Tag: staffordshire bull terrier
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
While there’s an old one hanging on my wall, and while I served as a juror once, I have little to say these days about Pulitzer Prizes.
The Pawlitzer Prizes are another matter, though, and, since they don’t really exist, I hereby bestow one on the Toledo Blade.
The newspaper’s report Sunday, asking and answering the question of how many dogs are put down at the local shelter under the mistaken belief they are pit bulls, is the kind of probing, hard-hitting doggie journalism we need more of — as opposed to celebrity dogs, costumed dogs, ugly dogs and cute dogs.
(It’s also the kind of journalism we need more of, in these times of fading newspapers and diminishing depth.)
The story raises some serious questions about how many supposed pit bulls have been and are being euthanized at the Lucas County Animal Shelter, where the decision of who’s a pit bull — as at most shelters — is based on an educated guess, or often an uneducated one, reached solely on the basis of looks.
The story shows that looks can be deceiving.
Written by Tanya Irwin, it’s a piece that should be required reading at every animal shelter. It starts like this:
Lucas is lucky to be alive.
The dog, owned by Laurie and George Hughes of Rossford, was one of the first “pit bull” puppies spared by the Lucas County dog warden in January, 2010, after the county commissioners changed a long-standing policy under which all “pit bulls,” no matter their age or temperament, were automatically destroyed.
The irony is that Lucas, who was transferred to the Toledo Area Humane Society, isn’t a “pit bull.”
As the story points out, recent changes in local and state law mean dogs designated as pit bulls will no longer get an automatic death sentence when they arrive at a county shelter. In practice, though, and somewhat less automatically, they still are often euthanized, due to factors like an overabundance of their kind at shelters.
The newspaper conducted DNA tests on six dogs that were originally labeled as pit bulls by the Lucas County dog warden. Using the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel Insights DNA test, it determined only one was predominantly American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier. Two had some “pit,” and three of the dogs had no “pit bull” breed in them at all
“We really don’t care what breed he is, he’s a good dog and we love him,” said Hughes. “I think it’s awful what people say about ‘pit bulls’ or dogs that look like ‘pit bulls.’ It’s like racism, except against dogs.”
Two other dogs, despite their labels, were pit-free: Carly, who turned out to be an American bulldog -American Eskimo mix, and Bandit, whose breeds were boxer, Scottish terrier, Chinook, Doberman pinscher, black Russian terrier, Irish setter, Glen of Imaal terrier, and dogue de Bordeaux.
Based on factors like a large head or broad chest, dogs are being mislabeled as pit bulls – a subjective judgment that, in the case of Toledo and Lucas County, and many other jurisdictions, can determine whether a dog lives or dies. It often also determines, in communities across America, whether you can rent, the cost of your insurance, and even whether you’re allowed into town in the first place.
Then you have the “pit bull mix,” an equally dangerous designation, also used to unfairly ban, restrict or single out dogs. Is it based on having a majority of pit bull blood, a small percentage (as my dog does, according to our own experiences with DNA testing), or any at all? No. It’s also most often a guess, based on looks, that allows even more dogs to be discriminated against.
Former Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon, who departed the office amid complaints over its high kill rate and his insistence that all dogs he deemed pit bulls must be killed, said he never considered the DNA tests to be reliable, and therefore made no use of them.
Dr. Angela Hughes, a veterinarian and the veterinary genetics research manager at Mars Veterinary, told the newspaper that the reliability of the tests has increased over the past four years, and now stands at about 80 to 85 percent in the case of the cheek-swab tests.
That’s a far better record than many an animal shelter probably has. At most of them, classifying a dog’s breed is a guessing game. Dogs shouldn’t be put to death based on a guess. In Lucas County, the article notes, thousands may have been.
“It’s impossible to know how many dogs Mr. Skeldon killed claiming they were pit bulls when they weren’t, but based on the kill rate during his more than 20 years as warden, the fact that close to half the dogs at the pound traditionally have been labeled pit bulls, and the DNA tests The Blade performed, easily thousands of dogs could have been killed because they were mislabeled pit bull.”
The Lucas County dog warden’s office continues to euthanize perceived pit bulls because it is “at capacity for ‘pit bull-type’ dogs.” Dog Warden Julie Lyle told the newspaper that — despite Ohio having recently revamped a law that labeled all pit bulls dangerous – the shelter has yet to begin adopting out pit bulls.
The state’s new dangerous dog law, which brings an end to pit bulls being automatically designated as dangerous, goes into effect May 21. But even then, pit bulls, due to their numbers, will likely remain the type of dog most often euthanized.
Dr. Amy Marder, director for the Center for Shelter Dogs, has proposed that dogs adopted from shelters in the United States simply be identified as “American shelter dogs.”
The North Shore Animal League in New York has done away with the pit bull label, in part because it’s not actually a breed, anyway. Instead the league refers to dogs who have “the look” as terrier mixes.
Lucas County dog warden Lyle thinks that approach is deceptive.
“When people think of terriers, they think of small, cuddly dogs, not large dogs,” Lyle said.
She said that, unless a breed is mentioned by people surrendering a dog, she and her deputies designate what breed a dog is. Currently about 40 percent of the dogs the pound takes in are designated as pit bulls.
Lyle said she was not surprised that there were cases they had gotten wrong. Overall, she said, she thinks she and her staff have done a good job deciding who is a pit bull and who is not. She said she doesn’t see any reason for the pound to change how it identifies a dog’s breed.
I can think of three: Lucas, Carly and Bandit.
(Graphic from the Toledo Blade; photo by Lori King / Toledo Blade)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american shelter dogs, american staffordshire terrier, animals, appearance, breed testing, breeds, bully, dangerous, dna, dna testing, dog, dog warden, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, guessing, investigation, killed, labeled, looks, lucas county, mislabeled, mixes, mutts, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, shelter dogs, shelters, staffordshire bull terrier, terriers, testing, toledo, toledo blade, warden, wrongly
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 American Kennel Club says a Michigan bill aimed at banning pit bulls will not make it through committee.
The bill would have, over the course of ten years, banned ownership of what it described as the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and any “dog displaying the majority of physical traits” of those breeds.
The bill was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Timothy Bledsoe
A Facebook page called “Say NO to the Pit Bull Ban” was established Thursday morning.
The AKC statement thanks Rep. Hugh Crawford, chairman of the committee, for “listening to the concerns of responsible Michigan dog owners and agreeing to not proceed with this legislation.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american kennel club, american staffordshire bull terrier, animals, appearance, ban, bledsoe, breed-specific, chairman, committee, dogs, house bill 4714, hugh crawford, law, legislation, legislature, michigan, pets, pit bull, pitbull, prohibition, proposal, proposed, regulatory reform committee, staffordshire bull terrier
Breed specific legislation against pit bulls took another much deserved hit last week when a Dade County court ruled that Miami’s pit bull ban is too vague to be used as grounds for euthanizing animals.
The county ban applied to all dogs that “substantially conform” to American Kennel Club standards for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or United Kennel Club standards for American Pit Bull Terriers.
To determine if a dog conformed to the standards, the animal control department used a chart that lists 15 body parts, such as head, neck, lips, chest, eyes, tail and hind legs. Officers check off which characteristics of a dog conform to a pit bull. If three or more characteristics are checked, the dog is declared a pit bull.
The court ruling came in a case challenging the finding by Miami-Dade County Animal Control that a family pet named Apollo was a “pit bull” that must be removed from the county or euthanized.
Rima Bardawil, the attorney for Apollo, pointed out that the ordinance makes no mention of any chart or checklist, and that it is not clear what standards animal control is using in making its determinations or how valid they are.
Dahlia Canes, executive director of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, testified that animal control is “constantly” misidentifying the breeds of dogs. She told the court about one dog that was declared by an animal control officer to be a pit bull mix and ordered euthanized. Canes arranged to have the dog re-evaluated and he was determined to be a mastiff mix. The dog was then adopted to a family in Miami-Dade County.
In the case of Apollo, the animal control officer photographed the dog from several feet away, then used the photo to pick three body parts he said he thought conformed to pit bull standards.
It makes one wonder — how many of the dogs described by police, and characterized in headlines, as pit bulls really are of the breeds that fall under that catch-all term?
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american pit bull terriers, american staffordshire terrier, animal control, apollo, ban, bans, breed-specific, characteristics, checklist, conform, dade county, dogs, florida, laws, legislation, miami, pit bull, staffordshire bull terrier, standards
Dog owners and advocates in Hawaii are rallying in protest of a proposed state law to ban pit bulls.
In the first of several protests planned on Oahu, dozens of dog owners called Sunday for state lawmakers to dismiss a bill that would ban pit bulls, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.
Hundreds of Oahu residents signed a petition started by several community members at a rally at Magic Island to protest the bill, as dozens of residents, wearing shirts that protest breed-specific legislation, lined Ala Moana Boulevard to draw awareness to their cause.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american staffordshire terrier, bans, breed, breed specific legislation, breeds, hawaii, illegal, kauai, legislation, maui, misdemanor, moloka, oahu, own, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bulls, proposal, protests, sell, staffordshire bull terrier, the big island