Animal Advocacy

Puppy Mill Bill Assaulted

posted March 23rd, 2011 by
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Oklahoma Capitol

By Patty Mandrell

            The puppy mill bill is being assaulted.  Charles Wyrick’s SB 637 disallows

ALL rules and regs set up by the puppy mill bill’s Board of Commercial

Pet Breeders.     These are common sense rules from a common sense bill…

it  would be a travesty and huge setback for very basic animal welfare

considerations  if Wyrick et al succeed with this maneuver.   Board president

Soriano makes some very cogent observations in the World article.  Note the

thoughtful, involved process in developing the rules.   Where was Wyrick during

this process?

            Mr Wyrick’s disallowing  the rules will effectively

neuter and defang the puppy mill bill in one cut, and he won’t have 

to mess with trying to repeal the whole puppy mill bill, a la senator Bresheen,

which probably  doesn’t stand much of a chance of happening.  

 The bill passed the Senate 29-13 and now goes to the House.

It’s a short one page, kills the rules.

http://newlsb.lsb.state.ok.us/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=sb637

Advocate Clova Abrahamson  sends this site to see how your senator voted,

go to page 712:

http://www.oksenate.gov/publications/senate_journals/sj2011/sj20110316.pdf

Tulsa World article:

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20110321_11_A1_CUTLIN553521&archive=yes

Educate yourself about SB 637, decide how you feel and then take action.

Bad News for Dogs

posted March 18th, 2011 by
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Oklahoma Capitol

By Ruth Steinberger

SB 637, a bill to disapprove the proposed rules of the Oklahoma Commercial Pet Breeders Board, passed in the Oklahoma senate on Wednesday by a margin of 29 to 13.  This is bad news for dogs and great news for puppy mill operators.

Blinded by ammonia fumes

The title was “struck” on the bill, meaning it is likely to be seriously altered before making it further through the legislature.  The next step will be a committee assignment in the house to determine if it will be voted on by the full Oklahoma house in the coming weeks.

Arguments in favor of this bill have been inconsistent and senate author Charles Wyrick (D-Fairland) argued in the senate agriculture and rural development committee against rules which he knew had already been removed from the bill.  Contrary to speculation, according to the standard procedures, it is not possible to use this step to alter the rules.  

The current rules are almost entirely consistent with USDA regulations.  Portions which have been altered or added include a mandate for monitoring of ammonia levels.  Ammonia fumes are damaging to the eyes of many dogs in high volume breeding facilities, with many dogs actually becoming blind from years of exposure to these fumes.  Tragically, McAllister veterinarian Brian Renegar, DVM is at the forefront of the effort to keep puppy mills in Oklahoma unregulated; Renegar is the house author of the bill to disallow these rules.

What you can do:

  • Support the passage of the rules proposed by the Oklahoma Board of Commercial Pet Breeders, the agency formed by the 2010 passage of SB 1712.
  • Please contact Representative Kris Steele, Speaker of the House and Representative Jeffrey Hickman, Speaker Pro Tempore to ask that this bill not be heard.  Contact them at [email protected] and [email protected]
  • Contact your own representative to urge them to vote against SB 637 and to support the passage of the current proposed rules. 
  • Contact Governor Mary Fallin to ask that she sign the rules submitted by the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders.  Contact Governor Fallin at [email protected] or call 405-521-2342
  • Thank the following Senators who voted against SB 637.

Anderson                     [email protected]         

Bingman                      [email protected]            

Branan                                    [email protected]

Crain                           [email protected]

Halligan                       [email protected]

Holt                             [email protected]

Johnson, R.                              [email protected]

Jolley                           [email protected]

Marlatt                        [email protected]

Myers                                      [email protected]

Rice                             [email protected]

Stanislawski                 [email protected]

Treat                           [email protected]

The following senators voted for SB 637

Aldridge                                     

Allen                                            

Ballenger                              

Barrington                              

Bass                                             

Brecheen                            

Brinkley                   

Brown                                 

Burrage   

David

Eason Mc           

Ellis

Fields  

Ford   

Garrison

Justice

Laster 

Lerblance

Newberry

Paddack          

Reynolds

Russell 

Schulz

Shortey          

Simpson

Sparks

Sykes

Wilson

Wyrick 

Black Dog (And CAT) Bias – Last Adopted, First Euthanized

posted March 15th, 2011 by
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BY DOLORES PROUBASTA 

DADS (DIME A DOZEn) and BBDs (big black dogs) are labels for black dogs at municipal animal shelters in America. And these dogs often pay the ultimate price for their coat color.

They are routinely passed over for adoption in favor of other color-coated dogs, which is why they are the first ones to be “pulled out” for euthanasia when there is no room for new arrivals with better chances.

Older black dogs are sometimes killed as soon as they exit the animal control truck, because of the attitude “why even try.” Black cats and kittens fare no better due to superstition and lower visibility as they hide in the back of cages. Visit your local shelter with an eye out for black dogs and cats and you will understand. Even cute black puppies don’t sell well by retailers or breeders.

This is nothing new. Even Celts, Vikings, and Romans linked black dogs with bad omens and demonic incarnation. Primitive minds in today’s world still do.

Black dogs and cats which languish at rescue shelters are sought for adoption before Halloween by those practicing witchcraft and associated superstitions and blood sacrifices. Reputable rescue organizations prohibit adoption of solid black, solid white and black/white cats and dogs during the Halloween season.

British Islanders believe eerie black dogs haunt castles and graveyards, while Central and South America are rich in negative “perro negro” legends. Superstition and fear may explain the curious moniker “black dog” for depression and drug induced hallucinations.

Because domestic animals reflect human preferences, the idea that dark-colored dogs are more effective deterrents to enemies was not lost on those who selectively bred black from wolf grey. Over time and breeding, black became the “default” color for domestic dogs.

However, black is not evident in the Canidae family – wild dogs such as Dingo, Culpeo, Dhole, Bush Dog or wolves, jackals, foxes or coyotes. Only the endangered African Wild Dog or Painted Dog has splotches of black.

Part of the reproductive success of darker dogs is that they are more resistant to the UV spectrum and therefore less susceptible to skin malignancies. While they are more prone to heat exhaustion, cancer claims fewer lives and that favors their genetic lineage.

The fact that black dogs appear more forbidding is also an advantage in the survival game. Even sheep are quicker to react to black and dark-colored stock dogs than to lighter coat colors.

Many people, however, do admire the elegant, slick, intense good looks of darkcoated breeds and their mixes. Dog behaviorists, veterinarians, responsible breeders, and human companions agree there is no link between the color of an animal’s coat and undesirable character traits.

Black dog bias, low adoption rate and high euthanasia in municipal shelters is hard to prove with numbers because animal control shelters and humane organizations do not keep data on size, breed and color of dogs euthanized or adopted. Empirical data, however, indicate that more black animals wait longer to be adopted and run out of allotted time in city shelters.

Discussions are beginning about how to encourage adoption and create appealing environments that show off dark-coated dogs, cats, and other small animals such as rabbits.

“Not only black, but dark brown, grey, brindle or merle dogs are also long-stay residents at shelters,” says Jess Chappell, a volunteer photographer at the Royal SPCA in York, UK. “They simply just don’t stand out in poorly lit facilities, and so they are less noticeable or attractive. It would certainly be interesting to compare adoption rates in shelters with good and with bad kennel lighting!”

Ambient lighting is one of several image enhancements that humane societies and animal control departments can provide. Other solutions are suggested at the various websites in the information list.

Essentially it all boils down to exposure with pizzazz: “Black Coat Gala,” “Hair O’ the Black Dog Happy Hour,” “Black CatWalk Night,” “Shelter-Black-is-Beautiful Pageant,” are some of the imaginative fundraising and adoption event themes shining the light on black dogs.

A friend, owner of a black dog, acknowledged recently that he did not know about black-dog bias. Eddie’s beloved Labrador retriever, Danner, is his first black dog. “Now that you mention bias,” he said, “I realize that while I can’t clone Danner, because of him there is no question that the next dog I adopt will be black. That’s my bias.”

Reverse bias for BBDs would be welcome.

 

Once a Bait Dog: Jewel Under the Scar

posted March 15th, 2011 by
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BY JEWEL JOHNSON
ASSISTED BY SHIRLEY JOHNSON

THERE ARE PEOPLE who get a thrill  watching dogs fight to the death. I was bred  specifically to encourage these fights for the  entertainment and profit of people.

I was called a “Bait Dog.” Although I have  fighting in my ancestry, my nature is not to  fight. I am submissive.

At a young age I was thrown into a fighting pit. The purpose was to trigger aggression of the  dogs scheduled to fight. I was injured many  times. People say I was one of the lucky ones. The people took a little better care of me than  the others. I was submissive and they wanted  me to remain so.

I finally refused to stand up for myself. Then  the people bred me, knowing if they threw  my puppies into the pit, I would try to protect  them. I tried but despite my efforts my pups  died in the jaws of the fighters.

Finally, some kind-hearted humans stepped  in. They took the bad people to jail and I was  put in a foster home. I had surgery so that I  would have no more puppies. I was thin and  my coat had no shine. All I wanted was a real  home.

One day I was taken to a PetsMart store. I  was there all day but it seemed no one wanted  me. I was so scared. My foster dad took great  care of me, but he could not continue to care  for me and he knew I deserved a good home.

A woman came in the store and sat on the  floor nearby. Gently she reached out to me!  I could hardly believe it. I  snuggled in her lap and did  my best to tell her I was a  good girl. I so hoped she  would look past my scars  and realize that I was not  mean, that I only fought  to protect my babies. She  heard me. She adopted me  that very day. I was given  the name Jewel.

It has been a long road for  us. My old injuries required  me to have a canine extreme makeover. I even  had to have my tail cropped. But now I have a  wonderful short-tailed-boxer-like-twitchy-butt! 

I live in a loving and caring home with Mom,  Dad, Buddy and Ely. Daddy calls me his  Sweetie Girl. Buddy and Ely are rescues too! I  like that. I have been with my family for 8 years  now.

Today I am no longer called a Bait Dog. I am  a proud member of the Johnson family, loved  and cared for every day. Look beyond my  scars and you will see that I am in fact a jewel.

If you have a chance to rescue one of my  brothers or sisters, please do. We may not be  puppies when you first see us, and we may  not be perfect, but we make loving pets and  we never forget who saved us.

Animal Welfare Fight Not Over Yet

posted March 15th, 2011 by
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BY RUTH STEINBERGER

Throughout The Last three months  we have seen media reports of “puppy mill  closures,” with some breeders claiming that  the recently drafted regulations for Oklahoma  kennels will cause them to close their doors.

Some Legislators are beginning to act on  behalf of breeders and their unsubstantiated  fears.  

In December, a network of Tulsa area  shelters and rescue organizations, along  with Dr. Chet Thomas of City Veterinary  Hospital, worked to provide temporary care  and housing for 197 adult dogs and puppies  released by breeders shutting down.

And while some breeders blame potential  regulations for their closing, it should be  noted that closing a business prior to public  hearing or approval of new regulations  indicates:

• These breeders would have closed,  regardless of the regulations.
• Growing awareness of puppy mills has  prompted a downturn in puppy sales.
• The slowing economy has impacted “impulse” sales that comprise  pet store puppy purchases in the  Northeast, the primary site of puppy  retail sales.
• Thousands of dogs have lost their  homes to foreclosures and job losses,  reducing the number of homes  available to dogs from any sources,  including puppy mills.
• Blaming forthcoming regulations for  breeders is a convenient excuse for  closure.

For any one or all of these reasons, some  breeders decided that it was not worth  continuing in this industry no matter what the  regulations may be.

Oklahoma residents, including readers of  Tulsa Pets Magazine, are asking what they  can do to help insure the welfare of dogs,  considering breeder closures and efforts  of breeders to dilute  or kill regulations  requiring basic  improvements for the  health and welfare  of dogs in breeder  facilities.

First and most  important, the  animals need your  voice; efforts at the  state Capitol aimed  at helping animals  will be aided by a  grass roots voice in  every community.   Contacting your  Legislator is the most  important step for the  animals. Puppy mill  operators are making  their voices heard loud  and clear.

Use e-mail, snail mail  and phone calls to let  your Legislators know  that, as a constituent,  you support the  proposed rules of  the Oklahoma State Board of Commercial  Pet Breeders specifically and animal welfare  efforts generally.

Currently, puppy producers are claiming  that last year’s passage of breeder  regulations “will shut us down” and their  position as victims has been heard by a few  Legislators. At least three bills are before the Legislature aimed at repealing or amending  Senate Bill 1712, the statute creating the  Board of Commercial Pet Breeders, or to  repeal or diminish the regulations proposed  by the board.

Breeders have overwhelmed the board  and Legislators and any extra measures  on behalf of welfare of the dogs were  eliminated during the comment period,  which led to continuing to allow small cage  sizes and no mandatory rest period between  mother dogs’ breeding cycles.

Let your Legislators know that breeding  facilities not complying should be closed.   The rules proposed by the Commercial Pet  Breeders Board ensure basic necessities  such as food, water, living conditions  and veterinary care. The proposed new  regulations were changed following lobbying  of breeders. You can view the rules in their  entirety at http://www.ok.gov/petbreeders/ documents/Rules%20Adopted%2012-22 2010.pdf.

Second, puppy mills are a consumerdriven industry and retail puppy sales are  declining. You can help promote that trend. Pet stores and Internet sites are the main  sales venues for puppies. As consumers  become more aware of the conditions  in puppy mills and the congenital health  problems of the puppies, the more people  turn elsewhere for a dog.

Increasing numbers of educated and  caring people are adopting a pet from an  animal shelter or rescue organization instead  of purchasing from a retail store or from  the Internet. According to the Pet Food  Industries Council, 24 percent of dogs are  now acquired from shelters, compared to 17  percent a few years ago.

You can support this trend by helping  raise awareness of the benefits of shelter  adoptions, while deterring people from  buying a puppy from the for-profit breeder  industry.   Volunteering at a shelter, promoting  adoptions, and generally working on behalf  of homeless pets all help to indirectly  diminish the consumer base that drives  this industry. A letter to the editor, a guest  column and sharing info with friends helps in  this effort.

A recent Tulsa World poll showed  that at least 70 percent of Oklahomans  support regulation of puppy mills. However,  regulations designed to limit the number  of dogs in a breeding facility have been  blocked for years by an underground  industry, which is regulated or even banned  in many areas of the U.S.

Breeders are successful in getting what  they want written into the regulations or  fighting to eliminate any new regulation. It is time to put this indulgence behind  us. Breeders claim to be serious players  in Oklahoma agriculture, but they are not.   Hiding behind the fear of regulations does  not serve our state well.

It is time to support the new agency  created through the passage of SB 1712,  ask the Legislature to move forward to  address other issues facing Oklahoma, and  allow last year’s widely-supported bill to do  its job.

Petfinder’s 15th Anniversary

posted March 15th, 2011 by
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Petfinder 2

Story by Kristi Eaton

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Petfinder.com, the No. 1 pet site in the world. In its 15 years of operation, more than 17 million animals have been adopted.

The idea for Petfinder.com came about on New Year’s Eve in 1995, when Betsy and Jared Saul started discussing the new phenomenon known as the World Wide Web. Being animal lovers, the couple decided to create a site connecting shelter pets with adopters.

Creating the website became the couple’s New Year’s Resolution. The goal was small enough in the start: save the life of one homeless animal per month and the website would be worth it.

So the couple began their quest. Betsy would call local shelters and rescue groups in and around New Jersey after work to see if they would try the new concept while Jared, who was in medical school at the time, built the website. In 1996, the site officially launched.

By 1998, the response grew and the site went national. Canadian groups joined in 2000, making the site truly international. To keep the site free for visitors and adopters, Betsy sought out corporate sponsorships.

In 2003, the Petfinder.com Foundation was created, donating more than $10 million to shelters and rescue groups. And in keeping up with technology, the site launched an app for the iPhone in 2010, making it even easier for people around the world to adopt a pet. Today more than 13,000 shelters and rescue groups in North America use the site.