Sample  chapter  from  No  Shelter  Here:  Making  the  World  a  Kinder  Place  for  Dogs  by   Rob

 Laidlaw    

Bad  Jobs  for  Dogs  
 

Working  Nine  to  Five  

Dogs  have  had  jobs  since  they  first  started  living  with  humans.  A  long  time  ago,  dogs   that  probably  hung  around  humans  for  scraps  of  food  could  have  been  guards  that   barked  when  danger  approached.  Dogs  also  helped  with  hunting  and,  when  humans   started  to  raise  animals,  they  worked  as  herders  or  livestock  guardians.     Today  they  work  as  sniffer  dogs  in  airports,  looking  for  drugs  and  explosives;  search   and  rescue  dogs  find  people  buried  in  avalanches;  and  cadaver  dogs  find  human   remains  in  disaster  zones.  Therapy  dogs  visit  hospitals  where  they  cheer  up   patients,  while  service  dogs  assist  blind,  deaf,  and  disabled  people.  Karelian  bear   dogs  help  prevent  human-­‐bear  conflicts,  and  herding  dogs  still  work  throughout  the   world.     Many  dogs  probably  enjoy  doing  their  jobs  as  long  as  they’re  treated  kindly  and   have  all  their  needs  met.  But  that’s  not  always  the  case.     [Sidebar:  LONG-­TIME  COMPANIONS  Dogs  have  been  around  people  for  a   very  long  time.  Prehistoric  dog  skulls  have  been  found  in  caves  that  were  used   by  humans  30,000  years  ago.  Human  and  dog  bones  were  found  in  a  14,000-­‐ year-­‐old  burial  site  in  Germany,  and  a  dog  burial  took  place  in  Danger  Cave  in   the  United  States  about  11,000  years  ago.]    

Fragile  Athletes  

At  full  speed,  their  muscles  ripple  and  they  seem  to  glide  across  the  ground,  defying   gravity  in  the  process.  Greyhound  racing  may  be  fun  for  the  spectators  who  watch,   but  dog  protection  groups  say  it’s  not  fun  for  the  dogs  and  can  even  be  dangerous.     Greyhounds  have  been  bred  to  run  fast.  They  can  reach  65  km/hr  (40  mph)  in  just  a   few  seconds,  but  they’re  vulnerable  to  injuries.  Running  around  a  track  at  top  speed   puts  a  lot  of  stress  on  the  dogs,  and  that  can  lead  to  pulled  muscles,  broken  legs,  or   even  heart  attacks.       Some  hard-­‐surface  tracks  have  been  softened  and  other  actions  have  been  taken  to   reduce  injuries,  but  the  stress  of  racing  can’t  be  completely  avoided.  It’s  not  just   running  at  top  speed  that  dog  protection  groups  are  worried  about.  There  are  even   bigger  concerns.     [Sidebar:  A  Bone  to  Pick  Some  people  get  dogs  to  fight  as  a  way  to  gamble   and  make  money.  Dogfights  can  cause  serious  wounds  like  cuts,  bites,  ripped   ears,  broken  legs,  or  even  worse.  The  winner  is  declared  when  one  dog  refuses  

  Greyhounds  have  short  racing  careers,  so  when  they  slow  down  because  of  injuries   or  old  age,  they  may  be  put  down.  That  means  new  dogs  have  to  be  regularly   produced  as  replacements.     Greyhound  protection  groups  say  about  one  thousand  Greyhounds  are  required  to   keep  a  commercial  dog  track  operating.  Many  of  them  are  confined  in  small  cages   out  of  public  view,  so  most  people  never  realize  what  sort  of  conditions  racing  dogs   live  in.     In  the  United  States,  dog  racing  is  in  decline.  Maine,  Nevada,  Pennsylvania,   Massachusetts,  and  other  states  have  banned  dog  racing,  and  each  year  more  tracks   close.  However,  dog  racing  is  still  popular  in  some  other  countries.     Greyhounds  are  considered  low-­‐aggression  dogs  that  make  good  companions.  U.S.   dog  rescue  groups  now  adopt  out  approximately  60%  of  the  dogs  that  used  to  race.   But  that  still  leaves  a  lot  of  dogs  that  need  help.     [Sidebar:  ADOPT  A  GREYHOUND  Greyhounds  make  great  companions.   They’re  not  prone  to  very  many  hereditary  diseases  and  can  remain  healthy   for  most  of  their  lives,  although  some  may  have  injuries  from  their  racing  days.   A  number  of  Greyhound  rescue  groups  work  to  place  ex-­‐racers  in  loving   homes,  so  check  the  Internet  to  find  a  rescue  near  you.]    

to  fight  or  can’t  fight  because  he  is  too  injured.  The  Human  Society  of  the   United  States  (HSUS)  believes  there  are  about  40,000  dog  fighters  in  the  U.S.]  

Long  Distance  Racing  

Alaska’s  Iditarod,  the  world’s  most  famous  sled  dog  race,  is  1850  km  (1150  mi.)   long.  Every  year,  teams  with  one  human  musher  and  12  to  16  dogs  compete.  Other   sled  dog  races  can  be  as  short  as  8–16km  (5–10  mi.).       Pulling  a  sled,  especially  a  long  distance,  can  be  hard  on  dogs.  They  may  love  to  run,   but  they  can  still  suffer  from  fatigue,  injuries  to  their  feet,  lameness,  frostbite,  or   severe  chafing  of  the  skin  where  harnesses  pull  on  their  bodies.     The  Iditarod  has  had  is  share  of  injuries  and  deaths,  even  with  veterinarians  en   route  and  27  checkpoints  where  dogs  are  examined.  Animal  welfare  groups  say  that   on  average,  out  of  the  thousand  or  so  dogs  that  compete  in  the  race  each  year,  three   die,  although  that  number  doubled  in  2009  with  six  dog  deaths.     The  Iditarod  is  one  of  the  better-­‐managed  sled  dog  races,  but  it  still  has  problems,  so   less  professional  races  probably  have  even  more  problems.  That’s  one  reason  why  a   number  of  animal  welfare  groups  have  called  for  an  end  to  sled  dog  racing.    

  Another  worry  is  how  sled  dogs  are  often  kept  when  they’re  not  training  or  racing.   I’ve  seen  many  sled  dogs  restrained  by  short  chains  to  wooden  shelter  boxes,  or  just   chained  out  in  the  open  with  no  shelter  at  all.  In  most  areas,  there  are  no  rules  about   how  sled  dogs  should  be  kept,  so  many  dogs  spend  a  lot  of  time  chained.     Sled  dogs  love  to  run,  but  they  should  never  be  pushed  beyond  their  limits,  and   abusive  practices  like  long-­‐term  chaining  must  be  brought  to  an  end.  Until  that   happens,  sledding  will  remain  a  bad  job  for  many  dogs.     [Sidebar:  A  Bone  to  Pick  Scientists  didn’t  know  if  a  human  could  survive  in  space,   so  in  the  1950s,  the  Soviet  Union  (Russia)  sent  21  stray  female  dogs  up  to  test  it  out.   Many  did  not  survive  the  trip.]     [Sidebar:  POUND  SEIZURE  In  some  places,  shelters  are  required  by  law  to  give  up   dogs,  even  former  pets,  to  research  institutions  in  a  practice  called  “pound  seizure.”   It’s  banned  in  many  areas  because  people  don’t  think  it’s  right  to  give  a  shelter  dog   to  science.  Elsewhere  it’s  still  the  law,  but  shelters  often  just  refuse  to  give  up  dogs.   They  know  that  working  in  science  is  not  a  good  job  for  a  dog.]    

[Sidebar:  THE  BATTLE  AGAINST  DOGFIGHTING  Michael  Vick,  a  professional   football  player,  ran  an  illegal  dogfighting  operation  called  Bad  Newz  Kennels.   In  July  2007,  Vick  was  charged  with  financing  the  operation,  participating  in   dogfights,  and  in  killing  unwanted  dogs.  He  was  sentenced  to  23  months  in   prison  and  ordered  to  pay  about  one  million  dollars  to  care  for  the  dogs  that   were  taken  from  his  property.     Michael  Vick  is  now  assisting  the  HSUS  in  their  campaign  against  dogfighting.   He  speaks  to  inner-­‐city  kids  about  how  cruel  it  is  and  why  they  should  not  get   involved.]  

Dog  Champions  
Brittney  &  Ines:  Keep  Shelter  Dogs  Out  of  Science  
  For  their  grade  eight  Media  Studies  course  at  Toronto’s  City  View  Alternative  Senior   School,  life-­‐long  animal  lovers  Brittney  Johnston  and  Ines  Valente  decided  to  do  a   project  with  meaning.  After  learning  about  the  practice  of  pound  seizure,  the  two   students  decided  to  make  a  documentary  film  about  it.  Months  of  research,  filming   interviews,  and  writing  and  editing  eventually  led  to  the  creation  of  Pound  Seizure:   The  Ultimate  Trust  Violation,  a  compelling  video  calling  for  an  end  to  the  use  of   shelter  dogs  in  research.  In  addition  to  raising  awareness  in  their  school,  the  video   was  posted  on  YouTube  and  has  attracted  a  lot  of  interest.  The  girls  were  even   interviewed  by  a  local  television  station.  They  continue  to  work  on  the  pound   seizure  issue  in  the  hope  that  if  enough  people  know  about  it,  the  practice  will  be   stopped.  Great  work,  Brittney  and  Ines!    

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