Sad stories become happy tails at Adopt-a-Dog

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When it comes to the stuff that makes me mad, I’ve learned to choose my battles. At this point, there’s little I can do about the state of my country or the state of its leadership. I can’t put an end to terrorism or injustice. And I certainly can’t do anything about human stupidity.

As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can save all of the companion animals who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can find and punish the people who mistreat or discard their pets without a second thought.

Puppy dog eyes…. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But for three years, I did what I little I could to help find “forever homes” for unwanted or abandoned pets by volunteering in the office at a local shelter. Although I had to stop doing so after I started In Brief Legal Writing Services, I’m still a volunteer photographer for Adopt-a-Dog in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Last weekend, I finally had a chance to visit the shelter and catch up with some old friends. I also had a chance to get the shots of the dogs that I’m sharing in this post. Hopefully these pups will soon be adopted, if they weren’t already.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Adopt-a-Dog by visiting their website. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know about shelters or rescue groups in your area that are doing great work. I’d be happy to do posts about them, too!

Hi there! Want to play? Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

This pup’s bib says it all! Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

 

 

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More than 100 puppies rescued after wild ride

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If ever there was a heartbreaking and heartwarming story, this is it.

According to published reports, police rescued more than 100 puppies — described as “varying breed types (including many toy and smaller breeds)” — after the truck carrying them crashed in upstate New York.

“The driver, Emily Woodrum of Missouri, was delivering 103 puppies of varying breeds to local pet stores on Tuesday when she lost control of the truck and crashed in the town of Avoca, New York,” NBC News reports.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

The speeding vehicle — reportedly bound for “local pet stores” — ended up in a ditch, where it overturned. Luckily, only five puppies were hurt. Of those, only two were hurt badly enough to require extensive treatment.

That’s the good news. Now here’s the sad part.

The Finger Lakes SPCA, which responded to the scene and cared for more than 80 puppies after the Jan. 24 wreck, suspects that they came from a puppy mill. With no proof, however, the animals’ fate is uncertain.

“No health issues that would indicate an animal cruelty concern could be ascertained by veterinary medical professionals who examined the puppies. We are not aware of any other specific laws that would have allowed the transfer of ownership of these puppies to our agency nor were we directed by law enforcement to retain the animals,” the organization said in an update posted on its website.

“While we too abhor puppy mills, we know of no means to legally confiscate animals only because there is a strong likelihood that a puppy came from one.”

With no other recourse, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it returned all but four of the puppies to the transportation company the next day. The company did cover costs stemming from the puppies’ medical care and shelter, the organization said.

As of last Wednesday, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it was pursuing a “formal release of ownership for these animals.”

Suburban New York puppy mill law is a no-brainer

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What I’m about to say is hard to believe — but it’s true. Every once in a while, local, state (and even federal) lawmakers actually do something that makes sense.

In this case, lawmakers in the New York City suburbs — Westchester County, to be exact — are weighing the pros and cons of a so-called “puppy mill” law.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

You can read all about it here. For now I will just highlight the key points.

As it currently stands, the new law would:

  • Change current rules that “regulate animal facilities.”
  • Create tougher regulations pertaining to health standards for breeders and pet stores that sell puppies.
  • Ban any transactions involving puppies that were “raised in unhealthy and unsafe conditions.”

County Legislator Jim Maisano, a Republican driving the new legislation, sums it up this way:

“What we really want to do is impact the flow of puppy-mill dogs into Westchester. We want to stop it. So we’re raising the standards the Health Department will enforce to make sure (that), when dogs come into a pet dealer in Westchester County, that they’re not coming from the puppy mills.”

According to published reports, many communities in the county are already taking matters into their own hands. As a result, Mamaroneck, , New Rochelle, Mount Pleasant, Harrison, Yorktown, Rye Brook and Port Chester all have so-called “puppy mill” laws on the books.

Of course, there’s always another side of the story. So those who oppose the county’s efforts say the law currently being considered may have unintended consequences. Specifically, one pet shop owner says passage of the law as it now stands would harm his business by limiting where he can get dogs for his breeding program.

Animal advocates don’t buy that argument, however.

“Westchester is already on the map for making a statement against puppy-mill atrocities and, as a county, we can make that statement even larger,” said Dina Goren, who represents the Coalition for Legislative Action for Animals in the county. “We have the legal right and obligation to protect animals in our own community. Banning the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores altogether would do just that.”

I agree.

When it comes to the court of public opinion, choose your battles wisely

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There’s a lot to be said for individualism. There’s a lot to be said for standing up for yourself. There’s also a lot to be said for fighting the court of public opinion. Or trying to, at any rate.

But the sad reality is that if you try to do that — you’re probably going to lose.  Because, like it or not (and personally I don’t like it a bit) the court of public opinion is pretty damned powerful.

It seems like the couple from Virginia that I told you about last week may have learned that the hard way.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

To refresh your memory, the couple — who already owns a dog kennel — wanted to expand it. But in order to do that, the couple needed a special land use permit from the county.

From what I understand, the application for that permit has been withdrawn — for the time being, anyhow.

If you’d like to know why, you can read more about the decision — and what’s next for the couple — here.

In all honesty, I’m not surprised. As I told you last week, the couple’s plan came under considerable scrutiny — not from the county — but from the public. Dozens of people made their displeasure clear at the most recent municipal meeting on the subject. And even more did so by signing a petition.

Specifically, opponents have objected to the number of dogs the couple wants to keep on the property for breeding purposes and the number of puppies those dogs will have.

Needless to say, the couple’s attempts to allay the public’s fears and concerns regarding a potential “puppy mill” have fallen on deaf ears.

But just what is a puppy mill, anyhow?

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), puppy mills are “inhumane commercial dog breeding facilities that may sell puppies in pet stores, online or directly to the public (in flea markets or via classified ads).”

The HSUS also says puppy mills disregard the dogs’ health—both physical and emotional—in order to maximize profits.

The organization estimates that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S., and that fewer than 3,000 of these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Collectively, the licensed and unlicensed breeding operations produce more than a million puppies that end up being sold in the United States each year.

Meanwhile, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year.

So an important question remains. Even if the breeding operation this couple is proposing is legitimate, do we really need more purebred or “designer dogs” when there are so many animals in need of forever homes?

Controversial Virginia land use application triggers puppy mill concerns

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Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

It’s been four years since I left Warrenton, Virginia, and returned to civilization. But I still visit certain news sites to keep track of the happenings in my old stomping grounds.

To be honest, I don’t know why I bother. Considering all of the s–t I put up with when I lived down there, you’d think I’d be happy to put the past in the rear view mirror.

Having said that, it’s kind of fun to keep track of what’s going on now that I no longer have a dog in the fight — pun fully intended.

You see, a controversial land use application has caused quite a stir in good old Fauquier (pronounced faw-keer) County, Va. Specifically, the proposed creation of a dog breeding facility has triggered concerns about a puppy mill.

As reported on fauquiernow.com (the “go-to” source for news in the county) the applicants — who own more than 60 acres — want to expand their current kennel to house and breed dozens of dogs. They also want to provide “training for service and therapy dogs as part of the proposed expansion.”

More than two dozen concerned citizens spoke against the idea at a recent Fauquier County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. More than 70 reportedly expressed their opposition by signing a petition.

The applicants, who have reportedly been breeding and selling dogs for nearly 20 years,  have said the concerns are not justified.

Whether or not they will get the permits needed to make the proposed plans a reality remains to be seen.

All I know is I’m happy I don’t have to cover this story. I’ve covered more than my share of controversial municipal meetings like this. It’s not fun.

I’m also happy I didn’t have to write the story about more than 100 animals rescued from a “suspected puppy mill” in Mississippi.

According to published reports, authorities and members of Animal Rescue Corps saved the animals as the result of an investigation conducted by the Tate County Sheriff’s Department.

“Approximately 100 dogs, including litters of puppies and pregnant dogs, 1 donkey, 12 cats, including kittens, 50 chickens, 2 turkeys, 3 parrots and 6 rabbits were found without adequate food, water, or shelter, ” the Animal Rescue Corps said in a press release posted on its website. “The animals were all extremely dirty and suffering from heavy infestations of internal and external parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms. Many adults and puppies were suffering from alopecia and anemia as a result of their heavy flea and tick infestations.”

The animals confiscated by law enforcement were taken to an emergency shelter for further evaluation and veterinary treatment.

The owner was not identified.