DREAM Dachshund Rescue

I am amazed every day by the capacity of dogs to love and forgive the human race. I hope to give people a better understanding of what rescue is and why rescue is needed. The road is heartbreaking and frustrating. I meet so many dogs with such sad histories. And then I see them turn themselves around, with love and stability, and I think this is the happiest road there is, as well as the saddest. For the doggies, always the doggies. www.dreamdachsierescue.org

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Luke the down dachshund speaks for himself

This is Luke. My foster mom is really busy, so I told her I'd write the blog for this week. I thought I'd tell you about a typical day for me. In the mornings, I can hear my foster mom's alarm clock going off in the bedroom. Luckily, she's a snoozer so I don't have to crawl out from under the covers just yet. I can stay burrowed under them in my crate until I hear her really get out of bed. When I hear that bedroom door open, I pop my head out from under the blankets! She sings out, "Good morning, Luke," and I kind of hop up and down in return. She gets me out of my crate and takes me into the bathroom, where she squeezes my bladder so I can pee, and holds me over the toilet while I poop. I usually yawn and give her a little kiss when I have the chance. All of that takes about 20 seconds, and sometimes I think she is still asleep when she's doing it. Then she puts me down, and I go into the bedroom where I can climb up the ramp and get into bed (that's my special morning treat, to nap in the bed while she gets dressed for work). Now that I'm walking, I can climb the ramp all by myself, and I am very proud.

Pretty soon after that, I listen very carefully from the bedroom when I hear my foster mom go into the kitchen. Sometimes she feeds me before she goes to work, and other days my foster dad feeds me a little later. If I hear the metal can with the food open, I fly down the ramp and through the house to the kitchen, because it is really important that I am there to cheer them on when they are scooping out the food. They give me my bowl (they put some water on my food to make sure I drink enough) and I eat as fast as I can so I can check out the other dogs' bowls when they finish. My foster mom gives me another squeeze before she goes to work. I know that I can't go with her to work (even though I type very well), so I don't follow her to the door in the morning. Most mornings I decide that is time for a NAP! I climb back up the ramp and snooze in the big bed for most of the day. If there is a new stuffed animal around, I might rip it up to get the squeak out. Those squeaks are a menace to society and it is my job to make sure they are disposed of with great dispatch and enthusiasm. Otherwise I get under the covers.

My foster dad is waiting for his new job to start, so he's working around the house right now. Still, I sleep most of the day. I have to be ready for whatever happens in the afternoons and evenings.

When my foster mom gets home in the afternoon, I am at the door to greet her - I know what her car sounds like. I spin around in circles on the floor until she picks me up. She lets the other dogs outside and gives my bladder a squeeze in the bathroom. Then we usually hang out for a while. She sits at the computer in the dining room and makes all kinds of comments that I don't understand, about dachshunds in shelters, organizing transports, euthanization, spay and neuter, and puppy mills. Sometimes she cries. When that happens, I go sit on her feet. Sometimes she calls people for references who want to adopt one of DREAM's dachshunds, and she always sounds really happy when that goes well.

If she decides to go out in the afternoon, I know there is a chance I get to go too, so I make sure I keep an eye on the door. If I see her start to put her shoes on, pick up her purse, or get her keys, I do my spin around in circles thing. Often that trick works - she will take me with her. Some days I go swimming with my therapist. Other days I get to go to the pool and watch my foster brother do his swim therapy, but I don't actually swim myself. Those are my favorite days because I get to show off to the people sitting around the pool with their dogs. They all cheer for me when they see me run around the pool, because they knew me before I learned how to walk again. My foster brother Jack ruptured a disc too, just like me, and we are all hoping that one day he will walk again, like I have learned to do. I really like to go to the pool and see the other dogs swim, because the people there say I am an inspiration and they let me get away with all kinds of show-offy behavior that I can't do at home. I like to bark at Jack from the sidelines and tell him what he isn't doing right.

Other evenings, people come over to our house to eat dinner in the back yard. My foster dad likes to cook on the grill. I love those days, because everybody sits outside together, and I can run to the fence to bark if anyone walks by with their dogs in the neighborhood. Even though I can't fully use my back legs like other dogs do, I CAN run and I have learned all kinds of little tricks to help me get around really fast! I can even jump up the 2 steps from the back yard into the house.

At night is my favorite time. Most evenings, my foster mom and dad watch a movie and I get to cuddle with them and the other dogs. I am a champion snuggler. I get to stay in the bed until lights out. I follow my foster mom back out to the bathroom when it's time for bed, so she can give my bladder a last squeeze. Then I follow her to the dining room, where my crate and my blankie are. She gives me a little treat and a chewie, and I hop right into the crate to enjoy them. If they leave the bedroom door open, I can see that mom & dad are still awake, and I will bark because I do not like to miss anything. But if they remember to close the door, I go right to sleep like a good boy. I know that the next morning I will get to do all my favorite things again.
I am really happy in my foster home, but one day I know that I will be adopted by someone who isn't afraid of expressing my bladder. Then I might get to cuddle and sleep in the big bed every night. My foster mom says that I am ready, and what she says, goes. I love her very much, and I know that she gave me another chance at life when my first family couldn't take care of me when I was hurt. But I am ready for my real life to start, and I know it will contain lots of love, snuggles, stuffed toys, blankies, chewies, and everything else a dachshund needs. People don't have any reason to be afraid of my disabilities, because I can teach anyone how to adjust for them. It isn't hard at all, and I promise to reward you with more love than you have ever known.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Georgia Shelters still using Gas to euthanize, with Dept of Ag support

It's hard to believe, but some Georgia shelters still use gas to euthanize groups of dogs. Although new shelters cannot do so, an old shelter with a gas chamber got a "grandfather" exception. In March, this was supposed to be stopped. Gas euthanization is an extremely cruel practice, with dogs panicking and sometimes attacking each other in their last moments. The below is the case file (I removed some of the legal case reference numbers and such for easier reading). See Georgia Legal Professionals for Animals for more details.
www.georgialpa.org. And I hope you'll let our Department of Ag Commissioner, Tommy Irvin, know what you think. It is bad enough that we euthanize so many animals. Do they also have to endure terror, pain, and attacks while it is happening? And while our state legislature has been abundantly clear on their feelings, the Department of Ag circumvents them?
I am in shock that Cobb County is doing this. I thought it was only poor, rural counties.

Report on the status of Chesley V. Morton and Jennifer Robinson v. State of Georgia Department of Agriculture and Tommy Irvin, in his Official Capacity as Commissioner, In the Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia, Family Division

On March 26, 2007, the Honorable Cynthia D. Wright executed an interlocutory order. The Order noted that in 1990, the Georgia General Assembly enacted a law that specified that sodium pentobarbital was the exclusive method of euthanasia of dogs and cats in animal shelters, with certain exceptions. The exceptions included shelters in counties of less than 25,000, dangerous animals, and gas chambers in use as of July 1, 1990 provided that the shelter filed their notice of exemption with the Department of Agriculture by August 1, 1990.

The Department of Agriculture is the exclusive agency to inspect and license animal shelters, including insuring compliance with the euthanasia provisions of the law. While the Commissioner contended that the 1990 law was unclear, Judge Wright held that “[t]he legislature could not have been more clear in prohibiting euthanasia using gas chambers for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens except in very limited circumstances." The Court also noted that at the hearing “[i]t was abundantly clear…that the Commissioner and the Department employees have virtually ignored the clear statutory mandate.”
On March 26, 2007, after the submission of extensive evidence, the Court ultimately issued an interlocutory injunction “enjoining and restraining the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture and employees of the Department of Agriculture from advocating and sanctioning violation of O.C.G.A. §4-11-5.1 by state-licensed animal shelters.”
Current Status of the Case
Both parties engaged in extensive briefing regarding and leading up to the injunction. More importantly, on June 6, 2007, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Contempt, claiming that “Defendants have intentionally violated the Court’s Order and attempted by their conduct to circumvent the effect of the Order.”
The Brief in Support of the Motion for Contempt contends that the Cobb County Animal Shelter has been operating a gas chamber in direct violation of the Humane Euthanasia Act for the last twelve years. The Department of Agriculture received complaints about Cobb County Animal Shelter’s allegedly unlawful conduct after the Order was issued.
An April 25, 2007, letter from Leana Stormont of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”), asking the Department of Agriculture to “undertake appropriate investigative and enforcement action to ensure swift compliance with the law” is attached to the Brief in Support of the Motion to Compel. John Hennelly, Senior Assistant Attorney General, responded on April 30, 2007, requesting that correspondence be directed to his attention and noting that the Order was “aimed at maintaining the status quo,” and that “the effect of the order is to prohibit, rather than compel, action.” This letter is also attached to the Brief in Support of the Motion for Contempt. Ms. Stormont replied in a May 10, 2007, letter, requesting certain public records related to the Cobb County Animal Control facility and noting that PETA interprets the Order as an “expectation that the Department will take some action in response to violations of which it is made aware” and that it “prohibits the Department from standing idly by and acquiescing when violations are brought to its attention…” The letter is also attached as an exhibit to the Brief in Support of the Motion for Contempt.
On May 25, 2007, the Department of Agriculture sent an inspector to the Cobb County Animal Shelter. The inspector gave the Cobb County Animal Shelter a passing grade for its euthanasia program, and the inspection report did not address the facility’s use of a gas chamber. The Department of Agriculture responded to PETA’s Open Records Act request that afternoon, enclosing the inspection report.
Plaintiffs argue that the Defendants are in violation of the Order and thus, should be found in contempt. They request that the court “fashion a remedy that compels Defendants to follow the Order…and prevents the harm that has been caused by Defendants’ attempts to both violate the Court’s decision and provide a shield for the illegal gassing of dogs and cats occurring in Cobb County on a daily basis.” Brief in Support of Motion for Contempt, p. 6. Plaintiffs seek that the Court “compel Defendants to undertake enforcement activities with respect to the illegal gassing that is ongoing at the Cobb County shelter, and to award Plaintiffs the costs of filing and preparing [the Motion for Contempt].”
Defendants have not yet responded to the Motion for Contempt, nor has the Court issued any ruling.

Evidence at the hearing even showed that Commissioner Irvin personally encouraged shelters to build new gas chambers, which the Court noted was “a clear violation of the law.”

Cobb County’s gas chamber was first purchased in 1995, arguably making its use a violation of the statute, which only allows continued use of a specific gas chamber if it was in use prior to July 1, 1990. Cobb County contends that they were merely continuing use of a gas chamber after moving to a new location, an act it contends is consistent with the law. See Exhibit B to Brief in Support of Motion for Contempt.