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Van Full of Dogs Stolen and Recovered

A stolen pet transportation van with 24 dogs inside was recovered by Oakland police in early December. Two men were arrested, including one who reportedly had been attempting to sell the dogs, the San Francisco Chronicle and other local news outlets reported.

The van was parked at an Extended Stay parking lot at 46080 Fremont Blvd. in Fremont, apparently by a woman driving as many as 30 dogs across the country possibly for a delivery service called D&J’s Pet Transport. She told authorities she left the van running with the keys inside around 10 p.m. on Dec. 8, but the vehicle was gone when she returned around 5:24 a.m. Dec. 9, Fremont police told the Chron. Police are considering charges against the woman for leaving the animals unattended for several hours.

The van had a GPS locator, which helped authorities find it, police said. Johnna Watson, an Oakland Police Department spokeswoman, said an Oakland police officer saw the van about 11 a.m. near 81st Avenue and Olive Street in East Oakland, and police pulled it over without incident.

 “We had a general idea of where the van had been traveling,” Watson said, adding that the man who allegedly stole it had been trying to sell the pups, which were taken to the Oakland animal shelter.

 “The dogs were really happy to see the officers,” Watson said. “Tails were wagging.”

Police arrested a second man suspected of buying one of the dogs. Police withheld the suspects’ identities while prosecutors reviewed the charges, Watson said. Authorities, including Oakland Animal Services officials, continued investigating the incident Monday.

“We are looking to account for all dogs,” Watson said.

But because some paperwork was missing, police said, all dogs may not be accounted for. Police are asking people to call them if they bought a dog that might have come from this van.

The conditions inside the van were clean, and the dogs had access to water in their crates, authorities said. The woman told police she left the car running so the dogs had air.

“Everything looked very clean, very organized,” Watson said.

In a statement posted on Facebook, a page titled “D&J’s Pet Transport” said the van was stolen between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. A woman who answered the phone at the transport service said she was busy and could not immediately talk about the incident, and the post was later removed. A website that apparently sells bulldogs lists D&J’s Pet Transport as a company that transports pets throughout the United States and Canada.

Fremont police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said the person who reported the van stolen was transporting the dogs to places across the country. Police were not certain whether the dogs were rescue pups or if they had been bred.

More Dogs Than People

Denver’s human population boom has resulted in a dog boom, and now there are more dogs than kids, according to Denverite.

Denver Parks and Recreation estimated the city’s dog population at 158,000 across 99,000 households, compared to 140,000 children who live in Denver, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates.

The dogs face a shortage of off-leash parks — 13 total citywide covering 15.5 acres, concentrated in the city’s northern half. While the current administration aims to put each household within a 10-minute walk of a public park, dogs don’t get such an aspirational goal.

Parks and Recreation wants geographic equality for dog parks, because most of Denver’s southern half is a dog park desert. Dog parks tend to be in denser neighborhoods. Like restaurants, dry cleaners, and shops, dog parks tend to exist in densely populated areas. Nearly all of Denver’s dog parks are in areas that have gentrified or are vulnerable to gentrification, according to a 2016 government housing study. White families are more likely to have pets than people of color, according to the federal 2017 American Housing Survey. Parks and Rec intends to be sensitive to gentrification in the future.

Happy Birthday, K9 Officers

An 8-year-old girl, Peyton Estochin, held a fundraiser for police canines in December in her hometown of Irwin, Pennsylvania, foregoing birthday presents to raise money for the canine officers, according to KDKA TV.

She is the founder of Peyton’s K-9s, a nonprofit that raises money to buy equipment and cover bills for K9 units in need. The fundraising event included a meet-and-greet event with the police dogs and their handlers. The Estochin family anticipated the event would raise thousands of dollars.

“We started with a vet bill for a local community K9 that had cancer. … Since then, it has become so big since then, with other handles reaching out because they saw what she was doing,” Peyton’s mother, Jessica, said. “She found a need for it. … Now she does ballistic vest, she does Narcan kits. … She does everything that they need.”

Keep Me Warm

When is it too cold for a dog to go outside?

“It heavily depends on the dog breed as size, coat thickness and color, age, and other factors, but in general, when the temperature hits below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, most dogs start to feel the cold,” said Dr. Gary Richter, an Oakland veterinary health expert with Rover in an article in Reader’s Digest. However, he said when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, dogs can start to get hurt from the cold and are also affected by wind chill, dampness, and cloud cover.

 Thinner dogs tend to get colder quicker than larger dogs, thick-coated dogs fair better than thin-coated ones, and darker-coated coats retain heat better. Dogs can spend 15 to 20 minutes at below-freezing temperatures without ill effect, but dog parents should watch for signs of discomfort such as shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations, or holding up one or more paws.

 “If the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health issues like hypothermia and frostbite, but it’s not very common,” said Richter.

Another health hazard is the salt that is used to de-ice roads and walkways, which can cause your dog’s paw pads to peel off, leaving a layer of fresh, sensitive skin exposed. Wash your dog’s feet with warm water when they return indoors. Steer clear of icy areas.

Protect your dog from the cold with a snug coat that still allows full range of motion, and consider waterproof coat in wet or snowy environments. Protect feet with get booties or use paw pad wax.

Flu Detection

Researchers are seeing whether dogs can detect avian flue, according to The Washington Time and Boise State Public Radio.

The team, from Colorado State University, recently went to Hagerman, Idaho, to conduct a study with the United States Department of Agriculture and Idaho Fish and Game. 

The group gathered around what looked like a training course for dog in a parking lot by a boat launch. Dog handler Liz Ramirez took six dogs down rows of black metal boxes on the ground, allowing the dogs to pause and sniff each box.

Inside the boxes were waterfowl, most likely mallards, donated by local hunters. The dogs — from shelters or rescued — were trained in the lab in Colorado to detect the virus. When they thought they smelled a positive case, they alerted the researchers by pawing at the box.

Glen Golden, a research scientist at Colorado State University, led the study and has trained mice and ferrets to do similar tasks.


Big Dogs

This just in from Stacker, regarding the 30 most popular large dog breeds based on data from the American Kennel Club dog profiles.

 To be considered, each dog’s max height must be at least 25 inches, and its max weight must be at least 70 pounds. The dogs are ranked by their 2018 AKC popularity rank, which was released in 2019. In descending order beginning with 30th, the list contained these: Borzoi, Neapolitan mastiff, English setter, Leonberger, Anatolian shepherd dog, Bouvier des Flanders, Great Swiss mountain dog, dogue de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees, German wirehaired pointer, Alaskan Malamute, bullmastiff, bloodhound, Saint Bernard, Akita, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Belgian Malinois, Rhodesian ridgeback, Newfoundland, collie, Weimaraner, Cane corso, mastiff, Bernese Mountain dog, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, boxer, German shorthaired pointer, Rottweiler, and German shepherd dog.

What’s Your Dog Worth? 

Real Clear Science has taken a stab at determining how
much a dog’s life is worth, using an experimental survey designed to establish the value of human lives and other “priceless” things. 

Real Clear Science concluded the statistical value of the average dog is about $10,000, compared to $10 million for the average human life, an amount settled on by federal agencies. 

The dog figure, which some might say is too low a value, was derived from a large nationally representative survey of dog owners who stated preferences to assess how much they were willing to pay to obtain small reductions in mortality risk for their dogs.

The findings might prove to be a reference point for compensation in tort cases resulting from injuries and deaths of dogs. Compensation now is based on the market value of the dog, limiting for dog owners, especially those whose dogs are mutts, when compensation should also address issues such as the loss of companionship and associated emotional distress.