Episode 38 - Mandatory microchips, citizen science, escapees and more

In this week's dose of new and views you can hear Debbie and Julie discuss their pick of the dog stories that have hit the headlines. If you would like to participate in the podcast you can comment on any of the stories or suggest content for nest week's show by emailing Debbie@TheDogNewsShow.com or Julie@TheDogNewShow.com, or via the show's Twitter or Facebook pages.
 
The dog story dominating the news this week is the announcement from Defra on February 6th that as of April 2016 all dogs in the UK will be required by law to be microchipped. Debbie has grave misgivings about the efficacy of this move without the addition of compulsory paper work that would result in "cradle to grave" responsibility - you can read her blogpost on the SafePets UK website. Are you an avid fan of microchips, or are you alarmed at the prospect of being compelled to chip your dog?
 
Dognition is a new project to examine the ways in which our dogs work things out. Julie has been investigating the site and likes the fact that the angle here is not are our dogs intelligent, but rather how are our dogs intelligent; do they collaborate with us, or are they independent thinkers? The venture is termed citizen science, and for $60 participants are guided by videos through the simple but revealing tests to carry out with their dogs. You can read more about this project in an interview with Dr Brian Hare on the Wired website.
 
Having trained, rescued and rehabilitated working dogs for many years, Debbie was interested in the story of a police dog who escaped and injured four people. Debbie has already contacted the force in question, offering to take the dog into her Bravo Working Dog Rescue to do whatever is necessary - retraining, rehabilitation, rehoming - if the dog in question is retired. Debbie also makes the point that general purpose dogs like the dog in this story are not dangerous attack dogs, and are well trained animals who devote their lives to making our lives safer and more secure.
 
A new book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathon V. Last, a journalist working in the field of demographic trends, claims that a "pet mania" has gripped America. Julie finds it intriguing that Jonathon interprets it as a negative influence that people treat their dog as a member of the family, insure them and provide for them in their wills. He also finds it unsettling that pets now out number children 4 to 1 in the U.S. You can read more about the book in an interesting blogpost by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell - who you can contact on her twitter feed @fivecoat. There is also more information about the book on the Great Pet Health website.
 
Debbie has a story from Spallumcheen, in Canada, where a dog control officer is proposing to change fines for dog attacks so that they reflect the seriousness of the incident. Pat Ellis wants to see the usual fine of $500 halved for "less serious" attacks. Interestingly the law in Spallumcheen covers attacks and potential attacks on both people and animals.
 
And so to the final story which is always Schmaltz Corner - a feel good story to send you away with a smile on your face. And surely the headline here - Real-life Lassie saves elderly woman from freezing ditch - must be a winning story. So will Julie finally get a story that meets with Debbie's approval and escape stomp-free? And where do sandwiches fit into the story? All will be revealed when you download or listen online to the podcast where dogs meet news.