Is It The Pit Bull or the Owner?

041015-cc-chester-dog-img-4

The question has been long debated by many people and over many discourses. Is the reason so many pit bulls attack and kill innocent people due to the animal and its predetermination to be aggressive, or is the blame to be placed on the owner?

Many people associate pit bulls with danger and risk of attacks because it seems that whenever there is news of an incident like this occurring it is more often than not involving some breed of pit bull. But, what most people do not understand is the truth behind these stories, or what the word “pit bull” actually means, nor do they often read far into these news stories to get the whole picture. This all leads to the continuing of the myths and fears surrounding these dogs and makes it close to impossible for them to be adopted when placed into animal shelters – which more often than not they are.

So, perhaps we just need to educate ourselves more fully on the true nature of these dogs, so as to better understand why these attacks are taking place. Though, before we get into that, it is important that it be defined what exactly a pit bull is.

Continue reading

Advertisements

How Does a Non-Profit Animal Shelter Succeed?

It it not an easy task to run an animal shelter, especially when that shelter holds a strong “no kill” policy. There are many finances to be accounted for when caring for animals and housing them for periods that can stretch to years before they are adopted. Food, water, electricity, treats, toys, cleaning supplies, full-time employee salaries, permits, veterinary care, and much more all must be accounted for when considering costs. And it adds up fast.

In turning to the example of the Sweetpea Animal Shelter in Paxton, MA, it is shown how much was spent on various necessities in the yearly expense reports that are published.

The above expense reports were from the period of July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. They clearly depict how much the shelter was forced to scrape by on certain spending, especially in areas such as “Wages” and “Repairs & Maintenance.” It doesn’t seem possible that a place such as an animal shelter would only encounter $744 of repairs over the span of a year, nor does it seem right that only $47,283 would be spent on wages when some employees, such as Melanie Kenadek (the shelter manager), devote their life to the shelter and must support themselves on the wages that the job provides.

Continue reading

The Story of Stella, the Brave

The fire at the Sweetpea Animal Shelter in Paxton, MA was one for the record books. It completely destroyed their shelter kennels and killed 17 dogs and 39 cats. Only 5 animals were saved, four dogs and one cat. It was a tragedy that affected the entire community and further. But, amid all the sorrow and frustration around the event, there is an untold story of bravery and resilience. This is the story of little Stella, one of the puppies to survive the fire.

On the night of November 22nd, Stella was pulled from the fire by the Paxton firefighter Captain, Tom Savage.

CUeMkbsU8AAnoep

Photo: Telegram.com

Stella was in the worst condition of all the animals and was immediately rushed to the Tufts University emergency room to be treated for intense smoke inhalation. Her recover has proven to be a long and hard one over these past few months. Only now, almost three months after the fire, is Stella beginning to show signs of an almost full recovery.

Continue reading

The Sweetpea Animal Shelter Controversy

The Sweetpea Animal Shelter in Paxton, Massachusetts has had a lot of attention from both the media and the local community lately. Primarily this attention is surrounding the recent fire that destroyed most of the shelter and killed around 50 animals that were being housed there. But, what seems to have been overshadowed by this fire is the controversy the shelter was facing from the negative reviews it was given by the Town of Paxton’s Board of Selectman. In fact, just before the fire, the Board had motioned to remove Sweetpea’s shelter license.

Fire-SP3-594x446

Photo: Sweetpea.org

While the discussion of whether or not the shelter conditions are “unsuitable” or “inhumane” had been ongoing since before the shelter’s fire in late November, the board of selectmen did not vote to suspend the license until December 7th apparently due to the confusion made by conflicting reports.

Continue reading

A Community Unites Over the Sweetpea Animal Fire

On the night of November 22nd, around 10:30pm, Melanie Kenadek was woken up by a phone call informing her that the animal shelter she had devoted her whole life to was in flames. Within seconds she had thrown on a coat and jumped in the car, making the 50 minute drive in under 30 minutes.

By the time she had arrived at the Sweetpea Animal Shelter, all 150 volunteers had arrived to help the effort. But, sadly, by the time the firemen had arrived the shelter had become completely engulfed in flames and there was not much to be done to save the building. All they could hope to do was save as many trapped animals as possible.

Fire-533x533.jpg

Photo: Sweetpea

After an intense effort among the firefighters and the volunteers, only six animals were pulled from the fire, five of which survived. Four dogs and one cat. The dozens of other animals all perished in the fire before the firemen were able to pull them out or to put out the flames. It was indeed a tragedy for the community and for Melanie Kenadek to see the animals she had formed bonds with and spent every day taking care of pass away all at once. In total this number was 17 dogs and 39 cats (necn.com).

Continue reading

Is Running a No-Kill Shelter Possible?

When you ask most people what they know about shelter euthanasia they will probably have a little to no idea as to the specifics of such a gruesome topic. Either because most people would prefer not to think about such things or just because it is a topic often swept under the rug, kept hush-hush and one which most law enforcement turns their back on because of the complications (both moral and economic) involved.

But, the truth is that each year 2.7 million pets in the United States are euthanized in animal shelters (petful.com) and that is just the deaths that are accounted for. Many, many more are killed in puppy mills, by their owners, in animal fighting, animal testing, by the fur industry, in hunting and through animal agriculture for food consumption. After it all, the numbers of animal deaths each year is almost unfathomable.

Continue reading

An Underdog Dominates With Outstanding Photojournalism

Aaron Teasdale is one of today’s most authentic and dedicated travel journalists. He is an underdog in the field and, while I follow him on nearly every possible social media platform and check his blog regularly, not too many others seem to be doing the same thing. Aaron’s article, “How to Become an Outdoor Writer and Photographer,” was the catalyst for me finding my passion for travel journalism.

But, not only is he an amazing writer, he is also a self-taught photographer. He felt it was important for a writer to do his own photography for only the person who is writing the piece fully understands how it should be visually portrayed to its readers. No other article has proven this as much as his piece, “The Monster in The Mist,” which was given the cover image for Sierra Magazine’s. This cover photograph is one of the most powerful images I have ever seen.

SierraGreatBearCover

Continue reading

Has the Internet Negated What it Means to be a Journalist?

The introduction of online newspapers and magazines has most definitely had an immense impact on the field of Journalism and, while much of that change is positive, there is no denying that it is almost too easy to become a “journalist” these days.

So this would beg the question, well what exactly is a journalist? How do you define that word when just about anyone can hop on their computer and type up a blog post about whatever is on their mind and have over a million views instantly? Even if that article brings no new knowledge to its readers nor bears any merit.

That seems to be the question that all journalists – who are writing in-depth, thought out, and meaningful articles for respected news sources – are asking. And what they are discovering is that there is a battle to keep their readers’ attention when the internet is filling itself with these empty, yet entertaining articles.

Readers these days have lost their abilities to keep focused when reading online articles. They rely on photographs, lists with boldface, short and to the point articles that will take almost no time to read. Their attention spans have reduced immensely and most people seem to be more drawn to articles about celebrities, baby animals, or silly quizzes over the more academic and deeply researched articles.

This change in readers’ interest and their shortened attention spans had led to the question: what’s more important? Writing articles that will gain clicks or writing articles that are meaningful and are “newsworthy”?

The answer to that is, hopefully, both. To write something that is heavily researched and hard-hitting but in a way that will catch the attention of today’s readers is difficult. Especially because you, as the journalist, may have a lot to say since you’ve uncovered a lot on your topic, but you must be careful to write only that which is most crucial to the story and that will keep the readers attention.

If your article is full of fluff or non-crucial information you will loose your readers’ attention right away. If there are no images that break up the text, again you will loose your readers. If you don’t have boldfaced topics or other ways of organizing and breaking up the text, this could also be detrimental.

The field has changed, and there is no ignoring it in this tech-obsessed culture. Now to be a respected, yet successful journalist, you must understand how to fit in all that important information that proves you put in the effort to really learn about and research the article’s topic, while also presenting it in a brief and attention grabbing way that will be able to compete with the vast sea of other articles that your readers can pick over yours.