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Monday, May 31, 2010

How Sweet the Sound...

By chance, I visited the Sioux City, IA Animal Control website today and saw the following on their homepage,

"$3500 REWARD
You have probably seen in the media that Sioux City Animal Control picked up a cat who had a nail firmly implanted into her head!
This cruelty is beyond anything we have seen in over 25 years.
The Siouxland Humane Society, The HSUS and a Local Volunteer have put forward the reward of $3500, which will be given to anyone who provides information that directly leads to the arrest and conviction of the "person" who is responsible for this horrendous cruelty!
Grace Underwent Surgery Last Friday And Is Making A Fantastic Recovery, Unfortunately She May Lose Her Left Eye As A Result Of This Injury.
If you have any leads on the case, give Sioux City Crimestoppers a call at 258-TIPS. "



According to KTIV .com --" A defenseless cat is attacked in a senseless crime, but is showing she's too tough to give up. The cat, named "Amazing Grace," was found last week with a nail buried in her forehead.
"She was extremely dehydrated and depressed," says veterinarian Dr. Pat Saulsbury.
Those were the smaller problems when Grace arrived at the Siouxland Animal Hospital last Wednesday.

Dr. Steven Merritt says, "First thought is, 'Wow, how could a cat possibly survive a nail -- a 3-and-a-half-inch nail -- through its skull?'"...

"I've never seen anything like this and still have the cat be alive and still to be purring and meowing and eating and doing everything a cat would normally do," said Animal Control director Cindy Rarrat.


Once Grace arrived, the doctors waited two days before removing the nail. Their first focus was getting her acclimated to medications and working on her eye, which has corneal damage, likely from air coming out of the nail gun she was attacked with. Then, on Friday, Doctors Saulsbury and Merritt tackled the more obvious ailment...
And she's only been improving since. The doctors eventually expect Grace to be good as new, but say she may lose sight in her left eye.


Despite the attack, she's still friendly and trusting, which is all the more troubling for those wondering why Grace was attacked in the first place.

"Somebody had to be responsible for this and if we find them, we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," Rarrat said.

Officials are still looking for who committed the crime, and are offering a $3,500 reward for information. If you have any leads on the case, give Sioux City Crimestoppers a call at 258-TIPS.
(Online Reporter: Zach Tecklenburg)

The question remains, "Was this injury an accident or was it intentional?" The only ones that know the truth for certain are Grace, the person who held the nail gun, and any higher power or powers you may or may not believe in.

I do believe that accidents do happen. I also believe that accidents happen that result in the injury or death of an animal or a person. However, it is difficult for me to believe that the nail gun was accidentally dropped and that pure chance would send a projectile to the direct center of the forehead of a friendly cat and embed flush to the scalp. This injury seems to have been exucutionary in intention. I do hope they find the person responsible. I also hope this person can prove that it was unintentional, because I dislike the feeling of pessimism.

I did notice something in the web page that seemed so blatent in its absence.

The $3500 reward has been donated by the Siouxland Humane Society, The HSUS and a Local Volunteer. In our state, there are over 400 licensed commercial dog breeding kennels, four of them are located in Sioux City, with more lying in the surrounding area. Most commercial breeders register their dogs with APRI (America's Pet Registry, Inc).

When you buy a puppy, they often come with papers. These papers will "register" your dog with the group from which the papers are provided. Many of the commericial breeders/puppy mills are using APRI for registration of their litters, since APRI does not require genetic testing of frequently used breeding dogs, and does not conduct on-site inspections of the kennels that they certify.

On the APRI website it states, "

"Welcome to the official website of America's Pet Registry Inc.(APRI). The nation’s only pet registration service dedicated to the preservation and promotion of pet ownership and the professional pet industry. This site provides an array of information and resources to responsible pet owners, breeders, distributors, veterinarians, retailers, pet product manufacturers and others dedicated to the humane care of animals, the preservation of quality bloodlines and the rights of individual pet owners."

Since the APRI claims to provide resources to those dedicated to the humane care of animals, why do they not contribute to animal neglect and abuse cases such as this one? What a great way to show the world how much they care about the animals they register. Unfortunately, in today's society, a reward is often the only thing that gets people to speak up when they have information on a case of abuse. Perhaps the APRI should provide resources at times like this, when they are truly needed and can make such an overwhelming difference. To see the initials APRI listed after the reward amount would be inspirational...would it not?

Whether the person is discovered or not, "Amazing Grace" has survived. Perhaps she survived for a reason... a purpose. Perhaps she will provide a person with the type of love that they need to straighten their path in life. Perhaps she will comfort a frightened child. Perhaps she will be someone's only companion. Perhaps she will be the only comfort to a person in ill health. Perhaps her purr will be the last thing a person hears as they pass away.  How sweet would that sound be?

She is a loving, friendly cat despite suffering such a terrible, traumatic, and painful injury. So we know she will provide unconditional love to whomever is fortunate enough to have her. This may not be the last time she is abused or neglected in her long nine lives, although we all hope it is the only time.  She has a power of forgiveness that many humans do not possess. She has the power of unconditional love that many humans do not possess.  

Perhaps we should be learning from her. 



If you have any information regarding this case, or hear anyone bragging about being the one who did this, please call Sioux City Crimestoppers at 715-258-TIPS or 712-258-8477.

Post Op Video of Amazing Grace at http://www.ktiv.com/global/story.asp?s=12550203




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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Six Degrees of a Rescue Nation

Once upon a time, an unspayed female cat has six very cute little kittens.  Mama is driven by instinct, and is very good at taking care of those precious babies.  The kittens are helpless, unable to see, hear, or smell on their own.  She feeds them, keeps them in a dry, and gives them comfortable place to call home.  She goes off to hunt for food so she has the stamina, energy, and nutrition to care for those little babies. When ever she is near, they mew until they can feed off of her and fill their little bellies.
When they are two weeks old, the kittens start to make wobbly and somewhat humorous attempts at walking.  Trembling like Bambi on ice, they barely get their distended milk-filled bellies off the ground.  Mama's instincts teach them to stay within their safe place beneath the bush that is their home.

By three weeks old, the kittens recognize their mother by using all of their new senses.  They can see her.  They can hear her.  They can smell her.  They recognize her touch.  They know the taste of her milk.  They know her as well as she knows them.

At three and a half weeks old, they sit quietly and patiently beneath the bush that has been their home since birth, awaiting their mother's return.  They recognize that she is gone much longer than usual. They have been taught not to travel far from their safe place.  They get hungrier as the hours grow long.  They are more willing to venture further from their haven, and begin to use their tiny voices to call out for her. Mama cat does not return.

Down the road, Mama cat lies lifeless.  She was hit by a car.  Fortunately, she did not suffer.  It ended quickly, but the babies don't know why she has not returned.   A human on a walk sees the Mama cat in the road, and sighs at the loss.  As the human continues to walk down the road, the faint cries of the kittens are heard.

1.The human follows the calls and finds six orphaned kittens living beneath a bush.  The kittens are scooped up by hands that are unfamiliar in every sense.  This human has now become a rescuer...one of many.

2. The human takes them to a veterinary clinic who feeds and massages the kittens.  But they are not willing to keep them. 

3. They request help from a rescue group, Agape Fosters, who, like all other rescue groups, is low on funds, high on numbers of homeless animals, and has no opening for the long term care these kittens need because of the usual rush of Spring kittens.  The rescue group puts out a request for help.

4.  Another rescue group, HEART (Hardin Eldora Animal Rescue Team) receives the request, and starts making phone calls.  They too are already overwhelmed with Spring kittens and have no room in their group.  They call upon the South Hamilton Animal Alliance.

5.  The South Hamilton Animal Alliance had agreed to take in a litter of kittens from HEART earlier in the week, but the owner of those kittens decided to keep them.  As fate would have it, the Animal Alliance has room for the sweet babies.  Agape Fosters arranges for volunteer transportation of the kittens from Waterloo, Iowa to Jewell, Iowa, a distance of approximately 83 miles.  Just to give you an idea, the size of the entire state of Rhode Island north to south is 48 miles and east to west is 37 miles.  So these kittens made quite a trip.  Agape generously donates to the kittens' care, as they consider them their babies even though they are not under their immediate care.  HEART also offers a donation.

6. The Animal Alliance provides the sweet kittens foster care with one of their best foster homes, the H Family.  The H family, a family of 6 humane humans, is a foster home that dedicates themselves to the fostering of the pediatric and geriatric animals in our care.  These are two of the most potentially heartbreaking sets of foster groups to have.   The young animals are immunocompromised due to age, and what is a mild cold to an adult cat or dog can easily become fatal to a kitten or puppy.  Older animals are always at risk of developing typical old age diseases that can be deadly such as kidney failure, cancer, etc. They have experienced both losses, survived, and still open their hearts to these risky groups of fosters.

Six kittens.  Six wonderful groups of people. 

When the kittens are old enough, six more groups of people we call families will step up and give these kittens wonderful forever homes after they are spayed and neutered.  The kittens will be tested for leukemia and FIV.  They will be vaccinated for Distemper and Rabies when old enough.  They will be microchipped.  They will be dewormed, deflea-ed and had any medical conditions taken care of at the time at which they present themselves.  In the meantime, the family is feeding them kitten formula and canned cat food.  They are dedicating their time to being a Mama cat, feeding, playing, stimulating, and cleaning up after six messy but adorable little kittens.  The volunteer hours and medical care add up to quite an expense, but the kittens are worth it.  Because they are here.  Because that first person cared enough to activate a chain of events that ends in RESCUE, a six letter word.

My thanks go out to the 6 groups of people that have rescued these kittens, and the 6 members of their foster family, and the 6 families that will become the forever families of these kittens. 

While I am grateful to have these kittens safe and in my care, I cannot help but think of the substantial need they have created. Created just because someone chose not to spay Mama cat.  And someone chose not to spay her Mama, and so on, and so on. 

While these six kittens are safe, there are hundreds out there that are not.  There are millions of healthy, friendly adult cats sitting in shelters throughout our country right now.   There is a dog or cat being euthanized in our country every eight seconds simply because they do not have a home. 



If Mama cat had survived to raise her kittens, the number of cats produced from her offspring alone within 6 years would be over 66,088 cats!  Some of these cats will go to shelters, half of those will die in shelters, others will become feral and have an average life span of only two years

The cycle has to be broken, and only YOU can do it.  Please Spay and Neuter your pets! 

If yours are already done, offer to help a neighbor or a friend who has an intact animal to get theirs done.  Educate them on the benefits of spay and neuter.  If you cannot offer them financial help, offer them your time to transport the animal to and from the veterinarian.  Help them find low cost opportunities for spay and neuter.

You will be helping animals everywhere by helping one near you.

These kittens are available for adoption at http://www.jewellvetonline.com/


 
 
 

(If you want to receive the blog into your email inbox each time it is published, go to www.vetrescue.blogspot.com, and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. Wait for the blog to send you a confirmation email.  Reply as instructed and you will receive the blog when it is published. You will not get junk mail as a result of this!  We have a facebook fan page too! And don't forget to read some of the older blog posts...)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who is the Guardian?

Heidi is a 12 year old German Shepherd.  When you look at her, she appears to be the typical, well-cared-for, senior dog that many veterinarians may see on any routine day.  But Heidi has been more than a companion to her guardian and friend, Doug.  Doug, is legally blind.  Heidi is not a trained service dog and her only job and obligation is to provide Doug with the same love and care that he provides to her.

Doug brought Heidi to my office a few months ago for some mild digestive upset.  She is a sweet dog that seems to be enjoying her senior years in good health.  As Doug told me a story from their past, I stood in awe of a dog that I now know is very special.

Ten years ago, when Heidi was only two years old, the two were out on their acreage clearing brush.  Doug created a small brush fire to dispose of branches and brush that he was clearing from the property.  He reached over and placed a large log on top of the fire in order to weigh it down so it would not fall or blow over.  As he placed the log onto the fire, the sleeve of his flannel shirt caught on fire.

Heidi immediately started barking uncontrollably which gained Doug's attention.  Doug realized the shirt was on fire, and immediately started to take the shirt off.  He got the shirt off his body and arms. As he tried to pull his hands out of the sleeves to free himself completely, the cuffs of the shirt were caught around his wrists.   The cuffs were too tight to slide over the gloves that he was wearing to protect his hands, and the gloves were now inside the shirt.  He tugged but could not free himself from the shirt that continued to burn.

As Doug continued to struggle with the shirt, Heidi grabbed the back of the shirt from behind him and started yanking on it repeatedly and forcibly.  In the process, she had pulled Doug away from the fire.  Finally, the cuffs of the shirt tore as a result of Heidi's continued efforts and the shirt fell to the ground.

When Doug realized that the shirt was off,  he called Heidi close to him to be certain that she had not been harmed by the flames.  Doug kneeled down to his friend, stroking Heidi in appreciation for her actions, vowing that he would do the same for her.  Meanwhile, on the ground next to them, his shirt was engulfed in flames.

Heidi (front left in photo) is not a trained service dog, but is the kind of  best friend that we all would be lucky to have.  She has the same instincts that many dogs have, guided by love and protection of the guardian that provides them with the same love and protection. She has the same instinct of many of the dogs that continue to sit in our shelters every day, the same dogs that are euthanized at our shelters every day. 

We always refer to the human half of a human-canine bond as the guardian.  I wonder if Doug is Heidi's guardian, or if Heidi is Doug's guardian?    If we were able to ask Heidi, I know what her answer would be.






(If you want to receive the blog into your email inbox each time it is published, go to www.vetrescue.blogspot.com, and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. Wait for the blog to send you a confirmation email, then reply and you will receive the blog when it is published. You will not get junk mail as a result of this! We have a facebook fan page too! And don't forget to read some of the older blog posts...)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Name at Last by Lisa Deppe

In a small town in the country

Is a barn with a rooster top

A farm unlike the others

Surrounded by the crops.



Inside a metal building

Lies cage by cage by cage

Filled with dogs and puppies.

Their bodies worn beyond their age.



In this cage sits number “Five”

She awaits her daily meal

She wonders what’s outside

This big old building made of steel.



For years she has made puppies,

Each puppy grows and goes

To homes filled with love and happiness

And grass beneath their toes.



Five wonders when it’s her turn

She wants to venture passed the door

Of the building she resides in,

For grass to touch her paws.



Years go by, and Five is old

Too old to make more pups.

She sits lonely in the cage now.

She wonders who will pick her up.



The dogs all bark, the noise begins

To hurt Five’s elder ears.

The woman they call “Rescue”,

Is, oh, so very near.



Perhaps this time it’s my turn.

Is there a place for me?

Is there a person willing?

Perhaps this time it’s me.



Rescue walks on over

Five slowly tilts her head.

“I want to step upon the grass,

And sleep in a soft bed.”



The cage door opens slowly.

Human hands embrace her chest.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted

I sure hope it’s for the best.”



Rescue took her to a place

The people called the Vet.

They “fixed” her, cleaned her, held her

They gave Five a comfy bed.



Soon people came to meet her.

They brought these things called toys.

They put a collar on her neck

And Five made lots of noise!



Her body wiggled happily.

A home is what she found.

She got to sleep upon a bed

And feel the grass upon the ground.



When Five got home she met a girl

Miranda was her name.

“I will call you Kirby.

Are you ready for some games?”



Miranda dressed up Kirby.

She read to her at night.

She slept with arms around her.

They held her nice and tight.



The girl grew up and Kirby passed

But the memories remain

Of the little dog they rescued

Who finally had a name.










(Just an FYI... those of you who are Followers on this blog, thank you! If you want to receive the blog into your email inbox each time it is published, all you need to do is go to www.vetrescue.blogspot.com, and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. Wait for the blog to send you a confirmation email, then reply and you will receive the blog when it is published. Much easier than you going to look for it on facebook or elsewhere. We have a facebook fan page too! Please, continue to follow and please subscribe! And don't forget to read some of the older posts...)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Wall...

Someone asked me today, "What is the biggest challenge you face?". 
I face many challenges throughout the day.  Some of them are parental.  This is my first time as a parent, and darn it all if you only get the one run at it!  Some of the challenges are veterinary.  Some veterinarians thrive on the thrill of finding the diagnosis.  I am thrilled when I get a diagnosis as that makes treatment possible in most cases, but I am not excited about the hunt.  I don't like seeing an animal sick and get frustrated when I cannot find an answer.  I much prefer to keep an animal healthy, although we all know illness happens.  But even this struggle is not the answer to the question.

The biggest challenge I face is in animal welfare.  It is getting the right people to fight on an animal's behalf and make a difference in that animal's life, because it takes more than one to make it happen.  There are always people willing to take that first step and start the ball rolling, but that ball always seems to hit a wall. That wall may be a veterinarian, a police officer, an attorney, a landlord, a business owner, or it may be the law itself.  Getting through the wall is key to making the difference in getting help for the animal in danger.  But so many times you just cannot get through that wall.  It just sits there as you beat your head against it.

It is the same challenge, the same struggle, the same fight that we face over and over again EVERYWHERE.

And I just don't understand it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Small Town Rescue with a Big Heart...

I have been wanting to publish a brochure and a newsletter for the South Hamilton Animal Alliance for years now.  It is one of those things that takes a fair amount of time to do, and so has been put on the back burner for quite some time. 

In August, we tried to enlist local kids into a "Design A Logo" contest as we did not have a logo for the Animal Alliance.  I thought it would be fun to do, a good incentive for kids to be creative, and a great way to get locals, even the young ones, involved in our cause.  We put an article in the paper, sent notices to the local art teachers and schools.  The contest began and ended, and we did not get one single submission.  Thus, no new logo.  I had written up a rough draft of a brochure but was waiting for the contest to end so we could add our "new logo" from the contest onto the brochure.  So here I sat with a partially completed brochure, and ZERO art skills.... although I did create the Jewell Animal Hospital logo all by myself.



I knew I did not have it in me to come up with something that meant enough to be the logo of the rescue.  It needed to be more than just a cute animal or two.  So what did I do?  I sat on it...and sat on it...

Here we are in May, eight months later, and I suddenly decided that we need to make this happen.  People need to know what is going on here.  We cannot expect people to help us if we are not getting the word out about what we do.

My high school friend, Matt, owns a graphic design business.  Although we probably talk only once a year, it feels as though it was just yesterday that we lost my car in Newport, RI.  It didn't occur to any of us as we walked away from the car, that we should remember the name of the street on which I parked my car.  When we were done gallavanting around Newport, we headed back to the car.  We were all following each other, and no one was actaully leading since no one knew where the car was.  It took a while but we finally realized, no one knows where we parked!  After what seemed like hours of searching, I threw my hands in the air in surrender, and shouted, "We need to call the police" in a panic, wondering, "How am I going to explain this one to Mom?".  Then I hear someone shout, "There it is"!  And there it was just sitting there, directly across the street from where we were standing, mocking me.  Can cars smirk?  I breathed a sigh of relief and we all laughed as we climbed into the car.

So a week ago I called Matt.  "I need help!"  I wonder if he thought I lost my car again?  I told him I wanted a logo for the animal alliance and could he help?  He agreed immediately and asked me to send him information about our group.  I emailed him a copy of the brochure I made.  And he wrote back, "Can't open it."  Ok, seriously, Matthew the computer and art whiz can't open it?!  What am I supposed to do now?  I know very little about computers with the minor exceptions of ebay and petfinder! 

I copied and pasted the text and photos of the document I created, and sent it on to Matt in an email.  On the cover of the logo-less original was the phrase "The Small Town Rescue with a Big Heart".  I had never used this phrase before but something inspired me to use it this time.  Inside of my brochure were the words, "Remember your small town animal shelter.  Small size often means greater need."

Wow, did Matt work fast, and come up with some amazing work.  He had designed a bunch of doggie/kitty logos, but he said none of them seemed quite right.  He kept getting drawn back to my statement about being a small town rescue with a big heart.  From those words he designed our new logo.  Not only did he create our new logo, he layed out a new professional brochure for us.  What a difference that makes!  He used my words and his artistic ability to create a wonderful new document for us to use.  And he did it for free.

I am going to keep you in suspense a bit. Our new brochures should be arriving this week, just in time for our yard sale fundraiser!  If you would like a free copy of one, send me your mailing address, and I will mail one to you when we get them in.  Email your postal address to Immydog@msn.com .  Then you can see the new logo and brochure for yourself.

I will admit that I was surprised there was no dog or cat in the logo, perhaps even disappointed initially.  Doesn't every rescue want a puppy or kitty logo?  Then he sent me our new poster!  He could not have expressed my words and the feelings they provoke in me better. 

Here is your preview... feel free to share.





Thank you, Matt!



(Just an FYI... those of you who are Followers on this blog, thank you! If you want to receive the blog into your email inbox each time it is published, all you need to do is go to www.vetrescue.blogspot.com, and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. Wait for the blog to send you a confirmation email, then reply and you will receive the blog when it is published. Much easier than you going to look for it! Please, continue to follow and please subscribe! And don't forget to read some of the older ones...


Monday, May 3, 2010

Law Requires Dogs Be Spayed, Neutered

To my surprise, I found a recently published article online today that was about my home state of Rhode Island.  "Law Requires Dogs be Spayed, Neutered" . 

The town of Warwick, the second largest city in Rhode Island, recently passed an ordinance.  It is a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance.  It is not exactly the type of spay/neuter ordinance I believe in, but it is a small step in the right direction.  And yet, even among animal rescuers, it is a very controversial ordinance.

The ordinance does not mandate spay/neuter of all breeds, it is breed specific.  It is what we refer to as BSL or Breed Specific Legislation.  I have discussed this topic before, and am generally against BSL for many reasons.  This blog can be read here "Breed Specific Legislation or BS Laws".  But in this case, I am hoping that the legislation is a beginning.  In it's own way, this legislation may help protect a breed that is often unfairly judged and more often the victim of neglect and abuse than other breeds.


I have been doing rescue work for seven years.  I receive dozens of emails each week that we refer to as "pleas".  These pleas will focus on animals all over the country in dire need of help.  Most often an overcrowded shelter is approaching their weekly euthanasia day and wants desperately to send dogs to rescue rather than see them die.  Sometimes the dogs or cats need to be rehomed immediately because their owner died, or some other change in owner circumstance.  Sometimes the dogs are being relinquished by a puppy mill owner, and there are just too many dogs for one rescue to handle. Regardless of the reason, dedicated volunteers, known as crossposters, sit at their computers composing and sending emails, posting photos and stories onto facebook, seeking to get one more dog or cat out of the euthanasia room and into a home.  In rescue, we hate to admit it, but we all hate to see the dog in need be a pit bull or a black lab. 

It isn't that we dislike either breed, but both are extremely difficult to place into good homes, and when we see the plea for their safety, we sigh because we know from experience that the chance of this dog finding rescue or a home is smaller than most simply because of stereotype and statistics. 

When I see an effort to decrease the population of a victimized breed, without the insane idea of breed banning, it makes me just a little happy to see the general population moving closer to what I consider the right direction, even if they aren't quite there yet.  Breed bans are wrong, as I discussed in that previous blog linked above.  Breed specific legislation is also wrong, but this one does have some potential.

There are many reasons why breed specific legislation is controversial and weak. 

1. Breed Identification
2. Stereotyping of a Breed
3. Irresponsible Owners
4. Enforcement
5. Free Puppies Don't Know the Borders

1.  Identification of a breed that shares so many common traits with other breeds hinders the enforcement of the law.  Law enforcement also wastes valuable time citing dogs that they believe fall into the category of pit bull, only to find out the dog they cited is a purebred Boxer or Bulldog.  I challenge everyone reading this blog to go to the following page to take a pictorial quiz.  http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html .   There are 25 photos of real dogs, and you are challenged to identify on your first try which dog is the pit bull terrier.   Send me a comment to let me know how many tries it takes you to get it right. 

2. Breed stereotypes are dangerous.  For every dog within a breed that is aggressive, there are dozens or more that are not, even with pit bulls.  As a practicing veterinarian with 15 years of experience, there are breeds that I grumble over seeing because of their aggressive and unpredictable tendencies, and pit bulls are not one of them.  Pits, if they are aggressive, generally show me ahead of the game what their plan is.  Rarely have I been surprised by a pit bull. 

3. The weakness in any law always falls to the irresponsible people, in this case, the irresponsible owners.  However, if the law encourages even a small number of  people to move ahead with their decision to spay/neuter their pet, then I see this as a positive. You cannot say any law is weak because some people won't obey it.  That is truth with any law, murder, rape, theft... that does not mean we should not have laws against these crimes. 

4.  Punishment and enforcement of any animal cruelty law is a serious issue in my area.  Reports can be made about abuse or neglect, law enforcement will not act so the animal lingers, or the cases never seem to make it to court despite the stronghold of evidence that sits before them, or the case is made but the punishment is weak.  The law has to be specific enough to enforce, specified punishment has to be significant enough to deter, and enforcement has to be strong enough to save the lives of the animals involved. 

5.  Puppies don't see borders.  Because one town has a breed spay/neuter law, the puppies in the next town will find their way into town via newspaper ads, internet ads, and craigslist.  Once they come into town, we can hope they will become spayed and neutered.

While I see these flaws in the current ordinance, and I still believe that BSL is wrong, I do hope this will make a few positive changes.

1. Fewer litters
2. Lead to MSN
3. Enforcement
4. Decrease Abuse

1.  The obvious change that I hope will come about is a decrease in the number of pit bulls and their mixes that are euthanized in that town each year.   It is too bad they left black labs out of the ordinance...

2. If this law does decrease pit bull euthanansia, perhaps it will help legislators and the general public to open their eyes to the fact that all breed MSN or Mandatory Spay/Neuter laws will decrease the town's shelter budget, decrease the shelter's need/population, and decrease the number of animals euthanized in town each year. 

3. One thing I have learned from experience is that animal cruelty and neglect laws are very weak.  Some cases of animal abuse or neglect have been prosecuted using other non-animal related laws because the punishment was stronger and the law itself was more specific.  In 1997, in Fairfield Iowa, 3 high school students broke into an animal shelter and  bludgeoned 16 cats to death with baseball bats, injuring many others. The prosecutors wanted to charge them with third-degree burglary, trespassing, and breaking and entering because these were felony offenses and offered more severe punishment than animal cruelty charges which are only a misdemeanor. According to an article in the Free-Lance Star Newspaper, "The jury found that the value of the dead cats did not exceed $500- that would be $31.25 each for the 16 cats- thus ruling out felony charges that would have carried up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine." 

4.  The unfortunate truth is that pit bulls fall victim to irresponsible owners more than any other breed of dog.  They are the breed of choice for people who want to gamble on dog fights, own the toughest dog in the ring, then sell their toughest dog's tough little puppies to other fighters.  They go out of their way to make them look mean with spiked collars and cropped ears.  Did you know spiked collars come in pink now?
Fighters pay cash for the dog's ear crop, yet neglect other necessary medical care for obvious reasons.  If mandatory spay/neuter of this breed prevents one puppy from one litter making it into the dog fighting ring, then I believe it is worth it.  If this legislation enables law enforcement to confiscate an intact animal from an irresponsible owner, then take the dog away and fix it.  I guarantee that many people in big cities can tell you where and when dog fighting occurs, yet it continues.
 
I am a believer in MSN, Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws. If you opt to keep your dog or cat intact, you should be required to maintain a breeder's license which should have an annual fee higher than the cost of a spay/neuter.

While this law is flawed due to breed specificity, perhaps it is the beginning, and we should be excited about that.  I don't believe this ordinance will hurt any pit bull in any way, certainly not in the way breed bans can and do hurt them.  It does propogate a negative image of the breed which is terribly unfortunate.  But perhaps this ordinance will save a few lives in an indirect way. 


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