Video of a sled dog and a polar bear becoming buddies in northern Manitoba last weekend has gone viral, but it may not have been the stunning, pure and heartwarming moment in nature it was — and still is being — described as.
CBC reported yesterday that just days before the video, in a moment not captured on camera, a polar bear killed one of the rare sled dogs being raised on the same property.
And some officials are questioning whether the property owner, who runs a sled dog sanctuary on the land, might be illegally feeding the bears to lure them onto his property, which in turn draws tourists, which in turn supplement his income.
Initially, the videotaped moment was described as a warm and tender meeting between two species.
The video was shot and posted to YouTube by David De Meulles, a heavy-duty mechanic in Churchill, who moonlights as a tour guide for a friend, Brian Ladoon.
Ladoon operates the Mile 5 Dog Sanctuary in Churchill, where he cares for a rare breed of sled dog and supplements his income by allowing tours of the property, mostly by tourists interested in spotting polar bears.
On Saturday, De Meulles drove two clients out to Ladoon’s property in hopes of seeing some polar bears, and they watched as the polar bear approached the dog.
“I had no idea what was going to happen, and then sure enough he (the polar bear) started petting that dog, acted like he was a friend,” David De Meulles said. “I just so happened to catch a video of a lifetime.”
“I’ve known the bears to have somewhat friendly behavior with the dogs, but for a bear to pet like a human would pet a dog is just mind-blowing,” De Meulles initially told CBC.
“It was a beautiful sight to see, and I just can’t believe an animal that big would show that kind of heart toward another animal.”
But a few days later, CBC reported that a Manitoba Sustainable Development spokesperson confirmed that three polar bears had to be removed from Ladoon’s property the previous week after one of them killed a sled dog.
“Conservation officers had to immobilize a bear in that area last week and move it to the holding facility because it killed one of his dogs,” the spokesperson told CBC. “A mother and cub were also removed because there were allegations the bears were being fed and the females’ behavior was becoming a concern.”
Under Manitoba’s Endangered Species and Ecosystem Act, “No person shall kill, injure, possess, disturb or interfere with an endangered species, a threatened species, or an extirpated species that has been reintroduced.”
“The protection of polar bears is of utmost importance and interfering with their natural behavior will not be tolerated,” the spokesman added.
Other critics of Ladoon’s operation expressed concern about the dog in the video being chained — making it bait for a polar bear.
“The dog was chained up and they’re totally vulnerable,” said Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. “Inuit (hunters) over the years in the high Arctic have told me that if you want a dog to act as a guard dog, you have to leave it off a chain. Because if it’s on a chain it knows it’s vulnerable and it won’t bark.”
The practice of feeding the bears also places the bears in danger, he added.
“Any situation that brings bears in to feed in an unnatural situation in association with human beings, I think, should not take place at all,” he said. It could lead the bears to equate the presence of humans and dogs with the availability of food and lead them to enter more populated areas.
“It’s basically a death sentence for the bears,” he said.
Ladoon, meanwhile, admits to caring for both the dogs and the bears, and indicated that whatever happens on his land is “nature’s will.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arctic, canada, chained, churchill, dog, dogs, friends, head, manitoba, natural, nature, pat, pets, polar bear, polar bear and dog, sanctuary, sled dog, species, tied, unnatural, video, youtube
Leaving dogs tied up for extended periods is now, with a few exceptions, flat out illegal in Forsyth County, N.C.
By a 4 to 3 vote, the county commissioners approved a ban on tethering this week, replacing an existing law many considered toothless and unenforceable.
Under the previous version of the ordinance, tethering per se was not illegal, but it could lead to additional penalties in cases of animal cruelty.
Under the new one, tethering is illegal except when it is being used for hunting, camping or other recreation where tethering is required.
Commission Chairman Dave Plyler, Everette Witherspoon, Walter Marshall and Ted Kaplan voted for the ban. Commissioners Richard Linville, Gloria Whisenhunt and Don Martin voted against it.
The vote was met with applause and cheers by animal welfare advocates attending the meeting.
Keith Murphy, Co-founder of Unchain Winston, said, “We’re really happy that it’s finally passed, we’ve been working on it for many many years.”
“When we started this in 2010 there were only 12 communities in North Carolina that had a tethering ban, now, luckily, Forsyth County has become the 26th in North Carolina to have a ban.”
“I started this the first time I was on the animal control advisory board 10 years ago,” said animal-welfare advocate Jennifer Teirney. “The people and animals of Forsyth County won this one. I’m glad to see us move forward in a progressive way.”
The old ordinance, adopted in 2011, didn’t go into effect until 2013, and many felt it didn’t go far enough.
The new ordinance allows for a grace period of one year.
If a resident violates the ordinance during the grace period, a warning ticket will be issued and the violator will receive information on the new ordinance and organizations such as Unchain Forsyth and Unchain Winston.
Those organizations build fences for families who need help unchaining their dogs.The organizations have built about 150 fences and 200 dog houses for residents.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, banned, commissioners, county commission, dogs, exceptions, forsyth county, law, north carolina, ordinance, pets, tether, tethered, tethering, tied, unchain forsyth, unchain winston, winston-salem
They may be well-intentioned and address a real issue, but these parking crates for dogs that have appeared on the streets of New York worry me.
The woman behind them hopes to have 100 of them in place in Brooklyn by next spring, place them throughout New York City and, eventually, other cities across the country.
It works like this: You sign up for a membership, and receive a member card in the mail that unlocks the temperature controlled doghouse. Then you’re billed through the mail at a rate of 20 cents per minute.
Chelsea Brownridge told Fox 5 the idea grew out of her own concerns about leaving her dog Winston tied up when she has to run into a store.
Of course, that’s a troublesome practice, too — and more than a few dogs have been stolen after being left tied outside stores in New York, and elsewhere.
Dog parkers are now in test mode outside of two Fort Greene businesses, including Baguetteaboutit on Vanderbilt and DeKalb, where a spokesman welcomed the idea.
“A lot of our customers will open up the door and yell out to us, ‘Can you bring me out a sandwich? Can you bring me a menu? I don’t want to leave my dog.’ And we’ll accommodate them. This gives them an opportunity to take care of their dog while they come in and take care of themselves.”
Seems to me taking steps to accommodate dog-walking customers outdoors would be an easier solution — as would people leaving their dogs at home when they have the need to shop.
My main objections though come from being claustrophobic, and a technophobe.
The dog parking crate reminds me a little bit of those newspaper boxes (which you can probably get a pretty good deal on nowadays) — and simple as they were they often malfunctioned.
Dogs can see out of the boxes through a small plastic window, but the boxes still seem uncomfortably confining. And anything that is “temperature controlled” can see its temperature go out of control.
On top of that, anyone who has had to return to the hotel lobby three or more times to get one of those key cards rejiggered — so it actually opens the door to their room — knows those cards can’t be trusted.
What’s going to happen when a dog owner can’t get his dog out of the box?
An app is in the works that will allow customers to reserve boxes, but they otherwise will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Will New Yorkers end up fighting over them too, as they do parking spaces and taxi cabs? Will Uber dog parking boxes surface, charging only 10 cents a minute?
If a key card is able to open any dog parking crate in the city, might thieves just maybe figure that out and sign up for membership?
There are just too many questions. It might be easier to just make all business establishments dog friendly.
Until then, always walk with another friend when out with your dog, or leave the dog home, or — difficult as it may be — skip the baguette.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, boxes, brooklyn, crates, dog, dog parking, dog walking, dogs, dogwalking, key cards, membership, new york, new york city, pets, stolen, stores, thefts, tie, tied, tied up, walking
Waffles, a formerly blond and gray dog, is back home after police and a veterinarian determined she was indeed the same dog that Robert Lucier and his family had spent four days looking for.
“Thank goodness she had a microchip,” Lucier told the New York Daily News.
The family had put up posters and searched for the dogs since she was stolen last week, while briefly left tied up outside a grocery store.
On Saturday, Lusicer received a tip from someone saying he saw a homeless woman “washing the paint” out of his dog in a public bathroom at Seattle Center. Lucier hopped on his bike and began searching the area.
He saw a woman with a dog that strongly resembled Waffles — except for being solid black.
He confronted the woman, who insisted it was her dog.
Lucier remained suspicious, especially after he got close enough to the dog to detect the scent of chemicals.
He said he and the woman wrestled a bit, and that’s when three police cars pulled up.
Sure enough, the dog had one, identifying her as Waffles and Lucier as the owner.
She is back home now, and, after a few baths, still mostly black — but Lucier expects the coloring will fade away over time.
“She’s still shocked. She’s normally such a friendly, outgoing dog. She’s still walking around with her tail between her legs,” he said. “It’s going to take a little time for her to get adjusted.”
Waffle’s family decided not to press charges against the woman who he said “has bigger problems” to deal with.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black, cairn terrier, confrontation, dog, dogs, dye, dyed, found, fur, hair, homeless, lost, microchip, pets, police, reunion, reunited, search, seattle, stolen, theft, tied, waffles, woman
Residents of Greensboro who tie up their dogs and leave them unattended can expect to start receiving warnings this week, and $500 fines by September, as Guilford County’s anti-tethering ordinance comes closer to being fully phased in.
The ordinance, approved by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 2013, prohibits the tethering or chaining of a dog without the owner present, or the use of any tether or chain less than 10 feet long.
To the uninformed, it might seem odd — an agency called “Animal Control” telling people to un-tether their dogs — but it’s another example of how, amid a new sensibility about dogs, the duties of such agencies have outgrown their name, and have (rightly) become more about helping animals than controlling them, and therefore should be called something else, something less archaic, something like the office of Animal Protection.
We tried to make that case last week, arguing that a new name could also go a long way toward improving the image of those offices, and pushing those that are still living in the past into modern times.
Animal protection, we think, is a better description of their modern day duties, or at least what their modern day duties should be.
Responding to complaints about chained dogs, and helping to free them, is a perfect example of that.
Guilford County Animal Control officers will be investigating complaints about tethered dogs and issuing written warnings to the owners until Sept. 1, when fines will go into effect. Until then officials will continue to educate residents about the new ordinance.
“We’ve done good about getting the word out and handing out fliers, posters and brochures to let people know it’s coming and it’s going,” Logan Rustan, the manager of Guilford County Animal Control, told the Greensboro News & Record. “But believe it or not, a lot of people just still have no clue.”
The ordinance took effect last March but is being phased in gradually to give residents time to comply.
It was welcomed by animal activists, and particularly by Unchain Guilford, a nonprofit organization that helps dog owners construct fences as an alternative to tying up their dogs.
Tethered dogs left unattended can easily injure themselves, and often develop behavioral problems.
“If you’re chained to a small area your entire life, you’re going to have issues interacting with other people — whether you’re a dog or a human,” said Ellen Metzger, a committee member for the group.
Many dogs who spend their lives tethered outside can easily make the transition to inside dogs, with a little training.
Greensboro resident Jennifer Thompson found that out when, shortly after the county passed the ordinance, she contacted Unchain Guilford for help.
Her 10-year-old pitbull-chow mix, Spike, had spent most of his life tethered in her yard.
“He was so big and was at the point where he would jump all over,” Thompson said. “I was kind of fearful of him.”
In Thompson’s case, volunteers also taught her training techniques to help Spike behave better. Spike lives inside the house now.
“I didn’t know this dog is so lovable,” she said. “e sat outside all these years, and he just wants somebody to love him. He’s such a sweet dog. I would not keep another dog outside, knowing what I know now.”
(Photo: Jennifer Thompson and her dog Spike; by JERRY WOLFORD / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, chained, chains, dog, dogs, fines, greensboro, guilford county, guilford unchained, north carolin, ordinance, pets, prohibited, tether, tethered, tethering, tied, warnings
A trooper agreed to tie the dogs to the bumper of a patrol car, but within 30 minutes, the trooper drove off to another call, dragging one of the dogs behind him.
Terry’s dog Lois had to be euthanized after suffering a broken pelvis and spine, according to the Albany Times Union.
The second dog survived.
“The trooper feels terrible,” said State Police Capt. William Keeler. “The owner is rightly upset.”
“I do plan on seeking justice for Lois,” said Terry, who was charged with driving with a suspended licensed. “She was the only innocent victim here.”
The incident happened Saturday as State Police conducted a roadblock to check on whether drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Terry, after he was stopped, was worried his dogs would overheat in his pickup truck, and asked a trooper if they could be let out. Because it was a shaded area, officials said, the trooper tied the dogs to his patrol car’s rear bumper, using the dog’s leashes.
When Terry learned he was being arrested for having a suspended license, he called his parents to pick up the dogs. Authorities said that the trooper, seeing Terry’s family had arrived, assumed they had taken the dogs when he returned to his vehicle and sped off to another call.
“He was under the belief that the dogs had been unsecured,” a state police spokesman said. “He proceeded approximately 10 feet. Unfortunately, the dogs were still secured.”
While the leash of the second dog, Liz, detached as the patrol car pulled away, the leash securing Lois to the patrol car did not. She was pulled under the Ford Crown Victoria cruiser and was run over by its rear wheels.
An internal investigation is being conducted, and the trooper will remain on duty pending its results.
When the accident occurred, Terry was handcuffed in a patrol car parked in front of the one to which his dogs were tied.
“I heard the screech of the car taking off,” he said. “I was in the cop car. There was nothing I could do. I was screaming ‘Get me out of here!’ A cop came over and let me out. I ran over and held Lois. I knew something was wrong. Lois was crying, and her legs weren’t moving,”
Another trooper picked her up and took her and Terry to the Latham Emergency Clinic, where veterinarians recommended euthanasia.
(Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, crushed, dogs, dragged, euthanized, james terry, law enforcement, leashed, liz, lois, overheated, patrol, pets, police, roadblock, siberian huskies, state, stop, tethered, tied, traffic, troopers
A dog left tied to train tracks in California last month has found a new home.
Unlike that day last month, when he was secured to the tracks in the path of an oncoming train, he had many options to choose from.
Officials at Riverside County’s Department of Animal Services said they received more than 1,300 emails from people interested in adopting the rescued dog they dubbed Banjo. He was found by a Union Pacific crew in Mecca, where he’d been tied to the rails by a man who told authorities the dog was no longer wanted.
The 11-month-old poodle-terrier mix went home Friday with Jeff and Louisa Moore of Huntington Beach.
“He’s so beautiful isn’t he?” Louisa (above) said to her husband, holding Banjo in her arms for the first time.
Letters of interest came in from as far away as England and Puerto Rico, but animal services officials said the Moores were chosen because they constantly checked in on Banjo via e-mail and live close to the beach and a dog park.
Jeff Moore said he and his wife applied to adopt Banjo after seeing his story on the news and Facebook.
“Tonight we’re just going to go home and hang out,” Jeff told the Desert Sun in Palm Beach. “We have a big field that’s right next to our place that about a dozen of us all go out with our dogs, and they all get along really well, so it’ll be fun introducing him to all the dogs. I’m sure they’ll love him.”
Before the couple left, Jo Marie Upegui, a veterinarian technician at Coachella Valley Animal Campus, explained to them that Banjo liked tortillas and snuggling on the couch and that he feared brooms and men in uniform.
The Moores, who also have a Tibetan terrier named Lali, said they planed to create a Facebook page to keep those interested up to date on Banjo’s new life.
Banjo’s name refers to old traffic signals on rail lines. He was discovered when a westbound train crew noticed a hunched-over man walking away from the tracks, leaving the dog behind. The crew alerted dispatchers, who stopped the eastbound train coming down the tracks to which Banjo was tied.
A 78-year-old man was questioned, but not charged. He appeared confused and possibly suffering from dementia. He told investigators his family no longer wanted the dog and didn’t know what to do with him.
(Photo: Riverside County Department of Animal Services)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, adopted, adoption, animal services, animals, applicants, banjo, Coachella Valley Animal Campus, dog, dogs, emails, home, huntington beach, interest, mecca, mix, pets, poodle, rescue, riverside county, shelters, tied, tracks, train, union pacific, unwanted, wanted