Summer Pet Safety – Dogs and Hot Cars

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend just around the corner, now is the perfect time to share an important reminder with all pet owners:  Dogs and hot cars don’t mix!

According to the ASPCA, leaving pets alone in a hot car is animal cruelty.  Pets can die from overheating in a parked car very quickly.  Certain dogs are at higher risk for heat-related illness, including:

  • Puppies
  • Senior dogs
  • Short-muzzled breeds
  • Dogs with dark and/or thick coats

Remember that on a day that feels comfortable to you, the temperature inside a car can be 20 degrees higher than the outdoor air temperature, even with the windows cracked open.

Don’t take your dog with you when you’re out running errands in your car on hot summer days.  If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, be sure to call local law enforcement or animal control right away.

 

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May 6-12 is Be Kind to Animals Week!

According to American Humane, Be Kind to Animals Week is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history!  What better way to celebrate this important humane awareness event than with these easy ways to show your kindness to all animals?

  • Adopt a homeless pet from an animal shelter or rescue group.
  • Volunteer your time and talents at a non-profit animal welfare organization.
  • Report suspected animal abuse to local police or animal welfare organizations.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance and avoid touching or picking up wild animals.

  • Create safe and welcoming outdoor spaces for pets and other animals like birds and insects.
  • Remember to take your pet to the vet for regular wellness exams.
  • Consider buying cruelty-free cosmetic brands on your next shopping trip.

  • Donate to a local low-cost spay/neuter organization to reduce the homeless pet population in your area.
  • Clean up plastic litter than can be harmful to birds and animals if eaten.
  • Teach kids how to safely and gently interact with animals.

  • Be aware of wildlife and free-roaming pets while driving.  Report animals hit by cars to local authorities.
  • Put down your phone and spend more quality time interacting with your pets.

 

Local Jurisdictions Continue the Fight Against Puppy Mills

A recent blog post by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) highlights the leading role that cities and counties across the U.S. are taking to ban puppy mills—despite opposition at the state and federal levels.

While many local jurisdictions are banning the sale of pet store animals bred in large-scale, for-profit breeding operations known as puppy mills, the industry is fighting back.  The ALDF reports that “pet store lobbyists are pressuring state legislatures to pass preemption laws blocking cities’ and counties’ right to adopt retail pet sale bans.”

This means that the state law will take precedence over any local law that seeks to ban puppy mill dogs from being sold in pet stores.  The ALDF notes that Arizona and Ohio have already passed preemption laws.

In addition to state-level push back on the fight against inhumane puppy mills, recently enacted federal measures have also made the effort to regulate puppy mills more difficult.  In early 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed public access to animal welfare records, including those relating to USDA licensed puppy mills.

What’s the good news?  Efforts to pass state preemption bills failed in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.

As the ALDF notes, “retail pet sale bans are a powerful way for people to fight puppy mills in their own communities…instead of passing preemption laws, states should ban the sale of commercially-bred animals statewide.”

Currently, California is the only state to have enacted a retail pet sale ban.  The ALDF says that concerned animal lovers in other states should be aware of any preemption laws in the works.  States currently considering such laws include Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Be sure to keep up to date on the state of animal welfare legislation in your state by following the work of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

 

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.”