Sniffing out crime: Why there are fewer female police dogs than male in Canada


The gender of a police dog is something you might not think about, but when it comes to more males than females, the statistics show an interesting trend not just in Saskatchewan but across Canada.

Currently, the province only has four female police dogs, including one in Moose Jaw.

When it comes to solving crime, Cst. Chad Scheske and his Police Service Dog Siren are ready for any call that comes their way. “We respond to anything in progress, whether it’s break and enters, assaults, violent stuff,” Scheske said.

“The idea for us is to try and get to the scene as fast as possible, so that if there’s someone that we need to track or there’s work to be done in finding people, the sooner we’re there the better.”

A Nose for Crime: RCMP Police Dog Training

It’s a bond like no other. Whether it’s tracking criminals or sniffing out evidence, Scheske and Siren have been partners for nearly three years.

Siren was purchased through the RCMP, where females make up roughly 15 per cent of all dogs currently working from its breeding program in Innisfail, Alberta.

“In our experience, it’s taken us many, many years to unlock the secrets to teach female dogs to do something in the same way that male dogs automatically do them,” said Sgt. Chris Browne, responsible for the RCMP’s breeding and imprinting program.

Browne said that’s because instinctively females don’t like to leave their handler’s side.

“A male dog has no problem leaving the handler to go and apprehend someone, or to go and do a search in a large open area without feeling the need to go back to the handler for support,” Brown said. “So we just had to adjust our philosophy to encourage our female dogs that it’s okay to be away from the handler for extended periods of time.”

Regina’s first intervention dog helps put abuse victims at ease

Over the past four years, Browne added, the RCMP has trained and assigned more female dogs to handlers than in the previous ten years.

“I find that our female dogs are far more meticulous trackers — they are much better searchers and they have a far more balanced temperament,” Browne said. “Males sometimes are very free thinking. Sometimes we see what we call alpha behaviour in the dogs, where they will challenge the handler to be the one in charge.”

Many females are also held back for breeding, but the RCMP aren’t the only suppliers of police dogs in the country. In Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) only have one working female out of 27 general police service dogs.

The OPP said that’s because females are less outwardly aggressive towards chasing down a threat and the good females are usually kept for breeding.

Dog becomes first Edmonton police K9 to specialize in finding human remains

But regardless of gender, when she’s not at a crime scene, Siren — like any police dog — spends countless hours training.

“She’s a thinker so that exposure training is really important for her,” Scheske said. “She’ll think through things a little more than the male dogs that I’ve seem to have [had], but once she gets a skill she’s really really good at it.”

At the end of the day, it all comes down to solving crime.

“Every handler wants to have a dog that’s a rock star, that goes out and catches bad guys,” Scheske said.  “It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, big or small.”






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Rachel Brosnahan’s Winter Strategy Involves Bone Broth and Swaddling Her Dogs in Blankets | Healthyish


In Person of Interest, we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Up next is Rachel Brosnahan, the Emmy-winning star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Season two is streaming now on Amazon.

On The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Midge Maisel shocks everyone in her life by going from a brisket-making housewife to an outspoken, wildly inappropriate standup comedienne. And offscreen, star Rachel Brosnahan has a few surprises up her sleeve, too. Like…a former wrestling career?

Looking at Brosnahan, you’d never guess that, back in high school in Highland Park, Illinois, she was on a co-ed wrestling team—and she won against both girls and boys. “A lot of my buddies wrestled in junior high and I always wanted to do it,” she told me before hosting American Express’ Cash Magnet Card holiday dinner at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC. “I auditioned for the musical and didn’t make it, so I was trying to figure out what to do with my time in my freshman year. I loved it and did it again my sophomore year, and then the junior year I had to choose once again between the musical and wrestling. I went for the musical.” We think she made the right decision by choosing acting over wrestling, and the Emmy award sitting in her NYC apartment agrees.

These days, Brosnahan prefers spoiling her pups (a Pit Bull named Nikki and a Shiba Inu named Winston) and donning cozy pajamas as opposed to throwing down on the mat. Here’s what else she’s into right now.

The most Midwestern thing about me is… keeping things close to home. I have more fun spending a Friday night at someone’s house with friends, drinking wine, and playing board games than going out on the town. I love Yahtzee!

I’d love to book a trip to… Phuket, Thailand. I have a lot of friends who have traveled there and said it was the most incredible trip they’ve ever taken and so stunning.

My dream dinner party guest list would include… Oprah, obviously, and Michelle Obama. She can bring Barack as her plus one. And I’d love to party with Sarah Paulson, Emma Thompson, Melissa McCarthy, Frances McDormand, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The last thing I splurged on was… a New York City-themed dog toy package for my dogs. It had a cup of coffee, a doughnut and a MetroCard. I also love spoiling them with new blankets. They love really soft things, so around the holidays, I get them new faux fur ones. They both like to be wrapped up like burritos, as tightly as possible. Like full Babushka.

At the end of the day, I unwind by… reading a book in the bath. I love bath bombs, like lavender, citrus, or sometimes even the ones that smell like trees. I always like to read physical books, not on my Kindle, because I like having them to read again or pick up years later.

I just finished reading… Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s basically everything that I wish I had learned in school and more. I gifted it to everyone after we wrapped the second season, and I’m planning on giving it to friends and family for the holidays. My favorite gift to receive is books that other people have loved.

I’m listening to… The Tallest Man on Earth. I don’t listen to a ton of music because I’m constantly on the road, and when I’m traveling, it sounds really creepy but I’d rather listen to what’s happening around me and slightly eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. I’m not the type of person who sticks headphones in on the subway.

I feel most comfortable in… cozy pajamas. I love my sweater and pants set from Beyond Yoga because they are so, so soft. I also love Sleepy Jones, which makes crisp cotton pajamas. They are totally the opposite, but really comfortable in their own way and great to lounge in.

To get ready to sleep, I… do a face mask before bed, especially if I’ve been traveling. I really love the Joanna Vargas Euphoria face mask, Then I get my silky sleep mask all situated to block any light and spray my pillow with a lavender spray. Sometimes when I’m traveling and in a strange bed it can be hard to fall asleep, but that’s the thing that keeps every place feeling like home for me.

The one wellness trend I actually believe in is… bone broth. On the first season of Maisel, we worked really long hours and someone made me some bone broth. I was hooked. I was the only member of our cast who didn’t get sick all season, so I swear by the stuff now. When I got a cold recently, I went right to Springbone in New York and got anything that sounded like it would boost my immune system.


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OSPCA to no longer euthanize dogs involved in attacks, enforce pit bull ban


Ontario’s animal welfare agency has told its frontline officers it will no longer euthanize dogs involved in attacks as required by law.

In an internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says inspectors and agents should hand off to police all cases in which courts have ordered the destruction of animals, including pit bulls, which are banned in the province.

The document, dated Oct. 9, 2018, says euthanizing dogs would violate the agency’s mission, which is to provide “province-wide leadership on matters relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals and the promotion of animal welfare.”

Concerns raised over OSPCA proposal to pull out of livestock cruelty investigations

“Where legislation conflicts with the mission of the charity, the Ontario SPCA declines to enforce such legislation,” the order reads.

The only exception will be cases when the euthanization is ordered by a veterinarian and is “the most humane course of action for the animal,” says the order, which was handed over to enforcement officers at two meetings held in late October at the agency’s headquarters in Stouffville, Ont., north of Toronto.

In cases involving pit bulls that do not have behavioural issues, the animals will be moved out of province where it’s legal to own them, rather than destroyed.

A spokeswoman for the OSPCA confirmed the policy change, saying the agency’s role was to protect animals’ well-being.

“If it conflicts with our mission, we’ll hand it to another agency to address,” Alison Cross said in an interview.

The OSPCA has also ordered its officers to defy a Criminal Code law that states birds found in a cockfighting ring shall be destroyed on order from a judge. That, too, will be passed off to police, the agency said.

READ MORE: OSPCA wants out of cruelty probes on horses, livestock due to funding shortage

Those changes were news to the provincial government, which pays the charity $5.75 million each year for enforcing cruelty laws.

“The laws of Ontario and Canada provide that in certain circumstances a court may order that an animal be euthanized,” said Brent Ross, a spokesman for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which is responsible for the OSPCA.

Ross said the ministry expects the OSPCA to comply with a court order that requires an animal be euthanized, adding that the agency had the right to defer to police in potentially criminal matters.

The orders to defy the provincial laws have made some of the OSPCA frontline inspectors uneasy, given that they are peace officers sworn to uphold the law.

“We have to choose between doing our jobs or following management orders,” said a frontline officer who attended the October meetings.

The officer, who did not want his name used for fear of retribution, said the agency leaders have also ordered all cases of “blood sports” be handed over to police.

“We are not to deal with it, we would only go in a supporting role. That’s what we were told.”

READ MORE: Ontario SPCA lays 14 animal cruelty charges against mink farm

The latest changes, including a decision to pull back from investigating cruelty cases involving livestock and horses, are part of what the OSPCA calls a restructuring effort to deal with years-long funding shortage. The policy changes, however, have received rebuke from both the province and animal activists.

Insiders say part of the reason for the latest move is the bad publicity the agency received for its handling of a notorious dogfighting case in southwestern Ontario.

The OSPCA, along with Chatham-Kent police, raided a compound in Tilbury, Ont., in the fall of 2015. During that raid, officials seized 31 pit bulls, dogfighting paraphernalia including “rape stands” that are used in breeding, fighting records, guns, knives, ammunition and about a kilogram of marijuana, according to court documents. Inspectors also found anabolic steroids on site and dogfighting contracts.

The case triggered an international outcry, including harsh words from hockey personality and animal rights activist Don Cherry, after the OSPCA applied to the courts, as is it required by law, to euthanize 21 of the seized pit bulls that were deemed a menace to society and could not be rehabilitated.

The case fell apart because it took too long to get to trial, with the judge staying charges against the accused. After a second behavioural evaluation, 18 of the 21 pit bulls were sent to Florida for rehabilitation.

Insiders said the case hurt donations to the charity.


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Massachusetts mayor visits sick dog’s Canadian birthplace on cross-country road trip


After learning that his 10-year-old Japanese wolf dog had just months to live, a Massachusetts mayor set out on an adventure with his furry companion that would cover 24 states — and even bring them to Canada’s West Coast.

On Nov. 2, the pair returned to the home on Vancouver Island where Mura was born.

Paul Heroux’s dog Mura on the B.C. ferry headed to Vancouver Island.

Credit: Paul Heroux

Paul Heroux told Global News he cancelled vacation plans in the Middle East after learning Mura was sick.

Instead, he decided to take his best friend to see the place where she spent her first weeks of life.

“I wanted to bring her back to where she was born,” he said. “I wanted to see it for myself.”

Heroux said he had never met the breeder because they had sent Mura to him by plane. The dog has been with him since she was eight weeks old.

90-year-old Michigan woman chooses road trip over cancer treatment

Paul Heroux’s dog Mura as a puppy.

Credit: Paul Heroux

In September, she was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer.

They set out on their trip a month later, taking photographs and creating memories along the way.

“I didn’t set out to make a point. I just went for a ride with my dog,” Heroux said.

Paul Heroux’s dog Mura at the Grand Canyon on the duo’s 12-day cross-country trip.

Credit: Paul Heroux

The duo covered more than 13,600 kilometres in just 12 days.

Some of the stops along the way included Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Mount Rushmore.

Why a family chose to drive an 89-year-old car around the world

Heroux is mayor of Attleboro, Mass., and over the past decade, both he and Mura have become familiar figures in the city.

He said it is because of his high profile in the community that he wanted to share some of the special moments from their trip with his followers on social media.

“(We) watched the sunset in Santa Monica,” he said after returning home. “I didn’t take a picture of that because it was just too precious.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Rescued meat dogs saved by former American Idol judge Simon Cowell


Simon Cowell, known as the former judge on America’s Got Talent and American Idol, donated $42,000 to the Humane Society International (HSI) to help save 200 dogs from a South Korean dog meat farm.  

Ninety of the dogs were temporarily sheltered this week at a Cambridge trucking company before being taken to another shelter in Montreal for rehabilitation, socialization and eventual adoption.

Ewa Demianowicz, a campaign manager for Humane Society International Canada, said Cowell donated money for this particular farm closure after hearing about the HSI project from the organization’s U.K. branch.

« They [U.K colleagues] were bringing some dogs back with them as well, » Demianowicz said. « Simon Cowell heard about the campaign and decided to support it. And this is great because it spreads the word about what is happening. »

This is the 13th dog meat farm in the last three years the HSI was instrumental in shutting down.

One of 90 dogs sheltered this week at a Cambridge trucking company. The dogs were transported Friday to a temporary shelter in Montreal for rehabilitation, socialization and eventual adoption. (Submitted photo: Mel Davidson)

Some pets still wearing collars

The almost 14 hour flight from South Korea was the first part of the dogs’ trip. Friday they were taken to Montreal where they will be receive veterinary care, then be rehabilitated, socialized and ultimately adopted. Another 110 dogs saved from the farm were sent directly to the U.K, the U. S. and the Netherlands.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada was at the facility when the latest dogs were saved.

« Breeding dogs were crammed into miserable, filthy cages and the puppies were destined for brutal slaughter in the coming months, » Aldworth said in a statement. « It was clear that many of the dogs were former pets, with some still wearing collars. »

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, says dogs were crammed into miserable, filthy cages and the puppies were destined for « brutal slaughter. » (Joe Pavia/CBC)

Work to refocus farmers

This is the third farm this year closed by HSI, which also works with South Korean farmers to find another way to farm and make a living.

Ewa Demianowicz explained that someone working for HSI enters into a negotiation and offers financial compensation to the farmer to help them make a transition to find another line of farming that doesn’t involve animals.

« So for example: Blueberry farming, or water parsley farming. We had a farmer that once bought trucks and did water distribution in his community, » said Demianowicz.

« Part of the agreement is the condition that the animals currently on the farm are released to us. »

Information on adopting the dogs can be found on the HSI website.


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Woof! Dogs in the office make for relaxed environment, businesses say


At some offices, dogs are more popular than people.

On any given day, seven to 10 pups bounce around Benevity, a tech firm in Calgary. Workers play fetch with their pets or let them sleep at their feet. Sometimes the furry critters play with each other, livening up the already colourful, relaxed office in Bridgeland.

« It just makes people happy, » said people and programs manager Angie Duong. « I think you see people who are fiercely focused and they’re just working away, and as soon as a dog comes into the picture, they just melt. »

People love their dogs, and businesses are booming as a result. There are pet stores and dog groomers, dog walkers and doggy daycares, and pet-friendly beaches, trails and parks — and even so-called « pet-ternity, » leave that owners can take after adopting a new animal.

Winnie, 2, is a corgi, and Indiana Jones, 11, is the little dog farther back. Indiana Jones has a kidney problem so he can’t have all the treats. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

But a few are leading the pack by allowing their employees to bring dogs into the office. It may sound like a fun idea but can take quite a lot of organizing and consideration of health concerns.

The trade-off, they say, is the less stressful, more relaxed environment that comes with a pet-friendly office.

Business owners say dogs in the office create a fun, relaxed environment with less stress, and they’re trying to balance health risks and noise. 1:11

Benevity employee Jodi Stapley, who brings her dog two days a week, says she use to worry about leaving her dog home alone.

« She’s an old English sheepdog who really likes to just be with her person. That’s a trait a lot of them have, » she said.

« She just laid under my desk, laid on my feet, and she was a perfect little angel, so I started bringing her in more and more often. »

Jack is a three-year-old dachshund. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

The company has had this program since its inception a decade ago. It now provides doggie doo-doo bags at reception and dog-specific cleaners in the kitchens. Cats are allowed, too, but aren’t as common.

Wendy Giuffre, an HR consultant for Calgary small businesses, said she’s encouraged companies to develop guidelines to avoid problems — even if things appear to be running smoothly for now.

« It’s obviously got to be a well-behaved dog, and that’s where we find some of the problems because that’s very subjective, » she said. « It’s just like kids. Everybody thinking, well, my dog’s well-behaved. »

Health risks no joke, doctor says

Another key concern is allergies. Some people get sinus symptoms — sniffles and watery eyes — but in other people, allergies can trigger asthma. Anyone with an allergy should be avoiding the trigger entirely, not managing it through daily treatment, said Dr. Joel Doctor, a Calgary allergist. Prolonged exposure to a « trigger, » like pets, can make an allergy worse. 

In allergy-induced asthma, animals could trigger a severe asthma attack, and that can be dangerous, Doctor said, so he struggled to see how a workplace could bring in pets while protecting employee health.

« The benefit has to be weighed very carefully against the risk, and so the benefit is kind of questionable, » Doctor said. « I’m not sure what the real benefit there is to having animals in the workplace, yet for some individuals, there is significant risk that would be involved. »

He said perhaps dogs could help in « some really niche workplaces, » but he’s confident the practice won’t spread widely due to the health concerns.

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests there are potential benefits to dogs in the workplace, such as higher morale, productivity and attendance. But it notes research is preliminary and recommends employers consider all parties before adopting the practice.

Polly plays with Peggy in the office. Each day, there are usually seven to 10 dogs in the Benevity office in Bridgeland. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

A director for Calgary-based Rogers Insurance says staff try to keep those people away from dogs. They say they’re not scared of pulling the program if something arises, but, so far, it’s worked smoothly.

« It’s invisible now. All the fears that some people had, people being afraid of dogs, people being allergic to dogs, we never have complaints, » chief operating officer Bruce Rabik said.

He first allowed in dogs after trying to scare pigeons off the deck at work. Then other employees were curious about bringing in their dogs. Now, the office has an internal notice announcing each day’s pet guests with their photos and names, as all dogs are registered with human resources.

It’s so common, Rabik says, he forgets the dogs are there.

« I walk around, give people tours of the office and I forget we have dogs, because a puppy will come running up, » he said.

Jack explores the office. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

As insurance brokers, however, Rabik said they do take « a conservative approach, » so they banned three breeds, Rottweilers, mastiffs and pitbulls, based on research they found that indicates those are more aggressive breeds.

Benevity says all potential employees are told it’s a dog-friendly office.

« We’re really upfront during the interview process, everyone really understands that the dogs are really huge in our culture, » Duong said. « So we make it really clear that if you have really adverse allergies or have huge fears of dogs, then this may or may not be the place for you. »

Giuffre​ said that’s not a good approach and may be construed as discrimination against people with health issues. Instead, she recommends trying to find a solution.

« I think you’d really have to take those case-by-case, » she said. « It’d either be, abolish the policy or try and work around it in some way. »

Some dog owners contain their pets to their cubicles using gates. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

She’s helped several offices set up dog policies. In one case, the business moved the allergic person’s desk far away and set up an air purifier. Other options might be to allow only dogs with little dander, or give employees the option of working on a dog-free floor.

She suggests raising the idea with all employees to see if there’s interest or opposition and then develop some sort of policy.

Businesses may find their employees are keen. Roughly one in 13 Calgarians and one in nine Edmontonians owns a dog, according to pet registration data. Statistics Canada has found Albertans are the third-highest spenders on pets in Canada.

In a « dog city » like Calgary, office pets can be a way to draw in employees, Giuffre said, a nice « no cost perk. »

« It does bring a different level of casualness to the business and, in most cases, it lightens the atmosphere, no different than comfort dogs, » Giuffre said.

With files from Mike Symington and the Calgary Eyeopener.


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National Service Dogs puts out urgent call for ‘puppy raisers’


National Service Dogs in Cambridge has put out an urgent call for people to help raise a massive litter of puppies that will be in need of homes on Oct. 19.

“Currently we have a litter of 11 puppies that need puppy raisers,“ said Caitlin Bonaldo, assistant director, puppy development, with National Service Dogs.

Bonaldo said that her organization “breeds and trains service dogs for children with Autism, as well as for first responders and veterans with PTSD.”

WATCH: Veterans denied service dogs despite a government report showing ‘significant’ reduction in PTSD

They put out the call for help earlier this week and have received a great response, but she says they are always looking for more help.

“We are always looking for puppy raisers and we have four other volunteer programs if puppy raising doesn’t sound like the type of role someone has time for,” Bonaldo explained. “We ask that people visit our website and fill out an application and we will direct them for the next steps.”

People who are able to take on a puppy, will receive the dog when it is around eight weeks old, and will care for it until it is between 16 and 20 months of age.

READ MORE:  Dog brought in to help Alberta paramedics work through job stress

Puppy raisers, as they are termed, are responsible for taking the pooches everywhere — work, home and play — to get them acclimated with being out in the world in a busy environment.

WATCH: Local service dogs and why they are so important

“This real-world training imitates the experiences that our service dogs need to successfully help become the best service dog possible for NSD clients,” the organization said in a media release.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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