, staffordshire bull terrier, stereotypes, stigma, terrier, trained, uk
That’s about three times the average weight of a Labrador — and enough that it required four people using towels as slings to lift him when he arrived at the RSPCA’s Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent.
The 12-year-old dog was surrendered to the RSPCA by an elderly owner who kept forgetting he had already fed his pet, according to the Daily Mail.
(I am pretty sure I did that with Ace yesterday, giving him dinner twice.)
Alfie struggled to walk more than a few steps when he arrived, and he couldn’t lift his legs the few inches needed to get into a slightly raised bed at the kennel. He’s now about halfway to his target weight, staff members say.
“He literally could not stand up when he arrived because he was so fat,” said Christine Dooley, center manager. “I have never seen a dog that fat before in my 27 years with the RSPCA … He was just a massive blob with a leg at each corner. He was being fed to death …”
“When he first came in he couldn’t go on walks because of his size, but each day as the weight is coming off he is able to take a few steps further. We have to be careful when staff take him for a walk because if he sits down and refuses to get back up we have to call in extra people to lift him up again.
“We want the weight to come off slowly to give his leg muscles a chance to build up strength and for his skin to shrink … He’s such a lovely dog and his tail never stops wagging. Everyone here has fallen in love with him.’
Once Alfie has reached a manageable weight, the center will put him up for adoption.
(Photo: Ferrari Press Agency, via Daily Mail)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, alfie, animals, britain, canine, diet, dog, dogs, elderly, fat, fattest, feeding, forget, forgot, kent, labrador, loss, obese, obesity, overfed, owner, pets, retriever, rspca, surrender, surrendered, uk, weight, yellow lab
Remember this video, from a story we told you about back in October? On his balcony in Lincolnshire, a British man was videotaped as he beat his dog. After the video was posted on Facebook, an angry mob formed outside his house.
The man survived the mob, and the dog survived the man.
The Staffordshire bull terrier was seized by authorities, and turned out to be blind and deaf, making the behavior of his owner, Jonathan Bloomfield, 37, all the more repugnant.
Bloomfield avoided a prison sentence, but magistrates in Grimsby banned him from having a dog for 15 years.
Whatever happened to the dog? A lot, and it’s all good.
Butch, as he was previously known, was taken in by the RSPCA, where he was renamed Dodger. The RSPCA, after realizing he was deaf and almost totally blind, contacted specialists at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket to see if there was any chance that the 18-month-old dog’s sight could be restored.
“Dodger is the most adorable dog,” Claudia Hartley, the AHT’s head of small animal ophthalmology explained. “As soon as he arrived I fell in love with him and it wasn’t long before he’d work his charm on the rest of the vets and nurses here.”
Both his deafness and his blindness are believed to be congential. Dodger was apparently born with cataracts — something that, unlike his deafness, could be repaired. The AHT’s vets performed cataract surgery on Dodger’s right eye, with good results.
Dodger returned to the AHT last month to have his left-eye operated on and initial signs are very good, according to the East Anglian Daily Times.
The RSPCA has started the process of looking for a new home for Dodger.
“Although Dodger can now see, he is still completely deaf, and he’ll need a special owner who can understand his very specific needs,” said Kirstyn Gaunt, deputy manager at the RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre, where he is now housed. “He has started to take on some basic sign language and he is a fast learner.”
Given the happy ending, we’ll end this post with a happier video:
Posted by jwoestendiek March 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, adoptable, adoption, animal cruelty, animal health trust, animal welfare, animals, beaten, blind, britain, butch, cataracts, congenital, cruelty to animals, deaf, dodger, dog, dogs, england, eyesight, facebook, grimsby, jonathan bloomfield, lincolnshire, mob, pets, recovery, rescue, restored, rspca, shelter, sight, staffordshire bull terrier, surgery, uk, video
The RSPCA and The Dogs’ Trust withdrew their support of Crufts. The BBC refused to broadcast the competition. And Pedigree, the pet food company, canceled its sponsorship of the event after more than 40 years.
(Pedigree — coincidentally? — was excused this year as a sponsor of the Westminster Dog Show, also after 40 years.)
After the documentary aired in the UK, the Kennel Club began taking some steps to revise the physical standards, used in judging, that many argued were leading to issues like cancer, epilepsy and breathing problems in certain breeds.
But how much did things actually change? Three years later — during which time, public indignation never seemed to fully drift onto U.S. shores — the answer seems to be not substantially and not quickly enough
That’s one conclusion of ”Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On,” which airs on BBC tonight, and is likely to trigger a new firestorm — and just in times for Crufts, the prestigious purebred dog show that runs from March 8 through March 11.
The new documentary was making news even before it aired.
In one interview in the program, Gerhard Oechtering, a veterinary professor at Germany’s Leipzig University, called for pugs and bulldogs to be banned, saying it’s unethical to keep producing members of a breed that can’t breathe properly. Dr. Oechtering called for flat-nosed breeds to be mated with long-nosed ones so that new generations do not suffer from blocked airways, reported the Daily Mail.
Another expert, in a call bound to distress many purebred breeders, goes so far as to urge the public to turn to mutts. “The best solution overall would be to popularize mixed breed dogs as pets because they are much less likely to be afflicted with the genetic diseases that are associated with pedigree dog breeding,” Cambridge University’s Nick Jeffery is quoted as saying in the Telegraph.
Jemima Harrison, producer of both the original and the sequel, said in an interview with the Sunday Express that there have been many positive changes in the three years that have passed.
In the aftermath of the documentary, bans were imposed on mating mothers with sons; fathers with daughters and brothers with sisters. The Kennel Club reviewed breed standards for over 200 breeds and made changes to 78.
The Kennel Club now permits Dalmatian cross breeding in order to normalize the breed’s uric acid genes. Currently, high levels caused by inbreeding can cause stones that make some dogs unable to urinate, leading to bursting bladders.
Still, in the eyes of Harrison, some of the changes in standards have been only minor, like changing the preference for a pug’s muzzle from “short” to “relatively short.”
“The Kennel Club is just tweaking; it is fiddling while Rome burns. We have still the problem of dogs being bred within very small gene pools. You can still mate a grandfather and a granddaughter… They are still being bred to win in the show-ring and the show-ring still has no health criteria. It’s the prettiest dogs that win and it’s at considerable cost to the dogs.”
Harrison is particularly pessimistic about the fate of the bulldog, whose breeders, she says, are “adamant that there’s no need for change”– even though the breed’s shape has become such that mating often requires “mating cradles” or human manipulation, and 80 percent give birth by caesarean section.
“Pedigree dogs are heritage breeds and something to be proud of, but too often their health and welfare are compromised. Fundamental reform is needed before we can be proud of the pedigree dogs we produce in this country,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bbc, breeds, bulldogs, crufts, dalmatians, documentary, dog show, dog shows, dogs, dogs trust, genetic, health, jemima harrison, pedigree, pedigree dogs exposed, pets, problems, pugs, purebred, rspca, standards, three years on, westminster
Once again, an animal welfare organization in the UK is seeking a home for a blind dog and her guide dog — this time, a pair of pugs.
That’s Elly, the blind one, on the right. Franky, the black one, serves as her eyes, and the RSPCA in Newport is insisting that both be adopted into the same home, according to the BBC.
If Franky leaves her side, Elly sniffs him out, then nuzzles up to follow him wherever he goes.
“He looks out for her and provides support while guiding her on walks or to food or water,” said the Newport RSPCA’s manager, Elaine Buchan.
The story is reminiscent of one we reported three months ago, also in the UK, about two Great Danes in need of a new home — Lily, the blind one, and Maddison, the sighted one who helped her get around.
Similarly, Elly and Franky have been deemed inseparable.
“There’s absolutely no option of homing them separately as it would break their hearts and also be wholly impractical,” she said. “They’re great little dogs and I’m already jealous of the lucky owner who will get to care for such a loving pair.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, adoption, animals, blind, dogs, elly, eyes, franky, great danes, guide, helper, helps, home, inseparable, lily, maddison, newport, pair, pets, pugs, rescues, rspca, shelters, team, uk
That’s the slogan of a new RSPCA campaign aimed at shifting the emphasis when it comes to breeding purebred dogs — from looks to health.
The campaign launched yesterday, with this ad — featuring a pug as the poster child — in the Daily Mail.
It’s directed mostly at breeders, who the RSCPA asserts often seek to meet dog show breed standards that place appearance above canine health.
But it’s also meant to change the thinking of consumers, who help create the demand and often aren’t aware of the genetic health problems many purebreds face.
“Everyone needs to be aware of the serious health and welfare problems affecting pedigree dogs and that dogs bred for looks are born to suffer,” RSPCA senior scientist Claire Calder said.
“A cute-looking puppy or dog can be hard to resist, but the result of not looking beyond this can be thousands of pounds spent on vets’ bills and a pet with long-lasting health and welfare problems. This is one of the biggest challenges facing dog welfare in the UK today.”
As we’ve written before — here and elsewhere — it’s one of the biggest challenges in the U.S., too, even though it rarely seems to rise to the forefront.
One major exception came last month, with an in-depth article in the New York Times magazine about the plight of the purebred bulldog.
But, by and large, the UK is leading the debate, which, while long-lurking in the shadows, was retriggered by Jemima Harrison’s documentary for the BBC, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed.”
Between its impact, and the efforts of the RSPCA, there have been some changes, mostly in kennel club’s breed standards that seemed to place appearance above health.
The RSPCA website elaborates on some of the problems those standards have led to:
“According to scientific studies some of the UK’s favourite breeds of dogs have been bred to such extremes that they can no longer breathe or walk normally. For example, dogs with short, flat faces often have narrow nostrils and abnormally developed windpipes. They can often suffer severe breathing difficulties and may have difficulty enjoying a walk or playing.
Dogs with folded or wrinkled skin are prone to itchy and painful skin complaints, and dogs with bulging or sunken eyes are prone to injury, pain or discomfort. These are only a few examples and a recent study showed that all of the 50 most popular breeds have some aspect of their body which can cause suffering
Recent research by the RSPCA shows the public is prone to thinking buying a purebred dog ensures that dog will be healthy. But dogs “bred for their looks,” the RSPCA says, ”are vulnerable to unnecessary disease, disability, pain or behavioural problems.”
Among those quoted in an RSPCA press release is Victoria Stilwell, dog trainer from the TV show “It’s Me Or The Dog.”
“I have nothing against dog showing and nothing against responsible breeders, she said. “But what I do have something against is breeding animals just for the way we want them to look, even though that animal is compromised both physically and, a lot of the time, mentally. So we have to change. Why are we destroying these animals just because we like the way they look?”
Unlike in the U.S., where interest seems to rise and fizzle, the issue isn’t likely to go away anytime soon in the UK.
Harrison is now working on a sequel to “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” which promises to be just as hard hitting, or maybe harder hitting, than the first. You can keep up with those developments on her Pedigree Dogs Exposed blog.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appearance, awareness, breathing, breed standards, breeders, breeds, bulldog, campaign, dog shows, dogs, genetic, health, health problems, jemima harrison, pedigree, pedigree dogs exposed, pets, public, pug, purebred, purebreds, rspca, trainer, uk, victoria stilwell
Baillieu outlined his tough new proposals at the Lost Dogs’ Home in North Melbourne last month, calling them “some of the strongest laws ever introduced to protect animals from abuse and neglect.”
They were submitted to the Victorian parliament the next week, and passed last week, according to a press release sent to ohmidog! from his office.
(If only American government entities could move so fast.)
“We are not going to tolerate cruelty to animals,” Baillieu said in October, according to an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald. “As a dog owner, I am appalled by images I have seen of abused and helpless animals.”
The new legislation creates far heavier fines for illegally operating puppy farms — up to $20,000, $30,000 in some cases — and it allows the government to seize the assets of puppy mill operators. Money raised from the sale of confiscated assets would go towards an Animal Welfare Fund.
The law establishes a $1.6 million Animal Welfare Fund that will be used to care for animals, assist animal shelters and educate the community on responsible pet ownership.
Under the new legislation, 10-year bans on pet ownership can be imposed on anyone found guilty of animal cruelty.
The new law — proposed in response to grisly scenes discovered in some Victorian puppy farms where dogs were kept in cages and carcasses left to rot — also make it mandatory for dogs and cats sold in the state to be fitted with a microchip.
“The community has rallied for these changes to the law which will protect animals from abuse and neglect, while ensuring operators of illegal puppy farms are held accountable for the treatment and welfare of animals in their care.”
(Photo: Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu with puppies from the Lost Dogs’ Home. Courtesy of Baillieu’s office.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animal welfare fund, animals, assets, bans, breeders, cats, crack down, dogs, fines, illegal, law, legislation, mandatory, microchips, ownership, parliament, pets, premier, protection, puppy farms, puppy mills, rspca, seize, ted baillieu, victorian
Hours after video was posted on Facebook of a British man lashing out at his dog, an angry mob gathered outside the dog owner’s house and police arrived to arrest him.
The video, shot from a neighboring window, shows a man apparently kicking, punching and using a pole to beat a cowering white dog.
Police were called to the address in Lincolnshire, and onlookers watched as a man, believed to be the dog’s owner, was arrested, according to the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail said it was unable to confirm reports that citizens had punched the man and broken windows at his house.
The dog was removed from the home and taken to Grimsby Blue Cross Animal Hospital. The RSPCA is investigating the incident.
“‘We did have a lot of calls from members of the public about it who were obviously concerned and it’s been passed on to our inspectors who will be looking into it today,” a spokesman said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, beating, dog, dogs, england, facebook, grimsby, lincolnshire, mob, pets, rspca, uk, video
A London police officer who left two police dogs in the back of his car tried to kill himself upon learning both of them had died, The Toronto Star is reporting.
The two dogs, a Belgian Malinois named Chay and a five-month-old German shepherd puppy called Milly, died Sunday after Sgt. Ian Craven allegedly left the animals in the back of an unventilated car at the police force’s dog training centre in the London suburb of Keston.
The RSPCA told the Star that officers were somehow made aware that the two dogs were in the back of the vehicle during the day. They smashed the windows, pulled the animals out and doused them with water. By the time the dogs were taken to a vet, they had died.
The Star cited British media reports that claimed Craven slashed his wrists when he learned that the two dogs had died. Police refused to confirm whether those reports were true.
“Two dogs have died that shouldn’t have,” Police Commander Bob Broadhurst told Reuters.
The incident is being investigated by the RSPCA, and Craven, 49, could face animal cruelty charges.
This is the second time the officer — a 30-year veteran of the force — is alleged to have left animals to die in the backseat of his car. In 2004, he was reprimanded for allegedly leaving a spaniel in a car on a July day. That dog also died, the Star reported.
According to The Guardian, police did confirm that an on-duty officer had abruptly left his post on Sunday, the same day the dogs died, causing other officers to fear for his safety. He was found with hand injuries and taken to a hospital.
Police would not identify the officer and said it wasn’t known if the wounds were self-inflicted.
“While we do not doubt that this was a tragic accident, we would have thought that the Met Police dog unit should be setting an example to others,” said Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, attempt, belgian malinois, chay, death, die, dogs, dogs left in cars, german shepherd, guardian, heat, heat-related deaths, ian craven, K-9, keston, left in car, london, london police, milly, news, police dogs, reports, rspca, slashed, suicide, toronto star, uk, wrists