A dog has died at a boarding kennel here in Nova Scotia - in a community not far from Bridgewater. It sounds like it was a tragic, freak accident - a dog was wearing a choke collar, and another dog's foot got caught in the collar - and the dog with the collar on choked to death.
We read about stories like this all the time on the internet about choke collars - dogs have choked to death from these collars, they get stuck in floors, dogs get them caught in other dog's toes at dog parks - it's tragic - but it happens, and that's why we read all the time - never leave these types of collars on your dog unless you're actively using them to train your dog! (And a lot of people would say you should never use a choke collar in the first place because it's a bad way to train a dog anyway)
In an article posted on South Shore now about the story there's a good comment there - it says: "If you take your dog to a boarding kennel check out the facility. There should be a solid barrier between runs so that dogs can't fence fight or get caught in the fence. Look to see where the kennels are and do the people have a clear view of where the dogs are or are the kennels stuck in the back ? If they are stuck in the back is there a survelience system so that they can be monitored ? The publics/customers expectations will change things much faster than any government mandate that they won't have enough man power to enforce or money to charge and pursue."
There's some good stuff in there - and in this photo of a dog kennel you can see that there ISN'T a solid barrier between the dog's runs, the runs do appear to be in the back of a building - so there isn't a clear view for the kennel owner on a constant basis - so these are some things that a prospective customer could check out before they left their dog with the kennel.
It's obviously a very clean, nice place - but maybe not all things have been thought through - and that's where regulations would come in handy.
Regulations like making sure that collars are taken OFF any dogs who go into mixed runs that are not going to monitored constantly. Making sure that there ARE solid barriers between kennel runs - so that freak accidents like this don't happen again.
That makes common sense - and I don't see how any boarding kennel, in home doggy day care, institutional type doggy day care, pet store, grooming salon, breeder, or puppy mill could disagree with having formal regulations in place.
For a great article on why choke chains make really lousy training devices for your dog - check out Silvia Jay's blog post on her "Mindful Leadership" blog
Here's the article from South Shore Now - but you should also click on the link to read the comments, and add your own if you like
Family calls for regulations after pet dies at kennel
by Keith Corcoran
This lab, named Boss, died at a South Shore kennel.
COUNTY - An Italy Cross family mourning the loss of a beloved pet is calling for regulations to govern the way kennels in Nova Scotia are operated.
Their dog, named Boss, recently died in the care of a South Shore boarding facility and the family questions the story they were given about the cause of death. Krum Dochev, 20, speaking on behalf of his family, said they've incurred the costs of an autopsy, cremation and the legwork to track down the real story.
"We're not happy with the answers we have received and something that's come as a complete shock to us is that there's absolutely no regulatory body for kennels," Mr. Dochev said in a recent phone interview. "There's the SPCA but they only deal with cruelty and not industry standards, in general."
While they have the time and money to devote to the matter, Mr. Dochev said many others in similar circumstances don't, such as seniors on fixed incomes.
"We've had to mourn for a loved member of the family and play the role of investigators at the same time," he said, adding his point in contacting this newspaper wasn't about a vendetta against the kennel.
The facility operators explained to the family that a boxer's hind leg got caught in Boss' chain leash and the pulling caused Boss to strangle to death.
There were no indications of a struggle between the two 80-pound dogs, Mr. Dochev said and the kennel operators were both less than forthcoming with information and too hasty in its offer to pay for Boss' cremation.
He suggested there were "inconsistencies" with the kennel's story and said he figures Boss' chain got snarled in a fence, causing strangulation thereby making the kennel negligent in the care of the dog.
"I'm not saying that most kennel owners aren't good and honest people but at the same time they're businesses and if there isn't a law telling you, you have to do this, well, it's natural that people are going to cut corners. It's human nature."
Kristin Williams, executive director of Nova Scotia's SPCA, confirms there's no current provincial legislation that specifically addresses kennels through a regulatory system.
"However, the SPCA is mandated through provincial animal welfare legislation to inspect environments where animals are kept, inclusive of kennels," she said. "When we do an inspection, we review the standards of care."
She said there are two active investigations in relation to complaints about kennels but she wouldn't say if one of those was lodged by a Lunenburg County family.
In addition to contacting the SPCA, anyone in similar circumstances could contact police if they felt there was wrongdoing, she indicated.
A lobby for tighter controls would have to come from the public but the SPCA could play a role. Ms Williams supports the idea of provincial or municipal rules governing kennels, pet stores and breeders.
"There's currently no licencing that's mandatory across the province and arguably that would be a good balance and check."