September 02, 2011

Special-needs Beagle in Crisis

This is a tough one. A former Herald colleague wrote to me on behalf of her daughter, who is out of work and experience health issues. The daughter adopted one of the Herald parking lot dogs months ago (people dump them at the newspaper building. Nice, huh?) I'm going to print the letter, without names. These are kind-hearted and generous people who have done all they can (and more). Contact me at 305-376-3631 if you can help, or email This is a very difficult situation. Thanks.

The mom writes: 

" I took Malcom to my home yesterday to give [my daughter] a full night's sleep. And I told her I would ask you about finding a foster household for this "special needs" dog, at least until she can recover fully. If not that, then a no-kill shelter (hopefully). 

"Although I thought my relatively calm animal household (two dogs/two cats) might help his behavior, it is now middle-of-the-night, and he has been awake since 2:15 am, barking, whining and climbing onto whatever he can and knocking things over in the process. I have tried ignoring him, but that doesn't work, either. And he is terrified of being in a crate, which usually results in his baying incessantly.
   "He's on phenobarbitol and a thyroid med for seizures (usually cluster seizures), which have finally diminished how often they occur. (My daughter) has spent more than $3,000 on his care, including one night in an emergency vet's clinic.
   "Because he is always kind of whacked out for several days after he had a seizure(s), it has been impossible to housetrain him. When he woke me up two hours ago, I was not surprised to see about a quart of urine and a pile of poo on the floor. This has been his M.O. for months. [My daughter]  cannot recover any kind of normalcy with Malcolm in her household (and two other dogs and a cat).''



My neighbor rescued at young, very energetic black German shepherd (probably a mix, given white speckled feet) off the streets of Hialeah, and named her Miracle. She's very much a puppy, probably 50 pounds, and destined to get bigger. She's delightful, and loves to leap around in the yard like a bunny. But she needs a LOT of training, which he's trying to do. However, he's about to lose his home (an Upper East Side rental), and shortly after will be on road for two months working (he's a fashion/advert photographer). He'd love to find her a forever family, but failing that, a foster who can take care of Miracle until he's off the road and settled.

Here's the link to German Shepherd Rescue where you can see her. With the right handling, she will be a GREAT family dog. Hope someone can help.  

September 01, 2011

News from Broward Animal Care

ANIMAL CARE WILL BE CLOSED on Friday, September 2, and Monday, September 5, in observance of the Labor Day national holiday. The Fort Lauderdale Adoption Center, 1870 S.W. 39th Street, will be open on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pompano Beach Adoption Center, 3100 N.W. 19th Terrace, will be open on Saturday, September 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PAWTIQUE RETAIL SHOP OPENS! The Fort Lauderdale Adoption Center now offers a retail "Pawtique", complete with supplies for your new best friend! The new shop features leashes and collars as well as food bowls, toys and other pet merchandise. The store will be open during regular Adoption Center hours. Customers will be able to purchase items even if they do not adopt a pet.

DOG ADOPTION EVENT AT PET SUPERMARKET! Join us at Pet Supermarket on Sunday, September 11, and Monday, September 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as we feature some of our lovable dogs for adoption at the Miramar store, 3081 SW 160th Ave., near I-75 and Miramar Parkway.

FOSTER A PET AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! We have a tremendous need for foster parents to give aid to pets in need of extra care! Fostering is a full-time job, but if you have the time and dedication you can make a difference to these pets. You must be a Broward County resident, 18 years old, and complete a Foster Application. For information contact our Foster Program Coordinator at 954-359-1313 ext. 9271.

OUR NEXT RABIES CLINIC will be Saturday, September 10, at the Collins Community Center, 3900 N.E. Third Ave., Oakland Park, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost for a one-year rabies vaccination and Broward County pet license is a cash-only payment of $15. You must be a Broward County resident to attend. Please bring a valid Florida driver's license or current utility bill for identification. All dogs must be on leashes and all cats in carriers. For a complete list of other Rabies Clinic locations and dates, .

GIVE PETEY A HOME! Please say hi to Petey, a one-year-old Pit Bull-mix, who was surrendered because the owners could no longer spend time with him. He's a real handsome gentleman, so please come and take him home with you! He is available at our Fort Lauderdale Adoption Center, 1870 S.W. 39th St. We are open for adoptions this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 a one year-old Pit Bull-mix standing next to a tree

August 31, 2011

Animalia was fun

Steffi and I met lots of nice humans and animals. She was captivated by the ferrets and, much to my delight (not to mention relief) benignly interested in the cats (of which there were many). Also lots of puppies from rescues and shelters. I understand that dozens got adopted, which is fantastic. Sadly, no one fell in love with Steffi, but here we are together.


August 23, 2011

Good advice from a pro

With the current state of the economy and rising pet care costs, consumers have become more frugal with their spending. If not closely watched, the medical fees associated with caring for a pet is an expenditure that can quickly spiral out of control. Although we treat our pets essentially as our children and would never compromise on their healthcare, Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow and Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow has provided the below tips to show that there ARE ways to cut costs, without cutting the quality of care provided.

“Tips for Reducing Pet Care Costs Without Compromising the Care of Your Pet”

  • ·         Get Fido to the Vet: Preventative veterinary care like annual vet visits will help catch help problems in their early stages, saving you time and money in the long run.
  • ·         Give Fido Regular  Check-Ups: Weekly at-home check-ups will go a long way:


o        Check under Fido’s fur for any lumps, flakes or scabs

o        Check Fido’s eyes and ears for signs of redness or discharge

o        Clean Fido’s ears and brush his teeth

o        Make note of any changes in Fido’s eating habits

o        Check Fido’s breath to make sure he is not experiencing any digestive issues


  • ·         Vaccinate Fido Wisely: Not all pets have to have a standard round of vaccines. In order to not incur unnecessary costs, speak with Fido’s vet to determine which vaccines he really needs.


  • ·         Train Fido: An obedient Fido is a healthy Fido. Providing Fido with proper training, like Camp Bow Wow’s premier dog training program: Bow Wow Behavior Buddies, will ensure that he is calmer in social scenarios. Teaching Fido to “sit” instead of running into a potentially dangerous situation will prevent you from emergency as well as emotional costs.


  • ·         Let Fido Play: Prevent Fido from feeling pent-up (and save money from ruined furniture or stressed-induced illness), by giving him plenty of play time. Take Fido to a doggie day care or overnight camp, like Camp Bow Wow, which has all-inclusive Day Care Packages that provide discounted pricing. If you aren’t able to take Fido anywhere, Camp Bow Wow’s in-home pet care program, Home Buddies offers discount packages and will keep Fido entertained while the family is out.


  • ·         Feed Fido Healthy Meals: Feeding Fido premium-quality age-appropriate dog food is an upfront cost that will save you money in the end. Nulo’s all-natural pet food with whole ingredients is a great choice to enhance Fido’s coat and give Fido more energy, all resulting in less trips to the vet. Cheaper dog food contains less digestible fillers, which lack nutrients and can also cause allergies or digestive problems.


  • ·         Don’t Overfeed Fido: No matter how healthy Fido’s food is, don’t overdo it with meals. As pet obesity is a growing concern (44% of dogs and 57% of cats (84 million animals) obese or overweight in the United States), moderate portions will save you money on food as well as costs associated with caring for an obese pet. To further combat pet obesity, Camp Bow Wow hosted a “Fitness Challenge”. Check out participant’s success stories to see how they got back into shape with their furry friend.


  • ·         Groom Fido At Home: Regularly brushing Fido and trimming his nails will not only keep him content and happy, but it will also save you on visits to the groomer.


ANIMALIA goes on this weekend, rain or shine

The big pet extravaganza at the Miami Beach Convention Center is on for Saturday and Sunday, whatever Hurricane Irene decides to do-- which probably involves heading elsewhere, fortunately. I'll be there Sunday at 11:30 to chat with whoever stops by about the current state of animal welfare in South Florida. I'll also have Steffi with me, hoping to find the perfect forever home for her. For more on Animalia, go here.Viewer

Dr. Pizano's Farewell Note to Staff and Volunteers

As anyone who watched Miami-Dade Animal Services knows, Dr. Sara Pizano, director, quit recently. To those who thought she was the best director in the very troubled department's long, dismal history, this has been devastating. To those who campaigned to get her out, it might seem like a victory, but they should bear in mind the old maxim: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Given that it's a county-run agency with the same if not greater financial pressure, not much will change about the way the shelter operates. But whatever you thought of her, Pizano was an experienced veterinarian. The new director is an public-agency administrator. That doesn't mean he won't try to do the best he can for the animals, but a vet certainly has the advantage in that situation. Good luck to ALex and everyone who works at the shelter.

Pizano's email:

"When I accepted the Director position at Miami-Dade Animal Services six years ago, I
knew the challenges would be great and the obstacles immense. Little did I know what
an understatement that would be! Looking back, it humbles me to think about the
accomplishments like seeing 122 of our shelter pets get adopted at one event, turning
over the entire fleet of archaic Animal Control Officer trucks and replacing them with
state of the art air conditioned vehicles, the improvement in animal care and treatments
that now could include blood transfusions and ultrasounds and just the sheer number of
animals saved as compared to back then. Stay tuned for the updated 6 Year Report that
will be out at the beginning of the new fiscal year to learn more about our continued
Increasing the number of animals saved from 6,000 to 14,000 has been no small feat and
all of you are to thank for that. Incredibly, we are on track to save even more, despite the
decrease during the renovations! Our Rescue Partners will break their all time record and
adoptions are up over last year. Also, compared to last year, the percent of animals
euthanized has decreased from 55% to 45%. We can all agree though, that 45% is
unacceptable and we continue to work to drive those numbers lower.
Your dedication to network on behalf of our shelter pets, spend countless hours working
and volunteering at the shelter in unbearable conditions or reaching out (and driving!) to
potential adopters and foster parents outside of our county led to this unprecedented
success. To the staff, the exponential increase in your workload has been a constant
burden to me and your work and dedication did not go unnoticed. Thank you to those of
you who go above and beyond every day.
I wish I could tell you that Animal Services is now perfect, but it is far from it and there
is so much more to do. The number of animals abandoned has escalated over the years
and the funding for our proactive programs and other needed resources cut. That’s why I
set up the 501c3 Spay Neuter Miami Foundation, Inc. and included community
spay/neuter programs in our Animal Services Trust Fund guidelines to subsidize
surgeries on our MAC unit ($25 for dogs and $15 for cats). Donations to both are tax
deductible and can be made online at or, respectively. If you are wondering if there are pet owners
who really want to have their pets sterilized, look no further than outside our gates during
the night, where you are likely to find people sleeping in their cars to ensure a spot on our
first come/first serve surgery days.
Each year we subsidize the MAC programs with grants and donations. Please help
spread the word that funding will be exhausted by the end of September and the
MAC program will be discontinued unless our community steps up. We know how
quickly negative information is spread so I challenge all of you to make this happen and
encourage people who care to donate to the Trust Fund or Foundation as soon as
I now leave the shelter in the very capable hands of our new Director, Alex Munoz. Alex
served as the Assistant County Manager and my boss two different times. I can assure
you that Alex cares very deeply about the Department, is an amazing leader and person
and I have all the confidence in the world that the shelter will continue to improve. Alex
is committed to the mission, along with all of us and I ask that you welcome him and
respect the impossible job he has been assigned to do. Animal Services needs help, not
I also want to thank all of our partners in rescue and to the ASPCA for honoring us with a
national community partnership. Alex is as committed to collaboration as I have been
and I know our partnerships will continue to thrive and grow under his watch. And
finally, thank you to the Board of County Commissioners, our previous County Manager,
George Burgess, our previous Mayor Carlos Alvarez, our current County Manager, Alina
Hudak and our new Mayor Carlos Gimenez, all of whom believed in and supported me
over these six years.
God bless you and all you continue to do for our shelter pets. Your support of me and of
Animal Services has been very much appreciated.''
With humility and gratitude,
Dr. Sara Pizano, Civilian

August 18, 2011

Bowling for Huskies!

 It’s time for South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue’s Third Annual Celebrity Bowling Night. The event will be held on Saturday, August 27th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Strikes @Boca, formerly known as Boca Bowl, 21046 Commercial Trail (561) 368-2177.
This year’s featured celebrities include CBS 12 News Anchors Juan Carlos Fanjul and Emily Pantelides, 2010 Mrs. Florida Debbie Bomford along with Miss Pre Teen Sunshine State Shelby Bomford, Mrs. Corporate America 2011 Kelly Fason and Roxy from 93.9.

Sponsors include EDCO Awards and Specialties in Pompano Beach.
This year has been especially hard for South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue as more and more Floridians are losing their homes and can no longer care for their

Siberian Huskies. Funds used from this event will help pay for the Huskies in
the organization’s care. This year has seen an unprecedented wave of owners
turning in their dogs since they can no longer care for them.
“We hope to raise enough funds from this event to help us care for so many
Huskies in need in the state of Florida,” says Bobbie Weinstein, Director of
Operations for South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue.
The advance ticket fee is $20 per bowler and $25 at the door. The cost includes
two hours of bowling, rental shoes, one slice of pizza and one soda. To reserve
your tickets visit
South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue, Inc., is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit
organization comprised entirely of volunteers and operates solely on donations. 

Its mission is to rescue stray, abused and abandoned purebred Siberian Huskies
in the State of Florida, and provide medical care and behavioral rehabilitation
as needed until suitable homes are found.  All dogs placed by the rescue are
spayed/neutered and up to date on shots prior to adoption. 


August 15, 2011


Animalia Pet Expo is for Animal Lovers, Bring a Pet, Adopt a Pet

           (Miami) For two days on the last weekend in August, well behaved vaccinated South Florida pets will be allowed to come into the Miami Convention Center with their owners to experience the Animalia Pet Expo.  Show hours are 10 am to 7 p.m.  Saturday August 27th and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Sunday August 28th.

 There are over 100 exhibits featuring ferrets, horses, snakes, dog competitions, cat exhibits, pet safety tips, a pet travel seminar with SkySteward, and a pet couture fashion runway show with Kiki Hamman. The show offers something for the small to large animal, whether it is a bird, reptile, exotic pet, cat or dog.


Show Features

Training and Obedience                                                 Jewelry, Apparel

Animal Therapy                                                             Grooming

Adoption and Rescue                                                    Pet-friendly Hotels and Vacations

ID and Location Systems                                               Animal Entertainment/Activities

Food, Furniture, Toys & Supplies                                   Healthcare and Medical Health

Bereavement and Burial                                                 Vitamins and Health Foods

Publications                                                                  Housing

Natural Products                                                           Bedding

Trendy Accessories


Animalia Pet Expo supports nonprofit and rescue groups and is giving complimentary expo space to animal adoption and rescue agencies. For each ticket sale, $1 is donated to the Greater Humane Society of Miami.

 “Unleash Your Love for Pets at Animalia’ it’s a two-day fun indoor public event benefiting the Humane Society of Greater Miami, Adopt-A-Pet. The event has been created for "pets & people of South Florida"

This is Ellie: I'll be there on Sunday afternoon hosting a discussion about the current state of animal care in SoFla. Mostly I want to solicit ideas on how the community can do a better job.


August 08, 2011

Anti-Dog Fighting Campaign

 Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation and No Kill Nation Launch Anti-Dog Fighting Campaign

Miami, Florida – July 31, 2011: The Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) and No Kill Nation (NKN) are taking a stand against the despicable "spectator sport" of dog fighting. It takes place in the cover of night and the light of day; everywhere; in our fields and backyards. It’s a matter of public knowledge that it occurs, yet it continues to occur unabated.

MCABSL and NKN, together in advocacy, announce the launch of an anti-dog fighting campaign, designed to put an end to the injustice that plagues man's best friend. No longer can we ignore the brutality happening all around us. We challenge you, our fellow citizens, to stand with us as we work to end the fighting.

This blood-sport has become a national epidemic. From Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels to fighting rings in our local neighborhoods – this brutal "sport" must be stopped. Innocent dogs are being abused, ripped apart and killed as a matter of course. Dog-fighting is not restricted to pit-bull type dogs; dogs of all breeds (puppies included) are used as bait dogs for training, many of whom have been stolen from their owners. Criminals in our community are profiting from these brutal activities, built on the pain and misery of our fellow creatures.

As an animal-loving nation, we will stand together and put an end to this barbaric practice once and for all. Please join us and support this cause.


To learn more about this campaign, the brutal act of dog-fighting and how you can help, please visit

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