Tuesday, April 27, 2010

They just walked past him as he died

I can't think of how many times I've been asked what the world is coming to. But I can sure tell you where it's headed!

There are at least seven people who should be ashamed of themselves in their callousness. Why? Because on April 18th at around 6 am a man was stabbed fatally while attempting to help a woman being attacked. As he lay on the sidewalk near the curb, bleeding to death, that's how many people walked by and let him die. All were caught on a building security camera and some even stopped to gawk and stare. This happened in New York City, but it's not only happening there. Check out the news story here.

One of those people who stopped apparently called 911, but an hour had gone by and the man was dead. Do you know how long it takes to bleed out from serious wounds like that? Less than 12 minutes. From some wounds you can die in as little as 8 minutes from blood loss. I'm sure he landed somewhere in the middle. Let's say it took ten minutes. That means he had enough time to lay there and die SIX TIMES. Considering the report suggests help didn't arrive until 7:20, you can add a couple more times to that.

So, at least six out of those seven who just left him there and couldn't even be bothered to make an anonymous phone call on their cell phone or a pay phone (whatever) FAIL AT HUMANITY! The woman he tried to help, unless she was the one who finally called... FAILS TOO. The guy with the knife needs to go to prison and the woman may as well join him for fleeing the scene of a crime.

This is not an isolated incident. It's happening everywhere. And you should be absolutely horrified. People who don't get out of the way for an ambulance, or ignore someone who's hurt, or put down people for having medical conditions and leaving them to suffer. People who won't help their fellow man any more... one of these days it will be YOU. The new motto these days for America is "Everyone for themselves and to themselves". The response to people in need is a resounding "SHUT UP!"

Don't believe me? Look at how we failed in Hurricane Katrina. People lay on the sidewalks in New Orleans DYING for days, while we all watched on the news and drooled on our shoes. Especially our so-called government. It certainly doesn't stop there. Yeah I'm being harsh, but ya know what?... It's kind of hard to get more harsh than DEAD.

Our country is failing it's poor and huddled masses that it INVITES to it's shores. It's allowing people to become homeless and blaming them for not being able to pay for things so overpriced that there's no hope of paying on three jobs per household. Then we go bail out all the rich idiots! Next we'll be punishing the middle class families because they can't afford the gouging price of medical insurance. Leaving them to die on the sidewalk from unfair fines that they will have no more ability to pay than the insurance companies.

We need to stop letting people suffer and die and finally become the great nation we keep bragging about.

Man refused hospital treatment because of autism

Stephen Puckett of Oklahoma City, OK was refused treatment at an emergency room for a seizure because he has autism.

As if that weren't enough, his combination of being in a seizure condition with his autism got a security guard kicked and they put him in jail. During his jail time, he had a front tooth knocked out.

You can see the news broadcast on his condition here.

In that broadcast you will see a photo of him with an untreated head wound and foaming spit coming from his mouth because of his seizure. Not only does this mean he was denied proper medical care under any circumstance, but that he was discriminated against only because he has autism. It proves abuse from the system against this man that his family should be suing really hard over.

The hospital's stance, and that of several area hospitals is that they can't treat autism. This is flawed! They aren't treating autism, the man had a seizure! An epileptic type seizure for that matter! They CAN treat that. And they were legally obliged to do so.

The medical board of Oklahoma needs to take immediate and decisive action and correct this or have the autism community all over their case in a picketing stompathon. The entire system owes Mr. Puckett a huge apology and damages. They need to pay for a dentist to fix his mouth because he's not a criminal and was under the thrall of a medical condition. It's not like he was on drugs, carrying weapons, or drunk. Speaking of which, do the hospitals in OK cater to drunks and drugees who come in all bashed up? I bet they do. I bet they stitch up violent criminals too. Why? Because they have to, they are legally obliged to serve anyone who is in NEED of medical care.

I for one, hope that Mr. Puckett's mother, who is his caretaker, sues their pants off all the way around for this horrible and irresponsible treatment. It's called MALPRACTICE.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is your bath warm enough?

I'm fortunate to have a child who absolutely loves his bathtime. I'm sure it helps that we have a great big tub that he can make a small swimming pool out of. Getting in the bath excites his imagination and all sorts of little worlds come into play. That makes it hard to get him to concentrate on the actual cleaning, but hey, he's halfway there right?

Well, about two years ago he threw us a bit of a curveball in taking his bath. Everything was set out for him, his jammies and towel and there was no problem with leaving him alone in the bathroom. Now we all know what a towel is for, drying off after your cleaning escapade, but keep the definition in mind.

I was handling other business around the house and he was in his bath, and he called for me. It didn't sound urgent so I walked in calmly to see what he needed. I found him in his bath complete with his towel. The towel freely floated in the bathwater.

"What are you doing?" I asked pointing at the towel.
He looked up at me, just as matter of fact as you please, "I got cold."

Naturally, he figured that, since a towel warms him (after he gets out of the bath) and his bath was getting cold, the towel would warm him back up. What happens when the whole towel gets wet didn't occur to him. So, with explanations and a few laughs, I helped him get out and get a dry towel. I followed up with, "Do you think you should do that again?" His answer satisfied me that he learned his lesson.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

They're so literal

So literal that context is lost, that's our kids sometimes. They're good memories, those times as they get so humorous when they mean to be so very serious.

My son was only four or five when I played with him in his room. I tickled him and he is still ultra ticklish everywhere to this day. I growled and said "I'll eat you up!"

His expression became just as serious as could be, "You can't do that! There's blood in me!"

What a smart little man, maybe too smart for his own good? Still I couldn't help but laugh and that didn't go over particularly well either. I had to explain to him that we would never actually eat him and we treasured him far too much to let any harm befall him. That made him feel better, but he still didn't see the humor in what he said.

Now I try to teach him the meaning of a good joke once in a while. I try to teach him how other kids will make fun when they really don't mean any harm. One of the pitfalls of autism is that such a loss of context can last all our lives and we can be years behind "growing out of it" without support. It helps him to understand that a child who makes an odd comment is only trying to be funny and not hurtful. Helps him to understand that the best response is simply to laugh.

It's not such a natural skill to us. Even so, I hope I never forget that funny day with my son. It serves as one of the shining moments in watching my children grow. I value it as highly as seeing him take his first steps, or an achievement at school. Keep the funny and happy times in the back of your mind, they make the tough trying times a little easier to bear.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Divided we fail

And right here on our own soil we are very divided. It doesn't matter what we are trying to achieve, it will be far harder if not impossible without standing together. We apparently haven't learned to set aside our differences, despite history beating us over the head with them.

Just look at all the ways we fight and tear ourselves apart.

Politics: Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, calling each other names and fighting over things that should be common sense. We vote for our politicians based on their label rather than what kind of person they really are if they really are qualified for the job. Don't even get me started on taxpayers shelling out millions of dollars (major overkill) to some politician running for President. You know what that amounts to? Paying a prospective employee to apply for a job. That's what they are doing! Applying for a job! There's a better way but that's for another post.

Religion: We are supposed to have freedom of religion and that's all fine and dandy. But it does very little for the fact that we still judge each other on beliefs. It doesn't stop at whether or not you believe in or worship God, but right down to how you do it. Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons, Jews, 7th Day Adventists, and more. And don't tell me they love each other when they've been fighting throughout history. Why can't we learn from our mistakes? The Crusades, the Inquisition, and right down to Protestants and Catholics blowing each other up over in Ireland. Yeah that's another country, but still holds to prove my point. DIVIDED. It's not having all these different churches that's really the problem, it's the fact that we refuse to tolerate each other and get past differences.

And there is the bottom line. We have to stop depending on labels to tell us what a person is like. We have to get past our differences. There are great people in our American history with holidays named after them, and we still aren't listening to them. People like Martin Luther King Jr. His words apply to so much more than racial differences. They apply to all our differences.

Worrying about how someone believes what they believe or what they label might be is a waste. Set it aside, learn from the heart and mind rather than what is merely on the surface. Realize we are all human and in this mess together. From there, work to make our world a better place. And don't disregard these words because you think your neighbor won't do it. The true question is, will you do it in spite of all else? Can you?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Answering wolf hybrid mail

First of all, let me offer you my newest article on the realities of owning a wild animal hybrid HERE.

For those of you who write to me or leave a comment about how great your pet has been for you, I'm glad you have had such a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, I think you miss the point or several points that I have been trying to make. This appears to be a trend.

I'm not saying that hybrids can't be taken anywhere by responsible people.

I'm not saying they are monsters that will freak out and hurt everyone near them.

I'm not calling the whole breed evil and I've said over an over that this is happening because people won't stop being stupid with them.

I am saying that they have wild instincts that owners or potential owners had better pay attention to. They are not for the casual owner, and it seems to me that the enthusiasts who are writing me, want to say they are.

I am saying that they must not be advertised as a service animal for the disabled. Yes, I dealt with only one person who made that suggestion, but it only takes one.

Do you, the enthusiasts who keep emailing me, actually want irresponsible people to own a hybrid? Do you want the bad press that will bring?

Honestly, if you don't like my message I can't imagine what you must think of every time someone gets mauled and that goes in the news. But the fact is that a lot of kids are dead.

You especially need to STOP comparing them to the standard domestic dog. Just stop it. They aren't considered or recognized or have the same needs or issues legally as a standard dog. Yes, canine instincts are intact in them all, but a wolf takes those to the extreme and a non-domestic level. You have to stop sugar coating the reality of what you face as a hybrid owner, see article above.

When you contact me and say "my hybrid is nice to everyone" as an argument against my articles, you already lose. It doesn't matter if it's tame or nice to everyone FOR YOU. You are it's owner, you are it's alpha, your family is it's pack. And none of that, NONE OF IT, changes the views of the law. It doesn't change the bottom line.

And I'm not going to debate my reasoning anymore because any fact I have given (see the email correspondence in prior posting) gets deflected to some out of the way and nearly (if not completely) unrelated suggestion that doesn't hold up in court.

And that's what matters people, what will hold up in a court of law! That's why your hybrids are unlawful in EIGHT FREAKING STATES! Not even the pitbull is banned at state level yet that I've found, but if you know one let me know!

School cuts endanger education

I attended the last school board meeting at South high after I discovered about some proposed budget cuts. Well, I don't know if proposed is the best word since I've already been told that certain employees have already been told they "basically" don't have a job next year. Which jobs am I talking about? Classroom aides.

I took the podium and said my piece about why they mustn't cut this area of the budget and I got an nice form letter in the mail for it. It says they care.

Well, first and foremost I do expect them to care, but caring isn't enough to correct these problems. And it's not correcting these problems. I heard them say that a lot at the meeting too. I'm glad they care and to be fair they don't have an easy job.

So, why shouldn't they cut another classroom aide or two? Well, for one, they don't have enough of them as is. They're already spread thin and, at my son's school, there will be an increase next year of students who need them.

Second, when doing budget cuts, the last things you want to cut are those that put you at legal risk. Most of the kids who require a classroom aide, actually require the assistance as part of their Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP is protected by federal law (check IDEA). When a school can't or fails to uphold a child's IEP they violate federal law. They open themselves up to due process complaints and lawsuits. And if it isn't clear already, legal actions cost money, and it won't be that of the child's family.

Third, and every bit as important, the classroom aide is crucial for balancing the classroom with out special needs kids. It's because of the classroom aide that the teacher can keep concentration on the bulk of the class while the aide helps the one who she would have to constantly stop for otherwise. So now we affect the education of every single child in the room. And the special needs kids in these classes have the same right to be there as any child (so let's not even get into that, besides removing them all means putting them somewhere else and hiring someone qualified for those numbers and oops.. even more money!)

So, cutting classroom aides is like cutting off your legs for weight loss. If your child has an IEP or needs that classroom aide in any way, you should be making noise right now. The school board needs to hear from you. If you can't make it to a meeting, write them a letter or email, get heard and show them that you care about your child's education and educational rights. And even if your child doesn't have an IEP, your child will be in class with students that do. This isn't extracurricular activity, it's the main core of your child's education. Think about it.

Now, I want to address one more angle of this and it's a response from one of the board members that perplexed me greatly. A voice of the board said that we need to make sure and talk to our legislators, representatives, and related politicians. That seems fair, except for one small thing. Now, I can tell you that I agree, we should make as much noise as possible to get the state to put the funds into our schools where it belongs. But, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't the board members get elected to represent us? When I went up to that podium, I was recorded on camera. Everyone was. It seems to me that we give them plenty of info that way to take to the officials they should have open access to. When we email them and write them out concerns that should be the same deal. So, while it's a fair idea, telling us to go talk to someone else seems like saying, "please go over my head".

But seriously, if I'm misunderstanding their function, please, please correct me. I don't want to be unfair and I understand that their job isn't an easy one. I understand that there are lots of jobs and issues involved. It just seems to me that they are the first line in our "chain of command" on these issues to go to. Maybe it was just the delivery of the message? Well, I have no problem with talking to who they say to talk to... so long as they are right there with me doing the exact same thing as someone who represents my district.

In closing I will say this; if the cuts continue and you find it affects your child's education... if it causes failure to uphold an IEP... you need to step up to bat and file complaints. Because, if our complaints now aren't enough then we need to take more drastic steps. Maybe when enough of us start suing and filing due process complaints (which will go right up to county and state levels), it will get their due attention. Unfortunately, that will hurt the system more, but that is not the fault of the parent. We are only standing up for our children's educational futures.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fallout from my wolf hybrid blog

I've recently been contacted by a couple of people in regards to my blog on wolf hybrids and how they should not be considered as service animals. The purpose of this blog is to show you the entire conversation and it will be linked to a more formal article with Examiner and you can find that page and watch for it by clicking HERE.

This first conversation is between myself and someone with Wolfdogs Magazine, who would not identify himself.

From Wolfdogs:

Hey I saw your wolfdog blog and was going to post but rather than make a public spectacle going back and forth I thought I would just write you. I would like to encourage you to subscribe to Wolfdogs Magazine. You can subscribe at www.wolfdogsmagazine.org This magazine goes out to 15 countries and is written by its subscribers. In it you will find many examples that completely defy what you wrote in your blog. There are even examples of wolfdogs that can interact with kids. The magazine is loaded with pictures too. In the current issue there is an article about a man who is permanently in a wheelchair because he was born with cerebral palsy. He has been raising wolfdogs for years and the pics are great !!! Also some of your points about them being uninsured etc. are just poorly researched. While its true that some insurance companies will not insure some breeds of dogs there are many that will. Anyhow before you write the magazine off as biased it also shares plenty of stories about wolfdogs that didnt work out so well because of their owners or they were poorly bred or whatever. The idea behind the magazine is to offer people well balanced info about these animals rather than just say "oh aint it aweful" or "its a bad idea." Many ACOs and Veterinarians are subscribers. Also the references you cited on your blog are full of misrepresentations. I know this because I either personally know the people who were referenced or I have personally researched the cases they refer to and many of those animals they reference were not even wolfdogs. Anyhow if you are really interested in truth you'll find that it is in the "shades of grey" After you subscribe you might even be interested in writing an article yourself.

Best Regards,
The staff at Wolfdogs Magazine

My response:

So let me see if I understand this correctly...... because you have a magazine and pretty much ONLY because you have a magazine I should accept your word on wolf hybrids?

Furthermore, because you write in your magazine "things that defy" what I had to say, I should just forget everything I personally worked through and denounce that???

You know, I gave my personal view and real statistics and the actual points of views of insurance companies, law enforcement, etc. I then suggested, quite simply that a perspective owner do their homework. So if you want to knock what I had to say, then you knock that too. I didn't say they should all be euthanized or anything like that so you can all get over yourselves. I know theres lots and lots of MONEY in the wolfdog business. And you lost any possibility of reasoning with me when you said I'm poorly researched because that's what they all say when they are defending their moneymaking wolf dogs.

Let me tell you about magazines... lots of people publish magazines... that doesn't make them the be all end all. And anyone can take a nice photo. I've seen plenty of them. And showing a photo of a wolfdog that can "interact" with children is misleading, my point is that you can't leave them ALONE WITH STRANGE CHILDREN. And you know it. Did you know dog fighters have magazine publications? They do. That's not to try and compare you to dogfighters, it's an example that anyone with a little clout can start up a magazine.

As for the meat of my blog article.... let's compare with your breeder who has epilepsy.... is even one of his wolfdogs a CERTIFIED SERVICE ANIMAL FOR HIS EPILEPSY??? That's what my article was about, if you bothered to actually read it all as I'm sure you didn't, just like the last person who came off on me.

And you should be really really concerned about that. Because there is someone out there who is trying to sell the idea that wolfdogs can be CERTIFIED SERVICE ANIMALS.... and when that crashes.... and it will, what do you think it will do the image your wolf dogs have then? That's what my article was about primarily and why they cannot be used for such a service or trusted for such a service. You want to have your wolf dog... go ahead, but when one is bought to help little Jimmy in his wheelchair and mauls him instead, it will fall on YOU. If you really want to protect the "status" of your wolf dogs, you'll denounce THAT idea, instead of targeting me.

And I'll just about bet, that if ACO's are subscribing to your magazine, it's not because they agree with you, it's so they can keep an eye on you. It's so they can keep some tabs on what is going on with the wolfdog venue for when it lands in their jurisdiction again.

But then, you already know all this. All of it. The only reason I wrote that blog is because of the idea that some autistic child (whom I advocate for) is going to wind up with one of these animals as a service animal when they are NOT service animals. Because someone CONNED a family into buying one as a service animal and that family knows squat about wolf dogs.

Thanks but no thanks.

From Wolfdogs:

Hi David,
Sorry to have offended you. In the next issue is an article about getting your CGC title for your wolfdog. We never said that working for a magazine ever gave anybody any credibility. The only reason we wanted to bring the magazine to your attention was to let you know that there are a great deal of people doing all kinds of positive things with wolfdogs. The articles in the magazine are great testimonies. We have no doubt that as an ACO you have met some poorly bred/owned wolfdogs. They exist in all breeds. We didnt write you to debate the merits of your blog but only to make you aware that there are many other viewpoints. Contrary to your statement most people who own wolfdogs dont make any money off them. In addition, at this time, this magazine takes any profits it might make and prints more magazines to send to more ACOs, Vets, Wildlife officers etc. Now we will agree with you that we personally do not know of any wolfdogs that are "certified epilepsy service dogs" nor do we know of anybody breeders who promote them as that. Your blog however went a lot further than that and your "official citations" are actually antagonistic propaganda (we realize that you didnt have anything to do with writing them). We read all of your article very carefully including the citations. Our goal is not to get into some stupid war of words but only to let you know that there are a lot of wolfdog enthusiasts out there and it makes us feel bad every time our wolfdog companions get an unjustified bad rap. We fight the stereotypes enough as it is. We actually have met quite a few ACOs and law enforcement officers that own wolfdogs. Again we're sorry if we offended you or put you on the defense. That was not the intention.

Best Regards,
The staff at Wolfdogs Magazine

My response:

Okay, without any word war intended, but a direct point of view (not an uneducated one, please realize) let me respond to your response:

First of all a correction. I did not say that 'owners' make money, but there is a lot of money to made in the breeding market. Yes, as with any market there are unscrupulous people who will take advantage of families. In this case however, it is more dangerous to the unwitting family to buy from the unscrupulous and puts any wolfdog in a bad situation too... right?

This is not your common dog breed and it's needs are not the same. Since I posted that blog I keep getting comparisons to average dogs, these are unrealistic comparisons. Wolfdogs have significant special needs that do not compare with animals that have been domesticated far past them and for hundreds of generations, no thousands, longer.

Now I also posted an article in the Examiner that you might appreciate because wolf dogs are not the only ones mentioned. I am a pet news examiner for the Milwaukee area. The article is about breeds that insurance companies don't like. It's not meant to hurt the breed, but to report the situation. I love dogs. I love animals. And yes, I particularly do love wolves. I was an ACO for six and a half years, worked in various forms of law and protection for 19 years, am NACA certified (animal control certification), and have been a professional researcher for easily as long. That being said, here is the article... Insurance Companies Don't like these dogs Please feel free to look through my other articles. I believe you will find me to be quite diverse in my selections. I most avidly take a stand on people getting animals they shouldn't. Not because they are bad animals, but some of them either shouldn't be pets (like monkeys) or get picked on impulse without any homework done (like wolf dogs, and large snakes).

Now note that I didn't say wolf dogs should never be pets, I don't agree with them and feel that it's tampering with nature, but in the right hands, I'm sure there are plenty of success stories. In the right and qualified hands. A wolf hybrid is not for the casual pet owner, period. There are hybrid breeders who also have that stance (the casual owner opinion not the nature opinion). That's because they don't want the animals they breed to wind up in shelters, released into the wild, in legal trouble or just plain shot and killed. That's because it comes back on them and yes, they actually care about their animals.

Before I explain this next part to you, let me tell you that I am going to go over my references here and you need to know, what while I can look them up...I have no idea who YOU are. You identify yourself as STAFF.... Sorry, but I get the feeling I am talking to just one individual at this moment yes? You claim to personally know some of those references yes? Since you said that, how am I supposed to make an objective comparison for myself without knowing who you are? You said you personally know some of these people or that you have research some of their cases and found them not to be hybrids.... So forgive me, but I need to know that you are someone with the credentials to match up to the references you say are "wrong". And I'll point out right now... you didn't say that "your people" or your 'associates' debunked them, you said YOU did. You said quote: "I personally"... that means you as an individual. And how do you know they weren't hybrids? I hope you can appreciate why my question of you goes into such depth.

Now let me tell you about the common defenses used with hybrids that give cause to the mistrust, though applicable in certain rare situations, but used constantly..

It's not really a hybrid: This was one of the defenses in a case I mentioned on my blog. The owner of this hybrid and it was a hybrid, touted his pet as the most adoring in the world. He trusted it with his own child etc etc. I got loose, killed someone elses family pet and nearly killed a small girl. As soon as he had to defend it from that angle it magically wasn't a hybrid anymore. He was even backed by enthusiasts around the state who didn't want it seen as a hybrid either. But, as evidence showed, it came from a known breeder, was identified and bragged as a hybrid by that breeder and owner all it's life, had exceptionally physique of a hybrid and was identified by wildlife experts at the University and with the state as a hybrid. You applied this as a defense yourself, noted above. The defense is overused and abused and seldom with enough supportive facts to hold water. The fact of the matter is this, once identified as a hybrid and established that way over and over again... you aren't going to shake the public and get them to believe otherwise without a comprehensive DNA test and even that isn't fully trusted for obvious biological reasons.

It doesn't have that much wolf in it: There is NO test that can tell you how much wolf versus dog is in any one of these animals and incidents speak louder than "claims" of owners every time. There is a statistically proven and biologically written pattern and way of behavior in each and every one of these animals. It's been backed up by science in the way of wildlife biologists who have been in their perspective fields for decades. The point on this one is that it's not a defense that can be backed up in the slightest. If there's enough wolf in it to make it act like and look like a wolf (which is what enthusiast for these animals WANT) then it's a wolf and how much it's mixed is a moot point. It is a concrete and steel fact proven by science and agreed to by the same biologists and breeders too.... that the wolf traits are DOMINANT. So not only is it not a defense, but proves that trying to dilute wolf traits by crossing with domestic dogs.... hasn't worked and won't work. And finally.... if it didn't look like wolf or have those traits, what would be the sense of touting them as wolf hybrids? Where would the enthusiasts be? Where would the appeal be? It wouldn't be.

It's no more dangerous than a Rotti or Shepherd, etc etc...: It's true that hybrids, through insurance reports and law reports, have little more the number of bites and attacks than the any of the other "dominant/aggressive" breeds. But here's the failing of this defense... how many rottis are there in the world? How many dobermans? When you get to the percentage of the breed itself, the percentage of attacks reported is higher than with those other dogs. Sorry, but it is. Wolf hybrids are a minority in the dog world, yes like the Presario which is a domestic breed but they are on the naughty list too ya know. So fewer of them than other breeds with the same number of attacks as breeds that are common? And that brings up the next failing of this defense.... If you say that something is no more dangerous than something already considered dangerous.. what are you really saying? It's like saying that sticking your hand in pink boiling oil is no worse than sticking your hand in purple boilling oil.... at least it's true. But does it make either one more acceptable? NOPE. And it does not remove the level of responsibility needed to have these animals. Do you know why these breeds have a bad rep? It's because people refuse to stop being stupid with them. NOT because of reports made about them on incidents that happen. And breeders who try to get them looked at as "any other dog" are irresponsible. These are not just any dog, they are a very special needs animal that does not belong in places like city dwellings. That don't belong with just anyone who can throw enough cash at the breeder to buy one. Yes, even though not everyone should own a pitbull or rotti.... but far beyond that. Wild animal hybrids are NOT like long domesticated animals. They just aren't. The wolf hybrid has more specific needs than any breed of domestic dog and if they don't get them the failure rate is more likely than any breed of domestic dog.

I will agree that there are good owners out there who do know what they are doing. But common presentation is that wolfhybrids are cuddly and cute and should be in everyone's home. There are people out there who contact me and have contacted people like Leerburg to say that "my hybrid hasn't hurt anyone so don't talk bad about hybrids". Well, they miss the big picture. If you or people in your magazine are good owners, good for you. But too much info presented in trying to exonerate the breed is misleading and leads to people getting them who shouldn't. When I look at photos of people getting all kissy faced with their hybrids, I see a false message sent to the naive. "Well it's all kissy cuddly with that guy, so I should go get a wolf puppy today!" That is a false image and it needs to be put in big bold letters: THIS IS NOT A COMMON RESULT FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW THESE ANIMALS INSIDE, OUTSIDE, AND CLEAR THROUGH. DO NOT GET A HYBRID WITHOUT LEARNING EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT WOLVES, WOLF BEHAVIOR, AND THESE ANIMALS SPECIFICALLY. But is that going to happen? I doubt it and I'll come and look at your magazine because I want to know just how much you demand that education of possible owners. Anyway..

My resources:

Keller and Keller Law Firm: They have five offices and have been in business since 1936. Chances are they haven't been dealing with these kind of cases without knowing how to research them? Most veteran firms I have ever dealt with are in the solid practice of confirming all information before they walk into a court of law with it. That's just court room common sense. So are these cases ones you say you researched and decided they weren't hybrids? How did you decide this? Have you seen the cases details in full? Do you know if the animals were looked at by professionals? Can you show me this information? Hint: I already looked, but I'm willing to interview them, how about you?

The Alaskan Malamute Club of Canada's flier on fantasy and facts: They said right in their document that their purpose was niether to suppor or condemn and honestly they do a service to the hybrid community. Maybe you can avoid one or two more bad owners mucking with your hybrids rep after they read that? Or better yet, please show me documented and supportive information that debunks their information? I'm sorry, but I found their information be pretty dead on.

Ed Frawley of Leerburg Kennels: Link is to his direct opinion and yes he calls them "kid killers". I can understand why hybrid enthusiasts wouldn't like that, but.... You said you knew some of these people personally or that some of the animals weren't really hybrids.... so I would like to know where the debunking is. Anyway.. he's been training dogs, specifically german shepherds for more than 45 years. He is highly respected by the law enforcement community and knows dogs, really knows dogs. This isn't a side venue or a hobby for this man, it's his life. And I happen to know, since I've talked to him while I was an ACO and seen his credentials, that he didn't just go off half cocked about hybrids. But once again, please tell me exactly and in detail how he's wrong.

The Merritt Clifton Report: This report is not only accepted by our largest insurance companies but law enforcement as well. And not just ACO or Animal Control, but Police, Sheriff and even FBI as well as RCMP (Canada). As it is, the Clifton report is not the slightest bit biased and doesn't shout good or evil, just reports what has happened and you can't change history. So are you saying you KNOW Merritt Clifton and have studied all of his report and every report he has? That you know for a fact exactly how many of the hybrids in his numbers were or were not hybrids? You did say you know "some" and I've only posted four total, so set me straight here. Merritt is the Editor in Chief of an in print Animal rights newspaper that was founded in 1992. That's 18 years of work with animals, all animals being the main subject. These are pretty solid credentials and respected research (except by breed enthusiasts and not just of hybrids, pit enthusiasts don't like him either).

So, I think I've been pretty detailed in my response to you and hope that you can return the favor. Of course, I think I will indeed come take a look and research your magazine. Since you read my work in detail, I would expect you to debunk me in detail as well. So far, to be fair, you haven't done that. So please, show me the counter established facts and research, ok?

From Wolfdogs:

Hi David,
This is what I didn't want this to turn into. You are correct that I am the one on the keyboard. The "we" I referred to is the other people, giving input, in the background. Unfortunately at the moment I don't have the amount of time needed to address all of these points or to share with you all of the research from the past. The last time I did this it turned into a full time, two year, online debate that eventually led to debates with Lobbyists, HSUS, legislators getting involved, having to get a booth a the AVMA convention and spending a bunch of wasted time with CNN. So here is my proposal to you for now ( if you are really interested) Go research all of the case reports yourself and get the photos and do the interviews with the enforcement officers, ACOs, medical professionals etc. You will be very surprised at some of what you will discover. Start with this case here In Ishpeming, Michigan, a five-year old was mauled to death by a relative’s wolf hybrid that was adopted out from the local animal shelter. (the victim was Angie Nickerson and the dog that killed and ate her was named Ivan) The reference is made in your www.2keller.com reference.
There is also big money in "Animal Rights" and telling a bunch mis-truths along the way is just means to making a bunch of money. Follow HSUS's tax records if you don't believe me. Also just so I am clear I am not saying that every wolfdog attack case was incorrect. More like half of them. On a last note who I am is really irrelevant. I am not trying to make a case for or against wolfdogs based on my credentials. Thanks for so thoroughly explaining your position on wolfdogs. If I get some free time this summer, I'll try and send you some of the case studies if you haven't researched them already.

Best Regards,
"The keyboard operator and some of the staff in the background at Wolfdogs Magazine"

P.S. We still think that you would find Wolfdogs Magazine to be very fascinating. In fact in the premier issue there is a story with photos about a couple who traveled all over Wisconsin being pulled in a buggy by a team of Wolves/Wolfdogs in 1912.

My response:

Well, "Editor or staff" who ever you are,

Anyone who won't verify their identity and credentials is hard pressed to be believed.

And I record you state that you don't have time to tell which of only four resources you claimed to know personally.

And you're right, this isn't a debate, it's a collection of information. I am working on an article, you may be quoted. You DID catch in my last email that I'm an Examiner right?

So, since you don't have time, I won't waste any more of it.

Next I receive an email from "Susan" and this is it:

Hi David,
As someone who has been involved in researching canines and dog bans for over a decade, I've found that you can find statistics to support any position you decide to take. In Michigan, the faulty identification of Ivan, a mixed breed dog, not a wolf dog, was the most influential factor of the eventual ban of wolf dogs in Michigan. The scientific evidence of Ivan's necropsy was completely ignored. A pseudo-scientist was believed because she had the backing of the Michigan Humane Society, which had very deep pockets as an Animal Rights organization. Perhaps, as a former ACO, you would be surprised to find out that The Humane Society of the United States does no real rescue of pets. They are, for the most part, a fund-raising organization that lobbies for animal rights legislation. They have both a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4) designation; the later allows them to do lobbying, without jeopardizing their 501(c)(3) status.

As someone who supports responsible wolf dog ownership, I do think that wolf dogs will not fit every potential dog owner household. But, neither do I think that Chesapeake Retrievers, English Mastiffs, Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, or Shih Tzus will fit every potential dog owner household. Dogs are not a one type fits all. The type or breed of dog that a family/person chooses should be based on lifestyle and environment, as well as, the personality of the owner/s. Wolf dogs are amenable to owners who enjoy the outdoors, have personalities that enjoy dogs with higher intelligence, and thus, enjoy training and socialization that takes imagination, as well as, consistency. Because you may not want to own a wolf dog, it is not an axiom that all people will not want to own wolf dogs.

Mr. Frawley has been anti-wolf dog for a long time, but, his reputation is not stellar in the working/S.A.R./protection dog community, either. If you would like a less biased opinion from a S.A.R. trainer, please write to Roland Sonnenburg of Talented Animals, website http://www.sardogs.com/. He and his wife have been training S.A.R. dogs and animals for the TV and movie industry for a number of years.

As to DNA tests, they aren't even close to being accurate for humans, let alone canines. mtDNA tests can, accurately, show the maternal lineage of a canine. But, the other DNA tests that are currently available have been disavowed by researchers at UCLA, as unreliable at this point in time. As to the accuracy of the Merritt Clifton Report, who are the experts who phenotyped the dogs that are/were identified as wolf dogs? Did they use photos or did these experts do an in person physical exam of the supposed wolf dogs? Beth Duman, the expert who the State of Michigan relied on for a number or years, made many errors in her judgment of whether a dog was a wolf dog or not. She wrote a book that showed a neotinized wolf from Wolf Park in Battleground IN as an accurate representation of all wolves. She used the physical characteristics of Aurora, the neotinized wolf for comparison in how to identify wolf dogs. Raymond Pierotti PhD of Evolutionary Biology at University of Kansas testified in a number of wolf dog cases, where Beth Duman was the expert, and showed that her opinion was inaccurate and not based on sound scientific research of dog breeds and wolves.

I think what we would like from you, as a journalist, is to do more thorough research before writing the blog article you post online. Your research shows one side of the coin, rather than showing a more thorough unbiased position. We would like a more even-handed shake in the media. It is the sensational stories that make the media, rather than those of wolf dog owners who successfully live with their chosen companions for up to 15 years or more. Thank you for the time and opportunity to share another side of the story.

My response:


I don't know if you've been privy to the prior and full email discussion, I kind of hope so, that way my points are pre-established as I go.

Statistics, yes, you can do pretty much as you just said. However, that suggests that I made up my mind without knowing anything at all and that's simply untrue. I don't just speak from what I read in the newspapers, I have experience and have checked my sources and understand them as I will demonstrate for you.

The Humane Society, nope, not surprised at all. But you know what... they do lobby for animal rights legislation. They are part of the reason that animal cruelty is a felony in as many states as it is. Not only is that a good thing but trashing the Humane Society does precious little to prove anything for the stance of the wolf hybrid. What they do with their tax money or their toilet paper for that matter is irrelevant. These are two separate worlds and you have to tackle them that way. After all, what do you want to do? Take down the Humane Society, or get a better rep for your wolf hybrid? Will the first one really achieve the second one? I'm going on a limb and saying NO, it won't.

The case you speak of, just to be a good sport, I will go look at it, likely tonight yet. However, I fully realize that there are false wolf hybrids out there. I know they don't help your cause. In fact they screw it up and wind up killing their dogs as well. Unfortunately, there are just as many documented cases for the actual hybrid as the false one. That's why the "it's not really a hybrid" defense doesn't work. City and County law officials who have to clean these things up can't afford to buy into it. And you shot yourself in the foot when you said that necropsy results were ignored. Because you later say that DNA isn't accurate for even humans.... A necropsy is just an examination of a being after it's dead. For anything definite in identification guess what they use??? Yep, genetic testing, guess what that is??? Yep, DNA.

DNA on humans... wow, you are way way off on this. DNA has cracked cold cases, caught rapists and murders, identified birth parents and so so much more. I cannot fathom where you get the idea that DNA isn't even close on being accurate with humans. DNA has actually identified people who were found dead and couldn't be identified any other way. There are still pioneering stages but to suggest it's a failure the way you just did... I don't understand that at all.

Your comparison to 'other dogs' not being for everyone, which is just comparing the hybrid to regular dogs. This is something the enthusiasts need to stop doing. It's not proving anything and it's horribly misleading. A hybrid is not a regular dog. It's special needs far surpass those of any regular dog. Can they be trained? Yes. Can be loyal and good? Yes. But they are not for the casual pet owner, ie anyone who only knows regular dogs. Yes, I know that there are many breeders who have now got breeding to generations of only wolf dog to wolf dog.... that' doesn't change anything. It's not just a matter of being anti-wolf. A wolf is a wolf is a wolf. The sooner that many of you get that straight and quit trying to paint fake rainbows on them, the sooner you get the fair shake you're looking for.

That brings me to another important point and I'll mention it again because it seems to be just bouncing off peoples foreheads. I didn't say that NO ONE should have a wolf hybrid. I said that if you are going to get one you better do your homework and gave examples of why. Are you denying then, that hybrids are shunned by cities, towns, and home owner's insurance? Whether it's fair or not is not my report. That is the reality of the world of the hybrid wolf owner. If you are going to become a hybrid wolf owner, you better be ready for that reality. Are you also going to deny that the law will not recognise your hybrid's rabies vaccination? Can you name for me one JUST ONE domestic dog breed that has that problem? Go ahead, name it. This is what people need to know and I report on that. Attack or mauling issues aside, you cannot deny the problems I just listed and be honest about it.

Thank for trying to answer on my resources but you still don't present anything that helps you there either, here's how:

Ed Frawley: So you say he's not perfect? How does that make him wrong? Just because he isn't everybody's favorite doesn't prove he doesn't know what he's doing or knock down how long he's been doing it. Unless you got something really major to tell us about him, but then I think you would have done that by now.

The Clifton Report: it says right in the report exactly how he got his information. He reported on what was given to him from cooperating agencies, just like any of us and no, not from funny papers either. Go actually read it then come try again.

And finally I repeat one more thing that really disturbs me with you and the magazine guy who won't identify himself.... my blog article was spurred by someone spreading the idea that a wolf hybrid makes a good disability service animal. Now, the response I've gotten to that so far, almost suggests that you and he think that's an okay idea. It's a horrible idea. It's a certification and insurance nightmare and the making of a media nightmare for the animals you want exonerated. The first time that fails and it will, and someone gets hurt, and they will, it will burn the reputation of all hybrids. So, if you really want a fair shake, if you really want hybrids to be respected, take a stand on people who are being stupid with them... not the people reporting on them. When things happen, they get reported, that's reality.

So, I'm going to work on my next article coming really soon. You'll no doubt be waiting.

I put this here because I am quoting this discussion in my next Examiner article about getting trustworthy information on exotic pets before you buy one.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The teachings of Christ; what have we learned?

I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe in all of his teachings as depicted in the bible. However, while I wish everyone a glorious Easter Sunday, I find myself wondering what we have learned.

Look at how we treat each other. Has it changed much since he died on the cross for us? Have we really taken in what it means to love our neighbor? I know we have neighbors who make it very difficult to tolerate them, never mind love them. How about 'respect', is that a better word? We still don't do it.

We sure preach it though. When ever it's convenient and we think it makes us 'right' we take our religious lessons and dish em right out. Sadly, that only makes us right for a fraction of time. It makes us right in a given circumstance, but not throughout our lives. We say it, but we don't live it.

Jesus said: If you have two coats, give one to someone who has none.
We say: Every man for himself. You're on your own!

Jesus was persecuted, tortured and nailed to a cross.
We still commit discrimination against any who are different from us or we just don't agree with (soldiers, disbabled, colored, religious belief, etc etc etc.) and deny them place in our societies (whether by large or small portion).

And don't say you donated to Goodwill and that absolves you. It doesn't. Shoving off your old stuff you don't need (even though it's a worthy organization) is not the same as what Jesus was talking about. But yes, charity is nice. We still only do it when it's convenient.

There are those of us who do the best we can to live up to these teachings and actually go to church for that specifically. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the moral majority whether they go to church or not.

So, as you go to church this Easter Sunday, I am asking that you ask yourself: What more could I do? Am I living up to what I preach myself? Just ask yourself. And have a blessed holiday.