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Archive for March, 2008

Spring has officially sprung, although for those of us who live in the North the validity of that statement remains debatable! However, irrespective of whether you live in the snowy north or the balmy south, the evidence around us that spring is here is unmistakable – the wild animals and the birds know, and they are on the move. Although most of our domesticated pets are many steps removed from the wild, they know too and are eager to join in the spring frenzy.

Spring offers pet parents a wonderful opportunity to let their pets get outside into the fresh air and to check out what has changed over the winter. However, one thing that pet parents have to be particularly careful about at this time of year is keeping their pets under control.

With the heavy snowfall that has occurred in the north this year and the widespread destruction of wildlife habitats, through humans’ relentless search for the ideal home location, wildlife is being forced out into the open and ever closer to its human neighbors. With those human neighbors reside domestic cats and dogs which love to chase birds and animals, big and small, and will take any opportunity available to enjoy this instinctive pursuit.

The chasing of wildlife by domestic pets can have far reaching consequences for the pets, their human owners and the wildlife.

While cats are generally more lethal predators than dogs, the outcome of the chase can still be death even if the cat or the dog is unsuccessful in catching the bird/animal. As animals come out of hibernation they are comparatively weak following months of less than optimal nutrition, the energy they expend fleeing an exuberant domestic pet may leave them depleted for a chase involving a wild predator. New mothers and their offspring are also particularly vulnerable in this regard. Sometimes domestic pets underestimate their wild opponent and may end up maimed or killed. Additionally these encounters between domestic pets and wildlife provide dangerous opportunities for the mutual transfer of disease and injury.

In addition to the toll taken upon the animals during these encounters pet parents can be held directly responsible for the damage that their pets do and may (dependant upon the state/province and type of animal/bird that is harassed or injured) be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined. Furthermore in many states cats and dogs that are caught harassing protected wildlife may be impounded or destroyed immediately. State and Federal legislation concerning dogs (and cats) chasing wildlife may be reviewed at http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arusdogschasewildlifetable.htm .

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The animal welfare community has to deal with many highly charged and emotional situations during the course of their everyday working lives and one that is particularly hard on humans and animals alike is the intake of blind animals.

While blind cats and dogs can live happy and fulfilling lives as part of a family in their own home, the entry of a blind animal into a shelter is particularly overwhelming. At intake blind animals do not know where they are or who they are with, it is more than likely to be very noisy for their sensitive ears and their fear may turn to aggression if not handled properly. In many cases the animal will calm down quickly once given their own safe space within the organization.

Cats and dogs may be born blind or may lose their sight due to an accident or illness including glaucoma, cataracts and untreated entropion (inturned eyelashes), brain damage or poisoning. Similar to humans the degree of animal blindness ranges from total blindness to partial blindness (cloudy sight, ability to differentiate between light and shade and tunnel vision). You may be able to tell that an animal is blind by examining their eyes; the eyes of a blind animal will often be cloudy or their pupils may remain dilated even in bright light.

Often the reasons for blind cats and dogs ending up in the care of the animal welfare community are heartbreaking: animals that have illnesses that have been left untreated, animals that have been wounded by abusive humans and breeders that cannot sell a blind puppy/kitten and so do not want it. Whatever the cause of the animal’s blindness or the reason that it has ended up in your care, it will take a special adopter to provide a truly Forever Home.

The kindest and safest home for a blind animal is usually one in which there are no children and where the owner is well prepared for the special needs of their newly adopted pet. We have prepared a short tip sheet that all are welcome to download and give to new adopters of blind cats and dogs to help them cope with their special needs and to give the animals a better chance of finding their Forever Home [click here to download].

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This month, we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the launch of PetPoint. The over 850 PetPoint licensed animal welfare organizations provide clear evidence that PetPoint is now the most advanced animal management system available. However, we are not resting on our laurels, and instead are keeping a keen eye on the future. With as many as 1800 organizations expected to be using our application by the end of 2010, we recognize the need to keep PetPoint at the top in terms of both quality and service. We therefore are planning to upgrade both the hardware and the software supporting our PetPoint application over the next three months.We will soon begin installing new hardware throughout the system to include the latest in top of the line Hewlett-Packard servers and EMC data storage servers. This hardware will increase speed, capacity and provide full redundancy in case of a hardware failure. Not only will this allow us to grow the user base but will also allow us to add many new features and modules to the application.

As we migrate to the new hardware, we will also be upgrading the backend software on which PetPoint operates. The one change users will experience is our move to Microsoft Reporting Services replacing the old Crystal Reports. The Microsoft platform will make reports run much faster and require fewer steps to print. It will also provide us with the ability to design much more flexible and customizable reports.

In addition to these upgrades, we are also making a change to the host environment by transitioning to SunGard. With annual revenue of $5 billion, SunGard is a global leader in software and processing solutions for financial services, higher education and the public sector. SunGard serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries, including the world’s 50 largest financial services companies. Headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania, SunGard employs over 16,000 people in more than 400 offices in 30 countries.

PetPoint is changing the face of Animal Welfare:

  • creating greater opportunities for organizations and communities to work together.
  • creating efficiencies and cost savings for user organizations
  • freeing up resources (including personnel) which can be redirected to animal care, and
  • providing standardized data at the state and national levels, to the benefit of the entire industry.

As we look forward to the next three years we look forward to working together with you – our PetPoint partners – in an effort to continue to provide new and innovative ways to help the homeless voiceless animals in our society.

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