When it comes to caring for a seriously ill pet, most of us think with our hearts instead of our wallets. This piece on Salon.com raises interesting issues around this subject-- worth a read.
To all who celebrate Rosh Hashana: Happy, healthy, peaceful New Year. I'll be gone the rest of the week to spend the holiday with my siblings in the Boston area and probably won't be blogging. Back with you Monday.
I seldom agree with Jonah Goldberg on political issues, but I'm with him 100% on the Michael Vick situation and its broader implications. Click here to read his op-ed piece in today's Herald.
I posted this some time last year, but someone sent it again and it's worth posting a second time:
HELP NEEDED ASAP: Please help!!!! After two long years of being on a waiting
list for a dog, we have been notified by breed rescue that, at long last,
our number has come up and ... WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!! We must get rid of
our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new
little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children.
Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children
up for adoption this weekend! They are described as: One male - His name is
Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four
years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn't bite. Temperament tested. Does
have problems with peeing directly in the toilet. Has had chicken Pox and is
current on all shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats
everything, is very clean, house trained & gets Along well with others. Does
not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read
soon. One female - Her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix),
Strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be
surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but
needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots,
tonsils out, and is very healthy & can be affectionate. Gets along well with
other little girls & little boys but does not like to share her toys and
therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick
learner and is currently working on her house training-shouldn' t take long
at all. We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what's right
for them; that is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no
longer keep them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy. I
hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real
emergency here!!! They MUST be placed into your rescue by Sunday night at
the latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along
some dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.
The HSUS is biting Britney Spears over her purchase of a $3000 pet store Yorkie.
The group reports that after spending less than 30 minutes in a Bel Air shop, she bought a dog.
The Humane Society of the United States is extremely concerned not only that the pop star purchased a dog from a pet store, but also that she apparently took very little time to make a major decision. According to Stephanie Shain, The HSUS director of outreach for companion animals, “Ms. Spears is setting a damaging example to the public. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills -- factory-like facilities, churning out purebred and “designer” puppies in large numbers. Puppy mills look only to make a profit; commonly disregard the dog’s physical and emotional health; and do not adhere to sound breeding practices. The result is often sick or dying puppies who suffer from genetic, mental and physical problems that are not immediately apparent. The consequence is always breeding dogs left for years suffering in cages. Every time someone purchases a dog from a pet store, they risk perpetuating the horrendous business of puppy mills.”
In addition, The HSUS is concerned that Ms. Spears took little time to choose the right dog. Shain explains, “Choosing a dog is a major lifestyle decision that should not be taken lightly. We suggest that people take time to choose a member of their family, and to be sure they are working with a reputable breeder.”
Most pet stores are adamant that they do not support puppy mills and that the dogs they sell are strictly from “reputable breeders.” However, many people who purchase their puppy from a pet store end up with a very ill animal. The HSUS is sure Ms. Spears doesn’t want her money supporting animal cruelty by buying a puppy mill puppy. Shain would like her to know, “If you send us a copy of your dog’s papers, we’d be happy to look into the situation for you.”
- Approximately one-third of the nation's 11,000 pet stores sell puppies.
- The HSUS estimates 2-4 million puppy mill dogs are sold each year.
- Puppy mill puppies are more likely to have severe health problems, genetic defects and behavioral issues.
- Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages, and lack of socialization.
- Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years, being bred as often as possible, and are killed, sold through auctions like a used car, or abandoned when they are no longer useful to the mill operator.
- The Internet has become another tool for puppy mills. Pet stores and some breeders use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe the public into thinking that they are dealing with a reputable breeder.
- Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
- Puppy mills drastically contribute to the millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.
- Never buy a dog from a pet store. Visit a shelter where one of four dogs is a purebred, or find a breed rescue group.
"Selling publications teeming with advertisements for upcoming cockfights, cockfighting tools and fighting-cock breeders—specifically two magazines called The Gamecock and The Feathered Warrior—Amazon.com is violating not just common decency but also federal law.''
So says the Humane Society of the United States, which has filed a lawsuit against the online mail-order giant. Click here for more details.
From the Seattle Times, Amazon's response:
Cockfighting journals to stay, Amazon.com says after group sues
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle-based Amazon.com's policy of stocking the widest possible selection of publications came under attack Thursday from the Humane Society of the United States, which accused the Internet retailer of violating federal law for selling publications that glorify animal fighting.
The Humane Society sued Amazon in the District of Columbia for selling two cockfighting magazines and two graphic videos of dogfights, and it asked King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng to pursue civil proceedings.
The actions cap 19 months of talks between Amazon and the Humane Society over publications the animal-rights group considers illegal promotions of animal fighting. Last summer, Amazon removed one dogfighting video, but it later reappeared on the Web site.
Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said the two dogfighting videos cited by the Humane Society would be removed. But the company's right to continue selling The Feathered Warrior and Gamecock magazines was protected by the First Amendment, she said.
With 90,000 magazine titles in stock, Amazon sells publications some may find offensive, she said. Although it sells publications that depict illegal acts, Amazon itself is not participating in them, she said.
"Free speech is designed to protect ugly speech. Beautiful speech doesn't need protection," she said. "As a retailer, you don't want us picking what we think is appropriate for you to read."
But Humane Society attorney Ethan Eddy said the magazines are the "glue that holds the illegal cockfighting world together," and they do far more than merely discuss illegal fighting. Among the advertisements in November 2006 edition of The Feathered Warrior are those for cockfighting knives, a poultry stimulant called "Pure Aggression" and a cockfighting game club in Kentucky, where cockfighting is illegal.
The suit, which also names the magazines' publishers and distributors, accuses Amazon of violating a federal law prohibiting the mailing of publications that promote animal fighting. It is a felony in Washington to promote, participate or watch a cockfight or a dogfight.
Eddy said Amazon is the only Internet retailer of the monthly magazines, which have about 9,000 subscribers each. "By asking them [Amazon] to stop shipping the magazines, we're not cracking down on free speech," he said. "We're cracking down on conduct. The shipment is what's illegal."
Stewart Jay, a University of Washington constitutional-law professor, said Amazon likely has a strong First Amendment defense. He compared the suit to a landmark 1959 case in which New York tried to ban the movie version of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" because it allegedly promoted adultery, which was then illegal.
"You have the constitutional right to contend that things that are illegal or immoral are not, or should not be," Jay said.
Cockfighting, which continues to live on in Washington, is a blood sport in which roosters, affixed with knives or hooks, battle each other, often to the death. It is banned in 48 states, but thrives in immigrant communities from countries including Mexico and the Philippines, where it is legal.
I want to share something from my colleague, Sidonie Sawyer, a Travel Section editor, that perfectly illustrates the sad results of failing to spay and neuter. I know I'm preaching to the choir on this blog - who else reads it besides animal freaks? - but on the off chance that someone wanders in who doesn't "get'' the spay/neuter thing, please read carefully.
Sunday, I had to cut umbilical cords. Yes, with an S, as in two cords! The kittens were born on a quiet sidewalk, almost under a bush, but not quite. The mother probably did her best to take them under cover but those two did not make it. When I found them, they still had the placenta bag attached to their cords. I took my smallest scissors, the ones I use to cut my bangs, ran them through a match flame, wiped them with witch hazel, and swiftly cut the tiny thread, hoping it would not hurt them. My heartbeat was fast. Then I wrapped the now single furry balls in towels and fed them some warm water with an eye dropper. I did not think she would, but my neighbor's female cat, who had just given birth herself a day earlier, took the little ones to her nipple, or at least, to be fair, did not kill them on the spot, and the last time I saw them, they were alive and fed! Please adopt. Please sterilize. Please care!
Sunday, I had to cut umbilical cords. Yes, with an S, as in two cords!
The kittens were born on a quiet sidewalk, almost under a bush, but not quite. The mother probably did her best to take them under cover but those two did not make it. When I found them, they still had the placenta bag attached to their cords.
I took my smallest scissors, the ones I use to cut my bangs, ran them through a match flame, wiped them with witch hazel, and swiftly cut the tiny thread, hoping it would not hurt them.
My heartbeat was fast. Then I wrapped the now single furry balls in towels and fed them some warm water with an eye dropper. I did not think she would, but my neighbor's female cat, who had just given birth herself a day earlier, took the little ones to her nipple, or at least, to be fair, did not kill them on the spot, and the last time I saw them, they were alive and fed!
Please adopt. Please sterilize. Please care!
So, let's take a break from critters for a moment and focus on Memorial Day. I had the honor of contributing to a package of stories about Florida families of the fallen in today's Herald. I interviewed a mom who lost her only child, and an aunt whose life was remade as an activist for active-duty fighters and veterans following her nephew's death in Iraq. Please click here to read these stories, and reflect on what a handful of American families are sacrificing in this time of war. They deserve our respect and support.
Good wishes to you moms out there. This is my first Mother's Day without mine, who died last July at 90. It's been a day for wistful memories, looking at photos of her from various stages of her life - childhood through old age - and plugging into the parts of her life I shared. I can clearly hear her voice, which I have on many tapes but can't yet bring myself to listen to. It's emotionally safer to listen to her in my head.
My heart goes out to everyone who is likewise bereft of their moms. I got through the day by calling treasured relatives who are moms, and the mothers of dear friends. It's a decidedly mixed blessing to have one's parents late in life - I'm 58 - because you tend to believe the delusion that they'll be around forever. Then one day they aren't, and the world is never the same.
Peace to all.
There's a real space crunch at Miami-Dade Animal Services lately. Dr. Sara Pizano, the director, messaged the following yesterday:
"The shelter population fluctuates between 250-400 all the time. This morning the count was 403. We need help all the time, every day!''
The sad fact of life at the shelter is that there's limited space and too many animals. People get so upset about how many critters are euthanized there, but you have to do the numbers. Rescue groups can only take so many, and although adoptions from the shelter are at records highs, they're nowhere near enough to save every cat and dog that comes through the door. Let's hope we all live long enough to see a South Florida where there are no strays because everyone is responsible and spays and neuters, and makes sure their pets are properly ID'd, and the puppy mills are out of business. Only then will the killing stop.
Read this and weep: Over 32,000 animals are abandoned each year at Miami-Dade Animal Services. Most of them are not spayed or neutered.
On the subject of cats: The Catnip Lounge just opened at ASD, "where cats will live in nice and ample condo-style cages designed for them. Cats and kittens will have a safe and tranquil environment - air conditioning and air purifier, included - during their stay at the shelter. Our current cat wards are inappropriate for them, as they are loud and stressful because they are connected to dog runs. This room is our former storage and was cleaned, remodeled and painted by Sarah Wach, as part of her Gold Star Girl Scout Project.
"These 10 cages will house many more cats; total number will vary, depending on whether they are kittens or adult cats. Our goal is to make these pets happier and more comfortable and therefore, more adoptable. Only 25% of adoptions are cats; less than 5% of animals rescued are cats. ''
Over 32,000 animals are abandoned each year at Miami-Dade Animal Services. An average of 84 to 100 pets are impounded daily; most of them not spayed or neutered.