Hey PeTA…Leave Our Dog Out of Your Propaganda

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“Good for Montreal”.  Those are the first words of an article PeTA posted on their website congratulating Montreal on a job well done.  They talk about spay/neuter, microchipping, and vaccinations and how much they appreciate the measures Montreal has taken to be responsible.  They however fail to address the sheer cruelty of the muzzle requirement. They don’t acknowledge that this law is designed to punish dogs for natural behaviors. They don’t say a word about the portion that penalizes outdoor cats.

But worst of all…the thing that makes my blood boil and makes me see red…they invoke the Vicktory Dogs.  They had the audacity to mention the Vicktory Dogs in their hideous, abhorrent article.

These are dogs that PeTA went to court to try and have euthanized.  They actually petitioned the court, and when the court wouldn’t listen, tried to sue to have the dogs killed.  They called them “ticking time bombs” and the “most dangerously trained fighting dogs in the country”. And now they want to use them to make a point.

I try to write this blog so that my language doesn’t offend anyone, (even though my ideas might be offensive to some).  I believe that there are better ways to get your point across than profanity.  But sometimes civility just doesn’t cut it. So, if swearing offends you, please stop reading now.  Because I only have one thing to say to PeTA…..

FUCK OFF you sick disgusting sanctimonious pieces of human excrement.

To use the dogs who so proved you wrong to make a case for BSL is not only hideous, it is immoral.

If I had the money I would sue the pants off of you.

You suck. What you stand for sucks.  And you should be ashamed of yourselves.

But how can I expect anything better from an organization which would steal and kill a little girl’s beloved companion.  Apparently PeTA has a real issue figuring out what is theirs to use, or destroy.

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Montreal’s Mayor Hates Dogs (and Cats)

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Yesterday the Montreal City Council voted almost 2 to 1 to adopt an extremely harsh animal by-law.  One that punishes all dogs and owners, but most especially blocky headed pit bull terrier type dogs.  Or ones that look like them.  Or ones that might have any dna of one.

The by-law is incredibly restrictive, and in some cases cruel beyond belief.  Most people are concentrating on what it does to pitties…but it effects every single dog owner in the city.  Let’s take a look at some of the information I uncovered in my research:

The portion aimed at pit bull terrier like dogs encompasses these type of dogs:

  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Any mixed breed dog which has any degree of these breeds in his make-up
  • Any dog who presents with characteristics of these breeds, regardless of actual breed (if your dog has short hair, or a muscular frame, or a blocky head….)
  • And here’s the scary part:  the council has the right to add any breed of dog they choose to this list, at any time, with no additional hearings required. 
  • All dogs on this list in city shelters must be euthanized if they are on-site after October 3rd.

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If your companion falls into any of the above categories, you will need to obtain a special permit.  What does that entail?  A lot:

  • Your dog must be muzzled twenty-four hours a day until you obtain a special permit.  There is no telling how long it will take to get said permit, as every pit bull terrier like dog needs to have one.  That means thousands of people trying to obtain permits as quickly as possible, so their dog doesn’t have to suffer. If you do not muzzle your dog at all times, he can be seized and euthanized on the spot.  No appeal available.
  • You must be at least 18 years
  • You must present a document which shows you have no criminal history…at all.  So if you ever did something silly or stupid in your youth, you may have just lost your dog.
  • You must provide proof your dog has been fixed and vaccinated.
  • You must pay a $150 fee
  • You must prove you were living in Montreal on October 3rd, and the dog lived with you at that time.

OK…you finally get your permit to keep your beloved companion, everything should be fine now, right?  Wrong.

  • Your dog must be muzzled at all times when outside of your house, even in your yard.
  • Your dog must be on a 3 foot leash at all times, even in your yard, unless your fence is at least 6 foot high
  • Your dog must be supervised by an adult at all times.  Don’t plan on going to the bathroom without him, unless another adult is present.
  • Your dog must wear a special medallion on his collar at all times.
  • Your dog must wear a harness at all times.
  • Your dog is never allowed at a dog park.
  • If you fail to do ANY of the above, your dog will be seized and euthanized.  No appeal process available.
  • If your dog somehow gets loose, and is picked up by Animal Control, even if you a permit, even if he has met all the requirements, he will be euthanized.
  • City animal control officers and police have the right to enter your home/yard at any time to ensure you are in compliance…without a warrant.

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By-Law portion pertaining to all dogs

The by-law also provides for something called “at-risk” dogs.  An “at risk” dog is any dog who bites, has tried to bite or exhibits behavior which could be considered compromising to any other human or animal.  If you have a dog reactive dog…he’s going to be considered at risk. Your dog will be required to wear a muzzle in public forever and will be banned from dog parks and other areas for off-leash dogs.

Then there is the “dangerous dog” designation.  This would be any dog who kills a person or (get this one) an animal…of any type….including rodents, vermin and toads.   A dog can also be declared “dangerous” by any competent authority who believes their behavior is dangerous. Any dog declared dangerous will be immediately euthanized.  Immediately.  With no chance of appeal.

Here are some other lovely portions of the law that effect every single dog owner:

  • The law limits household pets to 2 dogs and a total of 4 animals all together.
  • If you have three dogs, you can apply for a special permit, which you may or may not receive.
  • You may only walk 2 dogs in public at a time.  If you have three dogs with you, you need to have the special permit on your person.
  • The leash you use can be no longer than 5 ft long.
  • All dogs must be spayed/neutered and microchipped
  • You may not take more than 2 dogs to the dog park
  • If your dog weighs more than 44 pounds he must wear a harness.

I understand requiring responsible ownership from people who choose to have animal companions.  But this law makes it very difficult for people to have dogs in their lives at all.

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And they didn’t forget cats.  Cats are not allowed outdoors at any time, or they will be euthanized.  You say you’re a responsible owner, and your cat stays inside?  Well, what if she accidentally escapes?  And I can only assume this law means that all community cats (ferals) will be rounded up and killed.  Horrifying.

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Right now there is a massive move to get all the pit bull terrier like dogs out of Montreal shelters and moved to safety, before next Monday.  I know we all want to help, but beware of con artists who will take this opportunity to steal from well-meaning folks.  Let the Montreal SPCA take the lead.  They will tell us what needs to be done.  In the meantime though, you can certainly apply to adopt a dog: http://www.spca.com/?page_id=4796&lang=en

The only conclusion I can come to is that the Mayor of Montreal hates animals.

UPDATE:  The Montreal SPCA has launched a lawsuit against the city of Montreal, claiming the new ordinances are discriminatory and illegal based on Quebec law.

Stay tuned for further updates. #boycottMontreal

Disgusting Use of Dogs……

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Full disclosure.  I am a native South Dakotan who spent many years working on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe reservations.  My sympathies lie squarely with the indigenous people, trying to protect burial sites and other sacred areas.  I firmly support their right to a peaceful, prayerful protest of the pipeline scheduled to cross their historic lands.

Many people weren’t aware that this protest has been going on since April.  And that the tribe has been in court attempting to get an injunction against the construction.  They are following all the proper legal steps.  Last Friday their attorneys presented documentation to the Federal Court proving that the lands in question are indeed archaeological and religious significant sites.  The court was scheduled to rule on their filing this week.

Instead of waiting for the ruling, the construction company, Dakota Access Pipeline Company, waited for the holiday weekend, and moved bulldozers into the area and plowed up the ground which is currently under contention.   The protesters were rightly enraged.  They were playing fair, the company was not.

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The renowned Sioux leader Black Elk made a prediction in the late 1800’s, stating that the 7th generation Sioux (which would be now) would unite the Native American nations to save the Earth.  Another legend speaks of the zuzeca snake, a black snake, which would threaten and destroy the world.  Many of the protesters believe this pipeline, which could threaten the existing water systems, is that black snake.   The tribes are indeed uniting, the 7th generation has come, and the leaders of this protest believe the very earth, and the water we depend on, is threatened.

A call went out to Native Americans across the country:  please join us, and help us save our lands and water.  The numbers at the encampment began to swell.  More than 100 NA nations are now represented at Standing Rock.

I need to state again that this is a peaceful protest.  That the entire campsite was founded after a prayer walk.  These people are standing up for their beliefs, in a non-violent way.  What happened Saturday brings me back to visions of the police in Selma, during the Civil Rights era.

Saturday morning the protesters became aware that the land had already been torn up.  Land where many of their relatives are buried.  They knocked down the construction fence and yelled at the bulldozer operators.  They did not fling rocks, they did not fire guns, they did not threaten violence.

Suddenly pick-up trucks with Ohio license plates began pulling on to the site.  Private security guards with snarling dogs descended on the assembled men, women and children.  These dogs were not the properly trained security dogs you see with police officers….they were, as Jonni Joyce, a canine security dog trainer with 25 years of training experience stated,”alligators on leashes”.  http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/6/canine_expert_decries_egregious_horrific_dog

The dogs were lunging, barking and actively trying to bite people.  You can watch the video of the altercation here:  www.democracynow.org/2016/9/4/dakota_access_pipeline_company_attacks_native

It was mayhem.  People were screaming as they were pepper sprayed and bitten by the dogs.  One of the dogs broke away and repeatedly attacked a horse being ridden by a protester.  According to news sources, at least 6 people were bitten, including a pregnant woman and a young child, who had to be hospitalized for her injuries.

Watching the video was difficult for me.  I love dogs, and to see them being so misused was horrifying.  You could tell the handlers had no control whatsoever, and that the dogs’ training, other than to make them vicious, was non-existent.

According to news articles, the dogs were “trained” by Frost Kennels.  Please feel free to leave a message  on their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/frostkennels/  The owner of the kennels is accusing the protesters of throwing rocks and hitting the dogs with sticks.  Well duh…if you are being attacked by a vicious dog, you are going to take steps to defend yourself.

Probably the most disgusting display was by a young woman named Ashley Nicole Welch.  This woman sent her dog into a group of protesters who were just standing there.  Gave her dog the full length of the leash and urged him to attack.  And when the dog tried to retreat, she hauled off an hit him, hard enough to move him sideways.  When you watch the video you can see that she urges the dog forward again and again.  In this photo, you can actually see blood dripping from the dog’s muzzle after he attacked one of the by-standers.

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This woman’s actions were assault towards the humans, and cruelty towards the dog.  She needs to be arrested and charged for an unbelievable display of cruelty. According to one report, the dog actually turned on her and bit her at one point.

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This poster is currently being circulated:

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You may or may not care about pipelines, or indigenous people, or protesters.  But I know most of my readers are dog people.  You certainly should care about this gross misuse of dogs….Dogs who will probably end up euthanized for their part in this horrific event.

UPDATE:  The Federal Court has granted the tribe their restraining order for at least part of the land.  And the Army Corps of Engineers is in full support:  http://www.indianz.com/News/2016/09/05/army-corps-backs-restraining-order-again.asp

 

 

Sexual Aggression

Today Brock Turner was released from jail, after serving 3 months of a six month sentence for rape.  This man was arrested for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.  A woman he didn’t know.  A woman who was not able to say “no”.   During his trial his family pled the court to excuse his actions.  That a 20 minute mistake shouldn’t “ruin his life”.  Brock Turner is now a free man, but his victim will never be free of the experience.  It will color every day of the rest of her life.

Across the country today female bloggers are standing together to say “no more”.  No more hiding the experiences that many, if not most women, have had to deal with in thier lives.

The fact is that rape or sexual assault isn’t sexual in nature.  It is aggression, plain and simple.  It should be treated no differently than physical or mental abuse.  We need to teach our daughters (and our sons) that they deserve to be treated with care and respect.

Although I had some distasteful interactions with men when I was younger, I was never the victim of rape or sexual abuse.  But I have had to deal with other uncomfortable situations that were sexually aggressive in nature. I’ve been the victim of obscene phone calls, and many years ago my children and I were visually assaulted by a flasher in our own yard.  These incidents left me feel unsafe and vulnerable.

We need to teach our young men that no means no.  That they do not have the right to wolf whistle or jeer at women on the street. That a drunk young woman isn’t able to give consent.  That women deserve the same respect they wish for themselves.

We need to teach our young women how to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately we must warn them that the system will look for ways to blame them if something horrible does happen.  Why were you drinking?  Why were you dressed like that?   Why did you lead him on?  It sucks, and it needs to change.

My very, very favorite statement on sexual assault is this YouTube video, comparing rape to tea.  So simple, so easy to understand.  Please take the time to watch, and share with your kids.  It’s important.  Consent. It’s as Simple as Tea

Core Values

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As an Army Brat,  I traveled the world, and experienced cultures across the globe.  It was an incredible way to grow up.  But no matter how far afield we were, my parents held fast to the Midwest values they had both learned growing up during the Great Depression.

As an Army Colonel, my father always exhibited those core values: honor, honesty, faith, decency, thrift, moderation, and service to others.  As children my siblings and I were expected to learn and model the same beliefs.  Fair play and respect were incredibly important in our household.  Bullying wasn’t tolerated, nor were tattling or whining.  Our word was something to be protected.  A reputation was something that should never be sullied. Those weaker than us were to be protected and lifted up.

I think that is why this campaign season  is so bothersome to me.  I’ve seen multiple Presidential campaigns come and go…but never have I seen one so divisive.

When did we become a country who would applaud someone who is the antithesis of everything we hold dear?  When would bigotry, egotism, bullying, misogyny and racism become not only OK, but something to be celebrated?

I will not mention names, nor will I try to convince you to vote for any one candidate.  I just want to remind you that there are certain principles that American’s have always embraced…..until now.

We have always prided ourselves on being the world’s “melting pot”.  Now we are calling for borders to be closed.

Our country was founded on freedom of religion….but we are now distrustful and hateful towards folks of other faiths.

We have always believed in concept of innocent until proven guilty….now we are damning entire ethnic groups due to the actions of a few.

This wonderful, amazing country was based on the belief that “all men are created equal” but now we are inciting violence against others who believe differently than ourselves.

There is no honest discourse.  There is no compromise.  There is no thought of the greater good.

People of morality and faith need to stand up and cry “enough”.  It may be too late this election cycle, but we need to remember the things that made our country great. And we need to work together to make sure our children and grandchildren can enjoy the freedoms we may have begun to take for granted.

This is the greatest country on earth…just as it stands.  We can choose to take pride and joy in that, and continue to grow.  Or we can sink into a cesspool of fear and hate.  It’s totally up to us.

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My core values will remain the same, regardless of the outcome of this election.  I refuse to allow fear or insecurity to damage the beliefs I hold dear, the lessons my parents taught me.  I will hold strong to the belief that it is my duty to protect those who need protecting, to teach the young the things they need to help make the world a better place, and that a hand extended in friendship goes much further than a fist raised in anger.

Bubba’s Place in the World

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I am socially inept.  I haven’t the first idea how to make small talk.  I hate groups of people, and being in crowds can cause me to panic.  Shopping is torturous for me. I would rather jab hot needles in my eyes than to to a concert or other event where there are a lot of people.  If I didn’t have to make a living I would be happy to never leave my home again.

Only others who have suffered from anxiety disorders can understand how debilitating this disorder can be.  Add in severe ADHD and depression, and you’ve got someone with a whole host of social issues. My entire life I have felt odd and different.  I knew I wasn’t the same as other kids and they made sure to let me know I was abnormal.

There is a loneliness and a sadness to having a brain dysfunction.  You are always aware of it.  You are always hyper-sensitive to being perceived as “weird” or “different” and that awareness actually makes the issue more pervasive.  My behavior has often been considered rude, when in actuality I am just beyond my ability to cope.

For most of my life I just tried to suck it up and deal with it.  I wish I had a penny for every time someone told me to calm down, slow down, settle down.  Telling me didn’t help me get control of myself.  If anything, it made things worse.  Medications can help, but they can’t fix things.  As an adult I finally accepted that a social life was never going to be easy or maybe even possible for me.  I know my husband has spent years frustrated by my reluctance to do anything that requires me to be outside of my comfort zone: home and work.  Bless his heart for hanging in there with me for the past 40 years.

Then along came my little brown dog, Ray the Vicktory Dog.  He clicked in place against my soul and suddenly I was able to talk to people.  I could go places which would make me stress out before.  I had someone else to concentrate on.  When Ray flew with me on an airplane, the trip was literally smooth sailing.  In the past I would obsess about security, getting to my gate in time, checking my bags, my seatmates, where the bathroom was on the plane, and everything else you can think of.  Every decision was fraught with danger.  Ray changed all that for me just by commanding my attention and placing himself between me and the world.

When he died I was lost.  Not only was I missing a family member I loved dearly, I was missing a support system that allowed me to function on the same level as “normal” people.   I started seeing a counselor to try and get past his loss and she pointed out something that should have been obvious: Ray had instinctively become my service dog.  He did exactly what he needed to do to increase my comfort level in public.

It was my counselor’s suggestion that I find and train another dog in the same skills.  She wrote me a “prescription” for a service dog and I started looking for the one who would be able to partner with me against the world.  I knew I wanted a larger dog, who could keep jostling crowds at bay.  It had to be a male dog, so it wouldn’t cause friction with our selective female dog Turtle.  I was looking for a dog who wanted to please, who was smart enough to learn quickly and who was good with animals and with people.  And finally, I wanted a pit bull terrier like dog, in honor of Ray.

My friend and fellow Vicktory adopter Rachel had been volunteering and fundraising for ColoRADogs out of Ft. Collins. So I reached out to them with my list of specific needs.  Nancy got back to me within minutes to tell me about a new dog they had just accepted named Bubba G.  It didn’t take long to determine that Bubba was exactly what I was looking for.  He came home to live with us just a month after we lost Ray.

The first week he was with us I had him evaluated by our Canines with Careers program here at the sanctuary.  If he passed his screening he would qualify for a grant to fund his training.  Although he was undisciplined and rowdy, it was clear he had the heart of a lion and the intelligence needed to become a support for my daily life. He was accepted into the program on the spot. That week Bubba began training to learn the skills he needed and he has continued with the specialized service dog trainer every week since.

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Bubba when he was still considered “in-training”

At first when we were working in public I would be evasive and would mumble something about training to become a therapy dog.  It was hard for me to admit to anyone that I needed a service dog.  I was embarrassed by the situation. I didn’t know how I could explain my need in a way that made sense to people.  In ways, I felt like a fraud. But I finally realized I needed to move past that attitude.  What I have learned and am experiencing could help others have the courage to admit they needed help.   This article is my ultimate “coming out” opportunity.

In the past year Bubba has gone from a hyperactive, mouthy juvenile to a dog who has learned to be supportive and protective in public.  At home he is a goofus who specializes in zoomies which bowl over his sister and in selective deafness when his name is called.  But once he has his vest on he becomes a vital support system for me. He has learned to accompany me into stores and restaurants.  He has shown the ability to tune out people and crowds.  When I am standing still, he positions himself in front of me, and leans against my legs, keeping the world at bay.  I am thankful every single day that Bubba has given me back the ability to walk into public with confidence.  I can concentrate on my connection with him, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else on the planet.

More and more people are beginning to use service dogs for “invisible” disabilities.  Just because you can’t see an issue, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  I never realized just how freeing it could be to have a dog beside me as I venture into the world. I wish that everyone  dealing with a problem or a difference could have the same opportunity I am enjoying…the ability to finally feel normal.

Bad Parents/Bad Dog Owners

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Studies have shown us that children who have parents who do not raise them well have challenges in life. If parents don’t guide, educate and supervise them, they grow up not knowing how to behave in society. If parents beat them they grow up thinking aggression is an appropriate response when someone angers you. If the parents do not provide adequate nutrition,  it can have long lasting physical and mental effects.  If parents don’t give them a curfew or care where they are, children can easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law. If parents are too doting or permissive, children do not develop empathy and can suffer from self-absorption issues. It has absolutely nothing to do with the race or ethnicity of the family and everything to do with the actions of the parents. We know that, we believe that, and we place the blame where it belongs….on the parents.

Why then, don’t we understand that the exact same thing holds true with dogs?  The people who have the most influence on a dog are the ones who feed and care for him.  If they are violent towards the dog, he can develop aggression issues.  If they allow him to run at large, he can get himself into a lot of trouble.  If they do not train or socialize him properly he can become a danger to other people or animals.  If they do not provide adequate food or medical care the dog can develop major health and behavioral issues. If they chain him in the yard, he has no way to develop positive human relationships, and he becomes a dangerous dog.  It has nothing to do with the breed of dog and everything to do with the actions of the humans.

Bad parents can cause children to become a liability to society.  Bad owners can cause dogs to become a liability to society.  Unfortunately….it is often the same people causing both issues.  Until we can understand that, there will continue to be problems with both children and dogs.  We need to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the adults in charge.  Stop blaming the innocent, and start holding the people causing the problems responsible for their actions.