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Tag: tampa

Florida vet reunited with his service dog

A disabled Army veteran whose service dog went missing after a car accident will soon be reunited with her.

“I am totally ecstatic … If I had two legs, I’d do a back flip!” 7-year Army veteran Luke Macner, of Tampa, said upon learning Nina, his German shepherd-Rottweiler mix had been found.

Macner broke his collar bone in the car accident, but in interviews afterwards he was more worried about what happened to Nina, his constant companion since he lost his leg.

“I’m lost without the dog. I really am,” he told WTSP at the time.

“Please, let somebody find you and please bring you back to me,” he pleaded.

After the accident, the dog was found wandering in South Tampa by Amy Abdnour.

While she was playing with the dog another woman, who had seen news reports about the missing dog, approached Abdnour.

“A lady said, ‘Do you know this dog has been on the news?’” Abdnour said.

After a call to the Humane Society, she got in touch with Macner.

Macner plans to reclaim the dog when he gets released from the hospital.

BARCS to be part of pit bull project

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.

Did burglar run over dog during getaway?

Police in Tampa are considering filing animal cruelty charges against a 23-year-old Tampa man accused of breaking into a home and apparently running over the owner’s dog during his getaway.

Jerome Lewter has been charged with three counts of burglary, three counts of grand theft and a probation violation. A police spokesman said Lewter, who denies running over the dog, may be charged with animal cruelty.

A 40-inch Sony television was stolen during the April 19 burglary. After the incident the homeowner’s Jack Russell terrier, named Jackie, was found dead in the driveway.

“It’s kind of a shock that something like that happened,” homeowner Bill Hand said this week. “You feel violated.” Hand said his father, John Hand, got Jackie five years ago as a puppy. The dog was his dad’s companion until John Hand died at the age of 92. He asked his son to take care of Jackie.

Bill Hand told the Tampa Tribune he hopes animal cruelty charges are filed.

“I’m looking forward to him getting his day in court,” Hand said.

(Photo: John Hand and Jackie)

The largest airlift of homeless pets — ever

pilotsnpawsFive thousand dogs are escaping from death row this week — by airplane.

In what’s being called the world’s largest airlift of homeless pets, this week Pilots N Paws is seeking to transport 5,000 animals to safety in a flurry of flights designed to raise awareness of the charity and draw attention to the importance of spaying and neutering. The pilots donate their time, planes and fuel.

Thousands of animals have been saved by rehoming them to new locations — like  Lady Di, a purebred collie whose owner, unable to give her away in a Walmart parking lot, dumped her at a shelter in Clanton, Alabama where in an average week hundreds of dogs are euthanized because there is not enough space to house them.

Lady Di, according to an Associated Press report, managed to escape that fate thanks to private pilot Jeff Bennett, a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, a group that moves pets from overwhelmed shelters to communities where they’ll stand a better chance of adoption, and a lesser chance of being euthanized. Lady Di was flown to Tampa by Bennett, a retired Florida Keys businessman, who took a dozen dogs on the trip as well. In Tampa, rescue groups picked them up to care for them until new homes could be found.

Bennett has transported 124 animals for Pilots N Paws in the past year — including snakes, lizards, a chicken and a potbellied pig .

Pilots N Paws got its start in February 2008 when a Knoxville, Tenn., pilot named Jon Wehrenberg offered to fly his friend, Debi Boies, from her home near Greenville, S.C., to Florida to pick up a Doberman pinscher she wanted to adopt from a rescue group. Wehrenberg asked Boies if there would be a regular need for such a thing.

Was there ever. Rescue groups have long moved animals from high-kill shelters around the country, a task that usually involves long car trips.

The website for Pilots N Paws now serves as a forum where shelters and rescue groups can hook up with pilots. Boies says more than 680 pilots have already transported thousands of animals all over the country.

This Marley went in a different direction

During her nine-year career as a search and rescue dog, Marley sniffed around the rubble left by eight hurricanes, and crawled through the ruins of the World Trade Center, says Tampa, Florida fire rescue Captain Mark Bogush.

In the years they worked as a team, Marley never left Bogush’s side. On Wednesday, when the black lab’s stomach became twisted and distended from a condition known as canine bloat, Bogush never left hers, according to Tampa Bay Online.

“I got 12 excellent years from Marley,” saud Bogush. “The best thing for her was to go to that little puppy palace in the sky.”

Bogush said he spent years steeling himself for the possibility Marley would suffer a fatal injury in a disaster area. Instead, after retiring a few years ago, she fell victim to far more common ailments –like arthritis, hearing loss and, finally, stomach bloat. Vets predicted little possibility that surgery would lead to a full recovery. It was up to Bogush to decide whether to euthanize her.

Bogush recalled the first time he saw her, when she was a 6-month-old puppy, wreaking havoc on the home of her owner. What the owner saw as trouble waiting to happen, Bogush saw as high energy, waiting for an outlet.

She took quickly to search and rescue training and treated the work like a game of hide-and-seek. Searching amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center, Marley was motivated by the idea that if she found trapped people, they would “pop up and play with her,” Bogush said.