Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday and the Staffie cross?

I'm not normally all that religious, but it just occurs to be that this is a very apt time to be contemplating Otis having his innocent life taken.
We all know it's about to happen, but we're none of us doing anything to stop it.
Emma just sent me this email.
"I have read that a lot of people have advised to have Otis PTS because of his aggression with other dogs. Is this because he is a staffie/bullbreed or because they think that every dog-aggressive dog should be euthanased? Does it matter that he is a very loyal companion to a human or do they (like many misadvised people) think that it is 'cruel' to keep a dog on its lead? Staffies are very urban dogs and seem quite content as long as they are with their handler.
"Do they think that dog-aggressive Greyhounds should be euthanased? I had a Greyhound for 10 years who was dog aggressive (except to his own pack) and he spent most of his life on a lead with a muzzle on. He led a very fulfilled life and was my soulmate. What about dogs that attack/kill cats or smaller caged animals? What makes their lives any less important than that of another dog?
"Here is a short video clip to show why I am trying so hard to save this boy. Feel free to crosspost it onto your forums and then maybe people can actually see how people friendly he is and why it would be such a waste of a loving dog's life. "

Yesterday I got an email from someone warning me to be careful - that Otis looks like a Pit Bull. Deep sigh. I suspect that in medieval times he'd have been going around pointing fingers at women with long straggly hair and warts and saying they were witches, too. Just for society's protection of course.
I have to say I am deeply uncomfortable with a society that doesn't help an animal in need just because of the way it looks. That gives up on a living creature because it isn't quite perfect. Convinces themselves it's better off dead.
It's not such a massive leap to start killing the old people, the disabled, the red heads, the people of different race. Hitler found quite a few people to agree with him, just because a lot of people start saying 'kill' it doesn't make it right.
Enjoy your Hot Cross buns this weekend - would Jesus have had a Staffie cross?

Stop Press: Just heard from Em - more than 50 rescue orgs contacted so far, all with no space for Otis.

The next two in the queue at the pound:
Damian is a Staffie x English Bull Terrier BT who was abandoned at a vets because the owners thought that he may attack the kids iafter seeing Casualty. He is only about four months old and completely adorable. He is good with other dogs, great with kids and seems fine with cats.

Then there is Jenny. She is about six years old and a Staffie. Absolutely great with kids and makes a noise similar to a Pot Bellied Pig when she is rolling in the grass in the sunshine. She is rubbish with other dogs, but so affectionate and loving with people. Some people came to view her, let their toddler fuss her for over half an hour and then announce that they would not be able to adopt her because Staffies attack people.

Email Em for more details:


Flowerpot said...

I quite agree, Beverley and only hope that someone can come up with help for poor Otis. Ironic that the medical profession are so anti euthanasia for people, yet it's perfectly all right to kill animals.

bugs said...

It killed me to watch the video, knowing that this beautiful boy could be PTS. If I didn't have 3 dogs already, I would have him like a sht, he is so full of staffy love. I am sitting here in tears, wondering what I can do to help him.

Tamsin said...

problem is, those of us who would like to help are generally those up to our potential in dogs. We have prevented a lot of Otises and would like to do more. But what? Otis gives a face to the problem and makes it harder to turn away, but he is symbolic. Otis is not the problem itself, which is people treating dogs like material and dispensible possessions. Trouble is, if Otis does find a home (and I really really hope he does), there are hundreds to replace him. It's not just one person to help Otis that's needed. It's bigger than that.

EmmaSemple said...

Hi! Posting as Otis' carer, although there is a major problem across the country regarding unwanted Staffies and their crosses, it doesn't make Otis or any of them any less worthy of saving.
Otis did not ask to be born. He did not ask to be unsocialised by his owner, who may have wanted a status symbol by their side or ask to be thrown out when they got fed up with him.
Being that it was a human that decided to bring this boy into the world, surely it is only right that it is a human who makes sure that Otis is found a home who will cherish him?
It is very easy to sit behind a screen of a computer and decide that the best thing for Otis is to put him to sleep. I work full time at the kennels and am responsible for placing these poor dogs who have been cast out like an old piece of junk. Since May 2007 (when we started to take in the strays) we have had a great result homing/placing the dogs into rescue. Over time help is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. Everytime a newspaper article is released then things get worse for my Staffie friends.
I know of a Border Collie who attacked its teenage carer and basically took her nose off, left her with 15 stitches and scarred for life. The media were not interested. I hate to see any dog picked on in the media, but I am just trying to prove a point about certain breeds being 'big news'. If that had been a Staffie the papers would have been all over the story like a rash.
Why should Otis be put to sleep because he needs to be walked onlead? Its not the worst existance and if he were to have a secure back garden to run free in then he would be quite happy with two or three lead walks a day. Otis would be happy with whoever loved him. He is desperate to please and is craving affection that he does not get enough of at work.
I am not going to stop trying for Otis. If there has been a questionmark about Otis being part pit bull then that is not true. I would be happy for anyone to come and assess this dog.
Many Staffie crosses get labelled as part pit and I dread to think how many get put to sleep because they may have a strain of a breed in them (or may not), but just in case...kill them. The DDA is a dreadful law and it still seems that very few people know what exactly a pit bull is or exactly how this law works.
If you think that watching a video is tear-jerker, then you can imagine how impossible it is working with this boy.
Every morning after he has had his run around I go into his kennel and he does what I have started to call his 'sluggy bum wiggle'! If you scratch his back then he curls round like a slug and does little bunny hops about the kennel. He is so happy to have some attention and fuss.
This boy (like all the others around the whole of the country) is so worth saving. He deserves a second chance and I have no doubt that after him there will be others.
Since doing the strays we have taken in 112 dogs. 6 of these have been claimed. About 11 of these have been various breeds that have been easy to place - terriers, spitz, collie crosses, GSD's. 95 have been Staffie and Staffie crosses.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say that I hope he finds a home. I own a dog who would be PTS by charities because of her behaviour, but I couldnt have a better dog. Shes my shadow, there for me whenever I need her.

Good luck Otis - I will keep asking around for you.


Chapstaff said...

Otis is tragically one of 1000's.

You can't really blame the rescues for turning Staff types away as they would be full of unhomable dogs in no time, hence the Dogs Trust refusing them. How can they boast that they "never put a healthy dog down" if they are full of Staff types. They would never be able to home another dog, while the Staffs just sit there waiting.

We need a long-term solution to all this. I've never heard of a single breed, or type, being overbred to this extent. It will take someone a lot more intelligent than me to find a solution to all this.

They can't just put Staffs on the Dangerous Dogs list to try & reduce the numbers...............or can they!!

All types of dog are deserving cases, but Staffs really are extra special. They are unbelievably affectionate & loyal, & what other breed has "nanny dog" attached to them as they are so reliable, & loving towards children.

But the way they are being bred for massive size, & uncertain temperaments, by yobs who don't give a damn means the breed is changing beyond all recognition.

What's the solution?

I can only think it needs the top dog experts from all over the country to get together to try & find an end to all this.

Rosie said...

I too have a Staffie that is dog aggressive. We would love to give a second dog a home and be able save Otis or another like him, but the trouble for Staffies & Staffie crosses is that those who are not dog aggressive are sadly in the minority - it's part of their nature, so once you have one Staff its very difficult to take in a second. I know, we had two for many years and had to work extremely hard to prevent fights. At one stage I feared one would have to be rehomed, but we worked through it and fortunately it was okay as the older bitch was more tolerant and forgiving than the younger one. Sadly, we now only have the younger one, but I know there's no way she'd tolerate another doggie companion. I sometimes think that everyone who loves Staffs already has one and they're not like other breeds where there's always room for one more... That's the real tragedy here - the market is saturated and thousands more of these wonderful, loyal, trusting dogs are going to die unless something is done to curb this indiscriminate breeding. I hope with all my heart that Otis finds a space before its too late. Rosie

EmmaSemple said...

But the thing with Otis is that he is not what I would call a lost cause. After castration and some proper training he may be able to socialise with certain dogs.
He is not outright aggressive and flying at eveything and baying for blood.
Some dogs he shows very positive body language towards. Others that sidle up to his kennel showing that they are trying to stand over him get a warning to back off.

I am so determined to find this dog somewhere to go and hope that people will see that with a huge amount of effort that things can be sorted.

I have been told recently that I am the wrong person to do this job and that if I want to continue then I need to harden up. But then I was told this when I opened up my own rescue for smaller caged animals so often overlooked, but I haven't and refuse to. I think that I am blessed to know and care for Otis and hope that someone will see his plight and be lucky enough to know him also but as their loved companion.

bugs said...

Thank God for people like you Emma. Please continue to care, not only for Otis, but all the other unwanted dogs. Being a staffy lover/owner, I am obviously bias for the breed, but I really wish people wouldn't believe everything they read about Staffs. Please give Otis a big hug from me. I will continue to rack my brains to think of something for this handsome lad.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could help him myself, I really do. But aside from already having a dog (which could be overcome with creative use of a dog gate), I also have cats and if I remember correctly Otis is not cat friendly. Keeping him and the cats separate would be virtually impossible in my house, or I'd have him in a second.

I really really hope that someone is able to come forward--to save him, and others like him.


Penkitty said...

The time to give up is when you stop careing. You do a fantastic job Emma.

Tamsin said...

Paul O'Grady has a dog slot. Could Otis apply to that? Plus you could get in the stuff about Staffies being abandoned. If dog-grump would be a problem, how about the puppy to highlight a whole issue (as I think they usually have a few dogs on at a time and that might not show Otis off at his best). Or else send in the video and say he can't appear in person/dogson.

Keep going Emma. Hang on Otis!

Tamsin said...

Paul O'Grady has a dog slot. Could Otis apply to that? Plus you could get in the stuff about Staffies being abandoned. If dog-grump would be a problem, how about the puppy to highlight a whole issue (as I think they usually have a few dogs on at a time and that might not show Otis off at his best). Or else send in the video and say he can't appear in person/dogson.

Keep going Emma. Hang on Otis!

EmmaSemple said...

Great news!
We have got someone coming to view Otis with a view to adopting him.
Another lady has called up interested in Penny (the dog aggressive but child loving older girlie Staffie with us at the moment) and there is another family after a Staffie x pup to go with their own dog - Damian would fit that bill nicely.
Today has been a very good day and although it is only enquiries at the moment, things are looking up.

Penkitty said...

That's brilliant news!! Fingers crossed for Otis and the others.

Chapstaff said...

Well done Emma,

I hope there is a good outcome for these dogs.

Thanks you for all your hard work & care.

Some will no doubt think "Well - ok - but what about all the others. To them I'll just say read about the starfish on the beach:

As a young boy walked the beach at dawn, he noticed an old man ahead of him picking up starfish and tossing them into the sea. Catching up with the man, the boy asked why he was doing this. The old man explained to the boy that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.

"But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish," exclaimed the boy. "How can your effort make any difference?"

The old man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it safely into the waves. He turned to the boy and said, "It made a difference to that one."

Loren Eiseley

EmmaSemple said...

And the same goes for my boyfriends son who is 9 years old. He was on holiday at Camber Sands last year and he came across a man who was crab fishing.
The fisherman got chatting to him and gave him a crab that was caught in his box and told him how to cook it.
The boy took the crab and carried on walking down the beach with his dad and when he was far away from the fisherman insisted on wading into the sea and letting it go.
My OH asked him why because he could have had that for tea and he then qouted this Starfish story to him (that I had told to him about a week before) and he made a point of saying to his dad that the act made all the difference to that one crab.
Otis is my little crab!!!

Billy said...

Just reading back on your blogs, first of all I've got to say that I'm ever so pleased that Otis has been rehomed. Of course he deserves to live and be happy, just like every other dog, regardless of BREED or LOOKS. You mentioned that someone had commented that Otis looks like a pit bull, and sighed, and followed it with a very spot-on reply of how it wouldn't be such a big step to recommend that old people, or those with certain looks or heritage be PTS.
The problem for dogs who look like pit bulls - even if their mummy and daddy have never been near one! - is that we currently have a very real piece of legislation, that is rigourously enforced, that does EXACTLY that! It's called the Dangerous Dogs Act, and according to this pit bull "type" dogs, i.e. any dog that shows physical similarities to a pit, regardless of their parentage, is at risk of being picked up by the police - who will also come to your house if they have been "tipped off" - being taken away to an undisclosed location for an unspecified time, looked over by an "expert" (who has received all of a 2 week course to gain this expertise!) who will then decide whether or not your best friend is deemed to be a "dangerous dog". If you're lucky enough that he's not deemed to be one, you'll get him back. If not, you can have your day in court, fighting for your dog's life and hope that you'll win. If you succeed, you'll then get your dog back (eventually), chipped and neutered (not a bad thing), wearing a monstrously large tattoo on the whole inside of his hind leg, and with the provision that he'll go through life onlead and muzzled in public at all times! Regardless of whether your dog has always played nicely with your kids and other dogs, he is now classed as a "dangerous animal" and will have to live out his life as such.

For doG's sake, please wake up to this reality! It is the very reason why so many Staffies and crosses are in rescues today, because of the witch hunt that has been created by the media, surrounding this witch hunt. I would be completely against putting Otis to sleep, as I am against condemning all those other dogs, who have never set a paw wrong, purely based on their looks!
It's not the dog who's wrong, it's tha LAW that's wrong and it needs to be changed!