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Archive for May 9th, 2009

In Arizona, a sanctuary for unwanted animals

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As part of its continuing “Making a Difference” series, NBC Nightly News recently featured the Circle L Ranch — an Arizona sanctuary for dogs, cats, horses and other farm animals that, though we’ve yet to pay it a visit, I have a hunch we someday will.

That’s because the woman behind it, Phoenix physician Deborah Wilson, happens to be married to one of my many former bosses — a member, in fact, of that extremely small and highly exclusive group, “Bosses I liked.”

Dr. Wilson, who’s the wife of Steve Wilson, communications director for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, says the Circle L, like most sanctuaries and shelters, has seen unprecedented numbers of animals coming in due to the faltering economy, foreclosures and layoffs. “It’s just one sad, heartbreaking story after another,” she told NBC’s Maria Menounos.

The Circle L Ranch, on 37 acres in the Prescott Valley, was established as a sanctuary in 2006 and is now home to 70 horses and an assortment of cows, goats, sheep, not to mention cats and dogs.

Dr. Wilson, its founder, is an animal rights advocate who has been active in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and PETA. She’s on the Board of Directors of Audubon Arizona and Liberty Wildlife.

Six kids honored for kindness to animals

Six kids from across the nation — including a Maryland girl who volunteers at Frederick County Animal Control — have been named winners in the American Humane Association’s Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest.

Be Kind to Animals Week, established in 1915, is being observed May 3-9 this year. It is the oldest event in the nation to celebrate the companionship, friendship and love that animals bring into people’s lives.

Annie Lee Vankleeck, 6, grand prize winner in the age 6 to 12 category, was honored for helping Out of the Pits, a non-profit pit bull rescue in Albany, New York.

After she and her parents, of Shokan, New York, learned that the organization needed blankets and towels, Annie went to work. She collected blankets and towels at the town’s annual Olive Day festival, then went to yard sales and persuaded people to donate. She also collected blankets and towels at school. She’s still at it: For her upcoming 7th birthday party, she is asking her guests to forego bringing her gifts, and bring towels and blankets for “the doggies” instead.

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Sunday is $5 adoption day at BARCS in May

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is running a  “Love is in Bloom” adoption special through MayEvery Sunday this month, adoption fees will be reduced from $65 to just $5 for any animal.

BARCS is also looking for some foster homes for kittens and cats, which, this being spring, are showing up at the shelter in extreme numbers.

BARCS says it is particularly desperate for foster homes for motherless kittens who need to be bottle fed. No experience is necessary, and training will be provided.

If you can help, contact BARCS at 410-396-4695, or email Debra Rahl (debra.rahl@baltimorecity.gov) or Frank Branchini (frank.branchini@baltimorecity.gov).

There are plenty of other ways to help out BARCS, short of taking home an animal. Among the items BARCS gladly accepts donations of are: Leashes, (6 feet long, 1″ thick, nylon), collars, cat litter (no-clumping), toys (without catnip), cardboard box lids (like those from cases of food/paper for use as disposable litter pans), paper towels, dish detergent, bleach, 32-gallon heavy-duty trash bags, hoses, gauze, alcohol, distilled water, latex gloves, peroxide, hand sanitizer, copy paper, laminating sheets and index cards (3 x 5).

Judge ponders Loudoun’s pit bull policy

Loudoun County’s policy prohibiting the adoption of pit bulls from the county shelter ended up in court this week, with two days of arguments over whether it amounts to discriminating against the breed.

Loudoun is the only Northern Virginia county that prohibits public adoptions of pit bulls, and it has reportedly euthanized 214 of them since January 2006.

The case, heard in Loudoun County Circuit Court, stems from a civil lawsuit that claims the county violated state and local laws that give people the right to adopt the dog of their choice from a publicly funded shelter.

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