The states with the best anti-puppy mill laws? Virginia and Pennsylvania. The states with the worst? Mississippi, Kentucky, Idaho and the Dakotas.
That’s according to the Humane Society of the United States, which has released a list ranking state laws protecting dogs at commercial dog breeding facilities and consumers who might end up with sick dogs that came from them.
“Several states have made great strides in recent years, protecting dogs and consumers from the abuse and cruelty that is prevalent among large-scale commercial breeding operations,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS.
The rankings assess only the laws — not how good a job a state does in enforcing them.
Other states in the top five were Oregon, New Hampshire and Washington.
Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire all require unannounced inspections of commercial dog breeding facilities two times per year. Oregon, Washington and Virginia all prohibit anyone from owning more than 50 breeding dogs.
In the states with the lowest rankings, there are no provisions for regular inspections, no basic standards of care prescribed and no protection for consumers who purchase a puppy mill dog from a pet store.
In 2011 HSUS experts and supporters helped to pass seven new state laws and regulations to crack down on puppy mills — in California, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
Since 2008, 26 new laws have been enacted in 21 states.
The HSUS recommends never purchasing a puppy from a pet store or Internet site, or from any breeder you have not carefully screened in person.
According to HSUS, dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care; live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction; and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life. And breeding dogs must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end.
The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
Keep reading for the full list, from best to worst.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anti puppy mill, best, breeders, commercial, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspections, laws, legislatures, list, new hampshire, oregon, oversight, pennsylvania, pets, puppies, puppy mill laws, puppy mills, rank, ranked, rankings, standards, state, state laws, strongest, virginia, washington, worst
On 35 acres in Washington, D.C., dogs romp among the remains of 80 members of Congress, cabinet members, generals, foreign diplomats, J. Edgar Hoover and John Philip Sousa.
Strange as it sounds, Roll Call reports that, at the Historic Congressional Cemetery, “the dogs and dead coexist in an arrangement that works for both of them, particularly when it comes to the graveyard’s operating expenses.”
About 25 percent of the two-centuries-old cemetery’s operating budget comes from the dog-walking members of what’s called the K9 Corps.
As explained by Patrick Crowley, former chairman of the cemetery association’s board and now interim senior manager, people have been walking their dogs in the cemetery for more than 30 years, but up until around 2000, the area was avoided by many.
“In 1990, it was a drug war zone,” Crowley said. “The early dog walkers would stick to the main loop and band together,” he said. “… The morning dog walkers, their job was to clean up the hypodermic needles. They had to [do it] very carefully to not stick yourself.”
By around 2001, with improvements to the neighborhood, Crowley said he started charging dog walkers dues. The K9 Corps became an official organization of the preservation association in 2007. Membership costs $200 per family and $50 per dog.
Dog owners are also asked to volunteer at least 12 hours per year, picking up trash, pulling weeds and policing the area to make sure non-member dogs don’t use the grounds.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, burial, cabinet, cemetery, congress, congressional cemetery, dc, diplomats, dog walkers, dogs, fees, generals, historic congressional cemetery, j edgar hoover, john philip sousa, k9 corps, membership, patrick crowley, pets, remains, washington
A killer whale poops. It floats to the surface (and we don’t mean the whale.) A dog on a boat sniffs it out. Humans gather it up, and take it to the lab for analysis.
It’s not an entirely natural cycle of nature — but when all is said and done, or sniffed out and scrutinized, researchers in the Puget Sound hope it may help explain what’s killing off our killer whales, and maybe hold some clues to how our planet is doing as well.
Scientists aren’t certain why Orcas, placed on the endangered species list in 2005, aren’t recovering. Some suspect it’s a lack of food, or that boat traffic and pollution are to blame. But they think an answer maybe found in whale poop, and have turned to a dog to help find samples for analysis.
“It looks kind of like a combination of algae and snot. It varies in color, but it’s very mucusy,” Sam Wasser, the director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, explained on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Via the feces, Wasser says, “we can measure the diet of the animal. We can get toxins from the feces, DNA so we can tell the individual’s identity, its species, its sex — and all of this is in feces.
He describes whale poop as “literally a treasure trove of information.”
Wasser, who has turned to “scat detection” dogs for help with other projects, is being helped out on this one by Tucker, an 8-year-old black Lab mix.
They are focused on San Juan Island’s Snug Harbor, and as they cruise out on their research boat, Tucker stands at the bow. If there’s whale poop around — even in the distance — he lets his trainer, Liz Seely, know by acting excited.
“…He’ll start standing up on the bow, wagging his tail, getting really animated,” she said.
His reward for accurately detecting floating whale feces? A game of fetch.
The research team will collect samples from killer whales through the summer. Already, they’ve been able to show that during periods of high traffic, like around he 4th of July, the whales have higher levels of stress hormones in their feces.
They can also tell when the whales are undernourished and study how that might affect fertility rates.
Killer whales are believed to have the highest concentrations of toxic substances of any creature on the planet.
Given how we humans are responsible for that, scooping their poop seems truly the least we can do. And finding some answers within it, with help from a dog, could turn out not just to help the whales, but us as well.
(Photo: Ashley Ahearn / KUOW)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: all things considered, analysis, animals, boat, center for conservation biology, dog, dogs, endangered, feces, fertility, food, killer whales, liz seely, orcas, pets, poop, project, puget sound, research, sam wasser, scat-detecting, species, stress, testing, toxins, trainer, tucker, university of washington, washington, waste
An Oregon woman has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty for allegedly throwing her boyfriend’s dog into traffic on Interstate 205 Thursday night in Vancouver, Washington.
The dog, a Catahoula named Peanut Butter, was struck by a car and killed.
According to KATU, Shellie L. Hubbard, 45, appeared in Clark County Superior Court Friday, where a judge set bail at $20,000. Hubbard is also accused of second-degree assault and possession of methamphetamine.
Washington state troopers said Hubbard got into an argument with her boyfriend, Darwin Vonschirmer, while he was driving south on Interstate 205. Hubbard struck him with a broken coffee mug, slicing his hand, police said. When he pulled over to the shoulder, Hubbard let the dog out of the car and threw the animal onto the highway, police said.
Peanut Butter was struck by a car while attempting to walk back to the shoulder of the freeway.
Vonschirmer told KATU he was in the process of breaking up with Hubbard when she reacted violently. He said he had taken the dog in about a year ago, after finding it on the side of the freeway.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, argument, breaking up, catahoula, couple, court, cruelty to animals, darwin vonschirmer, dog, fight, girlfriend, highway, interstate, interstate 205, killed, lovers, peanut butter, shellie hubbard, spat, struck, thrown, traffic, vancouver, washington
It would be have been a doggone big story, if it were true.
Based on a report from the Star-Advertiser in Honolulu, many media outlets were asking the question yesterday: Was Bo flown back to Washington from Hawaii for the sole purpose of taking part in a photo op with the president during his shopping trip to PetSmart?
On Wednesday, Bo accompanied the president on a shopping trip in Alexandria — and was duly photographed by the press corps.
Clearly, some theorized, the dog must have been flown back home for the photo op.
Or, for those who like conspiracy theories, might there actually be two Bo’s — maybe an original Bo and a cloned Bo — one who serves as the family dog, one who handles the public appearances?
Britain’s Daily Mail, as it’s prone to do, seemed to be breathing most heavily about the possibility of wrongdoing:
” … Michelle Obama’s press office had earlier said Bo would be leaving with the First Lady and her girls for their Hawaii holiday last Saturday… And an island eyewitness said he saw the Portuguese Water Dog taken for a walk earlier this week, ahead of President Obama’s delayed arrival.
“A mistake could have been made by all three news outlets who reported the dog went to Hawaii … But a mystery is presented if at least one of the Chicago Sun-Times, Hawaii TV station KHON 2 and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser were correct.”
The Los Angeles Times asked Michelle Obama’s office and quickly got this answer: “Bo has been in D.C. this whole time.”
The Star-Advertiser in Honolulu yesterday ran a correction on its report that Bo arrived with Michele Obama and the children in Hawaii.
Obama’s not the first president to be wrongly suspected of having the government chauffeur his dog across great distances at great expense.
Republicans accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of leaving his Scottish terrier Fala behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands, then ordering a U.S. Navy destroyer to go retrieve him.
In a 1944 speech, FDR responded to the charges.
“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks — but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”
You’d think Republicans, and even Sarah Palin, would have learned by now — as Richard Nixon did — that, while bad-mouthing a president is accepted procedure in politics, bad mouthing his dog will only get you bitten.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bo, checkers, christmas, clone, conspiracy, correction, destroyer, dogs, fala, family, fdr, flown, franklin roosevelt, hawaii, jet, media, mistakes, newspapers, nixon, obama, pets, petsmart, photo op, photographs, portuguese water dog, president, presidents, shopping, trip, washington, wrongdoing
When their dog Scamp was hit by a car, a Washington state family checked his seemingly lifeless body, then put him under a wheelbarrow, planning to bury him the next morning.
Paul McKinlay, 61, had been speaking with his son in his front yard in Yelm when Scamp, an 8-month-old Yorkie-shih tzu mix (not Shiatsu, as ABC News reported) slipped underneath the fence and ran into the street.
McKinlay heard a yelp and a thud and arrived at the street to find the dog motionless and the female driver crying.
“We checked to see if we felt any breathing out of his nose, and we couldn’t feel any heartbeat,” said Reta McKinlay.
Her husband wrapped the dog — who they’d brought home for their granchildren this summer — in a blanket. They placed his body under an overturned wheelbarrow so no animals could get to him, with plans to bury Scamp in the morning.
Then, they broke the news to the 6-year-old twins — granchildren who live with them.
“[Paul] was going to bury him the next morning so we went into the house and just told the kids the dog had gotten hit by a car and that he had gone to heaven like in that movie, ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven.’ My grandson was crying. He asked if [Scamp] evaporated like in the movie and I said, ‘Yes, that’s what happened.’”
But when Paul McKinlay went outside the next morning and lifted up the wheelbarrow, Scamp was sitting up.
Four days and $3,000 in vet bills later Scamp, who’d suffered a concussion, broken teeth and a possible jaw fracture, was brought home by the McKinlays — much to the suprise of their twin granchildren, who, just in case Scamp didn’t make it, hadn’t initially been told that the dog was still alive.
Mrs. McKinlay said her husband had been “distraught” that he left Scamp out in the cold, but vets told the couple that the cold temperatures could have kept the dog alive, by keeping his brain from swelling.
“Sometimes God’s just not ready to take something away,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, alive, animals, body, burial, bury, car, christmas, concussion, dead, dog, dogs, found, heartbeat, heaven, hit, miracle, outside, paul mckinlay, pets, presumed, reta mckinlay, scamp, shih-tzu, sitting, survived, survivor, washington, wheelbarrow, wrapped, yelm, yorkie
A state appeals court in Washington has declared Pierce County’s dangerous-dog ordinance unconstitutional — specifically, the part of it that requires $250, or more, to get a hearing.
“You shouldn’t have to purchase justice,” said Bellingham attorney Adam Karp, who represented a Pierce County woman who challenged the law.
The case stems from an April 2009 incident in which a 7-pound Pomeranian named Kayla was allegedly attacked by a Great Pyrenees mix named Blizzard. The Pomeranian was so badly hurt it had to be put down.
A Pierce County animal control officer declared Blizzard dangerous, which meant her owner, Heidi Downey, had to meet a number of stringent requirements if she wanted to keep the dog.
Under county law, animal control officers can deem a dog dangerous without holding a hearing. To get one, dog owners were required to pay $125 for an initial hearing, and another $250 to get a hearing with a member of the Auditor’s Office.
Downey paid for an initial hearing and lost. She paid more for a formal hearing with testimony from witnesses. She lost that one too. Downey appealed to Superior Court, lost again, and then took her case to the Court of Appeals.
In arguments earlier this summer, her attorney, in addition to presenting his client’s side of the story — that Blizzard had been wrongly identified as the perpetrator — argued the fees were unfair.
Last week, a Court of Appeals panel ruled the fees unconstitutional because they deprive people who can’t afford them of the right to challenge the county’s declaration of their dogs as dangerous.
The panel also ruled the county does not have a rigorous enough process for deeming an animal dangerous.
County Auditor Julie Anderson said, pending a planned appeal, she has suspended the practice of collecting fees from people seeking a hearing. The county will also will refund fees to those people who have paid but not yet had their hearing.
“This is a temporary measure until we can settle the law,” she told The News Tribune in Tacoma in an email.
Karp said the ruling could have repercussions for other governments that charge fees for dangerous dog hearings, including Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup and Bonney Lake.
Attorneys for the county argued that the policy allows dog owners a choice: They can get a $250 permit and take out a $250,000 insurance policy that allows them to keep a dangerous dog, or they can pay the fees to challenge the designation.
As one justice noted, though, the policy makes dogs guilty until proven innocent — and unable to have their innocence proven without paying up front.
And what about Blizzard? The appeals court ruled there had not been enough evidence presented to declare the dog dangerous. They ordered the designation reversed.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam karp, appeals court, attack, auditor, blizzard, charges, court of appeals, dangerous, declaration, dog, due process, examiner, fees, for sale, great pyrenees, guilt, hearing fees, hearings, heidi downey, innocence, insurance, justice, kayla, ordinance, permits, pierce county, pomeranian, pyrenees, refund, restrictions, unconstitutional, washington
“Absolutely not, no I did not,” Nico Dauphine said after taking the stand in her own defense Wednesday in Superior Court, WJLA reported.
Dauphine is a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.
Prosecutors have presented evidence of her disdain for free-roaming cats, as well as a surveillance tape that they said showed her walking up to a planter where food was kept, reaching into her purse, then reaching into the cat food and leaving.
Dauphine argued in court that she was trying to get rid of the food because it attracted rats: “I went over to the planter, took out the food, put it in a plastic bag and threw it out,” she said.
Prosecutors have entered as evidence a number of quotes and articles in which Dauphine describes cats as an invasive species that should be euthanized. One online lecture by Dauphine is entitled “Apocalypse Meow – Free Ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife.”
Both sides presented closing arguments in the animal cruelty trial Wednesday and Judge Truman Morrison is scheduled to give his verdict Monday afternoon.
Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, says attempts to poison free-roaming cats — not uncommon across the country — often pose a threat to pets and wildlife..
“There are no ‘safe poisons’ and there is no ‘safe way’ to poison,” said Dr. Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society.
Says Laura Nirenberg, Best Friends’ legislative analyst for cat initiatives.”The sad truth is that not only is poisoning an indiscriminate and inhumane method of controlling animal populations, it is unnecessary, especially when growing evidence from communities across the country shows that trap-neuter-return, commonly known as TNR, is the most efficient and cost-effective method.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, antifreeze, best friends, birds, cats, dc, feeding, feral, feral cats, free roaming, health, migratory bird center, national zoo, neuter, nico dauphine, poison, poisoning, prey, rat poison, return, safety, smithsonian, tnr, trap, trial, washington, wildlife
Jaggar, an English Bulldog whose owner reported him stolen and said he was being held for ransom, was found dead Monday by railroad tracks in Kelso, Washington.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was notified about the dog by a citizen who saw the dog’s remains and assumed he had been hit by a train.
The dog’s remains were taken to the Cowlitz County Humane Society for tests, KATU News reported.
The dog was killed an estimated two to three days before the remains were found, deputies said.
Jennifer Thomas of Woodland, Washington, told KATU News earlier this month that Jaggar had been taken from her driveway, and that three days after that she received photos of her dog and a text message demanding $1,000 and prescription drugs.
The text message said, “If you don’t do exactly as you’re told the next few messages will be of your friend slowly getting tortured to death. And do us both a favor, keep this to yourself, no cops.”
No further messages were received, she said.
“This appears to be a sad ending to this part of the investigation,” said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson. “It doesn’t mean that we’re done with the investigation. We’ll follow any leads we get to find out who took Jaggar.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bulldog, cowlitz, dead, deputies, dogs, english bulldog, jaggar, jennifer thomas, kelso, kidnap, kidnapped, pets, ransom, safety, sheriff, stolen, tests, text message, threats, washington, woodland
A disabled Washington woman said thieves stole her bulldog and are threatening via text messages to torture and kill him unless she sends them money and her prescription drugs.
Jennifer Thomas, of Woodland, relayed the bizarre story to KATU News, saying “People have a hard time even believing it. I can’t believe it! This kind of stuff doesn’t happen in our lives.”
She said she saw a man and a woman in her driveway just before she noticed her English bulldog, Jaggar, was missing 10 days ago.
Thomas said the people who took Jaggar knew she was in a wheelchair, and that she takes prescription painkillers.
Thomas read KATU News a text message she received that said: “If you don’t do exactly as you’re told the next few messages will be of your friend slowly getting tortured to death. And do us both a favor, keep this to yourself, no cops.”
Thomas has been in contact with Cowlitz County investigators about the theft.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bulldog, cowlitz county, demanded, dog, jaggar, jennifer thomas, kidnapped, messages, missing, pets, police, ransom, stolen, text, theft, washington