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Annual Report on Animal Abuse

The Animal Legal Defense Fund released its fourth annual report about animal abuse.  The report ranks the strength of animal protection laws in every state and U.S. territory. 

This year the five states with the least amount of protection for animals are: Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota. Kentucky ranked as the number one worst state in the nation - where animal abusers received the lightest convictions.

The top five states with the most stringent sentencing for abusers and the toughest laws to protect animals were: Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon and California. 

Stephen Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund director of legislative affairs, was pleased with the progress that a number of states have made in 2009. “Many states and territories are continuing to make substantial progress with their animal protection laws.  Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country this year, due to a host of statutory improvements,” Otto said.

“Washington D.C. and Indiana, among others, also made significant advances.  Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protection that our country’s animals need and deserve," stated Otto.

He continued by reminding states, “Yet even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement.  While animals certainly do not vote, those who love and care about them do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

The Animal Protection Report ranks states in three tiers - Top, Middle and Bottom.  See where your state stands on protecting animals from abuse.

Top Tier: CA, CO, DE, IL, IN, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, NE, OR, RI, TN, WA, WV, WI, VT and VA.

Middle Tier: AZ, AR, CT, DC, FL, GA, LA, MO, MT, NH, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, Puerto Rico, SC, UT and Virgin Islands.

Bottom Tier: AL, AK, American Samoa, Guam, HI, ID, IA, KY, MD, MS, NV, NJ, NM, ND, Northern Mariana Islands, SD, TX and WY.

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ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Issues Cocoa Bean Fertilizer Warning

Organic mulch fertilizer may pose hazard to dogs.
As spring approaches, people will start to tend their lawns and gardens. Many will consider using cocoa bean mulch as a fertilizer. Made from spent cocoa beans used in chocolate production, cocoa bean mulch is organic, deters slugs and snails, and gives a garden an appealing chocolate smell. However, it also attracts dogs, who can easily be poisoned by eating the mulch.
Cocoa beans contain the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Dogs are highly sensitive to these chemicals, called methylxanthines. In dogs, low doses of methylxanthine can cause mild gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain); higher doses can cause rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and death.
Eaten by a 50-pound dog, about 2 ounces of cocoa bean mulch may cause gastrointestinal upset; about 4.5 ounces, increased heart rate; about 5.3 ounces, seizures; and over 9 ounces, death. (In contrast, a 50-pound dog can eat up to about 7.5 ounces of milk chocolate without gastrointestinal upset and up to about a pound of milk chocolate without increased heart rate.)
If you suspect that your dog has eaten cocoa bean mulch, immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center ( 1-888-426-4435). Treatment will depend on how much cocoa bean mulch your dog has eaten, when the mulch was eaten, and whether your dog is sick. Recommended care may include placing your dog under veterinary observation, inducing vomiting, and/or controlling a rapid heart beat or seizures.

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Cliff Moore, is President of Animal Services, Inc., Animal Services of Texas, and Animal Damage Control Services, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Animal Services, Inc.

Cliff Moore is a Professional Naturalist and Wildlife Management Specialist, dedicated to providing humane solutions to the human/animal conflict.

Mr. Moore has functioned in a professional capacity for almost 20 years.

Animal Services, Inc. provides solutions to fortune 500 companies as well as local cities, counties, businesses and individuals. 

He holds a wildlife relocation authorization from Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

He also holds an Animal Control Officer certificate from Texas Department of Health. 

Mr. Moore is a member of The Wildlife Society, The Wildlife Federation, International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, Texas Animal Shelter Coalition, Texas Animal Control Association, and the Texas Wildlife Association

Mr. Moore holds a Senior Engineering Certification from the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers in 4 disciplines.

Cliff brings passionate, grass roots, feet in the mud perspective, to the wild world. Mr. Moore uses his ability to get up close to wildlife with his camera equipment to illustrate the infinite variety of circumstances which create the human/animal conflict. With a passion for respect and fairness, conservation and sustainability, Cliff educates by example and fosters a climate of healthy debate for the preservation of our natural resources. 

Animal Services, Inc. has a very active education program dedicated to providing the best science based knowledge and experience available: To wildlife organizations, cities, homeowners associations, corporations, and academia.

The views and opinions expressed on this web site are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies (TFACS) staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.


Email: Cliff.Moore@humane-products.com
Website: www.humane-products.com

HALLOWEEN HOLIDAY HEALTH HAZARDS FOR ANIMALS
Submitted by
Pam Wilson, RVT, MEd, MCHES
Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control 


With the arrival of the candy-laden and trickster-oriented holiday of Halloween, there are some risks and health hazards that are of concern for animals, particularly pets like dogs and cats. To avoid unfortunate mishaps and tragedies, keep in mind the following tips:

With the excitement of strangers ringing doorbells in hopes of receiving a treat, pets can become nervous and might escape from the safety of their home. Loud or unfamiliar noises created by pranksters or party-goers can also be unsettling for pets and may encourage them to try to escape the vicinity. Be sure that your pet is wearing a collar with an identification tag on it for easy tracing. Another good tracking device is an identification microchip; check with your veterinarian or local animal shelter on how to get this procedure done on your pet. In an effort to prevent an escape on the part of any pets, keep them confined in a part of the house separate from Halloween party or trick-or-treat activities.

With busier street and sidewalk holiday traffic, an extra precaution if you walk your dog at night is to add reflective collars and tags or a leash with flashing lights to increase the visibility of you and your pet. It’s also not advisable to take pets along for trick-or-treating. If you opt to do so, the pet should be trained and kept on a leash under the control of an adult.

Being in the midst of the hustle and bustle of holiday activities could provoke even well-tempered animals to bite. Keep your pets out of situations that could be stress evoking for them. Even if your city or county does not have a leash law, Halloween is a good time to keep your outdoor dogs confined safely and comfortably in the back yard to prevent any mishaps or accidents when costumed strangers approach for tricks or treats. As with any time of the year, make sure that your pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination. By law, dogs and cats in Texas are required to be vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian. Rabies vaccination is also recommended for any animals that are in close contact with people, such as ferrets and wolf-dog hybrids, plus horses and other livestock.

A popular treat kept on hand for trick-or-treaters or brought back to the house after a successful Halloween outing in search of treats is chocolate. Ingestion of chocolate can produce toxicity in animals. Dogs in particular are attracted to the sweet treats. The extent of toxicity an animal exhibits after consuming chocolate is based on a variety of factors, such as the type of chocolate ingested, the size of the animal, or an animal’s individual sensitivity to chocolate. Baker’s or baking chocolate is the form of chocolate that contains a higher concentration of stimulant (theobromine) than either semi-sweet or regular milk chocolate. Some typical clinical signs of chocolate toxicity include excessive excitability, restlessness, increased heart rate, muscle tremors and seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea. The last two clinical signs may be transiently present due to an animal consuming any amount of chocolate (i.e., any ingestion of chocolate may cause gastrointestinal upset, but not extensive toxicity). Severe reactions may result in coma. The literature gives a wide range of toxic levels, so a veterinarian should be consulted immediately to discuss the appropriate action to be taken if an animal has consumed chocolate. There is no specific antidote for chocolate toxicity. Animals can be treated by a veterinarian to address any clinical signs they are exhibiting; vomiting may be induced within 2 hours of the chocolate consumption depending on the amount ingested and other factors.

Another dangerous substance associated with sweet treats is xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free products, such as gum, candy, and baked goods. In dogs, even a small dose of xylitol can cause toxic effects; it can also be fatal. If a dog consumes xylitol, it can cause hypoglycemia (sudden decrease in blood glucose) and/or liver failure. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a sugar-free product with xylitol, you should take it to a veterinarian immediately, as signs of toxicity can start within 30 minutes of ingestion (signs could also be delayed for a few days). Some of the clinical signs of xylitol toxicity in dogs include weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, anemia, increased thirst, increased urination, and bloody or tarry feces. There have been some indications that ferrets may react to xylitol in the same way that dogs do.  

When trick-or-treaters start making their appointed rounds, jewelry that glows in the dark is popular to wear as a safety feature; it can help make a person more visible. It can also be a popular attractant as a play item for cats. Glow jewelry1 contains a chemical called dibutyl phthalate. Although this chemical may have the potential to cause death via respiratory paralysis, cats generally will only ingest a minimal amount due to its unpleasant taste and the fact that only a small amount of the chemical is present in the jewelry. Cats that have bitten into the jewelry may exhibit heavy salivation, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior, but they typically recover within minutes. Immediately after a cat happens to ingest this chemical, it helps to feed it small quantities of milk, canned food, or tuna juice to dilute the chemical in its mouth. Wash off any drops of the chemical that might be on the cat’s coat and flush the cat’s eyes with water if there has been ocular exposure. There is no known antidote for dibutyl phthalate; cats that have ingested large quantities should be closely monitored and given supportive treatment if warranted.

If you know or suspect that an animal has ingested anything that could possibly produce toxicity, immediately consult a veterinarian, animal emergency clinic, or poison control center. The Texas Poison Center Network can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at 1-800-548-2423.

Halloween is a holiday that tends to bring out the mischievous nature of people, sometimes to the point of them becoming malicious. Animals can become the unfortunate targets of malevolent acts, so be sure to keep them in comfortable, safe, secured locations. Cats tend to be more at risk, so keep them inside. Black cats (due to the folklore associating them with bad luck, witchcraft, and Halloween), calicos, and tortoiseshells (due to their Halloween colors) may have more of a chance of being targeted.  

With the fall, temperatures begin to drop and cold winds start to blow. The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Animal Welfare Act recommends that the ambient temperature should not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when sick, aged, or young animals are present. If it does, plan to supplement the animal’s environment with auxiliary heating and additional bedding. Additionally, animals should always be provided with adequate protection and shelter from the direct effect of wind, rain, or snow. Remember, animals in Texas are not acclimated to cold weather, so they must be protected from extreme weather conditions accordingly.

Thanks is given to Dr. John C. Haliburton, former Head of Diagnostic Toxicology for the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Amarillo, for his assistance and expertise in preparing this article.

1Rosendale, ME. Veterinary Medicine 1999;August:703.

PUPPY PAL POINTERS: FROM THE TRUE TAILS OF RIPPLE AND JESSIE CONTAINS TIPS FOR DOGS OF ALL AGES. This compassionately written book is told by two wise Texas dogs as shared with Pamela J. Wilson, RVT, MEd, MCHES. Topics pertinent to every devoted owner (such as caring for, bonding with, and grieving for your pet), plus stories on proper animal care for kids, are included. Interactions with very special cats are highlighted. Ripple, a beloved 3-legged dog, demonstrates how to face life’s challenges with an unstoppable positive spirit. Photos of canine and feline peers accentuate points. Available in hard (ISBN 1-4208-0629-7) and soft (ISBN 1-4208-0628-9) cover (321 pages nonfiction) at bookstores, www.amazon.com, www.Tubblewoodtales.com, www.authorhouse.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com.

Other books by Pamela J. Wilson include Tales From Tubblewood: A Duck For All Seasons and Tales From Tubblewood Too: Miss Duck to the Rescue, which contains a story featuring responsible pet ownership as its main theme. Both books include adventures for every season of the year with storylines centered around various holidays; valuable life lessons are taught by Miss Duck and her furry or feathered friends in the charming, safe environment of Tubblewood. These books are available in hard cover, soft cover, or electronic versions at the websites listed above.