Friday, December 28, 2007

Do you know where your dog is?

If your dog is outside on a chain, you may be brewing trouble.
Millions of dogs across the country spend their entire lives confined to small kennels or at the end of chains. This “solitary confinement” with little exercise or interaction with humans or others of their own kind can drive dogs insane. Dogs on chains become overly fearful of intruders and protective of their tiny patch of ground. Chained dogs are also exposed to taunts, teasing, and worse from anyone who passes by, further putting their defenses on red alert. Leaving dogs outside unattended increases the chances that children or others may wander into your yard and expose themselves to the risk of injury.
Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the back yard or tied out on a chain often become dangerous, while dogs who are well socialized and supervised rarely bite. It’s safest for everyone—both dogs and kids—when dogs are treated as treasured family members. Don’t turn your dog into a killer. If your dog is an “outside dog,” bring him or her inside now, for everyone’s sake.

Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs

A Naples, Florida, man was convicted of cruelty when his dog died after being locked in a car for four hours on a warm day. The dead dog’s temperature was still almost 110ºF a full two hours after police removed him from the car. The man was sentenced to six months in jail and slapped with a $1,000 fine for “animal cruelty by abandonment.”

“I always try to have sympathy for defendants before making a decision,” the sentencing judge told the man. “I don’t have any sympathy for you.”

Why was the judge so unsympathetic? Because he believed that the man, a doctor, should have known better than to leave a dog in a car for hours with one window cracked open just an inch. Indeed, all of us should know better, especially when temperatures climb into the 80s and 90s. But even a mild day can be dangerous. Recently, a dog died after being locked in a parked car on a sunny, 67°F day in Albany, New York, even though the car windows had allegedly been left open a crack.

During the “dog days” of summer, the temperature inside a parked car can climb to well above 100ºF in just a matter of minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads.

Heatstroke can come on quickly and result in brain damage or death. Watch for symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or lack of coordination. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, get her or him into the shade immediately and call your veterinarian. Lower the animal’s body temperature gradually by providing water to drink, applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck, and chest, or immersing the dog in lukewarm (not cold) water.

“Every summer, we hear about tragedies that could have been prevented,” says PETA casework division manager Martin Mersereau. “Many people don’t realize how quickly animals left in a hot car or outside without shade or water can succumb to the heat.”

Prevent Heatstroke by Taking
These Precautions:

Never leave a dog in a parked car. On a mild 73ºF day, the temperature inside a car can reach 120ºF in 30 minutes. On a 90ºF day, the interior of a vehicle can reach 160ºF in minutes.
If you see a dog in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside nearby stores, and call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. If police are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for authorities to arrive. Contact PETA for a supply of fliers on the dangers of heatstroke to leave on windshields.

Don’t carry your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. This is always dangerous, but the heat brings the added danger of burning the dog’s feet on the hot metal.

Don’t take your dog jogging—except on cool mornings or evenings—and don’t force exercise. On long walks, rest often and take plenty of water. Hot pavement can burn dogs’ paws; choose shady, grassy routes.

Trim heavy-coated dogs’ fur, but leave an inch for protection against insects and sunburn. Keep an eye on areas where hair is thin, like eyelids, ears, and nose as they can get sunburned.

Keep your dog indoors. If he or she must stay outside for long, avoid the hottest part of the day. Provide shade, water, and a kiddie pool. Keep drinking water in an anchored bucket or a heavy bowl that won’t tip over.

Be a watchdog for chained dogs. Make sure that they have food, water, and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact humane authorities. Give the dog immediate relief by providing water.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


What is Animal Cruelty?

Animal Cruelty is when someone hurts an animal or does not care for an animal responsibly, like giving him food and water. It is against the law to be cruel to or harm animals, even your own pets.

What Should You Do About It?

Since an animal that is being hurt can not get help on her own, she needs you to speak up for her. Depending on the situation, there are different ways to respond to animal cruelty:

If you see someone hurting an animal

#1 – Don’t Touch. The first thing to remember, is do not try to make the people stop hurting the animal. Even though it can be very upsetting to see someone being cruel, those people may try to hurt you if you get involved.
#2 – Get an Adult You Trust. This could be your mom, dad, grandparent, teacher or neighbor. Tell the adult what you saw and together, call for help.
#3 – Call 911. Have your trusted adult explain the emergency to the operator. The operator will tell the police or Animal Control officers to go immediately to the scene to help the animal.
If you know an animal who is not being cared for responsibly

# 1 – Don’t Touch. Even if you know the animal needs help, don’t try to help him on your own. If he is hurt or has been abused he may not realize you are trying to help.
#2 – Get an Adult You Trust. This could be your mom, dad, grandparent, teacher or neighbor. Tell the adult what you saw and together, get help.
#3 – Call Animal Control. The animal control officers or animal cops can help the animal or advise you on how to help the animal.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Dangerous Dog" Ordinance is Unconstitutional

Judge: Dog ordinance unconstitutional By Bill Morlin
Staff writer
December 1, 2007
Video reports Watch video: Owners reunited with their
Spokane's "dangerous dog" ordinance is unconstitutional because it denies
pet owners the right of due process, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday in
a case that may have far-reaching effects.
As a matter of law, the administrative procedures used in the city of
Spokane regarding "dangerous dog" determinations and appeals from those
rulings violate citizens' due process rights, Judge Robert Austin said in
his ruling.
It came in the case of Patty Schoendorf, a 57-year-old resident of the
city's West Central neighborhood. Her dog, a 1½-year-old boxer and golden
Lab mix named Kenny, and her daughter's 4-year-old border collie and black
Lab mix, Tai, were impounded in mid-August by SpokAnimal officers working
under a city animal control contract.
The ruling suggests the City Council now must correct the legal issues
with its "dangerous dog" ordinance and provide more constitutional
protections to citizens whose animals are picked up and destroyed, sometimes
in a matter of days.
In the current system, dogs tagged as "dangerous" by the city and its
contractor, SpokAnimal, are deemed to be that unless the owner can prove
otherwise – flying in the face of the notion of presumed innocence.
City Attorney Jim Craven said he would have a comment after reading the
judge's four-page ruling. It's the latest legal setback for the City
Attorney's Office and the City Council, which recently granted a 26-month
contract extension to SpokAnimal.
Shortly after the judge released his 4-page ruling, Schoendorf, her
daughter, Emily Kaeding, and their attorneys, Cheryl Mitchell and Richard
Lee, raced to SpokAnimal's facility at 710 N. Napa late Friday afternoon for
a tail-wagging reunion with Kenny and Tai.
They are home this weekend after spending more than three months in
solitary confinement while Schoendorf paid $14 a day and hired a team of
attorneys to keep them from being euthanized. She was only allowed two
visits – sticking her fingers through the chain mesh – after the court
"I've been praying for this day for so long," Schoendorf said Friday
afternoon, nervously fondling her dog's leash. SpokAnimal officials had her
spend several minutes signing legal papers before the dogs could be
"I think I'm going to give him a steak bone, even though I can't afford
one after all this," Schoendorf said when asked what she would do with her
dog this evening. Tai, who spends days at Schoendorf's home, went to another
home with Kaeding.
They were being held in the public-restricted "dangerous dog" area – sort
of a doggy death row – where dogs labeled dangerous are euthanized within 14
days unless their owners pay $98 in advance, demand a hearing and get a
Superior Court restraining order preventing them from being destroyed.
"Most poor people can't afford to fight the city like this, so they just
lose their dogs," Schoendorf said.
SpokAnimal officers alleged her dogs killed a neighborhood cat in late
July, but Schoendorf says the contract dog catchers grabbed the wrong black
and tan dogs. She said 13 other sets of black and brown dogs live within a
two block radius of her West Central home, but she wasn't given an
opportunity to make that case before a city hearing examiner.
The judge said the city violated Schoendorf's constitutional rights by
taking her property – her dogs – and intending to destroy them after a
hearing where she wasn't allowed to cross-examine or impeach witnesses
involved in the dogs' impoundment.
She also wasn't given access to documents in the city's "dangerous dog"
file and the opportunity to rebut those allegations – another denial of due
process guaranteed by the Constitution.
The judge not only ordered SpokAnimal to immediately release the dogs, he
ordered the city to pay as-yet undetermined legal bills for a team of
"The attorney fees are going to be pretty healthy in this," said attorney
Robert Caruso, who worked with Lee of his firm and Mitchell, who specializes
in animal rights legal issues.
Mitchell said she has "been fighting" with the city and its contract that
allows SpokAnimal to pick up dogs and label them dangerous on the spot, even
if they have returned home, as Kenny and Tai had done after someone opened
the gate at Schoendorf's home.
Her adult son was there Aug. 16 when SpokAnimal control officers said they
had come to pick up two black and brown dogs, tentatively described by an
80-year-old man who witnessed a cat mauled by two dogs in late July. The cat
later died.
"They told my son, 'If you don't give us those dogs, we're going to arrest
you and put you in jail,'" so he went in the house and handed over the two
dogs," Schoendorf said. Her third dog, a golden retriever named Hannah,
escaped attention and remained in the home.
After getting off work that day, Schoendorf went to SpokAnimal and was
told she would have to pay $98 in advance – $7 a day for each dog – to keep
them from being euthanized while she filed an appeal with City Hearing
Examiner Greg Smith.
At the informal hearing, witnesses were not given an oath, Schoendorf
said, and she wasn't given a chance to challenge their version of events,
accusing her dogs of killing the cat. There also were documents given to the
hearing examiner by SpokAnimal that she wasn't allowed to see, she said.
The hearing examiner ruled her pets were "dangerous dogs" and said they
could be returned to Schoendorf and her daughter only if they posted a
$100,000 bond per animal, had them wear muzzles any time they were outside,
and built a special concrete-floor outdoor kennel posted with "dangerous
dogs" signs.
After lining up Mitchell and Caruso's law firm, where she works as a
paralegal, Schoendorf instructed the lawyers to get a restraining order to
prevent SpokAnimal from euthanizing her dogs while she appealed the hearing
examiner's dangerous dog ruling to Superior Court.
Mitchell drafted the legal papers, asking the judge to declare the city's
dangerous dog ordinance – part of the Spokane Municipal Code –
"I'm absolutely delighted," Mitchell said of the ruling. "Finally, a judge
has told them – the city and SpokAnimal – they have to have rules and follow
the Constitution."
The judge said dogs clearly are property, so a government agency must
comply with due process provisions of the Constitution when seizing animals.
The judge said the city and SpokAnimal failed to identify a "standard of
proof" – the legal criteria – in labeling dangerous dogs.
"Similarly, in this case, the appellant (Schoendorf) was at no time during
the hearing allowed to cross-examine the witnesses testifying against them,"
Austin said. "In addition, the appellant was not given, prior to the
hearing, certain documents used in the hearing."
Furthermore, the judge said, instead of a presumption of innocence that
accompanies most legal proceedings, the burden of proof shifted to
Schoendorf to prove her dogs weren't the dangerous dogs responsible for the
cat's death.