Kerry’s update: February 13

WE NEED YOU AGAIN! CAARA back on the table (previously known as Oreo’s Law)
(Below written by John Sibley)

Though the ASPCA gives the occasional glimmer of hope, recent events remind me that they remain mired in a killing mentality and seek to preserve the status quo in sheltering, even fighting to expand the power of shelters to kill at will.

Recently the ASPCA convinced NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin to introduce their pseudo-shelter reform legislation. Embarrassed by the outcry in favor of Oreo’s Law (now CAARA), they immediately scrambled to write their own shelter reform law – one that they could claim made a difference for the better in the lives of NY animals while actually quietly blocking actual reform and expanding NY shelters’ power to kill.

The ASPCA co-opts meaningful shelter reform legislation largely by copying it but then including weasel words like substituting “may” for “shall”. So instead of requiring shelters to work with outside rescue groups, it simply says that they can if they choose to. Other meaningful reforms, like requiring shelters to scan for microchips, post found animals online, and make an effort to match lost and found animals are scuttled by including an exception if the shelter does not find it “practicable” to do so. Well, given the choice, they won’t find it practicable, which is why we need legislation that mandates it.

Most destructively and unbelievably, the ASPCA written legislation contains a clause that would, for all practical purposes, eliminate the legally mandated holding period for stray animals by allowing shelters to kill any animal who they found to be in “psychological pain”. This is nothing less than a declaration of war on feral cats, scared dogs, or any animal that found themselves scared and confused upon being brought into the chaotic shelter environment – or any animal they simply wanted to find a flimsy excuse to kill. Animals judged by laypeople with no training whatsoever to be in “psychological pain” could be killed instantly on admission to the shelter and bypass the legally required holding period to give their owners the chance to find them.

New Yorkers, we need your help – quickly. This bill, known as New York Assembly Bill A05449A, will face its first committee vote on Wednesday, February 15th. We haven’t much time. The first thing we need to do is to tell our elected officials that we will not tolerate an ASPCA encouraged increase in shelter killing in New York State.

Please visit New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s Facebook page and leave her a polite, personal comment asking her to withdraw her bill, A05449A, from consideration. Asw. Paulin is up for re-election in November and wants to be a champion of animals in New York State, and she probably would not want to risk her re-election on being dubbed Amy “Quick Kill” Paulin. You might also consider sending her a message on Twitter, although she appears to use that less. Also drop an email to ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres and ASPCA Board President Mary Jo White and let them know what you think of their organization’s legislation. Then visit the following four links to email key legislators to send them your thoughts:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

Keep in mind that although you can use the text that’s been written for you, a heartfelt personal note always goes a long way.

Finally, support REAL change in the form of CAARA, which mandates REAL reform instead of making it optional. CAARA is trying to get the support of NYS Senator Patty Richie, Chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, and her support would really help move the bill forward. Email her here and ask her to support this lifesaving effort – and you can read more about CAARA here and read the complete text of the bill here. New York’s animals deserve better than the deadly slight of hand of the ASPCA Quick Kill. They deserve the lifesaving provisions of CAARA.

Sanctuary Animal Updates
Since my last update all the way back in November (has it really been that long?) 134 dogs were adopted and 111 dogs came in. 42 cats were adopted and 29 were taken in. We had a great month in January for pitty adoptions! Zena, Nova, Otis & Ellie, Muppet & Mugsy all went home. Through no fault of their own, pit bulls take a lot longer to adopt than the average dog. I would venture to say that the pit bull is the perfect family dog. Many people are shocked to hear that but I truly believe that if you are looking for a perfect dog for your family, then the pit bull is it. However, because of public misconceptions abut these dogs they are often overlooked and under estimated. The reality is that the pits are used for fighting because they are so easily trainable and because they want so much to please their owners. Left without such bad influences in their life they are a highly trainable, highly manageable and highly loyal family pet. Please help dispel negative pit bulls myths. Here at Pets Alive all our Humane Education dogs are pits and that is by design! We have a unique opportunity to teach the public about how wonderful these dogs are. Please consider adopting a pit bull. They are being literally slaughtered in shelters all across the country. Help us by adopting one, so we can save another one.

We also adopted a lot of senior animals, with the feature being our sweet Simon/Pops! Abandoned as a senior dog at the slaughterhouse known as the CACC in NYC, he was almost immediately put on their euthanasia list. We looked into those big brown eyes and knew we couldn’t let him die in a cold institution with no one around to love him. Simon quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite and many volunteers would make sure that he was on their daily “to walk” list. Then the worst happened. Simon contracted distemper. Even though Simon was completely immunized, and up to date on all his shots, he still fell sick and we almost lost him. For many months it was touch and go, and at times we thought maybe the end was near, only to have him rally and pull through again. Finally after five months of being ill, Simon was given a clean bill of health. And then shortly after that, he was adopted to his forever home. Simon lives the life of luxury now in a home with people who adore him, who are patient with him and who saw worth in those soulful brown eyes – just like we did. Congratulations Simon. We are so glad you came into our lives and we were able to find you a place to live out the rest of your life. From horror and abandonment to love and caring. We are grateful to have been the instrument of that for you.

I don’t usually feature two dogs, but I also really need to mention the adoption of Lucky Lincoln. Lincoln was also pulled from the CACC, all the way back in 2006. Lincoln was a chow who had some serious aggression issues for a while and he was always a “red” caution dog while at Pets Alive. Over the years with a lot of love and training, he really started to mellow out and learn to enjoy life, people, treats and attention. Many volunteers came to us and said they didn’t feel he should be red dog anymore and our trainers agreed, so he was lowered to a “yellow” dog. When we realized even children could handle him and all his old resource guarding and food aggressions had completely dissipated we ultimately made him a “green” dog. We still couldn’t believe it though when an adoption application came in for him. An older, retired man was interested in him. He lived alone, was home all the time and wanted to give a senior dog a new chance at a home and a life. He wanted Lucky Lincoln. We explained all of Lincoln’s prior incidents and cautioned the adopter on the possibility of stressing him, or changing his environment which might cause a relapse in some of the behaviors. But our caution wasn’t needed. In December, Lincoln – at the age of 12 years old and living at Pets Alive for more than five years, finally went home. NEVER give up. EVERY dog has a chance at a new life and a forever home. Every day we are shown this and taught this all over again. Good for you Lincoln. I am glad you are finally in your perfect place. You waited long enough and you deserve this.

This week we had to let go of one of our absolute favorite dogs. Biggie Smalls finally succumbed to old age and complications related to tumors and other medical issues. For many months we thought it might be his time to pass on, but he too rallied and came through and would begin to dance and run around like a puppy again. We breathed a sigh of relief and smiled inwardly that our old man had beat the odds again. But finally, Biggie was unable to get up on his own anymore and was in so much pain that we could no longer control it or ease it with medication. When he started snapping at his favorite volunteers and staff whenever we handled him, we knew that he was telling us it was time to be released. With a massively heavy heart, we let our old boy go. It was a painful time for us all and we are so sorry that his possible forever home came a little too late. For just that week, we approved an application for Biggie. I like to think that he was just tired and decided he would rather die in our arms, where he was so loved and so familiar and to give us that gift of being able to hold him and say our goodbyes. Goodbye big guy. Rest in peace and run – run like the wind. You’re free now.

Mass Rescue:
Last month Pets Alive saved over 100 dogs from Arkansas. It was a typical story of a rescue that had gotten in over their head and then the founder was extremely ill, leaving no contingency plan in place. Pets Alive stepped in and with the help of the Southwinds Animal Hospital and the ASPCA we brought 76 dogs from that rescue to Pets Alive and 39 dogs from other local rescues in Arkansas to help the situation there. All the dogs are doing pretty well although many needed a great deal of medical care. 26 were heartworm positive and four needed major surgeries when they got here. The medical costs have been absolutely staggering. If you can help us with these costs, we would greatly appreciate that. Just click the DONATE button at the end of this email.

Job Opening:
Pets Alive Westchester in Elmsford NY is in need of an administrator/volunteer coordinator. Salary is between $30-35k depending on level of experience and other related factors. You would need to work on Saturday and if you can do Sunday too that would be great, but Saturday is required. One day working from home or from the Middletown location may also be possible. You would be required to coordinate and assign all offsite adoption events and volunteer activities, handle volunteer orientation, mailing, management and needs. You’d need to recruit volunteers, retain volunteers and develop a volunteer appreciation program. In addition to managing the volunteer aspect of the facility, you would also be the administrator to the Executive Director, handling some of the finances, paperwork, computer and data tasks, errands, phone calls and other duties as needed. We are looking for someone that thinks outside of the box. That doesn’t accept no for an answer. That has a WIN attitude. That can get along with others, and even those that may be more difficult to work with. You need to be a complete self starter – SEEING what needs to be done before anyone else and acting to implement change and improvement. We don’t offer a great salary but we offer the best job you’ll ever have in your life and the feeing that you’ve helped change the world for the better that day every time you go home each night. Are you this person? Then we NEED you. If interested, email us a resume:

Farm Animal Update:
We are happy to report that Glen’s goats, Goatee McGoat and McTavish McGoat found their forever home last month! They are VERY happy in their new home and they live with a horse and a herd of alpacas. Since we adopted out two goats, we almost immediately took in two more. Blaine and Hayden are seven month old goats and just adorable. They have a way of getting out of ANY enclosure so we have had to be pretty crafty to keep them confined to an area that doesn’t involve the neighbors houses, the town deli or the road. So far so good but they are rather determined so we’re keeping a close eye on them.

We also took in another pig. her name is Daisy and she is a white pig. We had thoughts of putting her and Delilah together but so far they hate each other. We think we could make it work, but since Delilah is adopted and leaving soon, we aren’t pressing the issue and for now they are living separately. Stop by and say hello to Daisy. When she first came here she was VERY shy and wouldn’t tolerate handling or touching. Now she comes right over to the fence! Also please bring your leftover vegetables and fruit. The pigs could really use more fresh produce in their diet (and our birds like and need it too!)

Medical Update
Since our handsome pitty Okra’s arrival here in September, he has kept everyone on their toes with his medical problems. Shortly after Okra arrived and stole everyone’s heart, staff noticed spots of blood in his kennel. He was his energetic and happy self when we went in to investigate and determined that Okra suffered from a condition that most of the pit bulls we encountered also suffer from, “Happy Tail”. Literally they wiggle and shake their hind ends so vigorously that their tail tips whip against their bodies and sides of their enclosures, resulting in fresh blood deposits. Although it doesn’t seem to “bother” them, it bothers the rest of us, yet getting it under control can be difficult. Sometimes moving them into a larger run, or a quieter location can help, but many times the tail just can not heal due to their constant “happiness” and resulting tail wagging! This was the case with Okra. Although bandages were attempted, he wound up needing his tail amputated. And not even just ONCE. Okra would NOT leave his incision alone. So two surgeries down, lots of bandage supplies, dozens of e-collars, and stressed out staff, Okra has a new stubby nub and he wears it very well. As though the humiliation of wearing duct-taped e-collars for months on end was not torture enough for this guy, last week Okra suddenly fell very ill. He went from running around playing with his Kong, to inappetence, projectile vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. In fact within a matter of simply hours, Okra was expelling bright red liquid from an undetermined orifice of his body. Okra was rushed directly to our vet, who quickly sent out bloodwork and got him on IV fluids to prevent dehydration. After two days, he came back home, and though greatly improved, he was still not quite himself. His bloodwork came back with no abnormalities. We are all still baffled by what could have caused such sudden onset and severity of symptoms, and honestly we may never know. It has now been one week since he came back home and he is finally back to his happy, stub wagging, water-bowl throwing self. You just have to love this guy!

Biggie Smalls the geriatric shepherd mix has been with us now for many MANY years. To be honest, Biggie was old when we first rescued him, and thus now he is REALLY old. I didn’t think he’d have much time left even at that point, but through the years he has shocked me by maintaining a good quality of life. He has many volunteers that come to see him, he loves going outside for walks, and he LOVES his treats! But lately we have seen a greater decline in his quality of life. He has been showing more and more signs of his old age. It has become harder for him to get up and his breathing has become heavier. Bloodwork was sent out and he was tested for Lyme. Biggie is already on joint supplements, thyroid medication and more recently pain medication. We moved Biggie into an office so that he doesn’t have to hang out in the kennel and can relax in a comfortable warm setting. The entire staff is hoping that Biggie remains in relatively good health and is trying to make him as comfortable as possible. (note that this medical update was written a week before we lost Biggie)

Lucky is a nine year-old border collie mix who was surrendered to us last month when her owner decided he didn’t have time for her. Although she may be considered a senior due to her age, this energetic girl acts anything but old. She is Miss “Happy go Lucky” greeting anyone who comes near and trying to convince them to take her for another walk. But the day she arrived, we noticed that her left ear was completely swollen (hematoma) from chronic infections. Lucky also was in need a dental, and her former owner also mentioned in passing that she drank and urinated a lot. “A lot” was quite the understatement. Poor Lucky was straining to urinate every few seconds. We got her to the vet where we discovered that Lucky had a stone in her bladder the size of a baseball!!! The next day she had surgery to remove the stone. I can only imagine the pain and discomfort this poor dog had been going through for years. Laboratory analysis of the stone came back indicating that a prescription diet would be helpful in preventing new stone formation.

Boo Boo is a sleek male tuxedo cat who arrived in November from another rescue group. He adjusted fairly quickly to his new surroundings in the cat house, but within a few weeks, he appeared to be limping and had some crusty discharge around his mouth. We took him to the vet for x-rays and an exam. Boo Boo, although only supposedly 5 years of age, was in need of a dental. But as our veterinarian was working in his mouth he was shocked to learn that Boo Boo had a broken jaw which was the likely reason for the crusty discharge. The vet had to wire his jaw together in order to secure and allow it to heal (basically the wire holds together and supports the mid-line of the lower jaw. His upper and bottom jaw were NOT wired shut together). A recheck several weeks back revealed that Boo Boo was healing very nicely. He is now scheduled to return next Wednesday to be sedated and have the wire removed. Boo Boo has been an amazing, stoic patient. Most visitors to the cat house are unable to even tell that Boo Boo has any sort of contraption in his mouth. And hopefully after next Wednesday, Boo Boo will be as good as new!

Current Needs
We’re looking for volunteers to participate in offsite adoption events. This requires traveling with our volunteers & animals throughout the community. If interested please send inquiries to You don’t have to commit to many, but it really helps our organization to do offsite events as often as possible to build community relationships, to get our name out there, to be an aid for people in need and to help get our animals seen, so that they can be adopted! Please volunteer to help with this very important part of the no-kill equation! We are also looking for more people to do our Saturday orientations. We’d love to hear from you if you have some free time to help our animals.

Host a Pets Alive Party
Host a “Party for Pets Alive”. Share your passion for rescue with your friends! So far four different people have hosted a “Party for Pets Alive” and raised us over $2500 in cash, plus a bunch of food and other donations.Click here for details! Thank you to Ivy Li & Keith, Susan, Middlehope Vet Hospital and Kathy for hosting these parties and being such great supporters for our cause!

Speaking of Parties…
June 2 is this year’s Fur Ball to be held at the Doubletree in Tarrytown, NY!

Filed in Updates by kerry on Feb 14, 2012.  There are 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Kerry’s update: February 13”

  1. Andrew Kent Says:


    A Brooklyn, NY woman who has been rescuing stray cats for much of her life is in NYC Housing Court and facing eviction along with her 43 rescued cats. If she is evicted, her cats will be taken to the City’s Animal Care & Control facility, where many otherwise adoptable cats may be needlessly euthanized. The Court is also bringing in Adult Protective Services to assess the situation, as it often does in alleged “animal hoarding” cases, and APS could request that AC&C take the cats even before they can be placed in no-kill shelters or adoptive homes.

    She is hoping to keep several of the cats that are too old or feral to be adoptable, and a few that are her personal pets, but the landlord is insisting that, because of her lease’s “no pet” clause, and despite her claim that he knew of at least some of her cats for more than a year, she can’t have any. A lawyer appointed by the court to oversee her compliance says that, under New York’s Pet Law, and even with the Federal entitlement to a companion animal for a person with a disability, she may, if she’s lucky, be allowed to keep only one cat.

    Many of these cats are young, some still kittens, and very adoptable. Some have been spayed or neutered, and a few have had shots, but there are others that still need these procedures. Some are older, some feral or skittish, and a few have health problems or disabilities, and these would most certainly be euthanized if sent to AC&C.

    Most will need to be medically evaluated before they can be placed, and this is beyond her capability due to her low income, lack of personal transportation, and the pressures of time. She has just a few more days to place the cats before her next court appearance on February 16, although APS or another unwelcome intervention could come at any time, and, if she still has “too many” cats, they could take even the ones she wants to keep before that issue can be argued in court. In short, time is of the essence.

    If each animal rescuer, shelter, foster home, or other sanctuary reading this post can take just one or two cats, these defenseless animals can be saved from what is now an uncertain, and probably dire, fate. If you can’t accept even one cat, perhaps you can help with medical services, transportation, legal advocacy or advice, or simply by forwarding this plea to someone who may be able to help. She isn’t asking for money, as she has enough to pay her rent and feed her cats, but she does need to place the cats immediately or, at least, find the supports and services that will make immediate placement possible.

    If you need more information or wish to discuss this crisis further, please reply to this post, email me at, or call me at one of the numbers below.. I know relatively little about the animal rescue community, so any information, advice, contact information, or links will be greatly appreciated. Even if the cats do end up at AC&C, I hope that this early warning will enable those of you who do rescue from AC&C to save as many of them as possible.

    Thank you so much for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you.


    Andrew Kent
    (347) 374-3903 – home
    (718) 791-3628 – cell
    (Both numbers have voicemail)

  2. mike hammond Says:

    just read the above story on lucky lincoln and would like everyone at pets alive to know that he is doing real well. he is walking a little better with the supplements i am giving him and he is enjoying his new home. he is, of course, spoiled rotten, especially at meal time. he gets his can of food, mixed with some dry food, mixed with his supplements and then i cook up some eggs and ground beef to mix in with that. he loves it!!! he loves to go for walks and i try to get him out as often as possible. sometimes , 4 or 5 times a day. he has also turned out to be quite the character, very funny really with his antics, outside and in the house. thanks to pets alive, we met and are both happier for it. well, take care and good luck in all you do

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