5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Pet Overpopulation

Each year in Oklahoma, tens of thousands of healthy, adoptable animals are destroyed. Although great progress has been made, fewer than half of the animals that enter the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter each year will leave there alive. Not only is this a harsh reality, it’s also a drain on resources and tax dollars that could be better utilized to serve our communities.

Turning these statistics around so that we are saving more animals than we are destroying is not only humane, it would be beneficial for our communities. As daunting as the task may seem, it is not impossible. In fact, many communities around the nation are considered “no kill” because they have achieved a 90% live release rate at their municipal shelters. In order to get there, it will take the entire community to make important choices about their pets. Here’s how individuals can help:

DON’T INTENTIONALLY BREED YOUR PET There are enough animals that need homes without adding more. Shelters are overcrowded and too many animals that enter shelters are put to sleep due to lack of homes.  If your pet has puppies or kittens, they could end up in a shelter. In addition, every puppy or kitten sold or given away by an owner that breeds their pet means there is one more shelter animal that will not find a home. Don’t contribute to the number of unwanted pets and deaths.

SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PET Spay and neuter will reduce the number of animals that enter municipal shelters by reducing the number of unwanted pets. As an added bonus, it also prevents undesirable behavior and health risks which can shorten the life of your best friend. Furthermore, in many Oklahoma communities including the City of Tulsa, it is required by law. Low-cost spay and neuter services are available in most communities for qualifying households.

ADOPT YOUR NEXT PET FROM AN AREA RESCUE OR SHELTER The quality of animals available through shelters and rescues is astounding. Looking for a specific breed?  It is estimated that 25% of the dogs that enter shelters are pure bred and there are breed specific rescues for every type of dog imaginable. Keep in mind when you adopt a pet, you are actually saving two lives because you make space for another pet to get a second chance. Check out our Partners page for a list of rescues in your area.

BE A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER Make a commitment to give your pet the care it needs for its lifetime. Make sure that you are in a place in your life to make this commitment. Pets that are relinquished due to changes in their owner’s lives such as divorce, birth of a child or moving make up a large percentage of animals found in shelters and rescues. Also, make sure your pet always has proper identification in case it is lost.

SPREAD THE WORD The greatest defense to our pet overpopulation crisis is a well-informed community. Make sure that your friends and family are aware of the pet overpopulation crisis and how their personal actions can help solve or contribute to the problem.

House Bill 1359

Commercial Pet Breeders and Animal Shelter Licensing Act

 By now many organizations have received in the mail a letter, application and revised Act for the Animal Shelter licensing.  This Act was voted in to help regulate shelters or those who house 10 or more rescue dogs/cats in order to protect and ensure they are sufficiently cared for.  Oklahoma authorities have closed poorly run rescue organizations charging the owners with Cruelty.  The Representatives of Oklahoma introduced and voted in House Bill 1359 to enforce good conditions for animals in efforts to reduce the number of cruelty charges in rescue organizations.  Photos on this post are from a fairly recent closure of a rescue organization in which the owners were changed and plead guilty to animal cruelty.  Below are a few basic questions for organizations to read over and gain more knowledge about this new Act.  At the bottom are links to the Act and other information.

 

1.  Who has to apply and how to get a license.

Please Save Me

Please Save Me

Foster-based rescue groups do not need to apply for an application.

Veterinarians or Resort kennels housing rescue dogs/cats do not need to apply for a license.

Rescue operated shelters that house 10 or more rescued dogs/cats MUST apply for license.

Deadline for application submittal is NOVEMBER 1st, 2013Click here for the application.   Application can be mailed to:

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
Office of General Counsel
PO Box 528804
Oklahoma City, OK  73152

Untreated eye disease

Untreated eye disease

The $200.00 application fee MUST accompany the application.  Be sure and give plenty of time for the mail delivery.

 

Once the applications are submitted, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture (ODA) will access the locations of the shelters and schedule inspections.  There is one inspector for the state of Oklahoma, so the shelters will be mapped out for her to inspect by regions.  Once your shelter has been inspected it will take up to 10 days for the inspector to turn in their findings and then the organization will be notified if granted an Animal Shelter license or not.

Poor Living Conditions

Poor Living Conditions

The ODA shall issue an animal shelter or commercial pet breeder license to each applicant who:

  • Meets the requirements of the Commercial Pet Breeders and Animal Shelter Licensing Act.
  • Applies to the Department on the form prescribed by the Department; and
  • Pays the required fee ($200.00)

 

2.  What are the penalties?

poor conditionsThe penalties vary by the animal and daily offenses.  You can refer to the Act to review.  If penalties are not addressed, the ODA will send notice of the occurrence.  If the organization does not respond to the notice, then the ODA will send the inspector and/or other state agency to the location of the organization.  If the organization does not respond then the ODA will turn over the case to their attorneys.  Penalties are noted to be no less than $100.00 to no more than $10,000.00.  Violations of this Act can result in a misdemeanor.

Filthy water

Filthy water

Licenses will be denied or revoked for the following:

  • Applicant is convicted of a crime involving animal cruelty;
  • Applicant is convicted of violating the Commercial Pet Breeders and Animal Shelter Licensing Act more than three times;
  • Applicant is convicted of felony specified by subparagraphs a through pp of paragraph 2 or Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes;
  • Applicant is convicted of a felony punishable under the Oklahoma Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; or
  • Applicant has held or applied for United States Department of Agriculture license pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act and whose license was
    Untreated Eye Injury

    Untreated Eye Injury

    suspended or revoked, or whose application was refused due to improper care of animals.

  • Falsified application or information can result in a misdemeanor.
  • Unlicensed organizations can result in a misdemeanor.
  • Organizations that deny access to the dog/cat’s records for ODA or authorized authority.

 

3.  What are the requirements?

Filthy Feeding Conditions

Filthy Feeding Conditions

Here is the list of requirements:

  • Organizations that qualify for a license must apply and pay the $200 (non-refundable) inspection fee.
  • Organizations must maintain their license annually.
  • Organizations must display a copy of the Animal Shelter license at their facility.
  • Organizations must maintain a separate health record for each animal in the facility.
  • The Health record shall include:
    • The breed, sex, color, and identifying marks of the animals; and
    • A record of all inoculations, medications, and other veterinary medical treatment received by the animal while in the possession of the facility.

      Untreated Flea Infected Area

      Untreated Flea Infected Area

  • Organizations shall make the health records available upon request to the ODA or authorized agent.
  • Requirements of standard of care please refer to Chapter 3 of the Commercial Pet Breeders Law & Rules.

 

4.  Document References:

a.  Letter from the State of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry: Formal letter to introduce the new Act.

 b.  Animal Shelter Application:  Eligible organization must have this filled out and turned in with the $200.00 fee by or before November 1st, 2013 and annually thereafter.

Improper Housing

Improper Housing

c.  House Bill 1359:  This bill will be law as of November 1st, 2013

 d.  Commercial Pet Breeders Law and Rules:  This is the Commercial Pet Breeders Act of 2012.

Preparing For Your New Companion

PREPARING YOUR PETS

playThe first thing you need to do when considering new pet is to protect your personal animals. Shelter animals can come to us from unknown origins, sometimes with underlying medical issues and conditions, so it is important that you protect your family pets as much as you can. If you choose puppies or kittens, you may be exposing your own pets to upper respiratory infections and worms or parasites.
Before bringing home your first pet, make sure your animals are up to date with their vaccinations. Talk to your veterinarian and follow their recommendations about any precautions you need to take. The veterinarian may suggest additional vaccinations/immunizations to protect your animal.

 

PREPARING YOUR HOME

Cats and dogs are curious creatures. Many are capable of jumping onto high surfaces or squeezing into the smallest of spaces. To protect pet(s) in a new environment and to safeguard your belongings, it is necessary to animal-proof your entire house. NEVER underestimate your pet’s abilities. Accidents happen!
Once you have chosen an area where you will care for your new companion, you should “pet-proof” the area. Pay attention to any small or dangerous objects, such as pins, needles, paper clips, nails, staples, thread, string, rubber bands, caustic/toxic chemicals, moth balls, plants and any other items that are potentially dangerous. Animals are also attracted to electrical cords, TV cords, telephone cords and curtains. These items should all be blocked so they can’t get at them. A good rule of thumb is “if you don’t want to lose it, put it away. Also, to ensure nothing is missed, get down at an animal’s eye-level. Look closely for any small holes or dangerous items that may have been missed at your first pass of pet-proofing

 

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE BY ROOM

Kitchens/Bathrooms/Utility Rooms

  • shoeUse childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets.
  • Keep medications, cleaners, chemicals and laundry supplies on high shelves or in childproofed cabinets.
  • Keep trashcans covered or inside a latched cabinet.
  • Check for and block any small spaces, nooks or holes inside cabinetry, furniture, floors, appliances, etc. where your pets may hide. Also make certain that spaces behind washer/dryer units are closed off so your foster animals can’t get in there either.
  • ALWAYS keep your dryer and washer units closed!!! Make sure your pets haven’t jumped into the dryer or washer before you turn it on! (This does happen.)
  • Keep all foods out of reach and/or in cabinets. Even if the food isn’t harmful to the cat, the wrapper could be.
  • KEEP TOILET LIDS CLOSED to prevent drowning. Curious puppies and kittens can easily fall in and drown.
  • Living/Family Room
  • Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, TVs, stereos and phones out of reach. You can place the cords through PVC pipes to prevent the pets chewing on them.
  • Keep children’s toys put away.
  • Put away knickknacks that are valuable to you or understand that pets can easily knock things over. If it is important to you, don’t leave it out.
  • Block any spaces where your vacuum can’t fit but a pet could.
  • Remove dangerous items like strings, pins, yarn, etc.
  • Move houseplants–many of which can be poisonous–out of reach. This includes hanging plants that can be jumped onto from other nearby surfaces.
  • Put away all sewing and craft supplies–especially thread and yarn. If ingested, these items can obstruct cat or puppies’ bowels, sometimes requiring extensive surgery to reverse.
  • Secure aquariums and cages that house small animals, such as hamsters or fish, to keep them safe from curious paws.

Garage/Basement

  • Most garages contain too many dangerous chemicals and unsafe items to be an acceptable animal site. Your pet should never be housed in a garage.
  • Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors.
  • Clean up all antifreeze from the floor and driveway!!! One taste can be lethal to an animal!

Bedrooms

  • napBedrooms are not ideal situations for a new companion. If scared of the new environment, animals can hide under beds and are hard to coax out. In worst case scenarios, dogs and cats can burrow into box springs or mattresses where it can be nearly impossible to get them out.
  • Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and loose buttons can cause major problems).
  • Keep any medications, lotions or cosmetics off accessible surface (like the bedside table.)
  • Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing.

Other Potentially Dangerous Situations

  • Closet and bedroom doors
  • Open doors to the outside
  • Open dryer doors
  • Open cabinet doors
  • Computer wires
  • Folding chairs
  • Potted plants

Whatever room you choose to make your companion’s new home, make sure that it is easily cleaned. Carpet and other soft surfaces can harbor disease and it can be difficult to clean up accidents on carpet, especially when they seep into the carpet pad. Bathrooms and other areas with tile, hardwood or other impermeable surfaces are ideal places to house your new companion.

 

PREPARING YOUR YARD

poolIf you have a fenced in backyard, check that there aren’t holes in the fence or any other escape route. Do NOT leave your dog in the backyard without your supervision. You will be amazed what little holes a big dog can get out of or what tall fences a dog can jump! Never leave a dog unattended or unwatched outside. Most of all please don’t leave your dog on a chain outside; after all, he came home with you to be your companion.

Information courtesy of PetFinder and tailored for OAA.

Why You Should Adopt

me and teddyYou will save a life. The problem is simply stated: there are more pets than there are homes.  As a result,  shelters across our nation must make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize animals that haven’t been adopted because they have run out of space.  It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States.  This unimaginable tragedy is the direct result of too many people giving up their pets, irresponsible breeding or failing to spay or neuter pets and too many people purchasing pets rather than adopting them from shelters or rescues.  Your decision to take in a homeless animal will not only save the life of a that pet, but will also make more space for a shelter or rescue to house another animal.

You can have your choice of hundreds of pets in your community. Whether you are looking for a specific breed, one-of-a-kind mix or a unique feline friend, you can find them right outside your back door.  Check out our list of partners from whom you can adopt your next pet.

A common misconception is that all rescued animals are mixes.  While mixed breeds do have their benefits combining the best of two or more breeds into one, many “pure” bred dogs are available at municipal shelters, local rescues and breed specific rescue groups.  Why would someone intentionally give up a “pure bred” pet?  Often, people make poor choices in purchasing a pet and relinquish them to shelters for reasons that have nothing to do with the animal when they realize their mistake.  Additionally, especially in today’s troubled economy, people give up their pets during divorces, evictions, job changes, when they get married or have a baby.

You will save money. When you choose to adopt a pet, the adoption fee is normally much less than what you would pay a breeder for a pet.  In addition, you often times get a specific breed that would normally cost as much as several thousand dollars for a nominal adoption fee.  Furthermore, most shelters and rescues in Oklahoma will see that animals they take in receive age appropriate vaccinations and be spayed or neutered before being sent home with a new owner.  While you may have to pay an adoption fee, this fee is a fraction of what you might pay a breeder for a puppy that still needs to see a veterinarian.

mishaShelters and rescues are filled with well-mannered, happy pets. Many people assume that animals who are in a rescue or shelter situation have been abused or neglected and have behavioral issues.  While it is true that some animals may have not seen the best of circumstances, many pets available for adoption have been relinquished by their owners for a myriad of reasons and these pets often have some basic manners and are housebroken.  When the pet has been in a foster home situation, chances are the fostering home has spent time on socialization and manners, an even bigger bonus.  Furthermore, most animals simply want to be loved and even in the worst of circumstances are willing to forget their troubled past in exchange for a loving home.  Most shelters and rescues do basic temperament testing to ensure that pets with temperament issues are not adopted back out to new owners.  They can generally provide you with information about whether the pet is suitable in a home with other animals or children.

Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue is the right thing to do. You will find a huge sense of personal fulfillment by rescuing a pet.  The misconception that you won’t bond with your pet unless it is a puppy or kitten is a complete myth.  Anyone who has ever rescued a pet will tell you that the animal knows that you gave it a second chance in a forever home and, as a result, the human-animal bond is even stronger.

However, if for some reason you must purchase your pet from a breeder, make sure you don’t support puppy mills, pet stores or irresponsible breeders such as those who sell pets on the roadside or through the classifieds.  While Oklahoma has made great strides recently in regulating irresponsible and inhumane breeding, we still rank 2nd in the nation as having the most puppy mills in our state.  Visit the Humane Society of the United States to learn more about what a puppy mill is and what to look for in a reputable breeder.

Be part of the solution to Oklahoma’s pet overpopulation problem.  Until their are none, adopt one.

Getting to No More Homeless Pets in Tulsa

Almost 12,000 animals entered the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter in 2012.

Only 651 were reclaimed by their owners.

Only 2,533 were adopted.

1,056 were pulled by dedicated area rescue groups.

The rest – nearly 7,500– were destroyed because they didn’t have a home.

We can turn these numbers around.

Cities across the U.S. are doing it every day.

Vigo County, IN. Tompkins County, NY. San Diego, CA. Albemarle County, VA. Washoe County, NV. Dane County, WI.  Bartlesville. Stillwater. Oklahoma City.

How? It takes commitment and hard work from the community. Everyone working together.

You can make a difference.

Be part of the solution to pet homelessness in Tulsa.

Sponsor-a-SpayDonate $50 to OAA and you can help a needy family spay or neuter their pet to prevent unwanted litters.

Volunteer Your Time. Spend the day saving lives by volunteering with OAA at Tulsa Animal Welfare. Click her to fill out a Volunteer Profile.

Spread the Word.

  • Update your Facebook status asking others to support this cause: “Join me in ending our homeless pet crisis in Tulsa.” and share a link to this page. http://bit.ly/jJNVCz
  • Tweet out this message: “Let’s end our homeless pet crisis in Tulsa. Be part of the solution.” Share the link to this page.  http://bit.ly/jJNVCz
  • Talk to your friends and family about how they can help.

Spay and Neuter Your Pet. It’s the number one way to reduce the number of animals the enter shelters each year.

Make Adoption Your First Option. Adopt your next pet from a local shelter or rescue.

With your help, we can create positive change for pets in Tulsa.

Thank you for your support!

Call to Action for the Welfare of Animals

TWATulsa Animal Welfare (TAW)
Phase One of Master PlanIimplementation
Capital Improvements
June 20, 2013

Animal Welfare plays an important role in assuring public safety and quality of life issues in Tulsa. The capital improvements included in this package directly affect TAW’s ability to provide services to the citizens that include the containment, sheltering and ultimate disposition of stray and owned dogs, cats and other companion animals. The current facility was designed and built for a catch and kill philosophy of animal control, an outmoded and backwards method no longer followed. Phase One remodels and expands the current facility to allow TAW to practice a modern and humane animal welfare model, capture, shelter and live exit for as many animals as possible.

Since the 2008 Mayor’s Task Force on Animal Welfare made recommendations based on the Humane Society of United States study, euthanasia has gone from approximately 90% in 2007 to 50% so far in 2013. To make the next step to the ultimate goal of not euthanizing any healthy, adoptable animals (10%) the animal shelter must be improved and expanded.

Capital improvements will improve holding areas for animals held in rabies quarantine in a 4’x8’ interior kennel – quarantine of bite animals is mandated by state law and local ordinance. Funds will add adoption areas allowing animals to be moved out of the general population where parvovirus, distemper, and kennel cough are constant threats to animal health. The new adoption spaces will encourage the public to adopt more animals from TAW thus reducing the length of stay for those animals. New technologies and equipment to move/cool/heat the air; disinfect and clean will be installed to control disease and improve animal health. Lost animals will be in better health when returned to their owners. Healthy animals get adopted more quickly.

The City of Tulsa has almost $1.4 billion in identified capital needs for FY15-FY19. The amount available is projected to be over $818 million. The $2.8 million for Animal Welfare is just .3% of the total. Animal Welfare has no other funding source for this renovation/expansion.

Call, e-mail or visit your Councilor (or all the Councilors) and tell them:
Please put Phase One of the Animal Shelter expansion back in the FY15-FY19 Capital Improvement Program.

More information and to find out who your Councilor is:  http://www.tulsacouncil.org/

You Can Still Stop Horse Slaughter

HORSE SLAUGHTER BILL HAS PASSED —

NOW WHAT? Horse photo

Despite public outcry, Commercial Horse Slaughter will be legal in Oklahoma, beginning November 1st of this year — Unless something changes on the Federal level.

SAFE, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (HR1094, S541) has been proposed to the US House and Senate.  This bill would outlaw the killing of American horses for human consumption and would prohibit transporting them across the border for slaughter in Mexico or Canada.

Please contact your US Senators and Representative and urge them to support this important piece of legislation.

To find the legislators representing you, click here:

http://www.oksenate.gov/findmylegislature.aspx

In addition,the White House’s 2014 Budget recommends that Congress block spending for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants.  Without USDA inspections, these plants cannot sell horse meat.  This is similar to a measure put in place in 2005, but allowed to expire in 2011.  Please urge your federal legislators to bar the funding USDA inspection of horse slaughter plants in the 2014 budget.

Tag Day is April 7th

Make sure your pet has its ticket home!

Millions of lost dogs and cats are taken to animal shelters as strays each year. The odds are against pet owners ever seeing their pet again if it is not wearing identification. Only about 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats who end up in shelters without an ID tag or microchip are reunited with their owners.

In keeping with its mission to reduce the number of homeless pets, Oklahoma Alliance for Animals (OAA) sponsors Tag Day each year to encourage all pet owners to tag and microchip their companion animals. This year’s Tag Day will be on Saturday, April 7, 2012. OAA will once again be partnering with several humane organizations to provide free ID tags throughout the Tulsa area. Pet owners can receive one free tag per family; additional tags can be purchased for $5.

“Being a responsible pet owner is about more than just providing food, water and shelter,” says Jamee Suarez-Howard, Founder and President of OAA. “Pet care also includes tagging and microchipping your pet to make sure they are reunited with you if they are lost.”

Although most pet owners think their pet would never run away, even the most responsible pet owners can be accidentally separated from their pets. Keeping up to date identification on your pet provides the best chance of being reunited. Collars with tags are the most effective form of pet identification because they allow anyone to immediately identify a lost cat or dog and contact the owner. Having a collar and tag can allow your pet to be reunited with you within hours or even minutes of becoming separated from you.

However, collars can come off or be inadvertently removed which is why microchips are also an important tool in reuniting pets with owners. A microchip serves as permanent identification system that will always be with a pet. Nearly all animal shelters across the country routinely scan every animal upon intake for the presence of a microchip. Most veterinary clinics also have microchip scanners. However, microchips are not readily visible which is why having a microchip coupled with a collar and tag is important.

Both tags and microchips are only effective in reuniting a lost pet with his owner when the owner’s contact information is accurate. Tags should always reflect the most current contact information and microchips must be registered immediately in the appropriate database.  Always update your contact information promptly when you move or get a new phone number.

With the possibility of damaging storms and floods during spring, April is a great time to remind Green Country pet owners to ensure their pets have current identification.  Since storm season can present situations which are unpredictable and present the possibility of being separated from pets, having proper identification on pets ahead of time is vital for disaster preparedness.

Tag Day Locations:

Oklahoma Alliance for Animals
1822 – B E. 15th Street
10 am to 4 pm
OAA will also offer $25 micro chipping at this location only from 10 am to 1 pm.
Call 918-742-3700 for more information

Humane Society of Tulsa
6232 E. 60th Street (60th & Sheridan)
12 pm to 6 pm
Call 918-495-DOGS for more information

Tulsa SPCA
Reasor’s on 41st & Yale in Tulsa
10 am to 4 pm
Call 918-625-4584 for more information

Berryhill Animal Activists
Berryhill High School
2901 S. 65th W. Avenue
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Call 918-742-3700 for more information

Zoi’s Animal Rescue at Petsmart in Owasso
9010 N. 121st E. Avenue
Owasso. OK
11 am to 4pm

Washington County SPCA
16620 State Highway 123
Bartlesville, OK
10 am to 4 pm
Call 918-336-1577 for more information

*Limit 1 free ID tag per family.  Additional tags may be purchased for $5.