Archive: February, 2013
Leigh Siegfried is an Associate member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is a Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She conducts private behavior counseling sessions, group training classes in basic and advanced manners and agility, and a variety of workshops. Opportunity Barks classes are held in Philadelphia and Quakertown, PA. Visit www.opbarks.com for more info.
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Animal advocates are celebrating what they say has started off as a banner legislative session for pets and wildlife in Pennsylvania.
The new session is only seven weeks old and already a record number of bills to improve animal welfare are moving in the House and Senate.
We'll start with two related bills that will be introduced this week to address tragedies like the one that befell the two young Bernese Mountain dogs who escaped their fenced-in yard in Chester Springs on Feb. 12.
In times of economic difficulty, sometimes pet owners have to make a heartbreaking choice: feed themselves or feed their pets.
This is what leads to animals being surrendered to an uncertain fate at shelters.
Now, hope for those facing tough times.
The raid Friday on a Delaware County dog "rescue" exposed a gaping loophole in the 2008 state dog law.
Under the landmark law designed to curb puppy mills in Pennsylvania, so-called "rescue networks" were required to be licensed, just as other breeding, boarding and bricks-and-mortar shelters have been for decades.
These are general or breed-specific rescue groups that take in and find homes for dogs. Often this means "pulling" dogs at no cost or for a marginal fee at "high kill" shelters - those that euthanize most of the animals they receive - and placing them in temporary foster homes.
UPDATE - We have learned that in November 2010 a property used by Silva to house dogs was raided by the PSPCA after complaints of unsanitary conditions and sick dogs and a caretaker was charged. Also, Silva was issued a state kennel license in 2009 and it was renewed through 2012, despite numerous violations, including poor record keeping and failure to possess health certificates from dogs transported from other states. It is unknown if her license was renewed for 2013. The address listed for Silva's kennel was 1617 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, which is the Suburban Station building.
When humane society officials raided the Delaware County law office of Terry Silva on a grungy block in Marcus Hook on Friday, they pulled out 28 malnourished German Shepherds and shepherd mixes, including a puppy, a pregnant female and one dog so old and sick it had to be euthanized.
"They were very, very thin," said Wendy Marano, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania SPCA. The good news: Silva surrendered the dogs and they will be available for foster and adoption, she said.
Finally, Philadelphia may soon leave the Victorian era when it comes to horse care.
Mayor Nutter will sign a bill that unanimously passed City Council that would require horse owners to have at least a half-acre of land, his spokesman said today.
UPDATE - Inquirer reports: Sheep farmer charged with animal cruelty, reckless endangerment for killing the two dogs, one shot point blank in the head and the other shot while it was fleeing.
The killing of two young Bernese Mountain dogs at the hands of a sheep farmer in Chester County has caused an uproar that has spread far beyond the county lines.
On February 12 the dogs, Argus and Fiona, escaped from their yard in Chester Springs when a tree branch fell on the fence and ended up in a pen where neighbor Gabriel Pilotti keeps his sheep.
Bo Obama is not the first First Dog to occupy the White House, and he no doubt won't be the last.
But did you know that pets - from canaries to zebras - have been a fixture at the White House for two centuries?
And that more presidents had pets than did not? Ever wonder which president was the biggest animal lover? Who tamed lions on the White House lawn?