Watch Tip: Dumped Pets

Posted on January 30th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip for week of Jan. 31:

Watch for stray Christmas puppies and kittens that have been dumped along highways or roadside rests and in mall parking lots—and even in dumpsters.

How do you “get rid of” that puppy or kitten someone gave you for Christmas?

Lots of people are considering that question these days. Imagine their thoughts. Nobody asked if they wanted a new pet but they got one anyway. Those cute puppies and kittens tear up the house and they make messes everywhere. People just don’t have time for this crap. Plus they are getting bigger! Pet food costs too much. They didn’t ask for it, but they are stuck with the problem of how to get rid of it. It’s tricky; there are laws if you get caught. Well, after dark no one sees you, so that problem is going to go away once and for all!

You would never do that, and you wouldn’t give an animal as a surprise gift either. But thousands of people throw away animals every night all across America. They even throw them into dumpsters. Just ask the trash haulers—and the knowing animal rescuers who “dumpster-dive” regularly to save those lives.

Please keep your eyes and ears focused on finding those unfortunate dogs and cats, many of them just babies. As you drive past parks and waysides, look for them. Under bridges, look for them. Look for them hiding under hedges and cars in parking lots, and if you happen to walk pass a dumpster, stop to listen for whining and scratching. Always be alert. You might be the only one who sees or hears.

Dogs Deserve Better Offers Dog Care Coloring Book

Posted on January 27th, 2010 by Joy Ward

Are you looking for some way to help children understand how to care for their canine companions? I know I get  asked by neighborhood kids several times a month or so about how to care for dogs. Some of the kids have dogs and others want to know more before they adopt a dog.  Those dedicated folks at Dogs Deserve Better have come up with a creative way to help younger children understand more about dog care. They are offering a coloring book that any organization (or caring individual) can sponsor to give out to local kids.

The Happy Dog! Coloring Book was designed by Tim Treybal and is available directly from DDB.

Our goal is to provide this coloring book free to schools that can’t afford to pay, low-cost to those that can, and enable citizens to sponsor the costs of providing books to classrooms throughout the U.S. and Canada.

There are a number of different levels of sponsorship.

It’s great for organizations to give out the Happy Dog! Coloring Book but what about political office holders like Representatives, Senators and City Councilmen?  Sounds like a great way for some politicos to get on the right side of this emotional issue (which cuts across political lines, btw)!

Kudos to DDB for coming out with a new way to reach kids BEFORE they develop bad attitudes towards dogs!

Read the rest of this entry »

Way to go, Chinese animal protectors! China Daily announced a few hours ago that  the Chinese government is passing new legislation to protect dogs and cats in a variety of ways, including eating them.

China has launched its first draft proposal to protect the country’s animals from maltreatment including a measure to jail people who eat dog for up to 15 days, the Chongqing Evening News reported today.

Interesting note on this is that the China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import & Export Corporation is backing the measure because they feel it will help with their down and cashmere exports. I would bet they feel that if China can’t export dog and cat pelts (usually marked as faux fur) then they will buy their products.

The fight is not over but what a good first step towards bringing China forward to a better society for people and animals!

Book Review — Ghost Dogs of the South

Posted on January 26th, 2010 by Joy Ward

Ghost Dogs of the South is something to bark about!

We’ve all heard the stories about ghost dogs, haven’t we?  Some of us have even seen a ghost dog or two. Randy Russell and Janet Barnett turn some classic stories into an entertaining book with their Ghost Dogs of the South.

No need to pull the covers over your head with this fun read. The stories are more irony than terror as Russell and Barnett take us on a tour of haunting canines in the American South. These stories are not just good dog stories, they are well-told tales that will keep you turning pages long after you should be in dream land.

Catch these wonderful photos, too! Ghost Dogs of the South has some marvelous vintage pictures that speak volumes about the place of dogs in past centuries.

Ghost Dogs of the South is a perfect gift for any dog lover. And cat lovers don’t worry! There’s a Ghost Cats of the South just for you!

“Firefighter Bitten in Dog Rescue” has a happy ending

Posted on January 23rd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Yesterday, a frightened, cold, and exhausted German Shepherd mix desperately tried to climb out of a concrete channel of the Los Angeles River in Vernon, CA, wearing his nails down to bloody stubs. The LA City Fire Dept. dispatched firefighters trained in animal rescue and a helicopter. Firefighter Joe St. George dangled from the helicopter, waded through raging waters, and secured the dog in his arms. They were lifted up and carried to land, and the dog was rushed to emergency care. He was a stray, perhaps frightened from his home by recent thunderstorms.

Joe St. George was bitten in the hand by the terrified dog. Imagine being that dog. He was lost and alone, and then he fell into a river. He was fighting for his life in the fast, cold water. A loud, scary helicopter appears, and a big moving black thing drops into the water and approaches. The black thing is a strange man who grabs his head and body. What a nightmare for an ordinary dog! He tried to defend himself.

Fox News in Los Angeles reported this story, and — brace yourself — they explained the dog bite as a fearful response to a terrifying situation. The dog was not euthanized, but instead given emergency care, and he is fine today (although his owner has not yet been found). Joe St. George explained on the air that he understood why he was bitten, and he was not angry at the dog. News commentators were sympathetic to the dog’s fear as well.

This news station is a mainstream media in one of the nation’s largest cities. How far we have come! This story would not have been reported 10 years ago as not newsworthy, or even 5 years ago because of the bite which could be controversial. But in 2010, Fox News reported it, and other major media such as Headline News also carried the story this morning. The media is responding to us, the audience, and we want news like this because we value the lives of animals. But there is a long way to go. Many communities still shoot stray companion animals instead of rescue them. And if the dog bites in self-defense, it is all over for the dog. If you live in a community like that, please work for change!

Read more and see amazing videos here: www.myfoxla.com

Watch Tip: Trapped and Alone

Posted on January 23rd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Tip for week of Jan. 24, 2010:

Listen and watch for dogs and cats accidentally trapped in sheds, garages, and even homes, when families leave for winter vacations. Sunbear was trapped in a townhouse laundry room when his owner left town.

Trapped and no one hears you!

It can happen in your neighborhood. You are a dog or a cat, and your family loves you. They left for vacation and arranged for your care. But communication about the date was faulty, or a voicemail was lost, or the caregiver was irresponsible. And you have not been fed or watered for days.
 
One Tennessee family with five dogs came home to four very thin dogs and one dead dog; their vacation was interrupted by a call from police. A neighbor alerted the authorities about the starving animals. The family was charged with criminal animal neglect, and they in turn pursued legal action against their teenaged petsitter who had forgotten about agreeing to petsit.
 
Another family went to Florida for two months to help a relative, leaving their pack of hunting hounds in charge of their 16-year-old son. It was a bad decision; the teenager was neglectful — four puppies and and their mother died of starvation and dehydration. A neighbor alerted the authorities about the poor conditions of the dogs as seen from the county road. The parents were charged with neglect but were cleared of wrongdoing during trial for criminal animal neglect in their rural Wisconsin community.
 
Sunbear was trapped in a townhouse laundry room when his owner arranged to rehome him and left town for a new job, but the new family never picked him up. A lost voicemail to say they changed their minds was the cause. His owner never called to check on Sunbear in his new home. And so Sunbear waited for six weeks alone, in the dark, without food or water. Neighbors on both sides of the townhouse did not report hearing him; maybe he never uttered a sound loud enough.
 
It can happen in your neighborhood, too. Always be alert. Watch and listen for signs of distress. A life may depend on it.

HAITI: Donate for the animals

Posted on January 16th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Major animal charities worldwide have formed the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). Donate to your favorite today and specify ARCH to help desperate companion animals, strays, and millions of goats, chickens, and other farm animals, which also helps the people who love and care for them. These organizations are working non-stop to plan and implement support of every kind as soon as possible, and some are on the ground on the island right now. Please join the effort by supporting it with your donation.

No amount is too small. Just do it.

Founders of ARCH (international organizations you may not have heard of but you can trust):

International Fund for Animal Welfare


World Society for the Protection of Animals

Organizations with roots in the USA:

American Humane

American Society for the Prevent of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Best Friends

Humane Society International

Kinship Circle

United Animal Nations


Watch Tip: Student Neighborhoods

Posted on January 16th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip for week of Jan. 17

Watch and listen for stray pets in student neighborhoods. When students move to new apartments, pets get lost, trapped, or abandoned. Also, if pets are of breeding age and are not spayed or neutered, they will escape confinement to seek mates.

Watch Tip: Extreme Cold

Posted on January 9th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Tip for Week of Jan. 10:

URGENT: Extreme cold kills tethered dogs and cats, especially those animals without heavy coats, the malnourished, the very young and the elderly. Watch for animals that don’t have adequate shelter and speak with owners or call the authorities immediately.

Owners remove their bodies immediately to avoid being charged with neglect

Only the truly ignorant get charged, because they don’t think to remove the bodies of their frozen dogs and cats. In Spartanville, South Carolina, a man didn’t remove the bodies of 5 puppies and 1 adult dog, all frozen to death just a few nights ago, all showing signs of starvation. He faces charges for inhumane treatment, unlicensed dogs, unlicensed dog breeding, failure to provide rabies shots, and of course, failure to dispose of dead bodies.

If a neighbor of yours finds the family dog frozen to death, you probably will only see an empty doghouse. You might wonder what happened. Your only hope should be that they don’t get another one who may suffer the same fate: hours of bone chilling cold, shivering, hard shivering, hypothermia, and death.

Don’t think that dogs are the only victims. Cats are sometimes tethered too. All animals who are not free to seek shelter from wind, cold, and precipitation, are at risk. Even buffalo can die in extreme conditions.

What can you do? Today? Drive to the doghouses that you know of and check to see if they are insulated with hay or straw. Old blankets, rugs, or newspapers won’t insulate; they don’t trap air. Check for adequate food and unfrozen water. Check for jutting hip bones and ribs. Check for shivering. Take your cell phone and Sunbear Squad Wallet Card with phone numbers to call the authorities. Your state likely has strict laws that require adequate shelter, and these days, neglect laws are enforced more often than not. [Photo from Dogs Deserve Better, a national organization that fights tethering of dogs; please note the frost on his fur and whiskers and his sad expression.]

Watch Tip: Thin Ice

Posted on January 2nd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

weekly-watch-tips-whiteWeek of Jan. 3

Watch for dogs and cats anywhere near or on partially-frozen streams and lakes; they can break through. Keep your pets leashed. Speak with owners who let animals wander nearby.

A beautiful half-frozen New Jersey pond was a death-trap

A few days before Christmas in a New Jersey park, a man and his dog took a winter walk near a mostly frozen pond, but only the man came home. His dog wandered onto the ice and broke through. The man walked on the ice to try to rescue his canine friend, and he also fell in. He somehow managed to scramble out and went for help. He found police nearby, who immediately called the fire department. They used a ladder to pull the dog from the freezing water, and performed chest compressions to try to bring him back from death. But it was too late.

Where was the leash? With a leash, the dog probably could not have walked far on a half-frozen pond to even reach the dangerous thin ice. With a leash, the man might have pulled the dog out of the hole and across the ice, possibly saving his dog.

Did the man think his dog would somehow just “know” not to walk on ice? Or did the man just not think at all? Become fully aware of risks that threaten companion animals and their humans, and speak up when you see a problem. You may help save a life.