Animal Advocacy

Agreement Reached in Latimer County Animal Abuse

posted August 28th, 2012 by
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Latimer County Courthouse

A plea agreement was reached in the case of the District Court for Latimer County, State of Oklahoma vs. Anne Marie Duhan and Shane Duhan.

Bone Pile

 

No Water, No Food

 

Only water available for horses

Tanner and Blair

posted July 15th, 2012 by
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by Anna Holton-Dead

Photography by Karen Miller

The heartwarming story of Tanner and Blair is unique to say the least, making local and national news—a seeing eye dog for another canine.

At Woodland West Animal Hospi­tal in Tulsa, the pair’s temporary resi­dence, Blair happened into the yard with blind Tanner and instinctively be­gan to lead him around by holding his leash in her mouth. Tanner, who used to seize nightly, has had a total of three seizures since February when he and Blair connected. Mike Jones, DVM at Woodland West, says he’s never seen anything like it, but at the core of it is something we already know to be true. “It shows that companionship can lead to reduced stress and a bet­ter life,” he says. Less stress and a bet­ter life are something both dogs could certainly use.

 

   Although she is the service dog as­sisting Tanner, Blair’s rough past has left problems and scars all her own. A Labrador mix believed to be about 2 years old, she was found along with her sister by a Good Samaritan. She had a gunshot wound to her left pelvis, but thankfully, no permanent physi­cal injuries. Emotionally, it’s a different story. “While her sister was easily ad­opted, Blair was extremely shy, scared and wouldn’t come up to people,” Dr. Jones says. She’s been residing at Woodland West Animal Hospital since January of this year.

 

   Then there’s Tanner, blind with a seizing disorder. In January 2010, he came in to Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue with four siblings at 7 weeks old. He was adopted soon thereafter, but his owner died in November of the same year. He again found himself back at SGRR. Fostered out twice, nei­ther home was able to offer the time he required or the ability to care for his special needs, which were more than a handful at his size during a seizing fit. Neither foster home was able to care for him longer than a month at best.

 

After a brief stint at Woodland West Animal Hospital, Pam Denny of SGRR fostered him in her own kennel build­ing. “Someone has to be home a fair amount of the time,” Denny says. “While he was with me, I let him out every four hours to take care of busi­ness; he would get anxious, and his sei­zures could occur, causing him to use the bathroom.”

But even with Denny, it was not an ideal long-term situation. Again, Tan­ner found his way back to Woodland West Animal Hospital where he was ambling about the yard the fateful day that Blair trotted up and took his leash. Dr. Jones says he truly believes Blair in­stinctively knew Tanner was blind, and he’s not surprised by their bond or the benefit it has had on both canines.

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“It’s safe to say that we recognize the human-animal bond helps de­crease blood pressure, etc.,” he says. “But I think this shows we should also recognize the animal-animal bond, and the good it can do as well.” Tanner’s re­duction in seizures is the proof of that, and Blair has become friendlier with people.

 

Since their story made national news, Sooner Golden Retriever Res­cue has received over 100 applications from people all over the country in­terested in taking on the pair. Denny says SGRR is taking its time to respond to each applicant in order to find the most perfect fit to meet Tanner and Blair’s needs. There is much more to consider in choosing the right home than willingness and love.

 

“We have responded to everyone by email or phone call and are in the process of talking to these various potential adopters,” Denny says. “We are talking to them to let them know what’s going to be involved in the adoption of these two. Do they have experience with blind dogs, seizure dogs? Tanner’s anxiety issues are no­where near what they were. He’s a lot more settled and calm with Blair, but moving them to a new environment will create a toll on him.”

 

She says some questions that must be considered in finding the right home are: Does the person have a fenced yard, not too large a yard? Are there any obstructions or swimming pools that could be a hazard for a blind dog? Tanner has to be kept in the house with limited access and a safe area.

 

Another factor is Tanner doesn’t travel well, Denny says. He cannot be crated, or he will get too anxious, which may cause him to seize.

 

The good news is with so many ap­plicants SGRR has narrowed it down to “a handful of very strong prospects— people who are experienced and un­derstand what will be involved with these two,” Denny says. “We don’t know how Blair will be. She’s becom­ing a better dog, a lot more outgoing and friendly. We are still getting ap­plications actually and a list of people yet to call to get background info on and to explain to them what will be involved. The applicants range from California to New York to Florida, and all over the place.”

 

Dr. Jones agrees the perfect home will have to meet very specific require­ments. He says the owners must have an intense understanding of seizure disorder and be willing to take on a huge commitment both financially and emotionally, but he’s confident that Tanner and Blair are in good hands for finding the right fit. “There is no doubt [the right person/family is out there], and I applaud Sooner Golden Retriev­er Rescue for taking the time needed to find the right forever home.”

Fabio – Spay First Spokesman

posted July 15th, 2012 by
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by Anna Holton-Dean

OF COURSE, Fabio Lanzoni is known for his long, flowing hair, impeccable phy­sique and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter commercials—he’s also been known to grace the cover of a romance novel or two—but what many may not know is he is a long-time animal lover, advocate and owner of many rescued dogs. We recently had the chance to catch up with him dur­ing his trip to Oklahoma City in support of Spay FIRST! and his new MVP K9 Pro­tein supplements. Knowledgeable and passionate about the pet overpopulation problem, Fabio talks about his own pets and explains to us why the Spay FIRST! program is so important to animals and our country.

Q So what do you think of Oklahoma so far?

A Love it… very pretty town. I know it’s a city, but when you live in New York and Los Angeles, it’s more like a town. The people are so nice. The middle of the U.S. really has the nicest people. [All over the country] there are great people. That’s why I live here.

Q What kind of pets did you have growing up in Italy?

A I’ve had animals since I was 3 years old. My parents always let me keep a few dogs. Me, my sister and my brother, we always had our own dogs. For many years we had German Shepherds, a couple of Dobermans, my brother had a couple of hunting dogs; we had some Great Danes, but eventually I stopped owning Great Danes because their life spans are too short, and you are having to say goodbye. You know, the average age is 6 to 8 years. So I started rescuing Rottweilers, and I cur­rently have six of them. My family has hunt­ing dogs and a Lab.

Q Where do you live now, and how did you get involved with spaying/ neutering efforts there?

A I live in Los Angeles… I live here the majority of the time so that’s where I have the majority of contribution. My best friend is one of the top professors at UC Davis for the vet school, teaching surgery there. That’s why I always get involved with different associations and now with Spay FIRST! I always knew the importance because she told me when you spay and neuter a dog, you improve their life and help prevent cancer; you give them a lon­ger life span, you know. It’s scientifically proven.

First, for health reasons, you have a healthier pet. Second of all, everybody is so concerned about cutting costs. When you think about it, it’s the easiest cost to cut… $2 billion a year to euthanize about 4 million dogs and cats. This is the most advanced country in the world, and this shouldn’t happen here; it’s a shame. It would be way better for everyone to spay or neuter their dog; I think that $2 billion a year should be back in the pockets of taxpayers.

Q How did you get involved with Spay FIRST?

A I used to work a lot for the American Cancer Society with Tina Mosetis. She contacted me with Ruth Steinberger (founder of Spay FIRST!), and said, ‘You’ve had dogs all your life; what about being the spokesperson, making people aware of the situation?’ The majority of dogs I’ve had we’ve always rescued from shelters. Four of my current dogs are shelter dogs, so I know the problem—there’s overpopu­lation. People get a pet then take it to the shelter because they get tired of taking care of it.

Q What would you say to people who do not realize the importance of spaying/neutering pets?

A There’s nothing more awful than an animal lover seeing a dog suffer in the shelter. They can smell the death all around; they can smell all the other dogs that have been euthanized. Even the most macho dogs walk into the shelter, and they start shaking; they know how they are go­ing to end up. It always takes my heart.

In L.A., and other places, I always got involved to help and place some of the dogs, tried to get some of my friends to adopt some of these dogs. I’ve placed at least 50 dogs by convincing friends, ‘Come on, I’ll help you to get a dog.’ You know, it’s amazing they know you saved their life. They really do. When you invest in a dog you didn’t rescue, there’s a dif­ference. The rescue dogs know you saved their life.

Most of these dogs in shelters, they come from mistreatment or abuse, so they really have a tough life. You can tell if you take a before and after picture of a dog who you rescue, you will see in the dog two different faces, two different personalities. I know every time you leave the first year, they are really afraid you are going to leave them [permanently]. Other [non-rescue] dogs wag their tails when you leave and when you come back; they know no difference.

If you want your dog to be healthy and to prolong the life of your dog, it should be spayed or neutered. It also resolves any ag­gression problem. It’s very rare that a dog spayed will bite a person. It’s important to keep the population under control, and if you want to cut costs in government, it’s a good place to start—not kill 4 million ani­mals every year. It’s a no brainer and keeps more money in taxpayers’ pockets.

Q What’s the most important thing you want people to remember about the homeless pet population?

A I want people to realize when they buy a dog, it’s a responsibility, and they should be man or woman enough to care for it. That dog is going to be in their life for 12 or 14 years. Just because it chews on furniture or shoes all of a sudden, you don’t dump it. It’s like a kid; you have to care for it. It’s not something you buy then dispose of like a Kleenex.

Yard Dog Watching the Watchdog

posted May 15th, 2012 by
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by Dolores Proubasta

“OUT OF SIGHT, out of mind.” Whether in a farm, city back yard, or rust-piled junkyard, an animal kept outside is lonely. Indoors, sheltered and enjoying the comforts and company they deny to the dog (or cat), people reason that animals don’t belong inside because of shedding, odors, breakage, etc. In reality, a pet has no more bearing on the cleanliness and good order of a home than a child does; only the adults do.

Why is it that some people get a dog—an animal who loves people more than people love people—just to lock him or her out? It makes no sense. And even worse, under average conditions this segregation evolves into benign neglect that tends to worsen as time goes by. Soon, the children don’t want to play with “it” anymore because he is too big; grandpa is afraid to go out because “it” jumps… Starved for attention, sometimes he also misses a meal or two because the family forgot to feed “it.”

Ignored by all, without affection, guidance or purpose, the yard dog will either become aloof (a form of depression), aggressive, an escape artist, destructive or a nuisance barker. Shelters are full of dogs with just such problems for which only the owners are to blame.

The overall unfairness of segregating pets outside the human circle may deteriorate into gross insensitivity or even a felony if they are not brought indoors: (1) when they are sick or otherwise incapacitated as listed in Table 1; (2) in bad weather such as thunderstorms, ice storms, flooding, tornadoes and life-threatening temperatures; (3) when herbicides and other harmful chemicals are being used in the yard; (4) when construction, regular services and other activities may cause the dog to escape; (5) at night.

A strong argument in favor of bringing dogs in at night is their unsurpassed value and reliability to warn against intruders, gas leaks, smoke and more. However, for dogs to protect people, people must first protect dogs. Left outside, the dog may be the first victim, or not be heard by those he’s trying to rouse. A garage, by the way, does not constitute “inside” for security purposes or for the animal’s sake (footnote of Table 3).

Yard dogs (and cats) usually rank with the bike and the lawn mower in the estimation of those clinging to the primitive notion that a dog belongs outside. It is a fine line between benign neglect and criminal neglect, and it is not what the owner thinks is “good enough” for the yard dog, but what neighbors, discerning TulsaPets readers and other “watchdogs” for the animals see with their own eyes. If conditions are substandard or endangering to the dog, it’s a civic duty to report them to authorities and keep the vigil.

If only the more open-minded among the outdoors-school-of-thought would pause to ponder just how fair they are to their pets—are they providing essential comforts and protection (Tables 2 and 3)? Would they not realize how much easier it would be to integrate pets into the household’s routine, treating them as companions? Of course, the operative word is “fair.”

In the final analysis, one has to question the fairness— indeed, the humaneness—of barring Man’s Best Friend from being with the people for whom he would lay his life down.

Animal Cops Tulsa

posted May 15th, 2012 by
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by Nancy Gallimore Werhane

Photos by Bob Foshay

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN episodes of Animal Planet’s Animal Cop? There are versions shot in Houston, Miami, New York and Detroit. Each program shows what appear to be small armies of uni­formed authorities fighting the good fight for animal welfare.

So, what about Animal Cops: Tulsa? Meet Tim Geen, the one-man army working the field for the Tulsa Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA). Retired from 28 years of mili­tary service, along with the Beaumont Police Department in Texas, Geen ap­propriately found his way into his new job when he rescued two puppies from the side of the highway near the TSPCA shelter. He was an acquaintance of for­mer TSPCA Cruelty Investigator Wade Farnan, who passed away in the spring of 2011. So when he took the pups to the shelter for assistance, he asked if they happened to be hiring. The answer was an enthusiastic “yes!” Eight months later, Geen hasn’t looked back once, and quite frankly, hasn’t had the time.

Having always enjoyed an active life, retirement just wasn’t suiting him. “You can only paint a room in your house and turn around to repaint the same room again the next week so many times,” Geen said with a laugh. “You mow the lawn and then wait for it to grow, so you can mow it again. That just wasn’t for me.” Now it’s a safe bet that Geen’s lawn may no longer be so well manicured. Tulsa’s animal cop, a self-proclaimed dog lover, is on the job before the sun comes up every morning and arrives home after sunset each workday. Geen not only covers Tulsa County but also every bordering county. That means long hours and a lot of miles on the road, as he fields calls for cats and dogs, horses, cattle, goats, rabbits and any animal in need.

The demand for his services is high. Geen fields an average of 100 calls a month for the TSPCA. Of those calls, he says he can generally resolve about 25 of them through phone counsel­ing. That leaves a balance of 75 cases a month that he physically visits. The math alone shows you how busy this man is. During the course of our hour-long interview, his phone rang no fewer than four times.

In addition to fielding calls and travel­ing to check on animals throughout an eight-county region, Geen also care­fully documents each case. While he is not permitted to go directly to the city district attorney (D.A.) to pursue pros­ecution on neglect and abuse cases, his careful documentation has lead to sev­eral cases being prosecuted.

“If I have a case that I feel needs to go to the D.A., I have to take my informa­tion to Tulsa Animal Welfare to pursue through legal channels,” Geen said. “I will work with them and will do any­thing I can to support prosecution if it comes to that.”

In one such case, a man was found guilty of animal abuse for first hanging his dog and then shooting it. Geen was accompanied on the call by the Tulsa police officers who helped him docu­ment the case.

“The owner admitted to shooting the dog, but denied hanging it. Of course, it was a little hard to deny since there was still a hangman’s noose around the de­ceased dog’s neck,” he said. “The case went to court, and the guy received a $150 fine and six months probation. It can be frustrating because you pursue these terrible animal abuse and cruelty cases, yet very little happens. You often see higher fines for traffic violations.”

The most common calls Geen receives are for dogs living on chains and dogs without proper food, water and shelter. He claims that most of those cases can be resolved through counseling owners and conducting careful follow-up calls, though the outcome is not always what he would like to see for the dogs in question. “There is no law in Oklahoma prohibiting people from chaining a dog, and I sure hate to see any animal living like that,” Geen said. “Sometimes, the best I can do is to make sure the dog has shelter and water within reach.”

When asked about the hardest part of his job, Geen thinks for only a moment. Injured and sick animals are obviously high on his list, but from an emotional standpoint, abandoned animals are among the hardest cases he handles. “We see a lot of confused animals—primarily dogs—left behind at rental homes with no one to care for them,” he said. “I will provide the basics for the animal while we wait to see if the owner will return to claim it.” If that doesn’t happen, Geen will remove the dog.

“The hard part is that the TSPCA shelter doesn’t always have room for every abandoned dog. If I can’t bring the dog here, I have to take it to the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter, and I know it may have to be euthanized there,” explained Geen. The harsh reality he faces in rescuing animals is that space for them is always at a premium, and options are limited.

That means that a good deal of Geen’s time is spent finding solu­tions. “I will make calls and explore all options I can to find assistance or safe placement for an animal.” Geen has even found foster homes willing to care for livestock and has been known to foster dogs in his own home until a permanent home can be found.

For all of the hard cases Geen sees, his joy in helping animals is evident. When I asked him to show me some of the animals he had recently res­cued, his smile was quick; he imme­diately led me to the shelter clinic to visit a litter of chubby, fluffy Rottwei­ler-mix puppies. Holding the largest puppy from the litter as it enthusias­tically licked his face, Geen pointed to an adjacent yard where two other dogs stood watching.

“The big Rottweiler male is their daddy, and that Border Collie standing behind him is their mom. We were able to rescue the whole family,” Geen said with obvious delight. The dogs were removed from a home that had been raided by Tulsa police officers as a sus­pected meth lab.

“I see a lot of sad things—animals that have been injured, abused and neglect­ed. But then I go out and get to save these pups, along with their mom and dad, and it just makes me smile.” Geen is quick to add that all of the pups—now weaned and temporarily housed in quarantine while receiving vaccina­tions—are healthy and should be avail­able for adoption very soon. “Nothing makes me happier,” he said.

Our interview ended abruptly when one of the TSPCA employees tracked us down to give Geen information on a call that had just come in, reporting a horse caught in a fence along the Will Rogers Turnpike. Geen was up, on his phone and headed to his car in an in­stant.

As he took off on yet another case, it was obvious that Geen has found his perfect “retirement” career. “I wouldn’t trade this job for any other job at any price,” he said. “I will keep doing what I’m doing until they run me off—I love my critters.”

Boring

posted May 9th, 2012 by
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Carrier for pets on a dark blue background

Rosa Parks Elementary School recently sent us a touching drawing made by one of their students, Citlali Martinez.   The students at Rosa Parks come from high poverty areas, and animal abuse is common in their world.   Rosa Parks strives to teach the children responsible pet ownership, and to look out for those pets that seem to be mistreated.   This drawing depicts the thoughts of one young student and her worry about a neighboring pet that is kept in a cage all day.

TulsaPets Magazine applauds Rosa Parks’ mission and their efforts to instill a love of animals in their students.

TulsaPetsMagazine.com