Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Save Scarface

Our friends from the Paws for the Cause dog rescue in South Dakota recently told us of a particularly special dog that has run into some extraordinary circumstances.

Hi everyone- meet Scarface! He is a 2 year old American Pit Bull Terrier. Scarface had a sad start to life- the backyard breeder whose dog had Scarface was going to kill the little guy because of his cleft palate- even though it caused him no problems.Save Scarface!!! Luckily he was saved for the first time by a family who took him in. Unfortunately, a little over 2 months ago, Scarfaces' owners lost their home and had nowhere for him to go. So, instead of taking him to a pound or shelter (where he most likely would have been euthanized or ended up in the wrong hands) they took him to a boarding facility until we could find Scarface a safe, responsible and caring rescue and foster home. The days passed and now Scarface has been in boarding for 2 months with no rescue. We are working hard on getting him out of there but he has quite a boarding bill- $700- and since our rescue is funded only by kind and caring donators, I am asking for your help. We all know that things are tough for bully breeds, so especially for all of you bully breed lovers, PLEASE HELP SCARFACE!!! Scarface is a wonderful, sweet and loving dog who gets along great with cats, dogs and kids. This dog has a heart of gold and is a perfect example of all the good qualities so many pit bulls out there possess. I am begging for everyone to forward and cross-post this to help poor Scarface. Also, please contact me if you would like to contact his boarding facility to verify any information!
Kitra Nelson
Paws for the Cause

It’s not often that Paws for the Cause makes a special appeal like this, but as you’ve just read Scarface is in need of some special consideration. Please help him however you can. A special site has been set up for him

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Giving up pets: Animals' fortunes fall in tough economy


From the Chicago Tribune:

More owners blame finances for giving up animals to shelters

By Sara Olkon | Tribune reporter
April 21, 2009

Looking for a home

Bruiser, whose owner put the boxer in foster care at PAWS Chicago, waits to be placed with a temporary family. (Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / April 14, 2009)

When people showed up to give away their dogs and cats at a local shelter last year, the main reasons they cited were "no time" and accidental pet pregnancies. This year, the No. 1 reason is a lot simpler: no money.

As the recession takes hold, Chicago animal control workers are taking in about 11 percent more pets than they did a year ago. And shelters are caring for more high-priced pets, including purebred and "designer" dogs, as people who are unaccustomed to economic distress start feeling the pinch.

Animal care workers are seeing more neglected pets, as well as animals who have had ID chips implanted, indicating that someone loved and cared for them before the financial downturn made ownership untenable.
"People are making very hard choices," said Rochelle Michalek, executive director of PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter. "Do I put food on the table? Do I feed my kids? It's heartbreaking."


Jeff Lapp, 47, is among those making difficult choices.

The Braidwood man was laid off from his job as a personnel investigator last June. By March, Lapp and his wife had lost their home. With four dogs to care for, they decided their two youngest and healthiest dogs would have the easiest time getting adopted. Lapp called Midwest Dachshund Rescue, which found a new home for 2-year-old Sammie. They brought Thor, a 6-year-old Norwegian elkhound, to PAWS, where he was snapped up within two days.

"You feel like you let them down," Lapp said of letting the two go.
For now, the motel where they are staying is letting them keep Rex, a purebred golden retriever who is 11 and has epilepsy, and Art, an elkhound-coyote mix who the couple found orphaned and rolling in mud a decade ago in Aurora.

At Chicago Animal Care and Control, staff took in 11.5 percent more animals that were lost, abandoned or surrendered in the quarter ending March 31 as compared with a year ago. Charles Craft, director of programs and services, said 5,201 animals were taken in during that period, versus 4,666 from the same period in 2008.

Some pet owners bring in animals in need of expensive veterinary care. In one case, a pet owner turned in a 7-year-old toy poodle that had multiple mammary tumors, staff later learned. The dog received surgery and was adopted, Craft said.

In March, Nadine Walmsley, vice president of development for the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, watched as 33 pets were relinquished by owners citing poor finances. In March 2008, only four pet owners cited money as the reason, she said.

About twice as many dogs who end up homeless these days appear to have come from good homes: Their coats look good, they are plump and they are well-socialized, Walmsley said.

"They were in a very stable environment—and suddenly they are in a cage," Michalek said.

The difficulties can reduce the most stoic of pet owners to tears. In February, Rebecca Weeks' divorce was finalized, shortly before her family's Bartlett home went into foreclosure. Forced to crash with friends, she was heartbroken to learn that she couldn't take along Hamper, her 4-year-old collie-Rottweiler-shepherd mix.

Desperate, Weeks searched online and learned that PAWS Chicago had a foster program for pet owners in crisis. A week after she left Hamper at PAWS, a family scooped him up for safekeeping. Weeks plans to take Hamper back by the end of the month, after she moves into her own home.

"They say he is getting along with everybody," said Weeks, 29, who gets updates from PAWS staffers but isn't allowed to visit Hamper during his foster stay.

Similarly, dogs named Sasha and Kaiser had to adjust to life at PAWS Chicago's Little Village shelter after their owner lost her home in unincorporated Hinsdale.

"All my reserves were gone," said Maria D., 48, a real estate agent who didn't want her full name published because she was ashamed of temporarily giving up her dogs. She is now living with her adult daughter in Burr Ridge, a home where the dogs are not welcome.
Since March 31, Maria's dogs have shared quarters at PAWS while staff members search for a foster home. The program is designed to accommodate 30-day foster stays, although pet owners in crisis sometimes request more time, Michalek said. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, people end up relinquishing ownership.

Of course, animal welfare workers would rather owners bring their pets to a shelter than leave the animals to their own devices.
Sandra Alfred, acting executive director at Chicago Animal Care and Control, said her staff members have been picking up more and more ostensibly "lost" dogs who are outfitted with microchip IDs—tiny chips injected under the animal's skin that contain the owner's contact information.

"We call, and they say, 'Um, we can't take him back,' " Alfred said.
True street animals seem to have an easier time in the shelters, observers said. Perhaps the animals appreciate the steady food supply. Once-pampered animals, on the other hand, often experience terrible stress, bark and pant like mad and obsessively pace in circles inside their cages, Michalek said.

At PAWS Chicago, 35 percent to 40 percent of the dogs are purebreds, up from 20 percent to 25 percent in previous years. On a recent day, a sampling of such dogs at the Little Village shelter included a 6-month-old golden retriever; a young, fluffy white Samoyed; and an 8-year-old Pomeranian who likes to eat wet food only.

Their fate hints at a new desperation that many pet lovers never expected to face.

Allison Rhode, a house painter from Rogers Park, placed her dog, Dollar, in PAWS foster care after she was evicted from her apartment.
She took him back a little more than a month later, after she settled into a new place.

Pets "make you forget about hard times," she said. "They are the one thing that helps you get through."

Friday, April 24, 2009

♥ In the Shelter of the Heart ♥: Lucy Is Lost! Can you help?

From today’s In the Shelter of the Heart


Friday, April 24, 2009


Just today, while sunning herself in the yard, Lucy disappeared. The Story family is searching for their beloved Jack Russell Terrier.

It is quite possible she is a stolen dog. Lucy's unbuckled collar was found near the street side of the property and her tether she'd been attached to was left behind.

Lucy is spayed, and loves children. She is from the East 49th St. area of Sioux Falls. If you have any information leading to her safe return please contact the local animal control or animal shelters in the area.

Bring Lucy Home!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet Marco…

Catherine Hedges is an extraordinary person.  She’s dedicated her life to rescuing animals and has become a true hero in the rescue community.  She works tirelessly to raise awareness and has even participated in rescue operations, some of them hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

Rescuing animals is not the kind of thing you do for the money, but there other kinds of rewards, the kind you cannot measure in terms of dollars and cents.


She recently shared this with us on Facebook.

“Meet Marco....he saved my life.

Marco was the Katrina dog that was the catalyst to our renting a van and driving back from Katrina with dogs instead of flying home. If I had not promised him he would go back with me, my car accident never would have happened, and the cancer would not have been diagnosed when it was. I saved Marco's life and he saved mine.

See the video of my journey (and Marco's!):

Rest in peace, Marco.”


Marco (left)

Catherine, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to share your story.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dog honored for tackling burglar


From BBC NEWS, England:

A Labrador who fought to protect its owners from a knife-wielding burglar has been honoured for his bravery.

Toby was stabbed four times in the chest and legs by the intruder but still managed to chase him out.


The Morton family, from Barnoldswick in Lancashire, had been staying at Leconfield Barracks in East Yorkshire.


They awoke to find their pet in a pool of blood. But the eight-month-old survived and has been awarded by the animal charity, PDSA.


The armed burglar, who attacked Toby with three knives taken from the kitchen, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for the offence.

Toby suffered a punctured lung in the attack, in June 2007, as he fought to stop the offender going upstairs to the sleeping family.


After succeeding in chasing the offender out of the building Toby then woke

his owner, Jonathan Morton, by barking.


Had it not been for Toby's determined barking and lunging at the intruder, Mr Morton would not have been aware of the threat to his family.
Chris Heaps, PDSA deputy chairman

Mr Morton and his wife Samantha praised their pet's actions.


He said: "Toby is our hero. I dread to think what could have happened if he had not intervened that night."


The Labrador has been presented with the PDSA Certificate for Animal Bravery by the charity's senior deputy chairman Chris Heaps.


He said: "Had it not been for Toby's determined barking and lunging at the intruder, Mr Morton would not have been aware of the threat to his family.


"Toby is indeed a worthy recipient of the PDSA Certificate for Animal Bravery."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Animal groups summit to improve treatment of dogs seized in dog fighting raids

From the San Francisco Examiner online:

April 18, 8:43 PM

Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

Several animal welfare groups, including Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States, met in Las Vegas on April 8th to address the need for humane ways to deal with dogs confiscated from dog fighting operations. The summit convened in response to cruelty investigations associated with expanded HSUS led crackdowns on dog fighting rings. Following the Wilkes County, North Carolina bust last December, 127 dogs, including nursing puppies, were declared a public threat in court by the HSUS according to Nathan J. Winograd, national director of the No Kill Advocacy Center. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS, admitted they were summarily killed without given a chance for evaluation to see if they could be rehabilitated reports Winograd, author of Redemption, acclaimed book on animal shelters and the “No Kill” movement. The dogs have been doubly victimized by being subject to violent living conditions of the dog fighting industry and killed by virtue of being confiscated from these rackets.

Over the years, numerous incidents have betrayed the HSUS’ propensity toward going back on its word and killing animals according to Winograd. Best Friends was instrumental in pushing for positive changes in HSUS policy.

New protocols that came of the summit include:
• The HSUS recommends all dogs be evaluated to measure adoptability. Dogs determined adoptable will be available to suitable adopters and rescue organizations. The HSUS law enforcement training manual will be updated to reflect these changes.
• Dogs will be regarded as individuals and the ultimate victims of organized crime. Law enforcement and animal control agencies will be supported in their decisions regarding the disposal of dogs determined unsuitable for adoption and when adopters and rescue organizations are unable to accept adoptable dogs within a reasonable period.
• Participating groups, Best Friends Animal Society, HSUS, ASPCA, BAD RAP, Maddie’s Fund, National Animal Control Association, Nevada Humane Society and Spartanburg Humane Society, formed a coalition to coordinate in assisting dogs seized in dog fighting syndicate raids and develop procedures for the provision of housing and evaluation of dogs and screening of potential adopters.

Let’s hope the coalition ensures HSUS follow through on the changes and keeps HSUS true to its word.

Best Friends Animal Society works with shelter and rescue groups across the country to promote animal welfare through legislation.

The No Kill Advocacy Center is the nation’s first organization dedicated to promoting a No Kill nation. It is made up of people who have created and worked in No Kill communities thus proving it possible and viable.


Last month I made the most desperate plea for help I’ve ever made for a charming little Pit Bull mix at the Pasadena (California) that was set to be euthanized the following day. 


Swooping in like Superman, the good people with The Barking Lot, a San Diego rescue group, and saved the little cutie who had only been known as animal #A244630.

I recently heard from The Barking Lot’s Stacy Parmer who had some good news.  Animal #A244630 now has a name, Twinkle.  Stacy herself is fostering Twinkle, and she’s doing just great.  She’s made friends with Stacy’s other dogs and it seems like she has having a lot of fun playing with them.  Stacy also believes she’s mixed with Whippet which would explain why she’s such a little one.  And if she wasn’t perfect enough Stacy also reports that Twinkle’s housebroken, too!


She sent a few pictures.  This one was my favorite: Twinkle 8

To top it all off Stacy took a video of Twinkle in action.


Twinkle is still available for adoption.  She has a profile on Petfinder.  I know there’s someone out there who can help her complete the final chapter of her comeback story, the one where she lives happily ever after.

Stacy, thank you so much for everything you do for all the dogs!  Folks, please visit The Barking Lot online to learn more about their miracle work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ellen Degeneres is a phony

Recently, talk show host Ellen Degeneres got her name in the news.  As Hollyscoop puts it, "Ellen Degeneris is known as a huge animal lover. And she’s decided to show her support by selling the clothes right off her back!"


Before you get all warm and fuzzy about her take a closer look at the benefactor of all this hulabaloo, The Humane Society of the United States.  That's just great, Ellen.  Of the multitudes of organizations you could have chosen you picked the one that needed the money the least, the one that does not own, operate, or financially support even ONE shelter, the one that called for execution of newborn puppies seized in a dogfighting ring just two months ago even though the puppies hadn't yet been born when the raid took place.  Them.

She couldn't have picked the ASPCA, or the Best Friends Animal Society, or any thousands of local shelters and rescues around the country.   It just had to be the HSUS.  And certainly, she wouldn’t even consider a mom and pop rescue operation like Mutts & Moms, the dog rescue she nearly single-handedly destroyed by her thoughtless and selfish acts back in October 2007.

Ellen began one of her shows in October 2007 with a monologue where she wept while telling the story of Iggy, a rescue dog she had recently adopted.  She claimed that Iggy couldn’t get along with her cats and had given him to her hairdresser.   The hairdressers kids had bonded with Iggy, but when Mutts & Moms found out they demanded the dog be returned.  Through her tears she asked why they had to take Iggy from his new home where was loved and cared for.  Why do this to Iggy?  Why do this to those kids?  It was quite the heart-wrencher.

What she didn’t tell everyone was that she signed a contract that very clearly stated that Ellen had “no right to transfer” Iggy to another person or organization and that Mutts & Moms would have the right take the dog back if she did not abide by that term.  Clauses like this are not uncommon.  It’s done to ensure that the dog doesn’t end up with the wrong person or back in another shelter if things don’t work out.

As a result of her weeping and whining Mutts & Moms’ reputation had been destroyed.  Their donations had dried up.  Death threats had been made not only to the Mutts & Moms’ operators but to the rescue dogs as well.  That’ll show ‘em, huh, Ellen?

In the wake of this incident it was revealed that this hadn’t been the first time Ellen had done such a thing.  Inside Edition had discovered that there had been at least five and potentially as many as nine separate occasions where Ellen had adopted a dog and then pawned it off to someone else a few weeks later.  The term they used to describe her was “serial adopter”.

Ellen can fool her fans but can’t fool the rescue community.  She can put her mug on all the sacks of dog food she wants.  Actually, it’s quite fitting that she’s chosen the HSUS.  A phony celebrity that takes no direct action to help dogs giving money to an phony organization that takes no direct action to help dogs.

One final note about Mutts & Moms.  Thankfully, they survived Ellen’s bad-mouthing and are still rescuing dogs.  Please visit their website and make a donation if you can.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Reward Offered to Capture Whoever Cut Off Dog's Ears

This sick story comes from KRON in San Francisco.

Created by Brian Shields on 4/9/2009 6:21:57 PM

HOLLISTER (BCN) -- A puppy was dropped off at a Hollister animal shelter Wednesday morning with its ears cut off, prompting the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County to offer a $1,000 reward today to help find the person or people responsible.

A four-month-old brown and white puppy was left Wednesday at the drop box at the Hollister Animal Shelter at 375 Fifth St.

The puppy, who has been named Oliver by SPCA staff, appeared to have its ears cut off and cauterized in a crude attempt at ear cropping, according to Beth Brookhouser, the director of community outreach with SPCA for Monterey County.

"It appears they probably used scissors without any sort of anesthesia or pain medication," Brookhouser said. "Whoever did it, it looks like they also tried to cauterize the wounds, because there's some blackened burn marks too."

The Hollister Police Department contacted SPCA for Monterey County for assistance in the investigation, and the puppy was handed over to their center, located at 1002 Highway 68 in Monterey, for examination.

Brookhouser said Oliver is expected to survive, but "he's never going to look the same." She said veterinarians are going to put the puppy under anesthesia later today to look at the wounds more closely.

Oliver is "definitely in pain, but a very sweet puppy," Brookhouser said. "Since the moment he came through the door he's been happy and licking everyone he meets."

Brookhouser said the staff is not sure what breed the puppy is. "We don't think he's a pitbull, although he may have some in him," she said.

The owner "most likely thought he was a pitbull and wanted him to look tough and did this cruel act," Brookhouser said.

She said ear cropping is something that should always be done by a licensed veterinarian using proper procedures, pain medications, and follow-up care.

The SPCA for Monterey County investigates animal cruelty and shelters homeless, neglected and abused pets and livestock. The $1,000 reward is for information leading to an arrest and conviction in connection with the case.

Smartest Dogs: Moscow Stray Dogs

Here's an interesting story from English Russia.

Russian scientists say that Moscow stray dogs became much smarter. The four legged oldest human’s friends demonstrate real smartness such as riding the Moscow metro every morning to get from their suburban places of living to the fat regions of Moscow center. Once they arrive to the downtown they demonstrate different new, previously unseen for the dog skills. Those skills can include “the hunt for shawarma” for example, the popular among Muscovites eastern cuisine dish. This hunt scene can be seen as this:

Regular Moscow busy street with some small food kiosks. A middle-aged man buys himself a piece of hot fast food and walks aside chewing it without a rush. Then just in a second he jumps up frightened - some doggy has sneaked up on him and barked out loudly. His tasty snack falls out from his hands down to the ground and the dog gets it. Just ten minutes later, on the same place, the teen youngster loses his dinner in exactly the same manner. The modern Russian dogs are on their urban hunt.


“This method of ambushing people from their back is widely exercised by Moscow dogs”, saying A. Poiarkov, working in Ecology and Evolution Institute of Moscow. “The main point here is to define who would drop the food scared and who won’t, but the dogs are great psychologists they can do it better than us”.

Moscow ecologists think that dogs started acquiring this habits in 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow has fell into the hands of new class of Russian capitalists. They understood the true value of the downtown realty underestimated by previous Communist owners and became removing all the industrial complexes Moscow had in its centre to its outskirts. Those places were used by homeless dogs as a shelter often, so the dogs had to move together with their houses, so they had to learn how to travel Moscow subway - first to get to the centre in the morning then back home in the evening, just as us people.

“Sometimes dogs are doing mistakes adapting in metro, but they are studying.”

The commercial revolution of Moscow made their usual feeding places like trash bins out of direct reach, so they had to get to know new ways of getting their piece of food. That’s how appeared those “Shawarma hunts”. Sometimes though they use more gentle methods. Young girl sits on the bench to eat her hot dog - a big cute looking dog appears from the surrounding bushes and puts her head on her knees. The girl can’t help herself sharing the hotdog with a dog.

Among some more amazing skill those Moscow dogs are the ability not to miss their stop while going on the subway train. Biologists say dogs have very nice sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination. Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”, Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car - those are less crowded usually.

It’s funny but the ecologists studying Moscow stray dogs also tell the dogs don’t miss a chance to get some play while on their travel in the subway. They are fond of jumping in the train just seconds before the doors shut closed risking their tails be jammed. “They do it for fun, just they have enough food”, they conclude.


“Traveling first class, compared to this human”

“Practice makes perfect, true.”





“Just a regular member of busy day underground stream”


“Waiting for the right train”


“What? Questions you’ve got?”

Tom Thumb: The tiny puppy set to be the world's smallest dog

From the Daily Mail (UK). I just couldn't resist.

By Sarah Bruce
Last updated at 6:12 PM on 05th April 2009

He is a third of the size of an average guinea pig, and weighs in at just a few ounces - but this tiny puppy could be a big deal when it comes to world records.
The miniscule chihuahua-Jack Russell cross - appropriately named Tom Thumb by its owners - is a serious contender for the title of being the smallest dog on the planet.

Little Tom was born just three weeks ago as part of a surprise litter to mum Spice, a chihuahua.
Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb

Unbelievable: The tiny puppy, called Tom Thumb, peers out of a coffee cup

Owners Susan and Archie Thomson were delighted when he and his brothers and sister were born at the family's West Dunbartonshire home.

His siblings are three times the size of the tiny dog, who can fit inside a teacup and cannot reach his mum to feed when she is standing up.

And he is unlikely to get much bigger - with some previous experience of rearing puppies through their early weeks, the couple are convinced that Tom is almost fully grown now.

Care development officer Mr Thomson, 54, said: 'In the past 10 years we've had six chihuahua litters and I've been involved with other breeds for most of my life - but I've never seen a dog this small.

'He's perfectly proportioned but absolutely miniscule.

'Judging by the size of his paws and head I'd be surprised if he grew much bigger than an inch or two more.

'He's a great wee dog and Susan's convinced he's a record breaker.'
Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb

Miniature! Little Tom sits easily in his owner Susan Thomson's hand, pictured with husband Archie

With his tan-and-black markings, Tom Thumb measures less than four inches from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail and only weighs about three ounces.

He was born last month as part of a five-dog litter - although, sadly, one of Tom's brothers has died since then.

And the Thomsons thought it might also be touch-and-go for Tom Thumb, because he was so small - but he has proved them wrong.

For although Tom's siblings tower above him, he has plenty of fighting spirit to make sure he gets his fair share at feeding time.

Care worker Mrs Thomson, 51, added: 'He’s the first in there at feeding time and doesn’t let the bigger ones bully him.

'In fact, when Spice stands up, Tom Thumb goes with her because his suck is so strong.'

No-one was available for comment at Guinness World Records yesterday, but their website records the smallest living dog in the world as Heaven Sent Brandy, a four-year-old chihuahua from Florida in the USA, who is six inches long.

That means Tom Thumb is seriously in the running to challenge for the title - juts as long as he doesn't get too much bigger.