Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blood Boiling

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.

Proverbs 12:10

YesBiscuit posted this story about a mother and son who left dogs in their vehicle on a hot day. The dogs died, and the two were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

Were these people negligent? Did they demonstrate terrible judgment? Should the state punish them for the cruelty they carelessly inflicted on their dead pets?

Of course. Stupid is no excuse.

Were they intentionally cruel?


But while I was off working with doggy friends this week, came this story.

Reader's Digest version: Show dog handler, who is being paid by the owners of said show dogs to take them places where they can win the ribbons and points and placements that prove that they are better than all the other dogs who don't have those things, leaves seven large, mostly hairy, dogs in a van overnight. Confined in crates. On a day when it reached 90 degrees by 9 am.

By 9:30 in the morning, six of them were dead.

The times do not add up. What happened to the three hours between when the woman claims she found the dogs in distress and when she arrived at the veterinarian?

Sweet dreams, sleepytime princess.

If "the garage was too hot" what about her friggin' house? Where she was sleeping? Where are these moneymaking status symbols beloved pets stored housed when "off campaigning with the handler?"

Now, if a couple of ignorant Phish-following transients become criminal scum when their dogs suffer and die from being left briefly in a vehicle that is their only home, what is a paid dog-show handler who is too lazy to provide proper husbandry to animals that are in her power? A canine professional who cares for her own needs for eight hours before considering the animals that are caged and helpless in her vehicle?

I guess we'll find out.

Someone who takes money to "care" for animals needs to be held to a higher standard of husbandry than a down-and-out pet owner. This young woman grew up in the world of "the fancy" and vehicles crammed with crated dogs. The facts about heat stroke in canines cannot have been obscure to her.

Update: Charges filed.


  1. As a former handler, I am sad to say this happens regularly. Or at least used to (I've been out for several years). I always took careful measures to ensure the dogs in my care kept cool but sadly, many clients don't care about that. They want ribbons. And interestingly enough, handlers who let dogs die in the heat never seem to lose business.

  2. Good post.

    There is so much I do not understand about the grand sport of dogs. This is just one of them.

  3. That was my reaction too when I read about the handler and show dogs.

  4. don't judge all handlers by this one. I've traveled with a few who have shown my dogs, and the dogs are primary, not the humans. No matter how tired, how cold, how hot, how wet or how hungry the people are, the dogs are are all exercised, fed, watered and cared for first. There are handlers in the business because they love dogs.

    Paula from Indiana

  5. I've never been comfortable enough to send my dogs off with anyone but a good friend, one whom my dogs knew well and I trusted completely, otherwise it's s than always been me and them, in the car, the hotel etc...

    That being said I do know pro handlers who are fantastic with the dogs in their care.

    While some will leave dogs in vans overnight, I can't do it, for far more reasons than the elements.

    "Pro" handlers are like dog trainers, some have apprenticed and are licensed, others just declare themselves such and hang out a shingle. Some are fantastic with dogs and just love dogs, others see only dollar signs and a means to an end.

    When I read this, my reaction was WTF? The dogs always come first. Always. Does not matter how exhausted, ill etc.. you are. The dogs and their safety and comfort come FIRST.

    I came home from a 16 hour drive once with friggin meningitis and the dogs still got unloaded, watered and tucked into bed. Then decided the ER was in order and went.

    Mercifully, I hear of far fewer incidents now involving show dogs in the west. And in general, word does get around. Water will find it's level however and there always do seem to be people willing to overlook these incidents, not, I am sure, people I would place a dog with.

    If I was an owner of one of these dogs, I'd be filing complaints left and right. A conviction for animal cruelty will result in expulsion from most clubs and a permanent suspension from participating in any events or AKC activities. A private complaint filed and found to have merit will result in fines and suspension, possibly for life, as well.

    If this woman is unaware of what the sun can do from 6:00-9:00 AM to 8 large dogs stuck in crates in a closed in space, she should not get the chance to srew the fuck up like this again.

    The show world has some real scum, it also has some great people. It is not hard to tell whos who. The good ones, owners, breeders, handlers, always put the dogs FIRST

  6. You're right - someone who presents her/himself up as a paid professional SHOULD be held to a higher standard.

    Doesn't matter if she's a dog handler, or horse trainer or pet sitter or whatever - the care and comfort and safety of the animals always always should come first.

    And although I do know that there are some pro handlers who take wonderful care of their charges, I still couldn't bear to send my dogs off with a handler. We show our own dogs anyway, but the only way I could let one of my dogs travel with someone would be with a trusted friend.

  7. Although I'm sure that none of your regular readers need it, here's a site with info about the dangers of leaving pets in cars during the summer;

    There's also a chart showing how hot a car can get with the windows down or up.

    Terrible to hear about dogs dying that way, you'd think a "professional" would know better.

  8. This incident (the mother/son duo) actually happened here in Greenville. They had both gone into the Employment Security Commission, and left their six dogs (5 Pekes and 1 PB) in their Jeep Cherokee in 90+ degree temperatures. Sorry, but I've got zero sympathy for them because one person could have stayed with the dogs while the other went in, and if necessary, they could have swapped off. All six dogs eventually died. What frosts my cookies is that these folks were sentenced to 96 hours of community service, which is the same exact sentence given to a group of high school kids who got caught drinking beer after the prom. That's just not my idea of justice.


I've enabled the comments for all users; if you are posting as "anonymous" you MUST sign your comment. Anonymous unsigned comments will be deleted. Trolls, spammers, and litigants will be shot.