Friday, 31 July 2009

Chewing the fat

Every now and again you remember what it was like being at school. Not the great bits of being a child, but the sort of behaviour from the mean kids that you rather hoped they'd grown out of.
I've deleted two anonymous comments recently that were personal snipes. I've thought long and hard about whether I should have published them and I can't decide whether the noble thing was to ignore them or publish them, so here goes... I'm sharing.
Beverley, if you put half as much enthusiasm into your diet as you do making false allegations regarding Accredited Breeders it could be quite successful. Obviously, the concept of dog walking is fairly foreign to you judging by the state of you on GMTV this morning.
and when I didn't press publish there was a further post amusingly stating that TV doesn't add 10lbs - looked like much more...

Well anonymous, it's true - I could do with losing some more weight. Thank you very much for pointing it out. As for my false allegations about the Accredited Breeder Scheme... struggling here. Could you tell me exactly what on earth you are talking about? Oh, and while we're at it - how about giving me your name as it would be really nice to know the name of my new health and beauty advisor.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Early start

Late last night got a call to say could I come in a bit earlier so we could go on twice - car picked Oscar and me up at 4.45. So you can imagine we're both a bit tired - oh and the Internet is still broken... grrrrr.
Oscar adored being the centre of attention and GMTV gets a 5 star rating from us as being ultra dog friendly, Oscar coudl not have been made more at home.
Great fun, jolly little item.
But I'll certainly sleep tonight!
Here's a still that @pixies_mum took of the TV. As you can see Oscar made himself very at home.

Monday, 27 July 2009

What's in a name?

Just got the call, for some reason Oscar and I are on the GMTV couch tomorrow morning. Yes, that's the same Oscar who has dirty feet and a beard that's less than pristine. And as for me... I think I could do with a trip to the dog groomer, too.
So tonight will be bath night for us both!
Can anyone out there help me with researching the item we're supposed to know about? As I'll be busy with the comb etc?
I want to hear the best dog names you've come across. The funniest, the tackiest, most embarrassing, most appropriate etc etc.
Anyone heard of any dogs named after celebs? Films? Any obvious trends?
Are dog names replicating baby trends?
Any Obamas yet? Any other really topical names?
Do help me out and I might give your dog's name a name check tomorrow morning!
That's if a real news story doesn't break and we get bumped that is!

Feeling a bit off...line!

I have abandoned my lovely newish home office to walk over to the pleasant-office-in-my-home to blog about how totally frustrating it is not to have a working Internet connection over in our real office.
It died over there on Thursday afternoon - just as we were trying to finish the last few pages of Dogs Today's September magazine via email and Internet.
I had just got a huge bill in from BT for moving their very clever phone system from our damp office to our dry office, so the irony of it breaking on deadline was not lost to me.
We have to have a fancy phone system because lots of our staff have opted to work from home, probably saving the planet but when it goes wrong it doesn't save my blood pressure!
With the Internet line out of action our remote workers can no longer answer our phones and all our good staff can't access email or web - which when you have a designer in Herefordshire, a chief sub on the Welsh border and a Deputy Ed in Norfolk it kind of makes eco-friendly working somewhat unattractive.
Things break, true. But then they should be capable of being fixed in a reasonable timescale.
On Thursday I was told it would be Friday before we were all able to talk to each other again.
On Friday I was told Saturday.
On Saturday I gave it a rest and went to Brighton.
On Sunday, I was told that they had no idea why I'd been told Saturday as the engineers don't work at the weekend unless you're really important - ie like a bank!
Today I was told they had been working on Saturday but they needed a part and it would be fixed - probably - by the end of Tuesday.
But I've heard that it'll be fixed tomorrow story before. And each person I've talked to at BT has told me a slightly different and equally convincing story.
Apparently the problem lies with some 'faulty pairs' or the 'ADSL board'. Or that it needs a special engineer to replace the card at the exchange. I have also been told it's a part that's on order that is causing the delay. If that version doesn't suit you, I've been told that we were thought to be part of a cluster of faults at the exchange, but when they fixed the cluster they forgot to check that we individually were okay and now they know we're not we are back on the list as being an individual fault again.
How are we expected to earn the money to pay for BT's enormous system relocation bill when they can't actually get us up and running?
If we were really important - like a bank - would we still be left with no service?
I feel better now - I have vented.
Will go back now to the non-tech office, it's like time travel. It's how we used to work 20 years ago.
I need a cup of tea and a lot of jaffa cakes. But being on a diet and excluding milk there's not much chance of that either!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

London Takes Part in Worldwide Candle Lit Vigil for Death Row Dog:

Dog lovers are travelling from across the UK to gather outside the Northern Ireland Office, Millbank, in central London to show unified global support for a pet dog condemned to death by a Magistrates Court in Northern Ireland.
The Candle Lit Vigil is being held for one hour between 9 and 10pm on Thursday 23rd July and coincides with other vigil events being held on the same day in Dublin, New York and Seattle alongside an enormous worldwide candle lit vigil where thousands of people are due to take part in their own homes and work places in recognition of the plight and suffering of a dog named ‘Bruce’ who has captured the hearts and minds of people across the world.
Bruce was a young pet dog living happily with his family in Northern Ireland when on September 19th 2007 he was seized as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.
Owner Shannon Brown, aged 20years, supporters and neighbours have created petitions, and videos asking for help to save pet dog Bruce who has never put a paw wrong and his case has now been championed by masses of people everywhere who have reacted in horror to the news he has to die and are demanding he be spared the death penalty.
Thousands Stand Up To Defend Bruce the Dog: Politicians and officials have been inundated with letters, emails and phone calls from concerned members of the public calling for the release of death row dog Bruce.
Meanwhile complex legal proceedings are ongoing as the news breaks this week that the law which has condemned Bruce and countless others like him, appears to have been Amended a staggering eight years ago, seemingly unnoticed by officials and adding utter confusion to the whole sorry situation. The life of Bruce hangs by a thread but as his persistent battle to survive continues more and more people are screaming for his release.
Politicians have been asked to change the legislation, veterinary groups have been deluged with letters from dog owners pleading that every veterinary surgeon refuses to administer the fatal injection, even Her Majesty the Queen has been requested to intervene and grant a Royal Pardon and the protests keep flooding in as the news spreads across the Internet.
As the legal wheels turn slowly, the campaign to ‘Save Bruce’ intensifies and eyes from around the world are now attentively watching Northern Ireland. Bruce remains isolated from his family on canine death row awaiting his fate, unaware of the world wide support he has.

For Further Information – Please Contact:
DDA Watch - Email: Tel: 0844 844 2900
Endangered Dogs Defence & Rescue - Email:

Happy holidays!

Yes I know I've been quiet. It has not been quiet here.
My lovely boys broke up from school three weeks ago!
I thought I had it sussed and got Kieran and Cammy booked into a day camp this week and encouraged another mum to book her son into the same camp.
First two days wonderful. I was able to at last get stuck into work.
Night of second day at camp we had tears. Friend was not going the next day, and Kieran didn't want to go if his best buddy wasn't going to be there.
"I want to spend more time with my family..." sob. Real tears and everything.
"I go to school all year, this is mean to be my hol..i..(sob)!"
I caved in. I said okay. I wanted him to go to sleep happy, I know I had already paid, had a stack of work to do. But I'm obviously soft.
So now we have children in the house, I am variously having to help out on World of Warcraft or provide catering.
Juggling was never easy, but a 9 and a half week summer break seems a little excessive!
How do others cope?
Had a lovely day out at the Guide Dog Experience at the weekend. Oscar and Tess came, too. Oscar met loads of Beardie enthusiasts, amazing how a Beardie acts like a magnet in a crowd. Each one told wistfully of a Beardie past or present that has touched their lives. Oscar loved all the fuss and Tess felt a bit put out.
Springer people are different, maybe its because there are more of them that people don't feel the need to do the equivalent of flashing the car headlights in recognition.
Kieran came too and I wish I'd taken photos of him sharing his ice cream with the dogs and using Oscar as a cushion.
I was judging kids handling and I appointed Kieran my co-judge and he asked the kids difficult doggie questions.
We also stumbled upon a great new motorcaravan that has been doggified. Have my fingers crossed we can get to road test it. Kieran loved the idea and I have to say it is as near to camping as I'd want to get! Very luxurious.
Anyway back to the juggling. It's now pouring down, so our plan to get the kids to teach the dogs clicker training and jumping may have to go on hold. I'd got a book, bought an agility jump and everything!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Can you support this lady?

Been asked to feature this...

Dear Sir or Madam

I am planning a sponsored walk in aid of CPI Canine Partners for Independence which trains dogs to assist disabled people in their daily lives. CPI dogs do a variety of tasks, including helping with dressing, fetching items, helping to open and shut doors, to the more specialised task of anticipating seizures or alerting emergency services. What is fascinating about these dogs is their ability to learn and adapt to new situations, and their sometimes eerie capacity to anticipate the needs of their human companions.

The 1st day of the walk will take place on 29th Aug start from North Queensferry, I am looking for sponsorship for CPI.

Best Wishes
Irene Ford

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A vigil for Bruce

Just highlighting this comment on the earlier post about poor Bruce. A dog in Northern Ireland who has hurt no one but is facing execution just for the way he looks. Click here to read earlier post:

A world-wide candle lit vigil is being held for Bruce on Thursday 23rd July 2009.
Everyone can take part-in your home, your town showing your support, standing united for death row dog Bruce who will on that day have been imprisoned for agonizing six hundred and seventy three days.
Here’s how it works:

What is needed.

1) A candle

2) A sign saying ‘Save Bruce’ 'Let Bruce Live' or similiar and location (county/state/ country)

3) A camera

What to do.

1) Persuade, cajole, bully, bribe and threaten as many people as possible to join in the photograph.

2) Take photograph

3) Upload photo and email it to

What happens then?

1) On Friday 24th July the pictures will be published across the Internet

2) A press release will be issued by DDAWatch.

3) A new video will be released with the pictures included.

Points to remember.

1) Make the sign big, clear and central

2) It’s a sombre purpose so big, cheesy smiles are probably not needed.

3) If you are under 16 then please make sure that a parent gives permission and is in the photograph too.

Join Our Call to "paws"

"Paws" for a moment of silence and join us in lighting a candle in honor, support and recognition of our beautiful canine friend, "Bruce", an innocent victim and pawn of Northern Ireland's Breed Specific Legislation law.

We can not do many things for Bruce as he still sits - just under 2 years - caged, isolated, and physically neglected at the hands of a government agency. These laws were enacted to decrease harm to its' citizens but is now causing harm to many dogs, including Bruce, and their families.

We can not break him free.

We can not ease his confusion and sadness of being taken from the only home he has ever known.

We can not relieve his suffering, and the pain that he continues to endure, nor can we replace his once-beautiful and healthy tail, now amputated from this government's abuse and neglect.

What we can do is pause "paws" for a moment of silence and light our flame in honor of "Bruce", in support of his steadfast-unwavering courage, continuing trust and devotion, and in recognition of his undeniable "spirit", that continues to touch the world.

We can "paws" to honor all of our canine friends and their families around the world who have lost their lives to Breed Specific Legislation and Dangerous Dog Act Laws, this criminal - breed genocide law, and vow to make a change, worldwide, one goal, one purpose, uniting us all in solidarity to repeal this law of inhumanity.

On Thursday, July 23rd 2009 at dusk in your part of the world, with your beloved pets safe at your side, light a candle and "paws" for this powerful moment of silence in honor, in support, and in recognition for all of us fighting to "Bring Bruce Home" uniting to make a change for "Bruce" and the many lives already lost--so that they did not die in vain.

Capture the moment with a digital photograph or video and please send to: and/or Facebook-Events so that we may record this historical moment in our fight for justice and publish these touching moments for the world to see.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Who is your behaviour hero?

Just been having a fascinating conversation about fashion in training methodology.
Who do you look up to? Who do you regard as your inspiration.
Are you a reward-based type of owner - or are you a compulsion fan?
I'll reveal my personal prejudices - that after 18/19 years of doing Dogs Today, which is often filled with the best behaviour brains, I'd rather hoped that reward-based would have become the norm and that Barbara Woodhouse's stomp and jerk would have by now been consigned to nightmares, but there seems to have been a retrograde step where people who dominate dogs have become iconic.
That to bully is now more fashionable than to reward.
Is it a reflection of today's society? What are we teaching our kids? Is it the carrot or the stick in your home?
Depressingly the most popular trainer on TV these days has been seen stringing up a dog, doing alpha rolls and using electric shock collars. Are people watching to be entertained or are they, perish the thought, learning how to do it in their own homes?
Who is your behaviour hero and why?
Let's just see who gets the votes - perhaps I'm just behind the times and that compulsion is the new black and I'm just out of step...
Check out what the American behaviourists are saying...
I particularly draw your attention to a video clip which I have to say shocked our office to silence.

Friday, 10 July 2009

A year in dog politics

It's almost a year since Pedigree Dogs Exposed invaded five million living rooms and made lots of people angry and sad.
It was a wake up call and some things have changed and after the big reviews into breeding hopefully much more will happen.
But by the looks of it Crufts is becoming a little less toxic from a marketing perspective.
True, it's lost its meaty sponsor Pedigree (although they do all claim this was just a coincidence) and instead they have secured the somewhat unlikely discount-sofa-manufacturers-with-the-extensive-credit-terms-and-annoying-adverts DFS.
And it looks like we all need to learn to say 'DFS Crufts' in future, which doesn't scan well and makes me whistle slightly as I say it - which probably upsets lots of collies.
Makes it sound a bit like a ship, too. But I guess they are paying to be an 'above the title' sponsor. (HMS Titanic, DFS Crufts, HMS Spirit of Free Credit?)
And no longer the luxury of luscious BBC2 big-budget outside broadcast coverage with the lovely Ben Fogle and Claire, instead it'll be the guys who filmed it for the Internet last year and it'll be shown on channel who-knows-what More4.
Will the coverage be so sickeningly positive that we'll all need to hide behind our non-DFS sofas? Will they try to make it business as usual as if this last year never actually happened? (A bit like Dallas where Bobby wakes up and it was all just a bad dream?)
We all missed the good stuff - the dancing dogs, the agility all the positive stuff - but I didn't miss the phoney reportage that looked at the show world though very unhelpful rose-tinted spectacles.
2010 DFS Crufts, god bless all who sit on her.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Itchy and Scratchy? Sneezy?

Looking for someone allergic to dogs who owns dogs for a fellow journo to interview. Can you email me your details? Have you gone for a hypoallergenic dog and still had probs? Or did you find a breed that didn't set you or your family member off? Any tips for others?
Please email me


Still looking for a German breeder to interview about dogs in your country...!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Where is it best to be a dog?

I am working on something that needs a global perspective and I am looking to hear from people who have a positive experience of dogs in other countries.
I'm looking for the best country in the world to be a dog.
In which country is the dog treated with the most respect?
Which country has the least number of dogs in rescue? Least number of dogs put to sleep compared to the general population. Any countries where you can't find a dog for sale in a pet shop? Any ideas we can be inspired by? Anywhere getting something right?
Does getting it right mean being more restrictive as to who can breed, who can own? Does fewer dogs mean a better standard of living for the chosen few or does it mean that only the rich can afford dogs? A dog tax?
Please email me direct if you have anything really positive to say about any country you have experience of.
I'm on a tight deadline, so any help most gratefully received!
Please cross post and translate if necessary. I'm sure there's something we can learn from almost every country.
I'm very keen to talk to anyone living in a country that uses a breed master system for example. And I'd love to hear from people who have bred dogs in several countries so can compare the different ways of doing things.
This is meant to be a very positive piece for a global market, looking at good ideas rather than looking at the bad!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Innocent Bruce is due to die on Monday - can we save him?

Today I've received two urgent emails about Bruce.

Earlier today well known doggie barrister Pam Rose sent this appeal out:

Bruce is a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier living in NI. On Monday he will die unless we try and stop this happening. Perhaps there is a chance - the slimmest of chances - that Bruce can yet be saved and sent to safety in Eire. I implore all of you to write to the contacts below.
There is very little time left to try to save Bruce. Please put pressure on decision makers by writing in support of Bruce.

And Ryan O'Meara from K9 also asked if we'd give it a push and contributed the words and You Tube link in the hope it'll help save poor old Bruce.

If this story moves you, please read Pam's suggestions at the bottom for what we can all do to try and save an entirely innocent dog from dying on Monday.

Dog lovers around the world have reacted in horror to the recent news that the high profile case of pet dog “Bruce” may finally be over as a court orders he be destroyed in a few days time ending an exhaustive twenty one month battle to save him.

Bruce was a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier living happily with his family in Northern Ireland. On September 19th 2007 Bruce was seized by council officials as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

Whilst incarcerated in kennels his family were allowed to visit their dog in October 2007, Bruce had lost weight, muscle tone and had an open cut to his muzzle. Five months later Bruce was allowed a second visit from his family in March 2008, they were shocked with what they found: The wound on Bruce’s muzzle was larger, weeping and had become infected, he tail had been amputated due to damage and infection, he had open pressure sores, was underweight and looked totally broken and rejected, yet despite the clear pain he was in, is described by experts as being a friendly dog that poses no danger to the public.

A trial was heard at Bangor Magistrates’ Court on 27th August 2008 and the court determined that Bruce was “of type” despite the evidence from two expert identification witnesses who said he was not. Judgement was given two weeks later on the 12th September and Bruce was ordered destroyed devastating his family and supporters.

A legal appeal was lodged and a brief hearing on the 12th November 2008 listed the case for mention on 12th January 2009.

A further hearing in March 2009 was scheduled to set a date for the full Appeal. But, as we understand it, at this hearing the Judge gave Bruce a reprieve, as she believed Bruce does not pose a danger to the public. It was unclear how this potentially groundbreaking ruling would proceed as the Judge did not contest that Bruce had been found to be a pit bull type but decided as he posed no danger to the public he could be returned to his owner under the conditions that apply to pit bull types in England: Bruce’s owner was trying to obtain third party liability insurance for him as a pit bull type in Northern Ireland. As it is illegal to have a “pit bull type” in Northern Ireland no insurance company was able to offer insurance cover.

A further court date was set for 29th June 2009 to decide how this ruling for Bruce could proceed and the Judge ordered destruction.

In a desperate attempt to save Bruce, owner Shannon Brown, supporters and neighbours have created petitions, online networking groups and videos resulting in worldwide support to “Bring Bruce Home”. Bruce remains on canine death row, removed from his family home, alone and unaware of the worldwide support he has to spare his life.

Despite being debated several times, Northern Ireland has not adopted the provisions within the1997 Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act allowing friendly pet dogs found to be unlawful by appearance, but posing no danger to the public, to be allowed to live. In England, Scotland and Wales, a dog found to be “pit bull type” by the courts can be ordered entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs as an alternative to destruction. If the Amendment had been accepted in Northern Ireland, the court would have been able to exercise discretion as with the rest of the UK - Bruce is likely to have been home long before now, alive and well registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

If Bruce lived across the border in Southern Ireland where no breeds are nationally banned he would never have been seized and imprisoned at all. Bruce has been offered a place of safety with a dedicated rescue and sanctuary in Southern Ireland where he could legally live out the rest of his life; this offer has been conveyed in writing to the solicitor but has sadly not been accepted by the court.

Bruce hasn’t actually ever put a paw wrong; he is sentenced to death due to the way he looks and the fact that NI has a mandatory death penalty unlike the rest of the UK who gave the courts discretion when sentencing twelve years ago.

Bruce and his family have endured much mental and physical anguish and pain solely due to a draconian law. His owner is simply a young dog owner who has been struggling for nearly two years to save her dogs life.

All that needs to be done to let a friendly dog live is for Bruce to be allowed safe passage from Northern to Southern Ireland and Bruce needs your support again during his eleventh hour.

We are asking supporters to contact the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward MP) and Ministers urging them to use compassion and discretion by granting Bruce a Pardon removing the penalty imposed – the mandatory death sentence with the provision that Bruce is moved to the rescue placement ready and waiting for him in Southern Ireland. For a nation who claims to be animal lovers this would be the expected outcome.

As the court has ordered that Bruce be destroyed someone will be expected to administer the fatal injection. Veterinary surgeons take a sworn oath and promise to safeguard the welfare of animals committed into their care. In line with this sworn promise we are calling on all veterinary professionals within the UK to take a stand and refuse to kill Bruce - a healthy, wanted animal who poses no danger to the public & has a rescue space waiting for him in Eire. Bruce’s legal owner does not give consent for Bruce to be destroyed.

Please forward this link to everyone you can. Hopefully with thousands of emails and calls someone will remove the death sentence from Bruce.

Who to contact to help save Bruce:

Home Secretary - Alan Johnson

email -

Please ask for Bruce to be given safe passage to Eire where he can live legally. It's probably best if you can compose your own letter but here's a template letter...

Please write today. There is so little time left.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you with regard to a travesty about to occur in Northern Ireland and to beg you to intervene and help save a life.

The life in question belongs to Bruce,a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was living happily with his family in Northern Ireland. On September 19th 2007 Bruce was seized by council officials as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog.
While incarcerated in kennels his family were allowed to visit Bruce in
October 2007, Bruce had lost weight, muscle and had a cut to his muzzle. Five months later Bruce was allowed a second visit from his family in March 2008, they were shocked with what they found: The wound on Bruce's muzzle was larger and had become infected, he had to have his tail amputated, had open sores, was underweight and looked totally rejected, yet despite the clear pain he was in, is described by experts as being a friendly dog that poses no danger to the public. In a desperate attempt to save Bruce, owner Shannon Brown, supporters and neighbours have created petitions and videos resulting in worldwide support to “Bring Bruce Home”.
Northern Ireland has not adopted the 1997 Amendment Act as in England, Scotland and Wales, despite being proposed several times, thus meaning any dog deemed to be “pit bull type” cannot be entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs. If the proposal had been accepted in Northern Ireland, as with the rest of the UK, Bruce would have been home long before now, alive and well registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
If Bruce lived in Southern Ireland where no breeds are nationally banned he would never have been seized at all. Bruce has been offered a place of safety with a reputable rescue in Southern Ireland where he could legally live out the rest of his life, this offer has been conveyed to the solicitor but has sadly not been accepted by the court.

I understand that you have the power to grant a pardon and we beg of you to do all within your power to allow Bruce the chance of life by requesting Bruce is granted safe passage to Southern Ireland and the rescue placement that is waiting there for him. This is all that is needed. I am sure, Mr. Johnson, that you are aware of how emotionally committed good owners are to their pets. Dogs are part of our families as much as children. Please spare Bruce’s owner the further trauma of destroying Bruce so needlessly. Please pardon Bruce and allow a blameless animal the chance of life.

We claim to be a nation of animal lovers, surely now it is time to prove it?

Yours faithfully

Thank you. Thank you for writing. Just one last thing....

Excluding the bit about 'having the power to pardon' please write also to:

Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland Ministers

Martin Mcguiness

Gerry Kelly


Jeffrey Donaldson


Tony Hill, Mayor of Northdown Borough Council

If enough letters land on enough desktops perhaps we can make a difference.

An alternative template is...

Dear Sir

I am writing to you with deep concern about events about to unfold in Northern Ireland.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier, named Bruce, was seized in 2007 as being of a banned type (pit bull terrier). Bruce’s owner has fought ever since to have him returned but, as Northern Ireland has never adopted the ’97 amendment to the DDA, they have not been successful.

Whilst in the care of the State Bruce has deteriorated physically to a shameful degree but his temperament has remained impeccable throughout. The current situation is that Bruce has an offer of sanctuary with a highly regarded welfare organisation in Eire (where pit bull ‘types’ can live legally) but his destruction has been ordered by the court nonetheless and is scheduled for Monday, 6th July.

We have many problems in this country concerning poor standards of dog ownership. It is an issue that repeatedly takes up parliamentary time and our media is regularly filled with stories of abuse and neglect. Our nation’s dog owners are continually (and rightly) urged by government and welfare organisations to pay proper attention and to attribute appropriate value to our dogs’ welfare. As a volunteer for an animal welfare organisation I am personally acquainted with our society’s disposable attitude towards dogs and the suffering engendered by those who do not value welfare.

What example does it send to society if the State is willing to throw away a dog’s life so needlessly? What role model does it offer, if government, after ill-treating this dog discards the offer of sanctuary that has been made for Bruce?

Accordingly I request that you use your influence, if not to re-unite Bruce with his owners, to at least afford him safe passage to the Republic.

For Further Information – Please Contact:

DDA Watch


Tel: 0844 844 2900

Endangered Dogs Defence & Rescue

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Police dogs die in hot car

We just got a call from a reader tipping us off to this terrible story. A quick Internet search showed the Daily Mail already have it. What a tragedy. You count on the police being sensible, but even they can mess up. Those poor dogs, what a terrible way to die. Please keep you dogs cool and safe.

Two police dogs died yesterday after they were left in their handlers' car on the hottest day of the year.

The German shepherds were found dead in the vehicle parked outside Nottinghamshire Police headquarters.

It is unclear how long the dogs had been left in temperatures of up to 29C (84F). The RSPCA said temperatures inside the car could have reached 47C (116F).

The police dog handler was off duty but had called into the HQ at Sherwood Lodge, in Arnold.

Police refused to confirm what type of vehicle was involved.

The RSPCA has launched an investigation and the incident has also been reported to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. No-one has been suspended.

Nottinghamshire's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies said: 'This is a tragic incident and we value the important work our police dogs carry out on a daily basis.

'That is why we swiftly reported this incident to the RSPCA and we will be working with them very closely.'

Nottinghamshire vet Andrew Wilson told the BBC: 'Dehydration would have been a big factor. They wouldn't be able to cool themselves because panting wouldn't be effective any more, there would be no evaporation from the tongue.

'As the core temperature rose as a result of that, and the brain temperature rose, the brain would cease to function and various other organs would fail. This happens certainly within 30 minutes.'

Nottinghamshire Police Authority has asked the force for a guarantee that action was being taken immediately.

The authority's chairman, Councillor John Clarke, said: 'This is a truly tragic incident. I am deeply disturbed to learn of the deaths of these police dogs, which play such a vital role in the fight against crime.

'The RSPCA has been informed and will, I am sure, carry out a thorough and speedy investigation.

'The authority has asked to be provided at the appropriate time with a full report into the circumstances.'

A police spokesman said: 'Nottinghamshire Police reported the death of two German shepherd police dogs to the RSPCA on Tuesday, June 30, after they were discovered at force headquarters at 2.15pm.

'The incident has also been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

'The welfare of all animals owned by Nottinghamshire Police is of paramount importance and we endeavour to take every measure possible to ensure their well-being and safety.'

An RSPCA spokeswoman warned: 'When it's sunny or warm outside, we would urge dog owners not to leave a dog in a car.

'It can cause health problems and prove fatal. Temperatures can rise to 47C in a car quite quickly and that is enough to kill a dog.'

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal can face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to £20,000.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Another accolade for Jemima

The RSPCA has given their highest accolade, the Richard Martin Award, to Jemima Harrison for making the BBC One documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed. It is the first time the Award has been given to a film-maker.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which aired on BBC One last August to an audience of four million, highlighted health and welfare problems in pedigree dogs and led to the BBC suspending its coverage of Crufts after more than 40 years. The programme also led to the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and the PDSA pulling out of Crufts and three major reviews of dog-breeding in the UK. Soon after the broadcast, and in the face of continued pressure, the Kennel Club announced a raft of changes, including the revision of many breed standards and the banning of mother-to-son, father-to-daughter and sister-to-brother matings.

“Jemima's commitment ensured the programme was completed, often in the face of abuse from hostile individuals and groups, and the impact was enormous, igniting a ground-breaking debate about pedigree dog welfare,” says RSPCA Chief Executive Mark Watts.

The citation reads: “To Jemima Harrison, for her commitment to the welfare of pedigree dogs”.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed was commissioned by Richard Klein. Executive producer was Eamon Hardy for the BBC. Jemima and her cameraman partner Jon Lane made the film through Passionate Productions, which they run from their thatched cottage in rural Wiltshire. The couple has five dogs of their own, a mix of pedigree and crossbreeds.

“We’re the tiniest independent on the planet, and we’re very proud of what we have been able to achieve with Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” says Jemima, who is currently working on related projects.

Last year Jemima and brave Cavalier owner and campaigner Carol Fowler were invited to attend the Women of the Year Lunch in recognition of their efforts. This documentary has moved the debate along considerably and I'm sure the future health of dogs has already been much improved as a consequence.

Read Jemima's new column every month in Dogs Today. Well done Jemima and thank you for caring so much about dogs.

Competition time again!

Can you guess which breeds Beulah's parents are? Deadline today and no one has guessed correctly! Clues coming if we don't get a correct answer in the next hour! Send your guesses to
The first correct entry will win either a specific breed book or a general books of dogs courtesy of Interpet Publishing.

We have a winner - the answer was Chihuahua ex Lowchen! Still time to enter the Caption.

Also today we'll be judging our caption competition - so hurry along with your best caption ideas. The winner this month will receive a Cool Kong courtesy of the Company of Animals. Five runners up will receive a Kong Flyer again from the Company of Animals.
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