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Sherry’s Corner » 2012» April

Archives for April, 2012

Needed: Cows without Names, Dogs without Drug Dealer Owners, and the Return of Endangered Dog Law Officers

      Some  blame the stray pet problem, the need to be either a one-man or part of a small-group vigilante rescue group, on an apathetic legislature.  They cite pigeon shoots and tethering legislation as examples of laws that could be signed and enforced.  But, do we need “Joe the Plumber dog lover” rescuing our pets while his wife collects them in a small outbuilding?  I believe we need trained officers and more of them.  We need managed enforcement.  And, we once had a great team of enforcers led by attorney Jesse Smith– once upon a time before 2012.

      But, let us begin with the age-old live bird shoot legislation.  Pigeon and/or live bird shoots have been in existence as long as dogs have been trained to work in the field in efforts to gather and conserve game.  Many state legislatures have outlawed these shoots.  The Westminster Kennel Club, which began as a group of sportsmen (and remains so still today) left New York state because of a law outlawing this necessary training.  Among sportsmen it is not considered barbaric and is not Hegins-like, but a necessary part of training dogs.  With our strong force of hunters it seems that neither passage nor enforcement will be possible.  

      And now take identification.  Another law.  It is no longer enough to name our hamburg while it is grazing in a Pennsylvania meadow.  Bossy needs to be identified with a number. Since 2005 beef producers have refused  to have their cattle given an ID. If we had IDs on beef we might  easily track the mad cow discovered in California.  But, meat producers have fought identifying the livestock bred and cared for on their small and large farms.  Why?  It might endanger farm life!  I don’t know about you, but the so-called reassurance that the California cow was not destined for the human food chain is not a comfort. What chain was it destined for?  Pet food came to my mind and I vowed to boycott all products and by-products with beef as an ingredient.  And, that means rawhide–already a source of salmonella. 

      And, just to make matters worse, veterinarians who are overseeing the disposal of dead animals are complaining that disposal rules are being ignored due to the economy.  Isn’t that how this all started?  This supposedly is under the control of the FDA and THIS IS dangerous apathy.  As for tethering legislation did you know drug dealers are pro-tethering?  And, of course, so are seniors who can no longer walk Rover!  A dog tied outside of a drug operation is the best warning of danger–in this case, a drug law enforcement raid. Dogs are so effective at warning and protecting meth labs that anti-tethering laws are now springing up across the Commonwealth–once again, is this wise legislation?  Will it deter drug dealers from using dogs as a warning? Again, probably these laws will not see the Governor’s pen stroke and why should they?  Man’s best friend, of course, is, was, and always will be an effective watchdog.  And, perhaps that is one reason he has earned that title. Dogs are hard-wired to warn and we celebrate this trait–just as we celebrate his ability to track and point game and retrieve birds. Is it more cruel not to be able to stop Mad Cow disease (BSE)? And isn’t it cruel to have laws on the books that will give dogs a humane life by outlawing puppy mills and not enforce these laws?  Perhaps a bank teller is capable of leading a dog law enforcement department but it takes more than a love of dogs to be effective–it needs someone with a legal background working with and within  the system of humane organizations. Animal welfare is not a simple matter that can be legislated.  It needs heart and most of all it needs brains.

 Speaking about celebrating!!  MAY 6TH THROUGH MAY 12TH is NATIONAL PET WEEK.Also, MAY 20 THROUGH MAY 26TH is NATIONAL DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK.  (I think there should be an asterisk after this week stating that cat bites are more dangerous than dog bites!) And MAY 6TH through 12TH is CANINE CANCER AWARENESS WEEK.

FRACKING AND FIDO. Fracking is a controversial subject which leads to discussions of polluted, unsafe water.  We know it is vitally important that our pets stay hydrated for their health and our companionship. This means access to clean, fresh water 24/7.  This is a concern during disasters, also.  During the most recent flood our dogs were allowed to drink water from contaminated sources, swim and walk in contaminated flood water.  If there is a next time we should be ready with water for our pets.  Do we know how much water an older dog needs, a big dog vs. a small dog?  During disaster work our search and rescue dogs are hydrated to keep them safe.  And, they are bathed to keep contaminants off their coats.  Veterinarians and groomers should be up-to-date on the water and bathing needed to keep our pets safe companions.  We need water charts for pets.      

Apr 30, 2012 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

My Dog Can Do That!

      Next weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Blue and Gray cluster shows will be held in the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg.  One of the most exciting events is titled, “My Dog Can Do That”–it’s an agility event open to both mixed breeds and purebreds. Dogs must be at least 6 months of age, have an up-to-date rabies shot, and be on leash. There is no entry fee and participants will receive a T-shirt, bandana, and subscription to the AKC publication, THE FAMILY DOG.  The agility event begins at 9 AM Saturday and Sunday.  Trainers will be on hand to guide participants through the tunnels and other equipment.  Admission to the show, which also includes AKC breed judging in conformation, obedience and rally as well as “Meet The Breeds” education, is $6 and there is an $8 parking fee.  (I don’t mind saying that if agility participation is a goal, tell your vet before entering.  Young bodies can be strained very easily and although they heal easily, too, in later years may be a source of arthritis.)

PET MED QUESTIONED BY VETERINARIANS. Veterinarians have challenged Pet Med Express Inc. to make its advertising less antagonistic to the veterinary profession. When asked where the company obtains its drugs the company says that that information is confidential but acknowledged that it has made mistakes in the past.  Look for a new advertising campaign. 

VETS GO TO SCHOOL TOO. Each year your veterinarian attends continuing education courses either offered at the state level or at the AVMA convention.  Examples of such courses include: a basic-level disaster response course which includes fundamentals of biosecurity, a course in puppy behavior, and a course in working with the trauma patient titled, “ How To Keep Them Alive When They are Trying to Die”. 

      Long ago, once upon a time, a president of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medicine Association opened space in his hospital for a puppy kindergarten taught by a trainer.  He came to Bloomsburg to discuss this experiment; soon thereafter, the first puppy kindergarten was held in the Danville Middle School.  I know of no veterinarian who has hosted training classes in our area.  In those days first aid classes did not have CPR manikins nor did they follow a Red Cross manual.  The veterinarian teaching trauma courses spoke about his own experience–burned toast was used to induce vomiting when poison was suspected and men’s ties or women’s panty hose were fashioned into tourniquets and muzzles.  Each owner was a first responder.  The first rule was always “take care of yourself before helping your pet–we don’t need two victims!”

Apr 08, 2012 | Comments are off | Uncategorized