Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating Three Huge Victories for Virginia Animals!




Hello Advocates!

This last legislative session in Virginia was a historical
 one for animals. We are thrilled to say that THREE bills
 are now signed into law that will provide critical 
and necessary protections for Virginia's most vulnerable
 animals. Your contributions to Humane Dominion 
enabled us to tip the scales just enough to get these 
bills passed. This is a game-changing year for us 
at Humane Dominion, the legislature in Richmond, 
and for the future of animal welfare in Virginia. 
And this has all been possible because of YOU!

We've gone into some detail about our victories on 
our website, but here is a brief recap of each one. 
You will find a link to each of the major sponsors 
of each bill below and we ask that you take time to
email each of these champions and thank them for 
supporting animals. Below you will also find a link 
to the Virginia Legislative Information System for 
each bill. Please take the time to visit the page and 
thank the co-patrons and patrons for each bill.

HB 972, known as the Pet Protective Order, was 
introduced by Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge. 
This law gives people who file domestic violence 
charges against a partner the power to obtain custody 
of their family pets and prohibits further violence 
directed toward the pet. Virginia LIS page for HB 972

SB 228, also known as Bailey's Law, led by Sen. Chap Petersen
D-Fairfax, passed unanimously, This requires pet stores 
to inform customers about the source of their dogs. 
This measure is designed to prevent people
 from unknowingly purchasing a dog bred by a 
cruel puppy mill. 
Virginia LIS page for SB 228

SB 42, championed by Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, 
finally passed after three hard fought years. 
Fox pens host staged competitions where wild-caught 
foxes are thrown in electrified-fenced enclosures for 
dogs to chase down. This bill phases out existing pens, 
and prohibits any new fox pens from being opened, 
sparing the lives of thousands of foxes in the future. 
Virginia LIS page for SB 42

Policy is true prevention - Prevention from more 
animals being caught in the cycle of suffering. 
Because we at Humane Dominion know that we 
can not prevent suffering until we strengthen the 
laws that protect animals.

We can't rest and must continue to strengthen 
Humane Dominion and our grassroots base in 
preparation for the 2015 legislative session and 
elections.  While we are successful this session 
showed the true colors of several legislators 
who voted against our protection bills and made 
themselves known to be an enemy of the animals.  
We must focus on these obstructionists and continue 
to build a more humane General Assembly.

Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities this summary 
to support our work.  THANK YOU for your support.  
Our victories are only made possible because of YOU!


- Laura Donahue

Speaking for the Silent: A Voice for Virginia's Animals

Working together to ensure the compassionate and 
humane treatment of Virginia's animals.

Remember Michael Vick's Disgusting Dog Fighting Ring? 7 Years later...

Remember Michael Vick’s Disgusting Dogfighting Ring? Well, 7 Years Later… Check this Out.

April 10, 2014Stories
In 2007, a group of dogs were saved from organized torture in NFL player Michael Vick’s backyard. His dog fighting ring was liberated and he was put in jail for his atrocities.
Many people believed that the dogs found at his house weren’t fit to live in homes, because of their killer instincts. That just isn’t true, and the Best Friends Animal Society agrees. They took in 22 dogs, which became known as “Vicktory Dogs.” They were saved from that horrible place… and found loving, amazing homes. They found ‘victory’ in love.
Here are their stories.
Many people believed the dogs were too “damaged” to find proper homes.Many people believed the dogs were too "damaged" to find proper homes.
Help the ASPCA raise dog fighting awareness by sharing this article. No dogs are “natural killers,” with vicious instincts. Humans teach them those barbaric behaviors… and humans can put an end to it.
Dogs are meant to be loved in forever homes, not treated like dirt. Please share this with others.


Friday, April 4, 2014

How can I stop my dog from jumping the fence and running away?

How can I stop my dog jumping the fence and running
away?
Dogs jump fences for many different reasons such as:
• He sees an animal or something else that he feels compelled to chase.
• The dog sees a friendly person or dog she'd like to meet.
Perhaps your dog is bored and looking for something to do, or looking for you. Some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety
• A dog could find it frightening to be left alone in a yard.
• A dog might learn to associate the yard with anxiety, fear or loneliness.
• Dogs can also wander to search for mates so it is important to talk to your vet about spaying and neutering.
• Sometimes dogs can hear things on the other side of the fence and jump over to investigate.
It'€™s very important to work out the underlying cause for the jumping.
Knowing why a dog is jumping over a fence is the first step to addressing the issue.
Make sure all of your dog's physical, social and behavioral needs are being met.
Is your dog is getting enough daily physical exercise? It'€™s important to provide daily exercise such as going for a walk and/or visiting a park. This also provides your dog with new and interesting smells and environments in which to seek and explore.
Are they receiving enough daily attention and social company?
Does your dog have environmental enrichment?
Does your dog have safe dog toys to play with?
If your dog likes to dig, do they have a designated digging area?
Do they have food, water and shelter and a comfortable sleeping area?
Do they have access to a toilet area?
Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? You should talk to your vet for advice.
How long is your dog left on their own? If a dog is left for long periods alone this can lead to boredom and frustration which can then lead to wandering and jumping. It'€™s important to minimize the time left alone in the yard. Try organizing for a dog walk in the middle of the day to break up the time period in the yard.
Is your dog fixed? Unfixed dogs are more likely to wander in order to find a mate to breed with so talk to your vet about spay and neuter.
If you are in the yard with your dog it is unlikely they will try to jump the fence while you are there as they usually prefer to stay with you. However if your dog looks interested in jumping, catch their attention by calling them or grabbing their favorite toy or tasty food treat. When your dog responds to you and comes towards you, always reward them for this. Continue to reward them when they move away from the fence and come towards you.
In addition to ensuring all of your dog€™s needs are being met and ruling out other underlying causes for jumping such as separation anxiety or searching for mates to breed with, here are a few suggestions to prevent your dog even being able to jump the fence.

Use PVC plastic piping or large rubber tubes, at least 5 to 6 inches in diameter, cut lengthwise down the centre. Place them along the top of your fence. This makes a curved, slippery surface that a dog cannot get a grip on to get over the top of the fence.

Alternatively, place a small diameter PVC pipe inside a larger diameter pipe and hang these on a cable I suspended above the fence to create a €roller bar€™ which a dog€™s paws cannot hold onto.
Erect a shorter, interior fence two or three feet from the outside fence, preventing him from getting a running start. Plant shrubs a couple feet from the inside of the fence, again breaking that running start.

• Place "cat netting" along the fence at an angle so that your dog cannot get a foothold on the fence.
Article ID: 14
Last updated: 11 Feb, 2014
Companion animals -> Dogs -> Behavior -> How can I stop my dog jumping the fence and running away?
http://kb.rspca.org.au/entry/14/

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wytheville Dogs in a Box

March 23, 2014

New York organization helping animal lover provide better home for dogs

WYTHEVILLE, Va. — Eleven dogs that wandered Wythe County homeless and hungry found refuge when a man took it upon himself to love them and make them part of his family, but he needed help to make their lives better. Local supporters and a New York organization have come together to give the canines and the man who cares for them a better life.

The 11 dogs were living in a box, but that was all their owner, Michael Thomas, could afford to give them. Thomas has traumatic brain injury, but he cares a lot for his dogs and works hard to take care of them, said Robert Misseri, founder and president of Guardians of Rescue in Smithtown, N.Y.

A private investigator sent to check on the dogs’ situation learned that Thomas was doing the best he could for them, Misseri, who was in Wythe County, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

“While Mr. Thomas is not the most ideal pet owner, he is not intentionally neglecting the animals; instead, he lacks the resources to provide them with more. If this was intentional neglect, we would have taken another approach.”

The makeshift plywood shelter Thomas built for his dogs was primitive, but no worse than his trailer lacking water and electricity, Misseri said. He works hard to make sure they have food and water.

“I won’t sit here and try to make excuses for the shelter he has had for them, but my argument is that he loves his dogs very much. They are his family. We spoke to locals, and they said he walks four-and-a-half miles just to pick up food and water for them,” Misseri said. “In his eyes, he’s doing to best he can. And now in our eyes, he’s doing the best he can for them.”

Besides protecting his dogs from the elements, Thomas also constructed their makeshift home to guard against coyotes,  which are a problem in Wythe County, Misseri added. Thomas understands that he needs help with the dogs.

Guardians of Rescue and other volunteers have built a new, large doghouse to shelter the 11 canines. And after the Guardians have departed, the Wytheville-Bland Animal Welfare League will check on Thomas and the dogs regularly to provide them with assistance.

“They’re going to be our eyes and ears. We’ll provide the resources, but they’ll be local and be here all the time,” Misseri stated.

“He doesn’t have the money or the knowledge of better keeping, but through education, he’s going to be learning and the dogs are going to be better situated. They’ll be very happy in their new environment, and we’ll always make sure they get the veterinarian care that they need,” Misseri added. “He said he would not give up his pets for a million dollars, but he welcomed our help in providing a shelter for his dogs. If we walk away from these animals and not provide the shelter or the compassion they need, then we are equally as negligent.”

The Guardians of Rescue planned to have the new doghouse completed by Saturday. Based in New York, the organization’s mission is to protect the well being of animals. Its members provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to family, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. The organization can be reached at www.guardiansofrescue.org.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

$5 spay and neuter for Roanoke zip code 24017




(855)HIP-SNIP(855) HIP-SNIP    www.MountainViewHumane.org


Mountain View Humane Offers $5 Fixes for Dogs and Cats 
Living in the Roanoke City Zip Code 24017

Mountain View Humane (MVH), a low cost/ high quality spay/neuter clinic
 with locations in Roanoke and Christiansburg, is offering $5 
dog and cat sterilizations with rabies vaccination for any 
pet living in the 24017 zip code area, thanks to a grant 
from PetSmart Charities® and matching funds from the 
City of Roanoke. This grant will cover the cost of the spay/neuter
 surgery and a rabies vaccine if needed. Residents living 
in 24017 can call (540) 562-8440 (540) 5 to make 
an appointment for one of the "$5 fixes".

"PetSmart Charities and the City of Roanoke have provided the 
funding for this fantastic deal.  This is up to a $100 savings 
for some pet owners ," says Corrie Prater, Director of Marketing 
for MVH. "We really want to see pet owners in 24017 take 
advantage of these $5 spay/neuter surgeries to help 
reduce the pet population." 
         
Residents who live anywhere else in the City of Roanoke 
and think they would qualify as low-moderate income, can 
fill out a financial aid application at our website 
www.MountainViewHumane.org and see if they qualify
 for financial assistance. Thanks to the City of Roanoke, 
the Johnson Foundation, and the Bosley fund for funding 
this offer for Roanoke City residents.

Mountain View Humane is a 501(c)3 organization that 
relies on grant funding and donations to offer low-cost 
sterilization services for pet owners in the community. 
For more information, call toll free (855) HIP-SNIP or 
visit the website www.MountainViewHumane.org 

####

About Mountain View Humane Mountain View Humane is a 
501(c)3 nonprofit organization in a collaborative effort among 
the Roanoke Valley SPCA; the governments of Montgomery County 
and Roanoke City, Virginia; the Virginia-Maryland Regional 
College of Veterinary Medicine; Animal Hope Alliance; 
and the Montgomery County Friends of Animal Care and Control. 
Mountain View Humane operates two clinics in Southwest Virginia, 
the Waldron-Ricci Spay Neuter Clinic in Christiansburg and the 
Sabrina & Lucky Garvin Spay Neuter Clinic in Roanoke. 
For more information about Mountain View Humane and its services, 
volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, please call 855-HIP-SNIP 



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Dogs Bad Insurance!

Pit Bull Owners Find That Good Dogs Face Bad Insurance Policies

Posted: Updated: 
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Any pit bull owner can tell you: Good dogs sometimes face bad policies.
But who wouldn't want to insure Elle? This 5-year-old therapy dog sits with children in a North Carolina library to help them get more comfortable with reading. She was named the 2013 American Hero Dog by the American Humane Association -- and got to hang out with Betty White at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
betty white elle dog
Elle and Betty White pose during the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 5, 2013. Photo by Ryan Miller/Getty Images
"She has never bitten anybody," Elle's owner, Leah Brewer, told The Huffington Post. "She has been a victim," attacked once by a German shepherd mix and another time by a Jack Russell terrier, and "both times she didn't retaliate."
Brewer's homeowner's insurance company -- she declined to give its name, citing concerns relating to living "in a small town" -- classifies Elle as a "dangerous dog," due to nothing other than her appearance. Or they would, if anyone brought Elle's appearance to the company's attention.
Despite Elle's very public profile -- she's been on on the "Today" show, hobnobbing with celebrities and being celebrated as a model dog in the pit bull advocacy community, and her Facebook page, "Elle the Pit Bull," has almost 200,000 likes -- Brewer says that until now, she's made it a point not to mention Elle's breed to her insurer, worried that her coverage would be dropped.
It's the reason that Spencer Lund, an insurance agent with Farmers, uses photos like this to make sure potential customers know he'll work with pit bull owners:

"I know the struggles that bully breed owners go through," said Lund. "I am a pit bull owner myself.
Those struggles can be agonizing. Some jurisdictions have laws called "breed-specific legislation" that forbid people from keeping certain dogs, like pit bulls, Akitas, chows and wolf-hybrids. BSL has been decried by everyone from the American Kennel Club to President Barack Obama, and states around the country have enacted or are considering legislation that stops localities from discriminating against certain breeds. But even when the dogs aren't banned outright, landlords often have anti-pit bull policies in place, leaving families to choose between housing and their beloved pet.
"I can't find a place unless I give up my dog, and everyone tells me to, but I can't do that," said one pit bull owner, Carol Devia of California, who recently told ABC Newsthat she, her husband and their two sons chose to live in their car when they couldn't find an apartment that would accept their dog Rocco.
Donna Reynolds, the director of pit bull advocacy group BAD RAP, said that the Devias' situation isn't unusual. "What we're finding is our inbox is filled with people who say 'I'm about to go homeless, can you take my dog?'" she said.
Insurance companies refusing to cover families with pit bulls is just another of these systemic problems. But while the laws against pit bulls can be chalked up to politics, and landlords' refusals can be chalked up to fear, insurance is a numbers-based business. What do insurers see in these dogs that advocates don't?
* * * * *
"They do this based on their actual claims information," said Bob Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. "It's based on their actual experience paying claims."
The average dog bite claim, Hartwig explained, "is about 25 times what the average person pays for their annual premium." According to the III's most recent figures, insurers paid out almost $500 million for dog bite claims in 2012. The overall number of claims has gone down, but the average cost per claim has gone up by more than $10,000 in the last decade.
III doesn't itself examine breed statistics, but Hartwig said that insurers view dog breed as they would any other risk factor, "the same way we would as the slope of your roof or the distance to the coast. The risk factor is an underwriting factor. And a number of insurers, in the data they have seen, have seen enough of these claims that it has caused them to, in some cases, reduce or not be willing to insure individuals with dogs of a certain breed."
Insurers ask dog owners to identify their pet's breed, Hartwig explained. "The presumption is that the owner knows what breed of dog it is," though a dog bite victim may also be asked to identify a dog's breed.
"Insurers are not doing, to my knowledge, genetic testing to ascertain the pedigree of a dog," he said.
"We do rely on self-reporting," said Janet Masters, a spokeswoman for American Family Insurance, a company that got attention recently for dropping a longtime customer who owns a pit bull.
Masters said to HuffPost that the company's decision not to insure homes with pit bulls or certain other breeds is hardly unique among insurers, and "is based solely on claims experience and statistical information from objective sources, such as the CDC and III."
* * * * *
Except that, again, III doesn't examine data about dog breeds. And as for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its widely cited 2000 report on dog bites -- which did find certain breeds, especially "pit bull-type dogs" and rottweilers, to be involved in more attacks than others -- is straightforward about its own limitations. The report's authors themselves say their findings should not be used to support breed-specific legislation, but recommend that "an alternative ... is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior."
The most recent comprehensive examination of dog bite data was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association this past December. The researchers, who included the lead author of the CDC's 2000 study, compiled much more extensive case histories than the CDC had previously. And this time, the researchers concluded that breed was not a significant contributing factor in fatal dog bites. What were found to be the salient factors? Things like the owner failing to neuter or spay their dog, the owner's abuse or neglect of the dog and the failure of someone to intervene once an attack got started.
In more than 80 percent of the 256 dog bite fatalities the JAVMA researchers examined, breed could not even be reliably determined.
These figures are in line with a National Institute for Health study from 2009, looking at dogs identified at pit bulls in Florida animal shelters. That study also found that most people are fairly bad at identifying what breed of dog they're interacting with. (Here's an online test that lets you try to pick out which pit-appearing dog is an actual pit bull.)
"The authors report that shelter staff named twice as many dogs as 'pit bulls' based on visual inspection as were identified as 'pit bulls' based on DNA analysis," summarizedThe National Canine Research Council. "Further, shelter staff frequently disagreed with each other regarding the breed composition of the more than 100 dogs examined."
Given all this, some insurers, like State Farm, aren't basing their underwriting decisions on breed. In fact, the company doesn't even ask about a dog's lineage. Instead, when someone applies for homeowner's insurance, State Farm asks if the dog has ever bitten anyone.
"Decisions are made on a case by case basis for those instances," State Farm spokeswoman Heather Paul told HuffPost. "Pit bulls in particular are often misidentified when a bite incident occurs, so reliable bite statistics related to the dogs' breed are unreliable and serve no purpose."
* * * * *
Brewer told HuffPost she's in the process of switching over to State Farm (and signing Elle on as a State Farm spokesdog). She's making the switch in part because she wants to feel assured that her insurer won't suddenly drop coverage upon discovering Elle's provenance, and in part to send a message that "an insurance company that practices fair treatment to customers speaks volumes," she said. "It means a lot that they are treating my dog like a part of the family, recognizing that dogs are individuals and understanding that I am a responsible pet parent."
elle the pit bull
Elle is seen here meeting with her State Farm agent John Grimes.
There is reason to hope more insurers will follow suit: Hartwig says that homeowner's insurance is indeed a "competitive market," and -- with dogs in nearly half of American households, and 20 percent of those adopted from shelters, according to the American Humane Society -- he expects consumer pressure will influence other companies' underwriting decisions with regard to dogs.
Even American Family appears open to change. Masters, asked how her company would incorporate the JAVMA study into its underwriting decisions, said she wasn't aware it had been reviewed yet. But, she said, "what I can tell you is we are always reviewing new information as well as claims data, and evaluating our policies to make sure we're serving and benefiting all our customers."
As for Elle, Brewer isn't even 100 percent certain that her dog is actually a pit bull.
"I'd have to get her DNA tested," she said, "to know for sure."
The image at the top of this story has been changed from one of a bull terrier at a computer to a pit bull type dog kissing a person.
Do you love your pit bull? Please email us with your dog's photo and name at pitbullpics@huffingtonpost.com and complete the sentence "My pit bull ..." and we may feature your pooch on the site.