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Tag: organizations

Mayor: Rescuers should focus on local dogs

vana

Mayor Shelley Vana warned pet rescue organizations this week to stop bringing homeless dogs from other cities and states into Palm Beach County, saying the practice contributed to the deaths of local dogs in need of homes.

Finding homes for local shelter animals is made harder by well-meaning rescue groups that transport dogs and cats into the county for adoption events, the mayor said.

“How does flying or busing in puppies from other regions … help the dogs in this community?” Vana asked during a press conference at the county shelter on Tuesday. “How does it benefit dogs that are going to die here?”

The county’s animal shelter near West Palm Beach takes in about  15,000 dogs and cats a year. It manages to find homes for about 80 percent of the dogs (so far this year), and puts down the rest.

Included in that 80 percent of dogs who get a second chance, though, are dogs pulled from the shelter by rescue organizations — some of  the same organizations the mayor is being critical of.

In light of that, and the mayor’s very non-global perspective, her plea/warning/request strikes me as a little selfish.  It’s almost as if she’s saying Palm Beach’s bounties, beauties and kindness should be reserved only for natives.

What seems to be prompting the mayor’s push is the county’s quest to reach the admirable goal outlined in its 10-year “Count Down To Zero” program. Launched in 2014, the goal is to become a no-kill shelter by 2024.

The program calls for increasing spay-and-neuter efforts while encouraging more adoptions,  according to the Sun-Sentinel.

About 1,800 dogs and 8,300 cats were euthanized at the Palm Beach County animal shelter last year.

Because many rescue groups have “ignored” the county’s request that they stop bringing in outside dogs and cats for adoption, Vana went public Tuesday with her plea for rescue groups to focus on helping local animals.

The county wants rescue groups to stop bringing in outside animals — some from Broward and Miami-Dade counties, some from Alabama, Tennessee and other states — until the county shelter can find homes for 90 percent of the dogs and cats it receives.

The mayor’s concerns were echoed by Dianne Sauve, the county’s director of animal care and control, who agreed local dogs should be put first.

“These guys deserve a home,” Sauve said. “Let’s try to clean up our own backyard.”

Others think the mayor is going too far.

“It doesn’t matter where the dog is born, if the dog is need,” said Lauree Simmons, president of Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington.

Simmons estimates that her group has 350 dogs from Palm Beach County, but it also has volunteer foster homes across the state that help find dogs in need. The group takes dogs from the county shelter and from other shelters across the state that would otherwise be euthanized, she said.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Tuesday’s press conference was prompted by the actions of another local rescue group that, on Saturday, brought in 60 pets from Alabama for an adoption event.

According to the Palm Beach Post, local philanthropist Lois Pope worked with the American Humane Association to fly 60 pets from Greenville, Ala. Assisting Pope in that effort was part-time Palm Beach resident Beth Stern, wife of Howard Stern.

“I’m on a mission,” Pope explained. “I want nothing more than to save dogs from being euthanized in gas chambers. I want to take them from kill shelters and find them forever homes.”

Even if that means Palm Beach County might have to work even harder to reach the numbers it wants to reach, it’s hard to find any fault in that.

(Photo: Lannis Waters / Palm Beach Post)

And if you need a more revolting “challenge”

An animal sanctuary in Ohio, after watching how successful the Ice Bucket Challenge has been as a fundraiser for ALS research, has launched a similar campaign to raise money for its shelter, challenging people to pick up dog or cat feces — with their bare hands.

The gimmick is similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge — but way more disgusting. Participants videotape themselves picking up poop, and post the video on the Internet, nominating friends and family to either take the challenge or make a donation to the shelter. ($25 is suggested.)

In a post on its Facebook page, The Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary in Port Clinton, Ohio, announced the “Poop Pickup Challenge” on Saturday:

“We at Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary are starting our own challenge. It is something that if you are a dog or cat lover have probably ALL done at one time or another. We want you to challenge people (hopefully germ haters) to a ‘Free-hand poop’ Event.”

“We’re just trying to do something to raise funds for the sanctuary,” Nancy Benevento, CEO of the sanctuary, told  The Toledo Blade. “Hands can be washed.”

As proof that the whole thing isn’t entirely tongue in cheek, Benevento got the campaign rolling by picking up — with her bare hands — a pile left by a bull mastiff at the sanctuary.

People are challenged to record themselves picking up dog or cat feces barehanded, post it to social media using the hashtag #pooppickupchallenge, and then challenge their family and friends. Those who are challenged and prefer not to pick up are asked to donate $25 to the sanctuary.

Benevento said she tried to make the challenge so revolting that people would wind up donating rather than completing it.

We think she succeeded on that last account, and we think picking up dog poop is far more earth-friendly than pouring ice water over oneself. (Or one’s dog.)

But concerns about health and hygiene should send this challenge to the Dumpster.

Filling up a bucket with dog poop and disposing of it, rather than the bare hands requirement, might have been a better challenge — and it should be poop from dogs other than your own. Picking that up is your job, anyway.

Those behind the challenge do suggest that anyone taking part should wash their hands afterwards. They advise picking up poop only from animals you know are healthy — though often one would have no way of knowing that. On top of that, they recommend you not do it with a hand that has any open cuts. And children, they add, should not be allowed to participate.

We’d say all those disclaimers pretty much take all the fun out of it — if there was any fun in it in the first place.

As much as we’re in favor of poop being picked up, and funds being raised for shelters, we think this idea is need of a lot of fine tuning.

For that reason and others, Mrs. Benevento, bold and well-intentioned as your challenge is, we’re not inclined to take it, and forgive us for not wanting to shake your hand right now.

Ignoring Leona: Dogs have a bone to pick

If Leona Helmsley was betrayed as much in life as she is being betrayed in death, it’s easy to understand why she might have become the bitch — and we’re not talking female dog — she was so often portrayed as.

In the latest development with the wealth she left behind, a second judge has ruled, in effect, that the foundation divvying up her fortune among charitable groups need not follow her express wish that much of that money be spent on the care of dogs.

The judge denied a bid by the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and other animal groups to get a larger share of Helmsley’s billions.

Although Helmsley directed a share of her massive fortune go to “the care of dogs” — that being in addition to the $12 million she asked be left to her own dog — the Helmsley Foundation’s trustees have seen fit to dispense most of the foundation money among organizations that have little or nothing to do with canines.

According to the animal welfare groups, only about $100,000 of the $450 million the foundation has given away has gone to dog causes.

The dog charities argued they should have standing to challenge how the foundation gives away its money in light of Helmsley’s written statements and last wishes. Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, called the $100,000 received so far ”a trifling amount, and contrary to Helmsley’s intentions.”

Surrogate’s Court Judge Nora Anderson in Manhattan rejected the bid by the animal welfare organizations to intervene in the case, agreeing with a judge who ruled earlier that the trustees have sole discretion in how to distribute the money, the New York Post reported yesterday.

She said she feared the groups’ challenge could open the floodgates to countless lawsuits from dog organizations around the world.

It’s hardly the first time Helmsley’s last wishes have been overruled since her death: Of that $12 million she left in her will for the care of her Maltese, named Trouble, a judge reduced the amount to $2 million.

Beyond what she intended to leave for the care and feeding of Trouble, Helmsley had another $5 to $8 billion, according to estimates of the trust’s worth.

Helmsley, who died in 2007, wrote in a 2004 mission statement for the trust that she wanted that money used for “1) purposes related to the provision or care of dogs and 2) such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”

In 2009, though, the Surrogate’s Court found that the mission statement did not place any legal restrictions on what donations could be made from the trust.

Later that year, the ASPCA, the Humane Society and Maddie’s Fund, filed a motion asking the court to vacate its earlier order and allow them to intervene. The primary interest of those groups was not, of course, in seeing solely that Helmsley’s wishes were honored, but neither, it seems, are the foundation’s. The animal welfare groups’ goals seem more aligned with her wishes, though.

By all descriptions, the so-called ”queen of mean” was a hard-hearted woman, with one soft spot — dogs.

The foundation doling out her fortune doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for dogs, or for Helmsley.

I’m no legal expert, just a dog lover, and I’m not asking for Trouble.  But if I arranged to leave my fortune – non-existent though it may currently be — to my dog Ace, or anywhere else, and you didn’t carry out my wishes, you can be sure I’d be back to haunt you.

I’d show you mean.

Eagles meet with animal welfare groups

Animal rights groups met with Philadelphia Eagles management this week for a two-hour discussion described as spirited, cordial and candid.

For the Eagles, it was an attempt at damage control — soothing the ire of animal lovers upset with the team signing convicted dogfighter Michael Vick.

For animal welfare activists, it was a chance to urge the Eagles to play a role in fighting animal abuse.

Vick wasn’t in attendance at Monday’s meeting, NBC in Philadelphia reported.

“I thought it was a good first step in making the best of what we all think is kind of a horrific starting situation,” said Rich Britton, with Chester County’s SPCA.

The team extended the invitations, reaching out to representatives of the area’s animal welfare groups.

Read more »

Katrina documentary begins 80-city tour

An American Opera “Jane’s Trailer”

Tom McPhee and his award-winning documentary about pets during Hurricane Katrina — “An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever!” — are hitting the road on a year-long 80-city tour.

“The Rescue Party Tour” starts this month and will highlight local animal organizations in each city it visits (Baltimore’s not on the list yet).

The documentary is described as a “visceral, operatic vision of what happened to the pet owners of New Orleans who were forced to evacuate after Hurricane Katrina without their beloved pets, and the volunteers who came from all over the world to help.

“America suffered its worst domestic animal crisis in history when tens of thousands of animals were left to perish in neighborhoods all across the gulf. This heartfelt story follows the pets, vets, owners, officials, rescuers, and adopters of animals as they work through the chaos to do what is right, only to discover not everyone is working toward the same goal.”

For more information about the movie, visit its website.

For more information about the tour, see www.RescuePartyTour.com.

Local animal groups interested in showcasing the movie and their work in the community, can email rescuepartyinfo@mansmilingmovingpictures.com