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Take Care this Winter and Watch out for your dog- Stolen dogs on the rise... - 02 December 2011

In such a worrying period of time, with increasing financial worries, more unemployment and an uncontrollably large number of pets being abandoned or handed in to Pet Centres, it seems absolutely absurd to think that animals are now being stolen. Especially when you consider the many of thousands of pets up and down the country desperate to spend Christmas with a new family.

The DogLost helpline has a website and three years back it would have around 6 to 10 dogs registered as missing each day, now just a few years on that number has more than doubled with between 20 and 30 dogs now missing each day, on some days it has been as high as 40. The increase has been blamed on the high price that pedigree dogs can go for as puppies, and the vast majority that go missing are those that can be sold on for several hundreds of pounds. This worrying news and it will no doubt make all of those owners who have new puppies very cautious. The main thing the charity has emphasised is the need to get your dogs microchipped so that they could be traced if necessary.

It is believed that Cocker Spaniels are most at risk, as are well trained gundogs that are being taken to use in breeding. The problem is that the working dog breeds, even if not being used for that purpose have good blood and are ideal to breed. It is a sad fact that when times get tough, unscrupulous people lead to crime in order to make money from the suffering of others. We can only emphasise the importance of being vigilant and ensuring that you never leave your dog in unsecure place unsupervised.

What has been noticed is that the dogs seem to go missing in suspicious circumstances and it thought that an increase in steal-to-order dogs is responsible. The problem is then, that some dogs that are unwell, have been spayed or are old are then dumped as they are not the healthy dog they believed it to be. Ms Fisher from DogLost seems to believe that people are taking in lost animals and offering them a home rather than trying to find their owners. The best thing to do is to take them to the police or a local vet and try to see if it has been microchipped, there could well be a very upset owner hoping to track it down. Do not leave you dog outside unless you can see them. You wouldn't leave your handbag tied to rail outside a shop so why leave your dog- to some it is more valuable.

BBC Article- Stolen Dogs 2.12.11
BBC Article- Rise in Missing Dogs 1.12.11

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Jersey Reservoir and Care when walking your dog... - 29 November 2011

It is getting to that time of year again when it seems to get light during those hours when you are stuck inside working and at the weekend the daylight hours fly by quicker than you get get jobs done it. This means that for many of us with dogs, in order to keep ourselves and our four-legged companions happy, that we need to go out in the dark and take them for walks. Now of course, if you have a tiny little dog that gets exhausted by the end of your drive, this might not be too much of a problem, but for many of us, we will have to venture slightly further a field! It is very important that both you and your dog stay safe and there are some things you should bear in mind...

Firstly, however fashion conscious you are, you should seriously consider some reflective clothing to wear if you will be walking in poorly lit areas. It is important that cars are able to see you from quite far away, and having driven along some country lanes already this winter and unexpectedly found myself nearly on top of a darkly dressed walker, i can not understate this point. If you do happen to live in a well lit area, just make sure that you are visible and watch carefully where you are going.

As a safetly point, when the light goes you start to rely on your other senses more keenly to counter your loss of sight. This means that it is best not to listen to an MP3 player, as you might not hear that car coming along the road, or notice your dog if it is barking having lost you. For personal safety also, it is key that you are alert and able to hear what is around you. If you think that your dog may get lost if it has a habit of going and exploring, it might be worth keeping them on an extendible lead to keep them safe. A recent article shows that owners really should take care to keep a close eye on their dogs. Jersey Reservoir is thinking it might have to close, as dog owners are letting their dogs off the lead and allowing them to swim in the water. Unfortunately this is going to be contaminating the water that is ultimately destined to be used as drinking water. It has also been a problem as animals have been able to jump in but struggled to get out as it is lower than usual. Another warning, please watch out where your pets walk as we have heard several stories lately of pets jumping into rivers, lakes and reservoirs and have needed help to get out...

Finally, dress up warm. Make sure you are not cold, this includes your dog and ensure that upon returning you warm up, have a drink (it is helpful to slightly boil the kettle and give the warm water to your dog to help them warm up) and something to eat. Our immune systems get weaker if we are cold and under the weather and so to stay happy and healthy this winter you should make sure you don't get cold!

We wish you all a very safe winter out with your dogs and hope that you can stay fit and healthy, ready to attack the spring with even more energy on some exciting walks...


BBC Article- Jersey Reservoir 28.11.11

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Police Dogs for the Olympic Games- a very busy time... - 15 November 2011

With the thousands of people that are expected to come to the UK and London in particular for the Olympic Games there is no surprise that the Police Forces up and down the country are getting ready and starting to plan ahead. Many of the visitors to the Olympic Games will also use it as an opportunity to be a tourist and visit other UK and European destinations. This is particularly true for the many that come from America, Africa and Australia who are travelling such great distances and are planning a holiday at the same time as watching the games.

It is no surprise that with such a large influx of people expected around the early summer months next year, that we are starting to think about the associated risks and all of the illegal substances that we want to prevent from entering the country. That is why there are hundreds of adorable Police Puppies that are starting their training early in time to be fully fledged Police Sniffer Dogs next year.

The two cuties pictures above are called Norman and Woody and they are two of the five new recruits for the South Wales Police Force for next year. Their early training will be mostly play-based and they will be fetching and chasing like most normal puppies. They will also go home with their handlers and lead a very normal life. After their basic training it will then go onto more specific training depending on where they'll be used. Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels and Labradors are the best police dogs as they are eager to please, have an inquisitive nature and easily adapt to a variety of social situations.

 

The dogs will be used to detect cash, illegal substances and drugs, firearms and ammunition. It is thought that the majority of the ones in South Wales will be used for illegal substances. Dogs from forces all across the county can be expected to be called for the Olympic Games and with 75 operational dogs in the South Wales force alone,there is no surprise that all of them are starting to plan early. It is believed that many experienced dogs and their handlers have put off retirement to offer their services for the Games, and so it is important that number of retiring dogs don't leave some areas with too few operational dogs after the Olympics...

 

We wish all the new puppies the best of luck for their training and for the excitement and privilege of being a selected member for London 2012.

 

BBC News Article 15.11.11

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Larry- now caught sleeping on the job! - 15 November 2011

Larry the No. 10 Downing Street cat has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; rather than being the champion mouse-catcher that has shown such promise in the early days, he is seemingly becoming lazier by the day. After a mouse had appeared during a ministerial meeting with David Cameron and a few select others, it appears that rather than guarding Downing Street instilling fear in every rodent that appears, he is now sleeping on the job...

Spotted sleeping for several hours, the PM still maintains that Larry "brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people!" which would lead one to suggest that now it has become a pet for many, its duties have become less important. He managed to sleep through the arrival of the whole Cabinet yesterday and the PM himself has admitted that he had resorted to "throwing a fork" at a mouse.

Many people have suggested that now Larry is getting used to home luxuries and spending more time with his girlfriend Masie and sleeping than hunting the rodents! Lets hope he gets his act together or he might find himself being replaced by a more efficient cat.

 

BBC News Article 15.11.11

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Winning dogs and the failed mouse-catcher Larry! - 14 November 2011

Larry is still calling No. 10 Downing Street home, but for how much longer... As it turns out, Larry is not the most efficient mouse-catcher Downing Street has had. Larry was brought in in February to help combat the mouse problem; during several of the tv broadcasts a rat had been spotted smugly trailing around No.10 and it was thought that bringing a cat in could be the answer. Ordinarily it probably would have been the solution, but after a mouse appeared during a ministerial dinner held by David Cameron.

Despite being questioned on whether the rescue cat from Battersea Dogs home will be replaced, a PM spokesman has said "Larry brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people." It seems that his home is safe for now, but it might not always be if he cannot get his act together... When he was selected it was believed that he was quite a hunter and liked to chase things, which you might think would make him the best cat, but with recent mouse appearances it may not be the case. He was quite a good mouser and pleasingly caught 3 mice in his first week, but despite fears that he is a drain for the taxpayer he is entirely privately funded and having been allowed in more rooms it is hoped this latest resident's days are numbered!

Now to a story of a more successful pet! Harvey the Yellow Labrador from Jersey has won the Yellow Labrador Club Championship Show and has pipped 316 other dogs to secure the top spot. Dogs from the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway and many more competed in the contest and 5 year old Harvey won his class! His owner says that Harvey has a temperament and an energy in the ring that cannot be taught and what's more he loves taking part in the shows which makes the whole experience very pleasurable. Being so young he will be off to bigger and better things and will hopefully be winning plenty more championship shows in the future. Harvey's aim is to win another Challenge Certificate to get three and become a Champion.

BBC Article- Downing Street Cat 14.11.11
BBC Article - Jersey Dog Harvey 8.11.11

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Puppy Farms cause the RSPCA concern in Wales - 14 November 2011

   Having spoken about Puppy Farms before and the need for future pets owners to be vigilant to try and stamp out the demand for cheaper puppies in favour of healthier well-bred animals. The credit crunch has had a lot to answer for and the numbers of stray and abandoned animals finding their way to rescue homes is increasing by the week. Pet owners cannot afford to foot the bill for veterinary care, insurance, food and even daily maintenance and that is before an unexpected illness or an accident can leave you with an expensive problem- a vet bill...

The RSCPA in Wales is getting increasingly concerned about Puppy Farms and the number of 'irresponsible breeders' who end up causing great expense and suffering to hundreds of animals. With over 2,000 breeders in Wales, it is certain that the vast majority of them are probably highly reputable establishments that are breeding dogs responsibly, however the minority are causing the problem. Being what is considered an 'emotive issue' the Welsh Assembly are planning to legislate regarding the wider issue; including dangerous dogs, puppy farms, animal cruelty and dog racing.

The RSCPA are urging for legislation to be made regarding puppy farming- making microchipping mandatory, introducing a minimum staff requirement to care for the puppies and that licensed breeders are breeding healthy pedigree dogs, without cutting the corners. Last week, the Welsh Dogs Advisory Group, set up to represent the interests of hobby breeders, submitted a petition to the Welsh government calling for an inquiry into the "enforcement of animal welfare standards in the puppy farming industry in south west Wales"

   An independent review is to be done to investigate the variety of standards required across the different counties in order to assess what really needs to be done and if there are any places that are in particular need of reform. The aim is not to tarnish the good name of the reponsible breeders but rather to set the standards and enable those breeders who do care for the welfare of the puppies to stand out even more. The puppy farms mostly being targetted are those with 150-200 dogs in that are unlicenced and causing the most concern. What is especially significant is that we are still in an economic slump, and with the numbers of adandoned animals, those who would like a pet should maybe consider adopting one rather than paying a cheap price for an ill Pedigree dog??

BBC Article - 8.11.11

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Increasing costs, the recession and the problems facing our pets - 11 November 2011

On the news, there is hardly time for a good news story between fears about Italy's debt crisis mounting, the problems in the Eurozone and the potential for our markets to take yet another tumble. In this climate of fear, it is unsuprising that with jobs decreasing, unemployement and costs growing faster by the day, that people are starting to worry. Unfortunately we are not able to escape paying for our bills, and this leaves pets as one of the luxuries that some households can no longer afford. It is not just the cost of keeping them, insurance and the fear of vet bills can make having a pet a very expensive option.

Battersea Dog's Home has said that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of animals being handed in because their owners simply cannot afford to keep them anymore. It is a sorry state of affairs and one that loving owners do not take lightly. The number of animals being handed in has more than doubled over the last year, and when you consider that it has been on the increase for the last 5 years, it is no wonder than rescue centres are struggling with the number of pets being found and brought in.

The Blue Cross have also noted, that there had been nearly a 50% increase in the number of abandoned animals, from 1,027 to 1,530 this year. Both the Blue Cross and Battersea say it is due to the economic pressures of society and that when we are having to budget, our pets are too great an expense. The problem is, that with less disposable income, charitable giving is also down and the resources of the charity are being stretched even further to be able to home the animals handed in to them. The sad fact being that these animals are cherished pets and in an ideal world they would not want to give them away. They are just faced with the situation where life is tough and they cannot afford to keep them anymore. Owners are unable to treat them either and the consequence of animals that have not been neutered is also a serious cost.

We sincerely hope that this winter animals are given a living home and that our economy will improve and that people will be able to afford pets again..

BBC Article- Battersea Dogs Home- 11.11.11
BBC Article- Credit Crunch hitting pets - 11.11.11

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Thailand: homless and trapped animals also affected by the floods - 11 November 2011

In the news, it seems that each day we are made to see the power of nature and how, despite having modern technology that can simplify our daily lives, that we are still subject to the elements.

A car park in Bangkok is having to become a temporary home to many homeless humans and animals. Many of the people who usually work within the agriculture industry are now being used to rescue the thousands of cats and dogs that are roaming the area trying to find their owners and home. Government run teams are made up from volunteers and members of other Government organisations that are pulling together their resources in order to help these animals.

The problems is, that when these animals are rescued, the chances are that their homes will be still uninhabitable, with their owners homeless too. The many thousands who have been made homeless by the flooding have fled to evacuation zones and will be unable to care for their lost animals, even if they were to be reunited. Despite this, a special pet hotline has been created in the hope that some of these animals will be able to go home shortly.

In one case, the rescue agency was telephoned by a lady that, as the waters had continued to rise pushing her to the highest floor, she felt that the only way she could ensure that her 48 cats would be safe is to seek their help. She was reluctant at first as she didn't want to be parted from them, but after being left with no option, the animals were all transported away from the house and will reunited when the flooding has gone.

The scratches from frantic and scared cats are not the only problem that the rescuers face, they have also heard that crocodiles have come along the waters to feed from these trapped animals. They have been lucky so far, but with the waters rising they are getting more and more opportunities to travel along the canal network that is filling the streets in search of food...

Another issue is that the people is Thailand are mostly practising Buddists and believe in the cycle that we could be reborn as animals. As a result, they are particularly empathetic towards their animals and feel a spiritual connection to their animals. As we all can, we can see the emotion in the eyes of the animals who are desperate to be saved and loved and are being forced into the situation like their owners.

We can only hope that they are returned safely home and that the people of Thailand do not suffer any more.. We all send our warmest wishes..

BBC News Article- 10.11.11

UPDATE- it is feared that with about 300 animals rescued from the rising waters in Bankok, that are now being looked after on a elevated bridge 60km away from the centre, are at risk from a deadly outbreak of distemper. The waters came in mid-July and are said to be the worst that has been seen for years, around 500 people have been confirmed dead due to the damage and as with all natural disastors, the resulting disruption to infastructure can often worsen the situation as medical aid and food is scarce...

We hope that the distemper outbreak can be prevented and controlled before it is too late...

BBC Video- 15.11.11

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More Amazing Dogs- A lightening struck owner... - 01 November 2011

Ian Thomas, the Cornish Mayor was led back to his house by his faithful Schnauzer Monty after being struck by lightening on the 17th October. In doing so he helped to raise the alarm and in turn saved his owners life...

64 year old Ian Thoimas was out at 6.45am feeding his array of animals, including chickens, goats and a donkey at his home near Wheal Mary when he was struck by lightening. It caused him to shoot up into the air, with his feet towards the sky and leading to him landing back down head first. He was unconscious for twenty minutes and when he came round he grabbed hold of Monty who guided him back towards the house. Being a well-trained dog, Monty is used to having Ian resting on him, and when he cried 'help me, help me' Monty knew to come to heel for him.

After spending four days in hospital, Ian is better although has plenty of bruises and marks on his head and hips. At first the doctors were not sure what it was that caused this to happen to Mr Thomas, but after undergoing tests and an MRI scan it has been confirmed that it was a lightening strike! If he hadn't been wearing wellington boots the ending might have been even worse as it is believed that the insulation from the boots preventing him from dying.

We should all be thankful to those four-legged companions who come to our aid when we need them. We should never take them for granted, just think of all the treats and presents as an exchange for their loyalty and devotion to you...

BBC Article 31.10.11

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Dogs: Not to be feared, they can help you... - 26 October 2011

We are now very familiar with the uses of dogs in our society. Being highly trainable animals that have very developed senses, they are able to assist blind people, detect medical conditions before the noticeable symptoms start, detect drug, assist the police force, find trapped people, enable disabled people to gain a sense of freedom and now dogs are becoming popular as reading companions too..

Danny, the listening Greyhound originally from Cork in Ireland, after being found as a stray at 3 months old has been given an award by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in recognition of his services and the support that he gives to young readers who grow in confidence as they read their stories to Danny. He now lives with Tony Nevett in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and is living a contented life whilst hearing all of the stories the young readers tell him. See, dogs have a wide range of skills and it is just a case of finding what your dogs is!!

Then, there is news of the Duchess of Cornwall visiting an Essex Dog Training Centre where children go to overcome their fear of dogs. Known as cynophobia, a fear of dogs can be very hard for children and restrict their lives in the places that they will comfortably choose to visit. Being one of the few places like this that offer treatment, the Duchess was given a show by the dog display team and was able to see how the classes that have been going on for the last 20 years have helped a great number of children overcome their fears. It is also thought that she might be able to pick up some tips for her new Jack Russell puppy that she got from Battersea dogs home! We'll keep our fingers crossed for her...

Then sadly, we hear the latest news that a Police officer and his faithful companion whilst on duty were stabbed whilst trying to make an arrest in Ipswich. The Policeman was stabbed several times and sustained injuries to his arms and is now recovering at home and the dog had to rushed to a local veterinary hospital or the injuries to his legs. Both officer and Police dogs are expected to make a full recovery and it really does go to show how important our four-legged friends are and how much we need them and should never take them for granted. We are pleased to hear that the individual responsible has be found and is being detained by the police after all... it is just sad that animals and humans were put in a life threatening situation by another person.

 

BBC Video - 25.10.11 "Danny the listening dog"

BBC Video - 25.10.11 "Duchess of Cornwall"

BBC Article - 25.10.11 " Policeman and Dog stabbed in Ipswich" 

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