When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks

Collage by Beth Clifton

Every year, ANIMALS 24-7 conducts a national dog-breed survey.  The results of the 2018 survey were just released.  As interesting as the data collected by the survey are, I was particularly struck by a rather provocative proposition posed by Merritt Clifton, the editor/reporter of ANIMALS 24-7 and this survey.

Before exploring the thought provoking proposal, let’s set the stage:

The survey found that as of mid-June 2018, nearly 15% of all the dogs available for sale or adoption in the U.S. were pit bulls.  With that kind of market presence, one might conclude pit bulls are pretty popular in the U.S.  However, Mr. Clifton has another explanation. Continue reading “When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks”

Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks

Heather with her dog Poppy in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

I recently came across a  study published by Pet Behavior Science in 2016 that found:

  • Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems.
  • Even though lower body condition scores were found, only one dog was found to be underweight.
  • Behavior is not generally an issue in homeless peoples’ dogs

Continue reading “Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks”

The purpose of Mothers’ Day by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Mothers' Day
Julia Ward Howe: activist, writer, poet and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic initiated Mothers’ Day as an anti-war effort

Mothers’ day was originally a day for women to change a prevailing paradigm: The idea of a official celebration of Mothers’ day in the US was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872.  An activist, writer and poet Julia rose to fame with her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic“.

Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2nd be annually celebrated as Mothers’ Day and that it should be dedicated to peace.  She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous Mothers’ Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870:

Continue reading “The purpose of Mothers’ Day by Ed Boks”

TNR is good public health policy by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and TNR
Managed feral cat colonies provide toxin free rodent and disease abatement.

During my tenure as executive director of Maricopa County’s Animal Care & Control (1998/2003), I prevailed upon the County Board of Supervisors, with the support of Public Health Director, Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, to proclaim Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) the County’s official methodology for humanely reducing feral cat populations.

In addition to reducing the killing in local animal shelters, another benefit to implementing TNR in our cities is that managed feral cat colonies serve as a toxin free rodent abatement program.  TNR ends the need for poison to control rodent populations and I think we can all agree that this better for our environment, our wildlife and our pets. Continue reading “TNR is good public health policy by Ed Boks”

Formula to end feral cat killing by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and feral cats
The formula to end the killing of feral cats works

It is commonly understood that any serious initiative to end shelter killing has to focus on ending the “supply side” of the surplus animal equation.  The only way to do that is to preemptively spay/neuter those animals most likely to “supply” (give birth to) animals most likely to die in animal shelters.We

The three categories of animals dying in the largest numbers in most shelters throughout the United States are feral cats, pit bulls/pit bull mixes, and Chihuahuas.

There are effective solutions for ending the killing of these populations; and those solutions begin and end with targeted spay/neuter programs.  In a previous blog I addressed the need for targeted spay/neuter programs for pit bulls.  In this blog, I focus on how to end the killing of feral and stray cats.    Continue reading “Formula to end feral cat killing by Ed Boks”

Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Tuscany
Tuscany, transitioned from a foster (recovering from being hit by a car) to a hospice foster (after she was diagnosed with cancer) to being adopted by a loving family.

How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver.  Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.

Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery.  Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love. Continue reading “Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks”

Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Jan Van Dusen
Jan Van Dusen paved the way for volunteers to deduct unreimbursed expenses that further a rescue group’s mission, such as fostering homeless animals.

One of the best kept secrets to being an animal shelter volunteer is a 2011 U.S. Tax Court ruling.  The ruling brought some much-needed clarity to deducting unreimbursed expenses incurred by volunteers helping IRS-recognized charities like your local animal shelter or animal rescue organization.

The case involved Jan Van Dusen, who appeared before a U.S. Tax Court judge and a team of IRS lawyers regarding a tax deduction for taking care of 70 stray cats. Continue reading “Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks”

Does your local animal shelter have a Hospice Program? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Hospice Program
Nelson, is an ideal candidate for Hospice: a 7-year-old neutered Persian diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease; on antibiotics, prednisone, an intestinal prescription diet and intestinal medication. His condition is manageable; however, his prognosis is poor, progressing at varying rates until he won’t respond to medical management. Until then, he can live a comfortable, happy life in a hospice home.

The word “hospice” comes from the Latin “hospes” meaning, “to host a guest or stranger.” The concept can be traced back to the year 1099, when Crusaders founded a “hospice” in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims and Muslims alike. A Papal bull (charter) issued in 1113 christened the founding Crusaders the Knights Hospitaller and charged them to defend the hospice and care for ailing pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.

Over time, “hospice” came to refer to places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, dying, and travelers and pilgrims.

The modern concept of hospice, which includes palliative care, was pioneered in the 1950s. Palliate comes from the Latin “palliare,” meaning “to cloak,” as in cloaking pain without curing the underlying medical condition.  Continue reading “Does your local animal shelter have a Hospice Program? by Ed Boks”

Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and cat
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. They are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.

I’ve always been a dog person, so you can imagine my surprise when I learned that cats have idiosyncrasies no self-respecting dog would ever engage in. For instance, why do cats insist on waking you up before the alarm goes off?

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. “Nocturnal” refers to animals that are awake at night and sleep during the day. However, cats sleep at night, as we do – just not as long. Cats are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because their ancestors’ natural prey was most active at these times. Although cats have good night vision, they can’t see without light, so they do sleep at night.

Two dynamics conspire to create the relentless “pre-alarm” cat.   Continue reading “Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks”

Stanford study finds dogs pose substantial risk to children by Ed Boks

Jared Forrester and Ed Boks
Jared Forrester, “Children under 4 are at substantial risk.  And it’s usually family dogs or dogs known to the children who are doing the killing.  These are preventable deaths.”

The scientific journal, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine recently (2/28/2018) published “An Update on Fatalities Due to Venomous and Nonvenomous Animals in the United States (2008–2015).  The study found that while we need to beware of snakes, spiders and scorpions, a child is much more likely to be killed by a known dog.  Additional research finds that “known dog” is twice as likely to be a pit bull.

The data, assembled by physicians Jared Forrester, Thomas Weiser, and Joseph Forrester of the Department of Surgery at Stanford University, found that each year there are over a million emergency room visits in the US caused by “problematic animal encounters”.  The cost for human medical care associated with these “animal encounters” is about $2 billion a year! Continue reading “Stanford study finds dogs pose substantial risk to children by Ed Boks”