Subscriber Services Weather

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pets in Condos Update

From Maida, dedicated crusader for the rights of pet owners to keep their animals in condos, many of which ban critters.

"We now have 1,829 signatures on the online petition to allow pets in privately-owned homes. Please do everything you can to spread the word before the start of the 2007 Florida House legislative session, to give support to State Representative Julio Robaina who will try to frame some legislation for us.

"At the very least, I hope he can get some solid legislation to stop condo boardS from going after people who have had pets in place for years with no nuisance complaints, and also to make sure letters from physicians and mental health workers prescribing emotional-support animals are accepted."

She cited a recent Miami Herald story about dog-poop issues: a profile of the WOOF Patrol, a group dedicated to making sure that South Beach stays clean, so that dogs will continue to be welcome. That story mentioned the pets-in-condos issue but almost as a footnote.

Maida then wrote to the Herald, which didn't publish her letter. So here it is, in part:

"Citizens for Pets in Condos works closely with the WOOF Patrol... and other Florida groups that help make South Florida a more pet-friendly environment.

"The WOOF Patrol does a lot of good work to educate citizens about being responsible dog guardians. They work hard to eliminate the number one objection to having pets. When pet owners/guardians act responsibly, it makes for a better environment for everyone.

"As one of our other partners, The Florida Pet Network always says in their monthly eZine, the NewsPetter: Time for the repetitive subliminal message from "Doggie pooper scoopers, use them, always, everywhere you go. Good human."

To learn more about Citizens for Pets in Condos, click here.

To learn more about Florida Pet Network, click here.

Addendum to Pet Planning for Hurricanes

Thanks to Peggy Spencer, who suggests the following: "A first aid kit. You get get them through several of the big online pet supply groups or have your vet help you with it. I have mine set up in a big tackle box - works like a charm!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pet Planning for Hurricane Season

Yes, it's that time of year again, when Floridians begin to get the jitters about upcoming storms. We were certainly luckier than the folks along the Gulf Coast last year, but we got smacked pretty hard by Wilma (and in some parts of the state, folks still haven't recovered from the storms of 2004).

Let's hope we've all learned to take the threat seriously and plan ahead for ourselves AND our pets.

It's a terrible decision to make: whether to evacuate to a shelter and leave pets behind, or risk the wrath of the storm to stay with them. Who knows how many peoople died in Katrina because they stayed with their animals.

Fortunately, more pet-friendly shelters are opening every year, which should make things easier for some folks.

But let's face it: a lot of people are going to stay in place - and one never knows after the storm how long the power will be out, grocery stores will be closed, and vets will be out of commission, so here are some pointers, from Cherie Wachter, spokesperson for the Broward County Humane Society.

Keep a two-week supply of food and water for each pet. Make sure each has a proper collar and leash, rabies license, ID tags with two phone numbers listed, medications, litter and litter box, toys, and towels, a travel crate, newspapers and plastic bags for handlig waste, and a recent photo of your pet.

If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone or a mobile home park and you have a pet [try to] go to the home of a friend or relative who will welcome you and your pet.

In the coming weeks, I'll be listing pet-friendly shelters around Florida, most if not all of which will require pre-registration. I'll also be listing pet-friendly motels and hotels.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Appalling Animal Abuse Case Sought to Break Legal Ground

There's a trial going on in Orgeon civil court right now involving a stomach-turning case of animal abuse.

A family had been seeking $1.6 million in damages from a neighbor who, they claim, intentionally ran over their 14-year-old cocker spaniel/Labrador retriever, Grizz, two years ago. Incredibly, Grizz survived but was so badly injured that he had to be put down.

If the family had prevailed, it would have been the first time that someone was compensated in a lawsuit for emotional loss because of a pet's death.

At present, pets are defined as property, and their monetary value is pretty much limited to the cost of the animal and its medical bills.

But anyone who has a companion animal knows that their worth is beyond calculation, much as it is with humans we love.

The defendant claims he ran over Grizz, who was sleeping in a private drive, by accident. However, his own two teenage daughters told investigators he ran the dog over four times. They tried to rescue him themselves, screaming at their father to stop, which he didn't do.

A judge Tuesday threw out the "loss of companionship" portion of the claim but is allowing other aspects of the case to proceed.

To read more about it - and see a picture of Grizz - click here.

A Horse is a Horse...Of Course!

This past weekend, I was running errands in Broward County and happened upon a sidewalk bake sale for Dreamfinder Farms, a nonprofit horse rescue operation. I had exactly 76 cents in my wallet (how pathetic is that?) which I sheepishly dropped into the donation jar. And, in an act of supreme self control, I did NOT take any pastries.

But I did take a pamphlet, which explains that the group's mission is to "provide a positive environment to horses of all breeds that have been neglected, abused, abandoned, unwanted, retired and/or are at risk of going to slaughter or being euthanized for non-medical reasons."

I'm a sucker for horses. Used to ride fairly regularly as a kid, and of course badgered my parents for a pony for my birthday my entire childhood. One of my fondest memories is how my dad and I rode on the beach in Atlantic City in the '50s, when we went there for spring break (or Easter vacation, as it was then called).

This is a worthy cause for noble creatures. To learn more about Dreamfinder Farms (and maybe donate more than 76 cents), click here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Smallish Pets Welcome on South Florida's Tri-Rail

Bonnie Arnold, marketing director for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority's Tri-Rail, checked in to say she'd seen the item (below) about critters on New York public transportation, and wanted to let folks know what the Tri-Rail policy is (scroll down to the amusing Transportation Authority posters, starring dogs, in an earlier posting).

Bonnie wrote: "Pets are welcome on our trains at all times if they are enclosed in an appropriate carrier that is no larger than 9x13x21 inches. We have a number of service animals who travel with our regular commuters, some of whom have been specially trained to help their owners use Tri-Rail...Your readers might also want to know that the Broward Humane Society on Griffin Road is just to the west of our Fort Lauderdale Airport Station. If the cost of gas is impacting your ability to adopt a pet, the train is definitely an economical option, especially on the weekend when fares start at just $2."

Sounds like a good deal.

Katrina Critters Still Hurting

It's been almost a year after Katrina, but still we need
volunteers urgently to feed and water animals. Residents and out-of-towners desperately needed. Warehouse animal care needed. Can you help us?

That was the heartfelt plea from a rescuer who read the blog item below about New York's plan to suspend no-pets rules on public transportation during hurricanes. So of course I'll do what I can, which is to direct readers to various organizations caring for animals in New Orleans and wherever evacuated animals are being cared for.

First step: Click here for Animal Rescue New Orleans. Second step: Send money, or supplies, or go and volunteer, if you have the time. We're on the threshold of the next hurricane season, and heaven only knows what might happen. It would be great if all the critters affected by last year's storms were safe and secure before the next one hits.

And to all who have given so tirelessly to these animals: Bless you.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dogster Link

Thanks to a new blog reader named Stephanie for alerting me to the fact that Dogster, THE place to go for dog photos, has a link to Crazy for Critters. Allow me to return the favor. To visit Dogster, click here.

From the site:

Since launching in January 2004, (and it's sister site launched in June, 2004) have become the fastest growing pet destination on the internet and are now a top-five overall pet destination. Now serving over 1 million photos for over 200,000 uploaded pets, Dogster and Catster serve more than 12 million pages a month to over half a million visitors.

Mandy's Back! Another Miraculous Reunion

I'm thrilled to announce that Mandy, the runaway German shepherd, has been found (see postings below for background on Mandy's disapparance and the massive search). She's skinny but safe, and the story of her rescue is worthy of an HBO thriller. It's a tale of unshakable faith and of dedicated animal lovers pulling out all the stops to save one frightened creature. Everyone involved deserves huge attaboys/girls for hanging in there for Mandy.

Here's the e-mail that Suzanne sent describing how it happened. She said Mandy had lost 27 pounds. I commended her for going the extra mile, and she joked that it was actually an extra 3,720 miles (at $3 a gallon? Yikes!)

"As I was leaving Palm Beach County Saturday at 1 p.m., giving up hope, I told my friend Mary: 'I cannot do this any more, I am spent, and I have to leave it in God's hands. I need to wait and the phone to ring and pray.' I had been searching for the ninth time (driving across the entire state of Florida, from west to east) and since 5 that morning.

"My phone rang. A man said he had the dog in the poster, in his yard. I quickly turned around (and) asked him to catch her by whatever means. He called back and told me to slow down driving, that she was on a leash and safe.

"I turned in their driveway and just broke down! It was Mandy, she too had given up and let it "rest" in a "higher power's" hands as I did. She apparently jumped into their yard and was drawn to the screened pool area where there was a golden retriever and a small girl swimming. The girl saw Mandy and screamed to her mommy, 'That is the doggie in the poster, Mommy!'

"Sharon Lainhart (a friend of Carol Childs in rescue), went to draw her near with food. Maybe Mandy missed our daughter and our golden swimming in the pool and was drawn to her, or maybe she knew Sharon and her family were Christians and felt safe to let them help her!

"She apparently jumped into their yard over a fence, Mandy is 22 pounds and didn't have much reserve left! Anyhow, our nightmare is over and we can go on to helping more dogs and cats in need of rescue. Thank you for your prayers and help. You will not soon be forgotten ...if ever!"

Needless to say, Mandy will now live with Suzanne and her family, let's hope for a long, long time.

New York Considers Critters During Hurricane

City buses and subways could become modern-day Noah's Arks if a Katrina-like hurricane hurtles toward New York, the Daily News has learned.

That's from a story about how the Transit Authority is considering lifting its animal ban during storms. It's an excellent idea because here in South Florida every year - and in New Orleans during Katrina - thousands refuse to leave their pets during evacuations. Most shelters don't accept pets, and neither does public transportation. This has to change if human and animal lives are going to be saved.

To read the story, click here.