Category Archives: animal welfare

The Ark at JFK

Under construction at New York’s JFK International Airport is the world’s first all-animal airport terminal.

The facility, which will measure 178,000 square feet and cost $48 million, will be called The Ark at JFK.  Its developer, ARK Development, says the facility “has been conceived as the world’s only privately owned animal terminal and USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour,  airport quarantine facility for import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock.”

The terminal will be home to a 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws pet resort featuring a bone-shaped dog pool, pet suites with a flat-screen TV option, massage therapy and a jungle gym for cats.

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

For dogs and other pets on long-haul journeys, this facility promises to offer the highest standard in care.  Can’t wait to see it – it should be open in 2016.

Source:  CNN

Throwaway pups…

This article from the Guardian, Throwaway pup trend makes Britons dogs’ worst enemies is sobering.  It talks about disposable pups, bought with little or no knowledge of how to care for them, and fueling a demand for irresponsible breeding with the subsequent flow-on effects for animal welfare and adoptions.

But what I found really interesting is a quote from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals spokeswoman, Vicki Larkham.  “Millions of dogs aren’t getting off-the-lead exercise outside their home or garden for 10 minutes or more on a daily basis.  Close to a quarter of a million never go for walks on their lead for 10 minutes or more at all.  ”

A minimum of 10 minutes?  Are you kidding?

I support a minimum of 30 minutes, and twice a day.  Most sources I read suggest a minimum of 30 minutes once a day…but 10 minutes?  Where did that come from?

If you think walking a dog for 10 minutes a day will result in a happy, healthy and well-adjusted dog, you are kidding yourself.  Do everyone a favour and don’t get a dog…

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Safe Steps for Australian pets

The Victorian Government has announced a new program to help victims of domestic violence.

“Pets are an integral part of families and we know that women and children are making decisions not to flee violence because they are concerned about the future and welfare of their pet,” said Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos, at the launch.

It is difficult for [family violence] refuges to accept pets.”

Support group Safe Steps said threats against pets were often used as weapons by perpetrators of family violence

Support group Safe Steps said threats against pets were often used as weapons by perpetrators of family violence

“We want to be able to provide them with the support to be able to place the pet with an animal welfare shelter.”

The Government said it would provide $100,000 over the next four years and Safe Steps would work with animal welfare agencies like the RSPCA to implement the program.

The additional funding will lift capacity to house pets at risk while their family members go to shelters to escape abuse.  Until now, there has been a smaller volunteer network to take in pets in foster homes.

The connection between family violence and violence against animals is well documented.  Pets in abusive homes are often targeted and threatened and so women living in abusive situations often do not escape for fear that their animals will be harmed.

Source:  ABC News

Related post:  Sheltering people and pets from domestic violence

A unique photo series

Professional photographer Fred Levy of Maynard, Massachusetts heard about Black Dog Syndrome at the local dog park and decided to use his skills to help combat it.

As described here in my 2013 post, Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon reported by many shelters and rescues.  Black dogs are often depicted in movies and other media as mean, vicious and menacing.   And since many shelter don’t have lighting for ‘ambiance’ these dogs are often not seen in a flattering light.

“A dog shouldn’t be overlooked just because of its coat,” Levy said. “That’s a minor element when it comes to the dog.”

So he’s created a lovely photo series of black dogs using a black background to show off their beauty.

Here are a couple of examples:

Springer spaniel Aki

Aki, a Springer Spaniel

In this Oct. 2013 photo provided by Fred Levy, a black Labrador retriever named Denver poses in Levy's studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

A black Labrador retriever named Denver

And view more of the series on Fred’s website…

Great idea!

Source:  Yahoo news

Punishment for owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather

Illinois lawmakers have endorsed legislation that, if signed, would see owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign into law.

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago.  (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said the bill was inspired by recent cases of dogs during the last Northern Hemisphere winter season; the dogs froze to death.

Although the legislation has passed both the State House and Senate, it needs the Governor to make it a law.  The bill has been opposed by the farming lobby, which fears it will interfere in their businesses.

It’s a progressive piece of legislation in my opinion because animals need our protection and a judge can use his/her discretion in terms of sentencing.

And as for farming, this opens a larger debate about consumption, production economies, and animal welfare – all issues that impact our environment and animals here in New Zealand.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  Chicago Tribune

When a military dog retires…

Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

The US military trains and uses dogs for a variety of reasons – and the dogs and their handlers develop a deep bond with one another.

The 2016 fiscal year military appropriations bill recently passed the House of Representatives and included a provision that mandates that all suitable military animals be made available for adoption. It also says that each animal’s handler — the person who these veterans most trust and rely on — shall be given priority when it’s time to adopt.

The bill is making its way to the Senate and it’s time to let Washington lawmakers know that you think this special provision should stay in the final version.

The Best Friends Animal Society has started an online form that enables you to ask your U.S. senators to support section 594 of the bill.   Follow this link to the Legislative Action Center to take action.

Over the years, I have written a number of stories about dogs, military service, and the health and welfare of these special service animals.  Visit these posts:

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Dogs, biosecurity and Johnny Depp

The recent story about Johnny Depp’s Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, and their deportation from Australia has some lessons in it that I think have been overlooked.

That’s not totally surprising when you have an Australian Minister like Barnaby Joyce fronting to the media with comments like  “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”

Inflammatory, yes.  Headline grabbing – yes.   But lacking in good information for people to understand the Australian position on the dogs and what the public needs to know when arriving in the country.

Happy Dogz salon's Lianne and Ellie Kent with Pistol and Boo; it was the dogs' visit to the groomers and the subsequent Facebook photos that caught the attention of the Australian authorities

Happy Dogz salon’s Lianne and Ellie Kent with Pistol and Boo; it was the dogs’ visit to the groomers and the subsequent Facebook photos that caught the attention of the Australian authorities

Australia and New Zealand have some very unique flora and fauna – thanks to their geographic isolation from other continents.  The countries are also free of diseases like rabies which are a worry in other western countries like the United States and the UK and mean that animals there must be vaccinated (whereas here, they are not).

Animals can be imported to both Australia and New Zealand, but they are subject to quarantine to ensure that they are not carrying any diseases that could run rampant in these sensitive environments.   There are also requirements when importing semen, for example, for dog breeding.

So, Pistol and Boo were a legitimate biosecurity risk and their presence in the Depp party was apparently not declared.  And I hear that the Australian authorities are now investigating this to find out if Depp, or another member of his party, knowingly broke the law.

At this point, I’m prepared to give Depp the benefit of the doubt.  He and his wife love their dogs and are in the fortunate position to be able to fly them in comfort around the world in a private plane (whereas most of us can’t afford to travel long distances with our dogs, let alone worrying about them as they are treated as luggage in the holds of commercial aircraft).

They also have an ‘entourage’ that attends to their personal needs, and so I do wonder just how switched on Depp was in terms of filling out declaration forms on his arrival in Australia.  I suspect someone in his employment took care of these minor details for him – just as someone in his employment took the dogs to the groomers which started this whole saga to begin with.

So the lessons from all of this?

  • Love your dog, travel with them if you can, but understand your destination requirements in terms of quarantine and also your dog’s health
  • Understand biosecurity risks and obey the requirements of the country you are visiting
  • Treat breaches of laws seriously, but with respect for all parties.  Innocent until proven guilty, etc.
  • And use ‘headline grabbing’ stories for educational opportunities -an opportunity that Australia seems to have missed thanks to a headline-grabbing Minister

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand