Monday, November 28, 2016

Stories from Our Streets: A front row seat to what's real and what matters

A first ever show highlighting dog owner support work

Patrons of the busy community-based Zocalo Coffee House in San Leandro have been enjoying their coffees and convos next to 19 oversized images of what are very likely their neighbors and their neighbors’ dogs. We couldn’t think of a better place to launch our ‘Stories from Our Streets’ Photo Project, which was created to celebrate the human-animal bond in our community while raising awareness about the obstacles many pet owners face when trying to keep their dogs during disruptive times - pit bull owners especially. Shot over several months during BADRAP’s owner support and pet wellness events, photographer Kathy Kinnear’s sensitive and candid images always seem to find the heart of the moment. A paragraph that explains the unique story, situation or challenge faced by that pet owner accompanies each photo.

Until December 30

The show stays up until the end of December and then will be moved to other venues in our quest to help people learn more about the current landscape of pet ownership in our communities – pit bull ownership in particular.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. - Pablo Picasso

Our best hope is that interest in these photos will bring understanding, and understanding will help to increase opportunities for pet owners including more landlord acceptance, and more support for those who are struggling to keep their dogs in their families, where they belong.

(Top Photo) Life Saver Dog: Leo’s person told us that he helped keep her going during some very dark days. Their bond was undeniable. "While many of us intuitively understand the benefits of positive interactions with animals in our lives, an emerging body of research is recognizing the impact the human-animal bond can have on individual and community health." - Pet Partners
Keep'Em Home: A challenge for our times

I can’t lie, the historic shortage of affordable housing in CA has made the ‘Keep'Em Home’ project one of the most difficult missions we’ve taken on as animal advocates. The Vick dogs? - Moving that mountain was a cake-walk compared to this work! But valuable missions are never meant to be easy, and while we're learning how to be better advocates for our neighbors, we're also encouraged by some of the plans that are underway to increase housing opportunities in CA.

Triaging the need

Requests for help from area dog owners file in almost daily, and while there is a limit to the number of cases we can take on, we’ve gotten better at triaging the need as it arrives: the home with the dog with the impending litter that they can’t afford gets a quick spay/abort, the grieving family who can’t afford a euthanasia for their suffering senior dog gets an immediate appointment with one of our compassionate partner vets, the Good Samaritan with the reactive dog gets a quick spot in our training classes, and the family who lost their housing gets peace of mind from knowing their dog will be safe in our Rescue Barn. Thanks to donor support, we've been able to organize ten larger public outreach events in 2016 and perform 166 spay/neuter surgeries thanks to our veterinarian partners (hats off to Well Pet Veterinary Clinic) while serving over 650 families with everything our team has to offer.

Our numbers feel good because so much is getting done, but we're humbled right down to size when we remember that that the population of the counties we serve (Alameda and Contra Costa) is 2.5 million people, and pit bulls are counted among the top five most popular breed types. That's a LOT of dogs. Thankfully we're not alone in our commitment to owner support. Paw Fund,  FOBACS, PALS, East Bay SPCA and Contra Costa Animal Services are among the groups working to serve pet owners, each of us specializing in some things with lots of overlap. The need is big, but because the SF Bay Area has a long history of valuing the search for humane solutions to difficult problems, it feels natural and necessary to embrace owner support work as the social justice work that it is.

The face of animal welfare work is changing, and the Stories from Our Streets exhibit offers a front row seat to some of the best changes. We hope that you get a chance to see it this December. Please tell us if you do. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Ave. San Leandro 94577

PHOTO GALLERY of a typical 'Nut Truck' event. All images c/o Kathy Kinnear.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Breed ban in Montreal: What we know. How to help.

We are consolidating some of the information that's surfacing regarding Montreal's ban on pit bulls and ongoing efforts being made to help the dogs and their families. Concern about Montreal's situation is massive and it can be difficult to keep up with the shifting news. We welcome your updates and corrections as we tend to the links and information listed here.

10/5/16 BIG NEWS UPDATE - Pit Bull Bylaw in Montreal temporarily SUSPENDED by Superior Court judge.  

"During the hearing, Gouin said several aspects of the bylaw presented by the city raised troubling questions, particularly because they appeared to categorize a vast segment of the dog population as dangerous when most of them are not. Gouin noted as well that the city’s definition of “pit bull-type dogs” seemed vague and overly broad, which would unfairly target many pets and their owners." News Link.  

This means that pit bull owners will not have to apply for a special permit or muzzle their dogs, and Montreal shelters can continue to adopt out pit bull dogs while the Montreal SPCA unfolds its full legal appeal to have sections of the bylaw retracted.

UPDATE 10/3/16: Montreal Superior Court says bylaw lacks clarity. Suspends decision about injunction until Wednesday, Oct 5.  News

The Ban's Requirements

Under the new bylaw, owners of pit-bull type dogs, pit-bull mixes or any dog with similar physical characteristics have until Dec. 31 to apply for a special permit with the city, or risk having their dog euthanized. The dogs must be sterilized, micro-chipped and vaccinated for rabies by March 1, 2017. (All dogs regardless of breed must be sterilized and microchipped by Dec. 31, 2019.)

Pit-bull type dogs will have to wear a muzzle while on the streets and in their yards if their fence does not reach a required height. Their owners will have to provide proof they don’t have a criminal record involving violence. Licenses for the dogs will cost $150 a year. Source: National Post.

What we know / Dated October 3, 2016

Montreal has stated that its ban on unowned and unregistered 'pit bulls' will begin on Monday October 3.  However no information has surfaced to help citizens know how it will play out. For example: How will 'pit bulls' be identified? Can citizens request an appeal of their dog has been identified as a pit bull incorrectly? How do pit bull owners prove that they have no criminal record? How will the city enforce the law? - All unknown. News link.

A leading concern is how Montreal city leaders hope to identify pit bulls. Contemporary research has shown that using visual analysis to identify breed type is inaccurate and misleading, so all dogs with blocky heads and short coats could become potential targets for fines, expulsion and death. 

Why was a ban enacted? A woman was killed by her neighbor's dog in her yard in June 2016. The dog had two prior bites on record. Police assumed it was a pit bull however its breed type has not been confirmed. A task force committee was assembled to review contemporary expertise on dog safety and public policy. Their recommendations to seek out alternative solutions to a ban were rejected by city Mayor Coderre.

Information on effective public safety measures from Safer Kinder Communities. 

How can I help?

IMPORTANT: The Montreal SPCA needs financial support to pursue a legal challenge against the ban. Please be generous so they can build a solid case that presents contemporary expertise, peer-reviewed studies, and world trends to the courts.  LINK

UPDATE: A second court challenge is being planned by a Montreal-based coalition of lawyers and experts in animal behavior. LINK

How can I help save a dog from Montreal?

There are no large scale plans to move seized or unowned dogs out of the Province and into the United States as of today. We'll all know more after an injunction filed by the Montreal SPCA today is reviewed by the courts. A judge may agree to block the city's ban long enough to review their lawsuit. This is obviously the best case scenario. A good source for news is the Montreal SPCA's facebook page.

Within Canada: Some at-risk dogs have been moved to Nova Scotia and to Saskatchewan-based rescue groups Prairie Sky Dog Rescue in Regina and Prairie Pooches Rescue in Cando. Link

IMPORTANT: News of the breed ban has created a wave of panic on social media, and many rescue and transport groups have responded by offering to assist. Some groups have launched fundraisers for costs they expect to incur. While the outpouring of help is truly inspiring, be aware that there is no vetting of the groups that have offered to accept dogs, which opens the door to false claims and potential for harm. To ensure the safety of Montreal's dogs as well as the best use of your donation dollars, please be extremely selective with your support.

BADRAP is not currently planning to take displaced Montreal dogs because the number of local helpers is quite large and shipping dogs across the continent does not appear to be a necessary or practical response at this time

A First Goal: Keeping them Home

Prairie Pit bull Rescue in Lethbridge, Alberta announced that they will be working with Montreal-based activists to assist targeted dog owners with resources (spays and neuters, muzzles and financial support) so financially challenged families can keep their dogs. Efforts to keep dogs home - even during less than ideal circumstances - are always preferred over shipping beloved pets off to other places. (Note: Prairie Pit Bull Rescue is one of BADRAP's trusted rescue/transfer partners) PPBR also plans to assist in rescue/transfer efforts of Montreal dogs who do not have homes. New York Bully Crew made same announcement on their facebook page yesterday.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Slice of Summer

A little peek into the goings-on at the Rescue Barn this summer. 

Three of the pups are mixed-breed dogs who were found emaciated and sickly, but are now bouncing back. The husky-x pup - 'Chessa' - came from a breeder who has asked for help with placement and spay/neuter for Chessa's parent dogs. Adult pit bulls Snorkles and Mila make an appearance, as well as mentor dogs Eddie (pit bull) and Elliot and Billie (husky/shepherd mixes). Finally, in the last slide, is the tiny 'Lily,' who is new to our program. All photo credits go to Kathy Kinnear.


Can't see it? Look here: LINK

Taking on the city: One way to get rabies exemptions for sick dogs

EDIT: This blog post was originally published in 2010. We hope this information is helpful to dog owners with questions about rabies exemptions for their dogs.


Several years ago, shortly after getting her vaccinations at a boarding kennel, our pit bull Sally experienced an immuno-collapse that sucked the life out of her and scared the hec out of us. Our once outrageously vivacious pit bull melted into a lethargic lump of swollen glands who could barely raise her head. She developed mast cell cancer soon after. Talk about owner guilt. Although she slowly recovered and has been boosted greatly with diet and holistic care, we decided to stop giving our sick girl her vaccines. None. Our vet fully supports our decision, although we are, technically, breaking the law.

While we need to keep our pet population healthy with standard immunizations, the question has come up: How much is too much? Christie Keith reported on the growing awareness of the downfalls of over vaccinating dogs recently in the SFGate. More and more dog owners are willing to curb some or all of their dog's vaccines - for chronically sick dogs especially - but the decision to stop rabies vaccines makes outlaws out of us in places where rabies renewal is mandated by law.

Solving this conundrum has to involve amending our animal laws to include exceptions, which is a tall order. This is why we were so impressed when one of our longtime friends - Susi Allen of Monterey - took on her city in order to save her sick dog from a potentially damaging requirement.

Susi's dog Bunny (above) was diagnosed with chronic colitis shortly after being adopted from an east bay shelter. Treating this uncomfortable disorder - which is an inflammation of the large intestine - can involve an exhausting search for solutions with frustrating set backs as the condition cycles through repeat flare ups. Susi found help with nutritional therapy, but she and her veterinarian both felt that a rabies vaccine would exacerbate Bunny's symptoms and make her sick all over again, so Susi decided to skip the shot when she was due. The problem was, Bunny's vet was powerless to help Susi sidestep the law that mandates rabies renewal for all dogs in her city. That's when this pit bull mama got busy. She was kind enough to outline her adventures with local legislation with us ...

"I contacted Dr. Ila Davis, Supervising Veterinarian for Monterey County, to ask about obtaining a medical exemption from the rabies vaccine. Dr. Davis was very sympathetic, but said a rabies titer would not be accepted in lieu of a vaccine shot. So I contacted the City of Monterey Animal Control Officer, Cathi Cristobal, and explained the situation. Not only did she completely understand the situation, she said she would accept a letter from my vet indicating a vaccine could be detrimental to Bunny’s health in lieu of a current rabies certificate and issue Bunny a one year dog license.

About a month prior to the dog license renewal, Bunny was given a rabies titer, which resulted in a 1:95 reading. The Centers for Disease Control considers a result of 1:5 to be adequate in humans. This was a 50 lb. dog with a 1:95! My vet wrote a letter attesting to Bunny’s health and requesting exemption from any further rabies vaccines.

I took a copy of the letter, the titer results and my dog license renewal notice to the city Finance Department and was told they would not issue the $9.00 dog license without the rabies certificate. There was nothing AC Officer Cristobal could do. At this point I decided my only option was to PANIC! I had to either have my dog injected with a vaccine that could potentially exacerbate her already severe medical condition (or potentially kill her), OR I could not license her and run the risk of having her confiscated under city ordinance for having an unlicensed, unvaccinated dog.

Officer Cristobal suggested I appear before the City Council, requesting an exemption to the city ordinance requiring rabies vaccines. I couldn’t do it because then I’m calling attention to the fact that I have an unlicensed dog and am violating the current city ordinance. And did I mention Bunny is a pit bull?"

Susi red flagged an email to Gary Tiscornia, Executive Director of the SPCA for Monterey County, asking for advice. She said, "He responded with several suggestions, one of which Dr. Carol Iida, the SPCA vet suggested: contact the state vet, Dr. Ben Sun. Amanda Mouisset, the Animal Behaviorist at the SPCA (and my supervisor), mentioned legislation she recently heard about which would allow an exemption from the rabies vaccine for sick animals: AB2000. After reseaching AB2000, I contacted Dr. W. Jean Dodds (Rabies Challenge Fund). Dr. Dodds was sympathetic but told me that even dogs with terminal cancer were not exempt from the vaccine. Her website states it’s possible to obtain a waiver from the vaccine, although they are often not permitted regardless of the justification. Dr. Dodds provided me with additional research material but not a lot of hope.

I contacted Dr. Ben Sun, the State Public Health Veterinarian, to explain my situation and ask, at Dr. Iida’s suggestion, how he felt AB2000 would be implemented if passed. I also asked about the rabies vaccine itself, which the manufacturers state should only be administered to healthy animals: what conditions or symptoms need to be present to constitute a legally un-healthy animal to which the rabies vaccine should not be given? I had read some of Dr. Sun’s work and knew he didn’t hold titer results in high regard.

Dr. Sun responded quickly and provided a lot of interesting, thought-provoking information. He said he was not aware of a list of diseases or conditions that would be a contraindication to rabies vaccine. There’s that Catch 22 again: the manufacturers of the vaccines state it must only be administered to healthy animals, BUT there is no method of defining a legal unhealthy, and thus, exempt, animal.

After a few more emails, Dr. Sun told me there were several cities/counties in the state that have exemption ordinances. What? Really? He gave me the list and I contacted AC Officer Cristobal, who had now announced her impending retirement. I volunteered to collect the information if she thought it would help. Within a day, I dropped off a large package of information for her at the Monterey PD, containing each localities’ ordinance highlighted and a suggestion that the exempted dog not be confined to the owner’s property, but allowed in public under constant restraint (a leash).

Officer Cristobal sent me an email stating Deputy Chief Phil Penko was drafting an ordinance for presentation to the City Council. A few days later she sent me a copy of the draft. It would be heard at the May 4th meeting, the day after Officer Cristobal retires. I attended the City Council meeting and the exemption ordinance was a consent item. The Mayor asked if any of the council members objected to any of the consent items, and no one objected to the proposed ordinance….so then it needed to be heard again at the next council meeting. I attended that one also on May 18th. Again, nobody objected and it passed! It passed. I still am in shock….it passed!

I have an email from Deputy Chief Penko stating Bunny is covered under the new ordinance and am awaiting a letter from the Police Chief. I carry a copy of the ordinance, the email from DC Penko, the letter from my vet and the titer results with me whenever I walk Bunny. There are duplicate copies in the glove box of the car. ..."

Shortly after writing her experience, Susi's hard work paid off .. She wrote again to say, "IT'S ON THE BOOKS! The City of Monterey Code includes the Rabies Exemption!! Sec 6-13 has been amended to include the exemption language. The new ordinance went into effect 6/18/10. I'm still waiting for a letter from the Chief of Police giving me the authorization to allow me to pay the dog license.....but hey, it's only been a month. It'll happen....!"

We have to salute Bunny for inspiring her diehard owner to step up and champion for sick dogs in her city. Rock on Susi! Monterey City - you got it right, and you didn't wait to see what Sacramento was going to do with AB2000 (below) before you changed your law. BRAVO.

The state of California is considering AB2000, a bill that would allow for an exemption of a rabies license with a veterinarian's permission. The facebook page of the Rabies Challenge Fund is posting updates.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Part II: The Landlord Experience. If you care about pet-friendly housing, this matters.

The pet-friendly housing shortage in the SF Bay Area and most other cities has been crushing our collective ability to keep family dogs in safe, permanent homes and out of animal shelters. Understanding the landlord experience is essential to navigating this trend, but the most recent research we could find on the topic is outdated (Firepaw Study 2005). The landscape has changed quite a bit since that study was published, so we decided to get busy over the past year by speaking with as many different property managers as we could in order to gain some perspective. In addition to phone interviews and email exchanges, we gathered responses from landlords in a twelve question survey that was shared around by local realtors and via our social media page. Our goal was to daylight some of the key factors that influence landlord decisions when accepting or rejecting dogs in their rental properties.

Participants were asked to share their insurance providers, dog breed and/or size restrictions, requirements for dogs and dog owners, yard and shared space usage and obstacles they faced (if any) when making their decisions. We also asked them to describe both positive and negative experiences with renting to dog owners. Finally, all were asked to indicate whether they would be interested in participating in more discussion in our search for solutions to the pet friendly housing shortage. (23% said 'yes,' 55% declined and 21% are on the fence.) To encourage candid survey responses, we agreed to keep landlord identity confidential.

Our burning question behind these efforts: What prevents some landlords from renting to dog owners? And what can we learn from landlords who DO welcome them?

People were very generous with their time and seemed to appreciate our interest. Their responses were rich with inside info and gave us a good grasp of some of the key factors that contribute to pet policy decisions. Here's the thing: While a small number of the participants did not allow dogs on their properties, the majority who did expressed a strong desire to improve their pet policies to ensure a better overall success rate with dog owners. Hopeful, right? We think so too. Learn from the negative, build on the positive.

Who responded?

Of the 69 who responded to our survey, 45 rent to dog owners, 19 accept dogs on a case-by-case basis and three ban dogs outright. Not surprising, the majority who allow dogs are those who rent out single family homes (37) and/or duplexes or triplexes (26). Ten participants counted their rental spaces as 'other' - which included RVs and non-conforming apartments. All but ten property owners reported having fenced yards or patios available for dogs, although a number preferred that tenants not use them as the dogs' main bathroom.

Multi-unit building managers heard from. Eleven in total. We were so happy they shared. Five told us they allow dogs, five allow them on a case-by-case basis and one does not allow them at all. Nine of the 11 multi-unit managers who responded do not have breed restrictions. They're an important group because multi-unit buildings have traditionally held the biggest resistance to pets - targeted breeds in particular. Interested to hear what their experience with pets has been? You should be! Read HERE.

Insurance Providers

Survey participants hold insurance policies with these companies: State Farm (23) / Farmers (7) / AllState (7) / AAA (6) / Liberty Mutual (4) / USAA (4) / Travelers (3) / Pacific Specialty (2) / Sadler (1) / ANPAC (1) / CSAA (1) / Encompass/Safeco (1) / “Several” (3) / Unknown or Declined to Share (6)

What do property owners worry about? ... Their property!

Hands down, the number one concern expressed by landlords came from having experienced property damage and/or nuisance noise from dogs – regardless of breed type. From our blog post 'Bad Apples' - Only three of the landlords we polled mentioned insurance as a potential obstacle to renting to pit bulls and other dogs, and only one had breed restrictions (no reason given). Almost all reported the need for expensive and time consuming repairs after dog owners moved out and/or dogs who disturbed neighbors with noise. One of the happier surprises to us was that most of the survey participants who reported negative experiences still welcome dogs in their rentals.

How are they protecting their interests? Landlords reported these requirements for dog owners. (Can we help them do better?)

  • Additional rent and/or security deposit: 39 (58.21%)
  • Pet Addendum language added to lease: 36 (53.7%)
  • Dog must be spayed/neutered: 34 (50.75%)
  • Meet and approve dog in advance: 33 (49.25%)
  • Dogs must get along with other dogs on property: 16 (23.88%)
  • References for pets from other landlords, etc. required: 12 (17.91)
  • No requirements: 9 (13.43%)
  • Proof of basic obedience training: 6 (8.96%)

Why should we care what landlords think? Read this:

I am a leasing agent and property manager for a 260 unit loft complex. I am currently researching how to create a better pet policy. We currently have a breed restriction and limit large dogs to first floor apartments. I would like to get rid of the breed restriction because I think it is ill-informed and difficult to enforce.
Here is my dilemma. When leasing at such a large scale, it is not feasible for me to evaluate each dog's temperament individually, nor am I really qualified to do so. We would like to encourage responsible dog owners to rent with us but at the same time discourage irresponsible dog owners (which there are unfortunately many of in our area).
We have to establish some sort of consistent guidelines because otherwise we open ourselves up to lawsuits. 

When we listen, we learn

We have renewed faith that a good number of landlords care about their communities and want responsible dog owners to enjoy a lifetime commitment to their family companions.  How do we identify and support them so their numbers grow? We've only scratched the surface of this topic, and it's clear we have a long way to go before more landlords feel comfortable opening their doors to dog owners.

Comments? Questions? Ideas?

Landlords, renters, animal welfare workers: Please join this conversation so we can start to meet the needs of both the landlords who want responsible tenants and the pet owners who so desperately need a place to call home.

GRATITUDE:  Many thanks to everyone who shared their experiences with us. 

More info:
  • Are landlords liable for a tenant's dog's behavior? Not usually. NOLO Press
  • Pet Addendum for use in conjunction with residential lease. Addendum (Need this is a Word Doc? Holler!)
  • BADRAP's best tips for pet owners looking for a home: Renting

Below: A little gallery of insightful feedback from some of the landlords and the pet owners who shared their experiences with us.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The housing shortage: Bad apples are tripping you up

"Landlords are greedy and they don't like pit bulls. If insurance companies would lighten up, more pit bulls could get homes." 

False. Well, mostly false.

According to nearly 70 landlords and property managers who responded to a 12 question survey we circulated recently, insurance and breed types have been non-issues in their decisions to rent to pet owners. Instead, they told us that the main obstacle to maintaining a dog friendly policy is the damage, mess and nuisance noise caused by former tenants with all types of dogs. That, and the fact that housing is at such a premium that there are dozens of qualified families without pets standing in line, ready to pay historically high rents for their hard-to-find apartments. Supply and demand, headaches vs. landlord convenience. It makes sense, doesn't it?

Only three of the landlords we polled mentioned insurance as a potential obstacle to renting to pit bulls and other dogs, and only one had breed restrictions (no reason given). Almost all reported the need for expensive and time consuming repairs after dog owners moved out and/or dogs who disturbed neighbors with noise. One of the bigger surprises to us was that most of the survey participants still allow dogs despite the headaches they outlined. 

From the survey: Have you had any negative experiences renting to pet owners? Please describe:

.... 'Dogs being allowed to mess in the house. We have had to deep clean grout & tile & replace (new) carpet because of excess dog bathroom messes.' ..... 'People were very nice and paid their rent on time, however the condo was a mess after they moved and it had a very, very strong urine odor in the carpet.' ..... 'Constant barking of pet at all times of day and night.' ..... 'Peed on, moldy carpets, all the way through the pad. Chewed baseboards. Kittens galore. Fleas. Large dog poop in the yard.' ..... 'Hardwood floors damaged from pets nails, black fur build up between carpet and trim, pet waste not picked up and neighbors complained, barking complaints' .....'Young tenants went out every night and their little dog suffered from anxiety and would howl all night till they returned and the dog pooped in my house and they would leave it' .... 'The dog caused so much damage to carpet through urination that both carpet and pad had to be replaced throughout unit AND the concrete foundation below carpet and pad had to be treated for urination saturation. Total cost $3,000 plus a lot of extra time and energy hiring contractors, arranging appointment/cleaning times, meeting with contractors, etc. I learned my lesson and went back to a No Pet policy '...

Understanding is Key

We have more info to share including the reasons some of the landlords do like renting to responsible owners of pit bull type dogs among others, but as we move forward, it seems important to point out that dog owners may not be interpreting landlord rejection correctly. Understanding the perspective of property owners is crucial if we're going to make any headway in opening more housing to pet owners. And, according to 70 (mostly) dog friendly landlords who were kind enough to speak to us, the insensitive renter who allows his dog to make a big mess of things is one of the key reasons you're facing such a big disadvantage during this housing shortage ... The exception of course being landlords who are swayed by breed stereotypes in towns and counties that endorse Breed Specific Legislation (Yes San Francisco, that includes you.)

Knowledge is Power: Be Awesome. Get Your Home!

There are strategies you can take to show landlords that you're a cut above the rest. Because if you aren't a cut above the bad apples, why should anyone rent to you?

To help on that end, we've created a 90-second video with a 'landlord approved' approach to securing housing, in English and in Spanish. All are welcome to embed this on their websites (the embed code pops up with the share button).

Shelters and Rescue Groups. You're welcome to post and print these graphic hand-outs for people in your community. HAND-OUTS

Monday, March 14, 2016

Is San Francisco ready to end its Breed Specific Discrimination?

EDIT: Jonny made new friends in SF city gov't after his meeting but as of December 2016, there has been no indication that SF wants to end its discriminatory policy and language towards blocky dogs.

SF Dog celeb Jonny Justice has an important meeting with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed on Tuesday, March 15. He's going with his adopter Cris Cohen and while he's there, he hopes to explain how SF's current designation of “pit bulls” as a special “problem” dog has been stigmatizing both the dogs and their owners and contributing to a homeless pets problem in SF and other cities. Photo right: Mark Rogers

Breed specific mandates endorse discrimination and profiling of all kinds, including and especially breed bans by landlords and insurance companies.

Cris experienced San Francisco's BSL first hand when he was out walking Jonny's sister dog Lily. He told us that, two blocks from their home in the Sunset district, "a uniformed ACO in a white Chevy Astro van, with the SFACC (San Francisco Animal Care and Control) logo on the door pulled up and stopped in the middle of the cross walk, blocking our path. He rolled down his window, and asked 'Is your dog neutered?'"

Lily was spayed back when she was a BADRAP foster dog, but if she hadn't seen the vet for this procedure yet, the ACO would have been within his right to confiscate her until Cris paid fines and surgery costs. If Cris had been unemployed or otherwise unable to afford the fees, he would risk losing custody of Lily altogether. In fact, we've interviewed several under resourced SF dog owners who had to make the terrible decision to surrender their dogs to an unknown fate at SFACC when faced with the same situation.

Targeted dog owners in SF who are resistant to the strong arm approach to neutering have told us that they just avoid walking their dogs - No training classes, limited socialization, and in a densely populated city where the need for proper training and socialization can be crucial.

Why the discriminatory law?

Back in 2005, after a dog related fatality involving a young boy whose mother locked him in their house with two very troubled dogs who were mating, San Francisco retaliated by categorizing all pit bulls as "higher risk dogs" and started targeting pit bull owners with a mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) law. They were working from the belief that a dog's behavior could be predetermined by its breed make-up, a bias that has been discredited by dog experts in several ways, including peer reviewed studies. Animal welfare organizations have long condemned MSN policies, citing a long list of reasons including enforcement problems, opting for effective, voluntary spay/neuter programs instead that focus on building safe, humane communities through breed neutral laws and owner education/support programs.

It's unclear why SF is still hanging onto to an outdated and discriminatory ordinance in light of more progressive and effective spay/neuter program examples, but just maybe a change is coming. Anti-BSL advocates have been way too polite in SF and even the progressive San Francisco SPCA has been silent on the city's policy. The nonprofit's general counsel Brandy Kuentzel told us by email that while the SFSPCA is philosophically opposed to breed discriminatory laws, they have never formulated an official statement to denounce SF's BSL due to "limited staff time," but they hope to address it in the near future on their advocacy blog. Photo right: Lance Iversen, The Chronicle Article 'SF animal shelter full as economy goes to the dogs'

Housing Shortage: Landlord Rejection = Surrendered Pets

CNN noticed SF's pet retention problem when they ran an article last summer entitled 'No dogs allowed: San Francisco's pet housing crisis.' Said to be three times worse that NYC's housing situation, they noted that, "According to San Francisco animal welfare nonprofit SF SPCA, there's been a surge in owners abandoning their pets due to an inability to find pet-friendly housing."

Pit bulls are counted as one of the top five most popular dog breeds in CA (source: Banfield) yet tend to suffer the most when renters can't find housing. As of this writing, 70% of the dogs at SF's city shelter - 16 out of 23 - are adult pit bulls who've lost their homes (source: We are hard pressed to offer realistic advice to desperate SF pit bull owners who contact us for help during a dead end housing search. The law that was meant to curb irresponsible breeding and lower shelter intake numbers has instead cast an ugly light on pit bulls, and at a time when landlords are especially reluctant to rent to dogs over 30lbs.

Vinegar, Honey or Good Old Fashioned Respect?

Being targeted as a potential criminal made a lasting impression on Cris Cohen. He said that the day he was stopped, "the ACO acted like a jerk. It really could have been a friendly positive interaction, but it was anything but."

Contrast the ACO's 'old school' approach to nonjudgmental public outreach programs that invite dialogue about spay/neuter options with under resourced dog owners. Across the bay in Oakland for example, our small but mighty spay/neuter van attracts long lines of area pit bull owners (photo: left) for free on-the-spot surgery appointments, vaccines, microchips and training help. People respond well to the welcoming vibe and pour out of their houses to join us at every event, hungry for information and resources. Even the most reluctant dog owners will sign on for neuters when presented with information in a respectful way, proving time and again that building healthy relationships with our communities can create more positive change than shaming, profiling and criminalizing ever have or will. Photo left: Kathy Kinnear in East Oakland

 VIDEO: Who shows up? 
See a typical Oakland-based voluntary spay/neuter event in action.

Please, stop the profiling in San Francisco 

It's our hope that Board of Supervisors President London Breed receives Jonny's information with an open mind. Blatant discrimination of dogs or their people should never be tolerated, especially in a world-class city like San Francisco, and especially during a pet-friendly housing crisis.

If anyone can move the needle on breed discrimination, little Jonny can.

We encourage dog lovers to show your support for ending breed discrimination in San Francisco. Brief, considerate emails can go to Supervisor Breed and other board members at these email addresses. Thank you.

SF Board of Supervisors President London Breed

District 11 John Avalos 
District 9 Dave Campos
District 3 Aaron Peskin
District 10 Malia Cohen
District 2 Mark Farrell
District 6 Jane Kim
District 1 Eric Mar
District 4 Katy Tang
District 8 Scott Wiener
District 7 Norman Yee

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pit Ed Primer: Homework for dog owners on our wait list

Next to chihuahuas and small dog mixes, dogs described as pit bulls are some of the most popular dog 'types' in all of CA. In the SF bay area, we can boast some of the best mannered 'block heads' you will find in the country, thanks to the dedication of hundreds of responsible dog owners and advocates who live here.

If you've signed up for BADRAP's Pit Ed classes, this primer (with homework!) is for you. Classes are designed to help you and your dog learn how to be a better team. Your pet will learn self control around intense distractions, and you'll learn safe, humane handling skills so he can be a the best behaved dog in your neighborhood. We cover current events that affect our dogs, understanding dog tolerance levels, basic obedience, socialization, responsible ownership must-knows, keeping your dogs safe from negative experiences, and basic problem solving. If you're not in the SF area, we hope some of the info here will be a help as you sort out your dog's leash manners at home.

Want to come observe?  HERE We welcome dogless visitors with a heads-up email.

WHAT? Urban Street Skills - It's What You Want

Most dog owners want great 'street manners' ie, a dog that can walk down a busy street looking rock star cool and collected. This same dog will be well behaved when encountering bigger distractions (squirrels! skateboards! yappy dogs!) and will listen to your cues (leave it. sit. look. let's go!) when you need him to. Having good street manners means you can take your dog to a cafe and enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with your friend, or walk into the crowded lobby of your veterinarian and have the best behaved dog there.

Left: After six one hour classes and some homework, Tony & Daniel wowed us by showing off their dogs' great leash manners during an up-close greet. This came from practicing new skills and totally rearranging the way they communicate with their dog. The best part? Their dogs loved the training, especially the happy attention they got for each success.

"But my dog is too excitable to do that"

MOST of the dogs who first come to our classes are mildly to extremely excited by distractions, especially other dogs. How can we possibly help them get the kind of smooth manners you see in the photo?

HOW? It Starts with the 'Look'

The foundation skill for just about any dog who can be overly excited by the sight of other dogs is eye contact with their handlers. The more you reinforce this skill at home where it's easy to accomplish ('Look. Good boy!') and then practice it in new situations with new and bigger distractions, the easier it is to build great street manners into your dog when he needs them most. "Who cares about that silly barking dog behind the fence. Look at me instead. GOOD boy!"

Once your dog masters this skill, you're ready to start allowing him to look at the distraction briefly from a comfortable distance, and - important - praising for calm. Baby steps, baby steps!

Photos left/right: Gustavo Del Castillo N. Rivera

HOMEWORK: Cementing a Solid 'Look' (Watch Me) Command

It's best to start reinforcing this skill at home without distractions and with a treat held up to the bridge of your nose. 'Look! Good girl!' ... and treat. Repeat.

Later, skip the treat and point to your nose when you want to get your dog's full attention. Remember to use her name and speak in a clear, upbeat tone 'Sally! Look! Good girl.' Most dogs love to hear their names ... Even better when it comes along with your happy, enthusiastic, purposeful tone. As your dog masters the 'Look' during a 'Sit,' you'll start to ask her to give you eye contact while she's moving. And then you're in business.
In our classes, the dogs that do the best usually have handlers who act like your favorite coach did in high school - Good direction in loud, happy voices with plenty of warm encouragement. Who doesn't love that?
MORE HOMEWORK: Most dogs come to class already knowing 'Sit' 'Stay' and 'Down.' We really want your dog to know a good 'Leave It' command, too. You'll use this command to call your dog's attention off of everything from a chicken bone on the street to a reactive dog that pushes her buttons. Here's a helpful VIDEO for your pre-class homework. You don't need to use a clicker btw to teach this skill. Just replace the 'click' with a verbal 'Good dog!' when she backs off from the treat, then make sure and offer her a reward from the opposite hand that you are using to hold the off-limits morsel.

Equally important: Handling Techniques You'll Practice in Class

Your dog doesn't understand (much) English, but he's a master at reading body language. So your success in class will come from learning to navigate him around obstacles and distractions as smoothly and skillfully as a lead dancer moves his partner around the dance floor.

But first, let's talk about Training Equipment. Our beginner classes accept up to 20 dogs at a time, and many will be bouncy and reactive to other dogs the first class or two. That's fine! You're welcome to use whichever collar or shoulder or head harness has been successful for you so far, with the exception of a choke or electric collar.

By far, the most successful and popular training equipment for new handlers has been the micro-prong or the 'plastic prong' (the Starmark collar).  We do not - repeat - we do not allow popping, yanking, pulling or otherwise punishing dogs who wear these collars in class. They're simply going to allow you enough power steering to finally get down to the business of practicing basic skills with your dog and helping him learn to be comfortable in a very exciting setting. This is especially true for people whose dogs are strong enough to pull them off their feet.

Right: Party Girl Cricket started her first three training classes on a prong collar, but graduated to a martingale as she learned that focusing on her person brought more reward than bouncing towards other dogs. Supported handler, smart pup!

Below Left: Badda Bing was too rowdy on his harness to learn new skills during his first class, but arrived in his Starmark collar the following week (right) and got right to work. We love and welcome harnesses on dogs who respond well to them, but some dogs like Bing need a little more control initially to get them started. Bing's life was in danger when volunteers were unable to walk him at the local shelter where he was surrendered, so we took him into our program to get him on track. With the right equipment, he gave up the bounce and found quick success and then, a brand new home.

Proper fit and technique is key. If you decide to try a prong collar on your dog, we want you to watch this VIDEO to help you get a proper fit. And remember, because we want you to reward your dog for good behavior - no popping the leash allowed.

Handling - It's everything! If you aren't handling your dog correctly, he may pull in front of you or trip you up, especially if he wants to bounce towards other dogs. Please review this video to learn how you will hold the leash and incorporate your 'Look' and other commands during class drills.


Once you're comfortable with the style of handling shown in the video above, you and your dog will start practicing close contact drills around other dogs, bikes, skateboards, feral cats (yikes!), you name it. Everyone improves. And our favorite part: some of the most challenging - ie, naughty! - dogs tend to turn into the biggest rock stars.

Photo right: Gustavo Del Castillo N. Rivera

Q: But what if I do all of the above and my dog still reacts? Dogs are individuals and react for a variety reasons that can change as their circumstances change. Together, we can learn enough about your dog and your communication style with her to customize an approach that works for you both. Because practice makes (nearly!) perfect, you're welcome to continue classes long after you've 'graduated' from Beginner's Class so you can sharpen new skills that can be used out in the real world where it really counts.

Q: Is there anything I can be doing before class starts?
Class provides an excellent opportunity to bond with and improve your relationship with your dog. This work doesn't stop after you leave class. If you're struggling with behavior issues at home, give this hand-out a read to see if it might be time to tighten up on some of your management techniques throughout the day: A NEW DOG

Q: My dog is afraid of people. Will this class help?
Pit Ed can be stressful for dogs with extreme fear issues because it can be loud, busy, full of dog noise and it butts up against a public park full of cars, visitors and other animals. If you think your dog will have a hard time in this setting, you may want to look into working with a trainer for one-on-one sessions.

Q: My dog misbehaves at the dog park. Will this class help?
Pit Ed is an on-leash only class. We'll discuss the pros & cons of dog park use in class, along with some fun ways to exercise your dog safely, but our focus is helping you develop solid on-leash street manners so you can navigate our busy city streets with ease.

Q: My reactive dog is not a pit bull. Can I still come to class? 
Occasionally we allow other breeds, but because pit bulls are the dogs most likely to be judged in public and euthanized in animal shelters for bad leash manners, we've dedicated our efforts to helping them. For your non-pit, please look at some of the 'Growly Dog' classes held at local SPCAs and Humane Societies.

Please be aware that, due to the extreme popularity of pit bulls in the SF Bay Area, our classes have a 6-9 month long wait list. We hope this post helps you gain enough info to get started before we meet you - or maybe, it can help you avoid the need for class altogether!

More photos from class. Enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2015

the blue dot dogs

First the bad news. This map shows the number of bank owned (foreclosed) homes being offered for sale this week in just one slice of Oakland - East Oakland, to be exact. (Source: Zillow) It's a shocking graphic that grows as the map reveals more pieces of the hardest hit parts of the SF east bay.

Behind every blue dot is a displaced family and/or an evicted tenant. Approximately 47% of those homes likely owned one or more dogs and/or cats when they were told they had to move. (That figure comes from the American Pet Products Association, who likes to keep tabs on the number of American families who own pets). Where did all those families and all those pets go? Many have been heading east, in search of affordable living. Faced with a dearth of pet friendly rentals, thousands are forced to leave their pets behind every year. In Oakland, where pit bulls have traditionally been among the top three most popular breeds, we can practically draw a straight line from every other blue dot to Oakland Animal Services. Or, hundreds of straight lines.

Contrary to popular stereotypes, SF Bay Area pit bulls aren't filling shelters because there are 'too many' of them, or they're 'too unwanted' or 'too difficult' to own. Instead, many if not most were well loved dogs who've simply been displaced, right along with their humans.

“Of those who gave up their animals, the most common reason cited was that the landlord or place of residence did not allow dogs or cats.” - American Humane Association Report 'Keeping Pets (Dogs and Cats) in Homes: A Three-Phase Retention Study' 2012

Many of the blue dot dogs also reflect the lack of affordable training resources in these same communities, so are doubly challenged by a lack of basic manners when they land in the shelters. In a market oversaturated with dogs-in-need, the well mannered dogs are understandably cherry picked for adoption programs, leaving the dogs with caveman manners at a much higher risk of euthanasia.

Dealing with the aftermath of the economic trends and housing shortages has vexed animal shelter workers for over a decade, even while live release rates are closely scrutinized by a public hungry for 'save them all' successes.

Successes are within reach but can be hard to sustain, and it's not uncommon for frustrated critics to place blame on surrendering families for not trying harder to keep their pets or at animal shelters for not trying harder to attract new homes. To their credit, shelters have increased adoption rates for pit bulls and other dogs substantially over the years all around the country (news link). Yet the intake numbers have have held steady.

What's a shelter to do?

In a very real sense - until and unless the flow of displaced pets slows - any animal shelter's best defense to the perennial intake of larger dogs is to keep their marketing skills sharp and social media pages humming so well resourced families can be attracted to the same dogs their less fortunate neighbors were forced to give up. Rather depressing, but true.

So What's the Good News?

The good news is that many in the animal welfare field are finally rubbing their eyes awake to the bigger picture. Under resourced dog owners shouldn't be written off as bad guys, and 'Owner Support' programs that honor the human-animal bond are finding their legs. Inventing new ways to keep challenged dogs in their homes is becoming the in-vogue topic at animal welfare conferences and even publications like Dodo, which ran this article early in the week.

'People Are Unfairly Forced to Leave Their Dogs at Shelters. Now There's Help.' - LINK

Understanding the key causes behind high shelter intake numbers doesn't always afford us easy solutions, however. At times, the reality of homeless dogs can seem so overwhelming - It may have almost been easier for animal lovers to believe that the majority of pit bull owners were irresponsible and required policing, as San Francisco and other cities have done.

But we're smarter than that now, and hopefully more compassionate. Or at least, we know we're supposed to be.

Photo credit: Chris Arson. An Oakland family comes to a 2014 BADRAP owner support event to have their dog spayed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Game Changer Dogs - Viva the Evolution

We lost our founding dog Sally recently, which was as big a blow as anyone can experience when saying good-bye to a dear friend. Our nostalgia about our seventeen year friendship with her stirred a project we'd been simmering for years: An image-rich tribute to the human-animal bond and the ways we're transformed by that bond.

The healing, motivation and comfort that dogs offer in exchange for a meal and some ear scratches have been a source of poetry and prose for centuries, and now, as pit bulls secure their rightful place in our culture, their fans seem to have no shortage of gratitudes and stories. In fact, people have been writing to us since our group began to express their amazement at their love for ... a dog.

We feel like therapists at times, taking confessionals from people who can't quite believe how much their lives have changed for the better. "We understand," we reply. The human-animal bond is big stuff. It's been nudging us to evolve our thinking about our planet and its creatures and even each other, and all in the most positive of ways. The newfound interest in dog owner support programs, for example, is born out of our shared love for companion animals with people in communities that may be very different from the ones we grew up in. We thought* we were helping dogs, but really, the dogs have been helping us to become better humans. Clever beasts.

And so, here is the start of our little project: Public confessions of game changing dogs. Many of the entries in this growing collection are heart tuggers, some are funny and a few are quite candid and deeply personal.

Game Changer Dogs

Join Us! This project is for you, and anyone who wants to stamp their story in Cyberspace for all to ponder and enjoy. A few short sentences is plenty and a gorgeous photo tells a thousand words, of course. Thank you for reading and for sharing with your circles.  ---> Submissions

Thursday, February 05, 2015

We're Hiring!

Now seeking a very special Super Hero who has the vision and fortitude to help us ramp up our Keep'Em Home work in the SF East Bay. 

Thank you for sharing with your community-minded friends and colleagues.

Keep'Em Home Manager Part Time Position Opening

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Hello, Hello to 2015 / Year end report and Good bye to Sassy

Are the holidays always so filled with nostalgia, or was this year special? 

Just yesterday, on the last day of 2014, we said a sad good-bye to Barn Dog alumna Sassy - a regal elderbull who first came to us from a dusty hoarding case in SoCA. She lived a very happy two years with her adopters, and died of mass cell cancer under the tears of her biggest fans, the Blechman Rivera family. Photos Bettina Crawford Photography

Life ends, Life begins. And on the first day of this New Year, our team tended to a small litter of puppies who've just* started to scuffle around. They currently look like wrinkled old men, trying out their new legs. The pups and their most wonderful mom Waffles came to us two weeks ago from Yolo County Animal Services and promise a lifetime of fond memories to their future adopters.

Life demands that we keep moving forward. 

In the middle of the sad news and those busy tasks, we made preparations to reunite a dog named AJ with his (formerly homeless) family (photo link); a reminder that rescue work is intrinsically connected to our wider community, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. AJ's story is spelled out in our year end report, linked below.

Chart Your Course in 2015

If you haven't already, don't forget to purchase your 2015 New Beginnings Calendar. Each month highlights a rescue case who moved through our adoption program on their way to new lives, and each story represents a certain triumph for the dog and a happy day for their new families.

Calendars Link

For more information on the key projects that kept us busy in 2014, and a look at what we're doing next, please give our year end report a read. Miles to go before we sleep, and we're so happy to have you alongside us for the sometimes bumpy, sometimes silly, always interesting ride of our lives. Thank you for being such a big part of this nationwide movement to keep the 'blockheads' in our circle of compassion.

BADRAP 2014 Year End Report

Good bye, sweet girl. You won't be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Riverside County: The bite prevention effort that isn't

Riverside County, CA is having some trouble with dog bite prevention.

In October 2013, Riverside County Animal Services ushered breed specific legislation in to unincorporated parts of the county in the form of a mandatory spay/neuter law that targets families who own dogs described as 'pit bulls.'  They'd hoped to promote public safety through this ordinance and, by focusing law enforcement resources on sterilization, decrease the number of dog bite incidents. That move came on the heels of a well publicized attack involving two mixed breed dogs described as “Australian shepherd pit bull mixes.” 

"It's time to say enough is enough," County Supervisor John Tavaglione said. "I'm tired of seeing innocent people hurt.” LINK

Debates leading up to the ordinance stirred the usual pit bull breed myths and stereotypes in online discussion and news stories, but did not bring additional funding for animal control officials, bite prevention education or spay/neuter resources for under resourced residents. Naturally, the ordinance attracted heated criticism from the public who lamented the use of a tired, outdated strategy that targets under resourced dog owners.  The practice of criminalizing dogs owners through mandatory spay/neuter laws is now widely condemned by a diverse array of animal welfare experts and organizations. LINK

It's not working

Since the ordinance passed, Riverside County residents have watched several tragic bite incidents play out in the media. On November 5, an unsupervised toddler took a bad bite and lost much of his tiny ear after approaching a frustrated dog who'd been chained in his backyard. RCAS's news release and facebook post was quick to call out breed type in their headlines, and the media followed suit. The dog in this case was described as a pit bull and had already been neutered.

Less than two weeks later, another tragedy when a loose dog mauled a toddler at a playground on November 14, causing disfigurement and lasting nerve damage to the young boy's face. The biting dog, photo right, was called out as "dog" in agency headlines and later identified as a neutered Labrador mix. However, research reminds us that visual identification tells us nothing about a dog's breed make-up - lab-type dogs included! - and breed type(s) tell us even less about the multifactorial reasons an individual dog may inflict a severe bite on a human. EDIT: The identity of the biting dog is being debated. LINK

“You need to be educated on it"

Dog bite prevention information has been noticeably absent from any of RCAS communications following bites. Instead, perhaps to justify their highly criticized spay/neuter ordinance, the agency continues to suggest via clumsy quotes that dog bite risk can be measured by breed type. This past summer, after Animal Services released a blocky headed dog with a history of aggression back to his family, the dog attacked two children. RCAS described the dog as a pit bull. Deputy Director Frank Corvino’s explanation for the attack amounted to this quote:  "If you're going to own that type of breed you need to be educated on it, you need to know what to do with it if folks come by, you need to know your dog inside and out, and be aware of the genetics.” 

Three for three: The dog in this incident was also neutered at the time of the attack.

It's clear that relying on a targeted warnings and spay/neuter strategy as a cure all to dog bites is failing Riverside’s citizens and will continue to fail them.  

This comes as no surprise to animal experts who study dog bite trends and causes. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s paper on breeds implicated in serious bite injuries urges policy makers to avoid assigning bite injuries to breed type, pit bulls especially. LINK
Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma, however controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous. The pit bull type is particularly ambiguous as a “breed” encompassing a range of pedigree breeds, informal types and appearances that cannot be reliably identified. Visual determination of dog breed is known to not always be reliable. And witnesses may be predisposed to assume that a vicious dog is of this type.
Sure enough, a case of visual mis-identity played out last week when the Labrador mix that mauled the toddler was initially identified - and reported by media - as a Rottweiler. The mind plays tricks under duress, and the media is notoriously quick to report unconfirmed hearsay as fact after a dog related incident. LINK

In this era of advanced understanding of dog behavior, it's highly irresponsible for any animal control agency to focus on and sensationalize breed type as the basis of a dog bite prevention campaign. Given their history of well publicized maulings and fatalities, Riverside County authorities are especially obligated to seize every opportunity to educate and lead the dialogue on the known components of dog safety. Fact based information should be pouring off their website pages, social media and in their communications with the public and news sources. 

Dog safety. It's big picture.

We all want fewer dog bites and increased public safety. Riverside County residents have a right to demand that their animal services discontinue the time and resource wasting focus on targeting breed type and instead, recommit to dog bite prevention efforts by promoting an effective, holistic approach to dog bite prevention in the form of tried and true public education and effective, non-judgmental outreach efforts. There are a myriad of places for great info. Here are just a few to start:

Bite prevention info from the AVMA.
The Family Paws Parent Education programs.
Graphics for children on how to avoid trouble with dogs. Credit: Dr. Sophia Yin. Link
BADRAP's page on dogs and kids. Link.
The Safe Kids / Safe Dogs Project
National Canine Research Council - for science on dog bites.
An uncomfortable but revealing look at warning signs that say, "Please leave me alone." Video.