12 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Good morning, Austin needs the help of everyone who cares about pets. Ryan Clinton posted the following message regarding Mandatory Pet Licensing on his Facebook page yesterday. You don’t have to be a resident of Austin to send a polite email to Austin City Council Members. The last link will take you to the email form and one email will reach all the council members. If you live in a community where Mandatory Pet Licensing failed, please include examples/links in your email. Thank you!

    Just when we thought everyone was on the same page….

    Ryan Clinton

    Friends, I need your help today. Despite becoming the largest No Kill community in America, it is being reported that the newly regressive Austin Animal Advisory Commission is going to pass an ordinance giving City bureaucrats the power over people’s pets by forcing all pet owners to annually license their pets with City bureaucrats. In turn, this will give homeowners associations, condo associations, and apartment complexes the evidence they need to FINE people, EVICT people from their homes, and/or FORCE THEM to give up their pets to animal-control officers.

    Worse still, licensing schemes have been proven to have NEVER worked in any city to reduce shelter killing. It will be an expensive (i.e., tax dollars) and massive undertaking according to even its proponents, and will thereby take resources away from proven programs and policies that actually reduce shelter killing. And it will give the city an up-to-the-date system to track down and seize law-abiding citizen’s pets if city officials or bureaucrats ever decide someone’s pet looks like a “dangerous” breed. (This JUST happened in Missouri last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bo76_qbYJ0).

    I’ll have more on this later, but in the mean time, PLEASE take a moment RIGHT NOW to e-mail the Austin City Council and ask that they OPPOSE the proposed mandatory pet licensing ordinance. You can e-mail all of them at once here: http://austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members

  2. Please join us for the 2nd annual Western States No Kill Conference taking place on March 30th in Albuquerque, NM. Speakers and presenters for this years conference are:

    * Stacey Coleman, Executive Director, Animal Farm Foundation

    * Ellen Jefferson, DVM, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive!

    * Susanne Kogut, former Executive Director of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA in Virginia

    * Aimee Sadler, Director of Behavior and Training at Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation

    * Kris Weiskopf, Chief of Manatee County Animal Services in Florida

    Additional information and discounted early registration is available at: http://www.westernstatesnkconference.org

  3. Here is a truly bizarre essay on how to train dogs and owners to improve retention and reduce shelter intake and have well-adjusted dogs. Let us hope this individual never attains a public office, or an influential position in any animal-related organization.



    What shelter dogs need the most has absolutely nothing to do with brick and mortar. It doesn’t matter to dogs what color the paint on the wall is, what modern design a shelter has, or that you can even feed and water them without the need to open the gates. It’s not the fabric of the building that makes a difference, it’s the people inside the building, the quality of the staff, and it’s the caregivers that will make that difference.


    Why are we breeding more and more dogs when most times we can pick exactly what we want from shelters, the vast majority of dogs destroyed are not inferior to those who come from breeders or pet stores? Shelter dogs can make much better companions than those bred for pet sales. Police dogs, service dogs, sniffer dogs come from shelters.


    Only accepting surrenders that are adoptable would make it less challenging to find them homes and get them out of this highly competitive, high stress environment quicker while saving time and money that could be better put to use somewhere else. Then you could ask the owner to walk by other dogs and if their dog is lunging out at other dogs, don’t take it in. In other words the shelter is not taking responsibility for a dog that’s already a problem. Shelters would then be in the business for finding homes for nice dogs.


    And here’s the big one. Prior to the past two decades, the idea of socializing a puppy involved familiarizing our puppy to a variety of different people under different circumstances and environments. We did this because domestic dogs live in a people world. During this past decade or so, there has been a shift in emphasis from socializing dogs to people to socializing dogs to other dogs.

    I think there may be several reasons that motivated this shift. Undeniably guilt plays a role here. Then our lifestyles have become more and more complex as well which means our dogs mean far more to us. What better way to compensate our dogs than allowing our dogs the opportunity to romp with their own kind and to become one with their inner dog?

    Though that sounds ideal, it overlooks several realities that I find troubling. First, humans have spent more than 10,000 years, 40,000 maybe even 100.000 years domesticating dogs so dogs would prefer humans over canine companionship. Do we really want to encourage dogs to play by canine rather than human rules while at the same time we demand more of them in their intimate interactions with us?

    And finally, don’t forget to ask why you think your dog needs this kind of activity. If your dog is well-behaved and healthy, chances are that he or she is perfectly content to spend time with you rather than other dogs. Is that not why we call them companion dogs, to be people companions rather than another dog’s companion.

    I love the fact that my dogs would rather play with me than any other dog they meet. They are being normal balanced dogs by choosing me. I don’t want to be treated like just another canine. I want to be all I can for my dogs in return I also want them to be all they can for me, after all I control everything in their world, I want them to want to be with me because I’m a heck of a lot more fun than any dog they would ever meet. Dogs that would rather interact with other dogs than people are not the normal but rather the exception.

    [More at link, sadly]

    1. Elaine, I’ll disagree only with your calling this one bizarre. But, that’s only because I’ve heard similar stories many times before. So many people more interested in telling others their opinions about how to help dogs than in learning. Just reading how she assesses a new dog at a shelter shows the harm she can cause, and I know others like her.

      Don’t take the dogs in if they lunge at other dogs? We pull most of those “lungers” into dog play groups and they do just fine. Give me a day and I’ll teach you enough to know the difference, but you need to open your eyes and most of her type simply won’t do that.

      “[More at link, sadly]”
      Yes, Elaine, it is sad and more than sad. These people are a major part of the problem in helping the dogs.

  4. If you guys get HBO (or can find it online somewhere), and havent watched “One Nation Under Dog” yet, you should. I finally watched it last night and I thought it was pretty good. It was cute but interesting as well. And there arent a whole lot of depressing things in it either, so. Anyway, I would definitely recommend it! :)

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