Every Day is Tag Day™

Tag and chip your pet today.

Little Lost Pet. Big Scary World.

It’s a big, scary world out there for cats and dogs who are lost and alone, far from home. And even though you may think your pet would never run away — never be one of the lost ones cowering in an alley or running across a busy street — the sad fact is that it can happen to any pet. Continue reading

How to Have a Humane Easter

How to Have a Humane Easter

Animals As Gifts

The holidays are a popular time for welcoming a new furry friend into your family. There may not be a greater gift for homeless animals than to open your heart and home to them. As they do year-round, animal shelters have thousands of wonderful companions available for adoption. If you’re thinking about giving your children a bunny or chick as a “special” Easter present, here are some things to think about first:
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We’re Teaming Up With Chicken Soup for the Soul To Save Lives

Riley the Pug

Dogs and cats do so much to improve our lives, and that’s exactly what the newest entries in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series are about:

Chicken Soup for the Soul My Very Good Very Bad Dog, Chicken Soup for the Soul My Very Good Very Bad Cat

Written by Amy Newmark, Chicken Soup for the Soul’s publisher and editor-in-chief, and featuring forewords by American Humane Association president and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert, each book features hilarious and touching stories about all the very good, very bad, and simply amazing things that our dogs and cats do. Continue reading

Keep Your Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

Sleeping Puppy and Kitten

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate togetherness with family, friends, and of course, your pets. It’s also a holiday filled with hidden safety hazards you may not be aware of. Pet experts from our friends at Banfield Pet Hospital have written several helpful articles on how to keep your dogs and cats safe this holiday season. Banfield sponsors our 50-foot northeast Lois Pope Red Star® Rescue truck, which carries supplies and equipment to rescue and care for animals in need. Stay informed about your pet’s health, and check out the pet safety tips below: Continue reading

Animal Welfare Engendered by the Honeybee

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Much has been written recently about the plight of the honeybee.  The apocalyptic-sounding “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) has been anointed as the universally accepted term to describe the demise of between thirty and fifty percent of all honeybee colonies over the past decade. The problem is, scientists haven’t yet pinpointed the singular reason or amalgamation of reasons underpinning CCD.

As the son of a beekeeping enthusiast, I applaud the attention that honeybees have garnered.   Growing up in rural Michigan, my father would don his beekeeping veil and head out weekend after weekend to lovingly tend to the bees residing in the waist high stacks of boxes nestled into ten acres behind our home among tangles of wild blackberries, sumac bushes, and chokecherry trees. We’d give jars honey as holiday gifts to bus drivers, teachers, postal workers—almost anyone who crossed our paths. Several members of my extended family member still raise bees, on an even larger scale.  They, like many in the field, are concerned about what the future holds for these hardworking insects. Continue reading

Four Key Points That Could Reduce the Number of Dog Attacks

blueeyedPP06American Humane Association, which has been working to protect the nation’s children and animals for 136 years, applauds President Obama for joining a growing chorus of animal-friendly groups including American Humane Association that are opposed to breed-specific legislation (BSL) and have been calling for an end to the banning or restriction of specific types of dogs based only on their breed.

This is a great week for America’s — and humankind’s — best friends. Not only is there a new dog in the White House, but the President has made it a new day for dogs by opposing unjust and ineffective laws that ban or restrict certain types of dog based only on breed. Fact is, there is little evidence that supports breed-specific legislation as an effective means of reducing dog bites and dog attacks. On the contrary, studies have shown that it is not the breeds themselves that are dangerous, but unfavorable situations that are creating dangerous dogs. The support of the administration on this issue is a step forward in addressing the true issues and improving the safety and welfare for both people and the animals they love.

Legislation targeting specific breeds simply does not work because dog attacks result from multiple factors, not just a simple breakdown of breed culpability. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association and The National Canine Research Council, as well as independent researchers, all agree that BSL is not productive. On top of this, a recent scientific study shows that breed identification is often difficult, compounding the problem.

There are, however, four key points that could reduce the number of dog attacks:

  1. Education

    Children are statistically the most at risk for dog bites. Unsupervised newborns were 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog. Eighty-two percent of dog bites treated in emergency rooms involved children under 15 years old. Adult supervision plays a key role in prevention. Children who understand how to act around dogs, how to play with dogs, when to leave dogs alone and how to properly meet a dog are much less likely to be bitten. By educating children at home and in school, we can drastically reduce the instances of dog bites.

  2. Enforcement

    Communities can greatly reduce the number of dog bites by enacting stronger animal control laws and by providing better resources for enforcing existing laws. Examples include leash, animal-at-large and licensing laws, as well as mandatory spay/neuter laws for shelters. Additional measures include increasing and enforcing penalties for violations, targeting chronically irresponsible owners, imposing serious penalties for bites that occur in the context of another infraction (particularly a violation of leash laws) and prohibiting chaining or tethering for excessive periods of time. Chaining and/or neglect results in anxious, lonely, bored, under-stimulated, untrained, unsocialized, isolated dogs that are much more likely to react aggressively because of their fear. However, enacting more laws and strengthening laws are not the only answers. Animal control facilities are already underfunded and understaffed, which makes enforcement of existing laws difficult. It is essential that legislators recognize the value of and need for animal control facilities and officers, and provide them with increased financial support and staffing to enforce these laws. American Humane supports the enactment and enforcement of dangerous-dog laws that are breed neutral and identify dangerous dogs based on actions — not on breed. Good dangerous-dog laws involve a hearing after a dog has bitten or threatened a person or another animal. If the dog is found to be dangerous, the dog’s owner can be required to meet a variety of requirements, such as having the dog neutered, muzzled at all times when off the owner’s property, always on a leash, confined to the owner’s yard, microchipped, etc.

  3. Spaying and neutering

    Unneutered male dogs are more than twice as likely to bite than neutered dogs, while female dogs in heat or nursing are much more dangerous than spayed females. The behavior of intact animals can be unpredictable. Talk to your veterinarian to schedule an appointment, or contact your local humane organization or animal shelter for information on low-cost spay/neuter assistance. If your community does not provide low-cost services, encourage your legislator, local animal shelter or veterinarian to consider the option as a public-health service.  Get more information on spaying and neutering.

  4. Better bite reporting

Researchers agree that better statistics on dog bites could greatly improve our ability to firmly identify the factors that should be the primary focus for improving public safety. Research to date is primarily based on incomplete police and hospital records, as well as newspaper articles.  Incomplete data includes failure to record the location of bites, age and sex of the dog, age and sex of the victim, circumstances surrounding the bites and accurate breed identification.

Additional Suggestions

Supervision:

Dogs left on their own may feel uncertain and defensive, or even overly confident — and this poses risks to the dog, as well as to other people and dogs. The vast majority of dogs involved in attacks are off-leash and unsupervised. Additionally, unsupervised children may innocently wander too close to a dangerous situation. Eighty-eight percent of fatal dog attacks among 2-year-olds occurred when the child was left unsupervised. Supervision of children, especially around dogs, is one way to help ensure they are safe.

Train and socialize your dog:

Be sure your dog interacts with and has good manners around all members of the family, the public and other animals. Basic training is as important for the owner as it is for the dog, and socialization is the key to a well-adjusted adult dog. It is essential that puppies between 8 and 16 weeks old be exposed to a variety of people, places, dogs and other animals. As dogs age, do your best to continue their exposure to these things to ensure that they are well socialized throughout their lives.

Restrain your dog:

Dogs that are allowed to roam loose outside the yard may perceive the entire neighborhood as their “territory” and may defend it aggressively. By obeying leash laws and taking care to properly fence your yard, you will not only be respecting the laws in your community, but you will also be keeping your dog safe from cars, other dogs and unforeseen dangers.

Unchain your dog:

Chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to bite. Tethering or chaining dogs increases their stress, protectiveness and vulnerability, thereby increasing the potential for aggression. Fencing is the better solution.

For thousands of years, dogs have been our best friends. Eliminating breed-specific legislation is one way of showing that we can be their best friends, as well. We are very pleased to have the President and the Administration take this vital step in opposing BSL.