Let’s Play Oddball

‘Scuse me Mrs. Kangaroo, I think you dropped something

Trap-Neuter-Release is good for more than feral cats

File under “What’s the world coming to?”: Bald eagle thug

A bus driver in Germany rescued a frog but her employer warns her to never let it happen again

Scooby-Doo wannabes in the UK can enter a look alike contest

Beagle has her own style of playing dead on Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks

Toy pet related: My Little Pony gets customized

Pitbulls Fly the Unfriendly Skies

There’s been a lot of buzz over a new airline that exclusively flies pets called Pet Airways. But apparently some pets are flown only by special arrangement, which the customer wouldn’t know unless they downloaded and read the Contract of Carriage (pdf) from the website:

6. SHIPMENTS SUBJECT TO ADVANCE ARRANGEMENTS
The following shipments shall be acceptable for carriage by Carrier only upon Advance Arrangements:

(D) Shipments of the following breeds of dog: Pit Bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Saffordshire (sic) Bull Terrier, Presa Canario.

I wondered exactly what these “advance arrangements” were so I contacted the airline to inquire but so far, no response. I was hoping their answer might shed some light on why these special arrangements were required for just these particular breeds which are often the victims of breed profiling. Owners of these breeds may face extra challenges in trying to rent a home, obtain home insurance, or even keep their pets after someone else’s dog bites someone in the community. It seems they won’t catch a break on Pet Airways either which is too bad since the company’s business idea is a good one.

If Pet Airways responds to my inquiry, I will update the post.

Bringing up from the comments, from EmilyS, 4-24:

according to a friend, PA has tweeted “”there are red carpets awaiting pit bulls 2 & we have revised our Contract of Carriage as we do not discriminate at Pet Airways”

I looked at their website and indeed, the offending part of the contract has been removed.

GOOD JOB PET AIRWAYS!!!

Biscuits for everyone!

The section naming the bully breeds has been replaced by:

(D) Shipments of pets with past aggressive behavior.

That sounds like it would even apply to my 10# mixed breed “Emily” who bites (she would have gotten a free pass under the previous language). So too bad Emily, you won’t get to go on any flight crew eating binges anytime soon, hehe.

SC Red Cross Shelters Won’t Allow Pets of Fire Evacuees

Thousands of people have been evacuated due to wildfires in the Myrtle Beach area of SC. The Red Cross has set up shelters but, apparently learning nothing from Katrina, they don’t take pets:

Pets are not allowed in the Red Cross shelters, however, arrangements are being made with Horry County Humane Society to bring in a mobile trailer with individual cages to house pets.

It’s only April but already too hot to leave pets in the car:

Several residents headed to the North Myrtle Beach Fitness and Aquatic Center with their pets in tow, but left that shelter after learning they couldn’t keep their pets there.

“There wasn’t anyone left when they told us we couldn’t have animals,” said Sharon Slater of North Myrtle Beach.

Many residents are keeping their pets in their vehicle or walking them outside The House of Blues.

I am in the midlands (not near the fires) of SC but if you have been evacuated and need assistance with your pets, please contact me. I will try to help in any way I can.

This post will be updated if I come across additional news on the shelter situation.

UPDATE: Various messages on Twitter about places to stay that accept pets. Also, Google maps on affected areas.

"You’ve got a super dog"

A shop in VA Beach has a resident dog – a one year old Pitbull named Rico. On Sunday, two armed men entered the store (presumably to rob it) and shot Rico in the head. Despite his wound, Rico acted on the threat and protected his humans, allowing them to escape:

“I know for a fact he saved our lives,” said Chuck Smellinger, 34, one of the shop’s owners. “It was amazing, because I’ve never seen him act out aggressively.”
[…]

“The vet said, ‘You’ve got a super dog,’” said owner Christopher Selby, 31, who adopted Rico a few weeks ago from his previous owner, who couldn’t care for him anymore.
[…]

Rico’s heroic act speaks well for pit bulls, especially because he didn’t attack first, Smellinger said.

“Anyone who has a pit bull and doesn’t fight it will tell you they’re the smartest, coolest dogs,” Selby said. “It’s 100 percent the image and the owner and the socialization and how they’re raised.”

Rico will make an appearance at Saturday’s fundraiser [to help cover vet bills], sporting a sparkling “bling-bling” collar, Selby said. “He’ll be treated like a hero for the rest of his life.”

All the bling you can handle for the rest of your days Rico! And let’s hope they catch the cowards who brandished guns in the store and shot the hero dog.

Greenville Co, SC: 2 Roaming Pitbulls Attack

If you can stand all the typos, a SC TV station site has a story on 2 Pitbulls whose owner was “out of town” when they got loose yesterday. The dogs bit a kid, killed another dog who was in his own fenced-in yard and then turned on police officers who shot them both to death. Obviously we don’t have all the facts here – namely, who was responsible for the dogs during the owner’s absence and how did they get loose? But not letting an absence of facts (or spellcheck) deter them on their mission o’ stupidity, the station has a poll on whether Pitbulls should be illegal smack-dab in the middle of their homepage. Sensationalism, anyone?

I say again: breed bans do not solve the problem of irresponsible owners. Nor do breed bans address the fact that any dog can bite, although it’s important to note that most dogs don’t. Is it possible for MSM to engage the community in a reasonable debate on responsible dog ownership and forgo the whole Pitbull-maulings-get-ratings mentality? If not, I guess it’s up to us.

Treats on the Internets

Leona Helmsley’s money is being doled out to various charities. Among the pet-related recipients: ASPCA, Canine Companions for Independence, Dogs for the Deaf, and Puppies Behind Bars.

An owner reminisces about a senior Pitbull she adopted from a shelter.

The owner of a PA Pitbull who bit an unattended kid after whelping a litter is allegedly letting the dog roam (again).

FDA is investigating the many reports of illness and death associated with Nutro pet foods over the past two years. ADDED: Nutro denies. UPDATE #2: Oh my. In a classic move, now FDA denies.

EPA is investigating a large number of adverse reactions reported with the use of spot-on flea and tick products such as Frontline Plus.

Two members of John Goodwin’s alma mater ALF have been indicted on felony charges for targeting UCLA researchers.

Congress is holding a hearing on HR 669 on Thursday, April 23. Act now.

Kim Campbell Thornton has an article on home prepared pet feeding – and I am quothed.

Defining the Goals – My Wish List

I have been thinking about what my hopes are for the pet community I belong to and enjoy so much. I know I can’t do everything, but I can do something. Defining my personal goals and beliefs helps me organize my thoughts and move forward on my actions. Although I call this a “Wish List”, I do believe each of these goals is achievable – real world, in our lifetime, it-could-start-today-if-we-all-worked-hard achievable. So here is my list:

  • No shelter animal will be killed solely on the basis of its breed, its status as an abused pet or for population control.
  • Every shelter pet will receive a fair evaluation by at least one qualified individual.
  • Any dog deemed “dangerous” will receive an individual evaluation by a behaviorist, the results of which will be duly considered in determining the most humane outcome.
  • Euthanasia will be used to end suffering of pets deemed medically hopeless by a Veterinarian.
  • Euthanasia will be performed only by a Veterinarian, using the gentlest method modern medicine has to offer – currently, sedation followed by intravenous injection.
  • Shelters will keep accurate, detailed records which will be accessible to the public.
  • No laws will be enacted which require the forfeiture of a pet due to breed, reproductive status, or unreasonable burdens which the owner could not bear.
  • All pet breeders will be ethical and responsible in word and deed.
  • All pet owners will provide appropriate care for the life of their pets unless unforeseen circumstances prevent that, in which case they will responsibly rehome the pet.
  • In cruelty cases involving the mentally ill, provisions will be made to allow for mental health treatment of the abuser. Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine if circumstances exist which might allow for the person to own a pet in future, under close supervision by family, friends and authorities.
  • Pet food companies will manufacture their products with quality ingredients using NRC guidelines and feeding trials, test their food with transparency to consumers, label with COOL and advertise honestly.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will raise funds and/or lobby for legislation with complete and easily accessible transparency to the public.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will first, do no harm.

Yeah, there are challenges. I know. To name a few:

  • How do we fund the advancement of these goals?
  • How do we define the terms so that we are all on the same page (or at least reading from the same book)?
  • How do we legally enforce the mandates while maintaining a balance with our individual rights as American citizens?
  • How do we educate and assist pet owners in remote areas with high poverty levels?

I don’t have all the answers. I have ideas though – and a blog! So I got that goin’ for me.

I would love to read your personal wish list for the pet community. I’m sure there are important things I left off mine. I consider it a work in progress.

21 Polo Horses Die before Match

The polo team favored to win the U.S. Open tournament in Florida had 21 of its horses die suddenly on Sunday. The team has now withdrawn from competition and an investigation into the horses’ deaths is underway:

Officials believe that the “very rapid onset of sickness and death” points to toxins or a drug reaction and also allows them to rule out other possibilities.

“At this time, there is no evidence that these horses were affected with an infectious or contagious disease, as there are no other horses affected at this time,” according to Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesman Terence McElroy.

Officials are continuing to conduct tests, and Florida agriculture scientists are performing necropsies on the animals.

Pending test results, there is some speculation as to foul play:

Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian at the New York Racing Association and a 19-year veterinarian, said Monday that she suspected a tainted substance was injected into the horses.

“[It was] something that was administered for it to work in a short amount of time and have an animal succumb that quickly,” Kunz said. “My thought is that something was injected, because it would have to affect the central nervous system.”

[…]

Anabolic steroids are not likely to have caused the deaths, either, Kunz said.

“It takes at least five days for [anabolic steroids] to really work, and the effects aren’t real obvious at first,” she said. “Most of the time, [anabolic steroids] are used to build up their muscularity.”

UPDATE, 4-23: Pharmaceutical error apparently caused the death of the horses

Vick Dogs on ESPN Tomorrow Night

The show E:60 on ESPN will air a program about the Vick dogs tomorrow night. They posted an “additional content” vid here.

Tidbits from Monday Reading

The case of a VA man originally sentenced for selling Pitbull fighting videos whose conviction was reversed on appeal will be heard this fall by the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court will consider reviving a federal law banning the sale of images of animal cruelty. A federal appeals court said the law illegally restricts this form of free speech.

For you SCOTUS watchers:

The case is U.S. v. Stevens, 08-769.

***

The city of Baltimore must have ZERO crime:

Animal Control and police officers from Baltimore’s Southern District set up a sting operation in Riverside Park on March 29th to catch dog owners violating the law.

“The law” being referred to is a leash/scoop law.  The “sting operation” presumably has something to do with the amount of revenue generated by each fine:

First-time offenders are being hit with $1,000 fines.

The city council is expected to consider lowering that fine to $250.

***

Good post on The Poodle and Dog Blog about one of the myths perpetuated by HSUS and other groups:

The Humane Society of the United States repeatedly states that 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred dogs.

[…]

Unless a dog comes into a shelter holding his AKC pedigree in his teeth, there is no way anyone can tell for sure if the dog is purebred. The truth is that there is no way to know how many purebred dogs are held in shelters for prolonged periods, but common sense should tell us it is nowhere near one-fourth of them.

As I commented there, all you have to do to figure out whether 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred is to visit one (or ten, or ninety-four).  Don’t get me wrong, I love my shelter mutt and she won’t be the last in our home by any means.  But for owners who have done their research and decided to get a purebred dog, a shelter is unlikely to fulfill their needs.  And that doesn’t make them bad owners.  It just makes them people who cared enough to research and make an informed decision before getting a dog.  (Like the Obama family.)  I call those types of people good owners.

For those who want a dog that looks similar to a certain breed or who just want a nice dog, check your area shelters and rescue groups!  You never know who you might meet.