Tag Archives: Alabama

Chance gets a second chance

Who would have thought that a self-professed ‘every day working man employed at a scrap metal yard’ would be an animal adoption spokesman?  But that’s what’s happened in Alabama after a 5-month old puppy was found alive in a crushed batch of scrap metal.

Chance rests in a crate after his rescue

Chance rests in a crate after his rescue

“I couldn’t believe he was alive at first, then I couldn’t believe that someone would be that cruel,” Anthony Nicholson said.

Now named Chance, a veterinary check has revealed that the puppy has either a displaced or cracked hip.  Nicholson will pay the money for Chance’s surgery if he can’t raise it through fundraising.  His funding campaign is currently half-way to reaching its target.  Interested readers can donate to help Chance by going to Nicholson’s Go Fund Me site here.

“There are too many rescues and other foundations that will help re-home an animal. Don’t throw one away, and that’s basically what this is about,” Nicholson said.

Be sure to watch the interview about Chance on the Channel 12 website.

Source:  Channel 12, WSFA

367 lives saved

It’s been just over two weeks since 367 lives were saved in a multi-state raid in the United States, the second-largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history.

Photo by the ASPCA

Photo by the ASPCA

The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), called in by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), assisted in seizing 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

‘The lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals’  George Beck, U S Attorney, Middle District of Columbia

Dogs were found in appalling living conditions, with little shelter from the area’s sweltering summer temperatures.

Federal and local officials also seized firearms and drugs, as well as more than $500,000 in cash from dogfighting gambling activities that took place over the course of the investigation. Remains of dead animals were also discovered on some properties where dogs were housed and allegedly fought. If convicted, defendants could face up to five years in prison, as well as fines and restitution.

The dogs, which ranged in age from days-old puppies to 12-13 years, are now receiving medical care and are being assessed for adoptive homes.

These videos show the condition of some of the dogs that were seized during the raid as well as the living conditions they were found in:

The rescue was the result of many agencies working together.  Agencies assisting the ASPCA and the HSUS with the operation included the Florida State Animal Response Coalition and Sumter Disaster Animal Response Team (Bushnell, Fla.), University of Florida (Gainesville), Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport), International Fund for Animal Welfare (Yarmouth Port, Mass.), Asheville Humane Society (Asheville, N.C.), Charleston Animal Society (Charleston, S.C.), Louisiana SPCA (New Orleans), American Humane Association (Washington, D.C.), Greater Birmingham Humane Society (Birmingham, Ala.), Atlanta Humane Society (Atlanta, Ga.), PetSmart Charities (Phoenix, Ariz.), Code 3 Associates (Longmont, Colo.), Montgomery Humane Society (Montgomery, Ala.), and Dr. Melinda Merck.

Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team, participated in the raids and has commented on the realities of dogfighting:

When I first walked on the property, I stared across the yard and saw more than 100 dogs, most of them tied to heavy log chains, anchored to dilapidated dog houses. The dogs ranged from old to young, living on a worn dirt ring that likely had seen generations of dogs come and go to a sad fate.

Most were chained nose-to-nose to their neighbors to ensure continuous arousal.

This cycle begins with being chained at such an early age with little to no positive human or animal interaction. The burden continues with heavy chains, often with additional weights, to drag around their entire lives. The constant noise, arousal and anxiousness push them towards aggression to or from their yard mates. If they don’t respond, their life may end quickly, but if they do, they have sealed their fate of a long, torturous life.

Their only reprieve from the chain is death or brief release to be tested against another dog, eventually going back to the chain with little attention to their wounds. What follows is weeks of intense training and significant human interaction with the person who will commit the ultimate betrayal and force them into a barbaric battle for entertainment and profit. If they survive, they go back again to the chain: A vicious cycle that could go on for years until these dogs finally have no value or fight left in them and are discarded.

Donations to support the care and rehabilitation of these dogs, to any of the organisations involved, will be gratefully accepted.

Sources:

HSUS media statement

ASPCA media statement

Canine remote control?

Just how far will technology take us in interacting with dogs?

Jeff Miller and David Bevly of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, have devised a system to issue cues by remote control.  They’ve published their results in an issue of the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control which is due out soon.

Their system provides guidance to the dog using an embedded command module with vibration and tone generation capabilities. Tests in a structured and non-structured environment show obedience accuracy up to almost 98%.

The system is designed with serious uses in mind – it’s not being designed for the lazy dog owner who doesn’t want to spend time or interact with their dog.

The team has demonstrated that a search & rescue or other working dog can be trained to respond “virtually flawlessly” to remote control tones and vibrations as if they were immediate commands from a human handler.

A detector dog in action

A detector dog in action

Directing detection dogs in areas where human handlers cannot access is one such serious application of the technology.

Source:  EurekAlert! press release

The Mutt-cracker Ballet

Tonight’s the night in Birmingham, Alabama for a holiday ballet with a new twist.  21 dogs will be performing alongside ballerinas in the Birmingham Ballet’s Mutt-cracker.

Proceeds from the performance go to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

Dogs had to audition for roles in the ballet with a dog trainer observing.  A few of the dogs are rescues.

Here’s a few photos of preparations for the big night, courtesy of Tamika Moore, photographer for Al.com:

Muttcracker 3 Muttcracker Muttcracker 2

For the full story, read Dogs in Tutus.

Daniel’s story

Daniel looks like an ordinary beagle.  But he isn’t.  He’s a survivor – quite literally.

In October 2011, Daniel was placed in a gas chamber in Alabama to die with three other unwanted/unclaimed dogs.   The miracle is that Daniel survived the gassing (by carbon monoxide).  The folks at Eleventh Hour Rescue, a rescue organisation that aims to save dogs from high-kill shelters, heard about Daniel and took him to New Jersey to find a forever home.

After fostering, Daniel was re-homed with Joe and Geralynn Dwyer.  Mr Dwyer now is a guest speaker around the country to encourage the banning of gas chambers in the United States and Mr Dwyer is happy to promote Daniel as the face of the anti-gassing law.   The law has been called “Daniel’s Law” in honor of Daniel.    Pennsylvania is the most recent state to enact it.

Only 19 states in the USA have banned the use of gassing as a means of euthanising unwanted dogs and over 4 million animals are euthanised each year in the country.

Here are a couple of video clips of Daniel’s story, starting with his original fostering arrangement:

And on Anderson Cooper: