Saturday, June 30, 2007

AB1634 Supporters take heed

No on California AB 1634
"California Healthy Pets Act"

Choosing a 'feel good' perky name for a bill perpetuates the GRAND deception

How many supporters of this atrocious bill know what the papers above have anything to do about?

Or the one above?

These are just a few samples of some tests that can be done to determine some of the genetic potential or quality of a dog and for the serious breeder, done on each dog born in a litter -- but they cannot be done until the dog is at least two years old.

Certain temperament, working tests, endocrinology, cardio, eye and other exams are done in different breeds, and the tests are often not considered official until the dog is tested as an adult. The more puppies in a litter that are tested, the more we know about the genes carried by the parents of the bloodline. Ethical breeders take pains to test in order to develop the healthiest of bloodlines through use of pedigree depth.

None of these tests above can be done on an immature dog. Their skeletal and organ systems have not completely developed so any preliminary tests are considered unofficial. Many ailments in dogs do not develop until the dog has started to mature or has gotten older.

Mixed breed dogs and deliberately bred 'designer' mutts are not immune from potential genetic problems although our poorly informed media are among the propagators of urban rumor which encourage the mistaken idea that these dogs are somehow automatically healthier than purebreds.

If you don't test for a problem, you don't know if you have it.

Mutts (including so-called "designer" mutts) carry both dominant and recessive genes that can predispose them to health issues. Furthermore, mutts are uniquely qualified to carry diseases or traits that the purebreds did not have. Some protector alleles that kept a disease from occuring may 'find each other' again and create problems for the new 'creation'. Yes, while different phenotypes become present for appearance recombine to create a 'trendy look', sometimes unpredictable behavior and various genetic diseases are unleashed along these 'new' faddish perks.


Thanks to the new rewrite of the proposed bill, the entire concept of breeding HEALTHY PETS by testing for the best adults, has been completely removed as an option.

Instead of breeding only adult dogs with health clearances as the ones pictured above, the bill as amended June 27, 2007 -- now requires that most dogs be bred while still IMMATURE... during the first year that they have an intact permit.
122336.21. (a) The local jurisdiction or its authorized local animal control agency may allow for issuance of an intact permit, and imposition of an intact permit fee, for one male and one female dog per household in order to allow the dogs to produce a single litter of offspring. In no event shall the intact permits issued for this purpose have a duration in excess of one year.
Intact permits "in no event" shall be issued for a duration in excess of one year.

Wow, this means your six month old medium, large and giant breed puppy needs to be bred on its first heat while it is still immature. Before you can get adult clearances on hips, elbows and whatever else you need to test in your breed. Personally, I don't like the idea of breeding immature animals. The government may well mandate it and the bill supporters such as Lloyd Levine and Judie Mancuso may endorse it, but it should be quite clear to those with common sense, that the bill is NOT about Healthy Pets at all.

The bill is completely protective of the puppy mill industry by granting them the broadest of exemptions first. Then the bill goes on to be amended to preclude would be and experienced ethical breeders from being able to test adult dogs before breeding. Breeders test healthy dogs that have no clinical issues, just so they have a better idea of their dog's qualifications.

People can be stupid

While many do say, "genetics is fascinating and the information it provides can be useful" -- they do not have any degree of working comprehension of how AB1634 will thwart Ethical breeding. Supporters of the bill apparently do not see how removing democratic choice from all other people is deliberately circumventing Healthy Pets.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/30/2007 11:14:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Friday, June 22, 2007

Missing Dog Turns Up For Sale on Web Site

Not all rescues are legitimate. Many are taking advantage of social engineering. It is often difficult to point out this out to many who have adopted emotive stances about all forms of rescue. In some cases (likely not the example below), rescue in some form has become big business.

In what other animal selling endeavor can people pump out critters for sale with no health guarantees, no health or temperament testing, no genetic or medical knowledge, no follow up, behavior consultations nor training assistance ...AND be looked upon in ignorant gratitude and favor by the masses who have no clue.
Couple finds missing dog up for sale on Web site

June 21, 2007

MEDFORD, N.Y. — A couple’s discovery of their missing dog for sale on a pet adoption Web site led police to a Long Island home where more than 50 dogs were living in squalid conditions, authorities said.

The dogs, some sickly and underfed, were removed from the Medford home Wednesday night and taken to a shelter to be examined by veterinarians, authorities said.

“The house was in horrible condition,” said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It was covered in feces and urine. It was hot, very hot in there.”

Three people at the house were arrested: Karen Schleich, 45; David Bernacchi, 44; and Kristin Beauchesne, 25.

Schleich and Bernacchi, the home’s residents, were charged with animal cruelty, police said. Schleich was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property, while Beauchesne was charged with grand larceny.

It was not known if Schleich and Bernacchi had attorneys. Sgt. Michael Cosgrove of the Suffolk County Police Department said Beauchesne had an attorney, but he could not immediately provide a name.

The three claimed they were animal rescuers and posted advertisements for dogs on various pet adoption Web sites, Cosgrove said.

Bernacchi ran a dog rescue organization called Lucky Fund. Its mission is “to help and place as many dogs as possible with new and loving families,” according to the Lucky Fund Web site.

A couple searching for their Shih Tzu found their newly shaven dog advertised for sale for $350 on one site, he said. They reported their discovery to police, whose investigation led to the Medford home, Cosgrove said.

Beauchesne was seen taking the Shih Tzu from the street and later telling an officer who stopped to question her about the missing animal that the dog had escaped from her backyard, police said.

It turned out that Beauchesne worked with Schleich and Bernacchi, and had given the dog to them, Cosgrove said.

The three remained in custody.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/22/2007 01:33:00 AM | Permanent link | (3) Comments

Blogger ASD sent us a woof // June 22, 2007

That is scary. The biggest reason my dogs are microchipped is so they can't be sold for research.   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // June 22, 2007

I'm not sure that's a guarantee really. :(

Many things going on now are just surreal!

Saying it again, you have such a beautiful blog. Love your pics!!   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // June 23, 2007

Deplorable people. I have a lot of friends in animal control/rescue and their biggest gripe is that lawmakers keep passing more and more feel good type laws supposedly to protect animals without allocating money to enforce the laws.   

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Banned Motorcycle Fuel on Raw Almonds

Local Harvest has an eye opening read. It is about how our food nannies industry is controlling and deliberately mislabeling our food.

Step aside China.

From the Local Harvest link above:
The new protocols require all raw almonds sold in North America to be pasteurized, thereby killing off any wayward bacteria. How? By quick-steaming the nuts, or spraying them with propylene oxide (PPO), a chemical so nasty that it was banned by both the National Hot Rod and American Motorcycle Racing Associations, where it had been used as a fuel before being deemed too dangerous. PPO is also a carcinogen. For these and other reasons, most countries, including the EU, ban imported nuts treated with PPO. (The ABC is actively working to change that.)
A petition regarding this issue is here.
Quoted in part:
Starting in August or September of 2007, raw almonds available in the USA, Canada and Mexico, will no longer be "truly raw" due to a mandate passed by the USDA, FDA and the California Almond Board, announcing that all almonds including organic must be pasteurized. Information is available at the following link:

Action Plan and Pasteurization - Frequently Asked Questions

The problem is the law has been passed with little public input(if any) or notification whatsoever. In addition all pasteurized almonds available in the marketplace will still be labeled as raw almonds. Can this be considered fraudulence or an out right lie? Are you willing to give up your food freedom choices?

Online petitions may not stop legislation but they sure do help spread the word. Sign if you're inclined, or send the link to the petition to others to help spread awareness of this issue.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/21/2007 11:31:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

District Files Appeal Against Deaf Student

District files appeal against deaf student: "Administrative Law Judge Clara Slifkin criticized the school for giving Solorzano a sign language interpreter, even though she is an oral learner and uses sign language only socially, not academically."

I chose the graphic to illustrate how the student might feel. Imagine being faced with the challenge of language barrier deliberately imposed by the school as a solution to helping a deaf student to get through her lesson. Not being able to understand the lecture given in a "foreign language" (sign language in this case) just slows down the progress of the student.

I'm late deafened and there are so many times I wish CART were instantly available for me. On the computer it's great to be able to chat to someone using email, or in real time with a text interface (IM programs, MUDS and other such). Some day in the future will it go to everyday living? A cure for deafness would be awesome!

Software is still being developed which will allow a computer to have working speech recognition and there are hopes that perhaps a laptop can be used in real time, to interpret with good accuracy, flowing conversations for someone who cannot hear. This will allow more of us to attend lectures or participate in other communications. I have tried the route of having friends or family members take notes, but often the things they catch and write down are basics that I already know and I wonder if the lecture actually had any depth beyond 3rd grade knowledge of basics. Don't mean to sound ungrateful but when you pay $100 or there abouts to attend a seminar and come back with notes that someone took for you, all content that you already knew and may well be new stuff for your notetaking friend... it really is a darned bit discouraging. Never mind any serious consideration of new academic pursuits that rely on interpretation of lecture material.

I have read about how it (speech recognition) is still quite quirky; some voices and inflections do not convert to text very well and need editing corrections to train the software. Back when I had residual hearing and used an FM system and hearing aids, I still had a lot of problems picking up what people were saying due to the problematic nature of all these combined enhancements. I have no residual hearing now, so text really is the best of the communication tools for me. I've also learned that many hearing people do appreciate captioning and wish more in the way of transcripts could be provided (accessibility!) since sometimes computer quirks, poor software, slow connections are a fact of life for many that cannot make use of the pod casts and other 'enhancements' online.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/20/2007 11:09:00 PM | Permanent link | (1) Comments

Blogger Unknown sent us a woof // June 21, 2007

I empathize with your frustration. As I get older, and my hearing lessens, I find I appreciate the captioning on TV. If the captioning is particularly good (and not all is) I even turn off the sound and just read the captions.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Right Wags are All Right

Anatolians Indulging in Right-Wags

Zor in the foreground, Ruya is the headless one. All indulging in right-wags. Boone on the left didn't have a tail in this picture. The dogs had been playing a wrestling game and had paused to wag at each other. Some Anatolians don't just wag their tails but it goes round and round and round like a propeller. Can't think which direction it flies around in, counter clockwise or clockwise? Bertha (grandmother to Ruya and mother to Zor) had one of those propeller tails sometimes - depending on her mood. Other times she wiggled butt, or merely flicked the very tip of her tail in greeting. (ecstatically expressive to plain Ho-Hum!)

Since the recent study and reports about dogs doing right sided wags for 'friendly' things and left sided wags for more wary emotions, I've been thinking about this more when I watch our dogs play.

Is it not just dogs? I also remember Tess, my Arabian horse having more of a right sided fling to her tail when she put it over her back to play, after tipping the manure cart over deliberately when she wanted to get a rise out of me. She sometimes carried her tail straight out behind her but held it to one or the other side at different times. I wish now I had payed closer attention to her tail. I watched her ears, face, eyes and other elements of stance a lot, but not always her tail. I know that in Arab horse circles, back when I used to attend Arabian Horse Fairs and the like, a tail carried completely centered was supposed to be most desireable. Other horse folks would say that carriage to the side was due to some issue in the spine or the muscles. But I've looked at horses running when letting off their own steam and when they are pushed or stressed and I'm not sure what I think. Aren't these tail carriages sometimes different? Doesn't tail carriage to the side in horses also have something to do with lateral expression of emotion?

From The Scientist
Tailing Lateralization

A dog’s tail reveals unambiguous messages about its mood. Now, a study on tail wagging may lend credence to the contested theory that nonhuman vertebrates have asymmetric brain function. Angelo Quaranta and colleagues from the University of Bari and the University of Trieste in Italy trained video cameras on the posteriors of 30 dogs while exposing them to four separate visual stimuli: the dog’s owner, an unfamiliar person, a dominant unfamiliar dog, and a cat.

Familiar and nonthreatening sights induced right-biased wagging, indicating left side "approach" brain activation. The dominant unknown dog procured left-leaning wags, indicating right brain "withdrawal." Peter MacNeilage, a member of the Faculty of 1000 and a University of Texas professor in psychology, calls the work "a confirmation of what others have argued" – that nonhuman vertebrates have behaviors linked to specific brain hemispheres.

Prior to this research, he says, "In a single subject population, not one study has shown both avoidance and approach. ... Usually when people study the two hemispheres, they use different experimental paradigms. In this case [Quaranta] uses the same experimental paradigm, making it more consistent. This paper supports the theory that when one half of the brain is sensing some danger, it’s more connected to the opposite side of body." A mystery remains, however: "Why do animals have this brain lateralization in the first place?"

1. A. Quaranta et al., "Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli," Curr Biol, 17:R199–R201, March 20, 2007. | [PubMed]

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/18/2007 06:37:00 PM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // June 21, 2007

Interesting that you mention the "propeller tail" Leydi certainly has a propeller tail, I never knew that Anatolians could or would wag their tail like she does, I have to pay attention to the direction, I think when I look at her standing in front of her it goes counter-clockwise, now I have to look for the right wags in everybody   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // June 24, 2007

i've been watching my dog, jersey, for the past few days now, & when she sees people that she knows she DOES wag her tail more to the right. COOL!!   

Friday, June 15, 2007

Speaking of Collars!

Speaking of collars . . . a recent blog comment from "very_vizsla" aka Karen Friesecke included a link to her custom collar site Doggie Stylish.

I checked it out and just love this gorgeous martingale style collar on this page! Check it out, it's great eye candy.

It'd look wonderful on Ruya while she does Service dog work for me, ya think? Definitely not for every day wear among the savages er... other Anatolians, and certainly not to be worn during war games! :O

Now for something a little more Turkish -

Kayseri style Turkish Spike Collar

Meanwhile, Andrea of Taking My Time has just gotten back from Turkey and has a new shipment of Turkish dog spike collars. Several varieties available! A new featured regional style is the Kayseri style collar above.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/15/2007 04:39:00 PM | Permanent link | (1) Comments

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // June 24, 2007

damn, that's one scary collar!! looks like something out of a torture magazine!!   

Thursday, June 14, 2007

All That's Left!

. . . of Ruya's collar!

Earlier this month, Ruya lost her collar. I didn't find it til recently and about 8 inches of it is still missing.

Apparently she'd been playing war games with my other ASDs and someone got her collar off. One (or both?) of the seven month old pups then turned it into a chew toy! See the nice puncture marks?! This is a rather old and soft, nylon web collar. This remnant is about 14 inches long.

It is a martingale style collar that used to be an odd lime green color which can partially be seen on the headshot of Ruya posed on the bottom left of this page. I like these martingale type collars because they can be left on loose enough so that the dog can slip out if the dog gets caught on something. And the style of the collar allows it to be effective on a leash -- as it will tighten up and not slip over the head when in use.

Anyway, time to buy a new collar for Ruya. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/14/2007 11:54:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bully Whippet Genetics

A Bully Whippet - Above, this is Wendy. She has two copies of a double muscling phenotype.

A racing whippet

Whippets are sometimes used in racing and breeders of these racing whippets found that some successful racing dogs with increased muscling produced progeny with this muscling trait and similar racing success. However, if two carriers of this trait were bred together, these dogs sometimes produced heavily muscled dogs that gave the whippets a "bully" appearance such as that which Wendy has in the top photo.

Breeding chart
Chart I found on The New York Times site. See the whole article at the link at the bottom of this post-

Breeders got together and tested both affected and unaffected dogs to try and find the gene causing these distinctions. It has been found that the wild-type whippet in this case meaning the normal whippet, did not have a copy of this mutation that affects muscling. Intermediate affected dogs, successful racers with more muscling than average, had one copy of this mutated gene. Bully whippets all had a double copy of the gene.

Author Summary
An individual's genetic profile can play a role in defining their natural skills and talents. The canine species presents an excellent system in which to find such associative genes. The purebred dog has a long history of selective breeding, which has produced specific breeds of extraordinary strength, intelligence, and speed. We have discovered a mutation in the canine myostatin gene, a negative regulator of muscle mass, which affects muscle composition, and hence racing speed, in whippets. Dogs that possess a single copy of this mutation are more muscled than normal and are among the fastest dogs in competitive racing events. However, dogs with two copies of the same mutation are grossly overmuscled, superficially resembling double-muscled cattle known to possess similar mutations. This result is the first to quantitatively link a mutation in the myostatin gene to athletic performance. Further, it emphasizes what is sure to be a growing area of research for performance-enhancing polymorphisms in competitive athletics. Future implications include screening for myostatin mutations among elite athletes. However, as little is known about the health issues and potential risks associated with being a myostatin-mutation carrier, research in this arena should proceed with extreme caution.

Some info from the study below...
A Mutation in the Myostatin Gene Increases Muscle Mass and Enhances Racing Performance in Heterozygote Dogs Dana S. Mosher, Pascale Quignon, Carlos D. Bustamante, Nathan B. Sutter, Cathryn S. Mellersh, Heidi G. Parker, Elaine A. Ostrander
National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America, Animal Health Trust, Center for Preventive Medicine, Newmarket, United Kingdom

Double muscling is a trait previously described in several mammalian species including cattle and sheep and is caused by mutations in the myostatin (MSTN) gene (previously referred to as GDF8). Here we describe a new mutation in MSTN found in the whippet dog breed that results in a double-muscled phenotype known as the “bully” whippet. Individuals with this phenotype carry two copies of a two-base-pair deletion in the third exon of MSTN leading to a premature stop codon at amino acid 313. Individuals carrying only one copy of the mutation are, on average, more muscular than wild-type individuals (p = 7.43 × 10−6; Kruskal-Wallis Test) and are significantly faster than individuals carrying the wild-type genotype in competitive racing events (Kendall's nonparametric measure, τ = 0.3619; p ≈ 0.00028). These results highlight the utility of performance-enhancing polymorphisms, marking the first time a mutation in MSTN has been quantitatively linked to increased athletic performance.

The wide variety of behaviors and morphological types exhibited among dog breeds and the overall low genetic diversity within each breed make the dog an excellent genetic system for mapping traits of interest. Recently, owners of whippets, an established racing-dog breed, have reported a phenotype of heavy muscling occurring within the breed ( The typical whippet is similar in conformation to the greyhound, a medium-sized sighthound, weighing about 9 kg and characterized by a slim build, long neck, small head, and pointed snout. OverbiteHeavily muscled dogs, termed “bully” whippets by breeders, have broad chests and unusually well-developed leg and neck musculature. “Bully” whippets are easily distinguished from their normal littermates based on physical appearance alone. Owners report that “bully” whippets do not have any health abnormalities other than muscle cramping in the shoulder and thigh. However, the dogs are often euthanized at an early age as they do not conform to the American Kennel Club breed standard. In addition, about 50% of “bully” whippets have a distinctive overbite. [see pic on right]
To see the paper on this study, go here.

Normal muscling
Normal whippet - "wild type"

Intermediate muscling
Intermediate whippet - One copy of the mutation

Double muscling
Bully whippet - Two copies of the mutation, 50% have overshot muzzle

It is interesting that half of the Bully Whippets have the upper mandible so long as it is.

Related article:
As Breeders Test DNA, Dogs Become Guinea Pigs - New York Times


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/12/2007 02:10:00 PM | Permanent link | (7) Comments

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // June 13, 2007

at first, i thought that the top pic was photoshopped. i really thought that it was a goof! i'm fascinated with genetics & took it as a minor in my biology degree. it's interesting that the gene that gives the 'bully' appearance also makes the lower jaw shorter. thank-you for posting such an interesting article!   

Blogger jamminwhippets sent us a woof // June 18, 2007

This is a very interesting topic, we'll be learning more about this in the future I hope. There are two corrections I'm sure you will be interested to note. A whippet that has one copy of the myostatin gene is undistinguishable from one that hase none. Some are well muscled, some are tiny and not overly muscled. You can NOT tell by looking. That is what makes it so important for us to find a test for the gene. Another important note; breeders are NOT euthanizing any Double muscled pups because of their looks. Whippets with two copies of the Myostatin gene have mild to severe cramping...the ones with severe cramping can be very painful, and they cramp even at rest or while sleeping.   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // June 18, 2007

Thanks jammin, I read those comments too. The dogs with one copy of the gene are still phenotypically variable.

I'm really curious about the double muscling having a correlation with the overbite (or shortened lower jaw). If its cause is somewhat mechanical -- eg, does it have something to do with muscle activity (cramping? spasticity?) in cheek muscles causing shortening of the lower jaw. Or is it perhaps due to some cross loci effect (epistasis? hypostasis?) that is enabled when there are two copies of the mutation?   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // January 23, 2008

that is amazing i quoted you hope you dont mind –kk   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // January 23, 2008

kk, thanks for visiting! :)   

Blogger rican sent us a woof // July 15, 2008

i was wondering if this would be posible in getting a "bully" American pit bull? if anyone knows the answer please repost thanks   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // July 15, 2008

Rican, the issue in whippets is due to a mutation in the breed, and is associated with other issues of health in the breed as well.

Mutations are not always straight forward -- a protein that codes for more muscle can have some regulatory effect on the skeletal structure (in whippets, it creates a form of malocclusion, abnormal jaw alignment, as described) and mutations can affect endocrinology, muscle endurance, temperament, survival of the fetus, and other things. Mutations can be very unpredictable and can sometimes have serious undesired effects.   

Sunday, June 10, 2007

No on AB1634

Photo courtesy of ©Wendy Lutge of
This is a photo of Bowie (left, owned by Wendy Lutge) a miniature dachshund rescue and Ch. Francis Schoolhouse Rocks (right, owned by Diane Jones) a standard dachshund on the steps of the Capital of California in Sacramento.

No on California AB 1634
"California Healthy Pets Act"

Choosing a 'feel good' perky name for a bill perpetuates the GRAND deception

See for more information.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/10/2007 07:22:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments