Stanford study finds dogs pose substantial risk to children by Ed Boks

Jared Forrester and Ed Boks
Jared Forrester, “Children under 4 are at substantial risk.  And it’s usually family dogs or dogs known to the children who are doing the killing.  These are preventable deaths.”

The scientific journal, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine recently (2/28/2018) published “An Update on Fatalities Due to Venomous and Nonvenomous Animals in the United States (2008–2015).  The study found that while we need to beware of snakes, spiders and scorpions, a child is much more likely to be killed by a known dog.  Additional research finds that “known dog” is twice as likely to be a pit bull.

The data, assembled by physicians Jared Forrester, Thomas Weiser, and Joseph Forrester of the Department of Surgery at Stanford University, found that each year there are over a million emergency room visits in the US caused by “problematic animal encounters”.  The cost for human medical care associated with these “animal encounters” is about $2 billion a year! Continue reading “Stanford study finds dogs pose substantial risk to children by Ed Boks”

Is your pet suffering? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and tethering
Is your pet lonely and bored?

The New York Times ran a piece by Jessica Pierce awhile back that asked the provocative question “Is your pet lonely and bored?” Today there are as many pets in the United States as there are people; and in most homes pets are family — and not just dogs and cats, but rabbits, rats, bearded dragons and snakes.

According to many veterinarians and psychologists this phenomenon is evidence of a deepening “human-animal bond.” Scientists studying animal cognition and emotion are continually peeling back the mysteries of animal minds, revealing an incredible and often surprising richness in the thoughts and feelings of other creatures. Continue reading “Is your pet suffering? by Ed Boks”

What to do with newborn kittens in your yard by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Foster Care
Fostering newborn kittens is the perfect family, club, or faith-based organizational project.

It happens every spring!  Local animal shelters receive many kittens too young to survive more than an hour or two without a mother. These kittens are called “neonates.” Sadly, most of the neonate kittens taken in are orphans. People find these babies in their garage, barn, flowerbeds and many other places where the mother felt safe from predators and intruders while she gave birth.

Understandably, some people feel they are helping neonate kittens when they bring them to the local shelter. Actually, they are putting these little lives at tremendous risk because euthanasia may be the only way a shelter can save these babies from suffering an agonizing death by starvation. Continue reading “What to do with newborn kittens in your yard by Ed Boks”

Pets provide health, emotional benefits for owners by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and health benefits of pets
Pet ownership comes with many proven physical, mental and emotional health benefits

Pet ownership comes with many proven physical, mental and emotional health benefits – from enhancing social skills to decreasing the risk of heart attack.

Consider a University of Wisconsin-Madison study which found that a pet in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing allergies by as much as 33 percent. This research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that when children are exposed at an early age to animals they tend to develop stronger lifelong immunities. Continue reading “Pets provide health, emotional benefits for owners by Ed Boks”

Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and cat
My cat Belle loves to purr; and I love it when she does…

There are many questions our children (and grandchildren) ask concerning the mysteries of our universe. Such as: Why is the sky blue? Why do birds sing? And why do cats purr? While we may often fail to provide satisfying answers to these difficult questions, we instinctively know that so long as the sky is blue, and birds sing and cats purr, all is right with the world.

One of the things we love most about our cats is the feeling of contentment we share when they climb onto our lap and purr. When cats purr we feel calmer and more peaceful – even if we don’t hear the purring, we can feel the soft reassuring vibration.

So, just why do cats purr? And how do they generate that entrancing sound? Continue reading “Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks”

You can prevent dog bites by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and dog bites
Know signs of canine stress and protect your child from a dog bite

A recent study conducted jointly from Monash University in Australia and Pedigree Petfoods found that the bond between a human and a dog may actually cause their heartbeats to sync with one another.

The researchers connected three pairs of dogs and their owners to heart rate monitors. After separating the dogs from their owners for a period of time they brought the pairs together again and observed their heartbeats. They found that within a minute both heartbeats dropped significantly and “even appeared to mirror each other.” Continue reading “You can prevent dog bites by Ed Boks”

Its time to consider targeted pit bull spay/neuter programs by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Henry Kleinhans
Henry Kleinhans was mauled to death by his own pit bull. Picture: Solly Lottering

Over the course of my career I may have been responsible for safely placing more pit bulls into loving homes than any other person in the United States.

I have long been troubled by the fact that no dog in history encounters more misunderstanding and vilification than the pit bull; a canine category I define as the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and any crosses of these three. I admire these animals for their tenacious athletic ability, loyalty, intelligence, and high-energy.

Word reached me this morning that Henry Kleynhans, 50, a retired police officer was fatally mauled on February 8, 2018, and his wife Rita was critically injured, by their own pit bull in their home at Belmont Park, Kraaifontein, South Africa. Continue reading “Its time to consider targeted pit bull spay/neuter programs by Ed Boks”

Best kept secret in the battle to end animal abuse by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Deborah Knaan
Attorney Deborah Knaan creator of the B.A.R.C. curriculum

I recently became reacquainted with an important program in Los Angeles.  Although, this program could be useful in every community in the United States, it appears to me to be one of the best kept secrets in the battle to mitigate animal cruelty and abuse in our communities.

I’m talking about the Benchmark Animal Rehabilitative Curriculum (B.A.R.C.).  B.A.R.C. is a unique online animal abuse prevention course designed to educate and rehabilitate individuals who have demonstrated a propensity to mistreat animals.

The B.A.R.C. course is appropriate for adults and juveniles (aged 15-17).  The course is only open to individuals referred by a member of the criminal justice system (judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, or probation officer); an animal control professional; a social services agency; an educational institution (teachers and school counselors); or a mental health professional. Continue reading “Best kept secret in the battle to end animal abuse by Ed Boks”

Buyer beware: Make sure you’re not supporting puppy mills by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and puppy mills
Don’t shop puppy mills or pet stores; opt to adopt at an animal shelter!

In an unforgettable edition of “Oprah” in 2010, national attention was focused on the “puppy mill.”  Puppy mills provide an unending supply of often purebred puppies to a public with an insatiable appetite for them, an appetite that has created a situation ripe for abuse. Puppy mills force dogs to produce litter after litter just for profit. These dogs are often plagued with disease, malnutrition, and loneliness.

Oprah’s intrepid investigative reporter found bitches who could barely walk after living a life of immobilized confinement. When people buy a puppy from a pet shop, newspaper ad or from the Internet, they are often supporting a cruel industry.

Puppy mills frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly the “breeding stock” who are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship, and then killed, abandoned or sold to another “miller” after their fertility wanes. Continue reading “Buyer beware: Make sure you’re not supporting puppy mills by Ed Boks”

How do you define compassion? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Safety NetOver the years I have come to understand compassion as a deep awareness of the suffering experienced by another – coupled with the desire to relieve it.  Compassion is more vigorous than sympathy or empathy, compassion gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering – making compassion the essential component in what manifests in our social context as altruism.

In ethical terms, the “Golden Rule” may best embody the principle of compassion: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Compassion does not simply mean caring deeply about someone else’s suffering. Compassion actually causes you to get personally involved. Compassion manifests in the face of cruelty, moving you to say out loud, “This is wrong” – and it moves you to actually do something to end the suffering. Continue reading “How do you define compassion? by Ed Boks”