Monday, 23 July 2012

October Adopt me and a Podenco theme!

In our October edition we'll be featuring the stunning Ibizan Hound in Fido Facts and when we were looking for dogs to photograph we found the breed as rare as hen's teeth - but we were saddened at how many rescued Podencos there were in the UK, many that had come over from Spain where they'd sometimes had a very hard life.

We thought it would be great to give some spaces to the little known Podenco in our Adopt Me section in the same issue as we give advice on living with the Ibizan. We're also giving our usual space to any breed or type of dog looking for a home as usual, but we wanted a page or two of Podencos if possible - so please do spread the word. 

We're also on the lookout for someone perhaps in the rescue world to write us a piece on why there are so many of the elegant dogs looking for a home in Spain and how many are finding themselves much more appreciated here.

Here is how to get a hard to home dog included in Adopt me feature.

1. We need a good photograph (about a 1MB when attached, in focus ideally!)

2. The answers to these really simple questions.   


3. A 100 word statement from the dog that makes people look twice. (See below if you need inspiration!)

Here are the questions:
Name of dog:
Type of dog and size if not obvious:
Approx age: (in years)
Sex:
Neutered?
Housetrained?
With other dogs?
With cats?
Good with children?
Location (County):
Contact details:
Foster or forever home?

Email all three of these elements to a new email address

jules@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk (retype this as copy and paste for some reason often will not work!) 


and put 'Adopt me' in the subject. 

Good 100 word statements to inspire!
Hey I’m Shady! Will you throw my ball for me?
I’ve been in Rescue for over a year now which my carers say they are very surprised about. I love the company of people and get quite stressed if left on my own for long periods of time.
I’d love an owner with a lot of time on their hands; I’ll thank you with my devotion and wagging tail!
My new year’s resolution is to find a loving new home where I can play lots of games of fetch – could you help me make it come true?
I am the busiest dog in the world! I like to train, and play games, and love my obedience classes here in Leeds. I have lived with children with severe learning difficulties in a very busy house, and with another dog. I am much prettier than my photo, but I won’t keep still long enough for anyone to take one – I’m too busy seeing if the photographer has treats! I would love to live with an active family who like to get out and about as much as I do. You can watch videos of me training at the Iron Mountain website.
I’ve been at Battersea over a year – the Home never puts on a limit on how long it takes to rehome a cat or dog – and I’m a real favourite in the offices where I spend a day or two a week chilling out, being good-natured and friendly, well-mannered and very affectionate. For someone who looks like they ate all the pies, I’m actually a delicate and discerning eater – I once said no to a Bonio! Like my namesake Cleopatra, I am very beautiful, with carefully applied eyeliner, and would like to be building my own little homely kingdom soon.
 

Looking for photos of Lennox walks and vigils

Did you and your dogs have a candlelight vigil for Lennox either at home or with others, did you demonstrate or have a protest walk? Have you got a hi-res print quality photo of your Lennox walk we can put in our September magazine? (Ideally about 1MB when you attach).
If so can you email me one ASAP? Plus enough information for us to use a caption? Just a few words about how you all feel about Lennox and BSL generally. We're got a massive tribute running in our next issue and we'd love to show photos from all around the world if at all possible. Please email beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk with the word Lennox tribute in the subject line.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wales will change their DDA laws...

Today the Welsh Assembly have announced that they're planning to introduce a new Control of Dogs Bill next spring.

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones said:

“The Environment Minister, John Griffiths made a commitment to take early action on this important issue. I’m therefore pleased to confirm we will be consulting on the Control of Dogs Bill in the autumn which will propose key changes to current Dangerous Dogs legislation.  For example, action could be taken where dogs attack people or other animals on any property and controls would focus on dog behaviour rather than breed.  

“When I announced our legislative programme I said we would consult and engage with the public and stakeholders through Green and White Papers and strike the right balance between what is on the face of an Assembly Bill and what detail is left to subordinate legislation. We have done exactly that.

The First Minister said the new Control of Dogs Bill will be introduced next spring to protect the public by promoting responsible dog ownership. Responsible ownership will be fundamental to the changes and through the introduction of Dog Control Notices there will be a strong education and training requirement for both the dogs and their owners or keepers.

The English Government are now in another period of consultation. In April they looked to be ready to press the button on a package of measures. But they had a wobble and just announced microchips, for pups, possibly.




In England according to Defra the Metropolitan Police alone spend £2.75m each year on kennelling 'dangerous dogs', both these banned types and any dogs dangerously out of control.


The number of dogs seized by the Metropolitan Police rose by half from 719 in 2008/09 to 1,100 in 2009/10.
There have been five fatal dog attacks in homes since 2007 – four of them on children – and hospital admissions for serious dog bites have more than doubled over the past decade.

BSL is an expensive failure. We need something much better.

The One Show and another number two peformance

Thank you to everyone who sent us links. The office came to a standstill to watch yesterday's One Show and I can totally see why everyone was so upset by it. If we're to go back to dogs being siezed because they are typey, regardless of whether they might be a danger then there will be rivers of blood and tears shed.
This disturbing and untypical item on the One Show had no editorialising as to whether this was a sensible or effective way to prevent dog bites. It was just presented as uncontroversial.
It's not average teatime viewing is it!
For police to seemingly randomly take and usually kill much loved pet dogs who the tape measure somehow declares to be dangerous - it's very much more an after the watershed subject . Expose children to this sort of imagery and you'll find the next generation grows up hating the police and the justice system.
If we accept the physicality and crime prevention angle as in any way sensible - why not lock up every foreigner to prevent terrorism? Have raids to remove all 17 year old youths from council estates.
Where does it end if we're going to cull 'just in case' a dog becomes dangerous.
What was shocking was how totally unsympathetic the reporting was. How out of tune the team were with the onlooker.
I am sure at the very least one in four households would have been equally distressed by their footage as we were. The thought of the police taking your dog away with no warning.
Milo is already PTS, he was the one who was already chipped, muzzled etc... so easy to exempt. But the legal fight to get there.
Millie is in court tomorrow. She is the sweet one that looked directly into the camera. She looked like a Choc Lab cross to our eyes - but probably the tape measure says otherwise!
BSL stinks. What a waste of police time. What a waste of life. Let's hope the latest Government consultation on dangerous dogs actually results in something that makes people safer and stops people fearing the knock on the door.
The One Show, do you ever learn? 

Can you please employ someone on your production team who even likes dogs...?

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Tracks of our Tears update

In the August issue of Dogs Today, now out. We carry the very sad story of Max on my editorial page. I reproduce it here in case you haven't yet read it and now include Network's Rail's comment that came to late for inclusion:

Dear Readers
In 22 years I don't think I've heard a sadder story than this one.
On Friday, Max, a young white GSD, bolted from outside Asda in Biggleswade. Owners Steve and Avril Young searched tirelessly day and night and involved the fabulous DogLost.

They heard news on Wednesday of a sighthing of Max on the train line that ran behind their house - he'd obviously tried to make his way back home, but there was brick wall stopping him. (Further down the tracks there'd been an open gate noticed.)
Steve took some hot food and climbed on to the railway land to find his dog - he saw Max, but he was very spooked and he couldn't get near.

Steve decided to try again overnight when it was quieter, but the weather was too bad and he couldn't even get over the fence. At 7.30am he phoned 101 for help.
Andy from the Network Rail Response Unit phoned Steve and arranged to meet at Biggleswade station, a two-minute walk from where Max was hiding.
Andy revealed Max had actually been on the line since Friday - six days. Andy said he had been called out three or four times already but hadn't been able to catch Max.
Steve suggested involving the fire brigade, who were standing by, if Andy could stop or slow the trains.
Andy ignored this idea and decided to try again, slowing the north-bound trains nearest to Max.
Max bolted again and Andy called for back-up. One more worker arrived.
More of Steve's family assembled and were positioned on the level crossing - they were told they were not allowed to go on the tracks.
The two Network Rail men started flushing Max and driving him up to the crossing - but they also moved him off the safe tracks where the trains were slowed and on to the busy London-bound tracks. The family watched in horror. "The Network Rail men seemed to do nothing to try to move Max back to safety and kept pushing Max on despite the train that was fast approaching," Steve told me.
A fast London-bound train, beeping its horn desperately, killed Max less than 100 yards from Steve and his family.
Steve told me that Andy from Network Rail said, "We have an outcome."
I told the RSPCA Max's story; here's their comment:
"We're extremely sad to hear of this tragic incident and send our sympathies to the family.
"Whilst we're sure Network Rail staff did not deliberately intend to put Max into the path of a train, we will be discussing this issue with them to see whether anything could have been done differently. I'm sure many of the staff have pets themselves and would never wish this to happen, but we all need to ensure that tragedies like this are prevented in future. 
"Training will be one of the issues that we will be discussing with them."
Sadly, Network Rail was unable to provide a quote in time for inclusion here - I will put it on the blog if one materialises.
I am sure you'll join me in sending Steve and his family all our sympathies.
And more on this...
Last month we told you the story of Cassie, the hearing dog killed on the railway and we also mentioned Blue again, the dog who had squeezed through a hole in a fence and was run over by three trains. We received some very distressing mail in relation to this feature. If you turn to our extended Doggie Postbag on page 94, you'll read Badger and Treacle's stories of grief, made very much worse by Network Rail.


From Network Rail:

"We have now spoken to our members of staff involved in trying to catch the escaped dog and it's clear from their first hand account that they went out of their way to try and catch the dog and spent many hours over several days trying to catch him. One of our team was particularly upset at what eventually happened as a previous dog owner himself - but the dog would not come to calls, would not respond to enticements and ignored commands and continued to be spooked and run off from anyone who tried to catch him, strangers and owners alike.

Below is an extract from our staff member's recollections.....

On Saturday 16th June on my way home from night shift at Hitchin, I noticed a dog walking south in the down cess (the area to one side of the track) in between overhead line stricture 113 and 112 near Biggleswade.

My train was on the down fast (fast line heading north) due to a failure of a signal in the area which one of my colleagues was attending to. I called my colleague about the dog, to keep an eye out as he was in the area and try and catch it but was unsuccessful.

On my journey to work on the same day for the night shift, I again saw the dog in the same place but sitting behind an overhead line mast. I decided to get off at Biggleswade to try and catch him.  I spoke to the signal box and arranged for one of the lines to be blocked to allow me to walk down it and try and track him down.

The dog saw me and ignored my calls and ran north towards Lindsells crossing. I tried to follow but gave up after about half a mile and headed back to the station and called the signal box to reopen the line.

I borrowed a work vehicle and drove round to Lindsells and walked down the down the track back towards the station. I got to where I'd seen him before but with no joy and headed back to the crossing. On reaching the xing, I saw the dog coming from the north so I wedged the gate open and waited. Again as soon as he saw me he ran off north. After shutting the gate I gave chase along the down cess. I followed for another quarter mile and lost him and presumed that the dog had slipped through the wire strand fence at this point (it's full palisade security fencing for some distance either side of Bigglewade station and then once reaching more rural areas resumes back to standard livestock proof fencing (sheep and cows).

By now I had spent almost two hours trying to catch him without success and so I called the police to report it. 

In the early hours of Thursday 21st, my colleague was contacted as they'd had a report, not from the owner, of a dog on the line. He went up to Biggleswade but couldn't find any trace of the dog.

I was contacted by another colleague at about 07.45 about the dog and they gave me the owner's mobile number. I met the owner at the station and he gave me a lead and some sausages to tempt the dog.

I again blocked one of the lines to took a block with the signal box but again the dog took off north. The owners were waiting at Lindsells, but every time he saw them he ran back south. After much chasing between the station and Lindsells(distance of almost a mile), taking blocks with the signal box and handing them back, enlisting the help of Barhale staff, and getting other colleagues help, just when we thought we were making progress the dog got spooked and tore off across the tracks and was fatally hit by a train on the up slow (south bound train)about 100yds south of the xing.

My colleague and I ran to the dog in case it was injured, but it was apparent it was deceased. We moved it off the line and went to speak to the owner. The owner gave us a blanket and we brought the remains back to the crossing. The wife of the owner was very upset as were we, but we had done all we could spending many hours over several days trying to catch him but he just would not respond to anyone and seemed unable to understand or take notice of any commands."

Kate Snowden
Head of Media Campaigns
Network Rail
We very much hope Network Rail will take up the RSPCA's suggestion of training for their staff on how to catch dogs that are loose on the lines. The letters in post bag about Badger and Treacle are very, very upsetting. Cassie's Fence Campaign is something we very definitely support. Click here for more details. And if you don't already know the story of Blue, a dog that went through a very badly maintained fence after a squirrel and was run over by three trains and survived. The owners have remortgaged their house to try to pay for the vet bills but they are still struggling. Click here for a link to their Just Giving page.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lennox - why we'll never forget you

The Barnes family were told Lennox was to be killed at 7am this morning - yet four hours later the council still hadn't confirmed that the execution had took place.
Could Belfast City Council be any more cruel?
Here's the general press statement they issued: 

"Belfast City Council confirmed today that the dog Lennox, an illegal pit-bull terrier type, has been humanely put to sleep. This was in accordance with the Order of the County Court which was affirmed by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal. Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier type) may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety. The Council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across. Over the past two years, Council officials have been subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse including threats of violence and death threats. The Council has been in ongoing contact with the PSNI in relation to that. The Council regrets that the court action was necessary but would emphasise that the safety of the public remains its key priority."

We have five pages on the Lennox case in the August issue out tomorrow. We show that Belfast City Council refused all approaches for a solution that could have given Lennox one last independent assessment from a world expert, Jim Crosby, who has assessed 30 dogs that have actually killed people rather than just looked like Pit Bulls. Victoria Stilwell had a plan in place to remove Lennox from Northern Ireland, but these offers were not even considered.

Even the handling of Lennox's execution has been extremely poor. 

And is Lennox really such a danger to society that his body can't now be released to his owners for burial?
It's true that passions have run very high in this case, but if you kill an innocent member of someone's family there will be anger and outrage - and every dog lover on the planet can feel that today.
If one or two people have expressed it to individuals who are probably just pawns in this too is a mater for regret.
It is the flawed law and the Council that should bare the guilt and shame.
RIP Lennox. You're in a place now where people hopefully don't judge you on appearance.
I'm sure dog expert Jim Crosby would be able to educate Belfast City Council as what "the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across" were. And I suspect they are dogs that have actually damaged people. Does the above press statement mean that no one has ever been bitten by a dog in Belfast?
For the record one last time.
No one had ever complained about Lennox.
No one was ever bitten by Lennox.

Let's vow to take some of our emotions on this terrible day and use them to try to change the world so this never happens again. Please write some words about Lennox  and why dogs generally deserve better. Here's my personal thoughts, please do add yours, too...

We may never hear precisely when Belfast City Council killed Lennox and who took the shilling to do it.
The poor dog was guilty until proven innocent as soon as a tape measure decided he was a Pit Bull and then he lost all rights to normal justice.

 

 Illustration by Kevin Brockbank, August 2012 Dogs Today

No visiting rights. Unlike a human on death row, no chance to say goodbye. Locked up for two years away from his family. Not even to be returned to them in death - they were just offered some ashes in the post.
The world has looked on in disbelief and horror.
Victoria Stilwell has been totally magnificent in this crisis and she is still there in Belfast - still fighting for justice until all hope is gone. Expert witness the amazing Sarah Fisher and her husband actor Anthony Head were also at the candlelight vigil for Lennox in Belfast last night and if hopes and prayers could change fate, dog lovers around the world would have given Lennox the miracle he needed.
But despite the most logical clemency pleas that could have saved Belfast's reputation, the Council seemed hell-bent on killing a dog who has never hurt anyone.
We've got five pages on this story in our August issue. Lennox will be a martyr, much more dangerous to the reputation of the judicial system in death than he ever was to the general public while alive.
Breed Specific Legislation is legal prejudice and deserves no place on the statute books of a civilised nation. We'd not agree to racial profiling to label all foreigners with certain physical qualities as terrorists or accept a law that measures a person's biceps to decide if they're likely to be violent in the future.
Looks in this case can kill and it's the innocent that are dying.
Let's fight on together to get rid of pointless laws that don't protect the public and result in dogs like Lennox being posted home in the mail to a family who fought so hard to save their best friend.
RIP Lennox, we'll never forget you and why you died.

Please leave your tribute to Lennox below in the comments section. A virtual book of memories that shows the world we'll never forget.


 Illustration by Kevin Brockbank, August 2012 Dogs Today

Friday, 6 July 2012

Our September Adopt me is now open...

Here is how to get a hard to home dog included in Adopt me feature.

1. We need a good photograph (about a 1MB when attached, in focus ideally!)

2. The answers to these really simple questions.   


3. A 100 word statement from the dog that makes people look twice. (See below if you need inspiration!)

Here are the questions:
Name of dog:
Type of dog and size if not obvious:
Approx age: (in years)
Sex:
Neutered?
Housetrained?
With other dogs?
With cats?
Good with children?
Location (County):
Contact details:
Foster or forever home?

Email all three of these elements to a new email address

jules@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk (retype this as copy and paste for some reason often will not work!) 


and put 'Adopt me' in the subject. 

Good 100 word statements to inspire!
Hey I’m Shady! Will you throw my ball for me?
I’ve been in Rescue for over a year now which my carers say they are very surprised about. I love the company of people and get quite stressed if left on my own for long periods of time.
I’d love an owner with a lot of time on their hands; I’ll thank you with my devotion and wagging tail!
My new year’s resolution is to find a loving new home where I can play lots of games of fetch – could you help me make it come true?
I am the busiest dog in the world! I like to train, and play games, and love my obedience classes here in Leeds. I have lived with children with severe learning difficulties in a very busy house, and with another dog. I am much prettier than my photo, but I won’t keep still long enough for anyone to take one – I’m too busy seeing if the photographer has treats! I would love to live with an active family who like to get out and about as much as I do. You can watch videos of me training at the Iron Mountain website.
I’ve been at Battersea over a year – the Home never puts on a limit on how long it takes to rehome a cat or dog – and I’m a real favourite in the offices where I spend a day or two a week chilling out, being good-natured and friendly, well-mannered and very affectionate. For someone who looks like they ate all the pies, I’m actually a delicate and discerning eater – I once said no to a Bonio! Like my namesake Cleopatra, I am very beautiful, with carefully applied eyeliner, and would like to be building my own little homely kingdom soon.