Animal Advocacy

Collaboration – it works

posted July 3rd, 2015 by
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Collaboration and social media are powerful and they validate the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. It applies to rescue as well.  Downtown Oklahoma City is an example – – today it is a vibrant place – – 16 years ago – – there was blowing dust and vacant buildings.  PAAS recently used both collaboration and social media to help some adorable, cute, funny, fantastic dogs.  It started with a connection made more than a year ago.  The result was 13 puppies will have new homes, information will be shared via social media and three rescues, lots of volunteers – especially Tom the bus driver – -are now connected to build a wider net to save more dogs.

 

If collaboration was embraced by more rescues, more dogs and cats could be saved, more adoptive homes discovered and the synergy that comes from collaboration would significantly change the face of rescue.  When you are passionate about rescue, it can be challenging to work together – – but  the dogs and cats do not carewho saves them – – they just want someone to step up.

Kay Stout, Executive Director – PAASVinita  – – e:  [email protected]  918-256-7227

Get involved to make a difference.

posted June 18th, 2015 by
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by Kay Stout, Executive Director – – PAASVinita

Every day we receive calls from concerned citizens about neglected, abused, unwanted, homeless animals.  Here’s how you – – you reading this – – can help.

First, contact your local police/sheriff so you know the law for your area.  Then, follow it.  If it’s the water department, the police department, the sheriff’s office – – wherever it is – – just DO IT!!!

 

Once you’ve made the complaint, then the authorities can investigate.  Rescue organizations want to help, immediately, but we shouldn’t.  It’s against the law and not worth risking our entire rescue operation.  We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we can’t save all of them, but the reality is we can’t.  We can, however, save more if you – the concerned citizen and animal lover – – do your part to help us begin the rescue process for those animals who have no voice and need someone to step up and help them.

 

Remember – it starts with you – you doing the right thing. And, as always, it really starts with fewer puppies and kittens – – which means Spay/Neuter – – it’s the right thing to do.

Why they say no.

posted June 4th, 2015 by
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by Kay Stout

When you call a rescue and they are unable to take your animal – or one you’ve found – the following may give you a glimpse into why they said “no”.

#1)  There is no space available.  We understand someone  has been completely irresponsible and dumped an animal (or animals) in your yard – there are no easy fixes or answers.  From a humane point of view, if you can see that the animals have access to food and water, use social media to help find them a new home – that would be wonderful.  If you find a rescue that can take them in a few weeks, please understand why there is a waiting period.  This is not an ideal world.  If it was – there would be few (if any) owner surrenders and everyone who called would bring us an animal who truly needed a home.

#2  Same story – 200th verse  Spay and Neuter your pets – – all of them.  It is the only way we’ll stop the heartbreak of homeless dogs and cats desperate to be rescued.

#3  There are good people in this world.  Those of us in rescue have met many of them – and work with them as well.  It’s what gives all rescuers the heart to continue to save as many as we can.

Kay Stout is the Director of  Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter – PAAS – in Vinita

The Animal Conference in Oklahoma City

posted April 5th, 2015 by
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2015 Animal Conference

reported for TulsaPets Magazine by Holly Clay

photography by Holly Clay and Austin Clay

The 2015 Animal Conference hosted by the Kirkpatrick Foundation was held on March 30 – 31, in Downtown Oklahoma City. The Conference prides itself on being a forum for impact, ideas and inspiration, focused on creating a safe and humane environment for all creatures.

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The Skirvin lobby

This one-of-a-kind event happens only once every three years. OKC was lucky enough to host this year’s event at the beautiful, historic Skirvin Hilton hotel. Attendees and speakers came from across the country, including prominent authors, public speakers and animal specialists, as well as the average animal enthusiast.

What is the Animal Conference?

The Animal Conference is a “breeding ground” of knowledge regarding the humane treatment of all animals. The Kirkpatrick Foundation of Oklahoma City not only hosted but sponsored the event. The Foundation has long been a prominent leader and activist for the wellbeing of animals with John Kirkpatrick also being the founder of the Oklahoma Zoological Society in 1954.

The event was a great opportunity to discover and explore ideas of meaningful and effective ways to complete Oklahoma’s goal of being the most humane, safest place to be an animal by the year 2032. What an accomplishment that will be! I personally could not think of a better place to bring a group of likeminded individuals together to create a safer place for animals and our environment.

A therapy dog attendee.

A therapy dog attendee

The Conference offered studies, lectures and eye-opening sessions that were not just limited to the average house pet. For instance, a wealth of information was shared regarding the humane treatment of livestock, horses, birds and other wild animals. The hallways and conference rooms were full of happy-tailed therapy dogs, adoptive kittens and mountains of resources about how to cultivate a better environment for animals and mankind alike.

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Kittens for adoption from Central OK Humane Society

Sunday, March 29, kicked off the event with a welcome reception at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, also open to the public. Attendees were treated to a special guest, National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore. Sartore’s career has taken him around the world, as he photographs amazing, exotic creatures.

“When we save species, we are actually saving ourselves,” he said. If you missed this event, you can still check out some of his work online. He is an incredible photographer with many captivating stories.

Monday, the Conference continued with more amazing speakers, informative breakout sessions and even a tour of the new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility at the Oklahoma City Zoo, opening to the public in 2015.

During an award luncheon, the Foundation presented its Kirkpatrick Honor for Animal Wellbeing Award to Natalee Cross for her dedicated work to rescue and rehabilitate horses. The prestigious award is given to someone who possesses a great deal of integrity and willpower for the betterment of animals. Before the presentation of the award, a powerful video showcased Cross’s hard work to save horses that would have otherwise been killed. The video was extremely motivating and heart wrenching.

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Attendees view the video of Natalee Cross of Blaze’s Equine Rescue

Other events included intriguing and thought-provoking breakout sessions. Some of these sessions discussed the souls of animals and different religious traditions, historic views of animals and the existence of their souls. Especially beneficial to Oklahomans, some sessions centered on emergency preparedness when dealing with major disasters and pets, and understanding what happens with our beloved pets when disaster strikes.

Natalee Cross accepting the Kirkpatrick Honor for Animal Wellbeing award.

Natalee Cross accepting the Kirkpatrick Honor for Animal Wellbeing Award

Additional topics covered animal abuse and the human-animal bond. Of course, there were happy, uplifting sessions, such as the Great Horned Owl cam with Alessondra Click, which is now an Internet sensation with more than 6 million views (OKCOwlCam.com).

Tuesday brought even more exciting, fun activities, breakouts and events. In the Myriad Gardens, “high-flyin’ disc dogs” performed with their trainers, Lee Fairchild and Chris Meyers. Dora, Ace, JC, DD, JD and Gracie were nothing short of amazing with their tricks and stunts.

Local food trucks and vendors set up camp, along with The Bella Foundation who brought with them precious, adoptable kittens. The famous cat Sauerkraut who has over 200 thousand social media followers also made an appearance. Decked out in a pink stroller, Sauerkraut seemed to be OK with all the attention.

How can you help?

If you missed this incredibly cool event, you can plan to attend in 2018. Valuable resources can still be obtained; visit http://www.theanimalconference.com/.

To learn more about the new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital opening 2015 at the Oklahoma City Zoo, visit http://www.safeandhumaneoklahoma.org/safe-and-humane/joan-kirkpatrick-animal-hospital.

Let’s all stay focused on the goal of becoming the safest and most humane place to be an animal by the year 2032.

Plump Pets

posted March 28th, 2015 by
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Plump

Plump Pets

 

By Kiley Roberson

 

It’s not just a people problem; many of our pets are packing on the pounds too. Just over half of all cats and dogs in U.S. households are either overweight or obese, according to a survey from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

And just like in people, extra weight means extra health problems associated with it.

“Excess weight predisposes pets to a variety of illnesses,” explains Dr. Scott Floyd, DVM at Midtown Vets in Oklahoma City. “Diabetes, intervertebral disk rupture, arthritis, collapsing trachea, heart-associated illness and fatty liver syndrome, to name a few.”

Dr. Floyd says he treats at least two to three obese pets every week, and not surprisingly, treats are part of the problem. He says over-treating, free-feeding and lack of exercise are the major contributing factors to pet obesity. We’re all living such busy lives, that a long walk with Fido or tossing around a ball of yarn with Fluffy just isn’t a top priority. As we do less and less, so do our pets, and before you know it the scale is going up.

It might seem like an extra pound or two on our four-legged companions isn’t so terrible. But that little bit can be a significant percentage of a pet’s total weight. For example, a Yorkie who tips the scales at “just” 12 pounds is equivalent to a 5-foot- 4-inch woman who weighs 218 pounds.

Some pet owners ignore the health hazards associated with overweight pets, focusing on how cute their plump kitty or roly-poly puppy looks. But overfeeding a fat cat or dog is loving it to death basically. That’s because overweight and obese pets also have much shorter life spans.

“Preventing obesity will contribute to a much higher quality of life for your pet       and could certainly lead to a longer life,” says Dr. Mark Shackelford, DVM at 15th Street Veterinary Group in Tulsa. “Your pet will  be happier, healthier and much more energetic.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says inactive pets are more likely to become depressed or anxious—habits most pet owners associate with behavioral problems. That’s because a sedentary life-style leads to an alteration  in the three major brain chemicals responsible for mood, and that can create emotional issues. Aerobic activity for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day balances norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin levels, resulting in a better, more stable mood. Also, well-exercised pets won’t be quite as wired indoors, so they’ll be less prone to chewing, barking and other troublesome behaviors.

How can you know if your pet is overweight? You may not be able to tell by appearance alone, since pets can appear to be in good shape even when they aren’t.

“The standard that applies to most animals is that the owner should be able to count the ribs with their fingers, but not be able to see the ribs under the skin,” explains Dr. Shackelford. “At the appropriate weight, pets should only have a thin layer of fat over their ribs and show an hourglass shape from above. If you have a long-haired pet, it may be best to do this when your dog is wet. If you’re in doubt, you can always ask your vet.”

If your pup is a little plumper than you thought, don’t panic, but do take action. “Restricting food is the first step in fighting obesity,” says Dr. Shackelford. “Feeding a recommended amount of pet food with a minimum of treats usually will help with weight loss. Some dogs and cats, due to genetic makeup causing difficulty in dieting, will have a special weight loss diet prescribed for them, and exercise is very important. Exercise will help burn calories and will also help change the metabolism  to help burn calories more efficiently.”

Exercising dogs is usually simple, but what about cats? You can try  toys that engage them or scattering their food around in small portions through-out the house so they have to hunt for it and, in turn, get more exercise.

The most important thing to remember is if you think your pet is overweight, consult your veterinarian. He or she will help you determine the best course of action before putting your pet on a weight-loss regimen.

Oct. 8 is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so skip the treat and hit the street for a nice, long walk. Helping your furry friends stay  fit and healthy is really the best treat you can give!

DVIS’ New Kennel

posted March 14th, 2015 by
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DVIS

DVIS’ New Kennel Brings Shelter To Four-Legged Family Members Making The Transition To An Abuse-Free Life A Little Easier.

 

By Rachel Weaver

 

After 11 years of an abusive marriage Taylor* decided to leave her husband. She sought a protective order with the help of advocates from Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS/Call Rape) and learned about transitional housing DVIS offered. She and her son, Nathan* applied to the program and soon moved into their own apartment.

Taylor’s story differs slightly from others in similar situations. Taylor and Nathan have a mixed breed dog named Rigby* and they were able to bring him with them to DVIS’ transitional housing. But for many, this isn’t a reality.

Up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned for their pets, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For those who do leave, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control them.

Thanks to DVIS’ new emergency kennel opening in January 2015, domestic abuse victims will have a place to house their pets in safety. The 80-bed facility will be the first domestic violence shelter in Oklahoma to have a kennel.

“Often women entering a shelter have little to no income, so boarding their pet is not an option,” said Tracey Lyall, DVIS executive director. “The kennel will offer comfort to individuals who need safe shelter but don’t want to leave their family pet behind.”

Now that victims will have a place to house their pets, Taylor said she thinks it will help many women and men stay out of abusive relationships.

“They’re afraid the abuser is going to abuse the pet, and they don’t have a place to put them, and they don’t want to leave them because they’re like family,” she said. “I think it’ll help them deal with the abuse and give them that familiarity of [the shelter] being like home.”

DVIS’ Kennel

The kennel will be able to house seven dogs and cats at a time and will have a 200-square-foot air conditioned and heated interior and 180-square-foot covered exterior space. There will also be a 1,773-square-foot outside fenced dog run.

Some families arrive at the DVIS shelter in the middle of the night with only the clothes they are wearing, so most pets arriving at the shelter will also need food dishes, a leash, litter box and food. A staff member will provide intake services and give new pets needed accessories such as a leash, food bowls and toys.

If someone needs shelter and has a dog or a cat, a staff member will complete a pet intake form to help DVIS better care for the individual and the pet while they reside at the shelter. The resident will also fill out a pet shelter agreement, saying she or he will be responsible for the pet.

For a dog or cat to move into the kennel, he or she must have a current rabies vaccination. If pets aren’t current on vaccinations, a staff member will assist the owner in finding a veterinarian to provide this service.

While living in the shelter, pet owners will still be the primary caregiver for their pets— feeding, grooming and cleaning up after it and making sure it is healthy and adjusting to the shelter kennel. Staff will also help make sure all animals in the kennel are safe and well cared for.

“There’s no limit on how long the pet can stay as long as his/her owner is living at the shelter,” Lyall said. “Being separated is emotionally harmful for pets and their family. Keeping pets and their family together eases the stress of both the family members and   their pet.”

For Taylor, taking Rigby was the only option. Nathan had become very attached to him, and she was afraid her husband would hurt Rigby if they left him.

“The dog was a part of our family, and we couldn’t leave him behind,” she said.  “It was really, really important emotionally for my son because of the trauma he went through.”

Rigby helps Nathan feel safe and comfortable and also offers companionship for Taylor.

“He helps make the house feel like a home,” she said. “It’s good to have someone there that helps you know everything is going to be OK.”

How you can help

If you’re interested in helping the kennel, here are three ways to do so:

Veterinarians

“We’d love to have veterinarians volunteer to provide services to help ensure the health and safety of the animals during their stay,” Lyall said.

If you think your vet would be interested in helping, you can find a sample request letter at dvis.org/dvis-kennel/. Veterinarians will be needed to provide the following services:

Free immunizations

No-cost spay or neuter services

Free flea and tick treatment

Free surgery

Answering questions about pet health

Free or reduced rate for boarding when the kennel is full

Sample dog/cat food or treat donations

Talk about the kennel—give DVIS’ contact information to a colleague who might like   to help.

Host a can food drive at your clinic—ask staff and clients to bring an item for a pet in the kennel.

Be on call for veterinary emergencies

Volunteers

Kennel volunteers will be needed starting in January 2015. Volunteers will help provide additional exercise and care for the animals as well as some light cleaning. DVIS staff members will familiarize volunteers and new residents and their children on the operation of the kennel.

Interested volunteers can contact:

Paula Fox, DVIS volunteer coordinator, at

(918) 508-2706.

 

Kennel needs

New in-kind items will be utilized to support the operation of the kennel. Needed items include:

Dog and cat food  Collars

Cat litter, Leashes, Litter boxes, Scratching posts, Toys and chews, Carrier bags, Treats, Crates

Donated items can be dropped off at 4300 S. Harvard. To learn more about how you can help, visit dvis.org or call (918) 508-2709.

‘Mutt Strut’ Pet Walk

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and DVIS will be raising awareness for its kennel. They’ll be collecting new in-kind items for the kennel throughout Tulsa (visit dvis.org for more information).

On Saturday, Oct. 18, at 9 a.m., DVIS is hosting a leashed dog walk, “Mutt Strut,” at Hunter Park (5804 E. 91st St.). Entry is an in-kind donation to the kennel. Dress  your dog in its finest costume, and he or she may be crowned “king” or “queen” for best costume. If you’re game, dress in an accompanying costume to vie for the title of “best duo.”

After the walk, dogs (and owners) can participate in free doga, dog yoga. For more information, call (918) 508-2711.

Kennel Support

On July 31, 2014, DVIS received its first check toward the construction of the kennel from PetSmart.

 

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.