Tuesday, September 6, 2011

IGP’s help sought in missing cats case

Hundreds of pet lovers and animal rights activists will rally outside Bukit Aman this evening to seek Inspector-General of Police, Ismail Omar’s, assistance in recovering 100 missing cats that could be fighting for their lives. The cats are among the hundreds that were left under the care of Petknode, an animal boarding facility in

Damansara Damai, over the week-long Hari Raya Aidilfitri break. The owners returned over the past weekend to discover that their pets had been abandoned for nine days without food or water, and were covered in their own waste. Thirteen of the 300 rescued cats are dead and many more are missing.

Petknode owners, Yushairi Khairuddin and Shahrul Azuwan Adanan, were brought in for questioning on Sunday evening but were released just hours later without being charged. And now they are refusing to reveal the whereabouts of the 100 more missing cats. To make matters worse Sharul’s family reportedly cleaned out the Petknode premises and destroyed the evidence last night.

Over 100 activists and owners stormed the Damansara Damai police station late yesterday evening to demand that the police take immediate action in finding the missing felines and persecuting the duo. Fingers have also been pointing at the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) which has taken over the case.

But lawyer and PKR vice-president N Surendran told FMT that although the DVS is investigating the cruelty charge, the police are still responsible for investigating the missing cats case. “The police are working on some leads but the problem is that the culprits have been released,” he said after joining the group at the police station last night.

“When DVS took over the investigations the police washed their hands off the case and now the men are free to do whatever they want. The two should have been held further.”He added that the distraught group is demanding that the duo be charged with cheating and theft which carry a heavier penalty than a cruelty charge.

“But the Criminal Investigation Department has yet to classify it as such so I hope they do it soon,” he said. “This is a clear cut case of cheating and theft, and we want to see these monsters behind bars.”
“We also want the police to devote their full resources into locating the missing cats hence why we’re trying to meet the IGP later. It’s a race against time to save the cats which may be starving to death.”
Surendran further expressed dissatisfaction with the police for failing to take swift action when the issue first broke on Sunday morning.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shelters struggle to care for dogs and cats in peak months

We thought it might be funny to have a “Vacancy/No Vacancy” neon sign that we could hang out front, letting people know our status of cage availability for new animals coming to the shelter. We wondered if it would make a difference.

Spring and Summer time signals kitten season plus an over-abundance of stray dogs and puppies. Shelters can’t handle the increased volume and it seems like everyone makes decisions in June, July and August to move to places that won’t allow pets or they decide that they can no longer handle pet responsibilities. Or, they decide the outside cat for which they have taken responsibility over months or years needs to go because it keeps having kittens or they are tired of it and it must go now; they can’t wait.

At this time of year we struggle to find the funds to take care of the little ones who are brought to us, we struggle to find the space to put them, and we struggle to control our emotions when they are too sick or too wild. We adopt out two animals and ten more come in. This June and July our cat intake has increased by 38% and dogs by 22%. It feels like we are bailing out a sinking boat without fixing the leak.

Animal shelters did not create the pet over-population problem but we are asked to clean up the mess created by society. That is why we all preach spay/neuter. It is hard to make a case for spay/neuter with people who are only captivated by the cuteness of kittens and puppies and do not understand the consequences of having so many of them. There are also those people who can’t afford to get their pets fixed or think that the stray cat having kittens in their neighborhood isn’t their problem. On the other hand, it would be repugnant for us to show pictures of sick, suffering and dead animals we deal with every kitten/cat season. But, consider this: the mortality rate of kittens born in the wild is estimated to be 50-75% before reaching six months of age and in many shelters it is 80-90%. Spay/Neuter can avoid misery on so many levels.

The Lynchburg Humane Society is committed to fixing the leak- this is another reason we preach spay/neuter and have our new City Cat Fix program where we are providing free spay/neuter services and a rabies shot for outdoor cats.

But spay/neuter isn’t the only thing we preach. It is just as important for owners to be responsible for their pets especially during this very busy time. We do ask owners to wait and to bring their pet in when we have space through our appointment system. We are here to help owners and we offer services such as behavior support and assistance with re-homing their pets, but the Lynchburg Humane Society does not feel we or any other shelter should take in an owned pet just to euthanize another for space reasons.

So, we ask for patience as we work with you to bring your pet in responsibly when we have the space to accommodate it. Of course not everyone can wait and we always bring those in that can’t but for those that are not in dire straits we ask for you to be honest and do what is right for your pet and the others in our shelters. Please continue to work with us to become part of the solution because we know most people want what is best for their pet.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Taipei Zoo's horse whisperer has thing for wild horses

Taipei Zoo officials said Wednesday that the keeper charged with taking care of the zoo's wild horses -- said to be one of the most hard-to-handle species -- has an uncanny knack for dealing with the animals.

Przewalski's horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), commonly known as the Asian wild horse or the Mongolian wild horse, is known to be feisty and even routine checkups, vaccinations and medical treatment can be fraught with difficulty, the officials said.

Senior keeper Hu Chung-yuan, however, who has 13 years of experience, has a thing for handling the zoo's horses and can approach every one of them, with the exception of the oldest stallion. Hu recalled that he was once kicked when he tried to stop two stallions fighting. The next day, his assailant lifted its leg to him, which Hu said he took as a gesture of apology.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doggie day-care opens in Wangara

DOG lover Carol Spencer is capitalising on people’s love of pets through her new business Paws at Play dog day-care centre in Wangara. Pet services are part of a successful industry, with results from the Coles Pet Survey released earlier this year showing that, on average, West Australians spend more than $65 a month on their pets.

Ms Spencer said the centre, due to open today, was like children’s day-care, but for four-legged friends. “A lot of people are choosing not to have kids, so their pets become like their children,” Ms Spencer said.

She said the service would be for pampered pooches as well as bored dogs that ended up digging up the garden when they were home by themselves too much. Ms Spencer said the service was cage-free and gave dogs an opportunity to spend a day playing and socialising. While Melbourne and Sydney have had doggy day-cares for years, the idea is still relatively new in Perth.

Ms Spencer said when she applied to the council it did not initially have a classification for her type of business, but the City of Wanneroo created a separate classification. The centre is in a warehouse and has an outdoor area with grass, sandpits and paddling pools.

Ms Spencer said all dogs who visited the centre would be temperament tested and would have to be sterilised, vaccinated and more than four months old. The centre will also offer dog-grooming services.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Black Horse Carriages of Cartmel trotted into the Old Vicarage residential home in Allithwaite to take the older people on a 10-minute jaunt around the surrounding Allithwaite lanes. Sheila Ramsbottom, 80, said: “It was super. I could’ve kept going round and round. It was beautiful.

“I love horses and my husband did. I used to ride a bit when I was younger.”Malcolm Wilson, 93, said: “It was very good, very nice. It’s my first time in a carriage more or less.”

Also among the people to enjoy a ride was 99-year-old Alice Foster – a resident at the Vicarage Lane home for 12 years. She is due to turn 100 in December and used to help all her fellow residents by doing jobs around the home such as sewing, making curtains and taking up hems of dresses.

Pippa Whitehead, the home’s new activities co-ordinator, said: “We’ve organised it because I’ve just taken over doing the activities here and lots of the residents are a bit infirm and they don’t go outside, so we’re trying to bring different activities to them which are going to engage and motivate them. “I had seen the horses around the village and they looked spectacular, and thought it would be something a bit different and something the residents could all do from their front door.

“We’re trying to follow what the residents’ hobbies were when they were at home and to incorporate them into what we do here. “The owner’s mantra is they should be treated as you would want your parents to be treated, which is how we operate here.”

Other summer activities have included a strawberry tea party for the entire community, and a tea dance will be held at the end of the month. An art therapist visits once a week and there is a film club, craft and gardening activities ongoing. Owner Barbara Siddiqi said of the horses’ visit: “It’s lovely. It will take them back. It definitely takes me back.”

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Vets worried about shortage of heartworm medicine for dogs

The company that sells the only FDA approved medicine to treat adult heartworm in dogs has announced its manufacturer has halted production leaving veterinarians with few boxes on the shelves and concerns about what to do if they see multiple cases.

Earlier this month, Merial, a veterinary product company, said it is nearly out of the heartworm medication Immiticide and is urging veterinarians to only place orders for the most severe cases.

Most vets have only a few treatments of the drug stockpiled and worry about what they will do if they see multiple cases.

Although vets are concerned, they say Colorado receives fewer cases of mosquito-borne heartworms than many other states and most see only a few cases a year.

"So it's a concern at this point but it's not an emergency so it's not something people should be panicking about and it's something that hopefully won't be a problem at all," Urban Vet Care Veterinarian Dr. Naomi Weber said.

There are alternative treatments to Immiticide, including antibiotics and surgery but those options can be more costly for owners and more dangerous for a dog's health.

Veterinarians urge preventative care and medicines and because of the lack of symptoms associated with heartworms they recommend people have their dogs tested at least once a year.

Merial has not given an exact date on when it may get a new manufacturer to make the drug, but it says it could be at least several weeks before restrictions on orders are lifted.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dr. Madalyn Ward, DVM, Offers Advice On Horse Care & The Heat;Humidity

First, you should calculate the temperature-humidity index( THI) and all you do is add the air temperature, in degrees F., to the percentage of humidity, for example, if the air temperature is 80 degrees F., and the humidity is 60%, the THI is 140. When the THI gets to 150, your horse might have trouble cooling off. A THI of 180 and you should NOT work your horse at all and take immediate action to cool him down!

Another thing you can do is check your horse`s temperature. Their normal body temperature should be between 99.5 and 100.5, but can reach 103 or 104 during exercise and workouts. If your horse`s temperature gets to 105, he is in danger of being overheated and may suffer chronic or permanent damage.
If his temperature is above 105, your horse will be suffering from heatstroke, and will need to get to a vet (or vet-called out) immediately!

Some things you can do to prevent overheating is to provide plenty of cool water as a horse at rest will consume at least 10 gallons or more a day. Avoid automatic waterers as they only let the horse sip, not gulp the water. Provide a well-ventilated shade/stall and put a fan in the stall to keep the air moving. Always cool your horse before and after workouts by hosing him off with cool water.

Don`t bathe horses who have trouble sweating, but rather, sponge them with air-temperature water mixed with a liniment like Sore No More. Provide the right horse feed and research what are considered ‘heated feeds’ as well as you don`t want to feed a lot of hay during hot weather as this will make your horse even hotter, because of the digestive process.

Try adding Simplexity Health or Pro-Bi to help their tummy and also try cooling foods, like apples, citrus foods, barley grass, lemon balm, fresh peppermint or cilantro. Also consider your horse`s fitness and environment as well-conditioned horses will do better in hot, humid weather than out-of-shape horses.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dog Grooming at an Affordable Price

It cannot be denied that visiting dog grooming stores on a regular basis can be very expensive for people. Everyone cannot afford to spend a large amount of money on dog grooming. However, people should also know that it is not necessary to take your dog to dog groomers for looking good. Basis procedures which are included in dog grooming can be easily done by people at home. Dog groomers charge good amount of money for their services. If you can’t afford to visit dog groomers for making your dog look good then you should know about how to groom your dog by yourself.

Cutting a dog’s hair and making him bath are two most important procedures for grooming a dog. Basic trimming of dog’s hair can be easily done by people at home. Before you cut the hairs of your dog you should be having hair brush, dog hair clippings, dog hair dryer, scissors for cutting dog’s hair, a broom and a dust pan to carry dog’s hair. In order to ensure that any kind of debris does not get stuck in the hairs of dog, people need to trim their hairs. Dogs having long hairs are more likely to get things stuck in their hairs. It may cause several hygiene related problems.

Bathing a dog is easier because you need to bath a dog once in a month or once in two or three months. It is not important to make your dog bath everyday unless you have a reason to do so. You can use a tub which is purchased specifically for the purpose of dog bath. People may also go to dog grooming centers for dog bathing. If your dog gets a bath from someone else then you need to pay more. In case, you wish to spend less money, you can choose to bath your dog with your hands. Many of the dog grooming centers offers a place where people can bath their dogs by themselves.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Are You Prepared For A Pet Miniature Donkey?

While a lot of people would love to have a miniature donkey as a pet, not everyone should have one. The fact is they are not as easy as they seem. Yes, they are docile and loving creatures, but they do require a lot of care.

First, you have to understand that one miniature donkey is not going to do too well on their own. They are a breed of animal that does better in a herd. What this means is that if you are going to adopt one, you should adopt two, so they have a companion.

Even though the donkey is small, it does require a lot of room to run, play, and exercise. Not having ample room can lead to an obesity problem, shortening the life of the animal. If you do not have the adequate room available, do not get one as a pet.

You also have to consider the cost of caring for this animal. Like a horse, they will need regular check ups and vaccinations, as well as constant foot maintenance. Unless you are prepared to spend the money on its care, you should abstain from getting one as a pet.

Last, you have to think about the environment. Donkeys do not like dogs and, if there are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood or you have some of your own, you will find the donkeys will always be stressed.

Even though the miniature donkey is a loving creature that is playful and makes a wonderful pet, they are not for everyone. Before you go out and make a commitment, be sure you have the proper knowledge to care for one, as well as the finances.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Horse Care and Natural Grazing

Often the most convenient routine for horse owners today, especially if they board their horses at a stable, is turning the horse out all day and bringing them into a stall at night. The horse can be turned out late or brought in early for riding sessions. It is also suitable if supplemental feedings are required as part of your horses care. This arrangement allows plenty of freedom for the horse. Horses need to spend some of their time out of their stalls so they may freely move and do some "self exercising".

Horses are designed to spend the majority of their time grazing. To some degree a herd situation can be replicated if they are turned out together with other horses. Horses enjoy natural grazing. This should not be overlooked as we care for our horses.

When making the choice for the pasture for our horses grazing care should be given to the lay of the land. Ideally it will be flat but a slight slope will allow for better drainage. If a pasture is chosen that has a steep slope it will offer a more intense work out for your horse during the grazing time.

Ideally the grazing pasture will contain a properly designed field shelter even if your horses are stabled at night. But a good thick hedge can also take care of the horses shelter needs. This will offer the horses protection from unexpected storms or prevailing winds.

Land drains may be needed to take care of places that are wet areas in the horse pasture. If the soil is clay drainage will be even more important. Land drains are channels of gravel or pieces of pipe that are laid just under the surface. These drains will take up excess water until it can empty on its own.

A water trough should be placed where it is easily accessible for the horses. It must be kept clean and full with fresh water. It will also need to be kept free from ice in cold weather. As dry a place as possible should be selected to place the water trough to take care of the water needs for the horses. If the area around the trough is not dry it can be layered with bark chips or something else safe for horses to give them a dry place to stand as they drink.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Who To Get To Help With Your Horse Care

Horses need care 365 days a year. This is a massive commitment for anyone and during the normal course of everyday living, isn't always achievable. Nearly all of us have holidays whether its 1 day or 2 weeks, we are all susceptible to becoming ill or having an injury and we also have a life around our horses, be it work, family or friends. This means at some point we are going to need help from someone in caring for our horses.

You could ask for help from friends, family or other horse owners but what happens if something goes wrong. Is your family member aware of the subtle signs of colic and what happens if your friend becomes ill or tied up at work and can't make it to your horse? Who will cover the vets bill or insurance excess if your horse is injured while in the care of someone else? Because our horses are so important to us these ‘what if's' could leave even the best of relationships frayed. So why risk it?

Rather than putting the big responsibility of your horse onto a friend and risking a friendship, why not consider using a professional horse care company or person to care for your horse. This way no friendships are risked, your horse will always be cared for when you require and should anything go wrong there is sufficient insurance in place.

Using an outside person to care for you horse is a concern to most horse or yard owners as you don't know who you are employing, their experience, if they are competent, trustworthy or even if they are going to turn up at all. All of these concerns are justified and thorough checks should be carried out before employing anyone to care for your horses.

Employing a groom
Using a professional horse sitting or freelance groom company rather than an individual person can help eliminate these concerns. A professional horse care company who bases it reputation on competent and reliable grooms cannot afford to send grooms who are not capable of the duties required by the horse owner. Therefore the company will already have done most of the checks you should carry out before employing a groom. It is still advisable you ask the individual groom for references from previous clients.

A professional horse care company will be able to assist larger equestrian yards such as riding schools or livery yards as well as private or professional hunt, polo, dressage yards etc. If your usual yard staff or groom is on holiday, ill or even if you're looking for temporary or a long-term regular groom using a professional horse care company will take away a lot of the time and resources you spend on advertising and interviewing.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dog Care Basics

The opportunity to care for a pet makes for a very fulfilling activity and can bring about plenty of fond memories. A pet is a companion that is able to listen unflinchingly, brings joy when you're feeling down, and provides a great degree of loyalty all throughout its life. No wonder pets have always been one of the perfect means of reducing stress levels among people.

Dogs and cats have always been on the top of the list of favorites among people of all ages. This discussion is focusing on dogs and the correct means of dog care. Dogs share a pack mentality with a strong bond for its owner. The dog has been labeled as man's best friend. This is due to the fact that dogs have consistently shown a great, and sometimes sacrificial, form of loyalty for their owners putting to shame even fellow human beings. Proper care and plenty of love will ensure a happy environment for the dog and the family.

Dog care begins while the dog is still a puppy. Making the decision to care for a puppy is a big responsibility. Dog owners are expected to raise their dogs with the right love and care so as to instill good and desirable traits. It is totally unacceptable to be negligent just because of a lack of interest. Too many sad stories of abandoned dogs have already been going around.

A puppy is given proper dog care by teaching it to know who the family members are and house training. Positive reinforcement plays an integral role in instilling discipline and proper dog care. Harsh methods only make things worse and do little in teaching pups to be well-behaved.

Feeding is a very crucial element of dog care. Feeding times should be kept as constant as possible. Since a puppy is in the growing stage, proper nutrition is extremely important. Feeding times slowly get reduced as the puppy grows older. Clean water should always be readily available at all times.

Puppies will inevitably cause accidents with their droppings. Potty training will serve to teach the pup where to properly relieve itself as long as it is done properly. It is this aspect of pet care that some people actually find very tedious yet this is part of the responsibility in dog care. A dog cannot be expected to pick up afterward after all.

If possible, avoid the use of spanking as a means of discipline. Dogs want to win your approval and desire nothing but to please so be patient when they make mistakes. A firm "No" is enough to keep the dog in check. Rewarding of good behavior will hasten the dog's learning so be consistent with this as well.

Dog care is very much similar to raising a human baby. Proper instruction and love will let a dog grow up as a loving member of the family. A faithful dog is able to give much of itself without expecting anything but your approval.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Pet Care Tips: Where Are Dogs Allowed?

Pet Care Tips: Where Are Dogs Allowed?When taking pups out for a walk, most people assume that they must drag their furry friends along the same tired path every day, as if routine were somehow required. While people often appreciate a steady routine, no one likes monotony, least of all the tenacious and curious mind of a household pet. Trainers are now recommending that you introduce your dog to new people and places to encourage comfort with strangers as well as stave off boredom. One way of introducing your dog to new environments, and give them a coveted car ride, is to bring them along while running errands and shopping.

This is, of course, easier said than done. If you thought it was difficult having kids along at the salon or drugstore, pets would be murder, right? Not necessarily. Pet owners everywhere are finding that, more often than not, stores are welcoming leashed pups with open arms. In the twenty first century, you don’t have to be a guide dog to enjoy a day at the mall or night on the town.

Stores like Petsmart and Petco have, of course, always enjoyed pets of all kinds roaming down their well-stocked aisles. But where else might a dog or cat stray? While Home Depot was once pet friendly, rules have changed, banning pets of all shapes and sizes. Chains like Starbucks and most restaurants won’t allow pets due to sanitary and health reasons, so a good rule of thumb is to never expect any establishment that serves food to accommodate your beloved pet.

There are, however, several pet-friendly chains. Barnes and Noble booksellers, for instance, welcomes dogs, despite animal illiteracy rates. Anthropologie, Bebe, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Foot Locker, and Gap (in certain metropolitan areas) all allow dogs to help their caretakers select the most aerodynamic pair of running shoes or flattering dress. Crate and Barrel allows polite pups to shop, as does the Pottery Barn.

Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street’s Tiffany’s welcomes diamond-minded dogs to stop in for a shiny treat. And Bergdorf Goodman’s and Polo Ralph Lauren invite canines to accompany their humans for a delightful afternoon stroll through bags and blouse galore.

There are plenty of stores, chain and otherwise, that don’t mind a well-behaved dog trotting down their aisles. The important thing for pet owners who don’t want to leave canine friends behind is to call ahead and make sure that their dog is welcome in a store. Global Animal also encourages caretakers to be considerate—while an individual employee may enjoy your dog, it’s not nice to expect your local café to embrace the sanitary and safety risks that come with allowing animals on the premises.

Dogs are highly intelligent and friendly creatures. Along with love and affection, they need a change of scenery every now and then. Having your dog tag along on short trips will give him the experience he’ll need to stay happy and healthy.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to take care of pet Horse

How to take care of pet HorseIf you have decided to purchase a new horse then you must know that taming a horse require a great deal of responsibilities. Like other pets, horses require proper care and attention. If you are a beginner then you need to take a great care for a horse. So for beginners some effective horse care tips will help you them to keep their pet horse strong and active. Some of the basic horse care tips are mentioned below that will help you in keeping pet horse healthy.

Basic horse care tips: 1. Pet horse barns: it is important for horse owner to provide comfortable and safe barns to his horse in order to make him feel comfortable. Make sure that the barn you build for your horse is comfortable as horse have to spend his whole day there. The barn should be large enough in size so that your horse can relax and clam there. Horse barns can be constructed in several ways but it wholly depends on the ability and interest of the owner to construct and maintain it. You can also provide bedding in the barn so that you can rest. You will amaze to see that proper rest to horse can work wonders for your horse. It is important for horse owners to clean the horse barns regularly in order to prevent your pet form getting ill.

2. Pet horse feed: The amount of food your horse requires totally depends on following things -size, breed, age, and activity of the pet horse. Generally, a 100 pound of horse needs 2 to 2.2 pounds of food per day. Some of things that you can serve to your pet horse are hay, pasture, Concentrates and Beet pulp pellets. Add wheat germ oil, vegetable oil, alfalfa to your pet horse’s diet as it contains octacosanol which helps to provide strength and stamina to the horse. Make sure that you stick on that diet which works for well for your horse. If you want to make any changes in your pet horse diet than start it slowly as horse needs some time to adopt new food. If the food you serving to your pet is making him ill than consult veterinarian.

3. Maintain horse’s first aid kit: For making your pet horse active and healthy, you need to monitor his activities regularly. Therefore, it is important for horse owner to maintain proper first aid kit for his horse. At times Veterinarians reside far away from your place or you are unable to respond to a call right away, so horse owners must have a basic knowledge to handle a sick horse on their own.

4. Pet horse grooming: It is important for horse owner to groom their horses regularly in order to prevent them from getting ill. You can use scrubber, soap, shampoo and conditioner to groom your horse. Check whether the products suit your horse or not. Just like you, your horse too, needs such products to be fit and fine.

The above mentioned basic horse tips will help you to ensure that your horse is well cared for. The horse owners should regularly take their horse to a veterinarian for regular checkups.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Cat Care and Grooming

Cat Care and GroomingMost cats are surLinkely clever of cleaning themselves. Proper cat care and grooming is essential in order to avoid fleas and ticks making their home on your cat. You need to purchase proper cat care and grooming tools in order to make your activity a lot easier and more important. You will need a brush and comb set, scissors and a cat glove. Conserving the hair neat is one way to keep your cat in good condition.

The best way to achieve the desired results is to comb and trim the hair on a regular basis. use a brush with a number of tiny pins for tidying up your cat's coat. For easier brushing, make sure the head is comparatively small. Brushing your cat in the direction of hair growth is the correct process. If you don't do this, you may receive plenty of scratches from your angry cat.

An important part of cat care and grooming is that you have to give them a bath from time to time. Select a shampoo made for cats that will produce a admirable lather. It should also make your cat more agreeable by stopping dry, chafed skin.

Making certain that your cat doesn't get matted, knotty hair is another vital part of cat care. If your cat's hair is long, trim it on a regular basis using proper grooming tools along with a comb. Your cat has delicate skin, so take care not to cut or scratch it by mistake.

Not only will shedding be diminished, but brushing will be less difficult and smoother via the use of cat grooming gloves. Find a pair that can be washed in the machine. You can also use it to get cat hair out of your upholstery and carpet. The difference between a well-groomed, healthy cat and one with tangled, matted hair can be the proper equipment. The tools you use for cat care and grooming should be utilized in a way that makes the experience calm and pleasant for your cat.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Components of Proper Dog Care

The Components of Proper Dog CareDogs have often be referred to as man’s best friend. Dogs should be taken care of just like we take care of our children. Caring for a dog takes a lot of responsibility. To be healthy and free of disease, proper dog care must be applied. Since our dogs are loyal companions, we must provide them with the essentials of proper dog care.

They need to be provided with water, healthy food, exercise and we shouldn’t forget veterinary checkups and their vaccinations. Dog owners who need more information on proper dog care and tips for having a happy and healthy dog, books on dog care offer a lot of great information for maintaining our dog’s health. The owners themselves need to show their dogs how much they care, just as our dogs offer unconditional love to us.

Daily Dog Care Needs: Food and water are the most obvious everyday need. The dog food the owners feed their dog should be high in protein. Natural dog food is the best choice. Regular bathing and grooming helps to keep them free of fleas and ticks. To keep them smelling fresh, they should be bathed weekly. Dog grooming is a bonding experience between the dog and his or her owner, plus this also emphasizes the owner’s authority over the dog. The grooming and hair brushing helps to relax your dog, and they enjoy it much like petting. Don’t brush too fast; Slow steady strokes are best.

Vitamins are also an important part of dog care. For shin ailments, vitamin E can help cure them. Vitamin E oil applied to the skin can help relieve dry skin. Natural and conventional ways of giving proper dog care can save the owner money. Yogurt contains acidophiles, which is good for your dog just like it is to humans. However, their are some factors that can be harmful to pets, so you should consult with your veterinarian before doing so.

Supplies For Dog Care: Provisions for dog care are classified as basic, pampering and functional. Fundamental dog care supplies are comprised of leashes,grooming kits, a bed or sleeping pad, a dog house or kennel and especially food. Doors, fences and gates are not only practical, but functional as well. Toys, massage oils and treats make up a pampering kit for your dog.

A dog bed or sleeping pad is an essential basic supply, as it helps to keep the dog’s bones healthy and strong. Some pet stores carry supplies such as training equipment and can make it easier for your dog to follow. Some dog available collars are made to punish dogs if their behavior is inappropriate.
Kennels come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. When choosing one for your dog, choose one that is spacious enough so your dog can move around. Grooming kits are also available in a variety of options as well. Some of the included products are nail clippers, shampoos, combs, brushes, and conditioners. Supplies for good hygiene are available as well for the best dog care the owner can give.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Colleyville Animal Clinic Minimizes Pet Care Efforts

Pet owners are always concerned about the health and hygiene of their pets. Providing the best possible care to loving pets is a top priority. In order to reduce their pet care worries, they look for dedicated pet care clinics. Colleyville Animal Clinic in Colleyville is minimizing the pet care efforts of pet owners with their excellent pet care services.

Colleyville Animal Clinic (the Colleyville, TX based animal clinic) is a full-service animal care center. Thousands of pet owners in Colleyville, Bedford, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, and nearby cities have complete trust in veterinary services offered by Colleyville Animal Clinic. The clinic offers basic animal care, emergency animal care, as well as preventative animal care services. In addition, the location also offers pet boarding, grooming services, and surgical care.

Colleyville Animal Clinic ensures peace of mind for pet owners by offering them comprehensive animal care services. Be it vaccination of pets, periodic health checkup, or common illness issues, the veterinary experts at Colleyville Animal Clinic take care of everything.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Bunny is Not a Pet

Parents: Beware of the Easter Bunny. Don't give children pets as Easter presents, says Adam Goldfarb, director of the Humane Society's "Pets at Risk" Program. He says generally, people have gotten the message about pets with feathers – but with bunnies, not so much.

"We don't see an issue as much with the chicks and the baby ducks as we used to, but it's definitely still an issue with the rabbits."Animal welfare experts say rabbits aren't as docile as they look, and they may even bite. So, while parents think they might be fulfilling a young child's dream of owning a cuddly bunny, there's a definite downside.

"They might have a very 'cute' Easter – but unfortunately, the novelty of having a rabbit and the reality of caring for them long-term, kind-of wears off."He urges parents to do some research so they have a realistic idea of what to expect if they decide to have a rabbit join the family. Some consider them "high-maintenance" pets, and they often live more than ten years.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Take care of your pets and the planet

According to the American Pet Products Association, we’re going to spend more than $50 billion on our pets this year. And we expect to get the best quality products for those dollars.

In fact, pets are so much a part of the American family that the 2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act, designed primarily to protect children, included language that required the Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations for pet food quality.

That’s how serious we are about the well-being of our pets. So it’s of no surprise that animal lovers end up as product developers, and the products they develop are in line with our other concerns – sustainability and safety.

Sustainability takes into consideration not just the well-being of the pet, but by extension, the well-being of the planet. A good example of that is the proliferation of handy doggy-do collection products that keep our sidewalks and beaches clean, PCB-free water bowls, and even poison-free wormers.

Add to that list the high quality cleaning products that protect the health of our pets and the health of the planet at the same time. There’s no doubt there are cleaning products on the market that do a tremendous job and leave your house smelling of pine or citrus – but savvy pet owners expect more these days and they know that some of those products can actually harm their pets.

Since pets (and infants) are closer to the floor, they breathe in much more of the chemical gases put off by chemical cleaners. Pets are also much more sensitive to scent and their nasal membranes can be burned or otherwise insulted by scents we may perceive as “pretty.” For those reasons, pet owners usually avoid cleaners with strong chemical or even natural smells, which can irritate nasal passages and eyes. Chemical cleaners may also stick to a pet’s feet and be ingested when the animal cleans its paws. So, although citronella (citrus odor) works well as a natural insect repellent and is often used both in shampoos and in bug sprays for horses, it is far too strong a scent for use on cats or ferrets. Many cat owners also testify that cats will avoid entire rooms if they have been cleaned with orange or citronella-scented chemicals. A low or no-scent biodegradable cleaner is best for sensitive noses. For instance, a simple vinegar and water solution will clean tiles and glass – and has the added benefit of repelling ants. Other recommended products include natural enzyme cleaners such as Pure Ayre, Nature’s Miracle and Bissell products such as Yecch, Ewww, and Crikey — all available at The Pet Works in Astoria.

“Pet owners are absolutely aware of these natural enzyme cleaners,” said Nick Thompson, manager of The Pet Works. “It’s often also the only way to break down the odor and get it completely removed to prevent remarking.” Other products such as BioKleen products for all cleaning applications can be purchased online, and many pet products purchased both from independent dealers like J.R. Watkins, Shaklee or Amway and in chain stores such as Walmart are pet- and environment-friendly. Other recommended cleaner brand names include Seventh Generation, Begley’s Best, Murphy’s Oil Soap and Mrs. Meyer’s. Some have pine and citronella scents, so know your pet’s sensitivity.

Parents choose no-tears shampoos for their infants, and once a pet owner realizes how delicate the nose and eyes of their pet can be, they will want equally gentle products for pet shampooing.

That’s why The Pet Works sells a lot of Paul Mitchell pet products, Thompson said. “They are soap- and detergent- free and rinse clear really, really well and are tested on humans first!” In fact, in the big dog-wash area inside The Pet Works, where pets from dogs to ferrets to even pygmy goats are washed, you will find 10 different shampoos and conditioners – all detergent- and chemical-free.

Cat owners should note that otherwise beneficial natural oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus can be poisonous to cats should they lick it off their fur, and can even be painful when in contact with a cat’s skin. Thompson recommends LaSalon “Soothe” for cats – which is soap-free and rinses clean.

Pet owners need to be alert when they go out to play, too. Pets who go out of doors can track in even worse chemicals than cleaners – weed killers and pesticides. Even a small amount of pesticide can result in a fatal dose. Although commercial chemicals can be safely applied in pet areas if proper mixing and application methods are used, many pet owners prefer to look for natural weed and pest killers. A good place to start looking for safe pesticides is ecosmart.com. Needless to say, a pet running through a sprayed field, or walking through a sprayed area, may also pick up a dangerous pesticide dose. Farm dogs especially should be kept close to home during crop or weed spraying.

Dog owners who walk with their pets down roadsides should also keep an eye out for evidence of roadside spraying and keep their pets away from those areas.

By exercising this caution, an expression of your love, pets can be protected from harmful chemicals they may pick up on their feet or breathe in. If proper nutrition is also maintained, they also will be more resistant to disease and allergies.

For many years, a number of pet owners sought out feed products for dogs and cats that had more grains – not just because of a personal desire to “go vegetarian” but also because it seemed a more sustainable and safer option than feeding meat products which were not subject to the same quality standards as those eaten by people.

However, animal nutritionists and veterinarians have discovered that many dogs and cats simply got fat on the grains and some were actually allergic to certain grains. As a result, many new lines of pet food have been formulated to provide pets with the optimal balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates while avoiding the most common allergens. While cats and dogs are not naturally vegetarian, a pet in a vegetarian household can safely share the family commitment to eat vegetarian with a little special shopping. Just two examples of healthy all-vegetarian pet food are Natural Balance brand (available at The Pet Works in Astoria), which provides vegetarian food for dogs; and Ami and Evolution brands, which produce vegan cat food. Check with your vet for recommendations.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pet shop owner busted after cops find five dogs & cats in her freezer, dozens more sick and hungry

A pet shop owner in Florida has been charged with animal cruelty after police found a dead and sickly pets throughout her home and shop, including several frozen in her freezer.

In all, cops rescued 26 pets - dogs, cats, a rabbit, a bird and a hedgehog -- on Monday from the Palm Beach home and shop of Debora Van Oort, owner of Forever Puppies. They also discovered five dead cats and dogs frozen in her freezer, two dead dogs in her shop and dozens of sickly, starving animals roaming around her apartment.

Police conducted the search after finding two dead golden retrievers at Van Oort's shop, which had no air conditioning or heat, police said. Necropsies revealed that the dogs hadn't eaten for days, authorities said.

After seizing 12 animals from the shop, including dogs, cats and a rabbit, cops raided Van Oort's home, where they found one cat that looked like a walking skeleton and several dogs in cages and caked in feces, according to The Palm Beach Post. Investigators pulled 14 more animals from her hovel, plus the five frozen corpses in the freezer, police said.

The hedgehog was the only one that appeared to have food and water, according to the Post. Animal control officials said that Van Oort was known to "stockpile" animals at her home and had run into trouble with animal authorities in the past.

One of her shops, Top Shelf Puppies, was nailed in the past for importing animals from large Midwestern puppy mills, a pet industry term for dirty, poorly run breeding farms, according to the Post.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pet insurance surges as vet costs rise

Elizabeth Brown spared no expense in seeking treatment for Maggie, her yellow Labrador retriever who was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Radiation treatments and surgeries added up to more than $4,200 before Maggie died in 2008. The experience prompted Brown, who is retired and lives in south St. Louis County, to buy a pet health insurance policy for $90 a month when she later brought home a puppy named Caramel.

Faced with the increasing price of medical care, more pet owners are now pulling out insurance cards when visiting the veterinarian's office. Pet health insurance has been available in the United States for nearly 30 years, but expanded veterinary treatments and changing attitudes toward the family pet have bolstered the number of policies over the last decade, even during the economic downturn.

"The humanization of pets is driving it, as people are more likely to treat pets as four-legged members of their family," said Grant Biniasz, a spokesperson for VPI Pet Insurance based in Brea, Calif., the largest pet insurance provider in the nation.

The growth has drawn several new insurance providers into the market in recent years, including St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare. The company started its PurinaCare insurance subsidiary in 2008 and has since expanded coverage to all 50 states.

Pet insurance has grown at a glacial pace in the U.S., but it has gained speed in the last decade. Three percent of the nation's 78 million dogs and 1 percent of its 93 million cats are now covered, according to a recent American Pet Products Association estimate. That's up from 1 percent of dogs and virtually no cats covered in 1998.

How much could this industry grow? Insurance has gained wider acceptance in some European countries, such as the United Kingdom, where 20 percent of pets have policies, and Sweden, where it's estimated at least 30 percent of pets are covered, according to New York-based research firm Packaged Facts.

PurinaCare believes that eventually 10 percent of U.S. pets will be covered by insurance. Changes in people's social support systems — higher divorce rates, fewer children and people living farther away from their families — has helped drive this trend, said James Serpell, a veterinary ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.

"We're using animals to replace what we're losing in human social relationships," he said. With that evolution, pet owners now expect medical care for their pets to match medical care for themselves. "People ask now, 'Why can't my dog get dialysis?' People increasingly think health care they get from their vets should be like what they get for their children," Serpell said.

Yet, veterinary care isn't cheap. It's second only to food in the amount people spend on pets. Of the $50 billion expected to be spent this year on pets, $14.11 billion will be for vet bills, up from $13 billion last year.

GROWING MARKET: In 1982, VPI Pet Insurance issued the first pet insurance policy in the United States. VPI has long dominated the industry, but it has lost market share in recent years as more providers emerged. VPI had 52 percent market share in 2009, according to Packaged Facts, down from 68 percent in 2005.

"They sort of had the party to themselves until 2004-2005, when new companies started entering the market with new plans and pitches," said David Lummis, senior pet market researcher for Packaged Facts. The number of pet insurance providers in the nation doubled over the last decade from six to a dozen in 2010.

Among the newcomers is Nestlé Purina. After studying the pet insurance market for three years, the company felt it could be competitive by drawing on its experience and research in pet health.

According to company executives, a void existed in the market for people to access information about what pet policies covered. Nestlé Purina posts copies of its policies online for customers to view. The potential exists for Nestlé Purina, which is owned by Swiss-based Nestlé, to grow its insurance business globally.

"Other Purina subsidiaries around the world have expressed interest in pet insurance, but our current focus is limited to the North American market," said Dr. David Goodnight, a veterinarian and president of PurinaCare, based in San Antonio.

Nestlé Purina wouldn't disclose PurinaCare's revenue or market share. But Packaged Facts estimates it has less than 1 percent of the North American pet insurance market. Pet insurance revenue in North America totaled $354 million in 2009, up from $310 million in 2008, according to a Packaged Facts estimate.

The emergence of a global consumer products conglomerate of Nestlé's size in the pet insurance market is a sign of the market's strength and growth potential, Lummis said. "Nestlé Purina is a very cautious, conservative company, and they really look before they leap," he said.

Its rivals include pet retailer PetCo and the financial services division of grocery chain Kroger. There's speculation that Wal-Mart will introduce a pet insurance product at its Canadian stores this year.

"I think that the tipping point will be when big retailers get into it, and we're right on the verge with retailers exploring it," said Kristen Lynch, executive director of the nonprofit North American Pet Health Insurance Association, whose members include pet insurance providers.

PRICE SHOCK: Monthly pet insurance premiums can start at around $10 but can exceed $100 for some older dogs. Pre-existing conditions are typically excluded, and pet owners are reimbursed after submitting claims.

Providers' policies vary. Some of the higher-end preventive plans cover heartworm and flea medications in addition to vaccines and annual exams. Some of the lower-cost plans just provide coverage for unexpected accidents and illnesses.

A $1,180 vet bill for a dog's broken leg under VPI's Super Plan, for example, will reimburse the pet owner $1,002. With a lower monthly payment, VPI will reimburse $626 of the vet's bill.

Nestlé Purina tweaked its offerings last year to include a plan that allows pet owners to pay lower premiums in exchange for bearing a higher percentage of the bill, between 30 percent and 40 percent of eligible expenses.

Despite the cost, more pet owners are taking out insurance policies to avoid price shock at the vet's office.

"Nobody's expecting a big pet bill, and then all of a sudden, they have a big problem like a car accident (involving the pet) or illness," said Dr. Wayne Hause, a veterinarian in Bridgeton who specializes in clinical oncology and neurology.

Visits to his office start at $120 but can quickly add up to several thousand dollars when multiple procedures are performed. More people are coming to his practice with pet insurance policies, although pets covered with insurance still total less than 10 percent of his clients, he said.

"The people that walk in with pet insurance are much happier, because they can take the financial aspect out of decisions relating to their pets," Hause said.

Dr. Noelle Miles, a veterinarian in Millstadt and president of the Greater St. Louis Veterinary Medical Association, said treatment for some chronic diseases such as cancer can cost pet owners more than $300 a month. Many pet owners are willing to pay the cost, with or without insurance.

Consumer Reports' Money Adviser newsletter published an article last fall with an analysis of four pet health insurers — VPI, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, 24PetWatch QuickCare and Trupanion — and concluded that for generally healthy animals, pet insurance isn't worth the cost. For most owners, establishing an emergency fund for unexpected pet bills is a better choice.

Still, for young pets that develop a chronic condition or illness after the policy is in place, having the policies paid off, according to the report.

"The main thing is, whenever you're shopping for those plans, it's important to look very carefully at the fine print and look at all of the exceptions," said Tobie Stanger, a Consumer Reports senior editor and author of the report.

For Brown, who paid several thousand dollars out-of-pocket for vet bills, the peace of mind in knowing she won't face unexpected veterinary expenses is worth the price of a monthly premium. "I like that it pays for shots, and when Caramel did need to seek treatment for a dog bite, I was reimbursed promptly," she said.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Camps teach kids proper animal care

Iguanas, cockatoos and sugar gliders are just some of the animals kids can get to know at camps dedicated to teaching about pets and wildlife this summer. Camps offered by the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA and the Phoenix Herpetological Society will be teaching kids about new animals, how to care for the pets they have, and how to protect animals in the wild.

Camp Ruffin' it is a day camp open to kids ages 6 to 12. Campers will be broken up into age groups of 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, and will be taught about responsible pet care. They will have the chance to interact with rare pets like iguanas, cockatoos and sugar gliders and will learn pet training tips and animal care and behavior.

Camp sessions begin the week of May 30 and go until Aug. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with half-day and after-care schedules available. Paws n' Claws Kids Club Members can take part in Camp Ruffin' it for $245 for the full day and $155 for half day while non-members will pay $275 for the full day and $175 for half day.

The AAWL and SPCA also offer Camp Vet for older campers who may want to learn more about being a veterinarian. The camp is for ages 12 to 14 and will explore a wide variety of animals and the care they require. Campers will be able to observe surgeries in AAWL's Pet MD veterinary clinic, dissect organs, learn anatomy, view specimens under a microscope, practice pet first aid, and explore animal diseases.

Advanced Camp Vet is also offered for campers who have already attended Camp Vet in the past. Campers in Advanced Camp Vet will work side-by-side with veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the clinic.

Camp Vet will be offered the weeks of June 6 through 10, July 11 through 15 and Aug. 1 through 5. Advanced classes will be offered June 20 through 24 and July 18 through 22. Each camp will cost $290 for club members and $325 for non-members.

A T-shirt and two snacks are included in all AAWL and SPCA camp prices but campers must bring their own lunch. For more information or to register, or call (602) 273-6852, ext. 122.

The Phoenix Herpetological Society offers a day camp for ages 9 to 14. Reptile Encounters will cover a different subject each day like snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, lizards and desert safety. Campers will learn how to care for the pets in captivity and also how to keep their natural habitat safe. Kids will have the chance to help with the everyday care of the animals at the Phoenix Herpetological Society's reptile sanctuary in Scottsdale.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Petpals – Foster care for pets

Part-time care for young animals that are awaiting adoption is a rewarding journey. The new foster programme anchored by Blue Cross gives Chennai-ites a chance to take care of a puppy or kitten for two to four weeks until the animal finds a permanent home.

Fostering is becoming increasingly popular across the world, and is seen as a solution for over-burdened shelters that cannot provide individual attention to rescued and vulnerable animals. It's also an opportunity for a person to enjoy all the benefits of keeping a companion animal, when he/she is not in a position to adopt one. “But it's a nice way to experience what it is like to keep a pet, by taking care of one for a few weeks and observing how it changes your lifestyle,” says a volunteer of the programme.

Foster parents provide space for the animal in their homes and administer special care if necessary (for example, bottle feed newborns) in a relatively infection-free environment and give the pet affection. Volunteers at the shelter set out to find permanent homes for the pet, after which the foster caretaker hands over the pet to the permanent family. A pet that has been fostered escapes the stress that comes from living in a facility where there are hundreds of other animals, and also gets a head-start in being socialised by humans.

Volunteers check foster parent's schedule, level of experience, and other factors such as existing pets. Says puppy rescuer Jennifer Jacob: “Foster parents Shiva and Sobhana Rani took care of three homeless puppies I rescued, and also successfully found permanent homes for them. They did a fantastic job of helping out during a time of need.”

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Legal on 4: Planning your pets' future

Today's Legal on 4 focuses on an issue that you probably haven't thought of: what would happen to your pets if you weren't around anymore? News 4 at 4 legal contributor Craig Wisnom says it's smart to make plans not only for your death, but if you become incapacitated. Here is Wisnom's legal advice for planning for your pets:

Planning for incapacity: Normally, individuals can plan for incapacity by executing a Power of Attorney, which names someone to make decisions on your behalf. If you have pets, you should make sure specific authority is provided for them. Otherwise, your Agent may not have the legal authority to spend your money to care for your pets.

Planning for death: In case of your death, the first step in planning for your pet's care is realizing your animal's need and living situation. Is it a horse that will require a great expense for food and boarding, or an animal with special medical needs? Once this is established, there is a broad range of options available to provide for your pet:

A. No plan: If no planning is done, the individual or professional you name as Personal Representative of your estate, or the Trustee of your Revocable Trust, will decide what happens to your animals.

B. Specify a new caregiver in your Will: In your will, you can specify who will inherit your pet. You can also select alternative owners if your first choice is not willing to accept your pet. C. Give the selected caregiver money: An additional step in planning is to give money to the person who will care for your pet. This will not create a legal entity or obligation, but providing money may help make it easier for Nephew Jeffrey to take responsibility for Spot.

D. Leave a gift for animal organizations: For those who want more certainty provided for their pets, there are organizations available that will guarantee a certain level of care, placement, and supervision for your animals if you provide the group with a certain monetary amount in your Will.

For instance, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona has the "Guardian Angel" program. This can be a particularly important option when you want to provide for your pet but don't have an individual willing and able to accept responsibility for your pet when you die.

E. Set up a trust: Arizona law provides for the "deluxe" option, where you can set up a continuing trust for your pet, under your Will or Revocable Trust. With this option, a Trustee will be named to make any decisions regarding your pet and manage the money designated for that use.

There are many options available in planning for your pet's care after you are gone. Choosing the right option for your pet depends on his/her needs and the resources available.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pet Care: Latin America Global Star

Led by the vibrant Brazilian market, sales of pet food and pet care products are surging in Latin America on the back of the emergence of a much broader middle-class.

Latin America has undoubtedly been the star performer of the global pet care market in recent years. Over 2005-2010 (the review period), value sales of pet food and pet care products rose from $4.8 billion to $8.3 billion, according to Euromonitor International data. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9 percent. As a result, the proportion of global pet care sales accounted for by the Latin American market rose from 7.6 percent in 2005 to 10.2 percent in 2010. Brazil is by far the largest market in the region, with pet care value sales of $5.2 billion in 2010, followed by Mexico ($1 billion) and Argentina ($645 million).

SURGE IN HOUSEHOLD INCOMES: Income growth has been the driver of this increase in value sales. According to Euromonitor International data, the proportion of Brazilian households with an annual disposable income of at least $25,000 (at purchasing power parity) jumped from 21.7 percent to 30.1 percent over the review period, while in Argentina it expanded from 33.5 percent to 44.8 percent. Chile, Venezuela and Peru also saw significant increases in this regard. These increases are indicative of the emergence of a vibrant middle-class, something that had previously been conspicuous by its absence in Latin America.

It is also noteworthy that this widening prosperity was not significantly disrupted by the global economic downturn, particularly in Brazil. Here, the annual rate of real GDP growth slowed from 5.2 percent in 2008 to -0.2 percent in 2009, but rebounded strongly to 7.5 percent in 2010. In most cases, this growth was driven in large part by increases in the price of key commodities, such as oil (Venezuela), copper (Chile) and soy (Argentina). Improved monetary and fiscal policy management also played a role, along with increased spending on education and social welfare and such socio-economic trends as urbanisation and smaller family size.

However, income growth in some countries in the region, most notably Mexico and Colombia, was much less impressive. In the former case this was largely due to its high degree of dependence on the struggling U.S. economy, the 2010 outbreak of the H1N1 “swine flu” virus and instability arising from drug-related violence.

CONSUMERS SHRUG OFF PRICE INCREASES: Consumers in the region have also absorbed significant price increases. According to ANFALPET (National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers), a trade body in Brazil, the average unit price of dog food and cat food in the country saw increases of 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in 2009. It would appear that few consumers have responded to this by reverting to feeding table scraps to their pets.

This may be in part because these price increases have been cushioned to an extent by the fact that consumers have been able to take advantage of discounts in the supermarket/hypermarket channel. Leading supermarket/hypermarket retailers have increased the number of their outlets in the major cities across the region. However, pet shops remain the dominant retail channel in many markets, most notably Brazil, where they often provide credit to regular customers.

In particular, the economy segment has been resilient in the face of slower economic growth. According to Euromonitor International data, growth in value sales of economy dog and cat food in Latin America slowed only marginally between 2008 and 2009 (from 13.9 percent to 10.5 percent), before recovering to 14.5 percent in 2010. Growth in sales of mid-priced products was somewhat more sluggish, slowing from 15.9 percent to 8.3 percent between 2008 and 2009, before recovering to 10.6 percent in 2010.

This suggests that the main impact of the global economic downturn on the Latin American market may have been some owners trading down from mid-priced to economy dog and cat food. Nonetheless, for the moment, mid-priced products remain the mainstay of the Latin American dog and cat food markets, but they are gradually becoming more differentiated.

In some markets, such as Argentina, price differentials between mid-priced and economy products have been reduced. As a result, a substantially homogeneous group of brands has now become closely grouped across a limited pricing range.

PREMIUM SEGMENT: SMALL, BUT LUCRATIVE: In spite of a slight shift towards greater egalitarianism in recent years, income distribution in Latin America remains highly skewed by the standards of most developed economies. This limits the sales base for premium products to a relatively small group of highly affluent consumers. Nonetheless, the downturn forced many to trade down to cheap alternatives. Having dipped from 10 percent to 2.7 percent between 2007 and 2008, growth in value sales of premium dog and cat food in Latin America recovered to 4.2 percent in 2009 and surged to 12.3 percent in 2010.

Affluent Latin Americans are increasingly spending large amounts of money on healthcare for their pets. According to Dr Valter Yoshio Hato, the co-owner of a veterinary clinic in São Paulo, "People who have chosen not to have children, often they have a pet to fill the void where there's no child, and because it's just like a child, people don't spare any expense, they spend". He adds that, "Around 80 percent of the animals we see here are dogs. Another 15 percent or so are cats. The rest are various animals, like monkeys. We even had an iguana in the other day".

Simple operations start at $30, rising to $1,700 for more complex operations, such as procedures on spines or to remove cataracts from eyes. Overall, pet healthcare sales in the region (excluding prescription medications) rose from $69.4 million to $119.1 million over the review period, an increase of 71.6 percent, according to Euromonitor International data.

Meanwhile, São Paulo hosted Latin America’s first Pet Fashion week in April 2010, illustrating the region’s rising demand for other pet products, such as clothing. Value sales in this category rose by nearly 36 percent over the review period, to $334 million.

THREATS: INFLATION, COMMODITY DEPENDENCE: Euromonitor International predicts that Latin American pet care value sales will exhibit a CAGR of 5.5 percent over the 2010-2015 period, to $10.9 billion (in 2010 prices). This will represent a significant slowdown from the review period and is indicative of the gradual maturation of the region’s market.

This forecast also takes into account a number of downside risks to growth, particularly the regional economy’s overdependence on commodity exports (where pricing tends to be extremely cyclical) and the risk posed by inflation. For example, consumer price inflation in Argentina accelerated from 6.3 percent to 10.4 percent between 2009 and 2010, but some independent economists maintain that consumer prices increased by up to 30 percent during the year. While the Latin American pet food market has already demonstrated its ability to cope with inflationary pressures (during 2008), a renewed bout would hurt real income growth and inevitably take the edge off the region’s recent stellar growth performance.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Veterinarian helps homeless care for pets

For much of the past two years, on the first Tuesday of each month, veterinarian Julie Tavares has pulled into the parking lot at the St. Vincent de Paul dining hall on Southeast Seventh Street and set up shop to treat dogs and cats belonging to homeless and low-income people.

On a recent Tuesday, Tavares opened up the tailgate to her van and set up a card table on the blacktop, piling the table with paperwork, medicine and supplies. With help from veterinary technician Kyrmet Jackson and soup kitchen volunteer Donna Harold, the threesome dispensed care to about 30 animals over nearly three hours of work.

It was care that might have cost as much as $2,000 at a traditional animal clinic, but the crew took in but $32 in donations on this day. Donations from manufacturers of pet medicine help make the parking lot clinic a reality.

The people who use the service and the nearby soup kitchen have little money for pet care. Still, they love their pets. To a homeless person, a dog can be a companion, a watchdog and even a live, warming pillow.

"The human-animal bond is a strong thing," Harold said, as people lined up with their pets. "To them, these animals are family."

The effort to provide free care for pets has been dubbed the Homeless Oregon Pet Project. It's a fledging endeavor that Tavares hopes will achieve official nonprofit status. The project provides animals with vaccines, flea treatments and general health care.

"It's a good service," said Ken Isgrigg, who has been bringing his pit bull, JoJo, monthly to the clinic. "I wish there were more vets that would do what she's doing."

Angela Smith brought in her pit bull, Indaka, as she has done for about a year or more. Indaka got shots, including rabies, parvo and distemper, along with heartworm pills and a flea treatment.

One visitor explained how his dog was killing rats around camp. "If she gets bit, call and we'll vaccinate her again," Tavares told him.

On this day, the weather was unseasonably warm. People stood in line patiently, although many dogs barked and lunged. Tavares spent a few minutes, maybe five at most, on each animal. The donation jar did not fill. One lady who brought in six dogs accounted for $30 of the $32 donated that day. The care her dogs received typically would have cost her more than $100 at an animal hospital. A rough estimate showed that Tavares and her crew provided about $1,500 to $2,000 worth of services that day.

"This is a free thing, but we need donations," Harold said. Tavares gets by in part with donations from the makers of animal treatment products. Big donors include Pfizer, Schering-Plough and Merial. "The drug reps are getting tired of my begging," said Tavares, a Rogue River resident who works at the Medford Animal Hospital and Allen Creek Veterinary Hospital. It was Tavares who approached soup kitchen operators with the idea for the clinic.

"There was a need for it," she said simply. "That's why I do it."It's a public health matter, Tavares added, as she went about her work with a minimum of fuss. "You're OK sweetie," she said, trying to sooth a dog named Pillow, the animal's owner looked on. "Don't be crabby. No biting. There's your mom."Jonah Shore brought in his dog, Diogi, for an ear problem. The dog needed an anti-inflammatory medicine.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Bone up before putting pooch in day care

They feature rambunctious noise, nap times and play areas. A child care center, you say? Try dog day care centers. In many regions across the U.S., day care centers provide a place for owners to leave their canine companions with while they are away at work.

Jeffrey Lasker and Brian Howell drop off Cleo, a 17-week-old Havanese, at Metro Dog in Richmond, Calif., before going to work. They brought her into their Albany, Calif., home two months ago.

"Havanese dogs are especially human-centric and need human companionship, so it's a great place for her to go during the day. She loves going there. You ring the bell to get in, and she starts wagging her tail and just pulling me to go in. She definitely has a good time, and also the socialization with other dogs is good," said Lasker, who learned about Metro Dog from a friend's recommendation.

A recommendation from a fellow dog owner, a veterinarian or dog trainer is great starting point when it comes to choosing a day care center for your dog.

"I think the first thing you could do is talk to friends and get some recommendations. Talk to dog owners and people who are using the service," said Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Per-day rates in the Bay Area range from $25 to $40. The price typically does not include the dog chow, which is either provided by the owner or by the center for an extra charge. Dog care centers also offer monthly passes or packages of 10 or 20 visits that can reduce the cost of the service for frequent users.

Lasker and Howell opt for Metro Dog's 20-visit package. The $510 cost brings down the per-day charge of $35 to $25.50, and it provides flexibility. Cleo gets taken to day care three or four days a week but does not go when Lasker is working at home.

"It gets cheaper the more you buy. It makes sense to get a package. That way you don't have to pay each day," he said.

The centers offer more than day care. Some offer grooming and training. "Get a clear understanding upfront of what's included in the price, and what falls outside of that. (Ask) if training is included. If not, what kind of training is offered," said Ingrid McKenney, spokeswoman for the East Bay SPCA.

Dog day care centers meet the needs of a dog-greet-dog world. However, don't expect to find a similar offering for other pets such as birds and cats that don't have the same social needs for interaction. Dogs go through a behavior screening process before they are accepted. Although a dog care center is a fun place to be -- what with dogs barking happily and playing -- not all dogs are the right candidate, Zawistowski said.

"Some dogs don't get along well with other dogs," he said. "Sometimes, with dogs as they getting older, they are less and less ready to be involved in boisterous playing. They want to go for a walk in the morning and curl up on a cushioned chair and spend the day sleeping."

Diane Livoti, co-owner of Metro Dog, said a dog day care center is place to bring a dog that is already socialized, as opposed to a place for a dog to become socialized. "A dog who has poor social skills, who can't play with other dogs, is not a good fit for a playing situation," she said.

One of the most important things to consider is how dogs are divided up into play groups, said Sara Scott, owner of What's Up Dog?, an Oakland, Calif.-based dog training service.

"You want to look for someone who divides dogs up by size and temperament," such as an active dog group, a puppy group and an older dogs group, she said. "You want to look for someone that does humane training techniques that is based on positive reinforcement." Dog day care is not all about play. Make sure they are rest times.

"You don't want the dog playing eight hours a day," Scott said. As with choosing a child care center, a dog owner needs to ask a lot of questions before making a commitment. What is the ratio of employees to dogs at the day care center? How many dogs are in a play group? When does the place open and close? What kind of training do employees receive? What happens if a dog get sick? The list goes on.

As far as the overall staff-to-dog ratio formula goes for a dog day care center, there should be "anywhere from one person to 10 to 15 dogs, or 20 at the outside," Zawistowski said. Play groups, however, should have six to 10 dogs.

Make sure the center has vaccination requirements, along with a policy for handling emergencies such as when dogs get sick or injured. "If something happens, it's good to know there is somebody in place that can do some basic first aid. They should have a vet on emergency call," Zawistowski said. Check to see if some of the personnel that work with the dogs are Certified Professional Dog Trainers, he said.

When visiting a center, don't bring your dog, he stressed. "If you are going by yourself, you are going to be able to see stuff instead of watching our dog," he said. In addition, don't just look to see if the dogs look happy and the place is clean and secure when taking a tour.

Make sure the staff members look happy and are engaged in what they are doing, said McKenney of the East Bay SPCA.

"It's just a good indication of how a business is run. (Employees should) enjoy what the are doing and enjoy working with animals. You could read a lot from those interactions as well," she said.

Once you select a place, bring your dog in for a half-day visit, then evaluate him afterward to see if he is good spirits when you pick him up.

"The important thing to do is when you take the dog out to find out how they do afterward," Zawistowski said. "You'll have a feeling about your dog. Are they stressed from having spent time there or do they seem relaxed?"

What to Avoid (Bad dog day care! Bad dog day care!) Overcrowding: A good rule of thumb for the optimal size of a dog day care facility is 100 square feet per large dog, and 50 to 60 square feet per small or medium dog.

Limited access: Avoid any day care that prohibits dog guardians from visiting their dog at any time, with or without advance notice, and those that do not allow you to tour the entire facility and observe play groups before signing your dog up.

Unwillingness to meet your dog's needs: A conscientious day care will accept and honor your request that your dog receive a special diet or medication. Poor customer service: Loving dogs is not enough. Staff members also should be courteous and friendly to human clients.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

World Horse Welfare hoof care experts help horses in Turkey

Hoof care experts from World Horse Welfare visited Turkey to take part in a weekend of lectures and demonstrations to vet and farriery students, on 5-6 March. Turkey is home to approximately 20,000 sport, leisure and working horses and the charity was invited to take part in the event at the University of Sanliurfa near the Syrian border by the Turkish Government.

Director of international training Ian Kelly and farriery instructor Tom Burch lectured to a selection of students at the University, including practicing vets and farriers. They found that many horses are being shod using out-dated techniques and the wrong equipment.

Mr Kelly said: "We found that some horses have shoes that are made from steel rods used to re-enforce concrete. "They had simply been cut into circles and then drilled into the hoof. "These circular drill holes then have square nails knocked into them which do not hold the shoe firmly in place and can cause major damage to the hoof wall.

"Many people there are self-taught but we found them to be genuinely interested in improving the standard of horse welfare."The pair lectured to more than 100 people, some who had travelled 1,500km to be there and the charity hopes to organise a lengthier trip in the future to help improve the standards in the non-EU country.

The invitation to visit followed the success of Project Romania, launched in 2006, which has helped to educate practitioners and students in the Eastern European country.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Care for your pet on your dog and bone

A DOGS rehoming charity is getting in on the smart phone revolution with a new game for mobile phones. The Dogs Trust, based at Wickhamford, near Evesham, has launched an interactive game called iMutt. The game sees users take on the role of a canine carer at one of the trust’s rehoming centres.

Over five days the user must care for a new doggy resident and carry out various tasks, with the ultimate aim of making the dog ready to be rehomed. Jacqui O’Beirne, of Dogs Trust, said: “Although fun, we hope iMutt will help to spread the serious message of responsible dog ownership.

Tasks include walking and feeding the dog, taking it to the vet where it is neutered and micro-chipped and caring for it when it is ill. Each game lasts about a week, with pop-up messages alerting users to each new task they must complete to find their iMutt a home.

iMutt has been designed by twentysix Mobile, which also developed the hugely successful iHobo app with the homelessness charity Depaul UK. The app is free and compatible with the iPhone and iPod through iTunes. iPad and Android compatible versions will also be available shortly.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Health care funds are going to the dogs -- and vets

Monique McAlister`s English bulldog, Izabelle, was just 8 months old when veterinarians said she would need a hip replacement to resolve a genetic disorder called hip dysplasia. McAlister said she was told the surgery would need to be done by a specialist in Colorado Springs and would cost $5,000.

"I almost fell over when I heard that," McAlister said. She eventually found a cheaper surgery method, but she is now going through the same decision process for the dog`s other hip. A hip replacement now costs closer to $10,000, she said.

Over the last decade, veterinary care has become more specialized, more advanced and more expensive. Local veterinarians and pet owners said the trend has hit Durango as well. Nationally, the total spent on veterinary care for dogs increased 38 percent between 2001 and 2006, according to the most recent data collected by the American Veterinary Medical Association. In the last three years, the number of veterinary specialists has increased more than 15 percent, according to the association.

Local vets said the driving force behind these trends, especially in a pet-loving town like Durango, is an increase in customers` expectations about health care for their furry friends. To meet the new standard for care, more veterinarians are going into specialty practices, using more sophisticated equipment and providing more complicated procedures.

"The technology is available now, and the expectation of care goes up, which is great," said Brian Marshall, owner of Baker`s Bridge Veterinary Clinic. "But if you want advanced care, cost is going to go up."Digital X-rays, ultrasounds and blood chemistry machines are a few new technologies that have become standard in many veterinary clinics.

"Those machines are expensive, so in order to offer those services, we have to charge more," said Claire Lodahl, owner of Kindness Animal Hospital. Drug costs are higher as well, and new drugs constantly cycle into the market, said Greta Varien, a technician at Aspen Tree Animal Caring Center.

To provide more advanced care, Varien said general practice clinics use the services of traveling specialists. A surgical specialist, an eye specialist and an ultrasound specialist visit Aspen Tree periodically to do certain procedures, she said.

The rising cost of veterinary schooling has become another factor forcing clinics to charge more for their services, Marshall said. "It`s approaching what human medical physicians` debt load is, but vets make a lot less," he said.

But the rising cost of care isn`t the only factor at play in the equation. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, increased spending on veterinary care may also be attributed to pet owners choosing to pay for procedures. Varien said people want to spend more money on their pets because they have much closer relationships than past generations.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dog daycare faces animal care charges

An inspector said the dogs at a doggie daycare center in Virginia Beach were not being cared for properly. Daniel Stallings is the owner of Three Dog House, and with more than 100 dogs put in his care, he was very surprised when Virginia Beach Animal Control payed him a visit because of a complaint. "We received a citizen complaint about animal cruelty violation at Three Dog House," said Wayne Gilbert with Virginia Beach Animal Control.

Right now, Stalling faces 20 charges. The repeated charges deal with the dogs not having enough water or enough shelter space, and that the shelter was not properly cleaned. The charges turned out not to be animal cruelty charges but animal care charges. Stallings told WAVY.com the charges aren't what they seem.

"Well, it depends on how you define it. If not having water out in the field where dogs can bloat, I like to bring them in, let them cool down, and then give them water, then yes, I am guilty of that. Safety is more important than just the letter of the law," said Stallings.

He also added that during the inspection, many of the water bowls were in the process of being cleaned, and the issue of space has already been fixed. "We have since put them in larger crates too," said Stallings.

Inspectors also claimed of being overwhelmed by the smell of urine. Stallings said, "She actually called the fire department to check the air quality. The fireman upon walking in here did not make three steps into this building, he keyed his mic, and said cancel Hazmat, yes Hazmat. He said it smelled like dog in here, just like it smells now I imagine."

Animal Control has followed up and said the needed improvements have been made. Stallings just wants things to get back to normal. The owner also said he thinks the person who made the complaint against him is an ex-employee looking for retaliation for being fired. Regardless, Stallings was cited 20 times and will go to court later this month.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Did South Carolina Animal Shelter Shoot Dogs?

The Chesterfield County, South Carolina animal shelter has been shut down and its four animal control officers have been placed on leave, after allegations emerged that they may have shot dogs to death and dumped them in a landfill.WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina broke the story over the weekend. It reported that a volunteer at the shelter, Debbie Farhi, contacted the station last Friday after she said she learned that shelter employees shot 22 dogs and buried them in a landfill.

Farhi said she went to the landfill and started digging, finding the bodies of two dogs. That's when she contacted the station. "Knowing and not doing (anything) about it really would've bothered me for the rest of my life," she said.

WSOC reported on Monday that the remains of six dogs have so far been found. Three of them will be autopsied to determine how they died, if they were sick, and possibly who shot them.

Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker told the station that he thought the shelter was using lethal injection to euthanize dogs and cats. "(Shooting them) is not proper. That is not by policy."

Parker said if the investigation turns up evidence that shooting the dogs was a criminal act, his office will not investigate any further because of a conflict of interest."I'll have to call in an outside agency. It wouldn't be fair to us, or the public. But we're going to do the right thing," he said.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Christchurch earthquake: Pets find shelter as owners leave town

The Canterbury SPCA has taken in more than 150 pets from people displaced by the earthquake and has promised to care for them until they can be taken back. Manager Geoff Sutton said the SPCA had given a commitment to those owners that it would care for the pets until they were ready for them.

Some of the pets were likely to be sent to other SPCA branches - such as Timaru - because the Christchurch SPCA could not hold them all. "We have no idea if it's going to be for days, weeks or longer."He said it was possible some would simply abandon their pets with the SPCA, so all owners had been told to stay in touch weekly. "This is a member of your family and we will take absolute care of it in the meantime.

"But the expectation is that as a member of your family it is going to be part of your resettlement and we'll help until you manage to do that."Scott Craigen delivered five of his six cats to the SPCA yesterday while the Herald was there.

His family was moving in with parents because their own house in Linwood was "sinking". The cats could not go with them. He said one cat - Trouble - was still missing "but I'm going to try and find him".

Clearly emotional, he said he did not want the cats to be put down and he was struggling with all the changes the earthquake had wrought on his life. However, others were also bringing in "found" pets. Lovena Fraser found "Benji" running on nearby Springs Rd.

She was keeping him at her own home with her father's dog Thomas and her three cats until the owner came for him. A microchip could not be found, so she left her details with the SPCA.

Mr Sutton said if there were cases where the owner lost contact for a month to six weeks and the SPCA could not contact them, pets could be adopted out. However, it was sometimes difficult for people to find new homes that allowed pets, especially with rental properties where many landlords would not accept pets.

"It would be fantastic if landlords could be just a little bit softer for people who genuinely need to find new homes under these circumstances."Mr Sutton said the SPCA was inundated with runaway dogs in the two days after the earthquake but most had since found their owners. After that, cats began to come in "and that is going to snowball". He said cats tended to hide away when scared and owners should not panic immediately because they could be hiding nearby.

A specialist team from Massey University and Wellington SPCA rescue crews were in Christchurch and would help with checking homes where animals could have been abandoned, including in evacuated areas.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Dogs need care and a home

AT TIMES during the floods, Wendy Hilcher's Rockhampton home resembled something from the movie Hotel for Dogs. Wendy, an RSPCA volunteer, provided refuge for up to eight canines at a time. But now the floods are over, many of the 50 dogs that were sent out to foster carers like Wendy, are being returned.

Just this week, six were brought back. And the RSPCA needs help. “I have no more foster carers on board,” Wendy said. “Regional inspector Laurie Stageman and I take in a lot ourselves to keep them out of the shelter.”But Ms Hilcher said, on a positive note, some foster carers had chosen to adopt the dogs they were caring for.

“People have fallen in love with the animals. A lot of foster carers are adopting the dogs,” she said. Ms Hilcher said there were a dozen dogs she wanted to send to foster carers. These ranged from a four-week-old mastiff puppy right through to a three-year-old dog. She said it was “no life” for dogs being stuck at the shelter at the CSIRO building.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The RSPCA needs foster carers; To become a foster carer, contact Wendy Hilcher on 0428 819 050; The RSPCA also desperately needs ambulance drivers. You must be aged over 25 and have a manual driver’s licence.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big benefits of small-dog day care

For small dogs like these and their discriminating owners, only the most specialized care will do. To meet their needs, a number of day care and boarding facilities exclusive to tiny dogs have emerged in recent years. They've proven to be a triple-win for the owners of these businesses, their clients and small dogs everywhere.

Carolyn Vinci had to board her 9-pound Maltese/Yorkie mix, Cleo. Although she conducted research before placing Cleo in a local kennel, Vinci was horrified when the little dog came home thin and scared. "I could not find an appropriate place to board her, so I decided to create my own business," said Vinci, who now runs Tiny Dog Daycare and Overnight Boarding out of her home in Bohemia, N.Y.

Lori Davis of Tiny Dog Boarding in New York City started her business several years ago after a similar problem. "I called a commercial boarding place in the city that supposedly has luxury suites for dogs and asked them if they could provide appropriate care for my three dogs: Taylee, Teangee and Teaka," says Davis. "I mentioned their eyes must be cleaned, one needs allergy shots, another will lick her feet all of the time if she doesn't have her booties and so on. I was fully expecting the facility to say, ‘Yes, we can do that, but it will cost you extra money.' Instead, they told me I should board my dogs with a veterinarian." It wasn't long afterward that Davis created her business.

Big Benefits for Small Dogs
Specialized care at small-dog boarding places may include:

* Cage-free surroundings. "Nobody is caged here," Vinci says. "Our dogs lounge on comfy beds and couches in our home. They can play in our fenced in yard."
* Controlled feedings and medication. Most small-dog experts ask that owners bring the pet's regular food and medication. Consistency is key to comfort.
* Extra security. Tiny dogs can squeeze through chain-link fences and other barriers that can hold back larger dogs. Small-dog boarders take precautions to ensure their charges stay safe and secure.
* Luxury additions. Julie Clemen, who runs Little Paws Boarding in Olympia, Wash., has heated floors in her facility. "Chihuahuas often get cold feet," she explains.

Questions to Ask
Before you take your dog to any day care or boarding facility, do your research. Word-of-mouth recommendations are always best, but consider asking these questions:

1. What size dogs do you take? Depending on the facility, caregivers may limit their services to dogs weighing 8 to 20 pounds. Exceptions sometimes are made, contingent upon the breed, behavior and requirements of the dog.

2. How many years have you been in business, and what other experience with small dogs do you have? Davis, Vinci and Clemen each have decades of experience with small dogs. Be sure you get the background of the individual running the day care or boarding facility.

3. Do you train dogs too? Some boarders, like Davis, offer training and housebreaking instruction.

4. Do you own small dogs? "Ask how the person's own dogs are cared for, in terms of feeding, grooming, medical care and other essentials," advises Davis. "How the owner treats his or her own dogs can indicate how your dog will be cared for."

5. What if there's an emergency? Davis and all of the other experts have established relationships with their local veterinarians and pet hospitals. They may also be able to take your dog to its regular vet.

Finally, listen for the passion in the person's voice. Most went into this line of work because they truly adore dogs, especially tiny breeds.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

City of Ellensburg criticized for euthanizing dog

A West Side dog rescue group has criticized the city of Ellensburg for euthanizing a dog the group was willing to take despite the animal’s Jan. 20 unprovoked attack on a city animal shelter volunteer.

The Forks-based rescue group in a news release said it specializes in the lifelong care of dogs that bite and rehabilitates dogs with more severe behaviors than the one recently euthanized.

The Ellensburg Police Department, which oversees the city’s animal control and shelter services, however, says the German shepherd mix was declared a “potentially dangerous dog,” in accordance with state law, after it bit the volunteer on the face, inflicting an injury requiring 20 stitches.

EPD officials said once declared a dangerous dog there is a legal obligation to protect the public and anyone who will come into contact with the dog in the future. The rescue group stating it would assume all liability for the dog doesn’t legally absolve the city from its responsibility to protect the public once the dog is declared a “potentially dangerous dog,” EPD said.

The dog had been released into the care of the city’s animal shelter by its owner, and the volunteer was taking the dog on an outing when the attack occurred.


City Attorney Jim Pidduck said some of the rescue group’s news release information is not accurate. He said he does not direct or supervise the city animal shelter and has no part in making decisions on whether or not to euthanize animals.

Those decisions are made by the professional and dedicated animal shelter staff that works under the Ellensburg Police Department, Pidduck said. “Yet, I would say, given all the circumstances, that the decision to euthanize the dog was an appropriate one,” Pidduck said. He said he reviewed a proposed agreement between the group and the city transferring the dog to the group.

Pidduck said the agreement, as written, did not transfer full ownership or liability of the dog to the rescue group, but left the city with a level of future responsibility toward the animal.


Olympic Animal Shelter Director Steve Markwell of Forks said in a press release the nonprofit group “is shocked and saddened by the city of Ellensburg’s decision to kill” the dog.

The Forks shelter, which takes in dogs that are not adoptable and rehabilitates problem dogs for adoption, indicated it had received requests from the public by phone and e-mail to intervene on the dog’s behalf after the attack.

Markwell said the sanctuary was in contact with city animal shelter personnel who indicated the offer would be brought to the attention of city officials. Markwell said those officials didn’t respond to the sanctuary’s dog transfer request but chose “to kill the dog in secret.”

No easy decision: The city decided it was not in the best interest of public safety to adopt out Kaiser, a German shepherd-Akita mix.

According to an EPD news release, the decision to put the dog down did not come easily and was made after much review and consultations with animal shelter staff and legal counsel. “Our priority is the responsibility we have to the public and to any individual the dog may have come in contact with in the future,” said EPD Chief Dale Miller in the release.

“We owe it to them to not put them in danger by exposing them to a dog that has been declared potentially dangerous under Washington state law.”The Ellensburg animal shelter makes every effort to adopt out the 800 animals taken in each year, according to the EPD news release, adding that only on rare occasions are dogs in the custody of the city shelter determined to be potentially dangerous dogs by state law. During the last few years the city shelter has been able to lower its euthanasia rate to about 3 percent, EPD said.

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