Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Big-Barn Dog: Elephants save stray Houston pit bull

wednesday, april 28, 2010

Houston residents who'd like to adopt a pit bull still can't rescue a friend from local shelter: the Houston SPCA is still holding to it's no-adopt policy, which means literally thousands of beautiful homeless pit bulls die in the shelter each year without help or hope. (Motherfuckers--W)

But the bully gods refuse to let their beloveds be forgotten, and have seen fit to send Houston a special ambassadog that thousands can gaze upon and adore. He's in - of all places - the Houston Zoo. Oh what sweet bully karma!

The dog - named Max - was once a stray but now has a home in the elephant's habitat and he provides companionship to both the elephant and the keepers. He's being called a 'mutt terrier,' but don't let him end up at the SPCA or that face of his will buy him a quick trip to the freezer. If his face isn't enough of a give-away, Max's personality style is all about it: He's reported to be brave and unaffected by the noise and chaos that can come along with zoo life, and his working drive helps the keepers fine-tune their training skills, which are incredibly important when managing multi-ton elephants. He's also a classic social butterfly and likes to greet zoo visitors. Of course he is .. he's a pit bull, after all!

The keepers knew the pup had the makings of a good barn dog because he wasn’t frightened by the elephant noises or skid loaders used to clean the yard. He goes inside during the elephant baths that draw an audience in the morning. While the elephants are scrubbed and rinsed, Max stays close to the windows to greet guests and stay dry.

The zoo sure seems proud of him. He has his own zoo page: Houston Zoo Brag ... and a facebook page too, with lots of photos and videos. Go make yourself a fan!

For more scoop on the Houston SPCA's archaic no-adopt policy for pit bulls: LINK. According to the Houston SPCA's webpage "The Houston SPCA is what is termed an "open door" shelter, meaning that we accept every animal that is brought to us. However, as a service to our community, we have set aside about 25 % of our animal housing spaces to accommodate strays." Strays like Max.

EDIT: In the meantime, Houston's Bureau of Animal Control, Houston's BARC is trying the best they can to pick up the slack with dogs-in-need, including pit bulls. Thank you BARC. We know how difficult this must be for you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Refute Pot-Prohibitionist Talking Points!~

Via HuffPost, today:

The war on drugs will be on the ballot in California this November. The nation will watch the state decide whether to tax and regulate marijuana or continue to arrest adults for possession of this plant.

The vote on the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will impact many of the most important issues in the country today. Californians will express how they want police resources used, if adults who consume marijuana should be criminalized, how best to deal with the tragic violence in Mexico, and what our priorities should be in tough economic times. It's no wonder that seven months out, this issue has already generated thousands of news stories around the world.

Opposition to this reform has crystallized within the drug war establishment, and so has their spin. Here are their top five talking points and the truth beyond them:

Drug Warrior Spin #1: Why would we authorize another harmful substance in our society?

The reality is that marijuana is already widely available in our society. Like it or not, it's a mainstream recreational drug consumed by millions, including one in ten Californians last year, according to federal data. The California ballot initiative simply acknowledges that marijuana is here and that it's more sensible to regulate this massive market, like we do with even more harmful drugs like cigarettes and alcohol. Prohibition of highly popular substances never works and brings terrible collateral damage. Alcohol prohibition didn't keep people from drinking, but it did give us Al Capone and gun battles in the streets. No one dies over sales of Budweiser today.

Drug Warrior Spin #2: Regulation will cause marijuana consumption to skyrocket with addiction rates to match.

The truth is rates of marijuana consumption aren't determined by penalties against it. If they were, the U.S. - which arrests an astounding 750,000 people for marijuana possession every year - wouldn't have double the consumption rate of The Netherlands, where marijuana sales have been tolerated for decades. That principle holds true across this country as some states that lowered penalties against marijuana possession years ago have among the lowest rates of use while some states that retained harsh marijuana laws have among the highest. As for addiction, the risk of becoming dependent on marijuana is mild compared to most other drugs including alcohol and tobacco. In fact, most people who enter treatment for marijuana addiction in this country today are referred by the criminal justice system, but 65% don't even meet the standard criteria for dependence.

Drug Warrior Spin #3: Regulating marijuana will aid drug cartels.

It is practically Orwellian to claim that state regulation of marijuana would benefit criminal cartels. More than 20,000 Mexicans have died in the last three years thanks to prohibition. There is nothing inherent about the plant that has caused these brutal murders. Banning marijuana makes it worth more than gold, so valuable that people are willing to kill each other over the right to sell it. By regulating marijuana and beginning to bring its production and distribution under the rule of law, we would eliminate the cartels' existing monopoly and dramatically siphon their profits. They would be the biggest losers in this reform.

Drug Warrior Spin #4: Regulating marijuana would cost society more than the taxes it generates.

Taxing marijuana like alcohol statewide would generate $1. 4 billion in California alone, according to the state Board of Equalization. Californians will also save hundreds of millions in scarce law enforcement dollars currently devoted to enforcing these futile laws. Yet opponents say that drugged driving, increased health care costs, and lost productivity will end up costing much more than taxes would generate. By that logic, alcohol, which causes nearly 100,000 American deaths annually, should be illegal and warrant life without parole. The bottom line is that marijuana is California's largest agricultural commodity, freely consumed by millions with no regulations or protections, and with no financial benefit to the state. In this economic climate, this is a reality we literally can't afford to ignore any longer.

Drug Warrior Spin #5: What kind of message does regulating marijuana send to kids?

The irony is that failed marijuana prohibition does nothing to protect kids. Despite 30 years of "Just Say No," half of high-school seniors admit to trying marijuana. Students are more likely to smoke marijuana than cigarettes and say it's easier to buy marijuana than alcohol because drug dealers don't ask for ID. Even more chilling, of the 78,000 Californians arrested for marijuana offenses in 2008, one in five was a child under 18 and half were under 30. Out of control access and mass arrests are prohibition's true impact on our youth. State regulation will reduce that access, separate marijuana from harder drugs, and allow us to focus on effective youth drug education programs.

We will see these arguments play out repeatedly over the next six months. In the end, California will get to choose between two very different models of dealing with marijuana in our society.

Tony Newman is the Media Director and Stephen Gutwillig is the California Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (, the nation's leading organization promoting alternatives to the failed war on drugs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4/20: Stoners' Holiday!

As pot smokers celebrate the holiday of all things marijuana, The Daily Beast crunches the numbers to determine the 40 highest cities.

PLUS: VIEW OUR GALLERY of celebrities who toke.

April 20 is a date born out of many myths: It was police shorthand (“420”) for marijuana smoking, it was the time of a daily toking ritual of a high school crew in San Rafael, California, and it was an orchestrated event by Deadheads in the early ‘90s.

Regardless of origin, 4/20 is now universally known as the annual date of celebration for those with pot-smoking, counterculture pride. This year, 15,000 residents and students in Boulder will crowd together for the University of Colorado’s annual smokeout, marijuana magistrates will gather to judge the best medical marijuana at the annual Oly 420 Cup in Olympia, Washington, and the All American Health and Healing Cooperative will host a 420 Celebration fest in Los Angeles where, for $75, attendees can learn to clone plants, enter a raffle for five ounces of pot, and snag a photo-op in the “Garden of Weeden.”

Click HERE for the Ranking of America’s 40 Most Pot-Loving Communities

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flash: Dogs Think

Of COURSE they do. Just consider how they teach us to understand them.
Via "Responsible Pet Ownership":

By Linda Cole

Dogs aren't usually thought of as problem solvers. However, they are pretty good at manipulating us to get what they want. They definitely are not dumb. Dogs do think and can remember things. It's hard not to wonder what your dog is thinking about when you catch him staring off into the distance or watching TV. Of course they don't process information the same way we do – or do they?

Researchers believe the canine mind processes images in their mind via their senses. Dogs think using smells, sounds and images. It's really not unlike how we process information. When you talk to a friend on the phone, you can visualize that person's face. Our minds are full of images, smells and sounds we've learned throughout our lives. If you're thinking about buying a new car, you see the image of that car. Growling and hissing outside your bedroom window conjures up an image of two cats fighting. The smell of a neighbor's steak cooking on his grill lets you see that steak cooking. Like dogs, we get a mental picture in our mind associated with different smells, sounds and images. Although our thought process is more sophisticated, a general observation would entertain the notion that dogs think like we do.

Take for example, a dog waiting for his owner to return home. Researchers believe dogs think about us while we're gone. Since our smells are everywhere in the home, it's easy for dogs to have a mental picture of us in their minds. Look at it from your dog's point of view. Before you walk out the front door to go to work, you've engaged in a specific routine. Your dog knows you are getting ready to leave. He watches and learns what you do, and pays attention to what you've touched whether you know it or not. That's why the remote may have chew marks on it or you find your favorite book in shreds in the middle of the living room floor. It smells like you and it gave your dog a positive feeling, especially if you sat on the couch last night with him by your side as you read or watched TV.

Your dog's favorite smells are everywhere around the home, allowing him to think in images of things you do every day. In order to make himself feel better, especially if you are running late, he may “borrow” something of yours. This could act as a sort of crutch to help him get through until you arrive home.

When most dogs think of their owners, their thoughts of us are positive, which is what we want. A combination of positive and negative images can begin to confuse a dog, who then starts to exhibit behavioral problems. Yelling at your dog for something he did wrong while you were gone does nothing except to begin a reinforcement of negative feelings in him associated with you coming home. Any punishment after the fact is useless because he has no idea why you are yelling at him or punishing him. The only fair punishment is at the time the infraction took place. Dogs don't hold grudges and neither should we.

As responsible pet owners, it's up to us to understand how dogs think in order to understand how our reaction to finding something destroyed while we were gone will affect the dog. The last thing you want to do is give your dog negative thoughts connected with you returning home. The best thing to do is to count to ten, clean up the mess, and try to think like a dog and see his environment from his view. He doesn't understand how expensive your new CD was or the sentimental value of the book that was handed down to you from your great-great grandfather, or the importance of the photo album you were looking at last night that was left on the coffee table.

Your dog will search for anything with your smell on it, and it makes him feel good and happy while he waits for your return. It really isn't his fault if you forgot to put something important or expensive away. So instead of getting mad and dishing out punishment that means nothing to your dog, provide him with appropriate items he can safely snuggle with or chew on while you're gone. Give him a break. Your home is filled with your smell which keeps you in your dog's mind.

Dogs think, even though it's not on the same level as a Rhodes scholar. Most people will admit that their dog has them wrapped around their little finger. If you don't believe dogs think, then how were they able to train us so well?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Former Michael Vick Dog Receives Community Service Award

Two years ago, life wasn't looking so good for Hector. A former Michael Vick pit bull, the then-4-year-old was safe from the footballer's vicious dogfighting ring, but still in need of a forever home. Luckily for Hector, pit bull lover Roo Yori was in the market for a new pup, and ended up taking the gentle giant home from the BAD RAP shelter in San Francisco.

"I fell in love with him as a dog," Yori tells "It was so obvious that he had scars that show what he's been through, but they were completely external. Inside, he was just like any other dog — he impressed me."

We first introduced you to Hector in December, telling the story of his new life with Yori as a certified therapy dog in Minnesota. Now, the perky pup (who just turned 6!) has been recognized for his efforts in his new home of New York, and received a Community Service in Humane Education Award from the Brooklyn Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund on Wednesday.

Yori, currently director of care and enrichment for the Animal Farm Foundation, takes Hector around to organizations in the northeast to educate children about pet care. "We use Hector's story to teach children what he went through," Yori says. "It hurt him, he didn't need to go through it, and it was wrong."

He feels their visits have made quite an impact — particularly because of Hector. "He speaks through his actions," Yori shares. "Once people meet him, they see what a good dog he is, and it says more than I ever could." Yori says he intends to continue humane education programs with Hector for as long as he can — awards or no awards.

The Animal Farm Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring the image of the pit bull terrier, and protecting all dogs from discrimination and cruelty. In addition to their on-site shelter in upstate New York, they provide spay/neuter services, educational programs and more.

Read more about former Michael Vick dogs on
The Harrowing Tale of Michael Vick’s Dogs Make Cover of Sports Illustrated