SAF-T Program https://saftprogram.org Educating and assisting domestic violence shelters Sat, 23 Jan 2016 23:11:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Animal abuse is a public safety issue https://saftprogram.org/animal-abuse-is-a-public-safety-issue/ https://saftprogram.org/animal-abuse-is-a-public-safety-issue/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 20:43:52 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1753 Whenever I hear that someone has brutalized an animal (not neglect, but actual harm and torture), I know that there is something in their past where either they were harmed or they grew up where violence was normalized. We are not born abusers, we are made abusers. It’s called the cycle of violence. Children who grow up exposed to chronic violence develop beliefs that harming an animal, bullying, misbehaving and other criminal activity is the norm . It’s not the norm. When we see children behaving this way, we need to contact the proper authorities (police or child protection) so that they can intervene to rehabilitate that behavior. Children are witnessing violence at alarming rates. That’s also not normal because it desensitizes them to harm. How many times do we need to see a child kill someone with a gun or harm an animal before we actually do something to stop future incidents? People like to talk about the serial killers and how some of them started by torturing animals. While it’s true, it sensationalizes the documented link between harming animals and harming people. The research is solid that everyday crimes of violence towards animals has a likelihood of connecting to violence towards people. Harm to an animal should be enough for communities and criminal justice professionals to take action, but people often don’t care until they think it will lead to crimes against people. So this is where I spend most of my time … educating human protection professionals, police and prosecutors on why animal abuse is a serious public safety issue. Here’s why: Animal abuse presents a risk of child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse Animal abuse may be an indicator of other violence in the home Animal violence may be a predictor of future violence in the home Animal abuse may be used to threaten victims in the home to remain silent and compliant 62-76% of animal cruelty in the home occurs in front of children Up t0 48% of domestic violence victims will delay or refusing leaving the abusive home because they do not want to leave their pets behind. Animal abuse has been connected to: child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, murder, rape, arson, and more I am often asked why animals are abused because for many of us, we cannot fathom harming an animal. Here are some of the reasons why (from a 2012 study): to normalize other violence going on in the home to gain perverse satisfaction and instill fear in humans in the home punish the animals for a person’s misbehavior jealousy of the pet to demonstrate intolerance for rules being broken (if I can do this to the dog, I can do it to you) threats to keep the woman from leaving as collateral violence (not the target) Research is also verifying at alarming rates that children who witness abuse in the home, particularly animal abuse, are at increased risk of becoming a violent offender against people and animals. One study found that children who witnessed animal abuse at home were more than 8 times more likely to become an offender; Children who are frequently physically punished are more likely to abuse animals; Frequent spanking of 3 years old led to aggression as a 5 year old, against animals; Bullying by children has been connected with animal abuse; Children who witness DV are 3 times more likely to abuse animals. In simple terms, when children and youth are allowed to grow up witnessing violence (whether that is violence in the home or violence on television/movies) their brains are not developed sufficiently to process it. Therefore, they grow up de-sensitized to violence and may become violent themselves. So what can you do? Report violence when you see it (especially against animals). No longer can we say “it’s not my responsibility”, when we are all responsible for how our society evolves. Neighbors are in a fantastic position to often see abuse (because the abuse of animals often happens publicly, outdoors). If you see something, say something. If you fear retaliation, make an anonymous report. I have dedicated the past decade to educating criminal justice professionals on the importance of taking animal abuse seriously as it is directly tied to community safety. Want to learn more about this topic? Click here then click on “please fill out this form” at the top of the page to gain free access to a one hour webinar that I conducted on this topic (I will send you the password within 72 hours). The more we all know about how animal abuse impacts community safety, the safer our communities will be! Are you with me? 🙂 About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and as the director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, she teaches criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the award-winning go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. Most recently she co-authored Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims. Join in on the conversation!    

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Banner-newWhenever I hear that someone has brutalized an animal (not neglect, but actual harm and torture), I know that there is something in their past where either they were harmed or they grew up where violence was normalized. We are not born abusers, we are made abusers. It’s called the cycle of violence.

Children who grow up exposed to chronic violence develop beliefs that harming an animal, bullying, misbehaving and other criminal activity is the norm . It’s not the norm. When we see children behaving this way, we need to contact the proper authorities (police or child protection) so that they can intervene to rehabilitate that behavior.

Children are witnessing violence at alarming rates. That’s also not normal because it desensitizes them to harm. How many times do we need to see a child kill someone with a gun or harm an animal before we actually do something to stop future incidents?

People like to talk about the serial killers and how some of them started by torturing animals. While it’s true, it sensationalizes the documented link between harming animals and harming people. The research is solid that everyday crimes of violence towards animals has a likelihood of connecting to violence towards people.

Harm to an animal should be enough for communities and criminal justice professionals to take action, but people often don’t care until they think it will lead to crimes against people. So this is where I spend most of my time … educating human protection professionals, police and prosecutors on why animal abuse is a serious public safety issue. Here’s why:

  • Animal abuse presents a risk of child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse
  • Animal abuse may be an indicator of other violence in the home
  • Animal violence may be a predictor of future violence in the home
  • Animal abuse may be used to threaten victims in the home to remain silent and compliant
  • 62-76% of animal cruelty in the home occurs in front of children
  • Up t0 48% of domestic violence victims will delay or refusing leaving the abusive home because they do not want to leave their pets behind.
  • Animal abuse has been connected to: child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, murder, rape, arson, and more

I am often asked why animals are abused because for many of us, we cannot fathom harming an animal. Here are some of the reasons why (from a 2012 study):

  • to normalize other violence going on in the home
  • to gain perverse satisfaction and instill fear in humans in the home
  • punish the animals for a person’s misbehavior
  • jealousy of the pet
  • to demonstrate intolerance for rules being broken (if I can do this to the dog, I can do it to you)
  • threats to keep the woman from leaving as collateral violence (not the target)

Research is also verifying at alarming rates that children who witness abuse in the home, particularly animal abuse, are at increased risk of becoming a violent offender against people and animals.

  • One study found that children who witnessed animal abuse at home were more than 8 times more likely to become an offender;
  • Children who are frequently physically punished are more likely to abuse animals;
  • Frequent spanking of 3 years old led to aggression as a 5 year old, against animals;
  • Bullying by children has been connected with animal abuse;
  • Children who witness DV are 3 times more likely to abuse animals.

In simple terms, when children and youth are allowed to grow up witnessing violence (whether that is violence in the home or violence on television/movies) their brains are not developed sufficiently to process it. Therefore, they grow up de-sensitized to violence and may become violent themselves.

Jacob abuse noticeSo what can you do? Report violence when you see it (especially against animals). No longer can we say “it’s not my responsibility”, when we are all responsible for how our society evolves. Neighbors are in a fantastic position to often see abuse (because the abuse of animals often happens publicly, outdoors). If you see something, say something. If you fear retaliation, make an anonymous report.

I have dedicated the past decade to educating criminal justice professionals on the importance of taking animal abuse seriously as it is directly tied to community safety. Want to learn more about this topic? Click here then click on “please fill out this form” at the top of the page to gain free access to a one hour webinar that I conducted on this topic (I will send you the password within 72 hours). The more we all know about how animal abuse impacts community safety, the safer our communities will be!

Are you with me? 🙂

About Allie:

Allie and her Scotty friend Grier

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and as the director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, she teaches criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the award-winning go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. Most recently she co-authored Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims.

Join in on the conversation!

 

 

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Protecting animals from a deep freeze https://saftprogram.org/protecting-animals-from-a-deep-freeze/ https://saftprogram.org/protecting-animals-from-a-deep-freeze/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 23:48:59 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1816 This has been a really tough winter and we’re only in early January! I am originally from Michigan, so freezing temperatures, snow, ice are normal for the winter months for me. But for the past two months, much of the northern part of the U.S. has experienced record-breaking cold, ice and snow. Imagine that you are outside in this subzero weather  with no coat, gloves, scarf or ear muffs …. just the plain clothing on your back? How long would you survive? It would not be very long. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned, stray, feral, wild and farm animals living outside in this freezing weather who need our help. I have heard many people comment recently that “stray animals know how to keep warm.” For some, they may have a pre-destined location that is covered, dry, insulated from wind and protected from subzero temperatures. But not all stray, feral or farm animals have this option; and family pets who have simply been abandoned outside often do not have the survival skills developed to find appropriate shelter. And then what about the dogs and other animals who are chained up outdoors with nothing more than a flimsy dog house? Frozen food, frozen water, and fear of knowing that death is imminent. And then what about farm animals who cannot safely get back to a covered barn? It’s unimaginable to most people how many animals are currently in harms way because of the subzero temperatures being experienced in the north, midwest and even where I am in Virginia. For those of us who love animals, it is important that we educate others and take steps on our own to help these outdoor animals survive. So here’s a few tips to get you started: 1. Educate others about the perils that outdoor animals experience in this weather. Doing so may make them more aware of their surroundings, their neighborhood, and their drive to work, to be on the lookout for animals outdoors who may be in trouble. 2. If you see an animal outdoors without proper shelter, food and water, the law is most likely being broken in every state. If you know the owner, please have a polite conversation with them about bringing the animal inside (if it’s a companion animal) or providing proper shelter, food and water (if it’s a farm or other animal). If that does not result in the immediate acknowledgement to correct the situation, please contact your local law enforcement (animal control or law enforcement) to report the situation. And then stay in contact with the agency to make sure that action is taken. 3. Be alert to animals in your neighborhood. If you have known stray and feral animals, ask neighbors to help you check on these animals frequently. Most animal control agencies will not pick up a stray or feral cat (due to lack of laws allowing this action), so it’s important for us to help them in this weather. If you find a stray or feral animal (that does not have an owner), locate shelters in your area that have warming centers to keep the animals warm and dry until they can be released back outdoors. Then obtain a humane trap to try to catch them and take them in to a warming center. 4. If trapping does not work or is not an option, create small animal enclosures that can be placed in your back yard or around your neighborhood. Alley Cat Allie’s has a webpage dedicated to some shelter options that are easy to make or can be purchased. Be sure to use straw (not hay) to insulate (a must) and make sure these shelters are free from accumulating snow. 5. If you have a barn, shed or other outdoor building that you would be willing to open up to stray and feral animals, all you need to do is crack the door a few inches to let them in. While this could end up being a messy endeavor, I have friends who do this with great success (all year round) and it gives a safe haven to these outdoor animals. 6. Make sure known strays, ferals or other animals that you have common legal access to have plenty of unfrozen clean water. Consider purchasing a bird fountain water heater. 7. If you feed the birds in your yard, do not stop during inclement weather. This is the time that they need bird food and fresh unfrozen water the most. Make sure bird feeders are cleaned of show, and try to position them under something that will protect the food and water from snow. My parents are avid bird feeders. When I was home during Christmas and the massive ice storm hit my hometown (with power outages for over a week), we went outside 1-2 times daily to refill the bird feeders and even leave unshelled peanuts for the squirrels. 8. Check underneath your car for stray animals before driving. They may seek shelter in your engine area or tire wells. Just bang on the hood of your car and kick your tires to let them know to leave. 9. Contact your local shelter and/or animal rescue organization and offer your assistance in providing food to feral cat colonies. 10. Take to social media and post this blog and other posts that you see on how to help outdoor animals during this weather. The more that we can educate others, the better animals will be.   Over the years, society has taken dogs in hot cars very seriously; animals in freezing environments must also be recognized as a deathly hazard. If you have other great ideas on how to help outdoor animals, please post a comment here or on my Facebook page! I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for caring and sharing! About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric

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Tree in my parent's yard after the Christmas ice storm

Tree in my parent’s yard after the Christmas ice storm

This has been a really tough winter and we’re only in early January! I am originally from Michigan, so freezing temperatures, snow, ice are normal for the winter months for me. But for the past two months, much of the northern part of the U.S. has experienced record-breaking cold, ice and snow.

Imagine that you are outside in this subzero weather  with no coat, gloves, scarf or ear muffs …. just the plain clothing on your back? How long would you survive? It would not be very long. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned, stray, feral, wild and farm animals living outside in this freezing weather who need our help.

I have heard many people comment recently that “stray animals know how to keep warm.” For some, they may have a pre-destined location that is covered, dry, insulated from wind and protected from subzero temperatures. But not all stray, feral or farm animals have this option; and family pets who have simply been abandoned outside often do not have the survival skills developed to find appropriate shelter. And then what about the dogs and other animals who are chained up outdoors with nothing more than a flimsy dog house? Frozen food, frozen water, and fear of knowing that death is imminent. And then what about farm animals who cannot safely get back to a covered barn?

It’s unimaginable to most people how many animals are currently in harms way because of the subzero temperatures being experienced in the north, midwest and even where I am in Virginia. For those of us who love animals, it is important that we educate others and take steps on our own to help these outdoor animals survive.

So here’s a few tips to get you started:

1. Educate others about the perils that outdoor animals experience in this weather. Doing so may make them more aware of their surroundings, their neighborhood, and their drive to work, to be on the lookout for animals outdoors who may be in trouble.

2. If you see an animal outdoors without proper shelter, food and water, the law is most likely being broken in every state. If you know the owner, please have a polite conversation with them about bringing the animal inside (if it’s a companion animal) or providing proper shelter, food and water (if it’s a farm or other animal). If that does not result in the immediate acknowledgement to correct the situation, please contact your local law enforcement (animal control or law enforcement) to report the situation. And then stay in contact with the agency to make sure that action is taken.

3. Be alert to animals in your neighborhood. If you have known stray and feral animals, ask neighbors to help you check on these animals frequently. Most animal control agencies will not pick up a stray or feral cat (due to lack of laws allowing this action), so it’s important for us to help them in this weather. If you find a stray or feral animal (that does not have an owner), locate shelters in your area that have warming centers to keep the animals warm and dry until they can be released back outdoors. Then obtain a humane trap to try to catch them and take them in to a warming center.

4. If trapping does not work or is not an option, create small animal enclosures that can be placed in your back yard or around your neighborhood. Alley Cat Allie’s has a webpage dedicated to some shelter options that are easy to make or can be purchased. Be sure to use straw (not hay) to insulate (a must) and make sure these shelters are free from accumulating snow.

5. If you have a barn, shed or other outdoor building that you would be willing to open up to stray and feral animals, all you need to do is crack the door a few inches to let them in. While this could end up being a messy endeavor, I have friends who do this with great success (all year round) and it gives a safe haven to these outdoor animals.

6. Make sure known strays, ferals or other animals that you have common legal access to have plenty of unfrozen clean water. Consider purchasing a bird fountain water heater.

7. If you feed the birds in your yard, do not stop during inclement weather. This is the time that they need bird food and fresh unfrozen water the most. Make sure bird feeders are cleaned of show, and try to position them under something that will protect the food and water from snow. My parents are avid bird feeders. When I was home during Christmas and the massive ice storm hit my hometown (with power outages for over a week), we went outside 1-2 times daily to refill the bird feeders and even leave unshelled peanuts for the squirrels.

8. Check underneath your car for stray animals before driving. They may seek shelter in your engine area or tire wells. Just bang on the hood of your car and kick your tires to let them know to leave.

9. Contact your local shelter and/or animal rescue organization and offer your assistance in providing food to feral cat colonies.

10. Take to social media and post this blog and other posts that you see on how to help outdoor animals during this weather. The more that we can educate others, the better animals will be.

 

Over the years, society has taken dogs in hot cars very seriously; animals in freezing environments must also be recognized as a deathly hazard. If you have other great ideas on how to help outdoor animals, please post a comment here or on my Facebook page! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for caring and sharing!

Allie and her Scotty friend Grier

Allie and her Scotty friend Grier

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and as the director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, she teaches criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the award-winning go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. Most recently she co-authored Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims.

Join in on the conversation!

 

 

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Happy Healthy Holiday Pets https://saftprogram.org/happy-healthy-holiday-pets/ https://saftprogram.org/happy-healthy-holiday-pets/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:40:49 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1798 Did you know that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful time in your companion animal’s life? While we are busy preparing for, stressing over, and celebrating the season, our pet may take on unnecessary stress or become physically ill. But there are some simple things that you can do to have a Happy Healthy Holiday Pet! In addition to my animal protection work, I also have an energy healing business where I offer healing to animals or train others on how to do so. As part of the trainings, I talk to people about how companion animals take on our stress (and even medical issues). They are energetically sensitive. I saw this first hand when I would come home some days, fully stressed out, and my cat Sammy would promptly vomit on the floor. He was taking in and expelling my stress. Once I realized this and shook off my stress before coming home, he stopped the welcome-home-vomitting! So be cautious to keep your stress underhand so that your pet does not take it on. It’s important to keep a consistent schedule with your pet (playtime, cuddle time, going for a walk, etc.). Our schedules can become over burdened during the holidays and that is when our beloved pet may receive less attention from us. When we change our schedule with them, they do not understand why and may begin to have behavioral issues. So it is important to be consistent with them. Spending time with your pet will also help to reduce your stress. If you have a new kitten or puppy, I would highly recommend slowly rolling out your holiday decorations. My cat Rudy (who is one year old) is celebrating his first Christmas in the Phillips home. Rudy has a kitten tendency to eat everything in site (including plastic bags, paper towels, etc.). To make sure that my artificial Christmas tree would be safe, I rolled it out in phases. First I put up the tree with nothing on it. Rudy chewed on it a few times and I stopped him. The next day I added lights and watched Rudy to make sure that he would not chew the wires. Then I added soft ornaments (lest he decide to smack one flying across the room). It can be overwhelming for our small furry friends to suddenly pull out all of our holiday decorations at once. To them, it may be like an amusement park of new play things. Be careful about bringing in decorations that are poisonous to pets. Check this webpage from the ASPCA on plants and foods that are dangerous. The last thing that you want is for your pet to become sick and for your busy schedule to fit in an emergency room visit. Make sure that your home is holiday safe for your pets. I’ve created a helpful tip sheet listing 10 things that you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy this holiday season (and throughout the year). So click here to download it. When you can follow these ten tips, your pet will be healthy and happy through the holidays, and that will help you to relax.     Happy Holidays! Allie and Rudy Allen Weasley About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and as the director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, she teaches criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the award-winning go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. Most recently she co-authored Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims. Join in on the conversation!    

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid you know that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful time in your companion animal’s life? While we are busy preparing for, stressing over, and celebrating the season, our pet may take on unnecessary stress or become physically ill. But there are some simple things that you can do to have a Happy Healthy Holiday Pet!

In addition to my animal protection work, I also have an energy healing business where I offer healing to animals or train others on how to do so. As part of the trainings, I talk to people about how companion animals take on our stress (and even medical issues). They are energetically sensitive. I saw this first hand when I would come home some days, fully stressed out, and my cat Sammy would promptly vomit on the floor. He was taking in and expelling my stress. Once I realized this and shook off my stress before coming home, he stopped the welcome-home-vomitting! So be cautious to keep your stress underhand so that your pet does not take it on.

It’s important to keep a consistent schedule with your pet (playtime, cuddle time, going for a walk, etc.). Our schedules can become over burdened during the holidays and that is when our beloved pet may receive less attention from us. When we change our schedule with them, they do not understand why and may begin to have behavioral issues. So it is important to be consistent with them. Spending time with your pet will also help to reduce your stress.

Rudy's first xmas tree 120113If you have a new kitten or puppy, I would highly recommend slowly rolling out your holiday decorations. My cat Rudy (who is one year old) is celebrating his first Christmas in the Phillips home. Rudy has a kitten tendency to eat everything in site (including plastic bags, paper towels, etc.). To make sure that my artificial Christmas tree would be safe, I rolled it out in phases. First I put up the tree with nothing on it. Rudy chewed on it a few times and I stopped him. The next day I added lights and watched Rudy to make sure that he would not chew the wires. Then I added soft ornaments (lest he decide to smack one flying across the room). It can be overwhelming for our small furry friends to suddenly pull out all of our holiday decorations at once. To them, it may be like an amusement park of new play things.

Be careful about bringing in decorations that are poisonous to pets. Check this webpage from the ASPCA on plants and foods that are dangerous. The last thing that you want is for your pet to become sick and for your busy schedule to fit in an emergency room visit. Make sure that your home is holiday safe for your pets.

Happy Holiday Pets handoutI’ve created a helpful tip sheet listing 10 things that you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy this holiday season (and throughout the year). So click here to download it. When you can follow these ten tips, your pet will be healthy and happy through the holidays, and that will help you to relax.

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Me and Rudy

Allie and Rudy Allen Weasley

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and as the director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, she teaches criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the award-winning go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. Most recently she co-authored Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims.

Join in on the conversation!

 

 

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Get busy during Adopt-A-Senior Pet Month https://saftprogram.org/adopt-a-senior-pet-month/ https://saftprogram.org/adopt-a-senior-pet-month/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 08:00:53 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1765 I love November because it is the month for one of my favorite pet events …. National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month! I love senior pets for so many reasons. My Lucy is 15-1/2 years old and Jacob is a youthful senior at 8 years old. Senior pets are fantastic to adopt because there are no personality surprises … what you see is what you get! But I am also the most sad when I see a senior pet lose a home and enter a shelter. Having volunteered in shelters for the past 14 years, most adopters want kittens and puppies and overlook the wise and established pets. When I think about the cats that I have fostered over the years, it has usually been a senior pet that was not thriving in a shelter (or simply ran out of time). This is how my Jacob came in to my life last year when he lost his third home. It  is always the senior pets who get sick from the stress of being in a shelter and from the trauma of losing their home and family. They can suffer unbearable grief and saddness because the life they once had is gone. I have always said that kittens and puppies are happy no matter what and can adapt to any setting, but senior pets mourn the loss of the people and homes that they loved and often don’t survive.  But far too many people surrender their senior pet to a shelter, often because the pet is starting to have more medical expenses. When you adopt a pet, it’s for life. Period. You should understand that you will be taking on the expense of feeding, housing and providing medical care for the pet until the last day of their life. Getting rid of your senior pet is like putting an elderly family member at a nursing home and then never visiting or thinking about them again. A senior pet will be so grateful if you adopt them. You will never be at a loss for love from that point forward. Here are 10 great reasons to adopt a senior pet (from Petfinder.com): When senior pets are adopted, they seem to understand that they’ve been rescued, and are all the more thankful for it. A senior pet’s personality has already developed, so you’ll know if he or she is a good fit for your family. You can teach an old pet new tricks. Senior pets have the attention span and impulse control that makes them easier to train than their youthful counterparts. A senior pet may very well already know basic household etiquette (like not attacking your feet at night) anyway! In particular, senior cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to “forget” where the box is. A senior pet won’t grow any larger, so you’ll know exactly how much pet you’re getting. Senior pets are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger pets, who may get into mischief because they’re bored. Speaking of relaxing, senior pets make great napping buddies. Senior cats often know that scratching posts (not furniture) are for scratching and toys (not hands or feet) are for biting. Senior pets are some of the hardest to find homes for — so when you adopt a senior pet, you’re truly saving a life. So if you are considering bringing a new pet in to your home, consider adopting a senior pet. Or get busy with one of these ideas: Offer to foster a senior pet until a home is found. You will receive so much love and appreciation in return and will know that you truly saved a life. Donate bedding to a shelter so that the senior pets can rest comfortably. Donate money to help with veterinary expenses. Volunteer to spend time with a senior pet at a shelter. Share stories on social media about senior pets looking for homes in your area. Write a blog or editorial for your local newspaper raising awareness about adopting senior pets. Ask your local nursing or assisted living home if they would allow senior pets to live on-site to provide companionship to the residents. All month on my Facebook page, I will feature senior pet rescue organizations who are doing amazing work, like The Grannie Project and Sanctuary for Senior Dogs. If you have adopted or fostered a senior pet, please share their story and their photo on my Facebook page. I love happy endings! All my best, Allie and my senior kitty Lucy Join in on the conversations!   “This Old Cat” by KC Sievert Bingamon I’m getting on in years, My coat is turning gray. My eyes have lost their luster, My hearing’s just okay. I spend my day dreaming Of conquests in my past, Lying near a sunny window Waiting for its warm repast. I remember our first visit, I was coming to you free, Hoping you would take me in And keep me company. I wasn’t young or handsome, Two years I’d roamed the street. There were scars upon my face, I hobbled on my feet. I could sense your disappointment As I left my prison cage. Oh, I hoped you would accept me And look beyond my age. You took me out of pity, I accepted without shame. Then you grew to love me, And I admit the same. I have shared with you your laughter, You have wet my fur with tears. We’ve come to know each other Throughout these many years. Just one more hug this morning Before you drive away, And know I’ll think about you Throughout your busy day. The time we’ve left together Is a treasured time at that. My heart is yours forever. I Promise – This old cat.

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10-yr-old Houdini waits for a home with The Grannie Project in PA

10-yr-old Houdini waits for a home with The Grannie Project in PA

I love November because it is the month for one of my favorite pet events …. National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month! I love senior pets for so many reasons. My Lucy is 15-1/2 years old and Jacob is a youthful senior at 8 years old. Senior pets are fantastic to adopt because there are no personality surprises … what you see is what you get! But I am also the most sad when I see a senior pet lose a home and enter a shelter.

Having volunteered in shelters for the past 14 years, most adopters want kittens and puppies and overlook the wise and established pets. When I think about the cats that I have fostered over the years, it has usually been a senior pet that was not thriving in a shelter (or simply ran out of time). This is how my Jacob came in to my life last year when he lost his third home.

It  is always the senior pets who get sick from the stress of being in a shelter and from the trauma of losing their home and family. They can suffer unbearable grief and saddness because the life they once had is gone. I have always said that kittens and puppies are happy no matter what and can adapt to any setting, but senior pets mourn the loss of the people and homes that they loved and often don’t survive. 

10-yr-old Trudy waits for a home with Sanctuary for Senior Dogs in OH

10-yr-old Trudy waits for a home with Sanctuary for Senior Dogs in OH

But far too many people surrender their senior pet to a shelter, often because the pet is starting to have more medical expenses. When you adopt a pet, it’s for life. Period. You should understand that you will be taking on the expense of feeding, housing and providing medical care for the pet until the last day of their life. Getting rid of your senior pet is like putting an elderly family member at a nursing home and then never visiting or thinking about them again.

A senior pet will be so grateful if you adopt them. You will never be at a loss for love from that point forward. Here are 10 great reasons to adopt a senior pet (from Petfinder.com):

  • When senior pets are adopted, they seem to understand that they’ve been rescued, and are all the more thankful for it.
  • A senior pet’s personality has already developed, so you’ll know if he or she is a good fit for your family.
  • You can teach an old pet new tricks. Senior pets have the attention span and impulse control that makes them easier to train than their youthful counterparts.
  • A senior pet may very well already know basic household etiquette (like not attacking your feet at night) anyway!
  • In particular, senior cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to “forget” where the box is.
  • A senior pet won’t grow any larger, so you’ll know exactly how much pet you’re getting.
  • Senior pets are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger pets, who may get into mischief because they’re bored.
  • Speaking of relaxing, senior pets make great napping buddies.
  • Senior cats often know that scratching posts (not furniture) are for scratching and toys (not hands or feet) are for biting.
  • Senior pets are some of the hardest to find homes for — so when you adopt a senior pet, you’re truly saving a life.

So if you are considering bringing a new pet in to your home, consider adopting a senior pet. Or get busy with one of these ideas:

  • Offer to foster a senior pet until a home is found. You will receive so much love and appreciation in return and will know that you truly saved a life.
  • Donate bedding to a shelter so that the senior pets can rest comfortably.
  • Donate money to help with veterinary expenses.
  • Volunteer to spend time with a senior pet at a shelter.
  • Share stories on social media about senior pets looking for homes in your area.
  • Write a blog or editorial for your local newspaper raising awareness about adopting senior pets.
  • Ask your local nursing or assisted living home if they would allow senior pets to live on-site to provide companionship to the residents.

All month on my Facebook page, I will feature senior pet rescue organizations who are doing amazing work, like The Grannie Project and Sanctuary for Senior Dogs. If you have adopted or fostered a senior pet, please share their story and their photo on my Facebook page. I love happy endings!

All my best,

Me and Lucy - Aug 09-cropped

Allie and my senior kitty Lucy

Join in on the conversations!

 

“This Old Cat” by KC Sievert Bingamon

I’m getting on in years, My coat is turning gray. My eyes have lost their luster, My hearing’s just okay. I spend my day dreaming Of conquests in my past, Lying near a sunny window Waiting for its warm repast.

I remember our first visit, I was coming to you free, Hoping you would take me in And keep me company. I wasn’t young or handsome, Two years I’d roamed the street. There were scars upon my face, I hobbled on my feet.

I could sense your disappointment As I left my prison cage. Oh, I hoped you would accept me And look beyond my age. You took me out of pity, I accepted without shame. Then you grew to love me, And I admit the same.

I have shared with you your laughter, You have wet my fur with tears. We’ve come to know each other Throughout these many years. Just one more hug this morning Before you drive away, And know I’ll think about you Throughout your busy day.

The time we’ve left together Is a treasured time at that. My heart is yours forever. I Promise – This old cat.

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Dogs Dogs Dogs! https://saftprogram.org/dogsdogsdogs/ https://saftprogram.org/dogsdogsdogs/#respond Wed, 02 Oct 2013 19:06:29 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1705 October is Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month! It’s a month where we shift our focus to the millions of shelter dogs who enter American animal shelters every year, and where far too many are euthanized. It’s a month for us to do even just one thing to help out and save a life. So whether you have a dog, are thinking about adopting a dog, or just want to help dogs, this is a great month to help! If everyone who loves dogs just does one thing this month, it will have a great impact in the wellbeing of shelter dogs. Listed below are 31 simple things that you can do this month to help a shelter dog. My challenge to anyone willing to take it is to do something every day. Are you with me? Here we go! 1. Adopt a shelter dog! 2. Volunteer for your local animal shelter or a dog rescue organization. Dog walkers, groomers and socializers dogs (for hoarding, puppy mill or dog fighting rescues) are always needed. 3. Open your home to foster a senior shelter dog, a dog with medical issues, or a mom with her puppies. 4. If you love to write, blog on social media about Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month, or write an editorial or article for your local newspaper encouraging people to adopt this month. 5. Educate someone about proper dog care and the responsibility that lasts a lifetime. 6. Offer to drive shelter dogs to/from veterinary appointments, mobile adoption events, or to their new homes. 7. If you are in school or have children in school, get the class involved in rounding up donations, such as dog toys, dog beds (Kuranda beds are excellent), collars, leashes, or monetary donations. 8. Make a financial donation to your local animal shelter. Do not shy away from helping shelters that euthanize because every dollar they receive could save a life. Consider donating to a specific animal to help pay for their shelter care, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, etc. 9. If your local shelter or dog rescue group has senior dogs, ask a nursing home or assisted living facility if they would welcome a senior dog to live as a “comfort dog” for the residents, or allow the residents to adopt. 10. When you are shopping for pet food, purchase an extra bag of food, dog treats, or a toy and take it to your local shelter. 11. Host a fundraiser to benefit shelter dogs. If you are a storeowner, put out a donation canister. If you have a book club, yoga group, or other social organization, host an event where members bring donations. Considering inviting the shelter to bring a few adoptable shelter dogs to be there for the event (that will really tug on some heartstrings). 12. If you are an energy healer, offer to spend a day or an afternoon offering energy healing to the shelter dogs. Energy healing can relax and calm a nervous dog and make them more adoptable. 13. Share dog adoption posts on social media (even if the dog is located in another state). This new way of advertising shelter pets is helping them find new homes. 14. Check on elderly pet owners to make sure that they have sufficient means to care for their pet. Offer to walk their dog, groom their dog or go shopping for dog food. Dogs are wonderful companions to lonely elderly people and we can help out to make sure that they stay together and that the dog does not end up in a shelter. 15. If you belong to a community group or church, ask if you can give a presentation this month on shelter dogs, proper dog care, or other dog-related services. 16. If you are creative, think up a new campaign to help shelter dogs in your area get adopted and then share that with your local shelter. 17. Purchase household and beauty products that are not tested on animals. The practice of pound seizure (where shelter dogs are used in research) is still allowed in some states. There are many options available now that we can all choose cruelty-free products. Go to Leaping Bunny for a listing. 18. Go to a training on how search and rescue for animals during disasters. Many of the national animal protection organizations offer these trainings. When search and rescue efforts happen, it results in less dogs going into shelters. 19. If you are technologically inclined, offer to build or host a website at no cost (or reduced cost) for an animal shelter or animal rescue organization. 20. If you love to photograph, offer to photograph the shelter dogs. Photographs really do help to get dogs adopted. I have been photographing shelter pets for over 14 years and it’s really a fun thing to do! 21. If you love to write, offer to write up descriptions for the shelter dogs and post them on Petfinder. I love to do this and I always write from the voice of the pet. 22. If you have a young child, take them with you when volunteering to help shelter dogs. 23. If you are a veterinarian or veterinary technician, volunteer your services for a free shelter dog spay-neuter weekend. 24. Sign online petitions that support and help rehome shelter dogs. 25. Consider obtaining a credit card or checks (yah, that’s old school, but some of us still use them) that support animal protection organizations. 26. If you are crafty, ask your local shelter or rescue group if they would be interested in handmade safe dog toys, dog blankets, or “Adopt Me” bandanas. 27. If you see a dog listed in a free-to-good-home advertisement, please contact the person and advise them to charge a minimum $50 fee for rehoming the dog, and to screen the person, otherwise the dog could end up in a dangerous situation. Be proactive and outspoken. 28. If you are involved in animal-assisted therapy and are looking for a new therapy dog to work with,

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Meet 8-year-old Cocoa who is available for adoption at the Washington Humane Society (DC)

Meet 8-year-old Cocoa who is available for adoption at the Washington Humane Society (DC)

October is Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month! It’s a month where we shift our focus to the millions of shelter dogs who enter American animal shelters every year, and where far too many are euthanized. It’s a month for us to do even just one thing to help out and save a life.

So whether you have a dog, are thinking about adopting a dog, or just want to help dogs, this is a great month to help! If everyone who loves dogs just does one thing this month, it will have a great impact in the wellbeing of shelter dogs.

Listed below are 31 simple things that you can do this month to help a shelter dog. My challenge to anyone willing to take it is to do something every day. Are you with me? Here we go!

1. Adopt a shelter dog!

2. Volunteer for your local animal shelter or a dog rescue organization. Dog walkers, groomers and socializers dogs (for hoarding, puppy mill or dog fighting rescues) are always needed.

3. Open your home to foster a senior shelter dog, a dog with medical issues, or a mom with her puppies.

4. If you love to write, blog on social media about Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month, or write an editorial or article for your local newspaper encouraging people to adopt this month.

5. Educate someone about proper dog care and the responsibility that lasts a lifetime.

6. Offer to drive shelter dogs to/from veterinary appointments, mobile adoption events, or to their new homes.

7. If you are in school or have children in school, get the class involved in rounding up donations, such as dog toys, dog beds (Kuranda beds are excellent), collars, leashes, or monetary donations.

8. Make a financial donation to your local animal shelter. Do not shy away from helping shelters that euthanize because every dollar they receive could save a life. Consider donating to a specific animal to help pay for their shelter care, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, etc.

9. If your local shelter or dog rescue group has senior dogs, ask a nursing home or assisted living facility if they would welcome a senior dog to live as a “comfort dog” for the residents, or allow the residents to adopt.

10. When you are shopping for pet food, purchase an extra bag of food, dog treats, or a toy and take it to your local shelter.

11. Host a fundraiser to benefit shelter dogs. If you are a storeowner, put out a donation canister. If you have a book club, yoga group, or other social organization, host an event where members bring donations. Considering inviting the shelter to bring a few adoptable shelter dogs to be there for the event (that will really tug on some heartstrings).

12. If you are an energy healer, offer to spend a day or an afternoon offering energy healing to the shelter dogs. Energy healing can relax and calm a nervous dog and make them more adoptable.

13. Share dog adoption posts on social media (even if the dog is located in another state). This new way of advertising shelter pets is helping them find new homes.

14. Check on elderly pet owners to make sure that they have sufficient means to care for their pet. Offer to walk their dog, groom their dog or go shopping for dog food. Dogs are wonderful companions to lonely elderly people and we can help out to make sure that they stay together and that the dog does not end up in a shelter.

15. If you belong to a community group or church, ask if you can give a presentation this month on shelter dogs, proper dog care, or other dog-related services.

16. If you are creative, think up a new campaign to help shelter dogs in your area get adopted and then share that with your local shelter.

17. Purchase household and beauty products that are not tested on animals. The practice of pound seizure (where shelter dogs are used in research) is still allowed in some states. There are many options available now that we can all choose cruelty-free products. Go to Leaping Bunny for a listing.

18. Go to a training on how search and rescue for animals during disasters. Many of the national animal protection organizations offer these trainings. When search and rescue efforts happen, it results in less dogs going into shelters.

19. If you are technologically inclined, offer to build or host a website at no cost (or reduced cost) for an animal shelter or animal rescue organization.

20. If you love to photograph, offer to photograph the shelter dogs. Photographs really do help to get dogs adopted. I have been photographing shelter pets for over 14 years and it’s really a fun thing to do!

21. If you love to write, offer to write up descriptions for the shelter dogs and post them on Petfinder. I love to do this and I always write from the voice of the pet.

22. If you have a young child, take them with you when volunteering to help shelter dogs.

23. If you are a veterinarian or veterinary technician, volunteer your services for a free shelter dog spay-neuter weekend.

24. Sign online petitions that support and help rehome shelter dogs.

25. Consider obtaining a credit card or checks (yah, that’s old school, but some of us still use them) that support animal protection organizations.

26. If you are crafty, ask your local shelter or rescue group if they would be interested in handmade safe dog toys, dog blankets, or “Adopt Me” bandanas.

27. If you see a dog listed in a free-to-good-home advertisement, please contact the person and advise them to charge a minimum $50 fee for rehoming the dog, and to screen the person, otherwise the dog could end up in a dangerous situation. Be proactive and outspoken.

28. If you are involved in animal-assisted therapy and are looking for a new therapy dog to work with, go to your local shelter or rescue group and ask them what dog naturally has therapy dog traits.

29. If your state has laws that do not benefit shelter animals (such as allowing gas chambers, pound seizure, or have do not promote adoptions), contact one of these to offer your help in passing/supporting better legislation: HSUS State Director, ASPCA regional director, a large animal shelter in your state that works on legislation, or your legislator to ask him/her to support shelter animal protection legislation.

30. If a shelter worker is doing good work for shelter dogs, tell them that you appreciate their work (in person, an email, a hand written note, or have yummy snacks delivered to the staff). A little kindness towards the shelter worker will benefit the shelter dogs.

31. And for more ideas grab a copy of my book “Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.”

There are so many ways that you can get involved to help shelter dogs. I hope you will do at least one thing to help a shelter dog this month. Please post me a comment here or on my Facebook page about what you are doing. And if you decide to do something everyday, definitely let me know because you will be an inspiration to others.

Me and Dr. Seuss dog

Allie and Dr. Seuss

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

Join in on the conversation!

 

 

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One act of kindness … everyday https://saftprogram.org/one-act-of-kindness-everyday/ https://saftprogram.org/one-act-of-kindness-everyday/#respond Tue, 03 Sep 2013 09:00:03 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1627 I know that you love animals, otherwise you probably would not be reading this blog! So I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. But I think my message today is something that all of us need to hear; not necessarily to change our daily behavior to do more to help animals, but maybe so that we encourage others. So what is that message? One act of kindness … everyday! No exceptions. Whenever I say this, I hear so many people (including people who LOVE animals) tell me But Allie, I’m so busy that I barely have enough time to eat lunch or I wish I had a lot of money/time to donate to help animals, but I just don’t! I’m not asking you to unload your wallet (although feel free to do that at your local animal shelter, rescue group or animal sanctuary at any point while reading this); I’m not asking you to quit your job and spend your life volunteering to help animals in need (unless you are independently wealthy and want to do that, to which I say GO FOR IT!); and I’m not asking you to completely alter your lifestyle by not consuming/wearing animal products (although if you do that already, you are truly leading the pack!). So what I am asking? I’m asking you and everyone you influence to do this one simple thing. One act of kindness … everyday. That’s it. So what would that look like, you ask? Here are 10 super simple examples of some of my daily kindness activities: Each morning I pick up my kitties (Lucy, Jacob and Rudy), hug them, kiss them, tell them that I love them, and then tell them what my day looks like (am I going to the office, working from home, traveling, etc.). I treat them like a two-legged family member. And they totally understand. When I brush my teeth, I smile (not just to get my pearly whites pearly white), but because my toothpaste (and all of the ingredients) are NOT tested on animals. I go to great lengths to make sure that all of my beauty and household products are certified on the Leaping Bunny site. Because of consumer pressure, there are now a huge amount of cruelty-free products to choose from that do not cost much more than products that are harmful to animals. So this one is an easy choice to make every day! When I put creamer in my Creme Brulee decaf coffee, I use coconut creamer (delish!) and give Bessie the cow a break! When I am driving to the office, I am not distracted by the radio, my schedule for the day, or heaven forbid my smart phone. Instead, I am focused on the road to make sure that no little creature runs into my path and perishes. And what I find are lovely birds, butterflies and even an eagle or two who grab my attention and brighten my day. If someone is amenable to a discussion about how their turkey sandwich came to be, I’m happy to oblige (and not in a snarky way, but in an educational way about the life of farm animals and how a meat-based diet is controversial in the medical community these days). No need to turn off anyone’s listening ears by going wack-a-poodle on them. A rationale discussion goes a long way to change mindsets. Spending even just a few minutes playing with, cuddling or walking a homeless shelter pet who is grieving the loss of her family. When I’m having a particularly stressful day, this is a fantastic way for me to instantly rebalance and is a beautiful gift to the shelter companion, too. When I’m at a store that has a donation canister for an animal protection group, even just putting my spare change in the canister will add up and help out an animal. I do not lecture people about eating meat; but if you do, consider having 1-3 days each week as meatless days. There are so many wonderful vegetarian and vegan recipes online these days that it is easy to fix up a great breakfast, lunch and dinner that is healthy. When I hear someone discussing the possibility of “buying” an animal, I see that as an opportunity to educate about “adopting” from a shelter and saving a life! And last, when I perusing social media at the end of a long day, I look for stories about animals to share. Stories of animals who need help and heart warming stories of amazing people who help animals. This only takes a few seconds to share these stories on your page and who knows … you may help a shelter animal find a new home! You don’t have to do all of these on the same day; just pick one each day and DO IT! When you do something to help an animal, you will feel good. And then you’ll want to do more, and you’ll feel even better! Next thing you know, you’ve quit your job, opened an animal sanctuary, authored an animal protection book, and transformed your life! Okay, you don’t have to go that far, but I know many people who took small steps and eventually took a big leap. You never know what one act of kindness everyday will take you. I’m one of them! So what will you do today? Drop me a comment about it! For even more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets!! Allie and Rudy Allen Weasley About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection

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One act of kindnessI know that you love animals, otherwise you probably would not be reading this blog! So I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. But I think my message today is something that all of us need to hear; not necessarily to change our daily behavior to do more to help animals, but maybe so that we encourage others. So what is that message?

One act of kindness … everyday! No exceptions.

Whenever I say this, I hear so many people (including people who LOVE animals) tell me But Allie, I’m so busy that I barely have enough time to eat lunch or I wish I had a lot of money/time to donate to help animals, but I just don’t!

I’m not asking you to unload your wallet (although feel free to do that at your local animal shelter, rescue group or animal sanctuary at any point while reading this); I’m not asking you to quit your job and spend your life volunteering to help animals in need (unless you are independently wealthy and want to do that, to which I say GO FOR IT!); and I’m not asking you to completely alter your lifestyle by not consuming/wearing animal products (although if you do that already, you are truly leading the pack!).

So what I am asking? I’m asking you and everyone you influence to do this one simple thing.

One act of kindness … everyday. That’s it.

So what would that look like, you ask? Here are 10 super simple examples of some of my daily kindness activities:

  • Each morning I pick up my kitties (Lucy, Jacob and Rudy), hug them, kiss them, tell them that I love them, and then tell them what my day looks like (am I going to the office, working from home, traveling, etc.). I treat them like a two-legged family member. And they totally understand.
  • When I brush my teeth, I smile (not just to get my pearly whites pearly white), but because my toothpaste (and all of the ingredients) are NOT tested on animals. I go to great lengths to make sure that all of my beauty and household products are certified on the Leaping Bunny site. Because of consumer pressure, there are now a huge amount of cruelty-free products to choose from that do not cost much more than products that are harmful to animals. So this one is an easy choice to make every day!
  • When I put creamer in my Creme Brulee decaf coffee, I use coconut creamer (delish!) and give Bessie the cow a break!
  • When I am driving to the office, I am not distracted by the radio, my schedule for the day, or heaven forbid my smart phone. Instead, I am focused on the road to make sure that no little creature runs into my path and perishes. And what I find are lovely birds, butterflies and even an eagle or two who grab my attention and brighten my day.
  • If someone is amenable to a discussion about how their turkey sandwich came to be, I’m happy to oblige (and not in a snarky way, but in an educational way about the life of farm animals and how a meat-based diet is controversial in the medical community these days). No need to turn off anyone’s listening ears by going wack-a-poodle on them. A rationale discussion goes a long way to change mindsets.
  • Spending even just a few minutes playing with, cuddling or walking a homeless shelter pet who is grieving the loss of her family. When I’m having a particularly stressful day, this is a fantastic way for me to instantly rebalance and is a beautiful gift to the shelter companion, too.
  • When I’m at a store that has a donation canister for an animal protection group, even just putting my spare change in the canister will add up and help out an animal.
  • I do not lecture people about eating meat; but if you do, consider having 1-3 days each week as meatless days. There are so many wonderful vegetarian and vegan recipes online these days that it is easy to fix up a great breakfast, lunch and dinner that is healthy.
  • DSCN5754When I hear someone discussing the possibility of “buying” an animal, I see that as an opportunity to educate about “adopting” from a shelter and saving a life!
  • And last, when I perusing social media at the end of a long day, I look for stories about animals to share. Stories of animals who need help and heart warming stories of amazing people who help animals. This only takes a few seconds to share these stories on your page and who knows … you may help a shelter animal find a new home!

Book coverYou don’t have to do all of these on the same day; just pick one each day and DO IT! When you do something to help an animal, you will feel good. And then you’ll want to do more, and you’ll feel even better! Next thing you know, you’ve quit your job, opened an animal sanctuary, authored an animal protection book, and transformed your life! Okay, you don’t have to go that far, but I know many people who took small steps and eventually took a big leap. You never know what one act of kindness everyday will take you. I’m one of them!

So what will you do today? Drop me a comment about it! For even more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets!!

Me and Rudy

Allie and Rudy Allen Weasley

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

Join in on the conversation!

 

 

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How much is that kitty in the window? She better not be free. https://saftprogram.org/how-much-is-that-kitty-in-the-window/ https://saftprogram.org/how-much-is-that-kitty-in-the-window/#respond Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:27:57 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1614 We all know that animal shelters are over crowded, especially at this time of the year. I’m a big believer in creative adoption programs that feature shelter companion animals and get them adopted into good homes. I’m currently in the process of putting together my cat orphanage’s annual What About Me® adoption campaign video that showcases our senior, shy and long-term cats. Creativity is definitely a bonus when rehoming shelter companion animals. I do not support the concept of shelters waiving adoption fees or allowing other people to sponsor the adoption fee of a shelter companion animal (unless it’s a family member paying the adoption fee as a gift). I have spent far too much time in shelters and helping shelter companion animals that I quickly adopted the philosophy that if an adopter cannot afford a modest adoption fee, they cannot afford to properly care for the companion animal. Taking care of a companion animal is a life time commitment, that includes a financial commitment. I understand the urgency that some shelters feel to get the companion animals out to homes and that can result in some poor practices. For years I volunteered in a shelter with a high euthanasia that also sold the companion animals to research. Talk about working in panic mode everyday!!!! But even with that, we did our best to properly screen adopters and rescue groups that helped us. What I have learned over the years is that you could be sending that companion animal into a dangerous situation or the animal could be returned because of a poor matching process. It is critically important to spend the time up front to match the person to the companion animal and insure that they can afford their new companion. I completely understand those shelters that want to waive the adoption fee because their goal is to get the companion animal rehomed and out of the shelter. However, there are far worse things that can happen when you rehome a companion animal to someone who does not (or cannot) pay the adoption fee. The Young Williams Animal Shelter in Knoxville, TN recently learned that 3 of their recent adoptees were being sold on Craig’s List. This is the story. As well intentioned as it is to waive adoption fees or let donors “sponsor” an adoption fee, there are far too many situations where this has happened. When a companion animal is placed on Craig’s List, the screening process for that animal is minimal or non existent. Craig’s list is not a safe place to sell anything that has a pulse. Harsh, but true. Without getting too graphic, I know of animals who have been used in research, for dog fighting bait, and kittens being fed to snakes. So for the Knoxville shelter, I doubt that they have any recourse to have those 3 animals returned. It’s not illegal to post animals for sale on Craig’s List, so those 3 animals may not be saved. Craig’s List postings, free-to-“good”-home ads and waiving adoption fees are fraught with issues. Anyone who wishes to obtain an animal for ill-purposes (such as reselling to research, to a dog fighting enterprise, etc.) will not pay an adoption fee. Even charging $40 will greatly deter those people. So please reconsider the “free adoption” programs. If you want to help an adopter, consider giving them a voucher for free pet food, or a free vet visit. The Knoxville shelter has decided to continue their free adoption program, but will not advertise it until after the have a signed contract. The bottom line is that we have to be safe when we are responsible for rehoming companion animals. Their life is literally in our hands. I would love to hear from you on some creative adoption programs that help companion animals and avoid this issue. Please share! Allie and Jacob About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.  Join in on our conversations!    

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Sierra 2

Sierra waits for her new home, but will not be free!

We all know that animal shelters are over crowded, especially at this time of the year. I’m a big believer in creative adoption programs that feature shelter companion animals and get them adopted into good homes. I’m currently in the process of putting together my cat orphanage’s annual What About Me® adoption campaign video that showcases our senior, shy and long-term cats. Creativity is definitely a bonus when rehoming shelter companion animals.

I do not support the concept of shelters waiving adoption fees or allowing other people to sponsor the adoption fee of a shelter companion animal (unless it’s a family member paying the adoption fee as a gift). I have spent far too much time in shelters and helping shelter companion animals that I quickly adopted the philosophy that if an adopter cannot afford a modest adoption fee, they cannot afford to properly care for the companion animal.

Taking care of a companion animal is a life time commitment, that includes a financial commitment. I understand the urgency that some shelters feel to get the companion animals out to homes and that can result in some poor practices. For years I volunteered in a shelter with a high euthanasia that also sold the companion animals to research. Talk about working in panic mode everyday!!!! But even with that, we did our best to properly screen adopters and rescue groups that helped us. What I have learned over the years is that you could be sending that companion animal into a dangerous situation or the animal could be returned because of a poor matching process. It is critically important to spend the time up front to match the person to the companion animal and insure that they can afford their new companion.

I completely understand those shelters that want to waive the adoption fee because their goal is to get the companion animal rehomed and out of the shelter. However, there are far worse things that can happen when you rehome a companion animal to someone who does not (or cannot) pay the adoption fee.

The Young Williams Animal Shelter in Knoxville, TN recently learned that 3 of their recent adoptees were being sold on Craig’s List. This is the story. As well intentioned as it is to waive adoption fees or let donors “sponsor” an adoption fee, there are far too many situations where this has happened. When a companion animal is placed on Craig’s List, the screening process for that animal is minimal or non existent. Craig’s list is not a safe place to sell anything that has a pulse. Harsh, but true. Without getting too graphic, I know of animals who have been used in research, for dog fighting bait, and kittens being fed to snakes. So for the Knoxville shelter, I doubt that they have any recourse to have those 3 animals returned. It’s not illegal to post animals for sale on Craig’s List, so those 3 animals may not be saved.

Craig’s List postings, free-to-“good”-home ads and waiving adoption fees are fraught with issues. Anyone who wishes to obtain an animal for ill-purposes (such as reselling to research, to a dog fighting enterprise, etc.) will not pay an adoption fee. Even charging $40 will greatly deter those people.

So please reconsider the “free adoption” programs. If you want to help an adopter, consider giving them a voucher for free pet food, or a free vet visit. The Knoxville shelter has decided to continue their free adoption program, but will not advertise it until after the have a signed contract. The bottom line is that we have to be safe when we are responsible for rehoming companion animals. Their life is literally in our hands.

I would love to hear from you on some creative adoption programs that help companion animals and avoid this issue. Please share!

Me and Jacob 090212-sm

Allie and Jacob

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

Join in on our conversations!

 

 

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June is for Kitties!!!! https://saftprogram.org/june-is-for-kitties/ https://saftprogram.org/june-is-for-kitties/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2013 19:20:26 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1582 I love June! The weather gets nicer (which means that people should get a little nicer), vacations are on the horizon, and it’s ADOPT A SHELTER CAT MONTH!  Woo Hoo … let the party begin! There are just far far far too many cats in U.S. shelters all year-round. But in the Spring/Summer/Fall months when kitten season is abound, it is not a party for cats. The euthanasia rates of shelter cats and kittens is enormous and cats are a majority of the 3-4 million euthanized annually. I won’t go off on a tangent about “who gives a human being the right to end the life of a shelter animal?” That’s a blog for a different day. We all know that number is just terrible and it’s not right … but what are you doing to help? If everyone who loved cats did just one thing to help a shelter cat this month, we would rehome every single cat. No lie! I want to focus on getting cats adopted this month! So this blog is filled with some ideas for everyone, so read on! 1. If you are interested in having the pitter patter of feline paws in your home, please please please ADOPT from a shelter. Even though kittens are very cute (I’ve had one for the past 5 months methodically breaking many trinkets that he feels I don’t need anymore), there are shelters filled with middle aged and senior cats who are depressed and longing for a warm bed and a cuddle. Where I volunteer, we have two 15-year-old brothers (Alesiter & Orson at King Street Cats) right now. So think about your lifestyle and the set up of your home and choose wisely. If you like your trinkets to stay out and remain unbroken, an older cat may suit you best. Whereas if you have a playful dog or children, a younger cat may be better. Think of adopting as a matchmaking service … you are choosing for life! 2. If you are not in the market to adopt, find ways to support your local shelter(s). Many people only want to support the “no kill” shelters where all animals find a home. And that is fantastic because it allows those shelters to remain open. But do not forget other shelters that may be municipal shelters. When donors deny those shelters of money, supplies, volunteer time and even adoptions (because I just can’t go in to the shelter and walk away without adopting them all), simply because those shelters have the terrible task of euthanizing beautiful and wonderful animals, all it does it impact the animals in their care. You can truly save a life and change how a shelter helps animals simply by doing something. So clean out your linen closet and donate clean items for the cats to lay on, donate any money that you can, host a casual Friday day at work and ask everyone to pay $3-5 for the privilege and then donate that to your local shelter, drop off food or other supplies (call to find out what they need), offer to transport shelter cats to adoption events or the veterinary clinic, offer to help with adoptions or fundraisers or even to sit with the shelter cats and give them love, open your home to provide foster care … the ideas are endless. Cats are more stressed in a shelter environment than other pets so they more likely to appear angry or frightened, all of which impacts their adoptability. Anything that you can do to help a shelter cat feel better will really help. 3. If you want a more “hands-off” approach, considering blogging or posting on social media every day this month about ways for people in your community to help shelter cats find homes. Even sharing postings by shelters of the cats that are available for adoption will help them find homes. And if you want more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. It is chock full of ideas for everyone to get involved and make a difference. And that’s what Adopt A Shelter Cat Month is all about … for us to make a difference in the life of a cat. So from me and my 3 shelter adoptees Lucy, Jacob & Rudy, we hope that you will do even just one thing this month to help a shelter cat find a home. Please post a comment to let me know what you’re doing because it will encourage others to get involved, too! Happy Cat Month! Allie and Lucy About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.  About Lucy: Lucy Ling was adopted on March 5, 1999 at the age of 7 months from a mid-Michigan shelter that practiced pound seizure and had a high euthanasia rate. She will be 15 years old in August. She is a beautiful Bombay who loves to talk and give nose smears!  She cackles at the birds through her sunny window and is always by her mom’s side (except when her cootie-ridden brothers Jacob and Rudy are around). About Jacob: Jacob was cast outdoors when his family in West Virginia lost their home. He was found by some caring people and taken in to the Potomac Highland Animal Rescue group. He was transferred to King Street Cats in Alexandria, VA

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I love June! The weather gets nicer (which means that people should get a little nicer), vacations are on the horizon, and it’s ADOPT A SHELTER CAT MONTH!  Woo Hoo … let the party begin!

There are just far far far too many cats in U.S. shelters all year-round. But in the Spring/Summer/Fall months when kitten season is abound, it is not a party for cats. The euthanasia rates of shelter cats and kittens is enormous and cats are a majority of the 3-4 million euthanized annually. I won’t go off on a tangent about “who gives a human being the right to end the life of a shelter animal?” That’s a blog for a different day. We all know that number is just terrible and it’s not right … but what are you doing to help?

If everyone who loved cats did just one thing to help a shelter cat this month, we would rehome every single cat. No lie! I want to focus on getting cats adopted this month! So this blog is filled with some ideas for everyone, so read on!

1. If you are interested in having the pitter patter of feline paws in your home, please please please ADOPT from a shelter. Even though kittens are very cute (I’ve had one for the past 5 months methodically breaking many trinkets that he feels I don’t need anymore), there are shelters filled with middle aged and senior cats who are depressed and longing for a warm bed and a cuddle. Where I volunteer, we have two 15-year-old brothers (Alesiter & Orson at King Street Cats) right now. So think about your lifestyle and the set up of your home and choose wisely. If you like your trinkets to stay out and remain unbroken, an older cat may suit you best. Whereas if you have a playful dog or children, a younger cat may be better. Think of adopting as a matchmaking service … you are choosing for life!

Jacob & Rudy 040613-1

Rudy & Jacob

2. If you are not in the market to adopt, find ways to support your local shelter(s). Many people only want to support the “no kill” shelters where all animals find a home. And that is fantastic because it allows those shelters to remain open. But do not forget other shelters that may be municipal shelters. When donors deny those shelters of money, supplies, volunteer time and even adoptions (because I just can’t go in to the shelter and walk away without adopting them all), simply because those shelters have the terrible task of euthanizing beautiful and wonderful animals, all it does it impact the animals in their care. You can truly save a life and change how a shelter helps animals simply by doing something. So clean out your linen closet and donate clean items for the cats to lay on, donate any money that you can, host a casual Friday day at work and ask everyone to pay $3-5 for the privilege and then donate that to your local shelter, drop off food or other supplies (call to find out what they need), offer to transport shelter cats to adoption events or the veterinary clinic, offer to help with adoptions or fundraisers or even to sit with the shelter cats and give them love, open your home to provide foster care … the ideas are endless. Cats are more stressed in a shelter environment than other pets so they more likely to appear angry or frightened, all of which impacts their adoptability. Anything that you can do to help a shelter cat feel better will really help.

3. If you want a more “hands-off” approach, considering blogging or posting on social media every day this month about ways for people in your community to help shelter cats find homes. Even sharing postings by shelters of the cats that are available for adoption will help them find homes.

And if you want more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for PetsIt is chock full of ideas for everyone to get involved and make a difference. And that’s what Adopt A Shelter Cat Month is all about … for us to make a difference in the life of a cat.

So from me and my 3 shelter adoptees Lucy, Jacob & Rudy, we hope that you will do even just one thing this month to help a shelter cat find a home. Please post a comment to let me know what you’re doing because it will encourage others to get involved, too!

Happy Cat Month!

Me and Lucy - Aug 09-cropped

Allie and Lucy

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

About Lucy:

Lucy Ling was adopted on March 5, 1999 at the age of 7 months from a mid-Michigan shelter that practiced pound seizure and had a high euthanasia rate. She will be 15 years old in August. She is a beautiful Bombay who loves to talk and give nose smears!  She cackles at the birds through her sunny window and is always by her mom’s side (except when her cootie-ridden brothers Jacob and Rudy are around).

About Jacob:

Jacob was cast outdoors when his family in West Virginia lost their home. He was found by some caring people and taken in to the Potomac Highland Animal Rescue group. He was transferred to King Street Cats in Alexandria, VA to find a home. He was quickly adopted, but then returned because the family was moving. He was adopted again, and then returned because the family was having a baby. After suffering from depression and getting sick, Allie fostered him back to health but then could not let him go. After fostering over 150 cats and kittens, Jacob was the first one to stay. He loves to romp and sleep with Rudy and when he runs he hops like a bunny rabbit. He will be 8-years-old this month.

About Rudy:

Rudy was found at the age of 4 weeks under a bush on the island of St. Croix. The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center cared for him for 5 months until he could fly to Virginia to find a new home. Allie fostered Rudy and “tried” to adopt him through King Street Cats. But he was meant to be in her home. She adopted him on January 23, 2013 and will turn one-year old on July 13, 2013! He loves to jump out and surprise his sister (to her annoyance) and to romp with his brother. He follows Allie around the house like a dog, sounds like he’s saying “hey” when he meows, and is ignoring all attempts to learn the word “no.”

Join in on our conversations!

 

 

 

 

Book coverWinner of the Cat Writer’s Association Muse Medallion and Certificate of Excellence in 2011
Book coverWinner of the Cat Writer’s Association Certificate of Excellence in 2012

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Is that really a stray cat? https://saftprogram.org/straycat/ https://saftprogram.org/straycat/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 13:16:48 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1570 For the past 6 months, I’ve had a super sweet brown tabby male cat come to my door for affection, a little conversation through the screen with my interested cats, and some treats. I have learned that his name is Eddie and rumor had it that he belonged to a family a few doors down. So I left them a few notes asking them to please keep their kitty indoors because there is a feral cat in the neighborhood who has staked his claim (which I support) and he attacks Eddie over territory disputes. I also noticed a month ago that we have foxes taking up residency in the woods behind my house. So I am afraid for Eddie’s safety. My notes did not receive a response. So in speaking with a few neighbors, they told me that Eddie appears to be living outside 24/7 and that at least one of the family members from Eddie’s “home” has spoken negatively about Eddie and could care less about his safety. So it was unclear whether Eddie was “owned” or abandoned. So earlier this week, when Eddie was on my porch again begging for some love, I decided to help him. After all, he was an outdoor cat without a collar or any identification and, legally speaking, appeared to be an abandoned stray cat. Or was he? I took him to a veterinary clinic that my cat orphanage goes to and I asked them to first scan Eddie for a microchip. I crossed my fingers in hopes that he did not have one because then my cat orphanage would hold him for the required time period and then rehome him. I was heart broken when a microchip was located. Being an attorney, I followed the law and I called the microchip company and then called the owner. When 24 hours went by without a return phone call, I was hopeful that they had decided they did not want Eddie. But then I received a fateful call that they wanted him back. So what do you do in that instance? Do you bite your tongue and politely return a cat that they treat like a toss away piece of garbage? Do you tell them what you really think about the situation? Do you educate? Do you put the cat in a witness protection program and not return their calls? My approach was to be polite and educate. I explained to the lady in the household that neighbors love Eddie because he’s so friendly, but we are greatly worried about his safety. I shared with her that I had broken up two fights between Eddie and the resident feral cat in the past week and that it was only a matter of time before Eddie had an unpleasant encounter with the foxes. I explained that it’s not safe (in this area) for Eddie to be roaming outside. Initially she was pleasant and sounded as if she really loved Eddie. But when I asked her why she let him roam (in violation of our neighborhood bylaws), she became abrupt and said “he loves to go outside.” I really wanted to reply back “well, some people love to smoke cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s safe.” But I held my tongue and shared with her that we are concerned about Eddie and it would be best if she kept him indoors. I explained that most people would not follow the law, would ignore the microchip, and would either take him to a shelter where he could be euthanized, or would keep him. I also offered for my cat orphanage to take Eddie should she not want him. And that was the end of the call after I gave her instructions on how to retrieve Eddie at the veterinary clinic. It’s been 3 days and I have not seen Eddie outside, so I hope my message was received. Even though I am an attorney, the animal protectionist in me wanted to not return Eddie and keep him safe. But then it reminded me of a situation a year ago where one of my beloved St. Croix rescue kitties escaped her home and was found by a volunteer of another cat rescue group (a group that hates my cat orphanage and would go to great lengths to harm us). And sure enough, they refused to return the cat named Smiley despite intervention by our local animal control. So my anger and sadness over Smiley brought me back to not wanting anyone else to go through that situation. If this happened to one of my cats (who are microchipped), I would hope that someone would follow the law and contact me. Legally, Eddie had a family and it is not for me to judge how they care for him so long as they are following the law. So I hope that Eddie stays safe. I would love to hear from you as to what you would do in this instance. Would you follow law or would you ignore the microchip rehome the cat? Allie and Rudy About Allie: Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.  Join in on our conversations!      

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For the past 6 months, I’ve had a super sweet brown tabby male cat come to my door for affection, a little conversation through the screen with my interested cats, and some treats. I have learned that his name is Eddie and rumor had it that he belonged to a family a few doors down. So I left them a few notes asking them to please keep their kitty indoors because there is a feral cat in the neighborhood who has staked his claim (which I support) and he attacks Eddie over territory disputes. I also noticed a month ago that we have foxes taking up residency in the woods behind my house. So I am afraid for Eddie’s safety.

My notes did not receive a response. So in speaking with a few neighbors, they told me that Eddie appears to be living outside 24/7 and that at least one of the family members from Eddie’s “home” has spoken negatively about Eddie and could care less about his safety. So it was unclear whether Eddie was “owned” or abandoned. So earlier this week, when Eddie was on my porch again begging for some love, I decided to help him. After all, he was an outdoor cat without a collar or any identification and, legally speaking, appeared to be an abandoned stray cat. Or was he?

I took him to a veterinary clinic that my cat orphanage goes to and I asked them to first scan Eddie for a microchip. I crossed my fingers in hopes that he did not have one because then my cat orphanage would hold him for the required time period and then rehome him. I was heart broken when a microchip was located. Being an attorney, I followed the law and I called the microchip company and then called the owner. When 24 hours went by without a return phone call, I was hopeful that they had decided they did not want Eddie. But then I received a fateful call that they wanted him back.

So what do you do in that instance? Do you bite your tongue and politely return a cat that they treat like a toss away piece of garbage? Do you tell them what you really think about the situation? Do you educate? Do you put the cat in a witness protection program and not return their calls?

My approach was to be polite and educate. I explained to the lady in the household that neighbors love Eddie because he’s so friendly, but we are greatly worried about his safety. I shared with her that I had broken up two fights between Eddie and the resident feral cat in the past week and that it was only a matter of time before Eddie had an unpleasant encounter with the foxes. I explained that it’s not safe (in this area) for Eddie to be roaming outside. Initially she was pleasant and sounded as if she really loved Eddie. But when I asked her why she let him roam (in violation of our neighborhood bylaws), she became abrupt and said “he loves to go outside.” I really wanted to reply back “well, some people love to smoke cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s safe.” But I held my tongue and shared with her that we are concerned about Eddie and it would be best if she kept him indoors. I explained that most people would not follow the law, would ignore the microchip, and would either take him to a shelter where he could be euthanized, or would keep him. I also offered for my cat orphanage to take Eddie should she not want him.

And that was the end of the call after I gave her instructions on how to retrieve Eddie at the veterinary clinic. It’s been 3 days and I have not seen Eddie outside, so I hope my message was received. Even though I am an attorney, the animal protectionist in me wanted to not return Eddie and keep him safe. But then it reminded me of a situation a year ago where one of my beloved St. Croix rescue kitties escaped her home and was found by a volunteer of another cat rescue group (a group that hates my cat orphanage and would go to great lengths to harm us). And sure enough, they refused to return the cat named Smiley despite intervention by our local animal control. So my anger and sadness over Smiley brought me back to not wanting anyone else to go through that situation. If this happened to one of my cats (who are microchipped), I would hope that someone would follow the law and contact me. Legally, Eddie had a family and it is not for me to judge how they care for him so long as they are following the law.

So I hope that Eddie stays safe. I would love to hear from you as to what you would do in this instance. Would you follow law or would you ignore the microchip rehome the cat?

Me and Rudy 012413-1

Allie and Rudy

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

Join in on our conversations!

 

 

 

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When did compassion become crazy? https://saftprogram.org/when-did-compassion-become-crazy/ https://saftprogram.org/when-did-compassion-become-crazy/#respond Fri, 12 Apr 2013 19:31:49 +0000 http://saftprogram.org/?p=1551 Welcome guest blogger, Julie Germany, a friend and fellow feline adopter! I asked Julie to write a blog after she adopted 2 brothers this week in the wake of one of her cat’s passing away. She and her husband now have 4 cats and it caused some frustration for me to see people calling her a “crazy cat lady” on her Facebook page. To me, this causes three concerns: (1) it denigrates and perpetuates an inaccurate stereotype of any female wanting to adopt a cat out of fear of being called a “crazy cat lady”, thus reducing the number of shelter cats that can be re-homed, (2) it continues a negative perception towards cats (because you really don’t hear anyone being called “crazy ferret lady”) and (3) it makes light of the very serious and tragic situation where people do hoard and harm animals. And by hoarding, I don’t mean 4 cats … I mean hundreds of animals (and not just cats) to where they do not receive veterinary care or individualized attention/socialization. So while some people may think it’s funny to call a female a “crazy cat lady”, I say “shame on you” for making anyone feel badly for having the compassion to open her home to four cats who are very well cared-for. Especially for the two recent adoptees who came from a cat orphanage where they resided for over 13 months, were adopted, then returned, and resided another 18 months (and were also friends with her two other cats, who came from the same cat orphanage). Shame on you for not saying, “Congratulations on opening your home to two more cats who are the luckiest cats in the world.” Read on as Julie so aptly puts this situation in perspective! Folks, let’s keep the focus on praising those who adopt from shelters and provide wonderful homes, and differentiate them from those who truly collect and harm animals due to a mental illness. Bring it on Julie! By Julie Germany If I had four horses, would you call me crazy or weird? Or would you just call me a horse lover? What about four kids? If I had four kids, would you call me crazy? Or would I just be a mom? Let’s say I’m a man with four dogs? Would you call me crazy then? This week my husband and I brought home our third and fourth cats, two brothers who simply could not live apart and who had been at the cat shelter for over three years. Most of my friends and family were happy for us and understood the role that our pets have in our lives. They knew that we live in a large, four story house with lots of room for the cats to play and that we invest a lot of time, love, and occasionally money in making sure our pets are well fed, cared for, healthy, and happy. They also knew that we recently lost a pet, and that the experience left us heartbroken. But then there were the others who thought that four cats perhaps represented some type of imbalance or dislikable impulse. I have become a “crazy cat lady” — sometimes said unknowingly with love, sometimes said with judgement. And that makes me angry. Why is having compassion for animals something crazy, compulsive, and strange? Compassion and care for those who cannot speak for or fight for themselves — animals, children, the poor, the injured, the impaired, and often throughout history, women — are qualities that reflect the best possible parts of being human. Those have helped lead humanity forward and expand our universe have felt similarly. Albert Einstein said, “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” Or consider Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote “The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” St. Francis of Assisi, who is depicted surrounded by animals, said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. All of these quotes are from men. The sad news is that women caring for animals has held a stigma for quite some time. That’s what irritates me the most about being called a “crazy cat lady.” It’s shameful to be a woman, especially an old, unmarried woman, who cares for animals. We’re all hoarders, imbalanced, crazy and are somehow separate from the rest of “civilized” society. These same women throughout the centuries have been taunted and beaten, swindled from and pounded with garbage when they ventured into the streets. They were called witches, were tormented, beaten, and often persecuted and killed. That is not compassion, morality, or love. It reflects centuries of the worst in human nature. Let’s change that. “Crazy cat lady” connotes so much barbarity . In 2013, we don’t use phrases like “fag” or “retard” in conversation because of the amount of violence, fear, and ignorance their use connotes. People who say those words now sound like idiots. Most of the change in vocabulary came from social pressure, from people who have spoken up and said, “that’s not cool.” So, it’s not cool to call me a crazy cat lady. I care about animals and by caring about animals, I’m learning to be a better person. How about you?   About Julie: Julie Barko Germany is the Vice President of Digital Strategy at DCI Group. She previously served as the director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. She co-founded the mCitizen Summit in 2011 and is the conference director for the CampaignTech conference. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where she and her husband spend their free time herding their four cats: Patches, Jasmine,

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Welcome guest blogger, Julie Germany, a friend and fellow feline adopter! I asked Julie to write a blog after she adopted 2 brothers this week in the wake of one of her cat’s passing away. She and her husband now have 4 cats and it caused some frustration for me to see people calling her a “crazy cat lady” on her Facebook page. To me, this causes three concerns: (1) it denigrates and perpetuates an inaccurate stereotype of any female wanting to adopt a cat out of fear of being called a “crazy cat lady”, thus reducing the number of shelter cats that can be re-homed, (2) it continues a negative perception towards cats (because you really don’t hear anyone being called “crazy ferret lady”) and (3) it makes light of the very serious and tragic situation where people do hoard and harm animals. And by hoarding, I don’t mean 4 cats … I mean hundreds of animals (and not just cats) to where they do not receive veterinary care or individualized attention/socialization.

So while some people may think it’s funny to call a female a “crazy cat lady”, I say “shame on you” for making anyone feel badly for having the compassion to open her home to four cats who are very well cared-for. Especially for the two recent adoptees who came from a cat orphanage where they resided for over 13 months, were adopted, then returned, and resided another 18 months (and were also friends with her two other cats, who came from the same cat orphanage). Shame on you for not saying, “Congratulations on opening your home to two more cats who are the luckiest cats in the world.”

Read on as Julie so aptly puts this situation in perspective! Folks, let’s keep the focus on praising those who adopt from shelters and provide wonderful homes, and differentiate them from those who truly collect and harm animals due to a mental illness. Bring it on Julie!

Bert and Ernie - for calendar

Meet Bert & Ernie

By Julie Germany

If I had four horses, would you call me crazy or weird? Or would you just call me a horse lover?

What about four kids? If I had four kids, would you call me crazy? Or would I just be a mom?

Let’s say I’m a man with four dogs? Would you call me crazy then?

This week my husband and I brought home our third and fourth cats, two brothers who simply could not live apart and who had been at the cat shelter for over three years. Most of my friends and family were happy for us and understood the role that our pets have in our lives.

They knew that we live in a large, four story house with lots of room for the cats to play and that we invest a lot of time, love, and occasionally money in making sure our pets are well fed, cared for, healthy, and happy. They also knew that we recently lost a pet, and that the experience left us heartbroken.

But then there were the others who thought that four cats perhaps represented some type of imbalance or dislikable impulse. I have become a “crazy cat lady” — sometimes said unknowingly with love, sometimes said with judgement. And that makes me angry.

Why is having compassion for animals something crazy, compulsive, and strange?

Compassion and care for those who cannot speak for or fight for themselves — animals, children, the poor, the injured, the impaired, and often throughout history, women — are qualities that reflect the best possible parts of being human. Those have helped lead humanity forward and expand our universe have felt similarly.

Albert Einstein said, “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Or consider Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote “The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”

St. Francis of Assisi, who is depicted surrounded by animals, said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

All of these quotes are from men.

The sad news is that women caring for animals has held a stigma for quite some time. That’s what irritates me the most about being called a “crazy cat lady.”

It’s shameful to be a woman, especially an old, unmarried woman, who cares for animals. We’re all hoarders, imbalanced, crazy and are somehow separate from the rest of “civilized” society. These same women throughout the centuries have been taunted and beaten, swindled from and pounded with garbage when they ventured into the streets. They were called witches, were tormented, beaten, and often persecuted and killed.

That is not compassion, morality, or love. It reflects centuries of the worst in human nature.

Let’s change that.

“Crazy cat lady” connotes so much barbarity . In 2013, we don’t use phrases like “fag” or “retard” in conversation because of the amount of violence, fear, and ignorance their use connotes. People who say those words now sound like idiots. Most of the change in vocabulary came from social pressure, from people who have spoken up and said, “that’s not cool.”

So, it’s not cool to call me a crazy cat lady. I care about animals and by caring about animals, I’m learning to be a better person.

How about you?  

About Julie:

Madrid headshot

Julie Barko Germany is the Vice President of Digital Strategy at DCI Group. She previously served as the director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. She co-founded the mCitizen Summit in 2011 and is the conference director for the CampaignTech conference. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where she and her husband spend their free time herding their four cats: Patches, Jasmine, Bert, and Ernie.  

Me and Lucy - Aug 09-cropped

Allie and Lucy

About Allie:

Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. 

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