Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Morning Call, Lehigh Valley
Three months after the state beefed up regulations to ensure more humane conditions for dogs living in Pennsylvania's largest commercial breeding kennels, 125 of the facilities across the state have closed.
But the loss of those kennels and the displacement of their dogs have not swamped the state's rescues and shelters, as some had predicted.
Part of the reason for the smaller-than-expected surge in dogs is that dozens of kennels that do fall under the regulations are operating -- legally -- out of compliance.
Eighty-one commercial kennels received waivers allowing them more time to get up to speed, said state Department of Agriculture spokesman Justin Fleming. Twenty-five of those waivers grant more than a year of additional time, said Fleming, whose department oversees kennels in Pennsylvania.
About four dozen of those that have closed were in Lancaster County, ground zero for Pennsylvania's largest commercial kennels. County Humane League Executive Director Joan Brown said her shelter has taken in ''a large number'' of dogs from closed kennels since the regulations took effect in October. ''But it hasn't been overwhelming,'' she said.
It is unknown how many dogs from closing kennels have ended up in shelters and rescues in recent months. To read the rest of the article,Click Here.
Sunday March 1, 2009
Colony of cats will be neutered
By: JAMES MCGINNIS
Bucks County Courier Times
At a Buddhist temple in Bensalem, a pride of feral black cats wakes from its morning nap to stare out sleepily at Thai monks in meditation.
Lounging among gold leaf statues of the Buddha, these cats seem to live a life of respite luxury.
But for the monks of Mongkoltepmunee Temple, the strays pose a complex moral dilemma, requiring the help of the Bucks County SPCA.
Traditionally, monks can't have pets. They can have no possessions or any responsibilities that might be a distraction to meditation.
But they can't allow any animal to go hungry, either.
"We could be cats in the next life," said monk Suphichaya Esawanish. "All life must be shown love."
On Friday, the Bucks County SPCA offered the monks a literal "middle way," at least in terms of population control.
The organization agreed to neuter all cats in and around the temple.
There, they can continue to live in peace without breeding, much like the monks who are forbidden to so much as touch a woman.
The SPCA contacted the temple after receiving a phone call from Dolores and Clinton Clark of Bristol Township.
The Clarks come to free meditation classes offered by the order on Saturday evenings.
Dolores said the meditation is so powerful that it relieves muscle pain in her neck. Clinton said the monks helped him lower his blood pressure to the point that he needs less heart medication.
One night, Dolores was surprised to see several cats in the parking lot outside the temple.
"We gave them some food and suddenly we just started noticing all these other cats. There were just so many of them," Dolores remembered. "I made one phone call to the SPCA and they set all this up."
Veterinarian Karen Detweiler performed surgeries on nine cats from a mobile operating room in the back of a van. Niki Thompson of the SPCA said they will return several times this year month try and neuter all the animals. There are believed to be about 20 cats around the temple.
No one is certain where the cats came from.
SPCA Executive Director Anne Irwin said cat abandonment remains a problem in the area and the economy could be leading even more people to give up on pets.
"If you put your cat out there in a community of feral cats, chances are your house cat is not going to do very well," said Irwin.
The Woman's Humane Society in Bensalem estimates that pet abandonment is up 11 percent. Recently, the society began posting warning signs along major streets.
State animal cruelty laws call for a fine of up to $750 and 90 days in jail for the abandonment of pets. State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-18, last year co-sponsored a bill that would double those fines.
February 10, 2009
December 31, 2009, Bucks County Courier Times
Life of family pet taken
By Christopher Ruvo
When thunder boomed and lightning flashed, Anna Neamand liked to snuggle with her dog Nikki. It made her feel safe and warm, protected from the tumult.
Sadly, the 10-year-old from Hilltown will never again nestle away a thunderstorm with her beloved pet.
Someone shot Nikki with a high-powered BB gun Thursday as she sat in her family’s fenced-in yard. The wound was serious and Nikki, a still-lively 14-year-old, had to be put down.
"She had a lot of life in her yet," said Fred Neamand Jr., Anna’s dad. "I can’t believe someone could kill our dog."
Neamand buried the pet, who had been a part of his family since she was a puppy, in her favorite spot in the yard — just behind the garden. On Friday morning a small earthen mound, topped with geraniums and ringed by smooth stones, marked the spot where the mixed-breed American Eskimo/fox terrier was laid.
The family is in mourning.
"It stinks. It’s different without her," said 15-year-old Matthew Neamand, Fred’s son.
Fred Neamand, 45, works for Bucks County and was at the Middletown Grange Fair demonstrating how to use voting machines when he got a call from home Thursday morning that Nikki was bleeding.
It didn’t seem serious at first so he stayed at the fair. Then Matthew called a little after noon.
"My son told me, ‘Daddy, she’s bleeding really bad,’ " Neamand said.
He rushed home and found Nikki ailing. "I thought maybe she was bitten by a fox or a raccoon," he said.
Neamand took her to the veterinarian, where an examination revealed the darker truth: Nikki had been shot, likely with a pellet gun. "I went a little ballistic," he said.
The pellet was lodged between Nikki’s spine and lung. She was bleeding internally and was in searing pain. The much-loved pet had to be put down.
"The kids didn’t take it well," said Neamand, his own eyes worn from a sleepless night.
The Bucks County SPCA is investigating the killing, which is the second incident this summer in which a dog was reported shot while in its yard. A July shooting occurred in Bedminster, but the dog lived, said SPCA Executive Director Anne Irwin.
Despite the two investigations, Irwin said it’s rare to see dogs shot on their properties in Bucks County. "I’ve been here for more than 30 years and it’s very unusual," she said.
The Neamands and the Bucks County SPCA are each offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the shooter.
Hilltown police are searching for suspects, but don’t have any yet.
"We don’t know at this point if it was kids playing with a pellet gun who thought it would be a cute idea to shoot the dog or if it was somebody who had some kind of grudge against the (family)," said Hilltown Police Chief Christopher Engelhart.
The Neamands’ property, on Thistle Lane in the Pleasant Meadows development off Route 152, backs up to a walking trail, behind which are woods.
Along the trail, neighbors said they found dead animals — a blue jay, a squirrel, rabbits — that appeared to have been shot the same day that Nikki suffered her fatal wound, according to the Neamands.
Fred Neamand said teens are known to congregate along the trail and occasionally it sounds as if shots of one kind or another are fired amid the woods. "Firecracker-like" noises were heard in the woods recently, Neamand said.
According to Engelhart, willfully killing, maiming or disfiguring an animal is a misdemeanor offense. A person convicted of the crime could potentially serve time in prison.
That would suit Matthew and the four other Neamands just fine. "I hope he gets locked up," said Matthew.
While the Neamand home will likely again have the kind of cheer good pets can bring thanks to their rabbits and two cats, Maggie and Kiki, the family will now only have memories to fill the void left by Nikki.
They’ll remember the Christmas mornings where she joined Matthew and his older brother Michael beneath the present-heaped tree. They’ll remember the bowtie-shaped toy she loved to chew on. And 10-year-old Anna — she’ll always have a place in her heart for the faithful dog that kept her safe from lightning and thunder.
"She’d always sleep with me in the thunderstorms," Anna said.
A new puppy has joined the family whose 14-year-old dog died last summer after being shot with a pellet gun.
By Christopher Ruvo, STAFF WRITER
For months, Fred Neamand Jr. refused to buy a new dog.
It was too painful and too soon after the death of his family's beloved pooch, who had to be put down in August when an unknown person shot the pet with a pellet gun.
Still, Neamand's 10-year-old daughter remained persistent, asking for a new pup to fill the void left by the late Nikki.
Neamand held out, but then one morning a few days before Christmas he woke to find a note pinned to his bedroom door.
"Dear Daddy," it began. "Please reconsider ..."
"It was a heartbreaker," Neamand said.
"I said to my wife, "Let's go to the SPCA. We have to get a new dog.' "
Now, the Hilltown family who lost their pet prematurely in 2008 has ushered in 2009 with a new addition: Marlee, a 1-year-old beagle.
"She's great," said Neamand. "She's very well-trained. We love her already."
Nonetheless, mystery continues to surround who shot Nikki, a lively 14-year-old, on Aug. 14 as she played in her fenced-in yard at the Neamands' home on Thistle Lane.
Offers of a $1,000 reward each from the family and the Bucks County SPCA has not encouraged anyone with information to reveal what happened. Neither the Neamands nor authorities know who pulled the trigger, or if they did so accidentally or with malice.
But with Marlee now running around the home, the family hopes to put to bed the painful memories of the day Nikki, an American Eskimo/fox terrier, was laid to rest after a veterinarian discovered she was bleeding internally, the effect of the pellet lodged between her spine and lung.
"We just have to let things go," Neamand said. "She's at rest now. Whoever did it, it's on their conscience forever."
Anne Irwin, executive director of the SPCA, said Marlee was a stray her organization had been caring for.
Matching dogs like Marlee with good homes like the Neamands is a central part of what the SPCA is all about, she said.
"There's nothing like the love of an animal," said Irwin. "It doesn't take away the loss of the previous animal, but each one has a unique personality and so much to give."
"The girls at the SPCA helped us so much," said Neamand.
"We can't thank them enough. We also want to thank all the people from across Bucks County who sent us cards for Nikki."