Archive for March, 2011

Let’s call time on dog fouling

Angry anti dog lovers

THE BLIGHT of dog fouling is not only unsightly, smelly and messy, it is also a health hazard.

Today The Mail is launching our Bag It! Bin It! Campaign urging all dog owners to clear up the mess left by their pets.

The campaign has been prompted by a string of residents contacting us fed up with having to face the problem.

The dog dirt is in the parks where our children play and it is in the streets where we walk to school or work.

Jenny Allen, of Norbury Close said: “I have a little girl who is four months. She is only young but I am worried about her future and the dog mess.”

Dog dirt hot spots identified by residents so far are Logan Street Recreation Ground, Tymecross Gardens, Little Bowden Rec’ and Queen Street.

Sarah Carr (31) is another mum, living in Queen Street who shares Mrs Allen’s concerns about the danger dog dirt poses to her child.

Miss Carr said: “It’s really just about people taking responsibility for their animals by keeping them on the leash and cleaning up after them.”

If ingested, toxins from dog dirt can lead to toxocariasis – an infection which can last up to 24 months with symptoms including eye disorders, asthma and epileptic fits.

Due to dog fouling, samples are often found in children’s play areas, meaning it most commonly effects children between 18 months and five years.

Mrs Allen (32) said she has had dog dirt trodden into her house several times and often sees children walking in it.

She said: “In the summer we’ll want to be taking our children outside more to parks and other public places but I just don’t know if it’s worth taking that risk to my child’s safety.

“I just find it so disgusting that people can’t be bothered to pick up after their pets.”

A spokesman for Harborough District Council, said: “There is no excuse not to pick up after your pets. We live in a lovely district and it is not fair that some dog owners seem to want to spoil that. Our enforcement officers can’t be everywhere at once, and we need the public’s help to tackle this issue.”

Original Source

Police Dog Dies The Day Before Retirement

Police dog

A police dog has died after falling off a roof as he searched for intruders – the day before he was due to retire.

Baz, a six-year-old Alsatian who worked for Northumbria Police, fell off the building in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, while looking for burglars.

His handler, PC Gary Saunders, described the dog’s death as a “devastating experience”.

He said: “It has been one of the worst things I’ve encountered in 26 years of policing.

“Baz was a fearless and faithful partner who has, with me, encountered numerous highly dangerous situations but has died doing what most police dog and handler teams consider to be routine operational work.”

Baz was born in May 2004 and became a police dog in June 2005.

Two years later he started working as a firearms support dog.

He was due to retire from general work, and his last operational day would have been March 18, the day after his fatal accident.

Sergeant John Sim, who is in charge of the dog section at Northumbria Police, said that Baz had “given years of loyal service to the public and Northumbria Police”.

“Police dogs live at home with their handlers and they become part of the family.

“He had formed a strong and lasting bond with his handler and his handler’s family.”

Original Source

ENERGETIC terrier Zippy celebrates his amazing return to health – by barking at last.

He was abused as a young pup and was abandoned with such a badly broken jaw that bones in his face fused together.

Zippy could only open his mouth by 4mm, meaning he could not feed or bark.

But he is now in fine voice after surgery to reset his jaw which is thought to be the first of its kind on an animal.

Zippy almost starved to death after he was abandoned when he was a few weeks old.

He survived for several months but was thin and weak when he was found wandering the streets three weeks ago. The pup was taken in by the Dogs Trust in Snetterton, Norfolk, and staff fed him through straws.

Zippy then had an hour-long op when his jaw was broken, reset and a new hinge was created from scar tissue.

Diane McLelland, of the Dogs Trust, said: “This operation has transformed his life because he can now eat properly, bark and communicate with other dogs.

“He’s such a happy, cheeky boy and would make a super companion for someone.”

Ten-month-old Zippy’s injury was probably the result of being kicked in the head.

Dr Pieter Nelissen performed the surgery and said: “It is usu-ally used to access tumours so it is very rare for resetting jaw movement. He was eating an hour after the op – dogs are far more resilient than humans.”

Original Source

Pitbull Terrier

A dog which Belfast City Council said was a pitbull terrier type has been ordered to be destroyed.

Belfast District Judge Ken Nixon ruled that the animal, Lennox, should be put down after hearing it posed a danger to the public if let out without a muzzle.

Its owner, Caroline Barnes, was given a conditional discharge for keeping a dangerous dog.

Ms Barnes, 34, of Disraeli Court, Belfast, is set to appeal the verdict in a bid to keep her pet alive.

Lennox was seized by council dog wardens in May last year.

Since then a major campaign, which included an online petition, has been mounted on his behalf.

Ms Barnes told the court on Tuesday that her dog has never bitten anyone.

However, when cross-examined by a Belfast City Council lawyer, she accepted that in certain circumstances he could be aggressive.

She said: “Lennox’s only issue is with strangers, which is when I would muzzle him.

“In my home environment he is not a danger.”

Despite her evidence, Judge Nixon ordered that the animal should be destroyed.

A further hearing is due to take place next week to decide costs and to timetable any appeal.

Original Source

York dog saves owner by biting armed robber

Armed robbers who threatened a man at knifepoint fled empty-handed after one of them was bitten by the victim’s dog.

One of the attackers was left screaming in agony after the dog bit him on the arm, during an attempted robbery in Pateley Place in Acomb, York, at about 8pm on Saturday.

The victim was walking his dog when a man and woman stopped him and demanded money and his mobile phone.

The woman pulled out a knife and the man pushed the victim, a local man in his 60s.

But the dog sprung to his owner’s defence, biting the man on the arm. The victim then hit the woman with the dog’s lead and the pair ran off towards Sowerby Road.

Detective Constable Mo Mohammed of York CID said: “As the man screamed when he was bitten by the dog, I am sure that someone will have heard him and I ask that they contact me as soon as possible.

“I would also like to hear from anyone who knows a man who has recently suffered a dog bite to his arm or may have treated the injuries for him.”

Anyone with information is asked to phone DC Mohammed on 0845 6060247 quoting reference 12110048287, or to phone Crimsestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Original Source

Shrewsbury Dog rescue captured on film

Specialist listening equipment. they type usually used to find people among the rubble of collapsed buildings, was used to find a small Shropshire terrier who was stuck down a rabbit hole.

It took more than three hours to rescue Patterdale terrier, Cookie, who bit off more than she could chew when she ventured down a labyrinth of holes near Winnie Hill, off Ellesmere Road, in Shrewsbury, yesterday.

About 10 firefighters eventually managed to excavate a 5ft deep trench before freeing the three-year-old pet late in the afternoon.

Owner Kay Barnes, said she was “absolutely delighted” to have her beloved terrier back.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have Cookie back. We set off for the walk early in the morning but we didn’t end up getting back until around 5pm.

“There must have been around 10 firefighters there and they worked for hours to get her free.”

Appliances were sent from Shrewsbury, Wellington and Market Drayton to carry out the rescue operation which started just after 1pm and was not completed until 4.20pm.

A spokesman for Shropshire Fire and Rescue said: “We used specialist listening equipment to detect where the dog was.

“It is usually the sort of equipment used in operations where buildings have collapsed.”

Original Source

Man with poop bag

RED-FACED council officers are powerless to prosecute a man who let his dog foul inside Colchester Town Hall.

The pup got into the High Street building and left a mess outside the council chamber on the first floor.

The authority said it could not take legal action against the owner because it did not happen on a public highway.

It happened shortly before the start of a meeting where it was revealed the council had not issued a single fine for dog fouling last year.

Will Quince, former Conservative parliamentary candidate, had gone to the town hall to speak about the problem generally.

He said it was a farcical situation that officers were helpless to take action – other than to clear up the mess – in their own premises.

Mr Quince told the council meeting: “This has gone from being serious to ridiculous.

“If the council can’t even enforce bylaws in its own building, how can it do it across the borough?”

Martin Hunt, councillor responsible for street services, said he had taken legal advice about the dog owner and was told the council could not prosecute.

Mr Quince has called on the council to get tougher on dog fouling and double fines.

He found out through a Freedom of Information request that not a single fixed penalty notice had been handed out last year.

He said: “This is not good enough, the residents of our town deserve better.”

He suggested the council started publishing monthly figures of fines issued on its website.

Mr Hunt said: “There has been a problem because of the number of enforcement officers.

“We’ve had two and one of those didn’t make it through the probation period.

“Unfortunately it is notoriously difficult for any local authority to catch people doing it and successfully prosecute them.”

He also agreed to investigate the possibility of the council providing biodegradable bags for dog litter, after councillors reported them being thrown into hedges.

Original Source

Owner with puppy

Five dogs are to be DNA tested after a hare was found dead at an aristocrat’s country home.

DNA results will help identify whether the dogs killed an animal that was found in a field at Lord Derby’s Knowsley Hall Estate in Merseyside.

A post mortem will also be carried-out to establish how the hare met its death.

Today, three men who were arrested on suspicion of of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal told how police swooped on them after they were spotted walking in the field.

Tom Caffrey, his cousin Paul Caffrey, and friend Thomas Yates, all spent a night in police cells but were released on bail without charge.

They said they were simply exercising their two pets, but police summoned sniffer dogs to comb the field for knives and guns, after suspecting that the trio had been hunting on the estate near Liverpool.

No weapons were found but a dead hare was recovered from the field.

The two dogs, a six-month old whippet puppy and an adult greyhound bitch were impounded by police and currently remain locked-up.

Police then ordered DNA tests on the animals, despite the puppy being being scarcely big enough to worry a hare, and the adult dog being lame.

Senior officers were then forced to DNA test a police animal and two others who were also at the scene after they were challenged by a solicitor.

om Caffrey, 19, from Huyton, near Liverpool, is worried about his puppy Cass which he has not seen since she was taken to the pound more than a week ago.

He claims he has been informed she will not be returned unless DNA tests clear her.

Mr Caffrey said: ‘Our dogs are not hunting animals. They’re household pets.

‘Cass is a six-month-old puppy yet they’ve told me they want to check her for injuries and scars consistent with hunting wild animals.

‘They won’t tell me where she is or how long she will be there. Cass is a member of the family and we’re all worried sick because she will be pining.

‘The officers have assured me that they are animal people and that they will look after my dog.

‘If they are surely they can see that a puppy is just not capable of hare coursing.’

‘The greyhound is a rescue dog and she’s lame. I don’t let her run free. It’s just nonsense to put them through this. I can’t believe it’s happening.’

Mr Caffrey’s solicitor has learnt that Merseyside Police drafted-in an expert vet to carry out DNA testing on the animals.

Mr Caffrey continued: ‘To pay for a specialist vet to perform DNA testing on five dogs – one of which is their own – is an absolute farce.

‘We’ve been told that there will be a delay in returning the dogs because the specialist had to come-up from Shropshire.

‘It’s a huge farce and I wonder if they would have gone to all this trouble if it had not been Lord Derby’s land that we strayed onto.

‘It must be costing a small fortune.’

Liverpool solicitor Rex Makin is representing the trio and condemned the police for what he described as a ‘complete waste of time and resources’.

Mr Makin said: ‘This is a case which amply demonstrates how the police ought to take greater steps to ensure they get their priorities right.

‘In my view this whole episode is a complete waste of police time and resources to treat this like a murder case.

‘It’s ironic that it comes at a time when the Merseyside Police Authority is required to reduce its spending and cut jobs to meet budget constraints.

‘It simply cannot be justified to expend so much effort pursuing the case of a single dead hare.’

A Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed that three men have been released on police bail and said the force has handed the case over the RSPCA.

The RSPCA declined to comment until the outcome of their inquiries is known.

Original Source

Fears over dog bin removal in Watford

Dog owners are being “encouraged” to use general rubbish bins to clean up after their pets as Watford Borough Council prepares to slash the number of dog waste-only bins.

As part of its 2011/12 budget, the council will remove 189 of its 380 dog bins to save about £25,000 per year.

Notices on the bins revealed a selection would be removed on or after Monday, March 21, although those in parks will be retained.

However, the decision has infuriated dog owners and walkers, who claim it will lead to more people not cleaning up after their pets.

James Marshall, from Greenbank Road, takes his chocolate laborador Max on walks by the Grand Union Canal.

He said: “If everyone who uses the bins use the one bin left, what kind of state is it going to be in.

“If the facilities are there, it encourages people [to use them]. If they take it away, it means you will have to walk quite a distance with your bag to get to a bin, which I don’t think a lot of people will do.

“I cannot see somebody going around the canal with a bag of poo and have to walk back to the one bin to dispose of it and then continue on their walk.

“I just don’t see the sense of removing the bins to allow the dogs to foul anywhere. They were put in to prevent this.”

Jean Chapman, from Middle Way, said a notice on a dog bin was the first anyone knew about the changes.

“Taking the bins away is just ridiculous,” she said.

“For environmental health to suggest they take them away with all the health problems it can cause, it doesn’t make sense.”

Councillor Jackie Connal told Watford Borough Council on Wednesday she had received telephone calls from “an awful lot of worried people”, particularly those with children.

But Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said there was a “big misunderstanding” about where dog waste can be disposed of.

She said: “The fact there’s a bin with dog poo on the side means [people think] you can only put dog poo in the bin that says dog poo.

“Actually you can put it in any bin. At home, where do mums put their nappies? In the bin. Dog owners take it home and put it in the bin.

“We are encouraging people to use other bins so it shouldn’t actually make any difference [by taking some bins away].

“Irresponsible dog owners will always be irresponsible. The message we have to get out is there’s nothing wrong with the more than 600 litter and dog bins being a place for dog mess because there are no health hazards and it’s what you do at home.”

Original Source

Ticks from Europe found in British dogs

“A breed of blood-sucking tick normally found on the continent has been discovered in Britain for the first time,” reported the Daily Mail. It added that, scientists say climate change has brought the parasite to the UK, and warned that it may have brought new strains of disease from Europe.

The story is based on a cross-sectional study that monitored tick infestations in more than 3,500 dogs taken to veterinary practices in Great Britain. The study found that on average, 15% of dogs were infested with ticks which, according to the researchers, is far higher than previously recorded.

One type of tick found was the European meadow tick (Dermacentor reticulatus). The authors say it adds to growing evidence that this tick population now exists in southeast England. In Europe, this tick is an important carrier of a serious disease in dogs called canine babesiosis.

This research is one of the few studies to monitor tick infestation in domestic dogs in Great Britain. It suggests that many more dogs are carrying ticks than previously thought, and that infestation may go unnoticed by their owners. This may have important implications for human and animal health, and for the potential transmission of tick-borne diseases such as lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. However, it is uncertain whether the prevalence of ticks in dogs being taken to veterinary practices represents their prevalence in the general UK dog population. It is possible that dogs seen by vets are more likely to have tick infestations and are taken to the vets by their owners with corresponding symptoms.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Bristol and from Merial Animal Health Ltd, a company that develops treatments for animal diseases. It was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Merial.

The study was published in the (peer-reviewed) journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

The study was covered accurately by the newspapers, although reports that a “breed of bloodsucking tick” normally only found in continental Europe had been found for the first time in the UK, may be slightly alarmist. All ticks, whether native to Britain or not, suck blood. Also, as the researchers point out, there is evidence that populations of these ticks already exists in parts of the UK.

Although climate change was suggested as a possible cause of the increase in tick infestations, this study did not look at any association between climate and tick infestations.

What kind of research was this?

This was a cross sectional survey of 173 veterinary practices in Great Britain, involving a randomised sample of dogs, to establish the prevalence, type and distribution of ticks on domestic dogs in Great Britain.

The researchers point out that ticks are second only to mosquitoes in transmitting disease to humans and animals. They say that there is growing concern over the distribution of ticks, the potential impact of climate change, and the increased movement of people and their pets between countries. Recent studies suggest that tick prevalence is increasing in the UK. Those that pose a particular threat to dogs are the sheep tick (Ixodes ricnius) and the hedgehog tick (Ixodes hexagonus).

What did the research involve?

The researchers contacted 173 veterinary practices in England, Scotland and Wales, and asked them to monitor tick attachment to dogs in their local areas, between March and October 2009. Each week, over a two- or three-month period, the practices randomly selected five dogs from those brought to the surgery and gave them a thorough examination for ticks. Samples of any ticks found were sent to the researchers for identification, along with a clinical history of the dog.

Each practice was provided with questionnaires, sample pots, and a tick survey kit with a standardised grooming protocol to detect ticks. At any one time, 60 practices were involved in the survey, with each practice participating for three months before being replaced.

The researchers used standard statistical methods to calculate the distribution of tick infestation, the risk at different times of the year, the risk for different dog breeds and the prevalence (proportion of cases at any given time).

What were the basic results?

A total of 3,534 dogs were examined, and 810 dogs were found to be carrying at least one tick, although the number of ticks ranged from 1 to 82. Nearly 63% of these were from rural practices, and just over 37% from urban ones. Twenty-five of the practices found no ticks, while 19 reported that more than half the dogs inspected carried ticks.

The main findings:

* Over 72% of the ticks were sheep ticks and nearly 22% were hedgehog ticks. Five cases of the European tick, Dermacentor reticulatus, were also found in West Wales and south-eastern England.
* Gundog, terrier and pastoral breeds were more likely to carry ticks, as were non-neutered dogs.
* Dogs with shorter hair were less likely to have ticks.
* Dogs were most likely to carry a tick in June and least likely in March.
* The average frequency of tick infestation in all dogs examined between March and October was nearly 15%.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers say that their study gives a tick prevalence in dogs that is higher than previously recorded in Britain, both in urban and rural environments, although they do not specify how much higher. This has important implications for the potential transmission of tick-borne disease, not only in dogs but also in humans.

The identification of five samples of D. reticulates in eastern England and also western Wales, was notable, they say, supporting a growing body of evidence that these ticks are established in southeast England.

Conclusion

Ticks are known to carry various diseases, including Lyme disease, which can affect humans as well as other animals. The value of this study lies in the fact that it used a large randomised sample of dogs from across the UK to assess tick infestation. However, it is not certain whether the prevalence of ticks among dogs seen in veterinary practices is representative of the prevalence in the dog population as a whole. It is possible that dogs taken to the vet are more likely to have ticks and to be showing symptoms.

Also, as the researchers note, data from 43 practices was removed from the analysis of prevalence because there was a possibility that veterinary staff had misunderstood the protocol. The researchers consider 43 to be a small number of practices, but they represent almost a quarter of the practices recruited and their removal could have affected the findings on prevalence.

In conclusion, this is a valuable study that was carefully carried out, using a randomised sample of dogs. It suggests that tick prevalence in dogs may be on the increase, and that many dogs carry ticks without their owners’ knowledge. Despite its limitations, these findings could have important implications for both human and animal health.

Ticks can spread a number of diseases, including Lyme disease in humans. This is an inflammatory disorder which can become chronic if left untreated. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium which the tick carries and which it can pick up from biting infected deer or other wild animals. Humans can get the disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.

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