Paws crossed for the PACT Act.

You may have heard the promising news? On Tuesday, October 22nd animals became one step closer to having more legal protection than ever before. On that date, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill called the PACT Act, that makes animal cruelty a felony. The PACT Act which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture, was introduced to the House by Florida congressmen Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanon and will revise a previous passed law, The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which bans “crush” videos, passed in 2010.

Florida congressmen, Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch

Currently, federal law only prohibits animal fighting, and only criminalizes violators when they create AND sell videos depicting the actual cruelty. There is one more loophole for the violators. The current law prohibits the creation and distribution of these horrific crush videos, but the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law. The PACT Act will amend the federal criminal code to prohibit the intentional acts of crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise subjecting animals to serious bodily harm. This new bill essentially covers the intentional torture of animals, but not neglect, general welfare, or other issues.

The PACT Act allows authorities to go after the violators because they will have federal jurisdiction and will not be bound by state laws. If the bill becomes a law, there will be a federal anti-cruelty statute that would allow the FBI and other federal agencies to arrest and prosecute those who torture and kill innocent animals. Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, states “This is a chance for our nation to end the most heinous forms of intentional animal cruelty. It is a historic moment in our country when we can come together to protect those who have no voice. We are so close to ushering in a law that would generate monumental shifts in how those who commit animal torture are prosecuted.”

What needs to happen now? Now we hope for President Trump to sign it.

Paws crossed that the PACT Act is passed, but what does this mean locally? Of course, this new bill has exceptions. The exceptions include protection for potential violators from normal veterinary care, hunting and conduct necessary to protect life or property from a serious threat caused by an animal. The local spin on these exceptions: if your dog is chasing livestock, whomever owns that livestock can shoot your dog, legally. Dogs can still be chained up and living outside day and night. Hunting includes trapping, a topic that is all too familiar in our local communities with three trapping incidents reported over the last nine days. A word within the PACT Act that has some local familiarity is the word “intentional.” Webster defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way. Intention to harm must but be proven in order for someone to be found guilty. We’ve learned that intention is an incredibly hard thing to prove in a court of law. According to a recent poll on Newsweek.com, Wyoming ranks 49 out of 50 states in terms of animal protection, but here’s the good news, if the PACT Act passes, it will be the first time in history that in Wyoming someone can be charged with animal cruelty. If the Wyoming courts toss it out due to state laws, one can still be persecuted federally.

Within the Animal Welfare world, we must celebrate the small victories. The PACT Act proves that there are people out there doing the hard-legislative work to protect animals within the law. In a day that our nation feels divided, an unanimously passed bipartisan animal cruelty law gives us a lot of hope for the future and is a significant victory for all living creatures.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

While October is a month that makes us giddy for doggie Halloween costumes and pumpkin spiced everything, it’s a month that brings awareness to a much darker topic. October was dubbed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence back in 1981. For many, home is a safe place of warmth and love for the whole family, including our pets, but for millions of others home is anything but a sanctuary. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women are victims of physical violence by a partner every year. According to the Huffington Post, there were 11,766 women who were murdered by their current or ex-male partners between the years of 2001-2012. To put this in perspective, during the same time, 6,488 U.S. Troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The trauma of domestic abuse deeply affects humans and pets. Pets’ basic needs can be neglected during violent cycles of abuse. Pets are used as leverage by an abuser to force compliance and often pets become targets of violence themselves. Typically, the abuser’s goal is to have control over their victim’s life, and they often find the leverage in a victim’s beloved pet. “Between 18% and 48% of battered women delay leaving a dangerous situation out of concern for their pets’ safety,” warns the Animal Welfare Institute and over 50% of women do end up leaving their pets behind with their batterers. Not having a safe haven for the victim, their children, and their pets is a huge road block in a victim’s decision to get out. Today, very few domestic violence shelters in the U.S. allow pets.

Locally, the Community Safety Network is a fully pet-friendly campus. PAWS and CSN’s partnership program, SafePAWS, has been helping local victims and their pets since 2008. The original idea came from former PAWS Board Member, Maria Hayashida, “a friend of mine sought refuge at my house for a month with her dog since, at the time, CSN didn’t allow animals onsite. I think her experience made me stand up and act to formalize my idea of providing foster care for people’s animals.” In the early days of SafePAWS, PAWS staff and community members fostered the pets of victims. PAWS E.D. Amy Moore states, “When we started SafePAWS we only offered pet fostering. Due to the nature of the program there was very little advance notice when a pet needed shelter, so the vast majority of the pets ended up in my home. At one point I had a giant African Grey Parrot cage in my kitchen. By the end of the parrot’s stay, he had a whole new vocabulary! That’s when we knew it was time to build the SafePAWS shelter.”

Our partnership has evolved from fostering to having two pet dedicated sanctuaries on CSN’s campus. Coney’s Cottage, a fully functional on-site pet cottage was erected in 2010 and an additional safe haven for cats was constructed in the winter of 2019. Both options give pet families a place to be safely sheltered and cared for by their families. Often victims seek refuge and comfort from their pets during these times of stress, and keeping them together as a family is the best option for all. Outside of actual sheltering PAWS offers supplies, wellness exams, and any medical aid they need. Since 2008, SafePAWS has protected over 70 pets from domestic violence. Over the last two years SafePAWS is averaging 10 pets per year who are in need of our services. With aid from SafePAWS, CSN is the only domestic violence shelter in Wyoming that shelters the entire family.

 

SafePAWS cat safe haven was completed in early 2019 with funding from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and by the Bowen family.

 

Coney’s Cottage dedication in 2010. Former PAWS Board Member, Maria Hayashida, and current Executive Director, Amy Moore pictured.

As October comes to an end, awareness about domestic violence should not. Knowledge is power and knowing the current environment for victims is essential in order to help them. If you’d like to get involved locally please call the Community Safety Network to learn about volunteer opportunities and/or visit our website: www.pawsofjh.org to donate directly to the SafePAWS program.

New friendly faces and fun events!

We’ve added to our team! Meet David Watson our new Development Director, and two new board members—Michael Coles and Paul Mower.

STAFF

Watson moved to Jackson in 1999 to fulfill a lifelong dream of living out West. Over the past 20 years he has become a successful fundraiser, leader, and permanent fixture in the nonprofit community. Watson spent 15 years at Teton Science Schools and more than four years at Teton Raptor Center. He said he is very excited to bring his fundraising skills to PAWS and to combine his love for animals, people, and the community into his new role. Watson continues to volunteer for Boy Scouts of America (he is now in his 14th year doing so). He also coordinates the Blair Community Garden and is an accomplished artist. David and his wife Rhonda have two sons, a daughter, and a son-in-law, who all live in Jackson.

BOARD

Michael Coles is a transformational leader, accomplished entrepreneur, author, education advocate, and motivational speaker. He co-founded the Great American Cookie Company and was Chairman, CEO and President of Caribou Coffee Company. In addition to boasting an extensive background in the business world, Coles is actively engaged on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. He’s also passionate about pets and community.

Paul Mower’s caring for animals started at a young age dairy farming in the UK. He initially pursued a career in livestock husbandry with responsibility for quality assurance and animal welfare standards. A change of career path moved Mower into a role in private wealth management. Following time working at financial institutions in the Channel Island, Switzerland and New York, Mower eventually moved to Jackson Hole to set up and run a multi-family office. Paul, with his wife Amy, three children and dog Penny have called the valley home for the past three years.

FUN

We hope that you join us for our first-ever PAWSH party THIS SATURDAY from 6:30-11pm at Hatch Taqueria. Tickets are $25 per human (sorry, no pets) and include 2 specialty cocktails and a self-serve Taco Bar from 7-8pm. Tickets, silent auction, and pay to play booze bottle pull will benefit the PAWS organization.

(Click the ad below for more event info and a working list of the silent auction items.) 

Chances are, you’ve been touched by one of our programs in one way or another. Be it a spay and neuter voucher,  MedFund, or the thousands of MuttMitts that we distribute throughout the valley, we are constantly making an impact on local pets and their people. Help us continue our mission by attending this swanking soiree!

We’re celebrating 20 years!

On September 20th, 1999, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, called PAWS of Jackson Hole, was created. Founder Ann Smith, and a group of local Jacksonites, started a friend of the shelter organization that’s mission was to raise money to donate to the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter for the single purpose of spaying and neutering all of the shelter pets. At the time, the Animal Adoption Center and Lucky’s Place of Star Valley were not in operation yet, and the Teton Valley Humane Society in Driggs, Idaho (now Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter) was in the beginning years of operation. The J/TC Shelter was the only place on this side of Teton Pass for homeless animals. Ann became involved with a similar organization while spending time in Sedona, and saw the need in Jackson for a similar missioned organization. Back then, the town and county did not have a policy of altering animals at the shelter. Pets were adopted out unaltered, would reproduce, and the offspring would wind up at the shelter. It was an endless cycle and the shelter was perpetually overcrowded.

Ann Frame, PAWS Founder Ann Smith, Judy Eddy, and Kym Rupeiks at a Farmer’s Market in 2001.

2006 Home for the Holidays Adoption Drive.

Model’s lining up to walk the runway at 2008 Fur Ball’s Furry Fashion Show.

Dogs being dogs at Sophie’s Place in the winter of 2011.

 

Since 1999, PAWS of Jackson Hole has had significant impact on the Greater Jackson communities. We’ve grown from a grass roots group to a professionally managed organization serving as a community resource to prevent pet homelessness, to protect pets from harm and suffering, to promote responsible ownership. We now have 4 full-time staff members who help pets and their people for their entire lives through 8 programs. PAWS’ staple staff member, Executive Director, Amy Moore states, “When I joined PAWS in 2006, there were regularly 40-50 dogs at the shelter and 60-70 cats. It was overwhelming just trying to get every dog walked each week. Over the years, with the help of PAWS’ Spay/Neuter program, The Shelter Fund and volunteer engagement we’ve seen a dramatic increase in adoption rates and a huge decline in the homeless pet population. Today the norm at the shelter is to have just 6 adoptable dogs and 8 cats. It’s been so incredible to watch the evolution of this shelter over the years and to be able to say that PAWS of Jackson Hole played a part in its success.” PAWS is still the J/TC Animal Shelter’s largest supporter, but over the years PAWS has expanded outside of being just a “friends of shelter” organization to one that supports the community owned pets (and their people) as well.

In 2008 PAWS launched our free spay/neuter program to Jackson/Teton County residents and extended the program into Teton Valley, Idaho and Star Valley, Wyoming in 2011. This program has been a game changer for the shelter numbers and stray population in our areas. Before spay/neuter support was offered, our MedFund program (formally McDoc) was developed. Muffie Beck, an avid animal lover and philanthropist, sadly passed away. In 2002, Muffie’s husband, Hank, approached PAWS to provide funding for emergency or unexpected veterinary care for pets of families experiencing financial hardship. MedFund has aided over 1,100 families since its inception. MedFund was extended to our sister communities in 2019 to continue saving lives. Outside of these three pillar programs, the other 5 continue to thrive and expand. In the animal welfare world, the environment is constantly changing and growing. PAWS’ mission is aligned to be part of the positive changes for pets and their people in our communities.

We invite you to celebrate our 20th anniversary with us at our Chamber Celebration on Tuesday, September 24th on the Cutty’s lawn from 5-7pm.

Old Bill’s Fun Run, the nonprofit Super Bowl

Jackson Hole’s version of a nonprofit Super Bowl is quickly approaching! That’s right, Old Bill’s season is upon us. With thousands of attendees, this event boasts the highest participation level of any fundraiser in town!

While the Old Bill’s energy is something humans look forward to, the canine attendees may have a different outlook. If you’ve attended the event before, you know there are an abundance of sugar-fueled kids, food on every corner, loud noises, and lots of people all crammed into Town Square. This scene is not every dogs’ cat’s meow. Humans have the tools to remove ourselves from over stimulating and stressful situations. We have a voice and the ability to reason. Please be mindful of the environment you’re putting your pup in when you bring them along to OBFR. If your pup has a history of performing well in this type of environment and you bring them along, make sure they’re top priority when it comes to your focus and on leash at all times. It’s easy to get caught up in the Old Bill’s spirit and stop paying attention to your dog’s behavior. Know the signs of stress. If your dog is yawning a lot, licking his lips, and has a pin-straight or tucked tail, he is uncomfortable. One last question to ask yourself before attending the event with your dog is: “Am I bringing Fido for my enjoyment or for his?” It’s fun to bring your pup to public events but this is the ultimate event in terms of testing your dog, and he may be more comfortable at home.

We are so thankful for Old Bill’s Fun Run. Our eight programs heavily rely on donations made through Old Bill’s. Let’s take a look back on the last 12 months to see your dollars at work. Since last year’s OBFR we’ve issued over 1,150 spay/neuter vouchers. If half of those pets were females and produced one litter of 4, our community would have 2,300 more pets needing homes. PAWS has spent over $24,000 on emergency/unforeseen veterinary care, keeping those pets alive, healthy, and with their families. A new cat room was constructed at our SafePAWS facility for cats needing a safe haven from domestic violence. 208 hours of dog training was sponsored for the adoptable dogs at the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter. 150,000 mutt mitts were distributed and over 200-man hours were paid for to maintain our 23 mutt mitt stations. Our DART team has attended two training sessions ensuring they are ready to spring into action if a disaster occurs. Over 300 students participated in multiple Humane Education courses. Countless dogs enjoyed the Winter Dog Park for another season. Plus, we set up our outreach materials over 30 times promoting responsible pet ownership. Thank you for supporting us!

Meet Olive, the 702nd pet our spay/neuter voucher program has provided surgery for in 2019.

 

Spring 2019 Disaster Animal Response Team training.

 

New SAFEPAWS cat safe haven.

 

Humane Education participant Eli sharing a moment in class with PAWS staff dog Derby.

 

Kianah (pictured left) received MedFund to repair her knees as well as PAWS sponsored dog-training hours at our local shelter. She was adopted with her sister Kiska in June 2019. 

Want to help us continue our work? It’s our 20th Anniversary! We are asking every pet owner to donate $20 (or more) to keep these programs funded for another year!. See you in a few weeks!

To donate to PAWS via Old Bills: https://cfjh.iphiview.com/cfjh/DonorView/DonateNow/tabid/464/Default.aspx

 

It’s DOGUST, let’s pawty!

When dogs enter animal shelters, the staff has to guess their age by looking at their teeth, eye clarity, body composition, and coat color. Guessing their true birthday is just not possible.

Shelter dogs rejoice because TODAY is your birthday. The North Animal Shore League, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue organization, declared August 1st, known as DOGUST, as the universal birthday for all shelter dogs. Hooray and Happy Birthday to all dogs who are waiting for their forever home in an animal shelter- that’s a lot of candles on top of that pup cake! If you have extra time today stop by a shelter with treats and take a doggo for a birthday stroll (singing is optional).

Pet birthdays are a time where pet owners really let our freak flags fly. Bacon for breakfast, Big Mac’s at the top of their favorite hike, new plush toys and baskets full of tennis balls dumped on top of them for the ultimate Instagram worthy ball freak birthday experience. In a recent MoneyTalksNews.com article, a poll showed that more than one in five humans have held or attended a birthday party for a pet, and 36 percent of pet birthday bashes cost between $20 to $49.

Ready to start planning your pet’s next birthday? We’ve compiled a list of 5 pet-perfect Birthday parties to help:

1) Start the day with a hike and swim and end it with French fries at the Fido-friendly decks of Streetfood or the Byrd.

2) Is your pet a total ham for the camera? Grab some festive props and set up a photo booth. Let their inner model glow! Make yearly albums highlighting their year for a keepsake.

3) Got a car-ride crazy canine? Turn up the tunes and take them on a drive. [We have photo shoot above]End the mini road trip with a puppucino from a local coffee shop or a birthday baked good from your favorite pet supply store.

4) Does your cat go bananas for laser pointers? Turn down the lights, sprinkle some catnip, break out your disco light, and let them rip. End their soiree with a feline-friendly birthday cake: Combine drained white albacore tuna, sweet potato puree, and a little rice flour in a bowl. Scoop into cookie cutters to create little, round cakes. If you want to get extra fancy, you can make “frosting” by piping mashed potatoes on the cakes. YUMMEOW!

5) Got a less active pet? Host a sleepover. Everyone put on their party pajamas on, make a big bed on the floor, pop some corn, cue the movie marathon, and let the snuggle fest begin! Serve pup-tails of low sodium chicken broth and peanut butter. Shaken not stirred.

Change their Future, become a Foster Parent.

Dubie, with his new family, recently adopted from the J/TC Shelter.

We are so happy to report that a recent dog we fostered, Dubie, is now happy in a home of his very own. When fostering the Dubes, we took him along to a couple of public events, bopped around town with him, he even went up Snow King! This little guy had stamina and was just so happy to be out and about, EVERYTHING was exciting to him.

While showing Dubie off around town in his sporty petite Adopt Me vest, people often stopped us to learn more about the little fella. Mid-way through our spiel, inquiring humans would chime in with, “I could never foster, I would feel so bad bringing him back.” Typically, we answer this question the same way, “we get to be the first part of a positive change for them,” or “fostering does such a service to these little guys,” but neither of these classic responses encompasses why we foster. Recently we saw a quote on Facebook that hit the nail right on the proverbial adoptable head.

Foster homes aid the adoption process by providing a plan of introduction into their new future homes, a “What to expect, when you’re adopting this dog,” if you will. Last winter we fostered a young gal from the J/TC Shelter who had been returned 3 times while out on adoption trials! We volunteered to take her home to see this Jekel and Hyde in action. One minute she was laying on the kitchen floor and then the next she was standing proudly on top of the fridge. Knowing ahead of time that she needed to be kept on leash in the house to teach appropriate house manners was an incredibly useful tool for her future home. Most people are not looking for a fridge surfing dog. We’re happy to report she has never summited a refrigerator in her new home.

Within Jackson, there are two organizations that have Foster Programs: the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter and the Animal Adoption Center. Each of these organizations will send you home with everything you need to make your doggie sleepover successful. To inquire about joining their foster programs, give them a call at 307-733-2139 (J/TC Shelter) or 307-739-1881 (AAC). Both offer foster to adopt opportunities as well if you are in the market for a new fur-clad family member.

Olivia Pollard reading to foster puppy while resident canine sister supervises. (Foster puppy is available through the Animal Adoption Center).

5 Self Indulgent Reasons to Foster:

1) Teach your kids what it takes to own and respect a pet.

2) It’s like speed dating for dogs- not ready for a full-time commitment? Fostering gives you the doggie-fix without the 24/7, 365-day commitment.

3) A fun night for your own pet. Can only own one pup, but have a social pupper-fly on your hands? Make their night and entertain a local adoptable for a sleepover.

4) It’s the perfect volunteer opportunity for the non-people person. If crowds, customer service, and manual labor are not for you, fostering dogs is a great way to give back to your community.

5) The heart explosion YOU feel when you see past foster dogs enjoying life with their new families. There is no better feeling, we promise you that!

 

Buddy, J/TC Animal Shelter, with foster brother ready to be fostered for the weekend.

AAC’s Frito, learning the ropes from foster sister, Ella.

Foster kitten at Aska’s Animals getting healthy and growing while learning valuable pig climbing skills.

National Adopt a Cat Month

Ah June, FINALLY! The sunshine is here and the temps are rising, summer is on the horizon! A fun fact about June: It’s National Adopt a Cat month! Allow us to convince you why cats are king…

The All-American Cat
This may be surprising, but out of the *183.9 million pets living in American households, 94.2 million of those pets are of the feline species. This number has jumped up 20.1 million since 2012. What can we say, CATS ARE TRENDING! You’ve heard the saying once you pop you can’t stop when it comes to Pringles potato chips, and the cat keepers of America feel the same way as the average number of cats per cat owning household is 2 (the average hound count per household is 1).

The Economical Itty-Bitty-Kitty-Committee
When it comes to dollars and cents, cats are more economical than dogs. The initial purchase or adoption prices for dogs far surpass cats. Adoption fees for cats typically range from $20-$150 depending on age including their spay/neuter, microchipping, and initial vaccines- a banging (not barking) bargain. Buying a dog from a breeder is still popular and prices range from $300 -$3,000 depending on breed. Buying a cat from a breeder is much less popular than adoption and prices average between $200-$1,200 depending on breed and color. On top of the initial cost, cats eat less, their food cost less, they need less in terms of boarding, grooming, and overall supplies. Cats tend to be smaller in size, therefore, their medical treatment and medication needs are less. In 2018 the average dog owner spent $1,386 on veterinary care per year, while cat owners averaged $890.

The Low Maintenance Meower
Dog guilt is a real thing. When you work long hours, have a social life, and recreate at the Park or Resort on the weekends, usually, Fido gets jipped. Simply put, dogs require a lot more time and maintenance than cats. Cats use litter boxes and tend to graze their way through their day rather than take down a bowl of chow in minutes. There are cats that are more social and do enjoy more hands-on play time, but they can manage being left without human intervention for longer time periods than pups.

The Stress Reducing Purrer
It’s hard to get on Facebook without your feed being flooded with feline antic videos. Cat owners experience many benefits to their mental health. The presence of a cat can reduce anxiety, loneliness, depression, or even frustration. The actual “purr” that your cat makes has a soothing effect on you, immediately making you feel more relaxed.

So, what are you waiting for? Be a part of the kitty revolution and go out and get yourself a feline friend. You won’t regret it! Whatever size, make, and model you want, our shelters have what you’re looking for! Currently, Petfinder.com shows 212 available cats and kittens within 100 miles.

* APPA National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association.

Check out a few of our staff picks of available cats in our local shelters:

This is a large adult woman. Bathe in the curves of this beautiful lady. While she weighs less than she looks, Fern looks really big because she’s a Main Coon mix which is like wrapping a burrito in cotton candy. Fern is available for adoption from the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter, 307-733-2319.

Call Miss Cleo meow for your free feline psychic reading at 307-739-1881. Her operators at the Animal Adoption Center will help you get in touch with her.

Step 1: Watch this infamous commercial
Step 2: Go to the Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter in Driggs, Idaho and adopt Abigail.

He’s salty, crunchy, and addicting. Call Lucky’s Place of Star Valley at 307-887-PETS to ponder Pretzel.

 

The offseason, the perfect time to prepare.

May is typically a slow month in terms of natural disasters. But inevitably disasters and those affected will be in the news and on our minds in the near future. So, it is the perfect time to practice emergency plans, brainstorm and learn with other organizations, and prepare for the future.

At the beginning of the month Jess Farr, PAWS’ Program Director represented Teton County’s Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (V.O.A.D.) at the Mountain West VOAD Regional Conference in Boise, Idaho. The theme of the conference was , “Together We Serve.” A conference highlight session titled, “How to prepare for everything,” presented by Crisis Clean Up, concluded that everyone’s interpretation of disaster is different, as well as one’s needs before, during, and after are diverse; therefore, how we prepare within our family unit should be unique. You can follow a general checklist to start, but that’s what a generalized checklist should be, just a start. Next year Jackson has been chosen as the conference’s location and all residents and organizations are invited to attend. For more info on 2020’s Mountain West VOAD Conference: https://www.mwvoad.org/

PAWS of Jackson Hole falls within Teton County’s Emergency Management Incident Command System to provide Emergency Sheltering for the pets of Teton County, WY and Teton County, ID. On May 11th, some of our volunteer team members got together for a full- size live exercise of shelter set up, pet intake, daily operation, and breakdown. A few cooperative community members volunteered as actresses bringing in pets, donations, and volunteer inquiries to test our Shelter Team. Live canine and feline actors were present as shelter clients. The feline actors were the least cooperative of the bunch, as you could imagine. Rich Ochs of Teton County Emergency Management observed our process and facilitated a debriefing of how our operation can (and will) improve. After a 90-minute-long session of suggestions, improvements, brainstorming and pizza eating, Rich asked our team a question, “Do you feel more prepared to set up an Emergency Shelter after this exercise?” A unanimous “YES,” chimed from all attending team members.

In order to best serve our community’s pets and people, we ask that you have an up to date copy of vaccination records for your pet on hand to bring with you when your pet needs emergency sheltering. These records will aid our team in providing the best care for your pet. Our DART team also asks that pets arrive at the Emergency Shelter on leash/ in cat carrier in order to ensure the safety of the pets, the public, and our volunteer team members. We will be updating our website soon to include a general checklist (remember what general checklists are for) to help you start planning for what your pet needs to use our Emergency Shelter if the DART team is called upon.

 

It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week

Do you feel like there’s always some sort of national awareness day or week? If only National Margarita Appreciation Week was every week. This week April 7th – April 14th is a week that highlights a topic a bit more serious than margaritas, National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Over 4.5 million people, about half of which are children, are bit by dogs every year, with the states of Texas and California leading in those numbers of incidents. The good news is this number has gone down a bit year to year and the majority of these bites are preventable.

When out at the Cowboy on a rowdy Saturday night you may tell two different people to “Talk to the hand,” and get two very different reactions… this concept holds true with dogs. One particular dog may not mind you hovering over them telling them how they are the bestest boy in the whole wide world, but this action may scare and provoke another dog to fear bite.

It’s good to get kids started at a young age of respecting a dog’s space, body, and boundaries. Teach your kids to never approach a dog while its eating or a mom with puppies. Moms with puppies will act like any other mama lion with her cubs, protective. Kids should learn how to appropriately approach dogs and pet dogs – never pulling, poking, or using them as a coffee table.

We’ve all spent an evening or two falling into the abyss of cute online videos of dogs and babies, and while there are dogs who don’t mind being used as furniture, its always good to move slowly and know the signs that a dog is uncomfortable, and never allow kids to behave this way with an unknown dog. If the dog’s body is stiff, eyes are wide, they curl their lips or pant or yawn, and tails are curled or straight as an arrow, immediately stop and give them lots of space. Allow them to come to you and position themselves where they want to be. Most of the time if a dog snaps it’s because of an invasion of space and their bodies. How do you feel when someone is standing on your foot at a concert and doesn’t get the hint? If a dog growls, don’t reprimand or correct them, its basically their way of saying, “Step off, I’m not ok with what’s going on.” Always have kids ask for permission to approach a dog out in public and have them act like a tree (standing still with hands at their side) if a dog approaches them without supervision. Have kids approach dogs from the side and offer their flat hand for the dog to sniff. Once the dog has made contact with them, they can give the dog some light and slow-moving pets.

As adults we need the reminder that what we may find as a fun and social event, our dog may not think the same. Often bites occur at events like outdoor concerts and farmer’s markets. Food + zooming kids + loud music + other dogs + distracted dog owners is the perfect recipe for even the gentlest of dogs to snap a bite. Add fireworks to the mix and not only will you have a terrified dog, you may loose hold of them as well, and now have a missing and distressed dog that you need to find. Aside from stressful social events some dogs bite out of the blue due to medical reasons. Keep up on your dog’s check-ups, if a new area on their body is hurting them and someone touches it, they may bite protecting their new injury. Older dog’s who have hip problems will protect that sore part of their body from people and other approaching dogs. Think about it, when you have the flu, you may bite (with your words) those around you because they’re causing you more pain and annoyance… the same holds true for our canines.


To help dogs figure out the world and minimize the chances of biting, socialize them early using the proper techniques. Get them used to being held by new people, have them smell new smells, experience new noises, and introduce them to other dogs (once vaccinated) slowly that you know are good with pups. Never use fear or violence to reprimand them. If your toddler has a tantrum, removing them from the situation immediately is a common human mechanism for “training.” This exact removing from the fun or stressful environment works on pups too. You can’t handle the fun in an appropriate manner? The fun is taken away.

Not all dogs thrive at a dog park. If your dog cowers, curls their tail under, or is tiny and continuously gets trampled on, its time to leave the Dog Park, its not for them. This is a two-way street; some dogs can be the bullies. If your dog is constantly tackling dogs, humping the same dog, and biting at the faces of other dogs, you may have a “bully” on your hands. Again, take the fun away, and don’t bring a pup who is prone to this behavior to a dog park, have them play in smaller groups in a more controlled environment instead. To learn more about how to assist your canine kid to grow out of this behavior a local trainer is always someone that can bring some professional advice to learning the body language that is exhibited before an incident, and how to help them learn a different behavior.

If you’d like to learn more about Dog Bite Prevention there are some great free online webinars happening this week.

To learn more: https://www.gooddoginabox.com/dog-bite-prevention-week-2019-webinar-summit/?gclid=CjwKCAjwqLblBRBYEiwAV3pCJou8W4n5gWjqwioEvvK6pIIdb_a2A_1gqln9ibZLMYKcQ_MAK8sInBoCVvMQAvD_BwE