JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

13-Pound Pooch Takes Hero Pet of the Year

Chi ChiMeet Chi Chi, this little Chihuahua mix is 13-pounds of attitude and now the Reader’s Digest Hero Pet of the Year!  Seems this little guy was out basking on Indian Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks with his owners, Rick and Mary Lane, when he became an unlikely hero and savior.

Hanging out in his own little beach chair, restrained because it seems he has a habit of chasing people, I did mention he has an attitude, right? Well, the little noticed something amiss and took off… still attached to his chair, dragging it down the beach behind him and making a yapping sound his owners had never heard before.

It didn’t take long for Chi Chi’s “mom” to spot the problem.

“There was a storm surge, and there were two elderly ladies — one had fallen on her back headfirst into the surf,” she said. “The other lady — a little bitty lady about 90 pounds — was trying to hold her head up, and she was in danger of being washed out.”

And no, the little pooch didn’t dive into the water and valiantly pull the struggling ladies out but he did set off the alarm that sent the Lanes into the water as rescue proxies for Chi Chi. After making sure the ladies were fine, a little shaken but otherwise okay, they headed back only to find the little yapping hero sound asleep in his chair, his job done.

Now Chi Chi has become the little celebrity in his home town and also captured enough hearts with his story to take be crowned Hero Pet of the year! But be wary if you meet this little guy on the street, he’s not into the petting thing, you’ll see on the video! LOL

Way to go Chi Chi!!

Chi Chi Received the Hero of the Year Award for his rescue work

Source:  For the Love of the Dog Blog

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HELP YOUR LOCAL SHELTER BY DONATING "STUFF" – "SPRING CLEANING IN THE FALL"

I volunteer at our local Humane Society & as you all know they are “full to overflowing”.  All the shelters/rescues are in dire need of supplies.  So, spring clean your house this fall & donate (it’s also tax deductible).  They need tons of stuff:  your unused dogs stuff (collars, leashes, bowls, balls/toys, grooming stuff, crates, etc.); sheets/blankets, peanut butter/food, unused/unexpired meds; even the paper from your shedder – and more/more/more.  Oh and …..and towels, lots and lots of towels!  Discarded crib mattresses make wonderful beds, especially for older dogs

Check the website for your local shelters/rescue – they usually list items that you can donate.

Another thing to consider is to volunteer to be a foster parent.

And please start working in your area to have the state laws, city ordinances and community rules changed and amended to increase the number of pets willing parents are allowed to own and foster.

We are truly in a time of disaster!!  Not allowing people to adopt of foster one or two more pets is a crime!

Help save lives!   Adopt and foster just one more pet and help the change the laws that prevent that!

Cudos to you all!

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 25, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Change Number of Pet Restrictive Laws. Ordinances and Rules, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh, by the way, there’s a goat in my trunk…

Favre Goat Found in Woman's Trunk at Repair ShopWINONA, Minn. – A woman on her way to St. Paul really got the goat of auto repairman James Prusci. She went to Tires Plus in Winona Friday, wanting a belt replaced on her Chevy Malibu. While he was doing paperwork, she said she had a goat in her trunk. “A what?” he asked. She told him she planned to butcher it.

It was painted Minnesota Viking colors — purple and gold — with Brett Favre’s No. 4 shaved on its side. Favre made his Vikings debut Friday in a preseason game.

Prusci called animal control, which took the goat to a local vet. He was renamed Brett and placed in foster care.

Animal control officer Wendy Peterson said Monday the city attorney was reviewing the case for possible citations.

Source:  Winona Daily News, http://www.winonadailynews.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 25, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Stop Animal Cruelty, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Your Dog Can Help You Move Mindlessly

Moving mindlessly is a BlueZones concept that means integrating low-level physical activity into your daily routine. The healthiest, longest-living people in the world aren’t gym-rats; but they have habits that promote or even require moderate, sustained exercise every day.

What, you don’t have a herd of sheep you need to lead out to pasture in the hills every morning? Not to worry! Try thinking of other ways to encourage yourself to move mindlessly! Here are some things my dog has taught me about this subject:

  1. Running is the most fun thing ever.
  2. Running after anything that moves is better.
  3. Have an adventurous spirit – he has never let his lack of opposable thumbs stop him from believing he can climb a tree. After a squirrel.
  4. Drink lots water daily. Lots and lots and lots of water.
  5. Weight training rules – tug of war anyone?
  6. Repeat daily. In his case, repeat ten times daily.

Pets are a great way to get in the habit of daily motion. Kids are great too. What other aspects of your life encourage this kind of healthy exercise?

Written by Kathryn Savage

Posted:  Just One More Pet – Cross Posted:  True Health Is True Wealth

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August 24, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Unusual Stories | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demand Justice for Dog Tortured and Killed by Owner – PETITION

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

UPDATE 8/20/09 – Finally Some Media Coverage and IMPORTANT-Charges Can be Upgraded, Must Contact County Attorney ASAP!!

SuttlesMr. Robert Suttles, Somerset, KY, has demonstrated a total disregard for the life and health of his devoted canine companion “Bowser.” 911 (Sheriff’s Department) has been called in the past to the home of Mr. Suttles where neighbors had observed that he refused to give his dog the basics for sustenance: food and water. Emergency personnel would not seize the dog “since no ribs were showing.” On other occasions they refused to respond to the 911 calls.

In retaliation for the neighbors’ calls, on June 30, 2009, Mr. Suttles demonstrated his “dominance” over this animal. Boasting of his ability to treat his own dog as he liked, he proceeded to pour antifreeze onto bread and to stuff this deadly concoction in Bowser’s mouth, holding the mouth closed so that Bowser could not spit it out and had to swallow it. Mr. Suttles performed this act of cruelty in front of neighbors and other witnesses. Death from antifreeze poisoning is one of the cruelest deaths.

Bowser was unable to regain standing position after this poisoning as he was in severe pain from the deadly food. Mr. Suttles left Bowser outside in pain for two full days (no food, water, meds, comfort) until he went outside to Bowser, kicked him viciously in the head until Bowser finally died. At this point, on July 2, 2009, he dragged the lifeless body across his yard to a burn barrel and proceeded to burn Bowser’s body that night, leaving no opportunity for necropsy. But there were witnesses to his vile and heinous acts. Witnesses who are willing to testify to his heinous acts.

On July 20, 2009, charges against Mr. Suttles were finally filed. He has been charged with second degree animal cruelty and harassment and a $7,500 bail has been set. Mr. Suttles tried to plead to lesser charges but Judge Woods set trial for Monday, August 28, 2009, at a time to be determined later, in order for the DA to interview witnesses and gather facts.

On the night of the burning of the body, the Sheriff was called to Mr. Suttles, but made himself unavailable to help.

This is not the first time that Mr. Suttles has been involved in documented cruelty to animals. He has bragged about killing another dog in March 2009. And he has been seen throwing food (laced with antifreeze?) over another neighbor’s fence to her goats.

Somerset KY has experienced many unexplained deaths of domestic animals by antifreeze poisoning and other means. It has been suggested that Mr. Suttles may be behind those acts as well, but we do not have evidence to support that at this time.

Somerset KY is a nice community with good neighbors who love and care for their domestic animals. If “Bowser,” a beautiful black lab mix, had become a burden to Mr. Suttles, he could have surrendered Bowser to the Humane Society for rehoming. Instead, he willingly and viciously killed his own dog in a most horrendous way, with witnesses around who were unable to stop him or get the law to arrest him at the time of the assault.

It is time to get justice for Bowser! Please read below and then sign the petition. The petition will be sent to the Judge and DA on the Friday before the trial.

ACTION REQUESTED

Urge the District Attorney for Pulaski County, KY (Somerset) to prosecute Defendant Mr. Robert Suttles, Somerset, KY, for the maximum charges allowable by law as a result of his egregious acts of animal cruelty and harassment against his dog Bowzer.

Urge Judge Woods (or the sitting judge for the trial) to find Mr. Robert Suttles “Guilty” (Note from Deanna: I believe this may be a jury trial from information I found researching this) on all counts of animal cruelty charged against him and to sentence him to the fullest amount of time for such charges. Urge Judge Woods to require that he complete at least 75% of his sentence in jail, that the remainder of the sentence be community service to a NON-animal related agency (you can’t trust him around animals), and bar him from forever owning a domestic animal again (dog, cat, etc.) Any other animals in the home shall be surrendered to the Pulaski County Humane Society for the purpose of rehoming in a loving home. Finally, Mr. Suttles should be required to reimburse the Pulaski County Humane Society $xxx.xx for the care given to Bowser before his death. If any expenses have already been donated by the public, Mr. Suttles should still be fined at least $1,500, with the monies going to the Humane Society for the purpose of helping document and obtain veterinary and humane care, for future cases of cruelty.

In light of recent notorious cases such as the Michael Vick dogfighting case, we in Pulaski County need to send a clear message to our residents and other residents of Kentucky that such acts of cruelty will not be tolerated and will be fully pursued and prosecuted.

We appreciate your time in reading this petition and again we urge you to send a clear message of justice on behalf of the late Bowser.

Thank you.
Signed by:
Concerned Citizens of Somerset, KY, Pulaski County
Concerned Animal Advocates of Kentucky, Tennessee, and other states
The Pulaski County Humane Society

Please write, call, fax, or email the public officials in Pulaski County and give them your opinion on this case. As always, we ask that you be polite and stick to the facts. Hysteria and cursing (or worse!) will only harm our cause. You don’t need to write a long letter. Just let the DA and Judge know that the citizens of Pulaski County will no longer tolerate a “slap on the wrist” to perpetrators of animal cruelty. See below.

CONTACT INFO

District Judge Katie Wood
402 Grande Avenue
Somerset, KY 42501
Phone: 606-219-5783

William Thompson
County Attorney
104 North Main Street
Somerset KY 42501
Phone: 606-679-4449
Fax: 606-678-2635

Pulaski County Judge Executive
Barty Bullock
P.O. Box 712
Somerset, KY 42502
606-678-4853 – phone
606-679-8642 – fax

Sheriff Todd Wood
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department
P.O. Box 752
Somerset, KY 42502
Phone: (606) 678-5145
Fax (606) 679-3119
info@pulaskisheriff.com

The information above came directly from the petition which you can signHERE. Oddly enough I could find no media coverage of this horrendous crime but as the petition is sponsored in part by the humane society and the trial is on the docket, I will accept the facts as laid out.

This dog was routinely starved, then poisoned and kicked to death then had his tortured body burned to try to hide the crime!  There is no excuse for the suffering inflicted on this innocent creature!! We must demand justice!!!

What this waste of human life did was to cruelly torture this poor dog in a vicious power play, taunt and harass his neighbors and witnesses and someone almost get away with this crime!! He needs to be punished severely and there needs to be justice for Bowser, tortured and killed for no reason except for some POS to play his power game.

Please, I ask that you not only sign the petition but to call and write!! This is one dangerous psychopath and if he’s on the streets, his neighbors fear retribution as do the witnesses who are scared but willing to set that fear aside and testify to try to get justice for “just a dog” against a bully!!

Help to get the word out and share this with anyone who has a heart and cares!!  Only through our action can we make a difference!!

Again, here’s the PETITION!


UPDATE 8/20/09 – IMPORTANT!!!
Finally some media coverage of this horrific crime!

See Video at:  Demand Justice for Dog Tortured and Killed by Owner – PETITION: For the Love of the Dog

Now for the important part; the charges for this crime can be upgraded to a Class D Felony under Romero’s Law!! For some reason the County Attorney wants to leave it a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor… No Way!! I don’t think so!! There is no way you can know the details of this and not see it as the torture that it is.

Please, please, please… keep in mind that time is short…

Contact County Attorney (Bill Thompson) or the Assistant County Attorney (Dan Thompson – Bill’s brother) to refer this case to the Commonwealth Attorney (Eddie Montgomery) for prosecution as a Class D felony under Romeo’s Law.

County Attorney’s office
PO Box 5
Somerset, KY 42502-0005.
Phone at: (606) 679-4449 or (606) 679-4440.

It really is time for the laws against animal cruelty to be updated and stiffened!!!!  let’s use this case as a springboard to launch that campaign!!

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Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 24, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Change Number of Pet Restrictive Laws. Ordinances and Rules, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

And the Verdict is… GUILTY!! YES!!!

CasperAt the end of November, 2008, this dog, Casper, starved to near death, plus several other sick, neglected dogs were found at the home of Wilmer Fernandez, 34 and Aixa Rodriguez, 33. Although Fernandez and Rodriguez lived in a nice house in Carrolwood, FL, had a Cadillac and Lexus sitting in the driveway, nice furniture and possessions in the house, they claimed they had no money to feed or care for their pets.

Casper, a 9-month-old Boxer when found, weighed only 32 pounds when he should have weighed 60-80 pounds. He’d had no water for at least three days based on a vet’s testimony and the starvation had been ongoing, he also had skin problems.

Charged with felony animal cruelty, Fernandez and Rodriguez said they didn’t have any money, they said they fed Casper twice a day but because of some mysterious illness he kept losing weight, they said he kept turning his water bowl over which is why he was dehydrated to near death, they said they tried to treat his skin problems with OTC shampoos and treatments, they said they were loving pet parents.

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Posted:  Just One More Pet

This story and the related posts here are only the tiniest fraction of the abuse to animals that is everywhere.  It is our duty as loving human beings and fellow creatures created by God to stand up for them… and to do so proactively!!  We need to change the laws everywhere and increase the penalties for animal abuse.  But before it even gets there, like with child abuse or any abuse, we need to intercede as soon as we have the slightest incling that there could be a problem.  Better a false report and dropped charges than a ongoing abuse!!  And for me, if I see actual abuse, not that I recommend this, I go over there and stand up to the abuse or rescue the abused myself if I witness a problem.

Each one of us needs to follow out conscience!  We also need to change the ridiculous restrictive laws of only one or two pets allowed… especially in todays environment.  We need to stop euthenizing animals that are healthy and either take care of them  in decent facilities and allow willing pet parents to Adopt Just One (or Two More Pets).  Nobody is advocating the hoarding of pets and animals!!  But for those that love pets, taking care of 3, 4 or 5 pets is a blessing, not a burden and completely doable!

Marion Algier/Ask Marion – JOMP

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Teach Dogs Impulse Control – Not just Submission

Scout searching for Love...

Scout searching for Love…

Recently the Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column discussed findings that dogs need to be parented in a similar fashion to other adolescents, with consistency and boundaries.  Additionally, like juveniles, dogs need to learn is how to manage frustration.  Dogs that have not learned this are the ones whose emotions quickly turn from frustration to rage and aggression.  Although many trainers would respond that a dog that easily reacts through rage needs to learn submission, what is really needed is impulse control.

Animal behaviorists such as Temple Grandin (a popular one amongst us shelter dogs) and Patricia McConnell (whose book “For the Love of a Dog” is one of my favorites) have found that dogs considered most healthy and emotionally balanced begin learning and developing impulse control from early puppyhood.  Learning to accept being crawled upon and pushed away from the food source by other siblings while nursing is an example of good frustration tolerance.  As such, dogs that are isolated and under- socialized (particularly in their early years) can develop a very low tolerance to frustration which can very negatively impact dog’s temperament.

Dogs that develop impulse control are safe dogs and what humans would consider “friendlier” dogs – the kind that you can take to the park and won’t bite a child that comes running over and lunges at the dog in an attempt to embrace it.  Thus one of the key factors in training impulse control is socialization, for in varying social situations you can train your dog to tolerate frustration.

So technically, the various training techniques that you hear about for establishing a submissive dog are actually about building this level of tolerance.  By requiring your dog to sit at the door before entering or exiting it, and by taking food away from him without him growling, he learns that he can’t always have it “his” way.  He also learns that this is ok.

Training in impulse control is also important for addressing hyperactivity.  Training the hyper dog to “wait” and “stay” before retrieving a thrown Frisbee is an example of training for frustration tolerance and will lead to a much more controllable dog.

I am not saying that all the trainers that tell dog parents they have to be dominant and teach their dogs submission are wrong but you may want to consider what would happen if you were to shift your focus away from getting your dog to submit and toward handling frustration.  Shifting your focus in this direction will shift your behavior when training your dog and dogs learn best from modeling their parents or adult role models – in the wild or in the house.

If you are teaching your dog by yelling, stomping your feet, yanking or using physical force you are teaching him to use the same approach when frustrated.  Remaining calm and in control of your own emotions allows your dog to learn to do the same and allows further learning to occur.  Please also remember that individual temperaments will make these lessons easier or more difficult for different dogs but consistency and patience will pay off much more than negative punishment.

My name is Scout and I am a five year old Border Collie/Aussie mix looking for someone willing to receive the lifetime abundance of love I have to offer.  I am also very bright and with consistency and boundaries I can learn anything. (Scout has been adopted but call Second Chance if you are looking for a new friend and family member).

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to: kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org. Photo by Real Life Photographs.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

An elderly couple have been killed by “feral” dogs in a town in Georgia after they were attacked while taking a morning walk.

Elderly Couple Killed By Pack of Dogs

The bodies of former college professor Luther Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65 were discovered early on Saturday morning, with the dogs still present at the scene. Authorities say that the Mrs. Schweder was attacked by the dogs while she was out for a walk and her husband died trying to fight off the animals. 11 mixed-breed dogs were captured at the scene, and 5 more have been subsequently caught. All 16 dogs were euthanized on Tuesday at the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.

Residents of the area say that they were familiar with the dogs, and that they had never shown any signs of aggression before. It is thought that some dogs were left behind at an abandoned property in the area when the resident of the house, Howard Thaxton, moved away with health problems, and since then the dogs have multiplied and become more feral. However, it is claimed that Thaxton has been driven to the house every few days to leave food for the dogs.

There have been at least 20 fatal dog attacks in the United States so far in 2009, where are there are approximately 75 million pet dogs. The authorities are still considering whether Thaxton can be held culpable for the tragedy in any way.

**An additional worry here is that another side affect of the poor economy and foreclosure markets could be more abandoned dogs and cats that then become feral and form packs. – Ask Marion/JOMP

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, animal behavior, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NH man snares rare, cobalt-blue lobster

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) – At first, New Hampshire lobsterman Bill Marconi thought he had caught a shiny blue beer can in his trap. It turns out it was a rare, cobalt-blue lobster. The 52-year-old lobsterman was out hauling 400 traps with his son Wednesday when he snared the 1 1/2-pound lobster in between his dock and the Isle of Shoals, about six miles off the coast.

New England Aquarium Research Director Mike Tlusty told Foster’s Daily Democrat only one in 5 million lobsters are blue.

Tlusty said blue lobsters are different in that they are better at processing astaxanthin, an antioxidant with a red pigment derived from algae. The substance bonds with proteins in the lobster’s shell, resulting in the blue pigment.

Marconi donated his lobster to the Seacoast Science Center.

Talk about “weird”, here’s a blue lobster.

Blue Lobsters

Blue lobsters are very, very rare. It has been debated but ‘most’ scientists say that the blue colored lobsters are that way for the same reason that there are like albino people (lacking a gene). Not only are there very few blue lobsters born but the ones that are don’t last to long. Because of their unique color, blue lobsters get eaten by prey quickly.

Blue Lobster 2

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

More than 1 million dogs and cats are at risk for becoming homeless, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) believes.

In response to a request from DVM Newsmagazine, ASPCA officials estimate that 500,000 to 1 million cats and dogs in the country could be given up by their owners for economic reasons.

Why the huge disparity? Many shelters are not equipped to accurately report numbers and reasons for relinquishments, says Alison M. Zaccone, manager of media and communications at ASPCA.

“Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 5 million companion animals enter shelters each year,” Zawistowski adds.

“If you factor in the animals merely in danger of becoming homeless, it could result in an extra 10 percent to 20 percent increase in relinquishments to shelters. This has the potential to grow into a serious animal-welfare issue, and some regions of the United States, like Nevada — where the foreclosure rates are three times the national average  could be hit much harder than others.”

Source:  Dr. Mercola – Healthy Pets

——-

Up to 1 million pets at risk during economic crisis

New York– More than 1 million dogs and cats are at risk for becoming homeless, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) believes.

In response to a request from DVM Newsmagazine, ASPCA officials estimate that 500,000 to 1 million cats and dogs in the country could be given up by their owners for economic reasons.

Why the huge disparity? Many shelters are not equipped to accurately report numbers and reasons for relinquishments, says Alison M. Zaccone, manager of media and communications at ASPCA.

“According to national financial estimates, approximately one in 171 homes in the United States is in danger of foreclosure due to the subprime mortgage crisis,” adds Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, executive vice president of ASPCA programs and its science advisor, in a prepared statement. “Considering that approximately 63 percent of U.S. households have at least one or more pets, hundreds of thousands of animals are in danger of being abandoned or relinquished to animal shelters.

“Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 5 million companion animals enter shelters each year,” Zawistowski adds. “If you factor in the animals merely in danger of becoming homeless, it could result in an extra 10 percent to 20 percent increase in relinquishments to shelters. This has the potential to grow into a serious animal-welfare issue, and some regions of the United States, like Nevada – where the foreclosure rates are three times the national average – could be hit much harder than others.”

Originally Posted: Feb 5, 2009
By: Daniel R. Verdon – DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

——

In October 2008, an article appeared in The Denver Post about a woman who tried to poison her dog with an overdose of anti-anxiety pills. When it didn’t die, she shot it four times with a .22 caliber handgun.

Animal cruelty?

Yes, but at its roots, sheer desperation…

Paula Harding, age 33, told police she couldn’t afford a veterinarian due to financial problems, nor could she afford euthanasia for her sick 15-year-old terrier/poodle mix. She called her dog a “good friend” and felt she had no other option. Now, on top of her financial difficulties, she faces animal cruelty charges.

The Grim Reality

Sad cases like this are turning up all over the country. On May 28 a big semi pulled into my veterinary practice after-hours and begged the last remaining staff person to please take their ill cat. They were passing through the area and felt we may be compassionate enough to euthanize their sick cat for free. Otherwise, they told my employee, they would be forced to dump her paralyzed body along a busy street, hoping someone would find her and be able to afford a humane euthanasia.

Pets are the voiceless victims of the tanking economy and are frequently abandoned at shelters or even left behind in foreclosed homes.

Some of these abandoned and starving animals aren’t being discovered until real estate agents come to show the property, many days or weeks later. There are tales of dogs being found in state parks, cats left on doorsteps in cat carriers, and animals simply abandoned on the street.

People are having to choose between feeding their children and feeding their pets, and pets are losing. As the cost of food and healthcare rises, so does pet food and veterinary care.

So many people are feeling forced to abandon their animals that a new term is being used: “foreclosure pets.” The number of foreclosure pets is increasing while the donations and offers for housing are decreasing.

According to the New Haven Register, shelter and rescue operations are up by 15 or 20 percent, in some cases more. The number of people adopting is dropping in some areas, but increasing in others…a small bright spot in the story.

Donna Miles of Bella Vista Animal Shelter reported she receives two or three calls per day from pet owners who are no longer capable of caring for them. These calls used to come from folks who had been through divorce and could not keep their pets, but lately, the foreclosure crisis is the cause, although owners are often reluctant and embarrassed to talk about it.

Another shelter owner said the animals she used to receive were scruffy and underfed, but of late, she is receiving animals that are obviously well loved and well cared for. These pets are arriving shelters, complete with cat trees, litter boxes, favorite toys and photo albums.

This is such a heart-breaking testament to the anguish people must face in having to part with their devoted companions.

Big Hearts Are Stepping Up

Many shelters are seeing an increase in donations and adoptions. Instead of taking a vacation, some animal lovers are rescuing an abandoned pet instead.

Pet food banks are emerging in many neighborhoods.

Organizations are popping up everywhere to help with the pet crisis. An organization called No Paws Left Behind helps people find new lodging for their animals, trying to work with pet owners before the foreclosure takes place.

One of their main goals is to educate people about the types of shelters they’re selecting. Many have a No Kill policy in place. However, shelters without a No Kill policy are responsible for euthanizing more than 12 million dogs and cats each year.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) created a grant program in March 2008 to help with the foreclosure pets. Grants ranged from $500 to 2,000 per organization.

However, due to financial constraints, they had to temporarily close the Foreclosure Pets Fund as of May 4, 2009. Unfortunately, there are more dogs than dollars.

What You Can Do

The Humane Society website has some excellent suggestions for pet owners who are facing economic hardship. Here are some of their suggestions, and a few additional thoughts:

  1. Plan ahead. There are folks who can help you find animal friendly housing, but you must not wait until you are homeless to get your ducks in a row (or your cats and dogs). Check ads and contact real estate agents at least six weeks before you have to move. Contact your local Humane Society office, which sometimes keeps a list of pet-friendly apartments. Gather proof that you’re responsible. Once you have permission from a landlord, get it in writing.
  2. Be proactive. It is unlikely you’ll be able to rent a small apartment with 6 animals in tow. Try to find homes for your animals yourself. What about friends and family? What about a local shelter? People at church?
  3. Don’t be shy—ask for help. Reach out to fellow dog and cat owners. Put the word out. Ask your neighbors to help. Even contact a news organization!
  4. Let your vet know. He or she might be able to help by offering a discount, and by prescribing only the most vital vaccination (the only vaccine required by law is rabies vaccine) to keep your pet healthy. And vets are usually knowledgeable about local community resources.
  5. Keep the faith. There are a lot of good people out there who are looking for ways to help. Once you are on your feet again, you may be able to retrieve your pet.
  6. DON’T leave your pet behind, no matter what. No matter how hard it is to cope or how overwhelmed you are, please don’t leave your pets in your house when you move out. It can be weeks before the lender or a realtor comes to the house and finds Fluffy slowly starving inside.

If you are considering adding a pet to your life, please consider rescuing a homeless pet from a shelter, instead of buying a puppymill pet from a store. Or, if you want a slightly different experience, you might be interested in becoming a foster care volunteer for a homeless dog or cat.

The bottom line is, our pets are in need of bailout, far more than our banks. You can make a difference, and the first step is getting educated on the issues.

Our pets, who bring us many years of happiness and devotion and good health, are completely dependent on us. Don’t let them suffer in silence any longer.

Good Animal Welfare Organizations

The following is a list of animal welfare organizations that are actively involved in lessening the impact of this economic crisis on our furry friends.

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Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments