Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) has introduced a bill to legalize “mouth-to snout” resuscitation and other heroic interventions to save pets rescued in emergencies, the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently.
SB1305 would protect first responders and their employers from liability for civil damages or criminal prosecution after providing emergency care to cats and dogs, a practice currently prohibited. Right now, only licensed veterinarians can treat an animal. Ohio and Colorado have passed legislation similar to Glazer’s proposal, which would enable first responders to treat injured animals without fear of repercussions.
Current state veterinary license law prevents firefighters and paramedics from treating animals they rescue. Treating an animal without a license is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, a one-year jail sentence, or both.
“Most first responders want to provide emergency medical services to the dogs and cats they encounter,” Glazer said. “This legislation will allow them to provide these services legally.”
The bill is limited to cats and dogs but may be expanded. It does not require first responders to treat animals.
Airline Puppy Death
A French bulldog puppy, Kokito, on a United Airlines flight died in its carrier in March after an airline flight attendant forced the dog’s family to place the animal in an overhead bin for the duration of a flight from Houston to New York, according to press reports. As a result, a Texas district attorney’s office has launched a criminal investigation into the dog’s death, the U.S. Department of Transportation is also investigating, and senators are considering legislation to ban overhead bin storage for animals.
In 2017, 18 animals, mostly dogs, died while being transported on United in cargo holds, according to the DOT. Lawmakers, inluding a U.S. senator, have demanded an explanation for United’s high rates of animal deaths in transit — 18 of the 24 — and intends to propose legislation to punish future mistreatments. Animal deaths on planes are unusual, with United reporting one death for roughly every 4,500 animals transported in 2017. United carries the most animals — and has the highest animal-death rate, though it claims most deaths were related to a pre-existing medical condition or improper crate acclimation.
Other United Problems
United Airlines suffered two additional dog-related mishaps in rapid succession following the overhead bin puppy death: One dog was accidentally shipped to Japan, and another dog was put on the wrong plane.
A 10-year-old German shepherd, Irgo, was scheduled to go from Portland, Ore., to Kansas City after passing through Denver but wound up in Japan. Meanwhile, the Great Dane set to arrive in Japan from Denver landed instead in Kansas City. Both were reunited with their correct families.
The other problem occurred when a flight from Newark to St. Louis was diverted because a dog on board, the crew realized, should have been on a flight to Akron instead, delaying human passengers by two hours to their final destination. United said it “chose the fastest option to reunite the dog with his family.”
In response to the recent incidents, United has decided to discontinue carrying animals in cargo holds until it can resolve these situations. The airline said it would honor agreements with anyone who has booked the service but wouldn’t add any additional service until May.
If you do travel on an airplane with your pet, remember:
The cabin is safer than the cargo hold, but pets that are too large to fit in an under-seat carrier — except service dogs and emotional-support animals — must ride in the cargo hold. Review rules on carrier size but don’t force your pet into a carrier that is too small. Take nonstop flights to avoid layovers. Avoid extremely hot or cold weather and busy times. Update pet tags, and put your contact information on the carrier. Additionally, tape a bag with a day’s worth of food to the top of the crate for emergencies, and use your pet’s own crate for the cargo hold for better acclimatizing and less stress.
Beachy Keen, Maybe
Cocoa Beach may say yes to pooches on its beaches. The Orlando Weekly reported recently that city commissioners are reviewing the current law that bans dogs on the town’s beaches. Information collection began in mid-March.
Cocoa Beach currently has one off-leash dog park but no beaches where pups are permitted, unless they are service animals. No word on when a review may be complete, but it’s expected to be a comprehensive study, ranging from looking at associated health hazards to related disposal and enforcement costs.
Protecting the Herds
Large dogs imported from Portugal, Bulgaria, and Turkey to the American West for wolf-sheep studies were better than traditional guard dogs at deterring coyotes and were adept at protecting sheep from wolves and bears, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
About 120 dogs — Cao de Gado Transmontanos, Karakachans, and Kangals — spent four years guarding 65 sheep herds in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Wildlife Research Center’s study.
U.S. sheep producers typically use large white dogs such as Great Pyrenees, Akbash, or Maremma sheepdogs, and light brown Anatolian Shepherds to protect their sheep. The reintroduction of wolves has raised questions about whether other breeds could be more effective, because some of the traditional guard dogs have been killed by wolves.
One biologist with the study, Julie Young, generalized that the Karakachans were the more vigilant, the Kangals were more likely to check things out, and the Cao de Gado Transmontanos were better at assessing threats. In the end, sheep producers might benefit from a mix of such working dogs — ones that stick close while others patrol.
Boy Wonder Helps Dogs
Ever wonder what Robin has been up to since his Batman days? Fox Rochester reports Burt Ward, who played the caped crusader’s congenial cohort Robin, now focuses his attention on helping rescue dogs live long, healthy lives.
He has a nonprofit organization, Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoption, and a line of dog food that strive to keep super big dogs — Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Great Pyrenees, and the like — living long, productive lives. In some cases, these so-called gentle giants have lived 20 years or longer, the rescue claims, certainly an atypically long lifespan for giant breeds. Learn more at GentleGiantsRescue.com.
Sleeping with your dog isn’t as disruptive as one might think. According to The New York Times, new research at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix that studied 40 dogs who slept in the bedroom with their owners — all generally good sleepers without sleep disorders — determined both species did well when sleeping near one another.
Dogs wore Fitbark to track their sleeping and activity behavior, while the people wore an Actiwatch 2 to monitor their sleeping habits. Over a week of testing, researchers found that with a dog in the bedroom, humans and the dogs slept reasonably well. People slept slightly better when the dog was off the bed; dogs slept the same whether on the bed or elsewhere in the bedroom.
“This goes against the lore that you should have the dog sleep elsewhere,” and not in the bedroom, said Dr. Lois E. Krahn, the study’s senior author and a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
In an earlier self-reported study from 2015, Krahn and her colleagues asked patients who had visited the sleep clinic about sleeping with or near their pets. Forty-one percent said they perceived their pet as unobtrusive or beneficial to their sleep, compared to 20 percent who said their pet was disruptive.
The Perfect Running Companion
According to the Washington Post, dogs get the same physical and mental benefits from running as humans do, with jogging warding off obesity, osteoarthritis, and Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, dogs experience runner’s high, and dog owners are 2½ times as likely to get the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.
But before starting a new canine running program with your dog, follow some common-sense guidelines, such as talking to your vet about breed appropriateness for running as well as the proper age for your pup to take up running. Additionally, think about how weather conditions might affect your furry friend, plan your route, and be flexible should your pooch be having an off day. It’s a good idea to keep the leash slack and invest in the right equipment like a running halter or a leash that attaches at the waist. Finally, start slowly and increase intensity gently.
Talk to Your Dog
Talking to your dog can improve the bond between you, Medical News Today reported recently, and using a high-pitched and affectionate tone of voice — so-called dog speak — and dog-relevant words apparently work to your advantage as well.
Researchers Alex Benjamin and Katie Slocombe at the University of York in the United Kingdom set out to investigate whether dog-speak, or more precisely, dog-directed speech, improves bonding between pets and humans, as infant-directed speaking to a baby bonds an infant to an adult. Their findings were published in the journal Animal Cognition and found dogs responded more favorably to dog-directed speech and were more inclined to interact when the words included dog-relevant content.
At Ease Now
Students at Tewksbury Memorial High School in Massachusetts learn firsthand recently how dogs can improve morale and ease anxiety, according to the Tewksbury Town Crier.
Therapy Dogs International brought dogs to the school during lunchtime at the principal’s request to relieve tension over a student reportedly threatening another student with a weapon, resulting in an unnerving shelter-in-place order being imposed earlier in the week. The threat turned out to be a false alarm.
“The dogs loved the attention of the teenagers. The kids swarmed around them,” said Liz Cleaves, a certified handler and director of Therapy Dogs International Chapter 306 in Tewksbury, noting that each student approached the dogs differently.
Some students watched, some petted the dogs, and some kissed, hugged, and got licked by the dogs, a Boston terrier, a border collie mix, German shepherd, and two poodles. Therapy Dogs International is a volunteer organization founded in New Jersey and that trains and certifies dogs and handlers to provide comfort in many settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency situations.
Bully for Bullies
Michigan lawmakers may consider a bill that would end discrimination among dogs, TV station 16 WNDU reported.
Local animal shelters contend pit bulls specifically are unfairly discriminated against, chalking up their alleged ferociousness to skewed stats. Other breeds, too, may be discriminated against.
“You’ve got to think,” Berrien County Animal Control Director Tiffany Peterson said, “You’ve got 100 pit bulls, and two Chihuahuas. Yeah, I mean, there’s more chances that you’re going to have more bites from them because there’s more of them. … They start to get profiled, kind of like we do with people.”
Such profiling leads some communities or landlords to discriminate against pitties and some other breeds, requiring strict kenneling, outright bans, muzzles, or additional insurance because of a certain breed.
For now, Berrien County doesn’t have any breed discrimination laws, as far as Peterson knew. If the bill passes, all ordinances will have to square with the law. It is lumped with other proposals, such as how court proceedings around dangerous dogs go, and what happens to dogs that have been involved in dog fighting.