Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rancho De Chihuahua - a worthy cause!

I recently learned about Rancho de Chihuahua, a dog sanctuary in New Mexico which has been doing really good work, rescuing doomed and hopeless dogs and nurturing them in a healing environment. Some of the dogs have special needs, some are "lifers" and some will be placed in homes.

Here is an introductory video: Chihuahuamercial - Chitastic!

I discovered this little community some months ago. While I was browsing books on amazon.com, the cute and soulful image of a supplicant Chihuahua caught my eye -

Naturally, I bought a copy of "a small furry prayer" and reading it kept me up way past my bedtime. I was taken on a quixotic journey - I found myself captivated by the sheer sweetness of their vision, and moved by their bittersweet experiences in living it out.

This highly readable tome is really two books in one. On the one hand it's the story of their rescue, and on the other, it's some really deep philosophy about dogs. Mind you, I'm not saying I agree with every single idea that Mr Kotler has ever had, but I have to say that some of his insights are genius - simply going where no one else has even thought of going before.

I won't spoil the plot here - I'll recommend that you just go buy the book - or watch the trailer first to help you make up your mind.

Visit Rancho de Chihuahua

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Death gets a BAD RAP

In retrospect, the matter was summed up succinctly by one blogger who wrote: "A pit bull killed it's owner. Again. End of story." But as the story broke, the identity of this particular victim made things rather uncomfortable for the pit bull promoters.

On Aug 11, Bad Rap member Darla Napora was mauled to death by her pit bull, "Gunner". The last time Greg Napora had last seen his pregnant wife, she was asleep, in bed with their 2 pit bulls. When he returned home at noon that day, he encountered a grisly scene - his wife, unconscious and bleeding from multiple wounds, on the floor, with the pit bull standing over her. She died shortly thereafter, and the pit bull was shot after escaping from the yard and threatening police officers. 
Greg and Darla Napora
The actions of Darla's husband here seem rather puzzling. His first actions after making the grisly discovery were reportedly to call his wife's employer to let them know she would not be coming to work, to shut down their facebook page which had featured pictures of Darla and the animal that killed her, to secure the services of a lawyer, and to issue a statement, not so much lamenting his deceased wife and child as to praise the animal which had just killed them, and to make a stand in defense of pit bulls in general. His actions offer insight into the mindset of hard core pit bull advocates.
On cue, pit bull activists took to the internet to begin the damage control process. The normal strategy in the aftermath of this type of horrific mauling appears to be to blame the owner, minimize the attack, or claim the animal was not actually a pit bull. In this case however, the owner was one of their own, the deaths of mother and child made the attack rather difficult to minimize, and the dog was a well publicized pit bull.
Pit bull activist Cindy Marabito
Pit activist Cindy Marabito crafted a story alleging that Darla Napora was not killed by her pit bull, but had instead suffered a fatal fall from a ladder, and the pit bull was merely trying to wake her up. This story, with no justification or basis in fact, gained traction and was echoed and amplified by other online pit bull activists such as Melanie Coy.

The coroner's report, however, made it clear that Darla Napora was mauled to death in her home by her pit bull. There was no ladder. The ladder stories have since been removed without explanation.

While pit bull defenders continue to search for some scrap of evidence on which to blame the attack, there does not seem to be any real mystery about it. There is nothing to distinguish this particular attack from any of the other pit bull maulings that have occurred over the past 150 years, aside from the identity of the victim. Given the well documented tendency of pit bulls to attack their owners, it was simply a matter of time before some well known pit bull advocates were maimed or killed by their own animals.

Last month (Aug 2011), 3 different pit bull owners were killed by their own pets. More deaths will follow in future, as surely as day follows night, and some of those deaths will be innocent bystanders who never owned, nor wanted to own, a pit bull. Innocent family pets and beloved personal companions will continue to be killed by pit bulls.

If we can simply get across the point that pit bulls are lethal and unpredictable animals, even to some small fraction of the people who read this, we will have saved lives, and that is why we speak out. For more on this story, dogsbite.org has information here, and  Craven Desires has some good fact-checking  here and here.

Additional links below -

pacifica.patch.com: Pit Bull: 'She Fell Off a Ladder' is PR Spin
truecrimereport.com: Darla Napora, Pregnant Pit Bull Advocate, Mauled to Death By Her Pit Bull