Bites From Emotional Support Dogs Are On The Rise


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For people suffering from severe Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Fears/Phobias, and more, simple everyday tasks prove a daunting challenge. Such activities as shopping, driving, and simple socializing are ones that people suffering from these disorders tend to avoid. In an attempt to recover and live a balanced, normal life, those with severe mental impairments who are working with licensed mental health professionals are sometimes given a letter of authorization for an Emotional Support Animal.

With the help of an Emotional Support Animal, (and for this post an Emotional Support Dog) a human being in suffering is able to perform these basic daily tasks in addition to or in lieu of medications (for example, Xanax for Panic Disorders) which is why many health professionals encourage their use.

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However amazing our canine friends can be, not all are suited to be placed in situations Emotional Support Animals find themselves in. As a result, more and more cases involving dog bites from Emotional Support Animals are developing.

In a recent case, an Envoy Air flight attendant was bitten by such an animal and required 5 stitches as a result.

In 2018, an Alabama man was “mauled” by an emotional support animal on a Delta airlines flight. The man’s injuries were so extensive that he was immediately taken to the emergency room, and required surgery. In the man’s own testament, he had just taken his seat in the plane when the dog began growling at him. Within minutes, before the man had time to even fasten his seat belt, the 50 lb dog lunged at him and began attacking the man’s face. Even after being pulled off of the man, the dog freed himself and attacked again. Having been seated in the window seat position, the man had no choice but to withstand this traumatizing torment.

Dog bite wounds. (Photo courtesy Alexander Shunnarah & Associates)

Dog bites should be taken very seriously. In minor incidents, infection and psychological trauma can occur. In extreme cases, the bite of a dog can end the life of a full grown man given the strength, size, and breed of the dog and location of the bite.

Teeth of a Great Dane

The Canine jaw is a massively dangerous structure. Everything about it has been developed over the centuries to ensure fatality of prey.  The strong, precise “fang” teeth are curved in such a way that no victim be able to pull themselves away during a bite. The sharpness of a dog’s teeth combined with bite force (such as in Rottweilers, who have a bite force of 328 lbs of pressure) are enough to snap bones and tear flesh.

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The reason I am being so detailed is because it is imperative that people understand the science and biology of the canine, the problem that is occurring, how true of a societal dilemma this issue really is, and how to potentially prevent dog bites from happening in the future.



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As a result of Emotional Support Dog bite cases, many companies around the world are being forced to change their policies on service/support animals in order to maintain public health and safety.

However, the RESPONSIBILITY FALLS on the DOG’S OWNER and the LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL who authorized the release of the animal in the general public.

An Emotional Support Animal is not a Service Animal by definition. Therefore the animal is not legally required to go through the rigorous training and development that a typical Service Dog undergoes.

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As a result of this lack of development, an emotional support canine is not always able to comprehend and react accordingly in varying types of or stressful situations (like being on an airplane.)

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Service Dogs are highly socialized. Their strict training and socialization often begins at critically young stages in the dog’s life, making them accustomed to differing social cues of varying human beings and other animals thus allowing the dog to behave in an accordingly acceptable way in society. Without this intense, early socialization, a dog often becomes unfamiliar and afraid in stressful social situations that may lead to a bite. It is lame-brained to assume that a socially-challenged individual can create, train, and develop healthy social standards in their dog.

Although the benefits of having an Emotional Support Animal for an individual in suffering are monumentous; it cannot come at such a cost that another human being is put into a traumatic suffering as a result.

It would be logical that a Licensed Mental Health Professional review and meet with a dog before granting a letter of authorization for Support. It would further serve a great justice that the dog be evaluated by a Dog Behaviorist or Trainer before awarding such merit.

If for any reason, an owner of an Emotional Support Animal doubts the dog’s ability to maintain public safety, it is imperative that a Dog Trainer be sought out or a reevaluation of wellness goals be performed. A dog that has bitten is subject to euthenization in many states. Therefore for the best possible achievement of goals for all peoples, great care and consideration must be exercised when implementing an Emotional Support Animal.

The American Kennel Club provides guidelines to ensure Service Dogs remain upstanding citizens. One of these requirements is that the dog always be put first in a sense that it is always well-groomed, and in good health. Great example must be taken from the AKC guidelines, since an unhealthy or stressed Service Dog, may bite. (We are assuming the dog is unknowingly aggressive and simply experiencing stress as a result in these bite cases.) If you are not sure whether your dog is exhibiting signs of stress, click this link to identify signs of stress in your dog.

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If the owner of an Emotional Support Animal wishes to be honored, respected, and treated as an equal to a Service Animal, it is obligatory that they adhere to some measure of equal standards.

We cannot rely on companies, corporations, and governments to solve this dilemma for us. The most likely result would an absolute ban on Emotional Support Animals. We are able to resolve this problem ourselves, with a little bit of foresight and consideration for all animals and peoples sharing our world today.

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Scratch and Sniff

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

– Patrick Suskind

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The Wolf is the king of the canine world. Believed to be the grandfather of all of today’s dog breeds. The wolf is a finely tuned instrument for survival, that brings melody to the chorus of the earth. One of the reasons wolves are able to stay alive, maintain a community structure, and adapt to sudden changes in their environment, is their sharp sense of smell. A wolf is able to smell its prey from 1.75 miles away, and with such precision in their ability to smell; how could any domestic dog compare to it?

As brilliant as the wolf is in detecting scent, one breed of domestic dog may very well be superior; the Bloodhound.

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The earliest record of Bloodhounds date back to the 3rd century a.d., making the Bloodhound breed just about as old as Christianity.

A large but docile breed, the Bloodhound’s ability to trail a scent is extremely reliable. So reliable in fact, that any evidence a trained hound presents, can be accepted into a court of law in the United States.

In the early 1900’s, one notable Bloodhound named Nick Carter, was once able to pick up a scent trail over 105 hours (approx. 4 days) old. Did the trail Nick picked up lead to the criminal? Yes it did. Another amazing Bloodhound was credited for over 600 criminal convictions. Not only can a Bloodhound find a scent that is older than tomorrow night’s dinner leftovers, they can also follow a scent trail for miles. Over 130 miles to be exact.

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What makes these dogs such amazing aroma warriors? The Bloodhound has 300 Million scent receptors, which is more than any other domestic dog breed.

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Dogs and Wolves have a greater ability to perceive scents than human beings

Canines are able to perceive scent so easily due to their greater capacity to detect and store scent information.

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Scents can paint an incredibly vivid picture for Wolves and Dogs. A quick sniff of a patch of grass can tell the animal very specific details of identity, if the scent is of a male or female, friend or foe, how long ago the animal was there, and even if the animal was sick or injured.

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Scent from mammals can be picked up via sweat, which can be excreted from an animals paws, body, and even ears. An animals anus, genitals, and mouth, are also areas that excrete personalized smells.

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Specific chemicals and molecules are released from an animal’s sweat, urine, blood, saliva, and even hair; which give personal identification to an exact individual identity. Canines are able track an animal even in the snow, due to an animals ability to release sweat through its paws.

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Not only are dogs and wolves able to perceive smells more descriptively than a human beings, but they also dedicate a larger portion of their minds to cataloguing and storing the information that these smells provide. The region of the brain that is committed to scent is 40 times larger in the Canine brain than in the Human’s.

Canines also posses an organ that humans do not. An organ called, the Jacobson’s Organ. Which is located at the bottom of the dogs nasal passages. This organ is used for detecting pheromones, which are another type of chemical particle that is designed specifically for communication between animals of the same species.

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The long, pointy muzzle of the Wolf helps to channel scent for a longer period of time as it makes its way to the animal’s receptors. The long, floppy ears and wrinkly skin of the Bloodhound help funnel and trap any scent that may escape the nose.

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But which canine earns the title of Scent Champion? Who has the better sniffer? The Wolf or the Bloodhound?

Although animals can be naturally amazing and continue to surprise us with behaviors and acts that wag their finger at nay-sayers; Science provides us with the fact that, Bloodhounds, having 300 Million scent receptors, are superior than a Wolf’s, who has only 280 Million receptors. However close these numbers are, the Bloodhound comes in for the win on who has the best Canine sniffer.

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The Mainely Pets Foundation

It is rare to find individuals who genuinely enjoy their jobs. Those who wake up everyday with a sense of duty and with a keen, open eye for the next step in their pursuit of their passion. As rare as these individuals are, it is even more rare to find people who dare to take that passion further.

For a small group of Veterinary Doctors in Maine, providing outstanding care for every animal that came into their office, simply wasn’t enough. The sense that more could be done in helping animals and their owners, became a powerful driving force that did not go unheard.

DVM Oonagh Wack


DVM Brian Graves
DVM Douglas Andrews


So in August of 2017, DVMs Oonagh Wack, Brian Graves, Doug Andrews and a handful of other individuals, created a non-profit foundation.

This foundation brought together their passion, committment, and talent for veterinary medicine. With their collaborative minds they created a very unique organization.

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They recognized that more animals are in need of medical care than just the ones that come into their exam rooms. They also recognized that not every one is able to afford that medical care for their pets in need.

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Their process is incredibly simple. With approval of a submitted application, Mainely Pets Foundation will help pet owners and rescue groups, cover the cost of medical care.

If you have found yourself in a tough financial situation, and your animal needs immediate medical care; do not let your pet suffer and please reach out to this organization.


I’m sure most of you remember Bubba from my “Tips From Bubba” series.

Bubba had a tremendously painful gum disease which caused him to experience pain all day and night and especially when he ate. Bubba’s pain was so bad that he immediately would turn away when offered food. The cost of care to even begin correcting his Stomatitis was tremendous. That was where Mainely Pets Foundation stepped in.

Bubba asks for fresh water from the tub faucet shortly after his mouth surgery

If you live in the state of Maine in the US, and are in need of financial aid for your pets medical care, you can submit an application request by clicking this link.

To donate to this amazing foundation and help them to continue helping pets like Bubba, click here.

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If your pet needs help, please reach out. There are other foundations similar to Mainely Pets in the U.S., that can help residents off all states. The Pet Fund is one example. There are also MANY foundations country-wide, that aim at covering spay/neuter costs. In fact, that number is so great, I would not be able to list them all in this post, so if you’re animal is in need of spay/neuter help, call a local veterinarian in your area or a local animal shelter who will be able to tell you more.

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Lakes Custom Creations

Lakes Custom Creations is a budding new business that combines lifelong passion and experience in woodworking and customizations, along with a love for pets.

Started by husband and wife, Jason and Kate Lake, Lakes Custom Creations makes unique products geared towards pets.

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Raised bowls with built-in food storage  

Each product is handmade in Maine and primarily uses Maine pine when building each product. Hardwoods can be used at a higher cost. 

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Standard templates can be used should a person want a more standardized look, however customization is an option as well. Customization can include specific sizing measurements and decorative painting or personalizations such as pet’s names.

Although pet products are not the only thing that they can make. Additional products include signage,

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kitchen racks, festive decor, and more!

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“We can make just about anything out of wood.,” says co-founder Kate Lake. “In fact, our motto is: Let your inspiration become our creation.”

More products can be found here in this Etsy link.

Shipping is not included in the price of the product and is paid for by the purchaser. It is for that reason that products can be shipped anywhere across the globe so long as the purchaser is willing to pay for shipping costs.

Please be aware that if being shipped outside of the U.S., it is common for arrival delay due to the Customs process when entering/exiting countries.

Click this link for Lakes Custom Creations Facebook page. Also, orders can be placed directly via email at To receive a 10% discount on pricing, mention that you saw it here and give the code FFF10 when placing your order.

Animal Abuse In America

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I have anxiously awaited the writing of this post. Although many statistics, information, and ideas come about with this subject, I’ve postponed writing until the right words could shine through.

Chances are, the people reading this are not the ones abusing and neglecting animals. However, those reading this are still impacted by animal cruelty. The disgustingly horrific photos and videos that are seen on television, the internet, and in the news, often leave animal advocates and animal lovers disheartened. There is no harsher feeling than seeing an animal being tortured, knowing that animal abuse exists, and having no idea what to do about it or where to go.

Here are things that everyday people like you and me can do to help prevent and potentially stop animal abuse.


The legal definition of animal abuse is the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death onto a tame animal, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous that the animal has suffered, died, or been put in imminent danger of death.

Animal abuse is commonly known as cruel acts and neglect. Psychological terror and torment is also a form of animal cruelty, for example: the constant creation of fear by the owner to the animal.

Physical abuse such as burning, cutting, using excessive force on an animal

Psychological torture such as routinely performing an act which knowingly creates fear for the animal with the intention of scaring the animal (for example: holding an animal out of the window of a moving vehicle.)

Neglect, such as withholding food, water, shelter, basic grooming needs, or medical care (often found in hoarding situations)

Are all forms of animal cruelty.  


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Below is a chart defining the frequency and types of REPORTED animal abuse cases in the United States in 2013.


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A quick mention on obesity in the US: A stagggering number of American pets are obese. Although this is not a direct form of abuse or neglect, obesity can and often does create many health challenges for the pet and can and often does, limit the animals life longevity, and health. Routine exercise is an essential need for many animals.


Animal abusers find all kinds of different and sick ways of harming an animal.  For whatever illogical reason, these types of people do not see anything wrong with their actions or behaviors. Common traits include:

  • May perform acts of cruelty or torture for religious, cultural, or artistic reasons.
  • Most likely have psychological/ personality/sexual disorders. Antisocial personality disorder in particular revels the highest incidents of intentional animal cruelty according to Psychology Today.
  • Likely to be impulsive, selfish, controlling, attempts to be intimidating, and shows great lack of remorse
  • May have been a victim of violence themselves or have been witness to violent/abusive acts
  • Highly likely to be domestic abusers as well. 71%- 88% of abusers were abusive towards spouse and/or children as well
  • Predominately men under 30 years old and women over 60 years old


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A woman you work with often comes to work bruised. She admits that she and her children are a victim to domestic violence by her husband. Given the woman’s testament, would you consider her dog to be safe in the household as well?


Learn the signs of animal abuse.

Notice your surroundings and environment on a daily basis. Some signs of abuse and neglect are quite evident. However be careful in drawing assumptions.

Example: “Every time I drive home from work, I notice my neighbor’s dog outside. The dog is outside from the time I drive into work and from the time I drive home.”

The owner may have brought the animal indoors between these two times, however since you are at work, you are not able to see that fact. When presenting an accusation of animal cruelty, it is imperitive that your observations/facts be concrete enough to stand up in court.

Gather evidence if possible.

Create a record or log documenting what you see on a daily basis, the animal’s location,  health condition (skinny, dirty, mange-like, etc), living conditions (no shelter, living in feces, etc) Take photos if possible. In general, it is not wise to confront the animal abuser yourself. Law enforcement personnel are trained to deal with situations such as this, because remember; animal abusers may also be violent towards human beings as well.

Don’t be afraid to speak out against the abuse

Even if it means continuous phone calls to law enforcement or someone else of authority. Even if they don’t seem to care (they could be animal abusers as well) Keep placing complaints, making phone calls, and advocating for the animal.

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If your local authorities are not being responsive, call:

PETA at 757-622-7382 or,

the Animal Humane Society at 612-772-9999 email:

Call your local animal shelter

In some U.S. states such as New York and Texas, dialing code 311 will put you in direct contact with someone who can help with animal cruelty.

If you are witnessing animal cruelty as it is happening and the animal’s life is in imminent danger, call 911.

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If you have viewed animal cruelty on the internet, click here to report it. You can also click here. You may need the direct video link when reporting or in some cases, the IP address of the website. In order to assist law enforcement, this link allows for easy look-up of the website creator’s contact information.

Be active with your local animal shelter

This seems a very after-the-fact avenue and for the most part that is true however the local animal shelter is where many neglected and abused animals end up. Many of these shelters are non-profit and depend solely on contributions made by their community to care for their animals. Help the relief effort by volunteering with your local shelter or providing donations if possible.

Encourage tougher animal cruelty laws in your local legislation

Which could mean organizing a citizens’ initiative/petition or writing your local representative and advocating for tougher animal rights laws.

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Right now in Denver, CO, efforts are being made to legally prohibit convicted animal abusers from ever owing an animal again. Similar legislation exists in California.

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Although many US states have felony laws for animal abuse, SOUTH DAKOTA is one of the US states WITHOUT felony-level animal cruelty laws.

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Educating youth on proper animal care can prevent animal abuse in the future.

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Not everyone understands that animal abuse is NOT okay. 

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The Alaskan Malamute

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The Alaskan Malamute is a working dog which had been bred to perform specific dog sledding tasks. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the breed began. However, upon Russia’s discovery of Alaska in 1741, tales of the “Alaskan Arctic Sledge Dogs” arose.

Mushing (dog sledding) was and sometimes still is a necessary method of transportation in the arctic circle and frozen tundras of the world’s northern landscapes. Without roads, vehicles, access to gasoline, and intense ever-changing weather, sled dogs were the only opportunity for Alaskans to provide transport, gather resources (food and supplies), trade, haul heavy freight, and network with other Alaskans.

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The native Innuit, Mahlemut tribe (now Malamutes) of Alaska, were the first peoples to be seen “using dogs to haul sledges.” Their dogs were described as affectionate, beautiful, fine, powerful looking, enduring and tireless by the white people who came across them.

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The Alaskan Malamute became recognized as its own breed in 1935. Many dog sled racing records are held by Malamutes as opposed to similar breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed and Eskimo dog who would engage in racing tournaments as well.

The Malamute is typically wolfish grey with black or white, with white being seen on the underbelly, legs, feet, face and sometimes forehead. Although rare, an all white Malamute can be seen as well.

Malamutes are considerably denser than other sled dog breeds. Their coats are often heavier, and bodies are more hefty and heavier. They are deep-chested and have a smooth gait, with a large, fluffy curled tail.

Their average height is around 23- 25 inches and can weigh between 75 to 85 lbs. Malamutes typically have brown eyes and are not to be confused with their blue-eyed cousin the Husky. Their dense, heavy coats make them unsuitable for warm climates, and require a lot of up-keep since they will produce a tremendous amount of hair when shedding.

Overall, the Malamute is a highly intelligent, friendly and affectionate breed that is well-suited for colder climates. Due to their breed origin, they may require a moderate to high level of activity and exercise.

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Lassen County, CA

High Desert Wolves Rescue is a non-profit animal “sanctuary” in Northern California. However the owner of the organization was brought to trial for “puppy mill” charges earlier this year. According to, the dogs were kept in cages their entire lives and were not socialized. Furthermore, many of the dogs and puppies had parvo virus and distemper.


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Photo from High Desert Wolves Facebook page

A seemingly small breath of relief came when hearing that the dogs and pups were taken by authorities however that relief is short-lived. With the local government refusing to release the animals to any rescue groups for adoption, many of the dogs face euthanasia. has published a petition for folks to sign, which would encourage the municipality to release the dogs into the care of rescue groups and prevent euthanasia. Click here to sign the petition.

There is also a gofundme account accepting donations to help with the cost of care and transportation of the animals for rescue attempts. To donate, click here.

Please help spread the news.


Why is it Important to Spay/Neuter my pet?

Each year in the United States, 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are admitted to a shelter. Of those 6 to 8 million, approximately 4 million are euthanized simply because they were unable to find a home.

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To really see the big picture on how serious of a dilemma this is for our nation; each person would have to adopt 15 dogs and 45 cats, to ensure that every animal in America has a home. What is even more shocking, is that our world’s population in general is already significantly higher than ever before. Studies have shown that for every 20 minutes, 3,000 people are born in the United States each year and yet; the number of homeless dogs and cats still far outweigh even that! So, this is a very real issue.

I’ll give you a minute to digest that info.

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Each American = 15 dogs and 45 cats

Do you see how truly large of an issue this is? Many animal shelters, veterinarians, and animal experts try tirelessly to address it. Yet, the simplest way to help stop this growing issue, is to spay/neuter your pet.

Even as animal lovers, we would take in all 15 dogs and 45 cats, to help ensure each animal is loved and cared for. However the fact is,  that you have now put these animals in jeopardy by housing them in a hoarding situation. Although they may not face physical abuse, they certainly would face starvation, medical issues, and receive little to no attention, since it is simply unrealistic for one person to be able to care for that many animals at once.


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A Great Dane hoarder in New Hampshire. Dogs seized required up to $30,000 in medical care. Some were able to be saved and put up for adoption while others were not.

The owner of the Great Danes pictured above stood before her municipal judge in early 2018. She plead in her defense that she was only doing this to save the breed. She wanted to ensure that the majesty of the breed remain in history.


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Backyard Samoyed breeder in Iowa, Nov. 2018. All 170 dogs were seized by ASPCA

The American Kennel Club takes steps to ensure proper breeding without all of the neglect and feces. It has established guidelines for registered breeders to ensure that no inbreeding occurs, no over-breeding occurs, and that adequate care is provided to each dog involved.

So to recap: Each American = 15 dogs and 45 cats.

4 million animals are euthanized each year, regardless of their health or age, simply because they were unable to find homes.

The simplest way you can help is to spay/neuter your pet. If you want to go the extra mile, adopt from a shelter. If adopting from a shelter is not in your interest, (by the way there are purebreds in shelters, like those Great Danes and Samoyeds!) at the very least do not buy from anyone other than a registered breeder.


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