Watch Tip: Roadside Rescues

Posted on May 29th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of May 30:

Watch for dogs and cats lying along roads and highways—do you see movement? Stop and check. Be careful always, but take action to save a life. Call 9-1-1 or law enforcement; some municipalities may provide assistance. [Is your Sunbear Squad Wallet Card up to date?] If the unfortunate animal is dead, PLEASE stop and check for ID tags to call the owner and tell them the sad news, so they can stop searching and take possession of the body. Do unto others…

When driving, watch roadsides and ditches for animals in distress and be prepared to stop

Remember, in an emergency, every minute counts. Examine your Sunbear Squad Wallet Card to add rescues, shelters, and clinics that you have recently learned about, and make sure your municipal phone numbers are still current. It’s a good time to go through your Roadside Rescue Kit in your vehicle, to add or change old water and kibble. Are any items missing? Check the original list here: Roadside Rescue Kit

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I love reporting good stories like this one. Cracker Barrel Restaurants and Stores have been a responsible corporate citizen. Recently a customer noticed that the stores were selling a child’s toy called the “Crush-a-Critter.” When the customer complained Cracker Barrel responded by removing the rather grisly toys from the stores.

Thank you Cracker Barrel! I can’t wait to have some more of your yummy fried okra and catfish! (I suspect they may be addicting because I crave them so often!) I’ve always liked your stores but now I can feel really good about supporting a repsonsive and responsible company!

Here is the letter from Cracker Barrel:

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Do USDA inspectors get paid off by puppy millers or are they just so darn lazy and don’t care that thousands of dogs are being tortured and murdered by these evil humans? Or maybe the USDA inspectors don’t care that every puppy mill dog sold through pet shops means the potential for thousands of dollars in unnecessary vet bills and years of heart ache for unsuspecting buyers.

Whatever the reason, its time for MAJOR overhaul of the USDA and the laws and regulations governing puppy mills. We have got to start treating these hells as the societal cancers they are. A recent ABC report shed much needed light on how USDA inspectors take public dollars to do a job they seem incapable of doing.

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What??? Are you wondering how something like that could happen? You helped a down, seriously ill animal owned by a neighbor. You lived across the street. You visited the suffering horse on the neighbor’s property with knowledge of the neighbor’s caretaker for most of two days. You brought blankets and water to the horse. You sat by the horse and comforted it. Your interventions resulted in a vet evaluation, and the vet recommended euthanasia, but because the owners were unavailable and the house-sitter couldn’t make this decision, the vet left.

You made numerous calls and sent phone pictures to the authorities to get help for the horse. You finally succeed in getting the suffering horse humanely euthanized by asking the state representative of the Humane Society of the United States to call the sheriff to politely request intervention by law enforcement. The vet comes back and finally ends the horse’s suffering.

Then a day later, you go back to your neighbor’s house to pick up your blankets and are told by the caretaker that you are not allowed on the property. HUH? Shortly afterward, you are notified by law enforcement that you have been charged with two counts of trespassing!!!

What is wrong with this scenario! How can you be charged with trespassing? You were helping a neighbor’s sick animal. You were never told by the caretaker to stay off the property during several visits. In fact, you believed your help was welcomed. You knocked on the door when you visited to alert the caretaker that you were there, and he participated in conversations about the sick horse. He walked out with you to visit the horse. The property was not posted with trespassing signs either.

If you cross the street and provide help to a neighbor’s sick or injured animal on their unposted property, can you later be charged with trespassing? I’m afraid to learn the answer to that question! Find out on June 10, the court date, in Tigerton, WI. A demonstration asking that trespassing charges be dropped and animal protection laws be strengthened is planned for earlier on the same day.

Read more about the case and demonstration here.

Can you spare $5 or $10 for legal expenses?

Thank you, readers, for any contribution. This is a case that strikes at the very heart of being a Good Samaritan for animals.

Watch Tip: Students Moving

Posted on May 22nd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of May 23

Watch out for pets accidentally trapped in student housing without food or water or abandoned by students moving out for the summer. Sometimes a pet will be given away to a friend who isn’t ready for the responsibility. If you see a wandering, skinny, hesitant cat or dog who doesn’t belong in your neighborhood, please help.

The rest of the world is slowly advancing but not the people of the Gaston County, NC Animal Shelter. They have a $6400 budget shortfall so guess what they want to do to save money? They want to skip those time-consuming adoptions and just kill all animals in their clutches.

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Watch Tip: Scratching Persistently

Posted on May 15th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of May 16:

Listen and watch for pets who scratch or lick themselves persistently; they might be suffering severely from food allergies, mange, fleas or other parasites. Look at the fur: do you see red, rough patches or skin ulcers? This animal is in perpetual torment. Please take action. Talk to the owner or call the authorities.

“Look at the fur” ==> “Look beneath the fur”

When you watch a dog or cat who persistently scratches, you might make the same common assumption as many others do: the poor thing suffers from fleas or even worse, has developed allergies to flea saliva. If you part the hair and find pin-head sized dark things that dart or jump, and accompanying flakes of dark red “dandruff” (blood), you are correct.  But flea treatments won’t help and can even worsen these other common skin problems:

  • Allergies or reactions to foods, medications, or things in the environment (eczema, hot spots)
  • Poor coat and skin health caused by bad quality dog food
  • Infected wound that stays moist because of wet living conditions (usually outdoors)
  • Parasites other than fleas such as sarcoptic and demodex mites, ticks, deer flies
  • Compulsive licking and scratching caused by separation anxiety or boredom (confinement)
  • Fungi or yeast infections (ringworm)

Food allergies or poor quality foods cause many skin problems

Veterinarians will tell you that poor food is a frequent cause of unhealthy skin and itching that results from it. One wrote, “In my thirty-five years of practice, I have seen hundreds of dogs and cats whose lives changed dramatically, and where the pet’s caretakers were shocked and surprised at the remarkable difference in their pets, by the simple act of providing the pet with a high quality, meat-based diet.”

Pay particular attention to the first three items on pet food ingredient lists. You should be suspicious if they include corn, wheat, or any meat by-product meal. Many dogs are allergic to corn; avoid foods that include even small amounts. Cats can’t digest grains or vegetables; they are true carnivores. Remember, food manufacturers are legally entitled to use generic words like “natural” and “complete, balanced nutrition” by maintaining MINIMUM standards.

Living outdoors can create or exacerbate skin problems

Some skin problems can be prevented by keeping animals indoors in dry conditions, away from insects and parasites. Watch “outside” animals in your neighborhood for persistent itching and speak to the owners. Some of them may already be treating itching with a flea collar, wondering why it does not help!

Do you see persistent itching of the ears in particular? Mites, bacteria and fungi are causes as listed above, but are joined by flies who will bite along ear margins, creating red crusty lesions. Both ears will be affected. Again, outside animals are more likely to be affected.

Read more about skin problems here: The Pet Center web site.

Be a Good Samaritan to animals in your neighborhood, remembering that most often ignorance is the cause of suffering. When you are helping an animal, you are also helping your neighbors.

Watch Tip: Loose Collars

Posted on May 8th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Put break-away collars on your dogs and cats, and don’t let leashed dogs run loose unattended. Remove collars from playing dogs to prevent strangulation. Loose collars and leashes can catch on all kinds of things around the house, homestead, and woodlands to hang and strangle an animal to death. No more than two fingers should fit between the collar and the neck.

Check your dogs’ and cats’ collars today to help keep them safe.

A Wisconsin teenager was doing dishes a few weeks ago when she heard the family puppy make a funny noise out on the deck. She decided to investigate. She found the puppy dangling from the deck, hung by her leash, unconscious. The leash had gotten lodged beneath a gas grill wheel, and while struggling to free herself, the puppy went over the edge of the deck. Luckily the teenager was able to give canine CPR with coaching from her mom on the phone, and the puppy was revived.

A Wisconsin hunting hound was not so lucky. After the hunt, he came up missing, and his owner searched the woods. Then he went from door to door that night visiting every neighbor up and down the country road where they had hunted that day, leaving his phone number. He loved his dog and was distraught.  Two weeks later, one neighbor found the dog’s carcass hanging by his loose collar from a broken stubby limb of a tree on a wooded hillside. The dog probably had been running fast downhill and was snagged. He would have been unable to bark his distress while being strangled by his collar.

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It’s amazing what it takes to make some men feel like they are men!

Take Texas Governor Rick Perry for example. He braves the fierce wilds of a jogging trail with only his Labrador Retriever and his semi-automatic pistol. Then when faced with a staring coyote he pulls out his shiny gun and kills it, because get this, he feels threatened! So a single coyote that your basic 80-year-old woman could have scared off by clapping her hands or stamping her foot sends the Texas Governor into a panic reminiscent of a little girl faced with a Tarantula. Yeah, that’s some brave guy.

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Movie Review — Mine

Posted on May 1st, 2010 by admin

Mine” is a movie that should be on the “to watch” list of anyone concerned about animal welfare, rescue or animal law. Be prepared for a movie that will make you cringe, cry, cheer and think. If there is any justice in the documentary world, “Mine” should be on the fast track for numerous awards.

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