Saturday, December 4, 2010

EDITORIAL: We should all be nervous in the service dog controversy

Too bad for everyone, there really does need to be a law covering so-called “service dogs.”
Last week Aurora Sentinel reporter Sara Castellanos’ story about Vietnam veteran Allen Grider Sr. pointed out how complex the service-animal issue can be.
Grider owns a pit bull named Precious that helps him cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms caused by his time spent as a soldier in Vietnam in the 1970s. He’s had the dog since 2003 and says the pet is remarkable at sensing his stress level and interacting with him to make him feel better.
It was an emotional and heartwarming account. But there’s much more to the story. For almost five years, pit bulls have been illegal in Aurora and Denver. We have consistently agreed with many animal experts in that pit bulls and similar breeds have a strong tendency to be unpredictably vicious and dangerous. For the good of the public, which has been at considerable risk before the pit bull ban, it was important to restrict ownership of this and similar animals.
So when it came to the attention of the city’s animal control department that Grider has one of these dogs, they had no choice but to confiscate it until they could sort out what they could do.
Grider and a Denver man have since filed suit against Aurora and Denver, and the remarkably, the U.S. Department of Justice are taking their side.
Justice officials agreed that any dog that is trained to do tasks for humans would be classified as a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Justice officials say that cities or states can’t impose breed-specific bans on service animals, in essence saying that, a dog is a dog.
That’s dead wrong and deadly to boot. For the Justice Department to deem itself an expert in canine psychology, ignore undeniable statistics and research, or rule without even addressing pit-bull behavioral issues at all, is unreasonable and illogical.
Aurora’s law by no means discriminates against disabled Americans. Disabled Aurora residents can have the same dogs as can every other Aurora resident, but they must, and should, live under the same restrictions.
While Aurora’s determination that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dog breeds is certainly controversial and open to debate, the fact is that Aurora and cities and states all over the country are absolutely within their right to restrict what each community agrees is a dangerous animal. While the right to own a gun is protected in some sense by the U.S. Constitution, a right to own any beast you please certainly is not.
There are hundreds of pit bulls in Denver and Aurora that were grandfathered into the two cities’ pit-bull laws, and Grider’s dog certainly could and should have been included. But state and federal lawmakers need to intervene now.
The Obama administration’s decision in the matter points out two serious problems. First, given this logic, there’s no reason a service animal couldn’t be part or maybe all wolf, a burro or even a python. Given the Justice Department’s logic and vagaries, there’s no reason to believe that an argument could be made that any creature could not only be considered a service animal, but that local safety and zoning laws shouldn’t apply to anyone playing the ADA card.
In most cases, the public has little reason to worry. Most service dogs are chosen for their pleasing dispositions and extensively trained. But that clearly doesn’t have to be the case, and a well-publicized case like this begs could easily prompt pit-bull aficionados to feign disability to keep a potentially dangerous animal. It begs the questions as to what constitutes a disabled American, and therefore, who’s entitled to a service animal.
Federal lawmakers need to clarify just who is considered disabled under federal law and who’s not. And while it’s important that no state law put at risk the rights of a disabled American, it’s just as important that no disabled American put at risk the rights, life or limb of any other American. Wheelchairs aren’t allowed on interstate highways whether the passenger is disabled or not. Likewise, those with disabilities must live with the same safety restrictions as do we all.
On a state level, it’s time for lawmakers to codify what service animals are and how future cases like this are to be handled. Disable Americans are able to bring their service animals into public venues that other animals are banned from. If we must live with the Justice Department’s faulty ruling, the state must help cities like Aurora protect its citizens by ensuring pit bulls, or any animal, doesn’t injure a member of the public.

While, I am glad that the JD is stepping up and standing behind Grider, whose dog was confiscated until the city “figures out what to do,” it agitates me that the author states, “We have consistently agreed with many animal experts in that pit bulls and similar breeds have a strong tendency to be unpredictably vicious and dangerous. For the good of the public, which has been at considerable risk before the pit bull ban, it was important to restrict ownership of this and similar animals.”
If the author knew anything about the breed, he or she would know that pit bulls are no more dangerous than any other breed of dog. I do not know who “we” is in the above statement about being vicious and dangerous, but I am sure that they know nothing about pit bulls or pit bull type dogs. It irks me that the man’s service dog was taken until “they figure it out.” It is asinine that people are probably robbing, murdering, and raping in the city of Aurora and they are worried about this man’s SERVICE dog because she is a pit bull. So foolish…………

Monday, November 29, 2010

Afghanistan War Hero Dog Euthanized by Mistake

Afghanistan War Hero Dog Euthanized by Mistake
Warning animal lovers, you may become enraged and deeply saddened after reading this article.
Target, a lovable and heroic bomb-sniffing stray dog that saved several human lives in war-torn Afghanistan, was mistakenly euthanized in Arizona.
A clerical error is said to have been Target's downfall....
"I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog," Target's owner, Sgt. Terry Young, told the Arizona Republic.
The owner and dog became best pals on duty in Afghanistan. Several soldiers credit the pup with saving their lives.
RIP Sweet Target
Target and two other dogs frightened off a suicide bomber who was attempting to detonate himself inside a military base. The bomber blew up in the doorway instead of inside the building full of soldiers.
Target was featured on Oprah for his heroism, but that fame could not save him from Arizona's zeal for documentation.
Over the weekend, the female German shepard mix slipped out of her backyard in Arizona. A neighbor found the dog without a tag, put her in his backyard and called the pound.
Young searched for his dog, alerted local papers and TV stations, and finally found her on a Pinal County dogcatcher website that helps owners track lost dogs.
Young was happy that Target was safe and assumed the pound was closed over the weekend. He showed up on Monday to find that Target had been put down.
Ruth Stalter, the county animal-control director, said in a statement, "When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow. Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures."
Target will forever be remembered by her family and the soldiers she protected.
This deeply saddens me and it is especially disheartening because I know this is not the only time an employee has cut corners at a shelter resulting in the loss of ones pet. To think she survived Afghanistan only to be put down in the country she protected so selflessly. I think shelters need to step up and tighten up their procedures as well as monitor their employees more closely. It does not sound like she was at the shelter very long and for her to be put down so quickly is just asinine. My condolences go out to Sgt Young and his family for their loss. It sounds like they lost a cherished family member and that is something that cannot be replaced. The employee responsible for putting her down has been fired and I am so glad, but it does not bring Target back. As I said, something needs to be done because this happens too often. R.I.P. Sweet Target………
On a side note, I know it has been forever since I have updated. I have been super busy but I am working on catching up. Kangol is doing well; he is finally slimming down. I cut all wheat from his diet and it is amazing how much he has deflated. It is scary what some foods can do to our pets!! He has always been a big boy but he was never wide and he sure had become wide! I will post up pics soon!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pups' Ears Clipped To Aid In Fighting

Pups' Ears Clipped To Aid In Fighting
POSTED: 10:27 am MDT October 19, 2010
UPDATED: 10:45 am MDT October 19, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Police are searching for two men who are accused of selling pit bull puppies that were horribly mutilated.
“The city is looking for two Hispanic men, shaved heads, seen hanging around 98th Street and Sage Road Southwest selling pit bull puppies. All these pit bulls have their ears bobbed out, cut off roughly,” Animal Welfare Marketing Manager Rick DeReyes said.
Reyna is just a 2-month-old pup. When she arrived at Albuquerque Animal Welfare, she was in extreme pain because her ears were cut off. In addition to being painful, clipping a dog’s ears can jeopardize their health.
“They can get infections. They can die from it. This is a 2-month-old puppy. This puppy was in extreme pain. It's very, very serious,” DeReyes said.
Unfortunately, the mutilation that these puppies have suffered is not unique. Pit bull’s ears are usually cut off for a fighting.
“The reason they tend to chop off the ears is for pit bull fighting. The ears are too small to grab on to, for a dog to latch on to. That’s why you see a lot of pit bulls with their ears chopped off for fighting,” DeReyes said.
At this point, officials just want to find the other mutilated dogs that the men were selling, so they can care for them medically.
“We need to find these people to stop them from doing it and put an end to the cruelty that they perpetrated,” DeReyes said.
If you have any information about this case, call 311.
While I find this so very sad that these pups did not have their ears cropped surgically, the inaccuracy of this news article irritates me as well. Dog men did not crop their fighting dogs’ ears because it was not practical. Cropping the ears left too much of the inside exposed which could prove fatal in combat (Joseph Colby). I think the media should do their research so they don’t continue to lead people to believe that bait dogs and cropped ears were used in dog fighting.
As for the puppies, I wish them well and hope they find their forever homes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From My Google Alerts- October 16, 2010

A man in Russia keeps his dog in his car instead of at his house as most normal people keep their pets. The dog is described as a “large pit bull terrier” and he lives in his owner’s old Volga car. The man says he cannot keep the dog at home. This is just so sad because no dog, especially pit bull type dogs should have to be confined to such a small space. The Russian police have stated that the man is not breaking any laws thus there is nothing they can do about the situation.
An 11-month-old boy was bitten by the family dog, a yellow Labrador retriever named Fat Boy, in Nebraska last week. The baby, the mother, and the dog were all lying in the mother’s bed until she got up to get something. She then saw the dog bite the child, lacerating his forehead and biting his cheek. The dog will more than likely be put down; however, no breed of dog is mentioned in the article headline.
In Hillsboro, Oregon, a man was bitten by a police search dog when they responded to a call about a possible break in at an Oregon rock museum. The man has been dubbed the “Moss Man” because he was concealed on the ground by a moss-like camouflage outfit. The “Moss Man” allegedly had secretly cut a hole in one of the building's walls days earlier and was trying to get in. Deputies who responded searched the grounds, finding a bike and a backpack.
"The K9 tracked to a wooded area and was very interested in a particular piece of ground about a half a mile away from the building," Thompson said in a release. "The dog then bit the ground that in turn cried out in pain."
The officer then realized there was a man hiding at his feet, dressed in a "ghillie" suit, Thompson said. A ghillie suit is a head-to-toe camouflage outfit used by military snipers to blend in with vegetation. The man was then arrested and is being held at the county jail.
In Lebanon, Ohio, two women were attacked and bitten by a German shepherd dog when it approached them while walking down the street. The dog jumped on the 18-year-old woman, biting her arm. The dog turned on the mother when she came to her daughter's defense. The dog’s breed is not mentioned in the headline.
A schnauzer was killed by a pit bull type dog last week after the pit bull attacked it for the second time in eleven days. Michael Kopynec, the 22-year-old irresponsible owner of the pit bull, was arrested Thursday and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog and negligent injuring.
Carrie Rae McKinney of San Diego will not face charges following the April incident when her 7-month-old son’s genitals were mutilated by her boyfriend’s mixed breed dog. She had left the baby unattended in his car seat on the floor when one of the dogs tore into his diaper. One week prior to this incident, her older two children were removed from the home by Child Protective Services.
In Detroit, a pit bull was shot and killed when it bit a police officer responding to a call about gunfire between two groups of boys. Police arrived and a pit bull was released. The pit bull bit one of the police officers. That is when the officer shot and killed the dog.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

From My Google Alerts- October 13, 2010

In Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, an 11-year-old girl was attacked by her neighbor’s dog when she was feeding it. The dog’s breed or type is not mentioned in the article.
A Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy was forced to shoot and kill a pit bull that charged him in a Port St. John neighborhood. The dog, Hoss, died because of his injuries. Two other pit bulls were at the scene and were returned to the owner without citations.
In New York, a pit bull, which had eaten a skunk, was euthanized after exhibiting signs of rabies. The Oneida County Health Department tells CNY Central that on September 13 a dog living in Rome killed a skunk. The department says that the dog had ‘consumed’ so much of the skunk that there was not enough left to test for rabies. The dog’s owner was then ordered to quarantine the pet for six month to see if it had contracted the disease. The department says that last week the dog began drooling excessively, refusing food and water, and pacing around the cage. The animal was taken to the Rome Humane Society and euthanized on Saturday.
This is why you VACCINATE your pets people!!!