How to deal with animal abuse on the road

 

 

 

At first glance, you might think the owner is doing him good by allowing him to breathe fresh air and enjoy the sun. But if you look closely, the dog is petrified!

josette_dog
The dog has a prong collar around his neck and could fall any moment

He has a prong around his neck and is tied up with a chain to the car leaving him little space to move and not even allowing him to sit. The dog was trying to pull himself inside the car of fear of falling. This is no humane way to take your dog on a ride, not to mention the prong collar! One false move and the dog is dead!

I could feel my blood rushing with heroic ideas on how to save the dog; I wanted to bump into them and release him, but we all know that’s not the sane way to do it. I felt helpless. I still do.

In case you spot similar cases on our roads in Lebanon, here’s what you can do:
  • Stay calm. Losing your head won’t help anybody; especially the dog
  • Remember, this is a traffic violation and you CAN get the police involved if you do the right thing
  • Call 112 – the internal security – and report the case as a traffic violation
  • Focus on the traffic violation and not the dog, as our police take road security and safety violations very seriously
  • Keep in mind that saving dogs is not within their scope of duty but they will do their best to keep the roads safe; the dog in a vehicle’s open area is considered a hazard. The dog might jump or fall and cause accidents/traffic
  • Reporting such scenes to the police stressing on the law, will keep the dog in a safe place till the ride is over

After all it is up to us to provide our furry friends and family with a good environment. Our small actions will help them live a better/safer life. We just have to make the right decisions.

How to safely transport your pet in a vehicle

Here are few tips to consider on how to keep your furry family member safe during car rides;

Picture by Cynthia Barikian
  1. Use crash-tested crates.

Think of it this way, if you were to buy a camping tent for yourself, the main factors you’d consider are:

  • The size; you need to fit comfortably
  • Air circulation; so you don’t suffocate while in it
  • Good insulation; so it confines with all seasons
  • Crash bags for extra security in case of emergency breaking.

The same factors apply to the crates, simple.

  1. The Dog seat belt!

Yes, I was as fascinated as you are when I found out they exist!

I know it is not mandatory by law to have one for your dog here in Lebanon, but it ensures a safe and secure ride. In case of an emergency break they keep the dog in place and prevent them of being thrown off their seat, given that dogs do not have the same gripping ability we humans have. In case you need to leave the car your dog may want to follow you, sometimes to places where he can get hit by a moving vehicle. It also gives him room to move and change positions, while enjoying the view!

  1. Breaks are good; have a few.

If you are traveling by car for a long distance, make sure to have a stop every 2 to 3 hours and let them go out, stretch their legs and do their business.

  1. switch off power windows.

    Picture by Christiane Rouhana

Make sure to regulate the windows in a way your pet is getting fresh air and is safe at the same time. It’s easy for them to accidentally clear open the windows with their paws. Overexcited dogs are known to jump out of a moving vehicle. Taking the wrong step might even cause the window to close on their neck and chock them.

  1. Bring water and a bowl!

Always store a bottle in your car, as part of an emergency kit. You never know what might happen; whether it is a short or a long drive. The bowl is not mandatory; your dog can always drink from your cupped hand.

Keep in mind that it’s never safe to drive with your pet in your lap, to let them ride in the open area of your vehicle (like our fellow driver did here) or to leave them unattended inside the vehicle, especially when the weather gets warm.

6 secrets behind Live Animal Exhibitions and Zoos

A friend calls me asking me to join her for a trip to the Zoo to help educate the school kids about the animals.

Kids love seeing Animals, right?

Do you know the secrets behind live animal exhibitions?

Here are 6 secrets nobody wants you to know:

1 - Live Animal Exhibitions are bad for kids
They contribute to teaching kids cruelty. Instead of saying "Look at the beautiful Lion!" we should really say  "Look at the sad Lion!"
Unless parents are very careful. Sub standard Zoos and live Animal exhibitions can twist a kid's perception or reality.

2 - Animals are not as happy as the organizers want you to believe
A wild animal does not belong in the city. There are just too many people. Too many sounds. Stress and anxiety slowly lower the animal's immune system and eventually lead to health deterioration and sometimes death.

3 - Animals are drugged and abused
Some organizers use tranquilizers and drugs to control the animals. Others will try to irritate the animals to make them roar. The people behind Zoos and Live Animal Exhibitions will do whatever it takes to keep the show going and get your attention. Often at the expense of the animal's welfare.
"The scientific term for repetitive behaviors in captive animals is "Abnormal Repetitive Behavior" also know as ARB. This covers all the strange-looking repetitive behaviors we can recognize in captive animals, like zoo animals. These behaviors are caused by conditions like depression, boredom and psychoses. Some zoos actually give anti-depressants or tranquillizers to control the behavior problems of some of their animals."
(source: http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/zoos.htm)

4 - Animals are killed
The animals are shipped in horrible conditions and often stolen from the wild (where most are already endangered) or purchased through questionable suppliers. Many animals die during or shortly after transportation due to neglect and inappropriate care.

5 - Wild animals can transmit diseases
What you don't know CAN hurt you.
"The 2007 discovery of a zoonotic disease in lions illustrates how little we really know about diseases that can be transferred between wild animals and people. The Norovirus described in this report, posted on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, describes a severe hemorrhagic enteritis which can result in a vascular collapse from the intense bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract."
(source: http://bigcatrescue.org/zoonosis-diseases-that-jump-between-animals-and-humans/)

6 - Animals die prematurely in Zoos
The average lifespan of zoo elephants is about 16-18 years, while wild elephants can live 50-70 years.
Ultimately, animals do not belong in cages, or behind concrete walls. No matter how brightly a wall is painted, or how large a cage is, a zoo environment cannot compare to an animal’s wild habitat.
(source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-reasons-to-skip-your-next-zoo-visit/)

Would you visit or take your kids to a Zoo or Live Animal Exhibition?

Let me know what you think?

A letter from my aging dog

Nicholas 14 years old Shetland Sheepdog (image by Harris Walker).
Nicholas 14 years old Shetland Sheepdog (image by Harris Walker).

You think I’m not the same dog anymore? Did I become slow and boring? Is everybody telling you that I have changed?

Well let me explain few things :

If I don’t play with you as much as I did before , it’s not because I don’t enjoy your company anymore . I still do but my body is weak and frail and I just want to sleep or lay comfortably by your side .

These little accidents i have inside the house sometimes, they are never on purpose. Remember how clean I was all my life ?

If I don’t come to you with a wagging tail like I always did whenever you called me it’s not that I have become stubborn, I just can’t hear anymore…

If I walk around the house aimlessly knocking things down, I have not become stupid or dump, I simply can’t see anymore.

When I wake up at night and start crying don’t get mad at me and punish me, I might be in pain…

I always loved you and will love you till the end, please understand I have not become a bad dog,

I GOT OLD just like you will one day .

J’ai adopté un chien et j’ai appris

Entrevue par Jessy Khoury à la MTV Liban (en Arabe)

 

xander dodo copie
J’ai appris que nous ne sommes pas les maîtres de nos chiens mais leurs gardiens, leurs parents, leur famille, leur meute.

J’ai adopté un chien. Une boule de bonheur qui s’appelle Xander.

Depuis, ma vie a changé; mon mode de vie et de pensée aussi.

J’ai adopté un chien j’ai voulu l’éduquer mais nous avons tous deux appris.

J’ai appris qu’avoir un chien c’est ouvrir les horizons physiques, psychiques et affectives vers une meilleure vie et un meilleur mental car les chiens sont honnêtes et purs et si on ne les pervertit pas, ils ne peuvent que nous aider à évoluer. Nous apprenons d’eux autant qu’ils apprennent de nous.

J’ai appris qu’un chien adopté même s’il a été abusé n’est pas nécessairement agressif et indomptable et imprévisible. Qu’il a besoin qu’on soit à son écoute afin de dégager ses besoins et envies.

J’ai appris que même les chiens de race achetés cher, peuvent s’avérer agressif ou peureux, ou malades. Non, il n’y a aucune raison qui doit privilégier un chien à un autre, ou permettre et encourager les massacres de chiens de rue car ces chiens sont souvent gentils et affectueux.

J’ai appris qu’un chien s’éduque gentiment et que rien ne justifie l’utilisation de moyens de torture pour éduquer un chien car dans tous les cas, il apprendra pour vous plaire.

J’ai appris  qu’un chien ne peut pas être heureux de vivre dehors la nuit et le jour car un chien, lorsqu’il se sent faisant partie de la famille, va vous avertir en cas de danger même s’il dort dans la chambre vêtu d’un tutu et ayant mangé comme un goinfre. Son instinct de base et sa fonction dans la famille ou le foyer feront en sorte qu’il vous avertira, vous sauvera dans tous les cas. Le mien l’a déjà fait, nous évitant un cambriolage.

xander-bed
Xander fait désormais partie de la famille.

Il s’est réveillé, m’a réveillé et a aboyé nous guidant vers le coté où la personne indésirable se trouvait à deux heures du matin. Le seul son de la voix du chien venant de l’intérieur de la maison a fait fuir le voleur ne mettant en danger ni les humains ni le chien. Puis, Xander a passé la nuit gardant les chambres, la tête vers l’entrée, vigilant, silencieux. Il s’est couché à six heures du matin enfin, lorsque le jour s’est levé, la queue joyeuse le sourire aux lèvres ayant fait son devoir et reçu gratitude et remerciements.

Cet épisode m’a appris que le chien avertit et protège où qu’il soit et que l’avoir à l’intérieur le protège à lui de l’empoisonnement ou la mort par balle par exemple.

J’ai appris qu’un chien ne se monnaye pas. Nous ne devons pas adopter un chien seulement par humanisme et charité. Nous devons l’adopter car refuser l’achat et la vente d’une âme vivante doit être un principe social de base. Ainsi nous mettrons fin à une industrie sans conscience. Ceci ne veut pas dire qu’il faut éliminer les races pures au contraire. Ceci veut dire que nous devons avoir un contrôle de qualité et moralité efficace sur toutes les personnes souhaitant élever des chiens de race selon une charte bien précise qui garantisse les droits de tous les chiots qui naissent et les droits de tous les chiens utilisés pour l’élevage.

Ceci veut dire que les chiens et chiots parqués comme des sardines dans ces cages d’oiseaux ou autres dans les pets shops ne voyant la vie qu’à travers des barreaux, assis dans leurs propres merdes, peuvent aussi développer des personnalités peureuses ou agressives ou faibles.

J’ai appris qu’un chien sent la douleur. Celle du feu, des coups, des chocs électriques. Oui ce n’est pas juste un chien ou un chat ou un renard ou un perroquet. C’est des êtres vivants dotés de conscience et d’une forme d’intelligence qui leur est propre et que nous ne devons de respecter si un jour nous souhaitons nous respecter nous mêmes.

En adoptant Xander j’ai appris la clémence et la patience et la sociabilité dénuée d’intérêts louches et de calculs; la joie de connaitre son voisinage et de rencontrer des personnes positives.

En adoptant Xander j’ai aussi appris à quel point nous avons encore du chemin à faire et combien beaucoup d’humains manquent d’humanité.

Je repense à mon grand-père et j’écoute les histoires des vieux et je me rends compte que eux, ne pouvaient pas se permettre d’abuser gratuitement des animaux car ils en avaient besoin. Ils avaient un besoin mutuel l’un de l’autre. Mon grand-père choyait son ânesse et ma grand-mère se levait en pleine nuit si elle sentaient que les chèvres étaient en Danger. Leur chien était nourri et aimé et libre car ils protégeait la maison et les domaines et accompagnait les enfants sur les chemins de terre.

En adoptant Xander j’ai eu la chance de rencontrer des personnes extraordinaires qui tentent de faire passer des lois pour protéger des animaux, des personnes qui tentent de faire tomber les clichés et les idées reçues depuis si longtemps par des machistes imbus d’eux-mêmes. J’ai rencontré des personnes qui appliquent une éducation positive des chiens et rencontré des chiens éduqués polis, heureux et épanouis grâce à des règles de base: La discipline positive, l’amour et le respect.

En adoptant Xander j’ai appris que quelques poils dans le salon ce n’est rien comparé à l’accueil qu’il nous fait.

En adoptant Xander, j’ai appris que lorsqu’on croise un autre chien, ce n’est pas le chien qu’on l’on doit regarder pour savoir s’il est gentil mais surtout son gardien. Car c’est l’attitude du gardien qui nous met sur la voie de l’éducation du chien.

J’ai appris que nous ne sommes pas les maitres de nos chiens mais leurs gardiens, leurs parents, leur famille, leur meute.

J’ai appris qu’un chien qui ne sociabilise pas avec les autres chiens et les autres humains n’est pas un chien de garde mais un chien agressif qui un jour se retournera peut-être  contre son propre gardien.

J’ai appris que les centaines de chiens sauvés et qui attendent d’être adoptés ont besoin non seulement d’une voix qui parle pour eux, mais de milliers de voix associatives et individuelles, car rien rien rien au monde ne justifie la violence planétaire, écologique, animale et humaine.

Electric shocks use in dog training

My opinion about the use of aversion and force in dog training is no big secret. The whole concept of Bright Animals was to promote humane animal training and in home dog training as a better alternative to outdated techniques.

Far from being a personal opinion, you will find links to various articles and scientific studies that outline the problems of training animals using force at the end of this post.

More like stuff from horror movies, the tools used in traditional training are used to electrocute, pinch and choke dogs into submission. The trainer will hold a remote control in his hand and use it to deliver painful shocks to the dog's neck.

This dog is fitted with an electronic shock collar, the trainer typically holds a remote control in his hand to inflict painful corrections.
This dog is fitted with an electronic shock collar.

Electric training collars are already banned in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany and in some states in Australia however an uninformed person looking to train his dog can often fall victim of these abusive techniques. No dog lover would accept to abuse a dog, but faced with the arguments of a convinced traditional trainer one may end up falling in the trap.

Abusive trainers that refuse to evolve will often seek opportunities in places where electronic collars use is not regulated.

What are these tools?

As its name suggests, a choke chain is used to inflict pain by constricting  the neck.
As its name suggests, a choke chain is used to inflict pain by constricting the neck.

An e-collar is used to deliver painful electric stimulation to the neck area.
An e-collar is used to deliver painful electric stimulation to the neck area.

A prong collar is used to inflict pain by constricting the neck and by pinching the skin.
A prong collar is used to inflict pain by constricting the neck and by pinching the skin.

Why are these tools so bad?

I was recently interviewed by Jessy Khoury on MTV and asked to explain the difference between modern and traditional training (in Arabic).

Another video (also in Arabic) I shot a few years back shows a small behavioral assessment to test the reaction of two dogs against various stimuli. One of these dogs was sent to a farm for training, the other was not. Judge the difference in reaction for yourself. The reaction of these dogs is not only related to the training method but also to the living conditions on training farms.

Links to various studies (for those who like to read more about the subject):

"..., this study shows that even with best practice as advocated by collar manufacturers and trainers, there were differences in the behaviour of dogs that are consistent with more negative emotional states (including anxiety and aversion)" - read more


"Our results indicate that the immediate effects of training with an e-collar give rise to behavioural signs of distress in pet dogs,..." - read more


"If shock and pain are profound, it is possible to induce almost immediate long-term potentiation (LTP), the molecular changes associated with hippocampal memory that will lead to a strong aversion or phobia. The hippocampus is the primary region where fears and anxieties associated with fearful stimuli are thought to originate" - read more


More info can be found on this here.

 In conclusion

A dog should not obey out of fear. And training is not an excuse for a dog to get abused. Modern animal training is here to stay and it helps you create a profound bond with your dog. People involved with humane dog training smile more while working with their dogs and do not have the nasty habit of jerking the leash to force their dogs to listen.

Training should be fun for both human and dog alike.

To end this post on a positive note (Bright Animals students will smile), here is a video of Nana, a dog trained purely using positive methods and that shows how fun and powerful the method really is.

Have fun and happy training!

Did you like this post? Please take a moment to share it.

How the Animal Welfare Law in Lebanon can go wrong

The Animal Welfare Law will see the light. It will be a stellar achievement for Animals Lebanon and the thousand of great people that support their work. But what will really change once this law is finally be enacted?

Looking at the way we are selectively applying other laws, chances are nothing will change unless we, as a society change as well.

For a law to work in Lebanon, it has to be convenient for everybody. Let's take a moment to look at existing laws in our society that should be applied and are not.

The hunting ban is an example. Every other hunter will tell you the law should not apply to him because he only kills migrating birds, if he shoots something else, it is only because on that day particular day, he was frustrated. The hunting ban is there, but billboards advertising shotguns and glorifying hunting are never taken down.

Endangered storks are some of the animals routinely killed despite the hunting ban.
Endangered storks are some of the animals routinely killed despite the hunting ban.

 

The traffic laws are there. We always stop at red lights unless we are in a hurry.

Indoors smoking ban, is now just a joke. People supposed to care the most about it are breaking it.

I recently declined an invitation to a fund raiser organized at a venue that breaks the indoors smoking ban. The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the fund raiser was organized by a group of people raising money to care for the environment.

Laws change nothing if not respected.

The Animal Welfare Law will not please eveybdoy. Hoarders will not like it and they will come up with their excuses to break it. Abusers come up with excuses to break it and some will even believe the law is wrong.

Fact is, not all laws are perfect. Many laws need improvement but for society to function laws must be respected until they are changed.

I can barely wait to see the Animal Welfare Law enacted. It took years of work and could save countless animals. It would also instill some much needed humanity into our angry society.

Each time we break a law we do not like it, we set the stage for someone to break another law that we might particularly care about.
Every time someone comes up with an excuse to drive through a red light, a bad example about respecting laws is set.
Every cigarette lit indoors is another nail in the coffin of the law.

Animal welfare does not depend only on set of laws, it depends on the small things that each of us does on a day to day basis.

So please support the law, the best you can.

To learn more about Animal Lebanon's campaign.
http://www.animalslebanon.org/law/campaign

The Hamster Cage on the Night Before Christmas.

If you do not believe in chance, this story will probably change your mind.

Coming back from his work the night before Christmas eve, Chadi, an animal lover, decided to take a different road. As he was driving, he caught sight of a dirty cage with some sort of creature moving inside it.

This is the cage where chance was found. A stinky fur ball in a tiny cage.
Chance in the hamster cage where she was found.

On the sidewalk, right in front a pet shop this neglected dog was left suffering. He stopped and tried speaking to the shop owner. He was told that the animal got loose a few days back and got hit by a car. She was now destined for breeding. It was also time to close the shop and the conversation was quickly coming to an end.

In a country like Lebanon where animal welfare laws virtually do not exist the only chance of rescue lied in the man willingly surrendering the dog. But the conversation was just not going well.

Suddenly, there was a lot of noise. Coincidentally, the police happened to be raiding an apartment  in a building right next to the pet shop. So suddenly Chadi and the shop owner were both blocked inside the shop while the police finished their work for the next hour and a half. Plenty of time to talk to the owner.

IMG-20141231-WA0008
First time out of the cage.

 

The dog was named chance.  And after a visit to the vet, she was diagnosed with a broken shoulder and leg. She was also infested in fleas and had worms in her stools.

Chance is currently recovering and looking for a foster home and an adoptive family.  She has been treated for fleas, groomed and dewormed.

Had Chadi not changed his route and had the police raid not taken place, she would probably still be in the cage where she was found.

Please help Chance by spreading the word about her case. She is in need of a permanent home to call her own. For more information, please contact her rescuer (Chadi) at the following numbers: 79 187322 (from Lebanon) or 0096179187322 (internationally).


 

Chance (to the left) With Chadi, her rescuer and his dogs.
Chance (to the left) With Chadi, her rescuer and his dogs.

 

Chadi is an animal lover and is also the founder of the group Parrot Club of Lebanon, he also owns a small show in the Furn El Chebbak area called Bridville2 where you can find all sorts of quality items and accessories for your birds.