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Tag: starvation

Would you eat your dog to stay alive?

Marco Lavoie.jpg A hiker who was stranded in the Canadian wilderness for nearly three months after a bear destroyed his supplies had to eat his beloved dog to survive.  When Marco Lavoie was found by rescuers on Wednesday he was just days from death and had to be carried to a waiting helicopter.  The 44-year-old had been trapped with little food and survival equipment since July after a bear ransacked his campsite near the start of a planned three-month solo hike.Three days after his dog saved him from a bear in the Canadian wilderness, a stranded hiker ate his German shepherd to save himself from starvation.

Unable to find any food, Marco Lavoie, 44, killed his dog with a rock and ate him, according to the Canadian news agency QMI.

According to news reports, the first words the hiker uttered, after being found close to death by rescuers last week, were: “I want to get a new dog.”

Lavoie — after a bear destroyed his canoe and food supply — was stranded for three months in the wilderness about 500 miles outside Montreal. After the bear attack, he sprained his ankle and was unable to hunt or find any other source of food, according to reports.

Lavoie, an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself, was rescued by helicopter on Wednesday. He’d lost 90 pounds and was suffering from hypothermia. He was listed in critical condition in a hospital in Northern Quebec.

Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau told the Toronto Sun that Lavoie’s decision to eat his dog was a good one.

“He survived because he made good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them,” said Borbeau, the author of a survival guide. “You have to be desperate, but there’s no shame in (eating the dog),” said Bourbeau. “Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that’s not normally possible,” said Bourbeau. “You can crave slugs and bugs.”

I’m sure there are many others who hold that view, and who’d point out that man – by virtue of that “dominion” he has over other animals, by virtue of being the superior, more developed being, by virtue of his position atop civilized society – has every right to chow down on his dog when trapped in the wilderness with no other options available.

But we don’t find much virtue at all in his actions.

We see more humanity in the dog, who loyally went along on his master’s silly wilderness trip, scared off a bear to protect him, and — despite any hunger pangs he might have been experiencing, despite his master’s hobbled condition – didn’t make a meal of Lavoie.

Letter draws attention to neglect case

Caswell County Courthouse

Rural Caswell County is prosecuting its first suspect under North Carolina’s tougher animal cruelty statute, known as Susie’s Law, but the case — in which three dogs starved to death while chained – is drawing little media attention.

Jimmy Lee Spears was charged with three felony animal cruelty counts, accusing him of willfully killing the dogs by “intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance” — namely, food and water.

All three dogs were found dead, chained and huddled together in the same doghouse.

But neither state nor local news media have reported on the case, according to a Feb. 22 letter to the editor of the Caswell Messenger, written by Karen Schneider, a board member of the animal shelter in Yanceyville.

“My husband and I found out about this case only because of our board member involvement with the animal shelter (APS) in Yanceyville. The three dead emaciated dogs were brought to the shelter by animal control on January 24th,” she wrote.

While praising the new law, which makes willful cruely to animals a felony, Schneider points out in her letter that tougher penalties won’t have much deterrent effect if such cases are not publicized.

“…There is something crucial missing in the handling of the Spears case and that is, no one seems to know about it … There have been no reports in the newspapers covering the details … This is a first test case of Susie’s Law for our county. Little benefit will result if it tiptoes quietly through the court system,” she added.

An Internet search reveals no news reports on the case, only Schneider’s letter and Facebook postings.

While no article on the case has appeared to date in the weekly Messenger, more than 50 residents have posted comments on Schneider’s letter.

Jelly Belly, a starved dog in need of rescue

Jelly Belly, as he has been named, looks like he arrived just in time at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).

Severely emaciated, the three-year-old dog was abandoned at BARCS after being, from all indications, nearly starved to death.

BARCS has issued a call to rescue organizations, seeking one that might take him in and care for him until he gains some weight.

Staff at BARCS describe Jelly Belly as a “sweet soul.”

“He is so forgiving of humans … what happened to him just isn’t fair.”

Rescue organizations interested in taking in Jelly Belly should contact BARCS adoption counselor Kathleen Knauff (kathleen.knauff@baltimorecity.gov)

Courage recovers, owner fired from vet job

A California kennel attendant charged with felony animal cruelty in the case of a starved dog was fired from her job Wednesday.

Kimberly Nizato, of Bellflower, was arrested April 16 after authorities with Southeast Area Animal Control Authority determined she was the owner of Bosco, a dog that was found near death on her property.

Nizato, 26, who worked at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine, was charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of failure to provide care.

Her 3-year-old German shepherd weighed 37 pounds and was unable to walk or lift his head when a good samaritan stepped in and took the dog to a veterinarian earlier this month, according to the Orange County Register.

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County agreed to pay for the dog’s medical bills and care.

Renamed “Courage,” the dog was treated at Community Veterinary Hospital in Garden Grove before he was moved to a foster home.

Courage continues to improve and has gained 10 pounds in two weeks.

Neglect in Alaska, new questions in Memphis

There’s not an animal shelter around — public or private — that isn’t entering 2010 overloaded, overworked and overwhelmed. Some are handling the burden better than others.

Six dogs died of neglect in Alaska — while in a city animal shelter. And the troubled city-run shelter in Memphis, raided and closed in the fall, recently euthanized a dog scheduled to be adopted — again.

The six Alaska dogs represented the entire dog population of the Dillingham animal shelter, opened by the city five years ago and staffed by a single officer whose job duties also included picking up drunks.

The city suspended the animal control officer after finding the skeletal, partially eaten remains in early December, the Anchorage Daily News reports. An examination of the dead dogs by a veterinarian determined they died from dehydration, starvation and neglect.

dillingham“I’ve never seen animals desecrated quite to this extent,” said Jim Hagee, a Chugiak veterinarian who frequently practices in Dillingham. “The cannibalism is really what got to me.”

The city closed the shelter and state troopers are now investigating.

Police found the dead dogs Dec. 8 at the unheated shelter. Garbage, tools and feces covered the floor. Decomposed dog carcasses were in cages or curled on the plywood floor, among them a black husky found inside a plastic bag and a 14-week-old Rottweiler puppy wearing a pink camouflage collar.

Hagee estimates the dogs had been left alone for four to six weeks. 

Dillingham’s mayor is Alice Ruby (mayor@dillinghamak.us), and its city council members are Steve Hunt (dealernt@nushtel.com), Carol Shade (cashade@starband.com), Bob Himschoot (bhimschoot@gci.com), Keggie Tubbs (tubbs@dillinghamak.us), Sue Mulkeit (mulkeit@dillinghamak.us) and Tim Sands (sands@dillinghamak.us).

Meanwhile, in Memphis, a worker mistakenly euthanized a dog last week that was set to be adopted – the second time that has happened since  authorities raided the facility Oct. 27, and cameras were installed to allow the public to monitor the shelter on the Internet.

“I do not condone, I do not accept, I do not seek to excuse what happened to that pet,” said Mayor A C Wharton. “I accept responsibility for it, and I hope our city will say we collectively take responsibility for these innocent creatures.”

He added, ”When you’re in there and you’ve killed 25 dogs, and that’s what you’re doing, sometimes you lose sensitivity and you’re not as alert,” said Wharton. “What’s the difference, the fifteenth dog, and the sixteenth dog and the twenty-sixth dog? That’s the culture and somehow we have to break out.”

Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies raided the facility in October after reports of abuse and neglect. An investigation continues into the shelter’s finances and whether euthanasia drugs are missing. Criminal charges are expected.

One can contact the Memphis mayor and city council members here.

(Photo: Dillingham Police Department)

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