18 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. We have high hopes that this new job posting for an Executive Director at the New Braunfels Humane Society (that operates our taxpayer-funded animal shelter in New Braunfels/Comal County TX) will bring life-saving changes, such as photos for all pets at the shelter and access to them! No-Kill New Braunfels has been fighting for almost a year just to get photos of and access to all the pets killed at this shelter.


    1. Linda, I hope you are as successful as we were in Canon City Colorado. We fought a shelter for a year to improve, the main request was to get a hardworking compassionate director. It could not have gone better. The new director walked in and took a kill facility to a 90+% save rate overnight. And he is on track to make it the best shelter in Colorado for homeless pets in 2015. In that year of advocacy, many people who were on the team fighting for the animals lost heart at times. But we never gave up as a group. And now we changed the world in this part of Colorado. You can see how wonderful this shelter is now here:


      and if you go to the FB page that started it all you can see what we were up against. you need to scroll back to summer of last year for the origination of the page to see what it was like when the fight first began. See it here:


      I’d say good luck, but it won’t help. Its hard work, perseverance, and never forgetting what you’re fighting for. No matter how much they resist, its not up to them. Its up to you.

      1. Thank you for sharing your experience…it gives us hope. The New Braunfels Humane Society (in TX, between Austin & San Antonio) board members are the ones doing the hiring, and they are guilty of supporting the secrecy in shelter operations. The board members won’t even release financial information or governing documents as required by law, let alone information about the pets at the shelter (much of the shelter is off-limits to the public). But the fact that the current director, a shelter employee for over a decade, is now gone is good news.

        We are also using the No Kill Advocacy Center’s approach to bring change. Of course, transparency in shelter operations is the foundation for creating a no-kill shelter. Any decent shelter director has to find the current policies of secrecy completely unacceptable, and city officials are also ready for change.

        Luckily, the no-kill, open-admission shelters in Austin and Williamson County are nearby, so we have proof no-kill is real and sustainable. Even the city shelter in San Antonio has embraced No-Kill and has a much higher live release rate than our shelter in New Braunfels.

        I’m glad you were able to effect change in your community! We won’t give up either…too many lives are depending on it.

  2. The feature film “White God,” about an uprising of street dogs, to be released at the end of this coming March, has gotten very enthusiastic reviews and has been compared to Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

    Manohla Darghis of the New York Times, who called the film “fierce and beautiful,” interviewed the director, Hungarian Kornel Mundruczo, in the spring, when the film showed at Cannes. Mundruczo worked with 250 dogs from pounds, and all were adopted after the film was shot.

    “Mr. Mundruczo said that working with the dogs proved to be a kind of therapy for everyone – ‘we all became dogs and they became human’ – and that he was forced to forget his own power as a director.”


    Variety also liked the film, calling it “moving” and “technically masterful,” though the reviewer noted its intensity:


    The trailer is here:


    The film won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, reserved for more adventurous, less mainstream films. And the dogs collectively won the festival’s Palm Dog, given to the year’s best canine performance:


    1. Agree – and I think this shoot first attitude is what we are also seeing in the shootings that are being protested right now (and probably a lot of others we haven’t yet heard about). I know there are good police officers and then the others . . .

  3. No Kill Advocacy Center donation drive:

    Barb Taub, a member of my family who writes in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre, is donating all of her royalties between now and January 1st to two animal organizations: on the U.S. side, the No Kill Advocacy Center, and on the U.K. side, Dogs Trust. (Barb lives in Scotland.)


    Barb’s writing is tremendously fun and fast-paced. I’ve loved both of her first two books, along with the shorter stories in her just-released collection.

    My personal favorite is her second novel, Don’t Touch, about a teenager who wakes up one day to find that everything she touches changes into something else. But if this is a genre that you like, you’ll like all of Barb’s work — she writes with confidence, humor, and brio!

  4. My heart hurts. I donate to shelters and rescue groups, I’ve fostered, I’ve volunteered, I shop cruelty-free and I’m vegetarian, but it never seems like enough. There’s so much abuse, everywhere. What can I do about it? How can I help prevent it? How can I get justice for the animals harmed behind closed doors? I feel like there’s nothing I can do that will truly make a difference :(

  5. Some moron who publishes blog posts for public consumption has published an article telling people how to get their face bitten off by strange dogs….

    I’m NOT going to link to the actual article. But if you really want to read it, it was published on The Toast, and its titled “Tips for Getting the Most Out Of Strangers’ Dogs”. Note, The Toast isn’t exactly what I’d call high end reading, but unfortunately the article is making the rounds of Facebook…..

    And its basically a set of instructions on how to get a strange dog to allow you to pet them without having to ask the dog owner for permission first…..

    The FIRST thing the author tells you to do is lock eyes with the dog.

    Locking eyes with a predator is an aggressive signal. While its true that certain training commands involve having a dog do that on command, outside of that setup its STILL an aggressive move even for those dogs. And while some dogs won’t care (or are well enough socialized to tolerate it), others will be scared by the eye contact (cause yah, terrorizing the dog you want to pet is a good idea), and still others till respond in a very aggressive manner.

    Never mind that there ARE dogs who’ll allow you to reach out a hand to pet them….only to snap at the hand because something triggered their fear at the last minute.

    Never mind the SHEAR STUPIDITY that people insist on doing this sort of thing with working dogs (and no, just because you don’t see a vest on the dog doesn’t mean they’re not working).

    So do yourself and every dog you meet a favor. Ask the owners permission BEFORE even approaching the dog. Do NOT lock eyes with the dog. And if at any point the owner indicates that your attention isn’t welcome or needs to stop, then DON’T PUSH IT.

  6. I always say “hi” to dogs, though, without speaking to the owner because I’m shy. I generally look in the dog’s general direction and say “hey, cutie,” in a soft, friendly voice, then keep on going. The owner knows I’m not talking to him or her because I’m looking down. The dog almost always looks at me; the owner never does. This takes place near the train station where I catch my train home from work every day; a dense, urban neighborhood where there are a lot of people walking their dogs. And I’ve noticed that people often do the same when I’m out with Redd. And sometimes when I’m driving past a dog and an owner, I’ll roll down my window and say, “What a beautiful dog!” If you think I’m being rude by addressing dogs without asking their owner’s permission, I’ll stop. I was just trying to be friendly, but I don’t want to violate the protocol. I’m kind of new to dogs, and I don’t know all the etiquette yet.

    1. As a dog owner, if you said “hi cutie” to my dogs, and kept going on with your day without stopping, I’d not care. And a car stopping to say “handsome dogs!” just makes me laugh (I’ve gotten it, I have unusual dogs).

      Its the “stop and try to get my dogs’ attention without my permission” that causes the problem. Unless you actually know the dog in question you have no way to judge if they’re safe to pet, they could be highly skittish and you trying to force your attention on them could send them into a panic, they could be “aggressive towards people wearing hoodies” (or whatever different thing your wearing, hats for example) due to prior negative experience, they could be working as an assistance dog, they could be in training and your attentions cause them to break training….

      And if you were stupid enough to stop and lock eyes with EITHER of my dogs….the little one would shriek in terror and try to bolt (and if for some reason he couldn’t get away from you he WILL lash out), the big one might just go for your face depending on the rest of the situation. They’re both quite friendly if you approach them with appropriate dog manners.

  7. Montgomery county NY has a meeting TONIGHT (Wednesday Dec 17) to look at a new animal welfare law.


    Though portions of it make a great deal of sense. Other portions do not.

    A “breeder” or “animal seller” is defined as someone who sells 9 or more dogs/cats in a year. If you fit that qualification you must apply for additional permits from the county. Ranging from $100 and up, yearly.

    All sold (bartered, traded) dogs/cats must have received a rabies shot before going to their new home. There is no exception for pups or kittens under the age of 16 weeks.

    They specify the creation of a county Animal Abuser registry, but then require the abusers to PAY to be included on the list (cause thats going to encourage them to register, yup….), in theory to help cover the costs of the registry. And while I have no problem with idea the folks who abused animals having to pay for the registry I can already tell you thats not going to work……

    I’m still working my way through the whole thing, but I’m shaking my head over quite a bit of it……

  8. Posted on the Save Mickey fb page today. There are currently over 200 comments in less than an hour.

    PETA is expressing interest in Mickey! And it is not a good interest!
    Attorney John Schill spoke directly with Jared Goodman Director of Animal Law for PETA. John specifically told Mr. Goodman if PETA tries to intervene to have Mickey killed, they would be in for a heck of a legal battle.
    Do not let PETA fool you, think do not like Pit Bulls, and they definitely do not like Mickey.


  9. Thank you, Ruth. I only interact physically with a dog or cat if the animal rubs up against me. Otherwise, I just give the friendly voice and facial greeting. My dog appreciates any friendly greeting, including being touched by a stranger, but he is far friendlier and less shy than I am. I always assume that if another being wants to be touched, he or she will initiate the contact.

    One thing I wanted to ask about is complimenting an animal. Years ago, somone said that a foster cat I had taken to an adoption show had beautiful green eyes, and I thanked her. The president of the group became angry and told me to never thank someone for a comment directed at an animal, and I’ve been confused ever since. Couldn’t I thank the person on behalf of the animal, since he or she can’t speak?

    1. Anne, I can’t see where you did ANYTHING wrong, based on your description. There are some people who work with animals because they lack the skills to work with people. Maybe this president is one of those.

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