Emaciated Dog at Lancaster, CA Pound

A video posted on YouTube appears to show an emaciated dog at the Lancaster, CA pound with a cage card featuring an intake photo of the dog looking very thin, but not emaciated.  From the language on the cage card – “My friends here haven’t had a chance to get to know me yet” – it sounds as if the dog has been locked away from the public.  The card indicates the dog was picked up as a stray on 12/23/11 and will be available on 12/30/11.  I’m concerned that by 12/30/11, there might not be much of a dog left for an owner to reclaim or an adopter to take home.  Does anyone know any of this dog’s “friends” at the Lancaster pound?  Are they doing everything they can for this poor dog?  Is the place even open?

“Home for the Holidays” – How Does Your Shelter Measure Up?

Many shelters talk about getting pets “home for the holidays” at this time of year.  But how many are actually open for adoptions at the times people are most likely to be off work and able to come in to adopt a pet during the holidays?

My local municipal kill shelter is regrettably closed on Sundays and Mondays every week and this week is no exception.  Even worse, the place is normally open for a mere 3 hours on Saturdays.  I don’t know whether it was open this past Saturday, Christmas Eve.

In contrast, the Nevada Humane Society in Reno is open for adoptions 7 days a week.  I visited the NHS website and right on the front page it says that not only would they be open regular hours on Christmas Eve, they were having reduced adoption fees and drawings for big electronics prizes in the afternoon.  I called this morning to see if they would be open for adoptions today and was told yes.

Please tell us in the comments if your local shelter is really trying to get pets home for the holidays or if they’re just saying it because it’s a catchy phrase that makes them look good.

MI Animal Cruelty Case Involves Father Murderer

In 1983, when Timothy Cregg was 19 years old, he shot his father twice in the chest with a shotgun.  His father bled to death in a drainage ditch.  Mr. Cregg was found not guilty by reason of insanity after the judge heard testimony from a psychiatrist that Mr. Clegg suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.  The court ordered him committed to a state psychiatric hospital where he stayed until his release in 2003.

Last month, Mr. Cregg was charged with felony animal cruelty.  His Pitbull puppy reportedly chewed up a comforter in the home.  In response, Mr. Cregg allegedly cut the puppy’s throat, beat his head in with a hammer and then threw him in the trash, still alive.  Someone alerted police to the puppy in the trash bin but due to the severity of his injuries, he had to be euthanized.

A judge referred Mr. Cregg to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in order to determine is he was legally sane at the time of the alleged puppy torture:

Such examinations typically take many months. It’s expected to result in more incarceration time for Cregg than if he pleaded guilty as charged.

That’s because his state sentencing guidelines are expected to be so low, based on his history of no prior felony convictions, that his conviction would likely result in a sentence of only a few months in the Muskegon County Jail.

It sounds as if Mr. Cregg will again be a free member of society sooner rather than later, regardless of the outcome of his psychiatric exam.  I hope not and I will post an update to this story if I see one.

Remind me how our society is safer for locking up hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders?




Dinner at Chez Dog

For Christmas dinner, I made the dogs chicken noodle soup using some leftover yellow squash and baby carrots, egg noodles and of course, chicken.  After I snapped this photo, I topped the dish with some chopped hard-boiled egg.

Mmm mmm good!

Merry Christmas!

A celebration of the human-animal bond with photos and captions submitted by readers.

Here's a doctored picture of Sam and Zachary. - Tammy S.

Bobbie & the Silverwalk Hounds sharing houndsong

My husband blowing bubbles with our Bernese Mountain Dog, Petra. - Sarah

Girl with her beloved Rosie, a Chow mix adopted from MAS in August of 2002. - Claire

Lost Pitbull loves Sue in Malden, MO.

Foster puppy and Dot Kirby, NC. "Freeway" now lives in VA.

Anne and Yvie (the best adopted dog EVAR) at the Walk for Animals in MN.

Kelly and DeSoto Animal Rescue "Ms. Lola Devine"

Philip and Hearts of Gold Pit Rescue "Maximus"

Here are my sweet babies - both were strays that found me. Blondie is standing and Nicky is on the bench beside his Momma. They were the loves of my life and I was so blessed to have them. - Gwen

Here is a photo of me participating in the Valley Funale, a dog sled race here in Two Rivers, Alaska. Four of these dogs were available for adoption at the time the photo was taken. - Lynn

Willow & her "daddy" having together time when he gets off of work. - Nicci

This is a recent picture of me (Angie Huser) and my two dogs, Kayla (black dog) and Orlando. My husband kindly took the photo. Orlando was recently certified a therapy dog a day before in that picture, and Kayla already is a therapy dog. We all reside in Noblesville, Indiana.

Brenda & Noah with Cleco & Chesley on Cadillac Mountain in ME.

Me and Nori the kittie, watching TV together on a winter day in Corvallis, Oregon. - Suzanne

The picture is of my Granddog Lady and my new son-in-law Tony McEntegart. - Tammy G.

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos. This post was a joy to put together. – Shirley

Legislating the Better Angels of Our Nature

Tonight I, like many of you, have someone special sharing my Christmas Eve.  I have a sweet and beautiful pet, whom a shelter threatened to kill.  Surrey’s “crime” was being pregnant and about to give birth.  The day the volunteers at the Tipton Co shelter sent out the plea about Surrey, there were two other bitches there, just as pregnant as she was.  After I e-mailed my offer to take her, I was directed to the volunteers’ page on Facebook.  I scrolled through some of the posts and saw one of the other pregnant bitches.  She was a black dog and so didn’t photograph very well inside the shelter.  She looked possibly like a Pitbull mix and it was obvious, even in poor lighting, that she was very pregnant.  There was an update on her the morning after Surrey had been sprung.  The black mama dog, with her puppies wiggling in her belly, had been killed by the shelter.  I closed the page.  I never knew what happened to the other bitch in whelp.

Tonight, as Surrey lays in her bed underneath the Christmas tree, I am thinking about how lucky I am to have her here.  I am thinking too about the black mama dog at Tipton Co, and all her unborn pups, who were thrown in the dumpster, their remains now rotting in the landfill.  That girl deserved to be in a dog bed under someone’s Christmas tree too.  Her puppies deserved a chance to be born and to be fawned over by squealing children.  Every pet in the Tipton Co shelter, like every pet in every animal shelter in this county, deserves to live.

It is morally and ethically wrong for anyone to kill a healthy/treatable pet.  There is no justification.  None.

Surrey is my pet.  Every animal in a shelter tonight in this country is my pet too.  I love them.  It’s not possible for me to have them all physically sleeping under my Christmas tree tonight but they are there in spirit.  They are in my heart and in my head.  Not a day or night goes by that I am not thinking about them – hoping for them.  Until there is not a single pet under threat of death at the hands of a so-called shelter, I will keep advocating for no kill.

We can not change every shelter worker’s morals or ethics, but we can work to get the law on the side of pets in need.  If we could get CAPA passed in every state in this country, needless shelter pet killing would not only be morally and ethically wrong – it would be legally wrong.  If it seems sometimes like I’m nagging people to take political action, this is why.  Because within this legal action lies my hope.  It won’t erase every problem within our nation’s broken shelter system but it’s a big, fat foot in the door.  Right now, they are slamming that door in our faces while they do their killing.  I want to jam a foot in the door of every kill room in every shelter in every state.  I want to hear our voices yelling through the crack, “You have no right – stop!”

I don’t say all this just because it’s Christmas or just because I have a pair of soft brown Beagle eyes gazing at me sleepily.  I say it because this is the truth I know.  Every pet in a kill shelter tonight is Surrey.  And every pet in a kill shelter tonight is the black mama dog with no name.  There is no difference.  But there ought to be.  There ought to be a law.  Because killing a defenseless pet who wants nothing more than to be loved should be a crime.  If we can’t appeal to the better angels of our nature to get the killing to stop, we’ll have to put the law on the side of shelter pets.  Are you prepared to jam your foot in a door to end the killing?

Backstory on Getting Kapone Home

Pet advocate Beverly King has worked behind the scenes to help find Kapone ever since he was apparently stolen in June by someone employed at Memphis Animal Services.  She remained dedicated to bringing him home for 6 months, often having to perform difficult tasks.  She sent me a brief note about her experience which I am sharing here with her permission.  Thank you Beverly for your inspiring devotion and hard work.

Gee, what a week. CrimeStoppers always passed on the tips about Kapone to me for investigation. In the beginning, there were dead dogs thrown out into fields, on sides of roads, etc. that the tipsters said may be Kapone. There was even one dog that was decapitated. So, off I would go with my little CSI kit (photos of Kapone, flip video, digital camera, etc) . . Even the live “sightings” turned out to be dogs that looked nothing liked Kapone. When I got the tip Monday from CrimeStoppers and investigated, I was so excited that I went numb for awhile. After I quit shaking, I called Buddy Chapman, Director of Crimestoppers, and he didn’t believe me. I kept saying, “It’s Kapone, it’s Kapone”. It really was unbelievable, and it was 1 in a million chance that Kapone would be found alive. Even though I kept saying. “It’s Kapone”, Director Chapman held out some reservation, but the decision was made to move on it the next day and take the owner to the location for positive identification. I called Cindy, and we caravaned down to Senatobia. The owner did not know where we were taking him until we left for Senatobia. Dir. Chapman coordinated with the Senatobia police to move in once the owner gave the thumbs up. The rest is history.

A recent photo of Kapone with his kids, as posted on Facebook.

Additional photos of Kapone, reunited with his family, can be found here.

Name That Animal

Anyone not madly dashing about in holiday traffic?  Post your best guess in the comments – no researching.  Answer will be posted in the comments later today.

Food for Sharing

Digital camera archives:  I found some pix of food I’ve made for the dogs which is great for sharing with humans.  I’m happy to post recipes (if I remember how I made any of these things, lawl) upon request.

OK Shelter Pets Shine with Help of Photographer

The Nowata Animal Shelter in OK has 23 dogs in need of homes. After hearing rumors that the dogs were going to be shot to death on January 1st, I called the shelter yesterday to ask about the pets there. I was advised that the facility is at full capacity for dogs and some of them have been there for many months. On January 1st, the shelter will evaluate the status of each dog. I asked the method of euthanasia and the ACO I spoke with said he did not know the method but that a veterinarian would do it. I asked if the pound had a gas chamber and he said no. I also inquired about cats at the shelter and he said they have 7, all of whom are available for adoption and space is not an issue for the cats.

The shelter has no website nor does it list its pets online. But it does have something great going for it: a professional photographer who takes beautiful photos of the dogs and posts them on Facebook. Below are a couple of the dogs currently at the shelter with captions provided by the photographer, Sherry Stinson.

Copyright, Sherry Stinson. Used by permission.

"Woo-hoo! Look at all the treats!" Astro is a Sheltie mix puppy looking for a forever home. Contact the Nowata Animal Shelter at (918) 977-0721 or visit the shelter at 901 Navajo Lane in Nowata, OK for more details.

Copyright, Sherry Stinson. Used by permission.

Charlie is a young Labrador Retriever looking for a forever home. Contact the Nowata Animal Shelter at (918) 977-0721 or visit the shelter at 901 Navajo Lane in Nowata, OK for more details.

If you look through the photos of these dogs, you will notice how strikingly beautiful each one is. Do you think that somehow the Nowata shelter managed to fill its kennels with the prettiest homeless dogs in the country? Of course not. The dogs at every shelter are just as beautiful with just as much personality but they don’t have the benefit of being lovingly photographed by a professional. Non-professionals can do a very good job taking photos too, if they make it a priority. Unfortunately, some shelters don’t seem to care about giving their pets the best possible chance for adoption by getting decent photos to share online.  Luckily for the dogs at the Nowata shelter, they have a caring friend in the photography business.

If you’d like to adopt a pet from the Nowata shelter, it’s open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm.  I asked if they would be closed any weekdays during the holidays and was told they would not.  The adoption fee is $20 and the adopter must get the pet vaccinated and neutered at his regular vet clinic.