Sunday, February 27, 2011

Missouri Prop B-media lies exposed!

February 25, 2011
From: Karen Strange, President - Missouri Federation of Animal Owners
Re: Representative Jason Smith (R-Salem) and Media Reports of Conflict of Interest with Proposition B
The Rep. Jason Smith story is sensational journalism in its most sleazy form.  Instigated by animal rights activists, there is no story there; however, the media tried to create a story.  The accusations of a conflict of interest are manufactured and without merit. It should be noted that the proposed changes to Proposition B, also known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act ballot initiative, are stronger than the original language and will address all licensees that operate substandard facilities.  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Humane Society of Missouri (MHS), and their supporters testified in the House Agriculture Committee hearing during Rep. Smith's questioning that they did not want the provisions in Proposition B that would apply to breeders to also apply to humane societies.  In short, they cannot comply with all the requirements and do not want Proposition B changed because the rewrites include them, which would require that ALL dogs in licensed facilities have the same required care, whether intact or altered.  They are targeting Rep. Smith and his mother as a smokescreen to take the heat off of themselves.
As House Majority Whip, Rep. Smith has every right to legally sit on any House Committee of his choice and question any witnesses appearing before that committee. He cannot vote on any committee of which he is not a sitting member, but he may sit with the committee and ask questions during public testimony. Because of his knowledge about Proposition B and the animal rights movement, along with his degree in law, he was asked to sit on the committee not only to educate the committee members but to ask pertinent questions of witnesses concerning Proposition B. It is no more a conflict of interest for him to question them than for a lawyer to sit on a judicial committee, a doctor to sit on a healthcare committee, or any legislator to vote on tax issues because they are taxpayers in the state of Missouri.
Animal rights activists have whined and complained because they don't like to be challenged concerning facts.  The necessary changes to Proposition B are bringing their unfounded accusations under public scrutiny.  Their true agenda of attacking agriculture has also been brought to the public's attention.
The news stories concerning Rep. Smith's mother's kennel were misleading and led viewers to assume the kennel and dogs presented were Mrs. Smith's, when in fact they were not her dogs! The images were file films and the dogs presented were not even her breeds, much less her dogs or kennel. As I told the news director at KRCG-TV (Channel 13, Jefferson City MO) it was a stretch to make a story of absolutely nothing and they were guilty of exploitative and misleading journalism. The same is true of Channel 2 in St. Louis, MO (FoxNews2 KTVI).  Mrs. Smith's kennel was immediately inspected three times by different agencies following the release of the "Dirty Dozen" HSUS propaganda. Her facility was clean and the animals had exemplary care.  The only write-up was because Mrs. Smith did not have a fire extinguisher in one building, and she was not aware she needed one.
The news stories this week were inaccurate to say the least, and were intended to take heat away from HSUS and their losing battle to continue using propaganda to raise funds from the unknowing public in order to pad their coffers. They are being investigated on a number of levels for good reason.

Report: House leader has tie to dog-breeding business
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Thu, 24 Feb 2011 15:07 PM PST
JEFFERSON CITY -- When the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on a bill scaling back new dog-breeding rules approved by state voters, the legislator who led the attack on the rules was Rep. Jason Smith

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The word is getting out!

We've been shouting it from the rooftops on this blog, and finally the word is  getting out! Sterilization may have benefits in few specific situations, but it also is associated with MANY adverse dog health side effects. The good old law of unintended consequences comes back to bite us in the arse.

An excellent summary from the veterinarians who specialize in reproductive medicine, the American College of Theriogenologists:

They note:

....the decision to spay or neuter a pet must be made on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the pet’s age, breed, sex, intended use, household environment and temperament.  The use of generalized rules concerning gonadectomy (removal of the ovaries or testes) is not in the best interest of the health or well-being of the pets or their owners.
And go on to comment:

In fact, in some European Union countries where gonadectomy is illegal unless deemed medically necessary (such as Norway) there are no significant problems with pet overpopulation, indicating that the pet overpopulation problem that exists in the United States is due to cultural differences on the importance of pets, the responsibility of pet owners, and the ability of the government and national agencies to properly educate the public. 

And this good basic overview of just a few of the many issues, covered by Dr. Karen Becker:

Even the AVMA admits to some seldom-mentioned problems with sterilization in this journal article:

....potential health problems associated with spaying and neutering have also been identified, including an increased risk of prostatic cancer in males; increased risks of bone cancer and hip dysplasia in large-breed dogs associated with sterilization before maturity; and increased incidences of obesity, diabetes, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism.

Keep spreading the word! Send letters to the editor of your local newspapers. Post comments to blogs. We may be able to reverse the tide of "speutermania" if the message is continually thrust into the public eye. 
Sterilization is a decision best made by an owner in consultation with his enlightened veterinarian, after consideration of the risks and benefits involved in each individual situation.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An ugly (and painful) problem

A message from a shelter vet regarding early spay:
As you know I saw many dogs from the pound spay operation.  I wont even go into distemper.  A DVD and book is being written as we communicate on pound distemper ( big in Texas)  (  I told them it was the Lancaster pound that set me onto a cure for distemper) ( also they threatened to sue the pants off me.)  Will cover "Old Dog Encephalitis" and Canine Herpes as well.  Should be ready in about  4 months.  

But, here is a problem quite common in the days when I practiced.  Herpes.  Vaginal lesions.  Cannot get rid of them if the dog is spayed.  Delaying neutering operations till after puberty allowed this problem to disappear.  Place this ugly problem on your problem list of bureaucratic misdeeds against dogs in Calif.  Doc Alson Sears
Herpes virus in humans produces the very painful shingles skin lesions. Can you imagine the pain that these bitches must endure when they suffer from herpetic lesions on the tender vaginal mucosal membranes?

From Dr. Sears' website:
It is my very strong suggestion dogs born with herpes virus NOT BE SPAYED BEFORE THE FIRST HEAT CYCLE! Vaginal and sheath lesions can occur in these dogs. The lesions will remain throughout animal's life, and no effective treatment has been found for these lesions in spayed dogs. If allowed to have normal heat cycles, even if they are infected, they do not show lesions as adults. There are several breed exception to this: Mastiff and Mastiff related breeds, English Bulls, and Golden Retrievers.

I have tried a variety of ways to control the effects of early spaying without success:

* Serum

* Serum plus the interferon materials

* Serum plus gancyclovir

* Induced heat cycles with estrogen and progesterone.

These methods have had no success. The best I have been able to do is burn down the worst ulcers with 1% tincture of iodine solution. Panalog ointment seems to have a ameliorating effect on the worst vaginal lesions,
however, does not provide a cure. My best advise is..............DON'T SPAY YOUR DOG BEFORE A FIRST HEAT CYCLE. THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW IF YOUR DOG IS A CARRIER OF HERPES VIRUS OR NOT!

The Disappearance of Animal Husbandry

This article originally appeared in the February 11, 2011 issue of Dog News. It is posted here by permission of the author.
The Disappearance of Animal Husbandry
Carlotta Cooper

Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years; it’s been practiced ever since humans began domesticating and keeping animals. Yet today there are many people who don’t know what animal husbandry is. Recently the editor of a book on farming asked me if husbandry meant breeding or mating, which is a sad reflection on our educational system and her own knowledge. Just to clarify, animal husbandry is the practice of breeding and raising animals. The term is often applied to agriculture and livestock but it can be applied to all of the animal sciences which relate to domestic animals. Thus, I would say that breeding dogs is an animal husbandry practice. Cleaning your dogs’ ears on a regular basis is good animal husbandry. Practicing good grooming falls under animal husbandry, and so on.

Recently in Virginia (December 2010), a woman named Jean Cyhanick was convicted of cruelty to animals largely due to the fact that several of her dogs needed to have their teeth cleaned. I am not making this up or exaggerating it. You can read accounts of the woman’s trial on the Internet. . It was stipulated at the trial (both sides agreed) that most of Ms. Cyhanick’s dogs were in good condition. There was no seizure or raid in this case. However, Virginia law contains a provision that defines emergency veterinary treatment in the following terms:

... veterinary treatment to stabilize a life-threatening condition, alleviate suffering, prevent further disease transmission, or prevent further disease progression.

§ 3.2-6570. Cruelty to animals; penalty.

A. Any person who: ... (ii) deprives any animal of necessary ... emergency veterinary treatment ... is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

A Class 1 misdemeanor is the highest misdemeanor in Virginia law and is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500. The next step up is a felony.

This is the law that was applied to Ms. Cyhanick’s dogs and their teeth, making tartar build-up into a veterinary emergency leading to animal cruelty.

There were several other charges. Ms. Cyhanick was a commercial breeder of small and Toy dogs. She had fewer than the 30 dogs allowed under Virginia law. However, because she had two relatives living with her, their dogs were also counted in her total, putting her one bitch over the limit. She was also charged with animal cruelty because two old dogs had old, healed eye injuries. And, she was charged with improper record-keeping and for selling two underage puppies. She sold a puppy that was six weeks old; Virginia law requires puppies to be seven weeks old. The original puppy sold was returned by the buyer. She asked him to choose an older puppy from another litter. He refused and insisted on getting another puppy from the same litter. After he did so, he turned her in to the authorities.

As a result of her convictions, Ms. Cyhanick will never again be able to sell dogs. She is facing several thousand dollars in fines, plus court costs and attorney fees. And, she must get rid of all but four of her dogs.

Virginia law also requires that commercial breeders obtain a pre-breeding vet approval before each bitch is bred. Ms. Cyhanick did not obtain those approvals.

It was obvious to observers that Ms. Cyhanick was railroaded in court on these dubious charges because she was a commercial breeder and the locals wanted to put her out of business, despite the fact that she had a very clean and well-run establishment. However, what interests me here is the role that veterinarians are increasingly playing in determining who can breed dogs and who can’t. Instead of allowing breeders to rely on traditional animal husbandry methods to determine when a dog’s teeth need to be cleaned; how to care for dogs with an old, healed injury; and to make decisions about breeding; it seems to have become necessary to consult with veterinarians on virtually every aspect of breeding and raising dogs. For instance, when did it become necessary for a breeder to have pre-breeding vet approval before breeding a dog? How and why should such a provision be part of a state law? Why should veterinarians be breed wardens? And, in what world is tartar on a dog’s teeth a life-threatening condition making someone guilty of animal cruelty?

It seems we should ask the American Veterinary Medical Association about some of these recent changes. Under fire from animal rights groups, the AVMA has moved further and further toward AR positions on many issues. Just recently they have changed the oath that new veterinarians are required to take. The new oath reads as follows:

"Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge."

The changes include the addition of “animal welfare” and the “prevention” of animal suffering. These changes may make veterinarians much more proactive about involving themselves in the activities of their clients and their clients’ animals. According to statements issued by the AVMA, the organization wants to be a “global leader in animal welfare.”

Of course, other recent changes by the AVMA include the release of their AVMA Model Legislation report a few months ago — a report which was, unfortunately, praised and “embraced” by the AKC Board of Directors. This model legislation, which has already been used, in part, in Guildford, NC, to create a severe law against breeders, is certainly not in the best interest of dog breeders or of dogs. It contains many flaws, incorrect assumptions about breeders (both hobby breeders and commercial breeders), and it, again, makes veterinarians into breed wardens by requiring pre-breeding vet approvals for bitches. In addition, it stipulates that dogs should be raised together with other dogs, despite the fact that not all dogs are dog-friendly or do well when raised in a group. If you don’t raise your dogs in this group format, you risk being labeled as practicing animal cruelty by depriving your dogs of proper socialization or companionship.

Once again, I think we have to ask why veterinarians are making these decisions for breeders instead of breeders being allowed to use good animal husbandry skills and relying on their own experience in raising dogs. Should any veterinarian with no particular expertise with dogs have the right to make breeding decisions instead of an experienced breeder? Should veterinarians be determining how dogs are properly socialized when breeders know that this is something that needs to be done on a breed-by-breed, and even a dog-by-dog basis? I would say, definitely not. To put it succinctly, the AVMA needs to butt out of dog breeding and raising dogs. And, I would say that the AKC needs to take a much closer look at the AVMA’s model legislation and rescind their “embrace” of it before it is used further at the local and state level to make more bad laws against breeders. It makes no sense to have a Government Relations Department trying to fight bad laws against breeders when you have the Board of Directors condoning the kind of anti-breeder guidelines put forth by the AVMA.

The AVMA, perhaps sensing an untapped revenue source, is also very concerned with your dogs’ teeth. When I first began writing about dogs years ago, it was standard to suggest to owners that they should have their dogs’ teeth checked when they took their dogs to the veterinarian for their vaccinations. IF the teeth were bad, then you would probably opt for a professional cleaning under anesthesia once in your dog’s life. Several years ago that suggestion became a yearly mandate with a push to give your dogs dental chews and other products endorsed by the American Veterinary Dental College (who knew such a thing even existed?). $$ In the last year or so, the AVMA and the American Veterinary Dental College have been putting out news releases trying to encourage owners to take their dogs to the vet for a dental check-up every six months! $$$ Of course your dog’s teeth are important, but let's be reasonable! That’s more often than most people go to the dentist. How many people are really going to take their dogs to the vet for a dental exam every six months? Yet, if we're not careful, we will soon see six-month dental check-ups written into state laws as something that is necessary to prove you are not being cruel to your dogs.

Not only are the AVMA and its offshoot the American Veterinary Dental College encouraging more visits to the doggy dentist for your dog, but they are not very happy about laymen cleaning a dog’s teeth. If you get your dog’s teeth cleaned at a pet store where your dog is groomed, or by a non-veterinarian, the AVMA is watching. In many states it is perfectly legal for laymen to do teeth cleaning on dogs and other animals and the AVMA is not happy about that fact. Watch for more bills, known as CAVM, or Scope of Practice: Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) and other practice act exemptions in your state legislature. The AVMA has threatened to go to court before to sue laymen for cleaning dogs’ teeth.

And, it’s not just cleaning dog teeth which upsets the AVMA. The AVMA is taking over many traditional animal husbandry procedures in agriculture as well. In Tennessee a woman named Bonnie Cady was sued by the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association a few years ago because she did artificial insemination and obstetrics work with horses. It was perfectly legal at that time in Tennessee for her to do so, and she was backed by the Tennessee Farm Bureau, which generally rules in all things agricultural. After several years of court proceedings, Ms. Cady won her case. However, the TVMA reached an agreement with Tennessee Farm Bureau, crafted a bill, and had the state legislature pass a law last year which prevents laymen from performing similar work in the future. The bill is so broad that it could even be applied to dog breeders helping each other do an AI breeding if the TVMA wanted to be picky about it. Similar laws are being passed in other states.

I haven't even tried to go into the AVMA's opposition to cropping and docking of dog breeds, a decision they reached without consultation with the AKC — a very animal rights position; or the aggressive push by veterinarians today to spay and neuter every dog they see, regardless of the dog's age, breed, or health. In my opinion, these are irresponsible actions.

While people have been practicing animal husbandry for thousands of years, the first veterinary school only dates to 1761 in France. Veterinarians were not recognized as a profession until 1844. The AVMA was not founded in this country until 1863. My question is, why are proven animal husbandry practices being swept aside by a profession which does not specialize in dogs or dog breeding? Why are dog breeders, the AKC, and state legislatures accepting as gospel the pronouncements of the AVMA when so many of them are self-serving and/or flawed?

I do not intend to attack any individual veterinarians. I have the greatest respect for good vets and I appreciate all that they have done for my animals over the years. However, I do call into question the AVMA as an organization, especially when its goals seem to be in direct conflict with the goals of dog breeders. As long as the AVMA seems to care more about appeasing the animal rights movement and making money than listening to dog breeders, or what is really in the best interests of dogs and other animals, then I think that their motives and actions should be questioned.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Optimal Selection"

Mars is now marketing a canine genetic diversity test that they call "Optimal Selection". Apparently they were promoting this at Westminster KC. You send in blood samples from your bitch and prospective mates and they will tell you which mating would likely promote more heterozygosity (rather than having identical copies of the same chromosomes paired up in the offspring). Heterozygosity is a good thing from the standpoint of better general health and a stronger immune system in comparison to dogs with much homozygosity (that's when paired genes are identical rather than different).
There are cases in some breeds where a problematic, disease causing gene is suspected to be located on a specific chromosome. With the identification of different variations of the same chromosome, you can select mates with an eye to avoiding that certain suspicious chromosome, or at least avoid doubling up on it. Really interesting where science is taking us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Letter to the editor re: Bark Busters tips for Responsible Dog Ownership

In an article in the Feb 12th edition of the Chino Champion, entitled "Bark Busters Offers Tips for Responsible Dog Ownership", Wendy Blanch writes:
"Get your dog spayed or neutered. Spayed/neutered pets not only live longer and healthier lives, but they also make better companions."
The evidence in the veterinary literature refutes this assumption. Let's set the record straight. With the exception of a few health problems that require sterilization, such as pyometra in bitches and prostate infection in dogs, the vast majority of dogs will not benefit from sterilization.
Many studies prove significant health risks associated with sterilization, particularly when done at an early age. The most problematic is a delayed closure of the bony growth plates. This results in an abnormal, "weedy" skeletal development that increases the incidence of orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Working and performance dogs, if neutered before maturity, risk the inability to perform the jobs they were bred for. It seems sex hormones have other functions unrelated to reproduction. Proper growth regulation is among those functions.

Behavioral studies show that sterilization increases fearfulness, noise phobias and aggression.
Other well-documented adverse health effects of de-sexing include increased risk of bone cancer (extremely painful and invariably fatal), high rates of hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and cognitive dysfunction in older pets. Sterilization confers an increased susceptibility to infectious disease, and also a higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines.

Keeping ovaries is associated with significantly increased lifespan; spayed dogs don't get to keep their ovaries. A recent study of exceptionally long-lived Rottweilers concludes that spaying done before middle age reduces longevity by 30%. Similar studies in humans corroborate this finding.
Another well-documented problem with spaying is that 20-30% of spayed bitches will suffer with urinary incontinence. This condition is even dubbed "spay incontinence."
Here is further information on that topic:
Regarding urinary incontinence: "It affects about 20 percent of spayed females," Byron (Julie Byron, DVM, MS) says. Among large breeds, studies have suggested that the incidence may be as high as 30 percent. It may occur in the first few years after spaying, but is most commonly seen in middle-aged and elderly bitches.
"Most of these dogs will start to leak about three or four years after they've been spayed," says Byron, who specializes in urological diseases. Scientists are not sure exactly why these dogs start to leak, but most theories point to the role of one vital hormone-estrogen.
A lack of estrogen, which occurs when the ovaries are removed, can cause changes in pelvic structures designed to hold urine in the bladder. Byron notes that the same kinds of problems are seen in humans. "Just like women who undergo menopause, when the estrogen goes away there is some atrophy of those tissues, the tissues get thinner, the blood vessel numbers may drop, there may be a change in the type or content of the collagen, which may make tissues a little stiffer."
In male dogs, neutering will eliminate the very slight chance of testicular cancer, but the ugly truth is that neutering will significantly increase the risk of prostate or bladder cancer...problems that are, unfortunately, a bit more common.
There are a few specific situations where sterilization may be useful, but please, let's refrain from blanket statements that spread "myth-information"!
(Name withheld) 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Addicted to Yoga"-a happy ending

An UPDATE on our DOGS:
Our very dear Students, we are pleased to announce that we have found homes for our dogs and have successfully diverted the humane society to doing more important things (like finding homes for their dogs)! We were truly overwhelmed by the response and amount of support we received from the community! In one week we were able to find perfect loving homes for 6 dogs! It was amazing! Thank you for your help, support, spreading the word, open hearts, giving time, positive energy, and so much more! We are so very blessed to have you in our lives and we thank you so much for saving the dogs' lives! With much love and respect, namaste.
Polina & Dave

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Rehome" or "rescue"?

Our choice of words can wield a powerful influence. Words can evoke a particular sentiment or emotion. The crafty animal rights extremists have capitalized on the effective use of words such as "rescue", "puppy mill" and "overpopulation" to help promote the agenda of tightening restrictions on breeders.

Over time, such words and phrases can influence attitudes within society. Consider these oft-repeated platitudes:

"Every dog produced by a breeder takes a home from a shelter dog."
"Don't breed or buy while others die"
"Until there are none, rescue one"
"If you breed, you should rescue"

The not-so-subtle implication is that there are not enough homes to go around; that breeders are to blame for dogs who wind up in a "rescue" situation; that dogs are abundant, and that animal control agencies simply cannot find homes for them all. We are told that there is a dearth of dogs needing homes simply because, well, they exist. Therefore breeders should, the logic follows, help to solve that problem of dog homelessness, since they are the parties responsible for bringing dogs into existence.

However emotional this appeal is, logically, it is a fact that there are many more homes opening up for pets each year than there are pets entering shelters. But emotionally, it's difficult to shake the notion of the need for "rescue", replete with images of forlorn waifs enclosed behind bars awaiting their knight in shining armor to deliver them from the evil human dragons who bred them and thereby are responsible for their imprisonment.

Progressive shelter directors, like Ontario's Bill Bruce, know that shelter problems are not caused by "overbreeding".

"We don't have a DOG problem," states Bruce, "we have a PEOPLE problem."

People want pets and will obtain them through the most convenient avenue. Sometimes, however, problems can occur in the home. It is the inability or unwillingness of these pet-owning people to deal with these problems that results in pets needing a new home. And more often than not, these troubled, pet-owning folks are NOT breeders.

Why does re-homing sometimes become necessary for pets? There can be many reasons. Some, such as death or illness of the owner, cannot be prevented or even predicted in many cases. Divorce causes a split in the family, with the pet in this situation possibly needing to be re-homed. Other reasons may stem from an unprepared owner's unwillingness or inability to deal with normal dog training issues such as barking or housetraining. In today's poor economic climate, another major factor is pet owners who suddenly lose their job. Loss of a job may mean losing your home and having to move, resulting in homeless pets as well as people. In some severe cases, the decision for giving up the family pet may result from the choice between feeding the pet or feeding the family.

These situations call for rehoming, not necessarily for something we might tag as "rescue". Rescue implies removal from an abusive situation. None of the situations above are considered abuse, and such dogs don't need to be RESCUED from abusive owners, they simply need a new home!

The term "rescue" implies a Dudly Doright riding in and swooping Nell from the train tracks. Rescuers generally have an evil nemesis, a Snidely Whiplash. How evil is a dead or unemployed owner? Most of the time, Not Very.
Re-homing seems to be a better term to use for such situations. I've heard some "rescue" groups playfully tag themselves as "pet recyclers" or "second chance groups", and I think that more accurately describes the re-homing job at hand.

In many cases, breeders will take back dogs they have bred when re-homing becomes necessary. In other instances, breed rescues step in to help. However, it's the animal control agencies, the local "dog pounds", who bear the brunt of pet relinquishment. And, according to these agencies, many animals they take in end up being killed.

There is, however, no earthly reason for this situation! No adoptable pet should be killed. Claiming a lack of homes is disingenuous, because statistics show that there are plenty of homes. 

According to the 2010 US census, there are over 105 million households in the US. And, according to the 2009-2010 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 17 million of those households will add a pet this year. This translates to roughly one in six US households who will add a dog or cat to their home….this year, and every year! With pets only living on average about 10 years or so, and most pet households owning multiple pets, these statistics are reasonably accurate.

So how best to re-home the homeless pets?? Obviously, many shelters are not effectively performing the job. Could local limit laws be partly to blame? After all, if there were no pet limits, there would be many more homes for the homeless, and many less pets sent to shelters simply because the owner might happen to be over the legal limit. Claiming there are not enough homes, and then removing pets from homes due to technicalities of limit laws smacks of the most blatant hypocrisy.

Yet removing pets from homes for not good reason does occur, on a regular basis. In my local area, in just the past few months, there were a couple of rescue groups who were forced by the local humane society to relinquish dogs due to being over limit. These were groups who were not mistreating their dogs in any way, and there were no neighbor complaints. They were simply over the arbitrary numeric limit.

One of these rescue parties is a couple that runs a local yoga ashram studio who took in some street strays. The other group was an established dog rescue actually prosecuted in civil court for being over the legal nuberic limit, and for having facilities built for the dogs....without obtaining a permit. 

Limit laws are "just another tool in the toolbox", to quote the animal control agencies. Meant to be selectively applied in cases of abuse. Right! Like taking rescued pooches from peaceful yogis and from a group without a building permit!

But what limit laws really teach us is this: "Better off dead than living happily with a few other pets". Because the shelters then take the easy route. Rather than being proactive in placing dogs, they kill them.

So how best to place the adoptable dogs in shelters? Should rescue fall to breed clubs? There is no question that, when it comes to specific breeds, breed club rescues are most qualified to match pets with appropriate homes. But what about all those mixed breed dogs? Are the breed experts responsible for those dogs as well? After all, their puppies are keeping those mixed breeds in shelters, right?

This is really twisted logic and yet we see it continually, from rescue groups, to breed clubs to breeders themselves who believe that breeders are responsible for circumstances that result in dogs needing to be re-homed….even when those circumstances are beyond anyone's control!

If our animals shelters would implement more effective methods of rehoming rather than the knee-jerk reaction of killing for space, society would be better served. It can be done! And it has been done in many areas where they have embraced the No Kill philosophy.

"No kill" is also about "no blame". To be part of a solution means to help unselfishly and without sitting in judgment of others. That's sort of difficult, considering human nature, isn't it? We always seem to want to demonize somebody for problems that just, well, are really nobody's fault. Whether it be loss of a job, being over limit, or faced with relocation, there should be someplace to turn when it comes time to re-home a pet.

Because there, except by the grace of God, go you or I tomorrow. Will there be someone there to help re-home our pets when our turn comes?

Message from "Addicted to Yoga".......

To our very dear students,

We are sending you this email with hesitation but hope that you will be able to help! We love dogs and have rescued many from the streets in the last several years. Many of which we have placed and some of which we have not. We have seven dogs left that need homes and if we don't find homes for them the humane society will take them and most likely euthanize them. Below are pictures of some of the dogs if you are interested or know of anyone who is interested please have them call, email, or visit us to see them! There is no cost we just want the dogs to have a loving and caring home. We are sorry if we offended you by sending this email we just want the dogs to be in a good home and not be euthanized. We have one week before they come back and take the dogs. Thank you for your help and time.


Dave & Polina

These dogs need a home or they will be euthanized!

February Fallacy

We now have the City of Los Angeles currently promoting February as "Spay and Neuter Month."

11-0181 To Council Resolution (Cardenás - Alarcón) - Resolve that, by adoption of this resolution, the Los Angeles Council joined with the Mayor, City Attorney, and the City Controller distinguishes February as Spay and Neuter Month and acknowledges the Found Animals Foundation for their efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of spaying and neutering our four legged companions.

Presumably, in the City's estimation, speutering everything that moves will somehow magically end pet homelessness. Considering that the vast majority of owned pets are already sterilized, massive spay/neuter campaigns make no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps if we eliminate pets altogether by sterilizing them out of existence, it would then logically follow that there would be no pets entering shelters....because there would be no pets! That would be the ONLY scenario where shelter intake would not happen.

And naturally,the City Council and the Found Animal Foundation aren't going to mention the drawbacks of spaying and neutering, particularly the multitude of adverse health effects for dogs.

But it's never been about pet welfare has it? Only about wielding control. I guess that's why it's called "animal control"?

My next entry deals with why pets are in shelters and how to solve that problem....and it definitely has NOTHING to do with spay/neuter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pomeranian Health Concerns

Pomeranian Health Problems
Geneva Coats, R.N.
The APC recently launched a Pomeranian health survey on the OFA website. All current and former owners of Pomeranians are encouraged to take the survey. Participation is essential to develop an accurate assessment of the health problems in our breed. You can access the survey here:
Please complete the survey for each Pom, living or deceased, that you have owned. Also, on the first page of the survey, you are asked for your opinion on the most important health issues in the breed.  
Here are some of the health issues commonly noted in the breed:
Luxating patellas-a condition where the kneecaps slip out of place. This results in lameness of the hind legs. Symptoms may include limb-lifting and a hopping gait. OFA screening at an early age is recommended for an accurate picture, because as a dog ages environmental factors such as trauma, stress and diet can negatively influence the condition of the knee joint. In the worst cases, surgery to repair the knee is necessary.
OFA patella certification is one of the CHIC required exams for Pomeranians. CHIC database information should help us to to breed away from this problem.
Heart problems-Pomeranians are known to be a breed that is often affected by heart problems. Heart problems can be congenital (present at birth, such as PDA) or acquired later in life (resulting from bacterial infection of heart valves, chronic breathing problems etc). The best time to screen for congenital heart problems is at 6 to 8 weeks of age. A veterinarian listens for murmurs with a stethoscope over the four valve areas.  Murmurs heard at this age may sometimes be considered normal, and may disappear as the pup matures. If the murmur is still present at 16 weeks, however, the puppy's heart should be further assessed using cardiac ultrasound. 
OFA maintains a cardiac registry to gather data on congenital heart defects. Some congenital heart problems may not be evident until the puppy is several months old. Therefore, the OFA screen is completed at 12 months of age or later. Ideally, this should be done by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist. The OFA cardiac exam is one of the designated screens for Pomeranians in order to participate in CHIC.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common problems in dogs, including Pomeranians. Lack of thyroid hormone can adversely affect every body organ and system. The thyroid gland my be underactive due to the effects of illness or some medications. A major cause of hypothyroidism, however, is autoimmune thyroiditis.  This is considered to be an hereditary problem. Similar autoimmune problems (such as hemolytic anemia, diabetes and Addison's disease) may occur in members of the same family.
A blood panel is used to screen for thyroiditis. For OFA thyroid certification, a complete thyroid blood panel is required to be done by specific laboratories. OFA thyroid certification is highly recommended for Pomeranians, but is not required for CHIC certification.
Alopecia is a loss of coat that may occur due to other illnesses. In Pomeranians, there is a generalized coat loss condition for which no underlying disease can be found. This condition is known as "Alopecia X". A genetic factor is suspected. Research is ongoing, but there is no blood test for this condition at this time. Conscientious breeders remove affected dogs from their breeding programs.
Collapsing trachea can occur with most small breeds and Pomeranians are no exception. In this condition, the main breathing airways are not strong enough to remain open on their own. Difficulty is noted when breathing. Your veterinarian can assist you with medical management of this condition. Sometimes surgery is indicated. This is a serious and potentially fatal problem, and affected dogs should not be bred.
Hypoglycemia sometimes happens with small puppies who are very active and not taking in enough calories to meet their energy requirements. The pup may develop weakness and pale gums. Untreated, this can lead to seizures and death. If  you suspect hypoglycemia, rub some Nutracal or corn syrup on the gums and consult your veterinarian immediately.
Hypoglycemia in adults may be a symptom of other health problems. Your veterinarian should be consulted for further diagnostic testing if your dog becomes hypoglycemic.
Seizures are usually a symptom of various other conditions but some cases are felt to be hereditary. Your veterinarian can diagnose the cause and prescribe appropriate treatment for this problem.
Dental problems are common in Pomeranian and all toy breeds. Deciduous teeth ("baby teeth") may require veterinary extraction if they are retained beyond the age of four months. Excessive plaque formation and gum disease can be kept in check with periodic professional veterinary dental care. Untreated tooth and gum disease can progress quickly to bone infection and teeth can be lost. Such infection often travels to the heart where it can cause damage to the heart valves, leading eventually to heart failure, so please remember to make regular dental care a priority for your Pomeranian.
Although more common in larger, heavier dogs, hip dysplasia is known to sometimes occur in Pomeranians. A specific type of hip dysplasia known as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is not umcommon in smaller breeds. This problems is believed to probably be inherited. Symptoms usually begin at a fairly young age, usually between 4 months and a year old. Pain and lameness can occur, and the most severe cases require surgical intervention. OFA hip screening for LCP is recommended (but not required) for Pomeranians who participate in the CHIC program. This involves an xray of the hips, usually done under sedation, after the age of 12 months. The films are submitted to OFA for evaluation. Xrays normal for hip dysplasia are also considered normal for LCP. The same films can be used for both certifications.
Pomeranians, like all breeds, may suffer from hereditary eye problems. Pomeranians are known to sometimes be affected by several eye conditions including entropion (eyelids that roll inward) or distichiasis (eyelashes growing inward toward the eye). Both these conditions can cause traumatic damage to the surface of the eye, and if untreated can result in blindness.  An eye health assessment should be done by a veterinary ophthalmologist and then submitted to the Canine Eye Registration Foundation or "CERF". CERF certification is a requirement for Pomeranians to participate in the CHIC program.
For further information on CERF, please see:
For  more information on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), please see:
For details of the CHIC program, please see this webpage:
And don't forget to take the survey! The APC Health and Genetics committee thanks you!

Newswriter swallows PETA's lines

In response to a news story about PETA advising governors to push for mandatory spay-neuter laws.
Hi Rachel –
Just read your article, and I'm thinking you could definitely use some interview questions to pose to PETA. 
Ask them:
  •  WHY they killed over 97% of the animals they claimed to rescue in 2009– and they repeat this sad pattern every year??? 
  •  WHY they feel they're entitled to be seen as experts – when they claim that a bitch can produce a litter every 3 months – that's IMPOSSIBLE! 
  •  WHY there are so many dogs being imported by rescue groups – if there's such an overabundance of animals here? 
  •  WHY they're not helping people retain their pets during financial problems? 
  •  WHY they think that dogs and cats are better dead than with people?
  •  WHERE they got their statistics – as the statistics they've published every year are FAR more dismal on their adoption rates – OR, do they consider death a "forever home"?
Oh – and don't forget to ask them WHY they're pushing for mandatory sterilization when, according to the 2009-2010 APPMA statistics:
75% of owned dogs are already sterilized?  
As for the cats – most entering shelters are feral – meaning, NO ONE owns them! And of owned cats:
 87% are already sterilized.
Geesh – what a crock of crap PETA has fed you!
Have a great day, and don't forget that research is a prerequisite to good reporting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New York proposed Animal Abuser Registry

Hi Jon –
I just read your site - - about your new Animal Rights law.  I do hope your animal abuser registry works far better than the sexual one.  Here in California, we have two families in the San Diego area mourning the losses of their two, beautiful young daughters – and their murderer was in the sexual abuse database for many years.  Yet – these girls were brutally murdered, several years apart.  The police knew about the man – and they were STILL murdered.  Gee – I would think kids would be a higher priority!!!!!!
Not a good plan.  It just doesn't work!  Better to concentrate on the schools and teach kids how to work with animals.  Better to NOT listen to the freaks from PETA and H$U$ who see bogeymen behind every door!  Best to concentrate on what this country and your state so needs – national security, safety for children, an economy that instills encouragement for new businesses, and a legislature that actually obeys the same laws as us little plebeians.
No, Jon, you have your priorities wrong.  Listening to a few freaks is NOT going to get you the popularity of the masses.  Think about it – and investigate if you haven't.  H$U$ is nothing more than PETA in a suit.  They have the same agenda – NO domestic animals!  That's right – no food, no food by-products, no life-saving drugs like insulin, no animal research to solve horrific diseases like ALS (ever watch someone die from it?  I have now witnessed it up front a nd personal – TWICE!!!), no clothing materials from animals, no draft animals, no riding animals, no circuses or zoos – and the absolute worst to me – NO PETS!!!  I can NOT imagine, nor do I want to, a world devoid of animals!  YET – every time a stupid politician listens to them and kowtows to their demands – we are one step closer!  Every time some stupid media person raves about them – we're one step closer.  Terrorists are made up of many agendas – but all are out to ruin and destroy our way of life!
Here's another thought for you – what exactly IS abuse?  My dog doesn't sleep in a special kennel – but on my bed.  Is THAT abuse?  I don't feed my dog once a day – but twice a day.  Is THAT abuse?  My dogs are transported IN crates so they are safe in the advent of an accident.   Is THAT abuse?  A dog hanging their head out the window can be seriously injured – is THAT abuse?  I walk my dog on a leash – abuse?  I train my dog to do things with me and I show in AKC conformation, Obedience, and other activities – is THAT abuse?  My dogs are hard-coated terriers and I pluck their coats – is THAT abuse?  No, I'm not splitting hairs – but H$U$ is.  They will get in a law – then they WILL significantly make it more rigid every year.  That's their way!  What's abuse?  Who's definition?  Sorry, Jon, if this makes you and your staff THINK!!!  While you're at it – ask H$U$ just WHY they only spend less than a half of one percent on animals?  WHY do they NOT have any shelters?  AND – even their whiney CEO doesn't even have a pet – nor has he ever.  How can you accept their word as experts – when they have no real credibility?
Think about it – do you really want to encourage such freaks?  Do you want your children's children to grow up without any pets?   Now – in MY estimation – THAT'S ABUSE!!!!