Category Archives: Responsible Dog Ownership

The Pets’ Trust: The Kind of Change WE NEED!

July 17, 2012 was a big day for Miami Dade County and for animal welfare organizations but most of all for the homeless animals. Miami Dade County’s Board of Commissioners voted to allow residents to decide on the future of our animals.  This means that on November 6th, residents will have the opportunity to decide whether they are in support of a small increase in property taxes to save animal lives.

The Pet’s Trust is the initiative driving this change.  Through a small increase in taxes, the Pets’ Trust will create a dedicated source of funding for pet retention, spay/neuter and other low cost educational programs.

Dedicated funding source to save lives and promote responsible dog ownership programs

You might be wondering what a “small” increase will really be.  “Small” is such a relative term.

On average, about 34,000 dogs and cats are abandoned our County’s shelter. This, based on our current modus operandi costs the community about $298 per animal. If the Pets’ Trust initiative is passed, it would cost the average property owner $20 per year and for that we’d get:

  • Two facilities which would provide low cost veterinary care and 100,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year
  • Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs to contain and reduce the feral cat populations throughout the county (stray cat population estimated at over 400,000)
  • Educational targeted programs for adults and children on responsible ownership
  • Campaigns that promote adoption, spay/neuter  and life-long pet retention of pets

Shall I keep going?  Heck take my $20.  Increase my property taxes, my electricity bill and my dog treat bill!!  That’s all it would take?  Click here to check out the Miami Herald’s coverage and to hear what Michel Rosenberg, president of Pets’ Trust has to say.

Essentially it would increase your property tax bill by .5¢ a day and potentially convert Miami Dade Animal Services into a no-kill facility.  That’s a small price to pay for that. This week the Pets’ Trust had their kick-off campaign at the Biltmore Hotel and I was in attendance.

Founder of Miami Veterinary Coalition’s PUP E Program and President of Spay Neuter Miami Foundation

It was a great evening filled with hopeful, active people that want to help make a difference in the way we treat our animals.

I urge everyone who votes in Miami Dade County to vote yes on the ballot question asking to “improve increased Animal Services,” as it will bring about necessary changes and make a world of a difference to the animals that have no voice.

For your reference:

Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter

We’re participating in this year’s Coconut Grove Bed Race, a community fundraising event where teams of five race down the streets of Coconut Grove while pushing a bed!  Yes, a bed!  We thought this would be a great opportunity to connect with our community with fun and laughter and raise awareness on the importance of spaying/neutering.  So our theme is Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter.

Don't Litter

If you didn’t know, there is a pet overpopulation problem in Miami Dade County (and lots of other places, for that matter).  The stats indicate that we like to breed our dogs and cats.  Let’s face it, puppies and kittens are cute.  It can be quite extra-ordinary to see a mother caring for her litter.  Grooming them and feeding them and often times disciplining them.  But did you know that as many as 37,000 cats and dogs are abandoned at our local animal shelter each year?  On average 50-75 pets are surrendered on a daily basis.  Over half of these pets will not make it and will be euthanized because not enough homes for them exist.

While puppies and kittens are cute, we, the people must take responsibility.  We can’t breed then discard like this.  We’ve got to start educating and advocating.  Spaying and neutering is the only way to get this problem under control.  This is the reason we’ve selected the Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter theme for this year’s bed race.

Our fundraising goal is $1000 to fund a mobile spay/neuter clinic so that we can offer low cost spay/neuter services to members of our community.

I need your help to make this happen.  Here’s what you can do:

  1. click here to make your donation.  Every bit helps!
  2. Share this post on your Facebook wall, tweet about it using #whyspayneuter, send the url in an email to all your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors and urge them to make a donation.
  3. Come out to the event on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 1pm and cheer our team on as we race while spreading awareness and educating the community on the importance of spaying/neutering.
Help me make it happen!
Help us make a difference

It’s a “Responsibility” Thing

So I meet quite a bit of dog owners.  I like to ask them lots of questions about their dogs.  Most of them like to share.  One of my favorite questions to ask is, where they got their dog.  There’s always a bit of trepidation on my end for that split second right before they answer the question.  The truth is there are people out there that shop at places like this

Puppies at Pet Shop

and like this

Super Kennels

I always want to preach but I refrain.  This post is for all the times that I should have said something and didn’t.  For all the potential puppy owners that don’t know the reality of puppy mills and for all the dog parents that have purchased dogs that came from puppy mills.  Most of the dogs that you find in pet shops come from puppy mills.  Puppy mills are terrible places.  They breed dogs irresponsibly.  They keep the dogs in terrible inhumane conditions.  They only care about profits and quantity not quality and have little concern for the dog or even the breed.  This is terrible, but let’s be clear.  The pendulum swings both ways.  There’s this concept called supply and demand.  Pet stores sell irresponsibly, but people also buy irresponsibly.  People buy impulsively.  People buy without taking into account the breed that they are buying and little to no regard is given to temperament.

Poor breeding practices, constant confinement, lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often times results in unhealthy and poor companion dogs who end up being surrendered to shelters who then contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.  Because dogs are bred for quantity not quality, genetic defects get passed on from generation to generation.  It’s a terrible vicious cycle and for this reason, I want to tell you, my wonderful reader, about two alternatives to buying from pet stores: 1) adopt from a shelter or if you must 2) buy from reputable breeders.

Our county shelter receives approximately 37,000 dogs per year.  Adoption efforts are in full effect.  Rescue organizations try their best, but the number of dogs that is surrendered or brought into the shelter due to a different reason outweighs all the other efforts and the dogs end up being euthanized.  Lots of them don’t make it.  Many of them don’t make it.  I”ll scare you with the stats in a different post.

Right now I want to tell you about Betty and her dogs.

This is Toby

She is Jubett Labradors.  I talked with Betty not too long ago and when I learned about what she does, I thought I’d share so that you could make a contrast between what puppy mills and other backyard breeders do and what Betty does.  The first thing she said to me was, “I love the breed and everything I do is for the betterment of the breed”.  She only keeps girls and she thoroughly researches studs often times employing only artificial insemination to make sure to complement the girl and improve the breed.  Betty also ensures to obtain clearances for eyes, hips and elbows, another common practice that all responsible breeders should be doing.  This is key because as Betty explained, dogs have to be at least two years before some of these clearances can be obtained.  Puppy mills don’t have time to wait two years.  They want fast money at the expense of the dogs.

She breeds for the love of the breed and her number one priority is producing sound, healthy pups with good temperament and placing them in loving forever families.  She’s also involved in conformation and many of her dogs have received high accolades.  Noelle, pictured here is one of her Champions.

Noelle the Champ

Perhaps one of my favorite things that I learned about Betty is the screening process that she goes through with every puppy parent.  She asks questions about the person and the family, their lifestyles and the reason they want a puppy.  And she emphasizes that the dog has to be part of the family.  She gives them the good, bad and ugly and only if she determines that they are well suited for the breed, will she continue the process.  Then I asked about one thing that was on my mind, “what about spaying and neutering”?  She said she always emphasizes from day one that dogs should spayed and neutered as soon as the family’s veterinarian says it’s ok to do so.  Whew!  Thanks, Betty.

This was a relief because I’ve met some people whose breeder make them sign a contract indicating that they’re not allowed to sterilize their dog.  A contract?  What kind of crazy thing is that?  Has anyone heard of this?  I even met a lady with an extremely aggressive dalmatian who after pleading with the breeder, the breeder insisted that the dog not be sterilized.  Crazy!  Why would you want to breed a dog like that?  Hello!  The other thing that I really loved about Betty is that she keeps close contact with her puppy parents throughout the years and she always makes it clear that if they cannot keep the dog for whatever reason, she wants to be the first to know.  She’s actually had to placed dogs whose owners pass away, or become ill or have other unforeseen circumstances.  She says, “things come up in people’s lives, and I’m happy to take my pups back if I need to”.

I write this post for you.  My reader who is new to dog parenting.  My reader who doesn’t know where puppy mill dogs come from or what they do there.  My reader that is thinking of finding his pup a girlfriend or boyfriend.  My reader that knows somebody who knows somebody whose dog just had a litter of pups and is thinking about getting one.  My reader that may not know about our local shelter or what a responsible breeder looks like.  But most importantly I write this post for the voiceless dogs and kittens who get bred irresponsibly and end up being euthanized.  I am only one person, but if I educate and you educate one other person and we all do our part, we might be on to something!  Pass it on.

Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter

Rocco’s Pack is participating in this year’s Great Grove Bed Race.  This is a community event, and because one of our guiding principles is connecting with and educating our local community, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be there and send a message!  A very important message that is near and dear to us…the Spay/Neuter message.

You might be asking, “what exactly will happen?”  On September 2, 2012, Rocco’s Pack and the “Spay/Neuter Pack” team will race down a 1/8 of a mile strip in the beautiful Coconut Grove while pushing our bed which will be fully decorated with the Spay/Neuter theme.  Our runners will be in Spay/Neuter attire and EVERYTHING about us will emphasize the importance of Spaying and Neutering.

Now you’re probably asking, “how important is spaying and neutering?”  In 2010 there were 35,924 dogs and cats taken in to our county shelter.  Fifty-six percent, 20,112 of those were euthanized.  In 2011, this number was lower, but we still need work.

Don’t Litter: You can help us make a difference by making a donation that will go toward funding a mobile spay/neuter clinic.  Funding this initiative will offer 2 days of low cost spay/neuter services to members of our community that may not otherwise have the means to spay or neuter their pets at the regular price.  Make your donation securely via PayPal using the link below.

Your support matters and every little bit helps!  Save lives by preventing births!

Who Let the Chihuahuas Out?

Sometimes you want to meet someone just like you.  At least the Chihuahuas do.  Okay, maybe the Chis don’t really care, but Chi owners do.  I mean really, if dog breed is at all indicative of anything about you, then there should be some similarity among you and other people that own the same breed.  Right?!?!  Ahhh, that’s a question for Wanda.

So I’m guessing that even the most unengaged owner has looked online at least once to learn something about their dog’s breed.  Well that’s what Wanda did.  Eight years later she’s the organizer of the Dade County Chihuahua Meet up Group.  How cool is that?  For the past eight plus years Chihuahua owners have been gathering monthly with their Chis and 300 others to share stories and allow the Chihuahuas to play.

Check out what some people are saying about it:

I think others should join the group because it’s fun to take your dogs to a place where they can socialize with other Chihuahuas.  It’s a good experience.

Good place for your dog to socialize and meet other people who love the same kind of dog you do.  You can make play dates with others.

The more, the merrier I say.  It’s not about the people.  It’s about the dogs.  They all sniff each other and play with each other, you can’t do that for your dog, so see you at the next meet.