June 25, 2010

Interesting Information from LA

Media Advisory: From California to Canada 60 Homeless Dogs Get a Second Chance at Life on June 25th With the Orange Dog Freedom Flight, Sponsored by Orange Dog Founder, Jan Folk

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwire - June 23, 2010) - The Orange Dog -

WHAT: 60 small breed dogs recently rescued from the SEAACA in Downey (http://www.seaaca.org) and the SPCA in Fresno (http://ccspca.com) are being flown on a private Gulfstream III jet from Long Beach, California to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in search of new forever homes. For these precious pooches, this is truly a new "leash" on life. These dogs were not adopted from their respective shelters in California, but in Edmonton, small breed dogs are much harder to find and, therefore, more easily adoptable. This is the fourth such Freedom Flight that Orange Dog has sponsored, resulting in over 250 dogs that have now found loving homes. The small breed dogs are in such demand that most were adopted within two weeks of arriving in Edmonton. In fact, there was a line of potential adopters at the Edmonton shelter waiting for the dogs to arrive! The future is looking bright for these special dogs from Orange Dog Freedom Flight #4.

WHO: 60 adorable small breed dogs – purebreds to magnificent mutts

Jan Folk, Founder of The Orange Dog (http://www.orangedog.ca), an online shopping site featuring quality pet supplies, is the flight's sponsor and creator of this unique program which saves unwanted dogs from California shelters and flies them on a comfortable, private Gulfstream III jet to Edmonton where the chance of finding new forever homes is much greater.

WHEN: Friday, June 25th

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Dogs arrive at Airflite for loading
9:15 AM – Tails up! Orange Dog Freedom Flight #4 takes off!

WHERE: AIRFLITE – 3250 Airflite Way, Long Beach, CA

RSVP: Your coverage of this heartwarming event is invited. Photographing and videotaping the loading of the dogs along with the take off, interviews with Orange Dog Founder Jan Folk, a birthday paw-ty featuring dog-friendly cake in honor of Jan Folk's birthday, interviews with the pilots and foster parents, etc.


The Flight will be piloted by Global Exec Aviation Owner, Captain Ramon Manriquez with Co pilot Dan Rosenbaum.

A total of 60 small breed dogs will be rescued: 30 from the Fresno SPCA and 30 from SEAACA in Downey, CA.

The flight is three hours from Long Beach California to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


The Orange Dog is the brainchild of Edmonton businesswoman and philanthropist, Jan Folk As a friend and generous donor to the Edmonton Humane Society, Jan leapt at the opportunity to help in this life-saving initiative in June 2009, but still she wished she could do more. The Orange Dog was born.

The Orange Dog web store (www.orangedog.ca) features a selection of high quality, fun, sustainably made products for dogs and their owners – the profits from which fund the Freedom Flight Program.

The animal transfer program was first launched to encourage people to turn to the Edmonton Humane Society first when looking to bring one of the extremely popular small-breed dogs into their family. Staff at the Central California SPCA and other animal shelters in the area continuously deal with large volumes of admitted and stray animals each day, and feel that they would have no other choice but to eventually euthanize the dogs if they were not transferred.

The Edmonton Humane society finds that more people are willing to wait for the California dogs because they know that many of those sold in newspaper or on-line ads, or in pet stores may come from puppy mills or brokers where they often live in horrible conditions; and are often bred without considering the dogs' welfare.

PUPS Act Response to USDA Puppy Mill Audit (See May 26 Post)

PUPS Act is the name appropriately given to federal legislation proposed in the wake of the scathing audit by the Office of Inspector General that condemns USDA's lax enforcement of regulations that apply to puppy mills.
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, Senate Bill 3424 and House Resolution 5434 would target "high volume retail breeders" defined as anyone who, "in commerce, for compensation or profit" owns or has custody of at least one breeding female dog and sells or offers for sale, whether over the internet, telephone or newspaper or otherwise, more than 50 of the offspring "for use as pets" in any one year. "High volume retail breeders" would no longer be exempt from Animal Welfare Act licensing and other regulation if they sell dogs directly to the public, whether over the internet, telephone or through newspaper ads. The bill also closes the loophole exempting high volume breeders from licensing requirements if they sell to research facilities.

H.R. 5434/S.B. 3424 would also require all dogs held by breeders or dealers to have "daily access to exercise that allows the dog "to achieve a running stride" and otherwise "move sufficiently to develop or maintain normal muscle tone and as appropriate" for the dog.

The exceptions would include those dogs under 12 weeks old, females with unweaned puppies, and those restricted by a veterinarian because of the "health, condition or well-being of the dog". (The veterinarian's restriction must be documented, subject to review by inspectors and updated every 30 days.)

Breeders or dealers must report in their license applications the total number of dogs exempted from exercise requirements.

The area provided for exercise would be required to be separate from any primary enclosure that does not allow the dog to "achieve a running stride". It would be impossible to "run" in the crowded cages typically provided by breeders though under the current regulations a slightly larger cage is deemed suitable for exercise.

The flooring for the exercise area would be required to have solid flooring or nonsolid, nonwire flooring as long as it is safe for the do, free from protruding sharp edges, and "designed so that the paw of the dog is unable to extend through or become caught in the flooring". The exercise area must be cleaned at least once a day and kept free of infestation.

The bill is explicit that state laws that provide the same or greater protection would not be pre-empted.


This bill will not eliminate high volume breeders or dealers. Nor does it improve humane standards under the Animal Welfare Act except for exercise requirements. And, unless the federal government gets serious about enforcement, nothing may change for the dogs.

The bill does put in place essential licensing requirements for high volume breeders that sell directly to the public. Under current law only breeders or dealers that sell indirectly to the public through dealers or pet stores are subject to AWA regulations. All of the breeders or dealers that sell directly to the public through the internet, for example, or newspaper ads, or to research facilities, have been free to operate largely as they please unless they are regulated by the state.

With this federal legislation, all high volume breeders or dealers will be licensed and at least theoretically must comply with the standards and submit to the inspections required by AWA. Some may at least be forced to reduce the numbers of dogs they keep in order to comply with USDA requirements. All breeders or dealers will be required to demonstrate to an inspector at some point there is a place for every dog to run.

S.B. 3424 was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). The bill is currently in the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Find committee members here (just click on their names for contact info) and your senators here. Write (faxes are best) or call and urge them to support the PUPS Act, S.B. 3424/H.R. 5434

HR 5434 was introduced by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA). The bill is currently assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture. Write (faxes are best) or call your Representatives and urge them to support the PUPS Act, H.B. 5434/S.B. 3424.

This Is Who We Are

June 13, 2010


Charges filed against dog-rescue operator

Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 1:09 a.m.
Alice Via, who has been tending to rescued dogs since 1994, now faces misdemeanor charges related to their care. County officials seized 63 dogs from her Lakeside property.

Background: County Animal Services officers seized 63 dogs from
Alice Via, a Lakeside animal-rescue operator, who was accused of failing to properly care for the animals.

What’s changing: Prosecutors filed six misdemeanor charges.

The future: Via is scheduled to appear in court July 8. County officials say they will begin to offer the dogs for adoption.
LAKESIDE — Six misdemeanor charges were filed Friday against a 65-year-old woman accused of failing to properly care for more than 60 rescued boxers and Chihuahuas at her Lakeside home.

The charges against Alice Via were filed more than three months after county Department of Animal Services officers arrested her and took away the 63 dogs she kept. The dogs have been held at the department’s San Diego shelter while prosecutors weighed the case against her.

One charge against Via alleges that she had an unlawful kennel because she kept more than six adult dogs without a permit. She is also charged with keeping animals in an unsanitary environment, failing to treat a contagious animal and three counts of failure to care for an animal. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Animal Services officers had sought a felony charge of animal neglect against Via when she was arrested March 10, but Deputy District Attorney Richard Huffman Jr. said a felony count was not filed because Via has no criminal record. She is scheduled to appear in court July 8.

Via, who has been tending to rescued dogs since 1994, said she took good care of the animals. She said she devoted her life to caring for them and spent a large amount of her own money on their veterinary care, food and other expenses.

“My whole focus for 17 years has been the welfare and care of dogs,” Via said. “It’s been a passion, an honor, to help those dogs.”

Via kept the dogs in crates about 3½ feet long and just over 2 feet wide, and allowed the animals to go out twice a day in her roomy backyard, with chinaberry and mulberry trees to provide shade. She said the boxers were comfortable in the crates, which had food and water.

“They would jump up into the crates,” she said. “It was a happy place.”

John Carlson, deputy director of Animal Services, said the dogs suffered from a variety of ailments, including mange, malnutrition and dehydration. He said all the dogs have been treated by veterinarians since they were taken, and have daily play groups with volunteers at the Gaines Street shelter to get the social interaction that boxers require.

“We’ve been working feverishly to maintain the dogs in a good psychological state,” Carlson said.

Via said she kept more dogs than she ever had before because she was called by an increasing number of owners in financial distress who could no longer care for their animals. Animal Services officials acknowledged that they also called Via, asking her to take boxers that had been brought to county animal shelters. Via said that she got 30 to 40 dogs a year from Animal Services, and that shelter workers never asked how many dogs she had when they asked her to take another.

Via said the shelter dogs probably would have been euthanized if she hadn’t taken them, so she couldn’t say no.

“You take dogs in because you know you can help them,” she said. “I had the room to do it. I had the house. I had the yard.”

Carlson said rescue operators are aware of the laws limiting the number of animals they are allowed to have, which vary in municipalities around the county. Many rescue operations have a network of other homes where they can send animals when they have too many in their home, he said.

Via’s eyes filled with tears when she talked about her pet 8-year-old boxer, Maggie Mae, who has become severely ill since she was taken from Via.

“She was healthy when they took her,” Via said. “Three months later, she’s at death’s door.”

The dog suffers from bloat, a life-threatening illness. Via said Maggie Mae became ill because she was forced to compete for food at the shelter. Carlson said boxers are prone to the disease and that the cause is unknown.

Via wants to bring her pet home, but Carlson said the dog is being evaluated by a veterinary specialist. He’s hopeful that Maggie Mae will recover.

“Our concern is that we want to make sure that this animal gets continuing care,” Carlson said. “To bring it home and let it linger until it dies is not an appropriate thing for us to allow.”

Carlson said the dogs, which were seized under a search warrant, couldn’t be released from the shelter until charges were filed. He said he hopes the dogs will be available for adoption now.

“Once they are released for us to place them, we believe we are going to be able to place all those dogs in new homes,” he said.

Anne Krueger: (619) 542-4575; anne.krueger@uniontrib.com; follow on Twitter @UTannekrueger