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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Chimp Owners Struggle To Say Goodbye

Primate Sanctuaries Fill Up As Caretakers Rethink Decision To Keep Wild Animals At Home

“Jody” is a chimpanzee who was used for breeding and biomedical research at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Wash.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP)  Russ Cochran fondly recalls the fun he had with his chimpanzee when the animal was younger, taking him for rides in the car and to his cabin on the river. Boaters would stop to see Sammy, who would jump in canoes and help himself to food and drinks from the cooler. 

“That would be the price of admission for him,” Cochran says. “He would drink beer if you let him. He liked beer.” 

Now Sammy is a powerful 19-year-old with strength many times that of a human. He recently got into a vicious fight with Cochran’s younger chimp, Buckwheat. That fight and news accounts of a savage chimpanzee attack in Connecticut that nearly killed a woman this year convinced Cochran that he didn’t want to have two male chimps – the new pet, Buckwheat, had to go. 

But finding a new home for Buckwheat and other unwanted chimps isn’t easy. Animal experts say dozens of chimp owners in the U.S. are actively trying to find new homes for their chimps, who are more dangerous than adorable when they reach maturity. 

The nation’s sanctuaries are full with more than 600 chimpanzees, according to April Truitt, who runs the Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky. 

“There needs to be a place for these animals,” said Cochran, who lives in West Plains, Mo. “I don’t think people should have chimps as pets. I say that having had three of them.” 

Some sanctuaries say they have received more calls since a 14-year-old chimp named Travis suddenly attacked Stamford, Conn., resident Charla Nash. She lost her eyesight, hands, nose, lips and eyelids in the attack and is now at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic in critical but stable condition. Travis, who starred in commercials when he was young, was kept as a pet and weighed 200 pounds when he attacked Nash on Feb. 16. He was shot and killed by police. 

There are about 235 known, privately owned chimps in the United States, according to Truitt, who did a census in 2003 and has continued to closely monitor the number. Owners of about 70 chimps would give them up if they could find a good home for them, Truitt said. She says she has gotten more calls from owners looking to give up their chimps since the Connecticut attack. 

Seven sanctuaries issued a statement last month saying they need more funding so they can offer a safe place to private owners who want to give up their chimps. They also called for states to ban the private ownership of chimpanzees and for the entertainment industry to stop portraying them as “cute hairy little people.” 

“We cannot take in these individuals without a significant contribution to their lifetime care, so tragedies like the one in Connecticut will likely keep happening,” the sanctuaries said. “In substandard facilities, they pose a significant public safety danger.” 

One owner who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared her neighbors’ reactions said she has been trying for years to find a facility for her two chimps. 

“Travis was chimp 9/11,” she said. “We have no life. We basically take care of them 24/7.” 

The Connecticut attack was the latest in a series of incidents in recent years involving chimps escaping and biting people. In 2005, two chimps in California nearly killed a man, chewing off his nose, testicles and foot and biting off chunks of his buttocks and legs before they were shot to death.

This spring in Missouri, authorities responded to a call to help capture an angry chimp running loose on a state highway. When officers arrived, the chimp opened the patrol car door and grabbed the leg of a deputy, who fatally shot it, police said. 

Chimps can live 60 years and cost about $15,000 per year to care for, according to sanctuaries. Zoos are normally not able to accept hand-reared chimps because of difficulty integrating them. 

Experts blame a handful of breeders and the entertainment industry for contributing to the problem. 

Travis starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger. At his Connecticut home, he watched television, ate at the table, drank wine from a stemmed glass, brushed his teeth and was toilet trained, according to a police report filed when he escaped in 2003.

Legislation has been proposed in Congress to ban the transport of monkeys and apes across state lines for the purpose of selling them as pets. The importation of primates for the pet trade has been outlawed since 1975, but bill sponsor Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., has said 30 states allow the keeping of the animals as pets and it is easy to purchase a primate from exotic animal dealers or over the Internet. 

“When you’re holding a 2-month-old baby chimp in your arms and feeding him out of a bottle, it’s a very special thing,” Cochran says. “You think at the time it will be all worth it.” 

Cochran, who spent about $25,000 for cages in his home, said one facility in Florida wanted $200,000 to care for his chimp. Cochran wound up finding a place in Texas that took Buckwheat for $10,000. 

The first six or seven years were wonderful, Cochran says. 

“Then puberty starts,” he says. “When the hormones start to fly, it makes them unpredictable.” 

Sammy bit off the tip of Cochran’s little finger when the animal was 9, Cochran said. 

Cochran says he no longer thinks it was worth it to own the chimps. 

“On a retirement income, it’s an expensive hobby” says Cochran.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Help Pass California AB 233 – Pet Adoption Tax Credit

ASPCA Urgent Alert
Dear California Animal Advocates,     

As you know, pet abandonment is on the rise. Shelters are overburdened, and the animal welfare community is seeking creative ways to get more people to choose adoption over purchasing pets in stores or online. That’s why the ASPCA is cosponsoring California Assembly Bill 233, new legislation before your state government.

AB 233 will encourage Californians to adopt pets from shelters by making adoption fees tax-deductible—qualified adopters can deduct up to $100 a year! This will help relieve the financial strain on overcrowded animal shelters and provide new beginnings for the state’s growing number of homeless pets.

What You Can Do
AB 233 is set to be heard before the California Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee on Monday, April 20, 2009. Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to email this committee and urge its members to support AB 233.

Thank you, California, for caring about animals.

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Posted:  Marion Algier/Ask Marion –  JustOneMorePet

 

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Where there is a will…

abandoned_dog_2

One of the greatest tragedies of the failed housing market is the cost to pets and animals.  And although highlighted now and again after some tragic event where a pet has been left behind to starve without food or water in an abandoned house or chained to a tree when their family moved, it has been under reported. 

Losing your home, often after having also lost your job in today’s uncertain financial environment, can be both scary and overwhelming.  People become panicked and often make rash and unsound decisions under the pressure or go into a state of denial.  But leaving your pet or any animal behind without making arrangements for them to be taken care of could end up haunting both you and your family forever.  A pet is a family member and abandoning them, besides being illegal, could leave permanent scars, especially on children. 

cruelty_dogOften lack of planning is the greatest culprit.  Friends or family members will usually take your pets, either permanently or until you or an adoptive family can take them, if you really cannot or do not know where you are going or cannot take them along.  Running an ad in the local paper, online, or in the neighborhood ad sheet is usually free for pet ads, but people tend to want to believe that things will get better so often wait until the last minute when they are out of time and therefore often also out of options.  I have seen people walk their pets or sit outside a market with them wearing a sign:  ‘I need a home’ or ‘Will you take me home?’ with relative success.  Networking with friends, neighbors and co-workers, or putting up signs at markets, at your veterinarian’s office, church, and on community boards and mailboxes are also great sources, as well as contacting local rescues and no kill shelters.  Many pet sites also have message boards where you might find an adoptive parent or  a foster family for your pet, giving you more time to find another solution. 

I have also seen people negotiate with new landlords or network to find a place that will allow their pets to move with them, even though the listings originally said no.  Getting a written reference from either a former landlord or neighbors is helpful and working through a realtor or leasing agent also usually ups your chances.  Remember if you are going to rent, the owner pays their fee, not you. 

abandoned_exotic-birdsBe creative!  I recently came across someone who traded their car for an old camper by running an ad in the newspaper.  It gave the family and the pets a crowded but temporary place to live and stay together.  We are surrounded by community, sometimes our greatest failing is the fear or hesitance to ask for help. 

Where there is a will… there is a way, and it starts with planning.

By:  Marion Algier/Ask Marion 

 

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April 6, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

CA: Let’s Fight Proposed State Tax on Vet Care!

Dear California Advocates,

At a special legislative session held earlier this month to address the state’s budget crisis, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed new taxes on certain services—including an approximate nine-percent tax on veterinary services. If this should happen, it will have a negative impact on the health and welfare of California’s pets.

During this economic downturn, animal owners are already being forced to make tough choices. Animal shelters are at capacity, but the number of homeless pets continues to rise as people lose their homes to foreclosure and unemployment rates climb. A tax on veterinary services will lead to a decline in routine wellness visits—even by responsible owners—which are vital for catching health problems in the early, treatable stages. It will also lead to an increase in pet abandonment, putting more financial strain on California’s state-funded animal shelters. Taxing veterinary services is a quick-fix, shortsighted solution that will hurt animals and could cost the State more in the long run.

What You Can Do
Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to send a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger that asks him to delete the veterinary tax provision from his budget proposal.

Thank you for caring about animals, California! 

You Friends at the ASPCA

Remember… You Are Their Voice!!

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Pets We Trust

Kathleen McCabe weeps when she recalls the death of Alexis Jarose. Not only did McCabe lose her best friend, but she couldn’t save Jarose’s dog, Schweppes, a wirehaired fox terrier. “I would have willingly taken him, but when Alexis died, her caregiver immediately put the dog to sleep. There was nothing I could do, because Lex had revised her will leaving out any mention of Schweppes,” she recalled.

A similar fate won’t befall McCabe’s beloved terrier, Spencer. Since McCabe first crafted a will with her husband, Stephen, 40 years ago, provisions have always been made for their pets.

Animals who outlive their owners face uncertain fates. Under the best circumstances, a family member or friend cares for your pet for the rest of its life. If not, your pet goes to a shelter, is euthanized, or is simply let out the front door. The Humane Society of the United States estimates six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters annually. Only half are adopted.

Should an accident befall payroll specialist Millicent Reed, 50, or her husband Jimmy, her sister-in-law Patricia would get first right of refusal to their seven cats. Another sister-in-law is next in line. Reed said a plan is essential. Six years ago, her aunt was in an auto accident and later died.

“We knew my aunt’s cat, Pepper, was alone, but it took us a week to fly to my aunt’s home,” she said. By then Pepper was out of food and scrounging through the garbage cans. Now Reed always leaves her pets enough accessible food and water to last at least a week should something catastrophic occur. 

Thinking of leaving a chunk of change to Fido or Fluffy? Think again. “In our current legal system, an animal can’t own property. Some human has to be in charge. A will is a transfer of assets. Once it’s done, there’s no ongoing supervision,” explained Mary Randolph, a non-practicing lawyer and the author of “Every Dog’s Legal Guide” (2007).

Randolph suggests a pet trust. This legal document—recognized in 39 states and the District of Columbia—outlines the continued care and maintenance of domestic animals and names new caregivers or directs trustees to find new homes for pets. “A trustee has a legal duty of carrying out your wishes,” she said.

While owners may simply include their pets as provisions in their wills, Michael Markarian of the Humane Society believes a trust is a better option in case of disability. He said, “Wills may take weeks to be executed and could be contested, but a living trust can be written to immediately take effect.”

Creating one does take time. Select a pet-friendly lawyer or estate planner and expect to pay from $500 to $1,000 for their services. Be sure to consider your pet’s financial future. Some owners make outright gifts of cash for their animals’ care.

Hilary Lane of Louisville, Colo., has set aside $5,000 to offset costs for the person who ends up with her dogs, Luna and Frisbee. Likewise Carol Brown, 72, an antiques dealer in Walpole, N.H., has money set aside for the care of her three Norwich terriers and two horses, should any outlive her. “I didn’t want to place a financial burden on their caregivers,” she said.

Some animal lovers don’t advertise the fact that money is part of the deal. One pet owner who wishes to remain anonymous reveals that upon her death, there are 10 people listed as potential trustees to take care of her male cat. What the new caregiver won’t know at first is that the estate is instructed to award the person $10,000 if the feline is still with him or her after six months. “I want someone to take him out of the kindness of their heart and be rewarded if they keep him and fall in love with him like I did,” she explains.

Others leave money to be distributed over time—monthly, annually, or as reimbursement for expenses. 

Want even more security for your pet? Name someone other than the caregiver as trustee to dole out the cash. This reduces the risk of someone taking the money, but selling or destroying your pet.

That’s Dane Madsen’s plan. After his divorce, the 50-year-old corporate strategist from Henderson, Nev., created a living trust for his three rottweilers. “Should my ex-wife be unable to care for any of my pets, two trustees have explicit instructions to use their best judgment to find homes for my pets. The dogs should be kept together, and the new caregiver will receive $150 per month, plus money for veterinary bills and other expenses,” he said. “In the event an animal falls ill, the caregiver and vet jointly decide their end-of-life management.”

More of a do-it-yourselfer? For $89, Peace of Mind Pet Trust (POMPT) will e-mail you simple forms for creating a trust according to the laws of the state in which you live. The brainchild of an Illinois lawyer, Peter Canalia, the kit includes checklists, tips for funding your trust, and paperwork to create a durable power of attorney. Pet trusts can stipulate all the details an owner finds important, from the kind of food the pet eats to its medical needs and walking schedules. The Humane Society also offers a free fact sheet on estate-planning. The sheet includes advice on both wills and trusts.

Bottom line: Just as you would if you were picking a guardian for a child, talk to potential caregivers for your pets. Find someone you trust. After all, what you really want is someone who will love your pet.

By: Laura Daily | Source: AARP.org

Pets in Estate Plans Fact Sheet in English

Pets in Estate Plans Fact Sheet in Spanish

 Every Dog’s Legal Guide 

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

No Halloween Boo! Hoos: Says The ASPCA

No Boo! Hoos: Treat Your Pets to a Safe Halloween

That parade of kids, adults—and yes, even pets—in funny outfits is due to arrive at your door next week, bringing all the sweet and scary joys of Halloween! But pet parents, as you carve the jack-o-lanterns and fill those bowls of candy, please be aware that your furry friends may stumble upon dangers you hadn’t thought of.

Warns Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President, ASPCA Animal Health Services, which includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, “Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals. As pet parents start to make plans for trick-or-treating or costumes, they should be aware of Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets.”

The following are just a few precautions you should take:

No Chocolate: Even if your pet has a sweet tooth, ingesting chocolate—especially baker’s and dark chocolate—can be dangerous for dogs and cats, possibly causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and even seizures.

No Sweets for the Sweet: Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.

Dangerous Décor: Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

Don’t Play with Fire: Keep your pets away from jack-o-lanterns with lit candles inside—knocking the pumpkin over can easily cause a fire. And curious kittens can get burned or singed by candle flames.

Costume Caution: Please don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know that he or she loves it. Costumes can cause skin irritations, obstruct a pet’s vision or impede his breathing.  And get them used to it slowly ahead of Halloween or the event.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pet Parties – The Latest Craze

As the baby-boomers are taking the lead, in ever-growing numbers, as pet owners, so is pet spoiling and the ‘special pet events’ phenomenon. Baby-boomers, who are primarily empty-nesters are replacing their grown children with pets and spoiling those pets as they used to spoil their children.

Pet parties are one of the newest crazes; birthday and holiday parties with and for pets. They include activities and goodies for both the pets and their humans. Pet ‘birthday’ parties top the list, especially for dogs and then cat parties rank as a distant second. They vary from a group of pet owners and their pets going to lunch or dinner at a pet friendly restaurant to parties at the park or backyard house events. Pet-care facilities (doggy daycare sites and pet hotels) are another option to consider if you don’t have room for a home party.

As with Halloween… with pet ‘dress-up events’ or just having your pet at a conventional gathering or party, there are lots of factors to consider. Will the pets on the guest list get along? Are your human guests pet focused enough and willing to keep an eye on their pet as well as maintain a pet positive environment at the party for everyone, while still having a good time themselves? And is your pet the type who likes being around other animals and groups of people, or is this party really for you?

There are many restaurants that are pet friendly these days so will cordon off an area, as they do for kiddy parties, for your pet event; some even supply decorations and goodies.

But if you prefer to do it yourself and go all out, here are a few suggestions:

Indoor Party Activities:

• Pick a fun theme. Party favors and decorations are now available for most types of pet parties.

• Have each doggy (kitty, bird, monkey, pot bellied pig, etc) guest come in costume and have a mini-fashion show or have your guests and their humans come in matching costumes! Give prizes for best costume(s), funniest, most original, etc.

• Bring Kong type toys, one for each doggy guest, filled with cheese or peanut butter; catnip or tuna for the kitties.

• Have plenty of training treats, snacks and biscuits on hand and hold contests for best sit, stay, shake, roll over… (perhaps for most finicky for the felines?).

• Bring a good supply of rope toys for a doggy tug of war! You’ll find that sometimes the humans will participate as well.

• Paw mural painting can be done inside or out as long as you cover the floor well.

Outdoor Party Activities:

• A silly pet trick contest is a great event, indoors and out, but outside parties lend themselves to a greater variety of tricks. Give a prize for 1st, 2nd and 3rd or just for first prize and then give a treat to the others for participation.

• If you have mostly the same types (or breeds) of pets or groups that are the same sizes, dog (or piggy and kitty… if you can motivate them) races can be fun. (Dachshund or Chihuahua races are always funny.)

• Bring enough balls so there is at least one ball or Frisbee per doggy guest and play free-for-all fetch or wands with fake birds, small balls or catnip toys tied at the end for the cats.

• Agility equipment events like a tunnel for the dogs to race through is a good addition; make sure you have lots of training bits or other treats to offer them when they run through successfully!

• Water activities like swimming events in the pool for certain dog breeds during the warm season are possible activities to consider, or bobbing for biscuits using a small tub or kiddie pool with water and then tossing in some biscuits. Whoever gets them out the quickest wins!

• Also, if at the park, make sure you consider safety issues like portable fencing or stakes to attach leashes, so the dogs and their humans can relax for awhile.

Food:

• Make sure there is plenty of water – Provide separate bowls for each pet guest (possibly personalized for them to take home) filled with mineral, filtered or even Smart™ water.

• Order goodies from the local or online doggy (pet) bakeries and party suppliers, or better yet bake them yourself.

• Have an outdoor bar-b-que and fix a special dinner for both the pet guests and their humans with their own grilled boneless steaks or chicken for the doggies or tuna and salmon for the kitties!

• And of course, you must have a birthday cake! You can make it yourself or order one from a local or online pet bakery. A small slice of carrot cake or really any other cake as long as it doesn’t contain chocolate could be served to most pets as well their humans at a special occasion, but in most cases you will probably want a special one for the pets and one for their humans.

• There are also many human goodies (candy and baked goods) shaped like pets, bones, or pet articles that can add fun to the party.

• A goodie bag to take home filled with unique biscuits, doggy ice cream, dehydrated meats (dehydrated fish, a catnip toy, cat grass or grass seeds and gourmet cat desserts for the kitties), and a small pet safe toy, along with their personalized water bowl is a nice touch.

Make sure you label the food appropriately, especially at a buffet-style meal, to ensure that no people accidentally bite into a dog or cat treat or that the pets don’t get too many human treats!

Regardless of the style of the party or the range of food served, you will need to consider both the fun of all the party guests as well as the safety of the food you choose for the people and the dogs (cats or birds, etc) at the event. You might want to skip serving chocolate and onions completely, keep alcohol to a minimum and have a special (pet free) smoking area to keep the guest of honor and friends from eating the butts. Discussing allergies and safety matters of the pets, children and adults at the party in advance will prevent any surprises for the day of the party, as well, perhaps as part of the invitation RSVP request.

Kids have will have fun participating in the games and giving out treats to the winners, so include them if you have any children on your guest list. But be sure to consider supervision, and I would recommend limiting the number of children present. If you do have children or grandchildren at home, include them in the preparation and give them jobs and responsibilities at the party.

And finally, make sure you have a way of capturing all this fun on film! A volunteer photographer or videographer is great for memories and someone taking Polaroid’s for the costume contest, to send home with guests, is always a great touch!

Future articles will include throwing a ‘fancy’ doggy party and ‘pet’ party recipes. But for now, for those of you baking and making the party food on your own, here is a fun recipe for your human guests (and a small sliver, minus the Tootsie Rolls, won’t hurt the pets either):

FAMOUS KITTY LITTER CAKE

(Several variations of this recipe can be found online)

INGREDIENTS:

1 spice or German chocolate cake mix 
1 white cake mix 
2 large packages vanilla instant pudding mix, prepared 
1 large package vanilla sandwich cookies 
green food coloring 
12 small Tootsie Rolls

1 new kitty litter pan 
1 new plastic kitty litter pan liner 
1 new pooper scooper

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare cake mixes (or scratch cake) and bake according to directions (any size pans). 
Prepare pudding mix and chill until ready to assemble. 
Crumble white sandwich cookies in small batches in food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, add a few drops green food coloring and mix until completely colored.

When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble into a large bowl. Toss with half the remaining white cookie crumbs and the chilled pudding. Important: mix in just enough of the pudding to moisten it. You don’t want it too soggy. Combine gently.

Line a new, clean kitty litter box. Put the cake/pudding/cookie mixture into the litter box. 
Put three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until soft and pliable. Shape ends so they are no longer blunt, curving slightly. Repeat with 3 more Tootsie rolls bury them in the mixture. Sprinkle the other half of cookie crumbs over top. Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly on top of everything — this is supposed to look like the chlorophyll in kitty litter.

Heat 3 Tootsie Rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake; sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Spread remaining Tootsie Rolls over the top; take one and heat until pliable, hang it over the side of the kitty litter box, sprinkling it lightly with cookie crumbs. Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around for a truly disgusting effect!

Have a great party!

By:  Marion Algier/Ask MarionJust One More Pet

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September 25, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments