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Tag: best friends animal society

BARCS celebrates St. Pittie’s Day

A dozen adoptable pit bull-type dogs from Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) will put on the green and march Sunday in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Crystal, Wisteria, Penny and others will don green T-shirts, beads, bowties, shorts and shamrock headbands. Volunteers will walk the dogs in the parade, beginning at 2 p.m., and carry posters with pictures of other pit bulls available for adoption at BARCS.

The volunteers will dress the dogs at 1 p.m. Sunday, meeting at the Washington Monument, 600 N. Charles St.

The parading dogs are meant to show that pit bull terrier-types who are loved, spayed or neutered, properly trained and socialized, make happy and affectionate pets — and that anything else you might have heard to the contrary, according to BARCS “ is just a bunch of blarney.”

In conjunction with the parade, the shelter is having an adoption promotion March 13-19. All week, adopters of pit bull-type dogs will go home with a a goody bag filled with dog treats, toys, T-shirts, collars and leashes, as well as educational information on pit bull terrier-type dogs and tips on responsible dog ownership.  

BARCS works in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society on the Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project, with funding support from PetSmart Charities. The project is designed to encourage responsible pet guardianship and reduce euthanasia of pit bull terriers and similar-type dogs, as well as to improve the public’s perception of pit bulls.

Beagles rescued from bankrupt lab

One hundred and twenty beagles who faced lifetimes being used in medical research experiments have been freed — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

On Friday, the beagles — owned by a research facility in New Jersey whose parent pharmaceutical company went into bankruptcy — were released to the care of animal rescue groups that, after socializing them, hope to adopt them out as family pets.

Beagles are bred especially for use in medical experiments and are used in research because of their affable and passive natures, their relative lack of inherited health problems and their mid-range size. These particular beagles are estimated to be between two and five years of age and have lived their entire lives in a laboratory.

Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah, and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, based in Middletown, N.Y., and Elmsford, N.Y., worked together on rescuing the beagles, who had been left locked in the facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J.

The facility closed in April, after Aniclin’s parent pharmaceutical company couldn’t pay its bills, according to the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson Valley.

A judge ruled that the beagles could be handed over to animal rescue organizations. Fifty-five primates were also removed from the facility and sent to a simian rescue organization

Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary welcomed the beagles to their new home this weekend, decorated in red, white and blue.

Best Friends, according to a press release, was made aware of the beagles’ dilemma through its Community Animal Assistance national helpline, which fields requests to help animals from around the country. Best Friends contacted Pets Alive, a sanctuary in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York, which offered to take ownership of the dogs. Several other animal rescue organizations have stepped forward, each offering to take some of the beagles.

Best Friends is paying for veterinary care, food and transportation of the dogs from the facility. It will  be bringing back as many as 30 dogs to its sanctuary in Utah, including those who may need  more time and help before transitioning into family living.

“Best Friends is teaming up with Pets Alive in the New York area to help these beagles get the fresh start they deserve … one that’s long overdue,” said Judah Battista of Best Friends Animal Society.

“These dogs have been in a laboratory, too long without friends,” she said. “Since these dogs have never had the opportunity to discover their true lovable, comical, often boisterous nature, which makes beagles such a favorite family dog, Pets Alive and Best Friends are committed to helping these dogs discover their true personalities.”

“In this case, the cruel and unnecessary practice of animal testing was compounded by the abandonment of these innocent victims,” said Kerry Clair, executive co-director of Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.

Those wishing to donate to the cause can visit www.bestfriends.org. or www.petsalive.com.

People who live near Pets Alive in Middletown, N.Y., are invited to volunteer their time to help feed, care for and socialize the beagles. To do so contact volunteers@petsalive.com.

Program pairs trainers with problem dogs

Behavior problems are the main reason dogs end up in shelters, the main reason they get returned, and the main reason that some of them never get out.

So it only makes sense that helping dogs and the families that adopt them resolve those issues would lead to far more happier endings and far fewer dogs being put down.

Realizing that, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah has developed a new program in conjunction with the Monmouth County SPCA that matches dog trainers with shelters and families whose dogs have behavioral issues.

Sam Wike, the first trainer accepted into the program, is shown in this video working with Rufus, one of the first dogs referred by Best Friends’ Community Training Partner program. Wike is the lead trainer at Purr’n Pooch, a pet boarding/training/grooming facility in New Jersey.

Rufus, who was in the Monmouth County SPCA, needed a “finishing school” environment in order to be ready to be adopted, Best Friends says. Now he’s completed the training and is ready for adoption.

The main goal of the program is to lower the number of dogs returned to shelters and to counsel people considering relinquishing their dogs because of behavior issues.

When a family comes into the shelter to turn in their dog, a staff counselor sits down with them, and talks through the reasons the family is considering giving up their pet. Owners then are offered the option of training and behavior modification for their dogs, which is funded through the Best Friends program.

“We started this January working with the staff and we’ve also initiated doggy play groups with the shelter dogs,” Wike said. “The play groups help the dogs to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs. The dogs burn off excess energy romping with each other and it’s a great showcase for their personalities when potential adopters come by the shelter,” Wike said.

Should you feel guilty about your purebred?

petaprotestAfter PETA’s protest at Westminster, The New York Times posed a timely and interesting question yesterday: Should the buyers and owners of purebred dogs feel guilty — given the number of dogs euthanized in shelters and the abuses that continue in purebred breeding?

Then they bounced that question off four experts on dogs and their place in society.

The responses are well worth reading in their entirety, but here’s the overly condensed version:

Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society:

The only truly guilt-free purebred dog is one acquired from a shelter or breed rescue group … What’s an exploitive breeder? Any breeder that can’t provide a loving, in-home environment for a pregnant bitch, and a safe home environment surrounded by loving people for new born puppies, is exploitive. Anyone who breeds as a business rather than for the love of the breed is exploitive.

Stanley Coren, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of ”The Intelligence of Dogs,” “How Dogs Think” and more:

Nearly 40 percent of dogs do not make it through their first year with their first owner, and instead are returned to their breeder, given to a shelter, euthanized or abandoned, according to statistics gathered by the U.S. Humane Society … The advantage of purebred dogs is that they provide us with some level of predictability.

Mark Derr, author of “A Dog’s History of America” and “Dog’s Best Friend”:

This need to find “unspoiled” or rare breeds is tied not only to a desire for the next “hot” dog but also recognition that purebred dogs for all their beauty or uniqueness often have multiple genetic problems that are as much a result of the way they are bred as are their appearance and talents … But with purebred dogs accounting for 25 percent of those in shelters and countless more with dedicated breed rescue groups, virtue would appear to lie in giving a dog a home.

Ted Kerasote, author of “Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog”:

Dividing the world into those who should feel guilty for owning a pedigreed pooch and those who can feel self-righteous for rescuing a mutt does little to solve the two major challenges domestic dogs face today: careless breeding and an antiquated shelter system … Assigning blame to one or the other won’t do much to bring more genetic diversity into the world of purebred dogs or help shelters operate in more diverse and life-saving ways. Nor does instigating guilt give the slightest nod toward the magic that happens when a person and a dog, purebred or not, fall in love.

Best Friends, Operation Scarlet lead voting

Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and Operation Scarlet, a Shar Pei rescue group based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania have won the first round of voting — and $1,000 grants — in the The Animal Rescue Site’s $100,000 Shelter+ Challenge.

A total of $100,000 in grants will be awarded to shelters and rescue organizations in the 2009 Challenge, which wraps up July 26.

Members of the public can vote for their favorite shelters once a day at theanimalrescuesite.com.

This year, a grand prize of $20,000 will go to the top vote-getting organization. The second place winner will receive $5,000 and third place will receive $3,000. Honorable Mentions of $1,500 will go the fourth and fifth highest vote-getters.

“Because the voting lasts for fifteen weeks on our site, there is plenty of time left for new shelters to leap into the lead,” said Rosemary Jones, a spokesperson for The Animal Rescue Site. “We’ve also increased the number of grants, so there are more even opportunities for all types of Petfinder.com shelters and rescue organizations to receive anywhere from $1,000 weekly winner (for the most votes cast that week) to regional awards to the $20,000 grand prize.”

As of April 30, the top ten shelters in the Challenge in alphabetical order were: Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah; Days End Farm Horse Rescue; Lisbon, Maryland; Humane Society of Huron Valley, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc., Pittsville, Wisconsin; Oasis Sanctuary, Benson, Arizona; Operation Scarlet Inc, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Ovando, Montana; SBU Cat Network, Stony Brook, New York; Seminole County Animal Services, Sanford, Florida; and Wynne Friends of Animals, Wynne, Arkansas.

Skin deep: How Aristotle got his fur back

A “bad” dog, an “ugly” dog and a gaggle of “unwanted” beagles all prove that, deep down, they were not those things at all in the season premiere of “DogTown” Friday night.

All three stories show the benefits of looking a little deeper than the surface, but it’s the tale of Aristotle, a scab-ridden and a hairless mutt, that’s going to tug your heartstrings the hardest.

A terrier mix rescued from a hoarding situation, Aristotle comes to DogTown with a skin condition that has left him a pitiful sight — his hair has fallen out, his skin is covered with scabs, and he has no apparent eyelids.

Veterinarians at Best Friends Animal Society, the southwest Utah sanctuary where the National Geographic Channel program is centered, set out to make a diagnosis on Aristotle and relieve his itching, in hopes his coat might grow back and he might get adopted.

Aristotle’s story is one of two told in “The Survivors,” the first episode of the new season of “DogTown,” which airs Friday at 10 p.m.

Read more »

Heigl hits road to help dogs find homes

When she’s not busy saving lives on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Katherine Heigl spends some of her spare time saving dogs, as Access Hollywood recently showed its viewers.

Heigl and her mother, Nancy, recently teamed up with Pup My Ride, an animal rescue program from the Best Friends Animal Society, to rescue dogs from shelter life.

“Over 600 dogs have been saved and adopted,” Heigl told Access Hollywood.

“Up in Utah and Arizona and some of these states around California, they have waiting lists for small dogs, people wanting to adopt and here we have an overwhelming number in the shelters,” Heigl said.

As a result, Best Friends drives the dogs, which would otherwise be put down, to new, out-of-state homes.

Heigl was tempted to take one home herself — but didn’t. She already has six, the latest being a dog she and her husband, Josh Kelley, found in a trash can in Mexico.

“Someone had literally thrown him out, and he was probably at the time, three or four weeks old,” she said. “He was just this teeny tiny, fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand, and Josh said, ‘I think we should take this one home,’ and I said, ‘OK! I’m dying for a puppy.’”