Red Star® giving a happy holiday to shelter animals in need in New Jersey

Red Star National Director Justin L. Scally comforts a cat in the Helmetta, NJ shelter

Red Star National Director Justin L. Scally comforts a cat in the Helmetta, NJ shelter

When we received the call, it seemed like déjà vu. It’s the second time our Red Star® team was asked this year alone to help a New Jersey animal shelter on the brink. And again, the situation was bleak. According to the New Jersey SPCA, “Simple matters such as….the lack of cleaning of cages, basic feeding, the co-mingling of sick and healthy animals, insufficient veterinary care, the lack of disease control protocols, [with] the majority of the animals thin or emaciated, and the need for emergency vet care of some severely sick animals, are all of a very disturbing nature and require immediate action.”

To help, we deployed our 50-foot Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicle assigned to the Northeast region along with a team of staff and volunteers to care for the animals – and to turn things around for the more than 100 dogs and cats impacted by the situation. As I’m writing this today however, we helped to reduce the number of animals here to 62 cats and 15 dogs. Happily, many of the animals who have since left the shelter have been taken to other rescue groups where they can be adopted out and where they can begin their new lives. Some of those animals, however, were in such dire shape that they needed more intense veterinary care than we could provide here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The facility is still under quarantine by the health department until further notice, meaning they cannot bring in any additional animals, nor are they open for adoption. That said, we remain hopeful that soon more of these beautiful creatures can find a second chance in a forever home. But until then, the Red Star team will continue to clean the facility, treat the animals, and provide them with the compassionate care that they haven’t experienced in a long time.

In the week since our team arrived here in Helmetta, we’ve seen a remarkable change in the disposition of these animals. They were scared, and sometimes even sick or hurt.  But our highly trained team of staff and volunteers is here to provide tender loving care and these animals seem to sense that. The transformation in these few short days has been miraculous.

Thanks to Our Volunteers and Major Sponsors

We are grateful to our volunteers who chose to use their hard-earned vacation time before the holiday season to deploy with the Red Star team.

But it’s not just our Red Star team that’s been working to help animals in Helmetta. Our Red Star team is only able to do its lifesaving working thanks to its presenting sponsor, MARS Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs. In addition, MARS has sent a shipment of food and coupons to make sure the animals have plenty of good, nutritious food to eat.

Our Northeast emergency response vehicle was generously funded by philanthropist Lois Pope and Banfield Pet Hospital®, which also sent a team to provide some of the veterinary care and veterinary supplies these animals have desperately needed for so long. It’s wonderful to have sponsors who not only provide the necessary support to keep our team moving and outfitted, but who are also there side by side with us, rolling up their sleeves to help the dogs and cats in any way they can.

It’s been a hard but heartwarming week in New Jersey, and we remain hopeful that we can give a happy holiday to the  animals who remain in our care.  If you can help, please do by visiting here. Thank you!

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at http://www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Red Star deploys to save starving horses in Tennessee

One neglected animal is one too many. When there are 19, it can feel overwhelming.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shortly after dawn yesterday morning, at the request of the District Attorney General for Tennessee’s 25th Judicial District, our nine Red Star team members along with Fayette County Animal Control, sheriff’s deputies, a local veterinarian and volunteers deployed to a private facility in Whiteville, Tennessee to rescue and transport 19 allegedly abused animals – 18 horses and one mule – to a temporary shelter.

image (1)

“the animals were so hungry, they had stripped the bark off the trees”

Due to starvation and extreme neglect, 15 of the 18 rescued horses are currently in critical condition. Sadly, at least five other horses are known to be dead. Our team discovered that the animals were so hungry, they had stripped the bark off the trees on the property, hoping to get what nutrients they could.

Two of the horses are on IV fluids, and the rest are being calmed and fed while Red Star team members work to get them strong enough for eventual placement with a long-term facility. Volunteers will feed, groom and care for these wonderful animals with the help of medical treatment by Dr. Jennifer Dunlap, a local veterinarian who has worked with Red Star before. Dr. Dunlap has even graciously agreed to adopt one of these horses. Continue reading

The Key to Saving Animals from Disasters

American Humane Association’s Red Star™ Emergency Services program has been responding to natural and man-made disasters for nearly a century.  Since the time of Red Star’s inception in 1916 to help animals used by the U.S. Army during WWI, we have had a long record of accomplishments and actions on a national—and even international—scale.

Moore, OK Deployment

Moore, OK Deployment

In fact, after an EF-5 tornado with winds in excess of 210 mph ravaged parts of Moore, Oklahoma last spring our Red Star Emergency Services team was there to help. With boots on the ground just days after the devastating tornado, our team worked feverishly with local, state and national organizations to help restore hope through an outpouring of compassion. From walking dogs and cleaning kennels to helping rescue animals from unbelievable scenes of despair, our teams provided the type of services that the Moore community so desperately needed following the horrible disaster.

Our work isn’t just about response and recovery, however. It’s also about preparedness. Quite simply, the key to helping keep pets safe during or after a disaster – large or small – is adequate preparedness. Continue reading

An Animal Shelter on the Brink

Our legendary Red Star™ Emergency Services team has been on the ground in Milford, New Jersey assisting the New Jersey SPCA with a response to help some 200 neglected animals at a shelter that lost its way. Our team has been doing everything from cleaning and disinfecting all areas of the facility to walking dogs and helping to start the shelter animals on the road to their new lives – as a member of a loving family.

DSC_0306To see the changes that have been made since we first arrived is truly and utterly amazing. People who I have spoken to are touched by the great progress and I’ve seen numerous people brought to tears as they become overwhelmed by emotion because they have worried for so long about the animals at this shelter.

Many of the animals who have been at this shelter have been here for years. One cat, Egypt, who had been here over a decade when we arrived, has clearly spent most of her life inside the walls of this facility. I’m happy to report however that thanks to other wonderful shelters and rescue groups who have also responded to the call for help, Egypt is now on her own special road to recovery. Continue reading

Do You Have the Wrong Idea About Animal Shelters?

977064_10151846169352454_229301209_oMany people who are looking for a new pet avoid animal shelters for various reasons. If fact, I’ve found over the years that many avoid shelters simply because of common misperceptions. In turn, these false impressions feed into the negative stereotype of shelters that places countless animal lives in jeopardy – animals that undoubtedly would make wonderful new family companions.

The recent article, Busting Animal Shelter Myths, explores many of the myths surrounding animal shelters. In the article, the writer, Jaime Lynn Smith, debunks ten shelter myths including, “All shelter pets available for pet adoption are old” and “Shelter pets usually have behavioral problems or are imperfect.”

It’s estimated that between 5 to 8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year – many through no fault of their own. And most people I talk to are completely oblivious of the number of animals their local shelters care for on any given day, month or year – and how hard they work on behalf of animals. Continue reading

Red Star Returns to Assist Dog Rescue

113Our Red Star Emergency Services team has returned to the temporary shelter to provide ongoing support and daily care for nearly 250 dogs seized in what is believed to be the second largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. This being our team’s second time deploying to assist the ASPCA with these particular animals all our team can say is, “What a difference compassion can make!”

Our team reports that, “In less than twelve weeks, these beautiful creatures have learned social skills, manners, and most importantly, what it means to be loved and protected. The success stories are endless!” Dogs who cowered in the corner each time a caretaker would come by their kennel are now sitting right at the door waiting for the next moment to be with their new two-legged friends. Older dogs that were used for constant breeding are now enjoying their retirement, and newborn puppies that had not yet had their eyes open are growing up nicely and are healthy, happy and playful!

Andy Bass, our Southeast region program and response specialist for Red Star Emergency Services gave this account about one dog he bonded with:

As I worked into my new routine today, one of the young puppies, who was chasing his thunderball in the exercise pen stopped in his tracks when I came near, gave me a sniff, then ran to the opposite side of the kennel. He then timidly approached me again and took another sniff. As he looked up at me and cocked his head to the side, I realized this was a withdrawn puppy from the isolation ward I had cared for three months ago. When I was here last, I would make it a point to take him out of his cage and carry him under my arm as I did my daily paperwork. Now here he was, healthy and happy, and letting me know he remembered me!

It is moments like this that remind us all of how vital our work truly is. And thanks to the supporters of American Humane Association, we will continue to provide this service to society’s most precious and vulnerable.