Savannah Pet News

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Sixty Miles for Sixty Years!




The big Six O is not a birthday that many women anticipate with glee. I know several women who, when confronted with the impending arrival of that date, simply declared themselves to be forever 59, and otherwise ignored the date and all subsequent birthdays. I know another who called her three best girlfriends, planned a five day weekend in Las Vegas, sans husbands, lovers, and any other male companions and vowed to kick up their heels or kick off their heels, but to have an all-out last fling celebration of their lost youth. And I know one woman who went into her bedroom, pulled all the shades, locked the door, and simply cried all day. Most, of course, fall somewhere in between these extremes.

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, however, will run 60 miles for her 60th birthday. A long time Savannah resident and an ophthalmic surgeon for 30 years, Dr. Miller has had a deep passion for animals throughout her life. Her 60-mile birthday run on October 1, will

raise funds for The Humane Society for Greater Savannah to go towards the establishment of a Community Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Without reduced cost alternatives, many caring and otherwise responsible pet owners cannot afford to have their pets sterilized. Unfortunately, these pets contribute to the troubling and costly pet overpopulation dilemma, a low-cost clinic will directly impact this cause of pet overpopulation.

On October 1st, at 5 a.m., Dr. Miller will begin her run at The Landings on a route that will take her to downtown Savannah, out to Tybee and then back to the Humane Society on Sallie Mood Drive at approximately 6 p.m. Her arrival will be met by fans, friends, supporters and sponsors for a well-deserved celebration and joyous birthday party.

Story by Cima Star

Spike Captures the Hearts of Many

First, the scene made most New York City news viewers wince—then it made them downright furious. There, on the evening news, was footage of an enraged Queens woman, Maria Aguilar, brutally beating Spike, her 11-month-old English Bulldog puppy, on her porch. The puppy was howling in pain and fear. Sick of Aguilar’s constant abuse of the puppy, a Good Samaritan neighbor yelled at Aguilar to stop. When she didn’t, he made a video of her violence on his cell phone camera, thereby capturing undeniable visual evidence of what was a truly heartless act of animal cruelty.

The Good Samaritan and several other concerned citizens reported the horrific abuse to ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, who responded by racing to the home that Aguilar shares with her husband. At first, Aguilar denied abusing the puppy, but confessed to the crime after ASPCA investigators showed her the video evidence. Aguilar was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty.

Spike was rushed to the ASPCA, where Anti-Cruelty Veterinarian Dr. Rhonda Windham, MVB, treated him. “Spike had multiple injuries consistent with blunt force trauma,” she says. “He also had a number of old injuries, including a left femoral head fracture, a broken right elbow, three broken teeth and ear injuries. He will have progressive arthritis in his left hip and his right front elbow for the rest of his life.” Windham says that according to Spike’s medical records, another veterinarian had treated him at least a dozen times in the previous seven months, before he was rescued by the ASPCA. The most recent attack captured on the cell phone camera had left Spike nearly blind in his right eye.

During his period of recuperation, Spike became somewhat of a celebrity at the ASPCA, receiving personal letters, gifts and get-well cards from fans. Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center, says that there were also hundreds of potential adopters for Spike. “This dog was so beloved by New Yorkers that we had to turn away many adopters. He had his pick of wonderful homes.” In the end, the ASPCA placed Spike in a household with an experienced pet parent familiar with caring for animals with special needs. Though she prefers to remain anonymous due to the case’s intense publicity, she is delighted by the addition of Spike to her family. Apparently, Spike's new pup-brother Petey is, too. "The two of them hit it off right away," she says. "They are always together and you can tell that their friendship has really helped Spike regain some of his confidence." Spike's physical condition has improved as well. "Spike will probably always have difficulty seeing and walking," explains his new pet parent. "But that doesn't stop him from getting around.”

Joseph Pentangelo, Assistant Director of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, says that while the outpouring of love for Spike was both deserved and gratifying, he would like Spike’s fans to recognize that there are countless other dogs awaiting adoption at shelters across the country. "There are so many other pets in shelters in dire need of homes," Pentangelo says. "People wanting to help should consider adoption." For more information on adopting a pet in need, please visit

--from the Sept. issue of the ASPCA members’ newsletter.

Threatened Cats in Iowa Now Safe....
......If a little town in Iowa can do it, why not Savannah?

After threats of gunshots, poison and terror, the homeless, feral cats of Randolph, Iowa, now look forward to a future, and a good one at that. An animal society and a host of local animal welfare groups banded together to make this possible.

Some people in the tiny town, frightened by what they perceived as the risk of disease and attacks of their own pets by the feral gang, threatened the felines. Mayor Vance Trively became concerned because of threats to poison or shoot the cats. He wanted a humane solution for the cats that addressed the community's concerns as well.

Animal welfare groups got involved after hearing about a: five dollars bounty for every live cat brought in a trap. The groups explained to the mayor how trapping the cats, altering and vaccinating them, and returning the cats to their territory where they are fed and watched over by volunteers (known as TNR, trap-neuter-return) will stop the breeding and keep the cats from competing with pets for food. Mayor Trively gladly embraced this solution and is actively involved in implementing the plan.

TNR calls for about 100 cats, both homeless as well family cats, to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and medically treated. The family cats also will be microchipped. There are about a dozen cats in the downtown region who had become a nuisance; these cats will be relocated to a safe location outside town limits. And any of the homeless cats who are friendly will be taken to animal shelters and rescues in other towns for adoption and foster care.

A national humane organization, Best Friends Animal Society, the Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary and Rescue, Feline Friendz, Hearts United for Animals, Alley Cat Allies and Animal Protection and Education are among those helping out. Petco is donating a six-month supply of food for the cats. Local Fremont County Vet Clinic has offered reduced cost on spay/neuter, vaccination and microchipping services. Alley Cat Allies was first on the scene pulling for TNR in Randolph, and helped galvanize the surrounding animal organizations to help in whatever ways possible.

Mayor Trively said, "I have collaborated with Best Friends and the city council to resolve this situation. What made the difference was the face-to-face meeting with the Best Friends and Raccoon Valley representatives. They presented a detailed plan that made sense for this town. The decision was a no-brainer. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with the local (animal welfare) groups."

"This is a win-win-win solution," said Julie Castle, director of community programs and services for Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society.

"The community is getting a humane solution to this issue, the cats get to live, and the animal welfare groups are showing that when they come together they come up with solutions that fit the particular community issues and help animals."

"We have offered the mayor a solution he can live with, that the cats can live with," said John Pundzak, president of Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary and Rescue. "We are proud to partner with Best Friends."

Three Thousand Cats to be Neutered!
Saving Lives of Thousands of Cats

In an effort to head off the spring/summer feline birth explosion, Best Friends Animal Society and local animal welfare advocates nationwide are offering the first annual national Tom Cat Special.

Between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day (February 14 – March 17), $10 cat spays and neuters will be offered to the low-income public at participating veterinary clinics in eight U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Each participating clinic has generously committed to neutering a minimum of 10 male cats (Toms) for $10 each.

This year’s goal: to alter more than 3,000 cats. Volunteers in communities throughout the U.S. will begin taking calls from the public starting February 4, 2008.

Qualified recipients will be referred to a participating clinic after being screened as low income by local event coordinators. All other callers will be referred whenever possible to existing local, low-cost spay/neuter resources.

Celeste Crimi, Best Friends Animal Society’s national coordinator for Tom Cat Special 2008, explains:

“The goal of the Tom Cat Special is to bring the veterinary, low-income and animal welfare communities together to help reduce the number of homeless cats. Since cats are the most relinquished and euthanized pets in U.S. shelters today, bringing down the numbers of homeless cats is crucial.”

Best Friends is coordinating this event in support of Spay Day USA, which asks each American to help solve the country’s severe pet overpopulation problem by having at least one cat or dog spayed or neutered. Last year, about 5 million American animals were euthanized. By spaying or neutering companion animals, we can end unwanted births, reduce the needless suffering that homeless animals endure, and save taxpayer money. Be part of the solution! Spay or neuter every pet.

Space is limited and cats can reproduce as young as 4 months of age, up to 3 times a year, so callers are urged to act quickly! For a list of participating communities, please visit the Spay/Neuter Fever! online community sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society:


Bradenton, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Broussard, Louisiana
Thousand Palms, California
Phoenix, Arizona
Cedar City, Utah
Orem, Utah
Keokuk, Iowa
Calimesa, California
Yucaipa, California
Maina, Guam
Tamuning, Guam
Crescent Springs, Kentucky
Peabody Massachusetts
Delphi, Indiana
Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette Indiana
Fremont, California
Union City, California
Mays Landing, California
Santa Maria, California
Fairfield, California
Vallejo, California
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Yucaipa, California
Stockton, California
Lodi, California
Stockton, California
Rossville, Indiana

Is your pet in pain?
Veterinary Groups Announce Guide to Detecting Pet’s Hidden Pain
Two leading animal health organizations have joined forces to help veterinarians and pet owner’s better identify and manage the subtle warning signs of pets suffering from pain. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Association of American Feline Practitioners (AAFP) offer six tips which may help in alleviating a pet’s suffering.

Because animals naturally hide their pain to protect themselves from predators, pets may be suffering from an illness or injury even though they don’t show obvious signs. Advancements in veterinary science have recently decoded subtle telltale signs of animal distress.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian if they observe:

  • Abnormal chewing habits
  • Drastic weight gain or loss
  • Avoidance of affection or handling
  • Decreased movement and exercise
  • Excessively licking or biting itself
  • Uncharacteristic “Accidents”

    These signs can help uncover underlying medical issues and pain. AAHA reminds pet owners that regular wellness exams allow veterinarians to evaluate their pet’s general health and discover any health problems before they become serious illnesses. For the complete AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats please log onto .

    “Addressing contemporary approaches to manage pain gives us the ability to fulfill our veterinary duty to alleviate the suffering of animals,” explained Thomas A. Carpenter, DVM, AAHA President. “These new and helpful guidelines will give veterinarians and pet owners common ground to diagnose and manage pain that affects cats and dogs.”

    Strong Sentences for Puppy Killers

    The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has applauded the strong sentences received today by “BTK brothers” Joshua and Justin Moulder (so-identified by prosecutor Laura Janssen). The Moulder brothers recently pleaded guilty in Atlanta, Ga. to torturing and baking a three-month old puppy in a gas oven, and received the maximum sentence allowable in each of the nine counts under which they were charged. These sentences will be served concurrently, and in effect, they will serve 10 years in prison and 10 years under strict probation, for a total of 20 years. “This is a significant moment in the history of animal cruelty prosecution,” said Ed Sayres, president & CEO of the ASPCA. “It not only highlights the increasingly important role veterinary forensics and animal welfare experts have come to play in assisting law enforcement with their investigations, but also shows how strongly the American public feels about the inhumane treatment of animals. As Judge Moore said earlier today, how we treat animals reflects on our humanity. We are very proud to have been a part of this landmark case.”

    Stop Killing Strays!

    Bethesda, MD; San Clemente, CA-- A healthy orange tabby cat named Wild Bill was killed by the Alexandria, VA, Animal Welfare League several months ago. His only crime was not having an indoor home, which according to that shelter's written policies was punishable by death.

    Wild Bill was just one of 5 to 6 million dogs and cats that will be killed this year in U.S. animal shelters which operate on cruel, outdated policies that sanction mass killing. They euphemistically (incorrectly) call this "euthanasia." The fact is many of these animals could be adopted into loving homes and most of the rest should never enter shelters in the first place.

    Alley Cat Allies and No Kill Solutions have called for an end to the killing. They urge citizens and organizations nationwide to join the groundswell movement toward this goal by signing and supporting the Declaration of the No Kill Movement in the United States

    "Our country has ample tools and resources necessary to become No Kill and ensure that no more cats meet Wild Bill's fate," says Becky Robinson, national director of Alley Cat Allies. "This is not a radical idea. No-kill sheltering models have already saved tens of thousands of animals. What's needed now is the will and commitment to change."

    The biggest obstacle, says Robinson, is that far too many shelters and even some national animal protection organizations still cling to outmoded, failed policies instead of embracing no-kill approaches. But knowledge and assistance are available to all shelters and animal control agencies that want to change.

    "We have to put aside the fatalistic belief that change is impossible, that the best we can offer most shelter animals is a 'humane' death," states Nathan Winograd, president of No-Kill Solutions. "The No Kill Declaration calls for a revolution in animal sheltering and states clearly how we will reach this goal.

    "Currently, over 6,000 individuals and organizations have signed the No Kill Declaration. We urge everyone who wants to change how animals are treated in this country to sign it." says Winograd. "Keep this in mind: In the time it will take you to read the No Kill Declaration, 100 dogs and cats will be needlessly put to death."

    San Francisco, California, and Ithaca, New York, are two communities that have reached the no-kill goal. Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City are actively working toward it. Alley Cat Allies and No-Kill Solutions will provide practical information and assistance to all agencies and communities that want to join them.

    Alley Cat Allies, Bethesda, Maryland, is the national resource for information on feral and stray cats.

    No Kill Solutions, San Clemente, California, is spearheaded by nationally known speaker and writer, Nathan Winograd.

    Proper Planning Makes Moving With Your Pets Safe and Easy
    The summer months are prime time for many families to buy or move to a new home. That often means paying special attention to the care of your pet in addition to the packing and loading of your belongings.

    "Moving is quite stressful for everyone involved. Pets are no different since everything is changing around them and they don't really know why," said Dr. Peter Eeg, DVM.

    What to do before moving day:

  • Invest in a high-quality, sturdy pet carrier. If you have a pet you want to keep safely confined on moving day, get a carrier in advance so you can accustom your pet to spending time in it.
  • Update your pet’s ID tag with your new address, telephone numbers etc.
  • Talk to your veterinarian. If your pet doesn’t enjoy car rides, consult your veterinarian about behavior modification or medication that might lessen the stress of travel.
  • Find hotels in advance. Listings of pet-friendly hotels will help you find overnight lodging during your move.
  • Plan ahead for air travel. Check with your veterinarian, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the airline if your pet will be flying.

    What to Do on Moving Day:

  • Keep your pest secure. On moving day, place your pet in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom, so that he or she cannot escape.
  • Make your car trip safe. Dogs should be in a restraining harness while traveling in a car. Cats are safest when transported in a well-ventilated and securely placed carrier with a litter box.
  • When you make a rest stop be sure that your dog is on a leash before opening the door. Place our cat in a harness or better yet just let them stay in the carrier.
  • Do not leave pets unattended in a vehicle for any period of time.
  • Take with you all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one in your new home: food, water, medication, bed, litter box, food and water bowls and health records.

    Once you settle into your new home:

  • For the first few days in your new home, it’s smart to confine your cat to one room, while you work on putting the rest of the place in order. Prepare the room with your cat’s bed, litter box, food, water bowls and toys.
  • Allow your animals to explore the new home with you. This can lessen their stress and allow you to see if they have any issues with the new place.
  • Your dog’s introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place, including his bed and crate, toys, food and water bowls.
  • Try to schedule your work so that you are off for the first two or three days after moving into a new place. This lets both you and your pets decompress.
  • If you must be away from home for many hours each day, look into a pet-sitter or dog day care.
  • Make your new home safe for all pets by being mindful of, or providing a secure place, for hazards that can poison, burn, electrocute, strangle, topple, allow escape or theft.
  • As soon as possible, choose a veterinarian and take a practice drive to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Include the new number with other emergency contact information and make it readily available.

    Could your dog be a matchmaker?

    Evidence suggests that your pooch could be the path to the perfect soul mate!

    According to some studies, walking a dog increases a person's chances of meeting other people. One independent, national survey concluded that nearly 60 percent of people met others through their pets. "It's the greatest trick in the book. Using a dog to meet people is becoming more common,' says Michael Webs, author and romantic columnist.

    The doggie dating idea has caught on well in Dallas, why not in Savannah? Eight at Eight, a Dallas dinner club for singles, now throws an annual Bark in he Park event.

    "Dogs act as social ice breakers and help people strike up friendly conversation with each other," says Eight at Eight Membership Director, Heather Robertson. "Sometimes it is difficult to strike up conversations with complete strangers, but being with a dog gives a safe, non-threatening, neutral topic to start some dialogue."

    "A cute puppy," says one shy Savannah lothario, "is the perfect chick magnet. Girls can't resist a sweet little puppy!"

    And plenty of women find that guys can't resist a girl on the other end of a leash.

    Pets May Soon Live Longer & Stronger With Cranberries

    Fido and Fluffy may soon see more naturally beneficial ingredients like cranberries in their pet food. New research suggests that pet food manufacturers will increasingly add cranberries to their products to take advantage of the health benefits recognized by dog and cat owners.

    The study, conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes of the Center for Business Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, surveyed 44 North American pet food manufacturers, roughly half of the industry. Currently, 38 percent of respondents use cranberries in their pet foods and 60 percent of study participants said that they would definitely or probably increase the amount of cranberries that they use in their products.

    Cranberries contain a unique bacteria-blocking mechanism, known as antiadhesion, which may prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other conditions in humans. Dogs also frequently suffer from UTIs, and cats often experience inflammation of the urinary tract that can produce UTI-like symptoms.

    The American Animal Hospital Association notes that this is a serious health problem, and suggests that consumers try mixing one to two ounces of cranberry juice into the pet's food as a preventative measure. Cranberries also contain heart-healthy antioxidants, also frequently added to pet food products.

    David Farrimond of the Cranberry Marketing Committee commented, "We often hear of consumers pouring in a little cranberry juice into their pet's food for UTI prevention. It's great that the pet food industry is showing such an interest in making these folks' day-to-day routine easier."

    According to American Demographics magazine, America has 60 million dogs and 75 million cats. Dr. Barnes' study notes that, in 2003, American pet owners spent nearly $13 billion on pet food, and that is projected to increase to $16.7 billion by 2008.

    For more information on cranberries' health benefits and delicious recipes for all the humans at the table, please visit

    The UMass-Dartmouth Cranberry Research Initiative funded Dr. Barnes' study.

    Pet microchip not a panacea

    Your pet’s microchip may not insure his safety as much as you think. According to a recednt survey, 89 percent of respondents did not realize that the United States is one of the only countries worldwide that does not have a universal (or global) scanner that can read all microchips.

    Approximately the size of a grain of rice, pet microchips are devices implanted in pets to provide a permanent form of identification through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) -- a one of a kind ID number. RFID is a wireless data collection technology that uses electronic tags for storing data that is used for identification purposes. More than half (59 percent) of those surveyed about the various microchip systems currently on the market said that they did not know that many of the chips are encrypted and can only be read by proprietary technology.

    "We are not surprised by the results of this study. The competing technologies available in the U.S. are providing a false sense of security for pet owners," said John Snyder, senior director of companion animals and equine protection with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). "If the United States does not adopt a global scanner, pet owners run the risk of losing the beloved pet that the microchip is supposed to protect."\

    With an estimated two million cats and dogs in the U.S. currently carrying microchips, many of these ID systems are still encrypted and can only be read by proprietary technology. This means that while a pet owner may have had his/her pet implanted with a microchip, the chip may not be readable by animal shelters or other recovery organizations that only have one scanner.

    Additionally, the survey revealed that 88 percent of the population is unaware that microchips implanted in dogs or cats in the United States may not be readable overseas or in Canada, as the U.S. is one of the only countries worldwide that does not use the ISO -- International Standards Organization -- standard. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association pet travel rose 33 percent to 20 million -- 80 percent of them dogs - in 2004. And, during the spring and summer season, the Travel Industry Association estimates that more than 32 million Americans will be traveling with a family pet, increasing the risk of a pet getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings.

    Losing a pet is a significant problem. More than half (53 percent) of respondents have had a pet lost or stolen or know someone who has, and 50 percent of that group indicated that their pets were not found. A microchip can ensure that a dog or cat is returned to its rightful owner, but only if it is readable by the scanner.

    "Due to the competing technologies being sold in the U.S., a universal scanner, at the very least, is a necessary step that will provide a viable solution to this problem," said Parvis Hassan-Zade, CEO of DATAMARS SA.

    A global scanner that can read all chips is supported by the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families (, whose members include the Humane Society of the United States and the American Veterinary Medical Association, among others.

    Pet Travel Tips

    According to a recent survey, nearly half of all pet owners pack their pets along with their luggage when they travel. But surprising to some, 31% of male pet owners surveyed stated they are likely to hit the road with Fido, making them eight percent more likely than women to travel with their pet. The survey also found that 15% of the surveyed pet owners traveled with their pet more in 2004 than in previous years.

    According to the Travel Industry Association, an estimated 14% or 29 million Americans travel with their pets. "It's not surprising that the number of people who travel with their pets continues to increase as more and more resources and pet-friendly accommodations become available," says author and pet trainer, Andrea Arden. "Pets are important members of the family so it's only natural that people want to include them on family vacations."

    In an attempt to accommodate this trend, an increasing number of hotel chains are becoming "pet friendly." Wyndham Hotels and Resorts now offers doggie dining experiences and even doggie spa services, where beloved four-legged pals can be pampered with a "paw-dicure." Some airlines, including Midwest Airlines and United Airlines, are also taking advantage of the large number of those who travel with pets by offering owners frequent flyer miles that can translate to free trips.

    While pet travel can be a fun and rewarding experience, it's important to plan ahead and follow safety precautions that will protect one's pet and family from hidden dangers. Pet owners are apparently taking note, as 88% of respondents said they visit the veterinarian to ensure their pets are up-to-date on all shots prior to traveling.

    Tips for Avoiding Common Road Blocks While Traveling with Pets

  • Twenty percent of those who travel with their pet are most likely to take a trip to the beach or a lake. Protect your pet and your family by making yourself aware of potential safety or health risks at your destination and along the way and plan accordingly, especially if you're planning an active, outdoor vacation like camping or hiking.
  • Determine the best mode of transportation. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is fit to fly, sail or take on a road trip. If traveling by car, plan to stop every two hours to let your pet stretch and have a drink of water. If traveling by air, inquire about the airline's pet welfare policies ahead of time and always try to fly on the same flight as your pet.
  • Make sure that your pet is up-to-date on all of his shots. Also, ask your veterinarian about a monthly heartworm preventive like HEARTGARD(R) Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel). Sixty one percent of those surveyed said they make certain their pet is on a heartworm preventive to ensure their dog is safe when visiting areas with high mosquito populations. Some monthly heartworm preventives also treat hookworms and roundworms that may be passed from pets to people, especially young children.
  • Keep your pet on a leash. Also, make sure your pet has a collar with a license and ID tag(s) listing his name and yours, along with your address and cell phone number. It is always a good idea to carry a current photograph of your dog as well.






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