Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

ASPCA Rescues 25 Dogs from Queens Hoarder


On August 19, the ASPCA, NYC Animal Care & Control and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals worked in tandem with local police to rescue 25 dogs from an animal hoarder in Queens, NY. After a carefully planned intervention led by the ASPCA, the hoarder, a man in his mid-50s, voluntarily relinquished the dogs.

While neighbors had long been complaining to each other about the excessive barking and horrible smells coming from the house, it took several years for anyone to contact authorities. Officials were finally tipped off after a neighbor complained to various city agencies about the constant barking, vile stench and the ever-increasing number of animals in the residence.

The dogs—mostly Beagles, Miniature Pinschers and mixes of the two—were living in squalid conditions and suffering from an array of medical conditions including parasites, fleas, overgrown nails and mange. Four of the dogs are pregnant.

Hoarded Dogs

“Hoarding situations are complex and depending upon a number of factors, including the mental health status of the hoarder, they may or may not be referred to the criminal justice system,” says Allison Cardona, ASPCA Director of Disaster Response. “It is vital that authorities be notified of hoarding situations so that steps can be taken to ensure the protection of the animals. This kind of problem will not go away by itself. It will only get worse. That is why people need to speak up!”

The ASPCA also worked closely with Adult Protective Services because, as in many of these cases, the hoarder himself was in need of medical attention. “Like many psychological conditions, there are probably multiple underlying causes for animal-hoarding behavior. These are not situations that can or should be handled by animal welfare agencies alone,” explains Cardona. “The ASPCA will continue to work with Adult Protective Services to monitor this man’s behavior. Without intervention and monitoring, the relapse rate for hoarders is 100 percent.”

The surrendered dogs are recuperating in several shelters, and ASPCA animal behaviorists are currently working with seven in particular. “These dogs have never been socialized, walked on a leash or run around in a yard,” says Cardona. “Their future pet parents will need to be especially caring, patient people, willing go the extra mile.”

Make a Donation

For more information on animal hoarding, visit ASPCA.org.

Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #HoardedDogsRescued

Posted:  Just One More Pet

Be vigilant!!  The best way to stop this type of abuse and get the animals and hoarders help is to pay attention and report your concerns!!


September 12, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rescues, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toddler dies, python found coiled around her

The snakes are not native to Florida, but many people keep them as pets

python OXFORD, Fla. – A 2-year-old girl apparently was strangled Wednesday by her family’s 12-foot-long pet Burmese python, officials said.

Shaunia Hare was already dead when paramedics arrived at about 10 a.m., Lt. Bobby Caruthers of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said.

Charles Jason Darnell, the snake’s owner and the boyfriend of Shaunia’s mother, said he discovered the snake missing from its aquarium and went to the girl’s room, where he found it on the girl and bite marks on her head, Caruthers said.

Darnell, 32, said he stabbed the snake until he was able to pry the child away, and then called 911.

Authorities remained outside the small, tan home, bordered by cow pastures Wednesday afternoon, awaiting a search warrant to remove the snake from the home. It was unclear if it was still alive.

Darnell did not have a permit for the snake, which would be a second-degree misdemeanor, said Joy Hill, a spokeswoman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He has not been charged, but Caruthers said investigators were looking into whether there was child neglect or if any other laws were broken.

NBC affiliate WESH reported that Darnell told deputies he left the snake in an aquarium in a bag when the family went to sleep.

The python was one of two snakes in the home — the other is a 6-foot-long boa constrictor. Both snakes are alive, Carruthers said.

Two other children also lived there, WESH reported.

The Humane Society of the United States said including Wednesday’s death, at least 12 people have been killed in the U.S. by pet pythons since 1980, including five children.

Pythons are not native to Florida, but some residents keep them as pets, especially Burmese pythons, which can grow to more than 15 feet and weigh more than 150 pounds.

When the snakes become too large, some owners release them into the Everglades and other wild areas, Florida officials say.

The fast-growing population of snakes has been invading southern Florida’s ecosystem since 1992, when scientists speculate a bevy of Burmese pythons was released into the wild after Hurricane Andrew shattered many pet shop terrariums.

Scientists don’t have an accurate estimate of how many pythons are in Florida, butBurmese_Python estimates range from thousands to hundreds of thousands.

This is just another example of the epidemic of the  loss of personal responsibility and the loss of common sense that has swept the United States.  These situations come from a lack of thinking things through, a loss of self-responsibility for our actions and a lack of concern for others… people and animals.  Was this the snake’s fault??  Heck no!  It was the owner’s fault – the parents’ fault.

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July 2, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Honda Dog Friendly Element reveal from the Ny Auto Show – Gets Humane Society Approval

Honda’s recent release of its “Dog Friendly” Element concept introduced built-in facilities to aid canine transport. A finalized version of the model is scheduled to debut this fall. But do the added components represent anything more than gimmicks?

View Video View Accompanying Video

Dog-Friendly Car Gets Humane Society ApprovalMajor components of the new concept include a a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform; second row and cargo area pet restraint systems and an extendable cargo area load-in ramp. Other components include a 12V DC rear ventilation fan, seat covers, rubber floor mats and a spill-resistant water bowl.
The equipment has been engineered specifically for the Element and the restraint was designed by one of the world’s leading automotive safety systems suppliers. Honda says that the restraint concepts are intended to complement the potential of the vehicle’s existing restraint systems by helping to protect the dog and helping to prevent injuries to other vehicle occupants due to an unrestrained dog impacting them in a collision.
“In-vehicle pet restraints should be part of every dog owner’s safe travel practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The expanded availability of manufacturer-based restraints and features can help elevate pet comfort and convenience for owners. Good ventilation and access to water on longer trips should also be primary concerns.”
While many of the components of the “Dog Friendly&trade” Element could be added to any SUV – for example a non-spill bowl – Honda is probably setting the pace for American car manufacturers by fitting restraints specifically designed for dogs.
By Daphne Reid – Pet People’s Place
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Posted:  Just One More Pet

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Events, pet products, Pet Travel, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Warning Signs That Your Child’s Behavior Is Dangerous To Pets

Little Girl

Children are naturally interested in interacting with—and getting a reaction from—the family pet. It’s not uncommon for them to hide food, play a little too rough, play dress up with the pet or put makeup and hair products on her. In these situations, parental guidance is needed, as a pet may feel uncomfortable or suffer harm if dangerous substances are ingested.

More serious, however, is when a child intends to hurt an animal. Whether the cause is peer pressure or a cry for help, true malicious animal cruelty is not a behavior that children outgrow by themselves. Professional intervention may be needed to prevent behavior problems that can stay with a child into adulthood, and even be acted out on other human beings.

The following behaviors may indicate that intervention is needed to guide your child away from cruel behaviors toward animals:

  • Chasing a fleeing pet
  • Locking a pet in a closet
  • Leaving a pet outdoors
  • Knowingly or unknowingly feeding a pet harmful human foods.
  • Feeding human medications that are dangerous to pets to see what effect the pills will have
  • Placing a tight rubber band around a paw
  • Painting a pet’s body
  • Putting a small animal in a washing machine, microwave or other appliance
  • Staging fights between dogs or letting one animal chase another
  • Deriving pleasure from seeing a frightened or suffering pet
  • Responding to adult reprimands by engaging in secretive, hostile acts toward the pet
  • Burning an animal
  • Teasing an animal with firecrackers
  • Repeatedly showing off the inhumane handling of a pet to others
  • Putting an animal in dangerous situations, such as dangling her outside a window or bringing her into the road

Taking Action

If you discover your child repeatedly putting an animal into dangerous situations, act swiftly to teach him that these behaviors are not acceptable. The following guidelines may help:

  • Do not ignore or dismiss pet-unfriendly actions. Most children, when dealt with as though they’ve committed a serious offense, will think twice before repeating the behavior.
  • Use the same serious tone of voice that you would use if you saw your child running across the street without stopping to look for oncoming traffic.
  • A simple, clear statement such as, “We don’t hurt animals” is far more effective than lecturing.
  • If your child persists in hitting, kicking, pinching or teasing your pet in spite of your repeated corrections, consult with your pediatrician or an expert in child development.
  • You set the example. Never hit, shake, jerk or yell at your family pet—your child may imitate you and go too far.
  • If you overreact in anger toward your pet, show your child that it’s all right to apologize to the pet, just as you would apologize to a person.
  • If your teenager involves the family dog in high-risk activities such as dog fighting, not only should you intervene, but check in to see if your child is being influenced by alcohol, drugs, gambling or other unhealthy behaviors that involve peer pressure.
  • Remember that for most children, learning empathy and respect toward animals is part of the normal socialization process. These values are instilled the same way as learning not to hit friends or tease mercilessly.

Dogwise, All Things Dog! 

March 7, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Ending Euthanasia of Healthy & Treatable Animals –  A New National Initiative of the American Humane Association In Cooperation with Visionary Corporations and Foundations  
The American Humane Association’s Getting to Zero®

Initiative is a critical, new national undertaking based on realistic assumptions and the profound belief that, within our lifetime, American society can reduce to zero the number of healthy or treatable dogs, cats and other companion animals that are euthanized in animal care and control facilities. This will not be easily accomplished, but we believe that with the replication of identified best practices to shelters and animal-welfare groups across the country — utilizing seed and operational funding provided by visionary companies and organizations as well as advice and consultation from the best in the field — the immediate impact can be substantial and sustaining, thus leading to zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals within 25 years.

Funding will be used to take the best practices available and replicate them, initially, to 12 shelters in geographically diverse areas of the country and, subsequently, to encourage and sustain further replication of these best practices to most, if not all, animal care and control facilities in the country.

Working in partnership with the animal-welfare community and corporate and foundation donors, American Humane launched this three-year initiative in 2006.

American Humane has made the reduction and eventual elimination of shelter euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats one of its highest priorities. Although many Americans maintain a deep love and affection for animals, and pets are cherished members of millions of families, the millions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats euthanized each year remains a source of shame for our country. It is a situation that most view as socially and morally unacceptable.

There is growing public support for assuring that no adoptable animal is put to sleep at a shelter or abandoned in the street. It is a goal that deserves the efforts and commitment of every group and individual with concern and compassion for animals. American Humane recognizes that animal overpopulation is the result of human decision-making and all of us have a responsibility and role in its reduction.

Every year, at least 3.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters in the United States. Indeed, it has been noted that in many areas of the country, a majority of animals entering the shelter system “are euthanized rather than adopted or reclaimed by their owners.” This problem is not limited to a single area of the country or a single segment of our population — animal care and control facilities from coast to coast are flooded with healthy animals looking for a good home. It has been this way for decades although over the past 20 years, we have seen a sharp reduction in the numbers of animals euthanized.

American Humane is committed to helping identify, support and obtain funding for the replication of community-based interventions that have demonstrated success in reducing the euthanasia of healthy or treatable animals. We are convinced that by working together and adopting practices that have been shown to be effective, we will hasten the day when euthanasia is no longer viewed by the public as an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of animal control.

Source:  American Humane 

Shelter dog in kennel


Shelter kitten in kennel

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Orange Bone, a New Kind of Pet Store

Selling puppies in a pet store, especially since Oprah’s notorious Puppy Mill episode aired last year, can easily alienate members of the dog community, incite protest and boycott and be bad business in today’s climate. The Orange Bone, Melrose Avenue’s newest pet store, is changing its business model and selling puppies from local rescues and shelters. 

Orange Bone, working with Last Chance for Animals, is committed to saving dogs on death row. It all sounds too good to be true so I decided to check out it for myself. Not surprisingly for a store on Melrose Avenue, the place has a sleek, glossy modern look; it resembles a Pinkberry store more than a typical pet store you’d find in a mall. Los Angeles has its fill of nice looking pet boutique so I went straight to the dogs.

On a Tuesday afternoon the store was packed. I eavesdrop as Ray Maldonado, regularly referred to as the store’s dog guy by many patrons and coincidentally the vice president, talks to a couple considering a pit bull puppy. As I stand around and wait for my turn, I noticed the Orange Bone offers financing. Ray says potential buyers have the option to complete a credit application. He says for those who need it and qualify; it helps to get the dog placed a little easier. Wow. Rays reminds me, “It is all about the dogs.”

While Ray excuses himself to answer another customer’s questions, I take a second to review their sales contract. I was very pleased to see the following, “Adopter agrees if for any reason you cannot keep the puppy you will return it to Orange Bone so we may place it in a new home.” People are not guaranteed a refund, but may exchange the dog within specified timelines for another if they’re inclined. I think it says a great deal about the store that their first priority is to make sure puppies are placed in a stable and loving environment and will always accept a dog back.

Ray is still with another customer so I ask the Kennel Supervisor, Joseph Maldonado, Ray’s little brother, about the care of the puppies. He says he and Ray live nearby and are at the store nearly 20 plus hours each day. Joseph says, “I get here every morning at 8 a.m. to walk the dogs before we open at 11.” The dogs are also all supervised by monitors and short circuit camera feeds.

Ray says they only started working with shelters and rescues in December 2008 after getting some negative feedback. He was once an animal control officer for the city so he really wanted to reinvent the system to make it work for everyone. According to Ray’s records, they have placed about 150 dogs since December 2008 and it’s their goal to place a 1,000 dogs by the year’s end. Ray also happily boasts that about 25 percent, if not more, were on death row.

First impressions can say a lot and Ray and Orange Bone left an indelible impression on me and Rufus today. Ray and his team sincerely seem committed to the dogs with a real hands-on approach in their permanently placement. In the short hour that I lingered unannounced at the store I witnessed more than one person come in who had been working closely with Ray to find the perfect furry friend. It’s not hard to imagine since Ray is the kind of guy who immediately becomes everyone’s best friend.

Other notable features about the store include the Three Dog Bakery treats they offer, the wide assortment of doggie apparel, collars, leashes and stylist carriers. They also work with a trainer, Jessica Dragon, so new parents can get started on the right paw.

If you’re looking for a new dog, stop by and visit Ray. Tell him Rufus and Johnny from Examiner.com sent you.

by Johnny Ortez, L.A. Small Dog Examiner

Orange Bone
7574 Melrose Avenue 
Los Angeles, CA 90046

T. 323. 852. 1258 
F. 323. 852. 1299 

Mon – Sat 11am to 8pm 
Sun 11am to 7pm

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Posted:  Just One More Pet

February 24, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Valentine’s Day Treats For Your Dog…

Hearts Now that you’ve celebrated… Do something extra nice for your dog(s) for Valentine’s Day:
  • take your dog out for a good walk;
  • play ball with your dog in the yard;
  • give your dog a good brushing;
  • give your dog an extra dog treat;
  • pet your dog longer than usual;
  • let your dog into the house more today; or let them do something special;
  • snuggle with your dog when you’re watching TV; 
  • Set things up for your dog’s future in the event something happens to you
Two dogs out for a walk in the snow.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You


Because pets usually have shorter life spans than their human caregivers, you may have planned for your animal friend’s passing. But what if you are the one who becomes ill or incapacitated, or who dies first? As a responsible pet owner, you provide your pet with food and water, shelter, veterinary care, and love. To ensure that your beloved pet will continue to receive this care should something unexpected happen to you, it’s critical to plan ahead. This information sheet helps you do just that.

What can I do now to prepare for the unexpected?

In the confusion that accompanies a person’s unexpected illness, accident, or death, pets may be overlooked. In some cases, pets are discovered in the person’s home days after the tragedy. To prevent this from happening to your pet, take these simple precautions:

  • Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.
  • Make sure your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.
  • Carry a wallet “alert card” that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers.
  • Post removable “in case of emergency” notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency-response personnel during a fire or other home emergency. Don’t use stickers; hard-to-remove stickers are often left behind by former residents, so firefighters may assume that the sticker is outdated or, worse, they may risk their lives trying to find a pet no longer in the house.
  • Affix to the inside of your front and back doors a removable notice listing emergency contact names and phone numbers. Because pets need care daily and will need immediate attention should you die or become incapacitated, the importance of making these informal arrangements for temporary caregiving cannot be overemphasized. 

How can I ensure long-term or permanent care for my pet if I become seriously ill or die?

The best way to make sure your wishes are fulfilled is by also making formal arrangements that specifically cover the care of your pet. It’s not enough that long ago your friend verbally promised to take in your animal or even that you’ve decided to leave money to your friend for that purpose. Work with an attorney to draw up a special will, trust, or other document to provide for the care and ownership of your pet as well as the money necessary to care for her.

How do I choose a permanent caregiver?

First, decide whether you want all your pets to go to one person, or whether different pets should go to different people. If possible, keep pets who have bonded with one another together. When selecting caregivers, consider partners, adult children, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who have met your pet and have successfully cared for pets themselves. Also name alternate caregivers in case your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take your pet. Be sure to discuss your expectations with potential caregivers so they understand the large responsibility of caring for your pet. Remember, the new owner will have full discretion over the animal’s care—including veterinary treatment and euthanasia—so make sure you choose a person you trust implicitly and who will do what is in the best interests of your pet.

Stay in touch with the designated caregivers and alternates. Over time, people’s circumstances and priorities change, and you want to make sure that the arrangements you have made continue to hold from the designated caregivers’ vantage points. If all else fails, it is also possible to direct your executor or personal representative, in your will, to place the animal with another individual or family (that is, in a noninstitutionalized setting). Finding a satisfactory new home can take several weeks of searching, so again, it is important to line up temporary care. You also have to know and trust your executor and provide useful, but not unrealistically confining, instructions in your will. You should also authorize your executor to expend funds from your estate for the temporary care of your pet as well as for the costs of looking for a new home and transporting the animal to it. The will should also grant broad discretion to your executor in making decisions about the animal and in expending estate funds on the animal’s behalf. Sample language for this approach is:

{Article Number} A. As a matter of high priority and importance, I direct my Personal Representative to place any and all animals I may own at the time of my death with another individual or family (that is, in a private, noninstitutionalized setting) where such animals will be cared for in a manner that any responsible, devoted pet owner would afford to his or her pets. Prior to initiating such efforts to place my animals, I direct my Personal Representative to consult ______________________, D.V.M. (currently at the _______________________ Hospital), or, in the event of Dr. _____________’s unavailability, a veterinarian chosen by my Personal Representative, to ensure that each animal is in generally good health and is not suffering physically. In addition, I direct my Personal Representative to provide any needed, reasonable veterinary care that my animal(s) may need at that time to restore the animal(s) to generally good health and to alleviate suffering, if possible. Any animal(s) not in generally good health or who is so suffering—and whose care is beyond the capabilities of veterinary medicine, reasonably employed, to restore to generally good health or to alleviate suffering—shall be euthanized, cremated, and the ashes disposed of at the discretion of my Personal Representative. Any expenses incurred for the care (including the costs of veterinary services), placement, or transportation of my animals, or to otherwise effect the purposes of this Article ___________ up to the time of placement, shall be charged against the principal of my residuary estate. Decisions my Personal Representative makes under this Article ____________________—for example, with respect to the veterinary care to be afforded to my animal(s) and the costs of such care—shall be final. My intention is that my Personal Representative have the broadest possible discretion to carry out the purposes of this paragraph. 

Can I entrust the care of my pet to an organization?

Most humane organizations do not have the space or funds to care for your pet indefinitely and cannot guarantee that someone will adopt your animal, although some may be able to board and care for your pet temporarily until he can be transferred to his designated caregiver. There are, however, a few organizations that specialize in long-term care of pets of deceased owners. For a fee or donation, these “pet retirement homes” or “sanctuaries” may agree to find your pet a new home or care for your pet until she dies. Be aware, however, that pets are companion animals who need lots of care and affection; they may suffer from long-term confinement in such facilities. Your pet will not want to be institutionalized any more than you would want to be. Before making any formal arrangements, visit the organization to see how animals are cared for; where they are confined; who looks after them; when they are socialized and exercised; and what policies and procedures exist regarding care at the facility and placement with a new family. Also consider what might happen to your pet if the organization were to suffer funding or staff shortages. If you decide to entrust the care of your pet to an organization, choose a well-established organization that has a good record of finding responsible homes quickly.

Can I request that my pet be euthanized after my death?

Being concerned about what will happen to your pet after your death is normal. But some people take this concern to extremes, requesting that their pet be euthanized out of fear that no one else will care for the animal appropriately. When an owner puts this request in his will, that provision is often ruled invalid by the legal system when the animal is young or in good health and when other humane alternatives are available.  There are good homes out there for your pets and usually you can choose a home yourself in advance by planning and making arrangements.  If not, if you make the proper provision, a good home will be found.

Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

There are some cases when euthanasia may be appropriate. If a pet is very old or requires extensive treatment for a health condition, for example, it may be unfair to both the pet and your designated caregiver to insist on indefinite care. That’s why it’s important to choose a responsible caregiver and thoroughly discuss the animal’s condition and needs so that the caregiver can make the best decision after you’re gone.

Do I need legal assistance?

Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pet. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet is cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. The formalities of a will or trust may not take over for some time.

In most cases, this book is all you need:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner

Is a will the best way to provide for my pet?

Although your lawyer will help you decide what type of document best suits your needs, you should be aware of some drawbacks to wills. For example, a will takes effect only upon your death, and it will not be probated and formally recognized by a court for days or even weeks later. What’s more, if legal disputes arise, the final settlement of your property may be prolonged. Even determining the rightful new owner of your pet can get delayed. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet’s long-term care can be carried out.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not include a provision in your will that provides for your pet. It just means that you should explore creating additional documents that compensate for the will’s limitations.

How can setting up a trust help?

Unlike a will, a trust can provide for your pet immediately and can apply not only if you die, but also if you become ill or incapacitated. That’s because you determine when your trust becomes effective. When you create a trust for your pet, you set aside money to be used for his care and you specify a trustee to control the funds.

  • A trust created separately from the will carries certain benefits:
  • It can be written to exclude certain assets from the probate process so that funds are more readily available to care for your pet.
  • It can be structured to provide for your pet even during a lengthy disability.

Which is right for me—a will or a trust?

There are many types of wills and trusts; determining which is best for you and your pet depends on your situation and needs. It’s important to seek the advice of an attorney who both understands your desire to provide for your pet and can help you create a will and/or trust that best provides for him.

You and your attorney also need to make sure that a trust for the benefit of one or more specific animals is valid and enforceable in your state. Even if your state law recognizes the validity of such trusts, keep in mind that tying up a substantial amount of money or property in a trust for an animal’s benefit may prove to be controversial from the point of view of a relative or other heir. Moreover, trusts are legal entities that are relatively expensive to administer and maintain, all of which underscores the need for careful planning and legal advice. After you and your lawyer create a will, a trust, or both, leave copies with the person you’ve chosen to be executor of your estate as well as with the pet’s designated caregiver so that he or she can look after your pet immediately. (The executor and caregiver may or may not be the same person.) Make sure the caregiver also has copies of your pet’s veterinary records and information about her behavior traits and dietary preferences.

Consider also a Power of Attorney

Powers of attorney, which authorize someone else to conduct some or all of your affairs for you while you are alive, have become a standard planning device. Such documents can be written to take effect upon your physical or mental incapacity and to continue in effect after you become incapacitated. They are simpler than trusts and do not create a legal entity that needs to be maintained by formal means. Provisions can be inserted in powers of attorney authorizing your attorney-in-fact—the person designated to handle your affairs—to take care of your pets, expend money to do so, and even to place your pets with permanent caregivers if appropriate.

Like any other legal device, however, powers of attorney are documents that by themselves cannot ensure that your pet is fed, walked, medicated, or otherwise cared for daily. Legal devices can only complement your personal efforts in thinking ahead and finding temporary and permanent caregivers who can take over your pet’s care immediately when the need arises. It is critical to coordinate, with more formal legal planning, your own efforts in finding substitute caregivers.

For more information

If you or your legal advisor would like more information on any of these matters, please contact The HSUS’s Planned Giving Office, at 1-800-808-7858, or The HSUS’s Office of the General Counsel, at 202-452-1100, extension 3320.

You can help your fellow species even after you’re gone with a bequest supporting HSUS animal protection programs. Naming The HSUS in your will demonstrates your lasting commitment to animal welfare. Please keep in mind that we’re just as happy to be last in line in your will; we hope you will consider The HSUS for at least the residue of your estate. In the meantime, we have materials on numerous subjects that we can send you, including:


  • How to include The HSUS in a will as a primary or secondary beneficiary
  • How to include The HSUS in a will as a final beneficiary for the residue of an estate
  • “37 Things People ‘Know’ About Wills That Aren’t Really So”
  • The HSUS Creative Estate Planning Course 

Other Estate Planning Vehicles and Charitable Gifts

  • Charitable gift annuities and trusts
  • Helping Hands recognition society
  • Kindred Spirits pet memorials
  • Making gifts of stock and avoiding capital gains tax 

NOTE: The foregoing is intended to provide general information and to stimulate your thinking about providing for your pet in the event of your incapacity or death. It is not intended to provide legal advice and is definitely not a substitute for consulting a local attorney of your choosing who is familiar both with the laws of your state and with your personal circumstances and needs, and those of your pets.

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Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must-have Book for Your Owner


February 13, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments