Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dog Song Saturday: The Pound Song by Puppet Rescue

It's Saturday, so at For Love of a Dog it's time for a dog song!  Today's dog song and video is a catchy tune.  Our four canines really loved the parts with cats meowing and dogs barking.

Puppet Rescue wrote The Pound Song and performs it here with video footage shot especially to accompany the song.  The Pound Song encourages pet adoption from animal shelters, pounds and animal rescue organizations.  Now, that's something to bark about!

Grab a dog.  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and hum along to The Pound Song.  Then scroll down below the video to check out lots of howling good pet blogs because this is the weekly Pet Blog Hop.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rudy's Big Day

Rudy knew something was up yesterday morning.  Breakfast did not appear.  His harness and leash did appear.  And off he went with Daddy in the car. 

Jeffie raced to the front door to watch them leave, then settled down to spend the day waiting for his best friend to return.  While Jeffie heaved heavy sighs and a whimper or two, Rudy was enjoying an early morning ride to town.  And a trip to the vet.

Late afternoon he returned home sans reproductive equipment and high on pain killers.  Lucy, Tucker, and Jeffie were thrilled to see him.  Tucker and Lucy got big long whiffs of that vet clinic smell and seemed to understand that all Rudy wanted to do is nap. 


Jeffie decided what Rudy really needed was a good ear washing and Rudy didn't mind a bit.  He was just happy to be home again.

The surgery went well;  Rudy is now neutered.  Unfortunately, our vet did not have any kind of cone that fit him, so now we're all on puppy-licking-watch.  At the moment that's pretty easy duty.  Rudy's napping.  Again.  :-)  And so is the rest of the pack at For Love of a Dog.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Puppy Mill Compromise SB 161 Signed by Missouri Governor Nixon

According to the Associated Press, Missouri officials pushed through new regulations for the state's dog breeders in a flurry of legislative activity Wednesday that started with Gov. Jay Nixon signing one bill (SB 113) repealing sections of a voter-approved dog-breeding law and ended with the governor signing another measure that implemented a deal between dog breeders and welfare groups.

The maneuvering was needed to pass a compromise on new rules for Missouri dog breeders that was brokered by Nixon's administration and supported by several state-based agriculture and animal welfare groups. Nixon called the new legislation "a dramatic, important, significant step" that would improve the care of dogs while ensuring breeders can continue to operate. The industry has an estimated $1 billion impact in Missouri.

In the end, Nixon and lawmakers eliminated parts of the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act" passed last November by voters, including a limit of 50 breeding dogs per business. Other portions were changed. The new law sought potential middle ground on the specifics of the living-space requirements, and it gives breeders more time to comply with the new rules.

Nixon said voters' support of the dog measure this past fall was an important impetus toward reaching the final agreement and had changed the discussion about regulation of dog breeders.

"But for the action of the public, there wouldn't have been another force that was necessary to coalesce people to make these changes," Nixon said. Later he added: "Their votes did matter."

The ballot measure, called Proposition B, was approved by about 52 percent of the statewide vote as supporters in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas outweighed opposition in much of the rest of the state. The initiative was scheduled to take effect as law this November. The bill Nixon initially signed superseded that by making changes that take effect Aug. 28. However, the compromise measure that Nixon signed last repeals the earlier bill and takes effect immediately.

Supporters of the voter-approved law said Missouri's previous regulations for breeders were too weak, allowing operators to keep dogs in wire cages and exposed to excess heat and cold. Critics of the voter-backed law have said it would wipe out the dog-breeding industry by forcing costly renovations to facilities and effectively limiting how many dogs the businesses can sell.
Several of the national animal groups that helped to finance the dog ballot measure oppose Nixon's compromise. Some have said that they could seek to put the issue back on the ballot through it was unclear if one option — a referendum of the new law — was still available.

"It is a far cry from what the voters put in place under Proposition B," said Cori Menkin, the senior director of legislative initiatives for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "I don't think the compromise is much of a compromise."

The voter-backed law required an indoor floor space of at least 25 square feet for small dogs, 30 square feet for medium-size dogs and 35 square-feet for large dogs. The new law approved by Nixon doubles the state's previous minimum space requirements by January 2012 and triples them by January 2016 for existing breeders when wire flooring also would be prohibited. Any dog-housing facilities constructed after April 15 will have to comply with the tripled space requirements immediately.

It also attempts to compromise on veterinary visits. The voter-approved law requires at least one yearly exam with prompt treatment for any illness or injury. Lawmakers changed that to two annual visual inspections that did not need to be a hands-on exam in the first bill Nixon signed. Ultimately, there must be one yearly exam and prompt treatment of a "serious illness or injury."
The new law also requires dogs to have continuous access to water, access to food at least twice daily — an increase from the ballot measure's once daily mandate — but looser than the voter-approved law because "generally" is inserted in front of a requirement that water be free of debris, feces, algae and other contaminants.

Plus for state licenses, dog breeders could pay up to $2,500 instead of the current $500 maximum, and will pay an extra $25 annual fee to finance state efforts to crack down on unlicensed dog breeders.

A Big Day for Rudy: Getting Neutered

Rudy, totally unaware of his upcoming surgery. 
Snip and Clip.  Nip and Tuck.  The Conehead Cometh.  All titles I considered for this blog post.  I decided to keep it simple:  Getting Neutered.

It definitely is a big day for Rudy, our yellow Labrador Retriever pup.  Rudy is almost 7 months old now.  After doing quite a bit of reading about the best age to neuter dogs, especially big dogs, we've decided to follow our vet's recommendation.  So, Rudy is getting neutered today.

All our dog-boys are neutered.  Tucker at 6 months because that's the age all of our male canines have been neutered in the past.  Jeffie at 8 weeks because the shelter we adopted him from does it that way.  Though we know there's a lot of controversy about the best age to have this surgery performed, we've experienced no bad outcomes in the past.  Even though we think 8 weeks - so far before puberty - is iffy (and we had no choice about that)  Jeffie, now 5, seems fine.

We are big believers in spay and neuter.  Shelter euthanasia is the number one killer of companion animals in our country.  Millions of dollars are spent each year by our communities dealing with stray and unwanted pets.  Even though animal advocacy organizations are doing a great job educating the pet owning public and low cost spay / neuter organizations have sprung up all over the US, there simply are not enough homes for all those unplanned litters of dogs and cats.

Do I think any of our pets will end up in a shelter?  No.  And though it's pretty doubtful any of our dogs could produce any offspring, never say never.  All I have to do is think about Rudy's Labrador Retriever mother who managed to escape a yard just long enough to rendevous with a neighboring chocolate Lab.  'Nuff said.

At For Love of a Dog we subscribe to that old adage:  If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

So, later today Rudy will be home from the vet, sporting one of those crazy collars, getting sniffed like crazy by the rest of the dog pack, and he'll be minus his family jewels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Puppy Mills: Missouri Governor Signs Prop B Repeal SB 113 Today

According to the Missouri Net, earlier today Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 113.  This effectively repeals MO Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

Prop B was approved by a majority of Missouri voters last November.  Several legislative bills were introduced in the Missouri legislature that would gut or essentially repeal Prop B.  SB 113 sailed through both the House and Senate chambers.

Governor Nixon commented that he hopes to have his own suggested compromise bill (SB 161) on his desk for signature before the legislative session ends next month.

Missouri Puppy Mills: Compromise and Combat over SB 161

Usually I have plenty to say about puppy mill legislation in Missouri.  Lately I've not been sure what to say.

My email inbox is full of messages from various animal welfare organizations pleading with me to call my legislative representative and tell him how to vote on SB 161 - the Governor's compromise bill resulting from the flap over Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL) want me to urge my legislator to vote for SB 161.  MAAL is obviously familiar with the HSUS chart, because they sent me a sheet entitled Facts vs Myths about SB 161.

Politics makes some strange bedfellows and some strange enemies.  I never thought I'd see the day when animal welfare groups were allied with commercial pet breeders.  Nor did I consider such a wide divide and split between local and national animal welfare groups.

The national groups seem to be taking an all or nothing attitude and casting all their chips on the table in hopes that Governor Nixon will veto SB 113 and preserve the voter-passed Prop B.   Some are saying that they'll organize another petition drive if they have to, plus they've not ruled out legal action.  A risky roll of the dice.

The local Missouri groups have managed to do what I honestly believed was not possible:  struck a compromise with dog breeders.  Their compromise is not perfect - it does seriously monkey with the original Prop B - but it would be a vast improvement over the status quo and, therefore, over SB 113.

I feel a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place.  

Intellectually, I agree with the ASPCA and HSUS.  Right is right.  Prop B should be upheld because it is the will of Missouri voters.  It provides the greatest protection and humane standards for the thousands of Missouri dogs living in commercial dog breeding operations.

However.... and it's a big however... something is better than nothing.  Plus I can't ignore that if the compromise, SB 161, is passed over one million dollars would be generated for the Missouri Department of Agriculture to add desperately needed inspectors and veterinarians to ensure breeders comply with the new law.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  Though it's no sure thing the compromise will pass, I feel I have to support it because - bottom line - I'm on the side of the dogs.  And in Missouri something really is better than nothing.

Wordless Wednesdays: When Mama Calls the Puppy

When mama calls...

Rudy comes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adopt Iggy: Akita German Shepherd Dog Looking for a Forever Home

Iggy is a tricolor Akita and German Shepherd Dog mix. He's male, already neutered and about a year old. Iggy is very smart and very well behaved. He walks on a leash very well and sits on command. Forget about all those photos on the web of dogs wearing Easter bunny ears. Iggy has his own ear thing going on and we think it makes him even more attractive.

If you have room in your heart and your home, consider adopting Iggy. For more information, call the Humane Society of Missouri in St Louis at 314-951-1562 and ask for information about animal ID # A505715.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dog Song Saturday: It's the Doorbell - Shelly from Raising Hope

It's Saturday, so time for a dog song!  Here at For Love of a Dog it is still raining.  We are beginning to think we need to build an ark and the dogs are tired of being greeted with towels when they come inside.  We all need some sunshine.  Or a dog song!

I don't watch the television show Raising Hope, but I did catch this video clip of Shelly singing a song to her dogs.  The phrase "it's on TV" is pretty common around here when we're watching television.  Any doorbell ringing on television results in at least one of four dogs barking and racing to the front door.   If that's the case at your house, too, you'll enjoy this video and song.  

So grab a dog.  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and enjoy Shelly's Song for the Dogs.  It's a short one today so you'll have plenty of time to scroll down to the blogs participating in today's Pet Blog Hop.  Click around and enjoy some barking good dog blogs!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Missouri Compromise on Puppy Mills: Senate Bill 161

Photo:  St Louis Today  
Both the Humane Society of Missouri and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation have come out in support of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's puppy mill compromise bill.

SB 161 would be an improvement over Missouri's current law which allows breeding dogs to be confined to small wire floored cages for their entire lives.  Current law also denies veterinary care, including an annual vet exam to the dogs, and allows even frozen water to satisfy requirements for water.

SB 161 would:
  • require an annual veterinarian examination of breeding dogs, as well as require that any dogs with a serious illness or injury receive prompt vet treatment. 
  • require continuous access to clean water
  • require ample space for confined dogs with three times the current space requirement
  • require constant and unfettered access to an outdoor exercise run
  • prohibit wire flooring
  • provide funding for additional inspectors and veterinarians to enforce the law
Politics aside, SB 161 would definitely be a winning proposition for thousands of dogs living in Missouri commercial breeding facilities. 

Unfortunately, politics can't be set aside.  Legislative leaders say they will advance SB 161 only if the Governor signs SB 113.  If both bills are passed, both could become law - even with contradictory elements.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays at For Love of a Dog: Spring is in the Air

It may not be green, but spring is in the air.

Missouri Prop B Compromise Already in Trouble

The ink is barely dry from the press release from the Governor's office about his proposed compromise on Missouri's Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and already the proposed measure is in trouble.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's compromise would strengthen current commercial dog breeding laws, but take out portions of Prop B which was passed by a majority of Missouri voters in November.  According to his office, his compromise measure was supported by advocates on both sides of the issue.

Last night more than 60 lawmakers from the House and Senate, as well as members of the agriculture industry, sent a letter to the Governor telling him they want him to sign SB 113 which would essentially repeal Prop B.

Governor Nixon's compromise has not even been introduced yet and must travel through both houses of the Missouri legislature before the legislative session ends on May 13.  Otherwise Nixon must sign SB 113 or veto it.  

It's not looking good.  Among those signing the letter urging Nixon to gut Prop B is House Speaker Steve Tilley.  Tilly controls the flow of legislation in the Missouri House.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Missouri Puppy Mills / Prop B: Governor Proposes Compromise

I'm sick of politicians.  I've had it with them for more reasons that just MO Senate Bill 113 and Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, but this issue feels like the straw that broke the camel's back.

First Missouri citizens organize a petition drive to place MO Prop B on the election ballot.  They succeed.  Then Missouri voters pass that same legislation.
That's where the politicians take over because they are quite sure they are smarter than Missouri voters, who, they claim, didn't understand what they were voting on.  Various Missouri House of Representative and Senate bills are introduced to repeal or otherwise gut Prop B.  Senate Bill 113 gains traction, is passed and sent to the Governor for his signature.  

SB 113 guts Prop B.  So what... they're just dogs.  So what... it's just overturning the will of the people.  Right?

Now Governor Nixon claims to have brokered a compromise between all parties involved that includes part of Prop B and parts of SB 113.   This proposed legislation will require larger cages with outdoor runs for breeding dogs, access to potable water and annual vet exams.  However it no longer limits dog breeders to no more than 50 breeding dogs and gives dog breeders additional time to meet the new housing standards.

This new "compromise" legislation will have to move fast.  It's not even been introduced yet, but will have to be approved by May 13.  That's when the Missouri legislative session ends.  And, of course, if it does not move along quickly enough, that is also when we'll see what stuff Governor Nixon is made of.  He'll have to either sign or veto SB 113.

At the same time, proponents of Prop B are threatening to begin again with another ballot initiative campaign - to put Prop B back on the ballot for another vote.

I'm a believer in compromise.  This compromise legislation certainly would be an improvement over current Missouri laws and SB 113 in terms of the lives of thousands of commercial breeding dogs being held in this state.  However, it is an outright sucker punch to the voters of Missouri.

Democracy?  The state constitution?  The will of the people?  Who needs 'em?!  Not the politicians of the great puppy mill capitol, otherwise known as Missouri.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Missouri Puppy Mills: Rally to Save Prop B on April 20

The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL), along with other supporters of MO Prop B the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, are planning a rally this Wednesday, April 20 to urge Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to veto SB 113.  

Last week the Missouri House of Representatives passed SB 113 which repeals Prop B.  Now the fate of thousands of dogs living in Missouri puppy mills rests in the hands of Governor Nixon.

They'll have signs and t-shirts with special messages that the Governor can't ignore.  If you live in St Louis or Kansas City you can attend the event via the Humane Trains - special buses provided.  These buses will depart at 12:30 pm from each of those cities.  If you plan to attend and ride a Humane Train bus, you'll need to RSVP so they can keep a spot for you.

For more information you may contact MAAL at 314-361-3944 or toll free 877-444-6225.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sounds for Hounds Homeless Dog Benefit April 21 in Boston

Sounds for Hounds Benefit Concert
Thursday, April 21, 2011 -  8 PM
The Middle East - Downstairs in Cambridge, MA

Boston-bred hip hop artist Esoteric has teamed up with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty MSPCA to present the first annual Sounds for the Hounds benefit concert.  Esoteric will be joined by some of New England's best musical talent including Viva Viva, The Dirty Dishes, Black El & Durkin, and Bladerunners.  All proceeds from this event will benefit the homeless dogs and other animals of the MSPCA-Boston.

You must be 18 years or over to attend.  Purchase tickets to Sounds for Hounds here.

Back to the Lab Labrador Retriever Dog Song at Talking Dogs

It's Saturday and by now you all know what that means:  it's time for a dog song at For Love of a Dog.  Hit the pause button on this busy weekend that's just kicking off and take a moment to enjoy a song about dogs.  Then when you're all relaxed and feeling good, scroll to the bottom of this blog post and fetch some great pet blogs because today is a Pet Blog Hop.  Go on... you know you want to!

Normally today's song would not be music on my iPod, however the lyrics hooked me big time.  Then there are the wonderfully endearing photos in this slide show.  Here for your listening and viewing pleasure is MC Esoteric performing Back to the Lab from their Saving Seamus Ryan album.  This song is dedicated to the Labrador Retriever and all dogs and available at Amazon, iTunes and from MC Esoteric.

Grab a dog, preferably a Labrador Retriever, but any dog will do.  Sit.  Stay.   Scroll down to read these song lyrics, then relax and groove along to Back to the Lab.


women come and go but a dog stays always
all days, hanging by the couch or the hallways
the simple sound of me jingling my keys
will generate a look that could bring me to my knees
he's the type of friend that you can't stay mad around
even when you hear that shatter sound, it don't matter now
'cuz them eyes say it all and the face'll kill ya
it's great to have a face so familiar
he don't change a bit, he gon' stay he gon' sit
my currency is green his currency is a stick
i spend less time wildin' in hoods
more time in the woods 'cuz of this guy
it's all good, i got a lab, the love's essential
i saw myself as garbage he saw the potential
and when i can't grin or lift my chin
there's nobody, more happy to see me than him
yes i'll never turn my "back to the lab"
and i'm always goin' "back to the lab"
(verse 2)
that's right that's you
so happy, so honest, so loyal, so true
you got my back, got my front, got my middle
how you give so much and expect so little in return?
trainers say that you must learn
but i think we the ones that's living out of turn
we should take a tip, take a lesson, take something from yall
we need a mansion and a yacht to be happy, you need a ball
big jewelry, you ain't on it
just something simple 'round your neck with your name on it
you showed me sunsets i never took in
and shades of green i never seen 'cuz i wasn't lookin'
any mess that you made it was accidental
and when we brought the baby home, you were more than gentle
thanks for that, you'll always be the king here
this is love i'm showin, and yo i'm goin'...
"back to the lab"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stray Rescue Spring Benefit May 1 in St Louis Missouri

6th Annual Spring for Strays Benefit
Sunday, May 1, 2011
2 - 6 PM
Harry's Restaurant and Bar, 2144 Market St, St Louis, MO

Celebrate the end of a long winter at one of Stray Rescue's most exciting events.

Stray Rescue's sole purpose is to rescue stray animals in need of medical attention, restore them to health, and place them in loving adoptive homes. Virtually all of the pets they save have been abused and neglected. They've been dumped on highways, or remote country roads. Abandoned in public parks, empty houses and dark alleys. They've even saved dogs left chained behind buildings after their owners had moved away.

Rescued animals often make the best pets. As a no-kill organization, pets from Stray Rescue seem to understand that they have a second lease on life. In return for a little affection and attention, these remarkable animals reward their new owners with a love and loyalty unmatched anywhere.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Puppy Mills in Missouri: SB 113 Passed; Prop B is Repealed

It's official.  The Missouri House of Representatives passed SB 113.  The repeal of Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, now goes to the desk of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

SB 113 dismantles Prop B piece by piece, not only lowering the boom on dogs suffering in substandard breeding facilities, but also delivering a knock out punch to democracy in Missouri.  If Governor Nixon signs this legislation, Prop B supporters have vowed to immediately begin gathering signatures for another referendum which would bring the issue back on a ballot for Missouri voters.

I have mixed emotions.  None of them are good.  

Obviously, Missouri lawmakers are proud of Missouri's reputation as the Puppy Mill Capital and loathe to let that go.  It's also obvious - from their claims that Missouri voters didn't understand Prop B - that they think Missouri voters are dumb as dirt. 

Last November the voters of Missouri said it was time to begin an end to puppy mills in our state.  They understood then that the dog breeding industry in our state has a myriad of problems and the state legislature has ignored the problems for years.  

Unless Governor Nixon vetoes SB 113, dog breeders in Missouri can continue business as usual.  In Missouri it will be just fine that breeders stack dogs in wire cages, let them suffer extreme heat and cold, deprive them of clean water.  Breeders can have as many breeding dogs as they choose. 

If you live in Missouri, please contact Governor Nixon at 673-751-3222 or via email  and urge him to veto SB 113.  Let him know that the democratic process and the well-being of commercial breeding dogs is important.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Border Collie and Large Dog Agility at Purina Incredible Dog Challenge

Okay, if you read Talking Dogs blog, you already know that we're crazy about Border Collies and the Incredible Dog Challenge.  Here's a great competition video.  Watch Arie, a Border Collie, in her winning run at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in large dog agility.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Dog Carlie Needs a Forever Home

Carlie is a beautiful girl!  And she needs a forever home.  Carlie is a black and white Labrador Retriever and Pointer mixed breed dog.  She's about 1 year old and already spayed.  She's been at the Humane Society of Missouri's St Louis City animal shelter since March 21, 2011.

If you'd like more information about adopting Carlie, call the HSMO at 314-951-1562.  Carlie's animal ID number is A506757.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big Dog Adoption Specials at the Humane Society of Missouri

Adopt an adult dog which is 40 pounds or larger and receive a $25 saving on the adoption fee, plus a free 35 pound bag of Purina ONE at the time of adoption for your super-sized pooch.

This offer is good at any of the Humane Society of Missouri adoption centers:  St Louis City Center, Westport Area Center in Maryland Heights, Chesterfield Valley Center, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch from April 8 through May 1, 2011.

In addition, any person who is 60 years of age or older are eligible to receive a $50 savings off the adoption of a dog or cat over one year of age.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saving Pit Bull Dogs: Best Friends New Shelter Program

Best Friends Animal Society recently launched Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls, a project designed to encourage responsible pet ownership, increase adoptions, reduce euthanasia and improve the public's perception of pt bull terriers and similar dogs.  Thanks to the myths, many of them perpetuated by the mainstream media, that surround these wonderful dogs, pit bull terriers, once America's most beloved family dogs, have become vilified in recent years.  the sad result is that many of these dogs end up in shelters and often don't find their way out again.

Some communities have banished pit bull terriers altogether by enacting unfair breed discriminatory laws.  Shelter Partners for Pit bulls is trying to change all that.

The Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls project is made possible through a $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.  Along with additional support from Best Friends, the funds support pilot programs in five shelters across the country.  They are:  Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care and Adoption Center in Cucamonga, California;  Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland;  Washington Humane Society in Washington, D.C.;  Hillsborough County Animal Services in Tampa, Florida;  and the County of San Diego Animal Services in Carlsbad, California.  Best Friends has hired local coordinators for all five shelters to oversee the programs in their communities, which will include kennel enrichment for shelter dogs, community education and training programs, creation or support of foster and transition home programs, adoption and other outreach events, targeted spay/neuter efforts, post-adoption support and educational opportunities for shelter staff.

The Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls program is modeled after a very successful partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services that began back in July 2009.  The save rate for pit bull type dogs climbed from 57 to 71 percent in the program's first year, and the number of dogs adopted doubled from the previous year.  Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls hopes to duplicate that success in the five pilot communities and eventually bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets.

Pit Bull Dog Bessie Needs a Forever Home

This gorgeous girl is Bessie.  She's a beautiful black and white Pit Bull Terrier.  Bessie has been at the Humane Society of Missouri's St Louis City shelter since March 3, 2011.  She's already spayed and about 2 1/2 years old.

If you are interested in adopting Bessie, call the HSMO St Louis City animal shelter at 314-951-1562.  Bessie's animal ID number is A505656.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wayside Waifs Animal Shelter Joins Pets for Patriots

Photo courtesy Pets for Patriots
Wayside Waifs is the first animal welfare organization in the Kansas City area to join the Pets for Patriots program.  The mission of Pets for Patriots is to place adoptable pets in the homes of veterans, wounded warriors and military service members.

"We know our Waifs will provide friendship,, comfort and love to our brave soldiers and veterans who are returning from deployment, coping from old wounds or are in need of a faithful companion," said Cynthia Smith, President of Wayside Waifs.  "In return, these patriots will be heroes to our Waifs by giving them a second chance at a happy life."

Pets eligible for the special adoption program include:  an adult dog or cat two years or older, large dogs over 40 pounds, and pets with special needs.  Wayside Waifs will offer a 20% adoption discount to member patriots.  They are partnering with Rockhill Pet Clinic which will offer 10% discount off veterinary care for the life of the pet.  To become a member patriot you can apply online at Pets for Patriots.  You'll need a copy of your military ID or DD214.

Wayside Waifs is the largest no kill animal shelter in the Kansas City area, placing over 5,000 animals each year in loving homes.

Dog Song Saturday: I Miss You Tribute to Lost Pets

It's Saturday, so time for a dog song at For Love of a Dog.  Have the tissues handy for this one.  You will not be able to listen to the lyrics without needing them.  Yes, not just one tissue.  You'll need several if you're like me.

This is a video tribute to dogs and other pets that have passed on.  The photos come from many people and they will touch your heart, too.  The song I Miss You is written and performed by Justine Bennett.  You can hear more of her work on her MySpace page.

As I watched and listened, I couldn't help but think of my own beloved pets who are now gone.  And, just like the song says, I miss them every day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pets For Patriots Helps Military Members Adopt Shelter Pets

Millions of shelter dogs and cats are put to death each year even as a growing body of research highlights the unique physical and emotional health benefits of companion animals. Pets for Patriots, Inc. connects loyal adult shelter pets with our country's loyal service men and women.

“We’re one of the only organizations in the country that is dedicated to both adult pets and military members,” says founder and executive director Beth Zimmerman. “With our unique focus we have the power and passion to change lives every day, for the better.”

The organization, a registered 501(c)(3) charity, creates opportunities for members of the military community to save a life by honorably adopting adult homeless animals.

Military personnel, whom the charity calls Patriots, can come from any branch of the United States military and are eligible to receive a pet at any stage of their careers. Pets for Patriots will pay the adoption fees for any eligible adoption made through its member shelters: a dog or cat, at least two years old, as well as large dogs and special needs pets. 

“Pets for Patriots exists to give the millions of dogs and cats who would otherwise die needlessly a second chance at life,” says Zimmerman, “and at the same time to show gratitude to our service men and women by giving them the gift of unconditional friendship and love.”

The organization's commitment to adult pets is clear. “Our goal is to help shelters, rescues, SPCAs and humane societies re-home harder-to-place pets that still have years of love and life to give,” Zimmerman says. "The evidence is clear that companion pets provide real physical and emotional benefits to owners and their families, including those suffering from post-combat stress and other issues that arise in the course of military service."

The charity provides access to reduced cost care for the life of the honorably adopted pet, including veterinary care, pet food and products. “It's essential to support the lifetime care of the animal,” says Zimmerman, “in order to avoid pet recycling, where an adopted animal is returned to the shelter because the owner could not afford to keep it.”

For more information, contact Beth Zimmerman at 877-4-PET CADET (877-473-8223) or visit

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Worst in Show Ugliest Dog Documentary Film Debuts at Kansas City Film Fest

Worst in Show, the documentary that chronicles the annual Wold's Ugliest Dog contest, debuts Thursday, April 7, 2011 at the Kansas City Film Fest at AMC  Mainstreet. The screening starts at 4:14 pm.  Wayside Waifs President, Cynthia Smith will be a guest speaker with a special message about pet adoption.

The World's Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual contest held in Petaluma, CA as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, to decide which of the dog contestants is the ugliest and has been sponsored by Animal Planet for several years.  The documentary, Worst in Show, is an hour long indie documentary produced by Don Lewis and John Beck.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Puppy Mills in Missouri: Prop B Repeal Legislation Fact vs Fiction

Perfect timing.  I've grown tired of repeating myself about the MO Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act and the efforts to repeal it.  Correction:  what I'm really tired of is separating fact from fiction.  Thankfully the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL) has put together a great document that does just that.

The myths expressed below are a compilation of quotes from the principal sponsors and legislative proponents of SB 113

SB 113 is not a repeal of Prop B but actually strengthens the laws protecting dogs in commercial kennels and is therefore an improvement over Prop B.
SB 113 not only repeals all of the provisions of Prop B but it significantly weakens current enforcement efforts and severely diminishes penalties under existing law. SB 113 reduces criminal penalties, makes it more difficult to prosecute violators, and gives first time offenders a passregardless of the violation.

SB 113 reduces criminal penalties from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class C Misdemeanor and thus significantly reduces the deterrent effect against those who raise dogs in substandard conditions. SB 113 also restricts the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), local prosecutors, and the attorney general, from charging a substandard breeder with criminal penalties unless “such person repeatedly violates sections 273.325 to 273.357.” Since most facilities only receive one inspection a year, SB 113 would permit substandard conditions to persist for extended periods of time. SB 113 further restricts enforcement efforts by requiring additional burdens of proof and conditions on state authorities in their prosecutorial functions by requiring the MDA, attorney general, and local prosecutors, to prove that the substandard conditions “pose a substantial risk to the health and welfare of animals.” Such subjective language in criminal law only serves to discourage prosecutors from becoming involved in enforcement efforts.

In addition to weakening criminal enforcement efforts against substandard breeders, SB 113 also weakens civil enforcement efforts by stipulating that the MDA, local prosecutors, and the attorney general may only assess monetary fines against breeders for “past violations” that “have not been corrected” regardless of the seriousness of the violation. Due to the infrequency of inspections, SB 113 could often allow substandard conditions to persist for extended periods of time without threat of criminal or civil penalties.

While SB 113 grants criminal authority to the attorney general it is important to note that the attorney general currently has civil authority to pursue substandard breeders which it has done on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, while SB 113 grants the attorney general criminal authority it
simultaneously restricts the attorney general’s office in its current authority to prosecute civil cases. Equally disturbing, while SB 113 grants the attorney general criminal authority, SB 113 concurrently reduces substantially the criminal penalties in the law and places undue burdens of proof on the
attorney general and limits its effort to only pursuing repeat offenders.

In summary, SB 113 weakens penalties, gives a free pass for initial violations regardless how serious the offense, and requires an extra burden on prosecutors to prove that violations pose a substantial risk to the health of animals. SB 113 not only repeals Prop B but repeals important enforcement provisions of current law.

Pet is defined as “any domesticated animal” and therefore Prop B would cover cows, horses, sheep, and all other livestock crucial to Missouri’s trade and economy.
The language in Prop B is very clear and states that the only persons covered under this Act are those with more “than ten female covered dogs” for the purpose of selling any offspring of these dogs as pets. The definition of “pet” as “domesticated animal” only refers to how the puppies will be used and in no way indicates what animals will be covered under Prop B. In fact, the definition of “pet” that is in Prop B is the same definition of “pet” under current Missouri law. The assertion that Prop B can apply to farm animals is a result of taking one sentence out of context. Prop B only covers dogs and DOES NOT cover any other animals except dogs.

Prop B will shut down 1500 family-owned licensed pet breeding businesses in the state as it creates regulations that no licensed facility can meet.
Prop B allows family-owned pet breeding facilities, who provide humane standards of care to their dogs, to not only stay in business but to flourish, as they will no longer have to operate under the bad reputation created by the many substandard dog breeders who are allowed to exist under the current
lax laws in Missouri. In fact, the bad breeders drive down the price of puppies since they provide minimal care to their animals. Prop B will put all the breeders on a level playing field and allow prices for puppies to reflect actual level of care.

It is important to note that the commercial dog breeders said the same thing back in 1992 when the current law and requirements were being debated, namely that the current regulations would put them all out of business. Such was not the case and similarly requiring dogs to have more than 6 inches of cage space, giving them a solid surface to walk on, providing veterinary care, allowing them outside for fresh air, and providing protection from temperature extremes, will not force any reputable breeder to close down. All the requirements in Prop B are what any reputable and responsible breeder would provide. Similar legislation passed in Pennsylvania in 2008 and the PA
Department of Agriculture has called their law a “success.” The Better Business Bureau named the puppy breeders in Missouri as the worst industry they have encountered in relation to resolving complaints. There are too many disreputable breeders that simply won’t improve their standards of care unless it is mandated by law.

Prices for puppies are averaging $200 - $500 per pup and up to $1,000 per pup if sold over the Internet. A modest size kennel is grossing over $100,000 per year. In fact, the commercial dog breeding industry is opposing plans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release financial information on breeding operations in Missouri. The commercial kennels can afford to make the needed improvements to ensure the humane treatment of the dogs under their care.
Prop B will require 11,000 square feet of space for 50 adult breeding dogs of medium size and most dog breeders simply don’t have the room to expand to that degree and thus Prop B will put many dog breeders out of business.
Sponsors and supporters of SB 113 have often made this claim and did so again during the debate on SB 113 on the floor of the Senate. Proponents of SB 113 mistakenly compute this figure by doubling the space for every puppy the mother dog has and assume five puppies per adult dog. However, the
requirements in Prop B for cage space only apply to adult dogs, not puppies. The correct amount of square footage of floor space for 50 adult mother dogs plus 250 puppies (5 puppies per adult dog) is 1000 square feet, the size of a modest house. This is not an unreasonable amount of space for 50 dogs and 250 puppies. It is the dissemination of false information, such as needing 11,000 square feet of space when the actual figure is 1,000, that has led many to believe incorrectly, that Prop B will put good breeders out of business.

In Pennsylvania, which enacted a law similar to Prop B, 75% of licensed commercial kennels have gone out of business. The same will happen in Missouri if Prop B is not repealed.
There were 312 licensed commercial breeding kennels in Pennsylvania before the enactment of their new Dog Law. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture there are 114 licensed commercial breeding kennels today which represents a 63% reduction in commercial breeders. Approximately one-half of the kennels that are no longer licensed as “commercial” breeders,
however, are still in the business of breeding dogs. They simply downsized their breeding operations and reduced the number of their breeding dogs and the number of puppies they sell, or they now sell only retail, or a combination of the above, to avoid having to meet the new requirements of PA’s Dog Law, as such law only applies to large scale breeders or those selling “wholesale.”

The 30% that have downsized their operations due to the new Dog Law were simply the victims of their own Pet Breeders Association who assured them that they did not have to improve their standards of care as the new law would never take effect. The Pet Breeders Association filed a federal lawsuit to block the implementation of the new Dog Law. They claimed such law was unconstitutional and told the dog breeders not to concern themselves with the new law. The Association actually discouraged commercial dog breeders from making improvements at their facilities as they assured them that the law would never take effect. The new Dog Law gave breeders a full year to come into compliance and make changes to their kennels. Regrettably, many of the
breeders failed to make any changes relying on the promises of their trade association that the new law would be struck down. Unfortunately, for these breeders, the court dismissed the lawsuit and upheld the constitutionality of the law just weeks before it was to go into effect. This left numerous kennels unable to come into compliance in such a short time frame. The only recourse for many of these commercial breeders was to decrease the size of their operations to avoid being in noncompliance with the new law. Many of these kennels are now making the needed improvements and plan to re-apply for a license as a commercial breeding kennel. 

There is no doubt that approximately 30% of the commercial dog breeders chose to get out of the dog breeding business completely. This was desirable, however, as this was approximately the same number of dog breeders that were simply in the business for a quick buck and provided only a minimal amount of care to their dogs. PA’s new Dog Law helped to eliminate these substandard kennels. This was one reason why the PA Department of Agriculture has called their new law a “success.” Far from having a deleterious effect on the breeding industry, the PA Department of Agriculture proclaimed in their 2010 annual report to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, “Act 119 achieved an unprecedented overhaul of the Pennsylvania Dog Law that raised the bar for commercial breeding kennel owners and transformed this law into the most progressive in the nation.”

Prop B is an unfunded mandate and has no funding mechanism.
Prop B amends the current law which is fully funded and provides for 13 full time inspectors. Prop B merely changes the criteria of current inspections which are fully funded. For example, under current law inspectors are required to measure cages to ensure they are 6 inches longer than the dogs. Under
Prop B the inspectors still are required to measure the cages but would simply have different sizes of cages to measure. So there is no need for additional funding to enforce provisions under Prop B. In fact, Prop B, by closing some of the loop holes in current law, will actually help facilitate inspectors in
their duties. It must be emphasized that Prop B is not creating a new stand-alone law but rather amends the current Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) which has a funding mechanism in place. Prop B simply improves the standards of care under ACFA which is currently enforced by the Missouri
Department of Agriculture.

We already have laws on the book, we just need better enforcement. SB 113 adds funding for better enforcement and thus SB 113 goes to the heart of the proposition Missouri voters adopted as it protects
the health and safety of “man’s best friend.”

While we have laws on the books, these laws only provide survival standards and in no way ensure the humane treatment of dogs confined in commercial breeding establishments. SB 113 deletes all such humane standards of care from Proposition B. In fact, if SB 113 passes, dogs will continue to be
legally confined to a rabbit hutch, straddling wire flooring, unable to go outside to breathe fresh air or walk on a solid surface, while allowing others to be confined outdoor with little protection from extreme weather conditions. SB 113 also strips the requirement for veterinary care and allows frozen water to be sufficient to satisfy the need for water. SB 113 will continue to allow dogs to be confined for their entire lives in cages only 6 inches longer than the dog itself.

Interestingly, Senator Jane Cunningham inquired on the floor of the Senate, “What components of Prop B remain intact if SB 113 becomes law?” The sponsor of the bill was unable to answer the question. 

Senate Bill 113 is in effect a total repeal of Prop B and will ensure that Missouri retains its moniker, Puppy Mill Capital of the Country. 

While SB 113 and other repeal efforts would increase funding, one must question why we can’t do both, increase funding and provide humane standards of care? 

It is important to point out that the legislature had an opportunity to vote to increase funding last year and instead chose to defeat such proposal. Proponents of SB 113 are now supporting an increase in funding this year only to distract the public from the fact that they are gutting all the core
provisions of Prop B. Supporters of SB 113 are okay with increasing funding for enforcement as long as there are little or no humane provisions left to enforce.

Interestingly, SB 113 extends these fee increases and surcharges to animal shelters and rescues that are performing a public service for their communities by housing and caring for stray and unwanted animals. Many of these shelters and rescues are actually taking in and caring for the unwanted and abandoned breeding dogs from the commercial breeding kennels. Now the legislature wants shelters and rescues to pay for the privilege of doing charitable work to help the animals. Applying fees to animal shelters and rescues is comparable to assessing hotel taxes to homeless shelters.

Prop B does nothing to address the problem of unlicensed facilities, whereas SB 113 would create a new crime targeting unlicensed dog breeder by making it a Class A Misdemeanor to operate without a license.
It is already a Class A Misdemeanor for a commercial dog breeder to operate without a license. Section 273.329.2 of the Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) makes it a Class A Misdemeanor to operate without a license. Prop B does not change that law. SB 113 is merely restating current law.

It also must be emphasized that the provisions of Prop B apply to all breeders with more than 10 adult breeding dogs regardless if they are licensed or unlicensed. Prop B does address unlicensed dog breeders.

Prop B does not recognize the difference between a licensed facility and an unlicensed facility.
As mentioned above, current law addresses unlicensed facilities and contains harsh punishment for those who operate without a license. There have been many unlicensed breeders closed down in the past two years using current law. Prop B is about raising standards of care. There is no point in having a licensing requirement if there are no humane standards to enforce.

Prop B will force good breeders to go underground and there will be an increase in “backwoods breeders” in an effort to avoid regulations.
In other states where standards of care were raised to humane levels, there were very few breeders that chose to operate outside of the law and the few that did were quickly apprehended. In fact, raising the standards of care actually decreases those who operate outside the law. Increased standards of care and vigilant efforts to crack down on unlicensed breeders go hand in hand. The reason we have so many unlicensed kennels in Missouri is a result of low standards of care as it shows  that Missouri is not serious about the welfare of animals and creates an environment where anything goes so why even bother to have a license. 

The requirements in Prop B will end the cruel and disreputable “backwoods breeders” who are licensed and still provide only the bare minimum standards of care to their dogs. Strict standards of care close down bad breeders and allow a level playing field for reputable breeders. Good breeders stand to gain by increasing the standards of care.

The requirements in Prop B actually do more harm than good, for example the temperature requirement allows newborn puppies to die from the cold as it does not allow them to be kept at temperatures above 85 degrees. Temperature limits in and of themselves are too burdensome.
The temperature requirements as well as all provisions in Prop B, only apply to adult dogs (over 6 months of age). Puppies are still allowed to be housed in whelping boxes and provided with heat lamps and heat blankets that exceed 85 degrees. What opponents of Prop B fail to acknowledge is that under existing regulations, the temperature requirements for dogs confined indoors and in sheltered housing facilities are identical to what is contained in Prop B. Prop B only closes the loop hole under current law where an inspector can’t cite for extreme temperatures unless the temperatures exceed the requirements for four consecutive hours.

Prop B requires that exercise runs have to be a “level” surface and it is impossible to maintain an outdoor run that is perfectly level.
This claim was repeated on the Senate floor while debating SB 113. In fact, the language in Prop B states that the run must be a “ground level surface” as compared to an elevated wire pen. Prop B has no requirement that the run must be “level.” Prop B requires that runs have adequate drainage which
would be difficult to do with a “level” run. This is another example of false information being disseminated to give the impression that no breeder could comply with the provisions of Prop B.

Prop B makes it a crime for any violation no matter how small, including a drop of dirt in a water bowl, a cobweb in the corner of a building, or a scratch on a painted surface.
Since Prop B merely amends the current Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) and does not create new law separate from ACFA, the enforcement mechanism is the same as existing law. Under existing law, violations of regulations are punishable by administrative penalties, including fines, suspensions, and
revocation of license. The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) has discretion on how they can handle violations and can merely issue a warning on minor violations such as the examples given above. In addition, MDA has the authority to prosecute violations criminally as ACFA (Section 273.348.3) states violations of regulations “shall be a class A misdemeanor.” MDA, historically, only uses such criminal penalties for serious and chronic violators. Prop B does not mandate criminal penalties, but rather by amending ACFA, simply allows the MDA full discretion on how to handle violations. In fact, the criminal penalties for violating provisions of Prop B are less severe (Class C Misdemeanors) than penalties for violations of current regulations regarding food, water, housing, and sanitation (Class A Misdemeanor). Claims that Prop B is criminalizing violations and mandates harsh penalties for minor violations are false.

Under Prop B violations would continue to be handled at the discretion of MDA and could include mere warnings or be punishable by administrative penalties, including fines, suspensions, and revocation of license. MDA may request that chronic and serious offenders of provisions under Prop B be charged with criminal penalties up to a Class C Misdemeanor. This is less than a violator could be charged for violations of existing regulations. There is nothing draconian about penalties under Prop B. The MDA continues to have full discretion on how penalties are meted out.

Prop B did not come from Missouri or Missouri residents but is out of state people telling Missourians what to do.
The language in Prop B was developed in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. Prop B was placed on the ballot by 190,000 signatures of registered voters in Missouri. Three thousand Missouri residents volunteered to gather those 190,000 signatures and 977,870 Missouri voters approved Prop B.

Prop B is actually weaker than current law in many instances including how often dogs are fed, how often cages have to be cleaned, and requirements for ventilation. 
Prop B merely amends the current Animal Care Facilities Act (“ACFA”) and adds a new section to current law. It does not repeal or replace any current standards of care but simply adds new standards of care to the current law to help protect the welfare of dogs confined for their entire existence in commercial breeding establishments. All language of Prop B is underlined indicating an addition. Nothing is removed from the current Animal Care Facilities Act. One merely needs to go to the Secretary of State’s web page and view the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (Prop B) to see that all the language is underlined indicating an addition as compared to bracketed language that would indicate deletions from current law. Prop B does not weaken current law but simply adds to it.

SB 113 is actually stronger than Prop B because it doubles the amount of required veterinary visits to a facility for “visual inspections.”
Visits to a facility for a “visual inspection” are entirely different than a “physical exam” which is required under Prop B. Currently and under SB 113, the veterinarians can visit the facility and make a “visual inspection” and never actually exam a single dog. In contrast, Prop B would require an actual exam of the breeding dogs once a year. Too often these breeding dogs suffer from a host of ailments as a result of incessant breeding practices and lack of veterinary care including skin infections, serious chronic eye and ear infections, prolapsed uteruses, parasites, sever dental disease including rotting teeth, and even malnutrition and dehydration due to limited access to water and nutritious food combined with constant nursing. Currently and under SB 113, no one can be held responsible for the health of the animals. The veterinarian of record can merely claim that they did not notice the malady during their “visual inspection,” especially when you consider many of these breeding dogs are not groomed and their long coats will cover up many adverse conditions. Under Prop B, veterinarians can be held accountable for the health of the dogs since they are required to perform an actual “exam” of the animal.

SB 113 uses scientific principles, industry standards, Veterinarian Association, and the Department of Agriculture to help set requirements while Prop B was based on arbitrary regulations and not factual
The veterinarian associations and the Department of Agriculture, for the past 18 years, never proposed or submitted any standards of care. This is why a ballot initiative was implemented to pass standards of care for dogs housed long- term in commercial breeding establishments. Under the Department of Agriculture and veterinarian associations’ standards, dogs are allowed to be warehoused in barns, confined in cages for their entire existence only six inches longer than the dog itself, stacked one on top of another, living on wire flooring, never seeing the light of day, with little protection from temperature extremes, and permitting frozen water to satisfy the requirement for water. These are not humane standards but rather minimal survival standards. Prop B standards however, are based on over 30 years of experience with commercial breeding facilities and consultations with scores of experts including veterinarians, animal behaviorists, state and federal regulators and dog breeders.

SB 131 actually strengthens the law by increasing the penalty for any breeder having stacked cages without an impervious barrier.
Breeders can currently be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for excrement falling onto dogs below (see ACFA Section 273.348.3 & 2 CSR 30-9.030 (1) A.6.) This is another example where SB 113 simply reinforces current law and the proponents of SB 113 claim credit for strengthening Prop B in an effort
to disguise the fact that they have repealed all core provisions of Prop B.

SB 113 requires that food and water be readily available for the animals.
SB 113 does not make food and water readily available. In fact, SB 113 allows frozen water to satisfy the requirements for water. As a result of loop holes, when inspectors come across dogs panting laboriously without water in blistering summer heat, there is nothing they can do to the breeder as dogs are not required to have continual access to water under current law and SB 113. Prop B would mandate continuous access to water and would not allow frozen water to satisfy the requirement for water.

The provisions in Prop B only apply to breeders and not to humane societies and rescues that house animals which is simply unfair.
Prop B was enacted to improve the standards of long-term care for dogs confined in commercial breeding establishments that house dogs for many years. Shelters and rescues only house dogs on a temporary basis or foster dogs in home environments. It is comparing apples and oranges. Shelters
and rescues must meet all current standards of care for dogs.

At breeding establishments, breeding dogs are confined in tiny cages deprived of any exercise for years on end. The intent of Prop B was to address long-term care in an effort to provide dogs, confined for their entire existence, with some room to move around, access to the outdoors, an exercise run, and prevent them from living their entire existence on wire flooring which is uncomfortable and can cause injuries to their legs and feet. Shelters and rescues provide extensive veterinary care for their animals and welcome visitors in an attempt to adopt their animals into a permanent home. In contrast, most breeding facilities prohibit visits from the public and have little or
no public oversight.

Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation P.O. Box 300036 • St. Louis MO 63130 • 314-361-3994 • (4/4/11)

Missouri Animal Lovers to Rally in Jefferson City: Humane Day 2011

18th Annual Humane Day.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
10 am - 2 pm
3rd Floor Rotunda, Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO

This year marks the 18th year that MAAL has held Humane Day in Jefferson City and this year attendance is crucial.  Support is urgently needed to preserve Missouri's Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

The MO House of Representatives could be voting on SB 113 as early as next week.  SB 113 not only repeals the humane standards of care in Prop B, but significantly weakens the current law in reference to enforcement efforts.  SB 113 reduces criminal penalties, makes it more difficult to prosecute violators, and gives first time offenders a pass regardless of the seriousness of the violation.

If SB 113 passes, dogs will continue to be legally confined to a rabbit hutch, straddling wire flooring, unable to go outside to breathe fresh air or walk on a solid surface, while others are confined outdoors with little or not protection from extreme weather conditions.  DB 113 will continue to allow dogs to be confined in cages only 6 inches longer than the dog itself.  These dogs are never let out of their tiny cages where they spend their entire existence.

MAAL encourages you to attend Humane Day this year.  It may be the last chance to encourage Missouri legislators to protect Prop B and the vote of Missouri voters.

Animal welfare groups are welcome to set up tables in the Rotunda to showcase their efforts on behalf of animals in Missouri.  Contact MAAL for registration information.

Wordless Wednesdays at For Love of a Dog: Best Friends

Rudy, yellow Lab, and Jeffie, Golden Retriever / Border Collie - 2 of the For Love of a Dog dogs - are inseparable best friends.

Monday, April 4, 2011

HeARTs Speak is Saving Dogs and Cats One Photo at a Time

Sometimes I give myself permission to spend some time clicking links on my favorite sites.  Its like a virtual joy ride.  Today I stumbled upon a web site with a howling good idea for social change.

HeARTs Speak is a relatively new organization which aims to provide a network of animal artists and animal rescues. They connect animal rescue organizations with artists that actively work to help animals in need.  We all know that good photographs can make a huge difference in homeless pet adoption rates.  Who better to take those fantastic photos than a professional photographer?

From their web site:  A compelling photograph can reach into the heart of a potential adopter, and bring an animal one step closer to a long life outside of a shelter.  An artist can be a life-changer, and that is priceless.  HeARTs Speak was created to harness the power of art to effect social change, to connect artists with shelters and animal relief organizations, and ultimately, to save and better the lives of animals and people.

Definitely a win - win proposition.  Artist who have a passion for animals can put that passion to work for organizations passionate about decreasing euthanasia rates.

Learn more about HeARTs Speak at their web site;  visit HeARTS Speak on Facebook.  If you're an artist, you should consider becoming a member.  If you're involved in an animal rescue or shelter organization, you should definitely get in touch with HeARTs Speak.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Deaf Dogs Trained and Taught Sign Language: MO Puppies for Parole

Zeus, a deaf Dachshund dog  
If you read my post earlier this morning, you read about Bailey, the deaf Dalmation dog being trained and taught sign language through the Missouri Puppies for Parole program.  Bailey is not the first deaf dog trained by MO offenders and, I suspect, she won't be the last.

In January of this year, offenders at the South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) in Licking, MO raised funds to pay for the adoption fees to donate a deaf dog to the Missouri School for the Deaf.

Offenders at SCCC not only gave Zeus a second chance at life, they also made sure he was going to a good home where he will help others. Zeus, a male,
deaf Dachshund, was donated to the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton. The adoption fees were paid for by the offenders.

Zeus was born deaf. The birth defect rendered him useless to the breeder and his future was uncertain,at best. The Dachshund ended up at an animal rescue shelter where his handicap plagued any chance foradoption. The shelter reached out to SCCC, which participates in the Department of Corrections’
(DOC) Puppies for Parole program. The program pairs rescueddogs with offenders at prisons throughout the statefor training in order to make them more adoptable.

When the shelter approached SCCC about taking Zeus in for the eight-week training session, the offender handling team was more than willing to accept the challenge of helping the dogovercome his disability. In preparation, the handlers met with deaf offenders at SCCC to learn sign language. The
offenders devised a plan that would teach the Dachshund how to respond to commands with the use of sign language.

“Surprisingly, within the first week Zeus had the command ‘sit’ picked up,” said Tina Holland, SCCC institutional activitycoordinator. “We couldn’t use a dog whistle as a training tool because he couldn’t hear it. The offenders figured out how to train Zeus by stomping the ground with their feet. He could feel the vibrations from the floor. Once he recognized what the vibrationsmeant, he picked up one command after another.”

Holland said the offenders used treats as positive reinforcement because Zeus also suffered from severe anxiety. After the dog’s training was complete, the offenders got together and decided they wanted Zeus sent to a school for the deaf so he could help others. They made that possible by raising and donating
the adoption fees. “It was really rough on them (the offender handlers) when he left,” Holland said. “This was a huge accomplishment for them. It’s truly an inspirational story.”

Puppies for Parole is funded by donations only and does not receive state funding. The dogs’ training consists of a two-month period in which they learn verbal commands and general obedience. The offenders and the dogs go through the rehabilitative process together. The culmination of the training is the graduation ceremony at theend of the eight weeks, during which time the dogs are administered a K-9 Good Citizenship Test they must pass. Offender trainers gain vocational skills and learn responsibility through the program. It
alsooffers offenders the opportunity to repay the community. 

On February 1, 2010, Jefferson City Correctional Center received the first dog through Puppies for Parole. There are currently 75 dogs in training at 10 of the DOC’s institutions. For many of the dogs that are selected for the program, it allows them asecond chance, if not their only chance, to find a home. Since its inception, approximately 150 dogs have been saved from euthanization and have been adopted out.