It appears that the new dog law passed last year is finally showing some evidence of working. Once again, the Almost Heaven kennels in Emmaus was raided today by the PA SPCA, the HSUS and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Reports vary but anywhere from 250 to 300 dogs were removed and taken to the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg for shelter, evaluation and eventual distribution to rescues. There is no word on the condition of the dogs.
If you recall, this kennel was raided last year by the PA SPCA and was on the Animal Planet show Animal Cops: Philadelphia. Almost Heaven owner Skip Eckhart was cited and prohibited from increasing the number of dogs on the premises. Apparently, he violated that order, among other issues.
Please read the article in Saturday’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the efforts of our own Rep. Caltagirone to move the Anti-Cruelty bill (H.B. 39) through the House: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/pa/20090620_Anger_over_dog-cruelty_bill_could_freeze_legislature.html
This is important legislation that, if passed, will stop anyone who is not a veterinarian from performing surgical procedures on dogs such as caesarian sections, tail docking and ear cropping. As you may know, many breeders do their own surgeries, and often without anesthesia. Rep. Caltagirone intends to stall all other bills that come into his committee until H.B. 39 is moved on. Good for you!
Thank you for standing up for our dogs’ welfare and for listening to your constituents.
I am dumbfounded. A columnist in the Harrisburg (of all places) newspaper wrote on Monday about taking her children to buy a puppy from a pet store. She gleefully tells about the Peke-a-tese puppy (Pekinese/Maltese mix) they bought and how their vet saw a picture of the puppy and okay’d the purchase. Wow. Has she and the vet been living under a rock? Where was she last year when all of us were working so hard to get the Dog Law passed? Take a look at the column: http://www.pennlive.com/columns/patriotnews/reeves/index.ssf?/base/columnists The story is from June 15.
Please write to her and nicely express your displeasure at how she singlehandedly is setting us back in our attempt to educate the public about puppy mills and pet stores. When I wrote to her, I encouraged her to shop at her local animal shelter instead of browsing pet stores when she is “looking for something fun to do” as she puts it. I also asked that she use her column to educate the public that animals in shelters are not always turned in due to behavior problems. There are so many wonderful pets just waiting for someone to love them.
Undoubtedly, Chihuahuas are adorable. They get carried around like babies and stuffed animals. Yet, how many people realize how feisty they are? They are not your typical toy breed. Chihuahuas are protective and can get quite nasty if not trained properly. Case in point: Check out this story from California where three Chihuahuas, each weighing only about three pounds each, cornered a mountain lion! http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-garage-cougar,0,224308.story The dogs surrounded the cat in the garage and wouldn’t let it out. I guess the lion felt pretty intimidated – he didn’t eat them!So here’s the moral of this story: If you want a watch dog, forget the larger breed dogs – get a Chihuahua!
Well, not exactly. But we will be discussing it. The ARL frequently has people call about or even bring wildlife into the shelter that they have “found.” Some of the animals have been legitimately injured; others are not. Someone found a peregrine falcon who may have been hit by a car and brought it to us just this week. The ARL is not the right place to bring wild creatures. These animals need specialized care.
Please tune in on Monday night at 7:00pm to learn more about how to handle the situation if you find a wild animal.
Do you dread thunderstorms because of your dog’s storm phobia? Join the club! Many people experience sleeplessness when storms hit in the middle of the night due to their dogs’ excessive pacing, trembling and attempts to escape from the house to “get away” from the terror-inducing flashes and tremors. Dogs’ reactions can range from moderate, they just want to hide somewhere, to extreme where the dog destroys the home in an attempt to run away from the noise. I knew a dog who jumped out of a second story window during a storm. Miraculously, he was not injured.
There are many theories about what causes some dogs to overact, and there are just as many remedies. Some work for some dogs, and some don’t. One theory is that the dog is feeling the change in the static in the air, an overabundance of electric charge from the storm. A product called the Storm Defender, an anti-static cape that the dog wears during a storm, is supposed to help. The Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science published a study on this product. They had groups of dogs wear either the anti-static cape or the regular cape. Interestingly, the dogs in both groups showed improvement! After wearing the capes during four different storms, they showed a decrease in the severity of reactions. The anti-static cape wearers were slightly more improved. Here is a link to the journal where the abstract can be found: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01681591
I know people who have tried this cape with no luck but of course every dog is different. It may be worth a try for your dog.
Other remedies with varying effectiveness are: Rescue Remedy, essential oils, herbal supplements, Anxiety Wrap, melatonin, Benedryl, and of course good old fashioned prescription drugs like Valium. Stay away from acepromazine. Studies have shown that when this is administered to dogs for thunder phobia, it causes the phobia to get worse.
I have worked or volunteered for several shelters and rescues in my career and I’ve found that with every one, we can’t make all of the people happy. And this is probably true for ALL places that handle animals. The “kill shelters” get blasted for putting animals down and the “no-kill” shelters are censured for keeping animals in kennels all of their lives. Some people say that rescues have too stringent adoption policies, and on and on... It’s a dilemma that I wish someone would find a resolution. The real problem is that there are too many animals and not enough homes.
People are so quick to criticize an organization, and they have the right to do so. It helps to keep the place on their toes! But I challenge every single person who talks disparagingly about an animal welfare organization or the people who work there to put actions with words. Try working in a shelter for a week, or even a day! Just one day will be eye-opening, I guarantee you! The public in general has absolutely no idea what horrors are encountered on a day-to-day basis. The way some people treat their animals is beyond disgraceful. You think that Michael Vick is alone in his actions? Guess again! It’s all around you.
Last week, I heard about a young Pit Bull in Baltimore who was doused with gasoline and set afire. A policewoman saw the dog and covered her with her coat. She was burned over 95% of her body. Main Line Rescue in Chester Springs volunteered to have her treated. I saw the pictures of her when I was there on Friday. I didn’t want to look but I had to see what the monsters had done to this innocent. Turning away won’t make it go away. Sadly, she lost the struggle because her injuries were just so severe. But if you see this kind of abuse constantly, like we do in animal shelters and rescues, it stops you in your tracks if you want to criticize the people who clean up after the selfish individuals who make having animals shelters a necessity.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it again and again, we need to join together to help the animals.