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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Not fit for a dog" - Columbus Dispatch

This past Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch had an article entitled "Not fit for a dog" that was very critical of the management of the Franklin County Dog Shelter. While we here at HELP FIDO cannot speak to all of the issues raised in this article and are currently gathering more information through local networks, we feel it is important to highlight some of the issues. The following letter was submitted to the Dispatch editors. We are hopeful it will be published in the coming days.

As the chair of HELP FIDO, a voice for dogs in Central Ohio, I felt compelled to write in and address some points brought up in the recent Columbus Dispatch article “Not fit for a dog” about the Franklin County Dog Shelter.

Judging every dog as an individual (as the Shelter Director, Ms. Wahoff mentions) is an excellent goal. However, this should be guided with temperament testing, supported with behaviorists, education classes and socialization – not simply based upon what a dog looks like. The temperament testing at FCDS was discontinued due to lack of funding. Perhaps the money from the dog licensing fees which is currently being funneled to OSU for animal research, would be better spent on funding the temperament testing program.

FCDS is accused of knowingly adopting out "pit bulls" and "pit mixes" as "mixed breeds." This statement is inherently redundant as breed identification is purely subjective, and, short of the still developing field of DNA breed testing, is a guessing game, not a science. Determination of breed based solely on certain characteristics is inherently flawed, and leads to frequent misidentification in options for adoption, insurability, impoundment statistics, licensing statistics and bite statistics. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Dog Warden Association (U.K.) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals all have made statements that reject that physical characteristics or appearance as an effective way to determine an individual animal's temperament or breed. Furthermore, all of these organizations have rejected against the discriminatory nature of legislation that targets specific breeds or what a particular dog looks like.

While there is always room for improvement, the programs and policies that have been put in place by Ms. Wahoff have been highly beneficial to the dogs and residents of Franklin County. In 2007, FCDS provided care and shelter for over 13,000 animals. More than 2900 dogs were returned to their owners. 4,018 dogs were adopted or released to rescue. 3,930 spay/neuter surgeries were performed, with thousands more vaccinated for rabies and other transmissible diseases. Thousands of school children and adults have received education, teaching them how to be safe around dogs. Unlike other counties in Ohio, dogs are humanely euthanized at FCDS rather than being taken out back and shot or gassed to death. I challenge the FCDS detractors to compare the statistics of FCDS to other county funded shelters throughout the state.

An excellent model for FCDS and all animal shelters in the country is Calgary Animal Services in Canada. Earlier this month, we met with Bill Bruce, the director of Calgary Animal Services. Calgary has a 100% self–sustaining program, a 95% licensing compliance rate, 80% of stray dogs are returned to their owners – all done without useless breed specific laws, pet limits or mandatory spay/neuter laws. Mr. Bruce spoke at the recent Ohio Dog Wardens Conference here in Columbus. We are hopeful his ideas and successes in Calgary have inspired dog wardens in Central Ohio and throughout the State. I encourage the County Commissioners to review the Calgary model and consider implementing this type of program in Franklin County.

Brian Cluxton
A voice for dogs in Central Ohio
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helpful Holiday Hints

Hello all...Dr. Mandi here again with some hints to make Fido's holiday season a safe and happy one.

There are many holiday traditions that we enjoy with our families and our pets during this festive season. However, there also things that can be harmful to our furry friends this time of year.

Christmas Plants/Flowers - Poinsettias and Amaryllis are a beautiful touch to holiday home decor and Mistletoe is sure to make us cuddle up to those we love. But all of them are considered toxic to dogs and cats. Even in small amounts they can be very harmful. So keep these plants/flowers up high or in places where animals cannot get to them.

Treats/Holiday Cooking - Many of the sweet treats we enjoy for the holidays can cause our pets to become ill. Just a simple change in diet can cause vomiting, diarrhea and life threatening illnesses like pancreatitis. Candy, cookies, cakes, peppermints and especially chocolate can cause everything from mild intestinal upset to death. Bones from meat and poultry, cooked or raw, can be very harmful to pets. They can cause choking, intestinal obstruction and intestinal punctures all of which can lead to death. They can also lead to broken teeth and mouth infections. If you ever have any questions as to whether or not a treat is safe for your pet, never hesitate to call your veterinarian and ask.

Snow Globes - This is a holiday hazard that I have just found out about myself!! These novelties have been a holiday staple for years and years, so it may be surprising to know that they can be deadly to our pets. Many snow globes contain ANTIFREEZE which is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and causes kidney failure and frequently is fatal. Antifreeze tastes sweet and can be appealing to our furry friends. So keep the snow globes where animals cannot reach them and if ever there is an antifreeze spill, make sure to clean it up thoroughly and keep furry friends out of the area until the job is done. If there is any question whether or not your pet has ingested antifreeze, err on the side of caution and take him/her to your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Stress - The holidays are not only a stressful time for us humans, but for our pets as well. The holiday hustle and bustle, and visits from family and friends can cause dogs and cats to become nervous and excitable. Not to mention that they can sense OUR stress levels rising! To help pets cope, try to set aside plenty time to spend with them. Walk or exercise them prior to arrival of guests to relieve stress and expend some excess energy. It is a good idea not to allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests. In general, commotion and unusual circumstances can be scary and stressful to our pets. Give pets a break in a quiet room with things that are familiar to them like their favorite toys, bed or blankie and allow them to join the festivities after things have calmed down a bit. Never allow children to bother pets when they are eating. Also, dogs pant and, therefore, drink more when their stress level increases, so make sure they have of water available at all times.

Cold Weather - While it may seem convenient to put pets outside when company arrives, remember that cold temperatures, snow and ice can be very dangerous. Many animals suffer from frostbite every year, even if left out for what may seem like a short period of time. Also, remember when treating your front walk with salt or de-icing substances to make sure they are pet friendly. Many can be very irritating to our furry friends sensitive paws and toxic if ingested.

Holiday Decorations - Although Christmas trees are a wonderful tradition, they can lead to problems for curious pets. There are some simple things that we can do to prevent holiday disasters. To prevent a tree from tipping over, anchor it to the ceiling or wall. Hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree. Tinsel is beautiful but can be deadly if ingested by pets. It can cause intestinal obstruction that can require emergency surgery and lead to death. Don's allow pets to drink Christmas tree water as it can contain chemicals that help the tree to last longer and can cause serious intestinal upset to pets. Even pine needles that fall from the tree can be harmful. They can puncture holes in the stomach and intestines if ingested, so make sure they are swept or vacuumed up regularly. Lastly, candles can give the holidays a wonderful warm glow, but are very easily tipped over by a curious pet. Keep candles out of reach to prevent pets from getting burned or causing a fire.

Toys/Gifts - Children's toys can be a hazard to pets if chewed or swallowed. It is a good practice all year long to keep small toys and pieces out of reach from pets to prevent a trip to the veterinary emergency room. Help your pet stay occupied and out of the holiday decorations by giving them their own gifts. Make sure to consult your veterinarian on which toys are appropriate for your pet ahead of time.

I hope these tips will help everyone to have a wonderful and safe season.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Toys For Fido

Hello all!! Dr. Mandi here to tell you all about a wonderful, easy way to help your furry Fido friends this holiday season. TOYS FOR FIDO!!

Stop by one of our two local collection centers to donate a dog toy or treats to benefit homeless dogs in our area.

Town and Country Animal Clinic
4263 East Broad Street
Whitehall, OH 43213
(Near the cross streets of Broad St. and Yearling Rd.)


Cherry Valley Animal Clinic
100 Westgate Drive
Newark, OH

Donations will benefit dogs at Columbus Dog Connection.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hero Dog

Family Dog Takes Bullet to Save Family
Dec 10, 2008 03:01 PM EST

Family Dog Saves Family’s Life
The family has no idea why the man broke in or how their dog, D-boy, survived.
By Amy Lester, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A family dog made a lifesaving move when the family needed him most.
The dog's more than a friend, even more than a companion and family members said he's the reason they're alive.
The family's hero is their dog, D-boy.
Roberta Trawick was sitting on the couch when a man busted in, through the front door.
"He came in, pointed a gun at me and said, ‘Get down on the ground'," Trawick said.
The next thing Roberta knew, her dog ran in from another room, ready to attack.
"I was too scared to move, I didn't know what to think," Trawick said.
But before the dog could get a hold of the intruder, the man started shooting.
"I seen him shoot the dog twice," Trawick said. "He shot him once in the head and he was still going after him and the guy shot him again."
D-boy was shot three times, altogether. The intruder, apparently spooked, took off out the front door.
To donate to D-boy, you can send a check to:
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Hospital 1800 W. Memorial RoadOklahoma City, OK 73134
* Checks can be made out to VECCA and please add D-boy to the memo line.
"It is amazing, it's amazing that he want after that guy, and that I still have a family," family member Angelic Shoemaker said.
The family has no idea why the man broke in or how the dog survived.
"The vet said if it wasn't for his hard head he wouldn't be here," Trawick said. "He's got a hard head."
That hard headed dog was determined to protect his family, and a family that owes a debt of gratitude to their four legged friend.
"I'm sorry my dog got shot, but I still got my family and we still got our dog," Shoemaker said.
The family now faces another obstacle. They don't have enough money to pay the dog's medical bills. So far, they owe around $1,500.
Police are still looking for the man who shot the family dog. If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 405-235-7300.

Now what is wrong with this story? It is a great story, with a wonderful, heroic dog. Unfortunately, nowhere in this piece does it mention this dog also happens to be a pit bull.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Measle's Animal Haven Fundraiser

Please join us on this Saturday, Dec 6 for a fundraiser at Fado Irish Pub in the Easton Town Centre (Columbus), organized by our beloved volunteer and foster mom extraordinaire, Kris McKenna!

*Saturday December 6th, 2008 2-4 p.m. Fado Irish Pub *4022 Townsfair Way Columbus, OH 43219 (614) 418-0066
Events include:

* Silent Auction and raffles, including "Spot the Pit Bull"
* Meet other responsible pit bull owners at a super-cool pub!
* Pit Bull Christmas cards, calendars, T-shirts and magnets
* Breed education and BSL educational materials
* All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for the care of our rescued dogs

Please take a moment to vote and support Measle's Animal Haven. The shelter with the most votes by the end of January will win $10,000 Voting is quick, easy and completely FREE! Please feel free to crosspost the link far and wide!

* Please vote in Care2.com 's "A New Year of Hope for Animals" contest to help Measle's Animal Haven, win a grand prize of $10,000. As you know, Measle's Animal Haven in the only Pit Bull Specific rescue in the Central Ohio area, and we need your help in order to be able to keep helping the dogs. We need your help to get enough votes to help Measle's Animal Haven win.

Thanks for your vote and hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Goings on" with HELP FIDO

Although our blog has been a bit quiet the last couple weeks with less frequent posts than we would like, all of us at HF have been busy with some "goings on" behind the scenes. After our work with the City of Whitehall regarding breed neutral legislation, we've become active in that community in other ways - a microchip clinic, educational opportunities at local community events, etc. Our blog has more information about those topics, if you're interested. Most recently, we met with many of the Principals and other School Administrators with the Whitehall City Schools to discuss ways HF can help with after school canine-education programs, science classes and other opportunities. Everyone was very receptive to our ideas and had many of their own ideas as well. More information to come on these events in the Whitehall School district, in the near future.

Additionally, we are very excited to have the opportunity next week to meet with Mr. Bill Bruce - the Director of the Animal and Bylaw Services for the city of Calgary, Alberta. Mr. Bruce has had a tremendous impact on the quality of life for animals in Calgary and has attained some of the best results in the world when it comes to humane treatment and education. Brent Toellners blog post over at KC Dog Blog, from last year, really highlights the achievements Calgary has made. We can't wait to meet with him and get some insight on getting on the road to similar success in Central Ohio.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time to renew those tags!!!!

All dogs in Franklin County over three months of age are required to be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. You will need a current rabies tag number to renew or apply for a dog license. You can apply online here . The license renewal period opens every year on December 1 with a deadline of January 31.
You can also purchase a dog license at the Capital Area Humane Society during regular hours.
So go get that puppy tagged!!!

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