Five African painted dogs born last in October 2009 at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium were weaned from a domestic mutt who was picked to be their surrogate mother. Unfortunately four other puppies from the same litter died.
Zoo staff had to intervene in raising the pups because their mother died of a ruptured uterus shortly after delivering the litter on October. 25. One pup died at birth, and four of the nine remaining pups died over the next 11 days.
Zoo officials found a mixed-breed mutt who had recently delivered a litter of pups of her own at a Pittsburgh animal shelter. That dog, named Honey, nursed the wild dogs, who as of the end of November were mostly eating soft food.
According to experts the mortality rate for painted pups is 50 percent, even when born in the wild to a healthy mother.
February 20th was a big day for Darlene and Cliff Ryckman. It was the day when they got back their missing dog Molly. Molly the Shih Tzu made it home because of DNA testing which was completed by local police.
In an unusual case that spanned nearly a year, DNA sample were taken to prove that Molly belonged to Cliff and Darlene Ryckman.
Molly had no microchip and no tattoo, so when the tiny dog went missing last year the Ryckmans were at a loss to prove the identity of the dog they had raised from birth. Even though they found out who in the neighborhood had taken her in.
“I thought you know what, they do it on humans, they got to do it on animals,” when asked where shy got the idea to preform a DNA test on Molly.
The Ryckmans also own Molly’s sire, Howey, and had the DNA paternity test doneIn all three test were performed on each dog.
The stressful year started last March 4 when the two dogs were let out into the back yard of the family’s home. The gate wasn’t quite shut, and the two dogs started to chase a cat and the next thing Darlene knew, she couldn’t find Molly.
“I prayed every day,” she said. “I went to a psychic. I put it in The Spectator.” Darlene also put an announcement on local TV, got the word out at some schools and put up flyers.
Almost right after Molly went missing, a woman responded to the flyers Darlene had posted. She said had seen two people in the neighborhood pick up a Shih Tzu and take it into an apartment building. Cliff, tracked down a specific apartment, and was told by a woman there that they did not have Molly.
The Ryckmans weren’t convinced and they were persistent with police. Eventually they ended up face-to-face with the people who had picked up Molly on the street when they were out with Molly. Darlene said of the encounter, “Seeing Molly just walking away from me … she was going nuts when she seen me and my husband, and I just broke down because I couldn’t take my dog and these people wouldn’t give me my dog back.”
Cliff said the whole situation was very upsetting for the couple. He said,”It upset me to go to work because my wife would be crying everyday.”
But finally, after much determination and pursuing Molly through three moves by the people who had Molly, the Ryckmans paid $110 for DNA tests for the two dogs. Constable Annette Huys, one of two officers working on the case, took the DNA samples. Huys said, “I’d just come out of the forensic unit, so I was used to collecting lots of DNA, but not necessarily from dogs.” Huys said unfortunately everybody had fallen in love with the Molly and it didn’t matter which side police dealt with, they were always crying when it came to talking about the Molly.
It took about two weeks for the samples to come back a match. Molly was returned to her the Ryckmans on February 20th.
Staff Sergeant Jack Langhorn called the entire case including taking doggy DNA “extremely unusual.” He said, “It was a unique situation … It wouldn’t be something that we’re going to do on a regular basis.”
Darlene said she’s grateful to the two officers who worked on the case and that, she’ll be getting Molly microchiped shortly.
I just came across an article distributed by the Global Press Release Distribution about the above topic. This brought my thinking to the use of DNA in general, and about the ethics of cloning specifically.
Dan Vergano, USA TODAY. Scientists have cloned man’s best friend for the first time, creating a genetic duplicate of a 3-year-old male Afghan hound, South Korean scientists reported Wednesday
The puppy was born in April to its surrogate mom, a Labrador retriever. His name: Snuppy, short for Seoul National University puppy. The team of scientists there that cloned the dog, led by Hwang Woo Suk, is the same one that first cloned human embryonic stem cells last year. Their achievement is reported in the journal Nature. Researchers have cloned other animals, but dog cloning has posed a particular challenge. And the difficulties have alarmed some animal advocates and researchers.
There are benefits of cloning your pet according to the Seoul National University, but there are also many groups that are questioning the ethics involved in cloning.
This canine mystery solver is quickly becoming a popular within the dog community and in the media. Both ABC and NBC, as well as other mainstream media, bloggers and animal lovers with websites, have run stories on breed testing over the last few years.
NBC’s story ran 10/20/06 When Today’s hostess Meredith tested her own dog using the Canine Heritage™ XL Breed Test. This test uses cheek swabs. For step by step instructions see: http://www.dog-dna.com/tests/instructions-results.php. To see the full show visit http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&brand=msnbc&fg=&vid=e1ce80dc-75f9-4456-ad3c-d63a56e4aa9c&from=00
ABC’s story ran 5/20/2007 they tested Becky and Alex Shelton’s dog Sol using a blood test. This is a test that needs to be preformed at a Veterinarian’s office. Vets do charge fees for drawing the blood sample that would be in addition to the testing fees. For the full story see http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3193494
Both tests were very informative and it appears the breeds that made up these two dogs were identifiable. There are some times were this is not the case. For example many labs don’t test for “Pit Bull” and any dogs that include this breed would show as unidentified breed or something similar, or just not show up at all.
It is important to do your research on which ever type of testing you decide to move froward with. Most labs will have email addresses or phone numbers where you can verify which breeds are tested.
By JENNY MANNING
Whidbey News Times Reporter Nov 06 2009
Leeon and Lorriane Stecher can now walk their pit bull-chocolate lab mix, Angel, in Oak Harbor city limits without a muzzle as a result of the City Council’s decision Wednesday night to repeal a breed-specific ordinance that, some say, unfairly discriminated against pit bulls and their owners.
Oak Harbor’s breed-specific ordinance went into effect in 2006 and required pit bull owners who live within city limits to house the controversial canines in a secure pen and muzzle the animals while on leash, among other restrictions. Pit bull owners who didn’t follow the ordinance ran the risk of having their dog impounded or earning a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time up to 90 days, or both.
Now the animal control officer will rely on the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter of the animal control ordinance that deals with animals based on behavior, not breed.
Before the council made their final decision, Councilman Jim Campbell questioned whether the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter was enough to protect the citizens of Oak Harbor.
“We don’t need this because we have sufficient coverage in the one that we already have? Does it also have the hard rules for the owner that has a dog with biting habits?” he asked Police Chief Rick Wallace.
Wallace said yes, and proceeded to read from the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” ordinance that requires the owner of these dogs to keep the animals in a proper enclosure, post a visible warning sign that a dangerous dog is in the area, purchase a surety bond of at least $250,000 or a liability insurance policy, have the animal microchipped and register the dog with the city.
Councilwoman Beth Munns made the motion to repeal the breed specific ordinance, and Campbell seconded her motion. The council unanimously voted to support Munns’ motion, 6-0. Councilman Danny Paggao was not at the meeting.
The changes will make life easier for the Stecher family and other pit bull owners who live in Oak Harbor because pit bulls will no longer be considered dangerous according to the city ordinance.
“It’ll be more convenient to take her on walks,” Lorriane Stecher said, adding that it’ll be nice to walk in town without worry of getting ticketed.
The couple used to drive Angel outside city limits for her walks so they wouldn’t have to put a muzzle on her. The muzzle restricted Angel’s ability to pant, so the couple preferred to walk her where she wasn’t required to wear one.
“The muzzle also scared people because they thought she was a dangerous dog,” she said.
City officials hope the change will also decrease the number of pit bulls surrendered to island animal shelters, and possibly increase their rate of adoption.
The changes will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.
BioArts is an American company who has teamed up with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation close to Seoul Korea to offer the Best Friends Again Program.
This Program offers dog and cat cloning to the general public. Currently they have only offered 4 cloning slots and have not decided if they will open any more slots in the future, that having been said the are offering a 5th slot through their websit. The 4 slots that were offered were awarded through a public internet auction.
BioArts is the customer service side of the program while Sooam Biotech Research Foundation does the actual cloning.
BioArts offers two reasons for wanting this type of service. The first is the ability to have a new pet with similar personality traits and identical coloring, size and body type to the original pet. They talk about the joy the families can experience in exploring their new animal. They do not discuss the fact that the cost listed for their 5th slot is 180,000 US dollars. An amount that seems fairly cost prohibitive to cloning the family pet. Under their Social Benefits page they do discuss the benefits of cloning working dogs to maintain the original animals superior ability. I surmise that this could be taken a second step and that this service could be truly beneficial to breeders with award winning animals who’s genetic perfection they don’t wish to lose. Award Winning animals make money for breeders by 1) winning prizes and, 2) breeding fees. This seems to be the only area where the cost might out way the benefits.
While this is an interesting service it is the opinion of this writer that the full ramifications of this program have not been fully considered. Is it right to recreate an animal for monetary gain (as in the breeding situation)? What is the emotional and physiological effect of recreating a pet on the family in the long term? Isn’t part of being a pet owner the sad fact that they like people do not live for ever? What would pet cloning teach children about the life cycle?
I have seen this more than once now, including as an April Fools Story. Cities creating a database of canine DNA in order to track down owners who fail to clean up after their pets.
Well the story has resurfaced again….
In Dresden, Germany, a citizen commission overwhelmingly recommended a plan where DNA samples would be collected from all dogs when their owners renew their annual canine license. It is projected that within one year, a database of Dresden’s currently registered 12,500 canines would be complete. At that point sanitation workers would begin carrying feces-sample kits and submit evidence to a forensics laboratory, where scientists could easily match the feces to dog. The dog’s owner would be promptly fined up to (the equivalent of) $600 US dollars. Dresden’s commission projects a break-even point after about seven months at which point the city would start to turn a profit.
While in the past I have seen this story surface as a joke it seems that the idea of creating a DNA database to fine errant dog owners seems to be picking up steam and gaining more wide spread support. In the mean time I am going to keep my eyes posted to see how this story unfolds.
By: Briana R.
The American Kennel Club’s® board and staff have just announced a new Mixed Breed Program. The program is going to be rolled out in three phases.
Effective October 1st, 2009, mixed breed dog owners can list their dogs with the AKC’s new mixed breed program.
1.Dogs in the program will be issued an ID number.
2.Dogs must be spayed or neutered.
3.The fee for the program will be $35.
4.In Phase I, listed dogs will receive:
a.A certificate of participation
b.A competition card, with their identification number. This number allows
mixed breeds to compete in AKC Agility, Rally, and Obedience events
c.Access to a community of dog lovers interested in supporting all things
canine, including the AKC Humane Fund
d.Affiliation with an organization that:
i.Actively supports the right to own and breed dogs responsibly by
fighting anti-ownership legislation at the local, state, and federal level
ii.Donates millions to canine health research, making all dogs healthier in
the long run
iii.Proactively responds to disasters like 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina,
reaching out to all dog owners in need during stressful times
The Listing Service will be enhanced in Phase II. In Phase II, effective July 1, 2010 participating dogs will also receive:
a.Discounted enrollment in the AKC CAR Lost & Found service, which includes
a collar tag and 24-7 recovery services
b.An AKC Supporter window decal
c.Free CGC certificate for dogs that pass a CGC test
d.Copy of The New Puppy Handbook and/or sample of Family Dog magazine
e.Free initial veterinary visit
f.Trial offer of pet health insurance
g.Discount coupons to an online dog store
Effective April 1st, 2010, the competition parameters governing mixed breed participation in AKC Agility, Rally, and Obedience events:
1.AKC clubs will have the option to hold mixed breed classes for Agility,
Obedience, or Rally events. Those clubs electing to hold mixed breed classes
will offer the same classes for mixed breed dogs and purebred dogs.
2.Mixed Breed classes can only be held at standalone AKC Agility, Obedience,
and Rally Events. The class could not be offered at All Breed Shows, Group
Shows, or independent specialties, even if Agility, Obedience, or Rally events
are being held.
a.The definition of standalone AKC Companion event is an AKC Agility,
Obedience, or Rally event that is not held on the same date AND show
site as an AKC all-breed show or independent specialty.
3.Mixed breed dogs will compete in separate class divisions from AKC purebred
a.The club is not required to hold the classes in separate rings under
separate Judges. The purebred classes can be held in the same ring,
under the same Judge, as the mixed breed classes. Placements and titles
will be scored and awarded separately.
b.For example, in Agility in the Regular class, all purebred dogs entered in
the Regular 16 inch class will run, followed in the same ring by the mixed
breed dogs entered in the Regular 16 inch class.
4.Allows event-giving club to decide if group exercises in Obedience, specifically
long sits and downs, should be combined to save time or should be completed
separately. The club is not required to hold the classes in separate rings under
separate Judges. Placements and titles will be scored and awarded separately.
5.Mixed breed dogs will earn different titles from purebred dogs.
a.Mixed breed dogs will earn titles with a Mixed Breed suffix (i.e.
NAM-Novice Agility Mixed Breed)
6.Dogs competing in the class will be eligible to earn similar (but separate) titles
as purebreds, including MACH-M (Master Agility Champion Mixed Breed),
OTCH-M, and RAE-M.
7.Dogs competing in classes will NOT be eligible for National Championships or
The American Kennel Club® decided to include a mixed breed program for some very basic reasons. First to maintain legislative influence, second to bring new people into the The American Kennel Club® family and third to continue funding important outreach programs. This program is in addition to current programs and will not be replacing any pure bread programs currently in place.
For further information please visit the The American Kennel Club’s® web site at:
Oak Harbor Targets Pit Bull Ordinance For Extinction
By JENNY MANNING Whidbey News Times Reporter
Oak Harbor officials will review the city’s breed-specific restrictions thanks to a little noise from Bob Baker and Barbara Moran, the couple who filed suit against Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation late last year to save Smiley, a shelter dog, from euthanasia.
In an email sent to City Administrator Paul Schmidt earlier this month, the couple questioned the city’s breed-specific ordinance and its effect on pit bull adoptions.
“How many people in Oak Harbor will even try to adopt these dogs knowing they have to build them a cage and keep them muzzled?” they wrote.
Baker and Moran’s affection for pit bulls is well known after their fight to save Smiley, though he didn’t turn out to be a pit bull. Smiley made regional headlines after he was dognapped from the animal shelter, and later found on South Whidbey.
Oak Harbor’s breed-specific ordinance went into effect in 2006 and requires pit bull owners who live within city limits to house the controversial canines in a secure pen and muzzle the animals while on leash, among other restrictions.
Owners who don’t follow the ordinance will have their dog impounded and could get slapped with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time up to 90 days, or both.
In addition to the requirements placed on dog owners, the ordinance also requires the animal control officer to be an expert on the animals, Police Chief Rick Wallace said at a public safety standing committee meeting Thursday.
“If there was action taken, he could end up on the stand,” Wallace said, referring to Animal Control Officer Terry Sampson. “It wouldn’t take much of a legal defense to challenge.”
“From an animal control officer’s point of view, this is a really difficult issue,” Wallace said.
The burden would be on the city to prove any delinquent dog’s breed, and that may mean Oak Harbor would have to foot the bill for a doggie DNA test.
From an enforcement point of view, it’s almost impossible, Wallace said, adding that from a practical point of view, there’s not that many bite complaints each year.
“I don’t want this to turn into an emotional thing,” Schmidt said after the meeting. “We’re looking at it strictly as a fact-based issue.”
And the fact is, breed determination can be a tricky and costly business.
“Our own insurance doesn’t recommend BSL,” Schmidt said, referring to breed-specific legislation. “We support the behavior-based approach.”
The public safety standing committee will likely forward a recommendation to the council to do away with Ordinance 1479, also known as the breed-specific ordinance.
Science Daily’s article “Wolf in Dog’s Clothing?” opens the door for new studies in animal genetics and domestication. Scientists have been able to prove that domesticated dogs that bred with wolves thousands of years ago and that this gave wolves a genetic mutation encoding dark coat color. As a result, the Gray Wolf is no longer just gray. In addition scientists are reporting that the darker colored wolves have advantages over their lighter pack mates in forested areas. This is leading scientists to believe that these advantages are due to the addition of that domesticated dog DNA.
This study was conducted by Genetics professor Greg Barsh, MD, PhD, and one of his graduate students, Tovi Anderson, as well as other scientist collaborators. They compared DNA collected from 41 black, white and gray wolves in the Canadian Arctic and 224 black and gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park with that of domestic dogs and gray and black coyotes. This study confirmed that the black-coat gene shows evidence of positive selection in forest wolves. It also showed that the gene is dominant, meaning that an animal with only one copy of the gene would still have a black coat. Ten out of fourteen pups conceived by the mating between a black wolf and a gray wolf carried the gene and were black.
Anderson and her collaborators used a variety of genetic tests to determine that the mutation was likely introduced into wolves by domesticated dogs sometime in the last 10,000 to 15,000 years. This was about the same time the first Native American humans were migrating across the Bering land bridge. These humans were probably accompanied by dogs, some of which carried the black-coat mutation estimated to have arisen about 50,000 years ago.
Barsh said, “We were really surprised to find that domestic animals can serve as a genetic reservoir that can benefit the natural populations from which they were derived. It’s also fascinating to think that a portion of the first Native American dogs, which are now extinct, may live on in wolves.”
For the full article see:
(Stanford University Medical Center. “Wolf In Dog’s Clothing? Black Wolves May Be First ‘Genetically Modified’ Predators.” ScienceDaily 6 February 2009. 24 April 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205142137.htm>)