AB 485 Pet Rescue & Adoption Act Passes Senate 38-0

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Party lines may be sharply divided regarding issues, but not when it comes to animals and their welfare. California Assembly Bill 485, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, passed the California State Senate by a vote of 38 to 0.
AB 485 K9s Only
With Assemblymember Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) signing on as a co-author and more Republicans voting in favor in both houses, the bill passed with bipartisan support. The bill’s supporters are hoping that Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the historic animal-welfare law into being when it lands on his desk.

AB 485 was authored by Assembly Members Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) and sponsored by animal advocacy group Social Compassion in Legislation. The bill is written to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits sourced from high-volume, commercial breeding facilities, known as mills, in all pet shops throughout the state. Stores that offer pets for sale will be required to source them from local shelters and rescues.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for their support on this critical measure and for defending the voiceless,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach). “AB 485 gives so many shelter animals the chance to find their forever homes, while simultaneously cutting off the outlet for puppy mill animals into our state.”

“Most Californians agree that we need to put the brakes on the mass breeding of animals who end up in local shelters, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for and eventually euthanize,” said Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton). “AB 485 will take the puppy mills out of pet stores and give shelter animals a better chance of being adopted.”
AB 485 K9s Only
The bill’s staunchest opponent is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), an organization that monitors legislation affecting pets and the pet industry. Its president, Mike Bober, said that pet owners will actually lose out with regard to rights and protections, among them requirements that allow owners to be reimbursed for ill or deceased pets, that veterinarians regularly examine dogs that enter California pet stores, and provide materials and on the benefits of spaying and neutering. Pets that are sold by retail are generally intact.

“Most of these protections have existed since 1996,” said Bober, whose group represents California pet stores.

However, the supporters are celebrating a victory for cats, dogs and rabbits.

“We are thrilled by the Senate’s vote today,” Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation and the bill’s sponsor. “AB 485 is a historic bill that will reduce the demand for high volume, cruelly bred dogs, cats and rabbits [and] will allow over half a million pets normally euthanized in our shelters annually a greater chance for adoption, and again show that California is a leader in animal welfare legislation.”

Dababneh called the bill an important step in ending the inhumane and deplorable breeding practices of puppy mills, and fostering increased adoption opportunities for pets at local shelters. “However, our work is not done yet,” he said.

The bill will now go to back briefly to the Assembly Floor for a concurrence vote on the amendments adopted in the Senate and then to Governor Brown’s desk for signature. Supporters are encouraged to email, write or fax Gov. Brown and ask for his signature on the bill. Contact information is as follows:

email: leg.unit@gov.ca.gov
U.S. Mail:
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: (916) 558-3160

Original Story: Kate Karp: Long Beach Post

Lonely Dogs’ Brains Shrink Due to ‘Bestial Boredom’, Scientist Warns

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K9s Only recently posted a blog about dog boredom leading to anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders. Here’s another article along the same lines. Scroll to the bottom for some solutions!

Stimulation for animals, like humans, is not a luxury but a necessity,’ says animal welfare expert Charlotte Burn, who has raised concerns over shrinking brains.

By: Greg Wilford The Independent

Pet owners may envy their pampered pooches lying around the house snoring and yawning with abandon, but now scientists have warned that bestial boredom could cause animals’ brains to shrink.

bored dogs wishing for K9s Only

Research has indicated that dogs become distressed by chronic boredom and can suffer adverse effects from a lack of stimulation. Cattle and animals in zoos can also suffer if they are kept in dull surroundings with little to interest them, it is claimed.

She told The Times: “They often yawn, bark, howl and whine. Some sleep a lot – a sign of apathy. Some of this is anxiety but often they are just really bored.

“Boredom has long been thought of as a solely human emotion but animals suffer from it too. Research shows that being kept in barren environments without stimulation damages the brain.

Bored dogs wishing for K9s Only Doggy Daycare

“Neurones die off if not stimulated, so the brains of such animals tend to be smaller with fewer synapses.”

Ms Burn said “wild and domesticated animals are at particular risk in captivity, which is often spatially and temporally monotonous” in her paper, which was published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

“Human prisoners describe boredom as a torment and a monster that takes them over,” she told The Times.


Your solution?

  1. Doggy Daycare at K9s Only. Socializing with other dogs is THE best solution for your bored pup!
  2. Enroll in a Obedience Group Class or Dog Training. Small amounts of work every day keeps your dogs mind engaged and active. A basic Obedience group class starts 9/9/17!
  3. Get outside! A quick walk around the block will make your pup SUPER happy and he’ll discover millions of scents to keep him busy.
  4. Go for a drive. Now that the weather is cooling (A bit) let you pup ride with you to pick up the kids from school or fill up on gas.
  5. Marrow (white bone) filled with peanut butter and frozen will keep your dogs engaged and interested in something other than sleeping.
  6. Dog puzzles or treat balls are great for food motivated dogs. Keeps them busy for hours.
 

Ask The Trainers: Thinking About Adopting Another Dog?

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Kate R. asks “I’m thinking about adopting another dog so my current one year old Terrier has company. Any suggestions on breed? Should I get the same type of dog and same sex? How about age?”

K9s Only Trainer Brent guides you through the process of determining which breed, age, sex and temperament would make the best companion for your existing fur baby. If you are thinking of adding another dog to your home, watch this video for great tips on choosing the right dog!

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS! Email kelly@K9sOnly.com and SUBSCRIBE. New Ask The Trainers Videos monthly.

Is Rawhide Bad For My Dog?

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Many Clients ask “Is rawhide bad for my dog?” Rawhide chews are a popular treat for dogs. You might have heard that rawhide is good for your dog’s teeth and helps with his natural instinct to chew. But are there any MANY drawbacks to giving your dog rawhide treats and there are fantastic alternatives that work just as well, and are a lot safer for your dog. Here’s what you need to know.

say no to Rawhide -K9s Only

1. What are rawhide dog treats made of?

Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. During manufacturing, the hides are cleaned and cut or ground. Then they’re pressed into chewable dog treats of different shapes and sizes. To make them more appealing for dogs, some rawhide treats contain beef, chicken, or liver flavorings.

2. What are the benefits of chew treats?

All dogs need to chew. It’s a natural instinct. Some even spend hours chewing every day. Chewing can provide your dog stimulation and help relieve anxiety. Especially with puppies, chew treats are a great substitute for your leather shoes and the legs of the dining room table! But, there are other options. Read on.

Chewing also keeps dogs’ jaws strong, teeth clean, and breath a bit fresher. Dogs that chew regularly on rawhides and other bones or toys have less plaque and tartar build-up on teeth.

3. Are there risks associated with rawhide dog treats?

Risks can be serious, so don’t ignore them. These are the most common rawhide risks:

  • Contamination. As with pet toys, rawhide chews can contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals. And, as with other pet (or human) foods, Salmonella or E. coli contamination is possible. Even humans can be at risk when coming into contact with these bacteria on rawhide treats.
  • Digestive irritation. Some dogs are simply sensitive or allergic to rawhide or other substances used in their manufacture. This can cause problems, including diarrhea.
  • Choking or blockages. Rawhide bones and other edible chews can pose a choking and blockage risk. In fact, this is a much bigger risk than contamination or digestive irritation. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Depending on its size and where it is located, a vet may be able to remove these pieces fairly easily through the throat. But sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.

Watch for signs of bacterial contamination, gastric irritation, or a blockage. Contact your veterinarian if your dog has signs such as:

  • Gagging
  • Regurgitation
  • Repeated swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, with or without blood
  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Signs of pain
  • Refusal to eat or weight loss

At K9s Only, we believe the con’s outweigh the pros on rawhide and in fact, we don’t allow them in our store or even when clients bring them for their dogs staying at our hotel. Here is a better chew option that have the benefits of rawhide but without the risk, as well as being dishwasher safe and reusable! A win win!

White bone filled with peanut butter and frozen. 

The white bones are available at K9s Only Tarzana and West LA locations!

Source: pets.webmd.com

Canine Influenza Out Break in San Gabriel Valley

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K9s Only takes the highest precautions to prevent the spread of disease in our facilities. All guests are required to be up to date on DHLPP, Bordetella and Rabies vaccines. While the Department of LA Animal Services requires only a yearly Bordetella vaccine, we recommend that K9s Only clients receive the vaccine every six months. Clients that are not current on vaccines are not allowed entry until their vaccines are up to date. Additionally, all bowls and water buckets are sanitized after each meal and water buckets daily. Our dog rooms and suites, hallways, play yards and toys are scrubbed and sanitized daily. Though this canine influenza outbreak is currently located in the San Gabriel Valley, we highly recommend that dogs get vaccinated against H3N2. Here is a LINK for Low Cost Vaccine Clinics in your area. Vaccinating does not guarantee that your dog will not get kennel cough or influenza, but it does help prevent the disease and if contracted, vaccinated dogs symptoms are less severe than those not vaccinated. See LA Animal Service press release below.

Canine Influenza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Sara Ebrahimi, (213) 482-9551 or sara.ebrahimi@lacity.org
Canine Influenza Alert
Local dog in San Gabriel Valley infected
Los Angeles, August 15, 2017 – LA County Veterinary Public Health reported that a dog living in the San Gabriel Valley tested positive for canine influenza H3N2. The dog developed a cough on July 29 after boarding at a kennel in the San Gabriel Valley. Efforts to contain the disease are underway after learning from the boarding facility that at least 11 other dogs developed coughs after being at the facility during the last half of July.
The source of this outbreak is currently unknown. Considering the spread of infection elsewhere in the nation and the continued import of dogs from Asia, there is a risk that this virus will be repeatedly introduced into the area.
Veterinary Public Health recommends that dogs that interact with other dogs should be vaccinated against canine influenza.
“If owners suspect their dog is infected, they should immediately seek veterinary medical attention and keep their pups away from other dogs,” said Dr. Jeremy Prupas, LA Animal Services Chief Veterinarian. “This virus has the potential to spread quickly and could reach our shelter population. At this time, we are not seeing any indication that the virus has entered any of our shelters.”
LA Animal Services is vaccinating dogs against canine influenza as part of our protocol upon admission. We are doing this to decrease the severity should an outbreak occur in our community.
The keys to preventing the spread of canine influenza H3N2 virus include:
  • Vaccination against canine influenza (requires two vaccinations, two to four weeks apart).
  • Isolation of sick animals for at least 30 days.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection in pet boarding facilities, grooming salons and veterinary practices, with written protocols and policies for maintaining infection control.
  • Frequent hand washing by animal owners and handlers.
  • Not sharing equipment or toys between healthy and sick animals.
Canine influenza H3N2 is a highly contagious upper respiratory viral disease in dogs. The majority of infected dogs exhibit a cough that persists for 10 to 21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants. Affected dogs may have a soft, moist cough or a dry cough similar to that induced by kennel cough. Nasal and/or ocular discharge, sneezing, lethargy and anorexia may also be observed. Many dogs develop a purulent nasal discharge and fever (104 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit). A small percentage of infected dogs may develop a severe pneumonia and require extensive hospitalization.
The virus is spread via coughing, barking and sneezing, as well as contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes). The virus can remain alive and able to infect other animals on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.
Information about Los Angeles County cases of canine influenza H3N2 are available on LA Veterinary Public Health website and will be updated as reports are received: publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/InfluenzaCanineH3N2.htm.

Questions? Email us at info@k9sonly.com or call West LA: 310-479-5600 Tarzana 818-344-9663

Dogs Getting Board Can Lead To Anxiety, Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

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We found this following article written by Barbara J. King with NPR and felt it important to share. Though we are very familiar with the dog boredom problem that faces many K9s, many people don’t think about what their dog is doing while they are at work. K9s Only clients have come to us searching for solutions, and often times, a couple days of daycare per week provides the needed stimulus to keep their dog from depression, anxiety and destruction of property. Check out Barbara’s article below and tell us what you think!

Dogs And Pigs Get Bored, Too

August 10, 2017

Think about the last time you were bored — seriously and persistently bored.

Dog Boredom
K9s Only Doggy Daycare Is Your Solution.

Maybe you had to carry out some mind-numbing repetitive task for hours on end, or maybe you were just trapped at the airport or train station, waiting out a lengthy delay without a good conversational partner, book, or movie. You look at a clock and it seems to move at a surreal, glacial pace.

Charlotte C. Burn, a biologist at The Royal Veterinary College of the University of London, captures that feeling in her definition of boredom:

“Boredom is an unpleasant emotion including suboptimal arousal levels and a thwarted motivation to experience almost anything different or more arousing than the behaviors and sensations currently possible. It arises when we perceive that there is ‘nothing to do’ or are ‘tired of doing the same thing’, and is accompanied by a sense of time dragging.”

This definition comes from Burn’s essay in the August issue of Animal Behaviour, where she explains that far from being a uniquely human emotion, boredom is felt by many animals ranging from farmed pigs to companion dogs that may be left alone at home for long periods.

In an email to me, Burn describes how her own observations helped her start to develop this argument:

“I was personally struck by it when I did some work with lab rats at the same time as having pet rats and observing wild rats near my home. The huge contrast in stimulation, cognitive requirement and behavioral possibilities between them was impossible to ignore.

Even though my lab rats had as much enrichment as I could fit in their cage, they just had almost nothing to do, every day was the same, they had no ‘life story’ and nothing to learn or decide about.”

Animals, of course, can’t tell us in words about their inner states. One thing I especially like about Burn’s perspective is her way of distinguishing between animal boredom, on the one hand, and apathy or depression on the other. “Boredom occurs when arousal inputs are low, but arousal motivation is high,” she writes in Animal Behaviour. Bored animals seek out ways to become unbored, whereas animals who are depressed often can’t summon the will to seek out alternatives.

To some degree and in some situations, boredom may be adaptive. Boredom might motivate young animals to seek out stimulation that helps them learn about their world.

It might, too, “spark creativity and innovation in animals,” a statement that reminded me of reading about the fantastically creative orangutan Wattana, who tied knots and created weavings through the use of strings, laces, satin ribbons, rubber bands, wool and other materials at the Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

It may not, then, be the species thought to be more intelligent that we should worry about most when it comes to boredom. Burns says:

“More intelligent species may be able to come up with ‘creative’ solutions to their relatively limited environments, such as the playfulness and tool use we sometimes see only in captivity. Also, perhaps almost any animal can get bored if it has nothing relevant to do and all its other needs are fulfilled. I’m thinking here of, say, grazing animals who are fed concentrated food — they’d be happy grazing all day, but now they are not hungry, what else can they fill their time with?”

If animals — no matter their smartness quotient — are forced to endure boredom for a long time, seriously negative consequences may accrue. Marymount University psychologist Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, who has carried out research on trauma in chimpanzees rescued from biomedical laboratories, put it this way, via email:

“Boredom in captivity can absolutely lead to depression. Many animals in captivity engage in abnormal, repetitive behaviors, like pacing and self-biting, in an attempt to self-stimulate in the absence of social, cognitive, or environmental stimulation.

These behaviors are seen in a variety of species, including primates, elephants, dogs, and large cats, in different captive environments, suggesting they are generalized coping mechanisms for stress and boredom.”

When environments are extremely restrictive, even sterile, as in some laboratories, Lopresti-Goodman says, the harm may be the greatest. Animals may pull their own hair or bang their heads against their cages: “In nonhuman primates, for example,” she says, “these behaviors have been equated with symptoms of psychopathology, including generalized anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

dog boredom
Photo: Tracy Rosen

Burn’s comment that environmental enrichment for her lab rats just wasn’t enough is significant. For some animals in some captive contexts, it’s extremely challenging, if at all possible, to give them mental stimulation even remotely approaching what they would experience if allowed their freedom. As the work of Canadian photographer and activist Jo-Anne McArthur powerfully conveys, I think, the notion that enrichment for zoo animals is either ubiquitous or adequate is naïve.

We need to look inward, too — at our own homes. “As for the pets we live with,” Burn says, “this is all a reminder that even if animals are healthy and loved, they can still suffer — and perhaps REALLY suffer — from sameness and lack of stimulation.” Taking measures to combat boredom in our animal companions may range from giving them extra time, attention and toys to offering them food puzzles on a regular basis.

As Burn writes in Animal Behaviour, boredom “is potentially a severe and highly prevalent animal welfare issue neglected too long.”


Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals, and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara’s new book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We EatYou can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

National Book Lovers Day

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August 9th is National Book Lovers Day. What are your reading?

Observed each year on August 9, (and sometimes on the first Saturday in November) bibliophiles get to celebrate on National Book Lovers Day!

national book lovers day k9s only
Photo: Philip Bum

 

A day for all those who love to read, National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and read the day away.

For the dogs lovers amongst us, here a list of some great books about dogs that you should stick on your reading list!

WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS: Wilson Rawls

National Book Lovers Day

EDGAR SAWTELLE: David Wroblewski

National Book Lovers Day

CALL OF THE WILD: Jack London

National Book Lovers Day

FOR THE LOVE OF A DOG: Patricia McConnell

National Book Lovers Day

LASSIE: Eric Knight

National Book Lovers Day

A DOG’S PURPOSE: W. Bruce Cameron

National Book Lovers Day

OLD YELLER: Fred Gipson

National Book Lovers Day

HARRY THE DIRTY DOG: Gene Zion

National Book Lovers Day

Hope some of these titles peak your interest! Our favorites are all listed! Hope you enjoy! Have a dog themed book you’d like to add to our list? Email K9s Only at info@k9sonly.com or post on our FaceBook page! #NationalBookLoversDay

Canines Helping Out In The Courtroom

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A growing number of courts across the U.S. are allowing specially trained dogs to accompany child abuse victims and other vulnerable people on the witness stand.

Original article: By Jenni Bergal

Child abuse victims often are frightened and intimidated if they have to testify about their experience in a courtroom. So a growing number of courts across the country are allowing specially trained dogs to accompany them — and other vulnerable people — on the witness stand to help calm them and ease the process.

Sometimes dubbed “courthouse facility dogs,” these canines lie quietly in the witness box, offering a supportive presence that helps victims and witnesses compose themselves and tell a jury what happened.

A boy and his dog

“Sometimes they need the leash in their hand. Sometimes they need the dog touching their feet. Sometimes they just need to see the dog,” said Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton of Kitsap County, Washington. In her courtroom, a yellow Labrador named Kerris has been deployed numerous times to help witnesses, often children who have been sexually or physically abused and would have a tough time testifying.

Supporters say the dogs, often Labradors, golden retrievers, or a mix of both, have made a huge difference in helping children and vulnerable adult victims and witnesses open up on the stand.

But some defense attorneys say having a friendly, sweet-looking canine in the witness box can prejudice a jury against a defendant by making the witness appear more believable and sympathetic.

Courthouse facility dogs are placed with handlers who are usually prosecutors, investigators or victim advocates. In some jurisdictions, the dogs aren’t used during trials but provide support when victims or witnesses are interviewed or deposed. Some also help out offenders in juvenile, drug and veterans courts.

A courtroom dog was used to help Mississippi child abuse victims as far back as the mid-1990s, but in recent years the practice has taken off across the country. Today, at least 144 courthouse facility dogs work in about three dozen states, from Hawaii to Massachusetts. At least a third of the dogs have assisted in the courtroom, said Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, founder of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the use of professionally trained facility dogs during legal proceedings.

In many states, judges decide on a case-by-case basis whether the dogs can be used in court. But at least seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois and Oklahoma — have some type of law allowing courtroom canines to help people on the witness stand, according to Deborah Smith, a senior analyst for the National Center for State Courts. (Maryland lawmakers have approved pilot programs in two counties, but they have not started yet.)

In many states, judges decide on a case-by-case basis whether the dogs can be used in court.

State laws vary as to who can be helped by a canine in a courtroom and under what circumstances. Some laws apply only to children; others include crime victims or vulnerable adults such as those who are intellectually or developmentally disabled. Most specify that the dogs must be graduates of certified assistance dog organizations.

In Idaho, Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill into law in March that will allow facility dogs to remain with children on the witness stand in criminal matters and noncriminal cases involving child abuse or neglect, unless a judge finds it would prejudice a defendant’s constitutional rights.

“It’s not an easy situation for a child to testify against someone that might be their parent or family member,” said Idaho Republican state Sen. Shawn Keough, who sponsored the measure, which goes into effect in July. “To allow a facility dog at the witness stand seemed like a humane thing to do.”

Training Facility Dogs

O’Neill-Stephens, a former prosecutor in King County in Seattle, got the first trained facility dogs into courtrooms there almost by accident more than a decade ago.

Her oldest child, who was born with cerebral palsy, had a service dog, Jeeter, who O’Neill-Stephens started taking to juvenile drug court to help teens who came from dysfunctional families and had emotional problems. Then she began getting requests for the dog to help sexually abused children who had to testify in court.

As the demand grew, she created a more formal program, and in 2004, Ellie, a Labrador mix, became the first professionally trained facility dog in the country to work in a prosecutor’s office. The idea was for the canines to be graduates of assistance dog programs and for the handlers to be prosecutors, victim advocates or police officers.

Similar to police dogs, facility dogs live with their handlers, who undergo up to two weeks of training. While the canine has already been trained and is certified not to be disruptive in a public setting, the handler needs to learn how to get the dog to perform as needed.

O’Neill-Stephens said most of the nonprofit assistance dog organizations that train the dogs and their handlers do it for free. The others charge fees ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, she said.

Prejudicing the Jury?

While the number of courtrooms that allow facility dogs in the witness box has grown, the practice is causing concern among some defense attorneys, said Smith, of the state courts center.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers declined to comment about the use of dogs in the courtroom.

But Smith said some defense attorneys worry that the dog’s presence might make a victim or witness seem more credible to the jury, and hurt the defendant’s case. “The dog gives a sense that the child is now comfortable enough to tell the truth,” she said. “It gives a leg up to the witness as far as veracity.”

But Smith said that defendants who have appealed a guilty conviction and argued that the dog’s presence prejudiced the jury have not won any of those cases.

John Ensminger, an attorney who has written about legal issues involving working dogs, said defense lawyers have reason to be worried about allowing facility dogs in witness boxes — and he doesn’t think they object enough to the practice.

“Nobody knows how juries will be influenced by this,” he said. “It may be that if you get enough ‘dog people’ on a jury, you’re going to increase your chances of conviction.”

Ensminger said independent research is needed to determine whether having a canine in the witness box can alter a jury’s perceptions.

Dalton, the Washington state judge, said she doubts facility dogs have a prejudicial impact. Instead, she said, a dog’s calming effect on child witnesses sometimes can end up helping a defendant.

“I’ve seen jurors visibly impacted by kids so stressed on the witness stand that they start crying or shut down. Jurors look like they want to leap over the jury box and cuddle that kid,” Dalton said. “So having the dog there helps everybody on both sides.”

Courtroom Dog Rules

In the legal world of courts and dogs, the terms used to describe different categories of canines can be confusing.

In general, facility dogs are working animals that help people in the legal system and other institutional settings. They often receive training similar to service dogs, which are trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability such as blindness. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disabled person has the right to be accompanied by a service dog in most public places, including courthouses.

Therapy dogs, which have received less training and often are brought to hospitals and nursing homes, also have been used to provide support to victims and witnesses during interviews and testimony in some courtrooms. Occasionally, so have comfort animals, untrained companion dogs that provide emotional support to owners who may have anxiety or other mental disorders.

Judges who agree to allow a dog in the witness box can place limitations on its use. Some don’t want the jury to be able to see the dog, so they may send jurors out, have the dog enter the witness box and lie down, and then have the jury return. Some put up a shield so the jurors can’t see the dog. Some announce the dog’s presence; some don’t.

O’Neill-Stephens said her group thinks it’s important for judges to let jurors know there’s a dog present whether they can see it or not.

“The dogs often fall asleep and can start snoring. Some start dreaming and whimpering,” she said. “Jurors won’t know where it’s coming from.”

While facility dogs often are used to help victims testify, sometimes they assist witnesses to crimes.

That’s what happened in Anderson County, South Carolina, where a 38-year-old developmentally disabled woman saw a man breaking into a house across the street. Inside, he murdered his stepfather and stabbed his mother. He was sentenced last August to life in prison.

The woman was called to testify but was uncomfortable speaking in public and terrified of the defendant, who was representing himself and would be personally cross-examining her, said Assistant Solicitor Chelsey Moore. So Roma, a facility dog assigned to the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, accompanied her on the stand, relaxing her and allowing her to testify, Moore said.

“The dog helped this woman very much,” said Moore, who is the canine’s handler. “In fact, she still comes back to visit Roma.”


Interested in having your dog learn to be a therapy or support dog? K9s Only offer Therapy dog training which includes the Canine Good Citizen test. For more info, call 310-479-5600 (West LA) or 818-344-9663 (Tarzana) or CLICK HERE to have a trainer contact you.

Dog Walking Could Be Key to Ensuring Activity in Later Life

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A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study used data from the EPIC Norfolk cohort study, which is tracking the health and wellbeing of thousands of residents of the English county of Norfolk.

The researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) at the University of Cambridge found that owning or walking a dog was one of the most effective ways to beat the usual decline in later-life activity, even combatting the effects of bad weather.

Dog Walking is good for you at K9s Only
Photo:Kevin Burkett

Dog owners were sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, on average.

More than 3000 older-adults participating in the study were asked if they owned a dog and if they walked one. They also wore an accelerometer, a small electronic device that constantly measured their physical activity level over a seven-day period.

As bad weather and short days are known to be one of the biggest barriers to staying active outdoors, the researchers linked this data to the weather conditions experienced and sunrise and sunset times on each day of the study.

Lead author of the paper, Dr Yu-Tzu Wu, said “We know that physical activity levels decline as we age, but we’re less sure about the most effective things we can do to help people maintain their activity as they get older.

“We found that dog walkers were much more physically active and spent less time sitting overall. We expected this, but when we looked at how the amount of physical activity participants undertook each day varied by weather conditions, we were really surprised at the size of the differences between those who walked dogs and the rest of the study participants.”

Photo: MarkScottAustinTX

The team found that on shorter days and those that were colder and wetter, all participants tended to be less physically active and spent more time sitting. Yet dog walkers were much less impacted by these poor conditions.

Project lead Prof Andy Jones said: “We were amazed to find that dog walkers were on average more physically active and spent less time sitting on the coldest, wettest, and darkest days than non-dog owners were on long, sunny, and warm summer days. The size of the difference we observed between these groups was much larger than we typically find for interventions such as group physical activity sessions that are often used to help people remain active.”

The researchers caution against recommending everyone owns a dog, as not everyone is able to look after a pet, but they suggest these findings point to new directions for programmes to support activity.

Prof Jones said: “Physical activity interventions typically try and support people to be active by focussing on the benefits to themselves, but dog walking is also driven by the needs of the animal. Being driven by something other than our own needs might be a really potent motivator and we need to find ways of tapping into it when designing exercise interventions in the future.”

‘Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort’ is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Story Source:

University of East Anglia. “Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170724211648.htm>.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yu-Tzu Wu, Robert Luben, Andy Jones. Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohortJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health, July 2017 DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-208987

Ask The Trainers: “Should I Train My Perfect Puppy?”

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In this episode of Ask The Trainers, K9s Only Trainer Brent LaBrada answers Kelly S. question about whether or not she should train her “perfect” puppy. Brent discusses why setting a good foundation is important to give your puppy a good “Childhood” in addition to the dog training preventative approach VS. reparative approach. Have a question you’d like our trainers to answer? Email your question to: Kelly@K9sOnly.com

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