Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Standing up to shock collars

I remember a few years ago pet stores in Nova Scotia used to sell puppies. Pet owners and animal advocates in the province worked really hard to make a change - and do you know what? Pet stores stopped selling puppies - they realized it jeapordized their bottom line - they were not making money in other areas of their store, and they weren't making enough from puppies to make up for the losses - so they stopped selling puppies. And we won. It was wonderful. It was a great accomplishment.

Now we need to step up for something else. We need pet stores to stop selling shock collars, and we also need them to stop giving free advertising to shock collar trainers. As an aside - we also need veterinary clinics to offer free advertisements to shock collar trainers, but I'll talk about that at the end of this post.

If you don't know a lot about shock collars - they are also called "E-collars", "electronic collars" - they are also the collars that are used as part of containment systems used for "Invisible Fences" and electric fences for your property.

They can give a short sharp "ding", or they can give a continuous "shock", and some collars can also give what the literature calls an option called "vibrate" - which is supposed to be a different sensation from a "shock".

Shock collar trainers and afficanados of the devices are in love with them because they say they can train dogs "remotely" - from "a distance" - which you can't do with any other training device - you can be up to 300 feet away from your dog and tell them what you want them to do with a shock collar.

There are 2 different kinds of shock collars you can buy - the type you buy in a pet store that generally has a gauge that goes from 1-5 and the type that shock collar trainers use - and you can also buy online - who's strength goes from 1-120 - so the shocks can vary a lot more.

The types that you buy in a pet store are really highly inhumane - I have had a shock collar trainer tell me that if I want to complain about something - complain about the shock collar sold in pet stores - if you put one of those on yourself and set it to "1" - you are going to give yourself a hell of a shock - whereas if you put one of the shock collars that go from 1-120 - set at "1" - you can't even feel it - when I put the 1-120 on me, I didn't feel it until I got to about 7 or 8.

The thing about shock collars is though - I respect dog trainers when I see them successfully train dogs using positive methods - and dog trainers who use positive methods to successfully train dogs say the following about dogs who have been trained using shock collars -

They say that using methods like shock collars doesn't fix the negative behaviours that have flagged the dog as needing behaviour modification - ie aggressiveness, fearful behaviour, ect., - all it does is suppress the behaviour - it teaches the dog that if they do the negative behaviour that they are going to get this serious pain happen to their neck area that radiates throughout their entire body - so they better stop that behaviour right now. It doesn't teach them alternative behaviours, it doesn't teach them the correct way to do behvaiours - it only teaches them to suppress that bad behaviour in order to make that awful pain stop right now.

So that is the problem with shock collars - as well as prong collars and any other kind of repressive dog training that people use.

You don't get a happy, healthy, well socialized dog - you get a dog that is a ticking time bomb.

So having said all of that - shock collars sold in pet stores is something that needs to be stopped - they don't need to be sold in pet stores - just like puppies didn't need to be sold in pet stores - and we need to tell pet store owners that by talking to the people who work in those stores and saying we won't shop in their stores as long as they are selling these highly abusive appliances.

As well - most pet stores have a section where local businesses can put business cards and advertise for free - and local shock collar trainers have put their business cards there - the two local businesses you have to watch for are "Mangodogs" and "Unleashed Potential" - when you see those cards in pet stores advertising - you have to tell the pet store that as long as those cards are advertising in their store - you CANNOT shop in their store.

I have shopped at Global Pets at Bayers Lake for many years - it was always a safe place to shop - they did not sell shock collars - so it was a good place to shop - but about a month ago I noticed that they had business cards there for both Mangodogs and Unleashed Potential - and I brought it up to staff there and said I could not shop there anymore if they continued to stock their cards - and they refused to take away their cards - so I will NOT shop there anymore as long as they stock their business cards.

Almost all pet stores locally still sell shock collars - Pet Valu, Petsmart, Pet's Unlimited, Walmart, Canadian Tire - they all sell shock collars - basically the only places that do not sell shock collars that sell pet supplies are your local groomer, Jollytails in Halifax, B&R Pet Supplies in Waverly, Petsuff on the Go in Dartmouth, Best Friends Pet Supplies in Tantallon and Clayton Park, and your vet's office.

But watch out for vet's offices - a lot of them have business cards for the 2 shock collar trainers - but please alert staff at the vet's offices if you see them - a lot of vet's don't even know they are there, and when they are alerted that they are in their reception area - they will remove them, because they are as much against shock collars as we are.

So please - let your local pet stores know that you do not support shock collars and you want to see them removed from your pet stores - or you will stop shopping there - your money is going to make all the difference and will get shock collars removed from the shelves.

If you want to see what a shock collar really feels like - I will be demonstrating them on anyone who wants to feel them at the Victoria Barks – Dogs in the Park event being held July 4th from 10am to 2pm in Victoria park - which is on the corner of South Park Street and Spring Garden Road in Halifax. If you want to see what a pet store shock collar or a shock collar trainer shock collar feels like - I will have both of them available to try out.

Full Circle Vet to offer Ovary Sparing Spays and Vasectomy Neuters

Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives - located in Dartmouth, NS - the first alternative (vet to offer Integrative) veterinary medicine in the Halifax Regional Municipality - is now the first veterinary practice to offer spaying and neutering alternatives that don't completely remove the reproductive organs of our companion animals.

It's a very interesting idea - it's just something we've always taken for granted - that when you get your animal "fixed" - they get everything taken out - now we'll have an alternative - and maybe healthier alternative - that might make our companion animals live a longer, healthier life.

My Buttercup is going to be TWENTY ONE years old August 17th - a little over a month and a half away - I got her when s he was nine years old - and for the first nine years of her life she had her ovaries and uterus - she wasn't spayed until I got her - who's to say that she has lived this long a life because she kept her ovaries for a such a good chunk of her life? Maybe if she would have been spayed at 6 months like most dogs - I would have lost her a long time ago like most dogs do - not very many dogs live to be 21 years old - but Buttercup has - maybe it's because she was spayed so late in life?

They say that the regular spay and neuter is a better way to go because it reduces the changes of ovarian cancer and testicular cancer to zero percent - but what other cancers does it raise a huge amount of percent?

In humans when you have your ovaries removed you have to go on hormones for the rest of your life - why don't female dogs have to go on hormones? Maybe that's why there's so much hip dysplasia and other bone problems in dogs now?

I think if I ever got a new dog who needed to be spayed or neutered and they were my own personal dog - I think I might go this way. It just seems like the least invasive thing to do, and to me - that's always the best way to go - and kudos to Full Circle Vet for starting to offer this innovative procedure.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Movie "Max" Having an advance Screening in Halifax - June 22nd at Scotiabank Theatre - 7pm

There is a new movie about a war dog named Max and it looks really good - it's about a military dog who's handler dies in Apghanistan and somehow ends up coming home to the US to live with his handlers family and the only person who can handle him is the family's teenager - who doesn't want to have anything to do with him - but ultimately they save each other - it's a heartwarming tale of redemption and love

There is an advanced screening going on at the Bayer's Lake location Monday June 22nd at 7pm at the Bayer's Lake Cinema - Scotabank Theatre if you are interested - with the film opening in theatres June 26th!

Max The Movie

Port Hawkesbury's Dog Bylaw makes me Itchy

There was an article in the Chronicle Herald this week about how Port Hawkesbury may be getting a new dog park - which is fabulous, but it mentioned that their dog bylaw was recently rewritten, so I went and had a look at it - and it did not make me feel good inside.

It had all the usual things that a badly written dog bylaw has - that it is illegal to keep a dog for dog fighting purposes - which is silly to have in a bylaw - because that is covered in federal anti-cruelty laws, and that a dog can be killed on the spot for simply running at large - but it also has something that you don't see in most dog bylaws in Nova Scotia:

34. This bylaw may be enforced, at the discretion of the Town of Port Hawkesbury:
a:) in accordance with the procedures set out in the Municipal Government Act;

This really worries me - because the Port Hawkesbury dog bylaw up until this point does not mention breed specific legislation - but the Municipal Government Act - STILL does have breed specific legislation in it - it says -

175 (1) Without limiting the generality of Section 172, a council may make by-laws
(e) defining fierce or dangerous dogs, including defining them by breed, cross-breed, partial breed or type;

All around Port Hawkesbury - there is BSL - Richmond County, Guysborough County, the district of the Municipality of Antigonish - there is BSL - it really worries me that they would have this line in their dog bylaw.

If I was an owner of a targeted breed in Port Hawkesbury - I would be worried.

I would also be worried if my dog tended to like to go for walkabouts - that my dog would be killed for doing that - which he SHOULDN'T be.

Here is their dog bylaw if you are interested in reading it - - it's not a particularly good one.

Here is the Chronicle Herald article that got me started:

Port Hawkesbury sniffing out dog park site

Port Hawkesbury is going to the dogs.

Following a revamping of the town’s animal control bylaw a few years ago, several pet owners complained of having no place to take their furry friends.

With the goal of creating a dog-friendly space, a group of residents later formed a committee to build an off-leash park that would be the first of its kind in the municipality.

“We had a council meeting the other night and we have to look at two or three options for location,” said Mayor Billy Joe MacLean. “So they’re doing that as we speak.”

MacLean said members of the Port Hawkesbury Dog Park are now fundraising to support the ongoing project.

He said town will make a financial contribution, although the exact amount has not yet been decided.

“There’s full support on council for a dog park,” said MacLean. “It was unanimous, it’s just the location that’s in question.”

According to Port Hawkesbury’s amended bylaw, town employees may impound any dog that runs at large, is not wearing a tag, is not registered, is fierce or dangerous, is rabid or appears rabid, or persistently disturbs the quiet of the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

This is a statistic I can get behind - pets outnumber Children in Brazil

I wonder what's going on in Brazil - in a report released this week - there are more pet dogs in Brazil than there are children.

"There are 52.2 million pet dogs in Brazil, while the number of children aged 0 to 14 is 44.9 million, which indicates a margin of over 7 million numerically, reported Brazil's G1 news website."

That doesn't mean that the dogs are treated well, or that the dogs have a good life - it just means that "Some 44.3 percent of Brazilian households have at least one dog, with each household having 1.8 dogs on average."

Rabies vaccinations are mandatory in Brazil - and last year, only 75% of dog owners got their animals vaccinated - but really, I'd say that's a pretty good percentage if you look at things in total.

I wonder if the population of Canada had a 1.8 dogs per household average of dog ownership in this country if the dog agenda would be more on the mind of the political agenda? I can't help but believe that it would be!