Eagle Post: How To Take Your Dog Just About Anywhere

Tom Donnelly writes on veterinary matters in the USA.

In June, a miniature Yorkshire terrier caused a fuss at a fancy Manhattan restaurant. From a Google review of Altesi Ristorante: “Lunch was ruined because Ivana Trump sat next to us with her dog which she even let climb to the table. I told her no dogs allowed but she lied that hers was a service dog.” Internet discussions said the owner of Altesi, Paolo Alavian, defended Trump. “She walked into the restaurant and she showed the emotional-support card,” he said. “Basically, people with the card are allowed to bring their dogs into the restaurant. This is the law.”
Signor Alavian is mistaken: it’s not the law.

To digress briefly, several years ago in this column, I wrote about the growing trend of people with mental illnesses relying on what are known as therapy, comfort or “emotional support” animals (ESAs) to stem the symptoms of their illness. In New York genuine individuals were challenging landlords in court over rules that did not allow pets in rental apartments. However, such situations set two rights in conflict – the renter’s right to cope with a medical condition and the landlords’ right to control and maintain their property. The New York trend has become a nation-wide trend as illustrated by a recent three-year legal battle in Washington state that involved the federal government, Scrappee Anne, a miniature schnauzer, and her owner Diana Alton a 65-year-old woman who has post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression and cannot work. Alton’s landlords required her to pay a $1,000 pet deposit for her apartment. In November 2014 the landlords, Linda and Bert Barber, after incurring $175,000 in legal fees fighting Alton and the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development (HUD), which represented her, agreed to pay a $25,000 settlement to Alton and the government just to end it all. Continue reading Eagle Post: How To Take Your Dog Just About Anywhere

Community partnering as a tool for improving live release rate in animal shelters in the United States

Collaboration among all shelters and non-human animal welfare groups within a community along with the transparent, shared reporting of uniform data have been promoted as effective ways to increase the number of animals’ lives saved. This article summarises the shelter intakes, outcomes, and live release rate (LRR) from 6 geographically diverse communities participating in the . . . → Read More: Community partnering as a tool for improving live release rate in animal shelters in the United States

Eagle Post: too many vets?

Thomas Donnelly, BVSc DipVP DipACLAM reports from the US.

You may have seen the US Veterinary Workforce Study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently, or read the reports in Veterinary Record (May 2013, Vol 172, Issue 18) that suggest the supply of veterinarians in the USA may be exceeding demand for their services. Although specific to the US, as concerns are also being expressed about a likely oversupply of vets in Australia, the findings are of great interest.

The findings support a February 24 story in the New York Times entitled “High debt and falling demand trap new vets.” The story described a 30-year old vet, Hayley Schafer working in Gilbert, Arizona with $312,000 owing in student loans and depicts a profession bogged down by exorbitant educational costs, a looming oversupply of practitioners and the public’s declining demand for pet health care. Comments on Veterinary Information Network (VIN) reached fever pitch garnering more than 400 posts. Specifically, the results suggest that approximately 12.5 per cent of veterinary services in the US went unused in 2012 and that demand for veterinary services was sufficient to employ only 78,950 of the 90,200 vets currently working in clinical and non-clinical settings. The AVMA further suggested that excess capacity is likely to persist for the near future, even if US veterinary colleges were to limit expansion in enrolment. The study predicts the excess capacity will range from 11-14 per cent annually until 2025. Overcapacity is greatest in equine practice (23 per cent), followed by small animal (18 per cent), food animal (15 per cent) and mixed practice (13 per cent).

Many US veterinarians are already angry with the AVMA for recently accrediting Ross University in the Caribbean, which graduates over 300 veterinarians per year, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. At present, there are 28 AVMA accredited schools in the US and 11 in other countries (including three in Australia and one in New Zealand). Another two new veterinary schools – Midwestern University in Arizona and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee – remain on track to open in 2014. Continue reading Eagle Post: too many vets?

Eagle Post: January 2013

As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reduces its use of chimpanzees in invasive biomedical research, it is moving more chimps to retirement homes. But the agency could face a problem in paying for their continuing support. At the beginning of 2013, the NIH announced that it would move 113 chimpanzees it owns from the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary, also in Louisiana. The sanctuary is set in 200 acres of pine woods in Keithville and is currently home to 132 chimps that live in more natural surroundings and social conditions than those available at research institutes. Chimps live in a variety of cages and enclosures, including concrete-walled play yards of about a quarter of an acre, open to the sky, and two forested habitats, one four acres and the other five, bounded by a moat and fences.

Biomedical research on chimps helped produce a vaccine for hepatitis B. Another vaccine is aimed at hepatitis C, which infects 170 million people worldwide. Nevertheless, there has long been an outcry against the research as cruel and unnecessary. As it is, the United States is one of only two countries that conduct invasive research on chimpanzees. The other is the African nation of Gabon.

Using captive chimpanzees for research in the US dates to the 1920s, when Robert Yerkes, a Yale psychology professor, began to bring them into the country. During the 1950s, the Air Force bred chimps for the space program, starting with 65 caught in the wild. Chimps were also bred for AIDS research in the 1980s, which met a dead end. By the mid-1970s, support for preservation of threatened species had grown, and the importing of wild-caught chimps was prohibited. Continue reading Eagle Post: January 2013

Eagle Post

In what sport do competitors at times lie down in the middle of the course, unmotivated and bemused? The answer is cat agility tournaments, a competition in which cats run through a miniature obstacle course crammed with hurdles and tunnels. The phenomenon of cat agility contests started about 10 years ago when two couples involved in cat shows were at dinner and started talking about the tricks their cats did. They modified selected dog agility obstacles and showed them to their cats. From that chance meeting, International Cat Agility Tournaments (ICAT) was born. In 2004, cat shows began featuring agility contests, and they are now a fixture on the cat show circuit. As promoted on their website (catagility.com), ICAT is devoted to “creating a new category of cat competition in which cats negotiate an obstacle course designed to display their speed, coordination, beauty of movement, physical conditioning, intelligence, training, and the quality and depth of their relationship with their owner, who trains with them and guides them through the course.” Continue reading Eagle Post