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Tag: uk

UK vet tends to street dogs in Sri Lanka

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There are an estimated 3 million street dogs on the island of Sri Lanka, and a veterinarian based in the UK is trying to provide medical care to as many of them as she can.

UK vet Janey Lowes was backpacking around Sri Lanka in May 2014 when she was confronted with the plight of the street dogs. Every year, an estimated 26,000 are injured in traffic accidents, and thousands more get sick and die due to a lack of vaccinations and veterinary care.

Her first instinct was not to get them off the streets. Most of them are not true strays. They have humans who feed them, and they are pretty much accepted in Sri Lankan culture — just not housed.

What they truly needed more than anything else was veterinary care.

whatsapp-image-2018-08-07-at-16-26-43-548a“I felt so helpless,” she told Metro.co.UK. “As a vet (and I’m sure many vets can relate) it was frustrating to be skilled enough to help but in another country with no equipment or supplies with me, or any idea of where to start with seeking help for dogs in need.”

Back home, and still thinking about how she could make an impact, she sought advice from her boss in the UK, who gave her £10,000 to set up a charity.

WECare Worldwide was born.

janey-and-bella-01062-fae9-e1533546995401In 2014 she went back to Sri Lanka and teamed up with local vet Dr. Nuwan, a local volunteer named Malaka, and a tuk tuk driver, Chaminda, who she paid to drive them around looking for sick and injured dogs. Some she treated on the side of the road, others she brought to her home in Tallalla on the south coast for treatment.

“I started by working out where we could be the most helpful and have the biggest sustainable impact, which is hard when you are surrounded by need everywhere.”

By the end of the year, her organization was offering neutering and vaccination services to local villages.

By 2016, Janey’s house was overflowing with dogs and she rented an old school in a nearby village to continue her work.

A year later, though, money was running low and Janey was giving some thought to giving up.

Then WECare was featured in a BBC documentary and donations surged, allowing her to slowly build the clinic she works from today, which is one of the best equipped vet hospitals on the island.

Janey now has has 10 full-time and 12 part-time local staff, and also helps train other local vets, to improve vet standards across the board.

eddie-0014WECare treats dogs across the Southern Province, and also runs programmes in Arugam Bay on the east coast.

Locals can also bring their pet dogs in to the clinic for treatment at a reduced rate.

Neutering and vaccinations are free for both street and owned animals.

Janey sees a big distinction between street dogs and strays.

“There’s this generalization that people think it’s cruel for dogs to be on the street, that they don’t have cuddles every night, they don’t eat steak for dinner, they don’t get to go to doggy daycare – but it’s just different over here,” she explained. “They’re not stray dogs, so it’s not like in England where pet dogs are dumped on the street and left to die … These dogs have been on the streets for generations and generations, so to take them in to homes – to even take them indoors, most have never been indoors – is really quite stressful for them once they get to a certain age.

“They’re so happy beause they have their freedom. You can see them when they’re charging up and down the beach chasing each other, or when they’re on a mission in the morning to the nearest roti shop, you can see the joy in their eyes … We don’t believe in scooping up three million dogs to put them in a shelter because for street dogs, that’s like prison. Our job is to provide veterinary care and to let dogs be dogs.”

She admits that her mission a never-ending one and she sometimes gets disheartened. “But then you take a step back and look at how many dogs you’ve helped – which is about 6,000 dogs so far … I just go look at all the street dogs we’ve helped and remember that they would potentially have had a really slow, painful death if we hadn’t been around.”

WECare Worldwide operates on donations.

(Photos: Courtesy of WECare Worldwide)

Britain looks at outlawing eating dog

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Prime Minister Theresa May is looking into banning the eating of dogs in Britain after reports that the practice could be increasing.

Officials announced the prime minister is looking closely” at outlawing eating dog amid reports that the practice could spread to the UK and across Europe, due to immigration from the Far East.

The prime minister’s spokesman said that even though the commercial trade in dog meat in the UK is illegal, it’s taking a look at legislation being submitted next month in the U.S. to explicity ban killing dogs and eating their meat, The Sun reported.

Legislation calling for a similar ban is expected to be introduced in the U.S. next month.

“Britain is a nation of animal lovers and we continue to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. We wish to maintain that,” the spokesman said.

Neither killing dogs to eat nor consuming their meat is illegal in Britain.

The chair of the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group, Lisa Cameron, said the development was “fantastic news … I’m sure the ban will have overwhelming cross party support.”

Dr Cameron says there has been a rise in the consumption of dog meat in the UK, but two animal welfare organisations say that they don’t have evidence for this, BBC reported.

Humane Society International says it has “never come across any evidence to suggest that dog meat is being consumed in the UK”.

The World Dog Alliance says it doesn’t know if there are people in the UK who eat dog meat – but still wants it to be made illegal.

An estimated 30 million dogs a year are slaughtered to be eaten across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has also spoken out in favor of a total ban on eating dog meat, calling it a “disgusting habit” and adding, “We should nip it in the bud now.”

The World Dog Alliance (WDA) is set to launch a campaign in the UK for a full ban on any activity relating to the eating of dogs.

The WDA’s Kike Yuen told The Sun: “In the U.S., people who eat dog meat are mainly immigrants from Asia. With three million immigrants from East Asia in the UK, we cannot deny this situation exists here too.

“We also believe legislation against dog meat in the UK would provide us with strength to continue our work in Asia, as the UK could influence other countries to stop dog meat consumption,” Yuen added.

(Photo: Dogs headed to slaughter in China; from World Dog Alliance)

Dog Photographer of the Year contest


The UK Kennel Club has announced the winners of the 2018 Dog Photographer of the Year contest, and is showing off some stunning photographs of some stunning dogs.

The international contest, in its 13th year, drew almost 10,000 entries across 70 different countries.

It picks winners in ten categories: portrait, man’s best friend, dogs at play, dogs at work, puppy, oldies, assistance dogs, rescue dogs, I love dogs because (for entrants aged between 12 and 17 years old), and young pup photographer (for entrants aged 11 and under).

The overall top prize, or best in show, so to speak, (above) went to Dutch photographer Monica van der Maden for her image of Noa, an elderly Great Dane, titled “The Lady of the Mystery Forest.” It was entered into the oldies category.

“This picture was made in the early morning in the forest,” van der Maden said. “I wanted to photograph her in a position where she was sitting relaxed next to a tree … she turned her head to the left to her owner and this was the moment where you could see her soul.”

German photographer Klaus Dyber won the puppies category with an equally soulful and artistic close-up shot of Ceylin, a 3-month-old Italian Greyhound.


Israeli photographer Elinor Roizman won first prize in the dogs at play category for her image of Lili, the Pomeranian, chasing a giant bubble on the beach; UK-based Tracy Kidd’s group shot of spaniels and retrievers won the dogs at work category; and the man’s best friend category was won by Portugal’s Joana Matos for her image of a dog and a man at the beach.

Here’s a look at some of the winning entries.

Dogs at Work, by Tracy Kidd

First place, dogs at work, by Tracy Kidd

1st place portrait

First place, portrait, by Carol Durrant

1st place, dogs at play, by Elinor Roizman

First place, dogs at play, by Elinor Roizman

1st place, man's best friend, by Joana Matos

First place, man’s best friend, by Joana Matos

All of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winning images for each category will be on display at The Kennel Club, London from July 16th until October 5th 2018. You can see all of the winning photos and find out more about the competition on The Kennel Club website.

(Photos: UK Kennel Club)

PETA disrupts best in show at Crufts

As a whippet named Tease was being crowned best in show at Crufts, protesters disrupted the prestigious UK dog show by running onto the field and unfurling a banner that read “Crufts: Canine Eugenics.”

The owner of Tease grabbed her dog, Crufts officials quickly secured the trophy even more protectively, and it was all over in less than a minute, after the two protesters were promptly tackled by security officers and whisked away, along with their banner.

The protest broke out just as Yvette Short of Edinburgh lifted her dog onto the podium as the event’s live feed broadcast across the globe.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took responsibility for the incident.

“Crufts glorifies pedigree fetishists’ twisted pursuit of the ‘perfect’ dog,” Elisa Allen, PETA’s UK’s director, told the Independent on Sunday. “There’s nothing natural about breeding dogs with extreme and debilitating physical traits, and PETA urges everyone to stay away from this cruel beauty pageant.”

Many animal welfare groups take issue with the over-breeding of pedigree dogs to meet arbitrary physical standards and at the expense of health problems and physical ailments, but none with quite the zeal of PETA.

In 2008, the BBC stopped broadcasting Crufts after 40 years following public outcry over health concerns that were raised by a BBC One investigation called “Pedigree Dogs Exposed.”

The documentary focused on chronic health concerns that have resulted from breeders trying to attain physical standards The Kennel Club and breeders promulgate.

The Kennel Club, the organization behind Crufts, called the documentary “biased and selective,” but went on to revise some of the least healthy breeding standards it calls for.

Still, “canine eugenics” remains a pretty apt description of what dog shows are all about.

After Sunday’s demonstration, a Crufts spokesman said the protesters “scared the dogs and put the safety of both dogs and people at risk in a hugely irresponsible way.”

We’d suggest that the security response to the protesters looked far scarier than anything those two were doing, and that the Kennel Club, over its long history, has behaved more irresponsibly than a couple of PETA protesters ever could.

Group seeks to ban shock collars in England

shockThe Dogs Trust has launched a campaign to end the use of shock collars in England.

Calling the collars “unnecessary and cruel,” the organization is working to immediately ban their sale.

It is urging members of the public to tweet their representatives in Parliament using the hashtag #ShockinglyLegal.

As part of the campaign, they also plan to hold a “reception” — how civilized! — at the House of Commons where they will ask members of Parliament to sign a letter to the secretary of state backing the proposal.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is already on board, pledging his support to bring an end to a practice he compared to caning a child, the Daily Mail reported.

The Dogs Trust said it conducted a poll that showed most members of the public knew the collars caused dogs pain. Almost a third wrongly thought that the collars, which can continuously shock a dog for 11 seconds, were already banned. Only about 13 percent said they would ever use them.

“The sad reality is that they are still readily available to buy at the click of a button, the organization said. “These torturous devices can send between 100 to 6000 volts to a dog’s neck, and have the capacity to continuously shock a dog for up to 11 terrifying seconds at a time.”

“It is both unnecessary and cruel to resort to the use of these collars on dogs,” said Rachel Casey, director of canine behavior and research at the Dogs Trust.

“This type of device is not only painful for a dog, it can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical well-being,” she added. “A dog can’t understand when or why it’s being shocked and this can cause it immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behavior as a result.”

Wales, Quebec and parts of Australia — have banned shock collars. There’s a growing chorus of voices trying to prohibit — or at least regulate — the collars in the United States, as well. While no legislation has been passed on the state level, an ordinance in Alexandria, Va., limits their use on public property.

Sometimes, the wealthy need help too …

huntington3Should an advertising executive and his wife who live in a $1.4 million home — she owning her own business, he making a six-figure salary — be asking for the public’s help to pay for their dog’s $10,000 surgery?

In retrospect, probably not — unless they’re willing to be called “shameless,” “pompous,” “greedy,” “selfish,” and “narcissistic,” and see themselves, and their yacht-cap wearing dog, roundly ridiculed on social media.

Richard Huntington, a chairman at the firm of Saatchi & Saatchi in London, and his wife, Annabel Bird, a fashioner designer who sells luxury dog products, made the plea after learning their dog Edward Lear needed surgery for elbow dysplasia in his front leg and torn cruciate ligaments in his two rear legs.

While they have pet health insurance, their policy set a limit on what it would pay — and that was only about a third of the cost being quoted to them by their celebrity vet Noel Fitzpatrick, star of the British TV show Supervet.

huntington2So they launched a Gofundme page with the aim of raising the additional £7,500.

On it, Annabel Bird wrote of the Welsh terrier, “I adore him more than anything in the world. Edward is a happy, friendly, popular dog who has lots of friends both in real life and on Instagram who check in everyday to see his adventures. (He is @edward.lear on instagram).

“All I want is for my funny little dog to be able to run around again like the crazy terrier he is and climb mountains in the Lake District and Snowdonia like he used to and enjoy his life to the fullest. He hasn’t walked for more than ten minutes in four months and I feel so bad for him. He’s missed out on so much fun and excitement.”

The dog has received two of the three operations his vet says he needs.

The Gofundme campaign raised about £5,400 of the £7,500 goal when the couple closed it out.

hungtington1Now, any member of the dog-loving community knows that such fund-raising pleas to cover the costs of veterinary surgery have become commonplace. Often they are legitimate. Sometimes they are scams. But those of this ilk are both disturbing and laughable.

It’s hard to have much empathy for a family that could easily — even if they are having cash flow problems — sell that fourth car, cancel the country club membership or go to a non-celebrity vet.

The couple says the campaign was aimed more at close friends and family than the general public.

Still, it’s not surprising, that their plea led to news coverage, and a barrage of criticism. What’s more suprising is how many people donated.

“Thank you again to everyone who contributed …” Annabel Bird wrote on the GoFundme page. “Unfortunately, his page has received some negative press because of who my husband Richard works for … As you know, this page was set up for our friends and family and those of mine and Edward’s Instagram followers who kindly asked to donate money to help with his recovery. This is not uncommon in the dog community on Instagram which is a wholly supportive and wonderful place to hang out.”

(Photos: Edward Lear, from Instagram)

Dog’s ear cyst resembles Donald Trump

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I’ve written before about that distinctively human tendency to see images in inanimate objects — everything from Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich to a dog in a piece of wood.

My theory on that whole phenomenon is that we see, with only the slightest hint or suggestion, what our subconscious wants us to see, such as Abraham Lincoln in a chicken nugget; or what it fears seeing, such as Satan in a storm cloud.

But Donald Trump in a dog’s ear? I won’t attempt to explain that.

BBC reported that Jade Robinson, 25, of Jarrow, Tyneside, was photographing her beagle’s infected ear when a friend spotted the 45th president’s face in the dog’s cyst.

chiefThe dog’s name? Chief.

Robinson said she was taking the picture to pass along to her vet. Chief would have to be sedated for the vet to properly examine the ear — and she was short of the funds necessary to do that.

Amazingly enough, her photo going viral led her to launch a crowdfunding campaign, which has already raised 80 percent of its £450 goal.

Hail to the chief!

On the justgiving.com website, Robinson warns that goal amount will likely increase depending on what treatments the vet prescribes — up to and including removing the president from Chief’s ear.

Robinson said she has always made it a point to keep Chief’s ears clean, but beagles are notorious for picking up dirt, which, as we all know, can lead to infections.

“If you know anything about beagles you know how intelligent, active and curious they are and Chief certainly lives up to that – he’s full of mischief.

“As he has the very distinctive long ears, they spend a lot of time scraping the ground sniffing for lovely smells; unfortunately this leads to his ears picking up a lot of dirt.”

Robinson said she never saw Trump when she was taking the photo.

“…It was my eagle-eyed friend who pointed it out.”

Readers: Please note how I, despite my political leanings, presented that whole story without implying the current president is in any way a cyst in need of removal. Nor did I comment on how awful it would be to have Donald Trump constantly in one’s ear — mainly because, between his tweets and the news media, we already know that.