Animal News (other than cats)
DogTime is asking people to nominate an “unsung hero” in the world of rescue and animal welfare to receive their 2012 Unsung Hero award. Along with the award, the shelter or rescue that the hero (or heroine) volunteers with will win a $10,000 donation. You can submit your nomination from July 23 through Friday, August 17.
Submit your nomination by clicking HERE and filling out the online form.
We know so many people who qualify as unsung heroes. Our list would stretch for several pages covered with the names of all those who have helped us save kitties in need.
You can only choose one person to nominate, however, and you are limited to that one nomination. The winner will be announced during the online Petties Award Show on Friday, September 7.
And don’t forget to keep voting for B and O as the best rescue/cause blog in the 2012 Petties Blog Awards. Vote once a day, every day through July 31. You can vote by going HERE.
Thank you again to everyone who supports us and aids us in our endeavors to be heroes to the animals.
We are so happy and proud to let everyone know that the B and O blog won the category “Best Blog Writing” in the 2012 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards.
To read about all of the winners, go HERE.
Halo, Purely for Pets and Freekibble.com donated 5,000 meals of Halo’s Spot’s Stew to Black and Orange for our kitties for winning this blog contest. We also received a $100 gift certificate to Halopets.com.
We have some very happy kitties thanks to BlogPaws!
Take a look at the very cool award (below) that I received in the mail! I hope in the future that I can attend a BlogPaws conference and maybe take another one of these home!
It is time to nominate favorite pet blogs for the 2012 Petties Awards. These awards are sponsored by Dogtime Media and are a prestigious award for pet bloggers. Petties are awarded to the top pet blogs in ten categories and each of the winners receive a $1,000 donation to the animal-related charity of their choice.
This year, each time you nominate a blog, you can also enter your favorite shelter or rescue for a chance to win $10,000.
Please nominate Black and Orange’s blog for Best Cat Blog and Best Cause Related Blog.
To nominate B and O’s blog, go HERE.
Our URL: www.bandocats.org/blog
Shelter Nominations for $10K Pre-Petties Donation Contest: Black and Orange Cat Foundation
You can enter a nomination once a day every day between now and June 29. The shelter or rescue with the most nominations will win a $10,000 donation and the blogs with the most nominations will go to the final round of voting. The winning shelter will be announced July 16. Voting for the nominated blogs will begin later this summer. The winners will be announced in an online ceremony in September.
Thank you so much for your nominations! We appreciate all of you so much!
Just when I think I cannot possibly hear anything more awful that humans have done to animals, I am sadly disappointed to learn that, yes, our species can find even greater cruelties to subject innocent creatures to endure.
A few weeks ago, I heard a story on NPR about animal activists in China who were stopping trucks loaded with dogs headed to butchers to be slaughtered. These activists were buying the dogs and finding sanctuaries for them. Attitudes in China are changing and dogs are no longer considered just “food,” but, rather, companions. Hurrah for that.
I was so deeply troubled by the story and the photos that I saw when investigating how I could help, that I decided to find an organization that actively was working to stop dog butchering in China and send them a donation.
The group I found was Animals Asia.
When I went on the Animals Asia web site, I read about sanctuaries for the dogs rescued from the meat trade. And I also learned about something I had never heard about before: Moon Bears.
Moon Bears. Their name sounds so otherworldly and exotic, conjuring up fairy tale images of creatures frolicking under starlit skies. Their story, however, is something far removed from the realm of magical yarns. Rather, what these majestic animals suffer seems more from the pages of a horror novel.
Moon Bears are Asiatic Black Bears. They are called Moon Bears because of the cream blaze on their chest that looks like a crescent moon. These animals are a threatened species with their numbers falling each year. What I also learned on the Animals Asia web site is that these bears are trapped as babies and kept caged for their entire lives so their bile can be harvested.
And this is where major, heart wrenching cruelty steps in.
As mentioned, these bears are trapped in leg hold traps as babies, so when they are taken to the bile farms, many of them are missing a paw or a limb or are severely injured. They are then placed in extraction or “crush” cages (so called because the top of the cage can be lowered to crush the bear on to the bottom to make it easier to collect bile from them) in which they will live for the rest of their lives-years and years (some bears have been kept alive 20-25 years or more)–until they are either rescued or die. They are never let out of these cages and their legs often no longer work due to muscle atrophy from the horrendous confinement.
Once they are in these cages they often have their teeth and claws removed and then a tube is implanted to “milk the bile” from their gall bladders. In some other cases, the bile is just allowed to drip out from a permanent hole in the gallbladder and abdomen that routinely becomes infected, causes internal bleeding (which often leads to death), and is very painful. The bile farmers dose these bears with antibiotics to keep them alive, so they can continue to harvest the bile.
I won’t go into any more details about this, because just writing these words has brought tears to my eyes. You can read more (if you can take it) on Wikipedia.
You can also read a 2008 NPR story called “Stalking the Moon Bears” HERE. It is no easier to read, however.
The bears are tortured in this manner, because bear bile is prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine. Bear bile contains UDCA, ursodeoxycholic acid, which is thought to reduce fevers, help with eyesight, and protect the liver. UDCA, however, can be obtained in many other ways due to modern chemical methods–methods that make harming these bears unnecessary and unjustified. Still some Chinese doctors refuse to use anything other than the bear bile and so the mutilation and torture of these creatures continues.
When I was online reading about the Moon Bears, I discovered that Animals Asia, and several other places, have safe havens where they take the bears that they purchase from the bile farmers. The bears are then allowed to live out their final days in peace. I ordered a wonderful children’s book, Saving Jasper, which describes the actual rescue of one bear who had lived confined in a crush cage for 15 years. I intend to donate this book to our local library to educate others about something I knew nothing about.
When Jasper and the other bears in the sanctuaries were rescued, they actually had to be cut out of their crush cages. There was no other way to release them, as they are put in the cages with the idea that they will never come out.
The rescued bears require huge amounts of medical care and are often very frightened, at first, of open spaces after living in the tiny cages. Moon bears often stand over six feet tall, but these cages are usually no more than four and a half feet long.
Imagine spending your entire life hunched over, never able to stretch or move your limbs, while being tormented and existing in ceaseless pain with nothing to do all day but crouch in misery, your mind focused only on your condition. Not even sleeping or eating would bring joy. This is the bear’s life.
Sometimes, I’ve had people comment to me: why worry about animals on the other side of the world when there are plenty of animal horror issues close to home? Yes, it is true that there are enough animal issues right here in Ohio to keep me busy writing blog posts for the rest of my life. I hear tons of sad things just dealing with cat rescue.
But the internet has made all of us so connected that thousands of miles disappear with the click of a mouse. We can see and experience things that once were impossible to discover. All of life is joined together and one animal’s suffering is my concern if I can do something to make it stop–whether that suffering is in my own backyard or a dark cage I will never see in person (thankfully) in China.
This connectivity was brought home to me through an NPR story that I paid special attention to a few mornings ago after my readings on the Moon Bears. Black bears in the state of New York (and elsewhere) are now being poached to provide bile and paws (bear paws are a delicacy used in Chinese soups) for Asian pharmacies and restaurants in the United States. This is no longer just an issue far away in China.
Here is the story I heard on NPR about bear poaching in the United States.
While I know, as a pharmacist, that our own pharmaceutical industry mistreats many, many animals (the myriad of animals locked in research labs, for example, and that is without including other non-drug businesses such as puppy mills and factory farms–I could go on and on), I still find the story of the Moon Bears heart breaking. The bears do not need to be treated as they are to provide a substance that can be synthetically made in a lab or processed from plants.
For Mother’s Day this year, I bought my mom a silver pendant of a Moon Bear. I did not go into great detail, but I told her what the bear symbolized–hope. Some day, I believe her necklace will be a reminder of how the world has changed–changed so that animals are no longer made to suffer for human whims and all of the Moon Bears are set free.
Everybody loves a circus, right? A harmless afternoon or evening of fun?
Wrong. I don’t enjoy the circus and I really don’t think the animals that are forced to perform do either. And that is why my husband, Joe, and I will not be attending the circus that will be in town in May.
The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is coming to Plain City on May 11 for two show times. The way this circus works is that they tend to pick smaller villages or towns to visit and get chambers of commerce or local schools (schools mean field trips and lots of children) and organizations to sponsor them. Then those groups sell the tickets for the circus in advance and receive a portion of the ticket sales. It is billed as a fundraiser. The circus moves from one small town to the next. On May 13, they will be in Johnstown.
With them will be several animals who did not decide, of their own free will, to “run away and join the circus.”
Many, many circuses are moving away from animal acts because the animals are made to perform using deprivation or punishment to enforce behavior. From the Culpepper and Merriweather web site, this circus uses a dog and pony show, trained birds, and camels. They do not mention having big cats, but on several other sites, I found evidence that they have performing tigers and lions. They no longer use elephants, as elephants are often the animals that lead to the most citations of cruelty for circuses and can produce the most risks if they escape–which two elephants did from this circus in 2008. Another elephant escaped in 2009 and was involved in a collision with an SUV.
Going back to 1991, Culpepper and Merriweather has been in trouble with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on numerous occasions for failing to meet the standards set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. You can read a fact sheet on these citations HERE.
Read another opinion about this circus HERE.
Tons of groups that promote animal welfare, including the ASPCA, ask that people not support an industry that harms animals. They ask those who care to NOT attend circuses that still use animal acts. Read the facts about animals in circuses HERE and HERE and HERE. These are just a few of many sites. Just Google “Circus Cruelty” and watch what comes up.
I realize that many people reading this may not have known that circuses are cruel. This blog was meant to educate and make the readers think. Children love animals and circuses are billed as fun places where kids can view exotic species they don’t see in their own back yards. But circuses promote lives of misery. Here is a quick list of things to think about:
1. If you’ve ever taken dancing lessons or tried to balance on one leg for a long period of time, you know how hard those things can be. Now imagine you are a wild animal that never, ever would do those things in real life. How difficult do you think it is for an elephant or a lion to attempt those feats? The only way to get them to do it is with punishment. Would you really want to do something just because you were afraid–terrified someone would beat you or hurt you?
2. How would you like to be crammed in a tiny space for hours upon hours in a day, traveling from one town to another every week of the year? You’d get tired and so do the animals. When the animals finally are let out, it is to do embarrassing tricks that they don’t want to do.
3. What if you were deathly afraid of another type of animal (I don’t like snakes and there is no way I would work with a venomous snake each day of my life)? But, too bad. Every day, you are FORCED–yes, forced (no one gives these animals a choice), to work with another animal that could eat you. Often horses are trained to have lions ride on their backs. Horses are prey animals. Big cats are predators. It is against their natures to be together. You can imagine how terrified the horse is every time it is forced to allow that lion to get on its back–a position that would normally lead to the lion killing it.
4. These animals are majestic, awe inspiring creatures. They deserve our respect and our compassion.
There are a number of circuses, including Cirque du Soleil (which I have attended), that do not use animals to entertain–only humans who chose that life. To see a list, go HERE.
Please think about these things before you attend a circus with animals.
A few years ago, my husband, Joe, and I were out on a Sunday afternoon cruise around the back roads of Plain City. We ventured across the Darby into Hilliard and saw a posting for an Open House. The house was very upscale (over half a million in price) and since we had a bit of free time (and were nosy about what you got with a giant price tag), we stopped to investigate.
When we arrived, we were the only ones at the open house. The realtor led us on the tour and as we approached the basement, he pointed to a sign on the door that warned of an alligator inside. I thought it was a joke–that perhaps the family dog was named Alligator or someone was being funny to scare friends.
Descending into the well decorated basement, I saw no signs of an alligator–until I approached an opening about the size of a window, but lacking glass. There was another warning about an alligator by the opening, but being me, I poked my head through to look. And nearly died of a heart attack when an alligator, in a cement room the size of a closet, began to leap around below me. I quickly jumped back.
Joe and I once saw a giraffe in a pen on what looked to be a Waco-type compound near Mechanicsburg. But I’d never been so up close and personal with a wild animal in someone’s home.
Why would anyone want to keep an alligator in their basement?
Tim Harrison, wildlife wrangler and rescuer, asks the same thing in his two books about exotic animal captures and rescues he has made in Dayton, Ohio (yes, Dayton, Ohio, which surprisingly has a very large incidence of exotic animal escapes). Why would anyone want to own a cobra or a tiger or any other creature that could instantly kill you?
I picked up Tim’s two books, Wild Times, Tales from Suburban Safaris and Wildlife Warrior, More Tales from Suburban Safaris at Dark Star Books, an independent bookstore in Yellow Springs (which I love, because they have a black cat in residence). I hadn’t intended to purchase the books, but when I opened them up and began reading of Gaboon vipers (a deadly venomous snake with the biggest fangs in all of snakeland) discovered in garages (and played with unknowingly by curious children) and big cats out for neighborhood strolls, I couldn’t put them down.
The books brought to mind my own experience with the alligator in the basement–an animal that I found to be very sad. Living in a dark, concrete environment, the poor creature saw no sunlight and never swam in a swampy heaven.
I also worried about other pets in the gator house–a cat or a dog, who would jump up on the opening I had looked through and perhaps fall into the area with the alligator. They would have no chance at survival. And neither would a curious child–even I leaned in farther than I should have.
The books also reminded me of the horrible carnage of over four dozen exotic animals that occurred in Zanesville last fall when a suicidal owner release monkeys, bears, wolves, and big cats which were then sadly killed by authorities.
Heartbreakingly, most exotic animals bought as “pets” end up with that same fate–a horrible death.
Tim Harrison, the author of the books I ended up buying, has been going into homes for over thirty years, retrieving escaped exotic animals. From his often sad adventures, he has watched the same type of endings come to many of the animals he tries to save–cruel deaths. Many of the animals are in such poor condition (from being abused by owners who don’t know how to care for them) that they must be euthanized. These rescues have made Tim an outspoken advocate for the wild animals who belong in the wild, not sold to the unsuspecting public who keeps them in back bedrooms or makeshift pens, where they can accidentally kill or harm their owners.
In 2001, Tim and a group of police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics started a non-profit called Outreach for Animals to educate people about wildlife and save both human and animal lives.
Tim also recently spoke in support of Senate Bill 310, which would work to end ownership of exotic animals in Ohio. You can read more about this much needed bill HERE.
In one of the most poignant tales in his books, Tim wrote about going undercover at an exotic animal auction in Mount Hope, Ohio. There he witnessed all manner of animals–kangaroos, panthers, bear cubs–being sold to the highest bidder. Many of these poor creatures were so psychologically damaged that they had no chance of being “saved.” Rather, many of them were destined for “canned hunts”–hunts where exotic animals, hand raised by people and not afraid of humans, are released to be killed and displayed as trophies. Many of these animals, as Tim described, are geriatric, blind, or unable to even walk. They are released and killed. A horrible end to a life of tragedy. After living an unnatural life, these sad animals also die in a pathetic, miserable way.
But auctions aren’t the only place to buy these animals. They can be purchased at flea markets, in local newspapers, and online. If you google for a specific type of animal, I guarantee you can find one for sale. On a web site called, Fauna Classifieds, I found several listings for a gaboon viper for sale (remember, they have the largest fangs in all of snakedom and are deadly–yes, please, I’ll have two!).
In his second book, Tim encourages all of us to be Wildlife Warriors, speaking out for these animals that cannot help themselves. It makes me weep to think of all the horrors animals endure at our hands and all the innocent lives that are lost, both animal and human.
I am not just a wildlife warrior or an animal advocate, I am working each day to be a “species savior” (or I hope to be)–and that includes the species known as humans. Hopefully, we will not become extinct from our own disrespect of nature, animals, and our lovely Earth.
Visit Outreach for Animals on Facebook HERE.
Click on the newspaper article at the top to read more about Tim Harrison and his rescues.
Thanks to my good friend, Jackie, who posted about Get Your Fix on Facebook, I learned about this really neat web site that is helping to spay and neuter animals nationwide.
Here’s how it works. You can go to the web site and create an account (it’s free). You can then “Fund a Fix” by looking through photos and profiles of animals nationwide that need to be spayed or neutered. You can search for animals by your zip code that are within 25 miles, 100 miles, or anywhere nationwide. Then you submit your credit card info and the Get Your Fix team does the rest–arranges the surgery, contacts the owners to let them know, and makes payment to the vet. The donation amount for each surgery is a flat $100. Most of the people who are looking for help with spays and neuters post photos of their animals, so you can see the fuzzy face that will benefit from your generosity.
If you know of a clinic that can spay or neuter for cheaper than the $100 donation, you can also contact the owner directly through email on the Get Your Fix site and make arrangements yourself to have the surgery done. The owner schedules and then you make payment. Since B and O works with several low cost clinics that can do the surgeries for less than $100, I’ve been contacting people in the Central Ohio area who have posted on the site and letting them know we can help cover the costs. So far, two people with cats have taken us up on the offer and made arrangements to get their cats fixed. I’ve also paid the flat $100 fee to have three dogs fixed–I don’t know of very many low cost clinics for dogs that can do the surgeries for under $100. If you know of any, please let me know.
For owners looking to get their pets fixed, using the web site is just as easy. The owner creates an account and posts their animal. People searching can read a story about the pet and why the owner wants to get them spayed or neutered. They can also see a photo of the animal that needs help.
The web site also offers a database of low cost spay and neuter clinics nationwide.
If you are looking for a way to honor someone for a birthday, anniversary, or other special event, I would suggest going to the Get Your Fix web site and offering to “Fund a Fix” as a way to show you care. For the animal lovers in your life, there is no better message to send than that animals won’t needlessly die because there are too many of them. As the site says, “Together we can bring an end to pet overpopulation!” Working together is the only way to save these precious lives.
To learn more, visit the Get Your Fix web site HERE.
Each year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) celebrates Spay Day on the final Tuesday of February. This year, Spay Day 2012 will fall on February 28.
To find out more about this annual event, go HERE.
To find Spay Day events near you, go HERE, and put in your zip code.
In the Columbus area, two organizations are participating in Spay Day.
For Spay Day 2012, SOS of Ohio is doing their Luv-A-Bull event in which they plan to spay and neuter pit bulls and pit bull mixes for $30 for qualifying low income owners (they must be able to show they are on government or other financial assistance). A microchip and Rabies vaccine are also included in the $30 fee. Call 614-396-8707 to see if you qualify.
And until the end of the month, SOS is also offering “Beat the Heat.” Through a grant from PetSmart Charities, they are spaying 380 female cats for $20 during February. Call to schedule an appointment and mention Beat the Heat to get the discounted price.
Cat Welfare will also be celebrating Spay Day by offering surgeries through the NOMAD mobile clinic, which will be parked at the shelter on February 28. If you have a cat you would like to have fixed, visit: http://www.catwelfareohio.com/lowcostaltering.htm When you send in your form, make sure to note, “NOMAD 2/28 clinic.”
Black and Orange’s web site and blog are the results of the wonderful efforts of Vicki Watson of VWeb Web Design. I get a lot of compliments on how nice both sites look and I have Vicki to thank for that. Vicki stepped in when B and O’s original web designer thought I needed an “animal lover” to help me get the site looking the way I envisioned. Vicki has done a spectacular job and I can’t thank her enough for all her help.
Vicki, however, is not just a web designer. She is also a homeschool mom who creates educational software for homeschoolers to use in their daily studies at her web site, Interactive Study Guides. She has an exceptional study guide for Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.
As shown with her study guide for Black Beauty, Vicki is a horse lover and many of her other endeavors focus on this love. At her Christian Cowgirl web site, Vicki offers devotions, Christian horse book reviews, and horse movie reviews.
And on her Sonrise Stables site, Vicki dons the hat of author with her Christian Horse books for children. The first two books in her Sonrise Stable series, Rosie and Scamper and Carrie and Bandit, are currently available with updated artwork by Plain City artist, Becky Raber. The third book in the series, Clothed With Thunder, will be available in the Fall.
Vicki grew up around horses and cats. She always keeps an eye on the cats I have her post on B and O’s home page and she was especially interested in the story of Sparrow, who was our featured kitty in January. Many of you may remember the story of the cat that was shot with an arrow and taken to the Humane Society of Delaware County where Dr. Kim West saved her life (you can read the blog posting about Sparrow HERE). Vicki plans to do a book, available by the end of the year, that will tell Sparrow’s story. She wants her fourth book to touch on the many cruel things humans do to animals to teach the next generation to be kinder and more humane. The theme for the fourth book will focus on treating animals with kindness, based on Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
Sparrow’s story will be a side story in the book, which will explain the fates of foals born to “nurse mares.” In case you don’t know about nurse mares, here’s the scoop. When an expensive thoroughbred horse gives birth, the owners will sometimes take the much wanted thoroughbred baby away from it’s very valuable mother and have a nurse mare raise the thoroughbred foal. Because the nurse mare must have milk, she will have just given birth herself. Her true baby is of no value and is often killed.
Luckily, there are rescues that take these unwanted “products” of the thoroughbred industry and find the babies homes. One of those rescues is Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio. Vicki recently visited Victoria Goss, who saves these horses, to get information for her next book.
As soon as Vicki’s fourth book, featuring these wonderful horses and Sparrow, is available, I will let you know.
Vicki lives in Marysville and attended Jonathan Alder schools. I always love to support local businesses and animal lovers! Happily, Vicki is both and all the kitties of B and O thank her for giving them much needed recognition through two beautiful web sites!
Visit Vicki’s Facebook page HERE.
(Registrants will receive information and lobbying packets.)
9:45 A: Welcome – The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
Founder, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates
John Bell, Esq.
Lead Attorney for Plaintiffs in Class Action Lawsuit Against Donald Dutiel, ‘Wagon Wheel Ranch’ (New Lexington, OH)
Mark McGinnis, Esq
11:30 A: Luncheon reception with your state legislators – The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
1:30 P: Rally for Ohio’s Companion Animals – Sidewalks in Front of The Ohio Statehouse