Chanel was registered by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest dog, and now she has passed on. Read the article on MSNBC’s web site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32630583/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/. Mistakenly, they say that Chanel would have been 147 in human years. Come on! That’s not correct. Researchers have concluded that the ratio of human-to-dog years is not 7-to-1, as previously thought. It’s a little more complicated than that, depending on the dog’s breed. While they say that 7-to-1 may be accurate for the first couple of years of a dog’s life, the ratio decreases as the dog ages, with the rate of decrease dropping lower for small dogs and not so low for large-breed dogs. Here’s a web site that gives a more accurate chart of the conversion factors: http://www.metpet.com/Reference/Dogs/Basics/dog_vs_human_ages.htm.
Basically, a large breed dog such as a Great Dane will remain fairly close to the 7-to-1 ratio because they tend to live only 8-10 years. But a small dog like a Chihuahua may have a ratio of 4-to-1 or 5-to-1. Chanel was a Dachshund, so her “human age” was likely about 105. Not too shabby!
The ARL was personally invited by Rep. Tom Caltagirone to attend the signing of House Bill 39 by the Governor today. HB39 prohibits surgical procedures on dogs by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian and is one more step in helping us to police the activities of breeders operating without the best interests of the dogs.
ARL President Barrie Pease’s Great Pyrenees, Lillie, joined in the signing. She left her signature on the bill, a big blue paw print on the front along with the Governor’s signature!
Since the signing of last year’s new dog laws and today’s bill, Pennsylvania now has strong legislation on our side to prosecute and shut down the violators.
Thank you Governor and Rep. Caltagirone!
Most of my blog posts are concerned with topics related to companion pets – dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. – and little attention is paid to horses and farm animals. My bad!! The ARL always has farm animals for adoption, horses in particular. We have been so fortunate to find homes for the horses who have been lucky to find their way into our care. So many are not that blessed. Quite a few people who obtain horses do not realize that they are expensive to care for and difficult to place when they are no longer wanted. This country has an enormous number of unwanted horses, mostly from the horse racing industry, and not enough homes, rescues or sanctuaries. A racehorse is usually retired from racing at a still young age. Typical racehorses live well into their late twenties. If they stop racing at 10-12 years of age, that’s a long time to be in retirement and in need of a home.
It’s a sad fact that quite a few retired racehorses are sent to slaughterhouses. In 2007, slaughterhouses for horses were banned in the U.S. This was a controversial move. Instead of fewer horses getting slaughtered, now many of them are shipped to Canada or Mexico where it is still legal. The trip to the slaughterhouse could take days, and the horses are often denied food and water, and are standing the whole time in cramped, hot quarters. People in the racing industry are trying to overturn the decision to ban U.S. slaughterhouses. They claim that it’s more humane to slaughter the horses here than to subject them to the long trips to foreign slaughterhouses.
I say wouldn't it be better if the racing industry had a plan for retired racehorses instead of sending them to slaughter or depending on others to buy them and keep them for life? The racing industry is quite wealthy. How about if they funnel the profits to building sanctuaries for the animals who made them their money in the first place?
The New York Times ran an article on this topic today: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/sports/24tour.html?hp Please take a moment to read it and learn what’s happening with the noble animal who serves humankind in so many ways.
A stunningly beautiful long-haired white cat comes into the shelter. The surrendering owner says that she has never been litter box trained. She was up for adoption for about a day and was quickly adopted, leaving behind a slew of perfectly wonderful cats. Two little Poodles come in together, one gorgeous and a little nippy, the other not so pretty but sweet as can be. The gorgeous one gets adopted within a week; the other one sits and waits.
These scenarios happen every day at shelters and rescues. Many people pick the pets who look the prettiest, not the ones who have the best personalities. It’s like we’re back in high school when the prettiest girls and handsomest guys got all of the dates! And the really nice kids were overlooked who would have made the best and most loyal boyfriends or girlfriends. That’s how it works with animals too. But in reality, the best personalities make the best pets. Looks don’t matter when it comes to picking your best friend.
So how about when it’s time to select your next pet, come and spend some time with the ones who are not the prettiest? Find the cat who gives you a hug. Or the dog who nudges your hand and won’t leave your side. You may fall in love!
I didn’t grow up in Pennsylvania. My family and friends are scattered throughout Maryland and New England. With embarrassment, I’ve had to explain to them why PA is called the Puppy Mill Capitol of the East. They had never heard about the greedy breeders whose roots in an agricultural society condone treating companion animals – dogs – like farm animals. No, actually, they are treated worse than farm animals. Cows are allowed to graze the fields; breeder dogs never get out of their cages.
So now I have the added shame of living in the lone state where one of its football teams signed Michael Vick, who many animal lovers might call the Charles Manson of the animal world. Twenty-six other teams rejected Vick but our illustrious Eagles couldn’t reject the lure of the publicity and inevitable draw of controversy which will translate into cash. The Eagles must know how diehard their fans are; the large majority will probably continue to support their home team regardless of this decision because they love the sport so much. But I ask you, please, find a new way to entertain yourselves!! Or find a new team to support.
Does Vick deserve another chance? Of course he does. If he’s truly reformed, I invite him to come to the ARL for a visit. See what happens here. Witness the effects of Pit Bull breeding and abuse. I mean it, come on Michael! We have a lot to show you so that you can truly educate others.
As for me, I can only plead with you, the animal lovers, to boycott the Eagles and express your disappointment to them. And as I again hang my head in shame to say that I live in animal-unfriendly PA, New England’s looking like a really nice place to live. Hmm, didn’t they beat the Eagles yesterday?
The ARL has a room designated for drop-offs of stray animals, open 24 hours. It is intended for use after-hours, when the ARL is closed for business. Very sadly, however, some people anonymously leave their own animals in this area to surrender them to the ARL instead of coming in during regular hours and signing over the pet. And…some people have simply driven up to the ARL parking lot and dumped off the pets without even bothering to place them in the stray room. I can’t begin to imagine what makes someone so cruel and unfeeling. Luckily, either scenario does not happen frequently but when it does, it’s not fair to the pet or to the ARL. Why?
First reason: When a stray comes into the ARL, we are by law required to keep the pet for 48 hours to give the owner time to claim it. Then, if it is healthy and behaviorally sound, we place it up for adoption. In the meantime, the pet is taking up precious kennel space. If the pet had been signed over properly, then we may place it up for adoption much sooner. It’s more humane to allow the pet to be placed quickly so that it does not have to suffer through the stress of being in a kennel for too long.
Second reason: When a pet is signed over to the ARL, we can obtain information about the pet that will help us to better place the pet. We have no way of knowing, for example, if a dog likes children or gets along with other pets when it’s a stray. If the surrendering owner gives us this information, the pet has a much better chance of finding a new home. We can only make guesses when the pet is a stray, based on our own limited observations. On the other hand, if the owner knows that the pet is dangerous, please tell us that as well to spare others from potentially getting hurt.
Third reason: If someone brings their own pet to the ARL and drops it off as a stray and we find out that they are the owner, they can be charged with pet abandonment. The fine is $300- $1000.
Understandably, some people may be hesitant to surrender their pet in person because they may be afraid that they will be judged or scolded. The ARL will not do either. We will be grateful that they chose to bring the pet here instead of letting it run free or worse. We will be happy that you took the time and cared enough for the pet to give it the very best chance of adoption by giving us as many details as possible about your pet’s personality and behavior.
If you know of someone who is thinking of surrendering a pet, please pass along this information.
I walked past one of our Animal Control Officers the other day and she had a very disgusted look on her face. When I asked why, she replied, “The Pit Bull problem. The dogs are chained in yards or kept alone in basements, and then they bite people.” We see cases of this all the time here at the ARL. It seems to be accepted behavior in some cultures, to get a Pit Bull and then not properly train it or socialize it, or worse, abuse it until it becomes uncontrollably aggressive. And, of course, there’s the dog-fighting culture. That’s a whole other topic.
The people who treat the animals this way grew up thinking that it’s “normal” because they witnessed other family members, neighbors, and/or friends treating animals improperly. It becomes culturally accepted as the norm.
Let’s consider the timely example of Michael Vick. He apparently grew up in a culture, so he says, that dog fighting and abuse of animals was the norm. Now that he’s served his time in prison and claims to be rehabilitated, is it possible to change this enculturated behavior? Do you think that someone who grew up believing in a set of values (or lack thereof) can be taught to believe in a different set of values? Please let me know your feelings about this. And please, no discussion about if Vick is worthy of playing again in the NFL. I’d just like to know if you think that anyone who grows up with certain cultural ideas really can change. I look forward to reading your responses!