Tag: Humane Society of the United States

A plea for shelter dogs in Oregon

Recognize Rescued Shelter Dogs as Oregon’s State Dog

A couple of hours ago I received an email from Scott Beckstead. Scott is the Senior Oregon Director and the Rural Outreach Director for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Scott and his wife are two people that Jeannie and I have met and they know that we are committed to supporting the HSUS. Scott was asking in his email that we promote his plea, on behalf of HSUS’s great work in Oregon, for all Oregon residents to support a proposal that comes with the catchy title of Proposal H.C.R. 16.

Because of the immediacy of this campaign, tomorrow is the deadline, I was pleased to publish what Scott sent me without delay.

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In Support of H.C.R. 16

Recognize Rescued Shelter Dogs as Oregon’s State Dog

Dogs are man’s best friend, providing many benefits to their families such as love, loyalty and an improved sense of well-being.  Yet many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, millions of healthy, adoptable dogs are euthanized in shelters annually due to a lack of critical resources and public awareness.

The number of euthanized dogs could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When families choose to adopt, they save a loving animal by making them part of their family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it. If more families looking for a pet dog this year would adopt their new furry friend from a shelter, we could put an end to this tragedy.

Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy dogs of every breed, shape, size, age, and color, just waiting for someone to take them home. With the help of legislation like H.C.R. 16, we can spread the word about the benefits of adoption and work to end the senseless euthanasia of homeless dogs nationwide.

Shelter dogs make great pets. Please pass this legislation to emphasize the importance of animal adoption with the support of state and national animal sheltering leaders.

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MY TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF H.C.R. 16

From: SCOTT BECKSTEAD, SENIOR OREGON DIRECTOR, RURAL OUTREACH DIRECTOR

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES

This Testimony presented to the HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RULES, APRIL 27, 2017

 Chair Williamson, Co-Chairs Rayfield and McLane, and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on H.C.R. 16, the bill to designate the rescued shelter dog as the official state dog of Oregon. The Humane Society of the United States strongly supports this legislation and urges you to vote YES.

First it is important to recognize this bill is not intended to denigrate reputable breeders of purebred dogs. Rather, it celebrates dogs of all stripes, be they purebred or mutt- and encourages Oregon citizens to consider adopting a dog in need of a home.

With regard to the claim that many Oregon shelter dogs originated in other parts of the country, transporting dogs from areas of over-population into areas where the population of adoptable dogs does not meet the demand is an activity that has been taking place for many years, and has saved countless lives, and created many happy families across the state.   The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) has produced best practice guidelines for transport programs to ensure that both sending and receiving shelters are adhering to the highest standards of animal welfare and health considerations, including but not limited appropriate health certificates and veterinary inspection.

Shelters across Oregon adhere to industry best practices and appropriate oversight.  Contrary to scare-mongering from the National Animal Interest Alliance, there is no data to show that dogs within the Oregon shelter system have higher incidences of temperament issues, health concerns, or that dogs from out of state are displacing Oregon dogs in need.

When a prospective owner buys a dog from a pet store, online seller or flea market, they’re almost certainly getting a dog from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Animals from puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and are often very sick and behaviorally troubled as a result. The mothers of these puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they’re no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either killed, abandoned or sold at auction.

These puppy mills continue to stay in business through deceptive tactics — their customers are unsuspecting consumers who shop in pet stores, over the Internet or through classified ads. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop supporting them. But by visiting your local shelter or rescue and adopting a homeless pet, you can be certain you aren’t giving them a dime.

Dogs and cats share the homes of 65% of U.S. households, providing many benefits to their families such as love, loyalty and an improved sense of well-being.  Yet many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, millions of healthy, adoptable dogs are euthanized in shelters annually due to a lack of critical resources and public awareness.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When families choose to adopt, they save a loving animal by making them part of their family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.

Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. With the help of legislation like HCR 16, we can spread the word about the benefits of adoption and work to end the senseless euthanasia of homeless pets nationwide.

Usually when you adopt a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations (and sometimes even microchipping!) is included in the adoption price, which can save you some of the up-front costs of adding a new member to your family. Furthermore, pets are screened for good health and behavior.

Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial to their companions. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness. And when you adopt instead of buying a pet, you can also feel proud about helping an animal in need!

Thank you for considering our position, and for your service to the people and animals of Oregon.

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Let me close with this graphic that Scott also sent me.

Please, please, if you wish to support this proposed measure then, without delay, send an email now to hrules.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov asking for a YES vote on H.C.R. 16

Jean and I have just done so.

Chair Williamson, Co-Chairs Rayfield and McLane, and Members of the Committee,

I write to you all on behalf of myself and my wife.

When we moved to Oregon in 2012 we came with 12 dogs many of which were rescue dogs and from animal shelters. We still have 7 dogs.
Shelter dogs make wonderful pets and they always know when they have been rescued from a shelter. They offer such love and gratitude to their loving owners.
Please, Jean and I ask for this measure, Measure H.C.R. 16, to be supported.

Thank you.

Paul & Jean Handover
4000 Hugo Road, Merlin, OR 97532

Unchain every single dog out there!

Independence Day should also apply to our beloved dogs!

So today is July 4th. One of the key days of the year in the American calendar, if not the key day.

Freedom and independence are the corner stones of a healthy nation. That ‘nation’ should include our dogs. Ergo, I have no hesitation in republishing the following that first was seen on the Care2 site.

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How to Help Chained Dogs in Your Community

3182140.largeBy: Natalia Lima June 28, 2016

About Natalia Follow Natalia at @TheNatiLima

The sight is heartbreaking: a sad animal, exposed to the heat or the cold, often without shelter, chained in a backyard. Sometimes all it takes to secure them is a thin rope tied around their collar on one end and a dog house on the other, in others it’s a thick metal chain that keeps the dog from moving away from a tree. Whatever the case, it’s enough to inspire any animal lover to change that dog’s life, but how? The answer is simpler than one would imagine: build a fence.

“Building a fence really changes the relationship between dogs and owners,” explains Michele Coppola, President of Fences for Fido, a nonprofit organization that builds fences in houses that have chained dogs so the dogs can run freely in the backyard. “Many times dogs who were outside 24/7 go on to become a family member, spending time in the house and outside because they’re no longer a location.”

Since 2009, Fences for Fido has been helping dogs in the Southwest Oregon and Washington state areas. People can anonymously nominate a house with a chained dog on their website or people can nominate themselves if they don’t have the means to build their own fence. According to the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, who helped Fences for Fido get started and has been building fences since 2006 in North Carolina, that lack of resources is the most common reason why people keep dogs chained.

“When we first started we thought we would we would build this fence and solve a problem but we quickly saw the problem is not chained dogs, it’s poverty,” explains Lori Hensley, Director of Operations at Coalition to Unchain Dogs. “No one wants to chain a dog. They just don’t have the means to build a fence.”

Other common reasons are not understanding that dogs are social animals that need to run around, an owner not knowing how to address behavioral problems and trying to keep the dog from running away, says the Humane Society of the United States.

“People chain their dogs for a variety of reasons so we always approach them without judgement because most times we’re not seeing the whole story,” says Coppola adding that those issues are addressed when building a fence for someone to make sure they’re educated on why chaining their dogs shouldn’t be a solution. “Maybe they didn’t have a fence to start with and someone, maybe a family member, dumped a dog with them and they’re keeping it out of the goodness of their hearts but they don’t have a fence. You don’t know.”

Between the two organizations, over 3,400 dogs have been freed from chains but since they only operate locally, they have created resources for people in other parts of the country who want to help. Unchained Planet, a Facebook group of volunteer fence builders, offers advice and tips to anyone looking to start their own fence building organization and a DIY tutorial is also available for free download.

From materials needed to step by step instructions, anyone can start building a fence to help chained dogs in their communities, though to complete novices, the guidance of a seasoned builder or a professional is encouraged.

“If you’re starting out for the very first time, it might be a good idea to pair up with a fence company who may be willing to help and even donate the materials,” suggests Coppola. “Or you want to find somebody who’s done a fence before and can kind of show you how to go about it.”

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

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Fences for Fido is an Oregon-based organisation and I’m going to contact them and ask for more information to share with you all.

I am also going to contact local charity The Toby Fund of Wolf Creek (Oregon) who do great work in unchaining dogs and seek an article from them for you.

We are what we eat.

Integrity and honesty should certainly apply to what we eat!

Published author Deborah Taylor-French has her own blog Dog Leader Mysteries. She and I follow each other’s blog and I’m very grateful for the connection, as indeed I am with so many other fellow bloggers.

Thus that was how I came to learn of a recent post from Deborah about how rabbit meat is being used for human consumption.  On the face of it, nothing wrong in eating rabbit but wait until you have read Deborah post, that is republished here with her kind permission.

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Tell Whole Foods: Do not sell bunnies

Tell Whole Foods, “Don’t sell bunny meat!”

Farm animals suffer greatly in the United States of America. Plus this suffering comes to us well documented. Before the U.S. Congress passes laws allowing Ag-Gag [see my footnote] states to make it illegal for people to photograph, video or report animal abuse inside or outside their meat plants.

The disturbing truth? Pet rabbits now sold for meat at Whole Foods Market come from being raised in U.S.A. Ag-gag states. What’s wrong with that? Everything.

Big farms doing business in Ag-gag states operate free from animal welfare laws.

In fact these huge meat farms have made laws against taking photographs, video recording or any reporting of animal abuse. What have they got to hide?

Enough. All too many cruel animal farming practices already hurt farm animals, enough to make most of us sick. The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Defense Fund continue working to legally raise farm animal welfare practices. Most Americans know that farm animals do not receive acceptable room for walking nor a humane standard of care. Before we let another category of animal become victims of Ag-gag farm cruelty, we need to improve farm animals welfare.

Adopted from Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.
Adopted from Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.

Rabbits die of fright.

They share the species lagomorph.

There are about eighty species of lagomorph include thirty species of pika, twenty species of rabbit and cottontail, and thirty species of hare family. Wikipedia

I learned about this issue of Whole Foods Market, selling a new category of animal for meat through a volunteer at my local shelter. Kathy, along with volunteers from Save a Bunny and a Southern California group, are working to raise awareness pet rabbits should not end up as mainstream Big Farm meat products. Why?

Whole Foods Market buys meat rabbits from Ag-gag states. If Whole Foods succeeds, farm animal suffering will fall on whole other category of animals, pet rabbits.

It comes as no secret in United States that farm animals end up being raised inhumanely. If you have ever read about the Ag-gag states and how they are able to prosecute anyone willing to go undercover and take photographs and videos to report the truth on this ongoing unnecessary torture of farm animals. What meat animals endure in the U.S.A. is nothing less than cruelty, it’s time we changed that, before adding anymore farm animals.

Nine facts hidden in Ag-gag pig farms

  1. Millions of meat pigs live, eliminate and sleep in cramped spaces.
  2. The environment these pigs endure smell rank. Their wastes drain into a central open sewer and their housing is so unclean many of them die.
  3. Meat pigs lack all exercise to the extreme point that their legs break.
  4. Pigs housed in huge warehouses with thousands of other pigs, hear others screaming day and night from pain.
  5. Female pigs, sows, live horrible lives in gestation crates.
  6. Gestation crates built for female pigs force them to stand up for 24-hours per day. Farmers do not allow pigs to walk or lie down. Gestation crates, notoriously painful for animals, need to be banned. Often the pigs’ legs break because their bones grow soft, due to not being allowed to walk.
  7. Big meat farms build bars underneath sows to brace broken legs.
  8. The meat pig lives in constant physical pain, terror, fear and unhappiness. When piglets die, often in these unsanitary conditions, their bodies get ground up and mixed into the food the sows eat. So mother pigs eat their own young.Pigs do not live as cannibals. Why should they be forced to eat their own young?
  9. What horrible animal welfare to make pigs eat their own young. It’s incomprehensible that animals must live like this so that people can eat pork barbecue, pork steak and pork ribs.

How can they call these farms? Not giving animals room to walk, sit or lie down? Meat farm animals get denied their normal and natural behaviors. They never see the light of the sun nor feel the earth nor wind.

What U.S.A. meat farms won’t let us see.

After four years of hesitation and never mentioning recordings of farm animals lack of good welfare, I break my silence.

Much of the time I avoid eating meat. From now on, I will be seeking out small sustainable and local farms. We have several nearby that do not inflict senseless cruelty on pigs, chickens and cows. After study of commercially farmed pork and chicken and beef, I have returned to my original vegetarian and fish eating ways.

My footnote. As a non-American I didn’t fully understand the phrase “Ag-gag”. Deborah kindly explained it as follows:

Several states have passed laws against anyone photographing, video recording or reporting on animal abuse inside massive meat farms. The Humane Society of the United States keeps working (under cover to film the truth of this unsanitary and cruel business) but now they can arrest anyone caught, send reporters to jail and sue anyone trying to inform the public.

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I know for a fact that Deborah would love that this item is shared and republished as far and wide as possible. Please help.

For spreading the word and being very careful about the meat that we eat are the only ways to put a stop to these unbelievably cruel practices, and the ‘Ag-gag’ laws.

Let’s risk it for animals!

Looking at the human-animal relationship, from the perspective of the animal.

This is a guest post from Virginia Ingram.  Virginia is becoming more involved in the animal rescue movement.  As such, she knows only too well how vital it is to give so many precious animals a second chance.

In a very real sense we, as in mankind, owe our humanity to dogs and other animals.  As I wrote here in the essay What is love?

“But understanding animals and empathizing with them also triggered other changes in humanity’s evolution, Shipman said.

All those things allow people to live with people. Once people have domesticated animals, they start to live in stable groups. They have fields, crops and more permanent dwellings.”

We owe so much!

So with that in mind, here is Virginia’s guest post.

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WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Recently I started to question the time I spend on the internet reading articles, essays and recommendations of books about all things concerned with animals. I receive animal stories from friends, acquaintances and business associates from all corners of the globe. I love to get them because, well….. hey, I really enjoy them!

After I read them I forward them to others who I think will also enjoy them. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. They are enlightening, poignant, humorous, inspiring and sometimes heart-rending. I find I cannot ignore any cute email containing animal pictures even though I may have already seen it a dozen times before. Give me a story about a dog who ate a popsicle and to me ‘that’s entertainment’ as they say. We human beings love to feel moved by great stories and these communications are full of it. I am such a sap when it comes to animal stories; so many of us are.

But here is the rub. What do the animals get out of it?

We chuckle and get our jollies from these incredible beings from a distance on the World Wide Web but the fact of the matter is that so many of these wonderful creatures end up unwanted, uncared for or even starved and beaten in shelters across the world.

Unknown and uncared for!

What gives? Why is there such a disconnect? How can we love animals from a distance and not be concerned with the abuses that go on in our own environment?

We know that there are those who don’t understand that animals have feelings and emotions, that they experience deep loss and sadness as well as happiness and joy. What can we do raise to the consciousness of human beings who don’t get it?

I think it involves sticking our collective necks out. I think that we need to be ready to risk some things. It might involve changing or damaging a relationship with someone who is acting in irresponsible ways towards animals. We need to be ready to risk it.

Do you see it on your own street? Maybe it’s a neighbor who leaves their dog on a chain in the yard on weekends regardless of weather or exposure to other animals. Maybe it’s the guy next door who ‘forgets’ to feed his animal.

Let’s stand up for these animals who have no voice. Let’s be advocates for these amazing creatures who cannot be their own advocate. Let’s hold humans accountable. Let’s risk a friendship and say something, make that difficult phone call on behalf of a animal. Let’s talk to people about animal issues and problems. Let’s try to change the weak laws that do not properly address animal cruelty. Let’s summon our courage and do the unpopular things which will enhance the quality of life for these precious beings.

Can you imagine how animals feel when they have been turned over to an animal shelter by the person whom they loved more than themselves?  Trust me, the sense of abandonment and fear, the bewilderment in their eye is excruciating to observe. I have seen it not from the distance of my computer but in person. Let’s DO something to change all this. It’s time to get involved.

By all means keep the cute emails going but for every minute we spend on the internet, reading the books and enjoying the emails let’s put the same amount of time into getting something done to improve the lives of animals. Stand up, walk out the door, volunteer or donate money. We can help the suffering. We can make a difference.

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Powerful words indeed.  Don’t know about you but I read a strength of feeling that was very moving.  A clear message that we must never turn the head, never just ‘tut tut’ but do something.  Even if only befriending a stray animal.  Because one might argue that even that feral dog without a home is demonstrating something all of us on this green planet need to understand; living a sustainable life!

Finally, living proof of what we can give an animal when we care and love it.  The dog in the picture below is Loopy, a dog that Jean rescued in Mexico many years ago.  She was so badly hurt by humans that it took Jean six months before Loopy would let Jean touch and hug her.

When I came on the scene, my gender was against me.  It took me twelve months before Loopy trusted me.  Now she will come to me and let me place my face against hers in the most loving, caring embrace that one can imagine.

So why the fearful look on Loopy’s face as she turns away from the camera?  Somehow the camera is reminding Loopy of some sort of weapon that was used to beat her!

Loopy

As Virginia so lovingly wrote, “We can help the suffering. We can make a difference.

Having the dog of a day!

Maybe there’s a new twist to that rather derogatory phrase!

For the life of me, I can’t remember how this story came to my ‘in-box’ but most likely it was from my Big Think subscription.  But I do know that the story has spread like wild-fire (poor choice of simile for Arizona!) and not without good reason.

Here’s how it was promoted on Science Daily,

Benefits of Taking Your Dog to Work May Not Be Far-Fetched

Man’s best friend may make a positive difference in the workplace by reducing stress and making the job more satisfying for other employees, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, morale and burnout and results in significant loss of productivity and resources. But a preliminary study, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.

The VCU researchers compared employees who bring their dogs to work, employees who do not bring their dogs to work and employees without pets in the areas of stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support.

Then over at the New York Daily News, it was presented thus,

Bring your dog to work to lower stress; Companies that allow pooches have happier workers

Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga all have pup-friendly policies

A new study supports the stress-reducing benefits of bringing your pooch to work — to play with, look at, and pet while working.

According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, having a dog at work not only reduces the owners’ stress level but also increased the level of job satisfaction for other employees as well. The study, announced Thursday, was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” said head researcher Randolph T. Barker. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

Here’s a great example.  The photograph below,

One hand for the desk and one for the dog!

comes from the website of Interior Design Hound (seriously) where the by-line is Good Design with a Canine Twist! (No, I’m not making it up!)

Anyway, back to that NY Daily News item,

The study took place at Replacements Ltd, a service-manufacturing-retail company located in North Carolina, which employs approximately 550 people. The company has a dog friendly policy, similar to other  companies such as Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga, according to CBS News, with around 20 to 30 dogs romping through the office every day. The study took place over a period of one work week, and subjects completing both surveys and saliva samples to measure stress levels.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are numerous benefits to having dogs at work, including improved staff morale, worker productivity, and camaraderie among employees.

Numerous studies have shown that having a pet is a good investment for your health. One study found that having a pet lowered your risk factors for heart disease, and another found that dogs encourage more consistent walking and exercise.

Seems pretty obvious to me.

Another tough day at the office!

Mind you, going back to the metaphorical ‘having a dog of a day‘ here’s one woman who probably wished she hadn’t got out of bed that morning,

Woman has a dog of a day in court

Sydney – If you have a phobia about dogs and hurt yourself running away from one, is it your own fault or should the owner of the dog pay compensation?

An Australian judge on Wednesday ruled against a woman who had put that case to him and ordered her to pay substantial legal costs.

Mileva Novakovic took her brother, Michael Stekovic, and his wife to the New South Wales Court of Appeal to try to overturn a lower court verdict that found they were not liable for injuries she sustained at his house in 2008.

Novakovic slipped and fell in a panic over finding a dog in their lounge room. She admitted to a fear of dogs and said she was compelled to run despite Cougar, a mastiff, showing no aggression towards her.

 

Very scary!