Browsing "Shelter & Rescue"
Aug 17, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    1 Comment

NAIA Perspective on No-Kill Philosophy in the News

In a Garden Island article on euthanasia and the no-kill philosophy last weekend, NAIA president Patti Strand weighed in on the consequences of focusing on numbers over real solutions:

If [the Kauai Humane Society] were pressured to “have better numbers,” Strand said it would be impossible to do so without ample funding and effort to fix the symptoms. And that’s something she said can’t be done overnight.

“What happens is the value of saving the life of the dog is valued more highly than the value of protecting an adoptive family from a dangerous dog,” Strand said. “It’s this idea that, ‘’Gee whiz, I’d like to save this dog and he’s only nipped someone once,’ that can have real consequences.”

One of the best examples comes out of New Mexico, where the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department last year permitted more than 100 dangerous dogs to be adopted by families or returned to them after they failed nationally recognized behavioral tests.

The result was tragic: Dozens of these dogs killed or injured other pets, bit children, attacked their owners or displayed otherwise aggressive behavior.
“All across the country, dangerous dogs that should not be adopted out to the public today and wouldn’t have been adopted out 10 years ago are being adopted out,” Strand said. “The reason is this idea that there are numbers every shelter should be hitting, and it’s not that black and white. Not every community is ready to be no-kill. It’s not a switch that can just be flipped.

“I’m absolutely in favor of the wholesome goal that’s attached to the no-kill label, but you have to look below the surface to see how it’s being applied.”

As always, the focus should be striving for the best possible standards of care — in home and in shelters — on cooperation, public education, and outreach; improvements in “the numbers” will flow naturally from those goals and improvements.

There are now many communities in the United States with open-admission shelters that do not kill for lack of space — this was considered “impossible” 40 years ago, and speaks to the tireless efforts of education and outreach, changing culture, and improved standards of care

Jul 24, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    3 Comments

Judge Orders Champion Sheltie Returned Home

Piper, a champion Sheltie co-owned by Veronica Covatch and Michelle Wilson, has been away from her family for far, far too long, but at least now she can stay with her original owner while the legal fight between Piper’s owners and an out of control rescue group heads toward a trial. An order from an irritated judge made it happen:

“Let me tell you something,” Brandt interrupted. “These people have been without their animal for over a year. OK? So they get their dog back today.”

Of course this tale is not over yet, and Covatch says she has already spent $100,000 in legal fees, but today’s news is great for Piper, Covatch, Wilson — and everybody who cares about the rights of pet owners and reuniting this dog with her family!

Piper

Jun 29, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    1 Comment

Palm Beach Pet Importation Battle Continues

For more than a decade, NAIA has been writing on the issue of humane relocation/dog trafficking: see Humane or Insane to Disparage – Regulate – Prohibit – Monopolize, to Mission Creep. We are so pleased to see such an excellent article on this subject in a mainstream publication:

Puppy importing pits Palm Beach County versus rescue groups

Instead of bringing in “fluffy, white dogs,” rescue groups should do more for local dogs “that are really in need,” said Dianne Sauve, the county’s director of animal care and control.

“You are either dedicated to helping dogs in your community or you are dedicated to stocking your shelves with a product that sells quickly,” Sauve said.

It is great to see so-called humane relocation becoming a mainstream news story. Us “animal people” can talk about this until we are blue in the face, but until it becomes a mainstream issue that the media, lawmakers, and casual pet owners/animal lovers are aware of and concerned about, it is going to be so much more talk than action. Here is to greater awareness and change leading to smarter and more ethical practices and policies!

It is easy to sell smaller dogs and puppies shipped in from out of the area, but it does nothing to help local dogs find homes.

Selling cute, smaller dogs and puppies shipped in from out of the area is easy, but it does nothing to help local dogs find homes.

Jun 4, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Mayor Issues Challenge to Rescue Groups: Stop Importing While Local Dogs Are Still Dying

Palm Beach County wants rescue groups to stop importing animals until the county shelter can find homes for at least 90% of the dogs and cats it receives. County Mayor Shelley Vana held a press conference Tuesday, challenging rescue groups (who have ignored the request to stop importing animals) with “uncomfortable truths.”

What happens when those well-meaning rescue groups or private shelters in our own community choose instead to import dogs and puppies to Palm Beach County? What message is being sent to would-be adopters? What happens when those at-risk at animal care and control are bypassed for animals that are flown in? The truth is often uncomfortable. Importing puppies and dogs into Palm Beach County while dogs in own shelter die, means that some groups are simply stocking their shelves with those dogs that are easily adoptable at a high fee. And while these importations generate lots of publicity and revenue for local shelters [and rescues], how does it benefit those dogs that are going to die here? I am challenging each rescue group that has signed onto Count Down to Zero to stop bringing dogs in from other regions, at least until we have reached a 90% save rate here in Palm Beach county.

Very powerful statement! Huge kudos to Mayor Vana for recognizing this as a serious issue and being unafraid to speak out!

May 18, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    2 Comments

A Humane Society Calls out the “Retail Rescuers”

Last week, we read some heavy straight-talk from Charlene Marchand and Ron Perez of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA regarding the irresponsible and cynical importation of rescue animals, and the effect it has on the chances of local dogs. Given how often we report on this issue, it was tempting to leave this alone in favor of other stories, but we kept coming back to it. In the end, their story was too important for us not to share.

This zinger, illustrating the frustration when progress in animal welfare meets cynical opportunism, is worth the price of admission:

Didi Kline, founder of CGHS/SPCA, would have never dreamed that dogs 10 years or older would be finding second homes. And even the once loved, frequently ignored and often feared “pitbulls” (a loose term referring to bulldog and bull terrier types and mixes) were being adopted — and the owners found them to be incredible companions. Then, everything changed again when “rescues” in the northeast started importing dogs from the southeast, Puerto Rico, Mexico and even Russia! Why? There were still dogs here in the northeast that needed homes. The answer is: money! I once said that if there was money to be made in animal welfare, there’d be a shelter on every corner. Well, now there is.

First off, it takes guts to call it as you see it. It really does, especially when it comes to animal welfare and rescue issues, where even the slightest of disagreements can lead to a lifetime of name-calling and ostracism. This is an issue we have covered regularly for more than a decade, and we know all too well how some people perceive the criticism of certain bad practices as an indictment of all rescue — the responses can be downright vicious. Secondly: bravo! What a breath of fresh air. We share their frustration and couldn’t agree more with the sentiment.

What a great piece. The only thing we’d add is that when helping other regions of the US, efforts must also be made at the source of the population surplus: education and “changing the culture,” accessible low-cost spay/neuter options, enforceable roaming/leash laws, etc. Without those efforts — which have worked wonders in many parts of the country — animal rescuers are put in a position of perpetually exporting one region’s problems into another. As always, the end goal should be finding permanent, caring homes for every healthy and safe pet, until we reach a point where private rescues and shelters are no longer necessary.

 

Apr 28, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Rescue Dogs with Brucellosis Imported into Canada from Southern US and Mexico

We hate to keep pounding the same drum, but this is such a serious and growing issue, we feel it would be irresponsible not to report it:

Canine Brucella Imported to Alberta, Canada from Southern US and Mexico Rescue Dogs

Brucellosis is a particularly nasty disease, caused by the Brucella canis bacterial organism that leads to illness and infertility in dogs. It is zoonotic, which means it can be passed along to humans, though this is rare.

Here is NAIA Board Member Marty Greer, DVM, JD, with a summary of Canine brucellosis, and what it means for dogs and dog owners:

Canine brucellosis is a serious threat to the breeding program of any dog breeder. Canine brucellosis is infrequently diagnosed in the US and Canada. The threats are two-fold. The first threat is to human health – any disease that can be spread to humans, as canine brucellosis can be, is a concern. Although it rarely is transmitted to humans, the threat is real, particularly for those with immunocompromised health. The second threat is the damage done to a breeding program. Dogs infected with Brucella canis are at the least neutered or spayed and placed on long term antibiotics. In some cases, the recommendations are to euthanize the infected animals because of the difficulty and expense associated with successful treatment. Dogs in an infected home or facility are repeatedly tested and isolated from other dogs for months at a time. Infected dogs can no longer be in a breeding program. For those breeders who have spent a lifetime developing their genetic lines of dogs, this can be devastating, emotionally and financially.

Canine brucellosis can be tested for in reference laboratories and in house in many veterinary clinics. The test used for in house testing is relatively old technology, but it is very sensitive, meaning the test is unlikely to miss a dog that is infected with Brucella canis. Consider testing all dogs in a breeding program or leaving a breeding program for B. canis prior to moving the dogs or allowing them into your home or facility to prevent this crisis.

Unlike rabies, which is the disease most often focused on when discussing the irresponsible transfer of rescue dogs, brucellosis isn’t a death sentence. But it is a very serious illness — aside from the ethical issues of irresponsibly spreading disease, it is of incredible concern to people who are trying to responsibly breed dogs, as well as those who want to bring a deliberately bred dog with predictable traits into their family!

Apr 16, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Arson Threats for Putting Down a Dangerous Dog

In Wisconsin, police have stepped up patrols near the Elmbrook Humane Society, after it began receiving threats for euthanizing a dog.

The dog was a large, handsome fellow named Jim. Expressive eyes, gentle and well-behaved behind the camera, but he began exhibiting signs of aggression after being adopted out. He had several biting incidents, was declared a “vicious dog,” returned to the shelter and adopted out again, and eventually hurt somebody to the point stitches were required.

Now, should Jim have been adopted out in the first place? Or the second? Possibly not the first time, probably not the second, but that is a whole ‘nother blog, and we don’t have enough details for anything other than a general statement on that. But what we can say for sure is that in the end, the shelter was forced to make a hard, but responsible choice with Jim… for which they received threats.

jimPic

Jim (Photo: Elmbrook Humane Society on Facebook)

What is wrong with this picture? Nobody (with the possible exception of PeTAwants to euthanize animals. The Elmbrook Humane Society prides itself on its live release rate, and really went to the mat for Jim. When you have done your best for a dog that has bitten on multiple occasions — finally to the point where medical attention is required — you have to put the interest of future adopters, of the public first. As heartbreaking as it can be for an otherwise healthy dog to be put down, there are many, many other animals who can be safely and responsibly adopted out, who would just love a new forever home.

Yet instead of accepting that sometimes painful decisions need to be made, instead of inquiring about those other non-bitey animals, there are now people threatening to burn the shelter down. Whether or not the threats are credible, whether or not the shelter is actually in any danger, this is just nuts, folks.

Apr 6, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Are You Helping or Enabling? Know Who You are Supporting!

Several months ago, a Florida woman, realizing her wildlife rescue was “not sustainable,” began taking in domestic animals in an effort to appeal to donors… sadly, the end results were not pretty:

Faulseit and another woman were charged with animal cruelty. Officials found more than 60 cats, dogs, raccoons and an opossum living in their own filth, without food and water, at Faulseit’s St. Petersburg home.

She adopted many from the Hillsborough County shelter and was selling others at a local pet store, possibly for profit, but police say it’s hard to prove.

As we pointed out on Friday, social media can be a great tool for shelters and rescues to find homes and help animals. But there is always a flip side to consider: it is also a tool that enables people who are overwhelmed (and often unable to stop themselves) or unethical to grow and continue their operations.

It is awesome that you can take two minutes and make a few clicks from California to help an organization in Florida — we love that! But getting to know who you are working with through their history, references, or (best of all) visiting them yourself is a must if you want assurance your donations are making a positive difference for animals.

Apr 3, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

New Life for a Little Lost Dog: Someone’s Doing It the Right Way

We wanted to head into the weekend on a positive note, and as if in response, immediately came across this story about a little lost dog with a tumor on her face who was picked up by Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control in Connecticut: Tumor Removed from Dog Is Benign: Animal Control

Hey, “it’s benign” is some of the best news you can get (well, next to having no tumor at all, of course), but what we want to draw attention to is the process, the responsible, humane, and cooperative way this situation was handled:

  • A roaming dog (now named “Mookie”) is picked up by Animal Control, and nobody comes forward to claim her
  • Mookie has a tumor on her face; removing it cannot be paid for with funds given to the town or Animal Control, so a call for donations is made, with those funds going directly to a local animal hospital (Goodfriends Animal Clinic) that will perform the procedure
  • Animal lovers step up to the plate and cover Mookie’s medical expenses
  • Along with getting the tumor removed, she is spayed, has her teeth cleaned, gets her rabies shot, etc. — this girl really gets the “full treatment!”
  • Biopsy of the tumor comes back “benign,” with little chance of it growing back
  • Now, through cooperation between Animal Control, Goodfriends, and generous animal lovers, a little lost dog now has a shot at a great life!
beforeAndAfter

Before and After

The people who love animals, the ones who make a difference quietly doing the right thing day after day really don’t get enough credit — but we love outcomes like this, and are more than happy to point out their good work!

Have a great weekend!

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