April 30th, 2015Articles
The 2015 General Election is now just one week away, and the outcome looks as uncertain as ever. It has never been more important for the British people to use their votes to support the issues that matter to them.
For us here at Dogs In The News, the important issues are, well, those which affect dogs! From puppy farming to pet passports, dog control orders to compulsory microchipping; we’ve reported on them all since we launched our service shortly after the coalition formed in 2010. So we thought we’d help you decide who to vote for on May 7th by outlining all the parties’ key canine policies.
As ever, DITN aims to remain neutral – we’re not endorsing any one party, but rather aiming to provide a summary of the election promises which they have made. (We also wanted to tell you what sort of dog each of the party leaders favoured, but unfortunately all of them are non-dog owners; a sad commentary on the state of UK politics, if you ask us!)
The Tories have pledged to hold a free vote to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs, and will protect traditional country pursuits such as shooting. They have stated that they will “encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics”. They said they will “protect animal welfare”, but were not specific about how.
The Lib Dems would also seek to minimise the use of animals (including Beagles) in scientific experiments. They have pledged to “review the rules surrounding the sale of pets to ensure they promote responsible breeding”.
Labour has specifically produced a mini-manifesto on animal welfare issues. In it they have promised to uphold the hunting ban of 2004, and to work to prevent non-target animals (including dogs) becoming trapped in hunting snares. They have pledged to “improve the protection of dogs” by reviewing legislation concerning the breeding and selling of puppies, and by tackling illegal puppy trafficking from Ireland and the rest of Europe.
The Green party, not surprisingly, has by far the most comprehensive set of proposals affecting dogs. They have dedicated 2 pages of their manifesto to measures aimed at protecting welfare, which includes a pledge to ban the use of electric shock collars and to take action on dog fighting. They want to regulate the pet trade and to see a reform of breeding practices (including controls on breeding which creates “exaggerated characteristics likely to cause suffering”). They have pledged to end the use of dogs in non-medical experiments and military training, and undertake a formal review of the Greyhound racing industry. They would also extend the hunting ban to cover all hunting of animals for sport.
UK Independence Party
UKIP are against the influx of European breeds, including French Bulldogs, Hungarian Vizslas and German Shepherds, which are pushing our native British breeds out of fashion… Just kidding!
UKIP is another party which is for the reduction in animal vivisection, and it has said that it would introduce tougher jail sentences for people convicted of animal cruelty.
This party’s only comments about animals are that they will “support the introduction of a European-level Animal Welfare Commissioner” and “support adoption at all government levels of the new and comprehensive Animal Welfare law to end animal cruelty”.
Responsibility for animal welfare in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
If animal welfare is really your hot button issue, you can always vote for the Animal Welfare Party – they have four candidates in the running. The website Votes for Animals should also have some useful information as to how your current MP has voted on animal issues in the past.
Or, if you live in South Thanet, you can vote for Al Murray’s Free United Kingdom Party, which unveiled just 5 policies on it’s fag-packet manifesto, one of which was “Free dogs for all!”
If you’re still undecided as to who to vote for, try a site such as Vote for Policies, which asks you a series of questions to determine which party best matches your political ideologies.
However you chose to vote on Thursday, we hope you have found this article informative. We’d love to know which canine issues matter most to you – please leave a comment below.Tags: Articles
March 1st, 2015Articles
Last week, 52 Dandie Dinmont Terriers and their human enthusiasts gathered in Selkirk on the Scottish Borders to participate in a one of a kind event. They were there to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, the book which introduced the Dandie Dinmont to the world.
Three Scottish mansions vital to the history and development of the breed opened their doors so the breed’s heritage could be celebrated over three days; Abbotsford, Bowhill and The Haining. The event has attracted significant media coverage, which we have attempted to collate for posterity below.
The Telegraph – Desperate fight to stop Dandies disappearing
BBC (w video) – Rare Dandie Dinmont terriers celebrated
Aberdeen Press & Journal – Prepare yourself for cuteness: 50 Scottish terriers return to ancestral roots
The Southern Reporter – Endangered breed comes home to Selkirk
Selkirk Weekend Advertiser – The Haining welcomes £13,000 Dandie Dinmonts art donation
Herald Scotland – Dandie Dinmont breed returns to Borders home in fight for survival
ITV (w video) – Dandie Dinmonts descend on the Borders
Want to learn more about the Dandie Dinmont? Visit their Discover Dogs stand or come find them in Hall 2, Ring 77 at Crufts 2015.Tags: Articles, VNB
Buster the Springer Spaniel is a retired RAF dog who has saved thousands of lives, as detailed in this new book from Ebury publishing.
The 2012 Friends for Life winner is unique in that he has served in three separate theatres of war: Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Buster is also the official lifetime mascot of the RAF Police; no other dog has been honoured in this way. Having retired a military hero in 2011, Buster now lives with his handler, RAF Police Flight Sergeant Will Barrow in Lincoln.
This is the story of the partnership of Buster and Will, as told by Will himself to Isabel George, describing how each came to save the others life. This is a relationship that produced some heroic feats in the dust and desert heat of Afghanistan – and beyond. In Afghanistan’s deadly Helmand province, Buster saved countless lives by sniffing out explosive vests – leading to the arrests of two suicide bombers. He joined his comrades repeatedly on foot patrols through the poppy fields hunting Taliban insurgents and tracking down booby trap bombs left behind for British and American troops. Buster, uniquely, has served five tours of duty – and has served in more separate campaigns than any other military dog.
“I have learned that you can trust dogs a lot more than most people and that their love is unconditional,” said Will. “With some dogs you share a boil in the bag breakfast and maybe a blanket on a cold desert floor. Some you wouldn’t leave in charge of your Grandma unless you wanted to find out just how fast the old girl could run. But, if you’re very, very lucky there will be the one dog you would lay down your life for – and for me that dog is Buster.”
RAF Police Flight Sergeant Michael ‘Will’ Barrow joined the Air Training Corps at 13. An inspirational recruiting video of the RAF Police encouraged Will to join the RAF at 18 as a Patrol Dog Handler. He then specialised as a Drugs Detection Dog Handler and an Arms and Explosives Search Dog Handler, and has served in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Will is now in charge of RAF Police section at RAF Henlow and lives in Lincoln with Buster, his German Shepherd Daggo, and his other spaniel also called Buster (in honour of the original).
Tags: Articles, Book Club, Friends For Life
“Brave Buster is a dog to write home about. This is a special book about a special dog.”
February 3rd, 2015Articles
Two dog lovers from California need your help to launch the first online platform to connect shelter dogs in need of a walk with dog lovers looking for a walking buddy.
Walkzee is the brainchild of Cristina and Charlie Saunders, who got the idea after accidentally stumbling across a dog field trip project while on honeymoon in Hawaii. Quite by chance, a trek on Kauai ended in the parking lot of the local humane society. After talking to the staff there, they came back the next day and took out a loveable canine named Big Z (the ‘zee’ in Walkzee). If they hadn’t stopped by, they never would have known he needed out – and they would have missed out on his companionship for the day.
While walking Big-Z on the beach, they discussed how great it would be if there was an app which connected walkers without dogs to those unloved dogs who are in need of walk. “We thought about how there are many busy workers, travellers, and dog lovers who want to walk dogs – meanwhile millions of shelter dogs wait patiently for a walk in their shelters. If we could connect both human and dog and uncage them, they would both be happier and healthier.”
When they got home, they decided to make their idea a reality and, to that end, they launched their Kickstarter appeal yesterday. The program will allow current fans and dog lovers across the globe to support their cause.
“We are looking to raise $20,000 minimum to help us drive the product and operations, support the site once it is live, and fully engage with shelters who adopt the Walkzee platform,” said Saunders. At the moment the project is mainly US-focussed, but the aim is for it to go global before Summer 2015, so our UK readers will eventually benefit too. Fans can pledge anything from $5 to £2000 (£3.30 to £1330). “The funds raised will be critical in bringing Walkzee to life and connecting dog lovers to shelter dogs – for walks!”
The first goal of the site is short term – to connect walkers with dogs. Long term, however, they hope that it will ultimately help make shelter residents more adoptable, as they will have had more positive human interactions and will be happier and calmer due to the extra exercise and mental stimulation. Walkers can leave reviews of the dogs they’ve taken out, so potential owners will be able to get a better idea of their temperament and personality. The site will also feature a blog.
“Walkzee’s future and success is dependent on the support and funding from our community and we are committed to using it to build a platform that will connect all people to the millions of shelter dogs waiting for their day in the sun and hopefully walk into millions of hearts worldwide.” You can see how the website might look here.Tags: Articles, Kickstarter
January 27th, 2015Articles
Today we have some good news for those of you who just couldn’t stop watching last year’s Budweiser commercial: the adorable Labrador puppy will be back in 2015!
For those who haven’t seen the 2014 advert yet (I just have two questions: why not and what are you waiting for?), it features a Labrador puppy who escapes from his farm one day and makes friends with the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale who lives next door. When someone tries to adopt him – and take him away – the horse chases down the car and saves him. It ends with the clearly inseparable pair frolicking in the fields.
Budweiser have only released teasers from the new advert so far; it will, of course, air in full during the NFL Super Bowl XLIX on 1 February. It appears the adventurous pup goes missing this time, and we can only assume that his equine friend is bereft without him.
We have no doubt that he’ll make it home, however, and we can’t wait to see the final product.
January 25th, 2015Articles
Over 5000 dog lovers have signed an online petition asking the UK Kennel Club to stop registering Cavalier King Charles puppies unless their parents are health tested. They claim that a lack of MRI scanning and heart testing is the reason why many Cavaliers are born to suffer from Syringomyelia – a painful malformation of the spinal cord near the brain – and Mitral Valve Disease (among other cardiac complaints).
“Cavaliers can be the most wonderful family pets but they have two serious inherited health conditions that cause severe pain to the dog and heartbreak to many owners,” states the petition. “However little is being done by the UK Kennel Club to encourage breeders to use the testing schemes available to them.” Studies show that both diseases are less likely to occur if Cavaliers are screened before breeding, but the petition supporters believe that not enough is being done to prevent these conditions being passed on to the next generation.
Celebrity Cavalier owners, including ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘ judge Craig Revel Horwood and his partner Damon Scott, TV presenter Lisa Riley, celebrity chef Richard Corrigan and ‘Made In Chelsea’ star Binky Felstead, are among those who have supported the petition. Jemima Harrison, director of the 2008 documentary ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’, has also added her endorsement, as have the RSPCA.
They believe that unscrupulous breeders are either not health testing their breeding stock, or disregarding the results to breed for profit or show ring success. They want the Kennel Club to refuse to register puppies from unhealthy or untested parents, thus ensuring that puppy buyers know that they are getting.
Cavalier registrations have dropped 55% since 2007, as you can see below. Optimistically, this could be taken as good thing; perhaps breeders are breeding more discriminately. On the other hand, it means a shrinking gene pool.
“Far fewer Cavaliers are being bred, the demand for the breed has fallen dramatically,” petition creator Margaret Carter told Dog World newspaper. “Special measures are needed to enable the breed to survive.”
Animal welfare and pedigree dog health campaigners will be watching the outcome of this petition with interest. The Kennel Club made £12.3 million from registrations (and healthcare) in 2013 and if restrictions were to be imposed on Cavalier breeders it’s logical that other breeds will follow.
The Kennel Club have issued their response here.
As always, we would recommend that puppy buyers do thorough research into their chosen breed and its particular health issues before purchasing.
September 16th, 2014Articles
A summary of the morning’s main headlines on Tuesday 16 September:
The number of animals who died has officially risen after police officers combed the site. The death toll now stands at 60. One survivor of the blaze died at a veterinary hospital on Saturday. Another dog remains seriously ill.
A scene investigation by Greater Manchester Police is continuing to establish the cause of the fire and the emergency services will be at the home all week. Police have warned the public not to identify any suspects or speculate on social media, and asked anyone with information regarding the fire to come forward. The 15 year old who was arrested and released on bail is now under police protection after receiving death threats via the internet.
Over the weekend, hundreds visited the Cheshire Dogs’ Home in Warrington, where many of the 150 survivors from the blaze were taken, meaning dozens of dogs found potential new owners. Some 50 were fostered on Saturday and 22 went to temporary homes on Sunday. (Under the rules of the centre, dogs must be taken into foster care for two weeks, during which time dog and prospective owner will see how they get along. If all goes well, the adoption will be made official.)
The Manchester Evening News Just Giving page has now raised over £1.4 million and will be closed at 2:00 pm today (Tuesday) so that the donations can be passed on to the charity. Simon Cowell has pledged £25,000 and Animal Friends Insurance has donated a further £25,000.
A campaign to gather a list of construction workers and skilled tradesman willing to donate their time to re-build the center for free has made great strides in the past few days. They now have a dedicated website, over 470 Twitter followers and more than 13,600 page likes on Facebook. They will start work as soon as they have permission to access the site.
Dog lovers working on the BBC soap Coronation Street hosted their own fundraiser yesterday, when they brought their pets to the set. This followed one of their co-stars having to apologise for an ill-thought Twitter joke about “hot dogs” on the night the fire broke out. 26-year-old Jack Shepherd, who plays David Platt, explained that he didn’t understand the severity of the situation and also made a donation to the charity.
Meanwhile, the media, including the Huffington Post and the Guardian, have started to comment on the real issues underlying the tragedy; namely that it took such a dramatic event to inspire members of the public to consider rescue dog adoption. A recent report found that Britain processed 110,000 stray and unwanted dogs in 2013, with 21 being put down each day due to lack of space and resources. Manchester Dogs Home alone rehomes around 7000 canines a year, without any government funding. “We are always looking for caring permanent and foster homes for our dogs and often have over 250 dogs that are waiting to find that perfect family.”
We are only as accurate as our sources. Know something we don’t? Drop us a line below.Tags: Articles, Manchester Dogs Home
July 4th, 2014Articles
This is Kheva the Pyrenean Sheepdog. You may remember her from our Crufts Show Tails featurette; she came Second in Junior and Post Graduate and also took part in the Good Citizen Silver display team. When she’s not strutting her stuff in the show ring, she participates in flyball and agility and loves hanging out with her JRT sister Jinty. Plus, she’s a qualified PAT dog.
Just 16 months old, she is full of beans, as you can see in this video.
Unfortunately, Kheva recently had an accident and required surgery for a luxating patella. She had the procedure last week and is thus far recovering well.
Kheva will be on crate rest for the next couple of months, and her owner Jeanna reports that she’s finding it rather difficult; Kheva wants to be out having adventures, not stuck inside all day! Jeanna is looking for ways to keep Kheva’s brain working while her body rests.
If any of our readers have unloved activity toys or doggie puzzles kicking around, we’re sure Kheva would appreciate them (postal address below). Or, if you have any advice for Jeanna as to how to keep an active Pyre still(ish) while she recovers, please leave a comment below.
Alternatively, if you have a few pounds to spare, please consider donating them towards the cost of Kheva’s treatment, post-operative pampering and treats.
Kheva is very special to Jeanna, who says that the fluffy pup helped her get through a breakup, redundancy and losing her home. Her sister Jinty was recently the recipient of a Dogs Today Medal at the London Pet Show, and Kheva accompanied them every step of the way. Jeanna just wants the best for her highly active dog and is hating seeing her cooped up and bored.
If there’s any way that any of our readers can help, it would be much appreciated.
For updates on Kheva’s progress, you can follow her Facebook page.
Gifts to be posted to: Jeannie G, c/o Hardys Publishing, 15c High Street, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15 5DP
April 23rd, 2014Articles
Dear Dogs In The News Reader,
Now that Easter is over and our thoughts begin to turn to warmer weather, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a very worthy campaign which Dogs In The News are proud to support.
The international “Don’t Cook Your Dog” campaign was launched in June 2011 as a response to the tragic and preventable death of two police dogs, who were left in a hot car. Chay, a Belgian Shepherd Malinois, and Milly, a GSD who was only five months old, were left to bake in a civilian car outside a police station while their handler attended a meeting. (Two summers previously, in June 2009, Jet and JJ (also Police trained GSDs) suffered a similar fate.) We’ve been reporting the canine headlines for four years now, and sadly these dogs are not the only ones who have lost their lives in that time, simply because their owners forgot that dogs die in hot cars.
One of the key elements of the DCYD campaign is a car window sticker, which aims to remind people of the dangers of leaving dogs in cars during the summer. We would love to see one of these in every car in Britain, and to never have to read about a dog dying in a hot car ever again.
This drive to spread the message is more important than ever as spring develops into summer approaches and the weather warms up.
To that end, we are very happy to help the campaign in our own little way by providing the car window stickers free of charge.
So, we invite you to order yours now! Just click HERE and we shall get one out to you very shortly.
We hope you will join us in spreading this important message. Don’t forget to visit the official campaign website for more details.
The DITN TeamTags: Articles, Dogs Die In Hot Cars
March 16th, 2014Articles
The thought of having your pet stolen probably ranks high on the list of any dog owner’s worst nightmares. And, while it’s true that pet theft is on the rise, and also true that pet theft could affect anyone, there are some steps you can take to safeguard your dogs.
1) Get your dog microchipped
If you are in the 40% of dog owners who have not already taken this precaution, we cannot stress this point enough. Microchipping will be compulsory from April 2016 in England and from March 2015 in Wales anyway, so what’s stopping you?
If it’s the cost, check this out- you can get your dog chipped for free at Dogs Trust, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and Blue Cross centres across the UK. They’re usually done alongside puppy vaccinations (many vet surgeries offer a package deal price), but a chip can be inserted at any point in a dog’s lifetime.
In the three years which we have been reporting canine news, we have yet to come across a ‘dog reunited’ story which did NOT feature a microchip. If you want to greatly increase your chances of finding your dog if it is lost or stolen, a microchip is your best bet.
Aside from this aspect, a microchip can also be an identification tool if there is a dispute. A microchip has never been proof of ownership and is unlikely to be considered so in the future, but at least you’ll be able to know for certain if the found dog who looks like yours really is.
Finally, tell the world that your dog is microchipped – this can deter potential thieves and it gives anyone who finds him a reminder to scan the chip for your details. By law all dogs must wear a collar and ID tag when in a public place. Include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode on the tag; and the message “I am microchipped”. (Do not put your dog’s name on their tag. This can help thieves lure your dog away from you and gives them something to work with if they are trying to demonstrate that they know the dog.)
2) Keep your microchip details up to date
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t update the microchip information when they move or change phones.
110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities each year. Over half of these stray dogs cannot be returned because their owner could not be identified. If approximately 60% of all dogs in the UK are chipped, that means that over 10% of dogs whose owners they were unable to trace would have been in possession of a chip with incorrect or out of date information. Don’t let your dog be one of them.
3) Make your home and garden secure
It’s estimated that 52% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s gardens, while a further 19% were taken from their homes during break ins.
Do not leave your dog unattended in your garden if it’s not 100% secure, and make sure that any gates, dog runs, kennels etc are firmly locked when your dogs are using them. Ensure your fencing is adequate and check it regularly for wear and tear. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Dogs who have escaped and/or wandered off are easy for thieves to snatch. Most thefts are opportunistic, so don’t give the criminals a chance.
With regards to burglaries, you need to adopt a common sense approach and take whatever precautions are necessary for your type of accommodation. Install motion sensor lights around any kennel buildings if your dogs stay in them at night. If your dog sleeps in a different part of the house to yourselves, consider a baby monitor so that you can hear if there are any disturbances.
Try not to advertise too much that you have dogs living at your property, especially if they are pedigrees, which studies have shown are the key targets for gangs out to make money from selling dogs on or using them for breeding. Those “A spoilt rotten Pug lives here” signs are cute, but possibly not worth the risk.
Brook the Labrador was taken from his owner’s garden in April 2011 – he is still missing. Fern the Cocker Spaniel went missing from her owner’s driveway in April 2013 – she is also still absent. It only takes a second.
Marnie the Yorkie (still missing) was taken in shocking circumstances by thieves who attacked her owners on their private property. Tia & Maisie the Cocker Spaniels were taken from private estate in Winchester in the middle of the night; their owners believe that the theft was re-planned, due to a number of incidences in the days preceding their disappearance. Tia has been returned after a police raid, but Maisie is still missing.
4) Be wary on walks – and refine your recall!
16% of stolen dogs were taken while they were out on their walks. Either they would have strayed out of their owners sight and been stolen then, or the owners may have been distracted, either on purpose or by something like their phone. There have also been rare incidences of violent thieves snatching a dog in plain sight of the owner, so be aware of your surroundings and where your dog is. Do not let him get out of your sight, and practice your recall so you can instantly bring him back to you if you suspect it may be in danger.
Try to vary your routes and routines, as criminals may follow your behaviour to identify a pattern before making their move.
Finally, try not to brag about your dog to strangers, or to divulge too many personal details, as they may be scouting out if your dog is worth stealing or not. This is again especially true if you have a purebred dog.
Angel, Theo, Archie and Teddy, all of whom are still missing, were stolen while out on their daily walks. In the case of Angel, a German Shorthaired Pointer, she was taken while her owner had her back turned to put her other dogs into her vehicle.
5) Have your dog neutered
Dogs are often stolen for breeding purposes, so neutering your dog is one way to make them less of a target. This is especially applicable to purebreds and short coated male dogs (where the difference is often visually apparent).
6) NEVER leave your dog tied up outside of a shop
Ever. While only 7% of stolen dogs were taken from outside shops, this is probably because this practice is already becoming less widespread than it used to be, presenting less opportunities to would-be thieves.
We know it can be tough if your town is not particularly dog friendly, or if you don’t want to leave your dog in the car (see below), but consider whether you’d leave your mobile lying around on a coffee shop table while you nipped to the loo, or if you’d leave your laptop charging in the middle of a shopping centre unattended. You also never see mothers leave their child outside while they run into a supermarket to buy milk – it’s just not worth the risk!
7) Make sure your car is secure
It is thought that 5% of stolen dogs were taken from their owner’s cars. While it is usually safe to leave your dog in a locked car for a short period of time (in cool weather), do consider whether he is visible to people walking past and whether he would be considered a target if so.
Recently, Frank the Pug was reunited with his owner nearly three weeks after being snatched from his van in a supermarket car park.
It may be safer to leave your dog at home while you go on your outing than to leave him waiting in the car. If you do have to leave him in the car (again, we stress, in the cool weather), make sure he is out of direct line of sight, and that all the doors and windows are secure. Try to park where you can see your car, so you can return to your vehicle if you suspect someone is trying to break in.
8) Read the news – and pay attention to your environment
You can, of course, keep up to date with the daily doggie news via our Twitter feed, but keep an eye on your local news sources as well. Pet thefts often happen in batches, so be aware if there have been headlines about stolen dogs in your area. And keep your eyes and ears open to any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood. If you suspect anything, tell your local authority or other relevant body.
The Pet Theft Awareness Campaign has also compiled the statistics below – peruse them and take any relevant precautions. Don’t make yourself a target!
Hopefully none of our readers will ever experience pet theft, but we hope our advice has now made that even less likely. If you have any hints or tips which we may have missed out, do please share them below.Tags: Articles, Pet Theft Awareness Week