How to Create an Animal Friendly Yard

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s never too early to start planning your garden, especially when you’re getting tired of winter!  This spring, make sure your gardening and landscaping plans take your local animals, birds, and insects into account.

How can you make your yard a humane haven for neighborhood wildlife?  The Humane Society of the United States has put together a practical list of tips.  Here’s how you can ensure that your backyard is safe for local wildlife.

  • Provide a source of fresh clean water, such as a birdbath.
  • Offer natural food sources like flowering native plants and bird feeders.
  • Avoid lawn products with harmful chemicals such as pesticides.

  • Build or purchase a bat house so bats can control insects and pollinate plants on your property.
  • Convert all or part of your lawn into a natural native plant habitat for local animals.
  • Place yard debris in a brush pile to create a shelter for small animals like chipmunks and toads.

  • Plant flowers that attract bees and put up specially-designed bee houses for them.
  • Make sure your swimming pool has an escape route like a ramp for wild animals that fall in.

  • Attract beneficial insects like butterflies and beetles with appropriate native plants.
  • Keep cats indoors for their own safety and the safety of local wildlife.

  • Watch out for nesting animals like rabbits and birds while mowing and pruning in the spring.
  • Use humane methods to trap and release wildlife that gets into your home.
  • Prevent deadly bird strikes by applying a few cling decals to your window panes.



Dog Colored with Human Hair Dye Suffers Severe Burns

A recent heartbreaking story on the Newsweek website serves as an important reminder that hair color intended for humans should never be used on our pets.

A Maltese mix named Violet was taken in by the Pinellas County (FL) Animal Services Department.  Poor Violet was dyed purple with human hair dye, suffered severe burns, and was then abandoned on the street by her owner.

Violet was brought to Animal Services with skin burns and her eyes swollen shut.  Her skin began to slough off during cleaning.  Staff didn’t think she would survive the first night.

Treatment for Violet included pain medications, antibiotics, IV fluids, and countless topical treatments and bandage changes for her damaged skin.

Violet needed three months to recover, and happily, she was adopted once she got healthy again.

Pinellas County Animal Services posted this important warning along with Violet’s story on their Facebook page:

“Express yourself, but please do not use hair dye intended for humans to express your pet’s style. Let’s all say that together–Do NOT, under any circumstances, use hair color intended for humans on your pets. Chemicals in hair dye are TOXIC, causing a wide array of external injury to your pet–possible burns, blindness, and because an animal’s first instinct is to lick, it can cause poisoning or internal burns. Just don’t.”


USA Today Raises Awareness About Puppy Mills This Holiday Season

An impulse purchase of a puppy as a Christmas present helps keep puppy mills in business, warns a recent editorial in USA Today.

Buying a puppy from a brick and mortar pet store or via an online ad provides support for an industry that inhumanely breeds, transports, and sells thousands of puppies across the US.

The article notes that the parents of your cute new puppy may very well have spent their lives confined to a cage just six inches taller than the dog, with barely enough space to turn around in.

The Humane Society of the United States recently released a heartbreaking report called the “Horrible Hundred”—a list of the worst puppy mill breeders in the US.

USA Today goes on to report that recent legislative changes now block potential buyers from viewing a breeder’s inspection records on the US Department of Agriculture’s website.

If you are interested in getting a purebred puppy from a breeder, take your time and research reputable individual breeders in your geographic area.

Make an in-person visit to the breeder’s home, meet the puppy’s mother and littermates, and ask to see all health testing records.  Observe the overall condition of the place where your puppy lives.

And of course, rescuing a shelter animal is a great way to bring joy to everyone this holiday season!


Humane Society of Utah Says “No Thank You” to Food Donation from Pet Store

A recent news story from the Salt Lake Tribune will have animal advocates cheering for the Humane Society of Utah!   Like many animal welfare organizations, Utah Humane is opposed to pet stores selling puppy mill-bred animals for profit.  So, when they found out that a donated pallet of dog food came from a pet store called the Puppy Barn, they said “Thanks, but no thanks.”

According to the article, the Humane Society discovered that the donation came from a pet store after the owners of the Puppy Barn posted a self-congratulatory video of the food purchase and donation on their social media accounts.

Administrators at HSU promptly sent the pet store a check for $900 (the estimated cost of the food) and informed them that they do not accept donations from companies that don’t share their mission.  They also asked the Puppy Barn to take the video down.  A Humane Society employee accepted the donation, not realizing the donors were pet store owners.  After finding out, she was “upset” to have been shown in the video, thanking them for the food.

HSU notes that many animals sold as babies via pet stores often end up in animal shelters as they grow into adults, lose their cuteness, and become harder to handle for inexperienced owners.  As officials at HSU say, “We don’t want to promote buying puppies when we deal every day with trying to find them homes.”