The Bucks County SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for killing and injuring five Chinese Geese in Solebury Township on Thursday, February 9, 2017.
Four Chinese Geese were killed and one injured during the mid-morning hours on Thursday while in a retention pond located at the intersection of Aquetong Road and Woods End Drive. The birds appeared to have been shot with a firearm; necropsy is still pending. A community member notified Bucks County SPCA and Solebury Township Police after hearing shots being fired and finding the birds deceased in the pond and on the snow bank. The suspect(s) was witnessed leaving the scene in a large SUV.
“No domestic animal deserves to have their life ended in such a heinous manner. We would like to see the person(s) responsible for this act brought to justice.” says Nikki Thompson, Chief Humane Officer for Bucks County SPCA. “We ask any members of our community with information about this situation to please contact us so that we can be sure that the person(s) responsible are held accountable.”
Wow! It’s hard to believe that I arrived in beautiful Bucks County exactly one year ago. The anniversary of my first day as Executive Director of the Bucks County SPCA has me reflecting on what an amazing year it has been, while looking forward to an even more exciting future.
In our field, and I suspect in many caring fields like ours, we often remain focused on all that we have left to accomplish. And certainly there is more progress to be made for animals in our community. Today, however, I am very pleased to report on our accomplishments, made possible through hard work by a team of 29 dedicated animal welfare professionals and 136 volunteers, and through the generosity of our supporters.
First and foremost, we are saving more lives.
It is my personal goal to maximize positive outcomes for the animals brought to us, while keeping their stay with us as short as possible. Adoptions are up 10% YTD over 2015, while euthanasia is down 31%.
Dogs are with us an average of only 13 days until adoption and cats, just 20 days.
We have not euthanized a single animal for space or time this year, and we have made many physical improvements for animal comfort in our two “no time limit” animal care facilities in Lahaska and Quakertown, now both open seven days a week.
New Staff and Expanded Services
I have brought on several new team members with deep backgrounds in their fields and the expertise needed to help us roll out new programs and improve existing ones.
With our new director of shelter medicine on staff, animals not only get excellent medical care and pre-adoption sterilization, we are also able to rehabilitate animals with complicated medical problems.
Our new director of community outreach is overseeing the streamlining and re-energizing of our volunteer and foster care programs. As of today, we have provided 437 animals with home-based foster care this year alone. BCSPCA newly has cats in offsite adoption locations, and we expect to grow that program in 2017.
Our new animal behavior expert is busy fine-tuning our assessments and interventions so that animals thrive in our care and our community can continue to count on us for adoptable animals. She is also expanding our rescue partner program in and outside of Pennsylvania to ensure we have more options for animals in our care who need extra help to succeed at adoption.
In February, we began partnering with overcrowded southern animals shelters to find homes for their puppies and dogs in Bucks County. We are proud to help these shelters while also helping Bucks County pet lovers adopt new companions.
Our cruelty investigation team has so far responded to 355 reports of animal abuse in Bucks County this year, and we won three significant court cases resulting in convictions and animals being saved. We have continued to offer our 24/7 injured stray animal rescue service county-wide; returned 219 lost pets to their worried owners; provided no-cost safe housing for 27 pets of victims of domestic violence and other emergencies; donated nearly 2,000 pounds of pet food to area food banks for low-income pet owners; and have reached hundreds of community members through special events, tours, and presentations to school kids and adults.
We have adopted out 1433 pets so far this year with what I believe is the best adoption package available: vaccinated, neutered, microchipped pets with friendly affordable same-day adoptions and our special money-back guarantee.
Our new communications and development manager has amped up our communications with those who care about and support our work. BCSPCA remains a private non-profit local organization, raising our own funds from private donors without the help of taxes. Nor do we get money from national groups like HSUS or the ASPCA. Every dollar we raise locally goes to provide care for local pets.
What lies ahead in 2017?
We hope to make improvements to our surgical clinics and staffing so as to be able to offer low-cost spay and neuter surgery, especially for cats, to help stem the tide of unplanned litters of kittens. Surrender prevention (keeping pets in homes) will become a major focus, along with support for feral cat trap-neuter-return (TNR) and shelter-neuter-return (SNR) efforts.
We also hope to update our housing for dogs at our Lahaska facility. If you want to keep up on (or help with) the latest at the BCSPCA, sign up today for our eTails online newsletter, our print newsletter Doggone Good Mews, and join our online communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The animals will thank you, and I thank you.
Warmest wags, Linda Reider Executive Director, BCSPCA
A little lost dog’s return to her beloved owners is taking place on Saturday, September 10, thanks to the valiant efforts of two non-profit organizations: Bucks County SPCA (BCSPCA) and Pilots N Paws.
“Fancy” was originally adopted from the Cheaha Regional Humane Society (CRHS) in Alabama in June 2015 to Pat and Sam Jordan. The couple report that the dog was stolen from their yard while out to exercise on a tie-out in April 2016. A community-wide multi-day search undertaken for the Jordans by a local church was unsuccessful in locating her.
Somehow Fancy made her way to Pennsylvania. She was found lost in Bucks County by a kind person who brought her to the BCSPCA in late August. The shelter scanned and traced her microchip back to the Jordans, who were thrilled beyond belief to learn she was safe. But since Sam is now wheelchair-bound, the couple’s ability to make the long journey north to reclaim her was impossible.
In stepped BCSPCA Board Member Jack Merritt, a pilot who also volunteers with Pilots N Paws, a national non-profit that coordinates pet reunion flights. Saturday morning September 10, Jack and BCSPCA Upper Bucks Shelter Director Vanly Pierson are flying the first leg of the journey with Fancy. They will transfer her to the next volunteer pilot in Roanoke, VA. Pat and Sam Jordan, along with CRHS staff will meet Fancy at her arrival destination, the Anniston Regional Airport in Alabama, and enjoy a police escort for the drive home. The entire 900-mile journey will be accomplished in a single day!
“We are delighted to be able to partner to help Fancy get back to her waiting owners,” stated Linda Reider, BCSPCA Executive Director. “Registered microchips and collars with current identification are critical to getting pets back when they are lost or stolen. Without a microchip, Fancy might never have been returned to the Jordan family.”
All three non-profit organizations (BCSPCA, Pilots N Paws, and CRHS) are supported by charitable donations. While long-distance happy-ending stories like Fancy’s are rare, the three groups together assist thousands of animals in need. Follow Fancy’s story on Facebook.
Our shelters are full of cool cats and kittens in need of new homes! Join us for Catapalooza and name your own adoption fee during the month of August – that means FREE or for any donation amount that fits your budget.
Last August we placed 126 happy cats in new homes. Help us beat that record and send home even more animals this month. Catapalooza is the hottest ticket in town. Visit the cool cats at Quakertown or Lahaska today!
BCSPCA will be hosting our first ever Chip N’ Tag event on Saturday, June 18th from 10am-2pm. This low-cost event is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law and with volunteer veterinary staff from Quakertown Veterinary Clinic.
Chip N’ Tag will allow community members to have their dogs micro-chipped, vaccinated for rabies and licensed for a reasonable cost. No appointment necessary for this dog only event.
Update August 3, 2016: All but one of these beautiful birds have been adopted by people experienced with caring for exotic birds. One last male Illiger remains in foster care with Dr. Clark, the avian specialist who has overseen their care. Thanks to the donations and support of so many people in Bucks County, these birds are living much better lives!
The owner/breeder of 35 exotic and rare birds seized in April from a Kintnersville garage by the Bucks County SPCA, today plead guilty to animal cruelty charges and was ordered to pay the maximum fine and all court costs. In addition, the birds are now the property of the BCSPCA.
“This is a victory for the animals,” stated Nikki Thompson, BCSPCA Chief Cruelty Investigator. “The birds came to us suffering with multiple health issues caused by chronic neglect. Now, with daily care overseen by an expert in avian medicine, they are thriving, recovering, eating appropriate diets, and engaging with their caregivers. It’s a compete turn-around for them.”
Linda Reider, BCSPCA Executive Director, is thrilled. “We couldn’t have done it without the community of caring people who provided roomy cages, bird-appropriate toys and perches, daily fresh fruits and vegetables, bags of pelleted food, and funds; all so that we could provide excellent conditions for the birds’ recovery. Staff members from both of our animal care centers together with our amazing volunteers have put in hours of care each day in the ‘bird room’ at our Quakertown location. Dr. Clark, an avian specialist from Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, has been overseeing their care, and for that we are also truly grateful.”
People and organizations from within Pennsylvania were joined by donors from other states as the case drew national attention. The majority of the birds will become available for adoption in June. Interested parties with large exotic bird-
owning experience and the ability to provide lifelong care and housing may apply to adopt by filling out a special adoption questionnaire available from the BCSPCA at email@example.com Adoption fees will apply, and birds will be placed in homes deemed suitable on a first-come basis.
“Considering the life these magnificent creatures led in dark filthy cages, they deserve to have homes where there is no question that their needs will be fully met,” explains Ms. Reider. “It has been an honor for us to be the organization that stepped in to rescue these birds, and shepherd them back to health for this amazing happy ending. We are grateful that citizens trust us, evidenced by this case and the nearly 500 other calls we receive each year to investigate animal cruelty complaints across the entire Bucks County.”
The BCSPCA’s Cruelty Hotline is (215) 794-7425. Tips can be left anonymously.
Alerted by a concerned citizen, the BCSPCA yesterday removed 35 parrots and other large exotic birds from a garage at a residence in Kitnersville. Requests by humane agents to visit and view the condition of the birds on Thursday were declined by the apparent owner of the property, so a warrant was used to enter the location on Friday. The level of unsanitary conditions caused the BCSPCA team to take immediate action by removing the birds, most of whom are in breeding pairs. The birds are now housed at the BCSPCA’s Quakertown animal care facility, where they will receive exams and treatment oversight by a veterinarian specializing in avian medicine from the Quakertown Veterinary Clinic. “We have an urgent need for parrot-type bird supplies including ZuPreem Fruit Blend bagged food, and parrot toys and perches for appropriate housing of these animals,” says Linda Reider, Executive Director of the Bucks County SPCA. “We are asking members of the public to drop off these items at either of our locations in Lahaska or Quakertown. Donations of fruits and vegetables would also be appreciated, along with monetary donations to help pay for the specialized care of these magnificent creatures.” “The unsanitary conditions we witnessed inside the garage included two-foot high piles of excrement,” remarked Chief Cruelty Investigator Nikki Thompson. The birds will remain in the care of the BCSPCA until they are surrendered by the owner, or through the adjudication of the case, at which time they may be available for adoption or to rescue organizations. They are not available for viewing at this time. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty in Bucks County, should call the BCSPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (215) 794-7425. Tips can be left anonymously.
I’ve been volunteering in the Lahaska Cat Room every Friday for about five years. During that time I’ve met many older cats and have fallen in love with all of them, but I was especially touched by a group of cats who joined us not long ago after their elderly owner’s health prohibited her from keeping them any longer. Within this larger troupe were siblings – many years ago the woman had opened her home to a pregnant cat and the kittens stayed on and settled in. I guess you could say that the owner and the cats had grown old together.
One of our jobs in the Cat Room is to let the cats out of their cages for a time each day to stretch their legs and engage in a little playing and exploring, with up to four allowed out at any one time. When several are out at the same time, it gives us an opportunity to observe how they interact with one another – some may be adopted into homes where there is already a pet or two so knowing if a cat is agreeable and accepting of other felines is useful information we can share with prospective adopters.
Each of these senior siblings was living in a separate cage, although a couple of them could see one another across the room. At fourteen years of age, they were calm and friendly and enjoyed the attention we provided. One day I decided to let the six of them out together (yes, I broke the rules…just this once). As I went around the Cat Room opening cage doors, each cat took his/her time to assess this new opportunity, jump out and stretch a bit. Then one by one they found one another, forming a small, slightly disorganized group – it looked like a cat cocktail party. Immediately these gentle souls started to greet one another, touching cheeks and leaning body against body – it was obvious that they not only recognized their former roommates, but (and here I’ll risk attributing human feelings to them) loved one another and were enjoying the reunion of their little cat community. They were such a joy to watch – I wanted to take them in my arms and give them a big hug for being such sweet kitties (I didn’t).
I often wonder what our cats think when they find themselves uprooted from their homes and living in our Cat Room. Some of the younger cats seem to see an adventure, a new place to explore. Our senior cats sometimes withdraw, challenging us to earn their trust and help them through this major life transition. As many of our adopters already know, older cats make wonderful pets – and the good news is that each of the five cat siblings now has a new home. Jasmin, the mother, is waiting at the Lahaska location for that special person who is ready to open their heart to a senior cat. I’ve lived with enough senior cats to know that they can be resilient and adaptable, even though it might take them a little longer to adjust to situations – it’s so worth it to see them happy again. I hope potential adopters won’t reject an available cat based solely on his age – you will be missing out on a wonderful and loving companion.
1. What you see is what you get: An older animal has an established temperament, unlike a puppy or kitten that will go through many developmental changes. This helps ensure your lifestyle with a certain dog or cat will be the right match. And because a senior pet is already fully grown, there is no mystery about whether the animal’s size will be compatible with your home environment, whether the animal will grow to be too big for you to manage or whether your new pet’s personality will be a good fit with you. 2. Know their manners: Most senior pets are already house- or litter box-trained, and in the case of dogs know basic leash manners. Their history prior to adoption – including any potential abuse or mistreatment – will shape how quickly they adapt to their new home, human family and routines. Bear in mind that when you adopt, you are to some degree adopting the house rules of the pet’s previous guardian, but even senior pets can adapt when given love, time and positive training. 3. Less demanding: Older animals already have their routines and while they still love to play, they love to relax, cuddle and nap as well. They are emotionally mature and more mellow than younger pets, and although they require exercise like any pet, it does not need to be as frequent or vigorous as with a younger animal. As a result, older dogs and cats tend to fit more easily into your daily routines. 4. Old enough to know better, young enough to learn: A senior animal may already know some basic commands, and they will be responsive to learning more. They have more focus and attention than puppies or kittens and may have undergone obedience training with their previous owners or shelter staff. They may already be create or leash trained, have experience with routine grooming and know basic house manners. At the same time, companion pets are wired to please their human guardians, and typically are fast learners – especially when it benefits them to learn something new.
5. Great for any age: Senior pets’ more relaxed temperaments makes them excellent companions for the young and elderly alike. More mature people benefit from a four-legged companion who is more aligned with their energy level and lifestyle, while children can benefit from an animal who is more tolerant and who may already been well socialized with the younger set. 6. Just add love: Older animals will adapt to a new family given love and time. While you might not be your senior dog’s or cat’s first family (or even his second or third), once you adopt and shower your pet with love you will be his only family. 7. They know they have been given a second chance at life: Ask anyone who has adopted a more mature dog or cat and they will tell you that they are convinced their pets know they have been saved. Just one look in their eyes and you can see they are saying, “Thank you for saving my life.” When you save the life of a pet who faces near certain death or who may languish for months or years if not adopted, your life will change for the better!
Natalie DiGiacomo, Certiﬁed Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA), M.S., has joined the Bucks County SPCA in the newly created role of Director of Community Outreach. Natalie comes to the BCSPCA from the Humane Society of the United States, where she was the Director of Shelter Services.
Natalie brings twenty-four years of experience to her new position, serving companion animals at the local, regional, and national level. Her background includes program development and management with an emphasis on community outreach as well as research into issues related to proactive animal sheltering. She has a Master’s degree in Animals and Public Policy and is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator.
As the Director of Community Outreach, her immediate focus will be will evaluating and overseeing existing programs, including the foster, volunteer, animal behavior, humane education, and animal transfer programs. In addition, Natalie will oversee growth in the new areas of offsite adoptions and prevention of owner relinquishment. “The commitment of my new colleagues, volunteers, and generous community supporters is inspiring”, commented DiGiacomo. “BCSPCA already casts a wide safety net for animals in our community; I look forward to helping it grow stronger and wider.”
“I am excited to welcome Natalie to the Bucks County SPCA,” says Linda Reider, Executive Director. “With her help we will expand our reach beyond the doors of our two animal care centers, to care for and protect even more animals in the communities we serve.”
The $1,000 reward offered by the Bucks County SPCA for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for injuring an orange tiger-striped cat found in Doylestown Township has been tripled by gifts and pledges from the community.
The reward is being offered in the case of a cat that appeared to have been shot four times with a nail gun. “Once people heard about how this cat suffered, residents all over Bucks County reached out to us offering to contribute to the reward,” says Linda Reider, Executive Director of the Bucks County SPCA. “With their support, we are able to triple the original award and offer $3,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. Every gift, no matter what size, sends the clear message that Bucks County cares deeply about animals and will not stand idly by when they are abused.”
The Bucks County SPCA continues to investigate and asks that anyone with information contact BCSPCA Chief Cruelty Investigator Nikki Thompson at 215.794.7425, with relevant information. For more information see www.bcspca.org.