Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pathetically Biased Writing in today's Vancouver Sun

There was an absolutely horrible opinion piece in today's Vancouver Sun about pit bulls - and how there should be a complete pubilc space ban on all dogs until there is adequate animal control policies are in place so that basically dogs and their owners aren't allowed to go anywhere or do anything. The writer is obviously a dog hater of the nth degree - it's absolutely despicable.

But what's REALLY despicable is her use of statistics and a study put out by the CDC and her convenient non citing so that she can conveniently use some parts of it and not others. She wants a complete ban of pit bulls and rottweillers and uses the study to support her stance - but the study that she's using to support it actually says

"Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal 840 Vet Med Today: Special Report JAVMA, Vol 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000 evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites. An alternative to breed-specific legislation is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their

The link to find this quote is at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf - I am not afraid of you finding out what the sources of MY information are - unlike the author of today's article in the Vancouver Sun!

I wrote a "letter to the editor" of the Vancouver Sun (of course, how could I not?) - it had to be under 200 words - here it is:

I am horrified that Marilyn Baker is allowed to use parts of a CDC study for her own benefit in her opinion piece in May 29th's paper - saying that pit bulls and rottweillers cause the majority of dog bite fatalities and she thus recommends sweeping breed bans like Ontario and Winnipeg - when the same study also says "Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal 840 Vet Med Today: Special Report JAVMA, Vol 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000 evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites. An alternative to breed-specific legislation is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior." I WILL cite the study Ms. Baker refused to cite - it's at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf - if you want to build your own opinion on BSL - you should go read it YOURSELF!!!

Here is her article - which is YUCK! Read it at your own discretion!


First, let's ban all the dogs
Seriously: Until effective animal control enforcement is in place, we should keep dogs out of all public spaces where people walk and children play

Marilyn Baker
Special to the Sun

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

CREDIT: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun, files
The vast majority of dog owners are responsible; unfortunately it just takes a few to spoil things for the others.

'Every school is just a wasteland of dog crap." This is the view of Michael Potts, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 407 in Vancouver.

His union of school janitors is in favour of banning dogs from schoolyards.

I would go further. Until we get some effective animal control enforcement in place, I think dogs should be banned from all public spaces -- including parks and sidewalks -- where people walk and children play.

I am happy that the city of Richmond has banned dogs from the new rural park at Terra Nova. Good on it.

For the most part, the problem is not the dogs. It is the dog owners. The vast majority of them are responsible owners and fine, intelligent citizens, with no chip on their shoulders and no axes to grind. Unfortunately it just takes a few to spoil things for the others.

No one enjoys seeing dog poop on sidewalks. It's no fun to step in a moist canine offering when taking the kiddies for a park outing. Nor is it amusing to be told by a neighbour, whose backyard has become a health hazard due to dog dirt, that "it makes great fertilizer for the grass."

But the poopy owners are nothing compared to dog owners who blithely ignore the posted signs and unleash their dogs in public spaces. Talk about arrogance. They believe that dog bylaws were made for somebody else, but not them.

When recently confronted with a large uncontrolled dog, I politely mentioned the city leash-up bylaw to the owner who was ambling along behind. He smirked and told me that it was a cat.

Is there a law of nature that says that the size of the dog is inversely proportional to size of the owner's brain?

I'm polite when I mention that a district is not an off-leash area. Many say that they didn't know, in spite of the huge signs that lead into the parks and walking trails. And 99 per cent of these people sincerely believe that they can control their canines in any situation. They laugh pleasantly and say that their dog is friendly and wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone rip a kid's face off.

But the vast majority of horrific maimings has been done by dogs whose astonished owners invariably tell the cops, the coroner and the victims' families that they had "no idea" about their pet's aggressive dark side.

Canada does not keep statistics on dog bites. The Canada Safety Council estimates that there are about 460,000 dog bites annually. The United States does track dog bites -- injuries and fatalities. Injuries requiring medical attention are high, with one estimate coming in at 4.7 million dog attacks annually.

While the onus is on dog owners to control their pets, there are certain breeds that are more dangerous and warrant special attention. Pit bull terriers are by far the most vicious by a factor of three over the next most vicious breed, Rottweilers.

An unusually detailed study of dog bites from 1982 to November 2006 shows that pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes were responsible for 74 per cent of the attacks, including 68 per cent of attacks on children and a shocking 82 per cent of attacks on adults. In more than two-thirds of the cases, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently "the first known dangerous behaviour by the animal in question."

Attacks by pit bull terriers are typically unprovoked, occur without warning and are far more likely to cause serious injury or death.

I would like to see pit bull terriers and Rottweilers banned, or at least be subject to special regulations. In some jurisdictions, if owners wish to keep pit bulls, they must be leashed, muzzled, neutered/spayed, and the owner must carry liability insurance.

Ontario has outlawed pit bulls. So has Winnipeg. There are reportedly 37 American states with partial bans on this breed.

In areas in the U.S. where pit bull terriers are not banned, the actuarial realities of public liability insurance are having a beneficial effect as owners find it more and more difficult, if not impossible, to get insurance to cover the horrendous damage their pets can wreak on victims.

While we're waiting for improved dog control enforcement, walkers, parents and park lovers can take the advice offered recently by an Ontario resident: Don't ever walk without a big stick and always carry a cellphone with the Animal Control number handy. I would add "wear protective clothing" to that.

People need to fight back. The only way to bring this problem under control is to repeatedly hit irresponsible dog owners in the pocketbook with big fines for poop and bigger fines, lawsuits and jail time for attacks by unleashed dogs.

Marilyn Baker is a writer based in Richmond.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Vroom Vroom!!

On the weekend I met a lady named Dana and her dog Toby - aren't they just the cutest!
Toby is about a 3 pound yorkie who also has an extension that his mommy can put on the motorcycle - but today he was just in this pouch in front of his Mommy
I don't like to say that there are any dogs out there cuter than Buttercup - but I will admit that there are moments in time when "some" dogs are cuter than her - and Toby was cuter than Buttercup during this moment!
This was Buttercup looking down from the front porch at me taking pictures of Dana and Toby - she was understandably very unimpressed about me taking pictures of another dog that was more beautiful than her!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My newest video

Here's my newest video - taken tonight at my friend Janet's house - it's of her english bull terrier Oreo - and there's a special treat at the end - I'm not going to tell you what the surprise is - but it's worth sitting through to the end - I promise!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Very Bad News for Charlie

Charlie started limping on Monday - he was favouring his front left paw, and I couldn't figure out why and he wouldn't let me touch it. By yesterday he had stopped using it entirely, and I couldn't get an appointment at my own vet until this afternoon (Wednesday afternoon) - so last night we went over to the Metro Animal Emergency clinic so they could have a look at him.
It turned out he had some soft tissue injury to a couple of his toes - but they also took some xrays of his left elbow and shoulder and they found out that he has elbow dysplasia happening in his left elbow, which is very bad news for him. He's also been acting really stiff in his back end too, lately - which means that he's probably also got hip dysplasia happening in his back hips too - so he's probably got arthritis creeping in in all his joints. Poor Charlie. He's only 9 years old.
He's always had a high tolerance for pain, so he doesn't show when he's in pain - but the last little while - he's been showing that he's feeling very uncomfortable - I've been trying to get the dogs out more because Dilly is just so full of beans, and I guess that Charlie is paying the price.
So now $400 later Charlie had a nice big dose of pain medication and a prescription for Metacam and he's feeling much better a day later. He'll now be on Metacam for the rest of his life at this point - he'd already been on glucosamine for a long time. He's also now on Seacure - I've been giving that to Buttercup - but now Charlie will also be getting the predigested contents of white fish stomach's too! It's supposed to be a miracle life rejuvanator - I've seen it's results on another dog - hopefully it will work for them too!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Today was the Pooch Picnic in Enfield!

Today me Buttercup and Dilly went up to Enfield to sell our liver at the "Pooch Picnic" that was going on in Enfield.
Mostly though, we went up because I wanted to get some exposure and hopefully some contacts for Dilly - and hopefully some possible ideas for people to adopt Dilly - he's been with me now for more than a month - and he needs to find a home - so it was such a shame that it was a total downpour and there was hardly anyone at the function today.
And he was such a good dog today - he really impressed everyone that was there - he loved everyone there, and didn't bark or jump up - he was the best dog in the room - beyond doubt. And I think he had a good time doing it too!
Here he's sniffing 2 newfoundland dogs brought by a couple who own a boarding kennel - Dilly was the best dog there - but these were definitely the BIGGEST dogs there! haha!

Letter to the Editor in today's paper

I had another letter to the Editor in today's Chronicle Herald. It was SO sarcastic though that I was sure they wouldn't publish it, so I didn't mention it here, and they didn't even edit it - they published the whole thing. Those editors at the Chronicle Herald are even crazier than I am.

Here's my letter:


Silent majority

Bravo to Tripta Devichand (May 12 letter) for sticking up for responsible dog owners in HRM, in response to D.E. Brinson’s letter of May 2. It is unfortunate, but the problem for responsible dog owners is that we leave no trace when we go out with our dogs – so you really have no idea how many of us there are!

I believe there are many thousands of us in HRM. We are a voice to be reckoned with – and there are more of us than there are irresponsible dog owners.

First though, D.E. Brinson really needs to be educated about places that dogs can and can’t go. The argument is that there should be a few parks that are for adults and children only and he/she listed a few that they’d like to see that way. Well, those parks already are human only – namely, playgrounds don’t allow dogs now! So go play on those swings and feel assured that there’s no dog pee on them at all. I can’t guarantee about human pee.

As well, sports fields, between May 1 and Nov. 1, ban dogs, so roll on the grass. No dog poo will be there, either. And if you want complete peace of mind, go to any graveyard in HRM: They all ban dogs. You will never see a dog in a graveyard in HRM – only dead people, adults and children … and Sobeys bags, Tim Hortons cups, human waste. But no dog poo or dog pee. Those areas are completely devoid of that.

However, D.E. Brinson should be warned that dogs can go to any and all places on-leash in HRM – except places that serve and/or prepare food – so if he or she really dislikes dogs, it’s better just to stick to graveyards and grocery stores when going out.

Joan Sinden, Halifax

Here is the first letter I was referencing:


Human garbage

Re: D.E. Brinson’s May 2 letter on irresponsible owners. Speaking on behalf of responsible dog owners who always pick up after their dogs, I am surprised that this person feels so strongly about dogs and owners exercising and keeping healthy in Point Pleasant Park or any other park in HRM.

I have never seen any HRM employee going "around picking up the dog defecation, bagged or not." I would like to point out the amount of garbage everywhere in and around the city: there are Tim Hortons cups, KFC containers, cigarette butts, grocery bags flying in the wind.

These are not thrown by dogs. Behind the parking lot at Long Lake, there is so much "human" garbage. There is metal oven door rusting and all the poison is leaching into the lake. Do you think all this is done by dogs?

Let’s clean the city of the human garbage before we blame the dogs.W hat about human defecation? There is plenty of that in the woods of Point Pleasant Park and many other parks in HRM. All that "doo" is not "dog doo."

I agree, give us designated parks to walk our dogs off-leash, as this city definitely needs that.

Tripta Devichand, Halifax

and here's the letter from May 2nd that Ms. Devichand was referencing:

Irresponsible owners

In your recent poll on off-leash areas for dogs, the question should have read, “Should HRM taxpayers be paying their hard­earned money for irresponsible dog owners to have a green space/park exclusively for their dogs to defecate, urinate, walk in, etc.?"

They already have the use of one of the most beautiful parks in the HRM, where they allow their dogs to defecate, urinate and run wild. It’s called Point Pleasant Park! They can let their dogs do all these things and workers there are paid by HRM taxpayers to pick up the dog defe­cation (bagged or not). And if a dog is lost in the park, they’ll find it for the owner and give the owner a call to come and get their pet. What better service can you get than that?

A better idea would be to have a few parks, green spaces, sport fields and sport courts for chil­dren and adults only! Children should be able to play on a field or playground that has not been urinated or defecated on by dogs; but then again, maybe there are no health implications involved! I doubt very much that HRM recoups any money to offset the huge cost of cleaning up after ir­responsible dog owners because it’s very unlikely any of them are ever ticketed. And there is prob­ably only a very, very small per­centage of dog owners who regis­ter their dogs! I think that most of the litter in HRM is dog doo.

D.E. Brinson, Halifax

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A dog friendly template for us to follow!

I found this article and is it a doozy!

SHOPPING WITH FIDO | Call these places four-legged friendlyStores go to the dogs and keep their customers happy
Canine companions are restricted at City Market, but the Plaza and elsewhere make them feel wanted.
The Kansas City Star

For thirsty pets, Tivol on the Country Club Plaza is ready. Dogs can go ahead and turn up their tails at the City Market’s recently instituted pet ban.

Farther south, one of Kansas City’s premier shopping districts has put out the welcome mat.

Dogs can stroll the Country Club Plaza, and several shops invite them to stop in. The Tivol jewelry store even has a “doggie bar,” a granite-based outdoor water bowl with a spigot for fresh water, that opened last weekend with doggie treats and cake.

Americans spend $38.5 million annually on their pets, and many owners expect shops to make pets as welcome as children.

Plaza resident Liz Braden takes her shih tzu Pamela to visit Plaza stores about once a week and often shops during the trips.

“I drop the leash when I go in the door at Halls and tell her to find her friend Lisa; she runs around the store until she finds her, then she visits other employees,” Braden said.

Kansas City ordinance requires dogs to be on a leash.

Function Junction has a welcome sign for pets, which have included everything from twin Siamese cats in a special stroller to enormous Newfoundland dogs. Glassware is kept high to prevent mishaps from a wagging tail. The rubber floor is made from recycled tires and is easy to clean when pups can’t make it to the fire hydrant. (The Health Department doesn’t regulate operations that sell prepackaged food.)

Other retailers is the area also welcome dogs.

SRO Video in Waldo puts out a fresh water bowl inside the store and also hands out dog treats.

Stuff in Brookside not only welcomes visiting dogs, but also has two dogs on staff. They serve as greeters. Each dog — pets of the owners — works a different shift and has its own people groupies who stop by to visit.

“We want people to feel comfortable, and we know how important everyone’s pets are in their lives,” said Casey Simmons, who owns the shop with her sister, Sloane Simmons. “It creates a more homier, friendly environment.”The Legends at Village West in Kansas City, Kan., is pet-friendly and works with a group that will bring dogs to the center to become more socialized.

Leawood’s Town Center Plaza, meanwhile, does not have a pet policy. Dogs often are seen at the shopping center’s concert series, art shows and other events, but they rarely show up at regular shopping times.

Aspen Grove, an outdoor shopping center in Littleton, Colo., may have the ultimate pet-friendly approach. Along with water bowls throughout the mall and free dog treats, the Gap, Victoria’s Secret and other stores sell dog clothes and accessories.

Later this month the mall will hold “Bow Wow Vows,” a mass dog wedding ceremony that may break a world record. For pooches without partners, a speed-dating session will be held beforehand.

Some shopping areas turn up their noses at the four-legged visitors.

Three-year-old Zona Rosa in the Northland banned pets from the beginning, citing safety concerns and the comfort of its customers and guests. But it makes exceptions, including the Easter Parade and a special doggie ice cream social held in conjunction with Cold Stone Creamery a couple of years ago.

Pet owners taking their dogs to the City Market might be handed a flier asking them to leave their pets at home during their next trip.

Market management cited several reasons for starting the policy earlier this year: the number of pets in the market sheds and concession areas; owners not cleaning up after their pets; aggressive behavior and dog-bite incidents; and the number of people taking their dogs into food operations in violation of city health codes.

Some shoppers praised the move, but others complained, pointing out that people sometimes are not so well-behaved, even relieving themselves where they shouldn’t.

Downtown resident Ashley Smith liked trekking a couple of blocks to the market to walk her bichon frise pup Kosmo. She understands a ban for unruly dogs, but the well-behaved dogs add to the friendly atmosphere of the market.

“I’m a single-dog parent, so if he’s not with me, he’s home alone,” Smith said. “I’m more likely to stay and shop and spend money if he is with me.”

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Serial Killer? Great Place to walk the dogs!!

Dog people are funny. 2 people have been murdered in the past week here in the Halifax Regional Municipality - and the only thing I notice on the news is that during the news reports is that I don't recognize the signs they're showing on the news for the "Burnside Trails" which is where they found one of the bodies of what may be the start of a serial murder of gay men here in the city - so I'm thinking to myself - there must be trails over there near Spectacle Lake park that I've missed.

I'm not thinking, how horrible for those families of the dead men - I'm thinking - I've got to go take a look and find those trails I've missed so I see if it's a good place to walk the dogs. I think I may be a bit of a sociopath.

So off to Burnside we went this morning!And guess what - all this time when we got to Eileen Stubbs Ave we've been turning LEFT to get to what we thought were the only trails in Burnside - but if you turn RIGHT - there's a whole other section of trails - and that's where we were this morning - and that's where the gay man's body was found this week - I guess this area is called "French mans Lake".
It's the cutest little walking path - it's not very long - but you can do quite a bit in there. You could go around a couple times - the place has got quite a bit of potential - I'm not sure what it's like during the week, but this morning it was deserted.

Isn't this just a gorgeous view? The dogs had a GREAT time!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Dilly is such a good boy

The main reason Dilly was returned to me and his rescuer last weekend was because he had "lunged" at 2 men while he was being walked by the person who had adopted him - so today I took him downtown to try and recreate the situation and see what had triggered him and see what his problems with "men" are and why he was lunging at strangers and see what I could do to help him with some behavioural intervention and counter conditioning.
The problem soon becamse obvious that there's nothing wrong with him. I had him on a really tight heel, a loose heel, he encountered all kinds of people, joggers, bicycles, other dogs, men with hats on, we even stopped and talked to strangers - an old man stopped to talk to us, we stopped and sniffed noses with 3 separate groups of dogs, there was 2 different music buskers we walked by - everything was bustling downtown and he didn't have any problem with any of it
He in fact seemed to be having a great time. So I don't know what his problem was with his earlier adopter. I was completely unable to recreate it. He is a great dog - his biggest problem is that he is extremely high energy - like a lot of husky/shepherd mixes are - but if you go into that kind of dog with your eyes open, then there's no problem.
After 2 strenuous exercise sessions today - Dilly is pooped, and so is his pacing and whining behaviours - which is probably why he was really returned.
He IS going to be a great dog for the right person - he is a super snuggler who wants nothing more than to be touching me at all times when I'm at home, he has a 100% recall when he's off-leash, he loves lots of exercise and is crazy about the ball, he's just an overall great dog

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

We got to play with Greta today!

Tonight we got to go on a dog walk with the new resident dog at the Metro Dog Wash - Greta! Her Mom Terri just adopted her from New Brunswick a couple weeks ago and Greta is beautiful and happy and ready for a lifetime of long walks and sunshine and lollipops.
There was only one second where Greta took a second just to try to see if she could be the boss of Daisy - and Daisy took the next 5 seconds to tell Greta that no - she was not indeed the boss of her, and then everything was once again perfect in the world.
Buttercup was her own old self though - she was very happy to tell us all that she had just made a nice poop and was running around like crazy afterward saying - I just pooped! yea!
Daisy was indeed happy though to have someone around who looked almost just like her - only WAY bigger!
And Charlie was just happy to have someone to PLAY with !

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Daisy and Dilly almost play!

A suberbly beautiful example of Daisy's effervecence.

I've decided to rename Bandit - since he's going to be here for awhile - I don't like the name "Bandit", and the lady who adopted him had renamed him "Griffin" - which I also don't particularly like - and Buttercup and Daisy have flower names - so I've decided to go with the name "Daffodil". He looks like a daffodil I think. I'm shortening it to "Dilly" for short - and he definitely is a "dilly" of a dog - so Dilly it is.

I took some video yesterday of Dilly and Daisy - the first time they played! They were playing a bit before I started shooting, and this is the end of it - so I'm hoping that as the days progress, they'll start playing more, and eventually become friends. Dilly's playing style though involves barking right into the face of who he wants to play with though - which is really not a good style to cultivate - he is really so poorly socialized. And my guys are the king and queens of telling dogs off who are poorly socialized - in some ways that's good, and in some ways that's very bad - especially for the dog who is the brunt of it. I'm hoping he learns quickly what is good and what is bad. For his own sake!