Canine News from Near and Far, October 2007


Vick Pleads Guilty

On Monday, August 27th, after weeks of media coverage and endless conjecture, suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. His fate hangs in the balance pending a sentencing decision to be handed down on December 10 by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Nelson.

Although details of the troubled, sometimes violent personal lives of celebrities and professional athletes are commonplace in headlines, this case struck a particularly sensitive nerve among the general public. The brutal details of dogfighting, usually reserved for law enforcement and animal care professionals, have horrified millions of animal lovers nationwide and around the globe.

Vick’s story is so compelling because it shows us a side of humanity we prefer to ignore. If the essence of being human is the ability to use our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual capacities to overcome selfish impulses and care for other beings, especially those placed in our care, then dogfighting is inhuman as well as inhumane. 

Perhaps the final outcome of the story will include something positive – a new surge of compassion toward dogs and other animals.


Mutts Hang 20 for Local Shelter

The second annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition was held August 18 at Imperial Beach in San Diego. Forty-seven canine competitors braved the waves, with over a thousand spectators cheering them on. Proceeds from the event went to the resort’s employee-driven Good Neighbor Partners program, which raises funds for various nonprofits, including Pacific Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) of Coronado.

The competition featured dogs surfing alone as well as human-dog teams surfing together on a single board. Toby, a Shih-Tzu mix, carved his way to the win in the individual Surf Dog event. First place in the team event was captured by Zoey, a Jack Russell Terrier, along with owners Scott and Tyler.

Big prizes and bragging rights went to the top three in each event, but raising awareness and funds for the benefit of local animals was the biggest win of all. Videos of the event can be viewed at


Pooch Parking Proposal

Many people leave their dogs tied up in front of stores or restaurants while they dash in to pick up a coffee or run a quick errand. The other option – leaving our canine companions at home while we’re out and about – deprives dogs and humans of each other’s company and can pose practical problems for busy people. 

A state law that went into effect in January made tethering dogs illegal. Dogs tethered to immobile objects are now considered unattended or abandoned and are subject to impoundment. Technically, you could run in for a latte and find that your best friend has been taken into custody by the time you return.

The law successfully targets the inhumane practice of leaving dogs permanently tied up outside their homes and aggressive behavior by dogs tethered in public settings. It’s a big win for dogs facing lives of neglect, but poses challenges for well-behaved pets and their owners.

To address this situation, Oakland City Councilwoman Jean Quan has proposed a compromise that would allow dog owners in Oakland to “park” their pooches for up to 15 minutes without risking legal consequences. The measure is pending approval by Oakland’s City Council. If passed, it could set a precedent for other Bay Area cities. 


Comfort Needed

Annie’s Blankets, based near Watsonville, needs those spare blankets, sheets, and towels that are taking up precious space in your closet. The organization collects and distributes blankets, towels, bath mats, and the like to shelters and clinics in need of such items. It’s not just dogs and cats that need warm, comfortable bedding and clean towels; other animals, such as birds and rabbits, also require these simple “creature” comforts. Visit or call (831) 442-8098 for a list of
current drop-off sites.


Wine for dogs?

Carivintas, a direct-shipment winery based in Santa Barbara County, offers the Dog Lovers Wine Club. The club benefits the Humane Society of the U.S. Pets for Life program, which promotes positive human/pet experiences through education and outreach efforts. 

On a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis, members can receive bottles of wine bearing collectable dog-themed labels. The featured dogs are selected from inspirational stories and photos submitted by owners (most are rescues). One recent selection featured Angelou, an 11-year- old Border Collie-Chow mix, originally rescued at the Santa Clara SPCA, who now resides in Santa Cruz.

You can learn more about the Dog Lovers Wine Club at You can also submit your special dog’s story and photo to be considered as a “dog of the month.” Find out more about the Pets for Life Program at


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