Archive for March, 2012

An exciting local prospect for King County Cities

Just announced yesterday from the Seattle Humane Society (via the CanineChat), SHS  is offering to extend its sheltering and adoption services to four cities within King County.  Hopefully SHS’s offer will be considered and accepted and help improve services in these cities.  Additional articles on this topic can be read in KirklandPatch and the Kirkland Reporter.

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Pet Lovers for Obama is pandering?

Finally a political campaign that takes pet lovers seriously.

For as along as I can remember, my love for animals and my interest in helping all types animals avoid suffering is somehow seen as weak.  Somehow, the fact that I love cats, dogs, rabbits, cows, pigs and sheep and care deeply about wild animals and habitat conservation isn’t taken as seriously as my other beliefs in participatory government, the right to free speech, women’s access to health care and promotion of human rights and respect for all people regardless of religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, or political ideology.

The image of an ‘animal lover’ as irrational or unrealistic seems to give other people the right to disregard our thoughts, opinions and judgements as ill-considered or label our decisions as “just because she likes animals so much.”

Yet the truth is that a spectrum of animals lovers, from dog owners to vegans, are scattered throughout our society and, until recently haven’t been noticed by mainstream society as a force to be reckoned with. But why shouldn’t they?  The ideology to protect animals is a closely help belief my many Americans, and is based on our ability to empathize with other beings just like our laws to protect human society.

That’s why I was so “surprised” to see political quibbling resulting from the Obama campaign’s ‘Pet Lovers for Obama‘ that called this sub-campaign simply ‘pandering’ to voters (ref: TheBlaze, The Business Insider).  You can pretty much call any political campaign ‘pandering’ based on the abysmal track record that politicians, in general, have on following through with campaign promises (sometimes through no fault of their own).  So why is “Pet Lovers for Obama” called pandering and “Women for Obama” not?

I think that answer is quite simply that the Obama Campaign thought of it first.  They publicly admitted to Americans that the love you have for animals close to your heart is important, valid and real, and they have confidence in you as a voter to make good decisions.

Whatever your vote in local, statewide or national elections this coming November, please remember that your voice as an animal lover, as a pet owner, and/or as a vegan/vegetarian matters.  Remember to vote.

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A special shout out for help at Pigs Peace

This arrived in my email inbox tonight.  Please spread the word.

Elsie at Pigs Peace

[From email from Pigs Peace]
This picture was taken when Elsie was up for a brief moment to eat and potty.
This sick piglet sleeps over 23 hours a day! laboring every breath.

A man in a pick-up truck on a Washington highway was carrying a crate with piglets. He slammed on his brakes, the crate broke open and, as he made a sharp turn, each piglet fell out onto the highway to be hit by cars and killed. All but one, and she is Elsie!

Another man, who was driving, witnessed all this, stopped traffic to save the piglet, then called and asked to bring her here!!!

Elsie is VERY sick with pneumonia on top of recovering from car accident trauma and an injured leg.

Elsie barely moves as it takes all her energy to breath. It will take a long time to physically recover.

Elsie is terrified of people.

Elsie was chased and caught to be crammed in a crate with others, totally traumatized with falling out of a moving vehicle onto a highway and seeing her siblings killed. Then chased and caught by her “rescuer” to be brought here!

Now Elsie must learn she is safe! This will take many hours of contact by me with medical treatments and intensive nursing care, giving fresh bedding, offering varied and frequent food samplings, cleaning up after her. Elsie will eventually learn she is free from harm and cared for. This will take a lot of work. This is the work of love. This is what we do at Pigs Peace Sanctuary.

Your support of Elsie is a shout out YES for HER life and HER healing!

We can`t do it without you!
Help the pigs

Please help.

Judy Woods
Pigs Peace Sanctuary

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AMONG THE ANIMALS: No bunnies for Easter

Originally published in City Living Seattle

March 12, 2012

Copyright City Living

Did you know that bunny rabbits, the kind we keep as pets, are a separate species from wild rabbits? The domesticated rabbit, oryctolagus cuniculus, is an animal descended from European cousins.

This fact may seem like trivia, but it is an important point in the world of animal welfare because domestic animals are those that require human care to survive and thrive.

As Easter approaches, bunny rescue workers shudder. While baby bunnies are available for purchase at pet stores all year, the urge to “get a bunny for the kids” at Easter suddenly seems stronger.

Sue and a special care bunny

Sue Brennan knows this story too well. She runs Rabbit Haven, a sanctuary outside Gig Harbor, and sees the sad endings for a lot of “Easter bunnies.”

As a child, I had an Easter bunny as well, and his story scarred my soul. The baby bunny came into our lives as an inexpensive pet for a low-income family.

The poor rabbit, like so many Easter bunnies, suffered terribly from the elements, being locked in an outdoor cage most of his life, sometimes with no food or water and scared to death by our dogs.

He spent only a matter of days out of his cage for years before we got him a pen. He was finally killed by a neighbor’s dog.

It’s a decade of tragedy that I wished I could have changed as a child, and I still wish that today.

Bonded rabbits having a nap

Brennan said this is the fate of many Easter bunnies when people or families don’t realize that bunnies need warmth, companionship, love and care for eight to 10 years. They are as big of a commitment as a dog or cat.

“Children can be just as happy with a chocolate or wind-up toy bunny at Easter, and no one suffers,” Brennan said.

Finding perfect homes

The Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) reports a significant spike in rabbit surrenders about one month after Easter, usually doubling their intake of rabbits to about 15 per month.

“People don’t realize that rabbits are considered an exotic pet, and may require more expensive veterinary care than people can afford. As a result, some rabbits that we get in can be in bad shape when they arrive at our shelter,” reported Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) spokesperson Kara Main-Hester.

Main-Hester said this is the reason that SAS provides high-quality veterinary care and special “rehab” time in foster homes for bunnies that need some extra TLC upon arrival.

She said that rabbits should live indoors and be “part of the family.”

There are currently 19 bunnies awaiting adoption at SAS. All rabbits are spayed or neutered.

Rabbit Haven also finds perfect homes for each of its 50 or so adoptable bunnies. Many Rabbit Haven “buns” come from animal-rescue and shelter groups who found the animals as strays or in hording situations.

A safe feral rabbit colony at Rabbit Haven

An unintended consequence of pet-rabbit abandonment is the rise of feral-rabbit colonies in many parks and campuses along the Pacific coast. A section of Rabbit Haven has been made into a permanent home for some 80 feral rabbits rescued from the University of Victoria campus in British Columbia when the school administration was threatening a campus-wide cull on the abandoned pets.

“It is illegal to dump any domestic animal in the wild, including parks and neighborhoods. Rabbits are domestic animals and fall under this regulation,” Brennan explained.

Rabbit Haven volunteers also offer temporary shelter for rabbits owned by servicemen and -women while they are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, knowing they will one day get to reunite bunny and family. Brennan tells the story of one soldier returning from his tour in Iraq whose bunny was so happy to see him that the rabbit literally jumped into the soldier’s arms.

Respected rabbits

The Rabbit Haven barn

When you walk into the Rabbit Haven barn, one gets the impression of a comfy, mountain cabin right in the middle of the woods. A cute, red, wood-burning stove heats the recently constructed building, and the marble floor feels solid under your feet in the entryway. This place is not an animal shelter; it is a temporary home for bunny rabbits, and it feels like that, too.

“These are all recycled or reclaimed materials,” explained Sue Brennan. “Someone was just throwing out the wood stove, and the marble is excess from a construction site.”

The rabbit pens inside the barn

Brennan, a contractor by trade, has a practical sense of what makes up a good bunny barn. Each of the roomy rabbit pens houses two or three rabbits, and the walls are lined with shiny aluminum for easy cleaning.

“I got it from the Boeing surplus yard,” Brennan said. “It’s aircraft-grade aluminum.”

Rabbits painted on the barn walls

Yet, with the added touch of industrial materials, the Rabbit Haven barn is anything but stark. The aluminum-lined walls have been elegantly painted with bunny portraits.

Brennan hopes that Rabbit Haven will serve as a reminder that bunnies need to be treated with care and respect, just like dogs, cats and horses. Pet bunnies are not to be left outside in the elements or abandoned when no longer wanted. Pet bunny rabbits are domesticated to be with humans, share in bunny companionship and live indoors.

To learn more about Rabbit Haven, to donate or to adopt, visit rabbithaven.org.

If you currently have a rabbit that needs appropriate care, visit the House Rabbit Society website at www.rabbit.org.

Seattle Animal Shelter holds a special adoption day for rabbits and critters called Cool City Pets on the third Saturday of every month. Find out more at www.seattle.gov/animalshelter/adoption-events.htm.

CHRISTIE LAGALLY is a freelance pet columnist who manages the website “Sniffing Out Home: A Search for Animal Welfare Solutions” at http://www.sniffingouthome.org.

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The Associated Press listens!

Now, this is what I call covering the news!  The Associated Press, which normally limits their coverage to human related issues and the occasional hording situation or puppy mill exposure, has listened to the plight of dog rescuers in Detroit.

These stories are not uncommon, but are rarely told.  And three cheers for Detroit Dog Rescue!

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Yes, animal welfare solutions do happen!

Reposted from the Best Friends Blog

Historic Ohio legislation spearheaded by Best Friends signed into law today

This morning, Ohio governor John Kasich signed House Bill 14 into law and forever changed the lives of pit-bull-type dogs in Ohio, ending the only statewide breed discrimination in the United States.

What this means in Ohio is local dog wardens will no longer be obliged to kill every pit bull who enters a shelter because the law banning the adoption of pit bulls to the public has been changed. Pit bull owners will no longer be forced to carry punitive insurance policies because their bully-looking dog will no longer be deemed legally vicious just because of his or her appearance.

“This is a great day for these wonderful dogs who have died by the tens of thousands over the years in Ohio just because of the way they look,” says Ledy VanKavage, Best Friends’ senior legislative analyst and the driving force behind the fight to end this longstanding injustice. She adds, “A dog warden was in tears at the signing. She never thought she’d see the day when pit bulls would no longer automatically be killed in Ohio shelters.”

HB 14 replaces the previous breed-based vicious dog law with a graded system based on behavior, not appearance. There are now three categories of problem dog: nuisance, dangerous, and vicious, with sanctions appropriate to the level of aggressive behavior.

Grateful Ohioans are already sending notes of relief and thanks to the governor and lawmakers:

“Thanks so much. We were unfairly ticketed last year as we were walking our dog along a country road. He’s never shown any aggressive behavior toward humans. We were forced to pay $550 for insurance and then had to erect a $1,500 fence to keep him.”

“I adopted a ‘pit bull’ mix last spring. She is the BEST dog ever! I also have a blue tick hound mix and a little collie mix. Most people just looking at my three dogs would believe the AmStaff mix to be the most dangerous out of ignorance of their personalities. My old blue tick and the little collie are actually much more inclined to attack a stranger without warning. My pit bull mix loves everybody … how ironic!”

While the passage of HB 14 represents the end of statewide breed bans, there are still many challenges ahead for these dogs at the local level in some cities and counties around the country where they are rounded up and “deported” or killed. There is still much to do as long as such injustices remain enforced by local laws. Our fight will continue.

A lot of work and grassroots support has gone into this victory. Our sincere thanks goes out to the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and to you, our dedicated supporters in Ohio who made this historic day possible.

Today was a great day for dogs!

Julie Castle
Senior Director, Communications

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