What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hope for Bullys on Marine Base

I recently received my Winter 2010 copy of "ASPCA Action" and read an article that really made me smile. The article titled "ASPCA Animal Behavior Experts Work with Marines to Evaluate Dogs and Keep Them on Base", gave me hope that more people are working to prevent breed bans and are fighting to give Bully breed dogs the chance they deserve.

This article is reprinted with the expressed permission of the ASPCA.

In early October, six ASPCA animal behavior experts traveled to assess the behavior of 85 dogs living in the Tri-Command housing units of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The dogs, mostly Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, were potentially subject to a new military housing breed ban, and the Tri-Command tapped the ASPCA to assess the dogs to ensure that they did not pose a threat to base personnel and their families.

The assessment, known as SAFER (Safety Assessment For Evaluation Rehoming), is an evaluation tool that helps identify the likelihood of aggression in individual dogs. SAFER identifies a dog's comfort level with certain interactions, like restraint, touch, reaction to new experiences, objects and sounds, bite inhibition, behavior around food and toys, and attitude towards other dogs.

"Our goal was to make sure safe dogs and their families were able to stay together," says Dr. Emily Weiss, ASPCA Senior Director of Shelter Research and Development. "We were seeking to identify behavior such as aggression, which often can be modified or managed." Dr. Weiss developed the SAFER assessment program, as well as the popular ASPCA Meet Your Match program.

Talk of instituting a breed ban on the base began after several incidents that involved dogs attacks. The Marine Corps had previously conducted tests that evaluated a dog's obedience and manners, but not aggression.

The ASPCA is opposed to laws that ban specific breeds of dogs or discriminate against responsible dog guardians based solely on their choice of breed. Dr. Weiss says, " We evaluated 85 dogs using the SAFER assessment. Of those, 83 showed no significant aggression issues that would cause them to be torn from their loving families." She adds, "Two dogs demonstrated significant aggression - that's just 2.4 percent of the dogs assessed, which is a powerful statistic when the alternative is an all-out ban on a breed."

(Copyright 2010. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All rights reserved.)

Also in this recent issue were stories chronicling some of the ASPCA's recent work such as the evaluation of some of the dogs seized in the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history (including a "pit-bull" that gave birth to puppies after she was rescued), their rescue of 250 dogs and cats in October raids on puppy-mills in Mississippi and Tennessee, and the passing of the Human Euthanasia Bill by the New York State Legislature that prohibits gassing as an accepted form of euthanasia for stray, homeless, abandoned or improperly cared for animals, requires euthanasia by injection to be done only by a certified euthanasia technician, licensed veterinary technician or licensed veterinarian, and prohibits intra-cardiac euthanasia on unsedated animals who are under the care of a shelter.

The ASPCA is a wonderful organization whose members and experts work tirelessly to save so many animals. But, what impresses me most, is their continued work to show the world that breed-bans are unfounded and that Bully breed dogs are worth saving too. Every day they work to give these dogs not only the care and medical attention they need, but to place them in the loving homes they deserve. THANK YOU ASPCA!!

These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...