What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lending a Hand

**Written by Amanda but posted by admin**

One of the privileges of volunteering for an animal welfare agency is the ability for an individual to help out on so many different levels. I've been a volunteer for the Capital Area Humane Society for about 5 years now and have worn many hats: dog-walker, enrichment care-giver, pooper scooper, doggy chauffeur, match-maker, and many more not so glamorous, but very rewarding roles. At our shelter, a unique opportunity exists for experienced (and willing) volunteers to "ride along" with our Humane Agents while they investigate reports of animals in need. So, every once in a while, I get to hop in a van and support the work of some awesome individuals.

I recently spent the afternoon traversing our seemingly huge county with a Humane Agent while we answered concerns lodged by concerned neighbors, citizens and passers-by. Now that it's not snowing in central Ohio, it's about 80 plus degrees and very humid. For a dog living outside (or even placed outside for extended periods of time), these conditions can be deadly, so there's no shortage of reports to investigate in summer. The animal care-givers we visited were as different as the animals we came to check on. Some were all smiles and tail wags, happy to talk to us about their dog(s)/cat(s), while others got their hackles up and made it clear that a marked vehicle complete with someone wearing a uniform, was not welcome. And who could blame them? How would you feel if you were paid a visit by law enforcement? I think it takes a big person to show us they've nothing to hide and, on top of that, thank the agent for looking out for animals, even if the only reason we're standing on their doorstep is because their neighbors don't like the breed of dog they chose to own.

As much as possible, donated bags of food are given to owners, sturdy buckle collars are switched out for choke chains and people get to hear about the benefits of spaying and neutering. Not everyone is going to listen and certainly many don't want to listen, but education is a huge part of fostering compassion, so no effort to explain the dangers of heatstroke or how painful mats can be is ever wasted. And, even though my small part was feverishly recording each detail at each address, at the end of the day, it just feels good to be in your community—really in your community-- and to lend a hand.

If you suspect an animal is in need (and perhaps even their owners), make the call to your local animal cruelty investigators or the local dog warden.

HELP FIDO wants every outdoor dog to have a comfortable nylon collar, a spill proof 5-gallon bucket, the product SWAT (for fly strikes) and comfortable shelter like a dog Igloo. Your local community needs your help!


Brian Cluxton said...

Amanda – what are the guidelines for the Humane Officer to remove an animal from a bad situation, if the owner is non-compliant?

Amanda w/ HELP FIDO said...

Well, it's my limited knowledge that if the owner won't comply and the animal(s) is/are in an unacceptable condition, the Humane Officers can pull them via a search warrant served w/ Columbus Police Department. A search warrant can take a few days or be same day--depending in the severity of the situation. The Humane Officers don't want to pull animals w/o a search warrants b/c then there's zilch to stand on for a case. It can be hard to turn back and keep going when an animal is in need, but 1 day in most cases won't be life/death. And certainly if the animal is in imminent danger, then they are pulled search warrant or not. But that is avoided as much as possible so the investigation can be pursued.

These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...