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On December 15th, PetPoint software was utilized to aid in the seizure of over 26,000 animals from U.S Global exotics, an exotic animal trader based out of Arlington, Texas.    Three PetPoint users organized the raid; The SPCA of Texas, The Humane Society of North Texas and Arlington Animal Services.   Among the 50 animal welfare employees involved in the raid was Jorge Ortega, Pethealth’s Regional Shelter Outreach Director.

Arlignton

“Pethealth deployed staff to the scene whose assistance was very helpful,” added Ann Barnes, Senior Vice President of Operations for the SPCA of Texas. “Pethealth assisted us by inputting all 26,411 animals into the PetPoint shelter management system so that we could keep the most accurate count of the animals. This is something that would have been impossible for our staff to accomplish in the absence of Pethealth.”

Mr. Ortega recalls the seizure, “Starting early in the morning on Tuesday, the team did not leave the facility until 12:40AM on Wednesday.  Overcrowding in the pens caused horrible conditions for the animals, driving many to starvation”.

Throughout the seizure Mr. Ortega was responsible for:

  • The inventory log for all snakes removed from the second floor of the facility
  • Recording the temperature of most of the animal housing areas
  • Assisting in the capture and removal of snakes, lizards, frogs and some mammals from the facility
  • Moving animals out of the facility and into transport cages.

The data entered into PetPoint later aided in the prosecution of U.S Global Exotics.  Judge Michael Smith of the Arlington Municipal court presided over the hearing to determine if U.S Global Exotics indeed treated the animals in a cruel manner.The court found the facility to be  “seriously understaffed” and  “many of the animals were deprived from basic needs, such as food, water, clean bedding, and heat”.  Poor air quality and overcrowded conditions were also noted as a leading cause of death for hundreds of  animals within the facility.

On January 5th, 2010 the Arlington Municipal Court ordered that U.S Global Exotics sell the animals at a public sale by auction or give the animals to a non-profit animal shelter, pound, or society for their protection.

“This is an incident that has really tested the commitment of those working in animal welfare organizations in the greater Dallas area.  I am delighted that all the organizations that have been involved have risen to the challenge and have shown remarkable strength and stamina in the face of adversity. We are happy to make a small contribution to the effort and are prepared to assist as needed to ensure all these animals are properly housed and cared for.” said Mark Warren, President and CEO of Pethealth Inc.

The first PetPoint summit of 2010 will be located at the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview.  To learn more about the 2010 PetPoint Summits  – Visit our Summit Homepage.  Here you will find updated venue listings, agendas, speaker bios, past summit info and more.

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

(with apologies to Charles Dickens)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….. it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Our Pethealth Post this week reflects upon our very own PetPoint Tale of Two Cities each of which experienced its own winter of despair followed by a spring of hope.

Durham Region Humane Society

During the early hours of the morning on December 17th 2008 a major fire broke out at the premises of the Durham Region Humane Society. Burning out of control for several hours the shelter buildings were destroyed with a tragic loss of 160 animals including small animals, 96 cats and 3 dogs. Only 2 cats and 10 dogs survived the fire.

In addition to the devastating loss of life, the Humane Society lost all documentation that had been gathered for cruelty cases that were under investigation. In some cases trial dates had been set but the fire destroyed all the evidence letting perpetrators of animal cruelty go unpunished – it was indeed a sad day for animal welfare.

True to the spirit of the animal welfare community the staff of the Durham Region Humane Society have picked themselves up and are back at the task of providing care for animals in need in the Durham Region. Working out of portable trailers they have taken the decision to start fresh with the help of PetPoint to ensure that should the unthinkable happen again their records will be safely stored offsite.

Galveston Island Humane Society

The story of our second city was reported in our Pethealth Post issued Friday September 19th, 2009 – IKE – the Aftermath.

Unlike the Durham Region Humane Society the Galveston Island Humane Society had the benefit of an early warning about the impending disaster. As the strength of the hurricane increased, staff at the Humane Society were able to take the precautionary measure of moving their animals to alternative facilities, many of which were able to use the PetPoint transfer module to ease the transfer of animals throughout Texas. Those precautionary measures turned out to be lifesaving as the Galveston Island Humane Society facilities were totally destroyed by Hurricane IKE, but no lives were lost.

Temporarily housed in an old dilapidated Police Department building, staff and volunteers picked up, housed, fed, identified and photographed more than 1,000 abandoned and lost pets, making every effort to re-unite them with their families via media announcements and a web site for the reunification of pets. With the cooperation and support of the Houston SPCA, and using the reunification web site which was specially created by PetPoint (in temporary partnership with Pets911.com), most of the animals were claimed by their families, adopted or placed in foster homes.

The shelter continues to operate in its temporary home until a new facility is built. Having had the opportunity to see first hand the unique advantages of the PetPoint animal management system for pre-hurricane transfers and during the post hurricane clean up, the Galveston Island Humane Society has chosen to start again with the daily use of the PetPoint animal management system.

Those of you who are regular readers of the PetPoint Journal will recall that in our first issue, published August 21 st 2007, we indicated that the intake of animals through shelters using PetPoint was generally evenly split between cats and dogs. While shelter staff generally acknowledge the existence of a “Kitten Season” and the impact that has on intake levels of cats, fewer seem to acknowledge the fact that there is a “Dog Season” as well.

The following graph represents the percentage of dog intakes versus cat intakes on a month by month basis from January 2006 to October 2008. For the purposes of this graph we have used intake data from animals that were surrendered or returned by their owners together with those that were stray; we have not included animals that were designated transferred in, seized, clinic, wildlife or service at intake.

The most noticeable facet of the graph is the regularity of the pattern.

The chart demonstrates a cyclical pattern with higher dog surrenders and returns during the colder months December, January, February, and March (“Dog Season”) and higher cat intakes during the warmer months May, June, July, August, September, and October (“Cat Season”). November and April are the “Cross Over months” where we see equal intakes of cats and dogs.

Animal welfare workers who are responsible for planning, purchasing and staff information sessions can use the cyclical nature of species intakes to plan ahead more effectively.

The winter Cross Over month – November – is the perfect time to remind staff and volunteers of your intake protocols for dogs, including medical and behavioral assessment, preventative care, warning symptoms for communicable diseases, vaccination, identification, quarantine, spay and neuter. Check out your supplies to make sure that you have sufficient supplies and prepared housing facilities for an increase in dog intakes.

Similarly the summer Cross Over month – May – is the perfect time to remind staff and volunteers of your intake protocols for cats, including medical and behavioral assessment, preventative care, warning symptoms for communicable diseases, vaccination, identification, quarantine, spay and neuter. Check out your supplies to make sure that you have sufficient supplies and prepared housing facilities for an increase in cat intakes.

With Dog Season now upon us, don’t forget to check that you have adequate supplies of our Dog-Eared product to make your life easier when cleaning the new dog intakes.

The headlines across the world are screaming “Recession” and, no matter who is elected President next week, the financial outlook looks rocky. With house foreclosures on the rise and many people forced to relocate and/or reduce their household expenditure, the needs of our four-legged friends are likely to fall in terms of priority. Consequently now is the time to check your own organization’s strategy for weathering the storm:-

Intakes – As families go through difficult times, their ability to care for their pets is undermined. This may result in increased intake numbers. Is your organization ready for more intakes? If you are at capacity now is the time to work together with other organizations in your vicinity to ensure that all the animals requiring a safe haven are given one. The PetPoint Animal Transfer module is the fastest and easiest way to complete a transfer, make sure that all your staff and volunteers are up to speed on this module. Go to www.petpoint.com for more information.

Microchipping becomes even more important during tough economic times. Multiple intakes of the same animal will cost your organization time and money. Microchipping and registering each animal with 24PetWatch ensures that animals can be quickly identified and re-united with their family. In the event that the family is not willing to take the animal back, the records can quickly and simply be amended to reflect the animal’s new status.

Donors – As belts tighten, the public’s willingness to give is reduced. Check that your organization’s donor records are up to date and accurate. E-mail addresses are crucial as indicated in the Pethealth Post issue March 15th 2007. Each e-mail address is valued at $1.78 per advertising campaign and online contributions are generally 25% higher than offline contributions.

With downward pressure on donations, corporate partner relationships become that much more important. As James Bias, President of the Texas SPCA, says collecting email addresses from adopters “will energize your corporate partnerships and bring your adopters more into the fold of your shelter electronically.”

With consumer spending for the holiday season likely to fall – start holiday season promotional campaigns early. Capture consumers’ attention with “Gifts that Give” a trend that has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Make purchasing quick and easy – offer an online shopping cart if possible.

Review your Purchasing Profile – The Staples partner program offered to PetPoint users provides some of the lowest cost purchasing opportunities available and it’s not just for office supplies! Refresh your memory about all the great deals available through this partnership and make sure that all staff and volunteers are aware of these money saving options.

If there are everyday items that are not available through the Staples program, let us know we’d love to have the opportunity to provide PetPoint users with additional money saving opportunities.

Review your Health Records – All animal welfare organizations aim to keep their veterinary bills to the minimum and returns due to ill health to zero, review your recent records to check that your health protocols are working efficiently. Go to www.sheltermedicine.org for more advice.

The ShelterCare Gift of insurance continues to be the cornerstone of post adoption health protocol for many in the animal welfare sector. In these trying times it is particularly important to talk to all adopters about the importance of extending the insurance, while most will be able to cover the monthly premium an unexpected accident or illness which requires hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills may be beyond the financial capacity of many. Adopters who extend their insurance will not have to return their new family member in the event of an accident or illness.

Pethealth has recently offered animal welfare organizations the opportunity to offer a new dog ear cleaning product through their retail operations. Working on the “Prevention is better than Cure” basis, look at your own organization to see whether you feel that this product might be worth a try.

Deals Deals Deals – Price cuts, discounts and sales we are going to see them all but they won’t last forever, take advantage of low prices while you can but only buy what you know your organization needs.

If your organization has had a building project in the works with funding pre-allocated now may be the time to look at it again and maybe even bring it forward on the agenda, prices for materials and building projects are likely to be good.

Should you have any additional money saving suggestions for the animal welfare world, share them at Community.PetPoint.com today.

You’ve seen them come in, shaking their heads, scratching their ears until they bleed or ooze smelly discharge – dogs with ear infections are a regular occurrence in both the shelter world and in veterinary offices.

PetPoint Journal #23 issued August 1st 2008 indicated that 3.5% of the 1.3 million animal intakes through PetPoint during 2006 and 2007 were afflicted with an ear infection at some point during their stay with the animal welfare community. 10% of all ShelterCare dog claims are for ear infections. But ear infections are not just a problem in the shelter world, 14% of all PetCare claims for dogs that have not been in the care of the animal welfare sector are for ear infections and in this sector the risk of re-infection rises to 9%.

It is well known that when it comes to ear infections – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – but dogs’ ears are very sensitive and many dogs do not like to have their ears cleaned. This can be a huge problem for staff and volunteers in the animal welfare world who daily face the challenge of cleaning the ears of a dog with an unknown temperament in an effort to practice good disease control protocol. For this reason Pethealth has teamed up with a Canadian company to distribute a veterinarian approved new and innovative product, Dog-Eared, that offers simple and trauma free ear-cleaning for dogs.

Dog-Eared is available in two sizes, one for puppies and small breeds and the other for large breeds. This all natural product safely and effectively washes away ear wax build up from dogs’ ears leaving them healthy, clean and less susceptible to ear infections. The Dog-Eared applicator is a patented reverse spray nozzle that has been specially created to fit the unique structure of a dog’s ears and reverse the excess fluid, debris and wax safely out of the ear canal.

This product has already received strong praise!

“I used it on one large dog whose ears looked ok, but who was shaking his head. One treatment, and now he acts fine! I will continue to use it”

Judi C. Vogt, DVM
Shelter Veterinarian
Humance Society of Charlotte

Additional information about this product can be found by clicking here or by going to www.cleandogears.com. PetPoint users may order this product online at www.PetPoint.com and benefit from FREE SHIPPING! To order, call 1-866-600-3377 to speak directly to a Pethealth Inc. sales representative.

Please allow 3-4 weeks for order processing and shipping.

IKE – the Aftermath

As the reports, video footage and pictures of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike continue to wing their way around the globe, our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Texas and the emergency personnel who have been assisting in the relief effort. Of particular note are the staff, volunteers and animals of Galveston Island Humane Society, which was completely destroyed by Ike.

While we are headquartered approximately 1,500 miles away, we were nevertheless pleased to be able to do our small part to help. On Tuesday night we were called by the Houston SPCA (which in June had begun using PetPoint) and asked to assist their disaster response team and the Galveston Island Humane Society by creating a new module for PetPoint which would aid the reunification effort for lost pets. With the Galveston Island Humane Society buildings destroyed and their staff and animals in a temporary facility with no software, the PetPoint team jumped into action by first setting them up as a new PetPoint user. Using satellite Internet and emergency generators the Galveston staff were provided with a totally configured database by 11 a.m. on Wednesday and one of our key PetPoint staff members was immediately dispatched to Houston to train the staff in how to use the application.

The next step was for us to create a public Lost and Found service module to assist in reuniting lost pets with their owners. For this, we contacted Pets911 for assistance. By 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening the PetPoint/IT team had launched the Disaster Response Pet Portal (“DRPP”). “Our staff and volunteers are working around-the-clock to rescue pets and reunite them with their families, the online database portal created by Pethealth will make it easier for us ensure they find their way home as soon as possible.” said Patricia Mercer, President of the Houston SPCA.

In the Lost and Found module in PetPoint, the Houston SPCA lost pet hotline center staff have real time access to all the intake information entered by the Galveston staff. Houston staff can now immediately match reports of lost pets to new intakes in Galveston. The public can also view those pets on the DRPP which is hosted on Pets911.com (which is updated every 15 minutes from PetPoint) and notify hotline staff. Once a match is made, the Houston staff immediately place a “hold” on the animal through PetPoint, thus eliminating the chance that a lost pet will be adopted out, as happened in a number of cases after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Houston SPCA and Galveston Island Humane Society are not the only ones who have been able to benefit from the power of PetPoint during this hurricane season. Since July 1st, hundreds of animals have been transferred between over a dozen animal welfare organizations in Texas using the PetPoint animal transfer module as these same organizations prepared themselves in advance of oncoming hurricanes.

This module, created in 2007, allows for a smooth paperless transfer of animal information between organizations: “The PetPoint Transfer Module enabled our animal rescuers to save valuable administrative time during these operations; time which was much better spent caring for our new guests.” says Katherine Bice, Executive Director for Humane Society SPCA Bexar County which has taken in hundreds of animals from both Gustav and Ike.

SPCA of Texas has evacuated over 500 animals from the Gulf Coast in recent weeks. Ann Barnes, Senior Vice President of Operations explains: “From Houston alone, we’ve transferred 108 animals. Without the help of PetPoint’s Transfer Module, our staff would have spent several hours re-creating kennel cards and animal records. Additionally, the module also made it easy for us to transfer records to the other shelters that received animals from us”.

As indicated in our e-mail of this week to all Texas shelters, we have also auto-extended all ShelterCare gifts from our Texas PetPoint users from 30 to 45 days for the remainder of the month to give new adopters in the affected area some extra coverage.

We are happy that we were able to assist Houston SPCA in their disaster response effort and look forward to working with our new PetPoint user Galveston Island Humane Society as it works to rebuild and continue with its valuable work in Galveston. The Houston initiative has underlined the power and versatility of PetPoint as a tool for those in the animal welfare community to use in both good times and bad. As the community of PetPoint users continues to grow we look forward to working with each of you to provide you with the help, assistance and options that you need to work ever more efficiently and cost effectively.