Sunday, October 25, 2009

To use or not to use?

Let's start off with a few updates. One, I opted not to continue training to volunteer at the shelter. The staff was, in my eyes, unprofessional. I did not like the way they addressed volunteers, and I did not like their policies, so I took my volunteering elsewhere. Now, I volunteer at the local food bank, and I love it. Second bit of news is that when I moved up here, my fathers dog was an absolute nightmare. He would sit inches away from your dinner plate and drool, lick the air, and paw you. My parents aren't very firm with him, wheedling a tiny little "no" when he was begging and expected him to listen. By far, this is the least intelligent dog I have ever worked with, but guess what? It took him around two days to learn that begging was by no means acceptable behavior, and that when I eat, he is to go to his corner and lie down. From time to time I have to reinforce this, but never physically. A loud "NO!" and an "Out" suffices. I have also been working on keeping him out of the kitchen using the same approach. Sometimes, he will creep in, but when I turn around and find him standing there, he beats a hasty retreat back to the living room. My parents still can't grasp the concept, so when they eat, there he is, hovering inches away from their plate. I have tried to show them that all it takes is a firm voice, but they still give him the little baby, "No no, no being a beggar". If they decide not to take up my technique, fine with me, but I will be enjoying my meals drool free. I'm also going to have to teach him to stop scratching at the door, a lovely habit which he picked up from the cat.

Anyways, on to my main point. There was a discussion today in which I participated involving the use of Halti-Leads, choke chains, and prong collars. I have used Haltis religiously and have had amazing success, but most people seem to think it's a tool created by Satan himself. They gave accounts of dogs just wigging out over it, but my experience has always been that sure, it will be a bit uncomfortable at first, but after swiping at their nose for a while and giving a vigorous roll in the grass, they figure it isn't coming off and get over it. I have successfully retrained my extremely fearful hundred pound dog with the use of a Halti with no repercussions, whereas when I would use a flat nylon or a choker, he would bolt and leave me dragging on the other end of the leash. I've had pullers that were broken of the habit using a Halti, leash-wanderers (as I call them; the dogs who just can't seem to keep on one side during a walk), overly hyper dogs, and none have had a violent reaction to it.

However, in the discussion, a prong collar was deemed the best idea. I have used a prong, and some dogs respond well, but there were some dogs that would absolutely pull until it punctured their neck. Switching to a Halti, the sensation of pressure on their nose and a quick jerk to the side, thus throwing them off balance, I have gotten a lot better results, and more quickly.

Then comes to the subject of the dreaded choke chain. I had been using a prong for about a week on my step dad's English bulldog, and it may as well have been that I was trying to walk him using a piece of dental floss. He absolutely did NOT care about it, and would pull and pull, and, well, pull some more. A Halti was not an option, as he's one of the brachycephalic breeds, and neither was a harness, because with his awkward shape he could easily back out of them. What bothered me about it most though is that even though it was brand new, the collar would sometimes lock up with his pulling and I'd be rushing to unstick it before my dog was strangled to death. That is when I switched to a choke chain. He was EXTREMELY dog aggressive and thought he was massive, going after dogs four times his size. A week on the choker, and I could walk him through parks and bring him wherever I pleased. Mind you, I never choked him but he learned that pulling caused an uncomfortable squeeze. I also used a choke chain on my larger dog, who had an affinity for pulling me down the street to investigate all the awesome smelling things he came across. I can now walk him on a slack line, to the point where the chain is dangling off his neck with plenty of free space, and he stays right by my side.

IMO, when used properly, choke chains and Halti-leads are absolute miracle workers. Prong collars, however, I absolutely loathe and will never use one. In my mind, you may as well be using a shock collar.

What is your opinion on the subject of choke chains, Halti leads, and prong collars? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In all fairness...

I've finally set myself up here in Washington and am on the road to starting my life, college, driving, work, and all the other things that come with growing up.

To offset the boredom I've been experiencing sitting here in the suburbs, I decided to take a volunteer job at the new Everett Animal Shelter. This weekend is my formal training for Kennel Hand. I'm pretty excited, but after listening to the whole intro, I found something that set me off quite a bit: The Dangerous Dogs act that is imposed in Everett. Apparently, and "Pit Bull" or dog falling into the "Pit Bull" category are not allowed to be placed in a home if they are older than six months - instead, they are euthanized. What I found a sight more shocking was the fact that they had a dog detained in the back who had actually ripped a woman's breast off and then mauled her arm, losing a tooth and leaving it embedded in her skin, and yet the dog was still in holding. Maybe a quarantine period, but still, I will crap my pants if the owners are able to get their dog back. They also had your assortment of cattle chasers and livestock killers, all alive and well and looking to be adopted. Another thing that bothers me is that they have some sort of dog training guru (can't recall the name) that they swear by at the shelter, and when we're trained, we MUST follow his teachings exactly. I've had amazing luck just using verbal and hand cues, and I haven't been bitten since I was a small child. I prefer to implement NILIF, with positive reinforcement and praise. No listen = no reward, but it never equals harm to the animal.

Maybe this post is a tad pointless, but it's something that really irked me. I will be more active now that I have my own laptop (thanks Mom!) and through my work I will have more of the posts you guys crave... To asshattery!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

DogGone goes PNW!

Sorry guys, I haven't really had the time to post lately. Life's hectic, blogger is blocked on all of my home computers, and I'm getting ready to move to Washington state and enroll in college.

In about a month or so this blog should become more active. Thanks for all your patience and support.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

James Hensley, Dirtbag Dog Beater

As I looked in my inbox this morning, I noticed I had a "nastygram" about how my website is fake, I'm a hippie, and I don't bring anything informative or useful to the general public.

Guess who wrote me the lovely letter? James Hensley, alias Beater of the dog at Devore Animal Shelter, featured in a few posts below.

I knew you guys might have something to say, because I sure as hell did, so here's everyone's golden opportunity.

James, what do you have to say to defend yourself? Was there a reason for beating that dog? I have a feeling someone wasn't loved enough as a child. You're sick and twisted; beyond a poor excuse for a human being.

Step up to bat, baby, we'll learn ya real good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Long time, no post!

As stated in my last post, I have been very busy trying to get all my credentials before the year ends - and I have accomplished just that! I am now officially finished with high school. This means more time to pursue my passions, including blogging.

Without further adieu, I present to you the atrocity that is Sweet Yorkie Kisses, a breeding operation somewhat close to home. I found the advertisement in our local Pennysaver, proudly proclaiming the sale of "Yorkies, Shorkies, Morkies, Yorkiepoos, Porkies and Biewer Yorkies". Isn't that what we all need though? Nevermind the fact that Petfinder has 869 Yorkies/Yorkie crosses looking for homes, all which come with a reasonable adoption fee as opposed to the $1500-$3500 she is charging for her sickly little dogs. I commend her in a way - she practices the application of OFA and CERF, but that doesn't mean she isn't churning out just as many puppies as your average BYB.

This is her idea of breeding quality - anyone want a half mop, half dog? And the tear and beard stains are atrocious - it costs about $10 to purchase tear stain cleaners, give or take, at any pet supply store. As I have constantly said, present yourself professionally if you want to be taken as such. I don't want the "dose of reality" associated with seeing your dogs in their nasty, ratty, pre-groomed state with tear stains down their face, I want them clean, properly presented, and nicely stacked. BTW, nothing can scare me away from a webpage faster than when you have your religious beliefs and quotes smattered all over it. It gives me that "Mormon-at-the-door" kind of feeling (no offense to any). You know, just shake your head and politely refuse, and then laugh about it at a later time.

While presenting us with an amalgam of ratty, overpriced mutts, she then moves on to preach about Irresponsible vs. Responsible Breeders. She hits the nail right on the head when listing things off. While I do not doubt her ability to uphold her golden rules, anyone that has this many mixed breed dogs and continues to breed at such astronomical numbers just screams "Irresponsible!!!" to me.

Of course, you can can get your Porkie-Morkie-Poo for about $300 less if you choose not to register (with what club affiliation, do tell?).

Sigh. How DO the idiots manage to make bank while the rest of us struggle? We may never know.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Devore Animal Shelter OUTED!

Recently on Craigslist, I was made aware of an animal shelter of horrors. Devore Animal Shelter of San Bernardino is yet another classic example of why so many people are hesitant to adopt.

A dog named Brownie was recently picked up as a stray and placed in Devore Animal Shelter, where he was found to have a microchip. The owners were alerted, but they couldn't afford to pay the $150 it costed to recover him. Instead of giving Brownie back, or even giving his owners a fair shot, they placed him for adoption. Despite the owners pleads, they refused to give Brownie back and instead euthanized him. I don't even pay $150 in two months to feed four dogs, so what gives DAS the right to charge that much? Ah, yes. Greed.

DAS was also found to have over $300,000 worth of security to ensure the safety of the animals. Instead, they decided to use it on something else, what I haven't found yet, but continued their lax security policies resulting in many animals being stolen from the shelter without so much as a second glance.

From, there is a disheartening article...

"October 10, 2005 - Devore Animal Shelter
See Pictures Bottom of Page

October 10, 2005 at 12:32 p.m. I received a telephone message from a distressed female voice. She said she worked at the Devore Animal Shelter in San Bernardino and she had to talk to someone. She said the conditions there were "really bad". She read the petition on this website and read the law and said it is not being followed there. She said the animals aren't being treated right and she didn't know who to tell and she wanted advice what to do about it. She was concerned about retribution if anyone knew she was calling.

The same day at 3:45 p.m. I answered the phone and the same woman called back. She identified herself as Kathy Harper and said she was so upset about what she had just seen and now she didn't care anyone if her identity was revealed. She said there had just been a "Rodney King" style beating of a little dachshund-mix by a towering 6' 5" "officer". He was later identified as James Hensley, 'animal control officer' for San Bernardino County Animal Control Services.

She said the uniformed Hensley came in that day in what she characterized as "a horrible mood. It was obvious something was bothering him."

She described how she heard Hensley yelling and cursing while a dog was screaming. "The dogs in nearby cages were going crazy and were very upset". She said the noise was so deafening she couldn't ignore it.

Eric Foor filled in the details. He's a local San Bernardino baseball hero now playing for the Chicago Cubs. He was at Devore working off community service hours when he witnessed the beating. He was equally dismayed over the conditions at Devore and was eager to have someone to talk to.

"He [Hensley] was putting the dog in the cage. The dog was hesitating to go in the cage but a lot of them do that. They're scared. Then he went inside of the cage with the dog. He kicked him 5 or 6 times pretty hard. The dog was yelping. He was talking to the dog the whole time, cursing. Then he pulled a stick from his a baton but they call it something else."

Then Foor describes the blows. "He reached back way over his head each time and came down really hard. The dog was crying. He hit him about 10 times or so. He didn't have to. It was just a little dog." He saw the 17 pound dog cowering in the corner. He said he never saw the dog make any contact with Hensley.

Foor said, "I wiped off the dog afterward. There was a lot of blood, especially on the dog's head."

Harper describes the moments after the beating. "There was blood everywhere. There was blood on every wall of the cage and on the floor. There was blood on the outside and inside of the bars. Some of it was really thick. I took pictures."

She continued. "He [Hensely] came out of the cage. He walked about 15 feet, picked up something from the floor and then walked back to the cage and started cursing at the dog again. I couldn't see what he was doing but I heard him. About 10 minutes later he went up to the cage and was cussing at the dog. The dog was just laying there.

Foor added, "It was weird. He was talking to the dog. The dog wasn't moving or doing anything."

After I received the call from Harper I immediately drove to the Devore pound. I walked to cage 88 where I was told the dog was beaten. There he was. A little black dog, eyes open and breathing but laying motionless as if petrified and in shock. All of the other dogs were frenetic and exhibiting stress. I noted splatters and splotches of what appeared to be blood on each grey wall, on bars each side of the cage, on the ceiling and on the cage floor. I saw blood on the dog's head, neck, shoulders and back.

I immediately called the sheriff to make an animal cruelty complaint....

"Officer" Hensely has continued to be employed at this same job every day since. Apparently NO action was ever taken against him whatsoever. Reportedly he has refused to talk to the Sheriff and give his account of what happened. As a 'field officer' he is alone with animals all day long.

QUERY: Should someone who could be an animal abuser be employed as an "animal control officer"? Wouldn't a more just result -based on Devore worker statements- be the immediate firing of James Hensley, that he be brought to trial and if convicted, be prohibited from working with animals for life and receive the maximum mandatory jail time that the law allows? Shouldn't convicted abusers also receive mandatory long-term counseling so they don't victimize others throughout their lifetime?

And shouldn't Hensley's 'buddies', County employees and other animal enforcement 'officers' who attempt to cover up the real facts and give false information also be fired and brought to trial?"

You can visit The Devore Beating for more information and pictures. And as for a trial, not ONE of the select body decided to step up and fight for this dog. All attempts to get them to notice the petition failed because they simply ignored it. I guess these guys have more pressing matters to decide... Like which nice, new, big house to buy or which shiny new boat they'd like to own. While they wipe their asses with their hundred dollar bills, the rest of us continue to see that there are more important things that need to be addressed. It's just sickening to see the lack of empathy in the people who have the abilty to slam the gavel and decide a fate.

I've been fairly busy as of late, so I do apologize for the lack of posts. But I graduate soon, and oh yes, there will be more entries. :]

Friday, January 16, 2009

Glynn Johnson pleads NOT GUILTY!

NEW 2/6/08 ****: "The Judge scheduled a Felony Settlement Conference on February 20th at 1:30pm in Dept. 31 at The Riverside County Courthouse 4100 Main St. Riverside, 92501. This will be Glynn Johnson's next court appearance.

Glynn Johnson entered his plea of not guilty to all charges on Tuesday, January 13th. He also waived his right to a speedy trial. Glynn Johnson was ordered by the judge to return on any and all future hearing dates.

Thank you to everyone who came to the courthouse in support of Justice 4 Karley! We were not allowed in the courtroom because it was full but he had to face all of us on his way in and out of the courthouse. The Bailiff of the courtroom said our group was very calm and civilized and said that our group would be allowed at the courthouse anytime based on our respect for the court and peaceful demonstrations in support of Justice 4 Karley.

Our attorney filed a civil lawsuit against Glynn Johnson. He was served immediately following the arraignment. This is another way for our family to seek punishment and Justice 4 Karley."

See, it really DOES pay to act civil in public... I know there are some disgusting people out there, but remember: You're a better person than they are... Respond accordingly, be the bigger person, and you will be recognized as such.

Justice 4 Karley Update

Glynn Johnson, a Riverside Fire Department assisstant fire chief, plead not guilty to the brutal beating that ended in the humane destruction of Karley, a six month old Shepherd mix puppy. He tried snapping her jaws in half, resulting in her jaw breaking, punched her several times with closed fists, claiming that she was attacking, and proceeded to beat her about the head with a rock. She was so severely injured, she had to be PTS. Just how someone could proclaim innocence after having done something like this is beyond me. I haven't been able to find out if he was charged with anything, only that he pleaded innocence, and that's just not going to fly. A website ( protecting him and trying to make sense of what he did had this little story:

"Who is Glynn Johnson?
Neighbors and former co-workers said Johnson - who was recently charged with beating a puppy with a rock to the point where it had to be euthanized - is a rough man.

But lawyers for Johnson said he is a loving person, capable of staying calm in high-stress situations.

On Dec. 16, Johnson, 54, of Riverside was arrested for allegedly beating his neighbor's pet with a 12-pound rock.

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office that day filed animal cruelty charges as well as felony charges for using a deadly weapon against Johnson.

He is due to be arraigned today in court in Riverside.

If convicted, Johnson could receive four years in state prison, according to the District Attorney's Office.

On Nov. 3, the 6-month-old puppy Karley had gotten out of her yard in the 17000 block of Armintrout Drive and walked to a nearby house.

A neighbor said he started to take the puppy back home when Johnson approached him and offered to return her instead.

Witnesses to the incident said Johnson beat Karley, according to an arrest declaration.

The Toole family, who owned Karley, said this is not the first time Johnson has harmed a family pet.

About eight years ago, Johnson shot their sheltie-mix Kaulua in the eye with a pellet gun, Jeff Toole said.

"Kahlua and my wife were outside when she heard a pellet shot and the dog yelp," Toole said. "Glynn Johnson was there, and she saw him run back into his house."
The dog survived, but lost her eye.

Johnson was not arrested or cited by police at that time.

Since then, the relationship between the neighbors has remained tense.

For one of Johnson's former co-workers, the news is not shocking.

Dennis Baca, a former employee with Johnson with the county Fire Department, called Johnson a bully, and said he was "always getting into arguments with captains, chiefs, engineers and firefighters."

The Toole family said a group of retired Los Angeles County firefighters recently put together a fund to help pay legal costs for the family when they file a civil case against Johnson.

Johnson - who has been claiming self-defense in the incident - said that the puppy bit him and he was merely trying to protect himself.

And, after reviewing the case, his legal counsel vouched for Johnson's character.

Based on job responsibilities, service recognition and supervisor's comments, Johnson is "someone who knows how to respond in very stressful times and knows how to keep his cool," said Angela Powell, one of his attorneys.

"This is a man who dedicated his life to animal rescue, rescuing individuals who are in peril and has to remain calm in situations of danger.

"This isn't a man who just for no reason would strike out at a dog."

Riverside County sheriff's deputies spoke with Johnson on Nov. 3 while he was being treated at a local hospital for injuries to his left forearm and right thumb, according to the arrest declaration.

Johnson told officials he was acting in self defense because the puppy "turned on him and latched on to his right hand" as he was walking her home.

"After talking to (Johnson), we are confident that he had a good self-defense," Powell said."

What the fuck? Someone who knows how to keep their cool? Didn't I just read that he shot a dog in the eye with a pellet gun for no probable cause, and beat a puppy to death with a 12 pound rock? Maybe we should use a 12-pound rock on the DA's head... Really, where do our morals lie today?

Here is their petition:

Please sign and help get Justice for Karley. He was posted with a $10,000 bail, and is currently FREE with a hearing on February 20th. Please, don't let this monster loose on the streets.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A few notes

I still haven't been able to get to the breeding farm and take pictures. In another unfortunate turn of events, I went through my school files and found that my BSL report was never saved. Go figure. Right now I'm sick and sweaty, and it's 80 degrees outside on this fine January afternoon. Damn California. But apparently someone is trying to brighten my spirits, as the Chargers are currently getting shit on by the Steelers. Woo hoo! I may not be a Steelers fan, but I'm always happy to watch the Chargers get a mudhole stomped in them. It doesn't happen all that often, so party it up! :-)

Tank is now very responsive to basic obedience commands. The family is thrilled and they work with him whenever he's out (looks like I've got my work cut out!).

To Monday... huzzah.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some people need training...

Yesterday I came back from giving my friend her (very late) Christmas present, and my sister told me a story. A family friend came over today; a family friend mentioned a while back, and he was giving my stepdad advice on "training". Tank bolts to hide in his little corner to hide when something scares him, so to try and retrain him, he puts him on a "choke collar". He sits with Tank, and every time Tank tries to run, he gets jerked back. After a while, he let him go and Tank ran straight in his corner to hide and wouldn't come out for quite some time. "The collar is still around his neck", she said, so I went over to see it.

I couldn't see it at first, because it was in his layers of skin (you know, wrinkles), but when I moved them, I was shocked. It was a nylon rope with a sliding ring and metal clip... and I couldn't even fit a FINGER under it, without the dog struggling. It was literally so tight I'm surprised he hadn't died, or at least suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. And to even think you would put something like this on an English Bulldog is beyond me, let alone recognize the fact that the collar was too small in the first place! I will get a picture of it with my camera phone when I get home.

And guess what? It only took me about an hour to teach him watch me, sit, lay, and get out of the kitchen, with gentle praise and lots of treats because he is a timid dog (until he sees another dog). Isn't it great what you can do when you actually understand an animal? I am constantly reminded that not all people out there can be so gifted as to know things such as "Thou shalt not strangle an animal", or "Thou shalt not overbreed", or even, "Thou shalt not pretend to be a trainer when you don't know SHIT!".

The end.

EDIT : Here are your pictures and again, I find myself banging my head on the desk. My stepdad is yelling at me for removing this horrible thing from around his neck. I have TINY fingers, size 4 1/2 ring, and I still couldn't get but a finger in. I know it goes behind the poll, but even there it is VERY tight and constricting. But "he'll take awesome trainer's word over mine". SWEET. Because I have no idea what I'm doing. Tried taking it off, but got in trouble and again it was put back on. With a little niggling I can fit an index finger through with a tiny bit of spare room, but still, not acceptable. This isn't a case that requires this kind of collar, and my stepdad doesn't seem to get that training collars are for training purposes, not everyday wear. I let Buddy wear his choke collar because it was loose fitted, rust-free, and had all his tags and registrations on it. This is a case that needs to be solved with a neutering, dedicated attention to the dog, focused and consistent training (sit stay leave it watch me lay down come), and, when the time is right, a fitted collar (in his situation a prong collar would be best for moments like walking, on the off-chance we do see another dog).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Updates and Craigslist Humor

First off, I'd like to apologize for the lack of updates. I should have pictures of the farm by Wednesday, but my schedule is stretched as I'm completing everything I need to graduate earlier. Wazzu vet program, here I come!

Here's something funny I found on CL after browsing for jobs. For your entertainment. ;)