Posts by stevepryor

2013 Busch Pet Products – Pet Fest

It was a “greyt” time today at Pet Fest sponsored by Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, Mo. There were lots of exhibits, pet related services and adoptable dogs of (all breeds).

The greyhounds made a good showing today as there were probably 9 or 10 there soaking up hugs.

To see photos of some “happening hounds” click on this link… Busch Pet Products – Pet Fest 2013

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Health Issues and Your Greyhound

With the increasing number of Retired Greyhounds being placed in
homes, it is important to be knowledgeable in the unique medical
conditions that can and do occur in this breed.
Some of these conditions are unique to the racing Greyhound, but
most are diseases present due to poor management and lack of general
medical care



The “Bald Butt” syndrome seen in many Retired Greyhounds, is in
most cases due to “cage rub.” Hypothyroidism is often blamed as the cause,
however, this is seldom true. Many dogs regain their haircoat with time, others
do not.


The normal hematocrit of a healthy Greyhound is significantly higher
than other canines. A PCV of 55-60% is considered normal; a PCV of 45% may
indicate anemia. Greyhounds often normally have a moderately low WBC. A
WBC of 5,000 – 6,000 may be a consistent finding, sometimes even lower levels
are found in dogs with Babesia or Ehrlichia.


This is a relatively common disease found in Retired Greyhounds.
A blood parasite, transmitted by the bite of a tick, a positive titer is found in
approximately 75-80% of retired racers. Even dogs brought in from more
Northern states are at risk due to the constant travel and shipping from track to
track, with most tracks located in Southern states. A low titer, indicates exposure
to the disease, whereas a high to moderately high titer may indicate active
disease (even without clinical signs). Treatment consists of one or two
treatments with Imizol (Imidocarb), based on the recheck titer. Failure to treat,
even while asymptomatic, may result in a hemolytic crisis.


Amazingly enough, bloat is not that common in the Greyhound.
However, due to their deep-chested conformation, bloat and Gastric Dilitation -
Volvulus can occur.


Many Greyhounds come off the track with broken toes or
amputated toes. These are often old injuries that are beyond repair.


Due to the poor diet fed these dogs at the track,
Campylobacter jejuni is an extremely common parasite found in the stool. They
are often fed raw, diseased meat, which may be the origin of this parasite.
Certain antibiotics are more effective at eliminating this parasite; constant
sanitization is essential to prevent spread.


Due to the lack of adequate medical care in many
instances, dogs may suffer from chronic untreated infections. Otitis, Cystitis,
Prostatitis, and Conjunctivitis are examples of common infections.


Many female dogs suffer from clitoral hypertrophy
due to the steroid injections received on the track. This may become less
prominent over time. This may lead to vaginal infections, or show no obvious
signs of problems. Surgical resection is not usually recommended.


A relatively uncommon immune-mediated corneal disease
is found in some Greyhounds. This condition can result in total corneal opacity and blindness without proper, aggressive treatment.


Dogs with thin or patchy hair may develop small bloodblister like lesions on various areas of the body. Most often appearing on the
belly and thighs, these small raised lesions are exacerbated or even due to
sunlight. This is the benign precursor to a cancerous condition, so it is
recommended that dogs that develop this condition be protected from sunlight
with skin block and protective clothing.


Due to the poor sanitary conditions they are kept
in, many Retired Racers suffer from Pyoderma or Allergic Skin Diseases.
Comedones are common on the ventrum (Biore’ patches may be helpful).
Seborrhea is also common, and is often responsive to diet alone. Other products
may be helpful for topical (Resisoothe, EFA Bath Oil) or parenteral (DermCaps,
EFA Caps, 3V Caps) assistance.


Many Greyhounds show extreme sensitivity to dietary
changes, and many suffer from constant diarrhea if not fed the appropriate food.
Most thrive on premium lamb and rice diets. If chronic diarrhea in the absence of
parasites persists, a change in diet may be warranted.


A blood parasite transmitted by the bite of a tick, Ehrlichia canis
is the most common form to infect dogs. This disease tends to have a chronic
relapsing nature. Many dogs have an elevated titer without showing symptoms;
others may have multiple symptoms. Low titers indicate exposure, however, any
elevation should be treated. Imizol is often very helpful in treatment, antibiotics
don’t often control the disease or the symptoms. A hemolytic crisis is a real
possibility with this disease.


Fractures may occur on the track, which often result in the
euthanasia or retirement of the racing dog. However, fractures can occur in the
retired racer. The Greyhounds bones are slim, and hence are more susceptible
to fractures, even when they’re only racing around their back yard. Some of the
more common racing fractures are those of the calcaneous/talus and tarsal
bones. Fractures of the metatarsals and metacarpals are common in the pet


Another extremely common parasite in Retired Greyhounds.
Approximately 75% may carry Giardia upon adoption. Giardia often causes
diarrhea in people too.


Due to their often lack of preventive medication,
Greyhounds are often exposed to heartworm disease.


This is a disease unique to the Greyhound breed, which may manifest itself as an
ulcerative dermatosis, which can also progress to a serious renal disease leading
to severe renal compromise and often death. Treatment can be successful,
however the disease can be rapidly fatal.


A somewhat conspicuous increased frequency
of immune-mediated diseases has been seen in these dogs.


Greyhounds have very thin skin and are extremely susceptible
to lacerations. Many simple lacerations result in degloving due to the thin skin
and virtually non-existent subcutaneous layer.


Another tick-borne parasite, Lymes is more likely found in
Retired Racers from the Eastern states. Chronic arthritis and renal disease may
be sequelae of this disease.


Probably the most common problems seen
in racing dogs and often even in backyard racers, are musculoskeletal injuries.
Strains, sprains, ruptured muscles, and avulsions and tears of tendons and
ligaments are frequently found. Some of the more common injuries are those of
the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons leading to a “dropped toe” or the
gracilis muscle, known as a “dropped back muscle.”


Most Greyhounds on the track suffer from chronic parasitism.
Fleas, ticks and every possible intestinal parasite are common occurrences.
Giardia and Campylobacter are frequently seen.


Due to the poor diet and the constant muzzling, many
Greyhounds suffer from dental decay, worn and broken teeth, abscesses and
gingival recession. Owners should be instructed that constant dental care may
be necessary. Multiple antibiotics, metronidazole, and Stomadex patches are
often of assistance in controlling the disease.


Usually not a pathologic condition, many dogs eat their food
so fast that they regurgitate it immediately. This problem can often be alleviated
by elevating their food or using a larger bowl with a thin layer of kibble, so that
they do not gobble their food.


Often due to eating too fast or minor throat irritation, reverse sneezing often sounds like gasping for breath.

Occasionally a parasite called Paragonimus can be the cause of chronic, frequent reverse sneezing. 

This parasite is also known as a lungworm, and lives in the air passages leading 

to the lungs, thus causing irritation and coughing or reverse sneezing. This
parasite rarely shows up on routine stool exams, so treatment is often
recommended if any symptoms are present.


A tick-borne parasite, Rickettsia
rickettsii, that can produce serious disease in humans and animals, this disease
is more commonly found in dogs from the Western states and also near the


This is a condition seen quite frequently in the Retired
Greyhound. Excessive vocalization, destructive behavior, and inappropriate
elimination are the classic signs often seen. Retired Greyhounds often become
extremely attached to their new owners, frequently following them around the
house constantly. Clomicalm (Clomipramine) is often very useful, along with
behavioral conditioning, in the elimination of these frustrating destructive
behaviors. Some of these or similar type issues may be seen in doga suffering from storm phobias


Many Retired Racers suffer from chronic or recurrent
sesamoiditis. Some show periodic lameness, possibly requiring non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications and rest.


This is a term used to describe torn interdigital tissue. This
condition can occur on the track and in the backyard. This injury is best treated
by debriding and suturing together the two portions. Bandages must be kept on
for at least two weeks. If this is not successful, the dog can manage with the tear
as long as it heals properly.


Like other large-breed, long-tailed dogs, Greyhounds often
sustain injuries to the ends of their tails. Proper bandaging, (syringe cases work
great) is usually sufficient to allow healing. Amputation is rarely necessary
except in long-standing injuries.


Besides Babesia, Ehrlichia, Lymes and Rocky Mountain
Spotted Fever, there are other more recently discovered diseases transmitted by
ticks, which can affect many dogs. Bartonellosis and Hepatazoonosis are two
tick-transmitted diseases which can elude the most extensive diagnostician.
These diseases require specialized diagnostic tests only performed in limited
facilities. Chronic, persistent disease despite treatment of other tick diseases,
and chronic mucoid ocular discharge are two prominent features of these
recently discovered conditions.


Hyperthermia and Hypothermia are both very
common diseases in the Greyhound due to their minimal level of insulation.
Owners should be cautioned that this breed is more susceptible than most others to hot/cold extremes.

Other Important Information


Greyhounds, being sighthounds, are susceptible to severe side
effects from certain anesthetics. It is not recommended that barbiturate
anesthetics be used, due to the Greyhound’s commonly idiosyncratic reaction.
Tranquilizers may be used, but the dose should be decreased by about half
when used as a pre-anesthetic. Ketamine/Valium, as well as Propofol as
induction agents are recommended, as is Isoflurane or Propofol for maintenance.
Malignant Hyperthermia has been seen in Greyhounds, thus dogs should be
carefully monitored during any anesthetic procedures. Local anesthetics are
often helpful in the repair of minor lacerations, as most Greyhounds will


Be aware that Greyhounds are very
susceptible to toxicities due to insecticides. Organophosphates are often lethal
to the Greyhound. Compounds with pyrethrins or flea pheromones are preferred.
Examples of safe products are: Adams products, VetKem products, Mycodex
products, Frontline, Program, Sentinel, and Advantage. Examples of unsafe
products are: Zodiac products, Blockade, Raid, Flea collars, Proban, Breakthru
and Biospot (the latter two have too high a level of pyrethrin).

I Admit I Hate Certain Races…

Those races are Greyhound Races!

At its very core, greyhound racing is controlled by gambling. It is big business, with total disregard for the dogs. However, the cruelty of this industry is being exposed more and more with each passing day. The majority of people attending these races are blind to what actually happens to these animals in their day to day life. Little do they know, or care, what kind of life these dogs lead. It is our job to inform them that the life of the racing Greyhound is one of misery, fear, mistreatment, and all too often, death at a young age. A few years back, the remains of approximately 3,000 Greyhounds from Florida tracks were discovered on the Alabama property of a track security guard who “took care” of unwanted dogs with a .22 rifle. Their horrible life began the day they were born, and ended the day they died. Some may say, you’re hashing up stuff from years ago…well, that may be true, but it still happened and it continues to happen, it is just that the people involved are being more careful about covering their tracks. It is believed that there are still, despite rescue groups best efforts, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 greyhounds destroyed each year.

The life of a racing greyhound is harsh as they are not considered as a living animal, but rather a commodity, a running machine. The truth about greyhound racing is that thousands of Greyhounds are produced each year, many more than are needed. Dogs that are considered as too slow to make it are killed. If they win they live to race another day. If they lose they stand a good chance to die. Very few dogs make it to 4 or 5 years old. Many suffer from heatstroke, heart attack, injuries, sickness, broken legs, parasitic infections, etc. At all too many tracks dogs suffer from constant neglect and isolation. Cramming them in crates for transport to the track, sometimes a hundred miles or more, many will die on the trip, suffering from
malnutrition, and dehydration. Any dog that slows down or becomes unprofitable stands a good chance of being killed. One kennel owner faced felony charges for selling over 1,000 such Greyhounds for “medical experimentation”.

 Greyhound breeders produce hundreds more animals than are needed. Any one of them that is lacking outstanding running ability stands a better than average chance of being killed. Remember, this is about money and gambling and a “non income producing” greyhound will not be tolerated. Few make it very far as racers, most ending up in a quick grave. The tracks in an effort to make more money have paid lobbyists to get legislatures to pass laws favoring gambling. Even if your state has banned Greyhound racing, it is likely that it has breeding kennels for supplying dogs to other states.

Each year thousands of young Greyhounds who do not display potential to make money are “disposed of.” Some are sent to be killed at Veterinary offices, animal shelters, research labs, or any place that will finish them off quickly. Every year thousands of Greyhound puppies meet death allegedly from “natural causes” when in reality they are destroyed on the puppy farms. Very few of these pups are ever delivered to rescue groups. Many end up in a dumpster.

Documented “disposal” methods include: euthanasia, mass euthanasia, gunshot, starvation, bludgeoning, donated for medical research, abandonment, sale to racing interest in third world countries, electrocution, hanging, and strangulation. In earlier years an ice pick shoved in the heart was a favorite method of disposal. Miami, at one time, used a decompression chamber to kill thousands.

Greyhound pups are bred by operators holding 500 or more dogs. The litter can be
1-13, with 7 being average. After being sent to training farms, traveling in cramped quarters, many dogs arrive at their final destination dead. Most are discarded after racing only a short time.  Many Greyhounds that did not show potential for profit during training are killed before even having a chance to race at a track.

The average greyhound racing kennel maintains around 60 to 80 dogs. Some “cheap” tracks often hold 200. An average track known as a “compound” with 15 kennels may house 1000 dogs. Living conditions at some tracks are disgustingly brutal, and an injury deemed to costly to treat can mean instant death.

Why doesn’t the Government do something about the situation? Because Greyhound racing is a State mandated business. The Federal Government has no control over it. State regulations many times prove to be a conspiracy of silence…the old, hear no evil speak no evil. Everyone knows what is going on but few are willing to do anything about it. Even though some of the above mentioned is starting to recede because of more people getting involved in rescue groups and finding homes for more dogs, unfortunately either knowingly or unknowingly, many rescue groups themselves perpetuate this cycle of abuse because their parent organizations are in part funded by the racing industry and therefore they (members) are given strict orders to not say anything negative about the industry. The industry uses the threat of not turning any dogs over to that group if they do.

Waiting at The Rainbow Bridge


I Stood By Your Bed Last Night

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, “It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour your coffee, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore. I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. I want to reassure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “it’s me.”

You looked so very tired as you sank into a chair. I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me to be so near you everyday. To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew, in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. Be patient though and live your journey out … then come home to be with me.

Author unknown 

The Incredibly Lame Game Of Greyhound Racing

A favorite line among the pro race greyhound people trying to justify their stand is that greyhounds love to race.

First off, that is a very generalized statement and secondly, it is just not true. Let me ask you something, if those statements were true would we see so many greyhounds given up at less than 2 years of age because they were “too slow” or “indifferent”   (just had no interest in the chase)?

I love it when I hear the old line, “but you can tell they love to race, they are so excited and ready to run when we let them out of their cages”. I know I’ve repeated this a few times, but things like this bear repeating because that line is so incredibly lame. Just think about it, no matter what they were letting them out for, they would be excited, they’re finally getting out and able to stretch and move around and hopefully get a little attention.

At its core, greyhound racing is inherently cruel. From the hours upon hours of confinement and neglect, to the extreme boredom that confinement brings, it results in a horrendous living situation for the dogs. Then there is the always present threat of death or injury while actually racing. A racing greyhound has only one choice to stay in good graces with his owners and that is to win. When the winning stops, or injuries cause the dog to no longer be able to perform, he is expendable. At that point a few different things can happen, he can disappear, he can (be killed), he can be given to a rescue group or he may be sent to a lab to be experimented on. There are a few other ways they deal with this “excess baggage”, but I won’t go into them in this discussion. Suffice it to say, the only positive outcome is the rescue group option.

Any support at all of the the incredibly lame game of greyhound racing only perpetuates the continued suffering of these gentle creatures. I hear people say, “we need to work with the racing industry to make sure they keep giving us their dogs”….but that is a slippery slope, as what it really accomplishes  is to continue the overbreeding of racing greyhounds which results in more dogs that will not make the “cut” and will wind up in the situation as described above and it beomes a never ending loop.


Dog Nail Trimming Made Simple

As anyone with a dog knows,  their nails need to be trimmed regularly, just as ours do. Some groomers and veterinarians recommend trimming at least once a month to avoid getting long nails that can cause your dog to have problems walking or lead to toe injuries during play in the yard. Long nails can get caught in carpet and injure a dog when he pulls to free himself. The dog’s nails should just clear the floor when standing on a solid surface floor such as tile or linoleum. A good test is that you can slide a piece of paper under the nails when the dog is standing on a hard floor. If the nails block the paper slipping under them, they should probably be shortened.

There are special clippers designed to cut our dog’s nails. Please do not try to do this with human clippers. Many stores carry guillotine clippers, claw or scissor action clippers, and Dremel style rotating nail files (sanders or grinders). Which you choose depends on personal preference. I like the Dremel because I can work down slowly, and it is much harder to trim too short, as can easily be done with cutting type appliances…but the sound can be disturbing to some dogs, so it may be best to just let it run so the dog can hear it and get adjusted to the sound before actually trying to do any trimming with it.

Hopefully you have been handling your dogs feet from the “get go”. This will help remove concern about you holding her paws. Stoke the toes and feel between the pads gently. Clean between the pads to remove mud or other debris that may have accumulated; this makes the foot more comfortable. As you and your dog become more comfortable with you handling his feet, and as I said above, try “pretend clipping” the nails so that the dog becomes accustomed to the clippers or dremel and to the sound made.

Have someone instruct you in the process if you have not done nails before. Your veterinarian, a groomer, another dog owner who cares for her own dogs’ nails are all good resources for help in learning the procedure. Once you are comfortable with the process, you are ready to try it on your dog. Stay calm. Your dog will pick up on your anxieties if you do not remain tranquil.

Like our nails, dog nails will soften with soaking. Some groomers recommend that dogs have a bath first so nails are soaked and softened before trimming. This may also cause the clippers to snip more quietly.

Start by removing excess hair from the toe and pad areas of the foot so that the hair does not become entangled in the dremel or clippers. Trim the hair from between the pads on the bottoms of the feet. Besides making nail trimming easier, this will help keep the dogs feet clean and more healthy. In the winter, trimming this hair out will also help prevent ice balls from building up in your dogs’ feet. In the rainy spring or fall, trimming this assists in mud control besides comfort for the dog.

If you have someone who can help you by talking quietly to the dog and rubbing his ears while you work, it is an excellent distraction that keeps you and the dog calm. Rubbing the ears gently seems to sooth dogs and distract them from their feet. Feeding small bits of treats also helps make this a positive event for the dog.

Work from the underside of the nail. Work slowly and do not jerk. Sand or clip the nail down until you see a slight color change or small circle on dark nails. You should stop now. On white or light nails, you should be able to see where the pink area starts; stop before you get there. This is the quick or live section of the nail which contains blood vessels. If you should accidentally go too far and the nail bleeds, apply a styptic pencil or a bit of flour or baking soda to the wound. Hold it firmly in place for a minute or two. The bleeding should stop. If the bleeding continues for more than three or four minutes, we suggest you call your veterinarian.

You may follow up with a nice paw rub much like we use lotion on our hands. It helps moisturize the pads and keep them from cracking. Many different types of paw conditioner rubs are available, but be sure to remember dogs lick their paws so it must be safe if “consumed” by your friend.

Just as a side note, some dogs wear their nails down naturally and do not require much trimming, if any. Dogs who walk on concrete or gravel may not need nails trimmed as often as dogs that are kept mostly in the house on carpeted floors.

Does your dog scratch at the door to get in? Consider putting up small strips of light sand paper in the areas where the dog scratches. The dog’s front nails then become self filed and remain short.

Nail trimming is very important in greyhounds as with their sudden bursts of extreme acceleration and lightning changes in direction, having nails too long can present serious issues if they are caught in something.

It’s easy…just do it!

A Darker Shade of Grey…..hound Racing

Every dog has its day. This may be true for some, however, for far too many greyhounds, this is anything but something to look forward to. While dogs have remained man’s best friend, the greyhound seems to be a breed whose faithfulness, speed and competitiveness has caused it to be severely exploited by humans. The reason is the infamously popular, but thankfully declining  “activity” known as greyhound racing.

Greyhound racing may sound like a harmless event that can be enjoyed by man and dog alike. Unfortunately, this is not true. Like horse racing, greyhound racing is also, a gamble. The only difference is that the life and welfare of these hounds are not considered as important and valuable as that of horses.
There are still a couple dozen racing tracks operating in the US alone, most of those in Florida. The worst part of the story is, hundreds of greyhounds lose their lives or get severely injured during these races every year while several thousand are deliberately killed after they retire or are deemed unfit.

The Life and Death of a Racing Greyhound

Let’s just forget about death for a while. Do you know where these greyhounds are born?
There are actually specific greyhound breeding farms where thousands of pups are born each year. Of course, thousands of new athletes each year is too much for any sport. Racing greyhounds have some specific standards and criteria they must meet. However, out of thousands born every year, only a few hundred live up to those standards. What happens to the rest?
Since they are of no use to the breeders, they are all too often either killed or sold to laboratories to carry out experiments on.

Survivors and Winners

Pups that fulfill all the criteria for becoming racing dogs are raised in conditions exactly opposite to how racing horses are kept. These poor creatures live in congested kennels, in very confined crates and stay in those crates all but a few hours out of each day. Many are muzzled constantly because the boredom can cause such behaviors as chewing/biting at the wire that make up the crates/cages. In order to keep them at a racing weight, they are deprived of proper amount of food and the food they are given is generally considered to be horrendous, mostly ground up meat that is 4D. While many kennels feed their greyhounds a quality meat and vegetable high-protein diet, the standard industry feed for the racing greyhound is raw 4-D meat. The four D’s stand for animals, primarily cattle and horses, that are dead, dying, diseased or down (disabled) at slaughter. Since 4-D meat is served raw to racing greyhounds, the health hazards to the dogs range from gastro-enteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, to food poisoning and death.
Keeping the dogs clean and free of parasites is another big issue. Since it is not possible to clean up after such a huge number of dogs at the same time, ticks, parasites and fleas are many times the only companions they live with until they are ready for a race.
Unlike celebrity human athletes, race day is anything but a day to shine for the majority of these greyhounds. Every year, a large majority of dogs are pronounced retired due to injuries suffered during a race, or if they don’t show enough progress or simply because they become too old to perform at a high level. Other than broken limbs, these dogs can also suffer cardiac arrest or even paralysis during a race. Regardless of how it happens, the dogs are now expendable and their fate from that point on is a huge question mark..

But there is Still Hope for these Hounds

Not so many years ago, a large majority of retired greyhounds were killed. However, due to rising awareness and voices against this crazy and cruel industry, many retired greyhounds are saved by rescue organizations….but because they are bred in such huge numbers, with only a few of those “making the cut” there are far too many that are “culled” and it is practically impossible to find good homes for that many hounds. The only real solution is too stop the rampant breeding of these majestic creatures by an industry who only has a use for a few of them and could care less what happens to those who show no promise of making money for them.
Thanks to many different organizations and individuals, people are being made aware of and are coming to realize the sweet, gentle disposition of greyhounds and are adopting them as they are naturally loving and faithful pets. Numerous celebrities have also taken initiatives to encourage greyhound adoptions. Trent Reznor  is an owner of retired greyhounds. As one of the more visible celebrities supporting greyhound rescue and adoption, in 2011 Reznor put rare collectibles from his longtime musical project, “Nine Inch Nails”, up for auction on eBay with proceeds benefiting greyhound rescue.
While there certainly is a ray of hope, we need many more people need to come forward to take these wonderful creatures out of their misery.

Adopting or Rescuing a Dog…Be Careful Out There

Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada

September 1982 to January 31, 2012

It is not my intention to bash any one particular breed or breeds, but the facts speak for themselves. If you are not fully qualified to take on the task of one of the “dangerous breeds” it is best for everyone involved if you steer clear.

38 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2012. Despite being regulated in  and over 600 US cities, pit bulls contributed to 61% (23) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population. From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls killed 151 Americans, about one citizen every 19 days.

In 2012, dogs referred to as a “rescues” accounted for at least 13% (5) attacks that resulted in death. Children suffered the brunt of these attacks with 3 deaths. The adults afflicted, 2 adult females, were killed by their own pack of “rescued” dogs.

There is a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that pit bulls are over represented among reported dog attack deaths and maimings because of misidentifications or
because “pit bull” is, according to them, a generic term covering several similar types of dog.
However, the frequency of pit bull attacks among these worst-in-10,000 cases is so
disproportionate that even if half of the attacks in the pit bull category were misattributed, or
even if the pit bull category was split three ways, attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives
would still outnumber attacks by any other breed.
There is also a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that the use of media
accounts as a data source is somehow suspect. Reality is that media coverage incorporates
information from police reports, animal control reports, witness accounts, victim accounts in
many instances, and hospital reports. Media coverage is, in short, multi-sourced, unlike
reports from any single source.

Breed …Attacks…Child… Adult… Deaths

Akita     65     42     19     8    

Boxer    48    14     15     5    

Bull mastiff (Presa Canario)    76     30     28     11    

Cane Corso/Italian mastiff     12     1     7    1    

Chow    54     36     15     7    

Doberman    15     8     7     7    

German shepherd    93    59    26    13   

German shepherd mix    40    26    11    7   

Golden retriever    10    8    2    2    

Great Dane     31     9     7     3      

Greyhound   1     1     0     0     

Husky     66     41     4     22     

Jack Russell terrier    4     2     1     2     

Labrador     45     32      11     3     

Pit bull terrier    1985     832     693     217    

 Pit bull/Rott. mix     48     10    7     2     

Rottweiler     481     272     126     78      

Weimaraner     2     2     0     1   

Wolf hybrid    84    69    5    19    

Totals of dogs attacking humans in fatal & disfiguring cases:
3521 1713 1077 470 2004 .329

Totals of humans attacked by dogs in fatal & disfiguring cases:
3394 1664 1048 456 1945 .329

Pit bulls & close pit mixes:
2113 884 726 215 1181 .050
60% 51% 67% 46% 59%

Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos,
Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasieros, and their mixes:
2725 1214 901 314 1519
77% 71% 84% 67% 76%

Pit bulls, Rottweilers, their close mixes, & wolf hybrids:
2708 1246 872 317 1521
77% 73% 81% 68% 76%


The tallies of attacks, attacks on children, attacks on adults, fatalities on the above data sheet must be evaluated in three different contexts. The first
pertains to breed-specific characteristic behavior, the second to bite frequency as
opposed to the frequency of severe injuries, and the third to degree of relative risk.
Of the breeds most often involved in incidents of sufficient severity to be listed,
pit bull terriers and their close mixes make up only about 3.3% of the total U.S. dog
population, according to my frequent surveys of regionally balanced samples of
classified ads of dogs for sale, but they constitute 29% of the dog population in U.S.
animal shelters at any given time, according to my 2011 single-day shelter inventory
survey, which followed up similar surveys producing similar results done in 2004, 2008,
and 2010.
Pit bulls are noteworthy on the chart above for attacking adults almost as
frequently as children. This is a very rare pattern, also seen in the bull mastiff/Presa
Canario line. Children are normally at greatest risk from dog bite because they play with
dogs more often, have less experience in reading dog behavior, are more likely to
engage in activity that alarms or stimulates a dog, and are less able to defend themselves
when a dog becomes aggressive. Pit bulls and the bull mastiff/Presa Canario dog
category (whose ancestry partially overlaps pit bull ancestry) seem to differ behaviorally
from other dogs in having far less inhibition about attacking people who are larger than
they are. They are also notorious for attacking seemingly without warning, a tendency
exacerbated by the custom of docking pit bulls’ tails so that warning signals are not easily
recognized. Thus the adult victim of a pit bull attack may have had little or no
opportunity to read the warning signals that would avert an attack from any other dog.
Rottweilers by contrast show a fairly normal child/adult attack ratio. They seem
to show up disproportionately often in the mauling, killing, and maiming statistics
simply because they are both quite popular and very powerful, capable of doing a great deal of damage in cases where bites by other breeds might be relatively harmless

German shepherds are herding dogs, bred for generations to guide and protect
sheep. In modern society, they are among the dogs of choice for families with small
children, because of their extremely strong protective instinct. They have three
distinctively different kinds of bite: the guiding nip, which is gentle and does not break
the skin; the grab-and-drag, to pull a puppy or lamb or child away from danger, which
is as gentle as emergency circumstances allow; and the reactive bite, usually in defense
of territory, a child, or someone else the dog is inclined to guard. The reactive bite
usually comes only after many warning barks, growls, and other exhibitions intended to
avert a conflict. When it does come, it is typically accompanied by a frontal leap for the
wrist or throat.
Because German shepherds often use the guiding nip and the grab-and-drag with
children, who sometimes misread the dogs’ intentions and pull away in panic, they are
involved in biting incidents at almost twice the rate that their numbers alone would
predict: approximately 28% of all bite cases, according to a recent five-year compilation
of Minneapolis animal control data. Yet none of the Minneapolis bites by German
shepherds involved a serious injury: hurting someone is almost never the dogs’ intent.
In the German shepherd mauling, killing, and maiming cases,
there have almost always been circumstances of duress: the dog was deranged from
being kept alone on a chain for prolonged periods without human contract, was starving,
was otherwise severely abused, was protecting puppies, or was part of a pack including
other dangerous dogs. None of the German shepherd attacks have involved predatory
behavior on the part of an otherwise healthy dog.

Every one of the wolf hybrid attacks, however, seems to have been predatory.
Only four of the fatality victims were older than age seven, and all three were of small
stature. The first adult fatality was killed in the presence of her two young sons, whom
she was apparently trying to protect. The second was killed while apparently trying to
protect her dog. Most of the victims were killed very quickly. Some never knew the wolf hybrid was present. Some may never have known what hit them. Some were killed
right in front of parents, who had no time to react.
Unlike German shepherds, wolf hybrids are usually kept well apart from
children, and from any people other than their owners. Yet they have still found more
opportunity to kill and maim than members of any other breeds except pit bull terriers
and Rottweilers, each of whom may outnumber wolf hybrids by about 10 to 1.

What all this may mean relative to legislation is problematic. Historically, breedspecific legislation has proved very difficult to enforce because of the problems inherent
in defining animals for whom there may be no breed standards, or conflicting standards.
Both pit bull terriers and wolf hybrids tend to elude easy legal definition; neither can
they be recognized by genetic testing.
The traditional approach to dangerous dog legislation is to allow “one free bite,”
at which point the owner is warned. On second bite, the dog is killed. The traditional
approach, however, patently does not apply in addressing the threats from pit bull
terriers, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids. In more than two-thirds of the cases I have
logged, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous
behavior by the animal in question. Children and elderly people were almost always the
Any law strong enough and directed enough to prevent the majority of life threatening dog attacks must discriminate heavily against pit bulls, Rottweilers, wolf
hybrids, and perhaps Akitas and chows, who are not common breeds but do seem to be
involved in disproportionate numbers of life-threatening attacks. Such discrimination
will never be popular with the owners of these breeds, especially those who believe their
dogs are neither dangerous nor likely to turn dangerous without strong provocation.
Neither will breed discrimination ever be acceptable to those who hold out for an interpretation of animal rights philosophy which holds that all breeds are created equal.
One might hope that educating the public against the acquisition of dangerous dogs
would help; but the very traits that make certain breeds dangerous also appeal to a
certain class of dog owner. Thus publicizing their potentially hazardous nature has
tended to increase these breeds’ popularity.

Meanwhile, because the humane community has demonstrated a profound
unwillingness to recognize, accept, and respond to the need for some sort of strong
breed-specific regulation to deal with pit bulls and Rottweilers, the insurance industry is
doing the regulating instead, by means which include refusing to insure new shelters
which accept and place pit bulls. That means a mandatory death sentence for most pit
bulls, regardless of why they come to shelters.

Individual dog owners are also getting clobbered, either with liability premiums
so high that no one can afford to keep pit bulls or Rottweilers, or by inability to find an
insurer willing to cover anyone who has such a dog–or any other dog breed with a bad
reputation, whether or not the reputation is deserved. (Compare attacks by pit bulls with
attacks by Dobermans on the chart above.) This in turn means more pit bulls,
Rottweilers, et al being surrendered to shelters, when their people cannot find rental
accommodations or even buy a house because of their inability to obtain liability
The humane community does not try to encourage the adoption of pumas in the
same manner that we encourage the adoption of  a good ol’ house cat because even though a puma
can also be box-trained and otherwise exhibits much the same indoor behavior, it is
clearly understood that accidents with a puma are frequently fatal.

I see many people posting pictures of pit bulls, etc on Facebook in cute poses with other dogs or children and that seems to be the “in thing” to do nowadays, but the numbers do not lie, and encouraging someone to go to a shelter or anywhere else and take on the task of adopting one of these type dogs is treading on thin ice and could possibly put some unsuspecting, but well meaning person or their children in harms way.

For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people to regard pit bull 
terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any other, no matter how much they may 
behave like other dogs under ordinary circumstances.
Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is 
actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but 
will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a 
pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed–
and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their 
victims are paying the price.
Pit bulls and Rottweilers are accordingly dogs who not only must be handled with 
special precautions, but also must be regulated with special requirements appropriate to 
the risk they may pose to the public and other animals, if they are to be kept at all.

When in doubt…Go Greyhound

Planet Greyhound...VitaliPlanet Greyhound...Vladimir2012-04-18 18.30.072012-04-06 11.53.03 (2)2012-03-18 21.18.23

No Such Thing As a “Free” Pet

Practically every Saturday a  parking lot somewhere offers the same scene.  A misguided, though sometimes well meaning pet owner sits in the back of a pick-up truck. Inside the bed of the truck is a cardboard box with a sign “Free Puppies” or “Free Kittens”.  Little furry heads peer out of the box not knowing what their future holds.  Though the pet owner was negligent in not sterilizing the pet that produced the litter, giving away the litter only serves to compound the problem of pet overpopulation in this county. The owner’s intent to find the offspring a good home often ends in a horrible tragedy for the puppy or kitten that someone takes home for “free”.  The following explains why progressive cities have ordinances banning “free give a ways”.

Paying a fee for a pet shows good faith on the part of the new owner and demonstrates their willingness to properly care for the animal.  There is no such thing as a “free” pet.  By the time a cat or dog is checked out by a vet, including shots, worming, health testing, and spay/neuter, a “free” pet will easily cost in excess of $100.  If a person cannot afford to pay an adoption fee for a pet, how will they be able to afford the normal expenses of proper care? How will they ever afford vet bills when the pet gets sick?  The policy will be to have all adopted pets sterilized before adoption.  This will require a minimum adoption fee to cover the cost of sterilization.

What can happen to a pet that is given free to a casual and uncommitted owner?

1) Abandoned to the streets.  This is the most likely scenario that occurs when an uncommitted owner tires of a pet.  Street animals suffer every day of their short lives.  The end always comes painfully, either from violent trauma or from lingering disease.
2) Handed over to Animal Control and euthanized.  People who do not take their responsibilities seriously always take the easy way out!
3) Marginally Owned.  The pet will not be cared for properly and is often allowed to roam the streets to breed at will.
4) Abused.  The owner will not make the effort to properly train the animal.  Often this leads to inappropriate responses from the owner and abuse of the pet when it “misbehaves”
There are people who routinely obtain animals for profit by fraudulently obtaining dogs given away for free.  They are usually very persuasive and friendly.  They know all the “right” answers to your questions because they do this on a regular basis

What can happen to an animal if you let a con artist have it?

1) Used to “live train” fighting dogs.  The animal you expected to be a pet is used to bait a fighting dog and is literally torn to pieces.
2) Sold at Flea Markets or Auctions to anybody who happens along.  Most of the time these animals are neglected, kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions and often become sick and diseased.
3) Sold to a Class-B Dealer who then resells the animal to a research facility.  People who practice the despicable act of rounding up strays to sell them are referred to as “Bunchers”.  At the research facility, the animal may suffer abuse and most likely will be euthanized after they are finished with it.
4) Used for breeding stock in a “Puppy Mill”.  The living conditions in most of these establishments are deplorable.  Bitches have continuous litters, one after the other.
5) Used as live food or bait for exotics (snakes or alligators).
6) Sacrificed in cult rituals.  Some people find this hard to believe, but the FBI has many files documenting this kind of activity in our country.

Spay or neutering your pet is the key to pet overpopulation control.  Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have a litter of puppies or kittens to “get rid of”.

These procedures are already in place for anyone wanting to adopt a retired racing greyhound as well as other safety checks, such as home visits, etc…some of which people may believe are invasive.  However, it is in the best interest of all involved for this to take place, most certainly the greyhound as we will do everything in our power to insure the rescued dog is not taken from one bad situation and placed in another. Those potential adopters who truly have the dogs best interest at heart understand these safeguards and are more than happy to comply.


Greyhound Racing – Stop The Insanity!

 When it comes to ending greyhound racing, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. There’s all kinds of info out there detailing the poor treatment and subsequent “dispatching” of these amazing creatures if they don’t meet the standards put forth by the profiteers who are using them to pad their wallets. You don’t have to witness something firsthand to know it exists. Do some due diligence on the subject and stop using ignorance of the subject as an excuse to not get involved. The dogs desperately need everyone they can get to speak out for them.

I’m so tired of hearing people try to justify racing greyhounds by saying they were born to do this…BULLSHIT…Greyhounds were here thousands of years before dog racing and they’ll be here thousands of years after. 

Also, the ever popular, “but they love to run” …Of course they do, almost all dogs love to run. It just happens to be unfortunate for greyhounds in that in being so fast, they have been taken advantage of  by those individuals looking to capitalize on their speed and just use them as a disposable commodity, something that if they do not contribute to the bottom line, they are cast aside and easily replaced by those who breed them in excess hoping to get 20 or 30 profitable racers out of every 100 or so pups born. What happens to the rest?  Well…if they are not made available to rescue groups, thousands of them turn up “unaccounted for”.


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