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Issue #7June 14, 2009
DogsInDanger Abandons New York AC&C Shelter Reform Attempt

The folks at the New York City shelter system, as well as Commissioner of Health, Dr. Thomas Frieden, and even Mayor Bloomberg, have much to celebrate this month. After nearly a year of constant effort, examination and analysis, DogsInDanger and The Buddy Fund have abandoned all attempts to reform and re-humanize the New York City shelter system. The decision was based on final analysis by our attorneys at Kaye Scholer LLP who concluded that it was impossible to bring suit and win in New York State, no matter how egregious the conditions in the municipal shelters may be.

For more than six months now, two attorneys at the well-respected global firm had been working on preparations for a major lawsuit. The evidence gathered supported systemic mismanagement and mistreatment of animals resulting in injury and death, routine cover-ups of negligent and abusive activity, and worse.
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With 20,798 lives saved, just when did we lose the war? was a controversial idea upon its launch in October 2007. Why so controversial? No one bothered to explain. After all it was the long-term policy of the United States that companion animals without a home were permitted to be killed. This was a social contract made by our society that weighed the life of a companion animal against the cost and effort of caring for it, and decided it was an undue burden for our society to carry. The scales of conscience and expediency clearly leaned toward the latter, and since in a representative society the majority rules, the Faustian bargain was struck.

Many may protest this social contract decrying, “I never agreed to that!” While implicitly not being given a choice to vote up or down the issue, as would be in a direct democracy, the majority complicitly approved the concord through silent acceptance. This is indeed the hallmark of a representative democracy. The minority is left with the traditional tool of the losing side, pathetic and paltry attempts at convincing the majority of the “wrongness” of their position with words.
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Rico the genius dog
The Buddy Fund Eyes Dog Intelligence

As Kato gasped at the horrific events unfolding right in front of his eyes, he may have been aware of how critical his testimony would one day be. He was destined to become the only eyewitness to one of the most infamous crimes in history. On the night of June 12th, 1994 Kato witnessed the bloody murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson, the former wife of football legend O.J. Simpson.

Unfortunately we will never know just what Kato understands since Kato is a dog, an Akita. In the ensuing months, desperate for a window into the truth, Sergeant Donn Yarnall, chief trainer of the Los Angeles Police Department K9 patrol decided to “interview” the dog. He described Kato as having a "very nice disposition," but "inadequate instincts or courage to protect his territory, owner or himself." In other words, too “dumb” to be of any use.

We all know the eerie feeling of looking at our dog engaged in some act and contemplating, “What is he thinking?” ... “Does he have a purpose to his madness?” Very little scientific work has been done on the innate intelligence of dogs. Firstly, one has to define “intelligence” as applied to dogs. Secondly, one has to find the funding to secure such research - always difficult when dealing with animal issues.

Most of the cognitive work to date has been done in Europe (Why are we not surprised?). The University of Vienna in Austria and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have been leading institutions studying exceptional dog behavior as applied to cognitive intelligence. Juliane Kaminski of the aforementioned university has well documented the abilities of Rico, a Border Collie that has learned and understands over 200 words.
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A Champion of Champions

Just south of the Kentucky border you will find Johnson City, TN. Although not as famous as many of Tennessee's larger cities, Johnson City has its own unique claim to fame.

No, it's not a rising country music center and there are no plans to land the space shuttle there any time soon. It's a great deal more significant you see, of the hundreds of animal shelters registered with DogsInDanger, the Johnson City Animal

Hannah and her friends
Shelter has listed TWO AND A HALF TIMES as many dogs as the runner up. As of this writing, the Johnson City Animal Shelter had uploaded 2,538 dogs to the website.

The shelter employee most responsible for managing their dogs' listings on is Hannah Greene. Hannah has worked at the shelter since February 2001, making her a seasoned veteran. What follows is an interview with Hannah in her own words.

"We first heard about DogsInDanger after the big media blitz in October 2007. We were already doing Petfinder but decided the more exposure our dogs could receive, the better.

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Did you know?
In 2008, New York City euthanized more than 16,000 animals.
An Unlikely Hero

At 4:00PM, October 15th 2007, my cell phone rang, again. I hurriedly fidgeted with the tiny keys to change calls. It was Alan, our public relations guy. “Alex” he muttered softly, “I just got a call from the producers of The Today Show. They would like for you and Brenda to appear live tomorrow morning with Meredith Vieira at Rockefeller Center.”

I replied, “That’s great Alan, but as you know, the website has been overwhelmed since the first Yahoo story ran last night and it is completely down! It was never designed to handle this kind of web traffic. No one will see the DogsInDanger website…all the publicity will be wasted.” Alan laughed gently and followed, “Oh, by the way, did I mention that at the exact same time the Today Show segment will run, Good Morning America is broadcasting an in-depth piece about DogsInDanger. You better get off your horse and do something about the website”.

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