Tag Archives: Dogs

Foster Mum’s Homeseeker: Kanly, lovely doggy needs a home

Kanly-Dog_Foster_20090404_013_DSC_0152x

Kanly is a 8 month old black female puppy, medium-large size. She is sterilised and seeking a permanent home.

Kanly-Dog_20090404_001_DSC_0145x

Temperament: Friendly, trusting, affectionate, and calm. Does not bark. Shy with men.

Kanly-Dog_Bonnie_20090404_001_DSC_0150x
Kanly seems ok with cats. The orange blob in the lower right is Yo-yo aka Bonnie, a female ginger kitty in the cattery.

Her Story

Kanly was picked up of the streets as a young pup  5-6 months ago by a young brother and sister pair. She lived in a HDB flat happily, and without problems as she does not bark.

However, as she grew and grew, her family’s neighbours decided they would not tolerate her presence and made a complaint to HDB. Of course, the ultimatum was issued to her young owners. The kids were distraught but luckily, they were able to seek help. Kanly was rescued by Noah’s Ark and is now being fostered by Foster Mum.

Kanly is a victim of the same draconian HDB pet rules that threaten cats. As such, she cannot be rehomed to someone living in HDB.

ENQUIRIES: ADOPTION AND PROCEDURE
Please email sephycat@gmail.com with the following:

  • your name
  • contact
  • a summary of your background and experience with dogs

Serious adopters only, please. All info will be treated in confidence and forwarded to Kanly’s guardian.

TODAY Online 20090323: Pet issues can’t be legislated away

A follow-up to TODAY 20090316: Rise in lost dogs, despite laws. (Links and emphasis mine)

Today Online Voices Logo
Online Only – Pet issues can’t be legislated away
04:16 PM March 23, 2009
Letter from Goh Boon Choo

I refer to “Rise in lost dogs, despite laws” (Mar 16).The dog abandonment statistics released by the SPCA is alarming but not unexpected. When the tighter dog licence rules came into effect on 1 Sep 07, there was an immediate increase in large dogs being abandoned. I wrote a commentary on Singapore’s pet issues for TODAY, “Pet project: Let’s work together”, which was published on 7 Nov 07.

The SPCA statistics show the situation for dogs, and to a large extent cats, has not changed since then. 85 per cent of Singaporeans and Singapore residents stay in HDB flats, where only certain breeds of dogs are allowed, determined by size when temperament should be the determining factor.

HDB also categorically bans cats as pets even though animal experts and the AVA have said sterilised cats make perfect flat pets. Though HDB’s ban applies only to flat interiors, the Town Councils took it upon themselves to extend it to the streets.

Most cats surrendered to the SPCA are homeless, or community cats. That the number of cats it receives has dropped to 300 from 500 monthly is concrete testament to the success of efforts by residents who sterilise, stabilise and manage their neighbourhood’s community cat population. This is TNRM: trap-neuter-return-management. It is humane and effective, compared to the AVA and Town Councils’ penchant for cat killing.

In Singapore, TNRM is commonly self-funded. I am one such Singaporean and I have been running TNRM for 3 areas in my estate for 10 years.

However, TNRM programmes are still not recognised by Town Councils, nor even some of our Members of Parliament as active citizenry, organic community building at its best. In fact, successful TNRM programmes are sometimes undermined by Town Councils’ enthusiasm to respond to all manner of cat-related complaints by rounding up every cat in sight to be killed at the AVA, without even investigating the root cause. It is a vicious cycle as the removals create a vacuum effect, leaving the neighbourhood open for new, often unsterilised, cats to take over. Resident volunteers like myself have to sterilise the new cats if we don’t want to see our TNRM programmes down the drain.

Despite more than 2 decades of cat culling, new cats keep appearing. Town Councils and the AVA need to address the pertinent question: where are our community cats coming from?

Out of Singapore homes, just like the abandoned pet dogs.

With changing demographics, Singaporeans’ needs and wants for a cuddly pet will continue to evolve and grow, ban or no ban.

The Singapore Government needs to recognise pet issues, like every other problem, cannot be legislated out of existence. The key is in acknowledging that people want to keep pets, that cats and dogs are very popular pet choices regardless of what type of residence they live in, and to manage the situation accordingly.

NYT 20081017: In Hard Times for Humans, Hardships for Pets, Too

The ongoing crisis is causing hardships for all but really, when abandonment is rampant in good times, leading to an annual cat and dog kill rate of 21,000 in Singapore, what more can we expect when poo hits the fan and people have difficulties with money? As a reminder that pets are not ornaments or possessions but members of the family, I quote the closing section of this New York Times article:

But some people may find that as their savings evaporate, their need for companionship may grow stronger. This weekend at Madison Square Garden, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals will be holding its annual Adopt-a-Cat day, with hundreds of cats and kittens looking for new homes. Prospective owners can fill out a survey that will color-code their personalities to match with available animals.

On average, a cat costs $1,000 a year to maintain, compared with about $1,500 a year for a dog, Ms. Levine said. Having a pet can bring healthy returns, especially during bear markets.

“They comfort us; they don’t care if your 401(k) lost money today,” Ms. Saul of Petfinder.com said. “They’re one of the few people in the family who are not going to be stressed out about what you did with your money.”

(Click here to read full article)

Friends or food? Cats and dogs tortured for Cantonese palette

What will it take to stop East Asians, especially the citizens in the Chinese province of Guangdong eating dog/cat meat? Especially when even the Olympics warrants a clean-up, Chinese style where Beijing 2008 propagate death camp for cats and dogs.

But it seems there is hope. From animalsasia:

If you want to help, write a polite letter to your local Chinese embassy (www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/) explaining your concerns, and the urgent need for legislation to protect dogs, cats and other animals from this kind of horrific treatment. The Chinese authorities must be made to realise that these kinds of practices reflect badly on China and her people on the international stage. Also, please consider helping by donating to Animals Asia’s Friends….or Food? campaign.

For more info – Cats:

Cats in China are on the menu, and in the media

Recent increase in media reports and public outrage at horrific trade

Cats bound for the Guangdong catmeat market
Stacked on top of each other in horrific conditions, cats await sale in a Guangzhou market.

The struggle to end dog and cat eating in China, and the horrific cruelty associated with the trade, was a major reason for the formation of Animals Asia 10 years ago. Through our Friends….or Food? campaign, this issue remains very much at the core of our work.

Recent reports in the Chinese media have once again focused attention on this barbaric practice. The Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, based in the southern city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province (the centre of dog and cat eating in China), reported on 17 December that a group of traffickers had shipped around 1,500 live cats from Jiangsu province into Guangdong, for sale to restaurants in cities there, and that thousands more were being transported every day.

Con’t reading…

Dogs:

New year brings hope for Chinese dogs
Animals Asia helps save 149 dogs from illegal meat trader

Animals Asia Foundation is funding the rescue of 149 dogs from an illegal trader in Sichuan province. The dogs, crammed together in tiny cages, had been bound for a meat market in the southern city of Guangzhou, China’s dog-eating capital.

The dogs were confiscated from the trading station in Pengzhou, 30 kilometres north of Chengdu, by the local Animal Husbandry Bureau after it discovered the trader was operating without a licence. The officials were notified of the situation by Mr Qiao Wei, the operator of Qiming Rescue Centre in Chengdu, who had received a tip-off about the dogs.All 149 dogs were taken to the rescue centre yesterday (31 December) and released into the quarantine area.
A truck containing cages crammed with petrified dogs arrives at Qi Ming rescue centre.

Animals Asia’s Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson, along with a team from the foundation’s Moon Bear Rescue centre in Chengdu, including Education Manager Rainbow Zhu, vet Leanne Clark and vet nurse Emily Gorman, were at the shelter when the dogs arrived.

“The dogs were in an appalling condition, many of them very thin and clearly in shock,” Ms Robinson said. “I hate to think how long they had been in those cages, many of them packed in so tightly that they were piled on top of each other. We heard terrible screams coming from some of the cages, where terrified dogs were biting each other.”


A terrified dog waits to be released.

She said many of the dogs were wearing collars and were possibly stolen pets; some were pure-breeds, including two dalmatians and a chocolate labrador; others had been collected as strays from the streets. She appealed to families in Pengzhou that had lost their dogs to contact the rescue centre.

Con’t reading…

Once again:

If you want to help, write a polite letter to your local Chinese embassy (www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/) explaining your concerns, and the urgent need for legislation to protect dogs, cats and other animals from this kind of horrific treatment. The Chinese authorities must be made to realise that these kinds of practices reflect badly on China and her people on the international stage. Also, please consider helping by donating to Animals Asia’s Friends….or Food? campaign.

Mr Safety goes cat trapping

Remember the purveyor of meankitty pop? Yes, Mr Safety himself is spreading the necessary message: STERILISE, DAMMIT!

Ok so not in the same tone… just watch the vid please:

Remember, it is up to us, people, to change Singapore’s Love-Hate Relationship with TNRM, to remove the tormenting paradox. Don’t hope for a national pet project, because neither authorities nor Singapore’s straitlaced leaders will lead the charge. Bureaucratic red tape is perfect foil. Reduce the number of animals on the streets, reduce the number who die every year under the guise of humane termination.

Fined for righting a wrong

Homeless dogs in Singapore have it worse than cats in a lot of ways – for one, they are bigger and more visible, and it doesn’t help that they run in packs.

I just came across this article and the reply from AVA about the conditions of the dogs. Once again, loopholes you can dance the sub-prime crisis through abound. Kudos to the TWO GOOD SAMARITANS. There are too few people with heart in Singapore.

ELECTRIC NEWSBukit Batok strangers become STRAYS’ BEST FRIENDS
By Hedy Khoo

September 22, 2008

WOULD you spend thousands of dollars to give a stray dog a proper home?

Click to see larger image 
KIND: Madam Tan with her dog Angel May. PICTURE COURTESY OF MADAM MAY TAN <COPYRIGHT></COPYRIGHT>

Two Good Samaritans did just that.

When they found out the stray dogs in their neighbourhoods had been impounded by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), they decided to claim ownership.

But they each had to pay between $400 and $500 in fines first because they were regarded as owners who had allowed their dogs to wander around without a license.

The two of them do not know each other.

After claiming the dogs, they paid a monthly fee of $130 for them to live at an animal boarding house, Pet’s Villa, in Pasir Ris.

Madam May Tan, 43, a trader, first came across her dog, which she named Angel May, at a park in Bukit Batok West last year.

She would see the dog regularly until last September, when it went missing.

‘She was usually with a pack of dogs, and I found her special because she was the only one which would come up to me and allow me to pet her on the head,’ said Madam Tan.

She then heard that officers from the AVA had caught some dogs in the area.

‘I panicked and went to the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control. I was so relieved that she was alive,’ she said.

Madam Tan paid the fine and applied for a licence for it. But that wasn’t all.

She later paid more than $2,000 in veterinary fees as Angel May was badly infected and in a poor condition.

‘I couldn’t keep her at home as I already have three dogs. I managed to get a place for her at Pet Villa, but she had to be sterilised and vaccinated,’ she said.

Every Sunday, Madam Tan, her husband and her daughter go to Pet Villa to see Angel May. They also help to clean the area and feed the other dogs there.

Said Madam Tan: ‘It’s not just about giving money. There is a lack of volunteers to maintain the area, and I want Angel May and the other dogs to have a clean home.’

The other dog lover, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lin, had first seen the dog, which he calls Ah Boy, at a park in the east in 2005.

‘Other park-goers who went there regularly would feed him. He would usually eat and then wander off,’ the 28-year-old, who is self-employed, recalled. ‘But even when I didn’t feed him, he would sit near me whenever I was there. Maybe he could sense that I like animals.’

Mr Lin would visit the park two or three times a week. Then, last November, he noticed that the dog was gone.

Like Madam Tan, he became worried and called the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which checked and told him that the dog was with the AVA.

Forlorn

Mr Lin then went to the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control to claim the dog.

‘I was shocked when I saw him. He had been there for almost a week and had lost a lot of weight. He looked very forlorn,’ said MrLin. ‘Though he wasn’t my dog, I decided to pay the fine and get him a licence.’

Mr Lin also took the dog to the vet and had him checked and vaccinated. He had to pay another $400 in veterinary charges.

‘I would love to have Ah Boy live with me, but I live alone and it is not fair for me to leave him in an apartment on his own,’ said MrLin. ‘He was a stray dog and he needs a lot of space to roam around.’

He now pays $130 monthly for his dog to be boarded. He visits the place every weekend to bathe and play with the dog.

‘It’s amazing to see how Ah Boy has transformed. He is about 5 years old, but in the past year, I managed to get him to obey some simple commands like ‘Sit’ ‘.

Asked why he chose to adopt and care for an adult stray dog, Mr Lin replied with a smile: ‘He is my friend. If you know a friend is in trouble, you would do your best to help.

‘He needed me and I did what I could. It was fate. I didn’t pick him. He chose me to be his friend,’ he added, tears glistening in his eyes.

And here is the apparent torchlight into the dank and dark labyrinthe of the AVA’s lofty standards

AVA: Impounded dogs are kept in pound and given food, water and care
October 11, 2008

WE refer to the letter, ‘Touched by animal lovers, puzzled by AVA’ (The New Paper, 30 Sep).

As one of our measures to keep the stray dog population in check, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) impounds any dog found straying in the streets.

Impounded dogs are kept in the pound at AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control and are provided with food, water and veterinary care until they are claimed by their owners or put to sleep (in the case of unwanted stray dogs).

Dogs which show signs of ownership (eg. if they wear a collar or appear well-groomed) will be kept for five days pending possible claim by the owner.

Unwanted stray dogs are put to sleep after two days.

Owners who claim their lost dogs have to bear the costs incurred for the impoundment, food, lodging and care of their dogs. Owners of unlicensed dogs will also be fined as it is a compulsory requirement under the Dog Licensing and Control rules for owners to license their dogs.

In the case of the dogs in Bukit Batok, both dogs were not licensed. The dogs were released, in good condition, to Madam Tan and Ms Lin within three days of impoundment.

Madam Tan and Ms Lin claimed to be the respective owners and the dogs were observed to respond to them.

Both Madam Tan and Ms Lin were fined for failing to license their dogs. They also had to pay for the expenses incurred for the duration of the dogs’ stay at the pound.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind dog owners that it is compulsory to license their dogs.

Dog owners are also encouraged to let their dogs wear identification tags so as to facilitate the return of the dogs in the event of loss.

Dog owners must also practise responsible dog ownership by having their dogs on leash in public places and not allowing them to stray.

GOH SHIH YONG, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR,
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
for CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER,
AGRI-FOOD & VETERINARY AUTHORITY

In Singapore’s context, Canine Control definitely presents The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups. Culling is not the answer, and it has never been the answer. So after decades of culling, why hasn’t the light turned on for someone in a seat of Singapore political power? Why still no concerted effort and drive from the vaulted Singapore government to EFFECTIVELY control homeless animal populations and SOLVE the root causes? Imagine if the Singapore government adopted this attitude towards nation-building… what a cold hard thought.

Hoarder Grand Finale

Remember the hoarder case I first mentioned here?

Seems like the last of a list of updates for a long time to come has been posted on 3 Oct. Read it here: Hoarder Grand Finale. There are 4 parts. Prior to this and after the second (and last) update I posted, there’s been more info. Go to babywail’s blog for full details.

I’m not involved in this case but still I would like to add my thanks to everybody who helped.

Today 20080821: Why culling is necessary? …

Another template letter, a AVA response to this letter which was in response to this template AVA letter, stemming from the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline
Why culling is necessary? …

Thursday • August 21, 2008

Letter from Goh Shih Yong

Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
for Chief Executive Officer
Agri-food & Veterinary Authority
Ministry Of National Development

WE REFER to “Why cull a dog that has been sterilised?” (Aug 15).

Rabies is an acute viral disease transmitted to man by the bite of a rabid animal, most commonly a dog, and the outcome is usually fatal. Though Singapore is free from rabies, the disease is endemic in the region. Hence, we have to remain constantly vigilant as the possibility of rabies entering Singapore remains.

It is especially important to keep the stray dog population in check as stray dogs are highly susceptible to rabies.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) encourages sterilisation as it is one of the ways to help prevent the proliferation of strays. However, sterilisation by itself is not an effective means to control the stray dog population.

Even though culling is an unfortunate task that we would rather not perform, it has to be carried out as an important measure to keep the stray dog population in check.

While AVA encourages the adoption of strays, we agree with the writer that it is not possible to find suitable homes for all the strays. Hence, it is inevitable that some of them have to be put down humanely.

Notwithstanding this, we would like to assure the public that AVA remains concerned about strays and animalwelfare.

We believe that education is key to arresting the pet abandonment and stray animal problem in the long term. We will continue our public education programme and work closely with welfare groups to promote responsible pet ownership.

We thank Ms Jill Hum for her feedback.

The rabies excuse being trotted around is interesting, in light of the fact that this is found on the AVA website:

1. With effect from February 2001, pet dogs and cats from Singapore can be exported to the United Kingdom without having to undergo the 6 months quarantine period. The UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has informed the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) that they have accepted Singapore as a rabies free island under their Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This Scheme was introduced in Feb 2000 to allow pets to travel between UK and approved European countries.

4. … Singapore has been free from rabies since 1953. To ensure that Singapore continues to be free from rabies, the AVA requires all imported cats and dogs (unless they are from rabies free countries) to be vaccinated against rabies and quarantined for at least 30 days in the Jurong Animal Quarantine Station on arrival. A person who imports a dog or cat from a non-rabies free country into Singapore without ensuring that the animal is vaccinated against rabies and quarantined on arrival is liable on conviction to a fine of $500 as well as a
jail term of 6 months.

(source)

So effectively, any outbreak of rabies would probably be from imported cats and dogs, not native furries. Even though the AVA is not interested in doing anything more than pay lip service to local animal welfare, shouldn’t it a least be concentrating on ensuring furries into Singapore ARE rabies-free rather than go after homeless animals that are sterilised and responsibly cared for? Talk about barking up the wrong tree.

2192.11%

To rub salt into the Singaporean intellectual wound, Sri Lanka, a country that’s behind Singapore’s per capita gdp by a whopping 95.44% 2192.11% (or another view: Sri Lanka’s is only 4.56% if Singapore’s is taken as a whole)*, IS taking concrete and humane steps at the national level to address the problem of rabies and homeless animal population control. Action speaks louder than words, but nothing is quite so loud as a pin hitting the ground of dead silence.

EDIT: Mea culpa, mathethical malfunction there. The percentages are corrected now, showing a even more stark contrast.

Today 20080815: Why cull a dog that has been sterilised??

Another letter in response to the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Why cull a dog that has been sterilised??

Friday • August 15, 2008

Letter from Jill Hum

I REFER to “Microchipping helps AVA in management of strays” (Aug 11).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that it culls stray dogs “to manage the population which poses a risk to transmission of rabies should this be introduced into Singapore” .

Surely there must be a better and less drastic method to combat the threat of rabies than culling?

Anecdotal evidence has shown that sterilisation and not culling is the most effective way to manage the stray population, so why the insistence on culling?

The AVA also said that “even strays which have been sterilised should be properly licensed and homed and not be returned to the environment”.

While I agree with this, I hope theAVA also realises that it is impossible to find homes for all sterilised strays. There are just too many of them. In the meantime, there is no choice but to return those that cannot be rehomed to their original environment.

Animal welfare organisations take the time, trouble and money to sterilise strays to control the population. To cull even sterilised strays is like saying that these strays do not have the right to live.

I urge the AVA to adopt a more compassionate and enlightened approach towards the management of these strays.

Today 20080811: Microchipping helps AVA in management of stray dogs

From the hallowed halls of AVA came this simile of a response to the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Microchipping helps AVA in management of stray dogs
Monday • August 11, 2008

Letter from Goh Shih Yong

Assistant Director, Corporate Communications for theChief Executive Officer

WE REFER to “Can more be done?” and “We donate to humans but not to animals” (July 28) fromMs April Chia and Mr Calvin Teo.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is already working closely with animal welfare groups in an on-going programme to promote responsible pet ownership.

In addition, AVA also gives talks on responsible pet ownership and animal welfare to schools to encourage students to become responsible pet owners and show care towards animals.

AVA has implemented microchipping to manage the stray dog population. AVA has consulted animal welfare groups, pet shops and the public before the requirement was introduced.

This measure will help AVA locate the owner/licensee of an abandoned dog. Abandonment of a dog is an offence. The penalty on conviction is a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.

There is no evidence to suggest that microchipping contributes to more dogs being abandoned.

Over the years the number of stray dogs has decreased although there are still pockets of stray dogs which are loosely kept and fed by private individuals or groups.

Rabies, a disease fatal to man if bitten by a rabid dog, is endemic in this region.

AVA culls stray dogs to manage the stray population which poses a risk to transmission ofrabies should this be introduced into Singapore.

As sterilised and unsterilised dogs are susceptible to rabies, even strays which have been sterilised should be properly licensed and homed and not be returned to the environment.

We thank the writers for their feedback.

Cat Hoarder Update

Click to read: Cat Hoarder Update

This is an important update to the To Hell and Back… case. It speaks about options, how each figures in the rand scheme of things, and provides an outline cum update of the team’s action plan, and what’s still needed. Please do give it a proper read: Cat Hoarder Update

To Hell and Back…

Read this ongoing, real-life case of hoarding right here in sunny Singapore: To Hell and Back…

Hoarders need help, their behaviour affects not only themselves, but those around them as well. Especially animal hoarders – they are NOT animal lovers. The animals hoarders “care for” are often in such bad shape they are euthanised when the case is taken on by animal welfare groups or law enforcement (not happening in Singapore of course).

Please read the post, To Hell and Back…, and if you can help, either with ideas, funds or other assistance, please do leave a comment on the post itself and the blog owner will get in touch with you soonest possible (DO NOT leave a comment here, asking the redundant question: how to help. GO AND READ the post To Hell and Back…)

NYT: Dogs Like Us

This is a 2006 article on the New York Times, a bit old chronologically but content-wise still as fresh. It’s a perfect companion to Japan: The horrors behind your made-to-order best friend, in giving the blunt-honest perspective on the pet-dog arena from a dog-lover in America about the dog-loving population, breeds, and the pooches themselves. I guess in a way, this is a cry for people to step back from the notion of looks and pedigree, and give non-perfect animals, especially those who are not first choice candidates a chance.

Going off on a slight tangent, I recently watched Life After People, a programme postulating what happens should people disappear off the face of the earth one day. Invariably, the various fates of animals, pets and wildlife both, were also discussed. Unsurprising, the program argues that pet dogs, if they survive the initial bewilderment and starvation, will have their best chances if they can make it out of their former homes. However, the ability to thrive and flourish will be greatly affected by the survivors’ physical traits. Breeds that have been bred (to me) out of true from the real canine form as nature intended (squat-legged, short-legged, flat-faced, stiff-limbed, shrunken, furless, etc) will probably not be among the successful survivors simply because their physical traits will impede their ability to survive.

This observation on the program ties in so well with parts of the article:

… dogs are the most plastic of species … some remarkable varieties of dogs have been created to serve our notions of beauty, novelty, companionship and service.

… form has trumped function.

Such design flaws … have enduring consequences for individual dogs, their progeny …

How portentous.

Maybe there will come a day, before they are abandoned to a life without people, dogs will finally be dogs again.

So much for tangents. for the now and the present, it is more important to know what one is getting into when looking for a pet dog. I especially like how the article closes:

… here’s a few tips that can save you some heartache and vet bills, particularly if the dog you have in mind is purebred…

If every dog buyer did such research, it would also help shut down the 5,000 puppy mills that, according to the Humane Society, provide most of the half-million purebred dogs sold through pet stores and the Internet. Poorly regulated, unsanitary factories in which females are imprisoned their entire lives, puppy mills survive because people get charmed by that puppy in the window.

… faulty dogs can’t be readily exchanged or resold. They can be “given up” to an animal shelter, and they are, at the rate of about four million dogs each year, this soothing phrase disguising the end of 50 percent of them — a gas chamber or a lethal injection.

We owe our dogs more than this. After all, it is we who have shaped them. Even when we err, they continue to put their trust and their lives in our hands.

The article (emphasis mine):

Op-Ed Contributor

Dogs Like Us

Published: February 13, 2006
Kelly, Wyo.

THE 130th Westminster Dog Show comes to New York today, with its thousands of contestants, ranging in size from two-pound Chihuahuas to 120-pound Great Danes. As the highly groomed dogs prance down the runways of Madison Square Garden — the floor-length coats of the Afghan hounds swaying, the teased coiffures of the poodles bouncing — it’s hard not to think of a fashion show.

In the case of dog shows, a given breed’s parent club sets the standard for the breed’s look or style. These standards describe an ideal specimen and are supposed to relate a dog’s form to the original function it performed. But given that dogs are the most plastic of species, and people are inventive, some remarkable varieties of dogs have been created to serve our notions of beauty, novelty, companionship and service.

Unfortunately, in some breeds, form has trumped function. The Pekingese and the bulldog, whose flattened faces make breathing difficult, are two examples. Such design flaws — often perpetuated by breeders trying to produce a dog with a unique look — have enduring consequences for individual dogs, their progeny and the people who love them.

Of the 180 breeds listed on one popular Web site for choosing purebred puppies, 42 percent have chronic health problems: skin diseases, stomach disorders, a high incidence of cancers, the inability to bear young without Caesareans, shortened life spans. The list is as disturbing as it is long, and poses a question: dazzled by the uniqueness of many of the breeds we’ve created, have we — the dog-owning public — turned a blind eye to the development of a host of dysfunctional animals?

Fifteen years ago, I was just such a starry-eyed dog buyer, poring over dog magazines and litters of pups registered with the American Kennel Club. Fate intervened. While kayaking on the San Juan River in Utah, I met a 10-month-old pup roaming free and making his own living in the desert. He wore no collar and looked to be a cross between a yellow Lab and who knew what — a golden retriever, a redbone coonhound, a Rhodesian ridgeback — a dog who seemed to shape-shift before my eyes. It was love at first sight.

He jumped into my truck at the end of the trip, and I brought him home to Wyoming, named him Merle and gave him his own dog door so he could come and go as he wished. His mixed genes and native intelligence took care of the rest. Merle would never have won a dog show, but his vigor and steadiness demonstrated what good genes can do, whether under the influence of a skillful human breeder or that oldest breeder of all — chance and natural selection.

On the other hand, buying a purebred dog from a reputable breeder is no guarantee of a healthy dog, since the existing guidelines for purebred dogs are highly subjective. Consider the German shepherd. Current American Kennel Club show standards favor those with extremely low-slung back ends. But photographs of German shepherds from earlier in the 20th century show a dog with a high rear end, one that even a lay person would call a normal-looking dog. The makeover was done to create a German shepherd that certain breeders believed would have strong forward propulsion while being aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, as many experts have noted, such low-slung dogs have nagging balance problems and look crippled. Dog buyers who want a shepherd — or many other Kennel Club-recognized breeds — must sort through such biomechanical and stylistic disagreements among breeders.

So if the pageantry of Westminster moves you to bring a new pup into the household, here’s a few tips that can save you some heartache and vet bills, particularly if the dog you have in mind is purebred. Investigate the track records of breeders. Meet both parents of the prospective pup. Talk with people who have bought from the breeder. And learn about the idiosyncrasies of one’s chosen breed.

If every dog buyer did such research, it would also help shut down the 5,000 puppy mills that, according to the Humane Society, provide most of the half-million purebred dogs sold through pet stores and the Internet. Poorly regulated, unsanitary factories in which females are imprisoned their entire lives, puppy mills survive because people get charmed by that puppy in the window.

Unlike the wrong computer or an automobile, however, faulty dogs can’t be readily exchanged or resold. They can be “given up” to an animal shelter, and they are, at the rate of about four million dogs each year, this soothing phrase disguising the end of 50 percent of them — a gas chamber or a lethal injection.

We owe our dogs more than this. After all, it is we who have shaped them. Even when we err, they continue to put their trust and their lives in our hands.

Ted Kerasote is the author of the forthcoming “Merle’s Door: How Dogs Might Live if They Were Free.”

Today 20080728: Relaxing pet ownership rules might be an answer

Another letter in response to the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups.

I can guess, and people familiar with situation would say the same, that AVA would trot out their deader-than-dead template reply and hope the public flogs it and forget about them again. So though I have promised to refrain from going link happy, please do consider writing in and supporting this letter. For tips and clues, please refer to the points I’ve laid out here, but of course modify them, your agenda and tone accordingly. Thanks. 

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Can more be done?

Relaxing pet ownership rules might be an answer

Monday • July 28, 2008

I REFER to “The stray dilemma for animal groups” (July 25) and “Reader: You should not cull strays as you please, AVA” (July 26-27).

While I agree we should not be releasing sterilised animals back where they came from, there needs to be a solution to the problem.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has a Responsible Pet Ownership project. Perhaps the various authorities, individuals and groups could work in tandem, review the effectiveness of this campaign and come up with some more positive measures to supplement them?

For a start, most strays are mongrels. Perhaps we could consider more laxity for ownership of such dogs in public housing or temporary dog ownership schemes for “factory” dogs.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Today 20080728: We donate to humans but not to animals

Another letter in response to the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline

We donate to humans but not to animals

Monday • July 28, 2008

Letter from Calvin Teo

I REFER to “The stray dilemma for animal groups” (July 25).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) does have a Responsible Pet Ownership project. Perhaps the AVA can enlighten the public as to how effective the campaign has been?

How has it contributed toward educating the public? What steps have been actively taken to curb the stray population?

Are the penalties imposed for abandonment effective? In effect, has its policies on micro-chipping also contributed to animals being abandoned?

AVA has rightly pointed out sterilised dogs should be re-homed and licenced. How many strays rounded up have actually been re-homed and given a second chance in life? Has an effort been made at all? Or is culling to be the first course of action given the constraints of space?

The fact is this: While we as a nation generously give to charitable causes; even getting someone to part with $10 in aid of animals is difficult.

And the onus falls upon a small group of people who truly embrace animal welfare to take matters into their own hands.

Should we not be supportive and encouraging and work hand in hand with these private individuals and groups rather than adopt the armchair judgmental attitude of condemning strays released back into the environment?

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.