Happy Valentine’s Day from cute little success story Pedro…and all of us at FACE!
Animal hoarding stories are always tough to hear about. A recent hoarding case in the San Diego County community of Poway has gotten a lot of attention recently. An incredible number of dogs were rescued from a hoarding situation…123 to be exact (the number grew after animal welfare workers found additional dogs that the owners had been hiding during the original rescue operation).
In this sad case, an elderly couple had been hoarding these little Yorkie-mix dogs in their home, and the living conditions faced by the dogs were, as you can imagine, horrific. The dogs are now in the care of the San Diego Humane Society, and it’s been all hands on deck caring for these sweet pups. They’ve needed grooming, dental care, vaccinations, and other services.
They soon will be made available for adoption. San Diego Humane has set up a special web page to help field the many inquiries about the adoption process for these Yorkies. If you live in the San Diego area, consider opening your heart to one of these special dogs. You can also watch a news video about the dogs HERE.
Many San Diegans are familiar with our famous “Original Dog Beach” (one of the first dog-friendly beaches in the U.S.), popular with locals and tourists alike. But did you know that not far from Dog Beach is a Mission Bay jetty that is home to the “Jetty Cats”—a colony of stray and abandoned cats who have made their home among the jetty rocks?
The Jetty Cats are not your average feral cat colony. Sadly, many of them are former pets left there by owners who no longer want them. Others are strays who have joined the group. They are quite friendly and approachable, and many locals enjoy visiting them and feeding them. They are also cared for by local animal welfare advocates who make sure they are spayed and neutered.
The Jetty Cats are under threat. The City of San Diego and the USDA’s Wildlife Services Division have plans underway to trap and euthanize these much-loved cats. The stated reason is to protect endangered bird species in the area, but concerned animal lovers fear that this is an inappropriate reaction to what is generally regarded as a very well-managed cat colony.
You can learn more about this issue and sign a petition showing your support for the Jetty Cats HERE. Interested in learning more about this unique community of cats? Check out THIS VIDEO from our local ABC New station.
A recent report from San Diego’s public television station KPBS highlighted some sobering statistics about how many people in our county, as well as nationwide, are struggling financially. The poverty rate here in San Diego County is higher today than it was during the great recession, rising from 12.3% to 14.5%–with 450,000 people currently living below the federal poverty line ($12,082 per individual annually). U.S. census data shows that 13.5% of Americans live below the poverty threshold nationwide.
FACE provides financial assistance to qualified families to help them pay for all or part of their pets’ emergency and critical care veterinary services. According to our 2016 statistics, 50% of our grantees had an annual income of $26,000 or less. Here in San Diego County, where the cost of living is quite high, $26,000 is less than the living wage for one person.
What does all this mean for pet owners facing economic hard times? While the basic cost of pet ownership ranges from around $350-$550 per year (with roughly $1,000 of expenses during the first year of ownership), a veterinary emergency could lead to thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses. What happens when a pet owner simply can’t afford treatment? Sadly, economic euthanasia is often the only alternative. While it’s hard to find official statistics on economic euthanasia rates, animal welfare and veterinary experts estimate that between 10% and 12% of all pet euthanasia occurs for economic reasons.
The pets of low income families face many hardships, even if they never experience a veterinary emergency. Low income pet owners in rural areas can find themselves miles away from the nearest pet store or veterinarian. In urban areas with high poverty rates, veterinary services are also scarce, and pet owners often face transportation issues.
Helping pets in low income households is truly a community effort. Besides non-profits that provide financial assistance for veterinary care, like FACE, there are other ways communities have shown compassion for pets in need. Many veterinary schools offer free clinics, animal welfare organizations bring mobile, low-cost spay/neuter services to underserved areas, food pantries are expanding to include pet food and supplies, and specialized programs exist for the pets of veterans, the homeless, and the elderly.
Pets provide love, comfort, companionship, and even health benefits to their owners, regardless of income. That’s why it’s so important to do all we can to ensure that all pets remain healthy and happy members of their families. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations providing financial assistance to pet owners in the U.S.
In recent years, we’ve become much more aware of the toxins in our everyday environment. One that has gotten a lot of attention is Bisphenol A, aka BPA, a chemical found in common items like plastic water bottles, thermal paper, and can linings. BPA is described as an endocrine disruptor and it also mimics estrogen. It’s been linked to a wide range of health issues, including various reproductive-related problems and cancer.
A recent study suggests that the canned food our pets eat may contain unsafe levels of BPA as well. Researchers conducted a study of 14 dogs who regularly ate bagged dog food. They were then fed canned food (even a so-called “BPA-free” brand) and their blood was tested. The results showed that, even after just 2 weeks on the canned food diet, their BPA levels almost tripled. The researchers were able to link the BPA to changes in the dogs’ metabolisms and in microbes in their digestive systems.
Besides the health issues that our pets themselves might be experiencing, the researchers note that animals are also very good indicators of the health risks humans face from the various environmental contaminants that we are exposed to on a daily basis.