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Legislative Corner – What is Animal Cruelty?

TASP gets our share of calls from folks concerned about this or that animal’s welfare in their neighborhood. Whether it’s a neighbor’s dog tied out in weather extremes, or dairy heifers with hip bones protruding in springtime, it’s commendable that people care enough about animals to seek help on their behalf. Sometimes what they’re seeing is actually not cruelty, according to NY State law, and sometimes it is. In the previous TASP newsletter, we talked about how to make change happen at the federal level. I thought it might be a good idea to take it back a notch and talk about state level matters, especially concerning animal cruelty.

When the topic of animal cruelty comes up, sometimes I lose a friend when I explain what TASP can and can’t do, legally. After all, TASP is not the official Animal Control officer for any jurisdiction. We’re educated in Animal Law so we can recognize it when we see it and share information on the topic with concerned members of the public. We’re glad to communicate what we’ve learned to enlighten others, but we don’t have the authority to remove animals from premises without the permission of the animal’s owner or of law enforcement officials responsible for the location where the suspected cruelty is taking place. We also don’t have the legal authority to demand that law enforcement remove an animal from its owner, even when cruelty is suspected. And we can’t legally represent you to law enforcement and make a formal complaint on your behalf about something you’ve witnessed and we haven’t.  All we can do is what YOU can do if you suspect animal cruelty:

Look carefully at the big and small picture and compare what you see to Article 26 of the NY State Agriculture and Markets Law. Remember, not everything that looks like cruelty is legally cruel under our existing laws. In this state, animals are still considered the property of their owners, just like a car or a ladder. Companion animals have a bit more protection under Article 26, but even at that, the protections are in some cases vaguely worded and up to the interpretation of officers, attorneys and judges.

Not all cruelty or neglect is intentional and not all cases of neglect are considered by law enforcement to be prudent to prosecute, from a resource-availability perspective. An elderly pet owner who isn’t able to trim their pet’s nails or whose dog/cat’s fur is matted isn’t necessarily intending to hurt their pet. On the contrary, they may be distressed, embarrassed and/or ashamed that they aren’t able financially or physically to keep up with the animal’s care. It may be their only companion and so they may be reluctant to let it go. There may be no relatives or neighbors nearby who can/will help them with the tasks, or they may not understand the physical discomfort that long nails or matted fur can cause an animal.  The owner’s arthritis, poor eyesight, lack of resources or the onset of their or their loved one’s illness may also be legitimate reasons for a lapse in a pet’s care. Swooping in to judge/accuse/publicly shame the owner in such cases without knowing the backstory adds to the tragedy instead of helping overcome the issue for the long term. Those are the cases where TASP might be able to help by paying for grooming or vetting for that pet. Or, if the situation is a sinking ship, TASP may even offer to help the owner place the pet in a more secure home so the owner can move on to assisted living. But before you set us on that pet owner, why not drop by with a cup of coffee, a little tray of cookies or some animal-related trinket that shows you care, so you can get acquainted and learn more about why your neighbor’s animal looks the way it does and how we outsiders might be trusted as worthy to help?

I actually had a very nice lady call me once with great concern about abused dairy cattle on a farm near where she lived. It was spring and she said she was seeing the female cattle standing outside with hip bones protruding. She said they looked starved and were all muddy and she was sure they were being horribly neglected. She didn’t stop in to talk with the farmer and she didn’t research on the internet to learn more about how to judge a cow’s body condition score. She just drove past the farm day after day on her way to and from work and with each pass, she got herself more and more worried about these poor cows. When she called me to talk about it, I assured her I would take a look, but that these cows were probably fine, given it was calving season. I gave her a brief rundown in what makes cows look the way they do so she could understand why what she was seeing might be expected at this time of year. And when I drove over to take a peek, my hunch was confirmed; there was no shortage of food available to those cows and they were happily chewing cud when I got there. This lady was a very well meaning person unfamiliar with dairy farming. She was judging the appearance of these cattle against the condition of her pet dog and saw a disturbing contrast. But those familiar with dairy farming will tell you the cow’s physical structure is far different from any dog’s (let’s start with just the number of stomachs for an example) and a heifer’s body condition fluctuates with the time of year and her calving/lactating cycle. As it turns out, these cows were in fine condition; they had just been calving and that takes alot out of the system so the Moms all naturally looked a little droopy around the hip bones at that time.  There was no law broken here.

So here’s a test for you…. a couple of photos of a suffering dog. Is it a case of animal cruelty/criminal neglect?

 

 

 

 

Answer: Not. This dog had a loving owner who spent thousands of dollars in her attempt to overcome her dog’s allergies. She trusted her veterinarian to diagnose and treat this dog, but unfortunately, this particular vet was having difficulty getting a grip on the case. The stack of invoices and reports in this little guy’s vet history attested to a year’s worth of repeated trips to the vet, each time with a new proposed treatment that was supposed to stop the tormenting itch. By this time, the dog had ulcers from too many steroids, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection from too may antibiotics and he was half his normal weight. At the recommendation of her vet, his owner was about to euthanize the 2 year old West Highland Terrier when she reached out to her coworker who reached out to TASP.  We had the dog properly diagnosed and treated by another vet with more experience in helping animals with severe allergies. The dog’s Mom gratefully surrendered him to TASP because she didn’t feel equipped to deal with the care he would need going forward. He’ll always need allergy shots and carefully controlled diet and environment, but here’s a recent photo of Spencer …..he actually needs regular haircuts now!

If we pass judgement just by what we see without digging deeper to obtain more context, we can deceive  ourselves. But let’s say you did your homework. You’ve made unsuccessful attempts to clarify/rectify the situation. Perhaps, in spite of your asking your neighbor to clean up their yard, the smell of feces and/or garbage coming from the person’s back yard where their dog is tied is enough to gag a maggot; so you know Article 26 Section 353b.3.b has been violated. Or worse yet, you’ve witnessed the animal being beaten or otherwise abused (Article 26 Section 353 and/or 353a). In other words, you are convinced that you have a case of unjustifiable cruelty. Here’s what you need to do next:

First, do NOT change the condition of any of the animals on that property. Don’t groom the matted one, don’t trim the nails or make any improvements to the suffering animals. Sound cruel? Wellllll, if you change the condition of any of the suffering animals before they can be witnessed and professionally documented by a vet/officer, you’ve changed the evidence of the crime. Instead, start documenting the cruelty you suspect. In a perfect world, this would entail taking photos or video of the situation. But the important thing you need to know is, you aren’t legally allowed to step onto the property of others of whom you suspect cruelty without their inviting you to do so. This reality may be the factor that determines you aren’t able to gather images of the animal you think is suffering. If that’s the case, write down the dates and times when you witness cruelty occurring and write detailed descriptions of the incident: what kind and how many animals and how are they being abused? What evidence are you seeing? Be specific. Try to match up what you’re seeing with the actual section and subsection of Article 26 that applies. List any other witnesses present and try to be objective in your description. These notes may be reviewed by law enforcement and may eventually be considered evidence in a trial if the case gets that far.

With your evidence in hand, call 911 or visit the local police department and report the suspected cruelty. You need to file an official complaint with the local police, and you may need to insist that they take your complaint, depending on how animal-friendly the officer on duty is. After that, the case will be reviewed and an officer may visit the suspect’s home, or they may send the dog control officer (if it’s a dog that you are concerned about) to see if they see any evidence of a cruelty issue.

Don’t be surprised if the officer/DCO points out to the suspect that they are in violation of one or more sections of Article 26, and offers the suspect an opportunity to correct the situation. This is akin to an officer offering you a warning instead of a citation for speeding in your car…..and based on what the officer learns when visiting the suspect, he or she may feel it makes good sense to give the suspect a chance to get things back under control over a given period of time instead of immediately drawing them into the criminal justice system. Now, some people may say, “How can you equate suspected animal cruelty with my innocent speeding violation?” The answer is, your vehicle weighs ALOT, and when it’s going faster than recommended, the chance of your imposing cruelty on an innocent animal/human who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is actually quite high. That’s one reason why we have speeding laws. But if an officer looks you in the eye, communicates with you, looks around your vehicle, checks your past record and feels you would change your behavior after a warning, then they’re entitled to make that judgement and give you the opportunity to self-correct. This saves valuable police and court resources for the really heinous cases that absolutely require immediate prosecution: the person who lights the stray cat on fire, the person who beats a pet to death with a shovel, the person who slashes their neighbor’s pet horse in its stall, or the person who blatantly refuses or is unable to heed the warning of an officer who has already given them official warning of their violation.

The New York State Humane Association wrote the  book on investigating animal cruelty. Literally. CLICK HERE to read their indepth procedural layout for animal cruelty investigators. This is the book by which many police departments learn how to investigate Animal Cruelty, so in becoming familiar with this manual, you can help your officers do the best job of bringing an animal abuser to justice with a case that isn’t likely to be thrown out of court.

We’re a nation of laws. They’re certainly not all perfect but they’re part of a system that attempts to provide at least a bare minimum of protection for the vulnerable. The tricky part of all this from the perspective of law enforcement is protecting the rights of animals without violating the rights of humans. As animal lovers, it’s easy for us to confuse our own standards of care for our pets with what is legally required. This is one of the root causes of misunderstandings and polarization among the community. By becoming more educated ourselves about the legal side of animal welfare, we can help law enforcement do a better job and we can also offer our law makers concrete suggestions for new bills that can update and improve laws. And that’s how we can make our community a better place for all species.

 


Keepin’ It Together – Teaming Up To Save Harley

Each time the TASP hotline rings, and each time another email arrives at our inbox, there’s a new challenge to our creativity waiting to be met, to keep one or more animals out of trouble. Case in point: Harley, a sweet 5 year old Pit Bull and her loving family.

A man left a message in my voicemail that his dog had been vomiting, refusing to eat, and suffering with diarrhea since Wednesday. Now all of us who are blessed with good health, a vehicle that runs, and enough money to budget for vet bills would have had the tools needed to solve this dilemma in less than three days. But Harley’s challenge was a perfect storm of unfortunate coincidences. Her Dad was suffering from cancer that had put him on disability. To make matters worse, Dad’s truck had broken down and because he now had limited income, he hadn’t had enough money to get it repaired yet. Dad’s fiancé would have helped, but two weeks earlier she had broken her ankle and was still hobbling, still out of work.

In the midst of all this, the family had run out of dog food and was feeding Harley whatever they could muster from the freezer and the table: chicken and rice, beef ribs, whatever they could gather that would satisfy Harley until they could get back on their feet, get the truck back on the road and get some grocery shopping done. And then Harley’s vomiting and diarrhea began. After the first 36 hours of her illness, Harley’s family grew more concerned for her wellbeing. They knew that she would become dehydrated if she didn’t get some fluids into her system, but each time she drank some water, she’d just throw it back up.

The mountain lake where Harley and her family live is absolute heaven from June till Labor Day, inhabited by vacationers looking for a retreat from the hubbub of life; but from Labor Day till Memorial Day it’s remote and virtually uninhabited except for Harley’s family, a seventy-five year old neighbor with a car less reliable than Harley’s Dad’s truck, and an assortment of bears, squirrels, Canada geese, and other wildlife.

Harley hadn’t seen a vet in awhile, since Dad came down with his illness. Co-pays and gas to get to and from doctors appointments, CT scans, treatments and blood tests ate up what little Dad’s disability check could provide. But it wasn’t like Harley wasn’t loved or that she didn’t love her family. She lived a relatively idyllic life on the lake with them and her presence in the little house brought joy to their otherwise stressful world of medical uncertainly. She was the bright spot in their lives and they adored her.

When I found Dad’s call in my voicemail during my Friday lunch break, I called back right away. Learning the litany of misfortunes that had hit this little family over such a short period of time was kind of like listening to an old Hank Williams song. Yet Dad didn’t make excuses or demands. He only politely asked if there was anything we could do to help him get his dog looked at by a vet who would accept payments over time. He’d already called every vet he could think of, tried applying for Care Credit and other veterinary credit companies and been rejected by all. He told me how he and his fiancé had been feeding ice cubes to Harley in an effort to keep her hydrated and I could hear the worry in his voice as he described her present demeanor. Lethargic. Didn’t want to go out or do anything. No appetite. Wouldn’t even lift her head….certainly not the bubbly, bouncy Pit Bull he’d adopted from the shelter back before cancer changed this family’s world forever. In my head I was considering the possible veterinary conditions we might be dealing with: pancreatitis…….punctured or blocked GI tract………kidney failure…….or euthanasia?

You know, at the time we were on that first phone call, I didn’t have much hope. An hour’s drive west of Albany, this dog was nearly an hour and a half west of where I work.  I was still at my job and couldn’t just pick up and leave. By the time I got out of work, every vet’s office short of the Emergency Hospital would be closed…..and the cost to walk into that facility is currently $130 before work on the animal even begins. I started going down the list of TASP volunteers and where they were located at that point in time. Nobody available on such short notice on a Friday afternoon.  I had already committed to helping three homes in Troy after work on that Friday, each with its own sad, time-sensitive animal situation that needed tending. The following day I was scheduled to haul home-deserving foster dogs to Bark & Brew in Grafton. I found myself calculating in my head how much TASP might be able to spend on Harley at the Emergency Hospital on Saturday night, that is, IF she would survive that long.

Then I think an angel reached down and tapped me on the head because it suddenly occurred to me to contact Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. I personally knew how much they care about all needy animals and I knew they had a good number of volunteers in Albany County. We had nothing to lose by asking if MHHS might have a volunteer available who could drive this failing dog and her owner to a local vet to try and save her. TASP would pay the vet bill. We just needed a transporter, and soon.

I texted. I got a text back in short time. It was KC at Mohawk Humane. The text said, “Hi, Melinda, it’s KC – will try 2 find a volunteer 2 transport the dog for Mr. ……..” And this was where the music should turn from Wagner’s Requiem to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, if you know what I mean. That little text message gave me HOPE! KC found a wonderful man named, “Todd,” who volunteered to transport Harley and her Dad to The Village Animal Clinic in Voohreesville. Danielle at the Clinic said Dr. Cheever agreed to see Harley Saturday morning in spite of their normal policy of only accepting established clients on Saturdays. Todd left for the lake Saturday morning not knowing if Harley could be saved, but he was eager to do what he could to give her and her family a chance.

Flash forward to Saturday morning. Harley and her Dad are helped into The Village Animal Clinic for the eval. The Doc’s examination indicates a case of severe gastroenteritis (possibly from the diverse collection of things Harley had been eating when her dog food ran out?). Harley is treated and sent home same day.  TASP pays the bill over the phone and Todd transports Harley and her VERY relieved and grateful Dad back to the lake. TASP then orders a couple of large bags of dog food to be delivered to Harley’s house by Chewey.com, to keep her eating a dog’s menu instead of a human’s. The update call from Dad the following day was very encouraging. Meds appeared to be working, vomiting had stopped, diarrhea clearing and Harley was starting to become more interested in life again. The joy in Dad’s voice would make anyone think this guy’s on top of the world. Some things in his life may be absolutely awful right now, but he’s not alone in this struggle. He has friends he didn’t even know a few days ago and they helped him save his dog. Life is beautiful!

I spoke with Dad this week and he’s scheduled for surgery in January. Meantime, Harley is healthy and keeping him smiling again. She’ll be receiving a TASP care package in the mail this week with some donated treats and flea preventives to help take that burden off the family’s wallet, and we’re also contributing to the repair of Dad’s truck so he and Harley have reliable transportation during this challenging winter. We’re sending our prayers for a successful surgery for Harley’s Dad and hope you all will as well. After all, he may need his dog, but she needs him, too.

 

 

A few things worth noting about this project:

  • The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is more than just a shelter now. If you haven’t visited there lately, you should; just so you can see what a state of the art Humane Center looks like. Sheltering is only a part of what MHHS does for their community, as witnessed in this true story. They have a healthier building, better kennels, and first class veterinary equipment. But even more noteworthy, they have programs that help the community do a better job of owning pets. Educational programs for kids. Low cost spay-neuter services. A Pet Food Pantry. Training classes for pet owners and their animals……so many resources offered to help animals and people live in harmony! And speaking of people, I have to say that the people at MHHS are inspirational. With just one text message, TASP found the caring partners we needed to bring a much-loved pet out of a crisis that would have devastated her owners. We could not have brought this happy ending to this family without the help of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society’s people.
  • We got lucky when we chose The Village Animal Clinic for Harley’s emergency visit. Dr. Cheever graciously set her clinic’s policy aside to accept Harley on a Saturday; she didn’t have to do that. My recommendation to all is to find a veterinarian you can trust and afford, and then make it your mission to bring your animal(s) to that vet once each year. Having an established relationship with a veterinary clinic or hospital can get you an appointment ahead of others who do not have a relationship with that vet. It’s just like going to a doctor, eh? If you’re already a patient, you get seen this week. If not, you get an appointment in 3 months. Visiting a vet even when your pet is well isn’t a waste of money. It gets your pet a chance to be checked by a professional for signs of illnesses that could be caught early enough to fix for far less than if left alone to fester. Checking eyes, ears, oral, anal, and general palpation of skeleton and body gives you a good picture of where your pet stands health-wise and it also gives you an opportunity to learn by asking questions of professionals who have a lot of education and experience about animals. Harley’s case was an exception, and we understand there are other folks who also find it impossible to make an annual vet visit due to their own or a family member’s needs taking priority. But while you’re in good health, if you can budget even a tiny bit each month to be set aside for your pet’s preventive care, you might just save its life.
  • Dogs may be omnivores, and they may enjoy table-food as it’s going down the gullet. But the havoc it can render on a dog’s digestive system can be life-threatening and costly. Harley and her family were lucky that the cooked rib bones offered to her hadn’t broken off irregularly and blocked or perforated her intestines. To be sure, this family’s financial situation had caused them to try some creative solutions to feeding Harley that they probably wouldn’t normally have approached. At the same time, the genius they exhibited in offering ice cubes to Harley to get fluids into her dehydrated body was probably the key action that kept her alive. Dehydration is an extremely dangerous condition that can cause organ failure and even death if allowed to go on for too long. An animal can live without food for days but not without water. It’s something to bear in mind anytime your pet has an extended bout of vomiting and/or diarrhea, or any time you pass your pet’s empty water bowl.
  • If you have a decent job, and you know someone in your neighborhood who is struggling financially…..with a health situation or some other challenge that could endanger their pets, why not drop by and ask if they need anything now and then? Just say you’re paying it forward for the good things that have happened in your own life when you really needed help. It takes so little to reach out and offer a hand to those who truly need it and the reward of knowing you changed lives is something you just can’t buy anywhere. TASP does our best to help whenever and wherever we can, but we can’t be everywhere and we’re always operating on a shoestring, financially. You don’t have to work in animal welfare to offer welfare to an animal and its owner.

Grrrrreat Reads – Not about Dogs and Cats

This issue, we’re bringing you some books that are a departure from the subject of dogs and cats. After all, TASP is an All Species intervention group, so it’s only fair that we give some attention to some of the less commonly owned species. It can help us grow our knowledge of animal husbandry and maybe even tempt some of you to venture out and begin a relationship with some of these fascinating members of the animal kingdom.

Part of the True Horse Stories series, Gunner – Hurricane Horse by Judy Andrekson introduces us to a rude, unwanted colt who evolves into a treasured family member. The story follows this southern farm family before, during and after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent circumstances that change all their lives forever. Inspiring, insightful and difficult to put down, the book can be enjoyed by youthful and young-at-heart readers who appreciate the value animals bring to our lives.

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With “A Chicken in Every Yard,” Robert and Hannah Litt provide a helpful guide to backyard chicken husbandry geared toward urban and suburban dwellers, yet helpful even to those who live in the country. After posing and answering the question, “Why raise chickens,” this book offers a comprehensive collection of advice covering things like planning the financial side of chicken-ownership, proactively researching legal restrictions, selecting breeds, coop design and building, chicken health and feeding, and even a collection of recipes for dishes based on home-grown eggs. Plenty of great photos, tips and a list of resources to use as a launch pad for turning oneself into a responsible and successful chicken aficionado!

 

Karen Patry has written a very useful collection of information about raising rabbits in “The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver.” It’s mostly organized in question & answer format and really helps people who have been thinking about owning rabbits determine whether this is the right commitment for them. So different from other species in their physical and nutritional requirements, rabbits and their peculiarities can be baffling to those new to rabbit husbandry. The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver does a good job of unwinding the mysteries surrounding rabbit care, feeding, health, and management. With more and more apartment dwellers recognizing the value of keeping rabbits as pets, Patry’s book can educate and entertain, with the hope of encouraging successful bunny ownership for even the beginner.

 

 

 

 


Message from the President: TASP’s Position on the 2017 Gulf Hurricanes

TASP has received many enquiries about our plans for responding to the Gulf hurricanes this season.   At this time, several of our key people are massaging our schedules to comply with requests received from ASPCA and RedRover. As an all-volunteer organization, we have to be sure that when we, as individuals, are planning travel across the country to support animals victimized by a natural disaster, the needs of our own families, jobs and animals are provided for. So will TASP people be traveling to the gulf to help? Based on our individual situations, several of us are planning to respond with the national groups who have been invited in by the local jurisdictions, and with whom we already have relationships.

In the meantime, for those of you who want to help the animals and people currently under duress in the gulf, please consider making a financial donation to any one of the NARSC (National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition) organizations who are responding. If you aren’t sure who’s really a part of this qualified  coalition, CLICK HERE for a link to the list of the current NARSC membership: . And remember that the well being of pets depends on the well being of their owners.  Don’t underestimate how important pets are to the people who were evacuated from their homes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and surrounding areas. These people need to get back on their feet asap and get their families back to something like normal. Organizations like The Salvation Army are the vital link to that. Your donation, made specifically for Harvey or Irma (or Jose? Maria?) Response, will go a long way toward bringing people and pets home.

Just a reminder to all of you who have been worrying about this: The south is used to bad storms and flooding and they have learned a lot from past experiences. Don’t forget that there are many qualified rescues and national animal welfare organizations who have an abundance of trained, qualified staff and volunteers located within driving distance of the disaster. Animal disaster response is handled much differently now (thank God), compared to the way things were handled after Hurricane Katrina. If you watched any news footage of the human rescues for Harvey and Irma, there were many images of animals and their people all leaving the home together. Thanks to lessons learned, many human shelters now allow pets in the same or a nearby separate shelter, so pet owners and pets can remain connected until they can all go back home. This works very well and has been used for years very successfully. Ever since George W. Bush’s PETS Act went into effect, local SARTs/CARTs (State/County Animal Response Teams) in the gulf have been drilling regularly in preparation for something like a Harvey or an Irma. They have had trailers filled with supplies and volunteers with go-bags already packed, ready for deployment when the call comes. Starting this August, the call came and came again; and all that preparation was put to work for the good of the pets in the gulf.

All the major states and cities in the gulf (and around the country, for that matter) have advance contracts called, “Memoranda of Understanding” already established with all sorts of non-governmental organizations for situations like hurricanes and other disasters. When the local jurisdictions feel they can’t manage the animal situation on their own, they contact the animal welfare organizations they’re already contracted with and invite them to enter the disaster zone to help the locals rescue and/or care for the displaced animals. The same “Incident Command” protocol used by fire, rescue and military is used now by all the bona fide Animal Disaster Response organizations in the NARSC coalition. This way, there is mutual accountability, communication and tracking that will sustain the mission and ensure the best possible outcome for pets and people.

Many months from now, when the gulf’s inhabitants are back on their feet and the emergency pet shelters and boarding facilities begin to deactivate, there may be a need for animals who were not reclaimed to be sent to foster care or to pre-qualified municipal shelters and rescues. Some may even be sent as far north as our back yard. But until that emergency sheltering/boarding period is over, the NARSC animal welfare organizations will not likely be sending owned hurricane animals anywhere. One of the primary purposes of emergency animal sheltering is to hold the animals until they are reclaimed by their owners. We are obligated to allow the owners to have their pets back once they are able to take them. You would expect the same courtesy if you were in their shoes, right? Animals who were already in the shelter prior to the hurricane’s arrival ARE being moved out to other shelters outside the disaster zone, and one local shelter, Mohawk Humane Society, actually just received 23 animals from a Texas shelter and is taking another 30 from Florida shelters. But if someone asks you to finance their trip to the gulf today to bring back animals and they’re not affiliated with one of the authorized member organizations, you might want to ask a lot more questions before opening your wallet.

Thank you all for caring and praying about this situation. Having worked plenty of disasters in the past, I can tell you there are few sights that compare with the look on a displaced person’s face when they are with their beloved pet, no matter what else they may have lost. As the hurricane season continues to evolve, we will be bringing you our own personal accounts of what we find when we deploy to wherever we’re needed. Until then, take comfort in knowing it’s a blessing for something like a Harvey or an Irma to happen in 2017 instead of 2007; animal disaster response has come a long way since then.

 

 

 


Make Mine a Double! Charlie’s Story

 

Charlie’s Story

OK, so I’m old! Let’s get that on the table right now. And by the way, I’m BIG, too. So let’s just face those realities and move on from there, ok?

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My name’s Charlie. I’m a purebred St. Bernard who’s lived most all my 12 years with a family who took me from a bad situation. When I was a youngster, they also adopted this guy, Copper. He’s a purebred Coon Hound from down south, a refugee from Hurricane Katrina. When Copper showed up on the scene, at first I thought maybe it wouldn’t work out….both of us bein’ big male dogs, eh? But ya know what? Copper’s been like a brother to me from the start and now, you couldn’t part us with a butterknife.

Neither of us thought we’d ever be in the position we’re in right now. After all these years, our family is gonna up and move to MEXICO! Do you know any St. Bernards who want to go to freakin’ Mexico? Our family’s solution to the dilemma about what to do with two big senior dogs was classic. They posted us on Craigslist and agreed if nobody offered us a home, they’d euthanize both of us before they left the country. This was not an option Copper and I really wanted to pursue, but heck, the family’s got the keys to the house and all the food, so they get to call the shots.

I’m not super-religious, but I’ll say one thing: there MUST be a God of some kind out there, because PAWS and The Animal Support Project came to our rescue and put us in foster care. They’re gonna see if they can find Copper and me a new home in the country where we can live out our senior years with dignity….together!

I know it aint gonna be easy; we’re both big-boned, ya know. And neither of us is a pup anymore. But we’re healthy and fit for our ages (I’m 12 and Copper’s 11).  We’re vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and friendly as heck with everyone. Most folks who meet us want to give us a hug. I hand out tissues with my hugs, cuz like all Saints, I drool a little.

Will ya do us a favor por favor (as they say in Mexico)? Will ya spread the word among your country friends that Copper and me are lookin’ for a job that pays with room and board? We make great watchdogs, welcoming committee, floor-warmers, and ice-breakers. We’ll clean up the kitchen scraps (no onions, please) and watch after the house while you’re away. And we’ll never ever move away and leave ya.  Call 518-727-8591 or CLICK HERE to download an application.

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