Pet Adoption

USDA Inspectors Allowing Puppy Mill Abuses?

A shocking new investigative report has just been released from the USDA Office of the Inspector General. The report found that USDA employees tasked with inspecting animal breeding facilities are taking little to no enforcement actions against licensed breeders and dealers who violate the Animal Welfare Act... READ MORE

Senator Robert Byrd Remembered as an Advocate for Animals

Posted by Humane Future On Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 9:08 PM 0 comments


The Byrds with Trouble the dog
Senator Robert Byrd, the longest-serving U.S. legislator in history, died on Monday June 28th at the age of 92 (condolences can be sent to the Byrd family online).

His 51 years of political service saw changes in society, world leaders and cultural perspectives. As a former supporter of the KKK, Senator Byrd filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but thankfully changed his views in later years.

I will always remember Senator Byrd as one of the few legislators who spoke up on behalf of animals. He was willing to passionately and publicly denounce animal cruelty in all its forms on the Senate floor.

In honor of Senator Byrd, I would like to reprint one of his most memorable speeches on behalf of animals:


Two Tuxedo Kittens Need Homes - Broward County, FL

Posted by Humane Future On at 10:15 AM 0 comments


Maui



Luna

My #TweetAPetTues pets this week are two Tuxedo cats who are all dressed up and ready to go home!

Maui and her sister Luna are two teenaged kittens (approx. 1 year old) who are more than ready to be adopted. Both of them have beautiful personalities and would like to get out of their cramped cages and into a real home.

They are both very playful and talkative. These girls are really starved for some love and affection. It would be wonderful if someone could give them a home together. Both kitties are lovely, with almost identical markings.

You can meet both Luna and Maui at the PETCO located at 8111 West Broward Blvd. in Plantation, Florida. They are in cages at the very back of the store on the left side. They'll be the ones sticking their little white paws through the cage to get your attention!

For more details about Luna and Maui, contact Animal Aid at 561-393-1463.

Please help Luna and Maui find their forever homes by forwarding their info to your friends and family.



Take your Dog to Work Day 2010

Posted by Humane Future On Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM 0 comments
This Friday, June 25, 2010, is Take your Dog to Work Day. If you know a rescue dog needing a home, this could be the perfect time to introduce him/her to your colleagues.

A face-to-face meeting gives a dog a much better chance of connecting with a potential adopter. If your co-workers aren't in the market for a pet, they may know someone else who is. It's all about networking!

Make sure the dog you bring to the office is workplace ready. Just like any other coworker, you want them to be friendly, potty trained and responsive to basic commands. :-)



Tweet Power: Help Shelter Pets Find a Forever Home

Posted by Humane Future On Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 8:58 PM 0 comments
If you're on Twitter, you can help a shelter animal find a forever home. Every Tuesday, simply share info about an adoptable animal with your twitter followers by sending a #TweetAPetTues tweet.

It's an easy way to use your social network to find homes for cats and dogs. Search Petfinder.com for a pet you want to promote.




Dog Poisonings are a Reminder of Outdoor Pet Dangers

Posted by Humane Future On Friday, June 18, 2010 at 4:22 PM 0 comments
I always urge people not to leave their pets outside unattended. Cats and dogs that are allowed to roam can get lost or injured, even if they are within the "safety" of a fenced backyard.

Some people seem to have the attitude that animals can fend for themselves, and the idea that someone would purposely hurt their pets seems far-fetched.

Every so often there is a case that should be a wake-up call to pet guardians. Several years ago, South Florida firefighter Cristopher Cortes stole his neighbor's cat, drove the family pet into the Everglades, and dumped it there. Why? Because the cat allegedly scratched his truck (the defendant later changed his story, claiming that the cat was defecating in the bed of his truck). Thankfully, Mr. Kibbles the cat somehow made the 15-mile trek back home to his family.

Sadly, a recent incident in Virginia didn't have a happy ending. Last month, a five-month-old pit bull puppy and a West Highland terrier both died after someone threw poison-laced meatballs into their yards. The dogs lived across the street from one another, and police believe the dogs were "targeted" (Washington Post). In other states around the country, meat balls laced with strychnine have also been used to kill several dogs in the past year (ABC 7 News).

Please don't assume that your pets are safe in your yard. Just like kids, you should always keep a watchful eye on your pets if you allow them to go outside.

If you ever see any unusual activity or individuals in your neighborhood, don't hesitate to call the police, especially if you see anyone entering or throwing something into a yard that doesn't belong to them.

Ed note: Mr. Cortes only received 100 hours of community service for his crime. His accomplice, Iris Zukerman, was sentenced to 50 hours of community service.


Amber Alert for Lost Pets

Posted by Humane Future On Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 3:48 AM 0 comments
A new missing pet notification service says it's like an Amber Alert for pets. If your pet is lost, the Find Toto.com automated system will broadcast an alert to area residents by telephone. The location where your pet was last seen becomes the center of the calling radius.

I have to say I was a little skeptical before hearing the Find Toto.com automated message because I am one of those people who will automatically hang up when I hear a recorded message. Invariably these auto-dialers are trying to sell me insurance or a cruise or a Republican candidate.

However, I think the Find Toto.com system gets to the point quickly enough to be effective. The message dives right in with the personalized intro: "This is a lost pet alert from your neighbor Celine..." So there's a good chance that someone like me would hear that first sentence and stay on the line.

I can't believe I'm condoning an auto-dialer, but this is auto-dialing for a great cause. This "Pet Amber Alert" system is a technological leap forward from posting flyers, allowing you to proactively get the word out to more people in your local community.

Packages range from $85 to call 250 neighbors up to $875 for 10,000 calls. Although I think their upper-tier pricing is unreasonable, I would definitely use their service if any of my microchipped pets were lost. After all, you can't put a price on family!




Ed Note: I have no connection or affiliation with this service. For the safety of your pets, please consider permanent identification such as a microchip and never leave any animal unattended outside. A cat or dog can escape from a fenced area, and your yard isn't safe from people or other animals who could harm your pet.


Free Shipping on Sturdy Pet Steps from Target

Posted by Humane Future On Monday, June 14, 2010 at 5:26 PM 0 comments

Target.com sells affordable and sturdy carpeted pet steps -- and right now the online retailer is offering free shipping on these items. When I purchased mine, shipping was about $20 per set, so this is a great deal.

I've done a lot of searching for sturdy steps for my aging pets. I found that the 2-stair and 3-stair steps sold by Target offered a nice balance between cost and safety. They are fully carpeted over a wooden base, making them quite sturdy. They don't slip or tip at all with normal use. However, when my 18-pound kitty decides to peel out from the top step, the stairs will slide a bit on tile flooring, but they have never tipped.

The 2-stair steps ($69.99) are the perfect height to help my beagle get up onto the sofa. The 3-stair steps ($79.99 - $89.99) work well for the cats -- they reach the higher level of the bed or the back of the sofa. The only negative I've seen is that the carpet on the side of the steps isn't holding up very well to scratching, so I may try the cedar post version for the cats (which isn't currently part of the free shipping promotion).

I've found that plastic steps and "soft steps" are a complete waste of money because they break, slide or tip too easily. I also prefer stairs with a carpeted stepping surface because they provide better traction for your pet.

If you have an aging or delicate pet, you truly need to invest in pet steps. They enable geriatric or arthritic animals to reach their favorite places without assistance. Pet steps may even save your dog from having a painful accident like a chihuahua puppy I met at the vet's office. He had broken both of his front legs when he tried to jump off a bed. He is fine now, but the incident could probably have been avoided if there were steps available. Even larger breeds can have spine or joint issues that make steps a safer choice versus jumping.


One Strike Equals Death Row for South Florida Dogs

Posted by Humane Future On Monday, June 7, 2010 at 10:03 AM 0 comments

Two dogs are currently on death row in Broward County, Florida for incidents involving the deaths of other dogs. On the surface this may seem like a case of dangerous dogs gone bad, but the situations are not so straightforward.

According to her owners, 10-year-old Husky mix Brandie was being walked on leash when an unattended and unrestrained miniature poodle rushed at her. In a split second, Brandie reacted and the smaller dog was killed.

In Broward County, one incident like this and your dog can automatically be placed on death row. Broward's ordinance is tougher than Florida state law which allows a dog two offenses before receiving the death penalty.

The Dangerous Dogs Ordinance (Section 4-12) states that a Dangerous Dog is a dog that has done the following:


Animal Planet Investigates: Petland

Posted by Humane Future On Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 10:10 AM 0 comments
If you missed the Animal Planet special on Petland, take a look at the video below. It is an overview from the Humane Society of the U.S., the organization responsible for the investigation uncovering the Petland-puppy mill connection.





More videos from the HSUS Channel on YouTube

BP Bumbles with Oil Spill TV Ad: A Message from Tony Hayward

Posted by Humane Future On Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 10:18 AM 0 comments
A pelican drenched in oil blinks his petroleum-slicked eyes as news anchors report a surge in severely oiled birds needing rescue.

During the commercial break, BP's Tony Hayward appears in an ad that cost millions to create and distribute. Apparently BP's PR response is no better than its disaster response.

Instead of donating those millions to directly assist the people and wildlife of the Gulf states, BP decided that crisis communications was a better use of its money. The oil giant has launched a pricey run of print ads and TV commercials to inform us that BP "will make it right."





At least some media outlets are showing sense when it comes to running these BP ads:

Independent News Turns Down Oil Spill Ad:

We received an insertion order from Valassis and Mindshare for a BP Oil Spill ad. I and my staff made the decision that we will not accept the order and turned down the ad.

Here is my fax that I sent to Valassis this afternoon:

The Independent News is declining insertion order # 22240 for British Petroleum. We believe that the oil that is leaking from the Deepwater Horizon Well may destroy the livelihoods of our families, friends and readers and severely impact the quality of life of the entire Gulf Coast.

BP’s monies would be better spent capping the leaks, cleaning up the oil spill and paying the claims of the communities, businesses and citizens hurt by this disaster.

Sincerely,

Rick Outzen, Publisher & Editor
Independent News


Rescuers See Jump in Numbers Sea Birds Oiled by BP

Posted by Humane Future On at 10:02 AM 0 comments

The International Bird Rescue Research Center has seen the numbers of severely oiled birds jump in the last few days.

Read IBRRC Executive Director Jay Holcomb's blog updates about the BP Gulf Oil Spill wildlife rescue effort on the IBRRC Blog.

See more oiled sea bird photos taken by AP Photographer Charlie Riedel.

Photo Credit: IBRRC - Oiled Pelicans


Happy Friday! Wild Foxes Jumping on Trampoline Video

Posted by Humane Future On Friday, June 4, 2010 at 9:18 AM 0 comments
These happy little foxes put a smile on my face. Enjoy!




Australia Sues Japan Over 'Scientific' Whaling

Posted by Humane Future On at 5:36 AM 0 comments
Minke whales are towed up the rear ramp of the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No.2 in the Southern Ocean
Australia is moving forward with an international court case against Japan for abusing their rights under the Whaling Convention.

Humane Society International (HSI), whose lawyers first suggested the idea for this case over 10 years ago, said in a press release, "It is high time the Japanese Government was brought to account for commercially hunting whales in defiance of the global ban. We commend the Australian Government for seeking justice for the whales in The Hague."

Japan first began its program of 'scientific whaling' in 1987 to circumvent the global moratorium on commercial whaling. According to HSI, each year the Japanese government issues scientific permits to kill up to 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, and up to 220 minke whales, 100 sei whales and 10 sperm whales in the North Pacific. The final products of this research program are often found in Japanese markets being sold for a hefty price.

Some governments, including the United States, are
talking of a compromise that could make commercial whaling legal again at the next International Whaling Commission meeting (June 21 - 25, 2010 in Morocco).

With the ongoing protection of whales in doubt, it will be very interesting to see the outcome of the Australian Government's legal efforts at the
International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Thank you for having the guts to stand up for whales, Australia!

Related:



Wisconsin Lab Researchers Could Face Animal Cruelty Charges in Sheep Deaths

Posted by Humane Future On Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 1:45 PM 0 comments
On Wednesday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Amy Smith appointed a special prosecutor to determine whether nine University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers and lab officials should be charged with animal cruelty. Madison lawyer David Geier is the special prosecutor who will decide whether to file criminal charges, issue an injunction to stop the experiments or impose lesser penalties such as fines or citations.

UW researchers and officials were responsible for killing sheep at the university's Diving Physiology laboratory while studying decompression sickness (the bends"). During the experiments, sheep are exposed to compressed air in a high-pressure chamber to simulate physiological conditions during deep sea dives. The legal problem: Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from killing an animal through decompression.

In her 24-page decision, the judge found “probable cause exists that those who decompressed the sheep acted either intentionally or negligently.” She goes on to say, “Evidence strongly suggest the authors knew some sheep would die from decompression, or that there was a substantial and unreasonable risk of such a death.”

Judge Smith also recognized that “To do nothing in response to this petition would unduly depreciate the significance of the alleged misconduct. The allegations are made more serious by the claim that these transgressions have gone on for years, and apparently have become accepted practice in university animal research. To do nothing would, in essence, tacitly allow the university to continue the alleged unlawful practices without sanction.”

Numerous sheep have died over the years, but only four deaths from 2007 and 2008 fall within the three-year statute of limitations.

While conviction on the misdemeanor charge would only result in a few months of jail time, if UW researchers are prosecuted it would only be the second time in U.S. history that animal researchers have been prosecuted for cruelty to animals in a laboratory. The first time was the landmark Silver Spring Monkeys case that resulted from an undercover investigation by Alex Pacheco for PETA.


Robot Fish Could Lead Real Fish to Safety

Posted by Humane Future On at 11:12 AM 0 comments
Photo Credit: Maurizio Porfiri / NYU-Poly
Dr. Maurizio Porfiri, an assistant professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, has created a robotic fish that could have important real-world applications.

In the future, these aquabots could lead real fish to safety if they were threatened by, say... an oil spill.

Porfiri had to research fish leadership dynamics to learn more about how individuals become leaders and how their behavior affects an entire school.

While there have been other robotic fish, this is the first time I have heard of research focused on simulating leadership characteristics -- definitely a technology to watch! Read more at Popular Science

Another interesting project is SHOAL - where researchers are attempting to develop a school of robotic fish that will work together in order to monitor and search for pollution in ports and other aquatic areas.



A new UN report says the world must change the way it eats to relieve pressures on limited resources, combat global warming, decrease pollution and feed a growing population.

The answer? A shift toward a vegan diet and away from animal-based food.

“Animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives. This results in greater environmental impacts,” says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management.

The report goes on to identify agriculture and food consumption as “one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions.”

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: "Animal products cause more damage than construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass [animal products] and crops for animals are as damaging as fossil fuels." (source: The Guardian)

More conclusions from the report:
  • Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions

  • A large proportion of the world’s crops are fed to animals, but the final food product (dairy, eggs, meat) is an inefficient use of resources. The same land and water resources could be directly used to produce plant-based foods that would not be limited by the metabolism of food animals.

  • “Animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.”

  • “… More than half of the world’s crops are used to feed animals, not people. Land and water use, pollution with nitrogen and phosphorus, and GHG emissions from land use and fossil fuel use cause substantial environmental impacts.”

As the global population grows to a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, diets centered around meat and dairy products will be unsustainable. The report concludes that controlling the negative impact of animal agriculture “would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”


Source:
Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials, A Report of the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts of Products and Materials to the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management. Hertwich, E., van der Voet, E., Suh, S., Tukker, A., Huijbregts M., Kazmierczyk, P., Lenzen, M., McNeely, J., Moriguchi, Y. , UNEP (2010)


Cosmic Justice Files: Bullfighter Gored in Throat

Posted by Humane Future On at 4:21 AM 0 comments
Spanish matador Julio Aparicio is carried out of the ring after being gored by a bull during a bullfight. Photo: Domingo Botan
A Spanish Matador who was gored through the throat during a bullfight in Madrid has returned to the hospital. Julio Aparicio is in intensive care due to an infection stemming from wounds he received on May 21, 2010.

Photos and video of the actual goring are almost too stunning to be believed, as the bull’s horn pierces the matador’s throat and emerges from his gaping mouth.

I do feel badly that someone was injured, and I feel very sorry for what his family must be going through.

However, you can’t escape the cosmic justice of the situation. Matadors make their living by torturing animals and, despite all the claims of bravery, it isn’t a fair fight.

Before the matador enters the bullfighting ring, the bull is repeatedly stabbed with spears by men on horseback called Picadores (these horses are regularly injured and killed in the bullring). Only after the bull is crippled by exhaustion and blood loss does the matador enter the ring. The bull, already severely injured, fights for his life as the matador continues the torturous spearing until the bull can take no more and finally dies.

"Traditions" like this should die.

I hope this incident shines a light on the barbaric spectacle of the bullfight and helps anti-bullfighting organizations in their efforts to end this cruelty.

Support the WSPA Campaign to End Bullfighting





Billy Joe Gregg, Jr., 25, a farm worker at Ohio’s Conklin Dairy Farms appeared in court last week, charged with 12 counts of cruelty to animals.

The charges came after the animal welfare group Mercy for Animals released graphic video from a four-week undercover investigation. [View the Undercover Video]

Among other abuses, the footage shows Gregg and fellow workers at Conklin Dairy Farms:
  • Beating cows with crowbars
  • Stabbing cows with pitchforks
  • Kicking "downed" cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck
  • Holding down newborn calves and stomping on their heads

"This is probably the most gratuitous, sustained, sadistic animal abuse I have ever seen. The video depicts calculated, deliberate cruelty, based not on momentary rage but on taking pleasure through causing pain to cows and calves who are defenseless."
- Dr. Bernard Rollin, Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University


Gregg is the first perpetrator to be charged after MFA contacted the City Prosecutor's Office of Marysville regarding the ongoing abuse documented at Conklin Dairy Farms.

The judge issued a $100,000 bond and ordered Gregg not to have any contact with or be in any position as a caregiver for domestic animals.

Each of the 12 charges holds a maximum fine of $750 and is punishable by 90 days in jail. However, according to news reports, this jail time would be served concurrently, meaning that Gregg would only serve 90 days of total jail time. You be the judge: view the video and see if this punishment fits the crime.

If you don’t think 90 days is enough jail time, then please:
  1. Contact your state legislators and demand laws that provide meaningful punishment for cruelty against farm animals. As food animals, livestock and poultry are exempt from what we normally consider cruelty, and this must change.
  2. Contact your federal elected officials and let them know you want legislation passed to make such cruelty against farm animals a federal felony offense.

    FYI: A bill introduced in 2008 during the 110th Congress, the Farm Animals Anti-Cruelty Act (H.R. 6202), would have required the following:

    “[w]hoever, without justification, kills, mutilates, disfigures, tortures, or intentionally causes an animal held for commercial use pain or suffering, or has responsibility for an animal held for commercial use and fails to provide food, water, shelter, and health care as is necessary to assure the animal’s health and wellbeing appropriate to the animal’s age and species,” is subject to penalties of up to one year in jail and/or $100,000 in fines. “Commercial use” would mean “use, or intended for use, as food or fiber or for food or fiber production.”


Gregg is scheduled to appear in court again on June 10 at 8 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Update: Billy Joe Gregg has also been charged with one count of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony.


Emergency & Disaster Plan for your Pets

Posted by Humane Future On Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 7:26 AM 0 comments

Today is the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. I hope that every pet guardian takes this opportunity to prepare a disaster plan and assemble supplies for your entire family. Remember that emergency shelters do not accept pets. You must make alternate plans if your family includes animals.


If an emergency forces you to evacuate your home, you must take your pets with you. When conditions are too dangerous for you to remain, then they are too dangerous for your animal companions.


There will be little or no time to prepare if a natural disaster strikes. By making the following preparations in advance, you will be as prepared as possible for an emergency.


Pet Disaster Preparations:

First Aid Kit

Assemble the following items into a first aid kit for your pets:

  • Sterile Gauze Rolls
  • Self-Adhering Bandage (sticks to itself, requires no tape)
  • Alcohol Prep Pads (to clean instruments and hands)
  • Instant Ice Packs
  • Latex Gloves
  • Antiseptic Solution (to clean wounds)
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Small Flashlight
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Muzzle(s)
  • Name, addresses and phone numbers for your regular vet and a 24-hour animal emergency hospital
  • First Aid Book


Pet Carriers

Make sure that you have appropriately-sized pet carriers for each of your animal companions. If the situation is severe, your animals may have to stay in these carriers for an extended period, so please ensure that they are large enough to be comfortable.


With permanent marker, write each pet's name on their carrier, along with your contact info and that of an emergency contact person. Place a comfortable pad/blanket/towel in the carrier so it is ready to go.



Harnesses and Leashes

Have a harness and leash for each of your pets. When under stress, even the calmest dog or cat may try to run away from you. Harnesses are the safest restraint to use -- be sure to have one available for each animal.



Microchips and Identification

Microchips are a permanent and relatively inexpensive and form of identification. You don’t ever have to worry about them slipping off like an ID collar.


Attach identification and vaccination tags to your pets, including the name and phone number of a friend or family member that is outside of your area.



Food and Water

Make sure that you have enough emergency pet rations for at least two weeks:

  • Pet food
  • Bottled water
  • Bowls (disposable are best in case you don’t have access to safe water for cleaning)
  • Utensils for canned food (disposable are best in case you don’t have access to safe water for cleaning)
  • Manual can opener


Medication

Make sure you have a 2-week supply of any medications that your animal companions are taking. Get this prescription filled now so you have it on hand.



Sanitation and Cleaning

  • Plastic bags (for soiled litter and dog waste)
  • Litter pan, cat litter and litter scoop
  • Disinfecting spray cleaner
  • Paper towels


Pet Info Packet

Assemble a packet of information for each of your pets and place the documents in a ziploc bag. The packet should include:

  • A health certificate with current vaccination information
  • The name, phone numbers (regular and emergency) and address of your veterinarian
  • Current, close-up photographs of your pets (in case your pet should get lost)


List of Pet-Friendly Hotels and Friends

Make a list of hotels that accept pets within a reasonable driving distance. If you have advance warning, as in the case of a hurricane, make reservations and plans to leave as early as possible. If you wait, hotels will be booked up.


Talk with friends and relatives that live outside your immediate area about a reciprocal emergency plan. If you are faced with a disaster, the other party would be able to house your pets until you are on our feet again, and vice versa.



Large Tote Bag

Collect all of the items into a grab-and-go tote bag that will be keep with your pet carriers.


Please collect all of these emergency items as soon as possible and store them together in an easily accessible area of your home. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can assemble necessary items at the time of a crisis. Stay safe!


     

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