Animal advocates in Maryland will probably recognize a familiar face or two in this public service announcement, scheduled to premier this week at Maryland Humane Lobby Day.
The PSA will officially premier on Thursday, Feb. 21st, during the Maryland Humane Lobby Day event at the Maryland Statehouse and Legislative Buildings in Annapolis.
The event will include awards, briefings, and an opportunity for people who care about animals to meet directly with their elected officials.
Thirty-four states have established funding mechanisms to support spay/neuter programs, leading to significant reductions in their euthanasia rates. New Jersey witnessed a 61 percent decrease and New Hampshire saw a 75 percent decrease after implementing state programs. In New Hampshire, statistics showed for every dollar invested, $3.15 was saved in reduced costs for shelter care and euthanasia.
The Save Maryland Pets Spay Awareness PSA, directed and produced by Dani Englander, features some of Maryland’s most dedicated animal advocates, workers, officers, and friends.
Appearances are made by Del. Barbara Frush, sponsor of the Maryland spay/neuter legislation, and Sen. John Astle and Del. Ron George, co-sponsors of the bills.
Among the other animal lovers and advocates who appear are Carolyn Kilborn, Tami Santelli, Matt Wieters, Valerie Leonard, Michelle Kownacki, Caroline Griffin, and Wendy Cozzone. The video was filmed in Annapolis and Baltimore.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, advocates, animals, annapolis, baltimore, bill, costs, dogs, funding, homeless, humane lobby day, legislation, lives, maryland, maryland votes for animals, neuter, pets, program, proposal, psa, public service announcement, save, save maryland pets, saving, spay, spay-neuter
Sometimes, our powerful connection with a dog is the result of another powerful connection that was lost.
Such is the case with Joe Guinta of Newark, Ohio, who plans to spend his last cent, and then some, to fight the cancer that has stricken Hunter, an 11-year-old mixed breed that belonged to his son.
Levi Guinta was killed in 2005 in a car accident. He was 22.
“Being that Levi was my only child, he was all I had,” Guinta explained to the Newark Advocate. “Hunter and I are very close. We now call him Daddy’s Boy.”
Six weeks ago, Guinta took Hunter — a husky-shepherd mix — to the veterinarian because he was unexplainedly losing weight. The vet, after some follow up visits, eventually diagnosed cancer.
Hunter has been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, and has a mass on his chest and a lump near his penis. He has been put on steroids, and has had two of a scheduled 16 chemotherapy treatments.
While the dog’s outlook is improving, Guinta, a salesman for Bath Fitters, paid by commission, has struggled to cover the costs. “I owe it to him,” Guinta said, referring to the dog. “I took that responsibility on when I took over his care.”
Guinta is getting some help from the Magic Bullet Fund, which is helps families who can’t afford the cost of treating their pets raise the money to do so.
The organization was started in New York by Laurie Kaplan, author of “Help Your Dog Fight Cancer.” When her dog, Bullet, got cancer, she was able to raise the money to get him treated. He lived four more years, to the age of 14, before he died of natural causes.
The Magic Bullet Fund now helps other people raise money to pay for their dog’s treatments. Once approved, the campaign for the dog is announced on the MBF website and Facebook. A volunteer helps the family raise money, as well. The information is listed on the website for one month.
“In the seven years we’ve been around, we’ve been able to help 210 dogs,” Kaplan said. “We get requests to help between 40 to 50 dogs a year”
Guinta applied and was accepted. Hunter’s information will appear on the website and people can donate to Hunter directly for 30 days.
Fundraising isn’t new to Guinta. Since his son’s death, he has conducted annual golf tournaments, raising more than $20,000 which he has donated to The Food Pantry Network of Licking County.
Guinta, 49, found Hunter in 2001 on the side of the road, and — after seeking his owner — brought him home to his son.
Hunter is now Guinta’s constant companion and often accompanies him to the cemetery to visit Levi’s grave.
” … I will sell everything I have and go bankrupt in order to treat my dog,” Guinta said. “There is nothing more important than making sure he lives. I will do whatever I have to do.”
(Photo: Jason Lenhart / The Advocate)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cancer, canine, care, chemotherapy, costs, death, dog, dogs, facebook, fundraising, health, hunter, joe guinta, laurie kaplan, magic bullet fund, pets, sickness, treatments, veterinary
The dog was on a paddle boat on Duck Lake with her owner, Ashlee Johnson, when a speed boat crashed into them.
Johnson and her younger sister received only cuts and scrapes, but Roxci was thrown from the boat, suffering a severe gash to the head and nearly drowning.
The dog was taken an animal hospital at Michigan State University, where she was kept on a ventilator in hopes she’d recover.
Ashlee, who adopted Roxci — her first dog — from a shelter about two years ago, visited twice a day for a week, and was encouraged when she saw Roxci’s eye twitch, a sign her brain might still be functioning.
“To me, she’s not just a dog,” Johnson, 28, told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “She’s a part of my family and you can’t really put a price on a member of your family.”
After Rocxi passed, Ashlee gathered with the rest of her family at her mother’s home in Battle Creek.
They read poems and the comments of friends and strangers who posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Roxci.
“I know it’s not my fault,” she said, “but I feel kind of responsible. I’m supposed to protect her.”
Through donations, about $1,800 had been raised towards covering Roxci’s medical bills, which could end up costing as much as $10,000.
The family is continuing to accept online donations. They can also be made through the mail (12954 11 Mile Road, Ceresco, MI 49033).
The driver of the speedboat, though sheriff’s department officials said he had been drinking, did not test above the legal limit. He was cited for reckless driving and not having valid registration.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, ashlee johnson, bills, boating, care, costs, crash, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, duck lake, expense, facebook, killed, medical, memories, mixed breed, mutt, paddle boat, pets, remembered, roxci, speedboat, treatment, ventilator, veterinary
Pet stores would be held accountable for the health of the animals they sell, and animal abusers could be forced to pay for the care their victims require under bills proposed in Maryland.
Republican Del. Nicholaus Kipke, of Anne Arundel County, is the lead sponsor of House Bill 131, which would require pet stores to post information on cages about where the animals were born.
In addition,the law would require pet stores to provide a warranty for consumers who buy puppies who become ill. A pet store could be required to reimburse veterinary fees up to three times the purchase price of the dog.
Some pet store owners say that could put them out of business. Some animal advocates wish the proposed law was stronger — and would ban pet stores from selling dogs from breeders entirely.
“A lot of the the pet shops say they only buy from registered USDA breeders, but it doesn’t take anything to become a registered breeder,” Jen Swanson, the Baltimore Humane Society’s executive director, told Patch.com. “The rules set forth by USDA are not enforced.”
The only way to stop the “cycle of abuse” is to shun pet stores that sell animals from breeders, she said.
“Quality pet stores and quality breeders are the norm, and not the exception,” said Michael Maddox, general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which represents pet retailers. “They abhor the substandard breeders as much as anyone else; it gives them a bad name. We want these bad folks out of business.”
Maddox said his organization supports the concept of the proposed bill, and said many pet stores already post information about animals they’re selling.
Senate Bill 203, meanwhile, will allow judges to order people convicted of animal cruelty to pay the costs of caring for the animals during the trial.
Animal welfare advocates say shelters are often stuck with the bill — both when it comes to veterinary care and for housing the pet until the trial takes place.
Maryland Votes for Animals is also lobbying lawmakers to create a registry of animal abusers.
Frederick Senator Ron Young, who is drafting a bill, says people need to know if a convicted animal abuser is living in their neighborhood.
If you’re interested in learning more about the bills, Maryland Votes for Animals, along with the HSUS and ASPCA , are sponsoring a 2012 Maryland Humane Lobby Day in Annapolis. It’s Thursday, February 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Room 142 of the House of Delegates Office Building, 6 Bladen Street.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abusers, accountable, animal abuser registry, animal cruelty, animals, breeders, convicted, costs, cruelty to animals, documents, dogs, force, general assembly, health, humane, humane lobby day, information, judges, laws, legislation, lobbying, maryland, maryland votes for animals, pay, pet stores, pets, post, proposed, registry, trial, warranty
Topaz, the pit bull who lost a leg after being caught in a barrage of police gunfire in Inglewood more than three years ago, is in need of a home in the Los Angeles area.
The health of her human, a formerly homeless man named Michael Reed, has deteriorated to the point where he can no longer care for her, and can barely care for himself, say those trying to help out the once inseparable pair.
I met the two of them three years ago in Los Angeles, after spotting Reed, his shopping cart and his three-legged dog walking down the sidewalk.
They were homeless at the time, and just recently reunited.
He told me their story: how police opened fire on another homeless man they thought was pulling a gun in Inglewood. The gun turned out to be a toy, but that wasn’t discovered until, 47 shots later, Eddie Franco had been killed, and Topaz had been struck by four or five bullets.
Reed, by virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, was taken into custody, and his possessions, Topaz included, were confiscated.
He was later released – but he was given no information about his dog. Having watched as she went down in the hail of gunfire, he presumed she was dead.
Two days later, though, a message was relayed to Reed that his dog was alive.
Months before the incident, Ingrid Hurel-Diourbel, founder of Streetsmarts Rescue, had seen Reed and his dog on the street, collecting recyclables, and stopped to talk to him. She placed one of her organization’s rescue tags on Topaz, who otherwise had no identification, and Reed gave her his stepmother’s phone number.
When the animal shelter in Carson — where Topaz was taken after the shooting — saw the tag, they called Ingrid and she relayed the news to Reed.
Ingrid started trying to raise money for the pair then, to cover the cost of Topaz’ veterinary care, and — because of their additional misfortunes – she hasn’t stopped since.
For a while, things were looking up. Michael got off the streets and moved into a trailer, but not long after that he learned he was terminally ill with cirrhosis of the liver, and that Topaz had cancer.
Topaz had surgery again, and Michael has been in and out of the hospital. During one recent stay, another member of the rescue was caring for Topaz when he noticed a mass around her vulva, which led to yet another operation for Topaz.
Ingrid – that’s her narrating the video at the top of this post — says that operation went well, and early signs, though biopsy results are still pending, indicate Topaz may be cancer free. Her hospital stay, surgery and treatment cost more than $3,500, which Ingrid is still trying to raise.
Michael, meanwhile, has continued to decline, mentally and physically – so much so that the man who so graciously let me take photos of him and his dog three years ago, isn’t allowing his photo to be taken anymore.
He gets incommunicative, and neglects to take his medications, friends say.
“We have no more money for rent for him,” Ingrid said, “and unless his SSI kicks in soon, he will need to move out of the trailer … He has no family and he really needs care every day to maintain him.”
That’s led the rescue to intensify its efforts to find Topaz a new home, preferably one that will allow the dog to continue to make visits to Reed.
It’s also still trying to pay off the veterinary bills. Donations can be made via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, california, cancer, care, cirrhosis, costs, dog, dogs, donations, expenses, health, home, homeless, illness, inglewood, ingrid hurel-diourbel, liver, los angeles, michael, michael and topaz, michael reed, needs, pets, pit bull, police, rescue, shooting, shot, streetsmarts rescue, surgeries, terminal, three-legged, topaz, update, veterinary
Although still largely unavailable and heavily restricted for humans, stem cell treatments for dogs are becoming quicker, cheaper and more common.
Just ask an 8-year-old mutt named Jake, who, injured in pursuit of a UPS truck, underwent the procedure Tuesday in Winston-Salem.
The treatment involves siphoning off belly fat, isolating, filtering and condensing the cells, then injecting them into the area where the problem exists — in Jake’s case, his rear knee joints.
Where once the cells had to be sent to a laboratory before they were ready for injection, some veterinarians are using a new technology, developed by Kentucky-based MediVet-America, that allows the therapy to be done in one day without the stem-cell samples leaving the clinic.
The cost of the procedure has also dropped, from about $3,000 to as low as $1,800, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
At University Animal Hospital in Greensboro, about 20 grams of fat from Jake’s belly were harvested and placed in a small jar, and, after being isolated and concentrated, injected back into Jake, a beagle mix.
Stem cells can spark new tissue growth in the body, and they aren’t likely to be rejected, as sometimes happens with donor cells.
For humans, it’s a little harder to secure stem cell therapy, at least in this country. Among those who have benefitted from it is presidential candidate Rick Perry. Perry’s stem cells were harvested by RNL Bio.
That’s the same South Korea-based company that clones dogs, and which has successfully cloned them from the stem cells in fat.
(So if the day comes that Rick Perry is campaigning simultaneously on the West Coast and East Coast, don’t be too surprised. We jest. Or do we?)
Those human treatments that do take place have mostly been through experimental programs, or in cases in which patients have traveled to countries where the procedure is legal. About a dozen companies in America are now offering it, but some believe a crackdown by the FDA, whose regulations permit only “minimal manipulation” of harvested cells, is imminent.
For animals, the treatment is a little less controversial and easier to accomplish.
Dr. Christine Hunt, Jake’s veterinarian, said the dog — between his injury and arthritis — was a prime candidate for the procedure. Other treatments, including acupuncture and physical therapy, had been of little help.
Hunt has been certified in stem-cell therapy for about three years but hadn’t used the therapy, partly because the cells had to be shipped to the West Coast to be prepared.
Jake was the second dog to undergo stem cell therapy at the Greensboro clinic. The first, a 7-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi named Riot, owned by veterinarian Catherine Markijohn, underwent the same therapy this month for back spasms, arthritis and other problems.
Markijohn said that two weeks after the procedure, Riot, is moving much more normally.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, cells, christine hunt, cloning, costs, cure, dog, dogs, fat, greensboro, health, humans, injection, jake, medivet-america, mix, procedure, reinjection, rick perry, RNL Bio, stem cell therapy, stem cells, treatment, university animal hospital, veterinarian, veterinary, winston-salem
Lisa Ison was going through a rough time four years ago when she met Bella, a Pekingese-Pomeranian mix, at an animal shelter in Denver.
“I was depressed. I was lonely. It was a real hard time and she saved my life,” said Ison, who was recovering from a back injury, a divorce and getting laid off. “I live alone, so having her there, she is always happy to see me and she is so loving. My life would not be the same without her.”
So when Bella became severely ill earlier this week after eating a ham bone, Ison was understandably distraught when a vet told her that trying to save her dog was going to cost around $1,800, half of which would be required up front.
“She was dehydrated, vomiting and not eating,” Dr. Jeff Steen at the Alameda Vet Hospital told 9 News in Denver. “She could have gotten septic and died.”
Ison didn’t have that kind of money. “I live paycheck to paycheck … I was hysterical. I was crying,” she said.
Ison stepped into the rest room to compose herself, and when she came out, a middle-aged couple she had met in the lobby gave her a hug and told her not to worry.
When she went to the front desk, the $900 had been paid.
After a few days, Bella pulled through. Ison still has the other half of her bill to pay, which she plans to do over time. Her donors remain anonymous.
“I was so touched and so moved that somebody would randomly do something so kind and so giving in these hard times. It restored my belief in human kindness,” Ison said.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alameda veterinary hospital, bella, bill, costs, denver, donation, donors, emergency, ham bone, health, illness, kindness, lisa ison, mystery, pekingese, pomeranian, strangers, vet, veterinarian, veterinary
You don’t need me to tell you that it has gotten more expensive than ever to be the owner, guardian, caretaker, parent — pick your term — of a dog.
Over your dog’s lifespan, you can expect to dish out anywhere from $9,400 to $14,000, according to the latest estimates from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
As we’ve noted before, spending on pets seems to just keeps growing, even when the rest of the economy has a droopy, hang dog look. Despite the recession, spending on pets has gone up 6 percent annually since 2008, to $48 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
And a new survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center says that even during the “darkest days” of the recession in 2009 and 2010, when self-denial became common, only 16 percent of respondents reported spending less on their pets.
Of course, what those kind of statistics don’t take into account are all the dogs that — during those darkest days (which, as far as I can see, we’re still in) — have been surrendered and abandoned by families who have fallen into foreclosure or otherwise been forced to move into cheaper rental housing where pets aren’t allowed.
Even if the pet industry is gliding through the recession, many pet owners — and pets — are not.
Since 2008, pet food, veterinary care, and other services have risen at an annual rate of about 4 percent on average, considerably faster than the rate of overall inflation, according to the latest issue of Consumer Reports.
The magazine interviewed manufacturers, nutritionists and veterinarians, and jumped into the crowded pet product marketplace to sniff out the best bargains — and it reports that it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars a year on pet care without shortchanging your pet.
The package of stories is well worth checking out — and they’re all illustrated with photos taken of shelter pets (still the best bargain, it notes) at the North Shore Animal League. Here’s a partial summary:
A significant part of the national pet-food bill these days — Amerians spend about $20 billion a year on it — goes for so-called premium and super-premium varieties.
But “premium” is a virtually meaningless term, with no real legal definition.
Any food you see on supermarket and pet-store shelves that’s labeled “complete & balanced,” “total nutrition,” or “100 percent nutritious” should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. That indicates that it’s adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets.
Pet insurance generally costs more than it pays out, the magazine said. Only in uncommon cases, when a pet requires very expensive care, does the coverage pay for itself.
CR compared the three biggest brands — ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, 24PetWatch QuickCare, and VPI, and a fourth, Trupanion, that is a relative newcomer.
In the case of Roxy, a basically healthy 10-year-old beagle in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. whose lifetime medical expenses were examined, CR reported that none of the nine different policies it compared would have paid out more than the projected premiums.
Instead, the magazine suggests starting your own emergency fund, or “kitty,” to help with unforeseen vet bills.
CR says you’ll probably be better off having your dog’s prescription filled at a chain drugstore, supermarket pharmacy, or big-box retailer than through your veterinarian.
Walgreens, for example, allows customers to enroll their pets as family members in its Prescription Savings Club. Giant/Eagle, Kroger, and Target also have discount programs that are open to pets. At 35 of its pharmacies in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee, Target is trying out a program called PetRx to fill prescriptions for veterinary medicines.
Several online pet medicine dispensaries offer significantly lower prices as well.
Despite all that, about two-thirds of the pet owners CR surveyed said they buy their pet medicines from the vet who prescribes them.
CHOOSING A VET
The CR survey found that while most people love their vets, they don’t love the prices he or she charges.
“Because veterinary care is an infrequent, sometimes emergency expenditure, it’s difficult for consumers to gauge what constitutes a fair price for any of the hundreds of services their pet might require. The best time to comparison shop is when your pet needs a routine checkup, not when you’re stressed out by a sick or injured animal,” the article says.
CR suggests calling two or three nearby vets to ask what their physical-exam fee is. Nationally, it can range from roughly $35 to $46, according to a 2008 survey of 826 U.S. vets by the American Animal Hospital Association.
FLEA AND TICK TREATMENTS
There are more choices than ever here, some of them even affordable. With the patent expiring on fipronil, one of the active ingredients in Frontline Plus, a leading brand, the market has opened up to competitors.
CR found two that were new to the market, Sentry FiproGuard Plus at Petco and PetArmor Plus at Walmart, offered sizeable savings. A three month supply of PetArmor Plus cost $28, compared with $50 for FiproGuard Plus and $62 for Frontline Plus at Petco.
“We found other brands for as little as $9, but be careful. Some inexpensive products might not be as effective and might require you to spray or treat more often … The more insecticide you find yourself using, the greater the health and safety risks to you and your pet.”
(Photos: Top photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!; other photos by Michael Smith, courtesy of Consumer Reports)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bargains, care, caretakers, cat, consumer reports, consumer reports national research center, costs, dog, dog food, economy, expense, flea, frontline, guardians, insurance, market, medicine, north shore animal league, nutrition, pet, pet insurance, pet owners, pet products, pets, premium, prescriptions, prices, raising, recession, retailers, rising costs, saving money, survey, tick, treatments, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary care, vets
Budget cuts at the local humane society have forced sheriff’s deputies in Wicomico County, Maryland to take on dog-related duties, and some animals may be dying as a result.
Reports of aggressive animals — once the domain of animal control officers — are now falling to deputies, who often don’t have much training in dealing with them.
Sheriff Mike Lewis says deputies have been forced to kill aggressive animals that in the past might have been subdued.
“We have to shoot it with a .45 – nobody wants to do that,” Lewis said.
In addition to lacking training, deputies don’t have the proper equipment, such as tranquilizer guns, Lewis told the Daily Times.
A year ago, the Wicomico County Humane Society had three full-time animal control officers. It now has one who works four hours a day. Under next year’s budget, the Humane Society will receive $248,000 from the county, compared to the $327,000 budgeted last year.
Executive Director Linda Lugo said the Humane Society took in 2,030 stray animals from the county from July 2009 through May of this year. The animals are held for at least six days, under law, before being put down or transfered elsewhere — at a cost of about $122,000, Lugo said.
Funding from the county pays for three-fifths of the Humane Society’s operating budget. The city and independent fundraising by the Humane Society help cover the rest.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, aggressive, animal control, animal welfare, animals, budget, costs, cuts, dangerous, deputies, dogs, euthanize, humane society, kill, maryland, mike lewis, news, ohmidog!, pets, rescue, shelter, sheriff, shoot, stray, wicomico county
Facing exorbitant increases in his health insurance payments, Zeigler, a self-employed consultant, called up the pet insurance company that covers his dog Charlie — for $37 a month — and asked if he could get a policy for himself.
“They laughed,” Ziegler, 47, of Mission Viejo., told the Orange County Register. “I knew what the answer would be but in reality I wasn’t joking.”
Ziegler noted that his dog, Charlie, has seen his claims paid promptly and without dispute by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) , including those for vaccinations and a trip to the veterinary emergency room.
Ziegler’s dealings with Anthem Blue Cross haven’t been nearly as simple and swift, and the price of his coverage keeps going up — a 34 percent jump this year alone.
And even then, it sounds like he lacks coverage for a major medical event. “One one of our greatest fears is to be in a catastrophic medical emergency,” he said.
Being without health insurance myself I can relate to the problem faced by Ziegler and so many others who have been priced out of the health market. So I’ll share my secret plan, if a major medical problem comes my way: I’m going to go to the vet, get him to give me a bacon-flavored treat, scratch me behind the ears and gently put me down.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afford, blue cross, cats, costs, doctors, dogs, euthanasia, health, health insurance, hospitals, insurance, medical, medicine, news, pets, price, put down, treatment, unaffordable, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary insurance, vets