By Leslie Yager
Patch readers sure do love their dogs. Here are ten popular dog stories from 2013:
- 1. Vanishing Black Dogs. New Englanders love black labs, but overall, black dogs languish in shelters. They are the last to be adopted and often first to be euthanized. Plus, they are difficult to photograph, presenting a challenge for shelters posting them online.
- 2. Harrowing Details Emerge in Wilton Dog Mauling. In November a dog mauled his owner in Wilton. The woman lost her arms in the attack. Patch interviewed an eyewitness who said, "It took me like six seconds to realize what was under the car was a human being, because I'd never seen a human being in that condition before. She was crying out, 'Help me, it's killing me. Help me. My arm.'"
- 3. After Wilton Incident, Pit Bull Advocates Prep for Backlash. After the dog mauling in Wilton in mid-November, local dog rescuers described the backlash against pit bulls as "hysteria."
- 4. It's Getting Hot in Here: Leave the Dog at Home. This was part one in a series based on interviews with a local animal control officer Bob Napoleon in Wilton.
- 5. Once Again with Enthusiasm: No Dogs in Hot Cars . This is about a dog left in a black Mercedes in a parking lot in Stamford for over 30 minutes as the temperature outside was 83°. The story drew dozens of comments.
- 6. Hearing Pits Pet Store Owners Against Animal Welfare Advocates. In October 200 people attended a hearing in Fairfield on the topic of pet shops in Connecticut.
Co-chaired by State Senator Bob Duff and State Rep. Brenda Kupchick, the legislative task force that convened the hearing is considering legislation requiring pet shops to sell only dogs and cats from shelters, in-state breeders and rescue organizations instead of commercial breeders or puppy mills.
- 7. Money Talks as Commercial Puppy Industry Digs in Heels at Hearing. In December the legislative task force convened a second hearing, this time in Hartford. Pet store owners, suppliers and industry representatives traveled from as far away as Arkansas.
- 8. What to Look for in a Reputable Dog Rescue Organization. Patch interviewed longstanding rescue groups and a trainer about red flags to look for when you approach a rescue group to adopt a dog. Literally the least you should do is Google the name of the rescue owner and his/her organization. Most rescues do amazing work, but some are motivated by profit or hoarding instincts.
- 9. Protest at "Puppies of Westport" in Norwalk Shakes up a Gray Sunday. On a gray Sunday in November, members of the Westport Coalition Against Puppy Mills paced the sidewalk outside Puppies of Westport. "Pet stores support a horrific industry which hides in the shadows and abuses animals in order to breed inventory," said Ken Bernhard, a local attorney who is also a former state representative from Westport.
Inside the Puppies of Westport, store owner Monty Kaufman said, "There are no strays in Connecticut. If they went to the proposed rescue-only model they'd only give me the dregs, the hard to place dogs. I'd go out of business."
- 10. Life After Dogfighting: Project Precious Rescue. A profile of two dogs rescued by Kayte Mulligan Zowine of Project Precious Rescue in Bridgeport. The two dogs in the profile – Baloo and Potter – have since found loving homes where they are thriving. Zowine rescued them from the world of dog fighting, which imposes horrific cruelty on dogs by owners who organize fights. Bets are placed. Thousands of dollars are at stake.