Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do you recognize this dog?

NS SPCA seeking the Public's Help

Halifax, Nova Scotia, (Tuesday, November 30) – The Nova Scotia SPCA is asking for the public's help in locating the owner of a dog that was found abandoned in the woods, Saturday November 27th, 2010 on a hiking trail that runs off of the Old Sambro Road in Halifax. The dog appears to be a neutered Black Lab mix approximately 5 to 8 years old with a skin condition.

Hopefully this dog is just lost and his owners are looking for him - that would be the best case scenario - it sounds like he was found right around the corner from where I live and where I walk my own dogs all the time. And if he WAS abandoned - hopefully his "owners" will be found so that they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law - because abandonment is of course - a crime - even with the types of animal cruelty laws we have in place in Nova Scotia currently.

From the No Kill Nation

We can fully, completely, and without reservation embrace No Kill as our future. Or we can continue to legitimize the two-pronged strategy of failure: adopt a few and kill the rest. It is a choice which history has thrown upon us. We are the generation that questioned the killing. We are the generation that has discovered how to stop it. Will we be the generation that does?
- Nathan Winograd

Monday, November 29, 2010

Followup on my post about Homeward Bound Pound and Hope for Wildlife

The night I wrote my post about Homeward Bound Pound and Hope for Wildlife someone emailed me to say that the post I wrote, and the post that Janet Young wrote (because I'm not the only one writing about this topic) about the same subject was "right on", and that we'd probably receive a lot of fallout for writing the posts, and that often we speak the words that others are thinking or feeling but can’t express themselves.

I fully realize that when I write stuff on this blog that a lot of people are not going to agree with me, and that people may in fact be angry with me and they'll probably even remember that I once wrote some really awful shit about someone they really admire and therefore - I am just a worthless piece of sad-sack shit who doesn't mean anything in the world - and I am actually okay with that. I take nothing personally. Really, I do not.

I am able to separate out my cyber life from my real life. That's why it confuses me when people get so upset about the stuff that I write - because I am not attacking Hope Swinimer personally - I am concerned with finding out the truth about what's going on at the facility that she owns - Homeward Bound Pound. That's it.

I really don't care a flying fuck about Hope Swinimer personally (the actual personal Hope Swinimer) - as I'm sure she really doesn't care two figs about me. And I'm okay with that. There is nothing personal here. I went to great lengths in my first post to say how great Hope Swinimer the human being is.

I have written about Hope Swinimer and Hope for Wildlife Society in the past on this blog - maybe people coming here for this reason don't know how to follow links or something, so I'll actually physically show you the links - here it is - follow this link - "There are some stainless rescues out there" - so some of the comments coming in, and the level of emotion attached to them - always surprises me.

It doesn't detract though from the fact that - people want to know what's going on behind closed doors at the privately owned and run Municipal Pound here in the HRM - and I still have a few problems, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

I'm just going to lay it out what my problems are - no candy coating -

#1 - asking for donations - Homeward Bound Pound is a private company - and asking for donations is taking money and services directly out of the mouths of rescues who really DO need those donations and services. Those donations and services being given to Homeward Bound Pound SHOULD be going to actual rescues - and NOT to a privately owned FOR PROFIT company.

#2 - why are they asking for donations? Is it because they bid too low on their contract last year? And if that's the case - that is not the fault of the public who they are now soliciting donations from - that is their own problem, and they should be going back to the city to ask for more money - and that is also very disingenuous of them to have low-balled the city - and VERY awful for the SPCA who actually WOULD HAVE won the contract if Homeward Bound would have put in a bid that was actually realistic. The NS SPCA put in a bid for a contract that they could realistically fulfil - maybe Homeward Bound didn't know what everything would entail - and now 6 months later - they're suffering - so they think they can get through by "saving a penny here and there". Who knows?

#2 As a tax paying person - I want to know what their euthanasia statistics are - and I'm going to talk about that more below after I paste a comment that I received earlier today -

So below is a comment that I got earlier today - I think it's probably from an employee of the pound. Here it is:

"I’ve read this post several times, trying to understand the point you are making and I have to admit I can’t find one. There are things in your posting that just don’t make sense. Why would you watch Hope for Wildlife LOOKING for “nuggets” about the pound? The show isn’t about the pound, it’s about the rehab. I get the feeling you were looking to find something negative on purpose.

Hope does not have “the greatest love for” wildlife that has been attacked by domestic animals. She loves them all equally, regardless of the circumstances in which they are brought in. She has always been an advocate for responsible animal ownership, such as keeping cats indoors where they belong and not letting dogs run free. Seems very much in line with running a pound, don’t you think?

I would like you to provide evidence that Hope has a “mindset that accepts that 70% is okay - and then you move that mindset over to an animal control facility”. When has she ever stated that she believes a 70% live release rate is ok for the pound? And since you mention several times that the statistics on the release/ adoption/ euthanasia rate aren’t readily available, how do you know that there is a high kill rate for the pound? Where is that information?

As far as I can tell, Bill Moore’s answer is pretty straightforward- no, it’s not technically a “no kill” policy because there will be some cases in which an animal is deemed unable to be safely released to a home and in those cases will have to be euthanized. Funny, that’s the same policy as the SPCA, as shown in your newest article. If you were to look at the animals that have been rescued, cared for and adopted- puppies and senior dogs, ferrets, adult cats, seriously maimed and injured animals- you would see how many animals that may not seem “saveable” are being lovingly cared for and NOT just euthanized.

Any “anecdotal” evidence should be considered irrelevant by any logical person- that’s how nasty rumours get started, and we’re not in junior high school anymore. As for no contact between people and animals, you may want to take a visit out there for yourself and see how dedicated the staff is to properly socializing the dogs. They love those animals, and between the staff and the volunteers, the dogs receive several hours of personal interaction a day.

The whole “asking for donations” thing was completely blown out of proportion, most likely by people trying to stir up trouble. Yes, an email was posted to members of the pound’s facebook group inquiring if anyone had an unwanted large carrier. Did you also read the follow up email which apologized for the confusion and explained that HB is a facility that believes in recycling and reusing as a means of saving money for more pressing issues? The $300 that would be required to pay for a brand new carrier (that would be destroyed in no time due to the high number of aggressive dogs they see) could be better spent on vet care for a hit-by-car cat or other needy animal. If you haven’t read this second email, you should.

Hope for Wildlife has never “killed an entire room of raccoons”. Hope would never use that as a method of decontamination. Even in the midst of the outbreak last summer, no animals were put down that weren’t suffering. You also need to realize that in the midst of the raccoon outbreak, there were raccoons that were coming in already sick, ones that died before even making it to the farm or just shortly after so unless you stood there checking off every animal, there’s no way to keep a perfectly accurate count of how many died. On days when you’re rapidly losing animals in such a horrible way, it can become very overwhelming. Anyone who can keep their head enough to keep tally of all the death would have to be pretty heartless.
Every life is worth while, and is treated as such by Hope and all her staff at the pound and the rehab. If you had stopped to talk to anyone of these fabulous and caring people, you would never have said that “they” are willing to kill."

Okay, no I was not looking for negative things by watching the television show - I was looking for an attitude. How the animals were treated, and because I'm a bit weird that way - I was also looking for infection control type stuff - but as well, I heard that season 2 has some scenes shot at Homeward Bound - and since I only got my new tv a week ago, I don't know at what point the show is currently airing - so at any moment - the show could pop into the pound as far as I know - I have no idea.

Running a pound has nothing to do with espousing responsible pet ownership - you are contracted to shelter animals brought in by HRM's Animal Control department. You can lecture the people who are responsible enough to come in, pay their fines and pick up their animals, and you can put people who want to adopt unredeemed animals up for adoption through a rigorous screening process - but other than that - there's not too much you can do for responsible pet ownership I don't think - other than of course becoming an open admission facility, and ALSO becoming no-kill - but I won't get into that here, that's another post.

Hope saying that 70% is okay - I actually don't have that information - (although she DOES say on the tv show that 70% IS the amount of animals that she's able to save at Hope for Wildlife - that is a FACT) and if you do work at Homeward Bound like I think you do - I would LOVE for you to send me some information that you probably have access to - my email address is dogkisser@gmail.com - I'm going to try to get information both through my Municipal Councillor and through a FOI request - but it'd be a lot easier if it came from the source. Although looking through my emails tonight - someone emailed me just before Hope got the contract that she was talking on the radio that she was hoping to get a SIXTY percent live release rate - but once again - that's how rumours get started.

I also don't get about this "volunteers" thing - with Homeward Bound being a for-profit business - how does a for-profit business get volunteers? Does Walmart have volunteers? Where do these volunteers come from? Who is willing to be an unpaid volunteer at a for-profit business?

I'm a 16 year old girl - and I go to work 3 days a week at Sobeys - volunteering for free! Does anyone see the logic in that? Am I crazy in not seeing the logic in that? I DO NOT get that? Homeward Bound has got something going there that no other pound in THE WORLD has got going!

So I think I've just about beat this thing into the ground - but I'd like to make a couple more points and direct you to a few more posts - because I'm really into flagellation.

One is a blog down in the States called "Yes Biscuit" and it's an animal rightsey type blog and she's got a post right now called "How Did we Get Here" - and it SO timely it's unnerving, it's definitely a must-read.

Second is the fact that there is nowhere in the HRM - and nowhere in Nova Scotia - where you can take your pet, and be assured that they will accept them if you want to dump them or give them up - and that is unacceptable.

I had previously had high hopes for Homeward Bound Pound - but since April my expectations have pretty much been completed shot right to shit.

Sometimes, if there's room and you give them money - the Provincial shelter of the NS SPCA in Dartmouth will accept surrenders - but it depeneds on the day and circumstances.

As part of the contract with the Municipality - Homeward Bound should be an open admission facility. They should be accepting any and all animals brought to them. And they don't. And that is wrong. AND they should be no kill - which doesn't mean that they don't kill (of course) - it just means that they have policies and protocols in place so that any treatable and saveable animals - are saved.

And as a tax paying HRM resident - I think that I should have that. And I should have access to the reasons why I don't have that service offered. It is almost 2011 - the time has come to ask for it - the problem is that it demands a lot of work from Municipal staff and the company contracted to provide it. That's the sticky part.

So that's it. Take that cud and chew on it.

Buttercup being expressive

This is her at the vet today telling me - "I am definitely going to get back at you later for this"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2nd Chance - Charity for Animals

Today I was over in Dartmouth and I had some time to kill, so I stopped by the Harbourfront Market to do some shopping - and while I was there I stopped by the booth that I volunteer at - the "2nd Chance - Charity for Animals" booth. The person volunteering there today was none other than Angela Miller who runs the "TAPA" rescue "Take Action to Protect Animals Society" - they rescue feral and stray cats and kittens and adopt out the kittens and cats that are not feral and neuter and spay the ones who are feral and return them to a colony that can be maintained. They do fabulous work.

The absolutely fabulous thing about 2nd Chance Charity in the last six months and what Nancy Northcott has started doing - originally she just did fundraising for the SPCA and a couple other rescues - but in the last 6 months she has expanded it out to anyone who wants to spend time volunteering at the booth at the Harbourfront Market - it's a way they can raise money for their own rescue - which is such a great thing - so if you volunteer at the booth - your rescue will get some money.

It's win-win. Nancy gets volunteers, and the rescue gets money. When I volunteer the SPCA gets money, and when Angela volunteers her rescue gets money. It's an awesome idea.

While I was there today the fellow who owns the booth across from the 2nd Chance Charity booth did an amazing thing - he walked over and donated cash to us! Can you believe it? He said he'd had a good day and had sold quite a few blouses, so he wanted to give something back - so he gave us some cash.

I thought that was so nice. I hope he sells a lot of blouses before Christmas! haha! I know that the several times that I've volunteered there in the last few weeks by the end of my shift - the many times I've heard his sales pitch by the end of the day I've almost been convinced to go over and buy a blouse from him - and I am pretty much the furthest thing from a popcorn blouse woman that you'll ever find - so he is a pretty good salesman!

An interesting article came out this week about the NS SPCA from the CBC - it's a very refresing thing to see in light of other stories we're hearing about, but it's not surprising - the NS SPCA have been working hard towards this goal for awhile, and it's something I wrote about a couple months ago.

No-kill policy is working: SPCA

The no-kill policy adopted a year ago is resulting in more dog adoptions, the Nova Scotia SPCA says.

For decades, the agency euthanized thousands of animals at its shelters province-wide. The only animals that face euthanasia now are animals that are sick or aggressive.

That remains the case even when shelters are full, which is often, executive director Kristin Williams said.

"That's part of the no-kill equation … that we will not euthanize for space. That's not something that we consider anymore," Williams said.

What they do consider is the high demand for dogs in Halifax.

Sydney shelter manager Patsy Rose said the solution is a transfer system between communities. For example, twice a month, a staff member from Cape Breton meets with Halifax staff using an SPCA van.

"We put the dogs in that and they meet us in Antigonish and we transfer the animals from our vehicle to their vehicle and they drive back to Halifax with them and they find new homes for them," Rose said.

The no-kill policy also applies to cats, but since every shelter in the province is full, transferring them is not an option.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I've been watching television

You may have noticed there haven't been any blog posts in the last little while. I've been watching tv instead. Last week, my wonderful father bought us a 32" HD TV - and I've been watching trashy tv and a HD TV network called "Oasis TV" - and I have to admit that this is why I wanted my father to buy us an HD TV - so that I could watch a certain show that's on the Oasis television station. It's a show called "Hope for Wildlife" - and it features the Hope for Wildlife Society and Hope Swinimer located over in Seaforth Nova Scotia. I went and visited the place last summer during their yearly open house.

I really wanted to watch it because Hope Swinimer also runs the Homeward Bound Pound which has the animal control contract for the HRM and I wanted to see if I could get any nuggets about Homeward Bound from watching the show about Hope for Wildlife - and I think I have - and that's another reason why I haven't posted - because I have become seriously conflicted.

Sometimes I feel like I am nothing more than just a whiny dog owner who has no control over her use of exclamation points and shouldn't be polluting the world wide web with her vitriole because in the end it doesn't make any difference anyway - so I might as well just spend my evenings watching tv like the rest of the world. The last thing the world needs is more political commentary from someone who's got everything wrong.

Which brings me back to Hope Swinimer, her rehabilitation facility, her tv show, what was promised for the Homeward Bound Pound - and what is actually operating and happening at the animal control facility. I don't think there is anyone in Nova Scotia who has more credibility, sway, pull, or power than Hope Swinimer. She is univerally loved, respected, and revered by everyone - the public, her volunteers, her staff, by people in government - by everyone who she comes in contact with - everyone agrees she's a great lady - so I am definitely not going to make any friends, and would probably in fact lose friends and create enemies if I was to disparage her or criticize her in any way.

Hope Swinimer has done a lot of amazing things with wildlife for the province of Nova Scotia since she began rehabilitating animals with a robin who was attacked by a cat in 1995 - and I think the first animal she rehabbed was very telling - a wild animal attacked by a domestic animal. A lot of the animals that she has the greatest love for - are animals who have come into conflict with domestic animals - and have been injured or attacked by cats and dogs - and have made their way to her facility somehow - and she lovingly brings them back to health. But it was cats and dogs that caused their injuries.

There are things in the voice-overs of her show that I pick-up that people who are not involved with rescue might not really think too much about - like when she says

"Hope for Wildlife take in over 1,100 orphaned and injured wildlife every year. We're successful up to 70% of the time".

A 70% success rate means that you have a 30% death rate. For a wildlife rehab centre - that statistic may be okay and realistic, because you are getting in a lot of animals with severe injuries that are very hard to treat - so you've got a mindset that accepts that 70% is okay - and then you move that mindset over to an animal control facility - and STILL BELIEVE that a 70% live release rate is okay.

Well - then you have a problem, because 70% makes you a HIGH KILL facility.

And that today is what Homeward Bound pound is.

And it is being run by Hope Swinimer - the most highly respected woman in the humane community in Nova Scotia.

We should have known, really - that HRM wanted to have the animal control contract go private so that they could completely squelch any public knowledge of what was going on behind closed doors - and they could kill dogs and cats at random as they saw fit - they even said so at the HRM council meeting in January 2010 when asked about it -

Dawn Sloane asks - "do they have a no kill policy?"
Bill Moore answers - "No, we don't have a no kill policy - there would be times when euthanasia may be required, but their mission is to minimize that to the greatest degree possible including the adoption, the redemption of animals that can be redeemed, the adoption of animals that can be redeemed, (?) - and we will have an animal behaviourist that will assess any animal to see whether or not they do meet - unfortunately we do come across animals from time to time that putting them back out is just not the appropriate thing, so ..."

That was such double-speak, that at the time - we thought he was saying that Homeward Bound was going to be no-kill - but we've recently learned that they are in fact very far from being no-kill.

Today - November 26th, 2010 - the Homeward Bound Pound sent out an email to members of the their Facebook group that they're looking for used crates for people to donate to them. Why would a private money making company be asking for donations?

This is one of the problems that people in the humane community are having with Homeward Bound - they are trying to blur the line between a money making operation - and a shelter that is actually trying to save animals lives - which Homeward Bound is obviously not. Hope Swinimer herself said so last April.

In a video that you can see for herself - she was interviewed by Breakfast Television, and she said -

Buddy says "there's a lot of strays out there" - and Hope jumps in to correct him - she says -

"well I think too that people need to understand the difference between the City Pound and a "shelter" and we are definitely the City Pound, we are here for HRM and Animal Control, so it's what they pick up - uh, animals that have been reported and they'll be brought here and our job is pretty simple - we have 4 things to do - I have to give them tender loving care and to give them veterinary care if they need it and 3 is to get them back with their owners if at all possible within the 72 hours and 4 and most important is our adoption program..."

Someone called Homeward Bound this morning asking about why they're asking for donations of the crates - and the reply they got back was "that they accept donations because they are like any other shelter - they need the kennels for their van"

I do not accept that. They are NOT a shelter like any other. They are an animal control facility that is not in any way accountable to the public, they exist solely to service the HRM, and they can kill any animal they want after 72 hours if that's what they want to do.

What about the transfers that were supposed to happen of animals that came in - and working with local rescues to move dogs out of the Pound? Since April of this year when the Pound opened - has that been happening?

When I was talking to one of the managers in the summertime she said "oh yes, we are working with local rescues - chihuaua rescue, german shepherd rescue, husky rescue - and we gave 2 border collies to Atlantic All dog rescue".

Chihauaua rescue is Pam Keddy - disgraced former president of the NS SPCA who has inculcated herself into the inner circle of Homeward Bound Pound, and the owners of both german shepherd rescue and husky rescue are also animal control officers with HRM - so the Pound turning over dogs to them are sort of the same thing as "keeping it in the family" - so in other words - in 6 months they had turned over 2 dogs to local rescue, approximately. Now THAT'S what I call working with the local rescue community to save dogs' lives.

I don't imagine we'll ever get any answers we want while the company that runs Homeward Bound Pound has the contract for animal control currently is running the pound - there will never be any transparency or access to any kind of statistics of what's going on behind closed doors.

In some senses I think it was very brave of Hope to show them actually killing the raccoon's on the show, it showed what they actually have to go through at the Centre, the life and death struggles every day that go on - but it was a very strange dichotomy to other sections where she says that every life is worthwhile - and if that IS the case - then why doesn't that carry over to the dogs and cats at the Homeward Bound pound?

Why do they seem to be so willing to kill at the pound?

And there is nothing that you or I can do about it.

Except maybe write to your Municipal Councillor and ask them to look into what is going on at the Pound. See if they can have the statistics pulled - because Homeward Bound DOES have to report to HRM. You can find your Councillor on the HRM's website at http://eservices.halifax.ca/districtLookup/ and send them an email.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daisy's Doing Fabulous & a new blog

So I think I can finally say that Daisy is doing really well with her diabetes. She has gone from having glucose readings of 29, 28, and 21's down to having readings today of 10, 8, 7, and 5.

I was so happy when I went to pick her up to see readings like that - I wish I could have sugar readings like that - so I think we've finally got her insulin dosage in the right area - after having taken her in to stay at the vet's twice a week to stay for the day to have glucose curves done, I think I may be almost ready to believe she's not actively dying - so I am pretty excited. And hopefully Daisy is feeling a lot better too.
Buttercup doesn't seem too impressed however! haha!

I've started a new blog - a photo blog over at Posterous - http://dogkisser.posterous.com/ it's a blog that I can post to from my Iphone, and I didn't have it hooked up to autopost to Blogger, but I did that tonight, so new posts will probably start showing up here - but old posts are still over there if you want to go check it out.

I downloaded about 10,000 photos to my Iphone, and as the inspiration hits me I post a photo or too. No dog politics allowed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grizzelda and Peanut are Global Pet's Favourite Pet Names

Last Friday Global Pets named the winners of the 2 Honda Insight Hybrid cars in their "Ultimate Name Dropping Contest" - they are the owners of the pets who have the names Grizzelda and Peanut! We were all SO close! Charlie is SO close to Grizzelda!The top cat names were - MILO, FREEWAY, PEANUT, QUINCY, C.J., SAPHIR, JELLYBEAN, VALENTINO, PRINCESSE, POMPFREY LLOYD

Congratulations to the lucky owners who get to have swanky new cars, and the runner ups who got free food for a year - and to Global Pets for putting on the contest - I'm sure that a lot of fun was had by all!

Pictures of flowers

I uploaded liked 147 pictures of flowers I've taken to my Flickr account - here's a slideshow of them - something for a Monday morning...

Friday, November 12, 2010

It is torture getting old

Today I took Buttercup over to Cole Harbour to be groomed so I took Charlie and

Daisy to Conrad's beach to go for a walk - Daisy did really well - she's had a bit of a rebound with her diabetes - she's been going in a couple times a week to the vet, and she's started to "curve" - she's gained a couple of pounds and she's not wanting to eat several gallons of water every day - so things are going pretty good with her at the moment.

Charlie on the other hand continues to be in pain - even taking daily doses of metacam - and today he started limping even before we had finished walking the boardwalk to get to the beach.

Osteo-arthritis, elbow dysplasia, old age - how long do you watch your once in a lifetime dog be in pain. Especially when there's good and bad moments. You watch them struggle to get up, struggle to lay down, watch them fall down, yet it seems like only last week they were running full tilt and wrestling with abandon on the same beach that today was torture for them.

This is the hard part of dog ownership. The part where people who own dogs will say "I'm never going to get another dog after this" - forgetting that there were 12 years of bliss. Luckily for me I've got it all on tape and in photos - today, and years ago...

Note - this video is NOT sped up - this is actually how fast Buttercup used to move...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sometimes I ask myself - can I have too many pictures like this?

And I always answer back - no, there's no way that I'll ever capture enough of these moments - especially when she's sticking her tongue out at me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interesting Documentary on CBC Television tonight

There was a really interesting documentary tonight on CBC about pet pharmaceuticals - you can watch the whole episode online - at Pet Pharm - Doc Zone CBC-TV - it features Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Dr. Ian Dunbar going head to head over the topic.

Dr. Dodman says some things that I don't agree with - he infers that there's 4-6 million animals ending up in shelters in the US because of behaviour problems and that could potentially be fixed with medications - which is utter bullshit - almost all animals end up in shelters because of the sins of their owners - and nothing to do with the problems of the animals - when you adopt an animal from a shelter - 90% of them have absolutely no problems whatsoever, and they integrate into your family with very little problem - all they need is the love and attention that they weren't getting in their former life and they blossom into the animal they were supposed to be. So Dodman saying that in the documentary was very very disingenuous.

He also said that he sees the cases that dog trainers and behaviourists won't touch - and then they showed video's of very obviously neurologically damaged dogs - horribly spinning daschshunds and a english bull terrier that was bent completely backwards trying to get at his tail - of course trainers can't do anything with those dogs - they are medically sick - and of course medication might be able to help those dogs. Duh! Those are also the dogs that are good candidates for being put down because there's nothing left that can be done for them - they ARE the animals that end up in shelters that are put down for compassionate reasons.

I learned a few new things watching the documentary though - and it's definitely worth the 45 minutes of your time if it's something that interests you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ginger - Arguing about dogs in court cases in Ontario

Facebook is on fire tonight. A dog named Ginger up in Ontario was attacked at 6am up in Ontario when she was being walked by her owner's mother - she was leashed and muzzled - the dog who attacked her was not leashed - and during the fight her muzzle came off and there were wounds inflicted on the other dog and on both owners while they were trying to break up the fight. Ginger herself received wounds to her eye that were permanent and affected her vision permanently.

Ginger has the look that the Ontario government had decided looks like a pit bull - so it was decided that she needed to be killed - the other dog, and the other dog owner was never charged with any offence - even though it was the other dog who started the attack and it was the other dog who was unleashed. Because Ginger was a "pit bull" - it was Ginger who's had to suffer.

For the past 5 years Ginger's owner has been fighting to keep her alive - through appeals, and court appearances - and the final appeal was reserved - and the decision came out today - Ginger must DIE.

The court transcript very clearly states:

"...First, Ginger is a pit bull...."

"...once a dog is found to be a pit bull, and to have bitten or attacked another domestic animal or a person, or to have behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals, the court is mandated to order that the pit bull be destroyed in the manner specified in the order.

In my view, as expressed above, the intention of the legislature is clear: when it comes to pit bulls, one bite or attack, or one menacing act as contemplated by s. 4(8) mandates the court to issue a destruction order. The legislature did not contemplate a debate over whether the dog’s conduct was an act of aggression, or whether it occurred in circumstances of play or provocation or self-protection or the
protection of humans or their property. [26] For the foregoing reasons, I conclude that the summary conviction appeal judge erred in her interpretation of s. 4(8) of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. Her order is set aside and the order of the Justice of the Peace reinstated."

So - that's what it says in the court transcript - you can read it at http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2010/november/2010ONCA0746.pdf - I have to say I'm quite disappointed with the arguments put forward if they were the only ones that were fought with.

To me - the way the way you'd win the court case is to say that Ginger isn't even a pit bull - how did the government know that Ginger was even a pit bull so that they could kill her? Pit bull isn't even a breed? That's ridiculous! Why are the lawyers in Ontario even allowing the courts to call these dogs pit bulls? I don't understand that. In this day and age - why are they allowing courts to call dogs pit bulls so that they can then put in court transcripts - "Ginger is a pit bull".

Ginger may have the appearance of a "pit bull" - but she also has the appearance of about 99 other breeds of dog - black lab, shepherd mix, rottie mix, pointer mix, and the list goes on. Only the dna can tell the truth - my rottweiller Daisy is 25% pomeranian according to her dna - I wonder what the Ontario government would say about that?

So disappointing.

Here in Nova Scotia we have the glorious case of a dog named Zeus - who was also destined to die because of an over-reaching nim-commpoop government official - and the case went to court - and in that case justice prevailed - because it was fought on the idea that the term pit bull was so vague and in-determinable - that it was ridiculous to even try to define it.

What happened to the stories in Ontario like Tidus from a couple years ago - who won his case - he was another dog who had been deemed a "pit bull" by the Ontario government by the Ontario government and was sanctioned to die - but he was allowed to live - because he was deemed NOT A PIT BULL!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Following up with my post about a local vet using a shock collar trainer

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post that included discussion about the fact that Petworks over in Dartmouth had enlisted the use of an "Unleashed Potential" trainer to do their obedience training classes at their facility - and that company very proudly advertises their use of shock collars as a training tool - something that positive trainers will tell you is the most aversive - and the case can also be made for - abusive - tools, you can possibly use.

How would you like to walk around with a collar around your neck that at any time you have absolutely no control over - you have no idea when it's going to happen - the collar suddenly sends out a shock that takes over your entire body - you have no idea when it's going to happen, and what you did, or may do that caused it to happen - is not a fun idea (to me anyway) - and that's what shock collars do.

People who like "e-collars" would say that's entire over simplification, and it's not a shock, it's just a "buzz" - whatever....

There's no doubt that aversive training DOES work - but it's got to be done EXACTLY correctly in order for it to work - and that's the problem - if it's done incorrectly - and so many times it IS done incorrectly - that's what causes the problems. With positive training - at least you don't completely FUCK the dog up. With aversive training - you can really hurt a dog.

With tools like prong, shock or choke collars - they DO work - but if you use them incorrectly - you can make a dog that is very dangerous.

When I very first got Daisy my rottweiller - way back in 2003 - when I didn't really know better and was still figuring things out - I put a metal choke collar on her - she was a horrible puller.

And when she had that choke collar on her - she did not pull - AT ALL. When she was previously on her chain (she had been chained out 24 hours a day for the first 3 years of her life) she probably had had a choke chain on at some point - so she had learned the hard way that pulling on a choke chain HURTS. And to not puill is better.

That is the point of aversive training - you are only supposed to have to do the painful thing a few times - and then the dog GETS IT - and then the painful thing stops - and you don't have to do it anymore.

But when aversive trainers are bad or incompetent - that doesn't happen - and you have to keep hurting your dog - and that's where the problem lies. You have to keep on choking them, or electrocuting them, or pinching them, or hanging them - because your trainer hasn't taught you prooperly - because they don't know what they're doing - so they can't teach you to use the tools properly - and that's where everything gets fucked up and you end up abusing your dog - over and over.

And that's why positive training is just so much better than aversive training - because it really is so much easier to ignore the bad and praise the good. It might take you a little bit longer - but personally - I'd rather fuck up at "ignoring the bad and praising the good" than fucking up at when I'm giving my dog an electric shock. But that's just me.

There will always be companies like "Unleashed Potential" - because there will always be people who have highly reactive dogs - and that company gives them a tool that almost immediately makes the dogs lay down flat on the ground - why does the dog lay down flat on the ground? That's a question for you to ponder.

I had responses back from both Petworks and Unleashed Potential - and I wanted to post them here so that they could get their voices heard on the subject too, for what it's worth - so here they are -

Janet Chernin wrote to Petworks requesting a response, and this is what she got from owner Rick Swinimer: "Thank you for your input and your vigilance in this area. We agree that the use of adverse stimuli ( shock collars, prong collars, etc) are not desirable methods of dog training and that in the absence of positive reinforcement o...perant type conditioning are particularly repugnant and undesirable. We do not employ or endorse any such methods in our puppy socialization and obedience training. Petworks employs Dsquared Dog Training for our puppy classes and all materials and class content have been approved by Petworks and continues to be based on positive reinforcement operant conditioning methods. We have always based our training and all interactions with pets throughout our organization on positive reinforcement protocols. This will always be our approach. We would never allow any adverse methods to be used at our facility anymore than we would tolerate physical abuse or rough handling of pets or people in our facilities. Our policy manual clearly states this is grounds for immediate dismissal.

It is my understanding the trainer from Dsquared Dog Training has received some training from Unleashed Potential in positive reinforcement techniques including marker training, clicker training, positive handling, etc. That is the extent of the relationship and not more. I note that the information on our website regarding the trainer and Unleashed Potential is inaccurate and will be changed. Derrick Davis represents his own company , Dsquared Dog Training, at our facility. As you know, likely from your own experience and training, trainers receive training themselves from many different sources. Hopefully they take the best of those techniques and employ them successfully and humanely in a positive fashion with our pets. I believe Derrick is doing exactly this and is in line with our philosophy of positive reinforcement techniques. This is not negotiable here at Petworks.

and this is a response from Unleashed Potential's Ted Efthymiadis

Thanks again for posting our videos from the Unleashed Potential website. Every time you post about our company, we seem to get busier and busier. Stepping into the strictly positive methods with Petworks was a pilot project, and with this drama some have created, we will no longer be doing the petworks stuff. I'm glad to have this happen now, so that we can go back to really focusing on our UPK9 clients and growing that part of our company. Our trainer is still in talks to continue with Petworks because the current clients have been vary happy with out food training programs. If he continues, it will be on a basis separate from UPK9. You may not agree with some of the methods we use, so once again, I will invite you to come out and train along side us to see it first hand. I would actually love to meet you all, I love dogs just like you all do. Feel free to contact me to set up a time to see what we do. Once you have seen it first hand, then you can say whatever you want about it.... Best regards. I Love the haters... they just encourage me to become an even better trainer. Ted - UPK9 Halifax.