Tagged dogs

New OK Go music video highlights shelter dogs

The latest music video from the band OK Go features the group’s usual high level of cinematic choreography, but with a special focus. The video for ‘White Knuckles’ features dogs rescued from animal shelters that are specially trained as animal actors. Proceeds from the sale of a downloadable copy of the video will go to the ASPCA to help their battles against puppy mills and animal cruelty.

The video is new and only available on the offical OK Go YouTube channel, so you’ll have to follow this link to view it. In case you’re not familiar with OK Go’s videos, here are a couple of their older ones, featuring synchronized treadmilling and a Rube Goldberg machine. These videos are impressive enough, until you realize they’re a single shot from start to finish, and then it gets downright amazing.

Support NH HB 1417!

NH HB 1417 would allow ‘well-behaved’ dogs into restaurants if the owner of the restaurant approves. This law has been a long time coming, and it makes good common sense. Currently, the bill is before the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee–you can find a list of Senators on that committee here. Below is my letter to Senator Reynolds in support of this bill. Feel free to use it (or parts of it) if you would like to write to her (or your Senator).

Dear Senator Reynolds,

I am writing today to express my support of HB1417, ‘allowing companion animals in certain parts of restaurants.’ There are several reasons this bill would be beneficial to the economy of the state, as well as to its residents.

Firstly, as a resident of Plymouth, I frequently see dogs accompanying shoppers on Main Street, even sitting in outdoor areas such as in front of Chase Street Market. These people represent potential customers for the many Plymouth restaurants, but the lack of outdoor seating at all but two restaurants (and the frequently inclement weather) prevents dog owners from patronizing any of these establishments with their pets. I have personally spoken with restaurant owners who have expressed a desire to allow patrons to bring their dogs into their restaurants, but who cannot because of existing law. I suspect this situation is repeated across the state, from town to town.

Secondly, allowing dogs within an establishment would give restaurant owners the ability to easily avoid staff issues involving service animals. The current legislation surrounding service animals is often difficult for owners to explain to staff, with the result that many simply tell their staff to allow any dog into the restaurant if the dog’s owner claims it is a service animal. In reality, asking the dog’s owner any additional questions could result in legal action against the restaurant, and simply letting in any dog that a person claims is a ‘service dog’ is the easiest and safest course of action. HB 1417 would alleviate the awkwardness of this process, as owners could simply allow all dogs into the public areas of their restaurant and inform staff of that policy.

Finally, in response to the position that allowing dogs into a restaurant poses a health risk, I would offer two counter-arguments:

1) If dogs posed a significant health risk in the public areas of a restaurant, such risk should (and probably would) outweigh the benefits of allowing service dogs into an establishment. Clearly, this is not the case.

2) While there are numerous regulations pertaining to hygiene in non-public areas of a restaurant (e.g. ’employees must wash hands’), I am not familiar with any which govern the hygiene of an individual patron of such an establishment. In fact, I believe that BFOQ for positions in non-public areas of a restaurant are such that individuals requiring a service dog to perform their job may be refused employment, as that animal’s presence in food prep areas would violate health codes. Despite this, a restaurant’s patron may use the bathroom facilities, not wash their hands, and proceed to exchange money with their server. It is difficult to imagine how a dog’s presence could increase the risk of disease transmission when compared with this example, yet this behavior is perfectly legal.

Based on these reasons, I ask that you support HB 1417 as it is reviewed by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee. Thank you for your time and your service to our community.

Sincerely,

Vasken Hauri
Plymouth, NH

New E.U. law could outlaw certain unhealthy characteristics of purebred dogs

DachshundA proposed law in Scotland could outlaw certain characteristics considered ‘standard’ by breeders of purebred dogs. Scotsman.com is reporting that, under legislation already in place in certain European Union countries, breeders are responsible for the ‘anatomical, physiological and behavioural characteristics which are likely to put at risk the health and welfare of either the offspring or the female parent,’ and that such characteristics as the dachshund’s long, sausage-like body constitute such a risk. Kennel club afficionados are already complaining about the restrictions, but the bottom line is that this legislation will help prevent people from breeding animals for a distinct appearance, regardless of whether that appearance might in fact be a health hazard to the animal. Dachshunds, for example, often suffer from back problems as a result of their super-long bodies. Here’s an excerpt from scotsman.com’s article:

Dog breeders fear that the treaty’s terms are so broad that it would effectively forbid the breeding of distinctive types of dog because their defining characteristics could be seen as risking their welfare.

According to the Scottish Kennel Club, ratifying the treaty would mean that anywhere between 30 and 40 breeds would effectively be outlawed. Some distinctive breeds of cat including the Siamese and Persian could also be affected.

“Many breeds would have so many restrictions put on them that they would effectively cease to exist,” said Jean Fairlie, parliamentary liaison officer for the Scottish Kennel Club.

“The convention is too broad, too sweeping – it fails to take account of scientific developments, and the work the Kennel Club and breeders have done since it was drawn up to eliminate some mutations and health problems while maintaining the consistency of the breeds.”

Among the convention’s most enthusiastic supporters is Advocates for Animals, an Edinburgh-based campaign group.

“Pedigree dogs are bred for their appearance rather than for their good health, which often suffers as a result. They are being ‘designed’ to conform to ideal ‘breed standards’ which often involve exaggerated and unnatural physical characteristics that are detrimental to the dogs’ health and welfare,” said Ross Minnett, the group’s director.

Ratifying the convention would “substantially modify extreme breed standards and limit the degree to which pedigree dogs are bred to be intentionally deformed in a quest to produce ‘the perfect dog’,” he said. “But any claims that this convention would lead to the end of pedigree breeds are scaremongering nonsense.”

Beverley Cuddy, the editor of Dogs Today magazine, said she thought breeders were exaggerating the impact ratification would have. “All it means is that breeders would have to put the health of the dogs first instead of their appearance,” she said.

“The Kennel Clubs say they’re setting up new rules and breed standards that mean [ratification] wouldn’t be needed, but it’s too little, too late – judges at shows are still rewarding breeders for producing animals with unhealthy features – bulldogs with bigger heads, things like that.”

The fact is that these breeders and kennel club members have ignored for too long the simple fact that they are creating genetically inbred, weak animals that are susceptible to numerous fatal conditions and who have a much shorter life expectancy than their mixed breed counterparts. Now, they choose to cry foul when legislation is put in place that prevents them from breeding pugs that can barely breathe, since their noses are so squished, or prepetuating other grotesquely unnatural features that have somehow become ‘desirable’ in a particular breed. This law doesn’t seem to be about constricting freedom–it seems to be about stopping a primitive and outmoded practice that we now know creates unhealthy animals.

dogs, purebred dog, breeding, dog breeding, european union, European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, dog breeder, breed characteristics