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New York’s state dog could be the mutt

Two New York state legislators plan to introduce a bill today to name an official state dog — and they’re suggesting it be the mutt.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner, an Upper East Side Democrat, and State Senator Joseph E. Robach, a Rochester Republican, are proposing the legislation.

If passed, New York would join about a dozen states that have named state dogs, including the Chesapeake Bay retriever in Maryland, the Great Dane in Pennsylvania, the and the Boston terrier in … take a wild guess.

(If you think you know your state dogs, take this quiz — or, if you’re a cheater, go straight to the answers.)

No state has chosen the mixed breed — that most prolific of all dogs — to represent its state.

In New York, a spokesman for Kellner said the assemblyman would choose a rescue dog — as in rescued from a shelter — to symbolize the need for people to adopt pets from animal shelters and animal protection groups. Kellner has no dogs of his own, but he has provided foster care for several.

“He’s a huge advocate for animals in need,” the spokesman told the New York Times.

Also appearing at the announcement of the proposed bill will be Kim Wolf’s dog, Sarge Wolf-Stringer, a Philadelphia dog who was rescued in 2009 from an abusive owner by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and who now works with the elderly and hospital patients as a certified therapy dog.

(Photo: A Baltimore mutt named Martini)

Properly treated: Thanks to K-9 Kraving

Here in the plush offices of ohmidog! — aka my car — we make every effort to keep a distinct boundary between advertising and editorial content.

Unlike many a website, we don’t accept money — however much we might need it — for sneaking advertising links into our editorial matter. We don’t assault you with pop-ups. We don’t run advertising in disguise. All our ads are on our leftside rail (<—— ) over there. Blame it on my journalism background. I’m ethical, darn it.

That doesn’t mean we won’t write about or mention our advertisers, or other companies, when circumstances merit it — either as a news item or, as in this case, when thanks are due.

For every stop we’ve made as part of our continuing “Dog’s Country” tour, K-9 Kraving, Baltimore-based maker of  raw diet dog food, has shipped a package of treats to our hosts — to those individuals who offered us lodging and to the shelters, sanctuaries and rescues we’ve reported on.

It’s my way of saying thank you, without actually paying for it.

Treat room at K-9 Kraving

What makes it even cooler, is that it was K-9 Kraving’s idea. I did offer to, in exchange, run their advertisement for free for the duration of my trip, but, as it turns out, they’re spending far more than that shipping a collection of treats to those place I’ve stopped.

So, from St. Bernard’s Parish in Louisiana, where the oil spill has led to an influx of shelter dogs, to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where I spent two days as a volunteer, to Utopia Animal Rescue, Kinky Friedman’s Texas-based sanctuary (home of the dog shown above), shipments  of K-9 Kraving treats have arrived.

Those individuals with dogs who have taken me in — including Judith Pannebaker in Bandera, Texas, Jen Walker in Albuquerque, and my brother in Phoenix — have also received treat packages, in thanks for their hospitality to ohmidog!

So now it’s my turn to thank K-9 Kraving, whose raw diet dog food was Ace’s food of choice — back when we had a freezer.

Now, as many of you know, we’re on the road, and have been for 50 days. Likely, as we’ve found we can travel for about the same amount of money we survived on back in Baltimore, while still doing our blog and seeking jobs, we’ll continue for a few months more – taking the pulse of America, its dogs, and its dog-friendliness in a journey made possible by my 401K, unemployment insurance and K-9 Kraving and all my other advertisers.

So thanks to them all. Now get back over there to the leftside rail, where you belong.

Where those $1,000 fines came from

While they may seem to dog owners to have come out of nowhere, the changes in the city’s animal control law that led to $1,000 fines for off-leash dogs and unscooped poop have a history.

And here it is:

Feb. 25, 2008: The revised law was introduced to the city council, with the following sponsors listed: James B. Kraft, Bill Henry, William H. Cole, IV, Robert W. Curran, Sharon Green Middleton, Edward L. Reisinger, Warren Branch.

It was then sent for review to the following committees and offices:

  • The Public Safety and Health Committee, which completed its review ten months later, gave it a thumbs up.
  • The City Solicitor’s office deemed it legal, which also took ten months.
  • The Health Department, meanwhile, okayed it in three days. Also signing off on it were the city’s Office of Animal Control, Department of Finance and Environmental Control Board.

Dec. 2, 2008: The Public Safety and Health Committee held a public hearing on it.

Dec. 4, 2008: The revised law had its second reading before the city council and was approved.

Jan. 14, 2009: Signed by Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Feb 14, 2009 — Law went into effect.

What little official information can be found about the new law — though it’s not a shining example of clarity — can be found here.

Under the new law, the penalty for letting your dog off his leash, or not picking up dog waste is the same as the penalty for dogfighting. In fact, penalties for more serious offenses were increased far less severely than run of the mill offenses.

For instance, these penalties all went up tenfold: Not having a rabies vaccination (from $50 to $500), not having a license (from $25 to $250), animal disturbing the peace, failure to pick up dog waste, and unleashed dogs (from $100 to $1,000).

Meanwhile, the penalties for dogfighting only doubled ($500 to $1,000), the penalty for abusing an animal went from $200 to $500, and the penalty for operating an unlicensed dog facility only went up from $100 to $250.

So today in Baltimore, thanks to the city council, abusing a dog is a less serious offense — fine-wise, at least — than letting one off his leash, or not picking up his poop.

Despite 3 deaths, Iditarod likely to continue

“Two dogs died in the name of sport this week, and this time it wasn’t Michael Vick’s fault.”

So begins an Associated Press commentary by national sports columnist Tim Dahlberg that recounts the final hours of Dizzy and Grasshopper, two members of musher Lou Packer’s team. The two were among three dogs that died in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

“Listen to race supporters and they’ll tell you that, unlike Vick’s dogs, the 5-year-old huskies died doing what they loved. Read the official Iditarod Web site and you’ll find out that sled dogs are pampered and loved by their masters…”

On the other hand, Dahlberg wrote, “They don’t have a problem with chaining up big packs of dogs and running them to within an inch of their life for sport. They accept the fact that the Iditarod is a part of the state’s heritage, and its biggest sporting event. A lot of us in the Lower 48, though, just don’t get it.”

He goes on to ask the question on the minds of many animal right activists: “How many dog deaths are reasonable? How many more must die before the fun is finally sucked out of the sport?”

Read more »

PETA takes aim on Westminster sponsors

After failing to persuade the USA Network to drop its coverage of the Westminster dog show, PETA has gone to advertisers, asking them to drop their sponsorships.

Apparently, the organization isn’t getting many bites there, either.

PETA initially asked the USA Network not to televise the show, scheduled to air Feb. 9 and 10, citing the BBC’s decision to drop its coverage of the Crufts dog show — due to concerns about breeding standards it said contributed to health problems in certain breeds.

The British Kennel Club subsequently revised its standards for many breeds.

As described in PETA’s letter to Westminster advertisers, “The new BKC standards allow dogs to breathe, walk, and see freely, which previous breeding standards prevented.  Unfortunately, the AKC has refused to take even the smallest step to allow American dogs these same basic freedoms …

“On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and our more than 2 million members and supporters, we ask that you pull your company’s sponsorship of this event until the AKC revises its breeding standards so that it is, at the very least, in line with the BKC’s standards, which would reduce the likelihood that purebred dogs will needlessly suffer from diseases and disorders.”

Among companies receiving the letter were Pedigree, the dog food company, and LifeLock, an Arizona-based identity theft protection company.