Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Pit Bull rescuers and advocates from all over the country have been buzzing about the news. A coalition led by Best Friends Animal Society urged the HSUS to change its policy on fight bust dogs and they listened!
A meeting of the minds
February 23, 2009 : 8:44 PM ET
The Humane Society of the United States on February 23 issued an interim policy recommending all dogs be evaluated as individuals, and is calling a meeting of leading animal welfare organizations concerning dogs victimized by dog fighting.
Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer and president of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested the meeting of major stakeholders in Las Vegas to work through the associated issues. This meeting is in response to concerns expressed by Best Friends Animal Society in December 2008 regarding HSUS policies related to animals confiscated in dog-fighting busts.
Pacelle said the meeting, scheduled for April, will include the participation of national stakeholder organizations that deal with pit bulls. The meeting was in the planning stages before Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. ruled that 145 pit bulls, including approximately 70 puppies, confiscated from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County, North Carolina, would be euthanized without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.
The new interim policy announced by the HSUS, pending the outcome of the meeting, recommends that local law enforcement and animal control evaluate such dogs as individuals rather than as a category before any decision is made regarding their future.
“We expect government, corporations, and individuals to constantly re-evaluate how they deal with animal issues,” Pacelle said. “Likewise, we regularly review our own policies and procedures here at HSUS, and we think it is important to talk with professional colleagues in the movement to examine issues related to the disposition of fighting dogs.
“I am pleased to discuss these issues with personnel from Best Friends and other organizations interested in the welfare of pit bulls.”
Julie Castle, director of Community Programs and Services for Best Friends said, “There had been more than enough airing of feelings and outrage that the dogs were not evaluated prior to being summarily euthanized. It was time to hit the reset button on this in order to move things forward in a constructive way. Mr. Pacelle was open and receptive to what we had to say and we are looking forward to our meetings in April.”
Best Friends, through its campaign, “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dogs,” is looking forward working cooperatively with HSUS, according to Castle.
The campaign is aimed in part at educating the public and the media about pit bulls in order to help save the breed’s reputation. “Our goal is to bring positive change to lives and image of pit bulls,” she said.
Written by Best Friends staff
Photo of Meryl, a Vicktory dog, by Gary Kalpakoff
As part of Best Friends’ 25th anniversary in 2009, our goal is to double our membership, so we can double our efforts to bring about a time when all companion animals have a forever home. What can you do to help? Give the Gift of a Best Friends membership to family and friends.
Another small step, but a major one still. The Victory dogs spoke a loud and clear message, as have countless others who have made it from ‘fight bust’ to Certified Therapy Dog, and still others who have been adopted into wonderful loving homes to be family pets. The Faron dogs did NOT die in vain. Because of this latest tragedy, other fight bust dogs will have the chance to be evaluated as individual dogs and they’ll have the chance to show the world that they are just as deserving as any other dog – and that they CAN go on to help our breed crawl out from under this shadow that’s been cast upon them for decades. These dogs may not have come from the Bad Newz Kennels of Michael Vick, but I call them VICTORY dogs just the same!
Read "Coalition Urges HSUS to Revise Policy on Dogs Seized in Fighting Busts"
Friday, February 20, 2009
The court-ordered destruction Monday of 145 dogs, including about 75 puppies, which were seized from a fighting dog breeding operation in December, was based on the faulty assumption that all dogs seized in dog-fighting related busts should arbitrarily be deemed dangerous and euthanized.
Wilkesboro, NC (Vocus/PRWEB ) February 19, 2009 -- The court-ordered destruction Monday of 145 dogs, including about 75 puppies, which were seized from a fighting dog breeding operation in December, was based on the faulty assumption that all dogs seized in dog-fighting related busts should arbitrarily be deemed dangerous and euthanized.
The decision to kill the dogs was supported by the largest animal welfare organization in the country, the Humane Society of the
A Best Friends Animals Society-led coalition offered resources to the county for evaluation, spay/neuter, and support in finding homes for qualified dogs. These animal welfare organizations, which have extensive experience with rescued fighting dogs, urged Wilkes County to accept their offer of support for an alternative approach, such as was used in the Michael Vick case. The coalition includes BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls), Animal Farm Foundation, Villa Lobos Rescue Center, Downtown Dog Rescue, The Sula Foundation and Our Pack.
“We are disheartened and shocked that HSUS, a leader in the animal welfare community, would testify in court for the automatic destruction of puppies and dogs, who had not been given the opportunity to be evaluated as individuals, based on this policy. The Michael Vick dogs have proven how antiquated this approach is,” said Ledy VanKavage, an attorney with Best Friends Animal Society.
In 2006 HSUS advocated that all of the dogs from the Michael Vick dog fighting case be put down for the same reasons they used when recommending the killing of the Wilkes County pit bulls. In that case a federal court appointed a Special Master to oversee the evaluation of Vick’s dogs, all of which were adults. Many of the Vick dogs are now in adoptive homes, and at least two of the so-called “aggressive fighting dogs” are therapy dogs that visit hospitals to cheer up ailing patients.
“The coalition members and their supporters are urging HSUS to reevaluate this policy and apply a more progressive approach that reflects the lessons learned by the animal welfare groups in the coalition, as well as other organizations that work directly with dogs,” VanKavage said.
Best Friends Animal Society http://www.bestfriends.org
Barbara Williamson (435) 689-0200 (cell) (or) barbara(at)bestfriends.org
John Polis (435) 644-2001, ext. 4858 or johnp (at) bestfriends.org
Animal Farm Foundation http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org
Stacey Coleman (845) 868-7559 (or) scoleman (at) animalfarmfoundation.org
BAD RAP http://www.badrap.org
Donna Reynolds (510) 441-6461 (or) donna (at) badrap.org
Downtown Dog Rescue http://www.downtowndogrescue.org
Lori Weise (213) 448-9961 (or) lori(at)modernica.net
Our Pack http://www.ourpack.org/
Marthina McClay (408) 460-4244 (or) marthina (at) ourpack.org
The Sula Foundation http://www.sulafoundation.org
Ken Foster (504) 613-7370 (or) kenrfoster (at) gmail.com
Villa Lobos Rescue Center http://www.vrcpitbull.com/home.htm
Tia Maria Torres (661) 268-0555 (or) tiamaria (at) vrcpitbull.com
About Best Friends Animal Society:
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Best Friends Animal Society advances nationwide animal welfare initiatives by working with shelter and rescue groups around the country. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southwestern Utah is the nation's largest facility for abused, abandoned and special needs companion animals. On any given day the sanctuary is home to approximately 1,700 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, and other animals. The society publishes Best Friends magazine, the nation’s largest general interest, pet-related magazine with approximately 300,000 subscribers. For more information on Best Friends Animal Society, visit: http://www.bestfriends.org/
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
After about two weeks or so, one of the neighbors to the shelter was able to befriend her and took her in until a kennel opened up at the shelter. Topanga's wound had mostly healed and it was quite clear that she was a very soft dog. Topanga buried her head in the chest of one of the shelter employees during her wellness exam. She held her head low and was non-confrontational in all interactions.
On one chilly day in January, we took the ride up to the shelter to temperament test her to see if she was a candidate for rescue. Topanga looked as though she were waiting for the world to fall in on her. She seemed to be thinking that nothing good was coming her way and wouldn't dare show an ounce of excitement for anything. She passed her temperament test quite well and it was recommended that she go to a home to be rehabilitated to gain more confidence and to help her learn how to relax.
Let me tell you guys, during her food aggression test, her response was one of the oddest we've ever seen! When a hand was placed near her bowl, her reaction was to stop eating and just stand there. Normally, we see things like body stiffness/tension, a dog that continues eating, wags its tail gleefully, etc. Topanga just stood there. It was almost as though she was waiting for a kick :( She just stood there like, "Take it already, it's yours anyway. I don't deserve it." Her reaction was absolutely heartbreaking.
The shelter employees began working with her more and she began coming out of her shell ever so slightly and wanting to interact more with people. How could we say no to that!? We found a wonderful foster home for this pretty lady and we're working towards her rehabilitation now.
One last major step we need to make is having her treated for heartworms. Yes folks, this "broken" girl was cared so little about that her previous owners allowed her to become infested with a deadly parasite. :( After all this girl has been through and her great demeanor, we owe it to her to make her life better from this point forward. She was seen by our primary veterinarian today and it will be a 4 month process to clear her of the worms. When she begins treatment, she will be given one injection and will stay the day for observations. One month later, she will go back in for two injections back to back. She will have to stay overnight for this portion for observation. One month after that, she will go back in for an oral dose of the Ivermectin and stay for the day. One final month later, she will go in to be tested for heartworms to make sure she is rid of them.
As one can imagine, this is a pricey procedure but one of the safest and quickest ones available. Each injection alone will cost us $105. This does not include office visit fees, overnight fees, other medications, etc.
If any of our readers can find it in their hearts to donate towards her care, it would be greatly appreciated. We will be discussing options later on about specific dates and will get her scheduled in as soon as possible for her treatment. Keep your eyes peeled!
Venus showed up in Marva's neighborhood the evening of the 3rd. Marva called that night to ask some questions because it looked like Venus had something wrong with her girl parts. She sent me some pictures and to our dismay, it looked kinda like Venus had a prolapsed uterus. I told Marva to meet me at our rescue's vet the next morning at 8:00AM.
The next morning, meeting this sweet girl was like meeting an angel from Heaven. She's very polite and such a tiny girl! We let our vet know what we were there for and got the news that unfortunately, they didn't feel comfortable performing that kind of surgery. We made some other calls and found a private veterinarian in Goose Creek that wanted to see her right away to get looking at the situation to see what we could do. Off we go!
Venus was such a fabulous rider! And she proved to be even more fabulous at the vet clinic. We were there for at least an hour with her standing up on the elevated steel table waiting patiently between the tech and the vet to come in and do some more looking and other tests. She had no issues with complete strangers handling her and showed a fabulous personality in such an uncomfortable situation. The vet decided to go ahead and spay her and he'd work on trying to get her "insides" back where they should be but that with as swollen as she was, it was going to be next to impossible and that we'd have other aftercare instructions to help her along.
Hours later, the vet calls and says we can go pick her up and that she's doing VERY well :) Everyone at the clinic fell in love with her good nature :) She weighed in at 32lbs and likely will not get any bigger than 45lbs. She's a great example of what the true American Pit Bull Terrier should be. We had her scanned twice for a microchip with no luck which is why we went ahead with having the surgery. We also found out that it was not actually a prolapsed uterus but instead, something similar called vaginal hyperplasia. This happens when a female dog goes into heat and her body produces and excess amount of estrogen that causes her vulva to swell abnormally. Eventually, the walls would have receded back into her body, but not after some form of infection would likely have set in. She's getting wonderful care with Marva right now, but we really need to find another foster home for this gal! If you know of anyone that may be interested, they will NOT be disappointed with this girl!
Venus's vet bills for the day tallied in at over $500. We are desperate to raise the money for these expenses as we are now at a point where we cannot take any more dogs into our group. Please consider donating to Ms. Venus's care using the Chip In widget below!