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Archive for the ‘Help the Animals’ Category

American Humane donates $12,000 to rebuild Tennessee sanctuary after flood

In Animal News, Help the Animals on June 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm

The American Humane Association in June presented Tennessee animal rescue group Tipton Treasures/PAWS New England, Inc., with a $12,250 Animal Emergency Services grant in the wake of the Loosahatchie River flood. The flood destroyed the Tipton Treasures sanctuary in Millington, TN on May 1.

“Overnight, we literally saw almost four years of hard work wiped away and the figure to rebuild was staggering for such a small rescue,” said Kelly Parker, co-founder and vice president of Tipton Treasures/PAWS New England. “We were concerned that our rescue would have to close. American Humane literally saved our organization during these critical hours.”

Although sanctuary workers rescued all 43 dogs living in the sanctuary at the time of the flood, the water ruined the dogs’ housing. The sanctuary routinely rescues 15 to 20 dogs a week but has not been able to accept new animals since the disaster.

Tipton Treasures/PAWS New England has been a lifeline for local animal shelters in Tennessee with high euthanasia rates due to an epidemic of animal overpopulation and low number of local adoptions. At the sanctuary, dogs receive medical and behavior examinations before being transported to foster or forever homes in the New England area. Since 2006, the sanctuary has saved the lives of 3,500 dogs.

“It is our commitment to support local shelters, especially when disasters strike,” said Debrah Schnackenberg, vice president of American Humane’s Animal Programs.  “We look forward to seeing the sanctuary rebuild so Tipton Treasures/PAWS New England can continue their vital work.”

Animal Emergency Services grants are made possible through donations to American Humane. Learn more about how to donate directly to American Humane’s Animal Emergency Services at AmericanHumane.org/Donate. –Valerie Lute


Hey, Chicago! Donate your belongings to support animals in need.

In Animal News, Call for Submissions, Help the Animals on June 24, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Virtually Home Chicago, ALIVE Rescue Chicago, and Chicago Bully Breed Rescue are having a rummage sale this July. Proceeds from the sale will go to the organizations, and in turn the animals.

To donate to the sale, bring them to the drop off location located at 2001 N. Elston Ave., (at the corner of Armitage and Elston) on July 7 from noon to 2 p.m. and July 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. The rummage sale will take place in the parking lot across the street from the drop off location on July 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the event or to volunteer, call Cindy at (773) 203-0215. —Nicole Soszynski

New Jersey shelter strives to adopt out 40 cats in 30 days

In Animal News, Help the Animals on June 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm

In honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat month, Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association in Ledgewood, NJ, hopes to find forever homes for 40 cats in 30 days this June.

“With the economy the way it is, many shelters are experiencing a decline in adoptions, donations and participation in special events,” says Lauren Swern, the developmental director at Noah’s Ark. “We are hoping that by making vaccinated, microchipped and S/N pets available at a reduced rate, folks looking for a new feline friend would be encouraged to come here, rather than adopt an unaltered and unvaccinated pet from a neighbor or newspaper advertisement. This also helps promote the value of our adult cats who have many years of love left in them and need homes too.”

As of June 20th, the shelter had adopted 12 cats and kittens—among them Rooster, an 8 year old with diabetes who had been at Noah’s Ark since November. Despite Rooster’s great personality, his age and health issues worked against him. He was lucky enough to find an owner experienced with diabetic cats.

This month, cats aged 6 months to 5 years cost $100, and cats 5 years or older cost $50. Included in this rate are an adoption kit, microchipping, carrier, spay or neuter, de-worming, Frontline, and vaccinations.

Since 1966, Noah’s Ark has been dedicated to caring for animals in northern New Jersey. As a private organization, they follow a “no-kill” policy—not euthanizing due to age, breed, lack of space, or modifiable behavioral issues. The organization is committed to matching owners with pets that fit their lifestyle and personality. Dozens of cats and kittens of all ages are still awaiting their perfect home at Noah’s Ark Welfare Association. Below are some of their photos.  –Valerie Lute

Vince Damiani launches the Prince Chunk Foundation

In Animal News, Help the Animals on June 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Two years ago, Prince Chunk was a pretty miserable cat. When his guardian’s home in Voorhees, NJ, entered foreclosure, she abandoned him on the street and walked away forever. Who knows how long Prince Chunk was homeless before Camden County Animal Shelter officials rescued him. The shelter staff was shocked by his size—a whopping 22 pounds—and soon Prince Chunk was a celebrity, appearing on morning talk shows, radio programs, and in local papers. Within 48 hours, Prince Chunk had made 16 media appearances. He was a star, and there was no going back.

So when the Damiani family brought Prince Chunk home to stay, they knew he was a special cat. The white and orange Tom happily became a member of the family, and his life story opened their eyes to the plight of pet guardians struggling to meet their animals’ needs because of the economic downturn. In honor of his portly pal, 19-year-old Vince Damiani launched the nonprofit Prince Chunk Foundation on June 9 to help pets in Prince Chunk’s situation.

Tails: What inspired you to start the Prince Chunk Foundation?

Vince Damiani: I worked at an animal shelter in Camden, NJ. There’s a lot of dogfighting and crime there, and I really saw firsthand how much aid was needed. I knew I wanted to start a nonprofit.

Tails: What will the organization do for pet guardians in financial crisis?

Damiani: It’s designed to help pet guardians during times of financial crisis. Sometimes people are facing a choice between caring for themselves and caring for a pet. Many, many Americans are in that situation today. We want to prevent it. The foundation is going to offer free veterinary care and pet food to applicants who qualify.

Tails: What role did Prince Chunk play in your decision to launch a nonprofit?

Damiani: When Prince Chunk came into the shelter, I fell in love with him. His former guardian’s home was foreclosed, and she just abandoned him to the street. People would bring in their animals because they couldn’t care for them. This kind of organization was always necessary, but the recession has made the need 10 times greater now.

Tails: Where can pet guardians receive aid from the Prince Chunk Foundation?

Damiani: So far we’re launching in New York, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey. By 2012, we want to be able to help pet guardians nationally.

Tails: What kinds of pets are covered by the Prince Chunk Foundation?

Damiani: Right now it’s only cats and dogs, but we’re looking to branch off in the future. We don’t want to go too widespread at first so we can focus on giving quality help.

Need help? Want to donate? Call the Prince Chunk Foundation hotline at (856) 302-6373 or visit PrinceChunkFoundation.com. If you are a veterinarian or pet supplies retailer interested in partnering with the Prince Chunk Foundation, contact the foundation at the following address:

P.O. Box 8044, Blackwood, NJ 08012. –Amanda Hughes

Calves search for new homes after battling for their lives

In Animal News, Help the Animals on June 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

These black and white calves are a few months old, but already they have faced extreme hardships. They were abandoned and left without any form of nutrients early on. But Farm Sanctuary gave them the opportunity to live again.

Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm animal adoption and rescue network in the United States. Their farms in New York and California allow once caged, slaughterhouse or factory farm-bound animals a second chance at life. There, the animals roam on open land free of torture, confinement, or pain.

According to Susie Coston, the national shelter director of Farm Sanctuary, the organization adopted the calves on March 23. They learned of the calves following a neglect complaint from the Hillside Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Pottsville, PA.

“SPCA found the six of them too weak to stand and three were tethered to a tractor,” Coston says. “They were very sick and unable to drink milk as their systems were in the process of shutting down.”

When the calves arrived at the New York farm located in Watkins Glen, the animals received proper medical treatment for a variety of illnesses including anemia, umbilical and intestinal infections, dehydration, diarrhea, and e-coli.

“They are still a bit shy when they first meet people, but they warm up quickly,” Coston says. “And they are much larger, most weighing around 200 pounds already, which is no surprise since they are Holstein boys.”

Farm Sanctuary offers a program called Farm Animal Adoption Network (FANN) that allows abused farm animals the chance to be adopted and placed in a loving home by an FANN member. Potential adopters can visit the farms or call the network to learn about adoptable animals.

For more information visit http://www.farmsanctuary.org/rescue/adoption/faqs.html –Nicole Soszynski

Indianapolis theatre group performs pet revue, donates proceeds to animal rescue

In Help the Animals on June 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

Ben Asaykwee was convinced his rescue cat was trying to murder him. As he slept during their first week together, the cat, Mistah Que (pronounced Q), slipped his paws over Asaykwee’s mouth. “I thought he was trying to suffocate me,” he says.

Eight years later, the pair had made two major moves together. And when Asaykwee and a group of friends formed a theatre collaborative in 2007, they paid homage to the cat with the name Q Artistry.

The non-profit group’s musical revue inspired by Mistah Que, To Have and to Hold, opened this past week at the Irvington Lodge in Indianapolis. With a rescue and adoption spin, the show highlights various aspects of pet ownership—including a scene about Mistah Que suffocating Asaykwee. All proceeds go to the Indianapolis Animal Welfare Alliance, a coalition of animal shelters and outreach groups.

Asaykwee says the decision to donate was simple. “Why not raise money for an organization that’s trying to educate? We’re doing the same things (they) are doing, just in a different format.”

A year ago, in the wake of Mistah Que’s death, Asaykwee began writing the show. “He was a family member. I felt so much responsibility,” Asaykwee says.

He wrote as a way to cope, constructing a musical one-act out of his own experiences and stories from friends and family.

Asaykwee calls the experience “extremely cathartic—especially hearing people’s similar situations regarding loss and the frustrations of owning a pet.”

The resulting hour-long one-act features reptiles, birds, dogs, and cats—“from when we adopt them all the way to when they pass on. I thought if this could help me, it could help other people,” Asaykwee says.

To Have and to Hold runs June 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 8 p.m., as well as June 6 and 13 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit qartistry.org. –Katie Scarlett Brandt

MOMMY TAILS: Teaching Compassion When Along Came a Spider

In Help the Animals on June 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

As a mom, I am already fully aware that my children sometimes behave in inexplicable and undeniably odd ways. My middle son has a penchant for wearing his older sister’s sparkly pink clogs, and my baby prefers to sing ABBA music to traditional nursery rhymes. Yet I can’t help but feel that there are far too many parents out there–and members of society in general–who brush off unacceptable behavior as kids just being kids.

This seems especially true when it comes to how adults perceive children’s treatment of animals. After a long holiday weekend of excessive cable viewing, I started tallying up the number of shows in which characters joked about pre-teen boys blowing up frogs with bottle rockets. And, with every manner of insect suddenly emerging with the onset of warmer weather, I’ve noticed numerous instances of kids squashing or systematically antagonizing whatever happens to crawl their way. In most cases, there’s no apparent reason or excuse for this behavior, except for the fact that the unfortunate victim “was only a bug.”

As a writer for Tails, I’ve interviewed Chicago police who have told me about youngsters that are seemingly immune to the pain and suffering of animals involved in dog fights. And we’ve all heard about the psychological studies that discuss how famous serial killers started their legacy of violence by torturing neighborhood cats. Granted, this is slightly more drastic than the little boy down the street stepping on a lightning bug, but there’s a common theme to which parents absolutely need to pay attention.

How children are taught to treat living creatures inevitably equates to how they learn to treat their fellow-human beings. Sure, it’s easy enough to laugh off the line in a sitcom that takes a blase attitude toward obliterating amphibians with fireworks. And, no, I don’t phone the school social worker the minute I see a preschooler dislodging an anthill with her gym shoe. But it’s just as easy to encourage kids to practice compassion as it is to silently (and lazily) stand by while they don’t.

For example, my 5-year-old daughter used to get hysterical every time she saw a spider make its way across the ceiling. Maria would scream at us to “kill it.” Alternately, she would charge after it with whatever object she believed might effectively dispatch the creature to St. Francis’s loving arms. All in all, not exactly atypical behavior for a little girl.

I don’t want to give anyone out there the wrong idea either. I don’t run some Halloween critter haven that shelters bats, spiders, and similar species of creepy-crawlies. What’s more, there are moments when I have to swat at or spray an unfortunate but unwanted visitor that threatens to sting or bite my family members.

On the other hand, I have found that it doesn’t take an incredible amount of effort to relocate a spider outside or to simply leave it alone if the arachnid presents no immediate danger. I’ve explained to my daughter that these creatures–like all living things–have a purpose. I’ve told her that, in most cases, they’re harmless and tend to frequent areas of our home (think the basement) where they can easily snag some six-legged household pest for a snack. So, to look at the situation from a practical perspective, I’m saving money I might otherwise spend on a professional exterminator.

More importantly, however, this entire process set the stage for one of those rare “let’s use this opportunity to learn a lesson” moments that most parents absolutely crave. Maria received a mini-science lecture and no longer panics when she spots a web in a corner of the basement. Just as significantly, she got a chance to see some tangible benefits to reacting with empathy rather than hysteria. I’d like to think that one day she’ll unconsciously rely on this lesson in her dealings with other people.

Now, I get that not everyone adores spiders. But I also understand that you still don’t have to go out of your way to taunt, injure, or decimate anything with a pulse, no matter how hair-raising it might be. Consequently, I hope that moms and dads don’t simply shrug their shoulders or look the other way when their kids demonstrate a lack of compassion toward animals or play a role in perpetrating their suffering. Behaving in this manner doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a Jeffrey Dahmer on your hands, but it does–at the very least–signify that a discussion needs to be had about how all living things have feelings. Besides, there’s a certain satisfaction I take in hearing Maria explain to her friends how she used to kill spiders but now instead names them after her favorite Disney princesses . . .

MOMMY TAILS: Why Mom says you should spay/neuter your pets

In Help the Animals on May 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm

As an author for Tails and a pet guardian who would personally love to see an end to the suffering borne of animal overpopulation, I’m not unfamiliar with the benefits of spaying and neutering. I’ve written articles discussing this topic and have even lectured good friends about the health and social perks of the aforementioned medical procedures. Yet there are undeniably HUGE plusses to spaying and neutering that you only truly appreciate once you mix an “un-fixed” dog with three small children.

Isetta Mae Marsico

When we adopted Isetta–our rambunctious Poodle–the shelter assured us that she was spayed. Not being a veterinarian or a professional breeder, however, I didn’t quite know what to look for to reaffirm what I had been told. But shortly after we brought her home, we found out that Isetta was still completely intact in the way of reproductive organs.

I won’t get into all the details, but suffice it to say that I had carpet and upholstery cleaners tackling all of my couches and carpeted rooms. In addition, Isetta had a few other health issues to boot, so corrective surgery wasn’t an immediate option. At the moment, though, my husband and I obviously knew we weren’t going to put our pup into any situations that would promote Poodle reproduction. We therefore assumed it would be okay to wait our predicament out for a bit longer and use doggie diapers to deal with whatever inconveniences we encountered in the interim.

Unfortunately, that assumption didn’t take into account that Isetta has a few interesting habits that dominate our household whenever she goes into heat. For starters, she bolts out the door like an Alcatraz escapee every time the opportunity presents itself. We attempt to be more conscientious about gating her in the kitchen when someone knocks, but that plan has inevitably proved itself faulty.

Case in point: Last summer, my babysitter innocently rang the bell. I had intended to put Isetta in the kitchen before she arrived, but I was caught off guard. As a result, our beloved Poodle whooshed over the threshold, and I found myself sprinting barefoot for approximately three-quarters of a mile. Finally–after displaying to my entire neighborhood that it truly does take women who have just had a baby an incredibly long time to get back into shape–I managed to snag Isetta and bring her home to a welcoming committee made up of a worried babysitter and sobbing children.

But such antics are only one example of the insanity that erupts when our pooch demonstrates that the folks at the shelter weren’t completely accurate in their description of her fertility status. Much to the surprise, awe, and occasional horror of people who frequent our home, Isetta tends to . . . hmm, how shall I delicately put this . . . “mount” whatever moving target wanders into her path. And, in case you’re wondering, that category includes my daughter and two sons.

There’s nothing quite like trying to explain to your 3-year-old’s Early Intervention therapists or your aunt who isn’t crazy about animals that your dog doesn’t actually mean to knock your small child onto the floor or trip your toddler. And, of course, you can’t beat the experience of yelling at your 5-year-old to leave the Poodle alone because her pelvic gyrations have absolutely nothing to do with some adorable canine dance routine. You may have heard of awkward blind date moments, but they in no way compare to uncomfortable play date moments when a herd of preschool girls ask, “Why is the doggie grabbing onto Maria’s waist that way?”

That having been said, Isetta’s health has much improved since we first adopted her. So, we’re back in the proverbial saddle when it comes to pursuing surgery. Not only is it the best thing to do for Isetta; it will ideally re-insert a little calm into all our lives (and possibly spare us a visit from DCFS).

–Katie Marsico has written for Tails since 1999. In addition to contributing feature stories to the magazine, she now writes a weekly blog post for Tattle Tails, giving us a glimpse into her often funny and always chaotic life as mother, pet guardian, and writer.

Lemonade for Shelter Aid

In Contests and Promotions, Help the Animals on May 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm

American Humane’s “Be Kind to Animals Week” may have begun just yesterday, but the hard work to help make this year’s campaign a success has been going strong for a long time.

Part of American Humane’s efforts has been the “Lemonade for Shelter Aid” contest. The contest encourages children to set up lemonade stands in their neighborhood and donate all of the money raised to their local animal shelter or rescue group. Those participating can also accept non-monetary donations, such as used or new blankets, newspapers, and general pet products.

The contest began April 15th, welcoming children between the ages of 6 and 14. Simply download the entry form on the website, complete it, and email it with a picture of your child or children working at the lemonade stand to: Lemonade@AmericanHumane.org.

One grand-prize winner will be picked at random to receive three Nintendo DS Lite game systems. All entries must be in by May 10th.

For more information and to download the entry form, visit AmericanHumane.org. –Brendan Quealy

Proposed Massachusetts bill would protect pets from domestic abuse

In Animal News, Help the Animals on April 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

House Bill 1499 would add pets to restraining orders in order to protect them from becoming victims of domestic violence. Representative Peter Koutoujian (D) filed the bill on January 13, 2009. The deadline for this bill is May 7, 2010.  Massachusetts is following 11 other states–including Illinois, New York, and Colorado–who already have similar laws in place.

Wow, House Bill 1499 IS important

Wow, House Bill 1499 IS important

Animal and domestic violence advocates say this bill would protect animals and families in many capacities. It would also protect those caring for pets whose guardians are in a safe haven.

Often times a victim will not leave an abusive home because he or she refuses to leave the pets behind. And in some domestic disputes, pets are used to lure victims back into the home. Perpetrators will threaten to harm or kill the animal if the victims don’t return. A study by the MSPCA and Northwestern University revealed that “up to 48 percent of victims either will not leave or will return to a violent relationship because they fear for a pet’s safety.”

HB 1499 would extend protection to family pets as they often times become collateral damage in domestic abuse situations. “Abusers often take advantage of women’s and children’s attachments to pets by threatening to harm or kill the family pet to ensure the woman will not leave or that the child will not report the abuse,” according to an article on the subject by animal welfare activists Phil Arkow and Tracy Coppola.

Thomas Flanagan, an officer with the Animal Rescue League of Boston, told the Boston Herald, “[HB 1499] will make it a lot simpler to make a complete separation between the batterer and the victim. You’re not going to have that bartering chip where they can lure them back and have a horrible retaliation.”

Please help pass House bill 1499 by contacting the judiciary committee and voicing your support by clicking here. –Sarah Hyde