Sunday, May 25, 2008

A heartfelt story of strife from a Canadian dog owner

Several months ago my husband and I had one huge dream dashed into the ground when we found out we could not purchase a home that we fell in love with, in Nova Scotia, due to the fact our dogs were banned. At that point I started to really read through the average dog bylaw which re-enforced with me just how vulnerable dog owners really are, due to the fact any dog could be termed "vicious" based upon breed, which would leave the owner one hell of a battle on their hands trying to defend their dog(s).

I also realized that many communities have dog limits and ways of stopping one from getting a kennel license. It has really hit me hard that in a so called "free" country I was going to be limited on where I could move to based on my breed of dog.

With deep sadness and new eyes I have really started to watch the "average pet owner" and ask a few questions, and the reality is there are so many people who believe a dog is "just a dog". I live in a small hamlet and most of the dogs here live outside and are fed crap food, I have no idea why most of these people even have dogs. What is the point of having an animal that never leaves your backyard? I have taken quite a few drives in various communities to see the very same thing.

The reality is the average person really does care about their dogs and are responsible owners, but we are the ones who are paying the price for the average attitude of "it's just a dog" from the average dog owner. How often do we have to say "punish the deed, not the breed". How many monkeys have opinions about our dogs that think our breeds are affecting what happens to them?

Oh yes the animal rights groups are doing a grand job indeed, because they know there are way too many dog owners who are in zombie mode, because "their dogs are not affected" (for now). Well WAKE UP ZOMBIES when the breeds that are being targeted right now are gone, do you really think your breeds are safe? Do you think those of us who have lost our dogs are going to stand up and fight for you, hell misery loves company and pay back is a bitch.

When you think of the money that is being spent showing dogs all over this country. The kind of income some owners are raking in and the big fancy jobs plus the threat of legal challenges, it really is kind of funny that all that money and power cannot stop REGISTERED dogs from being banned. The CKC has no power or, influence to overturn breed bans or, to stop communities from limiting the number of dogs one can have, maybe they will wake up when litter registrations hit an all time low and the cash cow dries up.

I have been really questioned myself as to why I am paying membership into a club that has not stopped my breed from being banned or, restricted in certain communities, in this so called free country. One does not need to be a member of the CKC to show their dogs nor, do they need the club when there are groups like Canuck dogs that inform you of which shows and doggy events are all over this country. A friend of mine told me that if I quit the CKC that I would lose my "Perm. reg'd" status, that really made me laugh as the word "Permanent" does not mean what it says.

Yes folks I am upset have been for several months, you have no idea what it is like to be so excited about a move that you have wanted for so very long, to find out you can't. Then to see the area of the world you so wanted to live in, having breed bans pop up left, right and centre.

I have had Rottweilers for over 19 yrs and have not been as fearful for my breed as I have been for the last few years. How many breeds need to be targeted before people will finally wake up and fight for dog ownership, before owning a dog becomes a thing of the past?
Loraine Jesse

Thanks Loraine for your story. There are more people than you would think who have gone through, and are going through a similar experience. We as dog owners cannot freely travel or relocate to certain other areas of our country because of the irrational and nonsensical legislation some communities vote in. Some have relocated without checking local bylaws before moving and found themselves in a position of having to either give up their dog or move out of the area. This happened in New Brunswick with a family who moved there for a job transfer. Their Rottweiler 'Shire' was in her families opinion well worth fighting for. They ended up in court.

Loraine told me in further conversation, she at one time lived in Calgary. She wasn't keen on living in Calgary, but here is what she had to say about the canine bylaws in Calgary.

I loved the dog bylaws in Calgary, which worked and re-inforced responsible dog ownership. If your dogs barked, you got fined, if they ran at large you got fined, if they bit someone you got fined big time. You don't have any breed specific laws, or limits on the number of dogs you may have. What you do have are rules and regulations that have to be obeyed or, you will be fined and or, eventually lose your dog (s), so they really do promote responsible dog ownership.

You are absolutely right on the money Loraine. Calgary has a comprehensive, logical and effective canine control bylaw that does not target responsible dog or cat owners. They have high compliance and they enforce the bylaw. The Calgary canine control bylaw targets the small sector of irresponsible/incompetent owners.  
As a pet owner, Calgary is the best city in North America to live in. I must agree with you, I don't find Calgary appealing to live in either. As someone who is originally from Saskatchewan, the prairies are too cold in the winter and Nova Scotia is more appealing (in my eyes anyway). No offence to those on the prairies, but the best thing about life is being able to choose. Where we live, what we do for a living, who we choose to have as friends, what breed of dog we want to own... oh wait a minute. 

Back to the grind of getting the ban repealed...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Altering animals comes with health risks

Information about the health risks surrounding altering animals is hitting the MSM.
Caveat had a post on this topic a while back.
MSNBC published an article entitled "Pet sterilization laws raise health concerns".
Here is an excerpt from the article. 

As legislators push for more mandatory spay and neuter laws for pets as young as 4 and 6 months in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted animals, critics are crying foul over research showing that such surgeries may raise certain health risks in dogs and therefore shouldn't be required.
Studies have shown that dogs that undergo spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutering (removal of the testicles) are at increased risks for certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues, such as aggression, that the surgeries are said to prevent.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Richard Stratton forwards a personal note

Author, (Lori's) comments first:

I must tell you, the very first book I bought about the American Pit Bull Terrier was a book called The Truth About The American Pit Bull Terrier. This book was published in 1991 and was the best selling breed book in 1994. 

When I first joined the DLCC, one of my initial tasks was speaking at the committee hearings about Bill 132. I used Mr. Stratton's book as reference many times in my 150 page submission.
In the post 'What is a Texas Red Nose', I posted an article by Richard Stratton which appeared in Bloodlines Journal 1975. I was in contact with our VP of the DLCC, Sandra Alway when writing this article. She knows Richard Stratton and contacted him directly. Both Sandra and Dick sent me thoughtful and heartfelt comments. 

Here is an introduction of Richard Stratton, by Sandra Alway.

I first met Dick at an ADBA Convention in 2001, the same year we were sanctioned as a club.  I had him sign a book for me and felt like a little kid going up to my idol.  He's was the sweetest man!!  And I started emailing with him back about then too.  I think it was 2005 when I got him to judge our show and if I remember correctly, he was 75 at that time so he'd be 78 now.  The Pres of the ADBA Kate was really worried about him and she said he was like her Grandpa so to be careful with him!  That old man never stopped surprising me over the weekend!  :-) 
 He got in the back seat of my truck so his wife Stephanie could sit in the front...she was ailing and a little bit unsteady on her feet.

Dick actually judged the afternoon show, gave a little speech wearing his funny bucket hat and judged 130 dogs before darkness fell.  He was up and down all day, down on one knee, crawling on the ground to get a better look at certain dogs...there was nothing "old" about the man in the ring!  Then we sat around dinner listening to him talk about all the people, the dogs, famous or not, he knew them all until well after 10pm.

And for Clyde and I, we got a really special treat.  Dick had a friend who was just a kid back in the 70's named Walt...he mentored under Walter Komosinski who died in 1988.  Komosinski is the bloodline we have.  Dick had asked if it was ok for Walt to come to the show and have dinner with us so we got to sit back and listen to stories about Komosinski and his dogs from both Dick and Walt.  It was a great day even if I didn't place in the show!  :-)  Just getting to have him out was the biggest treat!  And we still stay in touch with Walt.

He's (Dick) actually judging in BC this summer so it's good that he's still getting out and about.  That man will die in a show ring I swear and he'll be the happiest dead man.  


Here is the note from Richard Stratton;

Hi Sandra,

Good to hear from you.  I'm hopeful that the article you reprinted will help reinforce your point.  I would just emphasize that even the early breeders were never breeding for color.  They just took them as they came and didn't care what color they were as long as they were game.  But, with all that tight breeding, there was a slide toward the recessive colors--including the red noses.  When you got a dog that was generally acknowledged the best of his generation, such as Centipede, everyone bred their females to him, and their daughters, too, if they got the chance, so most of the true Old Family Red Nose dogs came from him or his brother Cyclone.
Best regards,

Sandra sent along a picture of one of her Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull club members Paul, and his two intact males with Dick.  The red dog (Attila) has some OFRN and the black dog is Samson.  This was Attila's very first first place ribbon and boy Paul was thrilled that Dick was the one to give it to him! 

Richard Stratton resides in California. To learn more about Dick or purchase any of his books that are still in print visit his website.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What is a Texas Red Nose?

Quote from Sandra Alway, President of the Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull Terrier Club and Vice President of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. Sandra has been involved in American Pit Bull Terriers for 20 yrs.

“One misguided person said he had a Texas Red Nose “pitbull” of which there is no such thing. Maybe a “pitbull” with a red nose that was from Texas. Never heard of a "strawberry- blonde/ reddish color to describe an APBT`s coat and I’ve been in this game for quite some time. I guess people can make up what they want to suit them or make an ordinary dog seem special or exotic”.

When people say they have a "red nose" they mean it as something important.  It's been going on for years and it goes way back to the Old Family Red Nose collection of bloodlines. Not one of the people who have ever said "I have a red nose" have a clue what OFRN Old Family Red Nose actually is, or means.  To them, it's something special...something the so called breeder told them was important and of course, worth more money! Not necessarily, and usually not referring to a registered purebred dog.

The red nose is just a dilute gene.  But people refer to it as a breed within a breed....neither of which actually exists.  "Texas Red Nose" is, in some people's mind, a specific breed of "pit bull" one more worthy than others. Therefore there is no such thing as a breed within a breed and no such thing as a purebred ‘pitbull’. Only the American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized as a breed of dog. All other terms are slang terms meant for a shape of a cross breed dog.

But yes, technically, it all comes down to genetics. Nothing more; nothing less.  The OFRN bloodlines now are almost extinct in a pure form...there are very few true OFRN dogs left out there. When the old breeders died, many of their bloodlines did too simply by diversifying and being bred to other bloodlines outside the OFRN groups.

The Old Family line of the Red Nose APBT is considered the beginning of this strain in the breed. The Old Family line has been traced back to Ireland where the dogs were bred for the red characteristics, including the red coat, nose and muzzle, red claws and reddish eyes, as well as temperament, size, strength and fighting prowess. The Red Nose APBT is the result of this specific breeding.

When Irish immigrants came to America, they brought their dogs and the Red Nose APBT was common among them. Some of these immigrants not only owned the dogs, but were breeders as well. So the Old Family line continued to grow. These were the ancestors of today's Red Nose APBT.

Why does the Red Nose APBT have the red traits? Well, the Old Family line was created by breeding somewhat closely related dogs to attain specific traits, one being the red color. The red color itself comes from the appearance of a recessive gene. When breeders desired this trait, they would breed one Red Nose APBT with another, many times creating other "reds" with the recessive traits. Over time, the recessive traits weeded out the dominant traits, and the recessive traits became most common.

The Red Nose APBT has a look that people either really love or really hate, but it is always appreciated for its strength, powerful build and formidable appearance, like the rest of the breed — no matter the color.

Written by Richard F. Stratton

* Appeared in the January-February, 1975 issue of Bloodlines Journal.
First, an overview. No one really knows when these dogs first came to this country, but the great breeder William J. Lightner once told me that his grandfather raised them before the Civil War. It is quite possible that they were even here during the Revolutionary War. In any case, it is clear that dogs of this breed came from various parts of Europe, specifically Spain and Sicily. But little is known about these earliest importations, because nothing was written about them. (Books and periodicals containing information about dogs were rare in those days.) Their existence can be inferred from artwork, however. The most famous importations were from Ireland, and were generally made by the Irish themselves after they emigrated to this country.(The bulk of the Irish pit dog importations coincides or closely follows the great Irish migration that resulted from the famous potato famine.) Most of the Irish dogs were small and very closely inbred, but their gameness was proverbial-especially that of the group of strains that was known as the Old Family. The following article I wrote on the Old Family Reds (just one segment of the Old Family bloodlines) is reprinted from Bloodlines Journal.
It has always seemed to me that the good old Pit Bull is a breed that is at once primitive and futuristic. He looks no more out of place in the ancient landscapes of 16th century paintings than he does in the ultra-modern setting. It is beyond my capabilities to imagine an end to him, for every generation seems to supply a nucleus of hard-core devotees completely committed to the breed. In any case, you can look into the murky past, and you will find it difficult to discern a beginning place for the breed, and, fortunately, the future seems to threaten no demise either.
Ours is a breed that has a definite mystique. Part of it, no doubt, stems from the fact that it is an old breed and deeply steeped in tradition. Old strains are a particularly fascinating part of this tradition, and the Old Family Red Nose is one of the better-known old strains.
The appearance of the red-nosed dogs always attracts attention, but it takes a little getting used to for some people to consider them truly beautiful. However, no one denies that they radiate "class." Characteristically, a dog of the red-nosed strain has a copper-red nose, red lips, red toenails, and red or amber eyes. Some think the strain was bred for looks. Others consider any dog that just happens to have a red nose to be pure Old Family Red Nose. It is hoped that the following will dispel such notions.
About the middle of the last century there was a family of pit dogs in Ireland bred and fought chiefly in the counties of Cork and Kerry that were known as the "Old Family." In those days, pedigrees were privately kept and jealously guarded. Purity of the strains was emphasized to the extent that breeders hardly recognized another strain as being the same breed. For that reason all the strains were closely inbred. And whenever you have a closed genetic pool of that type, you are likely to have a slide toward the recessive traits, because the dominants, once discarded, are never recaptured. Since red is recessive to all colors but white, the "Old Family" eventually became the "Old Family Reds." When the dogs began coming to America, many were already beginning to show the red nose.
The "Old Family" dogs found their way to America mainly via immigrants. For example, Jim Corcoran came to this country to fight the world heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, and stayed to become a Boston policeman. He sent for dogs from his parents back in Ireland, and his importations and expertise as a great breeder have earned him a prominent place in American (Pit) Bull Terrier history. Many other Irish immigrants also sent back to their families to request for dogs, and the "Old Family" and related strains became firmly established in the United States.
At this point, there are several factors that are somewhat confusing to a student of the breed. For one thing, the term "family dogs" was used in two ways: It could mean a strain of dogs that was a family unto itself that was kept by a number of unrelated people in Ireland, or it could refer to a strain of dogs that was kept and preserved through the years by a family group. However, the old Family Reds seem to be of the first category. Another point that arises is that with all these importations from Ireland (and there were importations from other countries, too-including Spain), where do we get off calling our breed the American Bull Terrier! Well. ..that's a point! The breed does not really belong to anyone country or even anyone era! However, I don't believe many people are in favor of changing the name of the breed even though it is not strictly an American breed. For that matter, it is not really a Bull Terrier, either! But the name American (Pit) Bull Terrier has become part of that tradition we were talking about, and I think most of us prefer to keep it as a formal name for the breed.
Back to the “Old Family Reds”. The first big splash made by the red noses was back around 1900 when the great breeder William J. Lightner, utilizing Old Family Red bloodlines, came up with some red-nosed dogs that really made a name for themselves. Now Lightner once told me that he did not breed for that red-nosed coloration. In fact, he did not even like it and he only put up with it because the individual dogs were of such high quality. Eventually Lightner gave up the red-nosed strain when he moved from Louisiana to Colorado, where he came up with a new strain that consisted of small dark-colored dogs with black noses. He had given up on the other strain because they were running too big for his taste and because he didn't like the red noses.
At this point in our story we come upon a comical, but highly-respected, figure in the personage of Dan McCoy. I have heard old-time dog men from all over the country talk about this man. Apparently, he was an itinerant fry cook and not much of a success in life judged by normal standards, but he didn't care about that. What he did care about were Pit Bulldogs, and he had a wealth of knowledge about the breed. His uncanny ability to make breedings that "clicked" made him a respected breeding consultant and a most welcome guest at any dog man's house-even if he had just dropped off a freight train!
Always with his ear to the ground regarding anything that involved APBT's, McCoy got wind of the fact that an old Frenchman in Louisiana by the name of Bourgeous had preserved the old Lightner red-nosed strain. So he and Bob Hemphill went to that area, and with the aid of Gaboon Trahan of Lafayette, they secured what was left of the dogs. McCoy took his share to the Panhandle of Texas and placed them with his associates L. C. Owens, Arthur Harvey and Buck Moon. He then played a principal role in directing the breedings that were made by these fanciers. And from this enclave came such celebrated dogs as Harvey's Red Devil and Owens (Fergusons) Centipede. Hemphill eventually kept only dogs of the red-nosed strain. According to Hemphill, it was McCoy who first started using the term "Old Family Red Nose" for the strain.
Another breeder who was almost synonymous with the red-nosed strain was Bob Wallace. However, Bob's basic bloodline was not pure Old Family Red Nose. But in the late 40's he was looking for the red-nosed strain in order to make an "outcross." (Bob was a scrupulously careful breeder who planned his breedings years in advance.) Unfortunately, he found that the strain was nearly gone, most of it having been ruined by careless breedings. He managed to obtain seven pure red-noses of high quality whose pedigrees he could authenticate. The strain was subsequently saved for posterity and in the 1950's became the fashionable strain in Pit Bull circles. In fact, it was Bob Wallace himself who wrote an article in 1953 called "There Is No Magic in Red Noses" in which he tried to put a damper on the overly enthusiastic claims being made by some of the admirers of the strain. No more fervent admirer of the Old Family Reds ever lived than Wallace, but he obviously felt that the strain could stand on its own merits.
Many strains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. Consequently, nearly any strain will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup. To many fanciers, these red-nosed individuals are Old Family Red Noses even though the great preponderance of their blood is that of other strains. Sometimes such individuals will fail to measure up and thereby reflect undeserved discredit on the red-nosed strain. However, as Wallace said, the red noses should not be considered invincible either. They produce their share of bad ones as well as good ones-just as all strains do.
As a strain, the Old Family Red Nose has several things going for it. First, it is renowned for its gameness. Second, some of the most reputable breeders in all Pit Bull history have contributed to the preservation and development of the strain. People like Lightner, McClintock. Menefee and Wallace, to mention just a few. Finally, as McNolty said in his 30-30 Journal (1967) "Regardless of one's historical perspective, these old amber-eyed, red-nosed, red-toe-nailed, red-coated dogs represent some of the most significant pit bull history and tradition that stands on four legs today."