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The Ruff Report: A roundup of news about dogs Nov. 9 to 15, 2008

Nov. 9 to Nov. 15, 2008

Petition urges Obama to pick shelter dog

Animal welfare organizations have started a campaign to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to adopt a shelter pooch., a nonprofit adoption website, is gathering signatures for a letter to be sent to Obama advocating that he adopt from a shelter. People can sign the petition by visiting, a web site that has been started for the national campaign.

Obama has stated his interest in adopting a shelter dog, but he expressed concern that he would be unable to do so because his daughter, Malia, is allergic to dogs and needs a hypoallergenic breed.

"Many pets in shelters across the nation are hypoallergenic purebreds and mixed breeds," David Meyer, president of, stated in a media release. "Common hypoallergenic breeds include Poodles, Schnauzers, certain Terriers, and mixes of those and many other breeds as well. There is no conflict at all between needing a hypoallergenic dog and adopting from a shelter."

Obama's interest in adopting a shelter dog has led to a spike in interest in available pets, Meyers said. "Searches for adoptable pets have increased sharply in the last week on our national pet-adoption web site," he said. "Certainly if the president-elect realizes that he can easily adopt the dog he needs from a shelter, he will inspire the whole nation to do the same, and will help get the word out about the millions of pets in shelters who do not get adopted each year." is working with its 6,500 listed shelters to get as many signatures to impress upon Obama the importance of him adopting from an animal shelter, humane society, SPCA or pet rescue group.

Marley & Me film depicts responsible ownership

The motion picture Marley & Me, a recount of a pet parent's the life with a rambunctious Labrador Retriever who quickly grows from an adorable puppy to 97-pound steamroller, is being lauded by the American Kennel Club as an example of responsible dog ownership.

The Twentieth Century Fox film, based on the best-seller book by John Grogan and starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, is about the trials, tribulations and lifelong commitment of owning a dog. It arrives in theaters on Dec. 25.

"Unlike other films and aspects of popular culture that idealize dogs, we think Marley & Me depicts a more balanced view of dog ownership," AKC official Daisy Okas states in a media release. "Dogs bring us love, affection, comfort, security and unrivaled devotion despite our flaws, but there is a lot that is required of us in return for the wonderful privilege of having a dog. We applaud Fox and John Grogan for providing the public with an entertaining story that drives this message home to all animal lovers."

The AKC is teaming up with Grogan and Fox on a series of public services announcements regarding responsible dog ownership. The announcements direct viewers to to research the right breed for them and learn about dog ownership. The television announcement has been distributed to stations nationwide and the print version is available for download at

Nevada kennel club opposes sterilization plan

A Nevada kennel club is fighting a proposal that would force pet parents to sterilize cats and dogs as young as 3 months old.

The Silver State Kennel Club of Las Vegas, a member of the American Kennel Club, is circulating a petition to stop the proposal by Clark County animal control officials, stating the pets could be at risk for a variety of health problems when sterilized that young, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Mike Connell, president of the club, says sterilizing of animals should wait until after they reach 6 months of age because the majority of their development occurs before then. He researched more than 50 studies showing long-term health defects in animals that are sterilized under 6 months old. Sterilizing too early could stunt their growth, stopping pure breeds from reaching their distinctive adult characteristics.

"This is mass mutilation of young bodies," Connell told the newspaper. "The only reason to breed is to improve the breed, to make a better show dog."

Ten other kennel clubs throughout the country support Silver State's opposition to Clark County's mandatory spay and neuter law.

Billie Young, a member of the county's animal committee, said the goal of the ordinance is to shut down breeding mills, not to punish responsible owners. "This is really targeted at people who are irresponsible, and Clark County Animal Control would not become aware of them unless they were irresponsible," she told the newspaper.

The proposal would prohibit Clark County residents from owning a dog or cat that has not been sterilized unless the owner has a pet fancier permit or has a medical exemption from a veterinarian. If a litter is born without this permit, animal control would take the puppies or kittens along with the mother. The ordinance also would require spaying or neutering as young as 3 months old.

The proposed law would be one of the toughest local ordinances in the country and mirrors one enacted by North Las Vegas in January.

Boston to unleash giant dog show

The Bay Colony Dog Show, which will feature more than 1,750 pedigree pooches competing for top honors, will be held Dec. 4 to 7 at the Bayside Exposition Center in Boston.

The four-day show, one of the nation's largest America Kennel Club events, also will have demonstrations by police and working dogs; a rescue parade; educational exhibits about breeds, dog-related volunteer opportunities and careers; purebred and breed rescue adoption programs and concession booths.

The booths will offer items such as hand-knit sweaters, T-shirts and hats, grooming supplies, pet exercise equipment, digital photography, gourmet treats, handmade toys, safety products, bedding, leather products, fine jewelry and dog antiques.

The show, which runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, is organized by volunteers from the Eastern Dog Club, Ladies' Dog Club, Middlesex County Kennel Club. It features four days of agility trials by Yankee Golden Retriever Club.

Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Breeder Referral Services and Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston.

Admission is $12 for adults and seniors, and $7 for children. Tickets are available at the Bayside box office only. Visit the show's web site at for more information after Thanksgiving call 508-533-1153.

The canine is top dog in Britain

The dog, cited for its loyalty and affection, is the most popular pet in Britain, a survey has found.

The research, conducted by Tesco Pet Insurance, found that 58 percent would rather own a dog than a cat.

"Our survey suggests that we really are a nation of dog-lovers, while cats unfortunately didn't fare as well," Allan Burns, a Tesco Pet Insurance official, stated in a media release. "This may be down to characters like Lassie contributing to the reputation of dogs, saving children from the bottom of wells and dragging the unconscious from train tracks. Cats on the other hand are famous for their evil owners such as Blofeld, and Dr. Evil. However, it was interesting to see the strength of responses, which goes to show how much as a nation we care about our pets."

The survey also found:
  • A majority of pet parents spoil their pets with affection and food.
  • Some 56 percent said the dog is pet they would most like to spoil while 24 percent preferred to spoil their cat.
  • Three percent would prefer to spoil their pets with clothing and vacations abroad.

Posh pet houses to be auctioned

A one-of-a-kind doghouse, birdhouse and cat condo will be auctioned to raise money for a nonprofit New York City animal hospital.

The Animal Medical Center will use the money to help support its mission of promoting the health and well-being of companion animals through advanced treatment, research and education. The luxury pet houses will be auctioned live on eBay at the hospital's Top Dog Gala scheduled for Nov. 18 in New York City.

Raising money is "incredibly critical" to support the hospital's mission and its charity programs, hospital president Jeffrey Klausner stated in a media release. "It’s going to be even more important here as we move forward these next couple of years," he said, referring to the struggling economy in the United States.

The Top Dog Gala to raise money is an annual event, but this is the first time the hospital has commissioned architects to create luxury items for auction.

Wendy Lehman Lash, benefit co-chairwoman, said she came up with the idea to spice up the fundraising event. "I thought, what was going to be fun? What’s going to be interesting," Lehman Lash said. "It’s culminated in a fabulous way."

Several architects were tapped to create the posh pet properties. William Pedersen and Trent Tesch, of KPF in New York City designed the doghouse. They used a computer-numerical-control milling machine to sculpt birch plywood into a doghouse reminiscent of a nautilus shell.

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