For years, there were only two ways for an unclaimed pit bull, Rottweiler or chow to get out of the Guilford County Animal Shelter in Greensboro, N.C.
One was for a rescue group to step in, take custody of the dog and find it an adoptive home.
The only other alternative was euthanasia.
Due to “liability concerns,” the shelter had a policy against allowing pit bulls, Rottweilers and chows to be adopted — instituted by the non-profit group that managed it for 15 years.
That group was ousted last year, and last week the Guilford County Board of Commissioners reversed the long-standing rule.
The old policy was established under the United Animal Coalition, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that ran the shelter until last year — when its licensed was revoked after an investigation into charges of animal cruelty. The county assumed management of the shelter.
Last Thursday, the Board of Commissioners voted to change the policy that prevented the adoption of certain breeds, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
According to the shelter’s director, Logan Rustan, about 8 of every 10 dogs in the shelter at any given time are pit bulls.
“A lot of our cages stay empty because I cannot put these three breeds on the floor, and that’s most of what we get,” Rustan told the commissioners. “If I can have this approved … I guarantee when I get back today I can fill the adoption floor, fill it full, with adoptable animals.”
Rustan said the shelter had worked with area rescues to find pit bulls, Rottweilers and chows adoptive homes, but was often left with adult pit bulls that could not be placed.
The change in policy is in keeping with recommendations from the state Department of Agriculture, which has urged the shelter to give more consideration to a dog’s temperament than to its breed when assessing its adoptability.
(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, animal shelter, bans, behavior, board of commissioners, breed, breeds, changed, chows, greensboro, guilford county, north carolina, pit bulls, pitbulls, policy, rottweilers, shelter, shelters, united animal coalition
What, if you’re a shelter, do you do with a dog who has been returned by seven different adopters, a dog who keeps running away from every home he’s placed in, a dog whose behavior — though never aggressive — makes him, to say the least, a handful?
If you’re the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina, you conclude — after 11 tries — that maybe the shelter is where he wants to be.
Gumby, a 7-year-old hound with well-documented skills as an escape artist, has become a permanent resident of the no-kill Charleston Animal Society.
They view it not so much as giving up as giving in — to what Gumby seems to want.
A look at his record seems to support that view.
His first visit to the shelter came after he was picked up as a stray in September 2014.
He was adopted and stayed at his new home three days, before ending up at the shelter again. His second adoption lasted only six days.
His third adopter seemed committed to keeping him, but Gumby kept running off and was brought back to the shelter as a stray — once by a citizen, once by animal control. His third adopter surrendered him back to the shelter, worried that the dog’s continued escapes might lead to injuries or worse.
That adoption lasted four months, but ended when Gumby was brought back in as a stray.
In August of last year, he was adopted a fifth time.
But less than two months later, he showed up at a another shelter, about 30 miles away.
His sixth adoption didn’t last long, either. He was returned due to his irrepressible personality, to put it nicely.
In December, he was adopted a seventh time. In January he was returned to the shelter, according to a report in Barkpost. The adopter told staff that, on top of being difficult to housebreak, Gumby had escaped 3 times in less than a month — once running through the owner’s screen door.
Adding it all up, Gumby had been returned to the shelter 11 times and lived in seven different homes — all in less than a year and a half.
It was starting to seem that Gumby didn’t want to be anywhere but the shelter.
Not that his behavior has always been exemplary there.
On March 5, Kay Hyman, the director of community and engagement for the Charleston Animal Society, posted a photo of Gumby on the shelter’s Facebook page
He’s pictured lying contentedly next to a former feather pillow — one that he must have felt needed further investigation.
Staff at the shelter say hounds are known for having stubborn streaks, and often those raised as hunting dogs become bored when they have no hunting to do. It’s not unusual for those that haven’t made the grade as hunting dogs to be abandoned and show up as strays.
Given his record, the shelter finally decided in March to just keep Gumby. He seemed to adore the staff. He was good with other dogs. And it was the one place from which he hadn’t repeatedly tried to escape.
Staff members hope that Gumby, as a permanent resident, can continue to have a calming influence on new arrivals — especially fearful ones.
Donya Satriale, a behavior team leader at the shelter, may have put her finger on what was going on with Gumby.
Gumby, she suggested, might see the shelter as a place where “he knows he has work to do.”
(Photos: From the Charleston Animal Society Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopters, adoption, animals, charleston, charleston animal society, difficult, dog, dogs, escape, gumby, hound, humane societies, pets, placements, rescues, returned, shelter, shelters, south carolina, stray
An autistic boy has gotten his service dog back — and, with her, a little bit of himself, according to his mother.
“I’ve already seen him coming out and expressing himself again and being verbal,” Michele Carlisle said after her son Zach reunited with Delilah, the service dog that was lost, placed in a shelter and adopted out to another home.
“He started talking and he was talking to her the whole way home, and I was like, ‘Oh my God! He’s back. Zach’s back!'”
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay announced Friday on its Facebook page that Zach and Delilah had been reunited after eight months apart.
Last August, shortly after the Carlisle family moved from Alabama to Brandon, Florida, Delilah — Zach’s service dog for six years — ran off.
She was found without identification and taken to the humane society’s shelter, where, four days later, another family adopted her.
Michele Carlisle — though she’d been checking shelters in the weeks after Delilah disappeared — learned later that a photo of the dog had appeared on the humane society’s website months earlier.
When the humane society learned it had accidentally adopted out a service dog, it contacted Delilah’s new family, but the family declined to return her, saying she had bonded with her new family in the months they’d been together.
But WTSP reported that after seeing news reports on the boy’s difficulty coping without Delilah, they changed their mind and decided Delilah should be with him.
Zach has autism and suffers from seizures. Delilah serves as his therapy dog, alerting the family to upcoming seizures, comforting Zach and helping him overcome his social anxiety and tendency not to speak.
When the two were reunited at the humane society, Zach, 8, was talking plenty: “Is it her?” he whispered to his mother. “It is! Oh, my God… Best day ever.”
Delilah, newly equipped with a microchip, sniffed Zach, jumped up on him and licked his face.
According to his mother, Zach doesn’t often speak to people around him, but freely shares his feeling with Delilah.
Michele Carlisle thanked the family for returning her.
” … I really do appreciate them doing the right thing and coming forward and bringing her back, so that we could be reunited because that was huge,” she said.
“They never wanted to take a dog from a family that needed it,” said Dr. Nicole Cornett, the veterinarian for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “They just felt that with everything that happened that it would be in the dog’s best interest and in Zach’s best interest to give them back.”
You can see a video of the reunion here.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, autism, delilah, dog, dogs, florida, humane society, humane society of tampa bay, michele carlisle, pets, returned, reunion, seizures, service dog, shelters, therapy dog, zach, zack
About 70 shelter dogs were killed in a fire at the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.
About 200 animals were being housed at the shelter and, according to various reports, anywhere between 67 and 74 of them died in the Tuesday night fire, all of them dogs.
Beaumont Fire Department Captain Brad Penisson told KHOU the fire was apparently sparked by malfunctioning dryer.
The Humane Society of Southeast Texas reported what happened early yesterday on its Facebook page.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of the great loss we suffered tonight. Earlier this evening our facility caught on fire. Though the fire and police department did everything in their power to save all of our animals a total of 67 dogs died in the fire.
“There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling right now. Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, veterinarians, and service men and women who came and assisted us tonight. We will be walking through the shelter in the morning to assess the damage and to make decisions on the best way to move forward.”
While foster homes have been found for the cats and the 11 dogs that survived, the society is taking names of those interested, and it is accepting donations to help in recovery efforts.
Donations of money can be made through The Humane Society of Southeast Texas website.
These scenes of the fire’s aftermath are from a Beaumont Enterprise photo gallery.
(Photos: At top, one of the surviving dogs; at center, the dryer where the fire is believed to have started; at bottom, two shelter staff members console each other; by Ryan Pelham / The Beaumont Enterprise)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, beaumont, cats, cause, deaths, dogs, donations, dryer, fire, foster homes, humane society of southeast texas, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, texas, tragedy, tragic
After realizing a surrendered dog had recently given birth, staff at the Marin Humane Society in California contacted the dog’s former owner and asked about the pups.
The owner was “evasive” and “unwilling,” but eventually admitted there were pups and agreed — in the interest of the puppies’ health — to surrender them to the Humane Society as well.
That’s what led to this joyful reunion at the shelter on Monday.
The shelter says that when the mother dog, named Cora, was taken in for a routine check-up, vets found that she had recently had puppies — so recently they became concerned about the health of the puppies.
The Humane Society captured the reunion on video.
The puppies have been named Carson, Branson, Moseley, and Edith, all in honor of Downton Abbey characters.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, cora, dog, dogs, marin, marin county, marin humane society, mother, owner, pets, puppies, pups, rescues, reunited, shelters, surrendered, video reunion
Programs in which kids read to dogs are nothing new, but the Humane Society of Missouri is putting a new twist on the idea — having children read to shelter dogs to boost the dog’s confidence, as opposed to their own.
In the Shelter Buddies Reading Program, young volunteers — from ages 5-16 — read to shy and withdrawn shelter dogs, helping them grow comfortable with visitors.
As a result, those shy dogs become less likely to cower in the back of their glass-enclosed kennels and more likely to get adopted.
“We saw more and more rescue animals that were shy, fearful, and stressed out in the shelter environment,” JoEllyn Klepacki, the society’s assistant director of education told Today.com. “Unfortunately, these dogs are less likely to get adopted, since they tend to hang back instead of engage when potential adoptees come through.”
In addition to helping them hone their reading skills, they learn about dogs, and their body language, and how to draw them out of their shells — all with the help of a good book and some treats.
The volunteers go through training sessions (with a parent) to learn how to interact with dogs, and the shelter has a library of about 100 donated books the children can read from, though many choose to bring their own.
Not a whole lot of staff supervision is required because the dogs remain in their enclosures — likely for liability and safety reasons — and one parent is required to accompany each child when they come to read.
Even though physical contact is limited, Klepacki believes the program is making a difference.
“These were dogs that before were hiding in the backs of the rooms with their tails tucked. You can see the connection — you can see them responding to those kids.”
Klepacki thinks other shelters could start a similar program at little expense.
“For next to no cost, the payoff is immeasurable.”
(Photos courtesy of the Humane Society of Missouri)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, books, children, confidence, dogs, humane society, humane society of missouri, kids, missouri, missouri humane society, pets, programs, reading, shelter, shelters, shy, shyness, withdrawn
Maybe that person or family is facing some hard economic times. Maybe the dog has become ill and getting him or her health care is beyond their means. Maybe they themselves have become unable to care for the dog.
I try, especially when details of the situation are scant, to give those humans the benefit of the doubt.
But I’m having an especially hard time withholding judgment on the Florida dog owners who surrendered their paralyzed 2-year-old cocker spaniel Sunday to Miami-Dade Animal Services, because — before leaving the shelter — they asked for the dog’s wheelchair back.
The owners said the dog, named Angie, had lost the use of her hind legs about two weeks earlier. They took her to a veterinarian, who prescribed oral medication and recommended further diagnostic procedures for the dog.
The owners said they were unable to afford the tests and decided to surrender Angie.
Then — for reasons I can only guess at — they said that, while they were leaving their dog there, they wanted Angie’s wheelchair back.
Perhaps it was a rental. Perhaps they had another dog back home that needed it. Perhaps some agency had provided it to them on a temporary basis.
I hope one of those is true, and that they aren’t trying to sell the device on eBay. That — dropping off their dog but taking home that dog’s only means of getting around, in hopes of making some profit — would lead me lose a bit of faith in my fellow man.
On a happier note, Angie’s plight quickly became a cause on social media, and she was scheduled to be sent from the shelter to a sanctuary yesterday.
As a new resident of Lovey Loaves, an animal sanctuary in Orlando, Angie will receive a new set of wheels and be whisked to Chickasaw Trail Animal Hospital, where her condition will be reviewed.
“We have had luck with past rescues in our care improving some or completely reversing paralysis using acupuncture, laser therapy, hydrotherapy, HBOT, etc… but it just depends on many factors, so we’ll have to see,” Lovey Loaves posted on its Facebook page.
“Even if she will not recover from her paralysis we know that she can still lead an extraordinary quality of life,” the post continued. “Were surrounded by wheelie dogs everyday (four in our own home!) We’ll get her a new set of wheels (we like Eddie’s Wheels for Pets) custom fit to her precise needs and measurements, and then she’ll roll with the best of them. Many many MANY folks offered to buy her a new set of wheels.”
The organization reported that it has already received enough donations to get the wheels, but contributions can still be made for Angie’s care.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angie, animal shelter, animals, cocker spaniel, disabilities, dog, dogs, lovey loaves, miami, paralyzed, pets, rescues, sanctuary, shelters, surrender, wheelchair