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March 20, 2012

Reflections from Ernestine; National and Local

I am SO excited I am taking over more and more of this blog each week! Everyone has always accepted that I am Alpha, everywhere! now they finally GET how smart I am.

DOGOpEd, by Ernestine
The dog world today is huge. Dogs are regarded and treated differently than ever before (mostly in a good way). The overall population is out of control, which has resulted in millions of dogs without homes. Some homeless dogs are safe in no-kill shelters; a staggering 4 million dogs will be euthanized this year. A large percentage of the homeless dogs are have good health and good temperament.
The good news is that the number of rescue organizations, shelters, volunteers, bloggers, etc., are wildly increasing as well. News/ magazine articles, documentaries, public support by famous people, the internet community, are all participating in a huge way to educate people about the basic problems; the truth about dogs and dogcare. So, I, Ernestine, a 20lb. JRT, having the elevated position of Roving Reporter and currently, Master Blogger, want to help.
It IS about education. I have watched the people around me grow to understand why spay/neuter programs are vital to address the heart of dog overpopulation; purchasing dogs from a pet store supports ‘puppy mills’ with deplorable conditions, where dogs live in cages their whole lives, misfed, mistreated, unloved, just breeding. And pit bulls. It is totally true that most people are scared of pit bulls. Even that trend is ever-so-slowly turning a corner towards acknowledgement that pit bulls were the favorite family dog in the 1960’s. Their unabused temperament is loving, kissing and lying in the sun. They are also strong and need to be trained; even more so because of the bad press and connection with dog fighting that has increased over the past 20 years.
Why all this when you have heard it before? I am asking you to help– educate other dog people. Find out about fostering, read about Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary and the good they have done nationwide. I asked my staff to include some locally relevent articles in this blog.

Later, Ernestine

Life With Dogs » Dog News »
Pet Store Owner Says Business Booms After Switch from Sales to Adoptions
March 19, 2012
New England pet shop is no longer selling pets – it is saving them, and the store’s owner says it’s a welcome change. Judy Blackington, co-owner of Salem, NH retail outlet Discount Pets, said that at the end of February, she decided to stop selling dogs and instead, is now offering shelter dogs for adoption.

“Instead of buying our puppies off breeders, we decided to take puppies that are about to be killed,” she said. “We’ve saved seven puppies this week and get about 35 a month.”

The store has formed a partnership with Brookside Husky and Lab Rescue in Alton, Maine. Director Nicky Bowman says that after five years in animal rescue, this is her first time working with a retail outlet, and she claims the results are promising enough to warrant consideration of a national movement away from the retail sale of pets.

“We’ve never worked with a pet store like this,” Bowman said. “I think more pet stores ought to do this. I see every day the gruesome reality of puppy mills. We’re making a point to people that breeding really needs to stop because overpopulation is a problem.”

For Blackington, making the change from selling dogs to rescuing them is not only good for her conscience – it’s also been great for business.

“The breeder prices have gone up lately and the puppies haven’t been very healthy,” she said. “The customers don’t like paying $900 for a puppy and then have to spend more on the vet. These dogs are healthier than the ones we’ve gotten from breeders. I think it’s going to be better for the business, and people love it.”

Elizabeth Dobbins, director of the Salem Animal Rescue League, said she was surprised and encouraged to hear that Discount Pet had embraced the concept of promoting shelter animals.

“They’re a retail outfit and there’s a difference between rescue and retail,” Dobbins said, “Pet stores have kind of disappeared around here. Both Sea World and Debby’s Pet Land closed. That’s due to people’s awareness. They vote with their pocketbook and say I’d rather rescue a life than buy from a puppy mill.”

Dobbins said other pet store owners should pay attention, and that we may be witnessing a welcome change in the way pet retailers nationwide attract customers.

“If they are really legitimately trying to save lives, I commend them for that,” she said. “Sadly, there is no shortage of adoptable pets in this country. So there’s room for plenty of us. Maybe that’s a trend of the future, that pet stores would look to go out and rescue animals instead of buying from breeders.”

Potential owners are required to submit an application and allow for a home visit, making for better long-term matches than the typical cash sale. Blackington said that despite the vetting process adopters endure, the store has had no trouble finding families that prefer adoption – in fact, the phone won’t stop ringing.

“We’ve had more people come in than ever,” she said. “They love that we’re an adoption center now and not a puppy store.”

HelpUnchain Dogs in Massachusetts

Sponsored by: Alicia Graef
Chaining dogs is a practice that is considered cruel by many and is not only extremely detrimental to the physical and mental wellbeing of dogs, but also potentially dangerous for humans as chaining can lead to aggression.

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill, HB 2809, that would prevent dog owners from leaving their dogs tied up for more than eight hours at a time and will make it illegal to leave dogs “chained, tethered or confined” outside from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and is supported by the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society.

The bill will also prohibit chaining dogs under 6 months old and put a stop to the use of logging chains, or other materials that are not specifically designed for dogs and require that they weigh no more than one-eighth of the dog’s weight. Language to protect dogs from “cruel conditions or inhumane chaining or tethering,” which includes leaving dogs in filthy conditions, leaving them exposed to being taunted and harassed, or leaving them at risk of attack by other animals.

Violations would result in a warning or minimum of a $50 fine for a first offense, a fine of up to $100 for a second offense and a fine of up to $300 and impoundment of dogs for a third offense.

Please sign the petition supporting legislation that will help chained dogs in Massachusetts.

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