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Tag: terriers

The rat-hunting dogs of New York City

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They are respectable pets by day — upstanding AKC members, dog show winners, a therapy dog and even an actor among them.

At night, though, about once a week, they hit the grimy streets and trash-filled alleys of New York — terriers and dachshunds, along with their owners — tracking, cornering, capturing and killing rats.

You can call them superheroes, you can call them vigilantes, you can call them (as PETA has) participants in a “twisted blood sport.”

For its part, the The Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, or RATS, describes itself as a group of New York dog owners who are simply letting their dogs pursue what has been bred into them.

“Terriers have an innate sense to do this, it’s in their genes,” said Richard Reynolds, who founded the group. It has been around more than 25 years, and has its own Facebook page.

The group goes out as often as possible, sometimes invited to problem areas by citizens, sometimes responding to informal requests from city officials, The New York Post reported last week. The service is provided for free.

As the dog owners see it, they are giving their dogs a chance to fulfill what they were born to do.

“They think hunting is just fabulous,” Dr. Trudy Kawami, who started taking her wire-haired dachshunds to Prospect Park 30 years ago to sniff out rodents with the group, told

rats1The dogs are trained to kill rats by shaking them until their necks break. Despite that, it can get pretty bloody, observers say.

Usually, about eight dogs take part in the hunt. The dachshunds tend to go into closed areas and flush rats out of garbage bags, while the larger terriers seem more interested in the actual attack.

Reynolds told The Post that half the dogs are show champions, one is a therapy dog and another has a role in the film “Five Flights Up,” alongside Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.

There is always a veterinary technician present, since rat bites are common.

“It’s all about keeping happy, healthy working dogs, and as long as we do that, everything is fine,” Reynolds said.

(Photos: RATS Facebook page)

Two new breeds recognized by AKC

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The American Kennel Club has announced full recognition of two new breeds — the American hairless terrier and the Sloughi.

The additions bring the total number of dog breeds recognized by the AKC to 189.

Joining the terrier group, the American hairless terrier is small to medium sized and very active — basically a bald (often) rat terrier.

The breed comes in both a hairless and a coated variety, although the coated dogs still carry the hairless gene.

According to the American Hairless Terrier Club, their rise began when a hairless puppy emerged in a litter of rat terriers in the 1970s, leading a Louisiana couple to begin breeding it to produce other hairless pups.

akcSloughiThe Sloughi is an ancient breed that originated in North Africa, where it is treasured for its hunting skills, speed, endurance and agility.

Also known as the Arabian greyhound, it is a medium to large-sized dog, with short hair, a smooth coat and a sleek and graceful appearance.

Both breeds became eligible to compete in their respective AKC groups on Jan. 1, 2016, but will not be eligible for Westminster until next year.

To become an AKC-recognized breed there must be a minimum number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S., as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders.

(Photos: An American hairless terrier (at top) and a Sloughi, courtesy of American Kennel Club)

Love a terrier, get a scholarship

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Five incoming students at Hiram College in Ohio will be receiving $1,000 scholarships, and all they have to do is prove how much they love terriers.

Through the end of this month, the private liberal arts college will be accepting applications for the “Terrier Scholarships,” which must include a photo or 15-second video that depicts a student’s love for terriers.

“Be creative!” the application advises. “Show us how your terrier is part of your family, a loyal friend or a fast learner. Show us why you love terriers!”

hiramterrierslogoThe terrier, you may have figured out by now, is the school mascot. But school officials say the type of dog also embodies “many of the qualities we love to see in Hiram College students,” including being playful, curious and loyal.

The terrier has been the school mascot since 1928.

Before that the school, founded in 1850 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute by members of the Disciples of Christ Church, used the nickname “Farmers,” and later, “Mudhens,” for its sports teams.

In 1928, the nickname “Terriers” was adopted after coach Herb Matthews, speaking at a sports banquet, described Hiram athletics as “a little bull terrier that holds on until the end … No name would seem more appropriate to me than just the Terriers.”

While the school’s mascot is a bull terrier, any breed of terrier is acceptable in the scholarship contest.

hiramterriers2(To the college’s credit, its mascot role is filled by a student in a costume, as opposed to a live animal.)

The college says scholarship submissions should show “what makes terriers special: how they are a part of the family, a best friend, a fast-learner — and more.”

“The Terrier Scholarship is our way of paying tribute to our long-time mascot, the bull terrier, and rewarding prospective students for their creativity and drive to become a Hiram student,” said Vice President of Enrollment Lindajean Heller Western. “We know how special our Terrier is, and now we want to see what makes other terriers great!”

A panel of Hiram media and photography specialists will choose the winners based on the creativity and originality of photo and video submissions. Scholarship recipients will be notified in February 2016.

Johnny Depp pirates his dogs into Australia; officials say they must “bugger off” or die

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Clearly, Johnny Depp broke the law when he smuggled his two Yorkies, Boo and Pistol, into Australia, where he’s filming yet another “Pirates of the Carribbean” sequel.

But must government officials, in enforcing Australia’s strict quarantine laws, be so heavy-handed and snarky about it?

“If we start letting movie stars — even though they’ve been the ‘sexiest man alive’ twice — to come into our nation, then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?” said Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”

Is it just me, or is there a little bit of pirate envy bubbling up in those remarks?

joyceJoyce, that’s him to the left, has ordered Depp to get the dogs out of the country by Saturday. If they are still in the country after that, he says, they will be put down.

Depp and his wife, Amber Heard, are accused of not declaring Yorkshire Terriers Boo and Pistol to customs officials when they flew into Queensland by private jet last month, the BBC reported.

Joyce says the country’s animal quarantine laws — aimed at keeping rabies out of the country — applied to everyone.

“Mr. Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we’re going to have to euthanize them,” Joyce told reporters on Thursday.

“He’s now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs. He can put them on the same charter jet he flew out on and fly back out of our nation.”

There has been no immediate comment from Depp or Heard, but plenty of online reaction from animal lovers and Depp lovers.

An online petition to save the “cute dogs” had received nearly 5,000 signatures by late Thursday.

“Have a heart Barnaby! Don’t kill these cute puppies,” it appealed.

deppdogsThe dogs illegal entry into the country was uncovered after a grooming salon on the Gold Coast posted pictures of them on its Facebook page.

“The dogs have been ordered into quarantine and the owners have been advised the dogs must be exported within 72 hours,” said a statement on the agricultural ministry website.

“Just because he’s Johnny Depp doesn’t make him exempt from Australian laws,” Joyce said.

“The way this works is if we are going to make an excuse for Johnny Depp because he’s got a private jet and brought in his dogs then I suppose you have to start making exemptions and excuses for everybody.”

When Joyce was asked if his tough stance might affect Depp’s view of him, he replied: “I don’t think Mr. Depp will be inviting me to the grand opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean.”

deppanddogOther government officials backed Joyce’s tough stand, including Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who said Depp could face large fines for breaching quarantine procedures.

“As people know when they come in on a commercial flight … you need to make declarations,” he said. ” … People will sometimes make false declarations, if they get caught out, there’s a big fine attached to it, and no different to the same cards that people would need to fill out if they’re coming in on private jets.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the agriculture minister could have been a little more tactful with his message.

“Barnaby’s right but I would put it to him this way – diplomacy is key,” Tate is quoted as saying on ABC.net.

“I want to see Johnny Depp coming back to the Gold Coast, enjoy his experience here … so that he’ll have good words to say and make sure our film and television industry thrives here,” the mayor said.

Dogs dumped on Los Angeles highway

Fifteen small terriers and Chihuahuas were dumped on Imperial Highway in El Segundo last week, but thanks to some helpful humans, many of them are doing fine.

As reported by the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Playa del Rey resident Kellie Sue Peters was on her way to the grocery store when a dog chasing a rabbit ran in front of her car on the busy highway.

When Peters stopped to try and snag the dog, on the highway near LAX, she noticed other dogs, including one that landed at her feet after it was hit by a car.

“I was horrified,” she said. “I just thought I’ve got to help him. … I’m not the type of person who can just walk away.”

The small white terrier mix nipped her hand when she knelt down to get a closer look.

The dog, who she now calls “Carson,” is recovering. Six others were rescued and are being held at the SPCA shelter in Hawthorne. A few more dogs were found the next day, but others were either killed or remain on the loose.

“They were unkempt,” El Segundo police Lt. Carlos Mendoza said. “They could have been strays, or somebody was hoarding dogs and decided to dump them.”

Two animal welfare organizations — including one run by actress Katherine Heigl — are offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the identification of the person who abandoned them.

“We are participating in the reward money being offered to find whoever did this despicable thing,” Heigl said in a statement. “People have to be held accountable for this kind of lack of humanity and compassion.”

Although Facebook comments allude to a white van being involved in the abandonment, authorities have yet to confirm that.

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Pong Pong and Wow Wow go for groceries

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A stroke victim in China has trained his two terriers to do his shopping.

Sun Chien, 76, built a cart for his dogs, Pong Pong and Wow Wow. They push it to the shops, along with money and a shopping list, then return home with the groceries, according to the UK Metro.

“I used to pull an ordinary cart with me to get my shopping home. Then one day, Pong Pong suddenly stood up on his hind legs and tried to help me to push,” said Sun.

That gave him the idea to build them their own terrier-sized cart.

“Now they’re so good they don’t need me with them. If one gets tired, he hops in and then they swap over,” said Sun, who lives in Shenyang.