Robeson Co Moves to Kill More Shelter Puppies

The Robeson County pound in NC killed 62% of the dogs in its care in 2015.  Expect that number to go up.

Last month, the Robeson Co Board of Death Health adopted a policy which will, in effect, mean death for many puppies at the county pound.  Specifically, any puppy under 4 months old eyeballed by pound employees and deemed to be a pitbull, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or a mix of any of these, will be killed unless an out of state rescue group swoops in to save the dog. It has to be out of state because you know, they said so.  The policy comes in response to four recent dog attacks in the area – three of which allegedly involved pitbulls.

Bill Smith, director of the Robeson Co Death Health Department, said it’s not necessary to include any other breeds in the policy because hey, three out of four.

Or make that one out of two:

According to the Robeson County Health Department, 114 dogs have been declared vicious in Robeson County since 2012. Fifty-seven of those animals were listed as a pit bull or pit bull mix.

But whatever, it’s some anyway.  And some makes for good policy.  I guess adopting a policy based on the actions of a dog, regardless of breed, would be too… sensible?

It is proven fact that shelter workers do not accurately identify breeds, even when the dogs are grown up to what they actually look like, let alone when they are squished up puppy versions, so visual assessment by Robeson Co pound workers will doom all kinds of puppies to death – not just “pitbulls”.

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Rescue groups in other states are already overburdened trying to save puppies and dogs in their own areas with scant resources.  This is an unrealistic alternative and yet it is the only one Robeson Co is providing for these mislabeled puppies who have harmed no one.

Robeson Co residents need to stand up and tell their elected officials that killing healthy, happy puppies at the shelter will not prevent dog attacks.  Never has, never will.  The county should end this discriminatory policy and replace it with one which addresses a dog’s actions, not the shape of his head.

(Thanks Susan, Lisa and Lou Ann.)



AKC Throws a Crumb to Mutts

From the AKC:

Today, we are delighted to tell you that AKC can now act even more broadly and effectively as the dog’s champion. Our Board of Directors has voted unanimously to proceed with a program for mixed breed dogs.

Soooooooounds good, but I always like to know the details. AKC provides a pdf of the mixed breed program so you can read the specifics for yourself. I’ll give you my breakdown:

  • Mixed breed dog owners get to pay $35 to register their dog and then they get a number AND they get to be BFFs with the AKC – wowza!
  • Registered mixes are eligible to compete in AKC Agility, Obedience and Rally events. No mention of hunt tests for retriever mixes or lure coursing for hound mixes or any other performance events. But at least they get the Obedience classes. Maybe.
  • Mixes can not compete at any AKC show which has conformation classes. That means all-breed shows and breed/group specialties are out – even if they are holding obedience classes anyway. No room at the inn.
  • Further, a club doesn’t have to offer classes for mixes. It’s up to each club to decide if they want to participate in the program. (Presumably some clubs might not want mutts poo’ing on their show grounds in the same spot the purebreds are poo’ing – ewwwww.)
  • If a club does offer mixed breed classes, the mixes have to sit at the back of the bus and wait for the purebreds to run. Then the mutts get their turn in their “Special Ed” classes. And just in case that doesn’t make the owner feel special enough, their dog’s titles will contain a distinct designation indicating the dog is a mutt and didn’t compete against purebreds to earn the title. AKC uses the phrase “similar (but separate)” to describe the Special titles. (“Separate but equal” was already taken.)

So, um – yay mutt owners? Keep your $35 checks on standby though cos the fun doesn’t start until October 1st. That’ll give the snooty patooties 6 months to get the counseling they’ll need to deal with the possibility that some mixed breed dog might be sucking up the same oxygen at an obedience trial.

ADDED: See a good post at Underdogged from the perspective of someone who competes in AKC and non-AKC obedience events. Terrierman shares his take on the whole scheme here.