Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Who Doesn’t Love Halloween?
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people who include the family dog in the festivities.
Preparing your dog for costumed guests, the sound of doorbells that continually ring and
of course handfuls of available candy and goodies can make for a challenging
time for pets and pet parents.
1. If your dog has a tendency to bolt out the front door when you welcome
guests, then confine the dog away from the front door to prevent that temptation to run away.
2. If you absolutely must keep your dog outdoors during your Halloween
party make sure gate latches are secure to prevent escape or theft.
Please make sure your dog has shelter,food and water and
check on the dog throughout the night.
3. Keep in mind that even if your dog knows the neighborhood children
many of those cute familiar faces will be hidden behind masks and their bodies
covered beneath flowing costumes. Your friendly pooch may become
frightened or agitated.
4. Social dogs that normally welcome guests on your property or in
the home may become frightened by the costumes and energized
activity at your Halloween party, so it may be wise
to confine the dog in a safe area.
5. Kids are not the only ones who love candy. During or after the festivities,
your little canine opportunist may also find chocolate delights and other
candy irresistible. Keep all candy and candy wrappers out of the dog’s reach.
6. If you are entertaining keep party food and alcohol out of dog’s reach.
7. A dog kept alone outdoors during this holiday, especially if you
are away from home is more susceptible to Halloween pranks so
it is best for the dog to be safely indoors
8. Holiday decorations can also pose a risk to the curious canine.
A dog can easily get tangled in cords used to light pumpkins, chew
through cords or accidentally knock over candles.
9. Dog costumes may be cute but make sure your dog is comfortable
and not frightened by your choice. The costume should not restrict the
dog’s movement or get in the way when the dog needs to eliminate.
The costumes could also make your dog too warm. Keep costume time limited.
10. If the dog accompanies the family trick or treating consider buying
a reflective collar and leash. Don’t forget to have an updated ID tag on the dog’s collar.
Wishing you a fun, safe, happy Halloween
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States
By, Maria Goodavage
Secret Service Dogs are blissfully unaware of the ongoing
battle between the two current candidates marking and remarking
their territory around Pennsylvania Avenue. Once one
of these candidates wins the election and is given the
keys to the White House all that matters to the elite
canine teams is to protect POTUS, President of the
United States of America.
Secret Service Dogs also protect the first family, the
vice president and family and often visiting heads
of state from other countries.
Goodavage earned the trust of the U.S. secret service
and offers readers a behind-the-scenes view of her
unprecedented access to its canine program. For obvious
reasons the author only shares back-stories and
details that will not compromise national security.
If you are a dog enthusiast and would enjoy reading about
the evolution of military dogs and their role in our rich history
and how much we depend on their varied talents for our
security you will like this book. I salute Secret Service Dogs.
About the Author: Maria Goodavage is a veteran journalist
and author of the New York Times bestsellers Soldier Dogs
and Top Dogs.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
By Linda Greiner
Sashi and Sheltie housemate, Buddy are at again in this, the
third book of Greiner’s delightful Sashi series. Sashi and
the Puppy Mill girl is beautifully illustrated by Morgan Spicer
The reader can feel the author’s love of the Sheltie breed
and learn about her involvement with a
Shetland Sheepdog non-profit rescue organization.
Linda and other volunteers provide temporary homes for abandoned
or surrendered Shelties until each dog finds its furever home
The author chronicles the life of Cinnamon, a Sheltie
rescued from a terrible and scary life as a puppy mill dog.
She was kept in a cramped cage 24/7 with one sole purpose,
to create revenue for the mill owners, puppy brokers
and pet store owners by breeding litter after litter.
Cinnamon’s pups were taken from her, sold and
shipped to pet stores or to other sellers. There was no
back-story as to how Cinnamon made her way out of
the puppy mill but surmise the rescue organization
Greiner’s sensitive writing style and the charming illustrations
by Spicer are a perfect and endearing match.
I was happy to read Greiner’s gentle, subtle tips
how she and her daughter helped Cinnamon cope
with her new, strange, free life. And that included patience
for this shy girl, critical to help her learn to trust people.
The author’s Shelties, Sashi and Buddy played an important
role in Cinnamon’s rehabilitation and paid it forward offering
her their friendship and helped her learn how to play.
Cinnamon finally found humans she could trust and
met her loving, furever family.
This book offers a wonderful opportunity for rescue or shelter
volunteers, teachers, and parents to open the door for an age
appropriate brief conversation about puppy mills, rescue and
pet stores that sell puppies. The author and illustrator also
succeed in conveying that trust is not immediate but
can be earned in time.
Loved this book and I highly recommend it.
Portions of the book sales proceeds are donated to Shetland Sheepdog
Placement Services of NJ.
Brown Books Kids
Aftermath of Deadly Hurricane Matthew
Major Emergency Aid and Reunification Center Established in South Carolina
Animal rescue team delivering food and supplies, running veterinary clinics, reuniting families
OKATIE, SOUTH CAROLINA, October 12, 2016 – In the deadly aftermath of killer Hurricane Matthew, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the first to serve animals in disasters, has moved its famed animal rescue team and two giant 50-foot emergency rescue vehicles into one of the hardest-hit areas to set up a major ongoing emergency aid and reunification center for pets caught in the catastrophe.
American Humane’s renowned 100-year-old animal rescue program, is working with the local Palmetto Animal League to help displaced pets at its non-profit shelter in Okatie, and create a Pet Disaster Recovery Center for the region as part of an unprecedented and comprehensive response to rescue and recovery efforts for pets, including distribution of food and pet supplies, veterinary clinics for injured and ill animals, reunifications of pets with their families, and other critical services as needed by the disaster victims.
Palmetto Animal League (PAL) is a private, non-profit animal shelter in Okatie that rescues cats and dogs and provides them with a home-like environment until a forever family can be found. PAL currently has 155 cats and 25 dogs in their Adoption Center and even more in foster care, many with significant health and medical needs. Okatie is one of the hardest hit areas of South Carolina, near Hilton Head Island, which suffered from what the governor called “unprecedented damage.”
“The local PAL shelter reached out to us to help them and their community recover from the disaster, and we will do everything in our power to make a difference for the animal victims and their families,” said Randy Collins, national director of animal rescue for American Humane. “But we also want to make sure the larger region has animal disaster relief services now that the storm is over and the cameras are leaving. The hurricane is gone, but the need is not.”
“Palmetto Animal League is thankful to be teaming up with the American Humane to help provide much-needed services for Lowcountry pet owners affected by the storm,” said Fred Liebert, PAL chairman of the board. “With PAL resources stretched to the limit, American Humane didn’t waste any time setting up their mobile disaster pet recovery center to offer lifesaving emergency supplies and support to the public.”
As killer Hurricane Matthew neared U.S. shores, American Humane rushed its famed rescue team into action. They strategically moved vital equipment into the areas expected to be hardest hit in Florida and South Carolina, including two of its 50-foot emergency rescue vehicles made possible by the support of philanthropist Lois Pope, the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the Donner Foundation, and Banfield Pet Foundation. One of the emergency vehicles was driven nine hours by senior team member Jeff Eyre and his three-legged German Shepherd Dually to help prepare a shelter for 117 cats and 49 dogs in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He, shelter employees and volunteers worked tirelessly over the next 36 hours to prepare for the storm, whose winds were so fierce they actually moved American Humane’s giant F-350 truck. As shelter workers remained sheltered in place in their homes and with their families, Jeff and Dually rode out the storm as the only guardians of the 166 animals in the shelter. When the shelter lost electricity, they used their emergency rescue vehicle to power the entire facility, running fans and preventing the animals from overheating.
Additional Tips and Tools to Save Lives
American Humane and its supporters are providing additional tips and tools that can save lives. Read here to find ways to keep your animals safe after the storm is past.
To further help pets and pet owners, American Humane’s century-old animal rescue program has a partnership with mobiPET, a new, high-tech, visual “AMBER Alert” for missing pets that helps reunite lost pets with their owners. Any pet owner who has lost a pet in South Carolina’s Jasper County or Beaufort County in the 29906, 29909 and 29910 zip code areas, who has a photo of their pet in a smartphone or computer can go to www.mobipet.me and click on the “Rescue” tab to fill in your information including a photo of your missing pet and your five-digit zip code. This program requires a smart phone with a wireless connection or a computer with an internet connection to activate the lost pet photo alert to the designated animal shelter(s). mobiPET President Dave Ropes says, “We are waiving the $50 fee in this disaster area and would hope that pet owners donate to American Humane for helping provide this innovative new pet rescue service.” Generally, non-registered owners whose pet becomes lost can access the service for a $50.00 emergency registration fee, but during an American Humane deployment, mobiPet is waiving the fee for those within the disaster area.
“The storm may have passed, but serious dangers and critical needs remain for both people and animals,” says Randy Collins. “Our animal rescue teams are on the ground to deliver help, hope and healing to those in greatest need, and thanks to our supporters, we can bring additional lifesaving resources to the animal victims of this storm and their families. Our mission is and has always been to be first to serve in the protection of animals, and we are doing all we can do to make a difference to lost, frightened, and hungry animals who have lost their homes and who need our help.”
About American Humane’s Animal Rescue Program
American Humane’s animal rescue program was created in 1916 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War to save war horses wounded on the battlefields of World War I Europe. Since then, it has been involved in virtually every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes, and Superstorm Sandy. Over just the past dozen years our rescue teams have saved, helped and sheltered more than 80,000 animals. For more information or to support these efforts go to www.americanhumane.org.
What You See Is What You Get With Dr. Pol
I had the pleasure to interview this high-octane Veterinarian
and was touched by his charm and compassion throughout our
phone conversation. His dedication to animals was genuine.
The PR agency for his show set the interview for 10 minutes but Dr. Pol told
me I was his last interview of the evening, 7:00 p.m., CST, central standard time in
Michigan and “we we can talk until twelve.” Very generous offer.
As Doc Pol was so easy to talk to without an ounce of pretense from being on TV,
I could have easily talked with him until midnight. As
he also mentioned his day began at 6:00 a.m
I wanted to respect the fact it was his dinner-time so our interview
was under thirty minutes.
What would surprise your viewers to learn about you?
Dr. Pol: “Very little. Nothing is scripted on the show. There
are three cameras rolling that have followed us in our
home and in the clinic. We act normal. There are Go Pros in the car.
They shoot 100 hours and it is edited down for the show.”
What traits to you look for when hiring a new Vet?
Dr. Pol: “ Easy to talk to, easy manner, can be a part of the
family atmosphere where everyone can work together.”
What is the secret to your professional success and the success of the show?
Dr. Pol: “ Honesty, compassion, affordability.” Dr. Pol prides himself
on telling his clients the truth and “following the golden rule;
treat others as you wish to be treated.”
Your practice includes both large and small animals. If you
had to choose only one specialty which one would you prefer?
Dr. Pol: “ I want both.” I pushed him a little on making a choice
and he then repeated he loves both but if forced to make a
choice he would choose the small animal practice.
We discussed general veterinary practices, affordability of
Veterinary services and his philosophy with regard to animal health and care.
The Pols have a soft spot in their hearts for Great Danes and viewers
may have caught segments that featured the Pol’s beautiful
Great Danes. Dr. Pol shared that he lost one of his Danes at
9 years of age to bone cancer. He also shared a case of a 4-year-old
dog he had to be put down due to an aggressive cancer.
These stories began a discussion on his his honest and
compassionate approach with his clients when they
face emotional decisions for pets with a terminal illness.
He believes in quality of life rather than longevity if the animal will suffer.
I thoroughly enjoyed our phone interview.
The Incredible Dr. Pol airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT
on Nat Geo WILD. And is going on his 10th season.
Nat Geo WILD cameras have followed Dr. Pol for nine years, shadowing him as he saves lives, births baby animals large and small and cares for thousands of species throughout rural Michigan. Over 19,000 clients have walked through the doors.
Now, viewers will get the chance to see the doc in action firsthand as he makes farm calls and treats patients in his very busy clinic. Dr. Pol is featured in the Nat Geo WILD series The Incredible Dr. Pol, which follows the doctor on his routine 14-hour workdays treating both pets and livestock.
Dr. Jan (Ya-n) Pol was born in the Netherlands and raised on a family dairy farm. He began his career working for a local veterinarian in Harbor Beach, Mich. However, eager to begin his own practice, in 1981, Dr. Pol and his wife Diane started their own animal clinic out of their home. The business continued to grow and they, along with their 10 employees, have serviced thousands of patients since their doors opened.
“It sometimes is too busy, but something new always happens, and that’s what I like about this job,” says Dr. Pol.
Specializing in large farm animals, Dr. Pol treats horses, pigs, cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, chickens and even an occasional reindeer. A true friend of the farmer, he works tirelessly to ensure that the diminishing population of family farmers remains in business. And he plays an integral role in keeping farmers’ livestock healthy and their businesses profitable.
The Fourth of July is a much anticipated, fun holiday for humans but can be a dangerous or
frightening experience for our pets. Our pets not only have to deal with the loud noise from a firecracker
but when M80s and other such firecrackers are set off close to homes, the vibration can rock the house as
well which can scare the daylights out of many dogs creating a lifetime fear of the noise.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of kids and adults in many neighborhoods
around the country lighting up illegal fireworks.
Due to fear and stress a dog may present behaviors such as; shivering, panting, pacing, seeking
out a hiding place under a bed or in a closet and refusing food. Many pets try to escape the
home or yard and can easily run into traffic and run for miles trying to find refuge. The dog may
get disoriented and lost which is why the shelters gear up for this holiday.
1. Should you choose to attend a fireworks display leave the pets at home. Daytime parades
can prove to be over-stimulating and scary for some dogs so leave your pet at home. Temps
can be too hot for dogs even in the shade. DO NOT leave the family dog in a car while
you attend daytime or night-time festivities. Hot asphalt can burn sensitive pads
2.Dog thefts are on the rise and the bad guys count on holidays when people are not at home
to make an attempt to grab your dog if the dog is left outdoors. Make sure your dog is indoors
and your home is secure.
3. If your dog has access to a doggie door think about securing the door to keep pet inside.
4. If you are entertaining you may want to contain your pet as the dog may bolt out an open door,
jump or climb a fence to escape the activity or noise, dig under a fence, chew through drywall trying to get out of the
house and jump through screens and even windows to escape. If you do not have AC then
an open window is important but be careful if the dog has access to that window.
5. Keep a radio or TV on to help drown out the noise. If a fan can be placed in a safe location,
the fan can also help dissipate the noise. Just be sure the dog cannot chew the cord or
knock over the fan.
6. If you are entertaining, be sure people keep alcoholic drinks away from the pet. Alcohol is
poison to pets. Ask your guests to refrain from sharing people food with the family dog.
7. Your pet’s collar should include a license if required by your municipality and an ID tag with
updated contact info. Consider microchipping your pet, just remember to register the chip with the
8. Take 2 photos of your pet. A close up of the face and a profile photo should your dog escape and
you need to post fliers for a lost dog in your neighborhood. Include a reward. Contact your local
shelter, animal control and neighborhood Vets immediately should your dog run away from home.
There are various FB groups to help put the word out to help locate a run-a-way pet.
9. Do not leave your pet in your car while attending festivities. It will be too warm and not
a safe feeling for any animal. Easy for a pet to be stolen out of your car.
10. If your pet gets distressed every Fourth of July you may want to talk with your Vet about
dispensing a mild sedative. The sedative does not make the dog feel better about the noise
but may make the pet tired so it appears s/he is doing ok. If this is your course of action, then
make sure your pet is confined in a low lit room, with a blanket, radio and/or fan on to
help ease the tension. Some people swear by having their pet wear body hugging canine couture
for these situations.Alternative methods to help calm a pet could include using aromatherapies or possibly
rescue remedy which should begin before the actual holiday begins.
If you are too late this year to help your pet cope with the 4th, prepare for next year by contacting an
experienced behavior expert who may be able to offer strategies to help desensitize your pet to the noise
and activity surrounding this holiday.
Wishing you a safe and fun holiday experience.
Tips from the Animal Legal Defense Fund
Leaving the car windows open a crack does not eliminate the danger of heatstroke which
can lead to your dog’s death. I took a photo of this dog left in a car at a shopping center on a toasty day in Seattle a few weeks back. Not only were temps rising and the shade moving but with the window down this far someone could have reached in, unlocked the door and stolen this dog. On the other hand, had this dog been in distress, the window opening may have made the save easier than breaking the window.
Before the owner disappeared my clients and I saw the owner walking the dog around the parking lot but we did not see her put the dog in the car and walk away. Within about 20 minutes or so, I noticed a dog moving around in a vehicle so went over to check on it. He was warm but did not appear to be in distress and we were certainly going to keep an eye on the dog. This shopping center is big and we had no clue where this person went so I continued to check on the dog and decided if he was in distress I would have called 911 straight away. This owner finally, and I might add casually returned. I nicely mentioned to the owner or maybe she was a pet sitter that we were worried about the dog. This person seemed oblivious to this dog’s needs and replied with the usual, “I was only gone a minute and I pottied him first.” Pottied him first? Really? And what the heck does that have to do with leaving him in the warm car.
I shared this story for three reasons. The first reason is another warning as to the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars. And the other 2 reasons are what you may encounter if you step up and say something. Should you nicely remind an owner who left a dog in a car and on a hot day about the dangers of doing so, you may be met with the usual dismissive comment like this owner’s comment above or you may be met with an angry retort such as “it’s none of your business.” If you feel a dog is in distress, rather than cowboy-girl up and break a window for the rescue which most of us think about doing, always best to call 911 first.
The average time it seems to “just run into the store for a minute” is usually
between 10 and 20 minutes. Time is dependent on locating the items on the shopping
list or getting that coffee and most time-consuming is making it through the check-out line. Sometimes the walk back to the car can add another few minutes.
While humans cool themselves by relying on an extensive system of sweat glands and evaporation, dogs and other animals have a harder time staying cool, leaving them extremely vulnerable to heatstroke.
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, the danger of pets dying because negligent owners left them in a hot car grows as well.
Even on a day when it’s 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car with all the windows closed can hit 90 degrees in just 10 minutes. On a hot day, the temperature inside a closed car can shoot as high as 116 degrees in the same amount of time.
I was contacted by a representative from the Animal Defense League to write about the “hot car” laws and offered the opportunity to speak with Lora Dunn, a Staff Attorney for ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program. Part of Lora’s extensive and impressive bio is at the end of this article.
A statement from Lora Dunn; ALDF always encourages citizens to call 9-1-1 if they see an animal in danger in a hot vehicle before taking matters into their own hands. Some states explicitly allow law enforcement to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal,
and some state laws allow members of the public, after contacting law enforcement, to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal in imminent danger by granting that rescuer civil and/or criminal immunity.
Know your state laws
What can you do, within your legal rights, if you see an animal in distress in a locked car? The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has some tips. If you see an animal in distress, call 911.
Most states allow a public safety officer to break into the car and rescue an animal if its life is threatened.
Hot Car Laws
More and more states are adopting “hot car” laws that prohibit leaving a companion animal unattended in a parked vehicle, with six enacted in just the last two years and two more pending.
Although 20 states have some form of “hot car” laws, the laws differ drastically from place to place:
• Only two states—Wisconsin and Tennessee—have “good Samaritan” laws that allow any person to break a car window to save a pet.
• In 16 states, only public officials such as law enforcement and humane officers can legally break into a car to rescue
an animal (Arizona, California. Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington)
• In New Jersey and West Virginia, no one has the authority to break into a vehicle to save an animal, not even law enforcement.
• Legislation is pending in Florida and New York to give would give any concerned bystander the legal right to help an animal in distress. Pending legislation in Pennsylvania would make it illegal to confine a dog or cat in a vehicle in conditions that would jeopardize its health
but only a police, public safety, or humane officer would have the legal right to rescue the animal.
Penalties for hot car deaths of companion animals are still limited. Most states limit penalties to misdemeanors or civil fines and infractions, even for repeat offenders. Maine and South Dakota’s laws don’t impose a penalty at all.
Is Your Errand More Important Than the Life Of Your Pet?
More dogs, babies and toddlers will die in hot cars this year, 2016.
Why, because those dog owners or pet sitters or parents of human kids either do not believe the warnings about how fast cars heat up even in the shade or just have a blatent disregard for a life other than their own.
If you truly love your dog, and you must run errands on a warm day, please leave your pet at home.
Lora Dunn bio: As Staff Attorney for ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program, Lora Dunn assists prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the country on animal cruelty cases—from research and written support on motions, pleadings, and briefs to trainings and presentations.
Thank you, Lora for your heart, compassion and legal talent to fight the fight
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has created sunshades that remind pet owners of the risks of leaving animals unattended in a car. The sunshades feature the message, “Warning: Don’t leave dogs in hot cars,” in lettering large enough to be readable from across a parking lot. They also urge people to call 911 if they find animals locked in a car and in distress. The sunshades are available aldf.org/hotcars and all proceeds benefit ALDF.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.
These states have “hot car” laws that allow certain public officials (e.g. law enforcement, humane officers) to break into the vehicle to rescue the animal:
- Arizona R.S. § 13-2910
- California Penal Code § 597.7
- Delaware 11 Del.C. § 1325(b)(6)
- Illinois 510 ILCS 70/7.1
- Maine 7 MRSA § 4019
- Maryland Transp. Code § 21-1004.1
- Minnesota S.A. § 346.57
- Nevada R.S. 574.195
- New Hampshire H. Rev. Stat. 644:8-aa
- New York NY Agri. & Mkts. § 353-d (Also has bill pending that would allow any good Samaritan to rescue the animal—see “Good Samaritan” section below.)
- North Carolina NC ST § 14-363.3
- North Dakota NDCC, 36-21.2-12
- Oregon SB 614 (gives law enforcement officers the authority to break into a motor vehicle to rescue an endangered animal.)
- Rhode Island Laws, 1956, § 4-1-3.2
- South Dakota S D C L § 40-1-36
- Vermont 13 V.S.A. § 386
- Washington RCWA 16.52.340
These states have “Good Samaritan” hot car laws—laws that allow private citizens to take matters into their own hands—or proposed laws:
- Tennessee C. A. § 29-34-209: allows persons to break into cars to save children to make it legal to do the same for animals. Specific steps, including searching for the owner and notifying law enforcement, must be taken to qualify for protection under the law.
- Wisconsin AB 308: prevents Good Samaritans from being sued for breaking into a vehicle to rescue a pet or child, but only if police are contacted before the break-in to make sure the pet or child is really in danger.
- Florida SB 200 (pending): Florida State Senator Dorothy Hukill introduced Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act (SB 200), which would allow any Good Samaritan to “use reasonable force” to rescue dogs in hot cars without being held liable for the damages. After the dog has been rescued, the pet owner could then face criminal charges.
- New York A07715 (pending): The billwould protect anyone, not just police or peace officers, who “take[s] necessary steps” to open a parked car to rescue any animal – “in imminent danger due to heat or cold.”
Bite Prevention Week Continues
As this is Dog Bite Prevention Week I, (along with other bloggers) was contacted
by Mark Saunders of the U.S. Postal Service Headquarters to post Seattle bite stats (postal workers) and useful tips for dog owners to help keep the carriers safe when they deliver the mail. Here is a link to my previous blog.
The press release included a link for interviews and I chose to
interview someone from a Kirkland PO.
My next point of contact was U.S.P.S spokesperson, Ernie Swanson who put
me in touch with the postmaster at my Kirkland branch, Cindy McCracken
who then put me in touch with the supervisor at this Kirkland PO, Angela Emery.
All contacts were very nice and like the U.S. mail, swift with their response.
Angela currently works at the Kirkland PO Off of 6th street and has 22 plus years
with the postal service. She is also a dog person and proud owner of a Chihuahua,
not a breed that strikes terror in the heart of postal carriers. However, as many
of us in the training biz know, Chihuahuas can be tough ankle biters. And,
when they target tasty ankles this feisty little breed can make even the most confident person dance as if they were walking on hot coals.
Postal carrier safety seems to include two components.; How to be proactive when spotting a loose dog and how to stay safe should a furry 4 legged surprise come charging at the carrier when that carrier is out of their vehicle delivering a package.
Angela shared the following protocol for all carriers :
- Postal workers on a walking route can use their satchels as a barrier if approached or charged by a loose dog
- Each postal worker carries pepper spray or as Angela called it, dog spray as a deterrent
- Postal carriers should not dismount their vehicle if they observe a loose dog
- Postal carriers will leave warning cards to any replacement carriers to warn them of loose dogs in a particular neighborhood and also warn the carrier if a dog is chained up
- Postal carries do try to work with homeowners who have a history of the family dog escaping the back yard or bolting out a door by suggesting the family dog be restricted from access points during normal delivery hours
- Should there be a history of a dog aggressing at or charging a carrier and that
homeowner or renter opts out of containing the dog and later moves, a warning
card will follow that homeowner or renter to the next PO
- Carriers should not give dogs treats as Angela told me the dog then expects a treat.
She went on to say that should the regular carrier be on holiday and another
carrier takes the route, a loose dog expecting treats can be assertive to get that treat.
Angela told me that a guinea hen that was used to getting a treat
from the regular carrier went after a replacement carrier to get that treat.
No Mail Delivery
An incident such as a dog aggressing at or charging a postal carrier
will be investigated by someone from the post office. The dog owner
will receive the documented safety protocol that will need
to be implemented by that dog owner for future mail delivery.
If the dog owner refuses to do the responsible thing and contain
a nuisance dog during hours of delivery , the post office will
no longer deliver mail to that homeowner or renter’s home and
that person must pick up mail at the post office.
Seems quite fair to me.
Angela shared with me that this status will affect the neighbors as well
and they will not get their mail delivered at home. My response was that
approach, with carrier safety in mind, was a good idea to get the dog
owner to act. Peer pressure or in this case, neighbor pressure may light
a fire under the dog owner to perform.
Angela shared a story with me that on her route, a dog charged out of the gate,
went under her vehicle targeting a neighbor with her baby. After the attack,
Angela quickly invited the woman to wait with her in her vehicle until
paramedics arrived after her call to 911. Animal control was involved
with this incident as well. The paramedic got the dog back into the fenced
yard but in the process the dog charged him . The dog did bite the neighbor with
the baby and I asked Angela the extent of the injury and she said it more of a scratch.
The homeowner decided to euthanize the dog. Again, a preventable event where the
dog paid with its life.
I asked Angela for any stats on dog bites to Kirkland postal carriers and she did not have
that information but said Kirkland is not that bad.
The protocol set forth by the postal service is not only for the safety of the carriers
but also for the safety of the dog.
Thank you Mark, Ernie, Cindy and Angela for your time. Very appreciated.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
Tricky Cases at One of South Florida’s Busiest Avian and Exotic Animal Clinics
Whether it’s emergency surgery on a squirrel monkey or X-rays on a skunk, there is no such thing as a boring day at Dr. Susan Kelleher’s exotic animal ER. Each episode, rock-star-vet Dr. K and her talented team brace for injured animals that run, fly, crawl or slither through the door.
The Spice of Vet Life
Most Veterinarians treat dogs and cats and specialize in their small animal practice. For other Vets, dogs are
cats are great but these Vets prefer to treat the incredible variety of the exotics such as sugar gliders, ferrets,
reptiles and more. Meet Dr. Susan Kelleher who, in her second season will bring her expertise to the line-up at Nat Geo Wild.
Nat Geo Wild, a channel I absolutely love will feature Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER that premieres Saturday, May 21, 9/8c. Programs featuring the day in the life of Veterinarians have become quite popular allowing the viewer into the ER; that back room off limits to the pet owner. and are a gift for those of us who relish the education.
Back-Story on Dr. K
Dr. Susan Kelleher (Dr. K) is originally from Buffalo, N.Y., where she explored her love of animals by volunteering at the Buffalo Zoo in high school and college. She received her bachelor’s degree with a dual major in chemistry and biology from Alfred University in 1990 and went on to veterinary school at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
After graduating veterinary school in 1995, Dr. K moved to South Florida, where she worked for small animal practices for 3 1/2 years. As her following of avian and exotic pets grew, she started her own practice, opening Broward Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital in 1999 to focus all of her attention on the special needs of unique pets.
As we know, once a dog is featured in a movie, TV program or used as a prop by celebrities the popularity of that animal explodes. Immediately the busy mill system churns out that trendy animal to supply the demand. After the novelty wears off that new pet usually ends up dumped in the street, the woods or a shelter.
I am hopeful there are buyer-owner beware statements included with this programming. The illegal pet trade is big business in Florida where Dr. K has her practice and is growing across the country. These animals, especially exotics do not always find sanctuary once the novelty wears off or if expensive medical care is needed.
Enjoy the show; do not buy any of the pets featured on any show without fully researching breeder and lifetime needs of the animal. If you cannot give the animal lifetime commitment and proper daily care,
then please pass on the impulse to buy.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
National Bite Prevention Week
Postal Service announces New Safety Measures
The Postal Service announced that 6,549 employees were attacked by dogs last year as it released its annual top dog attack city rankings. It also shared information on new safety initiatives it is putting in place to help protect its employees.
“Dogs are protective in nature and may view our letter carriers handing mail to their owner as a threat,” said USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo at a news conference in Houston, where postal employees suffered 77 attacks, more than any other city. Fifty-one cities make up the top 30 rankings (see chart below).
Enhancing Employee Safety
DeCarlo also announced two new safety measures to alert USPS Carriers of dogs on their delivery routes. The first goes into effect May 13 on usps.com’s Package Pickup application. Customers will be asked to indicate if there is a dog at their address when they schedule a package pickup. The second goes into effect later this spring.
“The Mobile Delivery Devices that letter carriers use to scan packages to confirm delivery will include a feature that allows carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill-in for letter carriers on their days off.”
DeCarlo was in Houston to kick-off National Dog Bite Prevention Week: Sun., May 15 – Sat., May 21. The Postal Service, joined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages.
Of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually, half of all victims are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many attacks to children are by the family pet or a dog familiar to the child, so it’s important to keep children and dogs separate, especially if a dog is known to act aggressively.
DeCarlo encourages the news media to share the following tips and use the hashtag #preventdogbites when reporting on this critical issue.
- If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
- Dog owners should keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.
- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.
2015 Dog Attack Rankings by City
Note: A total of 6,549 postal employees were attacked by dogs in calendar 2015. Fifty-one cities comprise the top 30 rankings as some cities reported the same number of attacks.
Seattle ranking is 14 out of 51 cities
2015 dog attacks (postal employees) 34
2014 dog attacks (postal employees) 29
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC