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Tag: nonprofit

UK vet tends to street dogs in Sri Lanka

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There are an estimated 3 million street dogs on the island of Sri Lanka, and a veterinarian based in the UK is trying to provide medical care to as many of them as she can.

UK vet Janey Lowes was backpacking around Sri Lanka in May 2014 when she was confronted with the plight of the street dogs. Every year, an estimated 26,000 are injured in traffic accidents, and thousands more get sick and die due to a lack of vaccinations and veterinary care.

Her first instinct was not to get them off the streets. Most of them are not true strays. They have humans who feed them, and they are pretty much accepted in Sri Lankan culture — just not housed.

What they truly needed more than anything else was veterinary care.

whatsapp-image-2018-08-07-at-16-26-43-548a“I felt so helpless,” she told Metro.co.UK. “As a vet (and I’m sure many vets can relate) it was frustrating to be skilled enough to help but in another country with no equipment or supplies with me, or any idea of where to start with seeking help for dogs in need.”

Back home, and still thinking about how she could make an impact, she sought advice from her boss in the UK, who gave her £10,000 to set up a charity.

WECare Worldwide was born.

janey-and-bella-01062-fae9-e1533546995401In 2014 she went back to Sri Lanka and teamed up with local vet Dr. Nuwan, a local volunteer named Malaka, and a tuk tuk driver, Chaminda, who she paid to drive them around looking for sick and injured dogs. Some she treated on the side of the road, others she brought to her home in Tallalla on the south coast for treatment.

“I started by working out where we could be the most helpful and have the biggest sustainable impact, which is hard when you are surrounded by need everywhere.”

By the end of the year, her organization was offering neutering and vaccination services to local villages.

By 2016, Janey’s house was overflowing with dogs and she rented an old school in a nearby village to continue her work.

A year later, though, money was running low and Janey was giving some thought to giving up.

Then WECare was featured in a BBC documentary and donations surged, allowing her to slowly build the clinic she works from today, which is one of the best equipped vet hospitals on the island.

Janey now has has 10 full-time and 12 part-time local staff, and also helps train other local vets, to improve vet standards across the board.

eddie-0014WECare treats dogs across the Southern Province, and also runs programmes in Arugam Bay on the east coast.

Locals can also bring their pet dogs in to the clinic for treatment at a reduced rate.

Neutering and vaccinations are free for both street and owned animals.

Janey sees a big distinction between street dogs and strays.

“There’s this generalization that people think it’s cruel for dogs to be on the street, that they don’t have cuddles every night, they don’t eat steak for dinner, they don’t get to go to doggy daycare – but it’s just different over here,” she explained. “They’re not stray dogs, so it’s not like in England where pet dogs are dumped on the street and left to die … These dogs have been on the streets for generations and generations, so to take them in to homes – to even take them indoors, most have never been indoors – is really quite stressful for them once they get to a certain age.

“They’re so happy beause they have their freedom. You can see them when they’re charging up and down the beach chasing each other, or when they’re on a mission in the morning to the nearest roti shop, you can see the joy in their eyes … We don’t believe in scooping up three million dogs to put them in a shelter because for street dogs, that’s like prison. Our job is to provide veterinary care and to let dogs be dogs.”

She admits that her mission a never-ending one and she sometimes gets disheartened. “But then you take a step back and look at how many dogs you’ve helped – which is about 6,000 dogs so far … I just go look at all the street dogs we’ve helped and remember that they would potentially have had a really slow, painful death if we hadn’t been around.”

WECare Worldwide operates on donations.

(Photos: Courtesy of WECare Worldwide)

Thief snatches trailer New Mexico rescue group used for adoption events

The theft of a trailer loaded with pet supplies Saturday means some dogs will wait a little longer for homes, and that an Albuquerque rescue group called the People’s Anti-Cruelty Association is going to have to rebuild.

The trailer was parked at a street corner where the nonprofit volunteer group holds adoption events every Saturday.

Sometime during the night, thieves hauled it away, along with the paperwork, leashes, pet food and other supplies inside, KOB in Albuquerque reported.

“When they stole our trailer it has greatly, greatly hindered our ability to (help animals) because if we can’t find it and its contents, we’re going to have to start all over,” said Arnielle Fernandez, a volunteer with PACA. “And that is very pricey.”

“Everything that was in the trailer was like crates that we set up for our dogs, our collars, our leashes, some dog food. Puppy pens, blankets, you know, towels – everything we need to function,” Fernandez said. “Ordinarily we, throughout the years, we have found permanent loving homes for thousands of dogs and cats.”

The group is now asking the public to keep an eye out for the trailer, which is white and has paw print decals, along with the PACA logo.

“Ask them to bring it back. That would be wonderful. It would be like Christmas in May,” Fernandez said.

While the group works to plan another event this weekend, Fernandez said it will be more difficult to pull off.

“Anybody that is in such a horrible state, on a personal level, that would do something like that to a non-profit rescue organization – they’re of very, very little character,” she said.

Are dog rescue groups helping support big time breeders? It sure looks that way

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Are animal rescue groups actually helping keep big-time dog breeders — both good ones and bad ones — in business?

That’s the question raised in this blockbuster report that appeared in The Washington Post this morning.

The newspaper’s investigation found that rescue operations, traditionally the nemesis of puppy mills, have been buying dogs from breeders at auction, using donations from their supporters to buy dogs in what it described as a “nationwide shadow market.”

The result is a river of rescue donations flowing from avowed dog saviors to the breeders, two groups that have long disparaged each other. The rescuers call many breeders heartless operators of inhumane “puppy mills” and work to ban the sale of their dogs in brick-and-mortar pet stores. The breeders call “retail rescuers” hypocritical dilettantes who hide behind nonprofit status while doing business as unregulated, online pet stores.

But for years, they have come together at dog auctions where no cameras are allowed, with rescuers enriching breeders and some breeders saying more puppies are being bred for sale to the rescuers.

Bidders affiliated with 86 rescue and advocacy groups and shelters throughout the United States and Canada have spent $2.68 million buying 5,761 dogs and puppies from breeders since 2009 at the nation’s two government-regulated dog auctions, both in Missouri, according to invoices, checks and other documents The Post obtained from an industry insider.

Most rescuers then offered the dogs for adoption as “rescued” or “saved,” and charge adoption fees that range from $50 to $1,000 per dog.

The article reports that it is likely the success of rescue groups in reducing the numbers of dogs needing adoption that has led to an increase in such organizations turning to buying dogs offered at auctions by commercial kennels: “As the number of commercial kennels has decreased, so has the number of shelter animals killed in the United States: A February 2017 estimate put the total for dogs alone at 780,000, a steep drop from estimates for all shelter animals that were as high as 20 million in the 1970s.”

One golden retriever rescue group turned to the auctions after seeing 40 percent fewer dogs coming in as of 2016. At the auctions, such rescuers describe buying purebreds and popular crossbreeds such as goldendoodles and maltipoos as “puppy mill rescue,” the article notes.

Some rescue organizations have paid more than $1,000 for a single dog.

Animal-welfare groups, including the ASPCA, HSUS, say rescuers are misguided in buying dogs at auction because the money they pay only encourages more breeding on a commercial scale.

While they may be keeping some individual dogs from being purchased by breeders for a life of breeding, they are also lining the pockets of breeders and helping to create a “a seller’s market.”

JoAnn Dimon, director of Big East Akita Rescue in New Jersey, says that buying breeding-age dogs at auctions makes it harder for commercial breeders to profit in the long run: “That breeder is going to make thousands of dollars off that [female dog] if he breeds her every cycle. I just bought her for $150. I just took money out of his pocket. I got the dog, and I stopped the cycle.”

The majority of the $2.68 million The Post documented was spent since 2013 at Southwest Auction Service, the biggest commercial dog auction in the country, with some additional spending at its smaller, only remaining competitor, Heartland Sales.

As the last remaining government-licensed auctions, they let buyers and sellers see hundreds of dogs at a time and are a legal part of the country’s puppy supply chain. They are regulated by the U.S. and Missouri Departments of Agriculture and open to the public.

“I’m not going to lie about this: Rescue generates about one-third, maybe even 40 percent of our income,” Bob Hughes, Southwest’s owner, told the Post. “It’s been big for 10 years.”

“I honestly think there are very good, responsible rescues that just love the dogs and want to get them out of the breeding industry,” he added. “And I think there are malicious, lying, cheating rescues that are in it for the money and the glory and the funding.”

Rescue groups generally are organized as nonprofit charities and raise money through fundraisers, adoption fees, grants and bequests. Shelters and rescue groups connected to the auction bidders have annual revenue that runs from $12,000 to $1.5 million.

Hughes told the Post that what happens at auctions shows that nobody has the moral high ground in America’s puppy wars.

“In their minds, the rescuers think they’re better,” he says. “The industry is all alike. We’re all supplying puppies and dogs to the general public in some form or fashion.”

(Photo: Dogs being sold at an auction in Michigan))

Karma Dogs introduces “oath of kindness”

karmadogsKarma Dogs, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates rescued dogs into therapy dogs, has announced the launch of its Oath of Kindness (OK) program — a way for children and teens to pledge to be kind to animals, to tell their friends to be kind as well and to promise to tell an adult if they see animal cruelty.

The program was formed in response to the recent news about Phoenix, the Baltimore pit bull that died after being set on fire. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested in the case.

“We hope the Oath of Kindness program helps stimulate conversation between children and their parents regarding the treatment of household pets and other animals,” said Kelly Gould, executive director of Karma Dogs. “We work primarily with rescued dogs and it has been our goal at Karma Dogs to teach adults and children that animals have an intrinsic value.”

Participants in the Karma Dogs OK program will be sworn in by Karma Dogs and receive a “pawtographed” certificate by a Karma Dog as well as a ribbon. Karma Dogs will also launch an e-newsletter that includes positive stories about other children being kind to animals. Children are encouraged to submit their own stories via OK@karmadogs.org. Read more »