Unfortunately like most people who win the lottery, I did not handle having a large sum of money suddenly thrust upon me well. I spent about half of it on living expenses after I dropped out of college and the other half on three separate extravagant vacations. Only a small portion of my winnings remain but I still feel incredibly lucky to have had that experience.
|I mean, who wouldn't want to spend $165,000 on six days in Bora Bora?|
Today I logged onto the ILRDB page and found a message waiting for me from a "concerned guest" who gave me links to a breeder that is presently being targeted by various Animal Rights groups.
My response was cheeky, quick, and to the point. I'm hoping they got the message. But rereading what I wrote, I regret not first clicking the link before responding (having already seen these photos I didn't bother looking again).
Let's explore the case of Niobrara Great Danes for a few minutes.
Niobrara Great Danes Website: http://www.niobraragreatdanes.com/Home.html
The website shows photos of three males and nine females. This isn't an unrealistic number of dogs for a single breeder to own- plenty have all that and more. It should be noted that these are all exceptionally large dogs.
Digging around the website I find an extensive puppy questionnaire and contract, miles of educational links, and eight links to other breeders. This website was definitely a lot of work to put together and provides us with a great deal of information.
Now to the photos being spread around the internet:
I want to direct your attention to the conversation occurring on the left side of this screen capture. Specifically this part:
"I'm confident that the conditions no longer look like this at this time of year. However, what's unmistakable is that they did look like this in March 2013."
And why, if the conditions these dogs are living in were so horrible, was attention not called to this sooner? For those who aren't counting, the person posting these photos is admitting that they were taken five months ago.
Let me prove my point about the March issue:
Drawing your attention once again to a very telling observation:
"looks like they have a PR guy, this looks nothing like the real condition!"And the response from the original poster of the photos:
"It looks like this in the summer. Notice the landmarks. It's the same spot."So we have obviously explained the mud.
Just in case you need another photo to draw your own conclusion:
Once again this photo is dated March 2013.
Both of these dogs actually look pretty clean to me for having allegedly spent months living in a muddy pen. We can't actually tell if they were just put in there before the photo was taken or if they have never actually been removed from the pen. However, given that both dogs look like they are in good physical condition I would hazard a guess at the former.
Now to the accusations about lacking vet care:
I'm not entirely sure what an "untreated lump" is supposed to mean but I can confidently say that if "untreated lumps" were justification for a legal battle I think about 30% of dog owners in the United States would be liable. I generally freak out when I find a pimple on my dog but some people have a better grasp on medical cause. This "untreated lump" means absolutely nothing. There is no proof that the owner hasn't had the lump looked at. And if my vet recommended I anesthetize my dog to remove a benign growth I would find a new vet pronto.
Given that this is also a giant breed and it is generally recommended that giant breeds are kept thinner because of the stress on their joints I see absolutely nothing wrong with this dog's weight.
This photo didn't draw much attention. The mother is clearly eating or drinking and has four separate bowls (two at puppy level). She is a good weight. Puppies are suckling and though the newspaper underneath them is soiled it doesn't look like it has been sitting there for ages. The papers have obviously been cleared out frequently and replaced.
For those who are interested in viewing all of the photos provided click here.
I don't personally know Trish Hanson and I haven't met any of her dogs but I am not willing to condemn a person who is being targeted by what is very clearly a witch hunt.
To that end I would like to make a suggestion to those who find these conditions unacceptable. Given that our shelters already have plenty of dogs in need of a safe place to go, might it be more conducive to offer to help this person better maintain their property? It saddens me that the first conclusion anyone jumps to in a case of possible animal neglect is "seize the animals and throw the person in jail!".
Maybe these photos were taken after a particularly warm day in March when several feet of snow melted in a matter of hours. Perhaps this would explain the photos where there appears to be a few days worth of poop. I welcome somebody to come check out my yard in March- you will find both mud and poop. I don't scoop in the winter because I hate digging around for frozen brown logs in the snow.
Draw your own conclusions about this breeder and, if you feel you must, comment on the conditions these dogs are being kept in. I personally extend a hand of friendship to Trish Hanson. Please let any of us at ILRDB know if you need support. We are nationwide and open minded.