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Have We Gone To the Dogs?

Canine Adventures Fills the Week's News.

by Richard Mr. Moo Moore
September 21, 2008

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Have We Gone To the Dogs?

Man's best friend seems to have their share of interesting news this week. I always enjoy reading stories about members of the animal kingdom making news but this week has gone to the dogs.

By now, most people have heard of Buddy. Buddy lives in Phoenix with his owner Joe Stalnaker. When Joe suffered a seizure recently, Buddy did what he is trained to do. Call 9-1-1. Yes, Buddy knocked the receiver off the phone and dialed the emergency number. When the emergency dispatcher answered the call last week, he could hear Buddy whimpering and barking on the other end.

As is common, police are always dispatched to the location of 9-1-1 calls. When the cops arrived at the house, there was Buddy barking loudly at the officers, trying to let them know of his master's medical emergency. Joe was taken to the hospital and survived and released three days later, in part to the quick action of his best friend.

Buddy had been trained to be an assistance dog by the Michigan based, Paws with a Cause. At just 18 months old, Buddy has had to make the call three times on behalf of his owner. He surely has earned the title of man's best friend.

The second story that has gone to the dogs is out of Petah Tikva, Israel, a suburb of Tel Aviv. The city has tried unsuccessfully to get their city cleaned up after owners take their dogs for a walk to, well shall we say, their business. Under a new program, all licensed dogs must be taken to the municipal's veterinarian to have a DNA swab conducted. The city plan on using the DNA to trace the dogs to the droppings found throughout the city and then issue a citation for the dog's owner.

City administrators said that once the program is up and running, they will be able to use the DNA for other things such as locating missing dogs, track diseased dogs and identifying canine pedigree. But for now, government officials are just trying to track the guilty pup in a poop pile predicament.

Most owners are cooperating with the request to get the dogs swabbed.

Story three comes from the Today show on NBC this week. A report stated that dogs are becoming a battle ground in hearings regarding separated couples. For couples willing to split the sheets in divorce court, the issue of custody battles over dogs is the newest custodial battle ground.

Judges are being called upon to make a decision in numerous cases regarding pet custody. Some judges are just passing this off as a property dispute, but many are realizing that dogs are like children in some families and they must be dealt with differently. One judge refused to address the issue, saying the animal was property and he was going to deal with it like he did the sofa or dining room table.

However, some judges, many animal lovers themselves, have gone to the next level and actually granting custody of the animal as if they were a child. Visitation rights have also become issues for the non-custodial "parent". One attorney who has represented clients in this situation says that courts need to become more sensitive to the "emotional attachments" that some people have for their pets.

One divorce attorney said a bit tongue in cheek that if a couple enters into a relationship with a pet, they should not only consider a pre-nuptial but a "pre-pup" type of agreement.

And you were thinking the vet bill was too high. Try the attorney's fees.

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