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Animal Radio® Show #505 August 8, 2009


Largest Dogfighting Operation in the U.S. History

Dr. Melinda Merck, ASPCA’s Forensic Veterinarian

What is believed to be the largest dogfighting operation in U.S. history was raided in an effort that included federal and state agencies. 

Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian was also part of the team.   Dr. Merck operates the Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, which is a critical tool in the collection and processing of evidence at crime scenes.  The CSI Unit brings both state-of-the-art forensic tools and expertise to crime scenes and is outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients. 

The dogfighting operation spanned eight states and included arrests in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi. Dogs were safely transported to a secure facility under the direction of the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force, where they are being cared for until final disposition is determined by the United States District Court.

With all of the press created by the Michael Vick case, there has been a greater public awareness of dogfighting.   This has also resulted in many new laws and improved laws.  But on the reverse, some of these dogfighters are learning what works and what doesn’t, and they are constantly changing and evolving their practices.  Many are now separating the training the breeding, which makes it more difficult to take down an operation.


Dr. Jim Humphries - Veterinary Minute 

Obese Animals

A recent study by the National Academy of Science says one-in-four pets in this country are overweigh or obese.  Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in American pets. 

Much like overweight people, overweight animals are at a much higher risk of developing a variety of problems including cardiovascular problems, arthritis and even diabetes, which is especially prevalent in cats.   While there are a lot of diet pet food products on the market, it is not the composition of the food which leads to the weight gain, it is the quantity of the food we feed.  Neutered pets have a reduced metabolic rate and should therefore be fed less.  Many older dogs have a slower metabolism. 

Regular exercise will of course help and the lack of it may actually cause behavior problems.  Reducing your pets weight will add years to his life and the exercise will help you too!


Vladae, The "World Famous" Russian Dog Wizard

My Dogs Eat Their Poop

These Havanese dogs have a tendency to eat their poop.  Vladae explains that dogs do this for a few reasons.

  1. 1. Puppies are hungry or are kept in small breeding areas where the poop is not picked up regularly
  2. 2. Digestive problems.  The dogs do not recycle their food well and they smell the nutrients in the feces and want to eat it.
  3. 3. Entertainment.  Dogs like smelly things like feces, socks and dead animals.

Try a product called STOP, which addresses all of these issues.  If this doesn’t work, spy on your dog through the window.  As soon as he approaches the poop (leave it there on purpose), suddenly appear at the door, make a loud noise and toss an empty soda can with pennies in it to startle it.  When the dog stops, give them lots of praise.  Once again hide behind the door and see if they approach a second time.  If they do, keep repeating the above steps. 

Aggressive Dogs

These dogs seem to be jealous and will attack each other.  Right now their guardian separates them, which is good, but it avoids the problem.   It mainly happens when she returns home and greets them.  One dog is an Old English Sheepdog, one year old, and the other is a Jack Russell Terrier about 7 years of age.   Vladae suggests getting a few soda cans and put about 5-6 pennies in each and tape the top.    Keep the cans outside your door, and when you come in, as soon as you open the door, have an attitude and toss the can immediately and make a loud startling noise.  This way, they will both be in trouble and will look to each other as allies against you.  You can also use a product called Pet Convincer, which is an air blast and noise, which should startle the dogs without harm.  Don’t look at or talk to the dogs when you come in.  Make one circle around the house and then go back out. Wait five minutes and try entering again.  If the dogs start fighting, repeat the above steps.  Another thing you can do is leash training them both at the same time around the house about two times a day.  Make them do the basic commands such as sit/stay/come/down.   This will increase your social position with the dogs and decrease theirs.


Vinnie Penn, Animal Radio's Resident Party Animal

Dog Sitting

I want to talk to you about a little something called dog sitting.  A girlfriend of mine is in town this summer and she gave me a new number to call her.  I mentioned that she wasn’t staying at her folks and she said she was dog sitting for the summer.  I asked her what she meant by this, and she said that her friends went away and she was staying there.  I then said she was house sitting then.  No, she said, she was there for the dog and that the dog was the priority.

So I said if the house was burning down, you run in and save the dog but you don’t run back in for anything else?  The dog is the number one priority.  Are you going back in for maybe some documents, some trophies?  The guy who lives there is a doctor, are you going in for any of his degrees on the wall, or is it just the dog?

She said, “Vinny, stop ranting and raving, stop being the Party Animal, I’m sitting for the dog!”  I then asked her why she doesn’t bring the dog to her house and she said it was unacceptable by the owner.  The dog needs to stay in its environment.

I was like “What if that environment burns down as we just discussed?”

She said, “Listen, I take dog sitting very seriously!”

I then said, ‘Are you being paid for the dog sitting?”

She said, “No, they’re friends!”

And herein came the best part, so I said, “All day long you are going to just sit around and take care of the dog?’

She said, “Well, I love the dog!”

I said, “Yeah, I get that.  We’re all dog lovers!”

Then she said, “Yeah, I’m just going to swim in the pool!”

And that’s when I really decided folks, and to my girlfriend who’s listening, you’re not dog sitting and no, you’re not house sitting, but you are my dear - pool sitting!


The word of the day is taxidermy – does this even go on any more?  Is it a lost art?  It’s certainly one I never understood!  Is there someone out there right now whose name is probably Elliot, and he’s like, “I’m a taxidermist!” 

I visited some family friends in Rhode Island and got spooked, because when we were growing up we loved their dog Sport.  Sport lived to be almost 20 years old, and as kids, we loved Sport. 

When I went into the house, there was something very spooky on the couch, because it looked like Sport, stuffed!  It took some whispering amongst my siblings before we realized – no, it was a stuffed animal that was purchased because it looked so much like Sport.

But it got me wondering, are people still doing that with their pets?  I really never got that.  I get the love and the loss and I can even get a picture framed with flashing Christmas tree lights around it, or Michelob lights flashing around it, maybe it even barks with a recording of the actually dog – but stuffing the thing and putting it up on a mantle! 

To me that’s just weird.   People who do that, do they sleep with it and pretend it’s alive and take it for walks where they’re just like dragging it down the street and all of the neighbors saying, “Yeah, that’s just Joey and his dog Benji.  Benji died a few years ago, but we all act like he’s alive ‘ hey Joey!  Hey Benji!  How ya doing?  Good Boy!  We just ignore the fact that he’s dragging this dog.”

Somebody please explain taxidermy to me!



Animal Radio® News with Bobbie Hill

Matching Dogs with Vets

The man who finally became Minnesota’s Senator just a few weeks ago is starting his term by introducing a bill to help wounded veterans get service dogs. In an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Franken said, "I have a deep obligation to the men and women who have risked life and limb on our behalf." Having seen first hand the benefits of service dogs on wounded vets during USO tours Senator Franken is proposing a pilot program to train and match dogs with vets. It costs nearly $25,000 to train and place a service dog, which is why most vets cannot afford the luxury.

New “Dog Friendly” Car

Proving once again that dogs play a huge part in our daily lives a major automaker is introducing a "dog friendly" car. Honda’s Element will debut its doggy accessories at this fall’s New York International Auto Show. The car has a dedicated pet restraint system in both the second row and cargo area as well as a built in ramp for large, senior dogs and a rear cargo ventilation fan. VP of American Honda John Mendel said, "In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs."

Too Much Lovin?

It seems there is such a thing as too much “lovin.” The London Daily Mail carried the sad news of the passing of Mike the sea lion. The 19-year-old California sea lion was a favorite at the Nuremberg Zoo in Germany. A park spokesman explained that this being mating season many bulls stop eating for days in favor of canoodling. Mike spent the morning "romping" with three females in his harem before showing signs of exhaustion by midday. Despite efforts by vets Mike died a few hours after his three-way...he is survived by a dozen offspring scattered at zoos throughout Europe.

Should Vick Be Allowed Back In The NFL?
In response to the recent release of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick after serving a 23-month sentence for dog fighting, ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres commented on Vick's future. In his statement Sayres described Vick's involvement with the brutal practice of dog fighting as "not a one time transgression or crime of passion - this was a multi-year patter of behavior that demonstrates a startling lack of moral character and judgment." Sayres also pointed out that "given the stature of what is means to be part of the NFL it is crucial that Mr. Vick first express remorse for what he had done - something that he has yet to do...." Sayres also pointed out "the question isn’t whether he deserves to earn a livelihood - the question is whether Mr. Vick should be able to re-join the elite athletes in the NFL."

Babies Understand Barks

The July issue of Developmental Psychology contains results of a new study, which suggests babies understand barks. Researchers found in a group of six month old infants studied, that most could distinguish an aggressive bark belongs to an angry looking dog. They were also able to find friendly looking dogs who weren’t barking aggressively. Researchers said the infants showed a level of sophistication about how dogs reveal emotions.

Groundhog Gets Pepper-Sprayed

Police in Boonton, New Jersey have a P.R. nightmare on their hands. According to A.P. one of their cops peppered sprayed a groundhog. Sgt. Mike Danyo and partner Officer Paul Ryan responded to reports of an aggressive groundhog. When they arrived the rodent charged - Sgt. Danyo tripped and fell - his partner sprayed the groundhog in the face with pepper spray. That gave them time to trap it, sadly the rodent had to be euthanized and a necropsy will be performed to see if it had rabies. Both officers are fine.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Animal Minute With Britt Savage

Sea World Animals Trash House

A Utah couple in Centerville leased their homes to Sea World during the Winter Olympics, who were there displaying several exotic animals.  But they got more than they bargained for when the animals left.

The animals, including a mountain lion, penguins and a tiger were allowed to roam free in the house, and a python was kept in the master bedrooms jetted tub.   The original agreement was that the animals were supposed to have been restricted to certain areas in the home and kept in crates. 

As you can expect, the house was full of urine, feces, and even the snakeskin left in their tub.  The couple is currently seeking $100,000 in damages from Sea World.

Dog Sets House On Fire When Re-Heating Pizza 

Leftover pizza can be a real treat, but leave the reheating to humans!  Skyler, the Golden Retriever/Poodle mix from Chicago tried to make a meal of the pizza her guardian left on the stove, but ended up setting the house on fire.  Skyler started the fire by grabbing the pizza and pushing the pizza box near the burners and turning the stove burner on with all of the jumping and pizza grabbing.   Firefighters found Skyler passed out from all of the smoke with her usual white coat, pitch black from the soot.  Medics used three canisters of oxygen to revive her and now she’s doing great.  The house – not so well!  Damages from her pizza diving are estimated at around $50,000.



Talk With Your Animals with Joy Turner

Is It Time?

Elena wants to speak with her dog Princess who is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Weimaraner mix to see if it is tine to let her go.  Princess is 15 years old.   Joy speaks with Princess who tells her that she appreciates her guardian’s concern, but she is not ready yet to leave her body. She knows she is elderly, but she just has the usual aches and pains that older people and dogs do.  She will give her guardian some signs when she is ready.  Some of the signs to look for are looking into her eyes and if you don’t see her present, then it is time to let go.   Also, if she can’t get up to do anything, that is also a sign.


Your Vet Questions Answered with Dr. Debbie

Inappropriate Elimination

Tripod, a 3-legged cat without a tail, has a problem with inappropriate elimination outside of his litter box.  He always did very well with using the litter box.  A Labrador recently moved in the house with 7 puppies, and this woman’s husband has also returned from his deployment, so there have been several changes in the household.  The puppies are now gone, but the cat still won’t use the box.   Dr. Debbie suggests first checking a urine sample with the vet for any low-grade urinary issues.  She also suggests giving the cat an extra litter box in a new location and trying cat pheromones. 

Cat Licks Hair Down To The Skin

This 6-year-old cat licks spots on her body down to the skin.  Some spots she has done this to are the base of her tail, on the front of her paws and also on her belly.   In cases like this, Dr. Debbie looks at the areas of the lower abdomen and the front legs.   For cats that work on those areas, she tries to see if it is more of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and behavior problem as opposed to allergies.

Dog Won’t Stop Licking Wound

This American Staffordshire dog is blind and occasionally bumps into things and gets cuts and scrapes.  His latest scrape on his ankle won’t heal, as he won’t stop licking it.  This is a bad area for an injury, as dogs can easily access it and will!  You need to eliminate access to the area by a bandage.  Normally you would use an Elizabethan collar, but you don’t want to do this on a blind dog, as he already has problems getting around.   You can also try the new anti-lick products, but the problem with these is that you can’t put it directly on the injury; it has to be placed around the wound.

Dog Has A Hole In Throat That Won’t Heal

A few months ago this German Shepherd was chasing a stick and it bounced wrong, putting a hole in the back of his throat.  He has had several surgeries, both by urgent care and by a specialist, but it keeps opening up.  Dr. Debbie says to stop trying to close the hole.  When you have a wound that keeps opening, it is signaling that there is something in there, which is inhibiting the body’s ability to heal.  There is no point in doing more surgeries, but to go back in and see why it is not healing.   When you have an impaling injury like this from a stick, you have the possibility of dirt from the bacteria or even a small piece of the stick still lodged in the throat. 

How Much Does It Cost To Board A Pet?

This guy needs to board his dog for about a week and wants to know how much it costs.  This can vary greatly depending on where you live, also on the type of boarding set up you are looking for.  The best thing to do is to call around in your area for doggy daycares and also check with your vet.



Fido Friendly Travel Talk With Susan Sims

John Underwood - Check Your Paws

For those of us that travel with our canine companions, we all know how much “stuff” we need to bring with us on the road.   One of the most important items to bring is our pet’s medical records.

Susan Sims of Fido Friendly Travel Talks speaks with John Underwood of Check Your Paws who has made those records a little easier to bring along.

Check Your Paws, Inc. was founded by pet lovers for pet lovers.  They created the Pawpass, which is a digital ID tag, which stores all of your pet’s medical records and vaccination history.  It also alerts you if you have any upcoming vaccinations or vet visit.  It is so easy to upload your pet’s medical records.  Check Your Paws will actually format all of your documents and work directly with your vet.  All you have to do is plug the digital ID tag into your computer and they will take care of the rest. 

Also with the Pawpass, you will receive a free one-year trial of the Lost Alert Program; a unique lost pet recovery service which aids in your pet’s safe and quick return to your loving home.   If your pet becomes lost, simply visit and submit that your pet is lost, or you can also call their toll free line at 888-733-1656.  They will then send out a digital alert within a 25-mile radius to all vet offices, shelters, groomers, police stations and even personal network members in that 25-mile area to help keep an eye out for your pet. 

Fido Friendly Magazine:

The Travel Magazine For You & Your Dog, a complete guide to Fido-friendly accommodations across the United States and Canada. "Fido Friendly is the only magazine dedicated to the travel lifestyle of man's best friend, and the one magazine your dog will thank you for." And don't forget to join the Fido Friendly Travel Club.




Animal Radio's Summer Giveaway

It’s back!  Animal Radio’s Summer Giveaway for 2009 and you can enter as many times as you would like before September 30th.

This year’s Grand Package includes items from Celestron, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of high quality optical products, with the Regal 65F-ED Spotting Scope; Bissell, with the Lift-Off Revolution Pet Vac; Automated Pet Care Products, with the Litter-Robot; Disney, with the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park passes; and recently added from SCS from the Disney G-Force movie which opened on July 25th, plush characters, t-shirts and trading cards.

The five runner-ups can win packages, which include the Outland Waterproof Binoculars from Celestron; the Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner from Bissell; and the  "UP" DVD, Leapfrog Reading System and "UP" Leapfrog Storybook from Disney-Pixar.

You may enter as many times as you want, but no more than 5 times a day prior to September 30, 2009. This contest is open to US residents 18 and over. Winner is responsible for all taxes on prize packages. Winners will be announced on Animal Radio® and notified by email or telephone. You may also enter by sending us a postcard with the requested information to Animal Radio -Summer-end Giveaway, P.O. Box 197, Shandon, CA. 93461. A complete list of rules is available at the Animal Radio Network™ Studios.

What are you waiting for?  Get entered now!



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