Abandoned Pugs in Nanaimo, BC Puzzle Authorities

Abandoned Pugs Found Near British Columbia MallA strange spate of Pug abandonments have been taking place across a picturesque town on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island.  Nanaimo, BC shelter worker Helen Roberts says that in more than 20 years of experience, she’s never seen anything like it.

The abandonment took place over the course of the month of December, and all the dogs involved were young, intact female Pugs with a variety of health problems. Authorities are now speculating that this was a case of a puppy mill dumping off breeding stock that they had no further use for.

The first two pugs were found wandering near Nanaimo’s Country Club Center mall, the first on December 13th, the second on December 29th. A third pug was discovered at the same location at a later, unspecified date in December. The fourth pug was found near another Nanaimo mall, The North Town Center, also on December 29th. All of the found dogs were dirty, malnourished, parasite infested and in need of attention.

It’s baffling that anyone with enough knowledge to breed and raise pugs would be unaware that there are a myriad of homes in Canada waiting to take in unwanted adults, even those with health issues. British Columbia has a well organized Pug Club and rescue group, who I’m sure would have been happy to help. Instead, someone dumped these girls unceremoniously in the snow, in the coldest month of the year, and left them to fend for themselves.

Two of the dogs have found new homes through the Nanaimo and District SPCA, one has been adopted by the person who found it, and the final Puglette is awaiting a new home at Walker’s Animal Rescue in Nanaimo. Let’s hope that the new lives they’ve found are better than the ones they’ve left behind them.

Full story here.

Why is anyone still giving money to HSUS?

It’s amazing the bits and pieces that can all eventually come together after a day or so of web surfing.

A comment on the Bad Rap Blog tipped me off to the fact that, while HSUS said “no thanks” to helping the suffering Pit Bulls of Oklahoma, they were right there when a recent North Carolina dog fighting bust went down. According to an article in the Wilkes Journal Patriot,

The 127 pit bulls were taken away with help of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control personnel with four vans. A tractor-trailer belonging to the Humane Society of the U.S. also was used to transport dogs.

On the HSUS website, a press release about the raid says

“The raid of this suspected dogfighting operation is the culmination of an extensive investigation, and dogfighters everywhere should worry that they could be next,” said Chris Schindler, deputy manager of animal fighting law enforcement for The Humane Society of the United States.

“We are grateful to the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office and Wilkes County Animal Control department for acting quickly and efficiently against this suspected dogfighting operation.”

It is a felony to possess a dog for the purpose of dogfighting in North Carolina. Those involved in illegal dogfighting can receive four to 10 months in prison.

What I find most telling is what this press release (so full of praise for the work of Wilkes County officials)  fails to reveal – that a successful prosecution will lead to the immediate death of every Pit Bull confiscated in the raid, puppies included.

He said the pit bulls were being kept as evidence at an undisclosed location until the completion of court proceedings in the case, with a goal of moving through court as rapidly as possible.
“If the state wins the case, the dogs will be euthanized, as called for under the county’s Animal Control Ordinance, based on the dogs being trained and used for fighting,” he said, adding that the dogs were therefore considered dangerous.

Wilkes Journal Patriot

No condemnation of this policy is found on the HSUS website. On the contrary, this singular fact is conspicuously absent, although calls for more donations to help ‘end dog fighting’ abound. In fact, right next to the press release is a banner touting the HSUS’ $5,000 bounty for information on suspected dog fighting operations. Seeing it there, and knowing HSUS’ “Kill ’em all” policy on Pit Bulls, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the bounties some areas pay for the bodies of dead wolves. I can hardly think that a stance of ‘death to all fighting Pit Bulls’ is also conducive to convincing people to turn the dogs in – unless, of course, you plan to do your level best to prevent the general public from ever learning that the only Pit Bull HSUS cares for is a dead Pit Bull.

Of course, there’s also the distinct possibility that HSUS’ $5,000 bounty kill fee reward is actually a scam, as the author of this blog asserts.

I find it quite striking that when live Pit Bulls (by which I mean, Pit Bulls that were alive, and were going to remain alive) were involved, HSUS wanted no part of the situation – but when dead Pit Bulls (by which I mean, Pit Bulls that will be murdered killed euthanized as soon as the case is completed) were involved, HSUS could send transport trucks across the country. Apparently, while Pit Bulls can be quite useful tools for raising money, HSUS isn’t quite so keen on spending any of those funds to actually keep them alive.

Of course, as the recent cases taught us, the insistence of Wilkes County that the operators of Wildside Kennels should be actually found guilty in a court of law before the Pit Bulls are murdered slaughtered euthanised must be quite frustrating to HSUS. After all, why wait for a court decision? It certainly wasn’t necessary in the Pat Patrick case, where all of his dogs were put down before he’d even had his day in court – an action taken with the full support of HSUS, and their ‘dog fighting Czar’ John Goodwin. Blue Dog State does a phenomenal job of re capping the horrors of the Floyd Boudreaux and Pat Patrick cases – horrors not related to ‘dog fighting’, but to the needless extermination of dogs only suspected of being used or bred for fighting. As Blue Dog State points out, Boudreaux and Patrick both had their charges tossed out – but that didn’t save their dogs. To HSUS, the only tragedy in these cases is the fact that the court cases were lost, and not the needless deaths of literally hundreds of dogs, or the suspension of the rights for the accused to be innocent until found guilty (a grace we should be applying to their dogs, as well).

A recent comment by Jennifer of Adamant Bulldogs tipped me off to HSUS’ recent activities in San Luis Obispo County. Seems that the San Luis Obispo County shelter asked HSUS to come in and help them to overhaul their antiquated shelter system. Aside from the colossal waste of money that this whole fiasco involved (topping $22,ooo!), the recommendations included this sentence (emphasis mine):

The HSUS recommends that no dogs seized from dogfighting operations, even puppies, be placed for adoption or transferred to placement partners.

The full report can be downloaded here, and the specific section mentioned is section 9.9 . In the event that the report disappears, I’ve done a screen cap of the actual section. It just gets progressively stupider, the more you read.

This all cohered into a post for me when I was watching the Dogtown episode on the progress of the Vick Pit Bulls who are being offered sactuary at Best Friends. Aside from the fact that the HSUS was one of the “Animals Rights groups” who called for the  murder extermination euthanization, there was the tidbit thrown out at the end of the show that “The Humane Society estimates one million Pit Bulls are euthanized every year”. Well, yes – at their recommendation, and if the HSUS had their way, that number would be even higher.

So, here we have HSUS, busily fund raising on the backs of fighting Pit Bulls with one hand, while calling out for their death with the other. Isn’t there a name for that kind of behaviour, over above the obvious one of ‘hypocrisy’?

As Gina always says, “Why is anyone still listening to PETA?“.

Can I now add my own?

Why is anyone still giving money to HSUS?“.

Wiggles, Dogtown, and Accuracy in Language

Yesterday afternoon, I watched a few episodes from the Dogtown Marathon on National Geographic Canada. We’d never gotten this show on Canadian television before, so I was excited to get a chance to see what all the fuss was about.

First off, let me say that I think Best Friends does phenomenal work. I haave no doubt of their commitment to animals, and to no kill, and their dedication to Pit Bulls is fantastic.

Wiggles the French Bulldog Chow Cross from DogtownThat said, I hold animal care professionals to a higher level of accuracy than I do the general public – and that’s especially true of animal care professionals who get to air  their views on a television show being broadcast internationally. For that reason, when I heard veterinarian Michael Dix say that stray dog Wiggles was likely crippled ‘because of inbreeding’, I wanted to reach through the screen and smack him upside the head.

Wiggles was featured in Season One, Episode Three (The Outsiders). Found wandering as a stray, Wiggles was clearly and obviously a French Bulldog mix – so much so that even my non doggy boyfriend exclaimed “Hey, check out the Frenchie cross!” when he saw Wiggles on the screen. I wasn’t sure what he was mixed with, until I saw them open Wiggles mouth for an examination – that mottled blue tongue is common to only two breeds, the Chow or the Sharpei, and with that bristly coat and square head, I’d lay bets that Wiggles is a Chow/French Bulldog mix.

Wiggles arrived at Best Friends with a neurological disorder which causes rear end weakness and fecal incontinence. To me, it sounded exactly like spinal degenerative disease, and I was curious to see if the veterinarians would agree. Instead, I got to hear Dr. Dix mention that, because Wiggles was found “near a Bulldog breeder”, they assumed he was like this because of “inbreeding”.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, here – after all, I am merely a lowly French Bulldog breeder, and no veterinarian – but isn’t the very definition of ‘in breeding’ the concentration of close relatives within a gene pool? At its most simple it is “the act of mating closely related individuals”. Wiggles is the most patently obvious out cross (that’s a really nice term for ‘mixed breed’) I have ever seen – how many relatives do you think a Chow and French Bulldog can possibly have in common?  Like Edmund, he seems made of bits and pieces of the component dogs that went into him – Chow coat and tongue, French Bulldog ears and a grossly over done shoved out under jaw that’s a caricature of proper bite.

And you know, I get it. I get that part of Best Friends schtick is to expound on the evils of breeding. Later, in another episode involving a group of puppy mill rescues, it seems like every third person is decrying the horrors of how these dogs were all ‘bred against their will‘.

I hate puppy mills just as much as the next guy – maybe more – but let’s get real here. Bitches in heat are the universal symbol for slutty behaviour for a reason, and that reason is that bitches in heat are relentless about getting what they want (and what they want is someone, anyone, to get them knocked up). This, of course, is putting aside the fact that mother nature has imbued both dogs and bitches with an impeccable sense of timing. Rare is the dog that will even bother to attempt mounting a girl who’s not ready for insemination, and even more rare is the bitch who won’t teach him what a lowly and unworthy piece of scum he is if he even thinks about trying it. What I’m saying here is that bitches just cannot be ‘bred against their will’ – it just doesn’t happen, and even if it did, the bitch wouldn’t be ovulating, so she wouldn’t get pregnant.

But, like I said – I get it. Breeders are evil, and inbreeding is why every stray dog is crippled. As a friend said “saying things like that ‘humanizes’ the dogs”, and I suppose she’s right – but dogs are not humans, and animal husbandry is a science, not some kind of voodoo you get to use to scare the citizens about just what’s going on to create all those stray dogs. “They’re forcing brothers and sisters to have sex!“.

I expect the people who work with dogs every day to know solid, scientific facts – facts that they then use to educate the general viewing public. Accuracy, I believe, matters. The general public is not, in my opinion, entirely composed of morons.

You could easily say “Puppy mill dogs are allowed to breed far too often, in poor environments”, instead of alluding their ‘rape’, and get the same emotional response from viewers. As a veterinarian, you could tell people “When you mix two (or more) breeds of dogs, you can possibly get the worst from each one – including a tendency to spinal degenerative disease from the French Bulldog in Wiggles’ family tree”, and maybe one more person would think twice before allowing their intact dog to produce more mixed breed puppies.

All of this matters, because the reality of each of these situations is dire enough, without ladling inaccurate hyperbole on top of it – hyperbole that lets people dismiss what you’re saying more easily. Me, I’m not dismissing Best Friends, or their work, or their commitment – but I am saying that I expect better of them.

By the way, here’s a short clip of Wiggles, from an episode promo.

What's Cooking on New Years Day

How are all of you today? Nursing hangovers? If so, you might want to skip this post, since it’s going to be, in large part, about food.

Sean has gone off to visit some friends, and won’t be back until tomorrow, so I’m doing my own mini entertaining, and making my favorite dish — Potato Latkes with smoked salmon and capers.

Potato LatkesA latke, for those who are not familiar with so very tasty dish, is not a potato pancake. A potato pancake is, at least in my experience, simply a pancake made with potato flour. A latke has much more in common with a hash brown patty, and is made from grated potatoes. Done right, they should be light, crisp, and not very oily. They’re traditionally served with apple sauce and sour cream. As I mentioned, I like mine with smoked salmon, and I like smoked salmon with capers, so that’s how we’ll be having them.

In the afternoon, I’ll be starting a big pot of old skool chili – a New Year’s day tradition for me going back to my time in University, when I’d generally spend the day with a rotating cast of deeply hung over friends dropping into my apartment for sustenance. I make mine with ground beef, onions, adobo peppers, beans, tomatos and a lot of spice. I’ll serve it up with a pan of green onion and cheddar cheese cornbread, and we’ll finish off some more of the Christmas cookies and squares for dessert.

Since Sean is away, the dogs will get some extra privileges. Delilah will, no doubt, spend the afternoon upstairs ‘helping’ me to cook, with the puppy trailing behind her, learning the fine art of being a spoiled rotten brat. Sailor will get to sleep on Sean’s side of the bed, and will eventually end up beside me on the pillow, snoring into my ear. Elliott and Bunny and everyone else will get at least a half latke of their very own – but I do not share my smoked salmon (well, maybe a tiny morsel with the cat).

I hope all of you are spending this first day of the New Year in as enjoyable a manner as we are!

Here’s my personal favorite Latke recipe:


3 large, starchy potatoes
3 tbsps. milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil

If the skins of the potatoes are thin and unblemished, do not peel the potatoes but scrub them well. Otherwise, peel them; then grate 1 potato on the large holes of a grater and the other two on the medium holes. Beat in the milk, egg and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper; blend well, If there is a large amount of liquid in the mixture, drain off some of it. Heat a scant ½ inch of oil in a large skillet until it is very hot but not smoking. Drop the batter by large spoonfuls, flatten then slightly. Turn them once. When they are golden brown on the bottom side, cook them several minutes longer and drain them on paper towels. (The latkes will have crisp edges.)

Serve hot with sour cream or applesauce.

Makes 3-4 servings.