Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Historic wolf population in Michigan could be gone forever

Photo courtesy MDNR
Wolves may be having a pretty successful comeback in Michigan and in many other states too, but our nation is coming awfully close to losing one of very few packs that can trace its roots on U.S. soil back to at least the 1940s.
That pack is a Michigan pack; right here on our Isle Royale. 
Most wolves are either transplants or travelers making the long trek down from Canada themselves to resettle old wolf ranges.
Back in the 1940s, it was a pack of Canadian travelers that settled on Isle Royale.
By the 1970s, wolves were completely eradicated from everywhere in the lower 48 states except two places, and Isle Royale was one of them. (Fact check me? Read National Geographic's Wolf Wars)
The pack has continued to live on there, finding a way to beat our nation's desire at one time to have all wolves dead and gone for good, beating the trials of harsh winters, disease and more.
All this time, they've managed to keep their bloodlines alive.
Now, the Isle Royale pack is in serious danger.
They're down to just two females. If the females don't successfully mate, the pack could die out; those fighting bloodlines gone forever. (Read the Associated Press story, Wolves of Michigan's Isle Royale National Park may go extinct)
What a loss that would be — not just for Isle Royale, not just for Michigan, but for our entire nation. 

Read previous posts about wolves in Michigan
A western war heading east?
Killing wolves in Michigan
Wolves in Michigan

Check out an in-depth article I wrote for the paper about wolves in Michigan
Michigan wolf pack surpasses requirement for endangered species listing, yet they remain protected

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are pit bulls ever a victim in the public's eye?

I was rather distraught to see the comments following the latest story about a dog groomer who killed a pit bull that was living with and acting as a service dog for a Waterford woman.

To recap the story: Groomer Kathryn Tucker was hired by Waterford resident Laurie Crouch, who has multiple sclerosis, to trim his nails. Crouch alleges that Tucker tied a variety of collars and leashes around his neck and muzzle and then sat on him with a male friend, suffocating and killing the dog before its nails could even be trimmed. Now, Tucker is facing animal cruelty charges. She was recently ordered not to have contact with any animals and told the court she didn't own any. When the court learned she had four dogs in her possession, she was called back to court yesterday. She didn't appear and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

What did people have to say after reading the latest story?
zedman2222 wrote: "Heck, the dog was part pit bull! Let it go ..."
BigBoss added: "Why hasn't the owner of this dog been tried and convicted yet of violating the pitbull ban? Even if the groomer killed this dog, who cares? It was going to be taken away and put down due to the ban on these dangerous beasts. Sounds like this dog groomer did everyone a favor by preventing this pit bull from hurting a child, something all pit bulls eventually do."
alfred50 wrote: "I can't see what difference on less pit bull would make. Even a half one. We should be allowed to shot them on sight."

Really, alfred? You really think you ought to have the right to shoot my dog as he poops in the yard, simply because you were walking by my house and saw him? Dogs are not target practice. And my dog is my property, and I make sure he stays on my property, and nothing gives you the right to shoot him because you don't like his breed.

That's not to mention the average person has a pretty tough time actually identifying a pit bull. So now you should just be given the license to go around shooting whatever dogs you think might be a pit bull? Ridiculous.

To BigBoss, the issue of Crouch owning a pit bull in a township where they are banned is valid, however, I'm unaware of any procedures to prosecute a person for having previously owned a pit bull that is no longer violating the ban. Even when a pit bull is found in the township, the township usually gives the owner warnings and notices to rehome the dog outside the township before any legal action is taken. The township does NOT automatically euthanize all pit bulls found to be living in the township, as your comment alludes.

The rest of your comments are terribly offensive. You ask who cares? I do, and you should too. It's not like this groomer runs a pit bull specific business. What if your neighbor hired her to trim the nails of his super high-energy Labrador and in the process of trying to get him to stay still, she kills that dog too? Why does the breed have to make it acceptable to use unacceptable and dangerous practices?

And every pit bull eventually hurts a child? That is so incorrect I won't dignify it with a response. 

It just blows my mind, the reaction of some people. The ignorance. It's sickening.

I'm ending this post with a short video featuring Ian Dunbar, arguably the most well-respected behaviorist working right now. And yes, Dunbar advocates pit bulls as therapy dogs to work specifically with children.

Dr. Ian Dunbar on Dog Attacks

Read previous articles about the dog groomer case:
Disabled woman grieves loss of her best friend
Woman gets new puppy to replace her best friend WITH VIDEO
Woman charged with animal cruelty in death of dog
Dog groomer pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charges WITH VIDEO
Warrant issued for dog groomer's arrest WITH VIDEO

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jolly Pet's Teaser ball in action

The Teaser Ball by Jolly Pets continues to tantalize my dog.
He's still trying to figure out whether he can push the inner ball out by sticking a paw in one of the holes. We're still wondering if he'll succeed with that effort.
Sometimes, he manages to pin the inner ball against the outer one and grab both with his teeth. Those are proud moments for him and he'll avoid sitting or laying down for about 15 minutes because he doesn't want to lose his grip on the inner ball.
At times, he chews it, at other times, he bats it around. Every once in a while he'll climb up on a bed or couch just to drop the ball off the side and chase after it.
Perhaps most interesting is this new thing he does with the dog bed in the living room. He paws and punches at the dog bed until it's all bunched up around the ball. Then, he gives the bed a good tug in the right spot and it sends the Teaser Ball flying. Kind-of a trampoline effect, I think.
He has not yet stopped cuddling with the ball either. In the video, you can see him resting in a sunspot on the ottoman with the ball at his belly.

Having this new ball in the house has Brent and often saying things like, "What have you got? Have you got yourself a good ball?" and "That's a good ball, Sensi."
I caught myself saying the word "ball" way too much and it reminded me of Christmas, when we gave Sensi an antler as a gift. We referred to the antler as a "bone" since it kind-of falls into that category.
On the Christmas video, you can hear me saying things like, "Good boy Sensi, you like that bone? Yeah, it's a good bone."
After a while, you start realizing that if someone didn't know you were talking to a dog, it might sound awfully perverted.
Just one more reason dogs are referred to "man's best friend" rather than "woman's best friend" huh?
Darn dogs and their perverted toy names ...

Want to know more about the Teaser Ball? Check out these previous posts (with information on where to get the best deals!)
• Open letter to Jolly Pets, the best dog toy manufacturer in the world (buying info. here)
• The Teaser Ball drama continues

Sensi playing & napping with his prized Teaser Ball

Friday, March 25, 2011

Does your dog have a twin?

Herbie, Sensi's lookalike
I received an email with this photo from Jenny Foss, a reader of this blog.
"I saw a picture of your handsome dog and had to do a double take. He looks a lot like my dog Herbie," she wrote.
I agree! (And thanks for calling Sensi handsome! Same goes for Herbie!)
Herbie, who Jenny says is a pit bull and basset mix, does look so similar to Sensi — right down to his white-tipped paws and the mix of white and black nails. I imagine he's a little smaller than my boy, but every bit as cute.
It's not the first time I've seen a Sensi lookalike.
I remember driving through my Dad's subdivision and coming to a complete halt after seeing an adult black dog that looked identical to Sensi.
"Where did you get him, and how old is he?" I asked the woman walking him. She said he was a rescue and based on the age, it didn't seem like there was any chance he was related to Sensi.
Have you ever seen a dog that looks like your dog's twin?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The teaser ball drama continues

We're now on day four with the Teaser Ball and the novelty has not yet worn off.
I've met many dogs who enjoy carrying around a stuffed animal or favorite toy just to carry it around. Sensi has never really been like that. Toys have always been all about play time for him. When it's not play time, he doesn't pay much attention to toys.
Not with the Teaser Ball, though.
He's carrying that ball around like it's a winning lottery ticket.
I came home yesterday to find him lying on the twin bed in the extra bedroom — his favorite daytime spot to catch some rays from the bay window — and where was the ball? On the bed with him.
Before jumping down to greet me, he made sure to grab the ball.
When we watch TV, he must have the ball on the couch. It's funny because he drops it right in my lap for "safekeeping." He knows if he leaves it by Dad, Dad will throw it for him. At first, Sensi likes this. But then, he gets tired and just wants to cuddle with us like normal, but can't stand the thought of leaving his ball on the carpet. Sensi wants the ball to be safe, steady and touching his body while he sleeps.
It's so funny to see this behavior from him, especially because he's an old man nowadays and it's not that often we see new behaviors crop up. Not to say he can't learn new things — he does that all the time, with help from us — but otherwise, he's pretty much set in his routine and is quite predictable.
I'm happy to see him have something he considers so valuable. The only drawback is that now, we have to make space for both a big dog and his large, hard plastic ball on the couch! It's not exactly the most snuggle-worthy toy, either, but whatever. It makes him happy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Open letter to Jolly Pets, the best dog toy manufacturer in the world

I started to blog about how much Sensi loves his Jolly Pet toys and my first sentence was "I should write a thank you letter to Jolly Pets." The company really deserves it, and so, I'll get two birds with one stone here — a blogpost about the greatest dog toys in the world and a letter I can send to them. So here it goes:

Dear Jolly Pets,

I cannot thank you enough for the years and years of happiness your super durable, well-designed toys have given my dog. He just received his third teaser ball this weekend to celebrate his eighth birthday — that's his fourth Jolly Pets toy over the years.

The deflated soccer ball
Our story begins when Sensi, our pit/lab mix, became about a year old. I went to Petsmart and dropped $16 on a large soccer ball dog toy. The instant I returned home, as I was carrying the toy up the stairs to the front door, Sensi — who was outside — reached up to grab the toy. As soon as his teeth touched it, the ball deflated. Within a half hour, it was shredded into inch-by-inch pieces. "What a waste of $16," I said to my husband. "I'm never doing that again."

From then on, I began searching for durable dog toys. By summer, I found Jolly Pets. I ordered the 8-inch Teaser Ball out of a catalog. I'd never seen Sensi so tantalized and happy in his life. He paraded that ball around the house like it was made out of gold and diamonds. He would not let that ball out of his sight, making sure to carry it upstairs to bed every night — where he curled up his body around it in the dog bed — and back downstairs every morning. When we let him outside for potty breaks, he would carry the ball to the door and drop it just beside the entry way so it was right there for him upon his return inside.

8-inch Jolly Pets Teaser Ball
That ball lasted for two years. Considering my dog's strong jaws and drive to chew hard, the tenacity with which he tries to figure out puzzles ('I am going to get that inside ball out, whatever it takes!') and our encouragement to beat up on his toys however he sees fit, that's a miracle. A toy that lasts two years in our household and is not made of steel is a miracle — there's no other way to put it.

The day that he finally chewed through the tough plastic exterior, after years of strategic chewing, and carefully extracted the inner-ball was definitely one of the proudest moments in his whole life. He ran through the entire basement apartment, showed everyone his long awaited and worked for 'inner ball' and then made his rounds upstairs, making sure everyone saw his special prize. After about a half hour of showing off, he promptly chewed the inner ball to shreds. Whatever. It was his day, his toy, and he'd been waiting for years to sink his teeth into that soft-plastic inner ball.

For Christmas that year, I got him the really big dog version of the teaser ball. It's a 10-inch ball and is considerably larger than the 8-inch one. When he unwrapped the package, he was so excited and proud of his supersized version of his favorite toy in the world. It was comparable to telling a 10-year-old he's going on a trip to Disney World. Like with the 8-inch, he paraded it around, slept with it, played with it nonstop, etc.
The Christmas photo, thanks to the 10-inch Teaser Ball

In fact, I took Christmas photos of him that year but I couldn't get him to pose. He wasn't thrilled about the whole ordeal and he wasn't cooperating. On day two of the photo shoot — day one having ended in frustration and failure — I finally got the idea to give him his teaser ball for the photo. He gently rested his chin on the ball and voila! I got the picture I'd been waiting for. All he needed was his special toy.

Within a week, he'd figured out that the holes on this larger ball were big enough to stick his paws in. Using a crafty combination of both paws and his mouth, he learned how to extract the inner ball. Later that month, I wrote Jolly Pets about the situation and asked if there was any way I could purchase some additional inner-balls to replace the one he'd ripped out. The people at Jolly Pets were so wonderful to deal with; they were kind, amused by the story and shipped me a box of five or so inner-balls with a cute note that said "We hope these keep your dog busy for a little while!"

Nowadays, the big teaser ball is pulled out whenever we have something to stuff inside it. Sensi has mastered the art of removing items from the big ball, though, so it doesn't keep him busy for long.

For Sensi's eighth birthday this weekend, we decided to replace the 8-inch Teaser Ball that kept him busy for so many years such a long time ago. I can't remember the last time I saw my dog so happy. He played with that ball until he was so tired that he could hardly stay awake. He'd fall asleep with it in his dog bed and every few minutes, swat a paw at it or put his mouth on it. It was like he just couldn't stop himself from playing with the ball, even when he really wanted to sleep. He begged to bring the ball on the couch for a snooze (we let him) and of course, spent the night with his body curled up around the ball in his dog bed. I bet he'll play with it all day while we're gone too.

Throughout the years, we've also purchased a Jolly Pets toy designed for water. That's probably the only other toy that's come close to rivaling how much Sensi loves his Teaser Ball.

So, dear Jolly Pets, I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for years upon years of keeping my dog happy. Thank you for creating a toy that is both a challenge to my dog's brain and brawn. Thank you for creating a quality, durable product that can hold up to the most intense chewers. Thank you for the kindness your employees have me treated me with. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Want to learn more about Jolly Pets products? 
Jolly Pets is a division of Horseman's Pride. Click here to visit Horsemen's Pride, Inc.
Find the full array of Jolly Pets products online by clicking here, Jolly Pets
Go straight to the Teaser Ball

Shopping tips
Ordering online or through pet catalogs is usually the best deal. Because I didn't think ahead to order one, I picked up the 8-inch Jolly Ball yesterday from Petco in Auburn Hills for a pretty penny — $22 — and there was one left on the shelf. You can find much better deals online and in catalogs. But when it comes right down to it, every penny I spent was worth it to see Sensi with his special toy yesterday.
Teaser balls are also available in smaller sizes for smaller dogs.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Have you seen Mason? Small terrier lost in New Hudson

Isn't he just the most adorable little thing?
I'm not the most likely person in the world to call a small dog cute, but the cuteness factor on this inquisitive looking fella is undeniable.
Mason was a rescue dog at Waggin' Tails Dog Rescue based out of Northville. He was adopted to a new home in New Hudson on Tuesday, March 16,  and: "Promptly split, dragging his leash with him," writes Andrea Elkins, a member of the rescue group.
Elkins added: "He's small and scared and in a completely unfamiliar environment."
She said volunteers have been looking for him since Tuesday night, fliers have been posted, veterinarians and shelters have been contacted, but Mason has not yet turned up.
"He was last spotted Wednesday afternoon near Oakland Southwest Airport," Elkins said.
A reward is being offered for his safe return.
Mason is 15 pounds, wearing both a collar and I.D. tags and is microchipped.
If you've seen him, call 248-788-7050 or 734-476-6441.

Did those Japanese dogs in the Youtube video really get rescued?

It seems like everyone has heard the story about loyal Japanese dog who refused to leave the side of his pal, who was injured after the earthquake.

If you haven't, here's the video:

Now, what everyone wants to know — and when I say everyone, I mean, this has turned into a global thing — is what happened to those two dogs. Did they get rescued? Are they OK?

According to Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue, the answer is yes, they've been rescued, and yes, they're OK. (See the status update posted to Facebook)

Another organization called Global Animal is saying that's not the case, though. The report on their website states that members of Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue searched for the dogs until dark, but were unable to locate them. Someone from the group told Global Animal that they too have heard rumors the dogs were rescued, but haven't been able to confirm it. (See the article on their website, Update: Loyal Dog & Friend's Safety NOW UNCONFIRMED)

Sadly, I don't know if we can really expect any better information at this point. It seems like the nation is truly in chaos over there and I'd be willing to bet the feet on the ground are focused solely on working, working, working — updating the rest of the world, not so much of a priority.

Either way, I'm holding out hope for a happy ending on this one. Let's cross our fingers for some new photos of those dogs to surface — this time of them being healthy, clean, well-fed and happy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All about money? Saginaw BSL not an outright ban

Yesterday, I posted about an ordinance being considered by the Saginaw City Council to ban 10 dog breeds.
I did a little more digging this morning and discovered it's not an outright ban of the breeds, but breed specific legislation all the same.
The BSL being discussed, according to AKC, to would require anyone owning one of the breeds to pay a $50 registration fee, place a warning sign on their property and muzzle their dog while in public places. Another proposal would limit all residents to owning no more than three dogs.
The breeds on the list, which the AKC believes will be declared "dangerous", are: Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Great Danes, St. Bernards, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, pit bulls and Presa Canarios.
So what is this legislation really about? It's hard to fathom that it's about safety with the long, unusual list of breeds singled out.
Personally, I think it's all about money. A $50 registration fee for every dog on that list? Well, I'd say they designed that list based on the fee, honestly. There probably wouldn't be enough money raised by requiring the fee for pit bulls and Rottweilers alone, which are the two breeds usually discriminated against with bans, so perhaps the council added a bunch of other breeds hoping people wouldn't question the "dangerous nature" of dogs like St. Bernards and Great Danes and just along with it. They widened their circle of discrimination, I think, for a bigger payoff.
Going back to yesterday's statements about this being a case-and-point of how BSL is a slippery slope, the idea that this ordinance may be largely motivated by money makes this slope even scarier.
Could we, as local governments all over our state struggle with their finances, see more of this type of crap? Is it feasible that a community could decide to charge each dog-owning resident an additional fee just for owning the dog?
In dire economic times like these, anything is possible.
The only way to combat this slippery slope is to make your voice heard. Tell your community officials, your representatives in both the state and federal government that breed specific legislation is unnecessary, unwanted and unacceptable. And while you're at it, drop a line to those Saginaw council members too (visit the links below for contact information).
According to information being reported on this Saginaw ordinance, the breeds chosen are those on the CDC's top 10 most dangerous breeds list. This is crap. The CDC no longer tracks bite data by breed in large part because of how the data was being misconstrued by BSL advocates. Do a Google search for "CDC 10 most dangerous dogs." Skip past all the blogs and BSL advocates that come up as the top search results and look for the actual CDC website. The page I was brought to was about bite prevention, I could find absolutely nothing on the "Top 10 most dangerous breeds" but I did find this:

"A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998 Adobe PDF file). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.
Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites. For prevention ideas and model policies for control of dangerous dogs, please see the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions: A community approach to dog bite prevention Adobe PDF fileExternal Web Site Icon. *"

Maybe someone should let Saginaw officials in on the CDC's stance regarding BSL since they're trying to use CDC data as the reason to enforce BSL anyhow.

Here's a news report from a local TV station on the issue:

Read more about this topic
American Kennel Club, Saginaw, MI Seeks to Restrict Ten Large Dog Breeds
Pets and Other Critters Blog, Picking on the big dogs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dog Bite Fact Sheet
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dog Bite Prevention
City of Saginaw, City council homepage and contact information for council members, Poll: Do you favor Saginaw's proposed 'dangerous dogs' ordinance

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Huskies, Malamutes, Great Danes and others on proposed "breed ban" list for Saginaw, MI

I oppose all breed bans and I can write or talk for hours on why. But even so, there is a "norm" for breed bans, a list of breeds I expect to see even though I disagree with it.

Local blogger Lynn Benoit, however, found a bunch of breeds on a "ban list" that absolutely shocked me, though.

In Saginaw, the council has singled out Great Danes, Huskies and Malamutes, St. Bernard's, German Shepherds and other breeds to join the stereotypical ones, like pit bulls, etc.

See the full list on her post, Picking on the Big Dogs

I think her analysis of this is spot on. It's about the size of these dogs, perhaps how they've been portrayed in a movie here or there, and little else.

This is EXACTLY the type of slippery slope I've been warning about for years. We allow our government to ban one breed and we set the precedent that government knows best what dogs we should be able to own and what dogs we shouldn't. And now, government is telling us that Great Danes, Huskies, Malamutes, St. Bernard's and German Shepherds are right up there with those monster pit bulls in the "not safe for people to own" category.

Soon, we'll be banning Chihuahuas because of the bite statistics. Think breed bans can't happen to little dogs? Well, once we've allowed our government to ban all the big dogs, what do you think they're going to go after next?

This is the slippery slope and we have officially begun sliding down it. Let's give a big thanks to all those people who have been crying wolf about the pit bull down the street and gotten government to jump on board with senseless, discriminatory bans. No breed is safe now, and frankly, I'm not sure our democracy is safe either.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oakland County Animal Control accused of determining services by political party

Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills
Talk about an asinine assumption that only serves to divide people along party lines and turn a community’s residents against the county government.
It’s without purpose, and I hope Oakland County Commissioner Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, starts backpedaling on statements he made at a Thursday council meeting in Pontiac faster than a DVD can rewind.
Greimel told the council and city residents at the public meeting that there was reason to believe Republican communities were receiving free services from the county’s animal control while Democratic communities were not.
“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Mike Zehnder, director of public services for Oakland County, which oversees animal control. “I look at Tim Greimel as an educated man, but some of the things that come out of his mouth disprove that theory.”
Zehnder added: “Politics breeds all kinds of ridiculous statements.”
Mike Zehnder feeds rescued horses last year

It is absolutely crazy to me that as one community after another finds itself in a pinch, having to cut animal control and seek out help from the county, the county is somehow getting the blame for having not provided these “free services” to the community all along.
I saw an article on some Ferndale wanna-be news website earlier this year on basically the same thing. The article touted how a Ferndale official “uncovered” the county’s “free animal control services” like it was some huge secret kept from Ferndale all these years. Like it was the county’s fault that Ferndale was forced to sink all their dollars into providing their own animal control when the county could’ve been taking care of it “for free” all along.

Let’s clear the air on a few things here:

1) There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or free services, for that matter. If people don’t stop referring to Oakland County Animal Control’s services as free, I’m going to scream. Are you hearing yourselves say this? It’s not free. How could it be free? Does that even make sense?
The county’s animal control is paid for by tax dollars, just like the rest of the services provided by the county and services provided by government everywhere at all levels. Taxes are collected from residents, governments decide how to spend it. In this case, Oakland County spends some of the tax revenue it collects to provide animal control services.
What people mean to say is, “Oakland County Animal Control provides services at no cost to some Oakland County communities.” This means, the county doesn’t make the community pay extra to have services. Does it make the services free, like they appear out of thin air? No. It makes them “free of charge” to individual communities.

2) Oakland County Animal Control provides animal control services in communities that do not provide those same services themselves. Makes sense, right? No need to be duplicating services. And so, the rule is that so long as a community has opted to provide its own animal control services, the county will stay out and let them do their thing.
On the other hand, state law mandates counties provide animal control services for communities that don’t provide their own. Northern, rural and largely Republican communities — like Oxford and Addison Townships — never provided their own animal control and have always received services from the county, as mandated by the state.
The county did not force any communities to provide their own services. Perhaps those communities, in more abundant times, thought it’d be better to have their own animal control for whatever reasons — more local control, belief the community could provide better services, etc. But for whatever reasons, several historically Democrat communities in south Oakland County decided, a long time ago, that their local government would be directly in charge of and pay for animal control services.
It was not the county saying to the communities, “Do it yourself because we’re not helping you out because your residents are largely Democrats and county government is largely Republican.” That assumption is not true and serves no purpose other than to divide people.

3) Oakland County Animal Control is prohibited from providing services in communities which have ordinances stating the city will provides it own. Those communities need to rescind their ordinances in order for Oakland County to begin providing services at no charge to the individual community. This is where Pontiac is at. The city council needs to rescind its animal control ordinance and then the county can begin providing services there.

4) Lots of communities that had previously provided their own, city-run animal control offices are nixing them during these financially dire times. Oakland County Animal Control is not turning a blind eye to this. In fact, the county’s board of commissioners — and since Greimel is one, he should be aware of this — voted to increase funding for animal control by $500,000 in order to meet the needs of the county’s many communities who have or are expected to nix their own animal control agencies.
Oakland County even has a plan in place for providing services in Pontiac, ready to allocate four officers and two trucks specific to the city.

A day after the meeting, Greimel later called the history of the county’s animal control “long and complicated” and said “Many local communities chose to provide their own animal control services, and at some point, the county animal control said ‘OK, a number of rural northern communities aren’t.’” He added that no formal policy was made until recent inquiries, which prompted a policy to be written and adopted.
I don’t know about all this policy stuff, but I think the state law makes it pretty clear — if a community is not providing animal control services itself, the county government must provide those services to the community.
That is what has been taking place in our county.
It’s not about Republicans vs. Democrats and frankly, it’s irresponsible of Greimel to spread that viewpoint at a time when the city of Pontiac is turning to the county government to provide more and more services.
Just last week, the deal with Oakland County Sheriff’s Office taking over police services in Pontiac was announced. Lots of city residents have expressed anxiety about this. To spread a false point of view that the county government was discriminating against cities based on how its residents tend to vote only serves to increase anxiety amongst residents already nervous about having county officials providing what used to be city-services.
Shame on Greimel. This is petty politics at its worst.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out these stories
Monday, March 14 — Pontiac city officials might rescind animal control ordinances
Saturday, December 12 — Oakland County Animal Control prepares for expanded services as communities tighten budgets

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The pig ear recall: find out what retailers sold the tainted treats

Worried about the pig ear recall?
If you live in Oakland County, you may have very little reason to be.
Notices about the recall for pig ears made by Jones Natural Chews Co. went out yesterday and include the State of Michigan, where about 25 retailers carry the product.
The concern is that the pig ears may be tainted with Salmonella.
Luckily for Oakland County residents, there are no retailers of the product based in Oakland County, presuming that information on retailers listed on the company’s website is accurate.

Here’s a list of communities that have a Jones Natural Chews Co. retailer:
Allendale, Alma, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Coldwater, Escanaba, Gladwin, five retailers in Grand Rapids, Gwinn, Holland, Iron River, Ishpeming, Kalamazoo, Manistique, Marquette, Mason, Munsing, Newberry, Richmond, Walker and Wayland.

The Grand Rapids retailers include four Chow Hound Pet Supply stores and one Family Farm & Home.

As for the rest of the low-down on the recall, here’s what you need to know:
1) A total of 2,705 boxes of pig ears have been recalled because there is the potential of the treats being contaminated with Salmonella
2) The contaminated boxes were shipped to distributors and retailers between Sept. 15, 2010, and November 2, 2010
3) There is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products
4) Salmonella can make you and your dog sick. In humans, Salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever, and can sometimes result in more serious ailments. You should contact a doctor if you have these symptoms. For your dog, watch for lethargy, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting, though symptoms can be as minimal as decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.
5) States these pig ears were sold in include: Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
6) No illnesses have yet been reported.
7) If you have any of these pig ears, contact the company at 1-877-481-2663 for a refund.

Last but not least, here’s all the specifics on UPCs and other information you need to determine if you have these pig ears at your house:
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 2pk bag with header card–item upc 741956001047 lot 2420
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 100ct box-box upc 741956001139 lot 2490, 2560, 2630, 2700, 2840, 2910, 2980
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 50 ct box-box upc 741956001504 lot 2490, 2840
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 25ct box-box upc 741956001467 lot 2700
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001146 lot 2700, 2840, 2420
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 10pk printed bag-item upc 741956001405 lot 2420, 2560, 2630, 2840
Blain’s Farm & Fleet Pig Ears 10 pieces bag-item upc 741956001405 lot 2560
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001511 lot 2630
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001146 lot 2420
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 12pk bag-item upc 741956001245 lot 2910

Read the FDA press release
Jones Natural Chews Co Recalls Pig Ear Dog Chews Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Not from Michigan but would like to know what communities in your state these products were sold in? Click here to see a listing of retailers by state on the Jones Natural Chews Co. website.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What a week: Disturbing dog news abounds

Let’s hope we don’t get another stretch of stories like this one.

Michigan dog fighting ring busted
A dog fighting operation that’s being called “high dollar” was busted on Saturday in Monroe County’s Raisinville Township.
Members of the police team arrived just after a dog fight ended. The scene was called “brutal” and that “there was blood everywhere.”
This story demonstrates that dog fighting can be everywhere; even in neighborhoods and nice houses that appear unsuspecting. With so many foreclosures driving down housing prices, there are new opportunities for those seeking to do bad and keep it hidden.
Be vigilant, folks. If a neighbor raises your suspicions, don’t hesitate to contact the authorities.
Read the full story, Monroe County police bust up dog fighting ring: ‘There was blood everywhere’

My dog ate my ... toes?
Once again, a case of a dog eating its owner’s infected toes has made the headlines.
Remember back in August when there was much hub-bub about the Rockford, Mich. man who said he was grateful his dog Kiko chewed off his toe? In that case, the man didn’t know he had diabetes. He did know there was a problem with the toe, put off dealing with it, then finally his wife — a nurse — convinced him to make an appointment.
Before going in, he got drunk and passed out and that’s when little Kiko nibbled off the infected toe. Yuck.
Read the full story, Michigan man says he’s grateful dog chewed off toe
This time around, it was an Oregon man who had three of his toes chewed off by his dog, a Shiba Inu. Like the Michigan man, this guy had diabetes too.
Read the full story, Dog ate 3 of his owners toes as he slept
The story points out that this habit of eating diseased flesh is nothing new, and that it may even be instinct driving dogs to remove the infected tissue.
In that case, it’s kind of a loving, save-your-life type of thing the dog is going for, right?
And if that’s true, why do all these people get rid of their dogs? If my dog politely nibbled off some rotting flesh with the intent of keeping me healthy, I wouldn’t be taking it to the pound. I understand it’s gross, but it’s also gross to have rotting flesh not properly taken care of.
This brings me to my question of the week: What would you do if your dog chewed off a rotting toe while you slept? Keep the dog, reward the dog, find dog new home or put the dog down?

Back from the dead
This puppy survived euthanasia
If you’re a dog wanting to have the ‘pick of the litter’ in terms of a forever home, you might try getting yourself killed and miraculously coming back to life.
A stray puppy survived two injections of euthanasia a couple weeks ago, popping up out of a trash bin set aside for dead animals and surprising the Oklahoma City animal control officer who made the discovery.
Incredibly, this puppy was given a lethal injection of a sedative in both its heart and foreleg. It was then placed in the trash bin with other dead animals and discovered alive a day later.
“He was prancing around. He heard me drive up, and he looked up and saw me,” said the animal control officer who found him.
The puppy is now in a foster home while caregivers are sorting through hundreds of emails and phone calls from people wanting to adopt the little miracle puppy. Good for him.
Read the full story, Underdog: Hundreds seek Oklahoma pup back from ‘dead’
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of stories like this either. In October, a Redford Township man euthanized his suffering Rottweiler at a veterinary clinic. He placed her lifeless body in his garage, I assume storing it until he had a grave dug for her, but when he opened the garage door the next day she was on her feet looking at him.
Read the full story, Dog survives botched euthanasia attempt
These types of stories go way back. In 2007, an Indiana animal shelter was investigated after three animals survived euthanasia and subsequently being placed in a freezer.
It appears that watered down dosages or administering the improper dosage for a dog’s body weight can deliver this type of “miracle.” Whether that was the situation in all these cases I just don’t know.
Either way, it’s definitely a sad miracle. It makes me sad as hell to hear about puppies being euthanized. I like to pretend that euthanasia is the end of the road only for grumpy, old dogs that just can’t find a forever home. But puppies? I thought puppies got adopted lickety-split from every agency. It really stinks to realize that’s not the case.

Take the puppy and run!
In Florida, a man has been arrested for punching his puppy and then strangling his girlfriend as she tried to stop him.
Apparently, the puppy was trying to eat the man’s ravioli. I have a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t fancy ravioli either, but probably the Chef Boyardee ravioli-in-a-can stuff. I’m not saying it’s bad ravioli, I’m just sayin’ — a can doesn’t cost a whole lot, pal, so what are you so mad about in the first place anyhow?
Either way, I hope that girl takes the puppy and runs. What a you-know-what of a man.
See the full story, Man punches puppy for eating his ravioli, strangles girlfriend for trying to stop him

Charges filed against groomer who allegedly crushed, killed pit bull
We first brought you this story in October, when a disabled woman reached out to Oakland Press disabilities writer Jerry Wolffe about her dog dying after a nail trim.
The Waterford woman, Laurie Crouch, alleges that the groomer — who was hired to trim her dog’s nails — put a prong collar around the dog, then a second leash around its neck, then tied another leash around his mouth to close it entirely, then she and a male friend sat on the dog.
The pit bull had died by the time its first nail was trimmed.
It appeared at first as though the groomer wasn’t going to face charges, but that news changed last week. The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office announced it would seek a charge of animal cruelty against the groomer, who is named as Kathryn E. Tucker of Washington Township.
Read the full story, Woman charged with animal cruelty in death of dog