Ziggy Star Dust came into the shelter when their home became unfriendly for felines.
Rory came into the shelter with another cat named Laureli as strays.
Ellie Mae is such a sweet girl. She came in as a stray, and whoever lost her is missing out on a wonderful dog! She is about 2 to 3 years old, and already spayed and housebroken. Ellie is normally pretty laid back, but once she sees a leash she lets you know what she wants! She loves walks, and she just LOVES playing with toys. Come fall in love with this gorgeous girl today!
Poor Chelsea had to come to the shelter when her owner went to the hospital. She's such a sweet girl, but the shelter is no place for an older girl like her and she's so depressed here. Chelsea went from her home of 10 years to a room full of dogs, so naturally she is a little upset. We would like to find this pretty girl a home as soon as possible. She is already spayed and housebroken, and good with people and other dogs.
Kayla is a black and white tuxedo cat with green eyes. She is a plus sized girl who is quiet and easygoing. She likes people and is affectionate. Kayla likes to be petted, held and brushed. She is a friendly calm girl who loves attention. Kayla likes to play with her food, and she will take one piece at a time out of her dish then eat it. She is unusual in that she has a stubby tail ? a little longer than a bobtail cat's but not by much! If you would like to meet Kayla, she is cat A02359397.
Crocodile is a young black and white cat with light green eyes. She is a quiet cat who is friendly and easygoing. Crocodile likes attention and likes to be petted and held, although she is a bit nervous about coming out of her cage. She will purr and knead against you while you hold her. Crocodile likes to sleep in a cat bed. If you would like to meet this friendly girl, Crocodile is cat A03067117.
Marley Breed: Terrier [Mix] Sex: Male Age: Senior Size: Small
Mr. ClydeThis older gentleman would make a lovely companion for any older adult like him. He is very sweet, friendly (always wagging his tail), and gentle. Can't say enough about him, just a very nice boy.
Kisses Nice little gal who has a slight gimp due to an old healed front leg injury. However, this does not slow her down . If you can give this gal with a big smile a forever home, please come in and meet her today! She is in "A" kennel waiting.
Other local available pets:
Snoop has had his share of ups and downs lately. For the first six years of his life he had a home and an owner that cared about him. Then the new puppy came and his owner moved and Snoop was left behind.
He had never known any other home, so he stuck around, waiting for someone to come back for him. Well, that did not happen and soon someone else moved into the house. That man did not want Snoop in his house so he eventually got chained to an old car.
Luckily, Snoop did have someone who cared what happened to him. There was one kind person who would come and feed him and see that he had fresh water to drink. That person contacted another, who contacted another, etc. and soon we were on a mission to save Snoop.
Snoop was rescued from his chain last week and now has a somewhat more comfortable home in a horse barn. He loved to run and play and fetch his rope and is so happy to have some human interaction again.
The only problem is that Snoop likes to chase cats, so he can't go in the house. Winter is coming and we really need to find Snoop a home of his own.
Well, he went to the vet this morning for his shots and blood tests and we found out he has Lyme disease. It was caught early and he will be on antibiotics help his body fight it off and he should be fine.
Through all this, Snoop has been absolutely the best dog. He is sweet and friendly and good with other dogs and just the most huggable thing you can imagine. He listens well and walks great on a leash. We really need to find him a great home to spend the rest of his days in.
Mariner really needs a home of his own, he is getting rammy in our small shelter, he needs room to run and play!!
Cute black shorthaired kitty who wants to be loved!
He is charming, playful and sweet. Here he is playing with Tizel,who was already adopted.
This cat was FIV/FeLV tested and brought up to date on vaccines when entering our shelter. Also, if this cat is over 5 months old it is already spayed/neutered already.
Poor Anna is a scruffy little dog right now, in need of a good bath and grooming to turn her into the beautiful dog that she can be. She is a stray so we do not know to much about her however she does look to be a senoir dog due to her teeth. If you are interested in this dog and want more information, please call the shelter at (570)544-2920 we are open daily between 10 am and 3 pm We would be glad to answer your questions, and we can give you directions to the shelter.
So I?m running down the street, carrying a stray pit bull in my arms. She?s taking it rather well, considering we only met about 30 seconds ago. She?s black with white spots and weighs around 50 pounds. Her big, boxy head seems too large for her lean body. She looks like a soldier ant?or a Pez dispenser with teeth.
Why am I carrying her? Because I?m a dog-lover, and I?m trying to help her. Over the years my wife and I have helped plenty of lost or homeless canines. This is no different.
Well, it?s a little different.
This adventure began about five minutes ago, when I saw the dog ambling, unescorted, down my street. I called to her but she didn?t stop. So I trailed her, waiting for a chance to close in.
I caught a break when the pit spotted a man and a woman walking a puppy. She made a beeline for them. From a distance I saw her and the puppy touch noses. Her heavy tail was swinging back and forth with excitement. The couple seemed far less pleased.
?Go on, get out of here!? the guy said. Then he sprayed the pit with water from a bottle. The dog didn?t even notice.
I walked up slowly, knelt down beside the preoccupied pit bull, and petted her tentatively. So far, so good. But I didn?t have a leash, and she didn?t have a collar for me to grab. In desperation, I took a huge swan dive into the fetid swamp of bad judgment.
I scooped her up.
So now I?m hauling this load of furry whoop-ass down the street, trying to make it home before either my arms or the dog?s patience gives out.
It doesn?t help that people keep shouting things at me. ?That pit bull?s gonna eat you up,? some guy yells from his pickup truck.
?Is that your dog?? a couple of passersby ask, accusingly. When I say no, they look at me strangely. They?re probably thinking, ?Then what the hell are you doing??
What the hell, indeed. I shout down the street to a neighbor, asking him to knock on my front door and get my wife to help me. This startles the pit. She writhes in my arms, raises her head toward my face, and half-heartedly claps her jaws shut. The sound turns my guts to water. I immediately put her down. She bolts off again?straight back to the harassed couple with the puppy.
Another neighbor appears out of nowhere and saves the day by slipping a leash over the pit?s head. She hands me the lead. With this simple act the stray ceases to be a random, anonymous animal. She becomes, officially, My Problem.
As dictated by the Universal Code of Dog-lovers, I now have to take care of her and either find her owners (if they?re worth finding) or a good home. This is nothing I haven?t done many times before, with (among many others) a boxer that wandered into my yard, a collie that walked up onto our porch and peered in our front window, and one very sick basset hound that was left tethered to our front fence. I do this because I?m a big fan of dogs. I?ve authored or co-authored four books about them, along with numerous magazine articles. My wife and I have always owned at least two?all of them mutts, most former strays.
Because of my background, I was aware, in an academic way, of the stigma attached to pit bulls. But I was about to get an up-close look at how tough it can be to own, assist, or even appear in public with America?s most-feared dog.
Lately?between media accounts of dog attacks and Bart Peterson?s summer 2006 call to ban them from the city?these hapless canines have gotten lots of airtime. None of it good. According to statistics compiled by Indianapolis Animal Care & Control, in the first nine months of 2007 they were involved in 150 biting incidents in Marion County. It seems like most of those encounters became front-page news, including the May 24 assault on 7-year-old Camaya Fletcher, who was bitten several times when she got tangled in the chain of a pit bull her mother was dog-sitting. And then there was 61-year-old Jesse Stanley, who was jumped by two pit bulls as he looked over an Indy-area house he?d just purchased.
Nationwide, the bad press helped turn the dogs into sought-after macho props. Even Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, a guy you?d think wouldn?t have to prove his cajones to anyone, got into the act, bankrolling a dog fighting and breeding operation called Bad Newz Kennels and allegedly personally assisting in the executions of eight of his ?underperforming? fighting dogs.
The problem is, nimrods like Vick are everywhere. Which means that their pit bulls are everywhere, too. On any given day at Indianapolis Animal Care & Control facilities, pits and pit mixes comprise more than 30 percent of the population?more than 300 per month. Most, if they don?t carry ID, are euthanized. ?We just don?t have the facilities for them,? says IACC spokesperson Media Wilson. ?We work with other shelters and rescue groups, but all those places are full because they have the same problem we do.? The problem is way too many pits and not enough qualified, competent people to take them in. I can sympathize, because right now that?s my problem too.
The black-and-white pit bull lies in my front yard, panting. My neighbors gather to inspect her. When my wife carries our 9-month-old son out, a retired surgical nurse from a few doors down physically pushes her away. ?Get that baby back,? she warns. ?I?ve stitched up too many kids to see that happen to him.?
I?m at a loss. Keeping her is out of the question. Besides having our hands full with a toddler, I have to think of our current pets. One, a crotchety old terrier, is dog-aggressive. The other is Trudy, a pit mix herself. (We?ll get back to her later.) Suffice it to say, neither appreciates unexpected guests.
My wife calls Stacy Coleman, the co-founder and president of a local pit-bull advocacy group called Indy Pit Crew. By chance, I?d run into her a week earlier at a pet store. She comes right over and does a quick assessment, checking to see if the dog is pregnant, in heat, or carrying an ID microchip (no, no, and no). Coleman guesses the pit is maybe a year old.
I ask if she knows of anyone who could take her in for awhile. She says there?s no one. Anywhere. In the entire city. She herself is caring for a litter of pit-bull puppies and their sick, emaciated mother. They were taken from a backyard breeder in Speedway who kept them in a stifling, padlocked, 3-foot-by-3-foot wooden storage shed in the middle of summer.
?I?ve already got several dogs I had to turn away,? she says grimly. ?Welcome to my world.?
The sun fades. The neighbors drift off. The dog gazes up at me as I stroke her massive head. Something has to be done.
I play for time. I call our vet and arrange accommodations at his clinic for $44 a night. A neighbor offers to drive us there. The pit rests her head on my leg as we sit together in the back seat. Somehow she manages to get her leather leash into her mouth and nibbles on it for a second, shearing it cleanly in two.
We drop off the dog and leave. On the way home I think about what my vet said a while back about the breed. He is, to put it mildly, not a fan. He thinks they?re a particularly poor choice for people with young kids. ?I don?t have an ax to grind with pit bulls,? he told me. ?But there are too many better choices. And by that I mean dogs that, if a child walks across its tail or jumps on them or whatever, nothing?s ever going to happen.?
To be fair, my vet thinks lots of dog breeds, from Rottweilers to Chihuahuas, make poor choices for people with little ones in tow. But he can?t say enough about his two favorites, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. I see plenty of both in my Broad Ripple neighborhood. With a tennis ball or stick clutched in their gentle mouths, they tag alongside their human companions, waiting patiently for their owners to marry and relocate to Zionsville. I heartily agree that they?re great dogs. Friendly, easy-to-understand, no surprises. Kind of like the canine version of Jay Leno.
But the thing is, I?ve never cared much for Leno. Same goes for Labs and goldens. They?re a bit too perfect, a bit too by-the-numbers for my tastes. I much prefer an underdog with lots of personality, a canine version of Chris Rock, if you will.
Here?s my dirty little secret. I actually like pit bulls. A lot. Admittedly, that appreciation took a very long time to bloom. Seven years ago, I?d have pegged them as unpredictable killers. In a breed guide I authored, I blithely dismissed them all as ?bear traps with legs.? But that was before I knew them personally.
My introduction to the breed was entirely random. They just started showing up on my street. One day my wife and I were sitting on a neighbor?s porch when a distraught woman approached us, asking if we?d seen her dog. Fighting back tears, she told us, in a slightly embarrassed tone, that it was a pit bull. She was terrified that whoever found her ?big baby? would keep him and use him for fighting. ?But he?s not a fighter,? she sobbed.
A bit later she walked by again, much happier. The dog was by her side. He was brown, very friendly, with a muscular body that looked like it was carved out of granite. My wife got him a bowl of water. After he finished, he slimed both of us with dog kisses.
I had another random encounter three years ago, as my wife and I drove down Broad Ripple Avenue on Christmas Eve around 11 p.m. We spotted two huge snow-white pits padding around the Applebee?s parking lot. My wife bailed out on the sidewalk and called to the dogs while I tried to find a parking space. Yes, I know how unbelievably stupid this sounds. As I watched the two dogs thundering toward my wife, I fleetingly wondered if I was about to become a widower. But the duo, a male and a female, just wanted to be petted. The only reason we didn?t take them home was because we couldn?t wrangle them into our car. The male, who easily topped 80 pounds, had a head wider than a shovel blade. I?m dumb, but not that dumb. Still, we made calls to area vets as soon as possible, trying to find their home. The female was reunited with her owner the next morning, but the male?s, so far as we know, was never located.
But what really turned around our thinking was Trudy, whom we adopted by accident two years ago. I say ?by accident? because when we got her as a puppy, we were told she was most likely a combination of Chihuahua and terrier. She?d been found emaciated, covered with fleas, and tied to a cinderblock in an abandoned house. When we first saw her she weighed five pounds and was roughly the size of a Beanie Baby. ?We don?t think she?ll get much bigger,? her foster mom assured us.
Six months and about 50 pounds later, we knew that the only way Trudy could have any Chihuahua in her was if she?d eaten one. She has a reddish coat, the vague outline of a German shepherd?s saddle on her back, and the wrinkled brow and dark, soulful eyes of a pit bull. She even displays many of that breed?s more endearing behaviors, of which they really do have quite a few. Like her full-blooded brethren, she enjoys sitting on people?s feet, running around the yard in big loops at warp speed (pit owners call these ?zoomies?), and generally acting like a clown.
Of course, she also has other, more familiar pit-bull traits. She is freakishly strong. And her bite?well, I?ve never seen anything like it. We buy special compressed-Nylon chew toys for her that are so hard you could use them to hammer nails. Trudy can grind one down to a stub in a couple of weeks.
Why would I let such a powerful dog live in my home? Because Trudy has never used her teeth on anything but her toys. She can bite through sheet metal, yet she sleeps with a spit-soaked teddy bear and was once chased out of our yard and into the house by an unusually loud cricket. This is no accident. We worked diligently and carefully to make sure she was socialized and trained, so her aggressive tendencies never manifested?if they ever existed.
That?s why I shake my head when someone tries to portray all pits as natural-born killers. Because I?ve never met one that?s even remotely like the animals they describe. And I?ve met plenty, in plenty of dicey situations. In fact, my experiences have been so positive that someday, if circumstances permit,I?d like to own one. Or probably two. Granted, they?re not the easiest-to-manage pets in the world. They need considerable training, exercise, and supervision. And like all breeds, they have their own peculiar issues. But they?re also goofy and fun?kind of like Curly from The Three Stooges, if Curly worked out for a really long time with free weights. (And no, I don?t want one for a macho crutch. I understand that my numerous shortcomings are far too intractable for a dog, any dog, to fix.)
My opinion of pits is, needless to say, not the mainstream view. This is driven home to me during the days following my apprehension of the black-and-white stray. While she cools her heels at my vet?s office, we search Central Indiana for a new owner. No dice. Anyone willing to take in a wayward pit already has one. Or two. Or 10.
So how did it come to this? Why is helping a pit bull so different from helping any other kind of dog?
Every pit is an individual, but some traits are common to most of the breed. Because of their fighting background (they were developed around the early 19th century to fight in pits against bulls and dogs), they can be aggressive toward other dogs. Some can be highly aggressive. This is why pit-bull experts recommend keeping them out of dog parks and never walking them unleashed. ?This isn?t the kind of dog you?re going to turn loose at the Broad Ripple Bark Park and let the chips fall where they may,? says Rebecca Stevens, executive director of the Humane Society for Hamilton County (and the owner of a pit bull).
Perhaps because fighting dogs were constantly handled before, during, and after bouts, their owners?if they wanted to live?used specimens that wereas docile with humans as they were savage with four-legged opponents. Animals that displayed human aggression of any sort, for any reason, were usually killed on the spot. Thus, well-bred, well-socialized pit types have traditionally shown scant interest in attacking people.
In late 19th? and early 20th?century America, pit-type breeds were considered ideal family pets. Buster Brown?s dog was a pit, as was Petey from The Little Rascals. Helen Keller, Fred Astaire, and John Steinbeck owned them, too. Back then, if you told the average person that these dogs were vicious killers, he or she would have scoffed. But if you?d mentioned bloodhounds (one of the most gentle animals to walk the Earth), they might have cringed. The breed?s use as a plot device in Uncle Tom?s Cabin gave it an undeserved reputation for bloodthirstiness.
By the 1940s the German shepherd got its turn to be vilified. Then in the 1970s it was the Doberman pinscher, followed by the Rottweiler. Finally, in the 1980s, the pit bull began its moment of infamy. Why? Because, to put it simply, they look scary. The pit bull?s resolute jaw made it very attractive to macho posers who wanted to trade in their Dobies and Rotts for something even more menacing-looking.?They were originally bred for fighting, and have very high pain tolerance and an incredibly strong jaw,? says Dr. Andrew Luescher, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Purdue University. ?And because they have terrier in them, they have a very pronounced predatory aggression. That?s what?s used for fighting. They train them to redirect that aggression toward other dogs. That?s really not normal behavior, but they train them that way.?
This boom in poorly bred and badly trained animals continues today?with a vengeance. Animal shelters from coast to coast are full of stray, surrendered, or seized pit bulls. And some of these animals, thanks to their genetics and upbringing, really are dangerous. ?The challenge that pits have right now is that they?re being used so intensely for dog-fighting,? says Martha Boden, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis. ?We have so much dog-fighting that they?re being bred to have traits that none of us would want to have in a pet.? The Humane Society sorts the good (of which there are many) from the bad via exhaustive temperament and medical tests.
Coleman from Indy Pit Crew knows all about those irresponsible breeders and owners. She deals with them personally and has seen dogs that were routinely tortured and beaten to make them ?tougher,? fed everything from steroids to gunpowder to make them ?crazy,? and subjected to not only backyard fights but the newest twist on animal abuse, called ?trunking.? Some idiot, somewhere, got the idea to toss two dogs into the trunk of a car, drive around for a while, then pop the trunk and find out which of the two, savagely brawling in stifling darkness, survived. What?s both galling and telling is that these dogs almost never turn on their persecutors.
Coleman wasn?t much of a pit-bull fan until about eight years ago. One day while driving home from work, she spotted a dog following a man on the sidewalk. When the man tried to kick the dog, Coleman impulsively pulled over, opened her car door, and called for it to get in. It did. ?I turned around and realized it was a pit bull and that her face was bloody,? she recalls. ?I thought, ?Oh my God, I?m in the car with a bloody pit bull. ??
She took the dog home, rehabilitated it, named it Gertie, and keeps it to this day. Even now, however, she doesn?t think of herself as strictly a pit-bull person. She helps them because they so desperately need it. Over the years she?s fostered more than two dozen in her home, including one named Lilly who made headlines last winter when she was stabbed six times in the neck by her owner then turned loose to die outside a southside apartment complex. Fortunately the pit was rescued and given a new, much happier home. Coleman recently received a photo of her with her new owner. The pit was wearing a party hat.
Lilly?s story is horrible, but far from unique. At Petfinder.com I peruse page after page of rescued pit bulls in need of homes. Their bios are unbelievably harrowing. Dogs found in Dumpsters with their throats cut; dogs starved until they were living skeletons; dogs wearing neck chains so tight they grew into their skin and had to be surgically removed. ?Please give this little boy a chance,? one bio pleads.
I snap some pictures of my own stray, which are then posted on a couple of rescue sites. I don?t expect much.
The ads for pit-bull puppies in the back of Dog Fancy take a slightly different tone. In case you didn?t know, this magazine is the very paragon of a hoity-toity dog-lover?s publication?the kind that features a centerfold of Chihuahua puppies in the August 2007 issue. Yet in that same issue, among the breeder advertisements at the back of the book (right next to a lengthy disclaimer about how Dog Fancy?s parent company abhors dogfighting and won?t run ads with even a whiff of impropriety), there are postings for several kennels with names like Raging Thunder and Web sites like Ruthlessbluepits.com. Their dogs can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. All while pit bulls are executed by the hundreds, every day, in shelters nationwide.
I submit that anyone who clicks on a Web site called ?ruthlessbluepits.com? is not a suitable pit-bull owner.
Actually, I?m beginning to think that the fabled ?suitable pit-bull owner? is a myth. A week goes by with no leads for my stray. Every day I take the black-and-white pit for walks through the neighborhood surrounding the veterinary clinic. People in cars and on the street shoot me dirty looks. They?re probably wondering where I keep my meth lab or why I?ve wandered so far from the trailer park.
I also do some informal behavioral testing. To check if she?s food-aggressive, I bring in a couple of McDonald?s cheeseburgers (no ketchup, mustard, pickles, or onions), offer her bites, and then take the food away. I finish with the same number of fingers that I had when I started. Then, quite by accident, I get to see how she reacts to another canine. One evening a vet tech brings in her dog, Elvis?some sort of Shih Tzu/poodle/squirrel mix?and lets it run around the kennel area. When I return with the pit from a walk, this mop with legs rushes up, barks furiously, jumps on its hind legs, and paws her face. In the canine world this is knownas ?asking for it.? But the pit seems merely surprised, then amused. She playfully cuffs Elvis back. The squirrel dog wets himself and runs away.
The animal?s terrified overreaction doesn?t seem all that different from the general public?s take on pit bulls, though I do not mean to belittle this fear. I know a few people who were on the receiving ends of attacks (one involving a pit, the other two not), and it changed their lives completely. In a heartbeat they went from loving dogs to fearing them. I?m sure that if it happened to me, or to someone I love (the horrific story of Amaya Hess?the Indianapolis toddler who was savagely mauled by a pit?comes to mind), I?d quickly lose my clinical detachment. I might even be writing a different article right now.
As of September, Indianapolis Animal Care & Control had investigated 866 dog bites in the city. Pit bulls and pit-bull mixes accounted for 167 of those reported bites, a little over 19 percent and the most bites of any other breed, not counting the 194 bites attributed to mutts, mixes, and strays. Labrador retrievers and Lab mixes tied with German shepherds and German-shepherd mixes for the second-highest number of bites (69).
Statistically, it?s clear that pit bulls are involved in a disproportionate number of incidents?though the odds of having such an encounter at all are quite low. The odds of a human hurting or killing a pit bull seem much higher. It happens many times, every day.
After a week of boarding at my vet?s office, my black-and-white pit seems no closer to finding a permanent home. And then, out of the blue, one of the vet techs calls to ask if she can take the dog home for the night. After grilling her about her experience with dogs?which turns out to be extensive?I say yes, absolutely. The next day she says that a friend of hers, who already has a pit, met the dog and would like to adopt. My wife and I call the woman and quiz her thoroughly about her motivations. Her current pit is a neutered male with uncropped ears, and it doesn?t have a stupid name like Felony or Diesel. I arrange to meet her. She?s leading the black-and-white pit, who clearly adores her. So I sign off and leave the meeting feeling relieved.
Mission accomplished. I managed to save one pit bull. But in the six days it took me to do that, approximately 60 others were liquidated at Animal Care & Control. How many of them, I wondered, were good dogs that only needed a second chance with a better owner?
Which brings us to the central problem: overpopulation. As even the most hardcore owners and breed advocates will admit, there are just too many pit bulls out there, and not enough responsible people to take them in.
A pit bull, to put it simply, is not for beginners. They belong in the hands of owners who can invest a great deal of time socializing, training, and exercising them. ?This is a dog for a seasoned pet-owner, not a first-timer,? says Stevens from the Hamilton County shelter. ?And it?s not a breed for anyone who?s not serious. People will say you?re crazy. They may think you?re irresponsible just for having the breed. Family members might refuse to come to your house. You may not be able to get homeowner?s insurance or live in certain places. You have to know what you?re getting into.?
The problem is that pits are being bred by people who, mildly put, don?t havetheir best interests in mind. Generations of work to keep them from attacking people is being subverted by poor breeding, starvation, and torture. Many experts think a breed ban (which has already been done in Denver and Miami) isn?t the answer. In fact, when Mayor Peterson pushed for a breed-specific ban in Indianapolis last summer (spurred specifically by the Amaya Hess attack), he found that he lacked enough support in the City-County Council to get it done. Instead, the Council passed a dangerous-dog ordinance, which took effect on January 1, 2007. The ordinance calls for penalties, including fines up to $1,000, for owners of dogs that injure a person or another animal.
Most dog advocates suggest that the best solution would be to strictly enforce mandatory spaying and neutering for all dogs. That, plus stiff, strictly enforced penalties for neglectful owners and jail time for backyard breeders, would end the pit-bull overpopulation problem in a few years. Heck, it would end the entire stray-dog problem in a few years.
But that hasn?t happened yet. Until it does, the arms race to create ever more intimidating dogs continues. Now that every bone thug who wants a pit bull has one, there seems to be a new desire to build something even scarier. This is typically done by crossing pits with other big breeds to create larger, more powerful hybrids, one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas. The problem is that while the typical pit carries serious inhibitions against attacking humans, the animals it?s crossed with, including Neapolitan mastiffs, presa canarios, and others, usually don?t. Some, in fact, were created to kill people. The final result of such experimentation can be like Frankenstein?s monster?enormous, powerful, and prone to turning on its creator.
This is happening right now, in backyards and basements all over Indiana, though ironically Coleman thinks this ratcheting up of the canine arms race may lead to the salvation of pit bulls. ?We?re seeing an evolution of dogs being bred to be bigger and more powerful,? she says. ?Eventually it?s going to become so obvious that it?s a different animal that they won?t even be called pit bulls anymore.?
It?s been weeks, but during idle moments my mind still drifts back to the black-and-white stray. I hope she has a good life. I try not to think about the hundreds of others who never will. I figure I?ll help out by keeping an eye on my street, waiting for the next friendless pit bull to amble by.
Joni LaVigna was a long-time Animal Protective Services Officer for the Humane Society of Berks County, based in Reading, PA. She had worked to create a world of difference for both the animals and humans of Berks County. Of course words can't really express the mourning felt in her absence, nor the immense gap the County will feel in her professional absence.Rest in peace, Joni, and know that your pets will be cared for.
October 17, 2007
We have lost a very important part of the HSBC family, Joni LaVigna. In Joni's case, "work family" wasn't just a cliché. While some people come and go from any job, Joni was a part of the very heart and mission of the Humane Society and her loss is deeply felt. Joni was one of the finest people we have ever worked with. She invested herself in her work and she truly cared about the animals she saved and about the future of the HSBC.
Joni exemplified true compassion in an animal welfare professional. She not onlyworked to improve the lives of the animals she helped, she also never failed to have compassion and show respect for the people she helped (and even those she prosecuted).
In a job that can make some people indifferent to suffering, Joni always maintained a deep sense of caring and kindness for those around her.
When she was asked to take a leadership role in the HSBC, she agreed only when she was assured that it was what the HSBC truly needed. She did not seek personal power or aggrandizement; Joni wanted only to do what would make the organization succeed in its mission to help more animals. As much as any other person, she was proud of the accomplishments of the HSBC in recent years. Accomplishments she helped make a reality.
She told me that she cried the day that we opened the Cat Adoption Center because it was the realization of her dream for the animals and for the HSBC. Although she will not be with us in person as we continue to fulfill her dreams, she will very much be with us in spirit. Joni couldn't wait to see the completion of the new Dog Adoption Center, slated for spring, 2008. She was excited to see what we could do now for dogs, as we had for the cats.
That is why the staff and board of the HSBC are doing something to honor her life and her work. We have committed to personally donate $25,000, over five years, each to our own capability, in her memory in order to name the new facility the Joni LaVigna Dog Adoption Center. In the spring when the new LaVigna Center is complete, another of Joni's dreams will be realized and in her memory and honor we will ensure that we keep realizing them.
Please join us in extending our best wishes and prayers to her family and friends.
Karel Minor, Executive Director On behalf of the staff and board of the Humane Society of Berks County
D13695- Look at me - don't I photograph well? I think so. My name is Madison, a 1 yr. old female Labradoodle. I came in with Fuzzy who is also on the pet page. I am a sweetheart of a dog who would love to melt your heart! I love to go for walks and would love to be your new best friend.
D13746- Are you looking for a dog that is very laid back? Look no further than me. They (the staff) say I'm lazy, lazy , lazy! I say I like the easy life. You decide. I am a 4-5 yr.old neutered male Aussie Shep mix. I do love my walks, though- I'm conserving all my energy for those walks!
D13671- I am the biggest teddy bear who LOVES to give hugs, no seriously. I will wrap my legs around your waist. I am Bowie, a 8-10 yr. old neutered Golden Retriever/Husky mix. That's why I have one blue eye and one brown eye. I am the best dog. I am so calm and have the greatest disposition. I would make a great family pet. You have to check me out and soon!!
D13739- Who am I , you ask?? Well, I am Damien, a 5 yr. old neutered male Pitbull. I am good with kids, okay with dogs and cats and I'm housebroken. If you want a very calm dog, look no further than me. I tend to be on the quiet side and would me a great pet.
C27018- I came into the ARL as a stray so there isn't alot of info about me. I do get along with other cats since I'm in a colony. I am a 3-4 yr. old Orange Tiger and I am a neutered male- remember you can adopt me for only $25.00- yeah! I think I would make an adorable pet for you!
Justice A03359338: Ii is hard to believe this baby love was a stray, she is an absolute sweetheart. Justice just wants love, snuggles and to be petted. If you are looking for a guard dog pass on by this girl is a total lover. Justice is only about two years old, takes treats ever so gently. I love this dog, she is everything a rottie should be intelligent, calm, gentle and sweet. Please rescue her she needs you today.
Sunny A03562009: Sunny is a calm doestic short hair mix about 6 months to a year old. He is a cute litty with big eyes and affectionate personality. He is also friendly and very easy to handle. Come play with him at the shelter today!
Vesper A03518629: Vesper is a quiet and slightly shy 1-2 year old German Shepherd mix. She's very calm but cautious initially and seems pleasantly surprised to be petted. Once you've spent some time with her, though, she warms up to you, comes when you call her, and likes to hang out close by. She seems to be housetrained already. She's still working on her leash manners ? mostly she walks well, although she does pull when she spots something exciting. Vesper's a shy and gentle girl who's looking for someone to win her trust and help her gain some confidence.
Did you know PAWS has a small animal room filled with a cute little loving mix gerbils, hamsters, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs. We all need good homes.Please come visit us before going to a pet store you would truly be saving our lives. We are adorable, small little pets, we don't eat much and we hardly take up any room. Don't have time for a dog, allergic to cats come check us out. We are smart and fun to watch.
Eighty-six percent of America's fruits and vegetables are grown in metro regions in the path of development. Learn what you can do to protect our healthy, local foods from sprawl with American Farmland Trust at http://www.farmland.org.
C26860- Yeah, I'm one of the other black and white cats in the first colony but I say I am white with some black. I am Buddy, a 3 yr. old DSH neutered male who love kids and other cats. My previous owners had to give me up because they were moving. Now I'm here. I may be a bit sad but I'll perk up once I get a new home. Please give me a second chance!
D13595- Now I know I look alittle befuddled in this pic but let me explain what these people did to get my photo. I don't like having my pic taken and they kept trying until someone snuck up on me and got this one. I don't like the flash, I guess maybe that's why I don't like lightning either. My name is Jake and I am a 1 yr. old male German Shephard mix. I have LOTS of energy and will need someone to take me for walks and play with me. After I go for a walk I calm down. I get along with other dogs and older kids. I tend to jump on kids because I am so happy!!
CR3030- I am a very calm ,laid back rabbit who is looking for someone to love me. I get along with dogs and kids. I don't think there is a problem with cats either. I'm in the cat room , so come check me out.
This is Toodles, and her name fits her perfectly! She is SO affectionate, and just wants to be near you. When you walk away from her kennel, she "toodles" loudly to get you to come back and rub her belly some more! She is friendly, smart, and playful yet gentle. She is a young girl, but already seems to have been a mom. Please come and fall in love with Toodles today, and give her the loving home she deserves!
Cody A03319489 is a gorgeous siamese mix about 2-4 years old. He is nervous with the shelter environment and acts shy, but he can warm up to you after spending a few minutes to investigate. COme meet him at the shelter today - he will melt your heart with his beautiful blue eyes!
Lily was adopted from us but apparently the people didn't realize that she was still a puppy. She just needs to learn some basic manners, but she is a wonderful dog. Lily is about 6 months old, great with the other dogs, and very affectionate with people.
Extinguish lost his home due to a fire and his owners could no longer keep him and his siblings. He is cute and very friendly.
Buddy is one of the Hillisde's long time residents. He is friendly but would need a home without other cats if possible. He is hoping to get a home of his own for 2007.
Mahoning County officials will back Youngstown's tougher pit From: TANK Date: 13/09/2007
YOUNGSTOWN ? Top city and Mahoning County officials say there won't be a problem enforcing Youngstown's tougher pit bull terrier law.
But it will probably be a few days after the law takes effect on Saturday.
Word has yet to trickle down to Michael Fox, the county's dog warden.
Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and city Prosecutor Jay Macejko as well as county Commissioners John McNally IV and Anthony Traficanti said the city and county are in agreement about the enforcement.
The commissioners will sit down early next week with Fox to instruct him to follow the new city ordinance, Traficanti said.
Fox told The Vindicator last week that he had no intention of enforcing portions of the city's pit bull law that exceed Ohio Revised Code.
Fox recently said he hasn't been told anything different from county officials.
But "I work for the county commissioners ... and if they told me to enforce a municipal ordinance, I would," Fox said.
Fox's initial comments didn't sit well with Traficanti, Williams and Macejko.
"Mike Fox shouldn't be making policy statements for the commissioners," Traficanti said.
Williams said he had cooperation on this issue from the commissioners and spoke to county Administrator George Tablack, who told him the ordinance would be enforced. Tablack couldn't be reached to comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
"People above [Fox's] pay grade tell us differently" about enforcement, the mayor said.
"Mr. Fox was a little too quick to offer his comments," added Macejko.
What's in new law
McNally, a former Youngstown law director, said the county will cooperate fully with the city's new pit bull law.
Much of the pit bull legislation approved by city council last week is similar to state laws, such as keeping the dogs securely confined, requiring owners to carry liability insurance of at least $100,000, and registering each dog with the county dog warden.
The Youngstown ordinance has two major departures from state law: a ban on future ownership of pit bulls beginning Saturday, and requiring the dogs to be on a leash no longer than 4 feet. The state allows pit bulls on leashes no longer than 6 feet.
The ordinance, making Youngstown one of a small number of cities in the country with an outright ban on new pit bulls beginning Saturday, has drawn a great deal of complaints from dog lovers in Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley and throughout the country.
A Web site ? nopitbullbans.com ? founded in 2003 in the Chicago area to oppose dog breed specific legislation recently posted information on the Youngstown law. Included is a comment with the home telephone numbers of the seven city council members to call and complain about the law. Also listed is the e-mail address of the city clerk.
Several dog owners and breeders have complained that the legislation unfairly targets canines considered pit bulls or pit bull mixes. They say it's a misconception that pit bulls are dangerous.
City officials said the law was approved because of an escalating problem involving pit bulls, including dog fighting contests and attacks toward people and other pets.
The legislation was adopted last week at a special council meeting. Council doesn't permit the public to speak at special meetings.
Teri Kechler of Fifth Avenue, who owns two pit bull mixes and attended last week's meeting, is asking council to let her speak against the legislation at its meeting next Wednesday.
Also, Maura R. Evans of Rigby Street, who adopted what she believes is a mixed pit bull, has asked to speak at the meeting.
"I wonder why so much is going into banning pit bulls and making it difficult on owners who follow the law," she said. "I truly believe the problem lies with owners who aren't doing what they should. I am amazed that they think those people who are already not the best owners will go ahead and follow this law."
I'd like to thank Bowling Greene Humane Society KY for sending this to me. Check it out.
Latest Update on Abused Mom Pit and Pups in Fulton County From: Satoashley Date: 13/09/2007
This good news just in from Chamblee, who's friend videotaped the abuse and posted it on YouTube!! Lori
PLEASE CROSS POST:
Please write to thank Assistant District Attorney, Laura Janssen, for her heroic actions to remove the abused mother pit and her pups from the abusive home Tuesday night. [see message and video below].
Laura's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the Fulton County Commissioners to express your concern and your desire for an anti-tethering ordinance in Fulton. A chaining ban would eventually eliminate 90% of Fulton's abuse and neglect cases as most pet owners who abuse and neglect (and raise pit bulls for breeding and fighting) keep their dogs chained....as was the mother pit in this story, chained to a chain link fence, even while caring for her newborn pups.
From: YouTube Service To: email@example.com Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:32 PM Subject: sent you a video!
YouTube Broadcast Yourself wants to share a video with you
Great news everyone, the Fulton County DA's office and the Atlanta Police took the dogs from the home this evening. The owner agreed to give up the dogs and they were taken by Fulton County Animal Control at about 8:00pm this evening. The district attorneys office, in particular Laura Janssen was instrumental in saving these dogs. In the videos you can see the mother dog licking the faces of a detective and Laura. I want to stress what a great animal advocate Laura is. She was wearing a very nice suit and was covered in fecal matter, from having cradled these pups in her arms. It is amazing that one of the assistant DA's would take the time to go to such a scene and to show these abused animals such love and affection. Laura Janssen is an angel. Please email the DA's office and let them know that you appreciate her compassion and thank DA Paul Howard as well for pursuing this case. Without them this would not have been possible.
Unfortunately one of the pups was given away last night, but the DA's office is working to have him returned. Three of the other pups were given away previously and we attempted to get the new owners to release the pup to animal control so it could get the appropriate veterinary care. Sadly the owner resisted and became irate.
Since the pup was not in the original video and was not considered evidence, there was nothing that could be done. At least the mother and three of her babies have been saved. Please note how excited Gypsey (the mother dog) was to leave with animal control officer. She ran out of that yard as fast as she could.
I would also like to thank Susan Feingold of Fulton County Animal Services for her efforts to end this cruelty. Apparently they did all they could under the laws of the state of Georgia; which are inadequate when it comes to prosecuting animal abuse cases. We, as animal lovers and advocates need to push for new legislation to protect the animals of Georgia from abuse and to provide for easier prosecution in these cases In particular, anti-tethering(chaining) laws must be enacted. Invariably, most dog abuse cases involve dogs that are tethered. Tethering needs to be illegal in Georgia and every other state. Additionally, animal control officers need to be able to take abused animals into protective custody based on their observations. In Georgia, it is apparently nearly impossible for one of these officers to remove an animal from an abusive situation without a nightmare of red tape and archaic laws.Please contact your state legislators and lobby for changes .
Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who viewed these videos and passed the links on to friends and colleagues. Thank you for the emails and and phone calls sent to various governmental agencies and media outlets. Without your groundswell of support this would not have been possible. If you see abuse happening, document it on video, post it to Youtube and Craigslist and push for a positive outcome for the abused animals.
THIS IS WHAT WE FIGHT AGAINST From: cryster Date: 13/09/2007
WARNING!!! THIS VIDEO IS VERY GRAPHIC. IT SHOWS EXACTLY WHAT GOES ON DURING A DOG FIGHT. YOU MIGHT WANT TO GRAB A TISSUE AS WELL., AS IT IS VERY SAD AND SICKENING,
I've recently heard people say " I don't care what Vick did, It doesn't affect me" well here's a video of the living things he did affect. (or at least people like him.)
The HSUS Releases List: Best & Worst State Dogfighting Laws From: Chris Murphy... Date: 13/09/2007
Posted by Deanna - For the Love of the Dog under Dog Fighting, Laws & Legislation, Animal Advocacy, Crimes Against Canines, News & Updates
Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, Nevada and Hawaii Ranked Worst
Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, Nevada and Hawaii have the weakest dogfighting laws on the books, allowing some aspects of the cruel practice to go completely unpunished, and punishing others with little more than a slap on the wrist, according to The Humane Society of the United States, which recently analyzed state dogfighting laws.
The organization, which examined dogfighting laws in each state and in Washington, D.C., is working with legislators to strengthen laws against this cruel activity.
Idaho and Wyoming are last on the list because they remain the only states in the nation that do not consider dogfighting a felony. Worst-ranked Idaho carries misdemeanor penalties with a minimum $100 fine and a maximum six-month jail sentence.
Although they provide felony penalties for dogfighting, Georgia, Nevada, Hawaii and Montana ranked near the bottom of the list. It is legal to possess dogs for fighting in Georgia and Nevada and it is legal to be a spectator at a dogfight in Georgia, Montana and Hawaii.
?Now that the nation has been awakened to the horrors of dogfighting and its prevalence, states with weak dogfighting laws need to step up to the plate,? said John Goodwin, The HSUS? manager of animal fighting issues. ?Strong felony penalties for dogfighting, including being a spectator at a fight, are essential to controlling this criminal, multi-million dollar industry. No one who fights dogs or who is complicit in this horribly cruel activity should be able to escape the law.?
States with strong felony penalties against dogfighting provide stronger deterrence to participants and better tools for law enforcement officials. The five states with the best laws ? New Jersey, Alabama, Colorado, Mississippi and Arizona ? carry felony penalties for dogfighting, attending a dogfight and possessing fighting dogs.
At the federal level, President Bush signed the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act in May 2007. That law strengthened federal penalties from a misdemeanor to a felony for moving animals across state lines to participate in animal fights. This summer, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives Betty Sutton (D-OH), Elton Gallegly (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced additional legislation in Congress that would further upgrade federal penalties for dogfighting and make it a federal crime to engage in dogfighting, possess dogs for fighting or be a spectator at a dogfight without requiring prosecutors to prove a specific dog was moved across state lines or national borders.
?Lawmakers across the country are aware of the high price that communities pay for weak dogfighting laws,? said Michael Markarian, The HSUS? executive vice president. ?Dogfighting is also associated with other criminal conduct, such as gambling, drug trafficking, illegal firearms use and violence toward people. Dogfighters steal pets to use as bait for training their dogs, and even allow trained fighting dogs to roam neighborhoods and endanger the public. And of course the dogs involved suffer the most when they are forced to inflict serious or fatal injuries on each other or are killed in gruesome ways because they aren?t winning.?
Calling all responsible pit bull owners, advocates and fanciers... Please mark Saturday, October 20, 2007 on your calendars for the first nationwide Pit Bull Awareness Day.
In light of the constant negative publicity that surrounds pit bulls, we felt it was time to establish a day to focus on these incredible dogs and their responsible owners. The media berates our dogs daily. Legislators have labeled pit bull owners as the "criminal element" who only own pit bulls to enhance their macho image.
Its time we set the record straight.
Regardless of where you are located, please join Bless the Bullys and the Bull Breed Alliance of Tennessee in celebrating this wonderful breed and their devoted, responsible owners/advocates.
Please participate in an activity on October 20, 2007 to promote and celebrate responsible pit bull ownership. Regardless of the activity you choose - a dog walk, a candlelight vigil, an educational workshop or just a friendly get together - please sign up to participate so people in your area know and can participate and promote responsible ownership with you.
Its time to show the world that all pit bull owners ARE NOT alike, and that responsible pit bull owners are no longer willing to sit back and be judged by the image set by the visible minority of irresponsible owners.
It will take time to reverse the damage already done, but together, we can change the image bestowed upon our dogs (and their owners)!
To participate and add an event in your town, go to: http://www.blessthebullys.com/id86.html Scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the form.
Meet Otter, he is a 7 year old Neutered Chocolate Lab who was brought in as a stray. Otter is already housetrained, knows "sit," and walks very well on a leash, following your lead and never pulling. Off leash in the yard, he prefers to stay close to you and leans up against your legs when you pet him. He's an older laid-back dog with a modest amount of energy - he would love going on a nice walk and spending the rest of the time hanging out with you on the couch. Come meet Otter if you're looking for a dog who's quiet, already trained, doesn't require constant exercise, and would love to get out of the shelter and into a comfortable home of his own. We do not know if he is okay with other animals or children but seems okay with everyone he meets! He has a bit of discharge in his eyes and periodontal disease, but has a lot of love to give so please rescue Otter today!
Another dog that urgently needs rescue is Rugby. Rugby is a 7 month old Chow Mix who was brought in as a bite case, but we can't understand why! She's the sweetest dog around! She was originally brought in very scared and uncertain as to her surroundings. But since she has been here, she has just opened up to everyone and loves to give kisses. She is still a bit scared when meeting new people, but once she gains your trusts, she is your new friend! We are uncertain if Rugby is housetrained, but I'm sure with being a 7 month old pup, she will need a refresher course!We do not know if she is okay with other animals or children, but should be in a quiet home while she is still gaining her trust. She will be sure to make a great forever companion. Please meet Rugby today!
If your organization can rescue Otter or Rugby, please send an email right away to
firstname.lastname@example.org. All rescue coordination is done via mobile email. If you call the shelter, the operators may not be able to assist you with the most up to date information regarding the animals in this alert.
Please use the Foward To a Friend link below to share this alert with friends who may be able to assist! Please help spread the word about the PhillyPAWS rescue alerts by encouraging other rescues and volunteers to sign up to receive alerts!
If you cannot help the animals described in this email but may be able to help other animals, please contact
email@example.com as soon as possible. The shelter is extremely crowded, and we are asking our friends to do all that you can to help us save lives.
PAWS, the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, is a donor-funded division of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA) dedicated to saving the lives of Philadelphia's homeless, abandoned and unwanted animals.Taking in nearly 30,000 animals each year, PAWS is dedicated to making Philadelphia a No Kill city where all healthy and treatable animals are guaranteed a home. Supporting PAWS helps fund lifesaving initiatives including adoption and foster care programs, spay and neuter surgeries, low-cost vaccinations, and other community-based programming, all of which help reduce and will ultimately eliminate the unnecessary killing of Philadelphia's animals. For more information, please visit: www.phillypaws.org.
...but right now I feel pretty happy and, in a way, powerful.
I suceeded in connecting two intact, papered Rhodesian Ridgebacks that were being given away for free with rescue. The female was 10 years old, and although the male was young, he was a cryptorchid and had heart issues. So even with all hidden genetic issues and pet overpopulation aside, there is no way either of these dogs should be bred. I can only hope rescue will suceed in getting the dogs to safety, altered, and adopted.
I'm also having a very successful and informative conversation on UCare about the recent pit bull abuse case that has made the news. And the dogs have been seized by animal control. I am sending my deepest wishes that the little girl gets the professional help that she needs, and child services becomes involved if necessary. Please see my bulletins on the subject for further information and the video footage of both the abuse and the rescue by animal control.
And, with my happy energy, I washed all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. I think I will go for a walk now, and later Tina is coming over and we are doing yoga.
Here's to feeling like this more often! Accomplished and pleased.
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