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Halloween Countdown: Keeping pets safe this Halloween Part II

pumpkin

24 days until Halloween!

Make sure the holiday is fun—not frightening—for your cat or dog with these tips from the ASPCA:

Potential danger #1: Treats:
-Ingesting chocolate is dangerous for dogs and cats—it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and increased heart rate.
-The artificial sweetener xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free candy) can cause a drop in blood sugar in dogs, leading to depression, lack of coordination, seizures or even liver failure.
-Throw away all candy wrappers: ingesting foil or cellophane packaging can cause choking or intestinal blockage in pets.
-If you think your pet has eaten something dangerous, call your vet immediately.

Potential danger #2: Jack-o-lanterns:
Watch pets closely if you put a candle in your carved pumpkin. Pets can easily knock the jack-o-lantern over and accidentally start a fire, or become curious and get burned by flames.

Potential danger #3: Trick-or-treaters:
The doorbell rings every few minutes and groups of giggling kids are at your door—all of the commotion is enough to stress out even the mellowest pet. Keep your cat or dog in a room (stocked with food, water, toys and a litter box, if you have a cat) away from the front door on Halloween night.  There are of course exceptions to this rule and every pet parent needs to know their own pet(s), but for many Halloween and the things that go with it are scary and disturbing.

Potential danger #4: Pet costumes:
We love to see doggies dressed up, but be sure your pet doesn’t mind masquerading as a caveman, pirate or pumpkin. Otherwise, your pet could become super stressed. If you do play dress up, make sure that the costume fits properly and doesn’t restrict your pet’s ability to move or breathe. Also be sure there are no strings or pieces on the costume that could come off and become a choking hazard.

CavemanPirate

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Happy Howl-oween!!

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October 10, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , | 1 Comment

“Tails of Love”

The rocket came in fast, maybe 900 feet per second—too fast for anyone to sound the warning siren, and much too fast for all the troops of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force to take cover. It was March 21, 2007, when the 73-millimeter insurgent-launched rocket exploded inside their base in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, right next to Corporal Dustin Jerome Lee and his canine partner, Lex. Lee, a 20-year-old Mississippi native, was gravely wounded by the blast. Lex—a German shepherd trained to sniff out hidden explosives—was also injured, his brown and black fur burned, shrapnel lodged in his back and spine.

Marines on the scene watched as the bleeding Lex climbed on top of Corporal Lee to protect him from further harm. They saw Lex try to revive his master by licking his wounds. And the Marines who rushed to their comrade’s side had to peel Lex reluctantly off the young corporal so medics could try to save him. But Corporal Lee’s injuries were too severe; he died at a nearby military hospital.

A few days later, two uniformed Marines arrived at the Lee family home in Quitman, Mississippi, to deliver the news of the corporal’s death. “After the Marine Corps representative told us everything that happened,” recalls Dustin Lee’s mother, Rachel (pictured above with Lex), “my next question was—and I’ll always remember it—’What about Lex?’ ”

The Marines seemed puzzled. “We’re not sure,” they said. “We know he’s alive. Why?”

“The more we talked, the more I wanted Lex to be at Dustin’s funeral,” she says. “After hearing that Lex climbed on top of Dustin as they both bled…Lex and Dustin shared a bond, and now that bond is a blood bond. Lex was the last to see my child. I wanted him there at the funeral with me.”

Despite being shaky from his injuries, Lex, the Marine dog, made it to Corporal Dustin Lee’s funeral. He and Dustin’s younger brother, Camryn, then 13, even played together for a while (the Lees also have a daughter, Madyson). Several top Marine Corps officers attended the March 2007 service in Quitman, Mississippi, and Rachel Lee had another question for them: “I would like to know how we can adopt Lex.” Rachel didn’t want Lex to return to service—and into harm’s way.

Throughout 2007 Rachel pressed the Marines for an answer. Red tape and regulations thwarted her—as did grief. “I was in a fog,” she says of that period. “I don’t remember a whole lot. But my dad, my husband, my brothers, they were all pursuing it.”

In December 2007 the Lees’ phone rang. Rachel answered the call: Lex had been granted an early discharge. The Lees could come to Georgia and pick him up. “It took so many people trying to help,” says Dustin’s father, Jerome. “The amount of support we had was heartwarming.”

The Lees drove seven hours to the Marine Corps base at Albany, Georgia; in a ceremony there on December 21, 2007, Lex was discharged from duty and presented to Rachel and Jerome. State police from Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi provided a rotating escort the entire way home, as did motorcycle groups such as the Christian Motorcyclists Association and the Patriot Guard Riders.

When Lex arrived in Quitman, he made himself right at home. “It was amazing how Lex became part of our family on day one,” Jerome says. “Lex had that special bond with Dusty, and part of Dustin is in Lex. It’s like he knows where he is and who we are. He wants to help us cope with our grief.”

Today, Rachel says, “Lex walks with me everywhere. That’s the bond I also feel with Dustin. I look at Lex and I learn so much about working dogs, and their importance. It encourages me to go on. That’s what Dustin would have wanted. To take my hand and put it on Lex, it’s a healing experience.”

Tails of Love” By Geoff Brown, November & December 2009 – AARP Magazine

From Seeing Eye dogs to the cat who cuddles in your lap, animals are there for us in more ways than we can count. Helping us get through the day with a wag of the tail and a tilt of the head, they let us know that someone is on our side-no matter what. They also have an amazing ability to break down barriers between people; bringing families and loved ones closer, and giving strangers an excuse to strike up a conversation. In Tails of Love, each writer draws from her own unique perspective on our loyal friends-exploring the many mysterious ways they bring love into our lives.

Ten all-new stories that celebrate our animal friends, by bestselling and award-winning authors

Tails of Love

U.S. Marines Enlist ASPCA to Keep Marine Corps Pets & Families Together

marine

On October 6, a team of ASPCA animal behavior experts arrived in Beaufort, S.C., to conduct behavior assessments of more than 80 dogs living in Marine Corps housing units in the South Carolina Tri-Command area.

The visit by ASPCA behaviorists comes after these dogs became the subject of a breed ban recently instituted by Marine Corps headquarters. The policy specifically bans purebred and mixed-breed Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and wolf hybrids, as well as canines with “dominant traits of aggression” who pose a risk to people living in U.S. Marine Corps housing worldwide.

“Our goal in coming to the Parris Island base is to make sure safe dogs and their families are able to stay together,” says Dr. Emily Weiss, ASPCA Senior Director of Shelter Research & Development, “and so far, the results have been positive.”

After assessing individual canines with SAFER (the ASPCA Safety Assessment for Evaluation Rehoming)—a research-based tool that helps identify the likelihood of canine aggression—ASPCA behaviorists report that of the 85 dogs assessed to date, only two were found to have a high enough potential for aggression to have to be removed from the base. “Two others showed aggressive tendencies, but one will work with a trainer and another will be neutered,” comments Dr. Weiss. “The vast majority, however, are well-loved, well-behaved family pets.”

“Breed bans just don’t work,” continues Dr. Weiss, “These breeds of dogs have a bad rap. In most cases, they are safe, wonderful animals. We’re hoping that we can work with the Marine Corps over the next two years to show them that we should be testing the aggression level of individual dogs and not just banning these three breeds. It’s breed prejudice.”

The families of safe dogs will be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver, allowing their dog to remain on the base until 2012. “We’re very excited about the ASPCA’s assessment,” says Army Capt. Jenifer Gustafson, the Officer in Charge of the veterinary clinic on Parris Island. “This is a welcome alternative to the unpleasant possibility of pet parents being forced to give up their dogs or leave base housing.”

The ASPCA is opposed to breed bans, which target entire breeds instead of focusing on individual dogs. Aggressive canines are often the result of owners failing to provide proper training. Our organization continues to work on identifying potential aggression in individual dogs, opening up opportunities for behavior modification. Read more about alternatives to breed-specific laws.

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October 10, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

77 Rescued Arabian Horses Aided by ASPCA – 400+ Animals Total Rescued in Texas

rescued

On August 14, the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) assisted the Denton County Sheriff’s Office in the seizure of 77 emaciated Egyptian Arabian horses, all living on the Renazans Arabians ranch in Pilot Point, TX. The ASPCA, upon learning about the case, awarded a $10,000 grant to HSNT to help care for the rescued equines.

A few days prior to the seizure, a visitor to the 40-plus acre ranch discovered 17 starved horses standing in several inches of their own waste and immediately called the Denton County Sheriff’s Department. Upon arrival, officers found 60 more neglected horses scattered around the property, in back pastures and locked in barns. In addition to being starved, the horses suffered from soft, overgrown and split hooves and sores from lying in their own waste.

“The Humane Society of North Texas has shown an extraordinary commitment and dedication to animals in its community, and this instance is no exception,” says Julie Morris, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Community Outreach. “We are glad to be able to provide them with support in their time of need.”

The funds will also be used to aid the group’s ongoing equine and livestock investigations and rescues—over the past 18 months, HSNT has taken in more than 500 abused and neglected horses. HSNT’s successful adoption program has placed nearly all of these rescued horses into permanent, caring homes.

“The rescued horses have been healing and gaining weight,” reports Samantha Laos, a supervisor with HSNT. “They are calm and happy and not scared anymore.”

The owner of Renazans Arabians, Gordon Dennis Key, 66, has been arrested and charged with one count of animal cruelty. He could eventually face 77 counts—one for each horse—with each charge carrying a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. Key was also ordered to turn over all documentation for the horses and pay $5,000 in court costs, as well as all expenses for caring for the animals during their impound. He is currently free on $10,000 bail.

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Almost 400 Animals Rescued From Texas Property

A business that has been operating in Sunnyvale for more than 100 years was raided on Tuesday, with hundreds of livestock seized.

Almost 400 Animals Rescued From Texas Property

Kearney’s Feed Store, a long-standing family business, was run by Earnest Kearney, 76, who was arrested in the raid and now faces charges of animal cruelty. 105 chickens, 79 pigeons, 41 rabbits, 35 horses, 33 goats, 27 doves, 22 sheep, 16 turkeys, 9 ducks, 6 cattle, 4 potbellied pigs, 4 guineas, 2 geese, 2 mules and 1 donkey were seized from what was described as rescuers on the scene as “deplorable” and “cruel” conditions. The allegations of cruelty include confinement with inadequate freedom of movement and contamination of drinking water with feces.

The Texas Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has warned Kearney several times over the last few years, and they have now moved all of his livestock to their facility in McKinney after multiple anonymous complaints. A custody hearing on October 15th in Dallas will decide if the animals are to stay in the SPCA’s custody, in which case the animals will be nursed back to health and offered for adoption.

“Those businesses or individuals that profit through the sale of animals need to understand that the cruelty laws apply to them as well,” said SPCA of Texas President James Bias. “If these animals are found to be in an abusive situation, they can face not only having those animals removed, but also criminal charges.”

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October 10, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment