Inside the Pet Overpopulation Epidemic

Inside the Pet Overpopulation Epidemic

Pet overpopulation is a major issue that the rescue community has faced for decades. The truth is, there are just too many companion animals out there for the number of available homes. Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and of those, only about half (3.2 million) get adopted (ASPCA).

Many of these animals sit in shelters for years upon years, and others are euthanized. The unfortunate truth is that so many shelters take in animals until they’re completely filled to capacity and rescues exhaust their resources trying to save as many as they’re able to. But still, 1.5 million shelter animals end up euthanized every year. And, that’s only considering the companion animals that are in our shelters. There are still so many stray animals living on the streets.

 Why does pet overpopulation happen?

1. Failure to Spay/Neuter
One of the main reasons companion animal population numbers are so high is that many do not get spayed/neutered. This applies to both animals living in loving homes and strays living on the streets. Companion animals that live in a human home and are not spayed/neutered can easily wind up with a litter – all it takes is for them to be outside and come across another unsterilized animal.

Similarly, strays without access to the proper veterinary care often reproduce and end up with a litter that has no real place to call home. These new litters then need to find loving homes, or they can wind up at a shelter and the cycle perpetuates.

Some communities offer Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) programs for strays cats. These services allow residents to bring in community cats, have them spayed/neutered for a low cost and then release them back out into the community. You can find a directory of TNR programs on the HSUS website.

2. Buying vs. Adopting Animals from Shelters
Adopting your next companion animal from a shelter or rescue group can help alleviate the issue, and actually save two lives – the animal you adopt, and the animal that is able to take its place at the rescue/shelter. With all of those animals in shelters waiting for loving homes, it’s hard to think that anyone would opt to buy their pets from other sources, but unfortunately many people still don’t adopt.

3. Lost & Surrendered Animals
Additionally, already overcrowded and overwhelmed shelters wind up taking in pets that have gotten lost, or have been willingly surrendered. Pets that become lost and don’t have the proper identification (such as a collar and tags, or a microchip) run the risk of never making it back to their owners.


When thinking about the numbers, pet overpopulation can seem like a very overwhelming issue. But, Rescue Me Ohio wants to help, starting in Ohio. That’s why we’re running our #Give99 campaign. We’re asking our followers to donate just 99 cents each, with the goal of hosting low cost spay/neuter clinics for Ohio residents.

Learn more about #Give99, and help us end pet overpopulation in Ohio, by visiting rescuemeohio.org and donating today.

DONATE HERE

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6th Annual Thanks For Giving Fundraiser Collects Over 2,000 cans of pet food for Adopt Ohio

Thanks to everyone who came out and donated to the 6th annual Thanks For Giving fundraiser at Pet Valu Clintonville and Pet Valu Short North! The fundraiser collected 2,220 cans of pet food for Adopt Ohio.

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During the month of November, Rescue Me Ohio collected donations at both Pet Valu locations. Each $5 donation helped feed a cat or dog for one week. The money collected was used to purchase cans of cat and dog food, which was donated to Adopt Ohio.

Calling Ohio Pups: Let’s Get BarkHappy!

If you’re anything like me, you love having your pets with you at all times.

Anyone who has adopted a dog knows all of the joy and love that they bring into your life. You want them with you as much as possible – whether it’s running errands, going to a friend’s house or taking an afternoon stroll. And, I’m willing to bet your dog loves being out and about with you as well, seeing new things and meeting new dogs and their humans. The founder of BarkHappy, Ninis Samuel, knew this feeling!

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He knew how much his dog Kerby enjoyed going places with him and wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to spend more time with their dogs – that’s why he created BarkHappy. 

“It’s all about having real experiences with your dog instead of always leaving them at home,” says Ninis. “Dogs are happiest when they are with you and meeting new friends just like us.  We want you to enjoy life with your dog and connect with the dog friendly world around you.”  

BarkHappy is on a mission to build an active, engaged community of dogs, their owners and a platform for dog-friendly businesses and events through real life experiences. Download the BarkHappy app to:

  • Search for dog-friendly restaurants, stores, hotels, parks and more; and see their pet policies and amenities.
  • See upcoming dog-friendly events and create/host your own group play dates with friends.
  • Connect with other dogs nearby to make new friends – send wags, messages and more!
  • Create lost or found reports and alert other users in that area with your dog’s photo and important information
  • Find special deals just for BarkHappy users on products for your pup.

According to BarkHappy.com, BarkHappy means “a state of overt enjoyment and happiness that leads to uncontrollable expression through barking. e.g. The dog was having so much fun at the dog park, he was getting BarkHappy.” It’s the feeling your pups will get when they are able to spend more time with you!

In addition to helping dogs be happier and live more active social lives, BarkHappy also actively supports charities across the country. BarkHappy helps its charity partners by hosting dog-friendly events and donating a portion of the proceeds to their partners. Rescue Me Ohio is lucky to be BarkHappy’s charity partner in Cleveland, and we have had several great events this summer!  

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Dog parents nationwide can download the app on their Apple iOS (8+) and Android devices!

Please note: BarkHappy is a charity partner of Rescue Me Ohio.

Rescue Me Ohio Brings Community Together to Help Local Man Save His Beloved Dog

Rescue Me Ohio Brings Community Together to Help Local Man Save His Beloved Dog

After hearing about a Columbus-area man’s concern for his dog, who had a massive growth on his underbelly, Rescue Me Ohio raised over $600 to help him get the care he needed to save his dog. Read their story, below.

By Laurie Deerwester – Volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio

Overheard conversations.  Concern for another person.  Concern for an animal.  Caring about your neighbor and the goodness that we often don’t see in people.

I found out about Max third hand. After overhearing his story in a retail establishment, a concerned women shared it with her daughter, who brought me into the loop.  

The woman overheard Steve, the dog’s owner and a Columbus-area resident, talking about how concerned he was for his dog. Max is a 5-year-old, 138-pound Bull Mastiff who had a massive growth on his underbelly. As Steve spoke about Max, the woman could hear in his voice that we was not able to do for his dog what he wished he could (and provide the medical attention he needed). The woman who overheard Steve’s story later shared it with her daughter. The daughter called me once she was able to go to the store and verify the story with Steve.

I have been a volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio (RMO), a statewide education and advocacy organization, for almost four years. One of the most rewarding things about volunteering for Rescue Me Ohio is getting the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of companion animals and their humans.  When I heard Steve’s story, I thought RMO might be able to help him get Max the medical attention he needed and deserved. I didn’t know what I was getting us into!

I shared Max’s story, along with pictures, with our group and proposed a fundraiser to help Steve cover the costs of treatment. Shortly after, Steve updated me that the mass had begun to ooze – he was very concerned about the dog’s health and well-being while he was away at work. I told him that I was trying to figure out a solution.

After a short trip to the pet store, I headed over to Steve’s with the biggest cone they had to accommodate a dog of Max’s size. I took some pictures of Max and the mass dangling from under his ribcage, which was threatening to rupture. I left telling Steve that I would get back to him as soon as I knew more about whether Rescue Me Ohio would be able to assist.

Max with mass

Most in our group were shocked when I sent an update and pictures of the dog’s current condition. RMO’s Board of Directors agreed immediately that we needed to do something to help, and decided to host an online fundraiser to try to cover the expenses of getting Max’s mass removed. Rescue Me Ohio shared Max’s story and fundraising information  on our Facebook page and within our networks. Rescue Me Ohio raised about $625, and covered the remaining cost of Max’s surgery.

 

Getting the medical attention Max needed
I contacted Dr. Michelle Gonzales (Dr. G) of Rascal Animal Hospital and Rascal Unit to get her opinion of Max’s growth, and whether she would be willing to do the surgery. It turns out that the mass was not a lipoma – a benign tumor composed of fat – which is what Steve had been told previously. Instead, the mass was necrotic (meaning the tissue was dying) and needed to be removed as soon as possible.

Dr. G provided me with an estimate on the cost of the surgery, and agreed to perform it.

I immediately shared the good news with Steve and made arrangements to meet him to transfer Max.  On Sunday June 13th  I brought Max into Rascal Animal Hospital in Dublin; they had him in surgery that evening with Dr. Seiple, a veterinarian at the hospital.  The vet shared a very positive update that evening: Dr. Seiple removed the mass (which weighed 4.5lbs!). They medicated Max and put in a chest tube for drainage; the biopsy of the mass would be sent out for testing, which would take 5 to 7 business days.

The area affected by the surgery was quite extensive. Rascal Animal Hospital had to remove a lot of Max’s skin around the mass, because if it was cancer they would need to remove as much tissue as possible.

The recovery process
Max had some difficulty with the sutures – they didn’t want to heal. Being such a big dog – who is often taking people for walks (instead of vice versa) – it was challenging to keep him calm enough to allow the wound to heal.

Rascal Animal Hospital updated me on Max every day for 13 days. I passed the updates along to Steve so that he knew what was happening at every step of the way. On Saturday June 24th I was told that Max was ready to be released. However, he still had an open area on his chest that remained from removing the chest tube and that needed to be monitored for infection or tearing.

Eager to beat the crowd and get Max back to his dad as quickly as possible, I returned to the hospital early on Sunday morning. Rascal Animal Hospital provided medication and wound care instructions and we were ready to go. Max came bounding out of the back room – he had enough of being caged up and wanted to get home! He was very excited and strong, dragging me across the parking lot to my car. We hopped in and headed home so that he could be reunited with Steve.

Once at Steve’s, I reviewed all of the instructions from the hospital and the importance of keeping Max calm. I left them to get reacquainted, and told Steve to call me or the hospital if there were any problems.

Today, Max is doing well. He was diagnosed with cancer, but it is slow-growing and he is expected to live a long life.

Rescue Me Ohio would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated to Max’s cause!

Max post-surgery
Max was excited to get back home to his dad!

Vaccinating Your Pets: Why It’s So Important

Vaccinating Your Pets: Why It’s So Important

Regular preventative pet healthcare is essential in keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. Vaccines are a simple way to protect your pet from highly contagious and often deadly diseases, and improve your pet’s overall quality of life.

In fact, experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Some of the most common vaccinations recommended by veterinarians include:

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Dogs

  • Rabies: a fatal viral infection of the brain and nerves that affects mammals – infection usually occurs through bites from infected animals, most commonly skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats
    * Vaccination for both dogs and cats is recommended, and is required in most states
  • Canine Parvovirus: a highly contagious virus that attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal tract; it is transmitted through oral contact with infected feces
  • Canine Distemper: a viral illness that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system of dogs; it can be spread through the air, through direct contact with an infected animal or via contaminated objects
  • Bortadella: a bacteria commonly associated with respiratory disease in dogs and a common cause of kennel cough; it is highly contagious and can be transmitted through the air or direct contact.
    * Although Bortadella isn’t one of the “core vaccines” that are recommended for most pets, the vaccine is a common requirement when boarding your dog.

For dogs, an alternative option to routine vaccinations are titer tests. These tests, which can be performed by your veterinarian can help determine if a previous vaccine is still protecting your dog.

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Cats

  • Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV): the FIV disease weakens a cat’s immune system, leaving cats dangerously vulnerable to serious infections
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): a viral disease that weakens the immune system and is often passed from mother to kitten or through exposure to an infected cat’s saliva or other body fluids
  • Feline panleukopenia: Also known as feline distemper, this highly contagious viral illness attacks cells in the lymph nodes, bone marrow and intestinal tract. It is spread from cat to cat through contact with body fluids or contaminated objects.
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis and Feline calicivirus infection: infectious diseases that often cause upper respiratory disease in cats.

Unfortunately, many people forgo vaccinations and routine healthcare for their pets because they are unable to afford this care. That’s why Rescue Me Ohio (RMO) and Ohio Voters for Companion Animals (OVCA) are sponsoring two upcoming H.O.P.E. Clinics, which offer affordable vaccinations for Ohio pets. The first clinic that we will be sponsoring will be this Sunday, April 30th, in the Columbus area. Please read our press release, or visit our Facebook events page for full details.

Learn more about pet vaccination by visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Vaccination FAQ page. For more information about the H.O.P.E. Clinics that RMO and OVCA are sponsoring, please contact us.

Outside of Ohio? Visit the Humane Society’s website for a directory of organizations that provide financial assistance for veterinary care needs.

 

What You Need to Know About Spaying and Neutering Your Pets

What You Need to Know About Spaying and Neutering Your Pets

Spaying or neutering is one of the best things that can be done to benefit the lives of cats and dogs. In addition to helping to curb pet overpopulation, it can help make your pet healthier and help to reduce poor behavior. In an effort to spread the word about the benefits of spaying and neutering, the HSUS, the Humane Society International and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association runs its annual World Spay Day campaign.

Observed on the last Tuesday of February, World Spay Day brings awareness to the impact of affordable, accessible spay/neuter options to save the lives of companion animals, stray/feral cats, and stray dogs who may otherwise be put down in shelters or killed on the street. This year will be the 23rd annual World Spay Day, and will be observed on February 28, 2017.pexels-photo-133069

In honor of World Spay Day, we’re taking a look at some of the invaluable benefits that spaying and neutering your pets can bring:

Reduce the number of homeless pets killed – There are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering shelters every day. Barely half of those animals get adopted. Unfortunately, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year.

Improve your pet’s health – Pets who live in the states with the highest rates of spaying/neutering also live the longest, according to this USA today study. Neutered males dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs, and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. The reduced lifespan for unaltered pets can be attributed, in part, to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, running out into the roads and other mishaps.animal-cute-kitten-cat.jpg

Also to consider is the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater risk of developing pyrometra (fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system. Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of developing testicular cancer.

Reduce poor behavior – Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking than neutered dogs. Although this behavior is most-commonly associated with male dogs, females can do it too. For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat. The simplest solution is to have yours neutered or spayed by four months of age, before there’s even a problem.

Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males. In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.

Other behaviors that spaying and neutering can alleviate include:

  • Roaming, especially when females are “in heat”
  • Aggression; studies show that most dog bites involve dogs who are unaltered
  • Excessive barking, mounting or other dominance-related behaviors

And despite what many may think, while getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Given these reasons, it would seem that it doesn’t make sense to not have your pet spayed or neutered. But still, many pets are left unaltered. One of the most common reasons that people skip out on this critical part of their pet’s health is due to cost. What many may not consider, however, is the costs of caring for litters of puppies or kittens, medical costs for cancers of the reproductive system, and the medical costs associated with fights involving unneutered or unspayed pets. In the long run, having your pet spayed or neutered is more cost-effective.

If you or someone you know is looking for an affordable option to spay or neuter a pet, the Humane Society can help you identify low-cost options in your area.

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For more information on World Spay Day, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/spay_day/

2016 Pet Food Drive Collects Over 20K Pounds for Ohio’s Pet Food Pantries

We’re very excited to announce the results of our second-annual Statewide Pet Food Drive! Drumroll, please…The event, which took place on Nov. 19th, brought in over 20,000 pounds (20,544.76 to be exact) of pet food! 

We’d like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone involved in making this year’s event a success, especially our sponsor Coldwell Banker and all of those who came out to donate and support RMO and our partners.

All of the pet food and supplies collected went to six local non-profits that provide pet food pantry services, offering assistance to individuals and families in the area who have fallen on hard times and are struggling to feed their beloved pets. With all of the food collected, these groups will be able feed even more pets this year, and help keep them in their homes.

The beneficiaries for each region are:

The region that collected the most pet food and, in turn, was the recipient of an additional cash donation from Coldwell Banker was Youngstown, benefiting Legacy Dog Rescue.

“Legacy Dog Rescue was thrilled to be chosen as the Youngstown area beneficiary for the food drive – and we’re even more pleased with the results. Many families with pets will be able to be helped because of this. This time of year especially is hard on people; no one should have to decide between paying a gas bill or buying pet food,” says Jenn Overmier of Legacy Dog Rescue.

“We run solely off of donations, and can only distribute food when and if we have it, so this is exciting! We have a big holiday food giveaway on Sunday, Dec. 4th with more food than we’ve ever had to distribute. Huge thanks to everyone who helped make that possible.”

For additional information about Rescue Me Ohio, our annual pet food drive and other activities, please visit us on Facebook or at rescuemeohio.org.