Tag Archives: training

Illinois law requires stylists to be trained in domestic violence support

Illinois has a new law requiring stylists in the state to be trained in domestic violence support and response.

The law will take effect Jan. 1.

Pin-Up Hair Studio stylist Jamie Feramisco in Quincy, Illinois, said hairdressers sometimes learn about incidents of domestic violence through chatting with clients.

She said she often hears accounts of domestic violence in her salon and that she tries to support women facing such circumstances.

The mandate was passed as an amendment to the Barber, Cosmetology, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985.

The legislation aligns the Professional Beauty Association’s Cut It Out program, which pushes similar efforts.

“The salon is a safe place to go. People tell their stylists things they don’t even tell their family or friends,” PBA Director of Charitable Programs Rachel Molepske said. “We have gotten testimonials from people that said this program saved them.”

Feramisco said she plans to host a training session at the salon once the state has established a curriculum.

“The whole idea is to help hairdressers deal with disclosures. There is a right way and a wrong way to talk to someone. It can make or break the way a person handles their assault,” Quanada Prevention Educator JJ Magliocco said. “We are teaching them that they can make a difference. They don’t have to keep their mouth shut.”

The legislation is HB4264.

WashU stops intubation training using cats, ending practice in US

Washington University in St. Louis said that it has stopped using sedated cats to train medical students how to insert breathing tubes down babies’ throats, effectively ending the practice in the U.S.

The university’s School of Medicine said in a statement that after a “significant investment” in its simulation center, it will now provide neonatal intubation training using only mannequins and advanced simulators, effective immediately.

The school said improvements in simulators made the change possible. Cats currently at the university are being adopted by employees of the medical center.

“In the 25-plus years the university has relied on cats in teaching this procedure, none was harmed during training,” the statement read.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a medical ethics nonprofit, applauded the decision, saying the practice was cruel to animals and unnecessary for students. The group said it was the last of the 198 U.S. pediatrics programs still using cats.

“The best way to teach emergency airway intervention is on human-relevant training methods. I commend Washington University for switching to modern methods,” said Dr. John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee.

Washington University’s use of cats has drawn criticism in recent years, with critics contending that the animals suffer pain and injuries ranging from cracked teeth to punctured lungs. Protests broke out in 2013 after an undercover video of the university’s training in pediatric advanced life support was released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The video shows a trainee putting tubes down the throat of a sedated cat, sometimes struggling to get it right. However, the medical school continued using sedated cats in other training programs prior to Monday’ announcement.

But university officials have said the lab consistently met federal Animal Welfare Act standards, including passing an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture soon after the PETA video.

Other teaching labs have used simulators for years, but Washington University previously cited research indicating that pediatric doctors in training only succeed in 20 percent to 35 percent of their initial attempts to intubate infants, justifying the need for animals in training.

The program previously used ferrets, too, but university spokeswoman Judy Martin said ferrets have not been used for many years.

PETA: Air Force Academy program is cruel to rabbits

An animal rights group launched protests of the Air Force Academy’s killing of rabbits as part of a survival training program for cadets.

Since the 1960s, cadets have been trained how to live in the wilderness and evade enemy forces. It stems from an Air Force Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion program that has been used to train flight crews since World War II.

As part of the program, cadets are trained to kill and cook their own food under primitive conditions. Live rabbits are killed and eaten, prompting the protest from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Cadets are run through a 10-day program that includes training on how the Air Force rescues flight crews and combat skills. According to Air Force documents obtained by PETA under the Freedom of Information Act, the program also focuses on killing and preparing game. The manual says students as a group join in the training, learning how to skin, butcher and cook the animals. The training takes place during the summer, when cadets are out of class.

PETA says it asked the academy to stop the practice in May but hasn’t received an answer. Animal rights groups maintain that other methods, including web-based training, eliminate the military’s need to train with live animals.

“In the 21st century, preparing cadets to survive in wilderness situations does not necessitate killing animals in training drills,” the organization wrote in a letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

In the letter, the organization cited a Pentagon policy restricting the use of animals in training. That policy, though, exempts “livestock or poultry used or intended for use as food.” PETA says because the animals are used in training, the exemption doesn’t apply.

The academy referred all questions about the program to the Pentagon, which said in a brief statement it is “reviewing the issues raised in PETA’s letter.”

“The Air Force values the humane treatment of animals consistent with current Department of Defense guidance and policy,” said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Brooke Brzozowske.

The animal rights group obtained other documents on how much the academy spends on rabbits used in the training, with receipts for more than $6,000 spent on the animals used to train cadets. Since 2004, PETA and other animal welfare groups have protested a periodic Special Forces medic training program at Fort Carson that uses wounded goats to simulate human patients.

Johns Hopkins ends use of live animals in training

Effective next month, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore will eliminate a popular but controversial course in which students operate on live, anesthetized pigs. After their surgeries, the pigs are euthanized.

Medical school spokeswoman Audrey Huang said the course was eliminated after a yearlong review board found it wasn’t essential. Huang added that the course was popular among medical students and has received glowing reviews from alumni.

Johns Hopkins is one of two accredited medical schools in North America that use animals in medical education, according to animal rights group the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

A bill was introduced in the General Assembly this year to ban the practice.

The portion of the course, a surgical clerkship, in which students operate on the pigs was optional, Huang said, but every student that enrolled opted to conduct the surgery.

“The students have historically always been huge fans of this course,” Huang said. The medical school’s curriculum undergoes regular review, Huang said, to “make sure we’re teaching at the cutting edge and that nothing gets stale.” Despite the class’s popularity, she said, it was time for a change.

“The dean’s office and the task force that reviewed the course felt that the class isn’t essential for turning out a great physician in training,” she said, “and it was the essential aspect of it that led to the decision.”



Doctors’ group files complaint against hospital over use of animals

A national doctors’ advocacy organization has filed a federal complaint against a Minnesota hospital over its use of live animals for medical training.

Over a three-year period, Hennepin County Medical Center used 450 sheep and 450 rabbits for 20 training procedures.

In its complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine alleges that the sheep and rabbits are no longer needed for emergency medical training because of advances in simulated surgical methods and high-tech mannequins. The complaint also says the Hennepin County Medical Center has the resources to perform procedures without live animals and that it provided outdated statistics to justify their continued use.

The group alleges that the hospital’s practice violates the Animal Welfare Act, the Star Tribune reported.

Hennepin County Medical Center said in a statement issued Thursday that it has reduced its use of live animals and has plans to eliminate the practice. But it argues that that there are a few critical lifesaving procedures that can only be effectively taught with animals.

“We support the judicious use of animals in education in the interest of human health and animal welfare. We insist on the humane and ethical treatment of animals,” the hospital’s statement said.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s survey of 135 hospitals found that only 19, including Hennepin County Medical Center, use live animals in teaching doctors. Hennepin County Medical Center is the only hospital in Minnesota that uses live animals for emergency medical training, according to the physicians group.

Over a three-year period, Hennepin County Medical Center used 450 sheep and 450 rabbits for 20 training procedures, including drilling holes in skulls to relieve pressure, fluid removal from vital organs and inserting breathing tubes, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said.

Dog Whisperer video prompts animal cruelty claim

An online complaint of animal cruelty led authorities to Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan’s Los Angeles-area pet rehabilitation center, but Millan wasn’t there and they took no further action.

Footage on Millan’s television show “Cesar 911” of a French bulldog-terrier mix chasing a pot-bellied pig and nipping its ear until it bled prompted the complaint.

Millan was trying to train the dog to be less aggressive.

Millan was cooperating fully with Los Angeles County animal control officers who were looking into the claims made in an online petition, said Chad Sandhas, a spokesman for National Geographic Channels, which air the show.

Millan, 46, is a self-taught dog trainer who became internationally known for his work on a prior show, the “Dog Whisperer,” which won him an Emmy nomination.

Calls and emails were not immediately returned by Los Angeles County Animal Control. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies accompanied animal control to Millan’s center in Santa Clarita, did confirm there were no arrests or animal seizures.

Millan was working with an aggressive dog named Simon, who was attacking his owner’s pet pot-bellied pigs. A teaser clip showed Simon chasing a pig and biting its ear.

Dog Whisperer petition n Change.org

Jill Breitner initiated a petition on Change.org, calling for Nat Geo WILD to take the show “Cesar 911” off air. Friday morning, the number of signatures was closing in on 10,000.

Sandhas said a second clip showed the full context of the encounter. In it, the pig is calm and is tied to Simon with a long leash, as if taking him on a walk.

The show aired Feb. 26.

“The pig that was nipped by Simon was tended to immediately afterward, healed quickly and showed no lasting signs of distress,” Sandhas said. “As the additional clip reveals, Cesar and his animal pack effectively helped Simon to overcome his aggressive behavior toward other animals; as a result, Simon did not have to be separated from his owner or euthanized.”

In her petition, Breitner called Millan’s methods “inhumane” and said his show should be taken off the air.

“This is not the first time (Millan) has used bait animals,” Breitner wrote in the petition. “This is wrong!”

Dog named ‘Trigger’ shoots hunter in the foot

A dog named Trigger shot his 25-year-old owner in the foot in a bizarre accident that had Indiana officials earlier this week reminding hunters to take safety lessons.

Allie Carter of Avilla was wounded during a waterfowl hunt at the Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area in northern Indiana, according to Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

She laid her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground while repositioning herself and her 11-year-old chocolate Labrador stepped on the gun, depressing the trigger, said Indiana Conservation Officer Jonathon Boyd.

The safety of the shotgun was not on, so it went off and Carter was shot in the left foot, Boyd said.

Carter, who had never completed a hunter education course, was hospitalized. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the bird shot pellets and was treated and released, Boyd said.

Indiana officials said that users of firearms should always point the muzzle in a safe direction and use the safety mechanism.

Boyd, who has been a conservation officer for seven years, remembered one other occasion when a dog shot its owner — a man hunting rabbits was shot after he leaned a gun against a tree, and his beagle stepped on it.

Use of therapy dogs found to raise patients’ spirits

When 11-year-old therapy dog Moe sees a red bandanna, he knows it’s time to go to work.

For the past three years, Moe has been certified through Therapy Dogs International to work in Terre Haute Regional and Union hospitals and in a Hamilton Center, Indiana, behavioral clinic.

“Moe wears the bandanna (with a TDI seal) when he goes to the hospital. It is similar to a service dog wearing a vest, to let people know the dog is working,” said dog owner Linda McQuiston, a registered nurse and assistant professor of nursing at Indiana State University.

“Moe can sense if someone is really stressed. In a group situation, he will pick out someone and sit with them and cuddle up into their lap or will put his head on their hands. If he senses you are not into that, he just moves on,” McQuiston said.

Therapy Dogs International, founded in 1976 in New Jersey, is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registering therapy dogs and volunteer handlers to visit nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions. As of 2012, about 24,750 dog/handler teams are registered with TDI. Moe is the only certified TDI animal in Terre Haute actively visiting at this time, according to McQuiston.

The true benefit of a therapy dog is relieving a human’s stress. “There are studies that show therapy dogs decrease blood pressure and increase relaxation,” McQuiston said.

“Research shows (therapy dogs can temporarily) reduce cortisol levels,” an immunosuppressant associated with stress and pain, McQuiston said, referencing a 2015 study conducted by Pain Service and Palliative Care at the Meyer Children’s Hospital in Florence, Italy. Children in an experimental group with a dog present during a blood collection procedure had lower levels of cortisol than children without a dog present. Both groups had parents present during the procedure. Cortisol is a so-called stress hormone linked to many health issues.

Moe, a silver miniature poodle, visits hospitals one day a week, spending as little as 10 seconds to as much as 10 minutes with patients. Moe works for an hour to an hour and a half while in a hospital or clinic. On average, he sees 10 patients, but some days may only see five patients who want to spend the maximum time with Moe.

“Hospitals are not really your own environment. They take all your belongings and then stick you with needles,” McQuiston said. “To be able to see that we can calm people down is very rewarding, and you notice a difference in their demeanor. (Patients’) shoulders are not slumped down and they no longer seem withdrawn.”

McQuiston encourages her students to consider becoming therapy dog owners. “Unlike service dogs, you own therapy dogs. They are your dogs and live with you. I want students, and even recreational therapists I work with at the hospitals, to know there are alternatives to medicines and you don’t always have to give people drugs, but can use animals to relieve stress.”

With that in mind, Moe goes to work with McQuiston every day while the assistant professor is teaching on campus. Moe can be a stress reliever to the students during test weeks. “Many students will come and see Moe and say they need their ‘Moe fix,’” before taking a test, McQuiston said.

Relieving stress can be exhausting and even a therapy dog needs time off. “Moe can have a very stressful day, especially after a lot of activity in a group situation. So sometimes when he gets home, he goes under a chair and doesn’t want to be bothered,” McQuiston said. “He is 11 years old after all.”

McQuiston first realized Moe had the potential to be a therapy dog when he was 12 weeks old. She took Moe to visit a cousin who had cerebral palsy. Moe would stay with her cousin for an hour and help her exercise her hand. “He was never fussy and was very calm,” she said.

McQuiston later learned of Therapy Dogs International and decided Moe would be a good candidate. Now, she is hoping to train her 9-month old golden retriever named Indy to become a TDI-certified therapy dog. Indy, named after Indiana Jones as McQuiston is an avid fan of the movie series, is already “good citizen” certified, the first step toward becoming a therapy dog.

“I think therapy dogs are something that we as nurses can do to go above and beyond just working in clinics,” McQuiston said.

This is an Associated Press member exchange story.  

Hush puppies: Vet says music curbs shelter barking, stress

Can music tame the savage beast? Can it hush puppies and calm kitties?

A veterinarian thinks so. Dr. Pamela Fisher has put music in over 1,100 animal shelters, saying that it calms dogs and cats, and even cuts down on barking.

Fisher started the nonprofit Rescue Animal MP3 Project nearly four years ago by asking artists around the world to donate dog- and cat-friendly music. The result was MP3 players packed with 30 hours of classics, including music by Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin, nursery rhymes like “Three Blind Mice” and harps, pianos and violins mimicking ocean waves and gentle breezes. She gives them free to animal shelters, sanctuaries and spay-and-neuter clinics.

“I have used therapeutic music in my practice and wanted to figure out a way to help the shelter animals in my own community,” said Fisher, a holistic veterinarian whose practice in North Canton, Ohio, includes alternative approaches like aromatherapy. Her “community” has grown to include shelters in all 50 states that house over 115,000 dogs and cats.

One fan is Tania Huycke-Phillips, the foster and facilities coordinator at Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“It just de-stresses them,” she explained. “They are still happy and wiggly, they just aren’t barking.”

Beyond the music, the shelter staff does all it can to reduce stress for the dogs, including toys, treats, food and spending time with them. “Reducing stress shows off their personalities and they get adopted quicker,” Huycke-Phillips said.

Another fan of therapeutic music for animals is Tina Gunther, vet tech at the Cut Bank Animal Shelter near Cut Bank, Montana, and its sole volunteer (there are no paid employees). Winter temperatures at the rural shelter for six dogs and six cats routinely run well below zero, and “the wind blows nearly every day. We call them black blizzards — the top soil is just blown away,” Gunther said.

To calm the animals, Gunther tried the radio. Besides hit-and-miss reception, the news and sports featured yelling people and disturbing sounds. Then the project MP3 player was installed for the dogs on one side. “The difference has been dramatic,” she said.

She and her husband had to buy a second player for the cats. “When they play songs they like, they go and sit by the speakers,” Gunther said.

No one has studied the impact of Fisher’s specific music recipe. But some have looked at how music and noise in general affect animals. A 2012 Colorado State University study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that dogs were more likely to sleep and less likely to bark when Mozart, Beethoven and other classical artists were playing, but not when heavy metal, altered classical and other sounds were.

Fisher’s website features many testimonials about the positive effects of her MP3 players, including a video from the Tuscarawas Humane Society in Dover, Ohio, that shows dogs relaxing and settling down after hearing the music. Tuscarawas shelter director Lindsey Lewis says on the video that the music has calmed the atmosphere and lowered the noise level.

A survey of more than 500 shelters conducted by Fisher also validated her approach, finding barking reduced by half and animals on average more relaxed.

To buy the MP3 players, Fisher applies for grants, collects donations and holds fundraisers.

The music also helps relax staff members and that benefits the animals too, said Fisher, who grew up singing and playing folk music on the guitar.

The project brought Fisher a new best friend, but it took a look, not a sound, to seal the deal. She was installing the music system at Summit County Animal Control in Akron, Ohio, in 2012 when a mutt named “Lili stole my heart with her glance.”

Amtrak bike service takes passengers from rails to trails

Bicyclists from major cities between Washington, D.C. and Chicago who want to bike the C&O Canal towpath or Great Allegheny Passage can now take the rails to their preferred trails with Amtrak’s new roll-on bicycle service.

The bicycle service, which began earlier last month, is available on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited line, which runs from Washington, D.C. to Chicago with many stops in between, including the train stations in Cumberland, Maryland, Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry. The service is available to passengers seven days a week.

Christopher Craig, owner of a bed and breakfast in Harpers Ferry who is also a member of the Trail and Town Alliance, said the bicycle service is simple to use. When passengers make a reservation to ride on the Capitol Limited, they can also choose to reserve space for a bicycle. The train can accommodate eight bicycles at a time, but the service is based on available space.

“Amtrak carries little commuter traffic. It’s mostly for tourists,” Craig said. “This bike service opens up many possibilities to explore the region. Trail activists, like the Trail and Town Alliance, got involved in pushing for this service because there are hundreds of thousands of bicyclists who travel the C&O Canal and Great Allegheny Passage each year. Most of them start in Pittsburgh or Cumberland for long-distance rides, but not every cyclist wants to do that.”

Prior to the bicycle service, Craig said, passengers could only bring their bikes onto the train at Amtrak stations with baggage service. To return home from a ride, cyclists would have to arrange a ride back to a train station to get home.

John Noel, deputy superintendent with the C&O Canal National Historical Park, said cyclists are the primary users of the park.

“This new service Amtrak is providing is one we’ve worked for a number of years to make available to users. Many visitors to the park have requested something like this,” Noel said. “It’s been a long-standing issue for folks who want to cycle, whether they begin in D.C. or Cumberland-Once your ride is done, how do you get back home?”

Craig said Amtrak had considered starting a bicycle service in the past, but part of the delay stemmed from a funding issue.

“Like many things, Amtrak is not flush with cash right now. It took a group of people pushing for (this service) and encouraging them. There’s even a national committee that has a goal to get bikes on all trains,” he said.

Noel said he expects an increase in the number of bicyclists using the C&O Canal National Historical Park now that the bicycle service is in place.

“It’s pretty early to tell, but I expect to see an increase in bicyclists on the C&O Canal based on the number of requests we got from people who wanted to use this service,” he said.

Craig said the Amtrak bicycle service is part of a larger, regional movement to promote intermodal transportation. Whether it’s for leisure, fitness or commuting, many individuals and groups want to make it easier to walk, bike and take public transit, he said.

Locally, the EPTA now has bike racks on its buses, and Craig said the EPTA has expressed interest in working with Amtrak on the bike service and similar initiatives.

On the Web…

For more information about Amtrak’s Capitol Limited bicycle service, including locations, rates and availability, visit www.amtrak.com/capitol-limited-train.

Editor’s note: Available through AP’s member exchange.