The recent horse rescue case out of Clarion and a starved dog case out of Oil City has many outraged and asking questions. The question All About Animals asked several animal rescue agencies is “What can be done to stop this before it happens?” Many rescuers simply answered that help is out there and that people need to consider the responsibility and costs of owning a pet before they take an animal into their home or barn.
Theresa Weldon of Precious Paws animal rescue of Franklin voiced anger at law enforcement’s decision to only to file charges of animal cruelty for the deceased animals in the horse case in Clarion.
She said it is a “sad reflection of the way Pennsylvania law views animals.”
Weldon said that because no charges were filed, the former owner might get his horses back, or that the rescue who eventually gets them will have no reimbursement for their care and rehabilitation, which will be in the thousands of dollars.
Weldon said most rescues have supplies of food to donate and some — like Precious Paws — have an animal assistance fund.
“These are designed to help owners who experience financial difficulties in the short term,” Weldon emphasized.
“Obviously, a person should consider the financial impacts of being a responsible pet owner. Pets require food, regular vet check ups and vaccines. Horses, because of their size, can have substantial costs in their care – hay, grain, stall bedding, shelter, and farrier care for their hooves,” she added.
For dogs and cats, there are several medical assistance programs. She said the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center for example, has a Care fund that pays for half of the cost of specialty surgeries up to $2,000.
“If an owner cannot care for their pets, the kindest thing to do is rehome them into a home that will,” she said.
Regina Martin, who has served as a Humane Society officer and is the owner of Hog Heaven Rescue Farm in Cochranton, said those whose animals may need help need to put their pride aside and reach out.
“Yes, if he or she had reached out, there would have been help provided. When we get calls at Hog Heaven, we reach out to other horse owners and put together work parties or help provide with their needs, trying to get them on their feet,” Martin said.
“If the owner then decides to give up some of the horses, help can also be found in placing them,” she said.
“Horse people help horse people … like dairy people help dairy people … again pride gets in the way,” added Martin.
Helping as much as they can
Sharon Weaver Floyd of Clarion P.A.W.S. said it is important for people to understand the cost and responsibility of pet ownership.
“When you seek out a pet to adopt, you should be financially able to provide for it,” she said.
“We can certainly understand when there is a job loss or other change in someone’s financial situation and they need help providing food or altering for their pets or people who are trying to help a homeless or stray cat.”
“The most important thing we try to get people to understand is to call for help when you have two cats that need spayed – before it becomes an overwhelming problem. We will help if we can or offer suggestions,” she said.
“We try to help, even if it’s just to offer free food or help to spay and neuter everyone,” she said. “Often people get angry or offended that they just can’t bring whoever they are trying to re-home to us.
“People need to understand that in Clarion County there is no Humane Society,” Weaver Floyd said.
“At Clarion P.A.W.S. we are a small group of unpaid volunteers that do our best to help as many felines as possible … we exist 100 percent on donations, we have to pay utilities, vets and supplies without any kind of steady income.”
“We also do not have paid staff of any kind. That means if no volunteers come in on a shift then the board member that is responsible for that night does it alone, sometimes taking up to four hours,” she added.
“It is also important for people to know when we cannot help it really bothers us, we are not getting paid to field these calls,” she added. “We do it because we love the animals.”
Meanwhile, the starved dog case had a happy ending. Munchkin, now Bella, was adopted from Tri-County Animal Rescue in Shippenville and seems no worse for the wear from her ordeal.
All About Animals sincerely hopes the rescued horses in the Clarion County case will recover quickly and that we will be able to share their adoption stories with readers.
How you can help
Several animal rescue groups and farms exist in this area to help animals. If you are considering adopting an animal, All About Animals suggests volunteering first with one of these groups. Potential owners can get a taste of what is involved with animal care. Those whose homes are already full of furry friends can help out by volunteering or donating a dollar or two (or more).
No Animal Left Behind
By Vicky McGinnis and Juanita Smart who are volunteers with Tri-County Animal Rescue in Shippenville.
According to Pennsylvania Law – 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5511. Cruelty to animals: “(1) A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly ill-treats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal’s body heat and keep it dry.”
Recently two animals were abandoned at night outside Tri-County Animal Rescue Center (TCARC). As stated above, Pennsylvania Law considers abandoning animals illegal and punishable. The Dog Warden in the county where the animals were abandoned is responsible for filing charges against the people who left these animals behind. TCARC’s main concern was, and always is, the well being of all animals.
Rumors have swirled as to how long the dumped animals remained in the cold. A review of our surveillance footage revealed it was nine hours and the temperature that evening dropped to 25 degrees. These are the facts as I was the one who found them.
It was a Sunday morning, 6:15 a.m. to be exact, when I discovered the animals outside the building. They were shivering so violently the airy crate rattled as they were carried into the warmth of the building. Two hours passed until the Pomeranian mix and Calico cat stopped shivering, in spite of the heavy blanket I placed over their crate to speed the warming process. The small pieces of fabric they were sitting on were urine soaked. A number of volunteers arrived at TCARC that morning to tend to them. TCARC welcomed, housed, fed and loved those abandoned animals.
If someone you know has an animal they must surrender, please encourage them to call TCARC. We have a certain protocol to follow and have a waiting list; the number of unwanted animals in this area is staggering. In one month alone, TCARC received 90 requests for cat intakes (some of those were pregnant resulting in a higher number with the additional kittens) and 37 requests for dog intakes.
For those in the area that are unfamiliar with us, we are a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that solely relies on donations, fundraising and adoption fees to cover the cost of veterinary care, medications, vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, food, rent, maintenance, utilities and the list goes on. We are dedicated to re-homing stray, unwanted, or surrendered animals for as long as it takes to find them “forever homes”. We also have foster parents for new dog moms and puppies, fosters who rehabilitate the abused, and foster parents who, when tragedy strikes, bottle feed the tiniest of kittens.
Recently, a heart-breaking case of horse neglect made the local news. Some of the horses were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized. The owner of the animals claimed that he just “got behind” in his care for the animals. Tri-County Animal Rescue Center regrets that these animals had to suffer the agony of such deplorable conditions because of the kind of mind-set that says “I just got behind” and refuses to ask for help.
In this instance many of us would have helped had we only known. In the Tri-County areas of Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson counties as in so many small town communities, neighbors still help neighbors, and while small rural shelters like TCARC are clearly not equipped to shelter and re-home horses, we are equipped to contact an extensive network of animal advocates who are prepared and stand ready to help – who dedicate themselves to preventing the kind of trauma these horses were forced to endure.
Given this extreme case of neglect, we urge county law enforcers to treat all animal abuse with the seriousness it warrants. Hiring a Humane Officer to investigate potential animal abuse is an essential step in this process. We hope the District Attorney and Sheriff will file charges on behalf of all of the horses involved in this case, not just those that had to be euthanized; we hope that a citizen who imposed such cruel mistreatment on his animals because he just “got behind” in their care will stand in front of the judge, facing the consequences of his actions and the full retribution of the law.
Rescue work plays out on so many different levels – but you don’t have to haul a horse trailer or know the PA cruelty to animal statutes to help. TCARC is always looking for volunteers and foster parents to help with our rescue work; why not sign up and become a member of our team? If volunteering isn’t for you, share our posts, encourage all you know to spay or neuter their pets, support our fundraisers, or contribute baked goods to our next two events, Purina Days, June 11th from 10:00 – 3:00 at Tractor Supply, and our biggest event of the year, IHAD – International Homeless Animals Day – on August 20th. We thank you for your support!
Bright Futures farm in Cochranton is looking for help for horses that were rescued from a Clarion County Farm.
Those wishing to donate toward their care, the following is needed: Senior Feed; Rice bran oil — they will be started on feed in about a month, based upon each individual horse’s progress and salt blocks.
Those wishing to donate toward their vet, farrier and dental bills, can donate via paypal at: firstname.lastname@example.org or gofund me at: www.gofundme.com/22afz264 or by mail at: Bright Futures Farm, 238 Old Franklin Pike, Cochranton, PA 16314.
A Facebook post last week called for a new request.
” If you have T-posts you can spare, we can even give them back after the horses leave… we need to build a pasture for the stallions that they can use one at a time. Not sure yet how many we need, but at least 100. Those can be dropped off either at our farm in Cochranton or at the farm in Clarion county that the horses are at,” the post said.
“We will also need a few good men …. to put them in,” the post said.
Anyone wishing to assist with this project can email email@example.com.
With the arrival of spring Precious Paws is getting a lot of calls from people in high population areas — trailer parks, apartments and Oil City neighborhoods — asking for help for pregnant cats that are wandering around.
“People want to help but are quick to point out that the animals aren’t theirs, so they can’t afford or justify spending $65 on them. Last summer we did free feral spays but we didn’t get grant funding from that source this year, so we can’t do it this summer,” said Theresa Weldon of Precious Paws.
Donations can be made via Paypal at SNYPVenango@gmail.com or by mail at P.O. Box 784, Franklin, PA 16323.
Pet First Aid class
Precious Paws is sponsoring a Pet First Aid class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at 720 Atlantic Ave., Franklin. The cost for the class is $45.
Attendees will gain the confidence and skills necessary to tend to unexpected pet emergencies until professional veterinary attention is acquired. Participants will have the opportunity to practice skills on realistic dog mannequins. They will have hands on practice of bandaging wounds, CPR, handling and restraint for both dogs and cats.
Course participants will receive a Dog First Aid or Cat First Aid manual – participant’s choice. The manuals each contain a 30-minute DVD with step-by-step information on safety procedures and dealing with medical emergencies.
The class is open to children 12 years old and older. Participants should take a chair to class.
The course instructor is Wende O’Hara. O’Hara is an American Red Cross certified Pet First Aid instructor.
Class reservations can be made by calling (814) 671-9827. More information about Precious Paws is available on the group’s website at pparfranklin.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remembering an animal advocate
The Venango County Humane Society remembered longtime board member and past president Joan Loeffler.
“It is with great sadness that we report the passing of longtime Board Member and past President of the Venango County Humane Society, Joan Loeffler. Joan was extremely dedicated to the welfare of animals and worked very hard to build the Humane Society to be the organization it is today,” a Facebook post said.
“We will miss her ready smile, wit and her wealth of knowledge and advice. Our prayers and thoughts are with Joan’s family together with our deepest sympathy. A lot of animals got to cross the Rainbow Bridge with Joan the day she passed …” the post continued.
Meanwhile, the society has a few Chihuahua mixes up for adoption.
Yogi Bear is an 11 year-old male Chihuahua mix.
Bittles is a 9 year-old female Chihuahua mix.
Snowball is an 8 year-old male Chihuahua mix.
The humane society is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is located at 286 S. Main St., Seneca. More information on the humane society is available by calling (814) 677-4040 or online at venangocountyhumanesociety.org.
Buster is one sick kitty
Clarion PAWs is looking for help for Buster the cat.
“Buster came to us appearing to be a very healthy cat. He has his shots, he was tested and found to be negative for both FIV and Feline Leukemia. However one day he wanted nothing to do with his food, one of his favorite things, and just wanted to nap,” a Facebook post said.
“That’s when we found out through bloodwork that Buster has multiple parasites attacking his immune system and making him extremely sick,” Clarion PAWS said. “He is slowly getting better but needs your help to pay for his medical expenses and his medicine that is fighting off those nasty parasites.”
Donations can be made online at www.paypal.com or mailed to P.O. Box 804 Clarion PA, 16214.
Meanwhile, Clarion P.A.W.S. still has plenty of cats looking for “fur-ever” homes.
Aiden is a silly kitten. He may be bigger than some of our other kittens but that just means he has already grown into his wonderful personality. This crazy lovey boy is ready for his furrever home.
Clarion PUPS has dogs that need homes
Clarion PUPS is over capacity, according to a Facebook post published last week.
“Even our kennel that boards for us is full. If you are at all considering a new companion please give these friendly, well-deserving pets a chance,” the post said.
The dogs’ ages range from 5 months to 14 years old and several in between.
The rescue group also needs antibacterial wipes, newspapers, plastic bags, plastic gloves, dog walkers and/or dog park players to allow them time to move about freely and get lots of human love and contact.
“We need your support to help the dogs in need,” the post said.
Those unable to volunteer time can donate the group’s paypal account: email@example.com.
Pups who need homes include Louis, Skippy and Malcolm.
More information is available by calling (814) 764-5580 or visiting the group’s Facebook page or online at www.clarionpups.org.
Louis is a 13-year-old male poodle.
Skippy is a young adult male mixed breed dog.
Malcolm is a Newfoundland/St. Bernard mix and Golden Retriever mix puppy.
More information about Clarion PUPS is available by calling (814) 764-5580 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
(All About Animals is a weekly blog that appears on Venangoextra.com and Clarionextra.com. Interested persons or groups can submit information to email@example.com. More information about the blog is available by contacting Anna Applegate at (814) 677-8364.)