Canine News from Near and Far, August 2010


Sell a Guinea Pig…

Philip Gerrie, a beekeeper and secretary of the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control & Welfare (CACW), a seven-member board that advises the city’s lawmakers on animal issues, was the one who suggested the Commission consider a ban on pet sales in San Francisco. He was concerned about the unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals being euthanized and thought stopping sales could make a different. West Hollywood had passed a similar ban easily enough.

Turns out the idea struck a nerve on both sides of the issue. A record number of people showed up to be heard on the matter at the Commission meeting on July 8, after the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on its front page that day entitled, “Sell a Guinea Pig, Go to Jail.” The story was picked up by news wires and bloggers around the globe, with comments running into the thousands. Lots of folks think such a ban would curb euthanasia by ceasing the flow of “fashion” or “hobby” animals being abandoned to animal shelters when their owners tire of them or can’t continue to care for them. Others strongly oppose the idea, some claiming such bans are designed to prevent people from keeping pets at all.

Apparently the Commission was daunted by all the attention. It voted not to vote and has tabled the matter for at least another month. Should it eventually approve a ban on live animal sales, the matter would next be taken up by the Board of Supervisors. No need to hold our collective breath on this one.


New AKC Breeds Approved 

The American Kennel Club has recognized three new “official” breeds:  the Cane Corso, Icelandic Sheepdog, and Leonberger. There are now 167 different breeds recognized by the AKC. The Icelandic Sheepdog will be part of the herding group; the Cane Corso and Leonberger will join the working group. To see photos of the dogs and learn more about them, visit


Dog Saves Self from Heatstroke

A woman in Pennsylvania left her chocolate Lab Max in the car for about an hour after she returned home from shopping during a heat wave. Luckily, Max was not your ordinary dog – when the heat inside the car became intense, he got into the driver’s seat and commenced to honk the horn. 

The owner had unloaded her bags but forgot to let the dog out. When she heard the incessant honking, she went outside to investigate and realized the sound was coming from her own car. She quickly wetted Max down with towels and gave him cold water to drink before rushing him to the local veterinary clinic. Max was very warm and panting heavily, but the vet reported he had suffered no serious injury. 

Let this story be a serious reminder: don’t leave your dog in the car, whatever the weather. The temperature in a closed metal box can rise quickly, even on overcast days.


Dog DNA Database at UC Davis 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri and the Louisiana SPCA, has established the country’s first dog-fighting DNA database, called the Canine CODIS (combined DNA Index System). It will be maintained at the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. The database contains DNA profiles from dogs seized during dog-fighting investigations and unidentified samples from suspected dog-fighting venues, including many collected during the nation’s largest dog-fighting raid in July 2009. 

Legal and forensics experts say the DNA information will be invaluable in the investigation and prosecution of dog-fighting cases, as it can be used to make indisputable connections between locations, people, and canines involved in illegal fighting operations.

The database is similar to the FBI’s human CODIS, which stores DNA profiles from criminal offenders and crime scenes and is used in the investigation and prosecution of criminal and missing person cases.


Greyhound Racing Abolished in NH

Animal advocates have long decried Greyhound racing as a cruel sport driven by the profit motive and commonly unconcerned with the welfare of the racing animals. The Greyhound Protection Act recently signed into law by Governor John Lynch of New Hampsire follows on the heels of similar measures in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, effectively finishing the industry in New England. 

Greyhound racing is illegal in California and in most states, but several still allow it. For more information on the campaign to end the sport nationwide, visit


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