The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Danish Man Has Committed Suicide After His Dog Was Seized by the Authorities and Euthanized

A Danish man has committed suicide after his dog was seized by the authorities and euthanized in compliance with the country’s Pit Bull legislation.

Under Denmark’s law, the dog’s owner, Dan, was given eight days to prove that his canine, Zanto, was not one of the country’s prohibited breeds.

When Dan, whose last name has not been released, could not prove that Zanto was a prohibited breed, the dog was confiscated and put down. Unable to cope with his dog’s death, Dan, 27, reportedly took an overdose of pain medication and died.

Denmark’s breed-specific legislation, titled the “Dog Act”, requires police to seize and euthanize dogs that “savage” a human person or another dog.

The Dog Act makes illegal the ownership and breeding of 13 breeds of canines, including the Pit Bull terrier, the Kangal, the South Russian Shepherd Dog, the Dogo Argentino, Boerboel and the American Bulldog.

The legislation does not take into account the behavior of any individual dog who falls into one of the prohibited breed categories. The legislation passed in 2010 raised the number of banned breeds to 13.

On April 19, the Facebook page Foreningen Fair Dog Fan side, wrote:

"Zanto (the dog) was ripped out of Dan’s arms, (Zanto’s owner) because he looked like one of the now banned dog breeds, or mixture of both.

Zanto had nothing done, he is a good, devoted and happy dog and has never done a fly mischief. The owner had 8 days to prove Zanto’s creator, but we all know that it is not a possible task.

Dan was given eight days to prove that his canine, Zanto, was not one of the country’s prohibited breeds, but was unable to do so.

There have been many attempts to change Denmark’s breed-specific dog laws, including a petition, none of which has succeeded".

The Animal Law Coalition has cited studies according to which breed-specific legislation and bans have not reduced the number of dog bites in the country. The organization has had this to say about the breed-specific laws Denmark continues to enforce:

Denmark is moving in the opposite direction from other European Union countries that have discovered breed discrimination does not work to prevent or reduce dog bite incidents.

Yet, Denmark’s Dog Act was upheld in 2014.


Yes, This is a Real Chicken

This was originally posted by Fitim Sejfijaj, a member of a Kosovo-based poultry-enthusiast group on Facebook called "Shpeztaria Dekorative," which translates to "Decorative Poultry," the video went viral this week after it was reposted on Twitter.

"Am I the only person wondering why this chicken is so big?" Twitter user @LifesBook_CEO asked the internet. He is definitely not alone. The video of the amazing-looking creature already has 40,000 retweets, 54,000 likes and thousands of comments, so TODAY Food had to get the real deal about this huge bird.

"It's an example of a real breed called the Brahma chicken," Emily Lhamon, a poultry health educator for Penn State Extension, told TODAY.

"I'm short, and these birds come up tall on me," Lhamon said, noting that most males top out at 2½ to 3 feet, max. "They grow to be quite large, but not Great Dane-sized. They are more feathers than they are meat. They're fluffy and look heavier than they actually are."

Weight-wise, they range from about 11 to 18 pounds, in the most extreme cases, Jeannette Beranger, senior program manager for The Livestock Conservancy, told TODAY.

"They are great birds — a laid-back, wonderful breed," Beranger assured us.

In case you're wondering, Brahma chickens are not the result of modern-day GMOs or antibiotics. They've been around since about 1850, through old-fashioned breeding of large birds from Asia. "They bred the two biggest chickens back then to create what they wanted to stylistically," Lhamon explained.

Popular for eating back then, the breed has since fallen out of favor — not because it's not tender enough, but because the birds are expensive to raise because they eat a lot. But they also take longer to mature and get to market than newer breeds of chickens, Lhamon said.

"You could lose your shirt feeding a flock of Brahmas," Beranger agreed. Because of their size, they don't do well in warm climates, and they can be hard to care for. Their feathered feet don't mix well with muddy conditions, for example.

Brahma chickens are considered endangered, but people do eat their eggs (which are a normal size in case you're wondering) and some of the chickens become dinner too.

"As we always say, 'you have to eat them to save them,'" says Beranger. "They are chickens after all and need a job beyond being someone's pet or lawn ornament. For those that are not breeding quality, that job is to be food for the table."

Funnily enough, much like the reaction the birds got on social media this week, the Brahma chickens actually set off "hen fever" in the United States and England, after they were introduced in Europe in the mid-1800s.

"It came to be considered quite trendy to be breeding chickens. It was a gentleman's farmer-type activity to get your name associated with creating something new," Beranger said — not unlike the     hipster obsession with urban farming we're seeing today, we might add.

Curious to get a look at one yourself, in real life? Our experts suggested seeking out poultry shows such as the Ohio National Poultry Show in Columbus, which Lhamon likened to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show of chicken shows. Or you can likely find a show in your own area, nationwide.

"Throughout the country, you're always going find a Brahma chicken at a poultry show," Beranger said. "They're real show stoppers."

With their feathered feet and larger size, Brahma chickens like this one are "show stoppers" at show like the American Poultry Association's, Jeannette Beranger of The Livestock Conservancy says.


46 Dogs Where Flown to New York from South Korea After Being Rescued from Farm Where They Were to be Killed for Human Consumption

New York - 46 dogs where flown to New York from South Korea after being rescued from a farm where they were to be killed for human consumption, animal advocates said Sunday.

The Humane Society International is responsible for saving the dogs that were fed barely enough to survive.

The animals arrived at Kennedy International Airport late Saturday and were headed to emergency shelters in New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania on Sunday.

The farm in Goyang, a city just north of Seoul, "was more like a dungeon, where there's very little light, little to no ventilation, so the stench of ammonia would bring tears to your eyes when you walk through," said Kelly O'Meara, who oversees the society's companion animal-related international projects. "You'd see eyes peering at you, but it was hard to actually see the dogs themselves in the dark."

An estimated 17,000 other such farms still operate in South Korea, said O'Meara. However, she said, it's a diminishing industry in a society where demand for dog meat has been plummeting. Meat from about 2 million dogs still is eaten there each year.

In the United States, the rescued dogs will be available for adoption after the shelters evaluate their behavior and medical needs and make sure each one is ready for a new life in someone's home.

In South Korea, O'Meara said, the dogs receive no veterinary care of any kind.

"They either get through it or they die in their cage and they receive just enough food to get by," she said.

At the seven farms from which the Humane Society rescued more than 800 dogs since 2015, those to be slaughtered included both mixed breed dogs and purebred ones — from a Chihuahua and a Maltese to various spaniels and a Saint Bernard.

A German shorthaired pointer and a miniature pinscher came from the latest farm.

The Washington-based Humane Society International, which relies on private donations, deals directly with farmers to close down and demolish dog meat businesses and help owners financially to transition to other work.

The animals must be taken abroad, O'Meara said, because they're generally not wanted in South Korea as pets or companion dogs. Some had been abandoned pets, and others were raised to be sold as pets but given to the meat industry if that failed.


Shelter Workers Found a Neglected Pony Whose Hooves Hadn’t Been Trimmed in 10 Years

Shelter workers found this pony in a sad state of neglect, with hooves curled around his feet, making it nearly impossible to walk.

They were amazed that the pony could even walk off the trailer. When he arrived at a shelter in Belgium, his hooves were so long, they curled around themselves. It seemed this pony was saved just in time.

A healthy horse, or pony, has their hooves trimmed every few weeks. But this poor pony had been forgotten about, starved and unkempt, living in a makeshift shelter. When the pony was picked up, along with another horse, they stood on a mound of manure nearly two feet high.

The owner finally handed over the pony and horse to the authorities and they were brought to Animaux en Péril, a local sanctuary in Belgium. Rescuers couldn’t believe a pony could survive like this. Not only were his hooves in such bad shape but he was 200 pounds underweight. A healthy Shetland Pony should weigh 450 pounds, he only weighed 154 pounds.

Both Poly and his mate, now named Everest, underwent extensive grooming. They were both shampooed and sheared to rid them of lice and dirt, their hooves were trimmed, then they were wrapped in blankets to keep them warm.

Both Poly and Everest have a long way to go– but each day they are with people who love and care for them, their futures are looking so much brighter.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Law: Animal Abusers to be Displayed in a Registry that is Similar to the Ones that Are Used for Sex Offenders

Now that animal abuse is being taken far more seriously than ever before; more and more jurisdictions are altering their laws to reflect this new reality.

A number of United States jurisdictions have now made laws that require the names of animal abusers to be displayed in a registry that is similar to the ones that are used for sex offenders.

These registries are designed with the objective of keeping people who have harmed animals in the past from ever having the chance to do so again; and they are a welcome addition to the lawmaking policies of places as disparate as New York City and Tampa.

Retail outlets and shelters no longer have an excuse when it comes to providing animals to those who have a history of abuse; as they are required to have a prospective adopter read and sign an affidavit that provides assurance that they are not on the registry.

If you are a regular person who is in search of a pet sitter while you are away on vacation; these registries also take on added value; allowing you to vet candidates more readily and do the proper research before potentially leaving your animals in harm’s way.

The registries are not yet a requirement in all states, but they are slowly popping up throughout the country; in places like New York City (although theirs is not able to be viewed by the general public); Tennessee (whose is statewide) and Cook County, Illinois.

For those who consider pets to be family members, this is welcome news.

Perhaps individuals who consider hurting animals-animal abusers in the future will reconsider their actions; if they are aware of the fact that their name will end up on a list that is easily searchable.

Having actual documentation to use makes life simpler for animal lovers, as well as law enforcement.


William Dodson, The Man Who Taped a Dog’s Muzzle in 2015, Will Spend 15 Years Behind Bars

By now, you’ve likely heard about Caitlyn, the dog whose muzzle was taped so tightly that she risked losing her tongue and suffering permanent damage to her nasal passage.  She’s absolutely thriving now, and her abuser was sentenced to five years in prison for what he did to her, to be served concurrently with a 15-year sentence for other crimes.The 15-month-old chocolate pit bull mix was found in June 2015 on the porch of a South Carolina resident who called 911 after seeing what horrible shape she was in.

She was taken to the Charleston Animal Society, who got her immediate medical attention.  The blood flow had been completely cut off from her tongue, making the situation quite delicate.  When the tape was removed, Caitlyn screamed in excruciating pain.“It was 36 hours of torment,” CAS spokesman Alwin Roman told the court.

Caitlyn’s former owner, William Dodson said he taped her snout shut because she wouldn’t stop barking.  He was charged with felony ill treatment of an animal, and was indicted in February 2016.  He will serve 5 years for what he did to Caitlyn, but it will be served concurrently with a 15-year sentence he received for a federal drug and weapon conviction.Dodson made no apologies for what he did, and Judge R. Markley Dennis Jr. told the abuser that he wished the sentence could be longer.Meanwhile, Caitlyn is doing wonderfully in her loving new home.  She has fans all over the world and is an ambassador for animal welfare.

To learn more about this case, please read the following posts:

$1,000 Reward for Information Leading to the Arrest/Conviction of the Person(s) Responsible for Taping a Dog's Muzzle Together with Electrical Tape

William Leonard Dodson Has Been Arrested in the Animal Cruelty Case of Caitlyn the Dog That Was Found with Electrical Tape Tightly Wound Around Her Muzzle

Caitlyn, The Dog Found with Her Muzzle Taped Shut is Making a Remarkable Recovery

Caitlyn the Dog Who Suffered Grotesque Injuries After Her Snout Was Taped Shut with Electrical Tape is on the Mend

Caitlyn, The Pit Bull Who Was Found with Her Muzzle Taped Shut Will Be in Shirtless Firefighters Calendar

Do You Remember the Story of Caitlyn? The Dog Who Had Her Muzzle Taped Shut: Take a Look at Her Now


Monday, March 27, 2017

iSpeakDog: A Website Devoted to Becoming Dog Literate

An easy way to become dog fluent

I'm pleased to announce a new group called iSpeakDog that focuses on the details of dog behavior, communication, and emotions. I'm also very glad that I was able to do an interview with its founder, dog trainer and journalist Tracy Krulik. Our exchange went as follows.

Why did you form iSpeakDog?

The tipping point for me was the day I saw a man hit his Pointer for growling in a crowded veterinary lobby. The room was packed with dogs, cats, and people, and this Pointer was stationed right next to the door and the reception desk. She became visibly more uncomfortable as each person and dog walked in, and she had no way to hide. So this Aussie walks in and sniffs her, and she growls. I’m thinking, “I can’t believe it took her THIS long to growl,” and, “Good girl! Give him a warning signal rather than biting him.”  But the man hit her and apologized to the Aussie’s owner, saying that his dog can be so aggressive. I nervously (not wanting to get hit myself!) commented that she looked scared to me--pointed out the crowded room, the tucked tail, the massive eye whites showing, the shifting body weight, etc.—and explained that dogs often growl when they are scared, to ask things to back off. The man immediately softened, said that he hadn’t thought of it that way, and then gave the pooch a kiss on the head.

To read more on this story, click here: iSpeakDog: A Website Devoted to Becoming Dog Literate


Humane Rescue Alliance Partners with # iSpeakDog to Bridge the Communication Gap Between People and Their Dogs

Global Awareness Campaign and Website Launch Week of March 27 – April 1, 2017

Washington, DC: To help improve the relationship people have with their dogs, The Academy for Dog Trainers the Humane Rescue Alliance, The Bark Magazine, and The Pet Professional Guild have teamed up to launch iSpeakDog, a global campaign and website designed to help people better understand dog body language and behavior.  The Humane Rescue Alliance is proud to participate as a local partner to provide resources and share knowledge with dog guardians in the Washington, DC region.

iSpeakDog, which will launch as a weeklong campaign March 27 – April 1, 2017, comes at a time when canine behavior is being studied more than ever — revealing that people often misinterpret what their dogs are doing and saying. Sadly, millions of dogs are punished and even relinquished to shelters each year because of ‘behavior problems,’ which are often simply dogs being dogs.

“When people understand and appreciate dogs for the species that they are, that’s when the fun really starts,” says Jean Donaldson, founder of The Academy for Dog Trainers and author of Culture Clash. “Dogs chew and dig and bark and jump because these things are enjoyable to them, not because of some power struggle. With iSpeakDog, our goal is to empower people to separate out all the bad information that floods the Internet and media, and help them learn the truth about their pups so that they can respond more effectively and compassionately.”

To test if there really is a knowledge gap between what people think their dogs are doing and what is really happening, Alexandra Horowitz, renowned ethologist and bestselling author of Inside a Dog, conducted a study in 2009. She tested whether the infamous “guilty look” that many people claim to see in their dogs after they pee on the rug or tear up the couch is, in fact, a look of guilt. Her research found that it was not. Instead, the look represented dogs who were afraid of being punished.

Along those same lines, there are numerous videos online and on TV of dogs ‘being funny,’ but more often than not, the dogs in the videos are actually scared.
“We are proud to partner with iSpeakDog and provide dog adopters with great tools to help them understand the body language and behavior of their canine friends,” said Alexandra Dilley, Director of Behavior and Training for HRA.  “We encourage all dog guardians in our community to use these invaluable resources.”

The website,, will help teach people how to figure out for themselves what their dogs are doing and why. The site will break down the common behaviors shown by dogs that tend to frustrate their guardians (i.e. jumping up on people, chewing shoes and pulling on leash) and explain the different emotional states that can drive such behavior (i.e. growling and snapping is often a sign that the dog is scared).

The iSpeakDog campaign will include dog behavior and body language educational opportunities across the globe — including a free webinar on “How to Speak Dog,” on Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. E.T. ( — as well as social media events including Ask the Expert on Facebook.

More about iSpeakDog
Those looking to participate in the campaign on social media or to learn more should use the #iSpeakDog hashtag and follow iSpeakDog on Facebook ( and Twitter (@iSpeakDogWeek).

About the Humane Rescue Alliance: 
The Humane Rescue Alliance (formerly the Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League) has protected and served the animals of the community for more than 145 years and serves more than 60,000 animals annually. The broad range of programs offered include: rescue and adoption, humane law enforcement, low-cost veterinary services, animal care and control, behavior and training, spay-neuter services, humane education, and many others. The organization is dedicated to ensuring the safety and welfare of all animals, bringing people and animals together, and working with all communities to support these relationships. HRA is based in Washington, DC, the only major urban area in the country that has all of its animal protection programs and services unified in one organization, making the Humane Rescue Alliance a model for the nation.

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