Dangerous Dog Act FAIL

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, still denying that Britain's Dangerous Dog is a complete and utter failure...

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, still denying that Britain's Dangerous Dog Act is a complete and utter failure...

From BBC News

Mr Brown told MPs that it was important that dog owners were aware of the risks that certain breeds posed and that they were equipped to deal with them.

The announcement comes a week after a four-year-old boy was mauled to death by a dog at a family home in Liverpool.

Many MPs have criticised existing regulations governing dog ownership.

At prime minister’s questions, Mr Brown announced extra advice and training for those owning certain breeds identified as posing a particular risk.

Many MPs regard the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, which was supposed to prevent attacks by dogs on their owners and families, as flawed.

This is the part that gets me – “Mr Brown told MPs that it was important that dog owners were aware of the risks that certain breeds posed “

Certain breeds? About the only thing that Britain’s Dangerous Dog act has proved is that BREED has nothing to do with whether a dog is dangerous or not.

To me, this sounds like a precursor to simply adding more breeds to the act, rather than just accepting the fact that it’s been a total failure at reducing bites and fatalities in any form whatsoever. In fact, the study I saw said that bite incidents in Britain had INCREASED since the act went into affect.

A Fish Called Boogie

Boogie is a K Kid at the French Bulldog Village. He’s a special needs French Bulldog who has regular hydrotherapy to help him regain the use of his legs.

Read more about Boogie here, or share his story via the FBV Sprout

And the best use of Twitter goes to…

Twitter addicts cartoon

I am a haphazard user of Twitter. Part of the time, I’m using it for work, as a sort of announcement page for our company. Usually, it’s me talking about what the dog underneath my desk is doing (there’s a surprise), but I also use it to talk about new product launches, packaging changes and that sort of thing.

Personally, I use twitter as a re-feed for this blog, and to occasionally enter into a war of words with nit wits who engage in dog rescue, but still think Pit Bulls are scary man eating monsters (cough HoustonDog cough). I also seem to end up passing snarky comments back and forth with YesBiscuit, who keeps me up to date on American Health Care reform, as well as the life and times of antiquarian rock stars and their teenaged Russian girlfriends.

I have also spent time wondering just what the point of twitter is – I know it’s supposed to be about us interacting with each other, but 99% of the people who want me to read their tweets are companies just like the one I work for, who see twitter as a sort of promotional tool. That, or they want me to click a link to take their ‘free test’. Phishing scams sure do adapt quickly, don’t they?

That’s what makes the #garden project so freakin’ awesome. Started as an interactive art installation, it allows us to actually take part in a back and forth exchange with living beings who exist based on our actions (even if those living beings happen to be plants).

In the words of #garden project’s creator, Craig Fahner –

#garden is a piece that investigates the social media impulse. Several potted plants are set up in the exhibition space, rigged with electronic sensors and a water pump. Based on sensor data, the #garden will communicate its mood nightly via Twitter, a social media “microblogging” platform. Twitter users can give the #garden water by responding to its posts.

Over 50,000 Twitter messages are posted per hour. These messages may include political statements, eyewitness journalism, or mindless expressions of boredom — all on the same page. Cast-off thoughts of movie stars, and reminders from family members appear side by side. Twitter achieves this kind of democracy only by limiting its users: each post must be no longer than 140 characters. This limit of expression is the great equalizer.

#garden disrupts the limiting nature of social media by bringing it off of the screen. Interactions with the #garden, rather than being lost in a sea of fleeting transmissions, cause a physical response by contributing to a tangible community garden. Participants can communally support the garden, or via the impulsiveness of social media, drown and destroy it.

In simple terms, our actions grow the garden. We give it water, we give it light – all via twitter. In return, it gives us updates on its condition, and its needs.

To interact with #garden, please visit http://www.twitter.com/twtrgrdn, and type either “water” or “light” to keep it growing.

source – Spark

Dexter’s Show Ring Career

As I’ve mentioned before, Dexter (Bullmarket Absolut Darkly Dexter) has gone off to Michigan to concentrate on his show ring career. He’s being shown by his co owner, Sue Simon of Epic French Bulldogs.

We’re so proud of how well Sue is doing with Dexter. Anyone who has met him knows that good behaviour is not the norm for this little bad boy. He’s bratty, bad and bold – not necessarily in that order – and up until now, shows have been of interest to him mainly because they give him a chance to try to pick fights with his nemesis(es)*, long haired dogs of any breed. Shaggy dog = squeaky toy for Dexter, and his only interest in squeaky toys is in getting the squeaker out of the middle as ruthlessly as possible.

Sue, however, has managed to tame my favorite wildebeest into a reasonable facsimile of a sophisticated show dog. He’s gaiting beautifully, standing patiently, and hanging out on the table without trying to launch himself into the neighbouring ring. Way to go, Sue! And way to go, Dexter – in his third show out, he took his second major, meaning he’s now free to single himself to a championship** (although we’d certainly like more majors, please).

**A note about that – In very simple terms, an American Kennel Club Championship requires a dog to take a total of fifteen points. At least six of these points must be ‘majors’ – any win which awards a dog three or more points is a major. These two majors must be won under differing judges. At least one or more of the remaining points must be won under judges other than the two who awarded majors.

Since Dexter has already been awarded two majors, from two different judges, he can now finish without getting any more majors. Majors are more difficult to achieve, because they require much higher entry numbers (in other words, you must defeat more dogs to win them).

* what the heck is the plural of ‘nemesis’, anyways?

Videos of Dexter showing at the Ingham County Kennel Club Winterland Classic, in Lansing. Michigan, after the cut.

Read more

Owen Sound Animal Shelter Under Investigation

Resident cat at Owen Sound Animal Shelter.

Resident cat at Owen Sound Animal Shelter.

Looks like my local shelter, the Owen Sound Animal Shelter, has been emulating the Toronto Humane Society – and not in a good way.

The Owen Sound Animal Shelter is an independent entity from Owen Sound Animal Services, just as Toronto Humane Society is completely unaffiliated with Toronto Animal Services. Like THS, Owen Sound Animal Shelter is a ‘no kill’ facility, stating that it euthanizes only the animals too ill or too aggressive to be placed for adoption.

Like THS, this (perhaps initially well meaning policy) has degraded into a distressing combination of too little veterinary treatment for some animals, combined with overly enthusiastic, poorly carried out euthanasia for others.

From the Owen Sound Sun Times

Candice Ford says she is still troubled by the memory.

As she tried to comfort an obese, geriatric cat, an operator of the Owen Sound Animal Shelter struggled to euthanize the animal by repeatedly attempting to inject the killing agent T-61 into its heart, without sedation, the former shelter volunteer and employee said.

“He poked her more than once and this poor cat was obviously suffering. But he couldn’t find the heart and he kept trying and trying,” said Ford

The Owen Sound Animal Shelter has been under investigation since 2008, when former employees of the shelter started coming forward with complaints about the treatment of animals at the facility. Their litany of offenses committed at the shelter echo those we’ve been hearing about at the THS. In addition to misuse of veterinary euthanasia drugs, the former shelter workers also allege –

..that between 2005 and 2008 they witnessed:

• Stray or feral cats euthanized, without being registered in the shelter’s database.

• Cats and dogs euthanized for reasons other than aggression or illness, despite the “no-kill” policy.

• At least three dogs — an aggressive dog named Blondie, a Labrador-collie cross named Tripp and an elderly bulldog named Sumo — living in a cage for years, with little exercise.

• Cats with abscesses not treated by a veterinarian.

• Animals dying shortly after procedures not performed by a veterinarian, including a kitten that had maggots removed from its head, a pregnant cat that broke its leg and a dehydrated orange tabby that was force-fed fluids.

• A freezer full of euthanized animals emptied about twice each month by Gateway Cremation Services of Guelph.

• Animals sprayed with bleach and other cleaning agents while cages were cleaned.

Owen Sound Animal Shelter is also accused of gross mismanagement, including –

spending donated money inappropriately, posting pictures of euthanized animals as adopted and refusing to accept local animals while housing cats and dogs from Quebec and the United States.

I’ve been rather surprised at how many shelters are now seem to be doing that latter item – cherry picking cuter, ‘more adoptable’ animals from distant cities, rather than actually offering a service to the homeless pets in need in their immediate areas.

The Owen Sound Animal Shelter has been under investigation by the OSPCA, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Natural Resources, Owen Sound Police Services and City of Owen Sound. So far, no charges have been laid, but “The OSPCA and OMAFRA have six months from the receipt of a complaint to gather sufficient evidence to warrant laying charges.”

Read the full article here.