By Tawny Kissinger | Lifesaving Programs Coordinator at Humane Pennsylvania

We love our foster care volunteers and it is because of their compassion, kindness, and patience that our Foster Care Program continues to thrive. However, we are always looking for new foster families to become involved!

Foster families provide a lifesaving second chance to animals in need and foster animals range from; puppies and kittens too young to go up for adoption, animals recovering from surgery, those who find the shelter environment difficult to adjust to, etc. and include cats, dogs, and small animals.

The summer months bring about an increased need for fostering, so we sat down with Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator at Humane Pennsylvania, to learn more about how foster families provide valuable care to foster pets throughout our community.

HPA: For those who are not familiar with the program, what is the Foster Care Program?

TK: The Foster Care Program facilities animal care as they transition from the shelter to stay in a person’s home. This length of stay varies depending on the reason for fostering. Animals are placed in foster care for a variety of reasons, which include…

  1. An animal has an extreme medical condition that prevents us from placing them up for adoption at that specific time.
  2. They are too small to receive spay or neuter surgery.
  3. An animal needs socialization.
  4. They need time to decompress, outside of the shelter environment.

HPA: Why is this a significant program for our organization?

TK: Without the Foster Care Program the shelter would become over crowded. This would cause one of two outcomes…

  1. Animals would be euthanized due to overcrowding or…
  2. We would not be able to accept animals that are in need.

During the summer months foster care is most needed. We see tons of kittens come into our shelters that are too small to receive spay or neuter surgery. Without the care of foster families and individuals in our foster care program, a majority of these kittens would not be properly cared for.

HPA: Who benefits from this program?

TK: Both animals and people benefit greatly from our Foster Care Program! Foster parents see the direct impact they have on the pets in their care – as they help us save animal’s lives.

Studies show that animals that go into foster care have a higher chance of being adopted. The animals are in a less stressful environment and typically show their true colors. The Foster Care Program also benefits adopters. Adopters are provided with a greater understanding of how their new pet will adapt to living in a home setting.

HPA: What is the goal of the program?

TK: The ultimate goal of our Foster Care Program is to save animals lives and help them be happier, healthier pets.

HPA: How can people get involved with the program?

TK: Fostering is easy! If someone is interested in fostering they can start by filling out the Foster Volunteer Application. Or they can stop by either The Humane League of Lancaster County or The Humane Society of Berks County shelter locations to complete the foster volunteer application.

As an organization we are continuing to improve our Foster Care Program. I would love to see more and more animals transition into foster homes. This type of focused care greatly helps animals that are stressed or are experiencing anxiety within the shelter environment.

Right now, our foster program is concentrated on kittens that are under age, however, I would love to see more adult animals receive foster care. So far this year, we have transitioned about 240 animals in to foster care from both shelters.

This is a great success, however, we are always looking to grow our Foster Care Program and connect new foster parents with animals in need of their special kind of TLC.

To learn more about our Foster Care Program and ways you can get involved, visit the Foster Care page of our website or contact Tawny Kissinger, tkissinger.humanepa@gmail.com or in Berks County call, 610-921-2348 ext. 218, or in Lancaster County call, 717-393-6551 ext. 240.

Share

By Jennifer Wiese, Lead Veterinary Technician |Humane Pennsylvania

Patients being taken to the receiving area

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with a nonprofit veterinary program called RAVS. The Rural Area Veterinary Services is an outreach program that combines community service, veterinary care and mentorship to bring free pet care services to underserved rural communities.

In these communities, poverty and geographic isolation make regular veterinary care inaccessible. RAVS focuses on wellness care where spaying and neutering are extremely important. They also provide intestinal parasite control, preventative medications and vaccinations, soft tissue surgeries (tumor removal, hernia repair) and urgent care issues.

My particular trip was located at White Mountain on the Apache Tribe reservation in Arizona. The majority of the community is living at or below poverty level. Often these clinics are their only source for veterinary care for their pets. The majority of the team was made up of veterinary students, as the program is geared towards those seeking certification in veterinary care. We had seven RAVS staff veterinarians and technicians and about thirteen volunteers comprised of; veterinarians, licensed, and unlicensed technicians.

The clinic ran for seven days. Day 1 was travel, set up and orientation. Day 2-6 was surgery and wellness clinic and day 7 was wellness clinic, tear down and travel. My days started at 6:00am or earlier and the day ended at 10:00pm. During this particular clinic we saw a total of 589 patients and performed over 200 surgeries.

Early each morning, clients would line up outside of the facility in order to be sure that their pets were scheduled for spay or neutering services. This list would quickly fill up and sometimes clients had several pets in need of care.

Rosie on her way home

Unfortunately, the majority of the patients we saw were immune compromised making it impossible for the animal to fight infectious diseases. Mange and tick disease were prevalent as most of the pets that were brought to us live outside 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. During the day they roam the reservation returning home at night. Because so many of the pets were unneutered or not spayed, I expected to see more aggression among them or toward us, but that was not the case.

I found it interesting that some pets were anxious about entering the building or walking on the smooth floors but realized many have never experienced being indoors. However, most pets were very sweet and were happy to be handled and shown attention.

Part of my responsibility was to help the students but I also learned important things myself…

While being a vet tech can be difficult in the face of neglect or improper care, it is important not to judge pet owners in these circumstances.

Worked along side these very talented professionals

Proper care can be many miles away if available at all and many find it financially difficult to provide proper veterinary care for their pets. Additionally, I learned how to come together with “strangers” to install and prepare an efficiently run clinic with the common goal of providing a desperately needed service to that area of the US. I have been asked to volunteer again and look forward to the opportunity to serve in a capacity that will enrich my skills, both in veterinary care and good will.

Share

By Lindsay High, Director of Marketing | Humane Pennsylvania

Recently team members from Humane Pennsylvania were invited to join other animal welfare advocates, community leaders, and government officials at a reception hosted by Governor Tom Wolf in celebration of the one year anniversary of the signing of Act 10: Animal Abuse Statute Overhaul bill or more popularly known as – Libre’s Law.

A year ago, in July 2017, an anonymous rescuer visited a farm in the Quarryville, PA and found a puppy in dire need of medical attention. The rescuer convinced the farmer to surrender the puppy.

Saved from deplorable conditions, the courageous 7-week old pup was barely distinguishable and covered with skin irritations and maggots. The puppy was within hours of death, suffering from extreme neglect and struggling to survive. Following extensive medical care, the puppy was treated and began to recover from his ordeal.

Janine Guido, from Speranza Animal Rescue, named him Libre — Spanish for “liberty,” since he was rescued on Independence Day. Following an investigation the farmer and breeder was tried and convicted.

Now a year later, Libre is a lively, healthy dog who’s fight to survive inspires countless animal welfare organizations, advocates, and animal lovers to continue to demand change.

“I want to thank Libre and we are here to celebrate him. Because of him we have celebrated a really good year in Pennsylvania. Let me just name four things; a year with stronger protections for our pets and our animals, and a year with harsher penalties for those that would harm an animal, a year where we have a better and more humane Pennsylvania. ” – Governor Tom Wolf

Karel Minor, CEO and President of Humane Pennsylvania highlited that Humane Pennsylvania played a key role in bringing forth additional improvements to the law in order to enact the most comprehensive animal protection bill in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With impassioned conviction and in association with the Federated Humane Society of America, we mobilized our supporters, community members, and government officials to push for changes to the law. In alignment with the Act 10 bill, many other anti-cruelty provisions have been enacted.

“Most people do not realize that before this law was passed, veterinarians could be sued for reporting animal cruelty and Humane Society Officers could also be sued for enforcing animal cruelty laws.” – Karel Minor, CEO and President, Humane Pennsylvania

Over the course of the past year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other humane organizations have partnered with Humane Police Offices, state and local police agencies, and legal authorities to provide training on Act 10. We are beginning to see the impact of the new law through these training programs, increased prosecutions, and trials for misdemeanor and felony charges, and sentences with appropriate penalties.

We are now shifting gears to the Animals in Distress, also called the “Hot Cars” bill. This bill includes all distress situations such as extreme weather conditions, tangled collar, etc. This is another opportunity for us to push great legislation through to become law. Please make the call to your state senator and ask them to Vote Yes on House Bill 1216.

This bill has two of three necessary considerations before final passage. Find your legislator now. We need to protect distressed dogs and cats in motor vehicles by allowing law enforcement to remove unattended pets without liability for damages.”

Following remarks by Governor Wolf and other advocates, Libre was celebrated by all of those in attendance and even enjoyed what we can only assume was a delicious pup cake!

Learn more about Libre’s Law and the importance of the impact of House Bill 1216, the Hot Car bill, and contact your legislator today.

In the insightful words of world renowned Primatologist, Jane Goodall, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Share

The Miracle which is Maisy

June 18th, 2018 | Posted by marketing in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

By Chelsea Cappellano | Office Coordinator at Humane Pennsylvania

When I was asked to write about a positive front desk experience, I truthfully didn’t even know where to begin. While I get to interact with several wonderful customers, most of the time in the shelter world it feels like we sometimes have to experience the bad before we get to see the good…which brings me to Miracle Maisy.

If you’re not familiar with Miracle Maisy, she was a 2 year old, spayed female cat discovered by two local sanitation workers during their route in Reading last April. As their trash truck ran, they stopped compressing the trash in the back of the truck when they heard an unusual animal-like sound. They dug through the trash until they found the source of the noise. A cry for help. A cat had been brutally abused, tied up, and discarded in the trashcan. She was inside a trash bag doused in gasoline. The two trash men acted very quickly in getting her into the Humane Society of Berks County shelter, which in turn gave her the best chance of survival.

Maisy Before

As someone who was still getting familiar with the animal welfare field, seeing a petite cat look up at me drenched in gasoline was an absolute shock. So many emotions where running through my head, and I knew we had to act quickly. Immediately after receiving as much information as possible from her rescuers, I booked her in and she was taken across the street to The Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading for treatment.

After receiving round-the-clock care from our diligent veterinarian team, Maisy was finally stable enough to be placed in a foster home where she continued to improve. This was the first step in trying to find her a forever home. At the front desk, we received hundreds of phone calls and emails daily in regards to Maisy’s condition and if we knew when she would be available for adoption. People from all over the world were following her story.

After sorting through hundreds of adoption applications, we found the best home possible for Maisy. Maisy was adopted almost a month after she was brought to us for care. With any adoption, we always follow up and check in for updates. Within the first week pf being in her new home in we were relieved to learn how well Maisy was adjusting. This again was confirmation she was placed in the perfect environment.

Over a year later, the heroes who found Maisy, were recognized at the Local Red Cross Heroes Award breakfast. I was thrilled to attend the breakfast and awards ceremony, where they featured Maisy’s story and recognized the two gentleman who ultimately saved her life. This story impacted so many people and animal lovers around the world. It truly affected me on a personal level, not only because of the condition of Maisy when she was brought in, but because of my involvement throughout her time at the shelter.

Just because an animal may be in rough shape, doesn’t mean they can’t have the life they truly deserve. Sometimes in the shelter environment, animals must be given a lot of help in order to gain the life they truly deserve. Seeing an animal like Maisy, receive dedicated care and strive forward proves how rewarding this job can be.

Maisy After

For more information on how Miracle Maisy is thriving and to donate to the Miracle Maisy Medial Fund, which supports all life-saving services and emergency medical care for abandoned, abused and neglected animals in need visit HumanaPA.org.

Share

We are thrilled to announce that in partnership with Redner’s Markets and Purina, we are expanding our Ani-Meals Pet Food Program into the new and improved, Spike’s Pet Pantry.

As we continue to grow and differentiate our pet food pantry program, we have renamed the Ani-Meals Program to Spike’s Pet Pantry. This new nomenclature better defines the goal of the program which is to provide resources, specifically food, for pet owners in need of proper nutrition for their pets. The ultimate goal is to prevent pet surrender due to food insecurity or temporary hardship.

Thanks to the generosity of the teams at Redner’s Markets and Purina, in support of our mission to empower people in our communities to increase their capacity to care for animals so that all animals are healthy, safe, and treated humanely – throughout the months of June through December 2018, Redner’s Markets will be offering the opportunity for customers to easily donate to this life-saving program.

In seven Redner’s Markets throughout Reading, customers will find Spike’s Pet Pantry endcaps with simple tear-and-show donation slips in $1.00, $5.00, and $10.00 increments. Customers can grab a donation slip from the display and during check out, give that slip to the cashier. The donation slip total will then be added to their total bill and the funds will directly benefit Spike’s Pet Pantry recipients. Customers are also encouraged to use the hashtag #NoPetHungry and share their contributions and participation on social media throughout the six month campaign.

During the planning of this fundamental campaign, Meredith McGrath, Corporate Dietitian for Redner’s Markets, shared that her and her team were inspired to collaborate on this campaign because…

“Last year our friends at Purina approached us about doing some adoption events in our stores with the Humane Society of Berks County. After the four day event, we noticed what an impact it had on the community and we were all eager to take this mission to the next step to help more animals find and stay in loving homes.”

This program is in alignment with the mission of The Humane Society of Berks County to provide accessible resources for families facing temporary hardship. As opposed to families having to surrender their furry family member due to momentary difficulties, Spike’s Pet Pantry provides proper nutrition for pets to remain in their familiar and loving environments. Karl Minor, President and CEO of Humane Pennsylvania highlights the importance of this program within the community by stating…

“One of the main reasons why pets are surrendered is pet food insecurity. Sadly, animals die because families cannot fed their pets. The Spike’s Pet Pantry program helps ensure pets in our community are happy, healthy, and well-fed at home.”

The seven (7) participating Redner’s Market location are listed below…

  • #26 Lessport
    5471 Pottsville Pike
    Leesport, PA 19533
  • #42 Sinking Spring
    4870 Penn Ave
    Sinking Spring, PA 19608
  • #72 Muhlenberg
    3205 N. 5th Street Hwy
    Reading, PA 19605
  • #77 Berkshire
    1149 Berkshire Blvd
    Wyomissing, PA 19610
  • #87 Douglasville
    1179 Ben Franking Hwy West, Suite 11
    Douglasville, PA 19518
  • #89 Kenhorst
    300 Kenhorst Plaza
    Reading, PA 19607
  • #93 Exeter
    Shelbourne Square
    5462 Perkiomen Ave
    Reading, PA 19606

For more information about this partnership and Spike’s Pet Pantry, please visit humanepa.org or contact Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, at tkissinger.humanepa@gmail.com or call The Humane Society of Berks County at 610-921-2348.

Share

By Dr. Alicia Simoneau | Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading Veterinarian

A frequent concern I hear from new pet owners with brand new puppies or a newly adopted adult dog regards house training. I wanted to give some tips for success that may work for your recent or next puppy or dog addition.

The first thing I think works great is positive reward. We can do this in two ways. One way is with our voice. Praise such as “Yay for potty” reinforces that is what you are looking for. The second way is with a food reward. Dogs need instant gratification. It is important that we are rewarding while the good behavior is happening. This means while your dog is urinating or defecating outside. Take treats with you. Giving a treat once your dog is back in the house reinforces that they should come inside, not go potty outside.

In order to give a treat and acknowledge good behavior we have to be right there with the dog. I recommend taking the dog or puppy on a leash and harness to the same part of the yard every time. And the same times of the day too. Tell them with your voice the goal of the trip outside: “Potty time”. Or get fancy and ring a bell attached to a string from the door knob. Over time your dog will understand that if they ring the bell with their nose that this is a signal to you they want to go outside.

Regular, consistent potty breaks outside every 2 hours initially at age 2 to 6 months, then every 4-6 hours once a puppy is 6 months, and then every 6-8 hours when over 9 months will help. If a situation arises that a dog or puppy needs to be left alone for longer than those time frames an alternative means for relief must be given. For instance, a potty patch (artificial turf on a plastic tray), puppy pads, or a dog walker can be used.

Don’t let your dog or puppy have the run of the house as the norm until they are reliably house trained. They need to be able to be seen for signs of needing to go outside. You may try a small area in a kitchen with a play pen, a crate, or keeping the leash and harness on in the house and having them follow you around. What you chose depends on the age and size of the dog. Look for those signs: A sniff of their rear end, sniffing and circling, acting anxious, looking at the door that goes outside.

In short, consistency from the family with positive reward is the best approach to house training success!

Share

Differentiation

May 1st, 2018 | Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

If I could distill the reasons for the success of Humane Pennsylvania and the animals we serve have enjoyed over the past 13 years in one word it would be “differentiation.”

Differentiation stands in complete opposition to the way most sheltering organizations view the world and the problems we face. Our industry tends to think in terms of broad generalities and in the plural.  It thinks of animals, people, and breeders. Humane Pennsylvania has long focused on the animal, the person, the breeder.

Why does this matter? It matters because animals, people, everything, are not the same and how one handles them and their needs vary widely.  A cat is not a dog or a boy and a golden retriever is not a chihuahua and a house cat is not a feral cat.  Yet most animal advocates still try to take our work down to the broadest, most common denominator.

For example, at Humane PA 13 years ago (then The Humane Society of Berks County), we had a “cat problem.” We took in 4,000 cats, we killed 3,000 cats.  Broadly, that was a problem for cats that seemed insurmountable.  But we began to differentiate.  Of those 3,000 doomed cats, 1,000 were deemed “feral” and that was not something we could handle, so they were killed.

1,000 seemed like a lot of feral cats to those of us who were new to HSBC, so we further differentiated.  What did we mean by feral?  It turned out that we meant cats that hissed, clawed, and were nasty, and maybe truly feral, too.  Truly feral cats were, in fact, pretty much impossible for us to handle at the time so we set aside that group for the moment and looked at the nasty ones.

Why were they nasty and what could we do about it? We gave all incoming cats a 24 hour cooling off period.  The result was nearly four out of five cats demonstrating themselves to be simply unhappy cats, not ferals.  With a little time those cats were happy.  We reduced euthanasia of supposedly feral cats by 800, literally overnight.

That left us with 800 extra cats for the adoption pool. We didn’t look at them as generic “cats” we broke down the population to those most in danger of being killed.  This included cats who would be killed just because we ran out of space.  We created what was then a groundbreaking, controversial, and largely unheard of practice of simply giving cats away when we ran out of space (Free to a Great Home Program).  If our goal was to not kill cats, why not simply choose to not kill them?

It worked. We only gave away about 200 cats that first summer of 2006 but the extra space allowed us to avoid killing any for space the entire rest of the year.  We won a national best practices award, our first time on the national stage.  And we gathered the data to show that these adoptions were actually more successful long term than normal adoptions.  Fee waived adoptions are now common practice across the country.

We then extended the practice to special needs cats; cats that had been with us more than 90 days, then 60 days, then 30 days; and older cats. Then dogs.  By the last quarter of 2007 we killed our last animal for space and we haven’t looked back.  Euthanasia rates of 75% turned into live outcome rates of 85%, 90%, and higher.  Now we have even found ways to handle feral cats successfully.

We did it one, two, ten, one hundred animals at a time. We did it by seeing the trees that made up the forest, not just the forest.  We have tried to extend that to everything we do.  Our events are tailored to provide as many opportunities to give for as many people as possible.  We create services that target as many groups and pockets of people and animals in need as possible.  We differentiate.

Is it easy? Hell, no, it’s way harder.  But it’s way more successful and it’s the only way to get that last, hard to place group of animals adopted, or hard to serve humans served, or hard to hook donors giving.

Shelters want to know how to save them all? Stop thinking about them all.  Differentiate.

Share

OK, maybe not the final frontier, but a final frontier.  When animal “shelters” started over a hundred years ago they were pounds in the truest sense.  A place where animals were rounded up to be killed as nuisances.  Transition to more modern adoption shelters and behavior was hardly relevant.  With overflowing numbers, bad behavior was not something to be addressed, it was a solid excuse for making space.

Even today, when the number of animals entering shelters nationwide is continuing to plummet and adoptions increase, physical issues are often the first to be addressed. In shelters with veterinary support or staff, which nearly all have these days, a broken leg or simple illness can be repaired and an otherwise happy animal can be rendered healthy.  Viola, adoptable.

It is the nebulous “behavioral problem” which now nags at shelters. Overpopulation is no longer the driver of dogs entering animal shelters throughout most of America.  REPEAT:  There is not an overpopulation problem for dogs any longer and I will call you grossly misinformed if you claim otherwise.  How do we know?  There are virtually no puppies in shelters most shelters any longer.  There are ten homes- twenty- for every puppy.

The dogs in shelters are not there because there aren’t enough homes. They are there because there is something “wrong” with them.  Put away the pitchforks and let me clarify.  Sometimes that something wrong is nothing more than being an adult rather than a puppy, or being the wrong breed.  People love what they love and what people love the most is puppies.  But virtually any dog or any age or breed that is healthy, happy and well behaved gets adopted now.

Note my emphasis on well-behaved. Most of the dogs that get waves of sympathetic apologists beating drums, such as Big, Black Dogs and pitbulls, aren’t languishing in shelters because of their size, color or breed.  The ones who have trouble being adopted are idiots.  I mean that in the gentlest but most honest sense of the word.

The reality in modern shelters is that we get young adult to middle age dogs who never received the kind of basic obedience training (along with basic veterinary supports) that makes a good dog a great dog. A poorly behaved dog isn’t a bad dog, but it can often be an unadoptable dog.  Especially when it’s big, or a breed that has some baggage.

Well trained, perfectly behaved dogs get adopted. A dog that sits, stays, waits to eat until you say he can, doesn’t get on the couch without permission, doesn’t pull on a leash, jump on guests, or bark incessantly- the hallmarks of well trained dogs- get adopted.  It’s that simple.  Making a dog without those attributes into one with them takes time, effort, people power, and space.  Until recently, we could give the effort and we could find the people, but the overcrowded shelters of the past didn’t allow for the time.

To quote Harry Bemis, we now have time enough at last. What we need it the space.  Space to turn obnoxious dogs into great dogs.  Dogs who listen and wow potential adopters.  Our Lancaster campus has always been blessed with excess space, but Reading was been a landlocked postage stamp until we acquired our new hospital and corporate office facility across the street from the shelter.  It has space which is about to be put to good use.

On May 24, at 10:00 AM, we will be dedicating Humane Pennsylvania’s new Spike’s Woods Canine Enrichment Center (1729 N. 11th St., Reading, PA 19604).  The new space will have three individual fenced training and socialization yards, with covered seating areas for staff and volunteers for snowy and rainy training days.  It will be beautiful, with 18 big flowering and shade trees recently planted, and shady seating for staff and adopters.  It’ll have flowers, it’ll have a gazebo, it’ll have super keen shade sails, and it will be boffo.  It’ll also be adjacent to a brand spanking newly paved parking lot and entry skirts, which doesn’t matter to the dogs but if you’ve ever dragged the bottom of your car coming into our lot, it will be pretty awesome, too.

It will let our staff and volunteers- mostly of spectacular volunteers who put in hours of time working with our dogs- create ideal canine adoption candidates. This will get more dogs adopted, which frees up more space to let us work with even harder to place animals for even longer so they get adopted…and so on.  We have needed it and we are about to have it.  Our behavior program can start going to warp speed.  This space is only the first step in implementing some transformation behavioral responses in both our shelters.

The canine enrichment center was made possible through the generous support of many kind supporters, with special thanks going to Joan Baldino and her very patient family, Jerry Roba, and Purina, as well as dozens of Arf’s Art Auction supporters who bid on last year’s Fund-A-Need project, which was this project. We managed to do more with less (which we are pretty good at) with the help of carpentry volunteers and staff swinging some hammers and landscape support from Moore Landscaping in Oley and Geissler Tree Farm in Leesport.

We hope you will join us for the dedication May 24. It’s not too late to show your appreciation and support of this lifesaving project by making a donation (just click here).  Or, get an update on the project in person and learn about this year’s Fund-A-Need project by joining us at this year’s Art for Arf’s Sake Auction on May 19.  It’s a Westworld theme, but with no killing and more clothing.  Everybody loves robot cowboys!

Join us May 24 for the dedication. If you can’t, swing by some other time and check things out.  This is just one of many steps in some very exciting transformations that will help Humane Pennsylvania realize its mission of building the best possible community anywhere to be an animal!

PS…I didn’t mention cats in this post. Don’t worry, that’s coming.

Share

An amazing thing happened recently in Western Pennsylvania. One of the very few politicians to vote against the wildly popular omnibus Libre’s Law, a major animal welfare/anti-cruelty victory, lost his bid to become a US Congressman in a special election.  In a district that skewed heavily toward his party’s advantage.  By 500 votes.

Now, when a loss margin is only 500 votes, everyone can and does claim to be the group votes that put the winner over the top. But if any constituency can take some satisfaction in this anti-animal welfare politician losing, it’s animal welfare voters.  Because they were pissed.

The person who beat him jumped on the animal welfare train with a vengeance- and he needs to be held to his promise to be his district’s pro-animal legislator in Washington. The politician who lost may have paid for standing tall in support of animal cruelty by refusing to vote for a law that passed overwhelmingly in a rare bi-partisan vote in Harrisburg.

There is a price to pay for being bad on animal welfare. There is a new third rail in politics, and it’s furry.  It cuts across party lines and the old trope that it’s only granola crunching hippie Dems who care about animals being demolished.  The ship of animal welfare is being lifted by Republican women voters.  Politicians are taking notice.

On April 16, 2018, I joined a swarm of citizen animal welfare advocates in Harrisburg for Humane Lobby Day. It was by far the largest group I’ve ever seen.  Politicians made time to meet with these advocates and some of them were a little less smarmy about these silly little animal issues than they’ve been in the past.  Not because they see it as an easy way get votes to pad their already gerrymandered vote counts.

No, they now see this group of voting advocates as a threat, and well they should.  The power of a lobby is in swinging elections.  Educate, yes.  Advocate, yes.  But if that doesn’t work, vote the intransigents out and replace them with someone who sees things our way.  That’s a power lobby.  Just ask the NRA.  We’ve learned at the feet of the masters.

Humane Pennsylvania is a 501c3 charity and cannot endorse or oppose candidates for election (as a reminder, we are not the similarly named Humane PA PAC, the political action committee which can and does endorse candidates).  We welcome every elected official and every candidate to visit, talk, and learn what we do and how they can help us help animals.  Humane Pennsylvania can only encourage you to ensure that every candidate, from every party, starting in the primary elections, is a pro-animal candidate, so we can do our work to help animals better.

If you elect great pro-animal candidates in your party primaries, then partisans on both sides can go back to fighting over guns and taxes, like God intended, knowing that no matter which hard boiled gun lover or Prius driving pinko wins, animals won’t lose. If you keep letting them hear your voice, at the local, state, and national party level, in their offices, in the letters page of your local newspaper, or on social media, you will keep them worried about the price for turning your back on animal welfare and the voters who think it’s important.

We only need to point to Western Pennsylvania, where someone who turned his back on animals paid the ultimate political price.

Mark your calendar. The next Primary in Pennsylvania is May 15.  Who are you voting for and how do they feel about animal welfare?

Share

The Power of the Dog

April 12th, 2018 | Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

This week I thought I’d take a detour from the usual topics and share again a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair— But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there) Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Share