Monday, December 15, 2008

Bailout the Kennel Clubs!

Yeah. Why the heck not? Everyone else gets a bailout. And by everyone else, I mean of course businesses that are too big to fail. Businesses that lost their customer base, that found their income and profit margins were vanishing.

Whoa dude! Sounds familiar!

Today, we are losing market share at an alarming rate, especially in the retail sector. We are being challenged competitively and financially. - Ron Menaker, AKC Chairman, September 2008

Well, in September of course, bailouts weren't yet in fashion. Buuuuutttt, now it's December. Now, AKC's sister-across-the-pond, The Kennel Club of Britain, is falling into a dark abyss. Their annual glitzy soiree, the Crufts Dog Show, has been dropped, DROPPED from the BBC broadcast lineup.

Well do tell.

Yes, it was because of this MUST SEE TV! In case you missed these fine broadcasts, the series details many of the clear and present health and well being risks to purebred dogs.

While Ms. X cheered the series, she must issue her comrades a balancing perspective to consider - BBC is basically state-run television in Britain, funded by taxpayers. It is NOT a free market force.

How do you think this public censure of purebred dogs will effect registrations of the Kennel Club in Britain? Will it have spillover effects into the US?

Kennel Club chairman Ronnie Irving said he "was very sorry" that BBC audiences would miss out on the "remarkable diversity" of the show.

"However, we have been forced to reject the insupportable conditions imposed by the BBC, who have told us they will only televise the show in 2009 if certain breeds are excluded from participating.

Those breeds include

Basset hound
Clumber spaniel
Dogue de Bordeaux
Neopolitan mastiff
Blood hound
Shar pei
St Bernard
Chow chow
German shepherd
Rhodesian ridgeback
Cavalier spaniel

The british Kennel Club, of course, has a plan that should counter any falling revenue.

The club has announced it plans to issue new rules about how pedigree dogs should be bred and, in partnership with The Dogs Trust charity, has commissioned an independent review - the results of which are due to revealed in early 2009.

And then, part B.

The club is also calling on the government to give it statutory powers to make its Accredited Breeder Scheme compulsory throughout the country - a system that would make it illegal for non-members to produce or sell puppies.

Hot Dog! They've just been knocked around for promoting genetic defects and they want the government to give them real power to make every dog breeder in the country conform to their standards!

I wonder if our beloved "Kennel Club" might have something similar in mind.

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Man up', Fido!

I guess it's an old story that environmental contaminants are finding their way into our water supplies, food chain, and ultimately our bodies. And, our furry friends bodies'.

It wasn't too long ago, a certain dog discussion list held a heated debate about the temperament of their breed of choice. Some contended the breed's edge, or hardness, was being bred out. Others countered "hardness" was not in the AKC standard and inappropriate.

At the time it seemed like the typical argument. One side claims today's barbie breeders are pandering to a soft, lawsuit happy society at the expense of a defensive breed, every dog was becoming a golden retriever. The other side claimed the show breeders were actively preserving all of the breeds original guarding and protecting traits and the dissenters just didn't know what the dog was supposed to be like.

Yaddi yadda.

What nobody thought to interject, was that the temperaments might indeed be feminizing, but it wasn't necessarily through selective breeding pressures.

Maybe the softness (like osteosarcomas?) is sneaking in through the water pipe.

Two stories today highlight new concerns about gender-bending chemicals in the environment.

From The Independent:

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

This quote was great:

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them

99% Not adequately regulated? Did you hear that FDA? (Don't you love it when the truth slips out? I'll bet that's not what the EU said either when they approved those chemicals for general use.)

Now for some humor:

But Britain has long sought to water down EU attempts to control gender-bender chemicals and has been leading opposition to a new regulation that would ban pesticides shown to have endocrine-disrupting effects. Almost all the other European countries back it, but ministers – backed by their counterparts from Ireland and Romania – are intent on continuing their resistance at a crucial meeting on Wednesday. They say the regulation would cause a collapse of agriculture in the UK, but environmentalists retort that this is nonsense because the regulation has get-out clauses that could be used by British farmers.

Let's break it down. The control of gender-bender chemicals would mean farmers would have to stop using certain pesticides because that's how a lot of this stuff ends up in the water supply. But, farmers shouldn't worry, because they can get an exemption to keep using the pesticides.

So what is the point of the law? Oh yeah. It shows they care. And they can seriously inconvenience the middle class home owners who might use a little bit of pesticide on their gardens.

Please understand Ms. X is not in favor of gender bender chemicals in pesticides. After all, I have (had) babies, and my beloved fur creatures occasionally have (had) babies. And I like my girls girls and my boys boys.

But I don't like government trying to solve our problems. I'm not going to do it in this post, but I would bet - or no, as it is pretty certain - that the widespread use of gender-bender pesticides could be traced back to government in the first place. Soybeans and corn come to mind.

But not to worry. If pesticides are banned, the farmers will just turn to genetically modified plants that are resistant to the creepy-crawlies. (Unfortunately not the Monsanto human kind.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Barney Bites Reporter

First Dog (and First Scottish Terrier) Barney displays some true doggy behaviour, and the reporter displays some typical bad human behaviour.

Furry Comrades, if you want to pet a strange dog, it is best not to reach down looming over his head.

It just goes to show, that even people who claim 'dog experience' aren't always smart about handling dogs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welfare vs. Rights

A lot of people who want to seem, umm, sympathetic to animal causes without coming across as crazy wackos say they align themselves with a philosophy of "Animal Welfare" instead of "Animal Rights".

I say it's all semantics, and any approach that lets government in is bad. Government exists to protect the rights of the individual. When government steps outside of that boundary, the rights of the individual are limited.

As an individual pet owner, I am the only person qualified to accurately define what is best for the welfare of my individual animal. If you don't like it, you may try to educate me. Or you may get try something extreme and leave a jury of your peers to determine if it was a worthwhile venture.

Sadly most people opt to use government to force their likes and dislikes on me. And you.

Case Study, (formerly Great) Britain.

Government guidelines will tell owners exactly how they must care for their pets.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, is to produce detailed codes of conduct telling pet owners how to feed their animals and where they should go to the toilet, along with ways of providing “mental stimulation”. Owners of “sociable” pets should provide them with playmates, the codes will say.

The 18-page A4 document, drafted for MPs scrutinising the Bill, warns cat owners of the dangers of dogs. It reads: “Dogs should be introduced to cats very carefully. The dog should be on a lead at first so that it cannot chase the cat.”

This following turn of phrase is disturbing. Five Freedoms? Does freedom here mean the owner has a bit of leway to act within the bounds of the legislation?

The five freedoms laid down by the Animal Welfare Bill are: appropriate diet, suitable living conditions, companionship or solitude as appropriate, monitoring for abnormal behaviour and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

What is an appropriate diet? Is a Raw Diet considered appropriate? When is solitude appropriate? Is chasing a cat abnormal behavior? But that's already prohibited.

So you see, we could parse this from here to eternity. I don't think there is any need to do that. The fact that living prescriptions of this nature are even contemplated in the halls of government is sufficient verification of it's evilness.

These regulations will be enforced at gunpoint. Private property rights are set aside.

"CATS, dogs and other family pets are to have five statutory “freedoms” enshrined in law — and owners who flout the regulations could face jail or a fine of up to £5,000 after a visit from the “pet police”."

"Although any breach of these codes is not an offence in itself, failure to observe elements of the code will count against defendants in court. "

"The law will be enforced by “pet police”; council employees with powers to enter property and seize animals. "

Could this happen to us? Who would be our Pet Police? The AKC might want that job. But they are pet owners friends, right? The AKC monitoring such legislation would ensure that only cases of blatant animal abuse were prosecuted. Right?

But not this.

So today it ends.

One way or the other, it matters not which. It won't be the way I wanted, but I will rest proudly tonight knowing I gave my support to the person that deserved it the most - Ron Paul.

What will the next four years be like? Here is one opinion. I think it's likely to be quite accurate.

Just read the story I'm getting ready to put up, to see what happens when government gets involved in our lives.

And now, back to the dogs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September ended.

and I still didn't want to wake up.

In these days, our freedom is being sold for the promise of future devastation, and the dog blogging has taken a requisite back seat.

So my Furry Friends, until the crisis has resolved, one way or the other, I leave you with these links to study, absorb, cry over and act upon.

Ludwig Von Mises Institute

Bernanke Out. Paul In.

God save us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cougars versus Dogs

Previously, on the Dog Scoop, Ms. X had published a series of Dog versus Wolf posts showing what happened when man's best friend came face to face or canine to canine with his ancestors. Well, wolves aren't the only predators we face. In Oregon, the human and canine inhabitants are increasingly coming face to face with... cougars.

According to the story from KOIN News, the state's cougar population has risen to 6,000. Now I'm not a wildlife biologists, but I can do a little math. The entire state of Oregon is 97,052 square miles.

A typical cougar has a range of 50 to 150 square miles. If we're even conservative, 6,000 times 50 is 300,000 square miles. In fact, according the to Columbus Zoo fact sheet, "Except for mothers and their young, adult cougars like to live alone" and "a male cougar is very protective of his territory". So if even half of those cougars are adult males, we're still talking about 150,000 square miles to support all those cats.


Ms. X is not a wildlife biologist. According to the news articles, the cougar population has risen substantially since hunting with dogs was banned in 1994.

What a shame. Too bad the legislature that approved the ban couldn't ban the cougars from hunting the dogs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

From Here to There

Well I promised you the fascinating road from here to "Biting the Hand that Pets the Dog", and you shall have it.

It started yesterday when I clicked over to Nathan Winograds' blog to see what the No-Kill guru was up to. Mr. Winograd has a great blog, and I have listed it in my "Cures for Ennui". He brings a heck of a lot of common sense and rational thinking to a novel thought - No Kill Shelters can be successful. No Kill shelters really can contribute to reducing the unwanted pet population even further, without any anti-human petamongering or Nazi animal control laws. In other words, a win-win.

So, once at The No Kill Blog, the top post was his interview of The Dog Man of Kansas City. Brent Toellner has his own blog, the KC Dog Blog, another site that is, you guess it, hitting the "Cures for Ennui".

At first glance, the Kansas City Dog Man appears to be another welcome voice of common sense and rational (though hardly libertarian) thought. (So rare in dogdom these days). And the Kansas City Dog Man (ok, so I like typing Kansas City Dog Man. Wonder if he's a star? ;-) ) highlighted the Chicago Tribune story "No Pets for You!" Now this story is a great read too; don't stay up past your bedtime with all this reading, but do have a gander at the comments while you are over in the Tribune land.

Because in the comments, someone linked to, (you guessed it) "Biting the Hand that Pets the Dog".

A lot of times comments are more interesting than the actual story. It's one thing I love about the internet, you could find the most obscure news story in the world, and SOMEBODY will post in the comments that they personally know the victim (villan) and the whole story is a gross misrepresentation. The victim (villan) is actually Mother Theresa back from the dead.

Sometimes the comment section is good to gauge the tone of the general populace, and sometimes its just full of idiots clinging with religious fervor to their pet neurosis and psychosis. And sometimes, the comments section will be full of links and information that enhance the story. The Tribune article comments were mostly the latter.


Yes, I'm shouting it. You simply HAVE to watch this program. Informative, captivating and tragic.

The BBC did a series on Pedigree Dogs, exposing the dark side of the showring. Let's just say they got an awful lot right.

It was troubling though, to read some of the comments the videos got on YouTube. So many people jumped up right away to blame "irresponsible" breeders who wouldn't do genetic testing / health screening. One thing I am sure of, the readers of this blog were not the ones equating genetic testing with good health.

The readers of this blog would know if there was a simple, concise solution to the morbidity of dogdom, it is the open registry.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Property Rights and Rescue Wrongs

A blogger from Illinois wrote an instant classic in 2005 about dog rescues.

Regrettably it has taken 3 years for Biting the Hand that Pets the Dog to travel the internet to Ms. X's attention, or I surely would have posted it years ago.

But now that we have it, READ it! And soon I will post the path I took to find it. That to, will be worth reading.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Big Doggie Sugar to....

Chef Gordan Ramsey!

According to the Daily Mail, the famous and highly acclaimed Culinary Specialist boldly vocalized one of the silent dreads of parenthood.

'My biggest nightmare would be if the kids ever came up to me and said "Dad, I'm a vegetarian"
It's scary indeed to think someone you love could be so crudely divorced from Nature.

This might be a good moment to plug a new link, on the right hand side of the page, down below the boob jobs at peta. "Health and Nutrition" is a fabulous resource for the importance of animal protein and fat for our health and well being. When you read the writings of the Drs. Eades, remember our furry friends are even more evolutionarily carnivorous than we are.

One of Ms. X's very few 'life do-overs', if we got such things, would be to rescue the pup of her childhood from his vegetarian dog food. Now he wasn't fed the crap from any errant altruism, the adults with the purchasing power were simply very afraid of the quality of the animal products in commercial kibble. No, they had not heard at that time that Soy was far more dangerous.

Animals, predators in the wild, will pick the weak and very young for their carnivorous delights. We humans on the other hand, select the strongest, fattest and most vigorous. We are repulsed by disease and dazzled by babyfaces. I wonder if this proclivity has served to advance our status in the food chain?

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Room Full of Geniuses

Are dogs getting smarter? Or are people getting dumber?

The first question, at least, was bandied about at a conference of behaviourists in Europe recently, according to an article in the Daily Mail.

Over the course of the conference the scientists revealed startling facts like "animals abide by social rules".

The Canine Science Forum in Budapest also revealed that "dog barks contain information that people can understand". Room full of geniuses there.

Dr. Takaoka from Japan went a bit further. She performed a study where the dog was shown a picture while listening to a voice recording. According to the article, "if the gender of the face did not match that of the voice, the dogs stared longer, a sign that their expectations had been violated."

Ah, so that's what is happening when I make a funny noise and my dog stares at me, and sometimes (really! I have evidence!) cocks his head to the side. I, Ms. X, his loving owner and master, have violated his expectations.

Fortunately, there are people dedicated to helping us deduce these things.

Heck, I made up a joke for the occasion.

How many behaviorists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: At least 20. 12 to analyze and hypothesize about the motivations for changing the bulb, one to actually change the bulb, and 7 to author a paper revealing that science has proven that sitting in a dark room will motivate someone to change a light bulb.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's in your dogs' food?

The government kindly allows all sorts of poisons to enter the food chain, both ours and are animals. I mean, they practically push soy down our throats, then there is high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and oh yeah, let's not forget Carbs in general.

So when a little pentobarbital (a euthenasia drug) slips into the dog food, no biggie. From the government standpoint anyway.

Back in 2002, the FDA released a report of their 2-year study/testing finding pentobarbital (the drug used to euthanize animals) in pet food. Their findings were that many brands of pet foods –- purchased right off of store shelves -- contained the euthanizing drug pentobarbital. With that finding, the FDA began an 8-week test to see if levels of pentobarbital in pet food could be harmful to pets. The FDA testing showed that the amounts of pentobarbital in pet food would not harm pets (even though their study only tested dogs). You should know that the FDA ran their testing on 42 twelve week-old Beagles –- and again the testing was only for 8 weeks.

Should the government crack down on pentobarbital? Nah. The last thing you really want is the Feds trying to fix things. The more they "fix", the more things break. Too much of our lives, society, daily choices are already built around government "fixes", to the point where a consumer mounted protest of pentobarbital in pet food would very likely result in the perpetrators pushing for changes to disclosure laws and labeling laws. We are almost in an unbreakable circle, where everything lives and dies by government "legality" and legislation. And where government is just a giant committee responsive only to those that scream the greenest.

A society where a company can be "too big" to allow it to fail won't be deterred by a few dead dogs.

The best you can ask for furry reader, is just knowing. Then you can exercise a few, non-government regulated options.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Free Dog Training Resource

It's a constant theme here at the Dog Scoop, the biggest problem with dogdom today is the lack of free and readily available training resources for owners. Instead of neutering clinics, and chaining themselves to their own neurosis, wouldn't it be wonderful if dedicated dog lovers would throw themselves into organizing free neighborhood training classes?

Well, maybe someday.

In the meantime, Ed Frawley over at Leerburg Kennels has a ton of dog training advice on his website ( including several great ebooks. Free. If you want more, you can buy videos and stuff too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Dangers of Soy

Furry Readers, soy is not a health food. Please keep this in mind when feeding yourselves and your dogs. After all, Ms. X wants all of you around, reading this blog, for a long, long time.

Should we worry about soya in our food?

"We discovered quite quickly," he recalls, "that soya contains toxins and plant oestrogens powerful enough to disrupt women's menstrual cycles in experiments. It also appeared damaging to the thyroid." James's lobbying eventually forced governments to investigate. In 2002, the British government's expert committee on the toxicity of food (CoT) published the results of its inquiry into the safety of plant oestrogens, mainly from soya proteins, in modern food. It concluded that in general the health benefits claimed for soya were not supported by clear evidence and judged that there could be risks from high levels of consumption for certain age groups. Yet little has happened to curb soya's growth since.

Soya increases the protein content of processed meat products. It replaces them altogether in vegetarian foods. It stops industrial breads shrinking. It makes cakes hold on to their water. It helps manufacturers mix water into oil. Hydrogenated, its oil is used to deep-fry fast food.

Soya is also in cat food and dog food.

The rumors about soy have floated for years, FINALLY they are being proven. Read the whole story.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dangers of Infant Swings

My furry readers, this is a very important topic. Especially if you have a new baby in the house (or know someone who does).

A recent infant mauling in Oklahoma, happened when the little one was left in one of those mechanical infant swings. The attacker was the family pet.

Dog Kills Oklahoma Baby Left Alone In Swing

Police say a puppy has attacked and killed a 2-month-old boy who was left unattended in a swing.

Officer Jason Willingham said Monday the baby was mauled by the Labrador at the boy's home and died at the scene. He says the dog will most likely be destroyed. Authorities have not yet released the infant's name.

Willingham says the baby's mother and grandmother were home, but nobody was in the room at the time. Police are unsure why the dog attacked.

I don't know what triggers a dog to attack the infants in swings. I'm sure there are as many guesses as there are behaviourists. I do know it is not an isolated incident, and people MUST BE WARNED.

I also know there is one sure way to prevent it. Never leave any dog alone with a baby. Right? Take that up to any age you like. And if you have a dog, you might want to rethink the mechanical swing.

72 Hours or Else!

Yikes! Where did July go??? Well, it was a busy month on the dog front, and I will catch up on posts about topics discovered and uncovered in July, in August.

The first one concerns an ultimatum from Denver. My gracious!! It didn't take these folks long to cop some brazen authoritarian attitudes on the heels of their pit bull-cide did it?

We can only dread what is coming next.

Pet owners get 72 hours to clean their own yards

Residents of one Denver suburb are being told by city officials they have only 72 hours to clean pet poop from their own yards or face fines of up to $999.

"That is crazy," David Van Valkenberg told the Denver Post. "Give it twice that long and maybe it might be appropriate."

Well now, with a community attitude like that, we won't have to wait long, will we?


Monday, June 30, 2008

Toxic Fertilizer Enters the Food Chain

This is a story Ms. X feels very strongly should be read by EVERYBODY. That is, everybody that raises animals, gardens or eats food. Did I leave anyone out?

Industrial herbicide taints British soil.

Gardeners across Britain are reaping a bitter harvest of rotten potatoes, withered salads and deformed tomatoes after an industrial herbicide tainted their soil.
The affected gardens and allotments have been contaminated by manure originating from farms where the hormone-based herbicide aminopyralid has been sprayed on fields.

What this article neglects to mention is...what happens to the cows? This stuff can deform a potato and the cow is still safe to eat? What about the cows' calves? What about our kids if we eat this stuff?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Vitamin Supplements go to the dogs

(Hey I'm on a theme here!)

This is considerably more serious than dogs being banned from kitchens in bed and breakfasts'.

And closer.

This time it is the Canadans making decisions about our health and of course the health of our best friends. New legislation in Canada is brewing fear that nutritional supplements will be banned, and illegal use will be severely punished.

I've written quite a bit in this blog about Dogs' Health ,
and I am convinced a good part of the general malaise in dogdom exists because dogs have been consigned to a life of premanufactured kibble, generation after generation.

No, of course I don't take kindly to the idea of government prohibiting me from doing whatever I choose to enhance my health and the health of my loved ones.

But what say you, furry readers?

Again, the real question is this... Will Barak Obama or John McCain be the freedom fighter that will save us from such stupidity?

Perhaps it's time to look a little closer at Chuck Baldwin.

Bed and Breakfast go to the dogs

And, not in the good dog friendly way you normally expect when a site about dogs says something has gone to the dogs.

No, this time it means Bed and Breakfasts' in Europe are at the end of an era. Dogs have been banned from the kitchens and food preparation areas of these weekend and honeymoon retreats. The beauty of a Bed and Breakfast has always been the homelike feel, without nagging parents or endless work. The best of domestic bliss, good food, good company, beautiful countryside, and more often than not one or two friendly pettable companions of the canine or feline variety. People love their pets, and a surrogate they don't have to clean up after is the crowning touch on a perfect weekend.

But European Union officials have declared dogs "potential health and safety hazard to guests' food." Of course, many a bed and breakfast will close it's doors rather than banish their four footed member of the family (and sometimes star attraction) to the outdoors.

What say you, furry reader? Is this time to sit up and beg? Roll over and play dead? Or release the hounds? :-)

The real question is this... Will Barak Obama or John McCain be the freedom fighter that will save us from such stupidity?

Hey! It's not a trick question. Ms. X wanted Ron Paul.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dogs Belch Too

Tomorrow (June 12) is Carbon Belch Day so lets all do our part to throw off the shackles of the peer driven guilt trip and JUST SAY NO to all the envisioned government incursions into our lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness.

Affronts to Dignity.

It's Freeing.

And it just might give some of us the much needed courage to say "NO" to a few more peer-induced guilt trips, like thinking you have to register with the AKC to be a responsible breeder.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Are our pets killing us?

Or are we killing them?

I just put up an article about pyrenthrins and Austism, and here is another scary story about medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) making their way into our water supplies. Medicines that don't just come from humans, but ever increasingly from medicated pets.

"Meds lurk in drinking water"

Other veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity — sometimes with the same drugs as humans.

A vicious cycle perhaps...we lather on the pesticides to kill the fleas and ticks, and treat the subsequent behaviour problems with prescription drugs which in turn make their way into our water supply. Known contaminants (the government call them "additives") to the water supply are already suspected of causing some serious diseases that we treat with more pharmaceuticals.

We are now being advised to dispose of unused, leftover meds by mixing them into used cat litter. Purportedly, this will stop substance abuse, but heck, when we can all get high from the drinking water, will it matter? Actually, an unwritten benefit of this disposal technique is that it would keep the leftovers, at least, out of the groundwater. The used cat litter will make its way to the landfill. Modern landfills are designed to minimze runoff and keep all of its contents out of the groundwater.

Autism and Your Dog

Scientists have recently uncovered a link between Autism disorders and pyrenthrins.

Common Chemicals May Have Autism Link

"WHAT are pyrenthrins?" you ask. Pesticides. Our enduring love - hate relationship continues. 'Silent Spring' may have been bogus, but the suspicion generated for pesticides lingers on and resonates continually among scientific and natural health circles.

Maybe there is a way to solve our bug problem more, um, naturally...


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Imports bring rabies

Three bitten by rabid dog in Britain

I could file this with my other Shelter Dog posts, because this story isn't about breeders or dogs imported for breeding or working. No, this shelter in Britain is importing strays from foreign countries to sell - oops *adopt* to Brits. This is not an uncommon practice in our own country. Unfortunately for the shelter workers in this story, it was a practice that, shall we say, came back to bite them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Support the Continental Kennel Club. Now.

Yeah, that's right. I'm goin' full blown public with this push.

I've defended the CKC in the past , defended their existence, tried to educate on their value. But now, I'm delivering the ultimatum.

Join or Die.

Ms. X has decided to throw herself into the giant chasm that separates open registries from closed registries in hopes she can build a bridge to support the exodus from the latter to the first.

A recent article in the Telegraph sounds the alarm: Pedigree dogs face extinction due to inbreeding

Many of Britain's most popular dog breeds could be extinct within 50 years because they are so inbred, vets have warned.

There is only one thing that will save dogs - much needed genetic diversity. For most of these breeds, that can only come from an open registry.

Ironically, the purveyors of the closed registries continue to assert that they are the only solution to the genepool crisis. Presumably, they will solve the problem by more intensive genetic testing and removing the problem genes from the genepool... in other words, they will solve the genepool crisis by further limiting the genepool.

What the dogs desperately need, is a dramatic shift away from the lab rat approach to breeding.

And no, I'm not the first to call a change to the closed registry / lab rat breeding philosophy.

Our worldwide purebred registries were developed on premises that do not
hold scientifically today, such as the idea that inbreeding is not problematic. This must change if we are to save the sport of dog breeding and showing.

The optimal program for breeders is to use assortative mating and avoid inbreeding as much as possible in order to minimize the coefficient of inbreeding. Open up the studbooks, and, if possible, use the original stock. - Susan Thorpe Vargas and John Cargill

ANY BREED that is taken seriously as a practical working breed, any breed whose breeders are seriously concerned with genetic health and species soundness, simply cannot remain part of a closed studbook system indefinitely - Jeffrey Bragg

The idea that there is something intrinsically desirable in the members
of a breed is false. It is the same faulty notion as thinking there is something superior about "royal" blood. It is not only false, but it is bad genetics. It is not only bad genetics, but it dooms any breed that gets caught in that physically isolating trap.
Closing the stud book on a population, in order to promote specific traits, inadvertently and dangerously starts a process of inbreeding. Inbreeding decreases the amount of genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is a source of genetic vitality. - Raymond Coppinger, Lorna Coppinger

What does a closed registry possibly have to gain by being closed?
Answer: Nothing.
What have closed registries lost?
Answer: Healthy animals.
- Michelle Henninger (Claybrook

I just might be the first to insist on making use of the tools immediately available.

Surprisingly enough, all of these authors, and other proponents are pretty popular on the net. All the breeders who like to think they are "solving" the problem, link to these articles. But very few, (any?), have taken that "actions-speak-louder-than-words" step and switched to CKC.

"Oh, I could never do that", says the feel-good breeder. "I don't want to be associated with those scoundrels".

Such a quick, easy step forward. The low hanging fruit is ripe and waiting. New owners want a healthy dog, and the great grandkids just want ... a dog.

"What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?" - Logan P. Smith

Look, if you don't act now, the fruit will shrivel on the branch, fall to the ground and rot away.

It wasn't too long ago that Ms. X herself said it would be a cold day before you saw her defending certain elements, but the winds are already starting to change.

Look again at the article from the Telegraph.
The Pets Parliament has been established to secure ratification of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which has already been signed by more than 20 countries.

The convention highlights a list of breed characteristics that need to be modified for the dogs' best interests and also bans breeding if the two animals share a grandparent.

Soon, it could be illegal for you to breed your two flat faced bulldogs anywhere in Europe. The reason they are getting such a foothold is because of all the health problems the inbreeding and closed registries have created.

The closed registries, of course, respond by saying they are best suited to "fix" the problems.

Now, Ms. X may find herself defending the right of these closed registries to exist as autonomous entities against the will of a government trying to legislate healthy dogs. AKC of course, seems to be planning its' own unique solution of becoming a branch of government itself.

There is a better way. Act now, embrace the solution that exists, join the open registry and breed healthy dogs.

Want to show? Start your own breed club that sponsors conformation shows. Shut the Pets Parliment up before it even gets started.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels" - H. L. Mencken

Evidently this applies to the health of dogs too.

Carpe Diem and enjoy your plums.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?

My furry readers who soak up discussions about epigenetics, natural selection, and the broader picture of what makes our canine friends tick, will enjoy this article, wherein a group of scientists from around the world met in New Zealand to give new meaning to old ideas.

They were exploring the validity of the theory of evolution in the face of emerging science of epigentics.

And along the way, they affirm what Ms. X learned in high school (but what millions of others did not)

Yet through the years most biologists outside of evolutionary biology have mistakenly believed that evolution is natural selection.

I love it when someone else holds the truthlight for a while! (That thing gets HOT!)

Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For the Behaviour Research Obsessed....

(Caution, language is a little colorful).

The Future?


by C. Nevada

"Mommy, can I watch TV?"

"No dear, there aren't any programs on suitable for a 8-year old boy to watch. Why don't you read a book?"

"I've read them all. … Twice."

"Well, here dear. Would you like to look at this old photo album? It has pictures of Mommy when she was your age."

"(sigh) I guess so."

"Oh wow, Mommy! What's that animal in the picture with you? It's awfully cute. Is it real?"

"Why that's a puppy, honey! My parents bought it for me when I turned eight. Scout was my best friend. We did everything together. Oh, the times we had! Every day was a new adventure. I loved Scout. He comforted me when I was sad, made me laugh when I was unhappy. He was always waiting for me when I came home from school. I was never bored when Scout was there to play with. I've never forgotten Scout…"

"Where's Scout now, Mommy? Can I see him?"

"Oh, dear, Scout died when he was five years old. He had some genetic disease. I cried for days. I was a heartbroken little girl."

"He looks awfully nice, Mommy. Mommy, can I have a puppy?"

"Oh no dear."

""Why not, Mommy? I'm eight years old!"

"It's not that honey. If ever a boy deserved a puppy, you do. It's that it was hard enough to get a puppy when I was a girl! There were only a few people allowed to breed dogs, my parents were on a waiting list for two years before they got Scout.

Nowadays, its almost impossible. It takes two years just to get the permit to own a dog, and we can't afford the license fees. Then there's the home inspection fees every two months…

There are even fewer breeders now than when I was little, and the dogs don't live as long as Scout did. No, I'm afraid even if we were rich enough to afford the price of a dog, people with children never get approved to adopt one. There are too many regulations these days, and people who try to own a dog are looked upon very suspiciously.

No sweetie, I'm afraid you'll never have a puppy."


Ms. X again: I am sure there is someone out there saying 'No way that would ever happen.' So just for you I offer this news article "Rule-loving Swiss force pet owners to take animal understanding courses"

And for those of you who sing "How Great the Swiss Art", be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Weird Logic . . . 4

Time and time again, when people write about their puppymill rescues, and all the heart wrenchingly sad things their dog does that is proof of just how horrific a large breeding kennel is, they mention how Fifi didn’t even know how to walk on the grass.

Ms. X still remembers the first time she took a new kitten outside. The poor little thing was terrified, and absolutely hated the grass. It high stepped literally one foot at a time. Such a sad, pathetic thing you’ve never seen.

Oh wait. Scratch that. That was a cat. It is in fact the sign of well-balanced psyche (and responsible owner/breeder) when a cat goes it’s whole life terrorized by the green grass and crackling leaves.

The Courtiers of Madison Avenue

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" - Shakespeare

Oprah isn’t the first to get AKC in bed with the anti-pet crowd. AKC got snuggly with PETA over PAWS . And now it’s cuddling up with HSUS and Oprah, seemingly happy to be out of the narrow confines of its pro-dog cage.

It’s no secret is it, that HSUS wants to end animal ownership? Nor should it be a secret, to the readers of this blog that AKC seems to be quickly burying any pretense of representing the best for dogs and dog owners.

Non-profit only means “I get to enjoy my money while criticizing everyone else who makes money”.

They’re pretty much flat out going for broke. Can a non-profit even be prosecuted for anti-trust violations? All of their actions suggest that AKC is using the legislative system to dominate and control American dogdom.

Sounds harsh, does it? Remember these blogs?

How Special is Uno?

A Day that will live in infamy.

Well, now you can add their response to Oprah’s 101 Rescues.

Ms. Oprah Winfrey April 4, 2008

The Oprah Winfrey Show

110 N. Carpenter Street

Chicago, IL 60607

Dear Ms. Winfrey:

Thank you for your informative show today. We are very pleased that a renowned dog lover such as you has taken on the issue of unregulated dog breeders – an issue we work towards addressing on a daily basis.

The American Kennel Club has always been a strong proponent of responsible breeding, which entails giving careful consideration to health issues, temperament and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through numerous educational programs.

In addition to raising awareness, we have long invested significant resources to directly address the issue of canine welfare. In 2007, our team of 15 inspectors visited over 5,600 kennels throughout the country. AKC spends over $6 million each year to inspect our customers, thereby ensuring the integrity of our registry and the proper care and conditions for dogs registered with us. In fact, of over 35 U.S. “registries” we are the only one to conduct inspections, as well as being the only not-for-profit all-breed registry in the nation. AKC is continually raising the bar. When our inspectors find kennels that do not meet our progressive standards, they educate those breeders. Those not willing to come into compliance are suspended of their AKC registration privileges and proper authorities are alerted in cases of neglect.

Unfortunately, there are many breeders who choose NOT to register with us specifically because of our high standards, and once they are no longer being inspected by the AKC, there is often very little oversight from state or federal entities. AKC supports scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals. We also voice support for more resources to be allotted to the USDA and other enforcement agencies to ensure that current regulations are met.

AKC’s 5,000 affiliated clubs nationwide are comprised of people who dedicate their lives – emotionally and financially – to improving their breeds and to providing healthy, happy pets. We would like to work with you to further educate the American public about how to identify a responsible breeder and hope you will call on us when addressing this topic in the future.

Again, thank you for raising awareness of this important issue. Your support is invaluable to all dogs and their devoted owners.


Ronald H. Menaker

Chairman of the Board

Dennis B. Sprung

President and CEO

There is a cure. Stop giving AKC your money. Buy dogs that have been registered with a FOR PROFIT organization, one that is dependent on customer happiness for its livelihood.

World Without AKC, Amen.

(This blog originally published on 8/8/2005.)

Is AKC over? Well gosh, it had better be! How can an organization of, by and for breeders sell them out as obviously and thoroughly as AKC is doing with PAWS, and survive?

If the NRA supported outlawing guns, you'd expect them to close their doors forever.

If PETA opened a feedlot, you'd expect their membership to drop to zero.

What if GreenPeace sponsored a whale hunt? Or the Democratic National Party ran Jerry Falwell as their Presidential candidate?

That's the picture we're looking at.

PAWS, in a nutshell, says anyone who sells more than 25 puppies/kittens/rabbits/birds etc. in a years time, has to be USDA licensed. That's two litters in a large breed. Or, one week's placements in a rescue. (Yup. PAWS covers rescue groups too.)

USDA licensed means the breeder can no longer use his own best judgment to raise his dogs. He has to follow a governmental play-book. That means he can't do natural rearing (unvaccinated) or raise dogs in packs (many hunting hounds thrive in pack environments) or even raise his dogs in the house (unsterile). And, it means the government can go into his property and kennel anytime they like without so much as a by-your-leave.

If you're not a breeder, PAWS still affects you. PAWS will limit your choice to ever become a breeder. With PAWS, to make the choice to breed, you will have to choose to give up your privacy to the government.

To paraphrase Ms. X's favorite movie: "and the AKC was the father of all this."

LIFE WITHOUT AKC. Wherein Ms. X describes a better way to manage purebred dogdom.

AKC is a dog registry, but also so much more. AKC sanctions and sponsors conformation shows that give out titles that AKC puts by the dogs' names in its stud books.

This is a conflict of interest. The AKC does not put titles won at UKC, or CKC, or APRI shows in its' stud books. Nope. It only registers titles it hands out.

A registry that is just a registry will not authorize, sanction or sponsor shows, and it would not record such titles in the stud books. It would record lineages. Names. Each with a registration number and a DNA sample. That is all.

Now if you have read this blog before, you know how Ms. X feels about dog shows, how harmful they are to breeds. But some people like to show, and Ms. X certainly isn't saying they would have to change.

There are numerous breed clubs for every breed, but rather than being registry sanctioned breed clubs, these should be independent and let public opinion dictate their survival. Each club will hold it's own shows, to its own standard and give out its own titles and certificates of showmanship. Each club can use the registration number from the independent registry in its database, but it would have no connection with, nor be influenced by or over the registry.

So you can have a club for anything you want. Hunting, conformation, obedience, circus performing, and the owner will keep the certificates he earns.

Whether any club lives or dies will depend on how well it manages itself, and promotes itself to the public. We'll give it the old 'free-market try'.

Wow. This vision without the AKC dinosaur is exciting. Challenging. Hopeful and full of promises for a better future for dogs and owners. That is, if PAWS fails.

But no matter whether PAWS passes or fails, AKC must die. Its stance in support of PAWS is unforgettable, unconscionable and unethical. And as of PAWS, you can apply those labels to people who still support AKC.

Because Ms. X and the dogs said so.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ASDA on Oprah's 101 Rescues

Ms. X's comments: this is very long, but starting about the middle is a great layout detailing how conditions in puppymills violate existing laws. Mr. Yates points out the the "kennels" from the Oprah show were no different. They were operating in violation of existing Pennsylvania law. Mr. Yates and the ASDA are quite correct in instigating an investigation. I hope they succeed.

Now, without further ado...


American Sporting Dog Alliance Seeks Investigation Of Kennels In Oprah Report

Asks U.S. And PA Attorney Generals To Find Out Why, Prosecute

American Sporting Dog Alliance

An April 4 report on the Oprah Winfrey Show was a scathing indictment of abuses in Pennsylvania puppy mills, but it failed to ask or answer the most basic and important question.

How can this horrible situation happen in light of tough existing state and federal kennel and animal cruelty laws?

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is asking U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett to find out the answer to that question, and to prosecute anyone who is responsible for not requiring the kennels portrayed on Winfrey's show to follow the law.

Every kennel in Pennsylvania must follow stringent state kennels regulations, and also comply with more than 60 pages of federal kennel regulations if puppies are sold to pet stores or dealers. In addition, every dog in Pennsylvania is protected by a comprehensive animal cruelty law, and everyone who buys a puppy from any source is protected by a "lemon law."

The report on the Winfrey show by special reporter Lisa Ling showed video footage of several puppy mills in Pennsylvania. All of those kennels were operating in clear violation of existing laws. None of the terrible and heart-breaking things shown in the report would be happening if current laws were being enforced.

The video footage makes it crystal clear that the kennels were operating in open and flagrant defiance of existing laws.

Why aren't those laws being enforced? Is someone protecting these kennels from the law? Are these kennels licensed and inspected? If so, have dog wardens and animal cruelty police officers been ordered to ignore these kennels? Why haven't rescue groups that obtain surplus dogs from these kennels on a regular basis reported them to authorities? Has there been a cover-up?

We are quite surprised that Winfrey and Ling didn't ask or answer those basic questions.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) can't answer those questions, either. We don't have a crystal ball, but we do know the laws. We have spent hundreds of hours studying existing kennel and cruelty laws, and have worked with our committee of attorneys to be able to interpret them correctly. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, existing laws could have shut down every commercial kennel shown on the Winfrey show, protected the dogs and resulted in prosecution of their owners.

ASDA also believes that everyone in America who loves dogs and is concerned about their welfare has a right to demand answers to those basic questions.

Thus, we are asking the U.S. and Pennsylvania attorney generals to intervene.

We believe that an independent investigation is required because the agencies that should have enforced the laws cannot investigate themselves objectively, and because the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement answers directly to Gov. Rendell, who has close personal, political and financial ties to the Main Line Rescue Group in Chester County, PA.

Main Line Treasurer William Smith was the primary source on the Winfrey/Ling report and escorted Ling on a guided tour through every step of making the report. Main Line Vice President Marsha Perelman has social ties to Rendell and contributed a reported $7,500 to his election campaign. Thus, any investigation by the Rendell Administration would be clouded by the potential for conflicts of interest.

The Winfrey/Ling report was enough to break anyone's heart. This reporter has seen some terrible things in 20 years of hard news and investigative reporting, but I couldn't hold back tears several times during the Oprah Show.

Non-stop video images showed dogs in cramped and crowded quarters, turning exercise wheels like caged gerbils, wallowing in mud, suffering from untreated illnesses and injuries, being unable to walk on solid ground after a lifetime on wire floors, showing fear of people, and victimized by having pipes rammed down their throats to destroy their vocal chords to stop barking.

All of these situations are in clear violation of existing laws, yet Ling apparently never asked Main Line's Bill Smith to explain the contradiction between kennel conditions and the law as he led her from kennel to kennel to film the report.

This reporter was deeply impressed by the depth and intensity of caring about these animals shown by both Winfrey and Ling, and commends them for bringing animal welfare issues before a national audience of millions of people. This reporter also has great respect for Winfrey's sincerity and love of animals.

However, it also seems that the intensity of their emotions may have gotten in the way of asking tough and objective questions to get to the bottom of this issue. It also was apparent that they were being manipulated and used by animal rights groups to advance a hidden agenda that is not what it appears to be on the surface.

A review of existing laws shows why tough questions should have been asked of the sources for this report. Strangely, the Oprah team never went to the key source for accurate information: The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

"Neither the Department of Agriculture nor Dog Law Officials were contacted at any point to participate in the show or provide information or comments about what is being featured," Bureau Deputy Director Jessie Smith wrote to ASDA on Sunday. "We do not know at this point all of the kennels featured and whether or not they are state licensed."

In Pennsylvania, the law says animal cruelty means someone who "wantonly or cruelly ill(-)treats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any
animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal's body heat and keep it dry."

Almost all of the abuses shown in the Winfrey/Ling report would fall under this definition, and the alleged practice of tearing out dog's vocal chords is covered by another section on mutilation and disfiguring. Legal precedent clearly has been set for all of these problems, and literally dozens of cases are successfully prosecuted each year under this law in Pennsylvania. The law also provides for forfeiture of any animals that are in danger, and fines and possible imprisonment for someone who is found guilty of violating this law.

Main Line's website has a page devoted to what people can do to stop animal cruelty. After describing cruelty in much the same way as it was shown on the Oprah Show, the Main Line website says: "Don't sit by, day after day, and watch your neighbor's pet suffer, call the proper authorities and report the abuse. Again, the police WILL act on anonymous tips."

We must wonder why Bill Smith doesn't follow his own advice. On the Oprah show, he told of building long-term relationships with these puppy mills, so that they would allow him to rescue any dogs that are no longer wanted by the kennel owner. While those relationships allow Smith to rescue some dogs, shutting them down under animal cruelty laws would allow all of the dogs to be rescued, and eliminate the problem once and for all. There are six registered animal cruelty police officers for Chester County, and all of them are only a phone call away.

Smith also brought one of his own dogs onstage. The dog, named Shrimp, was happy and healthy, but a photo showed him near death when Smith took him from a mill. Did Smith report Shrimp's mill for cruelty to animals? The dog clearly had been treated in an inhumane manner.

Is Smith protecting these kennels? If so, why? Are revenues from adoption fees for these rescued dogs, plus invaluable publicity for fund-raising to cover a reported $2.3 million construction project and political lobbying for the animal rights agenda, factors in Smith's silence on this issue? We don't know the answer to any of these questions, but we are urging Attorney Generals Mukasey and Corbett to find out.

Animal cruelty laws are only one part of the picture. State kennel laws apply to every kennel that keeps 26 or more dogs over the course of a year, and all of the kennels in the Winfrey/Ling report clearly would require state licensure and, at a minimum, at least two inspections a year.

If these kennels are licensed, we must ask why the regulations are not being enforced. If they are not licensed, we must ask why Smith and other people at Main Line haven't turned them in to the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. An unlicensed kennel is breaking the law. It can be shut down immediately and a fine of up to $500 for each day of noncompliance can be ordered. Any dog that is deemed to be in danger can be seized and protected under the law.

State kennel regulations set strong standards for health care, food and water, cleanliness, and pen sizes, and numerous violations were observed at the kennels filmed by Ling and her associates.

The report clearly showed numerous situations where several dogs were crammed into tiny cages with wire bottoms. Wire bottoms are legal, but they must be coated with vinyl, the holes in the wire must not allow dogs' feet to pass through them, and resting boards must be provided. From the films taken by Ling, none of these requirements appeared to be met.

Kennel size requirements also weren't met. The minimum legal enclosure size is based on a complicated formula, but in general requires four square feet for each small dog, eight square feet for each medium-sized dog, and 12 square feet for each large dog. None of the cages shown in the Oprah report would even come close to meeting this legal requirement.

The law also mandates special size requirements for females with puppies: "Each bitch with nursing puppies shall be provided with an additional amount of floor space, based on her breed and behavioral characteristics, and in accordance with generally accepted husbandry practices as determined by the attending veterinarian. If the additional amount of floor space for each nursing puppy is less than 5% of the minimum requirement for the bitch, the housing shall be approved by the attending veterinarian.approved by the attending vet showed several clear violations of this provision.

Why are these violations being allowed to continue? Are dog wardens failing to enforce the law? Or, are they being told to back off from certain kennels?

Again, we don't know the answers, but are asking for an investigation to find out. We do know that a dog warden has been assigned to Chester County, and is being backed up by a special team of wardens and attorneys created specifically to investigate and prosecute puppy mills in that part of the state. We also know that Gov. Rendell has mandated a crackdown on non-compliant kennels, and the number of citations for unsatisfactory conditions issued increased by 10-percent statewide last year alone. In other parts of the state, dog wardens are being specifically instructed to issue citations for every violation.

We commend the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for doing an overall fine job to protect dogs in Pennsylvania kennels, and also commend the Bureau and Gov. Rendell for stepping up enforcement of the laws.

This reporter has personally known six Pennsylvania dog wardens and two regional supervisors. None of these dedicated and honest professionals would have ignored the situations shown in the Oprah report.

Then why are the kennels shown in the Oprah report falling through the cracks? We are asking Attorney General Corbett to find out.

State kennel regulations are only a part of the regulatory picture. All commercial kennels that sell wholesale to pet stores or dealers also must have a federal kennel license and comply with 60 pages of U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. These kennels are inspected at least once a year by a team of USDA officials that includes a veterinarian.

The federal regulations cover many of the same protections as their counterparts in Pennsylvania. They set stringent requirements for food, water, sanitation, cleanliness, construction and kennel sizes. The kennels depicted on the Oprah Show also completely fail to meet the test of these federal regulations.

In the report, Smith emphasized that many of the dogs never get out of their kennels, and some can't even walk on solid ground after a lifetime on wire. The film footage verified his claim.

However, there is no explanation about why this situation is allowed to continue, as it clearly violates federal regulations.

The federal rules require that all dogs over 12 weeks of age must be given the chance for exercise, and a plan for doing this must be approved by the kennel's veterinarian. There are several ways that the requirements for exercise can be met, including by larger cage

For a single dog, a cage twice as large as the minimum requirement would suffice. For a cage that houses several dogs, the total space would have to be the combined total of the space required for each of those dogs individually. None of the cages shown on the Winfrey/Ling report would meet those requirements. None would even come close.

In the report, Smith said the worst kennel he has seen uses wheel-shaped treadmills to exercise dogs. Graphic film footage was shown to prove his point.

However, Smith failed to mention that such devices are a specific violation of existing federal regulations, which say: "Forced exercise methods or devices such as swimming, treadmills, or
carousel-type devices are unacceptable…ca

The federal regulations also encourage – and for many dogs require – human interaction and contact with the dogs.

At one point in the broadcast, Ling asked Smith if a lot of dogs die from the cold in the winter. Smith said that they do.

Smith did not say that both state and federal regulations, as well as the animal cruelty law, offer very specific and stringent requirements to protect dogs from extremes of weather. Dogs that are housed in indoor facilities must be in a climate-controlled environment, and outdoor kenneling is banned for dogs that are not used to the weather, or which are elderly, infirm or of vulnerable breeds.

Smith also alleged that mill owners routinely shoot dogs that are no longer useful. This is a violation of the federal regulations, which require euthanasia to be done only by a veterinarian.

There is not even a shadow of a doubt that all of the kennels shown on the Winfrey/Ling report could have been – and should have been – shut down under existing animal cruelty laws, and both state and federal kennel regulations.

But they were not shut down. Was justice obstructed? Or was it simply an accident? We want Attorney Generals Mukasey and Corbett to find out why.

If these laws are not being enforced, or if they are being enforced selectively, new laws are not the answer. The answer is to commit the money, resources and supervision necessary to enforce the current laws. New laws will not fix a system that is broken. They simply will add to its list of failures.

Within the next few days, The American Sporting Dog Alliance will release our proposal for making the current system do its job better. This proposal will include amendments to regulations that will triple minimum cage sizes, clarify that the sizes must be increased if more than one dogs is put in a cage, ban the use of wire flooring of any kind, restructure the enforcement of Pennsylvania kennels laws to require dog wardens to be law enforcement professionals, and to use a $15 million Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement budget surplus to make sure the job gets done right.

While the Oprah report was about puppy mills, it gives a black eye to all kennels in Pennsylvania, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, Gov. Rendell, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes that black eye was intentional, even though that was not the intention of Winfrey and Ling. It was the intention of the animal rights groups that used Winfrey and Ling to accomplish their camouflaged true agenda.

Another guest on the Oprah show was Wayne Pacelle, who heads the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS is not like a local humane society, which is set up to help animals. HSUS is a political group that is organized to push for an animal rights agenda.

On the Oprah show, Pacelle showed his public relations skills of trying to appear moderate and caring. Before he entered the public spotlight, however, he showed his true colors in several interviews with groups that share the same agenda.

Here is one example from Animal People Magazine: "We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding ...One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding."

Thus speaks this so-called friend of animals. Perhaps he forgot to inform Oprah about his real beliefs.

Here is another quote from Pacelle that might surprise Oprah: "I don't have a hands-on fondness for animals…To this day I don't feel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them and I'm kind to them, but there's no special bond between me and other animals… In fact, I don't want to see another dog or cat born."

Dog lovers have been led to believe that new and tougher laws are needed to protect animals. As we demonstrated above, current laws are more than adequate to protect dogs, if they are enforced. If the problem is enforcement, then fix the enforcement problem. Creating new laws will simply create more enforcement problems.

Those new laws are not aimed at puppy mills. They are aimed directly at everyone who breeds, owns or works with dogs. The laws are deliberately written to confuse and burden all kennel owners, and impose irrational, meaningless, time-consuming and often impossible demands on them. The penalty provisions are meant to impose frightening liabilities that can destroy good people's lives for even minor infractions.

I wish I had the opportunity to sit down with Winfrey and Ling over a pot of coffee and go over both existing and proposed laws line by line with them. I believe I could convince them that they are being misled and used to accomplish an animal rights agenda that they would find horrifying and in direct opposition to their own love for animals.

The clear goal of animal rights groups is to completely eliminate the ownership of animals in America. That goal has been stated clearly by their spokespersons thousands of times on the public record. There is no doubt about this agenda whatsoever.

The problem is that people who love animals are not being told the truth by the animal rights groups. They are being told that the proposed new laws will help animals.

What they aren't being told is that the true intention of the proposed laws is to drastically reduce the number of animals in America, eliminate breeding of dogs by anyone for any purpose, and then to spay or neuter all of the survivors.

As Pacelle put it, "one generation and out."

If we were talking about human beings, it would be called genocide.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance works to protect the rights of people who own and work with dogs of the breeds commonly used for hunting. Our grassroots approach is based on informing hundreds of thousands of people about the issues, and then empowering them to take direct action as citizens. Please visit us on the web at
( Your participation and membership are vital. We maintain strict independence and are funded only by the donations of our members.


Monday, April 7, 2008

101 Rescues

Uggh. Oprah. Gack. But I’m a blogger, and the one thing a blogger can’t do is boycott a hot topic. So, like it or not, I have to blog about Oprah Winfrey.

At least the Oprah hot topic is animals! That’s good. But specifically it’s puppymills. That’s bad.

So, like any good blogger, I’ve been taking the pulse of the populace reacting to the Oprah puppymill show. It sure got people worked up.

In fact, many people are saying they want to go right out and adopt a rescue dog!

Now maybe it’s the ginko biloba talking, but that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before? Ah, I’m seeing spots. SPOTS! That’s it!

101 Dalmations. Snow Dogs. Men in Black. Cujo. Turner and Hooch. Lassie. Oprah’s 101 Rescues.

Now I remember. A movie comes out, a dog is featured. Everyone wants to run right out and buy one JUST like it. And there is a great moaning and wailing and gnashing of teeth about how the breed will be ruined, the cute puppy stage will wear off and the shelters will fill up. People who shouldn’t own dogs will buy these popular ones from unscrupulous breeders and (horrors) breed them.

Well, you heard it here. Ms. X says Oprah’s 101 Rescues will have the same result.

Everybody and their brother suddenly wants a rescue dog. Where there is demand, there will be supply. New rescue groups will crop up over night, and every dog they can get their hands on will suddenly become “puppymill rescues”. They’ll charge exhorbant rates (have to rehabilitate the puppymill rescues you know) and those with power will step up raids on breeders on the vaguest of trumped up charges. While the raids and confiscations increase, follow-through prosecutions will drop. “Rescuers” just want the dogs, they won’t want to cut into their, um, donations, with the cost of prosecutions. Live to raid another day.

And that’s just the beginning. Eventually the stateside rescue groups will run out of small cute, furry dogs, and they will do more “rescues” overseas. This will of course result in an increase in the number foreign puppymills, all too happy to churn out their own indigenous street dogs to satisfy the American Rescue market. These foreign imports bring disease and a host of problems.

Rescue dogs may not suffer from cute puppy-ness that wears off (well, neither did Cujo), but that won’t stop the returns. Already, a large number of dogs in shelters are in for their second (or more) tour of duty. [The reason of course is bad owners, who don’t learn how to train or solve behavior problems]. These numbers will only go up.

So many dogs will be pushed into the shelter/ rescue system because of this, that in a few short years, the then remaining rescues (the startups will fold as quickly as they came) will be bursting at the seams as demand dries and the returns start showing up.

So yeah, thanks Oprah. Thanks for shoving yet another breed of dog – the Rescue – into the face of consuming crazed public, desperate for another emotional feel-good fix.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Puppys' First Nights Home

(This blog originally posted on 6/18/2005.)

Almost everyone who gets a new puppy is advised by friends, family and the breeder about how to handle puppy's first nights. Usually the advise goes like this: place puppy's bed, toy, pee-pee pad in a safe, enclosed area, turn out the lights and leave him alone until morning.

It is expected that puppy will bark and whine and carry on, and new owners are admonished to ignore this behaviour and eventually it will go away.

Sometimes alternate advise is given - the Monks of New Skete, in their book "The Art of Raising a Puppy" write

"The best method we have found to prevent night trauma is to let your puppy sleep in your bedroom on an old sheet or blanket, tethered next to your bed. This works because the pup will want the security of being with you. ... This does two things: first, it helps the pup to adjust to you as part of his new pack. ...Second, it prevents the puppy from getting up in the middle of the night to eliminate away from his bed."

But why? For the owner to make a really educated decision about raising and training techniques, he needs more insight than the "how\'s" of techniques.

So let's look at an educational source. "Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog", by John Scott and John Fuller.
"Puppies left alone in their home pens do only a moderate amount of yelping at 3 weeks of age, and this tends to decrease as they grow older. However, a puppy left alone in a strange place yelps loudly and continuously, producing the maximum number of vocalizations when it is 6 to 7 weeks old and gradually decreasing them thereafter. By 12 weeks it makes very little noise in a strange place. This trend reflects a process of maturational change rather than becoming habituated to the situation, because a puppy given the experience for the first time at the later ages shows much the same yelping rate as those which have been isolated before."

Now we can put all the advice in perspective.

In the first advice, the admonition to 'leave the pup alone' is given because dogs (and people and cats and just about everything) do what is re-enforced. Even though the yelping is simply a part of the puppies development, if it is reinforced by attention, it becomes a learned behavior and then doesn't fade as the pup matures. So with this advise, if the pup is purchased at 6 or 7 weeks the owner is in for a few rough nights, until the surroundings are no longer unfamiliar. If the pup is purchased younger, or older, his tendency to vocalize is less and by the time he hits 6-7 weeks he is no longer in 'strange surroundings'.

The second advice is designed to avoid the yelping at any age, by keeping the pup near it's "pack", so that it is not disturbed by strange surroundings. Using this technique through the critical 6 and 7 week period, should allow for a relatively quiet transition to the permanent sleeping quarters (kitchen, living room etc) when the pup is 9 or 10 weeks of age. The drawback is if the owner doesn't get up and take puppy outside when he's restless, the owner might be in for a stinky nights' sleep, and a pup that has learned to poop in the bedroom.

Fit for the Job?

(This blog originally posted on 6/14/2005.)

Then there was the breeder that hired a vet to watch the bitch and stud dog mate because she and her husband didn't think they were up to the stress of the whole thing...

(Wonder if they have any human children?)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Quick! Break out the Emergency Genetic Test Kit!

Fido's got a new disease.

"Immune-Mediated Retinopathy, or IMR, causes loss of function in retinal cells and, in some cases, blindness in canines."

IMR is very similar to a previously known malady called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome or SARDS.

Both diseases occur when the dog produces auto antibodies that attack the retinal cells. The antibodies mistake retinal cells for cancerous tumors or tissues that need to be destroyed.

In the process of attacking the retinal cells, the auto antibodies cause the retinal cells to lose function and the dog to lose some or all of its vision.

The difference between IMR and SARDS that Grozdanic identified is that the auto antibodies that attack the retinal cells in SARDS patients are produced in the eye. In the newly identified IMR, Grozdanic found that these auto antibodies are produced elsewhere in the dog and travel to the eyes in the blood.

So this is an(other) auto-immune disorder, where the body's immune system goes haywire and attacks itself. Funny there was an article just the other day about how these disorders are on the rise in humans.

Immune Systems Increasingly On Attack

Though the data are stronger for some diseases than others, and part of the increase may reflect better diagnoses, experts estimate that many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades, depending on the ailment and country. Some studies now indicate that more than half of the U.S. population has at least one allergy.

Anecdotal reports say this seems to be the case for dogs too. And why not? Too many puppies and kittens are born into sterile environments, wormed from birth and weaned onto rice cereals... And then there is the unnatural high carb, grain laden diets they eat until the day the die. And the vaccines.

I could go on and on. So many causes. Will it suffer the same old cull`n`cure?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dog's Health

(This blog originally posted on 11/22/2005.)

The other day, on a long cross country flight, Ms. X found herself thumbing through a copy of Men's Health Magazine abandoned in the seat back by a man in presumably perfect health (but why did he buy the copy in the first place? maybe he thought it said "Men's Wealth"...
oh, never mind).

On page after page she read promotions for vitamins and supplements; each sure to reduce your chances of having strokes, colon cancer, Alzheimers or this or that ailment. Each one had research supporting it's claims.

Now Ms. X has taken salmon oil supplements ever since Miss X announced her intentions many years ago. So her salmon oil lubricated brain flows thoughts along at a slicker than normal rate. And a question flowed by as she studied Men's Health.... Where's this kind of information for dogs?

Ch. Super Super Dog's breed club sent out a flier: "Send us five dollars and a quarter inch of dead puppy dog tail and we'll guess at how many genes you have to remove from Fido's gene pool to cure heart disease forever!

IF you ignore our request, or throw it in the trash you are a Bad breeder!"

Wouldn't it be easier to give Fido a salmon oil capsule every day?

"Our kibbles are 100 percent completely nutritionally balanced! Do Not Supplement!" Bark the dog food manufacturers.

And the breed club sends out another flier: "The Scientists of Top Dog Food Company present - 'Dangers of a homemade diet' at next months BIG SHOW. (If you don't come you're a Bad breeder!)"

So we have a catch-22.

The dog food manufacturers are interested in meeting minimal nutritional standards and maximizing profit. The breeders are interested in funding gene research, because they feel empowered to think they could eliminate a disease merely by selecting against it. After all, breeders have no control over what's in the kibble. And the kibble manufacturers want to control profits.

So Fido is caught in the middle, unable to read Men's Health. Maybe the geneticists could work on curing canine illiteracy. Ms. X might even donate a few whiskers for that, but the tails stay here.