Houston SPCA caring for dogs seized from filthy trailer

Owner says circling UFOs made the animals unhealthy

By ANITA HASSAN
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Dec. 13, 2008, 8:56PM

photo
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.”

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Raising Puppies Timeline

Raising Puppies Timeline
 
   Week One (Days 1-7)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + 90% of time spent sleeping
           + 10% eating
           + Susceptible to heat/cold
           + Instinctive reflexes: crawl, seek warmth, nurse
           + They can right themselves if placed upside down
           + Needs stimulation for urination/defecation
           + Rapid development of central nervous system
           + Need constant care from bitch
           + Rectal temperatures 94-97 degrees Farenheit
           + Pups may lose 10% of weight after birth, but should start
             gaining again
           + Weight should double by end of week
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Chart weight daily (2 x daily first 2 days)
           + Examine puppies daily
           + Trim nails weekly
           + Keep whelping box around 85 degrees Farenheit (this means if
             it’s hotter than that out, put a fan in the room or turn on
             the air conditioning, if it’s colder than that get a heat
             lamp to put above the whelping box)
           + When you handle the puppies, it’s a good idea use a towel
             when you hold them. The puppies urinate upon stimulation and
             will inevitably find your attention stimulating!
           + If your breed requires tail, ear, or dew claw docking,
             schedule this with your vet.
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Keep dam on fluids for first 24 hours (i.e.. chicken broth,
             etc.)
           + Feed three full meals a day after that
           + Supplement with 250 mg Vitamin C twice daily
           + If puppies are fussy, supplement bitch with Vitamin B complex
           + Check mammary glands twice daily (looking for signs of
             mastitis — swelling, hardness, pus, etc.)
           + Keep an eye on vaginal discharge (looking for signs of
             infection)
           + Make sure bitch eats, drinks, and relieves herself
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Keep detailed records on puppies’ weight and behavior
           + Keep charting bitch’s temperature
           + Call puppy buyers with results of whelping
            
   Week Two (Days 8-14)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Eyes should open around days 8-10
           + Ears should open around days 13-17
           + Temperatures should be around 97-99F
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Keep whelping box around 80-83F
           + Begin holding puppies in different ways (applying light
             stress)
           + Trim nails weekly
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Bitch should get three times her normal amount of food
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Continue as above
            
   Week Three (Days 15-21)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Teeth begin to erupt
           + Puppies stand up and start walking
           + Begin to lap liquids
           + Defecate/urinate without stimulation
           + Start becoming aware of environment
           + Start playing with littermates
           + Develop sense of smell
           + Puppies will start to discriminate as to where to relieve
             themselves
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Start adding stimuli (toys) to puppies’ life
           + Start giving specific stresses when handling (i.e.. pinch an
             ear or toe gently).
           + Start giving pups milk replacer to lap for one meal a day —
             after two days, add some very mushy food
           + Weigh puppies every 2 days
           + Give puppies a dirty shirt of yours to play with
           + Start weekly grooming sessions (brush, trim nails, look at
             teeth, etc.)
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Continue as above
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Purchase milk replacer to feed puppies
            
   Week Four (Days 22-28)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Begin to eat food
           + Begin to bark, wag tails, bite, paw, bare teeth, growl and
             chase
           + Use legs well
           + Tire easily
           + Depth perception starts
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Keep mom with them a lot! Things can get overwhelming at this
             age and Mom will add stability for them
           + Each pup needs individual attention
           + Offer food that is the consistency of cooked oatmeal
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Continue as above
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Start limiting bitch’s access to pups before offering them
             food
            
   Week Five (Days 29-35)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Group activities and sexual play will begin
           + Dominance order starts
           + Rapid growth/development
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Reduce fluids in puppies’ food
           + Make sure other people start coming to see pups
           + Begin weaning
           + Play radio at normal volume near pups for 5 minutes at a time
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Start reducing amount of food to discourage milk development
           + Keep a careful eye on mammary glands
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Discuss vaccination schedule with veterinarian
            
   Week Six (Days 26-42)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Growth and development continue
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Offer soft, damp food
           + Chart weekly weight
           + Individual attention crucial — give each puppy time with you
             away from litter
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + To prepare bitch for weaning: Day 1 — no food
             Day 2 — 1/4 normal maintenance meal
             Day 3 — 1/2 normal maintenance meal
             Day 4 — 3/4 normal maintenance meal
             Day 5 — full amount of normal maintenance meal
           + Keep bitch on puppy food for several weeks to help her
             recover from the strain of breeding, whelping, and raising
             puppies
           + Keep careful eye on mammary glands
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Continue as above
            
   Week Seven (Days 43-49)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Total hearing/visual capacity
           + Will investigate anything
           + Can’t respond yet to name
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Pups should be weaned and on regular puppy food
           + Pups can go to new homes
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Keep careful eye on mammary glands until milk is completely
             dried up
            
    TO DO LIST
          
   Week Eight (Days 50-56)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + First fear period
           + Starts learning name
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Don’t ship puppies
           + Can start training puppies in small steps
            
    CARE OF THE BITCH
          
           + Continue as above
            
    TO DO LIST
          
           + Continue as above
            
   Week Nine (Days 57-63)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Develops strong dominant and subordinate behavior among
             littermates
           + Begins to learn right behavior
           + Motor skills improve
           + Short attention span
           + Starts focusing attention on owner rather than other puppies
           + Separate littermates
           + Start house training
            
    CARE OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Continue lots of individual attention
            
   Week Ten (Days 64-70)
  
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
          
           + Safe to ship puppies by air

                                      
 Finding And Dealing With Puppy Buyers
            
   

The Need For Record Keeping

Paperwork
 
    Keep the following information on file for each bitch/litter you
    produce:
   
   Heat Record
  
     1. Name of bitch
     2. Litter Number (way to differentiate between litters at your
        kennel)
     3. Date of onset
     4. Interval
     5. Smear date and results
     6. Progesterone Test date and results
     7. Breeding dates and comments on breeding
     8. Palpitation dates and results
     9. Ultrasound date and results
    10. X-ray date and results
    11. Notes on pregnancy
    12. Track weight gain weekly
    13. Track temperature from day 58-65, 3 times daily
    14. Date and time whelping began
    15. Date and time whelping ended
    16. Notes on whelping
       
   Litter Record (as required by the AKC)
  
     1. Breed
     2. Registered name and AKC number of dam
     3. Registered name and AKC number of sire
     4. Sire’s owner’s name
     5. Date mated
     6. Date litter whelped
     7. Number of male puppies born
     8. Number of female puppies born
     9. AKC Litter Number
    10. Sex, Color/Markings, Puppy ID number, Date Sold, Date Died, Name
        and address of person to whom sold, Dates when following paperwork
        was supplied: registration application or certificate and bill of
        sale; name and AKC number of puppy.
       
   Additional Litter Information
  
     1. Time each puppy was born
     2. Ribbon color or other identifying mark
     3. Color of puppy
     4. Sex
     5. Weight at birth
     6. Length at birth
     7. A description of any problems
     8. Whelping date
     9. Sire and Dam
    10. Time whelping started and ended
    11. Notes on whelping
       
   Puppy Record
  
     1. Ribbon color
     2. Call Name
     3. Registered Name
     4. Sex
     5. Color
     6. AKC Litter #
     7. AKC Registration #
     8. Date of Birth
     9. Sire and Dam
    10. Weight at Birth and when sold
    11. Vaccinations Given (Date and Type)
    12. Owner (include address and telephone numbers)
    13. Date sold
    14. Conditions of sale
    15. Price
    16. Notes on Development and Temperament
    17. On the back of this form, track the weight of the puppies daily
        until they are three weeks old and then weekly thereafter.
       
   Litter Registration Application
  
    Contact AKC and request this form. Once puppies are whelped, complete
    this form and have stud dog owner sign the form. Send the completed
    form with appropriate fee to AKC. It’s nice to send a self- addressed
    stamped envelope with the application to the stud dog owner so they
    can mail it on to the AKC without delay. Litter registration
    applications must be received by the AKC within six months of date of
    whelping in order to register puppies with the AKC. However, you
    should submit this form as soon as the puppies are whelped so that you
    can deliver the correct paperwork to the puppy buyers when they pick
    up their puppies.
   
   Puppy Registration Forms
  
    For each puppy listed on the Litter Registration Application, you will
    get a registration form to give to the puppy buyers so that they can
    register their puppies with the AKC. Technically, the puppy buyer can
    name the puppy anything they want. In reality, most breeders insist on
    their kennel name being the first word in the dogs name. Additionally,
    some breeders have themes for their litters and require the name of
    the puppy to fit into that theme. Make any special requirements known
    to the buyers well in advance so they can pick out an appropriate name
    for their puppy.
      _______________________________________________________________

Breeding Timeline

Choosing a Stud Dog

Choosing a Stud Dog
 
    Choosing a sire for your litter is as important a decision as choosing
    your bitch was originally. You need to spend some time and effort on
    this decision. This is a good time to get some expert advice. If at
    all possible, you should consult with your bitch’s breeder and ask
    them to spend some time with you going over the various options so
    that you understand why one dog would be better for your bitch than
    another. If your breeder or another expert isn’t available to spend
    some time with you, then you’ll need to do the research on your own so
    you can make a knowledgeable decision.
   
    The first thing you’ll want to do is take the information you’ve
    gathered over the years about your bitch and analyze her strengths and
    weaknesses. Does she have a weak top line but a nice front? How is her
    rear angulation? What about her coat texture? Her temperament? You can
    see know why getting your dog out and showing and/or working her can
    be helpful in this process. If you don’t know what’s wrong with your
    bitch, you don’t know what you want to fix in a future generation.
    And, that’s really what you are trying to do — improve the breed by
    improving on your bitch. So be brutally honest with yourself. You know
    you love your bitch, that’s not in question here, but if you can’t be
    honest about her flaws, then you can’t fix them in a future
    generation. You’ll want to focus on one, maybe two, problems that
    you’d like to see improved and look for a stud dog who is strong in
    those areas without being too weak in some other area. It can become a
    delicate balancing act — of course, with no guarantee of success.
   
    There are two main theories in breeding that you’ll want to
    understand. The first one is probably the simplest: breeding like to
    like. This means that you take the overall look of the bitch and find
    a stud dog that physically compliments her look. The theory is that if
    you breed like to like, you’ll get like.
   
    The second way to approach a breeding is more complicated. It’s called
    line breeding. It involves analyzing the pedigrees of your bitch and
    the potential stud dogs to choose a good match. There are several ways
    to approach line breeding. First of all, you need to understand
    several terms.
   
    _Line breeding_ is similar to breeding like to like only instead of
    collecting physical similarities, you are collecting the genes of a
    particular dog. _Inbreeding_ is an extremely close line breeding. When
    you are starting out in breeding, you want to keep away from
    inbreeding as it is risky unless you are very sure of the pedigrees
    involved. The last type of pedigree-breeding is an outcross. An
    outcross breeding will have a pedigree where there are no, or at least
    very few, dogs in common. This often happens when you are breeding
    like to like. Most breeders practice some form of line breeding,
    generally focusing on one of the important studs in their breed.
   
    Of course, you want to make sure that the dog you are concentrating on
    is worthy of the honor. If you line breed on a mediocre dog — or a
    dog with a particular health problem — you’ll get what you asked for.
    This type of breeding is particularly tricky and you want to make sure
    that you have carefully researched the dogs in your bitch’s pedigree
    so that you know where you’d want to go with the line breeding.
   
    In practice, you’ll probably want to employ a combination of these two
    techniques. You’ll want to find a pedigree that is complimentary to
    your bitch and a dog that is physically compatible as well. Again,
    this is a really good time to seek the advice of knowledgeable
    breeders. Choosing a stud dog is also a really good reason to become
    active in the breed’s activities while your bitch is young. This will
    allow you to be familiar with various stud dogs before you bitch comes
    in season.
   
    Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three likely
    candidates, you’ll want to call the stud dog owners and interview them
    about their dogs. Most stud dog owners will be honest with you about
    what their dogs are producing, their strengths and weaknesses, and
    what you can expect. If they aren’t forthcoming about the problems as
    well as the benefits of their dogs, you should probably steer clear of
    them.
   
    At some point in the process, you’ll have to make a decision about
    which dog will be best for your litter. No one can make this decision
    for you but if you’ve done your homework and been honest with yourself
    about your bitch, then you’ll probably find a compatible dog. Then you
    are ready to enter the genetic crap shoot and see what you get.
    Because we know so little about the complicated genetics behind our
    dogs, you really are making a shot in the dark. Even the most
    experienced breeder makes mistakes — this is why you want to be very
    careful and thorough in your research.
   
    Once your decision is made, you’ll want to notify the stud dog owner
    about when you expect your bitch to come in season so that they can
    make their own plans. You will probably want to get your bitch to the
    stud dog within the first week of her season so that she has time to
    adapt to her new surroundings before being bred.
      _________________________________________________________________

The Need For Record Keeping