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Old 05-22-2011
Concern4Dogs Concern4Dogs is offline
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Question What are Acceptable Confinment Timelines

I realize that caring for animals in a shelter-type setting is different from caring for animals in a home environment and managing large numbers of animals requires many special considerations that may not be obvious.

I also understand that confinement without being able to run loose has to do with limiting the spread of disease.

I need some education on a dogs well-being while detained at an indoor facility. I wish I had the intelligence and finances to take a Canine Psychology Course to become more familiar with their psyche.
  1. Can anyone enlighten me on the maximum length of time dogs can be safely and humanely be confined to a cage bank, small metal crates, and larger cages without any relief from the enclosure (no exercise and no outdoor time with minimal human interaction)?
  2. Are the dogs content enough to be confined to such enclosures for long periods of time without it affecting their physical and mental health?
  3. Do long periods of confinement cause behavioral problems and break a dogs spirit?
  4. Is it safe to put multiple dogs together in the same containment cages and crates?
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Old 05-22-2011
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I'm no expert with a Masters in Animal Behavior but with over 30 years under my belt this is what I have observed....

1) I would say the max would be about 3 weeks. Its about this time that I've observed behavior changes in dogs held in cages with minimal stimulation. But each personality can be different.

2) No - at least for the majority of them. Some will adjust fine but some will start exhibiting compulsive behaviors - tail chasing, pacing in circles, cage lunging, extreme possesiveness.

3) Yes - see #2

4) As far as I'm concerned - NO! I have worked at some shelters with several dogs in cages and my current shelter has a policy of one dog per cage which is the proper policy. The spread of disease in addition to dog vs dog attacks don't happen. Many years ago I worked in a shelter that allowed multiple dogs in a cage. I picked up a pitbull that had the greatest personality, great dog. Next day his cage-mate was dead. New cage, new cage-mate. Next morning, that dog was dead. Needless to say, he got his own private cage after that.

Hope this helps and as I said, I'm no college edjumacated but.......
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Old 05-22-2011
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Ditto. I only have a little over 22 years but that is what I have seen over the years also.
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Old 05-22-2011
DRNEGRIN6 DRNEGRIN6 is offline
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I've only worked in shelters as the "vet." or as the on-call ACO so what I've observed has mostly been from the ACOs bringing the animals in to me for the "behavior" problems. I've seen a few in my office as the "Vet." after they have been adopted and showed signs afterwards. I'll add my comments after NJACO since we are both from the same state and have the same guidance as far as our State's laws.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Njaco View Post
1. Can anyone enlighten me on the maximum length of time dogs can be safely and humanely be confined to a cage bank, small metal crates, and larger cages without any relief from the enclosure (no exercise and no outdoor time with minimal human interaction)?
1) I would say the max would be about 3 weeks. Its about this time that I've observed behavior changes in dogs held in cages with minimal stimulation. But each personality can be different.
I'm not sure what you meant by this question. The State laws in NJ requires that dogs kept in confinement must be taken out of the confinement at least once daily if the confinement is a "cage". It is different if the dogs are given a run with or without outside exposure. For instance, if I was keeping a dog in my hospital, which I sometimes hold dogs for my municipality, the dogs must be walked at least once a day. I take them out at least twice if not more often. The exception to that rule is a "sick" dog, that might have a contagious disease. That is to be determined by the vet.

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Originally Posted by Njaco View Post
2. Are the dogs content enough to be confined to such enclosures for long periods of time without it affecting their physical and mental health?
2) No - at least for the majority of them. Some will adjust fine but some will start exhibiting compulsive behaviors - tail chasing, pacing in circles, cage lunging, extreme possesiveness.

3. Do long periods of confinement cause behavioral problems and break a dog?s spirit?
3) Yes - see #2
Most dogs want to have human contact. They do better with some exposure to "play" time. The compulsive behaviors tend to start after weeks to months of confinement. Some dogs never get rid of these behaviors even after adopted out. I have seen a few dogs that once they start this behavior, they are fine in the adopted household until something stresses them out. Then they begin circling, etc. I look up the records and sure enough, they were adopted out of a shelter. Some of these dogs have to be placed on behavior modification drugs to try and control that behavior. Some adopters cannot tolerate the behavior and then return them back to the shelter.

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4. Is it safe to put multiple dogs together in the same containment cages and crates?
4) As far as I'm concerned - NO! I have worked at some shelters with several dogs in cages and my current shelter has a policy of one dog per cage which is the proper policy. The spread of disease in addition to dog vs dog attacks don't happen. Many years ago I worked in a shelter that allowed multiple dogs in a cage. I picked up a pitbull that had the greatest personality, great dog. Next day his cage-mate was dead. New cage, new cage-mate. Next morning, that dog was dead. Needless to say, he got his own private cage after that.
I never place multiple dogs together in the same cage, even if they are from the same household. I am using cages in a hospital setting. Even if the cages are big enough to hold to small dogs, I am afraid to place them together since I have had two cats that I placed in the same cage tear each other apart with bite wounds, several years ago, when they were left at a hospital where I worked as the technician. Animals can turn against each other in a heart-beat in their own homes; why would it be any different in a strange environment? There are some shelters/adoption facilities that are now starting to group dogs in this fashion. They seem to be having great success. I just don't feel comfortable doing this when I'm not there to observe the animals.
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Old 05-22-2011
Concern4Dogs Concern4Dogs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRNEGRIN6
The State laws in NJ requires that dogs kept in confinement must be taken out of the confinement at least once daily if the confinement is a "cage". It is different if the dogs are given a run with or without outside exposure.
I'm down South and I can't find my State's law that addresses this situation. The dogs I'm speaking of are in cages at an indoor facility with no runs and they never see the light of day.

They are confined for weeks, some confined months, at a time. The only human contact they have is when they are scooted out of the way for cleaning, feeding, & watering.

I had the feeling that their mental state is being compromised which in turn evolves into behavioral problems.
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Old 05-23-2011
DRNEGRIN6 DRNEGRIN6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concern4Dogs View Post
I'm down South and I can't find my State's law that addresses this situation. The dogs I'm speaking of are in cages at an indoor facility with no runs and they never see the light of day.

They are confined for weeks, some confined months, at a time. The only human contact they have is when they are scooted out of the way for cleaning, feeding, & watering.

I had the feeling that their mental state is being compromised which in turn evolves into behavioral problems.
Does your State require supervision by a veterinarian? If not, contact the State Department of Health and/or the State Veterinarian. They should be able to tell you who to contact. Also, I know when I had a question regarding the State laws, I often called the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Each state is required to have one. They are supposed to be familiar with the State laws since they work under the Division of the State Attorney General's Office.
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Old 05-23-2011
Concern4Dogs Concern4Dogs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRNEGRIN6
Does your State require supervision by a veterinarian? If not, contact the State Department of Health and/or the State Veterinarian. They should be able to tell you who to contact. Also, I know when I had a question regarding the State laws, I often called the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Each state is required to have one. They are supposed to be familiar with the State laws since they work under the Division of the State Attorney General's Office.
Thanks for the information...I'll be on the phone tomorrow with the State Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Unfortunately, the owner of this facility is labeling it a shelter because of the large amount of dogs being housed. In actuality it is suppose to be a "Non-Profit" Rescue Organization. Therefore there is no required supervision by a Veterinarian or any accountability to a local governing body. Even worse, there are only 2 employees (uneducated about dogs) that do ALL the work at the facility with over 100 dogs. The knowledgeable owner is rarely on the premises making it impossible to properly monitor the dogs daily.

I don't know how this business can operate as a Non-Profit Orginization when they are making money on hefty adoption fees, boarding fees, and transport fees. But then again, I imagine it takes tons of money to run the operation.

I truly believe this business was open with all good intentions to help the homeless dogs, but there was not a mapped out organized plan. And said owner just keeps taking in more dogs to adopt out and to board for other rescue groups. The only money I witness spent is on more containment cages, food, and clorox. The employees don't have the proper working equipment needed for their job. The main focus of saving and re-homing seems to have switched to "Let's see how many dogs we can get in here so we can make a buck."

The owner is educated on health issues and claims to have certifications where they have learned about caring for the dogs and identifying physical ailments, diseases, signs of parasites, and determining what type of worms the dogs have. Owner has knowledge to be able to treat some health issues, but IMO does not spend finances wisely to be able to have the proper disease & worm testing supplies or sufficient medication on hand in order to address the health issues properly and timely. Instead dogs are being neglected by omission. I've seen dogs allowed to suffer an agonizing and in some cases extremely painful death over hours or even days instead of being treated or humanely euthanized. When the owner is alerted of obvious problems, they don't take action to relieve the dogs distress.

I've recently learned in my pain staking research that some of the local vets that provide care for this rescue's adopted dogs are complaining that the dogs are either crazy, sickly, or parasite infested. The vet techs refuse to even touch the dogs. From being on the inside it's easy to make the connection. My fear is now confirmed that the living conditions at the facility manipulated the sanity of the dogs. This disturbing finding also concerns me for the prospective adopters.

I'm at a cross-roads about this dilemma. I often reflect on how God works. I'm a firm believer that He puts us in places and situations for a reason. I am a timid person that won't stand up for myself, but I find myself in a position here that requires me to grow a backbone and take some sort of action on the behalf of the innocent animals that don't have a voice of their own. I am however nervous and somewhat hesitant about some of the things I may run into or have to do, as I don't want anyone to get hurt or ruined.

Sorry about me spilling my guts. I've been battling this for a while now and the straw that broke the camels back was a terrible incident last week that I had to personally witness. I begged for something to be done to relieve the puppy. I was assured that it would soon be euthanized, but it was left to die on it's own confined in a cage with it's litter mates.
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Old 05-23-2011
DRNEGRIN6 DRNEGRIN6 is offline
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Those that have read my posts know that I'm only 5'2" and weigh 94 lbs. Dale (from NJ) met me earlier in the month and knows how "petite" I am. I am also quite timid when it comes to most things. Because of what I saw, I had to grow a "backbone" since I was attacked while recovering from bacterial meningitis. The corrupt ACO threatened me with bodily harm and with filing false reports to get me to lose my veterinary license. He almost succeeded but I was able to gather the evidence to prove that I was set up and that he was the one doing such acts. I gave the local HO a chance to see the evidence I had; when he and his attorney refused to look at it, I sent it to state. He caused me to lose a lot of clients, but then again, if these clients are willing to believe the corrupt, then they are either not very smart or are corrupt themselves. In other words, better that they leave than cause trouble in the future.

The local businesses know the truth about what happened since most have had to face the same problems with other divisions of the same government. Most have stood by me and have been supportive morally. Financially, most of us can't save ourselves right now so they could not help me there. They have been sending me new clients whenever they can. My business is starting to grow again, but I'm not sure if it is too late. The recession is really taking a toll on all the businesses in the area.

Last edited by DRNEGRIN6; 05-25-2011 at 02:04 AM. Reason: few mistyped words
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Old 05-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concern4Dogs View Post
I truly believe this business was open with all good intentions to help the homeless dogs, but there was not a mapped out organized plan.
Now you know the truth that not everyone with good intentions or a love for animals should be in this business. I hope you get in with a reputable rescue organization. You might look around and see if there is a statewide group promoting animal welfare and ask them about a good group in your area. In Oklahoma, for example, I would look to the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.
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Old 05-23-2011
Concern4Dogs Concern4Dogs is offline
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This has all been a sad learning experience for me. I can see how someone with good intentions can become overwhelmed in this business. I can't fathom how someone can declare their love of animals yet allow these neglectful conditions to remain especially when it is pointed out to them by another caring party.

I've spent all day trying to rationalize my fears of coming forward. I've come to the conclusion that I've done nothing wrong and should commit to seeing this resolved for the sake of the animals.

I've tried to contact my State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and they referred me to their investigator. I left a message but haven't heard back as of yet.

I hope this can be resolved in a civil matter for a better life for these animals. I wish I weren't so old and had mega bucks and the political status to promote better Animal Welfare.

Thank you all for your helpful advice and support. I'd like to be able to stick around here and gain enough knowledge to somehow make a difference.
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