That’s about three times the average weight of a Labrador — and enough that it required four people using towels as slings to lift him when he arrived at the RSPCA’s Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent.
The 12-year-old dog was surrendered to the RSPCA by an elderly owner who kept forgetting he had already fed his pet, according to the Daily Mail.
(I am pretty sure I did that with Ace yesterday, giving him dinner twice.)
Alfie struggled to walk more than a few steps when he arrived, and he couldn’t lift his legs the few inches needed to get into a slightly raised bed at the kennel. He’s now about halfway to his target weight, staff members say.
“He literally could not stand up when he arrived because he was so fat,” said Christine Dooley, center manager. “I have never seen a dog that fat before in my 27 years with the RSPCA … He was just a massive blob with a leg at each corner. He was being fed to death …”
“When he first came in he couldn’t go on walks because of his size, but each day as the weight is coming off he is able to take a few steps further. We have to be careful when staff take him for a walk because if he sits down and refuses to get back up we have to call in extra people to lift him up again.
“We want the weight to come off slowly to give his leg muscles a chance to build up strength and for his skin to shrink … He’s such a lovely dog and his tail never stops wagging. Everyone here has fallen in love with him.’
Once Alfie has reached a manageable weight, the center will put him up for adoption.
(Photo: Ferrari Press Agency, via Daily Mail)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, alfie, animals, britain, canine, diet, dog, dogs, elderly, fat, fattest, feeding, forget, forgot, kent, labrador, loss, obese, obesity, overfed, owner, pets, retriever, rspca, surrender, surrendered, uk, weight, yellow lab
At least 38 dogs entrusted to a Texas pit bull refuge whose mission was to provide them with care and find them new homes never came out, perishing instead from heat stroke, and being buried in a mass grave on the ranch.
Not too much news has been coming out of Spindletop Refuge in Willis, either.
Since authorities last week seized nearly 300 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and removed them from conditions generally described as cramped and unhealthy, there have been a lot more questions than answers.
On Friday, after hours of private negotiations, Spindletop owner Leah Purcell agreed to relinquish ownership of the 287 dogs, and through her attorney, she agreed to terms prohibiting her from future rescue and boarding in the county.
That court action was related strictly to the custody of the dogs. No charges have yet been filed against Purcell, and there has been no clear word that they will be.
Instead, there are a heap of questions unanswered — most of them from rescue groups around the country that sent animals to Spindletop, and now want to find out if they’re still alive, and reclaim them if they are.
On top of that, there’s another all-important one — what led what was once such a highly respected refuge to end up keeping dogs in conditions more like those you’d find at a puppy mill or the home of a hoarder?
Members of at least 50 rescue groups attended a Friday custody hearing in Conroe, but it was behind closed doors that an agreement was reached between prosecutors and Purcell. Except for 11 dogs that belonged to her mother, she surrendered the rest, and custody was awarded to the Humane Society of the United States and Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a grand jury, also meeting behind closed doors, will decide whether Purcell will face criminal charges.
According to the Houston Press, several rescuers learned Friday then that the dogs they had surrendered to Spindletop — and were told had been adopted — died of heat stroke last summer.
“It was definitely not a sanctuary. Definitely not. Those dogs were left in a living hell,” said former Spindletop employee Brandon Louth, who says he’s the one who contacted authorities about conditions at the refuge.
Of the mass death he said, ”The dogs had suffocated, because the building was not ventilated. The electricity had gone off in the building, and basically I had to bury the dogs, put the dogs in sacks and dig a mass grave for them.”
Officials are still working to catalog all the rescued dogs, and were putting together a website where they’ll be posting photos of all of the dogs. The Animal Farm Foundation, which is helping coordinate the effort, said this week on its Facebook page that approximately 40 dogs have been claimed and returned to owners or places of origin, or will be in the next few days.
They advise those seeking dogs that were in Spindletop’s care to:
“If you have not already done so, please send extremely detailed information about dogs you wish to reclaim to firstname.lastname@example.org and to Constable Tim Holifield at email@example.com . Include a phone number and an email address. Put the word SPINDLETOP in the subject line. Animal Farm Foundation is coordinating the communication with owners and places of origin and schedules appointments for reclaiming dogs.”
At Friday’s court hearing, Montgomery County Constable Tim Holifield assured the crowd that the animals were being well cared for and that the Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Spindletop seizure, is committed to not euthanizing any of the dogs.
“It’s especially painful to see people and places that purport to help animals do precisely the opposite,” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote yesterday on his blog, A Humane Nation.
“We tell people shopping for a dog from a breeder to go see the parents of the dog, to make sure the place is not a puppy mill. With so many of these cases of neglect by those who say they are helping animals cropping up, it’s also wise to do background work or a site visit to any self-described rescue or sanctuary. There are so many good rescue groups and sanctuaries doing important work for animals every day, and every one of them would agree with me on that point … Calling yourself a sanctuary or a Samaritan isn’t enough. You have to act like one.”
It’s also important, we’d point out, to get to the bottom of what happened — what made such good intentions go astray — and for that information to be public. So far, that doesn’t seem to be happening with Spindletop, which only increases the chances that, sometime soon, somewhere else, we’ll be hearing the same story again.
(Photo: One of the rescued pit bulls in Texas; by Scott Dalton, via A Humane Nation)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, catalog, custody, deaths, dogs, hsus, leah purcell, location, mass grave, montgomery county, news, ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, private, public, refuge, rescue, sanctuary, seized, spindletop, surrender, texas, wayne pacelle, willis
Less than a week after her owner was charged with animal cruelty for pulling his dog on a leash while driving his van, a mutt named Cricket has a new home — with an officer in the police department that made the arrest.
Cricket now belongs to Michael Lake, a police officer in Warren, Michigan — one of a handful of officers who offered to adopt her after she was taken away from her owner after his arrest Sunday, the Daily Tribune reports.
“I mentioned it first. I guess I drew the lucky straw,” Lake said. “She’s such a lovable dog.”
Police arrested resident Keith John Parker, 43, after several people reported to police that a man was pulling a dog on a leash while driving in the parking lot of the County Line Flea Market.
Some witnesses told police that the dog had difficulty keeping up and apparently tumbled at one point. When confronted by officers, Parker said he felt the dog needed to go for a run, police said.
Parker was arraigned this week on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and drunken driving.
Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said Parker, who’d had Cricket since October, agreed to relinquish the dog.
Police said Cricket had a wound above one eye, and had lost a claw. Lake was scheduled to take her to a veterinarian yesterday.
Officers aren’t sure what breeds are in Cricket, or how old she is, with estimates ranging from 7 months to 7 years.
Lake has another dog, a German shorthair pointer. “They should get along great,” Lake said.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, charged, cricket, dog, dogs, driving, drunk driving, drunken driving, injured, keith john parker, leash, michael lake, michigan, officer, owners, pets, police, pulled, relinquished, surrender, van, vehicle, warren
Multum in parvo.
That’s Latin for “much in little,” and it’s a term often used to describe pugs — big personalities in small, smush-faced packages that many of us humans seem to find endearing, despite their penchant for snoring and snarfling with each breath.
As a result many shelters see an influx of surrendered and abandoned pugs in summer.
In the Mid-Atlantic states, when public animal shelters (often high-kill animal control facilities with 48 hour euthanasia policies) get a pug into their custody, they call Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue (MAPR), an organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and forever home placement of mistreated, abused and abandoned members of the breed.
The reasons people give for giving up their pugs vary. Sometimes they’re frustrated by the health issues, and lack the knowledge and resources to handle them. Sometimes pet owners hit financially rocky times, lose their homes and feel they can no longer take care of their dog. Sometimes the reasons are even more complex.
To understand the rescue/rehabilitation/placement process a bit better, let’s use the example of Stewie (left), a pug that was surrendered by his mom to a local animal control facility in a remote Maryland county.
She explained to shelter workers that she was surrendering Stewie to keep him safe, since every time her husband got mad at her he beat Stewie. Stewie was undernourished (most likely not eating out of fear and anxiety), potentially suffering from internal injuries, and was deathly afraid of all humans.
With a dedicated band of volunteers up and down the east coast, MAPR immediately turned to email blasts and social media to coordinate a pickup by vounteers from this far-away county. Meanwhile, other volunteers were working behind the scenes to arrange a foster home, veterinary care, behavioral help, and any other resources necessary to ensure that Stewie could enter into a stable living situation while awaiting adoption into his forever home.
Within 24 hours, a foster home in North Carolina with the behavioral know-how to deal with Stewie’s fear, an additional behavioral specialist to do more intensive training, and a vet all willing to take on his case were secured. After that, it was back to the social media and email blasts to arrange transport. Less than 48 hours later, Stewie was on his way to his new beginning, as five volunteers donated their time (and gas money) to relay Stewie on the 500-plus mile trip.
Even then, the work was only halfway done. Other volunteers perused adoption applications to see if any potential homes that had already been approved would give Stewie the environment he needed to thrive once he’s been rehabilitated by our trainers and foster family. Other volunteers made home visits and phone calls to check the references of potential adopters — those with a soft spot for that multum in parvo personality.
Why all this rigamarole? Why the FBI-esque background check? The answer is simple. We at MAPR are dedicated to placing every single pug in a home that will last them forever. We want to ensure that every pug that comes through our rescue goes to a home that will provide the highest quality of care and love possible. We want to prevent the Stewies of the world from ever having to suffer or be afraid of humans again.
MAPR has coordinated the placement of over 60 pugs in six states (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina) in the last 30 days alone.
However, as of July 21st, 2011, the Stewies of the world will just have to wait.
Due to extenuating circumstances — chief among them, shrinking resources — MAPR has had to close their doors to all intakes until further notice. Our foster homes are overflowing, and our resources for vet care are rapidly dwindling.
Due to the recession, more and more dogs are deteriorating with preventable health conditions like heartworm disease. By the time they come into our care, the cost to stabilize them medically is in thousands of dollars.
Adoption fees offset some of that. MAPR charges adoption fees of $400 for a pug under six months, $250-$350 for pugs between 7 months and 10 years old and $100 for a pug over the age of 10. Sometimes that covers some vet expenses — updated shots, wellness checkups and the like. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Take Honey Bun (left), who came from West Virginia, where she was forcefully bred for ten years every heat cycle. While each of her puppies fetched between $500-$1,000 apiece, her owners kept her in an outdoor pen year-round and couldn’t be bothered with providing her with heartworm preventative.
When she arrived, in addition to some serious man-hating behaviors, she had such a severe case of heartworms it necessitated a series of medications being injected directly into her spine. Even with a phenomenal network of vets who give us great rates on care, her treatment costs were upwards of $2,000.
That’s why we rely on our “pug angels” – those who donate anything they can for the care and treatment of our foster pugs. MAPR has seen a severe decline in donations.
Not every case is as severe as Stewie’s, or necessitates the extensive treatment that Honey Bun required. Take my current foster pug, Cosmo (left). He’s a 3-year-old ball of energy that was simply too much for his aging mom to handle.
Many times, owners who just cannot care for their pugs will turn to MAPR instead of taking them to the local shelter in hopes they can avoid euthanasia. Cosmo is in perfect health, has a great disposition, is fully housebroken, and will most likely be a quick adoption.
I work with MAPR because I believe that the Stewies, the Honey Buns, and the Cosmos deserve a second chance at a good home that will love them forever. This is why I asked my good friend John if I could write a piece for ohmidog! I’m hoping to find like-minded people in the mid-Atlantic region that would like to donate their time and energy as a foster or volunteer.
Equally beneficial would be like-minded people in any part of the country or world that would like to be a “pug angel” for any of our foster pugs. On our website, you can apply to volunteer, or click on that donate button! You can find us on Facebook, too.
If you know people who have pugs, or like pugs, or have ever mentioned a pug, tell them about us too. The pugs thank you!
LaRee McCuan, a volunteer with Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue, lives in Baltimore, where she completed her Masters of Social Work degree this year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Her forever pug, Mikey, who recently became a therapy dog with Karma Dogs, is pictured atop this post.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandonment, abuse, adopt, adoption, animals, brachycephalic, breathing, breeds, cosmo, difficulties, dog, dogs, donate, economy, forever homes, foster, homes, honey bun, laree mccuan, mapr, mid atlantic pug rescue, multum in parvo, neglect, pets, pug, pug angels, pugs, rescue, respiratory, shelters, stewie, summer, surrender, volunteer
Being a Rottweiller-mastiff mix, he — as you’d expect — quickly surpassed the 100-pound mark, well over the weight limit imposed at the Florida apartment complex where his owner, Denise Wilkinson, lived.
She started searching for a new home for him, but, unable to find one by the landlord’s deadline, dropped him off at Pinellas County Animal Services, with plans to pick him back up when she found one.
On its website, the county said dogs are kept seven days there. In person, they told her 48 hours. In reality, they euthanized him before a day had passed.
When Wilkinson, a day after dropping him off, went to pick up her dog, she found out Sunny had been euthanized — within hours of being dropped off.
“He wasn’t sick; he wasn’t old. He still had a long life ahead of him,” Wilkinson told Tampa Bay Online.
Senior Animal Control Officer John Hohenstern said Sunny was aggressive and caused concerns about the safety of shelter workers. “It was determined that because of the aggression in the dog it was not an adoption candidate,” he said. “We couldn’t do anything with the dog.”
Hohenstern said that, despite the wording on the website, Wilkinson had initialed a paper stating she understood that the surrender was is unconditional: “Pinellas County Animal Services makes no promise, actual or implied, regarding holding time, treatment, adoption or disposition of this animal.” Hohenstern said the document initialed by Wilkinson superseded the website.
The county, Tampa Bay Online reports, has since changed the language on the website.
Hohenstern said with more animals being surrendered, possibly because of the economy, the animal control office encourages people to consider other options before dropping a dog there. “We try to … let them know this is kind of their last resort,” Hohenstern said. “They don’t want to do this.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animal control, animal services, animals, apartments, big dogs, denise wilkinson, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, florida, holding, landlords, limits, mastiff, pets, pinellas county, rentals, rescue, rottweiler, rules, shelter, size, sunny, surrender, weight limits
Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) is one of five shelters that will take part in a pilot program aimed at reducing euthanasia of pit bulls, encouraging responsible ownership and improving the perception of the breed.
A $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will fund the programs, coordinated by Best Friends Animal Society.
The grant was announced last week in Las Vegas at Best Friends’ annual No More Homeless Pets Conference.
The “Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project” will create partnerships between Best Friends and shelters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., Carlsbad, Calif. and Tampa, Fla.
All will be based on the partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services that began in July 2009. It resulted in a 10 percent drop in euthanasia of pit bull-type dogs in its first year, and led to twice as many being adopted as the previous year.
The Salt Lake program, which will serve as a model for the new pilot projects, offers community education and free or low-cost training and spaying and neutering — all aimed at keeping pets in the family and reduce the numbers being abandoned.
The program uses volunteers, called the “Pit Crew,” to showcases dogs for adoption through outreach events, photos and descriptions online and also fosters dogs whose time is up in the shelter. There also is emphasis on creating frequent media opportunities to portray pit bull-type dogs in a positive light–to counter the image of the breed often presented in the news.
Funds provided by PetSmart Charities and additional funds from Best Friends will be used to pay for a shelter coordinator in each city, support marketing and public relations in those markets, and pay for a Best Friends program manager to oversee implementation and reporting in the five shelters.
“As with any dog that is spayed or neutered, properly trained, socialized and treated with love and kindness, pit bull-type dogs can be well adjusted, happily balanced, and affectionate members of the family,” says Jamie Healy, Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls manager. “It’s the person on the other end of the leash who decides how their dog interacts with others and who sometimes put these dogs at the wrong side of the law.”
Best Friends Animal Society works to help pit bulls through its national campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog, which helps dogs who are battling everything from a sensationalized reputation to legislation designed to bring about their extinction.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, best friends, carlsbad, conference, euthanasia, grant, las vegas, neuter, no more homeless pets, ownership, partnerships, perception, petsmart, pit bulls, pit crew, pitbull, program, rancho cucamonga, reputation, salt lake county, shelter partners for pit bulls project, spay, surrender, tampa, train, washington
Here’s an ending almost too happy to be believed.
Three years ago, a Washington man surrendered his family dog, a five-year-old shepherd mix named Haley, to the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.
An unspecified family crisis forced the family to give up the dog, the humane society said.
Though gone, she was not forgotten. The father still kept photos of the dog on his iphone, and his daughter, now 12, was, still missing and talking about the dog they had said goodbye to years earlier.
This week, with their crisis averted and the family having decided to get another dog, the father dropped by the Tacoma Humane Society to look at potential adoptees. Though it’s not uncommon for shelter dogs to start jumping and yapping when people come by, one dog went particularly crazy when the father approached, staff members say.
Taking a closer look, the father was shocked to see that the dog making all the noise was — you guessed it — Haley!
As it turns out, Haley, after being surrendered by the family, was adopted in 2007, but the family that adopted her the second time had so much trouble with her continually running away they’d returned her, just a few days ago.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, bond, dog, dogs, family, goodbye, haley, happy ending, hello, humane society, mix, mutt, pets, pierce county, rescue, return, returned, reunion, shelters, shepherd, surrender, tacoma
Behavior problems are the main reason dogs end up in shelters, the main reason they get returned, and the main reason that some of them never get out.
So it only makes sense that helping dogs and the families that adopt them resolve those issues would lead to far more happier endings and far fewer dogs being put down.
Realizing that, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah has developed a new program in conjunction with the Monmouth County SPCA that matches dog trainers with shelters and families whose dogs have behavioral issues.
Sam Wike, the first trainer accepted into the program, is shown in this video working with Rufus, one of the first dogs referred by Best Friends’ Community Training Partner program. Wike is the lead trainer at Purr’n Pooch, a pet boarding/training/grooming facility in New Jersey.
Rufus, who was in the Monmouth County SPCA, needed a “finishing school” environment in order to be ready to be adopted, Best Friends says. Now he’s completed the training and is ready for adoption.
The main goal of the program is to lower the number of dogs returned to shelters and to counsel people considering relinquishing their dogs because of behavior issues.
When a family comes into the shelter to turn in their dog, a staff counselor sits down with them, and talks through the reasons the family is considering giving up their pet. Owners then are offered the option of training and behavior modification for their dogs, which is funded through the Best Friends program.
“We started this January working with the staff and we’ve also initiated doggy play groups with the shelter dogs,” Wike said. “The play groups help the dogs to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs. The dogs burn off excess energy romping with each other and it’s a great showcase for their personalities when potential adopters come by the shelter,” Wike said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: behavior, behavior modification, behavioral, best friends, best friends animal society, community training partner, counseling, issues, monmouth county, new jersey, program, purr'n pooch, relinquish, return, sam wike, shelters, surrender, training
A family brings their dog to the vet and finds out she needs emergency surgery, and that it costs more than they can afford. They opt to have the dog put down.
Three weeks later, they find out the dog had her surgery, is alive and well, and living in somebody else’s home.
That’s pretty much what happened in Orange County, Florida, in a case that raises some interesting questions — both legally and morally.
Tammy Bruce says Princess — a Dachsund, chow, Lab Mix — swallowed a fish hook. They rushed her to an emergency center, where, facing an $800 operation, they chose to have the dog put to sleep rather than pay for the surgery.
This week, her husband got an anonymous call saying that the animal was okay and with a new owner, an employee from the pet emergency room, according to WFTV in Florida.
Veterinarian Holly Brown-Tabbenor says somehow the euthanasia form for Princess was misplaced, and they couldn’t euthanize her without it. Because she was suffering, they performed the operation. The paper was found the next morning, but the vet didn’t notify the family about what had happened, saying they had gone through enough emotional pain already. The vet said the dog’s owners were not financially capable of taking care of her since they couldn’t pay for the $800 surgery.
Bruce says she should have been given the option to pay in installments. “Here, this whole time, we had been mourning our dog and she’s not even dead,” she said. Now, she says, her family wants the dog back.
I’ve got mixed feelings on this one. What do you think? Who should get Princess?
Posted by jwoestendiek June 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affordable, dog, economy, emergency, euthanasia, fish hook, florida, forfeit, orange county, owners, ownership, princess, question, surgery, surrender, swallow, unaffordable
But he said he had no regrets about killing two dogs, who, according to their owner, were chained at the time.
Call, the mayor of McCune, Kan., said he warned the dogs’ owner on Jan. 12 that if the dogs were found running loose in town again, he would shoot them.
After receiving a complaint about the dogs Sunday, he drove to the home of their owner and shot them.
“They was lying on the sidewalk on the front of the house,” Fox News quoted him as saying. “I shot them with a 9mm rifle … five or six times.”
The dog’s owner, Duane Wahl, said his dogs never bothered anyone and that they were chained when the mayor drove up and shot them from his car window. “They weren’t vicious dogs. They don’t bite people.”
We’ve gotten a couple of comments from McCune residents. You can find them at the bottom of our original entry on Mayor Call.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arrest, chained, charges, complaint, cruelty to animals, dogs, don call, filed, firearm, kansas, loose, mayor, mccune, rifle, shot, surrender