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HARRISBURG, PA., WOMAN STARTS RESCUE GROUP FOR DEAF DALMATIANS
HARRISBURG, Penn. – Sept. 14 — Ariel O’Brien of Harrisburg, a dog trainer and evaluator for the American Kennel Club and Therapy Dogs International, announces the opening of a new dog rescue for deaf Dalmatians.
Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue is a unique rescue dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of deaf purebred Dalmatians. Headquartered in Middletown,Penn., Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue is regional, and will focus,at first, on helping deaf dogs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut ,New York, New Jersey,North Carolina, Tennessee,Texas and Virginia and Ohio.
Deafness is a genetic predisposition in the breed, affecting more than 13 percent of puppies each year born without full or partial hearing, according to O’Brien, a deaf dog trainer.
Development of Spotted Dog is in response to an unpopular practice among the Dalmatian community to euthanize deaf puppies, rather than give them a chance at life. This practice is fostered by the Dalmatian Club of America’s (DCA) policy that deaf puppies must be euthanized because they will never be good pets.
“The DCA erroneously believes that a dead dog is better than a deaf dog,” said O’Brien, who has owned Dalmatians since 1991, including several deaf pets. She is currently mom to Lainie Anne, Maggie, a deafie, and Woody. According to O’Brien, the DCA policy is based on the myth that deaf dogs can startle, be aggressive and resist training.
“The myths regarding deaf dogs, are just that. One of Spotted Dog Rescue’s goals is to educate Dalmatian breeders that just because a puppy is born deaf does not mean they need to euthanize that puppy. Many deaf dogs have excelled in the companion performance events of obedience, rally, and agility. A deaf dog can make a wonderful family member.”
Under O’Brien’s leadership, Spotted Dog will reach out to breeders, asking them to surrender their deaf puppies rather then kill them, and will save deaf dogs from shelters or homes where they are unwanted. The organization will place the dogs in foster homes, where they will be evaluated and started on training, while adoptive homes are sought. The organization, which has its non-profit status pending, will spay or neuter puppies before adopting them out.
Another goal of Spotted Dog, according to O’Brien, is to educate the public about the breed and its needs, which includes lots of exercise since Dalmatians have boundless energy. They are also very loyal dogs, according to O’Brien, and like to be with their people. “We will also assist owners in understanding the special needs of their deaf Dalmatian and with special training programs, resources and tools.”
Many breeders and people who work with deaf Dalmatians don’t agree with the DCA policy, according to O’Brien. “Despite the Dalmatian Club of America’s stand recommending euthanizing deaf puppies, many breeders and most non-breeders realize that a puppy need not be perfect to live. More Dalmatian breeders are opting to either place their own deaf puppies themselves or offer them to rescues, such as Spotted Dog, so that they might live. Dalmatian litters do not always have deaf puppies, but when they happen, they need a safe home for a long life,” said Beth Whiteof Melody Kennels and Dalmatian Rescue of Colorado in Fort Collins.
The DCA website says: “The Board of Governors feels very strongly that deaf pups should never be sold, placed or given away, and most certainly should not be bred from. Deaf Dalmatians are hard to raise, difficult to control (they are often hit by cars when they “escape”) and often become snappish or overly aggressive, especially when startled. It also advises veterinarians to: “Advise your clients to put down any deaf pups they may have bred.”
For more information on deaf dogs or Spotted Dog Deaf Dalmatian Rescue, to volunteer as a foster family, or to make a donation, it www.spotteddogdalmatianrescue.org
IRS 501(C)(3) DETERMINATION LETTER.We have finally recieved our non-profit determination letter from the IRS and we have officially been designated a Non-Profit Charitable Organization. That means that any donations made to the rescue are tax deductible. Since winter is coming it would be really nice if you could donate even the smallest amount to help provide coats, warm beds, treats, food and vet bills for the dogs we have in the rescue now. We realize that times are really tough for every one and it is hard even putting food on the table for your own family. However, if you could donate even a dollar or two, it would help these guys.