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Critters Corner
By Karen Cunningham
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Critters Corner

This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: October 23, 2014 at 2:06 am
Last modified: October 23, 2014 at 2:06 am
Chester

TEDDY (6310) is a blonde, male adult, cocker spaniel. CHESTER (6339) is an orange and white, domestic long hair, male adult. Teddy and Chester are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA.

You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at (315) 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

Important fact for dog lovers never to forget: Show me your world. The house and yard might be the only places I ever see unless you let me come with you.

A trip to the pet store, the park, or even just a ride in the car is exhilarating for me. I can’t wait to see what you want to show me.

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Animal Abandonment Is A Crime In New York

First published: October 21, 2014 at 2:12 am
Last modified: October 21, 2014 at 2:12 am

Abandonment laws differ by state, but generally speaking, abandonment happens when an owner or temporary caretaker of an animal leaves that animal in a public or private place (inside or outside) without intending to return for it and without making provision for its continued care.

Most states have laws making abandonment of an animal unlawful. It is sometimes a component of cruelty laws, though some states like New York treat it as a separate offense.

In New York, it is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If an abandoned animal is found to be sick, injured, or dead, cruelty charges may also be appropriate.

Abandoning animals and “hoping for the best” is NO solution. Animals won’t do OK if you drive down a country road or city/village street and put the animal out of your car and drive away. Often these animals are struck by another vehicle as they wander the area hoping for your return.

They may become prey to predators on two or four legs as they seek food and shelter to survive. Cats abandoned at local farms are run off, injured, or killed by the barn cats in residence as they protect their domain and the food supply that is available. They may become feral and soon are reproducing offspring that join their parents in the same fate.

There are many reasons that people find it necessary to give up an animal in their care:

• Moving

• Cannot afford to care for the animal

• Behavioral problems

• Allergies

• Landlord will not permit pets

• Too many pets in the household

• No time for the pet

• New baby in the household

• Unwanted litter of parent animal not spayed/neutered

If you must give up a pet, it is advisable to avoid “Free to Good Home” ads as these ads often bring hoarders, abusers, puppy mills owners, backyard breeders, or people who may sell the animal to laboratories for experimentation. If you decide to turn your animal over to a private citizen make sure you have learned as much about the situation as you can—make a home visit, meet the people who will be caring for your pet, see any other animals residing on the property, review their animals’ medical records (especially, determining if their current pets are spay/neutered and vaccinated), see where your pet will be housed, watch your pet’s reaction to them, and “trust your gut” about them.

If you cannot do these things, surrender the animal to a reputable animal shelter or rescue organization that will provide any necessary medical care needed before adoption (including spay/neuter and vaccinations), do the evaluation of prospective adopters, and have provisions in their adoption contract for the animal to be returned to its facility for any reason during the animal’s lifetime if the adoptive caregiver cannot continue to provide care.

In this area, the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA is an open admission shelter that does not turn animals away. A request is made for a monetary donation but the animal will not be turned away if this is not available.

Tthese funds do assist with the continued operation of the organization.

There may be times when a brief wait may be required so that kennel space is available for intake but if the situation requires immediate assistance, the shelter will work to make it happen!

It is important when deciding to have a pet in your household that you realize this is not a whim—it is a lifetime commitment to a living, breathing creature that is totally dependent on you to provide for its care. If you have become a caregiver for an animal and the situation requires you to give up the pet, do so in the most responsible manner for the sake of this animal that has given you unconditional love.

FINAL RABIES CLINIC FOR 2014

Wednesday, October 22 Lisbon - 6 – 8 p.m. at the Lisbon Fire Hall.

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This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: October 16, 2014 at 2:02 am
Last modified: October 16, 2014 at 2:02 am
Maddie

MADDIE (6337) is a female adult, tan, black, & white German Shepherd Dog mix. SATCH (6143) is a domestic long hair, male juvenile gray Tabby. Maddie and Satch are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA.

You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at (315) 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

IMPORTANT FACT FOR DOG LOVERS NEVER TO FORGET: Understand when I need my alone time. I love you more than anything but even though it’s rare, I don’t always want to play or cuddle. Don’t be sad if I’d rather sleep on the cold tile floor instead of in your bed on hot summer nights, and be understanding if I don’t want to play as much as the years go on.

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Beware Of Puppy Mills And Backyard Breeders

First published: October 14, 2014 at 2:26 am
Last modified: October 14, 2014 at 2:26 am

Puppy mills are breeding facilities that mass-produce dogs (and cats in cat mills, although cat mills do not receive as much publicity) for sale through pet stores, or directly to consumers through classified ads or the internet. Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. Backyard breeders are also motivated by profit. Ads from these unscrupulous breeders fill the classifieds in newspapers and on the internet.

In most states, these breeding kennels can legally keep hundreds of dogs in cages their entire lives, for the sole purpose of continuously churning out puppies. The animals produced range from purebreds to any number of the latest “designer” mixed breeds. Cat breeding occurs under similar conditions to supply pet stores with kittens.

Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water, and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not receive adequate attention, exercise, or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. It is not unusual for cages to be stacked up in columns. Breeder dogs at mills may spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or kept inside indoor cages all their lives. Adult animals are continuously bred until they can no longer produce, then destroyed or discarded.

Fearful behavior and lack of socialization with humans and other animals are typical of puppy mill dogs. Puppies born in puppy mills are typically removed from their littermates and mothers at just six weeks of age.

The first months of a puppy’s life are a critical socialization period for puppies. Spending that time with their mother and littermates helps prevent puppies from developing problems like extreme shyness, aggression, fear, and anxiety.

Illness and disease are common in dogs from puppy mills. Because puppy mill operators often fail to apply proper husbandry practices that would remove sick dogs from their breeding pools, puppies from puppy mills are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions. These can include: epilepsy, heart disease, kidney disease, musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, etc.), endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism), blood disorders (anemia, VonWillebrand disease), deafness, eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.), and respiratory disorders.

On top of that, puppies may have other diseases or infirmities that need to be addressed with proper veterinary care: giardia, parvovirus, distemper, upper respiratory infections, kennel cough, pneumonia, mange, fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, heartworm, and chronic diarrhea.

How can you tell if it’s a puppy mill

• The breeder has many types of purebreds or “designer” hybrid breeds being sold at less than six weeks old

• The breeder is reluctant to show potential customers the entire premises on which animals are bred and kept or agree to drop the dog/pup or cat/kitten at a location off-site (i.e., mall parking lots)

• The breeder cannot or will not show potential buyers the medical records for the parent animals

• The breeder doesn’t ask a lot of questions of potential buyers

• The breeder fails to provide veterinary records for the animal for sale

• There are “No guarantees”—responsible breeders make a commitment to take back the pet at any time during the animal’s life, no matter the reason

The only way to stop the suffering of animals in puppy mills and with backyard breeders is to not purchase from them either directly, online, or at a pet shop.

In most states, puppy mills are legal. It is important that future pet owners seek rescue dogs from their local shelter or buy pets from a trusted breeder in order to put mills out of business.

Please make adoption your first option. Purebred dogs end up in shelters just like mixed breeds—typically 25% of the animals in shelters are purebred. Breed rescue groups exist for just about every breed possible.

If you have your heart set on a purebred, please be sure to visit your local shelter or find a breed rescue group before searching for a breeder. When approaching a rescue group use the same cautions, to avoid hoarders.

If you can’t find what you want through a shelter or breed rescue group, be a responsible, informed consumer and go to the reputable breeder who:

• Will show you where the dogs spend their time and introduces you to the puppy’s parents

• Explains the puppy’s medical history, including vaccines, and gives you their veterinarian’s contact information

• Doesn’t have puppies available year-round, yet may keep a waiting list of interested people

• Asks about your family’s lifestyle, why you want a dog, and your care and training plans for the puppy

• Doesn’t use pressure sales tactics

FINAL TWO RABIES

CLINICS FOR 2014

Wednesday, October 15 - Ogdensburg - 6 to 8 p.m. - Ogd. Fire Dept.

Wednesday, October 22 - Lisbon - 6 to 8 p.m. - Lisbon Fire Hall

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This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: October 09, 2014 at 2:00 am
Last modified: October 09, 2014 at 2:00 am
Buzzy

BRANDY (5998A) is a female senior adult, tan Chihuahua. BUZZY (6126) is a domestic short hair Torti and white female juvenile.

Brandy and Buzzy are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA.

You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at (315) 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

IMPORTANT FACT FOR DOG LOVERS NEVER TO FORGET: Please don’t hit me. I have teeth that can crush bone. Instead, I cover you in sloppy, wet kisses. Just as I choose not to hurt you, please make the choice to not hurt me.

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Does Your Dog Eat Feces?

First published: October 07, 2014 at 2:14 am
Last modified: October 07, 2014 at 2:14 am

Coprophagia, or feces eating, is natural in dogs (though disgusting to their owners). Coprophagia comes in several interesting varieties.

There are dogs that eat their own feces, dogs that eat the feces of other dogs, and dogs that eat the feces of other animals. Mother dogs often eat the stools of their young to keep them clean. Some dogs are just bored.

Usually, this unsavory behavior doesn’t cause serious problems, although internal parasites and certain diseases can be transmitted.

Why do dogs do it? All sorts of explanations have been offered. It could stem from medical problems like exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatitis, intestinal infections, malabsorptive syndromes and high-fat diets. It is also possible that your dog is exhibiting attention-seeking behavior. Dogs might be imitating their owners as best they can—after all, good owners pick up dog poop. The dogs could be copying other dogs; submissive dogs might consume the feces of more dominant dogs, perhaps trying to absorb some of that dominance themselves. They might be hungry, especially if they are fed only once a day, or perhaps they just enjoy the taste.

The easiest solution to coprophagia, however, is management. Supervise your dog when it is outside. Keep the poop picked up in the yard and the cat litter box out of your dog’s reach.

LIFE LESSONS FROM MY DOG

As you reside with your dog, be aware of the lessons it teaches you every day:

• Don’t ever give up. Even when you fall flat on your butt, you never know what will happen next. Get up, go on, and finish.

• Life is supposed to be fun. Don’t take life too seriously. When life throws you a curve ball, have fun with it.

• Be prepared. We practice daily and never know when all that practice will come in handy.

• Praise and attention keeps you going. Praise feeds your soul, no matter how many legs you have.

• Reward. Reward. Reward. Everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done.

FINAL RABIES CLINICS FOR 2014

Thursday, October 9 - Canton - 5–8 p.m. - Human Services Center

Wednesday, October 15 - Ogdensburg - 6–8 p.m. - Ogd. Fire Dept.

Wednesday, October 22 - Lisbon - 6–8 p.m. - Lisbon Fire Hall

PLEASE NOTE…IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE ALL DOMESTICATED DOGS, CATS, AND FERRETS ARE IMMUNIZED AGAINST RABIES.

• Three Year Vaccinations are available but a CURRENT RABIES CERTIFICATE is required and is the only acceptable proof for an animal to receive a three year vaccination certificate. According to NYS law, the rabies tag is NOT acceptable proof of a previous vaccination.

• Dogs and cats must be at least three (3) months old to be vaccinated.

• Pregnant dogs and cats CAN be vaccinated.

• ANIMALS MUST HAVE A COLLAR AND LEASH. CATS MUST BE IN AN ANIMAL CARRIER OR A PILLOWCASE.

• ALL ANIMALS MUST BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF AN ADULT.

• Ferrets need to be vaccinated yearly.

Clinics may change or be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances without notice, please call 386-2325 for clinic confirmation or questions. For more rabies information, visit the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department website at http://www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Departments/PublicHealth/RabiesControl

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This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: October 02, 2014 at 2:11 am
Last modified: October 02, 2014 at 2:11 am
Rory

ROSIE is a female adult, black Labrador Retriever. RORY (is a male juvenile, gray and black Tabby/Siamese mix. Rosie and Rory are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA.

You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at (315) 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

IMPORTANT FACT FOR DOG LOVERS NEVER TO FORGET: Give me a treat every once in a while.

Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I know you want me to be healthy, so I understand when you don’t share your own meals with me.

But giving me a dog biscuit when I’ve been good or mixing tasty vegetables in with my dinner is guaranteed to make me wag my tail extra hard.

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Destructive Chewing Can Be Dangerous

First published: September 30, 2014 at 2:08 am
Last modified: September 30, 2014 at 2:08 am

Dogs Need To Chew

Start by providing your dog with strong, safe, fun, and easy-to-clean chew toys. Make sure the toy is built to withstand your dog’s chewing ability. For destructive chewers, don’t buy toys made out of fabric.

A lot of inappropriate chewing can be averted simply with good management: a) Keep tempting, chewable objects out of your dog’s reach; b) Keep your shoes in the closet and your clothes hung up; c) Tape down electrical wires; and d) If your dog chews furniture, you can find a variety of bitter deterrent sprays that won’t damage the furniture or upholstery but will keep it from chewing them.

Remember: Your dog has to chew something. Make that “something” a toy that is fun and easily available.

The underlying problem for problem chewers is stress. The simplest, most effective way to reduce stress in any dog is to increase its exercise. This doesn’t mean letting it wander in the yard at will. It means taking it out for a long, vigorous walk or run several times a day.

Once your dog gets exercise on a regular basis, destructive chewing might become a thing of the past.

Is Your Cat Secretly Sick?

Animals acting sick in the wild, get eaten. Cats have kept the ability to hide signs of illness so well that these signs sometimes go unnoticed. Here are several signs of illness in cats (and many of them also apply to dogs).

Change in appetite. Eating too much or too little can potentially signify disease. If you notice a change either way, you should notify your veterinarian. There are countless diseases that can cause overeating or losing one’s appetite. Your veterinarian’s job typically starts with blood work, x-rays, and/or ultrasound.

Stinky breath. A foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth can mean gum disease or tooth decay. Brushing your cat’s teeth is a good way to decrease these risks or you may choose to have your veterinary professional perform a dental cleaning. In addition, breath that smells like ammonia can be a sign of kidney disease.

Eliminating outside of the litter box. Discuss your pet’s symptoms with your veterinarian to rule out a bladder infection or urinary blockage before treating this as a behavior issue.

Weight change. Weight loss can be an indication of thyroid disease or cancer. Weight gain or a growing belly can be related to various conditions such a pyometra (a uterus full of pus). Obesity by itself is detrimental to your pet’s health; it can lead to arthritis, tumors, and a shorter lifespan.

Behavior change. If your normally social cat suddenly becomes antisocial, there may be a medical reason. A classic sign of illness is hiding.

Grooming change. Lack of grooming can cause a dull or greasy hair coat, which can indicate skin disease or other problems. Some cats over-groom and end up with bald patches. Skin parasites, like fleas or mange, or every stress can cause this behavior.

Activity change. A sudden increase in activity level in a middle-aged or older cat can indicate an overactive thyroid. If your cat is moving around or playing less, it may indicate arthritis or other issues.

Sleep pattern change. If your cat seems to sleep all day when it used to be active, or is up all night roaming and vocalizing, it may be trying to tell you it doesn’t feel well.

Stress-induced behavior. Changes in the environment your pet lives in, like the addition of another pet, remodeling, or loud noises can all cause hiding, depression, or lack of appetite.

Thoroughly discuss any behavior changes with your veterinarian.

Voice change. Normally quiet cats with an increase in vocalizations, or a usually chatty cat which suddenly becomes quiet, might mean trouble.

Any of these changes, whether slow or quick, should be a reason to take your cat (or dog) to your veterinarian to investigate the cause and find a treatment as soon as possible.

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This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: September 25, 2014 at 2:12 am
Last modified: September 25, 2014 at 2:12 am
Teddy

YOUKAN is a male adult blonde Labrador Retriever. TEDDY is a male adult, domestic short hair, orange Tabby. Youkan and Teddy are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA. You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at (315) 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

IMPORTANT FACT FOR DOG LOVERS NEVER TO FORGET: Let me make new friends. Introduce me to other dogs, cats, or even bigger animals. We might not get along in the end, but having some more friends that look and smell like me makes my life that much brighter.

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Addressing Separation Anxiety

First published: September 23, 2014 at 2:15 am
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 2:15 am

Separation anxiety afflicts approximately 7 million American dogs, a large percentage of whom are rescued. Dogs have no way of knowing if or when you’ll ever return after you shut that door. Dogs have been conditioned for centuries to thrive on human company. Some dogs find the pain of separation intolerable. The only thing that they can think to do to relieve their misery is to bark, chew, whine, dig, or defecate.

Once it begins, it tends to get worse, partly because the owner begins to regard the impending separation with equal fear, although for a different reason—the dread of what he or she might find upon returning home.

To keep your home and dog safe, confinement might be necessary. Some dogs with separation anxiety get considerably worse when confined, even in a large room. If your dog is amenable to confinement or that is your only option, the best plan is to secure it in a room that’s free from valuable, dangerous, and fragile objects.

Provide your dog with a distracting toy—a special something it gets only when you leave. Most dogs enjoy something that contains food. Many toys have pockets to stash treats; your dog can spend quite a while figuring out how to remove them. Also, leaving a TV or radio on is comforting to many dogs.

Your goal is to relieve your dog’s anxiety to the point where it is safe to leave it in the house. If isolating and confining your dog is distasteful or not a reasonable option, consider doggie day care or a similar option that gives your dog company and plenty of activity to keep its mind occupied.

You will need to condition your dog to your absences. Begin by taking short (just a minute or so) trips. When you leave the house, just go. The more you are able to ignore your dog in the minutes before you leave, the better. Very gradually increase the dog’s time alone. When you return, be upbeat but casual.

Exercise your dog vigorously before you leave, and if you will be gone for a long period of time, check into hiring a dog walker. A tired dog is a good dog. Also, getting up a little earlier and walking your dog a bit longer is beneficial to you both.

Last Rabies Clinics for 2014:

Thursday, October 9 - Canton - 5–8 p.m. - Human Services Center

Wednesday, October 15 - Ogdensburg - 6–8 p.m. - Ogd. Fire Dept.

Wednesday, October 22 - Lisbon - 6-8 p.m. - Lisbon Fire Hall

PLEASE NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE ALL DOMESTICATED DOGS, CATS, AND FERRETS ARE IMMUNIZED AGAINST RABIES.

• Three Year Vaccinations are available but a CURRENT RABIES CERTIFICATE is required and is the only acceptable proof for an animal to receive a three year vaccination certificate. According to NYS law, the rabies tag is NOT acceptable proof of a previous vaccination.

• Dogs and cats must be at least three (3) months old to be vaccinated.

• Pregnant dogs and cats CAN be vaccinated.

• ANIMALS MUST HAVE A COLLAR AND LEASH. CATS MUST BE IN AN ANIMAL CARRIER OR A PILLOWCASE.

• ALL ANIMALS MUST BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF AN ADULT.

• Ferrets need to be vaccinated yearly.

Clinics may change or be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances without notice, please call 386-2325 for clinic confirmation or questions. For more rabies information, visit the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department website at: http://www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Departments/PublicHealth/RabiesControl

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