Friday, March 26, 2010
I'm sorry to report that we lost the most wonderful Maude this week to a disease we've never experienced before: Distemper! It's been a shock to all of us, especially to Maude's foster mom Katie Moyer, who fell deep into those big brown eyes from day one.
Maude came from Sacramento, where somebody bred her before she landed in the city shelter. Her badly sunburned ears told us that she was most likely a backyard dog. Distemper is very rare in adult dogs, but unfortunately Sacramento is experiencing a frightening situation with what is being called a distemper epidemic in their wild raccoon population. The same strain of distemper that the raccoons are carrying can easily transfer to dogs (but not to people). We're surmising that Maude's former owner never took her to the vet for shots, and that the virus caught her when she was most vulnerable.
Distemper is a multi-systemic viral disease that produces excruciatingly painful symptoms that are often fatal. It's a horrible experience for any animal to endure. The disease has been nearly wiped out thanks to the DHPP vaccine, but will crop up in some areas to show us where dog owners are not taking care of their pets.
We loved this dog and wish we could go back in time and find a way to vaccinate her as a pup and let her live the life she was meant to live. The best we can do is to get out to Sacramento and do a Free Shots Fair for low-income dog owners in memory of Maude. We'll let our readers know when that event goes down.
Til then, we salute the most beautiful brown eyed girl who charged into our lives with a smile as wide as Texas, and stole our hearts solid before slipping back to her Maker.
Our hearts are wrapped around foster mom Katie today, who spent every waking moment this past week caring for Maude before saying a painful good-bye. And to Deassa, who helped enormously with vet care and TLC to the very end. Katie wrote this tribute, no doubt through a lot of tears. We're all humbled by her compassion and courage.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Here's the latest update from his travel guide, Cindy:
"We zipped through AZ, NM, TX and OK.
Phatman experienced Tornado warnings and the craziest thunder and lightening in Little Rock AR. Phatman is not a fan of thunder. He spent most of the night under the bathroom counter. Poor guy! "
"Next we were off to Nashville. Weather was not to good so we didn't get out to much but we did go to the Grand Ole Opry. Next was Louisville and Lexington KY. Phatman visited the Louisville Slugger factory and met some horses in Lexington. Then it was off to Savannah GA - a very dog friendly town."
"He played on the beach at Tybee Island in Savannah and did some sightseeing around town and today he played on the beach in South Carolina. Now we're in North Carolina and in a few days will be off to Virgina and then our nations capital!!"
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We pulled four of the dogs into our program today. Many have already been put to sleep. We have our work cut out to help them catch up from a crappy past, but they all showed us the good stuff. More later as they settle in, get named, etc.
For now, here are the fab four ... Out of the breeder's hellhole, and into a brave new beginning.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
And you learn about a sanctuary that takes pit bulls. A no-kill sanctuary with a warm and inviting website for your family pet; the wonderful dog that's been your steady and loyal companion for months or years. Would you take him there rather than euthanize him? Oh hell yeah, you would.
You and me, and many, many other people. When we learned that a sanctuary in Trumbull County Ohio had been raided for overcrowding and horrid conditions, it almost didn't land on our radar. But I grazed the seizure photos at the urging of a friend and nearly fell over. These are pets - family pets - on chains, starving, some dead or dying, crammed into crowded, nightmare conditions. Dogs that once played fetch and rolled over for treats and hogged the covers and showed up in family photos - left there by desperate people who probably had no idea.
When we say BSL pushes family pets under the carpet, this is what it looks like under that carpet. (Warning: Don't look if you're feeling off-kilter today. It'll ruin your day, I promise) "SANCTUARY"
Not counting the scores of decomposing bodies, the raid uncovered over 162 barely living dogs ... a third of them pit bulls. Of course it did. Pit bulls have no where to go in Ohio.
A judge found the owner of the sanctuary owner guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty and sentenced her to five years probation. Yes, she got in over her head. Typically, hoarders are treated as people with a mental illness, and you can certainly understand why an animal lover would lose their marbles in a state with rampant puppy mills and laws that send families with pit bulls into a desperate tailspin. Hell, I might turn into a psycho hoarder in her shoes.
We're absorbing one former pet from this case - this ding-dong boy here - although I wish we could take twenty. If you're a dog rescuer, I hope you can find a way to take one, too.
The surviving animals from this death camp are being cared for by the now very crowded Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County. This struggling organization has an antiquated shelter, a tiny operating budget of only $350K, and now they have the weight of the world on their shoulders as they try to sort out all the animals from this raid, including and especially the pit bulls. Send them your donations, good people. Here they are in the middle of BFE Ohio trying to help pit bulls that no one else wants. I mean, I could just die.
Stay tuned for updates. We'll be keeping our ears peeled towards this case and will post updates on the situation, as well as the Ohio transplant who's coming to find a new family in CA.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
So for our birthday, we're asking a special favor from pit bull fans and friends....
Buy your local rescuer a margarita.
Margaritas have been the official BADRAP birthday drink since Fool's Day '99. We were, admittedly, under the confidence-enhancing influence of tequila when we decided to start a pit bull advocacy group, and it's served us well since. Even today, whenever this work gets a little too heavy, at least one group member puts out a call for a tequila date -- medicine for our minds.
No matter how crappy things might get, a respite involving decent food, icy drinks and riotous laughter pulls us together quick. Not everyone in our group likes alcohol, but they seem to put up with our custom and are probably relieved when we trade in frustrations for ridiculous giggles. And then of course there are always virgin margaritas and the fun of a good contact buzz.
If your local pit bull rescuer accepts your offer (you might have to show them this blog post so they don't think you're hitting on them), please send us a photo so we can see them happy, and tell us a little bit about who they are. We'd love to post your outing here so the rest of us can learn about their work. Don't forget to splurge a little and go top-shelf: a splash of Grand Marnier and/or Cointreu truly makes all the difference.
Not sure who's helping the dogs? Check PBRC's list of rescuers for names of groups in your locale. Don't forget to include shelter workers that rally hard for the breed in their agencies.
In lieu of a drink date, you can send a gift certificate to Chevy's or similar mexi-favorite restaurant with a thank you note for all their hard work. By giving these good folks a mini-break from the madness, you'll do more for the cause than you'll ever know.
and, Happy Fool's Day to anyone who is as foolish as we are. We heart you!
Below: Tim powering our blessed Margarita Cart in Black Rock Desert. (Yes, he's wearing a tutu. Hey, it was Burning Man, whaddaya expect?)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We're grateful to everyone who has expressed their concern about the 23 dogs that were rescued by Oakland Animal Services from squalid conditions in an Oakland home on Tuesday. We know the perpetrator all too well ... This 'prolific' backyard breeder - who stuffed crates-full of young dogs into a crowded out building - has been vexing our fair town and filling our shelter's kennels with homeless pit bulls for many years. We all look forward to watching the legal process unfold.
Fear not. The dogs are safe and will be evaluated and offered placements as appropriate.
It's too early to think of setting them up with homes, but stay tuned. Maybe this is the spring that you decide to take the plunge and foster a needy pit bull? Wouldn't that be fantastic.
In other news, tomorrow the work crews show up to pour the big bad ass earthquake retrofit footings for the barn. Woot!
We lucked out when a staffy bull owning civil engineer with a heart of gold offered her time gratis to help us figure out how to retrofit the barn, among other tricky brain-teasers. Kelton Finney has been a lifesaver and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the dogs stay safe during a big shaker. (If you know her, please - buy that woman a beer for helping the dogs!)
Monday, March 15, 2010
We're celebrating that little Oklahoma bust dog again ... Vessa just passed her Therapy Dog test with Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services with flying colors!
She'll follow in her pit/mix brother Tahoe's paw prints by visiting nursing homes, facilities for disabled or seriously ill children, hospital rehabilitation wards, the Children's Shelter and psychiatric facilities in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, California. Next Saturday counts as her first ever visit.
Many congrats to her proud people, Bruce and Alven.
Good Guy Karma
We like it when good things happen to good guys. Assistant US Attorney Mike Gill, who prosecuted the case that put Mike Vick in jail, earned a big promotion recently and is now the deputy criminal chief in the Richmond office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. We embarrassed him by sending him a bouquet of flowers after Judge Hudson approved Mike's recs to send the dogs to rescue, (I forgot ... you're not supposed to 'gift' federal employees) but he really did deserve those flowers, along with so many other heroes.
Mike was interviewed for Jim Gorant's book "The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Pit Bulls and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption," which is due out in September, 2010.
Conference Events 2010
We're filling up our schedule for 2010. BR will be representing the breed at the NACA Conference (National Animal Control Association) in Columbus Ohio May 21-22. We'll be back east to present at the ASPCA's Spay/Neuter Summit late summer (dates to be announced) and then to Nashville TN in September to present on pit bulls at a smaller two day 'Pit Bull Summit' organized by the Nashville Humane Association. Stay tuned for firm dates/locations for these last two events.
And yes, before we get too busy with all of that travel, we plan to have a party to cut the ribbon on that barn you're helping us build!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Who was it? We're sorry to report that we said good-bye to the most beautiful Susie Q, who some may have met through her foster mom's wonderful blog. We first met Susie in Oakland Animal Services late 2009. She'd had a rough start in life, and fell apart fast in the loud and chaotic wards of the shelter. She was later put on the euthanasia list for behavior issues related to kennel stress - (kennel stress-related euths are another situation that happens often enough to be commonplace). But we hate giving up on dogs that suffer through no fault of their own, so when a spot opened up in our foster program the same week as her end-date, we weighed out our options and voted to give it to the oh-so sensitive but hope-filled Susie Q.
We puzzled over this large leggy girl's breed type - Pointer-Pit? American Bulldog-Hound? - but in the end, we decided that since the world would always see her as a pit bull, she would need a pit bull rescue's support.
Because she'd shown some behavior issues at the shelter, the foster family was prepped with some hardcore "What ifs" and Rep Linda went to work helping them smooth out her transition with a peaceful decompression time, training protocol and lots of happy play. We celebrated as she settled in and woke up to a new life of rowdy romp sessions with dog-sister Otter and - for the first time - a human leader who would teach her new manners and show her what a good girl she was. We all started falling in love with the tall, quirky pony girl who bounced into class on Saturday, sometimes full of happy fun. Altho truthfully, she sometimes had off days and was startled by random phantoms that robbed her of her confidence and sent her home early from class, away from the ghosts that set her alarm barking.
Somewhere around the time that Susie was getting her bearings and showing us who she was, a dog in Sacramento was nursing a litter for some young * cough * entrepreneuer. We don't know much about her early life, but she was left outside long enough for the sun to burn into the tops of her tiny white ears and split the soft velvety skin on her young muzzle. She was optimistic and social, but neglected. At one point in her youth, someone thought enough of her to teach her to 'Sit,' but when her work was done and her babies were sold off, she found herself among the many cast-offs at Sacramento City Shelter. The clock was ticking for this one; with sagging boobs and diamond in the rough manners, this used up mama was set to be destroyed as soon as her stray hold was up.
The same week that Maude was waiting for her death was a bad one for Susie Q. Behavior issues that had seemed to be fading re-emerged, and after one particularly bad day last week, we were faced with a fact that we'd been hoping to avoid: Susie's fear was deeply ingrained and would always be a part of who she was. Despite the enormous progress that's been made for dogs with special needs, the world is still not ready for a pit bull type dog that uses her voice to scare random 'scary' strangers and other phantoms away. Her foster family was understandably crushed by our collective decision to let her go.
So as you can probably guess, we pulled Maude (left) out of harm's way just hours before putting Susie Q to sleep. Trading one life for another and talking to each other again and again and again the way people do when they need to be reminded of the bigger picture. Commonplace practices in rescue might be responsible practices, but they still hurt.
We look forward to the day when pit bulls can be seen as dogs again, with quirks and pimples and foibles like all other dogs - and when worriers like Susie can earn the general public's sympathy rather than their outrage and disdain. But we're not there yet. Someday, Susie - maybe.
We're deeply indebted to Susie's foster family for loving that girl with all your hearts, for giving her hours and hours of fun and then, for doing the impossible and letting her go. You did what most people could never do, and you did it with compassion and grace. Thank you Carol and Larry and OTTER -- and bless your sweet, sensitive heart, Miss Susie Q.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Arnold case has been settled by the City of Denver for a multi-thousand dollar settlement. Did you hear that? Let's say it again. Denver has settled the Arnold pit bull case for thousands and thousands of dollars.
The email also says that there are two more lawsuits challenging the ban waiting in the wings to be filed. And, sources say that Denver's city attorney's office is short staffed so they've hired an outside law firm to handle the rest of the currently pending federal case. Denver, a city with a massive budget deficit, is paying them about $150 dollars an hour to handle it and have so far paid out close to $5000 in December and more than $10,000 in January.
Hopefully Denver officials are finally waking up and realizing that as long as they continue to blindly take and kill family pets based only on appearances, John Q Public will not stop fighting for his dogs.
Photo credit: Anthony Camera.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The solution? Kent County Humane hired a lawyer and filed an affidavit to argue in favor of letting the adoptable dogs live. (backstory)
Guess what? They won the case today for 11 dogs in their facility, and they also won the right to evaluate five dogs that have been housed in a different facility. STORY: Judge spares dogs.
Right: 'Froggy' just won the right to a real life with a qualified home.
"We've spent nine months with them," Terpstra said outside the courtroom of the dogs in her care. "We would not make dogs available that we feel would be a danger." - Karen Terpstra, Humane Society of Kent County
This case is significant as it sets a precedent in Michigan that will affect the survival of future victims of cruelty. Up until today, courts and animal control agencies have used a vaguely worded Michigan statute to condemn dogs from cruelty cases to automatic death. Today, Judge Lawson demonstrated that the law has been used inappropriately to destroy dogs, and he set an example by allowing a qualified animal organization the right to treat the dogs as individuals. In a state that suffers from perennial BSL threats and breed discrimination, this win is a biggie.
We were keeping our eye on this case since we first learned of the dogs' plight and, and are just jumping up and down around here with the good news. We salute the Humane Society of Kent County for their MAJOR CAJONES tonight and are celebrating this victory for the dogs.
It seems fitting to play a little song from Detroit band Ranconteurs for all the people that rocked these dogs out of the hands of the bad guys and into the compassionate care of this organization. Turn it up.
Please keep your eye on this one. The Humane Society of Kent County is still trying to save two dogs from the group, and will return to court in two weeks to plead their case. Send your thanks here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
“The Maryland SPCA remains shocked and disappointed that Michael Vick will, indeed, receive an award for courage from the Ed Block Foundation after being nominated by his team. Mr. Vick does not deserve this honor. He has been convicted of horrific crimes against living creatures; he has served jail time; he has somehow been re-employed. His attempts to speak on behalf of animals have been half-hearted and disingenuous. None of this warrants a special award."
“No truly courageous or honorable person would say ‘Yes, I deserve an award.’ Yet, this is precisely what Mr. Vick has done, defending his nomination and claiming that he has suffered hardships. He has never suffered the hardships, or torture, that his poor dogs did at his hands. The honorable thing for Mr. Vick to do would be to not accept this award. This would actually show some courage and that he is serious about being on the road to atonement for his terrible actions against innocent lives.”
h/t to omidog.com.
Monday, March 08, 2010
Below: First snow.
Just thought I would give you a little update on Phatman. We've been in southern Utah for the last week. He's been playing in the snow, hiking in the red rock mountains and just relaxing. He's a great traveler. We're headed to AZ tomorrow and then we'll be working our way across to the east coast. - Cindy
Below: First big red rocks for Phatman beefcake series.
Thanks for sending, Cindy. Looks like a great start to your road trip!
Sunday, March 07, 2010
If you've been following some of our dialogue about Vessa, you may know that the wee thing flew home with Tim after his stint assessing the 'Oklahoma Dozen' - as they've come to be called. She hit the ground running in Oakland and proceeded to impersonate Cujo Puppy with a fine display of monster manners. It didn't help that she wasn't quite weaned yet and came to our house without any waiting Ebsilac (puppy formula) her first night home; Vessa was pissed and not about to let us sleep for - oh - a week straight? That's okay Vessa, we forgive you ... now.
She came to us with a big sense of self: Tail held flagpole high and very ready to tell everyone how things should work. Many of the adult dogs in our local packs (wimps) learned to avoid her. She even had Phatman running scared. Ruh-Roh. Not a good lesson for a little Helen of Troy.
Her whole-lotta-tude won her a spot in the home of no-holds-barred surrogate mama Lily, who undoubtedly earned a dozen gray muzzle hairs putting this puppy into place. Word has it, it was very loud in Lily's kingdom for a few long days. And so Vessa survived yet another snowstorm....Or maybe we survived hers.
Once she showed us that she could be a civilized girl, she started puppy charm school with foster humans Jane and Ron. And then, she finally moved in to her real home ... All spit shined and ready to be a real dog.
Vessa is a true ambassador now, thanks to all the people (and dog Lily) who set the stage for her. She's thick as thieves with brother pit-mix named Tahoe who teaches her new games and who makes sure she remembers her manners. Her mom Bruce is a dog obedience junkie and already has her lined up to earn her therapy dog certification, just like brother Tahoe.
So many of the dogs from "the largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history" did not survive, so the ones that did mean that much more. Vessa made it in more ways than one, and we're all exhaling now.
Friday, March 05, 2010
Check out her portfolio.
Lori's been lending her talent to numerous animal causes, from shelter dogs to rescue groups. After some excited back and forth, we set up a date/place for an all day photo marathon to benefit BR and to give dog lovers an incredibly affordable portrait with their favorite dog. Kids are encouraged to get in on this with their pets, too.
Save the date:
SAT, MARCH 27th from 10am- 3pm - in Oakland
Lori is waiving all her fees for this fundraiser. Sessions are 20 minutes each and can include dogs and people too. There are 2 donation levels: $50 and $100. BADRAP will receive 50% and the person getting their photos taken will be able to use the other half for themselves to purchase prints.
Bring a bag of Bully Sticks and/or Tough Toys for the dogs and you'll receive an extra $10 print credit.
The event will be held at a gorgeous Oakland area location. Once you make your appointment, all details will be sent to you: APPOINTMENTS
Sessions are limited and are first come first serve, so book early to make sure you get a spot. A BADRAP representative will confirm your reservation and send you all the details.
Once you book your appointment, Lori wants to know about you and your dog :
Talk to Lori
Thank you Lori. We can't wait!
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
....the view from the tiny little throne room in BR's soon to be barn.
I don't know why this photo pleases me so much, but I'm just tickled pink by this newest development in our project's progress.
Of course, there's a lot more is going on besides the bathroom window, and we'll be updating very shortly.
For today, we're just staring out that little window and smilin.'
Monday, March 01, 2010
How are your fences holding up? Warm weather will arrive soon, and your dogs will be taking stock of every little change and possible escape route in their outdoor world.
We'd sure love to get fewer panicked calls and emails from dog owners who come home to find their dogs missing and a notice from animal control tacked on their door. So we're calling March Fix-Your-Darned-Fence Month. Heed the call: Sh*t happens, and dogs have been sneaking off for solo-adventures for eons, but if your pet has a block head and short fur, he's going to be in bigger danger out on the mean streets, especially if he ends up in some kind of trouble with neighbors and/or animal control.
To spare us from sharing your panic, please do your dogs a favor and check your fences this week, k? Wiggle those gates to see if they're still sturdy enough to withstand a pushy bowling ball head. Replace those broken, rotting fence boards, and remove anything that can be used as a doggy ladder up and over the fence. Reinforce the space between the fence and the ground and toss some lattice up on top to add height while you're at it. If you just aren't sure how secure your yard needs to be, pretend you're a bored terrier with Tarzan fantasies and the weak links in your fortress will probably jump right out at you.
Please don't wait for your landlord to do the work; Your dog is counting on you to fence him in. Our favorite ingredients for fence repairs are a couple of pizzas, some beer, and a few weekend warrior handyman friends. Salvage yards usually have a section for fence supplies if you're on a tight budget (imagine the money you'll save in fines and mandatory boarding fees at your animal control)
Solid, six foot privacy fences are still the best choice since they protect your dog from theft and prevent feuding with the neighbor dogs. But if neighbors aren't an issue, split rail fences with heavy gauge deer fencing or (better yet) hogwire panels tacked on can be relatively quick and inexpensive. This is the fence we built in preparation for the barn project. We're loving the heavy duty rebar at the base to prevent diggers from getting any ground. It's anchored to each post and heavy wire twists every few feet keep the rebar securely attached to the deer fencing. This style of fence won't stop a committed climber, but you aren't going to leave your dog outside alone unattended, right?
Invisible (ie electric) fences are a Nish-Nish for determined terrier types like pit bulls. Don't even waste your money. Chain link is great, but just begging to be scaled by ambitious types. So remember - no matter how tall your fence is - Don't get complacent and give your young dog an excuse to experiment.
Right: BR alum and Olympic gold medalist Bruno can scale a 6-10 foot fence -- noooo problem. Photo credit Tom Becker
Finally, if your dog just can't handle being outdoors without making a joke of your fences, consider investing in a good kennel. The magnum kennels are nice and sturdy and easy to put up with butterfly clamps. Kennel
If you've learned something about containment from your dogs, please share. Thank you!
EDIT: Thanks Christine for reminding us about roll bars. Husky homes rely on them to prevent their escape-prone pets from busting out. These are as easy as they look and as affordable as PVC piping. More Info