Wednesday, February 24, 2010

25lb Cat gets Stuck Under X-Ray Machine

According to an article in The Star-Ledger, “A skittish kitty lodged itself under a bomb-detection machine at Newark Liberty International Airport during today’s morning rush hour, making its owner miss her flight to Florida and other passengers undergo security screening at a different X-ray machine, officials said.”

The article says that a woman and her young daughter had the cat in a carrier but when they took the cat out of the carrier so it could go through an X-ray machine, “the freaked-out feline ran under the CTX explosive-detection device.”

“Port Authority police used a hydraulic device 20 minutes later to lift the heavy machine and free the portly cat that had worked its way under 4 inches of clearance, officials said.”

The woman and her daughter missed their flight, but were grateful that the cat was unharmed.

Following this incident, I hope airlines reconsider how they check animal carriers for bombs. Animals should not have to be removed from carriers at the airport. That situation just asks for things to go wrong. Most animals do not like to be transported, and add in the countless people, strange noises and smells found at airports, and of course animals are going to be nervous and act out-of-character. For safety reasons (for people and for the animals), animals should NOT be removed from their carriers while at the airport.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Expose Animal Abusers

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to pass legislation that would require animal abusers to register in their neighborhood (much like sex offenders are required to do). Please watch their video and sign the petition to help prevent repeat offenders!

Please note the video is graphic in nature.
Animal Legal Defense Fund : Expose Animal Abusers

Majority Supports TNR

Recently, About.com featured an article on cats vs birds and posted a poll on TNR. Below are the results.

Poll Results
About Poll

Do you support TNR programs to control feral cat populations?

Yes
(26) 61%


No
(16) 38%

Total Votes: 42

(Source: http://birding.about.com)

Simon's Cat: "Snow Business"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Groups File Emergency Appeal in Court to Save Cats

No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance File Emergency Motion in Los Angeles Superior Court to Intervene in Lawsuit Against City Brought by Urban Wildlands and other Groups.

February 18, 2010. Los Angeles, CA.

The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance filed an emergency motion in Los Angeles Superior Court today asking the court to allow them to intervene as Defendants in the case of Urban Wildlands Group vs. City of Los Angeles (LASC BS115483).

Urban Wildlands and other groups sued the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Animal Services for attempting to work with community groups and nonprofit organizations whose missions are focused on protection of free-roaming (homeless, stray, and unsocialized “feral”) cats. These programs help reduce the population of free-roaming cats and prevent impounds in the City’s seven animal shelters where thousands of healthy cats and kittens are killed annually.

The plaintiffs claim that stray cats harm the ecosystem by preying on birds. In December, the Superior Court ordered the City of Los Angeles to cease all work with community groups that work to prevent shelter killing of free-roaming cats through the sterilization method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (“TNR”). As a result of the ruling, the City can no longer inform the public about TNR services available in the community. The ruling will result in thousands of cats being needlessly killed at taxpayer expense in City shelters, while doing virtually nothing to stem any perceived loss of bird life.

If the motion to intervene is granted, both No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance —whose missions include saving the lives of free roaming and feral cats in Los Angeles and other communities—will be able to seek modification and appeal of the court’s order.

“This ruling does nothing to save birds, while threatening to needlessly kill cats at taxpayer expense. We cannot allow this ruling to force the City to turn back the clock on shelter policies to the dark days of ‘catch and kill’ being the official policy,”
said Christi Metropole, Executive Director of Stray Cat Alliance. “At the same time, the ruling does not affect the real cause for bird species decline, namely human encroachment, human activities, human pollution and use of toxic pesticides.”

According to Nathan J. Winograd, Director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center, “the court’s broad ruling failed to consider several points of fact and law that we are prepared to present as defendants in the action. We believe that had the court considered these points, it would not have issued this misguided ruling. In fact, parts of the ruling conflict with state law and oversteps the court’s authority over the legislative branch of government.”

Winograd also said that, “Blaming animals who cannot defend themselves gives the environmental groups the appearance of working to find a solution to bird decline, but their opposition to TNR is counterproductive to the cause they claim to represent. An end to information about TNR will cause increases in feral cat populations because when the only option is killing, people will not ask for assistance with these cats. A recent national study found that over 80% of people surveyed consider it more ethical to leave a cat out on the street than to turn the cat over to animal control to be killed. And for those feral cats who do end up at the shelter, their killing is a tragic certainty.”

"We will not allow them (cats) to get killed," said Metropole.

The No Kill Advocacy Center is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters. Stray Cat Alliance is dedicated to ending the killing of cats in and around Los Angeles. The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance are represented by the national law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ACTION: HELP Protect the Bobcats!

In just a few weeks, delegates from 175 countries that have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will meet to discuss more than 40 proposals to increase or decrease protection for internationally-traded animal and plant species.

For the fourth time, the United States is proposing REMOVING CITES PROTECTION for BOBCATS. In the past, their proposal has failed or they have withdrawn it in the face of strong opposition. Please help us ensure it fails again, by telling the US government to withdraw its proposal to remove international protection for bobcats!

The bobcat, one of only two iconic American wild cat species, is the most heavily traded cat species in the world. More than 50,000 bobcats are trapped and killed each year so their skins, or items made from their skins, can be traded internationally.

Bobcats were first listed on CITES Appendix II because their skins cannot be distinguished from those of other lynx species, some of which are critically endangered. Delisting bobcats would reduce control of the trade in their fur and leave other small spotted wild cats more vulnerable to illegal international trade.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is once again bowing to pressure from trappers who want to sell bobcat skins internationally without any federal or international regulation. We cannot let a small group of people who profit from killing these animals for their skins remove international protection for wild cats everywhere! ACR is urging our members to write to the US Department of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and tell him to withdraw the proposal to remove international protection of bobcats.

CONTACT:


US Department of the Interior
Office of the Secretary, Mr. Ken Salazar
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Monday, February 15, 2010

UPDATE: Animal Relief in Haiti

As of 2/8/10, ARCH (Animal Relief Coalition of Haiti) had treated nearly 750 animals. ARCH is working with Haitian government officials on lasting animal welfare solutions, by creating animal facilities and services that did not exist pre-earthquake.

ARCH partners have pledged time, money and/or volunteers to stay in Haiti to:

- Setup a mobile veterinary clinic for Port au Prince and rural communities.
- Support and implement training of veterinarians and animal health technicians.
- Create a refrigeration system for storage/distribution of medicines.
- Design public awareness/education campaigns in Haiti and Creole.
- Vaccinate 3 million chickens for Newcastle disease and 2 million for Charcoal disease...
- Activate a Vaccination Preventive Care Program for many more diseases and species.
- Treat 3 million animals (anyone with a hoof!)...



2/4/10: A surprised cat awaits a medical check, in line with other Haitians and cats. ARCH has sent a mobile veterinary unit to increase our capacity to help the people and animals of Haiti. (Photo courtesy of Best Friends)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

10 Yoga Postures Performed By Cats

A friend sent me a link to SimplySweat.com Blog by Lyndon and I just had to share it. My chiropractor and yoga mentor would also appreciate me sharing this information. He is always telling me to watch my cats, because they stretch ALL the time and look at how flexible they are. Stretching strengthens muscles, improves circulation, and increases flexibility. Stretching helps you feel better overall! So watch and learn from your kitties!

Most of Yoga actually imitates what animals do easily and many yoga positions will require you to imitate some sort of animal. Old Yoga gurus believed that by taking the posture of a certain animal, we can embody the cosmic energy and thus achieve a stability of mind and body.

The following cats have been caught on camera in 10 of the most popular yoga positions.

1. The Cobra – Bhujangasana


2. Upavistha Konasana (Wide Seated Forward Bend)

3. Janu Shirshasana

4. Twist Pose

5. Sukasana Pose

6. Savasana Pose

7. Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

8. The Bridge – Sethu Bandhasa

9. Cat Pose

10. Mountain – Tadasana

Saturday, February 13, 2010

LA TNR Ban Being Felt in MD

Here in MD, Baltimore County used to be one of the safer places to be a feral cat, with countless cat rescue organizations practicing TNR and thousands of adoptable cats finding homes, but that might all change, thanks to what is happening in California. The City of Los Angeles recently suspended their TNR policy, due to a court decision favoring the Audubon Society and other conservation groups saying: TNR is causing the decline of bird populations.

Bird and wildlife organizations are propagating that if TNR is promoted by the City, fewer cats will be killed in shelters, meaning more cats will be left in the environment to kill birds. This information is not only false, but it is and WILL cause the unnecessary killing of thousands of cats.

An ACR supporter and rescuer sent a letter to the Baltimore County Health Department to express her concerns over their recent decision to stop supporting TNR, and the response she got was disappointing. The Baltimore County Health Department’s stance is that feral cats are disease carriers and transmit rabies. According to Della J. Leister, R.N. and Deputy Health Officer, “We don't favor feral cat colonies, because it is impossible to make sure that all cats receive annual vaccinations when living in feral colonies. In counties with an active rabies threat such as Baltimore County, to vaccinate a cat once against rabies is NOT sufficient.”

Ms. Leister goes on to say, “The City of Los Angeles recently suspended their trap-neuter-release policy, following the issuance of a court injunction as the result of a lawsuit by the Audubon Society and other bird and wildlife groups, who felt that the TNR program was responsible for greater numbers of bird deaths in the wild. In the face of this sort of crossfire, we find it best to avoid the problem by not encouraging feral cat colonies in the first place.”

So in a county where TNR was once embraced and rescuers and feral cat caretakers were humanely combating cat homelessness, officials have now decided to follow LA’s example and stop supporting TNR. They, too, are buying into these false impressions that TNR promotes feral cat colonies and contributes to the demise of bird populations.

Fortunately, there has been some good news for feral cats and it comes from our nation’s capitol. The local Washington Humane Society (WHS) Animal Control and Animal Care providers all support TNR. In fact, the District of Columbia has finally recognized TNR as the best means of controlling stray and feral cat populations – the City Code was amended in December to read that TNR must be the course of first response when answering constituent inquiries related to stray and feral cat challenges.

According to Bridget Speiser, Director of the National Capital Area Spay & Neuter Center, “all cats that come through CatNiPP (and get spayed/neutered and eartipped) are entered into a spreadsheet and their location is then mapped. If an eartipped cat enters the shelter, CatNiPP is alerted and address of pick-up/surrender is given to us. We then plot that address and look for known colonies in that area. If there are several, we use the cat description to help narrow down which colony s/he belongs to. We can then contact the associated caregiver and work to get the cat returned. If a non-eartipped stray/feral is brought to the shelter by a citizen (in a trap) we make every effort not to intake the cat and to talk TNR right then. Sometimes that works. Sometimes we “do” intake the cat, but then CatNiPP is alerted and we reach out to the citizen to really work to explain the program and get them to believe in taking the cat back to their community – after spay/neuter, of course; we can route the cat(s) straight from the shelter intake to our Center and then release the cat back to the citizen, usually within 24 hours.”

That my friends is how every county-run shelter should operate! There is no need to kill feral cats, when models such as this and countless others across the US are clearly working. Taxpayers are tired of their money being used to trap, process, and kill feral cats, when rescue groups are using private money to implement a humane alternative.

ACR is asking our members to contact LA City Council and the Baltimore County Health Department and urge them to reinstate TNR as the most effective and HUMANE method of controlling feral cats. Also, please contact conservation groups like the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society & the American Bird Conservancy and ask them to STOP making this a cat VERSUS bird issue. Ask them to STOP using false information to scapegoat cats as the reason for the decline in bird populations. Tell these groups, us cat rescues want to work WITH them not against them on protecting ALL animals.

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa

Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-0600
Fax: (213) 978-0750
Email: mayor@lacity.org

Carmen A. Trutanich, City Attorney
200 N. Main Street
8th Floor
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-8100
Fax: (213) 978-8312
Email: ctrutanich@lacity.org

Link to list of LA City Council Members:
www.lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm

Della J. Leister, R.N.

Deputy Health Officer
Baltimore County Department of Health
(410) 887-2702
(443) 829-5094
dleister@baltimorecountymd.gov

National Wildlife Federation
http://www.nwf.org/contact/

National Audubon Society

http://www.audubon.org/nas/contact.html

American Bird Conservancy

http://www.abcbirds.org/aboutabc/contactus.html

Spay Day USA 2010


(Picture: HopeforAnimals.com)

It’s that time of year again! Time to get a jump start on sterilizing cats before they start having unwanted litters. Every year “kitten season” lasts longer, bringing in more kittens than rescue groups can handle; so again before spring arrives, Alley Cat Rescue is participating in Spay Day USA.

With the arrival of warm weather, shelters and rescues are overwhelmed with litters of kittens. Organizations do all they can to find homes for thousands of adorable kittens, but these cuddled fur balls also come with a hefty price tag. The only effective method of fighting homelessness and taking some of the strain off of rescues is to “beat the heat!” Please ensure your cats (females especially) are sterilized before the reproductive season begins, in order to prevent thousands of unwanted babies.

February 23rd marks the 16th annual Spay Day USA, and to celebrate, Alley Cat Rescue will be hosting a low-cost spay/ neuter clinic on February 25th and 26th. The event will assist both domestic (family pets) and feral cats. For $30 per cat, individuals will have their cats sterilized and vaccinated. For individuals practicing trap-neuter-return, a limited number of traps are available, so please contact ACR to reserve one. For more information and to sign up for Spay Day, please contact Alley Cat Rescue at 301-277-5595 or by email at acr@saveacat.org.

As always, monetary contributions allow for such events to be possible and continue the efforts of Alley Cat Rescue. Donated much-needed items like food, blankets, newspapers, litter, and cat toys are also appreciated. Every little bit helps. Thank you! Your participation and support is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Save a Cat Application on Facebook


By virtually fostering a cat on Facebook’s “Save a Cat,” you earn points that translate into real donations that will help real rescue cats.

For every 2,500 points you score, we donate the financial equivalent of a cup of food to RescueGroups.org, a non-profit organization that provides free and low-cost technology services to animal shelters and rescue groups across the country. The more points you earn, the more cats you help save!

Earning points is easy. All you have to do is join the Save a Cat application and then choose a particular action. Each time you take action, you earn points. Or in some cases, you earn points when someone else takes action. For example, join the Save a Cat application and you automatically earn 100 points. Fostering a cat scores you 100 points and scratching your cat scores you 25 points each day. Ask a friend to foster a cat or co-foster yours, and that's another 100 points when they accept.

It's easy and fun, but the best part is it costs you nothing except a moment or two of your time. And, your actions help feed real cats in real shelters. Again, the money helps rescues and shelters via our partner, RescueGroups.org, an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They provide essential technical services that allow rescues and shelters to post their pets on the Internet, thereby greatly increasing their chances of adoption. Through donations, RescueGroups.org is able to provide its services free or at a low cost to animal welfare groups that could not otherwise afford them.

ACR uses RescueGroups.org’s Pet Adoption Portal to save us time and money. They help us post our kitties in need of adoption all over the internet and for FREE! This allows our kitties to be posted on more sites and increase the chances of their being adopted. This service helps us update countless sites at one time and at no cost to us. It makes life easier and helps find more kitties furrever homes!

Plus, by using Save a Cat, millions of users get to virtually foster kitties from ACR! This application will help us find homes for our kitties, especially some of our “special needs” kitties, like Bugsey or Pumpkin. So, please add the Save a Cat application to your Facebook account and add Alley Cat Rescue to your favorite shelters. Then, start fostering our kitties and earning points for a great cause!

Monday, February 08, 2010

ARK Slowly Changing the Way Animals are Viewed in Korea

An article in the The Korean Herald by Paddy Wood: ASAN, South Chungcheong Province – If you weren't looking for it, you'd never know it was there. Nestled amongst dense trees on the side of a small mountain, you hear the Asan animal shelter before you see it: a chorus emanating from the hundreds of dogs and cats who call the shelter home.

Individuals from Animal Rescue Korea (ARK) volunteer at the shelter every Saturday. American volunteer Natalie Crowe gives some background. "Asan is a privately owned shelter," she explains. "It gets some funding from the city, but the expat group funds a lot of its endeavors." She explains that while there are many government-funded shelters in Seoul, most lack the necessary resources to care for the huge numbers of stray and abandoned animals they take in. If they aren't claimed, fostered, or adopted after ten days, most are put down.

However, the Asan Animal Shelter maintains a no-kill policy. The animals who live here are the lucky ones who have been rescued from city shelters. For them, Asan provides a second chance at life. Their medical needs are addressed and they are socialized; prepped for fostering and, if everything goes to plan, adopted.

Crowe explains that she has been volunteering since October last year after she found out about ARK's existence through their website. "It's easy to get bogged down in the petty details of a nine-to-five job," she says. "So it is good to leave the city, and exhilarating to be outside and know that you are making a difference to the welfare of these animals."

It is clear that the shelter has made the most of its limited resources. Enclosures have been constructed ingeniously from wood and wire. We walk past improvised cat-houses attached to the back of the main office. Beyond, up the steep incline, stretches an intricate web of connected pens. As we climb, Josh Rutz, a Canadian volunteer, explains that he came to be involved after finding ARK's Facebook group. He and his wife Aimee have been volunteering since April last year.

"I started doing it as a way to get out of my house and do something on a Saturday," he explains. "But these days I go because I realize how important the work is." There is definitely a lot to do, and the volunteers always have a busy day. They walk and play with the dogs. They monitor the animals' health, feed them and, in winter, change their frozen water bowls. But the overarching goal is socialization: to make the animals more comfortable around humans and thereby advance their candidacy for adoption.

Laura-Claire Corson has been volunteering for nine months. She explains how simple socialization is. "If you just go inside and sit with the cats for half-an-hour, they become friendlier each week," she says.

Most volunteers have either adopted animals or provide permanent foster homes. "I'm a continual fosterer," explains Crowe. "I have two cats in the house at all times, and I just rotate them out when they get adopted."

Volunteering at Asan is doubly rewarding as it provides an opportunity to meet fellow Expats away from the cliched venue of the bar or club. "I've developed strong friendships with many of the other volunteers because we are all working towards a common goal," explains Crowe. Rutz agrees. "Coming to the shelter is a good chance to meet new people, get out of the city for a day, and help some animals that really need the attention all at the same time."

At around 4 p.m., it is time to leave the shelter. "Whenever I leave, I always feel there is so much more to do," rues Corson. And, of course, there always is. But this Saturday has been a successful one for the group. A few new volunteers have turned up. More importantly, five dogs have been adopted. “When you see an animal who has been at the shelter, or who was abused or in an unfortunate situation in the past get a home, it's wonderful," says Corson.

For information on volunteering, fostering, or adopting, visit www.animalrescuekorea.org

New Zealand Man Feeds Kittens to His Dog

Recently in New Zealand, a 31-year-old man, Te Ahu Mankelow, pleaded guilty to five charges of willful ill treatment of an animal. The man, who has admitted feeding live kittens to his pitbull and videoing it, has apologized for the massacre and has claimed he's an "animal lover".

"I love cats. I love all animals big time. Anyone who knows me knows I love animals," Mankelow told Sunday News in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Prosecutor Vicki Corpe said: "The defendant's dog attacked the kittens one by one, biting them and breaking their bones. At least one kitten was obliterated. When the kittens struggled away, the defendant picked them up and threw them back to his dog."

Father-of-three Mankelow claims the killings were an accident and he simply admitted the SPCA's version of events in the hope he'd be punished and his dog's life would be spared. His pet has since been put down.

Mankelow's said on the day of the incident he'd been drinking "all night and day" at a party.

Mankelow said, “I'm even sorry they [SPCA] tried to make me out as a pitbull breeder because this makes them look bad. I want to make a big apology."

SPCA national chief inspector Charles Cadwallader said Mankelow was "lying his teeth off". He said the cellphone video clearly showed Mankelow feeding at least four of the cats to his dog.

His sister, Vonnie Mankelow, said her brother had a drinking problem which played a part. She said the mauled kittens were sick and were to be given away. She told Sunday News she couldn't excuse her relative's actions but she could see the incident "from many different sides". "People that don't live in the area, or don't know the people etc, etc, they all have very different concepts of the whole story," she said.

Mankelow will be sentenced later this month.

…Animal cruelty is CLEARLY animal cruelty. Maybe this guy does have a drinking problem, in that case, the court should see that he is offered help with that, and for his sister to imply that it is a culture or neighborhood thing, again, yes, I get that animals are viewed very differently from culture to culture, but in this case, there is clear evidence (which I spared you the details given during the prosecution from a video tape of the dog attacking the kittens) that there was NO “misunderstanding” of the situation. Mankelow clearly knew what he was doing when he repeatedly gave the kittens to his dog to destroy. To hear him say, “I’m sorry; I’m an animal lover.” is appalling. Along with counseling for his drinking habit, he should be required to undergo psychiatric counseling for his disillusionment, and a counselor should check on his children to ensure none of his bad habits are passed onto them.

I read on the Care2 website today a petition against extreme cases of animal cruelty like this one, giving an example of a pregnant dog that was tied to a train track (miraculously the dog survived!), but there should be NO QUESTION and NO ROOM for EXCUSES when it comes to clear intent of cruelty towards animals, no matter what the animal. In this day and age, it is becoming widely agreed upon that animal welfare should and must be defended under the fullest extent of the law. People are starting to believe that animals are no longer on a level below us but on a level beside us.