As I mentioned in a previous column, last month I was able to attend a national conference on domestic animal welfare and sheltering issues. Although most of the course material was interesting, one class dealing with spaying and neutering was particularly telling.
One of the large humane organizations, FiXiT, wanted to do a comprehensive study on why pet owners do or do not alter their pets and what it takes to get them to do so. I’m going to bore you with some details and statistics, but hang in there — you’ll love the finale!
First of all, FiXiT needed a closed, controlled environment in which to do its study so it could track the final impact. It chose the island of St. Croix because it is a U.S. territory (therefore the nonprofit laws are the same), it has a large “roaming” dog problem, and the size of the island and the human population made the study doable.
The first thing FiXiT did was survey people on why they did not fix their animals. The top three reasons were: they wanted to breed; it was too costly; and, finally, they simply hadn’t “bothered.” FiXiT then set up a program that provided any canine spay or neuter for only $25. The response was minor and, when surveyed, only 30 percent said they would now “consider it” because of the affordability. Unfortunately, most still didn’t bother. Next, the organization provided free spay and neuter services for all. The numbers shifted now, with 69 percent saying they would “consider it” — but, again, most didn’t bother. Finally, the organization decided to offer a “Free Plus Incentive” program in which citizens could have their dogs altered for free plus receive a parting gift. Suddenly, people began bringing their dogs in droves. They brought in their neighbors’ dogs. They even started rounding up dogs from the roaming packs.
What could possibly have motivated these people to become so compassionate and compliant, you ask? What incentive could have caused such a shift in the winds? Wait for it … a free bottle of rum for every dog they had fixed! Yes, this is a true story.
I specifically chose to go to that particular class because last year the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter received a $150,000 grant to provide free spay/neuter services to cat owners in Vineland. We had hoped to accomplish 1,150 surgeries in the first 12 months. The first anniversary is upon us, and only about 800 people have taken advantage of the opportunity.
I was frustrated, as I have advertised the program in every conceivable way: in the newspaper, on social networks, our website, a billboard at the mall for three months, fliers in public places, etc. At least now I know that we’re not alone in our frustrations and, most importantly, I have learned that in the next grant proposal I write, I must put a line item in for “incentive” expenses. Let’s see, what do you think would work best? A case of beer? A liter of wine? A bottle of vodka or gin for making those ever-so-popular martinis?
I jest. But on a serious note, I hope to get future grants for the other municipalities in our county and, in order to do so, we need to succeed in our effort to carry this one out successfully. We’re open to suggestions on how to get the word out and help make a dent in the number of cats that are euthanized needlessly because of their tremendous overpopulation. On that note, I’m headed home to have a glass of wine …
The CCSPCA shelter in Vineland seeks donations of kitten chow, canned chicken, hot dogs, cheese singles, Milk-Bones (medium size), Dawn dish detergent, paper towels, Wee-Wee pads, and gift cards for grocery and pet stores.
The CCSPCA shelter in Vineland will host a car wash fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 12. You can have a clean car and support the shelter’s animals. Let our junior volunteers hand wash your vehicle. All proceeds will go directly to the animals. The cost is $10 for cars; $15 for SUVs and pickups; and $20 for vans.
Pets of the Week
Gasper is a handsome American bulldog who is just turning 2 years old. He is a nice dog who is just a little shy and will need some socialization and confidence building. Gasper is affectionate and wants nothing more than to please you. He was kept outside, so he will need to be housebroken. Crate training and a consistent schedule will do the trick in no time.
Angelina is a cute 6-month-old pit bull terrier pup. She is a lively little girl with an “I love everybody” personality. Come on in and meet Angelina — she may just steal your heart.
Maxine is an adorable 1½-year-old Pomeranian mix. She is a little on the quiet side and will need some confidence building. Maxine is sweet and good-natured and gets along well with other dogs.
Josephina is a quiet, well-mannered 2-year-old pit bull terrier. This pretty girl is a little shy and will need some confidence building. Josephina is smart, eager to please and ready to learn that the world is a good and happy place. Please consider giving her the second chance that she deserves.
Old Roy is a 10-years-young beagle. He may have seen a lot of years go by, but this boy is still lively and eager for new adventures. Old Roy loves all people and gets along well with other dogs.
They don’t come any sweeter than our 7-month-old mixed breed Taylor. He is a darling, gentle pup with a slightly wiry coat and the cutest whiskers that you can imagine. This nice young pup will make a great companion.
Shooter McGavin is a sweet 5-year-old rat terrier mix. He is a little shy and will need some socialization and confidence building. Once Shooter gets to know you, he is lively and affectionate. He will make a nice companion dog.
Flower is a sweet 3-moth-old female kitten who would like to blossom and grow at your house.
Tom is a kitten who is about 2½ weeks old. He is wonderfully affectionate and playful.
Garnet and her two kittens have been up for adoption for the past few weeks. Last week, Garnet’s kittens were sent to another shelter but Garnet was left behind. Please don’t let this mama slip through the cracks — she’s beautiful and lovely and deserves a better life as much as the kittens do.
Bubba is 1½-year-old cat. He is looking for a new home. He is sweet and loving a deserves a second chance.
Cleo is a 14-month old cat who is at PetSmart in Millville. She is a little shy but really sweet.
The Pets of the Week are just a few of the animals awaiting adoption at the CCSPCA. Visit www.cumberlandcountySPCA.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (856) 691-1500 or visit the shelter at 1244 N. Delsea Drive, Vineland.
Bev Greco is executive director of the Cumberland County SPCA.
VINELAND – Cumberland County SPCA volunteers visited Mennies Elementary School on Monday afternoon to talk to students about chances and choices.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalssupporters explained how the South Delsea Driveshelter offers abandoned animals second chances to find homes.
When they see an animal in trouble, youngsters were urged to alert an adult to get help.
Bridgeton Police Officer Ronald Broomall spoke about a chance encounter on a winter day that enabled him to save the life of a dog left outside in subfreezing temperatures.
For the next week, Mennies will host the Dog of the Year donation board. Students will vote for their favorite of 12 contenders by dropping coins in the box that corresponds with the photo of the rescued pup.
The school has hosted the fundraising board in the past. Debbie Vargo, an SPCA volunteer, said this year they opted to bring two adopted dogs so the students could see the rescued animals.
Students gently petted Daisy, a retired racing greyhound, who shares her home with Michelle Spatafore.
Bromall introduced the students to the pup he rescued, now called Chance. The dog was adopted by SPCA volunteer Sharon Gavin.
“He was a stray but not by his choice, but the choice of the owner who had him before,” Broomall said.
“All the animals at the SPCA didn’t have a choice where they ended up. It’s very important if you have any animals, you’ve got to take care of them and make the right choices.”
Broomall was on patrol when he was alerted about a stray dog. When he found the dog on the side of a housing complex, the officer said it didn’t look good.
Scooping up the thin, shaking dog, the officer warmed the dog in the police car and then took him to a veterinarian. Wishing the dog “good luck,” the officer went back to work.
Broomall said he would later learn that the dog got well, went to the SPCA and was then adopted.
“If you do see an animal that needs help, tell your mom or dad to call the police,” he said. “We are here to help everyone, animals too.”
At the end of the assembly, students were given coins to cast some preliminary votes.
The SPCA visit was more than just fun, Principal Lisa Arena said.
“The students are learning empathy and compassion,” she said.
Making her selection, first-grader Alayah Fleming said she voted based on cuteness.
Fellow first-grader Reese Barraclough said she cast her vote for Callie because that’s the same name as her pet.
This is the sixth year the SPCA has hosted the Dog of the Year contest.
The coin ballots add up, said Karen Mayo, an SPCA volunteer.
Each year, the contest raises about $15,000 to $20,000.
WHAT IT MEANS
Students vote for their favorite of 12 contenders by dropping coins in the box that corresponds with the photo of the rescued pup. The donation contest raises about $15,000 to $20,000 a year.
Cumberland County SPCA & South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter Offers Free Sterilizations for Pet Cats
Vineland, NJ, July 15, 2013 — Cumberland County SPCA, located at 1244 N Delsea Drive, is offering 2,300 free cat sterilizations for any pet cats living in the 08360 or 08361 zip code area, thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities®. Residents living in Vineland can visit the SPCA facility during business hours to make an appointment for one of the free sterilizations.
“This is a really good offer and one that will end when the grant monies run out,” says Beverly Greco, Executive Director, Cumberland County SPCA. “We really want to see pet owners in Vineland take advantage of these free spay/neuter surgeries to help reduce the cat population in Vineland.”
CCSPCA & SJRAS is a 501(c)3 organization that relies on grant funding and donations to offer free to low-cost sterilization services for pet owners in the community. For more information, call 856-691-1500, visit www.CumberlandCountySPCA.org, or stop by during business hours.
About CCSPCA & SJRAS We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost spay/neuter services for dogs and cats in and around Cumberland County, NJ sterilizing more than 4,000 pets annually. Cumberland County SPCA relies solely on community support and grant funding to operate their clinic. The Cumberland County SPCA low-cost clinic has been in operation for more than 11 years. Low-cost services are offered to any pet owner, regardless of where they live.
About PetSmart Charities® Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates & supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues & promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided more than $165 million in grants & programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations & has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets through its in-store adoption program. To learn about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS (7387).
Along with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Millville Officers raided the home on the 500 block of 2nd Street and found an undisclosed amount of heroin, cocaine and drug paraphernalia inside, according to Millville Police Spokesman Lt. Ed Zadroga.
A highly contagious, potentially fatal virus affecting dogs is spreading throughout the county, mainly in areas of Bridgeton and Millville, according to officials.
The virus, called canine parvovirus (commonly known as simply “parvo”), which does not affect humans, is spread from dog to dog through feces, or from soil where canine feces once was, and causes severe vomiting and dysentery.
If left untreated, the virus carries a mortality rate of more than 90 percent.
Officials from around the county have stated cases of parvo reported at the Cumberland County SPCA and various local veterinary offices have rapidly increased in the last several weeks.
“Just at the SPCA, there have been 10 cases brought to us in less than a month,” said Bev Greco, executive director at the Vineland shelter. “Normally, it would take us four to five years to reach that number.
“I’ve been talking with animal control officers and veterinarians, and everyone is seeing it — it is definitely an outbreak that is going on.”
According to Dr. Jennifer Brownhill, a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Millville, there have been eight cases of parvo brought in to her office, from both Millville and Bridgeton, in the past three days.
Normally, the animal hospital sees an average of less than one case per month.
All eight of the afflicted canines have been successfully treated, according to Brownhill. Some have already been discharged from the animal hospital.
Millville Animal Control Officer Anthony Cils has also seen an increase in parvo cases.
“It seemed to have started last week, when someone brought in their pit bull puppy, crying and saying their dog was dying,” said Cils. “The pup was thin, vomiting and had blood in its stool.
“The dog was brought to a animal hospital, but it didn’t make it through the night.”
Cils stated that the puppy had come from the 500 block of Dock Street.
In addition, both the county SPCA and Cils are currently investigating a potential cruelty case involving parvo in which a miniature pincher puppy was found dead inside a garbage bag at the Millville Industrial Park.
The dog later tested positive for the virus.
Laying just next to the deceased puppy was a second miniature pincher pup, also suffering from parvo, seemingly left to die.
According to Greco, two men found the puppy and brought it to the SPCA wrapped in a towel.
The puppy died during the 15-minute drive to the nearest animal hospital.
Both dogs were between 3 and 4 months old, said Greco.
“It’s mainly prevalent among puppies between 6 weeks and 6 months old,” said Dr. Brownhill. “At that age, their natural immunities aren’t in place, and also most older dogs have already received their vaccinations.”
The virus is entirely preventable through proper, regular vaccinations. It is recommended puppies receive the shots beginning at 6 weeks of age, continuing with regular shots until 16 weeks.
According to Brownhill, of the eight dogs treated at the Millville animal hospital for parvo, none had any history of vaccinations at all.
“If you have a lot of dogs in one area that haven’t received any vaccinations for this, then it can spread very quickly in that area,” said Brownhill. “You step in it outside, and then you can bring it back in your house, and your dog can catch it that way, and it keeps spreading.
“Vaccination is the key to prevent this.”
Early symptoms of parvo include lethargic behavior and loss of appetite, followed by vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea. These symptoms can in turn lead to dehydration and anemia. Dogs suffering from parvo have a distinctive odor.
Rotweilers and pit bulls are particularly susceptible to parvo.
According Brownhill, treatment typically involves placing the dog on a support system and replenishing fluids.
However, according to Greco, treatment can be expensive, ranging from $500 to $1,500.
Depending on how early the virus is identified, recovery rate is approximately 80 percent.
The Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is going to court Aug. 12 in an attempt to obtain custody of over 50 animals removed from an Irving Avenue home in Deerfield Township on Thursday.