Pit Bulls Are Not Monsters

Jim Pennucci/Flickr

They have big hearts, clownish grins, and wildly wagging tails, but pit bulls do pose tough challenges to the humane community. In 2018, nearly half of U.S. pit bulls were homeless.

Many people wrongfully demonize pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed. Others overlook challenges specific to the breed in their efforts to defend people’s rights to own them. These opposing views often lead to a vitriolic debate that winds up at City Hall. Continue reading “Pit Bulls Are Not Monsters”

Applying the No-Kill Ethic by Ed Boks

More than a policy and statistical objective, “no-kill” is a principle, an ethic, and once applied the practical consequences begin to fall into place. The principle is that animal shelters should apply the same criteria for deciding an animal’s fate that a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian would apply. That is, healthy and treatable animals are not killed simply because of a lack of room or resources to care for them. Continue reading “Applying the No-Kill Ethic by Ed Boks”

Business-Savvy Landlords Allow Pets: Cities Should Make it the Default

Imagine being responsible for the life or death of 55,000 dogs and cats every year. As the General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Animal Services Department, the desperate need of these animals weighed on my mind every day.  I was determined to end pet homelessness and the practice of killing and disposing of our society’s surplus companion animals.

Today, most cities and towns across the nation share this noble and ambitious goal. Achieving this requires robust community participation, and our cities desperately need the support of an overlooked constituencylandlords. Continue reading “Business-Savvy Landlords Allow Pets: Cities Should Make it the Default”

The 3 Deadly Sins: Cruelty, Neglect and Hoarding by Ed Boks

How to deal with sin.

In Judeo/Christian literature the word “sin” originates from the idea of “missing the mark”.   Our understanding of missing the mark has been explained by theologians through the ages as resulting from sins of commission and sins of omission.

While pondering this idea, I wondered how the concept of sin, or  “missing the mark”, might apply to our responsibility for the environment and the animals who inhabit it.  It occurred to me that there are three deadly sins we commit when we fail in our responsibility for animals: cruelty, neglect, and hoarding. Continue reading “The 3 Deadly Sins: Cruelty, Neglect and Hoarding by Ed Boks”

FIV-positive cats can live long, healthy lives by Ed Boks

Ed’s 15 year old FIV cat, Oliver

In the quest to achieve No-Kill (which I define as applying the same criteria a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian would apply to deciding a shelter animal’s fate), we must learn to overcome the many widespread myths regarding shelter animals.

The fact is some shelter animals have issues. Equally true is the fact that these issues are seldom the animal’s fault and they can almost always be resolved. Knowingly adopting an animal with special needs is one of the noblest acts you will ever perform; you are truly saving a life. Continue reading “FIV-positive cats can live long, healthy lives by Ed Boks”

Kapparot: 9th Circuit argument Tuesday

What is kapparot?

The 13th-century scholar Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Aderet considered kapparot a “heathen superstition”.

Kapparot or kaparos, meaning “atonements,” is a custom in which a chicken or money may be used.  Kapparot using chickens is practiced by some Jews shortly before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

The ritual begins with selections from Isaiah 11:9, Psalms 107:10, 14, and 17-21, and Job 33:23-24 being recited.  Then a rooster (for a man) or a hen (for a woman) is held above the person’s head and swung in a circle three times, while the following is spoken: “This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace.” The chicken is then slaughtered and may or may not be given to the poor for food. Continue reading “Kapparot: 9th Circuit argument Tuesday”

Know when the human/dog bond can bite you in the face by Ed Boks

A 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 “Know when the human/dog bond can bite you in the face by Ed Boks”

Is your pet suffering? by Ed Boks

Is your pet lonely?

The New York Times recently ran a piece by Jessica Pierce asking 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”

THE TRUTH ABOUT BLACK CATS AND HALLOWEEN

The Truth About Black Cats

It’s that time of year when animal shelters have to combat a lot of misinformation regarding black cats. Some shelters stop adopting black cats in October for fear they will be tortured. However, in the history of humane work, no one has ever documented any relationship between adopting black cats, and cats being killed or injured. The belief that adopting black cats will result in ill consequences can be traced to three sources:

1) Ignorance:

Some suggest “witches” adopt black cats for use in ritualistic sacrifices. Actually, witches do not harm their “familiars,” who are supposed to be their eyes and ears in the spirit world. To harm a familiar would be to blind and deafen oneself. Continue reading “THE TRUTH ABOUT BLACK CATS AND HALLOWEEN”

Is D.C. Cat Count really necessary? by Ed Boks

D.C. Cat Count includes hidden cameras to take photos of free roaming cats.

The New York Times reported today that the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is launching a $1.5 million, three-year plan to count all the stray, feral and pet cats living in Washington D.C.

The plan is called D.C. Cat Count; and it is a highly technological endeavor. As many as 60 camera traps will record images of outdoor cats. A smartphone app, (still in development), will allow anyone in D.C. to share pictures of feral and/or pet cats in an effort to build a comprehensive library of all the cats living in the District. Continue reading “Is D.C. Cat Count really necessary? by Ed Boks”