Mention the idea of food stamps for dogs and you’re likely to get one of two reactions:
Those touchy-feely animal lovers (such as me) will say it’s a great idea that could help keep dogs from being surrendered to shelters, abandoned, or worse, by owners who can’t afford to feed them anymore.
Those “It’s-just-a-dog” types will say its ludicrous, that they’d hate to see their tax dollars used for something like that, and that, if you can’t afford a dog, don’t get one in the first place.
When the idea does float to the surface, there’s usually some quick debate — then it vanishes as quickly as a bowl of kibble.
Now, in a way, the concept is back, and it’s being carried out on a national scale — with no involvement from government, and no use of tax dollars, it should be noted. It’s the mission of a nonprofit organization formed by a New York man who describes himself as a stockbroker, journalist, entrepreneur and business consultant — a frightful combination if ever there was one.
The organization is called Pet Food Stamps, though no stamps actually appear to be involved. Instead, low income individuals can submit applications, which, if approved, lead to six months worth of deliveries of dog food from Pet Flow, an online pet food store. It’s all to be funded through private donations, founder Marc Okon says.
Pet Food Stamps and Pet Flow announced their “exclusive partnership” in February:
“Pet Food Stamps aims to provide pet food for pets of families receiving public assistance and for food stamp recipients who otherwise could not afford to feed their pets. Based in New York City, the program is open to anyone in the United States. More than 80,000 pets have already been registered …”
Okon, 36, said the idea was inspired in part by a friend going through some economic hard times who told him “she sometimes fed her cat before herself,” Wall Street Journal columnist Al Lewis reported. Also, he says, doing something philanthropic helps remove the bad taste that remains from some of his previous employment experiences in corporate America.
Okon says he briefly worked for a firm that sold dubious medical benefits to seniors in the South. “Their whole corporate philosophy was to manipulate seniors who didn’t have any type of insurance,” he said. “I could only do that for about a week and half,” Okon said. The article calls him “a man so disgusted with the lack of ethics he witnessed in private enterprise that he founded a nonprofit to hand out dog food.”
While many a humane society operates similar programs on the local level, Pet Food Stamps says it has been swamped with applications — 45,000 in the first two weeks alone, according to a press release.
Okon says the applicants often describe how they’ve lost their jobs and homes.
“Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can’t afford to feed them,” he said.
Okon says he isn’t against the idea of the government providing food stamps for dogs, but that it’s not part of the current picture.
“We’re not looking for government funding at this point,” Okon told ABCNews.com. “Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it.”
It seems a noble idea, and we hope it’s nobly carried out — with enough transparency that dog lovers who make donations know exactly how much money the organization is receiving, how much of that is going to buy and ship dog food, and what profits, if any, the private dog food company is making.
We’d point out, too, that people unable to afford to feed their pets can check with their local humane society or SPCA to see what programs might be available in their area. Some food banks distribute dog food and cat food, and some chapters of Meals on Wheels deliver pet food, too. In 2006, Meals on Wheels started the We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) initiative after finding some of their clients were sharing their meals with their pets because they couldn’t afford pet food.
For a state by state list of programs offering free and discounted services — from food to veterinary care — check out this Humane Society of the United States link.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aid, animals, assistance, cat food, dog food, dogs, food banks, food stamps, food stamps for dogs, help, humane society, marc okon, new york, pet flow, pet food, pet food direct, pet food stamps, pets, shelters, spca
Three judges of the Superior Court upheld a conviction for animal cruelty of a dog groomer who had offered “gothic” kittens for sale on eBay.
An investigation into the pierced kittens began in 2008 when a citizen saw the animals being offered for $100 each on eBay, inquired about them and reported it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County, according to the Times Leader in Wilkes Barre.
A citizen tipped off PETA, as well, which conducted an investigation of its own and passed on information to the SPCA.
Accompanied by state police, SPCA officials visited Pawside Parlor, located at the home of Holly Crawford in Sweet Valley, Pa. They removed three kittens and a cat. While at the home, police also found a dog with pierced ears.
A jury found Crawford guilty of animal cruelty, and last year she was sentenced to six months of home detention and electronic monitoring, followed by probation.
In her appeal, Crawford argued that Pennsylvania’s cruelty statutes were too vague, and pointed out that many accepted veterinary procedures like declawing cats and cutting a dog’s vocal cords could fall under the same category she was being prosecuted under.
The law forbids “acts that maim, mutilate, torture or disfigure the animal.”
This week, the Superior Court panel upheld the lower court’s findings, the New York Times reported.
In a 19-page opinion, Judge Kate Ford Elliott wrote that “metal protruded from the kittens’ small bodies, pierced through their ears and necks, and at least one of these kittens also had an elastic band tied around its tail, an attempt at docking …”
Crawford, who was described in the opinion as being “enthusiastic about piercing,” had admitted to piercing the kittens without anesthetic.
“Appellant’s claims center on her premise that a person of normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kitten’s ears or banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring an animal.” Judge Elliott wrote. “We disagree.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, cats, decision, disfiguring, ebay, goth cats, gothic, gothic kittens, holly crawford, kittens, luzerne county, maiming, mutilating, opinion, pennsylvania, peta, piercing, sale, spca, superior court, upheld, wilkes-barre
With spring’s thaw, forensic experts will begin exhumation this week of a mass grave in British Coumbia as part of an investigation into the slaughter of 100 sled dogs last year.
Details of the killings last April surfaced in January after sled dog tour operator Robert Fawcett filed a disability claim saying he suffered post-traumatic stress from shooting and slitting the throats of about 100 dogs, under orders from his bosses.
The dogs were dumped – some still alive — in a mass grave north of Whistler.
The British Columbia SPCA announced Sunday it would begin a week-long investigation aimed at finding out whether the dogs were killed inhumanely, said Marcie Moriarty, the society’s animal cruelty investigation manager.
“The scope of this investigation is unprecedented in North America,” Moriarty told The Province. “We owe it to those 100 dogs buried in that grave to ensure that this kind of tragic incident never happens again in B.C.”
Exhuming the dogs wasn’t possible until now because of frozen ground.
Eight forensic experts will take part, including veterinarians, archaeologists and anthropologists from across North America, many of whom have volunteered their time for the effort, Moriarty said.
After the mass killing was reported, a provincial task force was formed to review the incident, leading to recommendations for tougher animal cruelty penalties and new regulations that required the sled dog tour industry to establish humane euthanization policies.
Moriarty said all the dogs would be given a respectful and humane burial after the investigation.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, brisith columbia, culled, culling, dog, dogs, exhumation, exhumed, forensics, industry, investigation, killed, killing 100 dogs, marcie moriarty, pets, recommendations, robert fawcett, sled, sled dog, spca, task force, tourism, tours, whistler
Participants, whether they are hiking the 1.5-mile walk-a-thon or checking out vendors and entertainment, will be helping to support homeless animals in the Baltimore area.
For the walk-thon, registration opens at 9 a.m. and starting line ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m.
The event also features a demonstration by Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs, pet training tips, an agility course for dogs, low-cost micro-chipping, a “flea-less” market of pet friendly vendors, musical chairs for dogs, and a pet costume contest judged by celebrity guests, food and entertainment.
Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers, including a grand prize trip to the Bahamas. Participants will receive a special “doggy bag” that includes treats, corporate giveaways and other gifts. Dog bandanas will be given to those who raise at least $30, and the 2011 March for the Animals t-shirt will be given to walkers who raise at least $40.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, baltimore, demonstrations, dogs, Druid Hill Park, entertainment, event, events, fundraiser, March for the Animals, maryland, mdspca, pets, rescue, shelters, spca
About 100 dogs were gunned down execution-style in British Columbia when a company that offers sled dog tours apparently decided that, due to a downturn in business, it could no longer afford to maintain them.
The shocking revelation of the mass killing (the industry prefers the term “culling”) surfaced through the British Columbia Worker’s Compensation Board, where a company employee filed a claim saying that killing the dogs, on April 21 and 23 of last year, caused him post-traumatic stress disorder.
The SPCA in British Columbia has launched an investigation into the incident.
“Culling” – or thinning the “herd” — is apparently not an uncommon practice among sled dog companies, according to the SPCA, either in the U.S. or Canada, where the sled dog tour industry is largely unregulated.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone engaged in the illegal killing of sled dogs in either country.
The 100 dogs – used in sled dog tours operated by Outdoor Adventures — were gunned downed while tethered. The employee, acting under the orders of his boss, began shooting dogs as other dogs watched. Some of the dogs panicked and attacked him as he carried out the task, he said.
“By the end he was covered in blood,” the workmen’s compensation review board noted in its Jan. 25 decision, which ruled the employee did develop PTSD in connection with the incident. “When he finished he cleared up the mess, filled in the mass grave and tried to bury the memories as deeply as he could.”
The full report from the board was obtained by The Vancouver Sun.
In addition to sparking an SPCA investigation into allegations of animal cruelty, the report has led to a suspension by Tourism Whistler of reservations for dog sledding excursions by Outdoor Adventures.
Outdoors Adventures, which also offers snowmobiling, snowshoeing and horseback excursions in the Whistler area, said in a statement that there are now no firearms on site and all future euthanizations will be done in a vet’s office.
Marcie Moriarty, head of the British Columbia SPCA cruelty investigations division, said the employee, who was the general manager of Outdoor Adventures, could and should have denied to carry out the orders from his boss.
The employee said he has suffered panic attacks and nightmares since the culling.
“I’ve no doubt he has suffered post traumatic stress but there’s a thing called choice,” said Moriarty. “I absolutely would not have done this and he could have said no … I don’t feel sorry for this guy for one minute.”
“The way this employee describes it — it’s a massacre absolutely … These dogs were killed in front of the other dogs that were all tethered up on the compound.”
The order to kill the sled dogs came after a veterinarian declined to euthanize healthy animals, and some attempts were made to adopt out the dogs, the employee told the review board.
SPCA officials say the incident sheds some needed light on the industry.
“There is a problem with the sled dog industry in general,” Moriarty said. “People see these 20 sled dogs, an idyllic setting with snow in the background and think how great. But what they don’t see is the 200 dogs tethered and sleeping out back, chained to a barrel.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 100 sled dogs, adventures, animal legal defense fund, british columbia, chained, cull, culled, culling, dogs, gun, investigation, kill, killed, killing, mush, mushing, outdoor, outdoor adventures, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, shot, sled dogs, spca, tethered, tourism, vancouver, whistler, workmens compensation