Houston SPCA caring for dogs seized from filthy trailer

Owner says circling UFOs made the animals unhealthy

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Dec. 13, 2008, 8:56PM

James Nielsen Chronicle

Dr. Dev Rajan, of the Houston SPCA, holds one of the terriers seized from a trailer in Fayette County earlier this month.

Houston SPCA veterinarian Roberta Westbrook lifted a trembling toy English fox terrier into her arms Saturday afternoon to examine the dog’s emaciated body.

The spine and ribs of the malnourished terrier were visible. The dog’s nails were overgrown and her tiny paws were soiled from living in her own feces. The dog was among 42 terriers brought to the Houston SPCA Friday from the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter in Fayette County.

Authorities in Fayette County seized the dogs on Dec. 3, after they were found living in a 5-by-9 foot trailer — eating, sleeping and giving birth in their own waste — with a woman who claimed the terriers were unhealthy because UFOs were circling above her home, said Houston SPCA spokeswoman Meera Nandlal.

“We don’t know if she was breeding them or why she was living with them in such a small space, ” Nandlal said.

Authorities in Fayette County could not be reached for comment on Saturday. It is unknown at this time if any charges will be brought against the woman.

The animal shelter enlisted the Houston SPCA’s help to house and care for the 40 dogs, some of whom are as old as 10. The terrier Westbrook was examining gave birth to two female puppies since she was removed from the trailer.

Most of the dogs are in poor physical condition. Two of them are missing limbs for unknown reasons.

“They could be purebred, but not the best standard,” Westbrook said.

All the dogs will undergo medical and behavioral evaluations. After being cleaned and treated, healthy dogs will be put up for adoption, Westbrook said, adding that those who need more time to recover will be placed in foster care.

The Houston SPCA often sees many large animal seizures, Nandlal said. Recently, the organization took in 70 feral cats.

“Unfortunately, it’s not unusual, ” she said. “There are all kinds of animals that are put into situations they have no control of.”

Soup kitchen opens up for dogs in Berlin

  • Homeless group
  • Homeless woman with dogs
  • a homeless man with his dog

A soup kitchen for dogs has opened up in Berlin.  The soup kitchen, opened up by Claudia Hollm, is called Animal Board. They provide meals for dogs of the homeless, and also to people who have recently lost their job.  Animal Board is supported by several companies, including makers of animal food.

A soup kitchen exclusively for dogs has opened its doors in Berlin providing pets of the homeless and unemployed with a free meal, the director of the establishment said on Friday.

Despite the looming financial crisis, director Claudia Hollm dismissed criticism that it may be more sensible to collect money for humans than for dogs.

“Nowadays people underestimate dogs. They are incredibly important for those who lack social contact with other humans,” Hollm told Reuters.

“Making sure dogs don’t go hungry is just as important as making sure that people don’t starve,” she added.

Animal Board has been lucky enough to benefit from sponsorship from several companies, including some animal food companies. One woman who used the service for her dogs, cats and her rabbit told a local newspaper:

Without this animal bread line, I’d probably starve to death.

Berlin is currently becoming very animal friendly as last month the city opened a bus service that caters just for dogs, ferrying the animals to and from their day-care centres.

A dog in chains

The dog stood shivering with cold aching with loneliness staring pitifully as we drove by. His chain was a short and he had barely enough room to make it to his water bowl. I wondered , as I have so many times in the past, why anyone would bother to have an animal just to leave it neglected, alone and chained.  Was this poor animal supposed to be some sort of security?  He could not have been more than six months old at the most.

I fought with myself to go back, go back and rescue this miserable creature. But the law was stuck in my head and the thought of what would be like stealing, overcame my hearts desire.  I could not decide ethically’ which would be the greater ‘wrong’.

As many of you sit and read what I have written I am sure you feel like the decision would be easy for you, I know because I would be the same.

And yet I passed by, not once, not twice, but day after day.

I saw the animal suffer the cold and then the heat, some days no water was accessible for him to drink as the blazing heat beat down on him. His only shelter was the shade and branches of the tree that he was chained to.

I considered myself a great dog advocate and yet I did nothing. I felt felt guilty (horribly guilty) but my guilt did not save this puppy, or give him a nurturing safe home.

At that point in time I was unaware of the fact that I could report this neglect and abuse. I did not know that is was legally considered an actual act of abuse, although a very gray area.

Since that time ( this was many years ago) there has been a bill introduced, this year in fact in February to go into effect October 1st. The HB-1023-Restraint of dogs bill.

Unfortunately so it seems it was withdrawn a mere eight days later. But the attempt does show that this is a serious concern for many. There are other states that do have dog restraint laws and hopefully it will be re introduced at some point in the near future and passed in Florida.

I am writing this particular article because I know that many of you out there that are like me, or how I once was.

You may see an abusive situation but are unclear and unsure of what to do.

Call animal control, call the sheriff’s department, report what is going on. Animal neglect and or abuse is something that can be stopped. It is our responsibility as the race with consciousness to protect our animals, animals that trust us and look to us for their care.

Canine Ownership VS. Guardianship

Ownership VS. Guardianship – Keep Your Paws Off My Property

“Guardian is a kinder, gentler, nicer word than owner, don’t you think”?

A friend of mine – a dedicated volunteer at our local shelter – was defending the term guardianship – we were in a passionate discussion about ownership vs. guardianship.

She went on, “After all, we don’t own our children do we?  And we’re just temporary caretakers of children until they are adults, right”?

Now I respect this friend deeply.  She was there for me,  a total stranger showing kindness, sharing her time and knowledge – supporting and guiding me through the first months of owning Zsa Zsa – a (very doggy) dog.

But on this point we disagree.  Strongly.  I’m not shy about sharing my opinion with her or you.  So as for “guardianship” of animals being kinder, nicer, gentler word for owner – I’ve got one thing to say……….

What a load of crap.

A Big Load Of  Crap

What if you no longer owned your dog or cat, but were somehow reduced to a mere “guardian”?

Anyone or any organization that says that “guardian” is just a kinder, nicer word to replace “owner” either is naive, or has an agenda, or is just plain stupid.

Now my friend is certainly not stupid, nor is she deliberately trying to push an agenda – so she falls into the “naive” category.

My friend volunteers at the local shelter, as she has done without fail for many years.  She walks the dogs, and gives them love, and socializes them to be ready for new and loving homes.  She is dedicated and faithful friend to the shelter – and a friend to the animals – a friend to me – indeed.

A Jewel Amongst Thorns

My friend values kindness and humane treatment of animals.  We should all share those values – as well as her commitment of sharing her time and service to others. My friend is an animal lover who genuinely cares and wants to make a difference – she is a jewel amongst thorns.

My friend – and other animal lovers like her – also fits the target demographic profile of animal rights groups.  She’s just been marketed to – quite effectively, by people in the animal rights movement – with a message that guardianship is kinder than ownership.

She has been sold sold a bill of goods on guardianship by those that have an agenda – and considering PETA’s 90% kill rate – that agenda doesn’t quite match what my friend has in mind.  And HSUS seems to fall short on using the term “ownership” on its site – instead making references to “responsible guardianship”.

NHijacking_the_humane_movementow many would argue that animal rights groups are concerned about the welfare of innocent puppies and kitties and dogs and bunnies – especially those groups themselves.

I think that there are thousands of people just like my friend who honestly want to help animals and are not aware of the larger agenda of those groups.  They are oblivious to the difference between animal rights and those concerned with animal welfare, and oblivious to the fact that animal rights groups have hijacked the humane movement, according to noted author, Patti Strand, whose book details the history of the movement.

Exploitation Of The Innocent

Those animal rights groups are sophisticated marketers  that complain loudly about the exploitation of animals, but have absolutely no qualms about exploiting the very humans who want to help animals – their members and volunteers.

These animal rights groups victimize animals as pawns  – with big sad brown eyes – to build big membership rolls and big bank accounts through tons of donations by sappy-eyed 15-year olds who want to save Fluffy.

To facilitate their agenda they also victimize the good people  – making pawns of the animal lovers who genuinely want to help animals.

Animal rights groups that push the term “guardianship” as an “addition” to the term “owner” , or as a replacement word for the word “owner – have an agenda – theirs.

The Not-So-Secret Agenda

What is the agenda?  The agenda, my friends, is to gain control of the people, the policies and the politicians as it relates to animals and animal laws.

They want control – and they want you out of the way. You are a barrier.

To fulfill their mission – they first need to remove any barriers – animal owners.  Ownership denotes property.  That also means that property rights are a barrier.

To legally change property rights  granted to citizens under the Constitution would be an enormous challenge, so to overcome that challenge – their strategy is to change the definition of what is considered legal property.

Which is why HSUS and PETA  are working to change the legal definition of animals as property – and shift animals out from under the legal definition of ownership to guardianship.  Because if your animals are no longer your property, then you no longer have inherent property rights to that animal, do you?

To accomplish all of that – they’ll need to convince the public and lawmakers of the necessity of that change, and of its “reasonableness.

So they need to “sell it” first.  That means they’re gonna run the operation pretty much like the roll out of any strategic marketing campaign.  They’ll build, in what’s known in the ad agency biz, a “killer” campaign.  A campaign so strategic – so finely crafted – and so flawlessly executed that it’ll knock ’em dead.

How To Build A Killer Campaign

To build their killer campaign, first they figure out the demographic profile of their target audiences -which groups of people are receptive to the message  and why.

Then they’ll “craft” the message to sound reasonable, plausible, as not to raise any alarms within the general population or the municipal governments.

Then they’ll hone the message – refining it ’till it hits the sweet spot with the target audience.

Grinch They’ll sugar coat  it by pitching it as being “kind” so that you – the animal lover, you the dog owner will be more receptive to the message.

Then – they’ll go in for the kill by adding a “goodness” factor, so that when people resist the message, they’ll look like evil, Grinches

Then they’ll broadcast it out through any number of communication channels to make sure it reaches the most people who are the most receptive. But there is another “target audience” – your local elected officials.  They need to “sell it” to them too.

Positioning Ownership As Evil

Allow me to deconstruct the messaging surrounding  guardianship, since this is a marketing concept.

In the animal rights agenda – animals are victims – and there must be an evildoer. That would be you.

They want the public, especially animal lovers,  to associate ownership with something wrong, something bad, something evil.

They are inferring that ownership – and pet owners are evil – or bad by positioning guardianship as kinder and gentler,  contrasted against irresponsible or cruel owners, then incorporating this positioning into all of their messaging.

Here’s the mental association that these groups want you to experience when you hear these words: Ownership – Bad, Cruel, Slavery and Guardianship, Good, Kind Nice.

Here is the process they used to get you to make those mental associations:

Step 1 – Create Position Attributes

  • Ownership = bad, slavery, cruel
  • Guardianship = good, kind, nice

Step 2  – Communicate Position

  • Animal lover = good, kind, nice
  • Animal abuser = bad, slave owner, cruel

Step 3  – Repeat Position To Reach Market Saturation

  • Animal guardian = good, kind, nice
  • Animal owner = bad, slave owner, cruel

Step 4  – Target Audience Self Selects New Position

  • You – Animal guardian = good, kind, nice
  • Others – Animal owners= bad, slave owner, cruel

They create this positioning, and repeat the positioning because they want you to self identify with the “good”, thereby buying into the concept of guardianship.

This is a sophisitcated, slick marketing strategy  – positioning “owners” as people who are careless, cruel or irresponsible.

What’s really insidious is linking ownership to “slavery” with use of the concept that “one cannot own another living creature”.

Think guardianship is a good thing? You’ve just  been sold a bill of goods – a load of crap – and it made you feel good too.

They have you pegged, don’t they?

Wanna Buy A Bridge?

They use all of the marketing tools that product companies use – including using celebrity endorsements –  to deliver that messaging and make it more palatable – to reach people like my Brooklyn_bridgefriend, and the people sitting on local town or city councils.

These groups and their helpful, do-gooder followers either try to convert the language in the local municipal animal laws to “guardianship” language – all the while telling you – John Q. Public – that there’s no real difference.  Yeah, right.

If you believe that crock – I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for you too.

Transfer Of Power

That then means that they – or the municipality that passed that term “guardian” – can dictate to you – the former owner – the terms of your “guardianship, can’t they?

From a legal standpoint – moving from the legal term owner to guardian essentially means this  – there is a large transfer of power – from you to them.

Now instead of you having the power to control the terms and conditions surrounding your animals – they do.

  • Maybe they’d like the power to dictate to all of you former “owners” what breed of dog you can and can’t have
  • Or what size or weight of dog you can or can’t have
  • Maybe they’d like the power to dictate to you mandatory spay or neutering of your dog
  • Maybe they’d like the power to dictate to you what to feed them
  • When or where you can walk the dog?
  • Maybe you’ll have to report in & you and your dog’s history and movement will be logged into a database to make sure you are a compliant guardian.

Now as a guardian –  if you don’t like the terms – or if you fail to comply with those terms – well then maybe they’ll think you are no longer entitled to be that dog’s guardian, right?

What Constitutes Property?

Get this straight bub.  As a parent of children, I have full legal rights and responsibilities toward my children.  As a responsible and loving parent, I feed, clothe, house, nurture, educate my children as I see fit, imparting my values to them as I see fit.

Now if I were the children’s foster parent – or guardian – I would have  many of the same responsibilities, but not same rights.  That’s because there is a difference in the legal definition between parent and guardian.  There is a legal difference between parent and foster parent.

Private_property_sign My dog is my property – my private property. As a dog owner, I have full legal rights and responsibilities to my dog.  I own my dog.  Period.  But suppose I were no longer my dog’s owner – but her guardian – what then?  If I wanted to be a  dog or animal “guardian”, meaning I did not have “ownership”, I would foster a dog.

Fostering means the dog is not mine, but I am it’s temporary caretaker and am bound by the rules of the organization granting me this temporary status. Fostering an animal does not grant me ownership status in the eyes of the law.

Ask yourself which organizations push the term “guardian” and “guardianship”?  What interest to they have in pushing those terms?  What reward will those organizations reap for the successful implementation of the term “guardian” in any local ordinance or state bill? What need or agenda will be fulfilled by those so called “animal welfare” organizations pushing guardianship?

If you no longer have control of your property – ie your dog – then someone else -or some other entity does. Who or what entity has a self interest in guardianship? I’ll give you two guesses.

Replacing Ownership

Guardian is not a nicer, kinder word for owner.  Guardian is not a synonym for owner.  Guardianship is a strategy to to replace ownership.

If the goal of such terminolgy is to legislate responsible ownership – we already have those laws on the books – lots and lots of them.  We’ve got cruelty laws, and dogfighting laws and we’ve got leash laws and pooper scooper laws.

They’re busy visiting local municipalities peddling this concept as the answer to problem dog owners.

They’re telling local governments that they have the answer – and that answer is that the government must take control of the situation by eliminating the big problem – owners.

But as towns and cities are struggling to balance the books and really – who has the budget for animal control these days?  Not to worry, they say – guardianship can help your town or city deal with the issue of problem dog owners.


There is only one outcome for the term guardianship to any local or state laws – and that is to separate you from your dog by the successful elimination of your property rights.

They – the people and the organizations behind “guardianship” don’t want you to have control over the care and feeding your dog – they want to control how you care for your dog.

Controlling The Market

Let’s take the 50,000 foot view.  Say over 80% of U.S. households own pets. That’s a lot of households. And let’s say those households no longer have ownership of their property – meaning their pets. Who then does? Who is dictating to those households the terms of having a pet?

Like real estate – CONTROLLING the property is more important than actually owning the property.  And like data privacy – CONTROLLING the data is more important than owning the data.

Let’s put it this way – we don’t need no stinkin’ guardianship.  And I don’t need anyone to come between me and my dog.  Or my cat. Just in case I haven’t made my position clear – let me spell it out for you………

A Spelling Lesson

O-W-N-E-R – that’s me.

O Is For Owner. I am my dog ‘s owner, you moron, not her guardian.  I am her owner and will always be her owner.  As an owner, she is mine to do with what I will, whether you like it or not.

Ilovetoplaydressup_1 If you don’t like it that I dress her in a purple tutu, kiss my ass.  If you don’t like it that I feed her broccoli and she farts – too bad. If you don’t like what I do with her – such as agility, or confirmation or hunting or flyball – because you think it’s exploiting her as my animal slave – tough nuggies.

W Is For We. As in We, the people – with property rights.  As in We The People whose property includes animals.  And you ain’t never gettin’ over on that one – ’cause We will kick your ass.

N Is For Never. As in you ain’t never passing any guardianship laws in my town ’cause I will kick your ass.

E Is For Ever. ‘Cause if you EVER come to my town and try push your guardianship crap here, I will make sure you are sorry you EVER tried.

R Is For Rights. As in the property rights I have as a dog owner, and I ain’t EVER gonna give those rights up.  ‘Cause if you try you’re gonna wish you NEVER brought it up.

There – I feel better now, don’t you?

Are Dogs A Front For Democracy?

For those of you who read this blog regularly, perhaps you’ ve come to know this blog isn’t really about dogs.   Dogs are the metaphor for what I really write about.

This blog is about Democracy – no matter what side of the fence we sit on, no matter where we live,  what color our skin is or how much money we make.  This blog is really about the the Constitution – and the rights spelled out within that living document, and the Bill Of Rights.

At the end of the day – we are all dog owners, united by our love of dogs.  At the end of the day, we are all citizens, living in a free and democratic society.

At the end of the day – it is up to us to protect that democracy by exercising our rights, and making sure we vote to elect candidates that will protect those rights, which in turn equates to preserving the right to responsibly own a dog.

A Kindness CampaignMagnet_kindness_lg

Now I have some parting words here.  Be kind.

Be kind to humans and be kind to animals. Walk softly upon this earth, use our resources wisely.  When you take, be sure to give.  When a kindness is given, return it threefold.

Be kind to all of your local elected officials, too – and anyone running for local or state office – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Communists, etc.  Call them up – they’re all so lonely without you – their beloved constituents. They’re just waiting to hear from you – pining away for the sound of your voice.

Reach and and touch your elected representatives – and while you’re at it, ask them to kindly state whether they still support the United States Constitution – the one they swore to uphold when they were elected to office.  Ask them if they support property rights – yours – the ones specifically mentioned in that very document.

Then ask them if they’re in favor of enforcement of animal cruelty laws, dogfighting laws, leash laws and pooper scooper laws.  Then ask them to enforce those laws.

Be Kind To Politicians

In a kind and friendly voice, ask them to kindly state – in writing – where they stand on ownership versus guardianship. If they respond in kind – great – – but make sure their actions – AKA their voting record – matches their words.

Constitution_1 What if these local and state elected officials failed to protect those property rights – your property rights – the ones spelled out in the Constitution under the Fourteenth Amendment, what recourse do you have? You do have legal recourse –  it’s called a vote.

And what of local and state officials who fail to effectively enforce local dog laws, and yet propose ever more restrive laws concerning dogs? You do have legal recourse –  it’s called a vote.

So just kindly take yourself along to the voting booth this June for the primaries, and for the mid-term elections come November.

There -behind the cool curtain of the voting booth in the school gym – you can kindly vote them out of office. Then smile and wave as you leave the building – and shake their hand on the way out.

Remember This Thought

Do we “own our children? Of course not.  But as a parent, I am not about to let anyone shift parenthood  – and all of the legal rights and responsiblities that come with that – to some other meaning.

And any attempt to shift the term “guardian” into the legal code as a synonym for the legal term parent  – well – let’s just say that I guarantee you that every parent in this country would have none of it.  Why? ‘Cause it ain’t the same – is it?

Do we “own” our dogs. In a legal sense – you betcha.  Is it “bad” to own another living creature?  If you want to feel bad about it – go ahead.

But don’t expect me to share in your guilt or shame – over owning my dog. Guilt or shame about “owning” a dog – or a cat – or any other pet –  is a concept that’s been manufactured  and marketed to you.

So if you feel bad about “owning” your dog – you have some sense of guilt – then I suggest you give up your dog to a rescue.  Then – you can take it back and be it’s foster owner.

But don’t think for a minute that I should do the same.

Why Am I Telling You This?

Why am I telling you all of this?

I don’t want you to be used as a pawn by these groups, like my friend.   I don’t want your love of animals to be taken advantage of, like my friend.

I don’t want you to lose sight of what’s really at stake.

My Own Killer Campaign

BTW – I’ve got my own killer campaign going  – and I’ve identified my own target audiences.

Who are my target audiences? You – the dog owner, you – the animal lover – and every local and state elected official or candidate (including those that regularly read this blog :-))

I have an important message for you – one I want you to hear and remember.  I want this message to be palatable, easy to digest, memorable.  It must ring true.

That’s why I’ve identified the USP  – the Unique Selling Proposition – that’s ad agency speak for distilling the message down to its simplest form  – so it can be heard and received by the most people.

I’ve carefully crafted and honed this message too – designed specifically to win the hearts and minds of consumers and voters, to appeal to the goodness in people to do what’s right, as well as to do their civic duty – regardless of political affiliation.

This carefully crafted message is clear, simple.  It resonates with target audiences across a wide range of political, racial, cultural and economic demographic profiles.

My message doesn’t need any sugar coating whatsoever.  Ready?  Here it is…..

My Dog Votes.


Source: http://www.dogpolitics.com/my_weblog/

Mesothelioma and Asbestos and Animals

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Asbestos is a highly toxic and dangerous source of indoor air pollution.  It is a recognized human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Unfortunately, just as your dog or cat can bring unwanted fleas and other critters into the house, pets can carry asbestos too.  They do so by transporting dust or dirt on their fur or feet if they spend time in places that have high levels of asbestos in the air and surrounding environment.

According to the CDCÇs Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, asbestos exposure usually occurs by breathing contaminated air in workplaces that make or use asbestos. But it can also present in the air of buildings with asbestos that are being torn down or renovated

Complications from asbestos exposure can include two types of cancer: lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin lining surrounding the lung (pleural membrane) or abdominal cavity (the peritoneum).

Click here!
Tragically, a dog was reportedly the first animal to make asbestos and mesothelioma dangers known in 1931 to researchers before they became aware of its toxic effects upon humans. See, N.H. Schuster,”Pulmonary Asbestosis in a Dog,”
Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology (34:751-757).

A recent study by two veterinarians at the University of Georgia, concludes that dogs diagnosed with mesothelioma, like humans, usually have a grave prognosis.

If you work in an environment were you are exposed to asbestos, or you have reason to believe that your pet may have been exposed to asbestos, you and your pet are at risk for asbetos-related cancers and mesothelioma.

Please contact your doctor and veterinarian immediately if you think you or your dog have been exposed to asbestos, and you have any questions about potential health risks.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, and any that you think your pet may have, please contact a lawyer or law firm near you.

Teen Mutts II

People that look like their dogs

People that look like their dogs

Winners of a “dog look-a-like” contest