Monday, January 30, 2012

Give a Dog a Second Chance - how about giving these dogs a FIRST chance?

[NTD; - comments NOW closed on this post - see Comment section for further explanation]

The reality is that I don't want to think there are people out there that use the genuine compassion, caring natures and generosity of true animal lovers to enrich themselves.  That use the many terrible realities of abandoned, distressed and abused animals to tug at heartstrings and more importantly (from their perspective), make a buck.

But people like that exist; people with an absence of morals, an absence of compassion and a venial belief in their own entitlement that supersedes the broken bodies they climb over to their goal of easy money. 

Last week, as detailed in detail on Facebook in various forums (here in RAWW'S site and in the Toronto Pet Daily here and here ) as well as in my two blogs below, four distressed, ill and abandoned dogs were ostensibly 'rescued' by a group which calls itself Give a Dog a Second Chance (but is actually now a Doggy Daycare with an rescue element according to their site). 

On this site here (Storm's Animal Allies), apparently a chipin in fund was established (currently at $310) to help vet the animals; BUT, due to legitimate concerns about funds going to an amphorous chipin versus directly to the vet clinic (which is the preferred and most logical way to donate, as there is then transparency AND, more importantly, no question about where the funds are directed), a subsequent genuine and legitmate sequence of questions about the dogs, their location and their condition erupted in yet another litany of accusations, countersuits and squabbling.

While the abject failure of the Peterborough Humane Society is also an issue, the true tragedy here lies in the broken, distressed bodies of four innocent lives that through no fault of their own, have been betrayed on every level by every human being with whom they have come in contact.

Abandoned and neglected in a home in foreclosure - the entire story of what unfolded at 541 Sherbrooke Street, Peterborough remains to be known.

The Peterborough Humane Society won't talk, just (in true OSPCA doublespeak) denies culpability.

The ostensible "rescue" Give a Dog a Second Chance" had such wildly varying renditions of the events that at this point is impossible to really understand what has happened over the past few days.

A storm of controversy, vitriol, allegations, counter allegations and accusations have flown through the virtual air of the world wide web.  At the heart of the matter were genuine animal lovers who were frantic to know the dogs' conditions, where they were located, and most crucial, whether they were getting the medical intervention they so obviously required.

But some things speak for themselves:

After contradictions, outright lies and obvious and blunt dissembling, as of Sunday night, the dogs had NOT been to see a vet.  Despite hyperbole and purple prose about their terrible state, they continue to be secreted in a as yet unnamed location - "too scared" by the "rescue's" words to see a vet - although apparently it was kosher to see  a groomer and a vet tech (whose qualifications are unknown).

But, apparently, these obviously traumatized little dogs, unvetted, unneutered, with NO time at this juncture to de-stress, with absolutely NO opportunity in this small window of time to properly assess their true natures, ARE UP FOR ADOPTION.

The pictures above were screen shots - taken from The Doggies Place (which is where the link brings you when you google Give a Dog a Second Chance) - the Doggies Place so-termed "rescue" page.

This too is a screen shot - one of several I took as I am fairly certain once the duplicity and outright immorality of this self-termed group is revealed for what it truly exemplifies, it will quickly be taken down (no doubt to arise in another form shortly thereafter). 

What you see above is broken trust.

What you see above is broken promises.

What you see above is betrayal in its most revolting form.

And most of all what you see above is total irresponsibility.

For these dogs are in an unknown medical state - by their own words, this organization purports that the dogs have ingested drywall and other potentially life-threatening and inedible materials.  Yet as of last night they had not seen a vet (again, by their own words, they asserted that the dogs would be vetted today but I would highly doubt that)

The temperament of these dogs is also unknown; while dogs, by their nature, are remarkably forgiving - and insofar as the ONE pit bull involved - the MOST loving dog breed of all -   past abuses and neglect must contribute to a questionable state of mind.

A responsible rescue would first and foremost have the dogs under close medical supervision.

A responsible rescue would secondly, have the dogs in a safe, secure and loving place where individuals with the expertise and patience would be provided with the opportunity to first DE-STRESS the dogs - which requires TIME and an understanding of how to do so. 

Only after the dogs have been stabilized medically and given the chance to re-establish a sense of trust and security would it then be possible to assess their temperaments and ascertain what type of remedial help and training would benefit.

Rehabilitation is neither simplistic nor is it quick - but can mean the difference between a dog that runs out of chances to one who finds a forever home.

Unfortunately, these dogs are clearly not being provided with anything - other than a way for an irresponsible and money-hungry individual or individuals to make a quick buck.

FAIL - and betrayal yet again.

Poor dogs.

and SHAME on your Give Dogs a Second Chance or Doggy Daycare or whatever the hell you call yourself now ...

SELLING abused, medically compromised and emotionally unstable dogs (and while we're at it, poor Bullet, also listed there I HOPE is being treated for the case of mange he seems to be sufferring (which is painful and can worsen dramatically if left untreated)) is unethical, cruel and so obviously a ploy to make some money it defies belief.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Horror in Peterborogh - Part the Second

Summary - as usual, the animals are the ones who lose

Laid out below, is MY take on the Horror in Peterborough.

What I see from this whole thing is dogs who have been caught between a rock and a hard place. Dogs first and foremost abandoned and neglected by their guardians. Then ignored by the organization that is MANDATED to protect them. Then "rescued" by a group which may very well fall under the auspices of groups which has yet to prove themselves to be on the up and up. Dog which after what appears to be a horrific experience remain without the benefit of a certified vet treating them. Something smells, and smells BIG TIME

FIRST - the "Rescue" shenanigans:

First, according to a flurry of facebook entries on numerous sites, it appears the dogs are now in the care of the so-called Give A Dog a Second Chance, which in reality is now in actuality The Doggies Place Day Care and Boarding with an ostensible rescue element.  Confused yet?  Then, on a number of sites, pleas for a chip in for the dog's vet care appeared and dog lovers, being the kind, generous people they are, ARE chipping in.

Unfortunately, the dogs are NOT actually WITH  a vet right now - although for some odd reason they have been to a groomer's and seen a vet tech?

The same dogs that were emaciated, starving, filthy and had ingested drywall, wood and other non-edible materials?  The same dogs that are in such dire shape? 

After several calls from people to the vet clinic at which these dogs were apparently being vetted, but, OH LOOK, they WEREN'T there - it seems they "will be there - Monday" - Monday??  Monday now after several calls to the clinic.  (several of us had asked for the name of the clinic directly.).

  1. So, as far as i can see, these dogs were rescued from an abandoned house after pleas for their rescue were ignored by the OSPCA affiliated Peterborough humane society.
  2. The dogs - other than seeing a groomer and a vet tech - have NOT been vetted by a certified vet despite their apparent very precarious state - starving, ingested inedible and potentially life-threatening materials and severely neglected.  ONLY after several calls to the clinic in question (which to be clear, is a reputable and decent vet facility) did it suddenly emerge the dogs are NOW due to be brought in Monday.
  3. The Peterborough Humane Society is vacillating on whether or not they know anything about this whole debacle.

SECOND- the OSPCA and Peterborough Humane Society "not my problem" justification

 So, in typical bureaucratic fashion, the Peterborough Humane Society denies any knowledge (per se) of the situation in the home in Peterborough:  that is, in a roundabout way, they assert they can't (due to the law) talk about ongoing investigations.  Here is the conversation:

My most recent reply:

Thank you for your reply although I'm disappointed with the content. As OSPCA inspectors, pretty well have carte blanche under the government's own mandate, I don't entirely understand your assertion that OSPCA inspectors do not have the right to enter a private residence without a warrant - although that is moot - as 6 weeks (if that is the term in question) is more than adequate time to secure one if the situation was in fact, as dire, has I have ascertained from several sources.
The fact that it sounds as if there is an ongoing investigation would be encouraging, if it weren't for the fact that those dogs were left in horrendous conditions - and are now in hardly a better state if the information on the "rescue" involved is in any way accurate (and after many years of awareness about this self-termed rescue I am confident my information is good). I have learned, for instance, that the dogs still have NOT seen a vet - which for dogs which apparently have ingested drywall, wood and other non-edible materials is frighteningly irresponsible.
Disappointing and unfortunately, confirms every intervention with the OSPCA and OSPCA affiliates I have had to date.
yours truly,
sheenagh murphy
On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 9:10 PM, Wendy Ryan wrote:
I want very much to answer your questions. Under the Ontario SPCA Act we are restricted by the privacy act when it comes to discussing any ongoing investigation.
Ontario SPCA Agents and Inspectors can attend and act when facts lead an officer to believe that animals are possibly in distress. We do not have the authority to enter a private dwelling without a warrant.
As to the rescue group I cannot comment on their actions nor do we know the location of the dogs.
I do wish I could provide you with more but I am bound by law and not permitted to do so.
Wendy Ryan
Executive Director

My original email to the Peterborough Humane Society:

Subject: RE: Abandoned dogs from House - 541 Sherbrooke Street
As an animal advocate, I'm trying to ascertain the truth of assertions that the Peterborough Humane Society purportedly ignored repeated requests to rescue dogs from the above-noted house.
Can you confirm or deny that your organization was aware of the plight of these dogs?
That the Peterborough humane society was monitoring the situation? Were you aware if the dogs were being visited, fed, exercised or in any way cared for?
I have grave concerns on a number of levels. First, if the truth was that these dogs were locked in an abandoned house, and your facility HAS the authority under the auspices of the OSPCA to enter and seize neglected or abandoned dogs, why was this not done?
Second, if this is NOT the case - do you believe the dogs were being cared for?

Friday, January 27, 2012

my starving pups

what? raw diet? what's that?
Day 3 of the introduction to a Raw Diet ... not so popular with two disgruntled pups.

I had been thinking for some time about switching the dogs from kibble to a more natural diet which incororpoated raw meat and bones, organ meats and veggies... based on a vet's advice on what would be their ancestral diet.  In the case of my GSDs that meant an emphasis on red meat, chicken, organ meats and light on the fish (which newfoundlanders and labs would favour).

But I'm hungry!
The vet felt that a raw diet could only help Llyr's issues - which include a compromised spleen, rebervations from a spinal injury inflicted at a younger age,  3 cervical disks out of place in his neck (probably from lunging from his chained dog days).  His stifles (knees) and ankles are swollen and painful and he is, apparently, in a great deal of pain.  The new vet - who is also an animal communicator - indicated Llyr - in the way of sheperds, was stoic with pain and further, was "scared that as he weakened and as such, couldn't do his job and might be replaced".  I don't know if she can talk to animals but what I do know is tht is exactly the way my anxious, protective and loving boy would think.

poor starving dog (with lil red ball)
So, out with the kibble (full of grains, sugar, carbs that most dogs don't need) and in with the balanced reality of an ancestral raw diet...

Problem is, they're hating it.... and are on a hunger strike.

However, the World According to Sam reassures me that dogs do not starve themselves... and that eventually, they will cave.

here's hoping...

because apparently starving Princesses are FORCED to revert to STEALING cat food ... whereupon they cannily hie it in their BED.
Llyr put them here, REALLY!

Horror in Peterborough

Outrage and disgust abound in Peterborough, Ontario this week as four dogs were "rescued" from an ostensibly empty house - purportedly abandoned to fend for themselves for 6 long, agonizing weeks. The Peterborough Examiner has a rather (badly) written article on this here.

The group that purportedly "rescued" them is crying foul - and saying the Peterborough Humane Society was advised of the dogs' plight and refused to intercede despite repeated attempts to get them to go in and save these animals.

Unfortunately, the group which in the Peterborough Examiner called themselves Give A Dog A Second Chance, a Durham Region rescue shelter have a rather spotty history themselves. Original founder, Melita Ferrugia has been accused of a number of unsavoury practices  - (not proven insofar as I am aware but the burden of evidence is compelling) - from selling "rescued" puppies, unvetted (and often with illnesses including parvo and parasites), to ostensibly breeding her own dogs repeatedly to sell for inflated prices on kiiji and craigslist.  This blog here  lists a number of cautions about dealing with the self styled rescue group and in particular Melita.

I admit, it bothers me that the group still styles itself publicly as Give a Dog a Second Chance, yet when you click on a google link to a page under that name you get this.  Yes, a Doggie Day Care and Boarding Facility with "rescue dogs" (and some fairly illiterate writers incidentally).

This came to my attention when someone self-styled as Mel DeVille popped up on the Support Cheri Di Novo in Removing ALL Aspects of BSL Facebook page

Claiming first that the dogs were "three of these dogs are pit bull mixes, and need fostering.
two females, one male(who will be coming to stay with me)" and seeking donations a little further on in the conversation when clearly, as the article states,

The two males are a wirehair terrier and a teacup Chihuahua, while the females are a wirehair terrier and a pit bull/boxer mix.
 so ONE only was maybe, loosely, a pittie mix - hardly possible to mistake a wirehair terrier and a chihuahua as pit bull MIXES.

Of course, a little lower down the donation pleas come in..

A word of advice, people - REPUTABLE rescues will pretty well ALWAYS provide a direct link to the VET doing the actual vetting - thus ensuring the funds go directly where they are needed.  I have asked for the vet's name and the clinic name, so we'll see.

Further as i find out more.

HOWEVER, that aside, I have ALSO written the Peterborough Humane Society. As affiliates of the OSPCA with its bloated, outrageous and legal right to pretty well do as they wish, I have asked the Organization (a) if they knew of these dogs, and (b) if so, WHAT did they know?

In the article in the Examiner, it looks like the original owners were claiming to have been going in and feeding the dogs (an interesting read, follow the link and read the comments, quite a little firestorm happeneing).  I think it entirely possible they were NOT - and regardless, leaving dogs alone in their own waste without supervision, proper exercise and company is inexcuseable.

So, WERE the dogs abandoned as stated?

DID the Peterborough Humane Society know about this and deliberately refuse to get involved?

Lots and lots of questions... would love to hear from anyone that knows more about this tragic situation.

most of all, I would like to know those dogs are being seen by a vet.

If indeed they ingested drywall, wood and other materials, they should be in a clinic, being monitored on a 24 hour basis...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

HAVE Leash... WILL walk...

A fluttering in my stomach, a slightly breathless anticipation, nervous energy.

Although I've been back for brief visits since the awful, tragic slaughter of the innocents by the repugnant SPCA (Society for the Perpetuation of Carnage to Animals), it has not been for any appreciable length of time. The first time I walked through the now spacious corridors of the dog rooms, it was with tears streaming down my cheeks while the ghosts of my beloved dogs (dearest Peti, I still ache, darling Smokey, I haven't forgotten) gazed mournfully and accusingly at me from behind locked cages, drifting through the bleached corridors of their former home, sad little spirits whose souls were unable to move on, but were fettered and trapped by broken promises and lies.

For that first year following the Change, raw and aching, I stood back, sceptical and dubious, watching the sway back and forth between different factions, each with their own vision of the Toronto Humane Society .  Heartsick but goaded to action, I voted in the last General Election to ensure that former President Tim Trow did not regain his throne yet had serious concerns about the direction being taken by the new guard.

I continue to entertain some doubts and questions about the THS, while acknowledging the commitment and passion of those now at the helm. 

Some of the new innovations are quite wonderful; both dogs and cats and small animals now have more spacious quarters, softer more homelike surroundings.  Cats have their very own "home" where the public is invited to interact with them in a more natural setting.  The foster parent program continues to grow while preparations and fundraising for the low cost spay/neuter clinic is shaping up. Staff are caring, involved and constantly training and learning new and better ways of dealing with the animals. The K9 division, run by Shas, provides myriad services which enhance and support adoptions.  Highly experienced and trained volunteers and K9 staff coach volunteers and work with dogs with various issues, ensuring a healthier and happier animal and one which is eminently more adoptable.  Staff is also eager to work with new owners to ensure a smooth transition to forever homes and to help deal with the inevitable issues which arise when any new family member is introduced.

The volunteer department is impressively organized and pro-active, with the new CEO a hard line advocate of recruiting even more.  As it stands, there is an incredible number of caring, committed and hardworking volunteers who have become an integral part of the new vision, many of whom have hung tough through the heartache and tsunami of the past several years.

I continue to worry about the fact that the THS cannot accept strays however, for as much as I admire Toronto Animal Services and the amazing strides they have made in creating a healthier, kinder and more proactive environment for Toronto animals, they are subject to the viscitudes of city government, council imperatives and the reality that they are in fact not a "shelter" but a pound.  Certaintly, under the meanspirited current mayor there is much to worry about.

I worry too that there are (to my mind) too FEW animals at the "new" THS, as the number of intakes is deliberately kept at a lower level.  Even more so, the animals of yesteryear that I remember so well - the older dogs that were neglected and abandoned, the sick ones that no one else wanted, the frightened, angry abused ones - seem to be in short supply (yet I am assured that is not accurate - that in fact they are just sometimes behind the scenes).

I have now been away from the THS for almost 2 years (hard to believe!), the first year while the Shelter went through new birth pangs, massive changes, philosophical earthquakes and a considerable change in management, the second because of a stupid accident which relegated me to a wheelchair for 6 months and has left me learning to walk again with a left leg that is largely steel.

But today is the day of reckoning.

Today, I'm taking that first step - walking back (well, ok, I'm limping slightly still) through the doors as a Toronto Humane Society dog walker ...

  • Dog coat (impervious to drool, artistic teethmarks already imprinted, tough material for muddy paws and mouthy dogs)
  • Leash - oddly, the very same one I used for the three years I walked at the THS
  • Poop bags - crucial!

and MOST importantly...

  • Cut-up chicken wieners .. the best motivator, reward and distraction a walker will ever need.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Black dogs are hard to photograph

and big goofy black dogs are even harder - and they break your heart and squeeze your soul when that big goofy black dog turns out not to be so goofy ... and instead what you thought was goofiness was really a disease ... one called degenerative myleopathy ... one that calcifies the spine until slowly, surely, implacably your big black dog is walking and suddenly his back end collapses.

Big black dogs with long silly tails (24 inches - measured) that have broken and destroyed more things than you can imagine and you wish, in your heart, that that long silly and lethal tail was still doing that ... instead of being carried at half mast, instead of tangling between his big black legs, instead of lying, lifeless along his big black haunches.

Big black dogs that have an opinion on everything, who give out when they think life is being unfair, who talk back when they are reprimanded, who carry on talking no matter how much you try to shush them, who feel they have a right to air their grievances, long, loudly and with a lot of whining - well you want to keep hearing that big black dog's voice because when you hear that big black dog giving out, well, he's still there, isn't he?

DM is one of those diseases that is more about what it isn't rather than what it is.  Hard to diagnose, harder to ascertain for sure.. it is through a process of elimination more than anything. 

Hindsight is always clear - those moments when he would round the corner and his legs would slip or the sharp crack as he careened into the wall or what you interpreted as his clumsiness because after all, he is a big, skinny, gangly black dog... all of sudden the weakness you could no longer miss in his back end takes on a new meaning ....

Big black dogs who are lap dogs, who crave a touch, a pet, an acknowledgement of their existence. Big black dogs who were neglected and forlorn when as a small, needy pup were chained and left to their own devices, alone, always alone, gazing into lighted windows into a life denied them, relegated to a cold backyard and an igloo considered "good enough". Big black dogs who at 3 came into their new lives with a friend and love and lots of affection and never EVER were left lingering outside looking in. 

My Llyr, my love, my boy... I will relish each and every moment of every day that your big nose gets into, I will laugh when I find the garbage you have stolen, I will ignore the seven cat food dishes I find every day in your bed, I will ensure that Finn (who as dogs do, sense weakness) doesn't bully you (although she may be just getting back from all the bullying you were responsible for!), that the couch beside me is "your" seat as it has always been, that the door is never closed so you are never locked outside even for one scary moment.... I promise to cherish each of your many tirades and as long as you can, we will take our walks and let the neighbourhood know that the big black dog in the green house with the big porch is still the Boss. That the big black dog with the deep bark still rules.  Because as long as you are able, you ARE the Boss-man and the marshmallow insides that only I know will be our secret.