Pets are Family

Tornado damage in Norman, OK
( Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman / May 20, 2013 )
“Alli Christian, left, returns Jessica Wilkinson’s dog, Bella, to her after finding the pet in the wreckage of Wilkinson’s home shortly after a tornado struck Sunday.”

Top 5 Reasons the ASPCA Should Do Right by Displaced Sandy Pets

5.  Celebrity Rachel Ray gave the ASPCA half a million dollars less than 2 months ago to board pets displaced by Hurricane Sandy at its Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn.  At the time, ASPCA president Ed Sayres promised, “The need is daunting, but the animals will not be forgotten.”  After caring for just 280 animals for such a short period of time, there must be tons of cash leftover.  The ASPCA should spend it fulfilling Ed Sayres’ promise.

4.  Even without Rachel Ray’s generous donation, the ASPCA already has plenty of money to care for the displaced Sandy pets for as long as necessary.  The Sarah McLachlan ad alone raised $30 million dollars in its first year and a half running on TV.  The NY Times described it as “a landmark in nonprofit fund-raising, where such amounts are virtually unimaginable for a single commercial.”  It’s been airing ever since.  Nathan Winograd says, “Last year, the ASPCA had total revenues which were just shy of $150 million dollars.”

3.  So much pet food was donated to feed pets impacted by Sandy, there were literally tons of excess which had to be given away in order to free up warehouse space.  Again, there are plentiful resources to care for the 136 pets still at the Brooklyn ASPCA shelter for as long as necessary.

2.  In any cases where the owner of the pet is known and the owner indicates an intention to take the pet back as soon as circumstances allow, the ASPCA should continue to provide temporary shelter, either at the facility or in a foster home, until the owner can reclaim the pet.  That shouldn’t even be a question.

1.  Killing healthy/treatable pets, such as the ones displaced by Sandy, is wrong.  Dropping them off at the pound to potentially get sick or be killed is also wrong.  Neither of these horrifying options should be on the table for the ASPCA.  Why are they?

(Thank you Marge and Tip for sending me 2 of the links included in this post.)

ASPCA to Displaced Sandy Pets: Sucks Being You

Reuters is reporting that 136 unclaimed pets at the emergency Hurricane Sandy shelter operated by the ASPCA in Brooklyn may be in danger:

Most of the owners that the ASPCA has identified live in temporary housing or with family and friends, environments that prevent them from bringing their animals home, [ASPCA spokeswoman Kelly] Krause said. A majority of the owners who had yet to claim their pets lived in the hard-hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens.


It was too early to say whether any of the pets that remain left behind would be put down, Krause said.

Another possibility for the unclaimed pets, besides the death thing, is the ASPCA dropping them off at the pound.  Which, you know, pffft.

Gee, if only the ASPCA could scrounge up the funds to take care of these pets for as long as needed.  But I guess their multi-million dollar bank account is just too small to pay for actual pet care.  There are more one-eyed pet TV commercials to be produced and salaries to be paid and pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

(Thank you Arlene for sending me this link.)

Will Pets at Shelters Affected by Sandy Be Kept Alive So Their Owners Can Find Them?

Kitten ID #A0950168 at the NYC ACC pound in Brooklyn, intake date 10-28-12.

Has killing been suspended at the animal shelters in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy? Killing healthy/treatable shelter pets under any circumstances is both violent and unnecessary. But with evacuations, mass power outages and limited transportation over a wide area impacted by the storm, holding a stray pet for an arbitrary number of hours before killing seems like an added cruelty.

If you have any information on killing moratoriums in effect at any shelters in the path of Sandy, please share.

HSUS Moves Hurricane Pets into Unnatural Disaster Areas

The Guilford Co pound in NC kills roughly half its dogs and cats – unless the pet happens to look like a Rottweiler, Chow Chow or “Pitbull”.  Guilford Co kills 100% of any pets who resemble those types of dogs.

Not surprisingly, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) thinks the pound is swell.  And when HSUS recently trucked nearly 200 pets from pounds in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Isaac, the multi-million dollar organization thought Guilford Co would be a great place to send 17 of them.

I wonder how many of the remaining dogs and cats “rescued” by HSUS will also be sent to places that kill pets.  Even if the shelter taking in the animals doesn’t kill these particular individuals, the issue of displacement killing comes into play.  Either way, pets are likely to be needlessly killed in the name of “rescue”, courtesy of HSUS, while the organization rakes in more donations to pay salaries and other expenses unrelated to saving shelter animals.  Let me know if you see a story about your local pound receiving any of these Hurricane Isaac pets.

What is Plan B in Your Community?

With Hurricane Isaac under watchful eye, many cities have been reviewing their hurricane preparedness plans recently. Officials in Corpus Christi, TX asked animal control what their plan was for the shelter pets in case of a hurricane:

“Their hurricane response plan was to euthanize all of the animals, which is totally unacceptable,” Assistant City Manager Troy Riggs said.

Thank you to those at city hall for demanding a Plan B for the community pets when those paid to do the job would not.

Of course killing shelter pets as a means of population control is not reserved for natural disasters in this country but is the standard operating procedure at most municipal facilities every day of the year.  A trailer for a documentary on the no kill movement has just been released. Watch it and be inspired to ask what Plan B is in your community.

Austin Pets Alive Answers the Call

Not only is Austin Pets Alive working its tail off to help Austin achieve long term success as a no kill community, but when a Texas wildfire threatened the shelter in neighboring Bastrop, they answered that call too.  Last night, the Bastrop shelter had to be evacuated due to the fire threat.  Austin Pets Alive used social networking as well as its connections in the community to ask the public for assistance.  They were quickly and efficiently able to empty out their own shelter within 3 hours by sending pets to temporary foster homes with kind hearted members of the community.  Volunteers drove to Bastrop to pick up dogs and got them back to Austin Pets Alive at midnight:

At around 3am, all of the dogs had arrived, had been vaccinated, and were being put to bed.

Pretty impressive, yes?

In order to free up space, Austin Pets Alive is waiving adoption fees on all its pets today.  They are also asking for donations to help with the medical needs of the Bastrop dogs.

This is how we do it.


Two survivors in Japan, reunited by a rescuer.

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson


You Learn Something New Every Day, Screwworm Edition

I’m not familiar with screwworms but apparently they are as nasty as they sound (pdf):

Screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that feed on living flesh. These parasites infest all mammals and, rarely, birds.
Female flies lay their eggs at the edges of wounds or on mucous membranes. When they hatch, the larvae enter the body, grow and feed, progressively enlarging the wound. Eventually, they drop to the ground to pupate and develop into adults. Screwworms can enter wounds as small as a tick bite. Left untreated, infestations can be fatal. Screwworms have been eradicated from some parts of the world, including the southern United States, but infested animals are occasionally imported into screwworm-free countries. These infestations must be recognized and treated promptly; if the larvae are allowed to leave the wound, they can introduce these parasites into the area.

Haiti is one of the countries where screwworms have not been eradicated. There is some concern that refugees coming to the U.S. from Haiti might bring pets infested with screwworms. The state of WA addressed this concern (veterinary inspections required for dogs coming from Haiti) but I could not find anything for South Carolina. I did come across a mention of the subject regarding FL but no specific policies or protocols are provided.

Bonus: Humans can host the larvae too! The pdf linked above has lots more gory details, if you are so inclined.

Rescued Rescue Dog in Haiti

A Border Collie rescue, now trained for SAR, finds 3 girls in the rubble in Haiti.

Sidenote: I was watching a sad story from Anderson Cooper on CNN this weekend where a Mother was pleading for days for a team to look for her daughter in a toppled daycare center. The Mother had heard the girl apparently but by the time a SAR team arrived on site, there was only light tapping. Cooper reported that despite the high tech equipment and listening devices, SAR dogs were “the gold standard” when it came to looking for definite signs of life. Apparently ambient noise can cause false positives on surveillance equipment so the dogs’ noses are the definitive determining factor in whether to continue rescue efforts at a site. In this case, multiple SAR dogs failed to alert so the team left in order to head to a site where dogs had alerted. Cooper reported the Mother stayed behind, hoping for a miracle.