Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How Can Portlanders Continue to Tolerate Animal Cruelty By Their POUNDS?

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 12:23 PM, <> wrote:

I have to write a coherent essay if I can today. I can't sleep and I can't find the language to express how shocking MCAS behavior in this incident has been, all of it was.
I have written before about Carla  Couperthwaite and her two dogs impounded at MCAS  (Multnomah County Animal Services Portland Oregon) since mid January taken on alleged neglect charges.

 But Carla who is a senior citizen living on $700 a month is poor and fell into a hard financial spot. She did the best she could and Jack really had only minor concerns: flea dermatitis and a mild ear infection The veterinarian estimated his age as 8. He is 12. Vincent at 14 had a severe ear infection that had not responded to treatment Carla could provide. No one told her of PAW Team.
She takes very good care of her dogs, I have known her a long time. They come before her needs.The neglect, such as there was for Vincent, was secondary to her increasing  poverty worse lately so she now qualifies for PAW Team. Jack is a Golden rottie; Vincent  is a rottie. It was wholly fixable without taking her dogs to prison and a hearing..  
Carla has been visiting Jack at MCAS since his impoundment in January ( Vincent was placed in foster care where she cannot see him) every day permitted. She was  going out to MCAS by bus and walking the rest of the way: allowed  only the restricted time any visitor is allowed, 15 minutes inside the kennel while monitored by a staff person.

Carla and her dogs are very bonded. When she had to leave, Jack would cry and try to follow her.  They did not allow her to walk him: no staff available was the excuse; hundreds of small humiliations but she went anyway.

Carla noted his depression to staff and concerns about his well being. They just put a sheet over his kennel to stop his barking at passer bys. He wanted to get out  .But not even exercise is allowed.So just stop him from seeing: make his world even smaller.
Last Wednesday  Jack collapsed in the kennel . MCAS took him to VCA NW for diagnostics. At first they forbade her information about him. That was reversed by legal intervention.
On Thursday I drove her out to see him at NW.. The diagnosis  concerned  some unidentified problem causing brain swelling and the prognosis was judged to be likely poor.

MCAS did not want to spend $1000 for an MRI given the likely  poor prognosis..The specialist said there was perhaps a 5% chance of something curable.

After spending  an hour with  him reluctantly Carla agreed to his euthanasia. For two months he had been kept in jail: no exercise, no outings to the park, no affection; just solitary confinement.  

I had driven Carla  out earlier to VCA to learn the findings and to be with him.. What a beautiful dog! His tail thumped  wildly when he saw her: a big headed Golden with curly fur and  Rottie markings and a huge smile when he saw her.

You could see the love between them and I saw no signs of severe neglect. He always slept on her bed when he was home .Her home is very tidy and well kept. The dogs slept in her bedroom with her. 
During the time she was with him at VCA Carla began to speak of suicide. Her dogs are her whole life. Her depression severe especially without them.  
I told her we would take Jack and arrange a private cremation at  Dignity Pets where she could spend all the rest of the time she needed to say good bye. Dignity Pets said they would stay open late, no after hours charge, given the circumstances. 
What happened next was unbelievable .

MCAS called and said a truck was on its way to claim Jack's body.

They wanted to take him from her even in death and they wanted a necropsy to exonerate themselves. Had they wanted to know what he had they should have conducted an MRI while he was alive and had a chance. 

So Jack's body was held hostage while Carla was so distraught  the staff at VCA and I were afraid  for her life, concerned if hospitalization should be considered .
It was 4 PM. I  called the Department of Community Services and  said no way. 

You are not doing  this.

Oswald told them when they called him to explain that it was so Carla could get a free cremation and learn what Jack had died from and wouldn't she like to know?.

But that was a disingenous lie. The lawyer told Reb they wanted a signed release from liability or they were keeping Jack's body.

So a negotiation occurred while we sat in the parking lot at VCA and the animal control truck was on its way ordered by Officer Michelle Luckey. MCAS said they would only release Jack's body to Carla if she agreed to sign away her rights to sue them over his death.

So Carla signed. It was the only way to get Jack back.

I said never mind we have Jack and it was signed  under duress. I know he died of a broken heart. I know he had only minor problems: a bit of flea dermatitis and a mild ear infection when he went into MCAS under their "prison" care,

It was stated in the record. Jack died of a condition they never noticed until it was too late caused or exacerbated by their neglect.

They never pay attention and hold dogs in appalling social isolation and no or minimal care.

That's it. No exercise, no happy talk, just pacing back and forth in an isolated cell day after day after day: a tidy maximum security prison camp where animals are regarded as disposable nuisances, pests and potential liabilities.
All they cared about when Jack died was how to hold onto his body to get out from under any potential liability lawsuit. If Carla died of grief and so did Jack, who cares. They only cared about skipping out.
I have no words to express how anguishing this has been; how Carla now can barely make it through each day, I call every night to make sure she is alive  and how sinful and evil they are.

The hearing has been postponed to April 8 but Jack is dead and Vincent kept away in foster care with a foster whose behavior, another subject, is hugely inappropriate and insensitive.
How can this ever be stopped?

This is life at MCAS behind closed doors, day after day, the gulag, the jack booted Nazis, the cold hearts, the hurt,  and the harm done, the lies told, the betrayal of trust, and no one who could do something about this, no one with power or authority, who sees or cares.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gotta Poop, Gotta Poop, but too much snow!

Gotta_Poop-Gotta_Poop_Gotta Poop

Not my guys, but it could have been, except we had been wearing down paths for them and they'd stick to those!  Do love seeing Black Rottweilers plowing through the snow, makes it very easy to see where they go, particularly with a full moon!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hold Shelters Accountable

From: Scott Bartlett []
Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2014 8:34 AM
To: 'Beverly Trover';;; ''; 'boardpresident';;;;;;;
Subject: RE: Greenhill Humane Society REFUSING to release VERY friendly, nice, Rottweiler to highly qualified Rottweiler Rescue -

If these accounts have validity and there are rescuers ready, willing and able to take on these dogs, then I am becoming increasingly disappointed with Greenhill and concerned that something seriously amiss is going on out there.

 Why is there this upsurge in euthanasia? And why has Greenhill eliminated the successful and considerate policy of LCAS to issue “Red Alerts” which indicated that unless adopters and rescuers were to step up, a euthanasia is imminent or increasingly likely? That “Red Alert” policy gave these rescue operations notice that they could rally to save these dogs. Now Greenhill says they do not wish to issue these because they will be bad for ‘public relations’? This is troubling.

I rarely weigh in and comment on these matters, but this is beginning to appear as if there is potential malfeasance and neglect. If that is the case, it is unacceptable.

NOTE:    Scott is part of the list.  He sits on the Animal Services Advisory Committee for the County.  He is one of the two or three good guys on that committee. 

Shelters will keep moving the bar and not publish their criteria for Rescues, when one hurdle is met, another is presented, until finally they sadly say that no rescue could be found so better dead than rescued...

Eugene, Oregon Vigil at Animal POUND To Save Lives & Promote Awareness

No animals are safe in Greenhill's "care". 

Join us to Free Rhett and many other animals kept captive by Greenhill's arrogance and idiotic temperament testing.  We will be parking next to Office Depot in the spaces along Chad Drive, Eugene.   Saturday Feb 22nd, beginning at 11 am.

Help make animal lovers aware that their contributions are used to kill dogs, not find them new homes!

Animal Lovers Guard your Resource$$$$$$$$

Shelters Use Absurd Dog/Cat Aggression Tests, Your Dog Would Also Fail!

TO ALL INVOLVED WITH GREENHILL HUMANE SOCIETY AND FIRST STREET SHELTER and those who should be monitoring what goes on at these shelters:

Sadly, this group, which is a non-profit (Greenhill Humane Society and First Street Shelter), but under contract to the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Oregon and Lane County, Oregon, is using absurd behavior testing and dooming a dog called Rhett, to possible euthanasia because he is deemed aggressive.  This apparently is not the first dog to be lethally labeled by such testing at this shelter.  

They throw a stuffed dog or cat toy to the dog and because he shakes it and pulls the stuffing out, he is labeled as dangerous and can only go to a rescue that has an IN-HOUSE animal behaviorist/trainer.  My dogs whips his toys back and forth in his mouth, pulls out the stuffing and he would not hurt a flea!  This is normal play.  Very few rescues have the financial resources to have a fulltime animal trainer or behaviorist on staff.

One of the best Rottweiler rescues in the country, Happy Tails Rottweiler rescue, out of Goldendale, Washington, has offered to take Rhett, but was eliminated for not having an in-house trainer (they have one on call) and for having "too many other dogs." (No evidence given that Rhett is dog aggressive or doesn't do well with other dogs.) 

When many of us who know and support Happy Tails for the excellent work they do called First Street/Greenhill animal shelter in support of this being a wonderful option for Rhett, the calls were deemed "harassment" and Happy Tails was eliminated as a possible resource to take Rhett.  Now the shelter refuses to answer questions, does not answer phone calls - but apparently has no other appropriate rescue for this dog. 

When I read this posting on Facebook, I see another nice dog named Otis, awaits the same fate!   

The word is now out that Greenhill and First Street Shelter have a high kill rate but will not answer any questions or release information on the dogs they have and what becomes of them.

I urge you to look in to this matter.  Since Greenhill is under contract with the cities of Eugene, Springfield and Lane County, I would think their operations should be completely open to the public, since they are funded, via contract, by taxpayer dollars. 

Thank you.  It is time for animal shelters to live up to the concept of "shelter" and rehabilitation, not mislabel and kill.


Beverly Trover
Portland, Oregon

FREE RHETT - Animal Lovers Please Guard Your Resource$$$$$$$$$ To Save Lives

Hello fellow animal lovers:

Sadly, this group, which is a non-profit (Greenhill Humane Society and First
Street Shelter), but under contract to the cities of Eugene and Springfield,
Oregon and Lane County, Oregon, is using absurd behavior testing and dooming this
dog, Rhett, to possible euthanasia because he is deemed aggressive.

This apparently is not the first dog to be lethally labeled by such testing. They
throw a stuffed dog or cat toy to the dog and because he shakes it and pulls the
stuffing out, he is labeled as dangerous and can only go to a rescue that has an
IN-HOUSE animal behaviorist/trainer. My dogs whips his toys back and forth in his
mouth, pulls out the stuffing and he would not hurt a flea!

One of the best Rottweiler rescues in the country, Happy Tails Rottweiler rescue,
has offered to take Rhett, but was eliminated for not having an in-house trainer
(they have one on call) and for having "too many other dogs." (No evidence given
that Rhett is dog aggressive or doesn't do well with other dogs.)

When many of us who know and support Happy Tails for the excellent work they do
called First Street/Greenhill animal shelter in support of this being a wonderful
option for Rhett, the calls were deemed "harassment" and Happy Tails was
eliminated as a possible resource to take Rhett. Now the shelter refuses to
answer questions, does not answer phone calls - but apparently has no other
appropriate rescue for this dog.

Here is info on Rhett:

Please voice your concern; email: ;
<>; <>; boardpresident

Call: First Avenue Shelter
3970 W. 1st Avenue
Eugene, Or 97402
(541) 844-1777

Thank you. It is time for animal shelters to live up to the concept of "shelter"
and rehabilitation.

~ Bev

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Video Health Issues Associated with Spay/Neuter

Health Issues Associated With Spaying and Neutering

By Dr. Becker
Whenever I discuss scientific evidence related to the health risks of spaying and neutering here at Mercola Healthy Pets or on my Facebook page, I receive a lot of negative feedback from people who are absolutely certain I’m encouraging pet overpopulation and irresponsible pet ownership. So, I decided to make a video to explain to those who are standing in judgment why nothing could be further from the truth.

I Was Once a Huge Advocate of Spaying or Neutering Every Dog at an Early Age

I started volunteering at an animal shelter when I was 13 years old. I started working there when I was 14. I cleaned cages. By the time I was 17, I had become certified as a euthanasia technician by the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. The ten years I spent working at a kill shelter and the exposure to certain clients and cases in my veterinary practice over the years have taught me more than I ever wanted to know or could share in this video about abused, neglected, and unwanted pets.

When I first opened my animal hospital, I was so adamant about my clients spaying their female pets before the first heat cycle, that if they didn’t follow my advice, I really became upset. I tried not to show it outwardly, but I suggested that those clients might be more ethically aligned with another veterinarian who didn’t feel as strongly about the subject as I did.

That was my politically correct way of saying, “Maybe you should go to another vet,” because I would literally lose sleep over having intact patients in my practice. I spayed and neutered thousands of my patients when they were very, very young, assuming I was completing my moral task as an ethical veterinarian.

Five Years into Private Practice, Many of My Canine Patients Began to Develop Endocrine Imbalances and Related Diseases

About five years after my practice opened, many of my patients started to develop endocrine issues. This was obviously very concerning to me, as these animals were not over-vaccinated. They were all eating biologically appropriate, fresh food diets.
The first light bulb went off in my head when I started researching why up to 90 percent of ferrets die of endocrine imbalance, specifically adrenal disease or Cushing's disease. Mass-bred ferrets that enter the pet trade are desexed at about three weeks of age.

The theory behind why most ferrets develop endocrine imbalance is that juvenile desexing creates a sex hormone deficiency, which ultimately taxes the last remaining tissues of the body capable of producing a small amount of sex hormone – the adrenal glands. So I began to wonder… could the same phenomenon be happening with my dog patients?

By 2006, the number of dogs I was diagnosing with hypothyroidism was at an all-time high. Diagnosing low thyroid levels is very easy compared to the complex adrenal testing required to show that a dog has adrenal disease. I started to wonder if hypothyroidism was just a symptom of a deeper hormonal imbalance in many of my patients. Because even after we got those thyroid levels balanced, the dogs still didn’t appear to be vibrantly healthy or entirely well.

I contacted Dr. Jack Oliver, who ran the University of Tennessee’s adrenal lab, and posed my theory to him. I was stunned when he told me that indeed adrenal disease was occurring at epidemic proportions in dogs in the U.S. and was certainly tied to sex hormone imbalance. Now, whether veterinarians were testing and identifying the epidemic was a whole different story.

In a Flash of Recognition, I Knew My Insistence on Desexing All My Patients at a Young Age Had Created Serious Health Problems for Many of Them

At this point, I became overwhelmed with guilt. For many years, I insisted my clients follow my advice to spay or neuter their pets at or before six months of age. It hit me like a lightning bolt that I was making this suggestion not based on what was physiologically best for my patients, but rather what I felt was morally best for their owners.

As all of the patients that I desexed at a young age cycled through, many of them with irreversible metabolic diseases, I started apologizing to my clients. I apologized to my patients as well. Through my blanket recommendation that all pets be desexed because humans may be irresponsible with an intact animal, I had inadvertently made many of my patients very ill. As a doctor, this revelation was devastating.

I began changing my recommendations on spaying and neutering. I advised my clients to leave their pets intact. Now, you must realize my veterinary practice is filled with wildly committed owners. I am not dealing with uneducated, uncaring, or unreliable clients.

Of course, there were and are exceptions to my advice against desexing. But in general, my recommendation as a holistic vet is to perform any surgery – including spaying and neutering – only when it’s a medical necessity and not an elective procedure.
I recently adopted a stray Dachshund who is intact, and I plan to leave him intact. I am an intact female myself. I am proud to say that I have not experienced a single unplanned pregnancy in my personal life or in my career at my practice as a holistic vet catering to thousands of intact animals.

If you are an irresponsible pet owner who allows your intact pet outside without a leash and direct supervision, this video is not for you. Please sterilize your pet before allowing him or her outside again, as you are contributing to the overpopulation problem. Please rethink how you care for your pet, or consider not having pets.

My Views on Sterilization of Shelter Pets

The subject of spay/neuter is a huge one, and if I were to attempt to cover every aspect of it, this video would be three hours long. Suffice it to say that until we get our nation’s shelter systems revamped, animals will continue to be spayed as juveniles. For now, that’s that. We won’t change anything with this video. Are we pushing for shelter vets to learn ovary-sparing techniques that allow for sterilization without sex hormone obliteration? Yes. But for now, that isn’t happening.

I could have made a dozen different choices in my professional career that would have been satisfying, including being a shelter vet. If I were a shelter vet right now, I would be pushing for sterilization techniques that preserve normal endocrine function. I chose the path of a wellness veterinarian because that resonated the most with my personal goals in life. As I’ve explained, I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve apologized directly to the owners and the dogs that I desexed as puppies before I knew any better.

I am as committed as ever to preventing and treating illness in individual family pets. I’m not, however, advocating the adoption of intact animals to people who may or may not be responsible pet owners. Shelter vets don’t have the luxury of building relationships with their adoptive families, so all the animals in their care must be sterilized prior to adoption. I totally agree with this. I don’t necessarily agree with the method of sterilization being used.

Why I Believe Sterilization, Not Desexing, Is the Better Option

As a proactive veterinarian, I have dedicated my life to keeping animals well. I have learned and continue to learn the best ways to help pets stay healthy and the reasons disease occurs. I am also a holistically oriented vet, which means I view animals as a whole – not just a collection of body parts or symptoms.

I believe there is a purpose for each organ we are born with, and that organ systems are interdependent. I believe removing any organ – certainly including all the organs of reproduction – will have health consequences. It’s inevitable. It’s simply common sense.

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that desexing dogs, especially at an early age, can create health and behavior problems. When I use the term “desexing,” I’m referring to the traditional spay and neuter surgery where all the sex hormone-secreting tissues are removed. When I use the term “sterilization,” I’m referring to animals that can no longer reproduce, but maintain their sex hormone-secreting tissues.

In my view, I would not be fulfilling my obligation as an animal healthcare professional if I chose to ignore the scientific evidence and not pass it on to Healthy Pets readers and the clients at my practice who entrust me with the well being of their animals.

Health Issues Linked to Spaying and Neutering Dogs

Before I discuss some of the health issues now associated with desexing dogs, first let me point out that there are two medical conditions that actually can be totally eliminated by desexing: benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH (enlarged prostate), and pyometra (a disease of the uterus). However, a wealth of information is mounting that preserving innate sex hormones, especially in the first years of life, may be beneficial to pets, whereas the risk of pyometra or BPH in an animal’s first year of life is incredibly low.

Recent research has also discredited a couple of myths about the supposed benefits of early spays and neuters, including:
  • A study from the U.K. suggests there isn’t much scientific evidence at all to support the idea that early spaying of female dogs decreases or eliminates future risk of mammary tumors or breast cancer. This has been a much promoted supposed benefit of early spays for decades. But as it turns out, it’s based on theory rather than scientific evidence.
  • Similar to the situation with early spaying and mammary tumors, there’s a common belief that neutering a male dog prevents prostate cancer. However, a small study conducted at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that neutering – no matter the age – has no effect on the development of prostate cancer.
And now for some of the disorders and diseases linked to spaying/neutering:
Shortened lifespan. A study conducted and published in 2009 by the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation established a link between the age at which female Rottweilers are spayed and how long they live. Researchers compared long-lived Rotties that lived for 13 years or more with those who lived a normal lifespan of about 9 years.

They discovered that while females live longer than males, removing the ovaries of female Rottweilers before five years of age evened the score. Females who kept their ovaries until at least 6 years of age were four times more likely to reach an exceptional age compared to Rotties who were spayed at a younger age.
I spayed my rescued Rottie, Isabelle, when I adopted her at seven years of age. She lived to be 17, and she was still unbelievably vibrant at 17. She slipped on the floor in a freak accident and became paralyzed, which ultimately led to her euthanasia. But she was the oldest and healthiest Rottweiler I have ever met.

With Isabelle, I provided literally no medical care because she didn’t need it. Her body naturally thrived throughout her life. I fed her a balanced raw diet. I checked her bloodwork every six months, which was perfect until the day she died. Isabelle was a great example of a thriving pet that lived above the level of disease. I believe her sex hormones greatly contributed to her longevity and her abundantly healthy life.

Atypical Cushing’s disease. It’s my professional opinion that early spaying and neutering plays a role in the development of atypical Cushing's disease as well. Typical Cushing’s means the middle layer of the adrenal gland is over-secreting cortisol. Atypical Cushing’s involves the outer and innermost layers of the adrenal glands and occurs when other types of hormones are over-produced, usually estrogen and progesterone.

When a dog is spayed or neutered before puberty, the endocrine, glandular and hormonal systems have not yet fully developed. A complete removal of the gonads, resulting in stopping production of all the body’s sex hormones (which is what happens during castration or the traditional spay), can force the adrenal glands to produce sex hormones because they’re the only remaining tissue in the body that can secrete them.

Over time, the adrenal glands become taxed from doing their own work plus the work of the missing gonads. It’s very difficult for these tiny little glands to keep up with the body’s demand for sex hormones. This is the condition of atypical Cushing’s. Hormone disruption is a central feature in Cushing’s disease. Any substance or procedure that affects the body’s hormonal balance should be absolutely evaluated as a potential root cause.

Cardiac tumors. A Veterinary Medical Database search of the years 1982 to 1985 revealed that in dogs with tumors of the heart, the relative risk for spayed females was over four times that of intact females. For the most common type of cardiac tumor, hemangiosarcoma, spayed females had a greater than five times risk vs. their intact counterparts. Neutered males had a slightly higher risk than intact males as well.

Bone cancer. In another Rottweiler study published 10 years ago for both males and females spayed or neutered before one year of age, there was a one in four lifetime risk of developing bone cancer. Desexed Rotties were significantly more likely to acquire the disease than intact dogs. In another study using the Veterinary Medical Database for 1980 to 1984, the risk of bone cancer in large-breed, purebred dogs increased two-fold for those dogs that were also desexed.

Abnormal bone growth and development. Studies done in the 1990s concluded dogs spayed or neutered under one year of age grew significantly taller than non-sterilized dogs or those dogs spayed or neutered after puberty. The earlier the spay or neuter procedure, the taller the dog. Research published in 2000 may explain why: it appears that the removal of estrogen-producing organs in immature dogs – both females and males – can cause growth plates to remain open. These animals continue to grow and wind up with abnormal growth patterns and bone structure. This results in irregular body proportions, possible cartilage issues, and joint conformation issues.

Higher rate of CCL ruptures. A study conducted at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center on cranial cruciate ligament injuries concluded that spayed and neutered dogs had a significantly higher incidence of rupture than their intact counterparts. While large-breed dogs had more CCL injuries, sterilized or desexed dogs of all breeds and sizes had an increased rupture rate.

Hip dysplasia. In a retrospective cohort study conducted at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, results showed that both male and female dogs sterilized at an early age were more prone to hip dysplasia.

Breed-specific effects of spay/neuter. A recent study conducted at the University of California Davis involving several hundred Golden Retrievers revealed that for the incidence of hip dysplasia, CCL tears, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors, the rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered or spayed compared with intact dogs.

Other health concerns. Early spaying or neutering is commonly associated with urinary incontinence in female dogs and has been linked to increased incidence of urethral sphincter incontinence in males.

Spayed or neutered Golden Retrievers are much more likely to develop hypothyroidism.

A cohort study of shelter dogs conducted by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University concluded that infectious diseases were more common in dogs that were spayed and neutered at under 24 weeks of age.

The AKC’s Canine Health Foundation issued a report pointing to higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines in spayed and neutered dogs as well.
Among the reports and studies pointing to health concerns associated with early spaying and neutering, we also find mention of increased incidence of behavior problems, including noise phobias, fear behavior, aggression, and undesirable sexual behaviors.

Options to Traditional Spaying and Neutering

Veterinarians in the U.S. and Canada are trained only to spay and neuter, which is unfortunate since there are less invasive alternatives, such as tubal ligation, hysterectomy, and vasectomy. These techniques are quick and easy and certainly effective. In fact, commonly, once the technique is mastered, they’re faster, less risky and potentially less costly than a full spay or neuter.

But unfortunately, nobody knows how to do them in this country. The reason they’re hard to come by is because U.S. veterinary schools simply don’t teach these alternative procedures. They’ve never had a reason to. And until pet owners start demanding sterilization options beyond spaying and neutering, the status quo will remain.

As author Ted Kerasote and I have discussed on numerous occasions, in many European countries, there are intact free-roaming dogs running about under voice control of their owners. When female dogs go into heat, owners simply manage the situation by removing them from group social events until their heat cycle is complete. They’re kept at home, sequestered away from males. They’re walked on a leash.

Ted tells the story of a British veterinarian he interviewed who said most of the requests he gets to neuter dogs come from U.S. and Canadian citizens who are living in London. Rather than immediately complying with the request, the veterinarian talks with the pet owner about the actual necessity to desex the dog.

For example, if the dog is always on a leash and always under the owner’s control, then how exactly would the dog become pregnant (or mate with a female) if it’s constantly with the owner and never off leash? The veterinarian says that he rarely has a British pet owner request a spay or neuter procedure.

Most Americans can’t even comprehend that it’s possible to keep intact pet dogs and not have millions of litters of unwanted puppies. That’s because we’ve been conditioned to believe that a responsible pet owner means spaying and neutering your dog. I was taught to believe the same thing -- that keeping an intact pet was considered irresponsible even if the owner is meticulously careful about not allowing the pet to breed.

Of course, our dependence on spaying and neutering as the only form of birth control is the result of generations of irresponsible pet owners and millions of unwanted dogs and cats that are killed annually in our animal shelters.

It is a vicious cycle, and it’s a very frustrating cycle to witness. Irresponsible people need to have sterilized pets. No one’s going to argue that point. Unfortunately, spaying and neutering responsible people’s pets doesn’t make irresponsible people any more responsible. They remain the root cause of the overpopulation crisis in this country.

My problem with the spaying and neutering issue is it’s the only current solution to the overpopulation problem. We’re not just halting the animal’s ability to reproduce, we are also removing incredibly valuable sex hormone-secreting tissues like the ovaries and the testes. These organs serve a purpose.

We’re slowly waking up to the fact that in our rush to spay or neuter every possible animal we can get our hands on – the younger, the better – we are creating health problems, sometimes life-threatening health problems, that are non-existent or significantly less prevalent in intact pets.

Responsible Ownership of an Intact Female Dog

First of all, you should know that not everyone is cut out to be the owner of an intact male or female dog. Part of the popularity of full spays and neuters vs. other means of sterilization is that it’s just plain convenient for pet owners. Not only do spays and neuters render the animal unable to reproduce, but they also remove all of the messiness of female heat cycles and most of the pet’s key mating behaviors for both sexes.

Female dogs don’t have monthly periods like humans do. They have one, or usually two heats a year. You can typically tell a female heat cycle is on its way when your intact female’s vulva begins to enlarge. Just like humans there’s bleeding involved, but unlike human females who are not fertile during menstruation, dogs are just the opposite. Female dogs can get pregnant only during heats for about three to four days as unfertilized eggs ripen in their bodies.

Some dogs will signal during this time by flagging, which means lifting the tail base up and to the side. Some females will stand and can be mounted at any time during their heat cycle, including before and after they’re pregnant or fertile. Others show no behavior signs whatsoever. Owners of intact female dogs must be certain of the signs of heat in their pets, so that they can separate them from male dogs during this important time.

Never underestimate the determination of an intact male dog that wants to mate with a female dog in heat. I’m telling you, if you have a female dog, male dogs will come visit her from across a tri-state area because she’s putting out some very attractive pheromones.

With proper training, reinforcement, and constant supervision, however, male dogs can learn to be in the presence of a female while supervised, even when she’s in heat, without mating. Some people with both an intact male and female don’t want to put the effort into managing male dogs around cycling females and simply ship them off to a friend or relative’s house until the heat cycle is over.

If you have a female dog in heat, you should never leave her outside alone even for a second. It doesn’t matter if you have a fenced-in yard. If there’s an unsupervised male around, there’s absolutely a risk of impregnation through the fence (or over the fence, or under the fence).

The heat cycle of a female dog lasts about three weeks, but the menstrual bleeding can be unpredictable during that time. It’s neither consistently heavy nor is it every day, all day. Many owners of intact female dogs invest in special diapers or panties that can hold a sanitary napkin to contain the discharge.

At my house we just get a baby gate, and we gate our special lady of the month in the kitchen area. We put a dog bed in there, and then we just mop a couple of times a day. Typically, female dogs are incredibly good at keeping themselves very clean. Most of the time, there’s very little mess.

Responsible Ownership of an Intact Male Dog

Intact males should receive positive reinforcement behavior training to stop urine marking in the house as well as any humping behavior that may occur.
The intact, male, adult Dachsie we just rescued – his name is Lenny – became Lenny Loincloth after a few days in our house for obvious reasons. He acquired his last name because he marked absolutely every corner of every piece of furniture we own. To reduce this totally undesirable behavior and reinforce healthy housebreaking, we put a belly band on him. We call it his loincloth.

It’s a little diaper that holds his penis to his abdomen. Dogs innately do not want to urinate on themselves; they want to pee and mark on objects. By belly banding him, we reinforce good behavior like going potty outside and not marking in the house. I’m proud to say that in one month’s time, we’ve really helped him kick his marking habit for the most part.

Constant positive reinforcement was really necessary with Lenny, as it is with all dogs. We also discovered the first day Lenny was in our house that he liked to hump everything in sight. He preferred humping pillows and dog beds. We simply picked those pillows and dog beds up. We didn’t give him access to objects that tempted his undesirable behavior. He hasn’t humped anything in three weeks. So there are ways to positively reinforce good behavior and extinguish negative intact male dog behaviors if you put in the effort.

Your unneutered male should never be off-leash unless you are absolutely sure you won’t run into an intact female dog or he’s under constant voice control around all dogs. You also need to be in control of your dog while he’s leashed. If your intact male or female dog is able to jerk away from you when he or she gets excited, then your dog is not under your control despite the leash.

I recommend positive reinforcement behavior training for all dogs, especially intact dogs. And it’s an absolute necessity for powerfully built, intact male dogs. Remaining in obedience class for a dog’s first 16 months of life is an excellent foundation for good manners for the rest of his life.

If your dog becomes assertive, desexing (a full neuter) can be an important part of managing long-term behavior issues. Again, in this instance, if you have an aggressive dog, we must evaluate the risks vs. benefits. The health benefits of leaving a temperamental dog intact do not outweigh the greater risk of this aggressive animal being re-homed, dumped, or abused – or hurting another animal or human. With behavior issues, spaying or neutering can be a logical choice. It’s better to have endocrine disease but be in a loving home, than be disease-free but dumped at a kill shelter for a behavior problem.

Keep in mind that out in the world, at least in North America, you and your intact dog will not have a whole lot of company in this day and age. You won’t be able to take your dog everywhere a spayed or neutered dog is allowed to go. If your dog is a male, prepare to deal with plenty of prying questions and even anger from people who will pre-judge you as totally irresponsible.

When Lenny sees people, he flops on his back and says, “Hello, hello, hello!” Everyone’s comment is, “What are those?” And then “When are those coming off,” pointing to his testicles.

What About My Cat?

Luckily, thus far, research has shown that our feline companions don’t have the same negative long-term physiologic consequences associated with desexing that plague our canine population. We may identify potential links in the future, but thus far, it appears our canine companions are more negatively affected by spaying or neutering.

I made this video so you could understand why I no longer take a cookie-cutter approach to desexing all juvenile pets. The decision to sterilize, spay, or neuter your pet, at what age, and with what technique is a very personal decision that is based on your dog’s breed, temperament, personality, and your commitment to training, lifestyle management, and responsible pet ownership.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Washington State Bill Proposes Criminalizing Help to NSA, Turning Off Resources to Yakima Facility

The state level campaign to turn off power and electricity to the NSA got a big boost Wednesday.

In a bipartisan effort, Washington became first state with a physical NSA location to consider the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, designed to make life extremely difficult for the massive spy agency.

Rep. David Taylor (R-Moxee) and Rep Rep. Luis Moscoso (D- Mountlake Terrace) introduced HB2272 late Tuesday night. Based on model language drafted by the OffNow coalition, it would make it the policy of Washington “to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant.”

Practically speaking, the bill prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. This includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity. It makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.

 It blocks public universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds. And it disincentivizes corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.

Lawmakers in Oklahoma, California and Indiana have already introduced similar legislation, and a senator in Arizona has committed to running it there, but Washington counts as the first state with an actual NSA facility within its borders to consider the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. The NSA operates a listening center on the Army’s Yakima Training Center (YTC). The NSA facility is in Taylor’s district, and he said he cannot sit idly by while a secretive facility in his own backyard violate the rights of people everywhere.

“We’re running the bill to provide protection against the ever increasing surveillance into the daily lives of our citizens,” he said. “Our Founding Fathers established a series of checks and balances in the Constitution. Given the federal government’s utter failure to address the people’s concerns, it’s up to the states to stand for our citizens’ constitutional rights.”

According to documents made public by the US Military, as of 2008, a company called PacifiCorp serves as the primary supplier of electric power, and Cascade Natural Gas Corporation supplies natural gas to YTC. The Kittitas Public Utility District, a function of the state of Washington, provides electric power for the MPRC and the Doris site, but no documentation has yet proven that it also provides electricity used directly by the NSA facility on site.

 And while YTC does provide a bulk of its own water, documents also show that some of it gets there by first passing through upstream dams owned and operated by the State.

The Army report states, “YTC lies within three WAUs whose boundaries coincide with WRIAs, as defined by the State of Washington natural resource agencies.”

WAU’s are Washington State Water Administration Units. WRIAs are Washington State Water Resource Inventory Areas

A Washington company also has a strong link to the NSA. Cray Inc. builds supercomputers for the agency.

If the bill passes, it would set in motion actions to stop any state support of the Yakima center as long as it remains in the state, and could make Cray ineligible for any contracts with the state or its political subdivisions.

Three public universities in Washington join 166 schools nationwide partnering with the NSA. Taylor’s bill would address these schools’ status as NSA “Centers of Academic Excellence,” and would bar any new partnerships with other state colleges or universities.

Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says the bills prohibition against using unconstitutionally gathered data in state court would probably have the most immediate impact. In fact, lawmakers in Kansas and Missouri will consider bills simply addressing this kind of data sharing.

“We know the NSA shares data with state and local law enforcement. We know from a Reuters report that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues. This bill would make that information inadmissible in state court,” he said. “This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. This bill would stop that from happening. This is a no-brainer. Every state should do it.”

Maharrey said he expects at least three more states to introduce the act within the next few weeks.

“This idea is catching fire,” he said. “And why wouldn’t it? We have an out of control agency spying on virtually everybody in the world. We have a president and a Congress that appears poised to maybe put a band aid on it. Americans are realizing if we are going to slow down the NSA, we are going to have to take a different approach. This is it.”


In Washington State: Take action to support HB2272 HERE.

Other states: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shame On Portland Oregon And Treatment of Animals

Friday January 17, 2014
Multnomah County has so far made no public announcement about Mozart’s availability to rescue or if he will be permitted to go to the rescue that has requested him.  A citizen reports that when she contacted MCAS after being forwarded to the agency by the county commission that Mozart remained at MCAS because apparently the owner had not so far picked him up. 
That statement is categorically false. MCAS refused to release Mozart to Mr. Herbold who owned Mozart for 6 years.  On Monday, January 06, Attorney Robert Babcock filed a lawsuit charging MCAS and Director Michael Oswald with the tort of conversion: unlawfully holding the property of another. To date the county records pertaining to this case that were requested by Robert Babcock have not been provided.
There is a report that a staff meeting was held at MCAS on Monday, January 13 to decide Mozart’s fate. The shelter manager then left on vacation and will be gone until January 21.
I believe that the data being considered in the decision are
·         The animal care technician’s notes of Mozart in the shelter (MCAS has no behaviorist; the term used by the agency technician and MCAS is self ascribed; the individual who conducts and conducted this temperament test has a certificate for private dog training). The technician recommended euthanasia.
·         A review of the animal care technician’s notes and her own summaries by a behavior veterinarian who conducted no independent first hand interviews and never saw the dog.
·         The bite: The bite was reported to result in stitches to the hand. The individual went to work: the reason offered for the lack of pictures. There is apparently no photograph of the bite on file. When picture(s) were requested through public records MCAS reported they had none.
His status remains uncertain and all negotiations have been behind closed doors. We will start a petition if silence, lack of communication and uncertainty continue.