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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gift-wrap that sweater, not a puppy

The holiday season is upon us yet again, and everyone is shopping for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Many times, people make the mistake of giving a dog (or other pet) as a surprise gift, thinking how cute it will be to have the puppy in a box, wrapped up in a bow like that scene from Lady & the Tramp. But this is not a good idea. If the person receiving your furry present is not ready for a dog, financially or otherwise, or if the particular breed you chose for them is not a good match, it can spell disaster. Adopting a dog is a big decision, and the person who will be responsible for caring for the animal should be involved in every way. If the dog will be a gift for your own children, it should be a family event to make sure the dog is a good fit for everyone, including existing pets! Too many times when parents give a puppy as a gift to their kids, the excitement wears off, puppyhood becomes a reality, and there’s a dog that no one wants to take care of, no one wants to train. Before you know it, your sweet little puppy-in-a-box is in a shelter by St. Patrick’s Day.

Since individual breeds are so different, it’s important that the potential owner researches breeds before deciding on one; everything from size and temperament, to energy levels and health issues needs to be considered to ensure the dog matches its owner’s lifestyle. Instead of actually presenting the dog as the gift, you may want to purchase dog supplies or some dog books to give to the person on the big day. Then your loved one can find the dog best for them, or you can go together to adopt.

A word about puppy mills...

In addition to not giving a dog as a surprise holiday gift, PLEASE do not buy a puppy from a newspaper ad, on the Internet, or from a pet store!! The newspaper/Internet ads are almost always puppy mills advertising to sell animals directly to the public, and pet stores usually obtain their puppies from puppy mills as well. Pet stores will try to assure you that they only get the puppies from responsible breeders, but don’t be fooled. NO reputable or responsible breeder would sell to a pet store.

As you may know, puppy mills are commercial dog breeding operations that focus primarily on profit rather than the welfare of the animals in their facilities. Dogs in puppy mills live in unsanitary conditions, have inadequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care, suffer overcrowding, and receive virtually no human companionship. In puppy mills, females are bred as frequently as possible and will likely never live life outside of a puppy mill. Many times, the puppies aren’t even purebred, and if they are, the quality is poor. Genetic testing for temperament and health issues is rare, and many of these puppies not only end up with kennel cough and chronic ear and eye infections, but also have serious genetic health problems that don’t show up until later. Despite the owners spending thousands of dollars on vet bills, these dogs often die an early death.

Don’t fall into the guilt trip of “Oh, I need to SAVE that puppy in the window!” Pet stores and puppy mills can only stay in business if you give them your money. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

If you are looking for a purebred dog, try your local shelter. 1/3 of the dogs in shelters are purebred, and many are young, contrary to popular belief. You could also find a breed-specific rescue group. Remember that while puppies are adorable and fun, they also take a TON of work and time. An older dog is often already housebroken and trained, and is just waiting for a loving home to share! Adopting a dog through rescue is also much less expensive than the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you would pay a breeder. Usually spay/neuter is even built into the relatively low adoption fee. If you MUST buy a puppy and haven’t found one through rescue, please make sure you choose a responsible, reputable breeder, and NEVER buy from a pet store.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon Retires After 22-year Reign of Death

This month, dogs and dog lovers all over the land are singing the Munchkins’ happy tune….”Ding Dong…!” First, Dorothy’s house landed smack dab on top of the Wicked Witch of the East with Jackie Thompson’s recall from Whitehall City Council earlier this month. Now, the Wicked Witch of the West (er, well…Northwest-ish) has all but completely melted, as Lucas County dog warden Tom Skeldon submitted a letter of resignation on November 19! His official retirement date will be January 31, 2010, however he plans to use leftover vacation time for the remainder of his employment, making the end of December his last day at the pound.

Now to give you some background on this beast. The departure of Skeldon from his 22-year position as Lucas County’s Chief Dog Warden has been over a year in the making. Last October, a petition with the signatures of over 3000 concerned Toledo-area residents was submitted, calling for his removal as the county’s head of animal control. Since then, Skeldon has been blamed for the wrongful deaths of 2 family pets. In February 2009, a 10-pound Pomeranian that was outside on its front porch waiting to go back inside, was shot by a deputy dog warden’s tranquilizer gun and later died. Then in August, a Chow named Bear got loose from his house on a Sunday evening, was hit by a car, and ran off. Though his family searched the area for him and looked at the pound, they couldn’t find him; however, they were told they had 3 days before he would be put down, should he come into the pound. The dog was found by police Tuesday night, and the dog warden called the family Wednesday morning to notify them that Bear had been put to sleep. The dog warden alleges that this action was taken because the emergency vet recommended it was the humane thing to do, due to the dog’s injuries. Bear’s injuries consisted of a broken leg. The owners had no opportunity to make a decision or to see their family member again.

Of course, Tom Skeldon has been most often criticized for his procedures of operation within the dog shelter. He has come under heavy fire from many animal advocacy groups, including HELP FIDO, but one of his biggest critics is County Commissioner Ben Konop. Konop, like many of us, finds the warden’s policies and actions completely unacceptable. From his statements, he seems to be both outraged and embarrassed by the pound’s astronomical euthanization rate (77%) and low adoption rate (13%), especially since Wood County has an adoption rate of 80%. Only 160 dogs have been adopted out in the last two years. Last year’s death toll was a staggering 2,483 dogs. So far this year, Skeldon’s office has killed 1,848.

In addition to this general lack of effort to place adoptable animals in homes, Tom Skeldon is known for his particularly ruthless bias against bully breeds, promoting discrimination against them and seemingly carrying out some sort of personal vendetta. He refused to adopt out any pit bulls or surrender them to rescue groups, instead euthanizing any that came through his doors. Since 2007, 400 puppies (all breeds) have been euthanized, 183 of which were apparently healthy (another fact that his critics took issue with). Half of the 400 puppies were pit bulls (or what Tom Skeldon considers a pit bull). This year alone, the dog warden's office has killed at least 932 pit bulls or pit bull mixes, including 46 pit bull puppies, regardless of age. Obviously the puppy-killing in general is ludicrous, since everyone knows puppies are so easily adopted. And Skeldon’s pit bull policy is ridiculous. Not only is it disheartening that he was judging solely on breed/type and not history, health, behavior, or temperament, but there's a good chance he was also incorrectly identifying many non-pit bull dogs as pit bulls.

If this weren’t bad enough, pit bulls aren’t the only breed Skeldon discriminates against. He has said “We’ll adopt out a good Rottweiler”, but he refused to place Rotties in the adoption area for the general public because they supposedly get “gangbangers” who come through kicking the cages, looking for a mean dog. While this may be a valid concern, not only did Skeldon’s description and choice of words land him in a different pot of hot water, but it may explain why Rottweilers are the 6th highest breed on the pound’s kill list this year. As of October, the Rottie death toll was 60. To top it all off, Skeldon has also been accused of not vaccinating dogs that come into the shelter, with no regard for the prevention of the spread of disease, and he refused to work with all-breed rescues. The only group Skeldon would work with is the Toledo Area Humane Society (TAHS). Even so, TAHS couldn’t get Skeldon to give them enough dogs, and they have room for more, so they had to pull from surrounding counties such as Hardin, Carroll, Franklin, and Montgomery. WHAT??!

Last week Commissioner Konop proposed that Skeldon be removed from office, but he was out-voted by fellow Commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak (Tom Skeldon’s first cousin). Konop says that Skeldon is doing the right thing by resigning; however, this has not softened his views on the dog warden. Konop wants him to step down immediately and says “I am not comfortable with him as our dog warden for even another day.” He plans to introduce a motion to have Skeldon dismissed immediately, and if that fails, he will attempt to have Skeldon suspended until his official date of retirement. Go Commissioner Konop!

Bonnie Mitchell, the current Dog Pound Manager, will act as the interim dog warden as Skeldon moves into retirement and until a permanent replacement is found. While this is a concern, since she must have been an integral part of Skeldon’s methods of operation at the pound (read: part of the problem), Commissioner Konop is not a fan of her stepping in as interim dog warden, and he hopefully, possibly, can find a better solution.

All in all, this is why HELP FIDO is JUMPING FOR JOY at the news of Tom Skeldon’s resignation! Judging from his decisions and practices while dog warden, one might conclude that Tom Skeldon finds some sort of sick pleasure or satisfaction in killing the hundreds of dogs that have had the misfortune of crossing his path. Mr. Skeldon has said that his first priority as dog warden was to protect the public from dogs. While this is of course an important and necessary part of being a dog warden, Skeldon seems to have forgotten that dogs often need protection from some people in society, as well as compassionate individuals to advocate for their well-being. Most citizens expect even a low level of these attributes from their county dog warden. Someone who does not understand or like dogs, who does not genuinely care about the welfare of animals, and who cannot or refuses to find a balance between protecting the public and looking out for the furry creatures that share our streets and homes, does not deserve or belong in a position of animal control.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stolen Dogs - Columbus

In the past few days I have heard of multiple cases of dogs being stolen from backyards in Columbus or in two instances, stolen from a shelter. Please be on the lookout for these pups.

Chrissy, an 8-10 week old white pit mix pup, disappeared from the shelter Sunday night (Nov. 15th). She may have been stolen, since coincidentally another pit disappeared from another shelter on the same night. If anyone was at PWP and saw ANYTHING that might lead to her recovery, or if you think you may have seen her or know of her whereabouts, please call the shelter ASAP at 267-PAWS or email us at mailto:%20pets@petswithoutparents.net.


Someone posed as a CHA volunteer and stole Marley, a 1-year-old Akita/Boxer mix.
"They can come to the shelter anytime, ring the doorbell, knock on the door, bring the dog back, no questions asked at all," said CHA's Development Director Terri Montigny.
Montigny said the fake volunteer took the dog out for a walk in the play area.
Columbus police are investigating.
Marley was wearing a blue collar and a CHA tag.
Anyone with information is asked to call police or the CHA shelter at 614-891-5280

Also missing: Young, female, unspayed, white, tan and red female pit bull. She is not wearing a collar. It was removed from her and left laying in the yard

Please, if at all possible, do not let your dogs out unsupervised

Friday, November 6, 2009

Whitehall Election Results- GO BULLY!!

The people of Whitehall have spoken!!!!

On Tuesday November 3, 2009, the fine people of the city of Whitehall came out in full force to make it known that no one will bully them, intimidate them, or embarrass their city. They voted 74.8% to 25.2% to recall city councilwoman Jackie Thompson in Whitehall's first ever recall election, and the first recall in Columbus since 1998. Ms. Thompson, as many of you may know, sponsored two proposed pit bull bans for the city over the last year, both of which failed.

Ms. Thompson was immediately relieved of her position the night of November 3rd once the election results were certified. When questioned about her recall, she responded, "If they think this is going to put an end to it, no, it's not. I intend to run for mayor." Although, many of her opponents do not think that she has the public support to pull it off, especially in light of the recent election results. One other interesting note, the current Whitehall Mayor, John Wolfe, gave $500 left over from his campaign funds to the efforts to recall Ms. Thompson, stating, "I felt it was a just cause." The city council has 30 days to appoint Ms. Thompson's replacement.

In other election news, Robert Bailey was elected to a four year term in his current appointed position on the Whitehall city council. Mr. Bailey sponsored recent positive changes in Whitehall vicious and dangerous dog laws and is opposed to breed specific legislation.

Also, Leslie Lacorte lost her bid for re-election to the Whitehall city council 58.4% to 41.6% to her opponent (former high school teacher and basketball coach VanGregg). Although Ms. Lacorte has been very passionate about her role as Parks and Recreation director and has made some good progress in this position, many think her close association with Jackie Thompson was her ultimate downfall. (Especially in light of Ms. Thompson's recent objections to Mr. VanGregg running against Ms. Lacorte.) Ms. Lacorte was the only other council member along with Ms. Thompson to support the pit bull ban in Whitehall and voted yes to the proposed ban legislation both times it was introduced.

Now a little personal editorial concerning the recent election and Ms. Thompson's assault on the people who live and work in Whitehall, in particular her assault on me. Over the past few months leading up to the recall, Ms. Thompson has been putting forth information on the Internet and distributing fliers in print that contain quotes attributed to me. These quotes are not only taken out of context to benefit her position, but they are SIGNIFICANTLY altered from their original form. She also has consistently referred to me following the quotes as "Whitehall Pit Bull Vet.". Although I have had much experience with bully breeds, they are not, by any means, my only patients. I treat all breeds of dogs from Chihuahuas, to Golden Retrievers, to Great Danes, as well as cats and the occasional rabbit, ferret or bird. I have also had experience with exotic/zoo animals and farm/large animals. She wants the people of Whitehall to think that I solely treat bully breeds and puts that information forward in a negative light. Ms. Thompson refuses to acknowledge my proper credentials in her public rants. I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or DVM, and my years of training, schooling and experience should afford me the respect of being addressed as such, even when being misquoted. However, Ms. Thompson is not concerned with the issue of respect unless it pertains directly to her. Further, I would like to thank C.J. Thompson, Citizen Journalist, for helping to put forth election materials that show the public how Ms. Thompson has continued to harass many individuals over the course of her time on city council.

All in all, a good day at the office for bully lovers!!! Just goes to show how important it is to get out there and VOTE!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

National Pit Bull Awareness Day 2009!

It’s National Pit Bull Awareness Day today!! So, I figured I’d do a little posting on this misunderstood “breed” that is so close to my heart.

First off, a little explanation. I use the word “breed” in quotes above, because “pit bull” is actually not a specific breed of dog. It is actually a very vague, umbrella-type term used to describe several different breeds, types, and/or mixes of breeds. Most commonly accepted under the “pit bull” term are the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), American Staffordshire Terrier (Am Staff), and Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffie), but in some cases, pit bull is used to describe American Bulldogs (as noted in the Ohio Revised Code) and even Bull Terriers (like Spuds MacKenzie), as well as mixes of all the aforementioned. Often times, the term “pit bull” is carelessly misused by the media and uneducated individuals to describe any dog that is vicious, has attacked, or simply has a similar appearance to the breeds listed above (boxy face, brindle markings, cropped ears, and/or short, muscular body) thus furthering the confusion and perpetuating the untrue stereotype that these particular dogs are always dangerous. Some enthusiasts of the American Pit Bull Terrier, a breed not recognized by the AKC, but by the UKC and other kennel clubs, feel that its name was in fact, stolen, and therefore they only consider the APBT to be a true “pit bull”. Some feel that only APBTs and Am Staffs are “pit bulls”. It all can be quite confusing, but it comes down to the fact that they are essentially the same dogs but have been bred for a different purpose and/or size standard since the mid 1930's. We can really only attempt to guess the breed by looking at differentiating subtlties. For all these reasons, the pit bull community, rescue organizations, and those of us who own this type of dog often use the even more general term “bully”. For the purposes of this blog, you may see both the terms “pit bull” and “bully”, as well as “pittie” or “pibble”.

A little history lesson…Pit bulls are descended from bulldogs, mastiffs, and terriers. Hundreds of years ago in England, they were bred to fight in rings or “pits”, in a “sport” called bull baiting. When bull baiting was banned, the breeders crossed these breeds to develop a strong, athletic dog and fought the dogs against each other. As most of us know, this brutal, cruel, and illegal practice unfortunately still exists today in rural areas and urban neighborhoods all over our nation. Though dog fighting is an obvious part of the pit bull’s history and original purpose, and care should be taken to properly handle and socialize them, this does not automatically mean that all pit bulls are dog aggressive and won’t get along with other animals. Many other breeds were also originally bred to chase, fight, and kill other animals, such as many of the hounds and terriers, but these breeds do not have the stigma attached to them that the pit bull does. Most important of all, pit bulls were NEVER bred to have any human aggression, and historically those that showed signs were destroyed. Pit bulls that are aggressive towards people are NOT the norm, and most likely are the result of poor genetics/irresponsible breeding, cruelty, and/or neglect. Although, even in these cases, it may be possible for these resilient dogs to be rehabilitated, as with the Vick dogs.

Pit bulls were once heralded as the most respected dog in the U.S., and even before that, they were known as “nanny dogs” because of their wonderful temperament and affection towards children. This image has sadly fallen by the wayside, and now pit bulls are feared, hated, and the target of unfair and ineffective breed specific legislation (BSL) in our states and in other countries around the world. They are also probably the most abused “breed”, as they of course are the first choice for dogfighting, and shelters are filled with them as a result of enforced BSL, neglect, and “backyard”/accidental breeding.

Despite these bleak circumstances, the true character of the pit bull continues to shine through when and where it can. Pit Bulls are one of the most stable people-friendly dogs in existence. The National Canine Temperament Testing Association tested 122 breeds, and Pit Bulls placed the 4th highest with a 95% passing rate! Pibbles are lovers, loyal and protective, energetic and lazy all at the same time. They are the best snugglers, the best kissers, and absolutely hilarious. Personally, I have always loved dogs and my family has always had them as pets. But I have never fallen so deeply and madly in love with a type/breed of dog as I have with the bullies I’ve encountered. Please realize that when it comes to the threat of dog bites or attacks, ANY dog is capable, regardless of breed. Be a fighter FOR the bullies, and rise against BSL, dog fighting, cruelty, neglect and irresponsible behaviors!! Spay and neuter your pets, ESPECIALLY pit bulls, and punish the deed, not the breed!

To report someone you know who is involved with dog fighting, please call the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Special Investigations Unit. You can remain anonymous.

Or, call the Ohio Attorney General's Tip Line. If your information leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dog fighting or cock fighting, the Humane Society of the United States offers a reward of up to $5,000. 1-877-244-6446

How to be a RESPONSIBLE pit bull owner:

-Educate yourself on the breed thoroughly before choosing the pit bull as your pet. Make sure you have the proper lifestyle to provide a good forever home.

-Consider adoption from a shelter or rescue group rather than a breeder.

-Comply with your city or state’s guidelines for owning a pit bull.

-Keep your pet up to date on Rabies and other vaccinations.

-Spend time playing with and exercising your dog daily. Pit bulls have a lot of energy and pent-up energy can result in aggression and other unwanted behaviors.

-Whether you have an older dog or a puppy, you should avoid playing rough with your dog. Rough housing with dogs teaches them it's ok to be rough or aggressive with people.

-Don’t hit, mistreat, or tease your dog, always treat them with respect.

-Never leave pit bulls unsupervised with children or other animals. When no one is around to keep an eye on them, the dogs should be safely crated or in separate rooms, even if the dogs are best friends. You never know what might trigger a fight in your absence.

-Always leash your pit bull when outside on a walk.

-Make sure your dog always has fresh water available.

-Don’t chain your dog outside for long periods of time. This can result in frustration and aggression.

-Don’t leave your dog outside in the cold or hot weather. Like people, they can get sick being left out in the cold or heat.

-Don’t leave your dog outside if you do not have a safe, secure kennel for him or her to stay in. Without adequate security your dog could be stolen, or it could run away.

-Avoid taking your pit bull to off-leash dog parks or other areas where it may come into contact with other dogs running loose. Even if your dog is not dog-aggressive, if another dog starts a fight, it will automatically be your dog’s fault in the eyes of many people.

- If someone is being too rough with your dog, or patting it in a way that you know your dog does not like, you can politely say, “Please don’t pat my dog like that, he/she prefers this”, and show the person how you would like them to interact with your dog.

-SPAY/NEUTER your pit bull!!! There are just too many without homes to create more, whether accidentally or on purpose. Spaying/neutering also reduces aggression and the urge to wander, as well as preventing health issues such as cancer. If you're tight on cash, check into local resources and low-cost spay/neuter clinics, like those mentioned in "Tough Times" a few posts down.

-MICROCHIP your pit bull!! You never know when your pet might become accidentally separated from you. Microchipping is quick, relatively painless, and inexpensive. Pit bulls only have about 72 hours in most shelters before they are euthanized, and microchipping will ensure that your family member is returned to you in case you lose one another.

Here are some famous people that own/have owned pit bulls:

- Jessica Biel
- Rachael Ray
- Helen Keller
- Jon Stewart
- Alicia Silverstone
- Rachel Bilson
- Michael J. Fox
- Jessica Alba
- Jamie Foxx
- Kevin Federline
- Madonna
- Brad Pitt
- P!nk
- Sinbad
- Eliza Dushku
- Redman (he formerly owned pit bull Daddy who is now featured prominently as a resident at Cesar Millan “The Dog Whisperer”’s Dog Psychology Center)
- Jesse James (West Coast Choppers)
- President Theodore Roosevelt
- President Woodrow Wilson
- General George Patton
- Linda Blair
- Humphrey Bogart
- Fred Astaire
- Thomas Edison
- Mel Brooks
- Bernadette Peters
- Judd Nelson
- Rosie Perez
- And a pittie with celeb status of his own, Petey, from The Little Rascals!

The pit bull is the only dog to have graced the cover of Life magazine three times.

Pit Bulls are heroes!...

- America's first war dog was a pit bull named Stubby. He earned several medals during World War I and was honored at the White House.

- The Ken-L-Ration dog hero of 1993 was a pit bull named Weela. She saved 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and a cat during a flood in Southern California.

- A Pit Bull named Bogart saved a four-year-old child from drowning in a swimming pool in Florida.

- Dixie, the Pit Bull, was inducted into the Georgia Animal Hall of Fame after she saved some children from a Cottonmouth snake.

-Pit bull Norton saved his human mom’s life after she had gone into anaphylactic shock from a spider bite. Norton, who was rescued from a fight ring, went to the master bedroom and kept pushing his owner’s husband until he awoke and could rescue his wife.

-Popsicle the pit bull is the #1 U.S. Customs dog. He got his name when he was found in a freezer during a drug bust. He had been left to die after being used as a bait dog for dogfighters.

-Pit bull Weezie came to the rescue when 2 armed men broke into his family’s home! With a gun pointed at Melissa Willis and her son, Weezie placed himself between his family and danger, and with every advance by the men, he pushed his family backwards until they were to the exit. He kept the armed robbers focused on him so his family would be safe.

-Top-rated search and rescue dog Dakota the pit bull was requested by NASA to assist in the recovery of the astronauts after the tragic 2003 shuttle disaster. Dakota was also involved in the Laci Peterson investigation, as well as many other national cases, and is a certified hospital therapy dog, along with owner Kris Crawford's other bullies Cheyenne and Tahoe.

Look for pit bulls on…

-Rescue Ink Unleashed (NatGeo)
-The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan (NatGeo)
-It’s Me or the Dog with Victoria Stilwell (Animal Planet)
-Pit Bulls & Parolees (Animal Planet)
-Veronica Mars (canceled, formerly on UPN/CW)

For more information on pit bulls, pibbles, pitties, or bullies, check out these sites (thanks to many of them for the info in this blog!):

Thanks for reading and for loving pit bulls! <3

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Puppy-Mill Bill Update

Hello all. I just received an update from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) Veterinary Political Action Committee (VPAC) concerning Ohio's "Puppy Mill"/Commercial Dog Breeding legislation and wanted to share it with you. This bill has been redrafted a countless number of times, it has morphed more often than a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. The most recent changes have, in my opinion, added stipulations that have me extremely concerned about the welfare of the animals involved.

The latest version of the bill includes language that would specifically allow breeders to tail dock (amputate or "cut off" tails) and remove dewclaws on their premises. It would, in essence, legalize the practice of a any layperson to perform surgical procedures on puppies. Granting permission to perform such procedures can open the floodgates to individuals requesting permission to perform various other such procedures and seriously compromise the proper care and well being of animals in Ohio.

I for one do not like to perform these "elective" procedures, however, I routinely do so to prevent these surgeries from being done incorrectly and causing pain, disfigurement and potentially death to many animals.

Tail docking involves amputation of the tail. It must be done at an appropriate length in order for it to be acceptable in the case of pure bred, show dog standards. If made too short, it can cause problems and disfigurement to the anus and prevent these puppies from defecating normally and can cause fecal incontinence. The incision must be made between 2 vertebrae of the tail to prevent the unnecessary pain of cutting through bone. This requires skill and precision to perform. In addition, there are several major blood vessels involved in the procedure and failure to control bleeding can result in anemia, weakness and even death in rare instances. Suturing/stitching of the incision is also necessary. Infection can be a big problem if sterile instruments are not used and proper surgical procedure is not followed. (Note: Clean does NOT equal sterile. Instruments can only be properly sterilized in an apparatus made to do just that, such as an autoclave.) Since the procedure is routinely done when puppies are between 1-5 days old, they are very small and can succumb to the effects of blood loss and infection very easily.

Dewclaw removal is also a surgery that requires amputation of an accessory toe on the rear and sometimes front paws. It also requires skill and sterile equipment/procedure to perform, as well as proper treatment for blood loss. Improperly performing the surgery can result in disfigurement and significant scarring.

Veterinarians receive 8+ years of training for a reason (4 years of undergraduate college and 4+ years of veterinary medical school/internship/residency). The specialized training and education we receive prepares us to perform medical and surgical procedures appropriately and safely for our furry patients. I, for one, would not want an unqualified individual performing surgery on me or my family member on a kitchen table, barn floor or in a dirty garage, and I certainly would not expect the same to be done to any living creature. But, that is exactly what can and likely WILL happen if the current version of the legislation passes.

I very strongly feel that there is a dire need for legislation to prevent the horror that "puppy mills" perpetuate. However, there are MANY things wrong with the current version of the bill. Please do your research and make yourself aware of the wording of the bill and its frequent changes and contact your local legislator to voice your opinions. Help the lawmakers to know that we are listening and we want what is best for the animals involved.


Dr. Mandi....OUT!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

HELP! I’m in a kennel and can’t get out!

Daisy: rescued, fostered, adopted!

Let’s say you love animals. Let’s also say you would like to help some animals in need. Well, you’re in luck. Every shelter and rescue organization is looking praying for you. And the animals are sure you’ll show up to help them—faces pressed up against the kennel bars, peering around the corner, waiting for the sound of your foot steps. Your fellow volunteers will welcome you with open arms. The animals need you to take them out for walks so they can stretch their legs, take them to adoption events so they can flirt their way home, bring them special treats to make them smile, sit in their kennels so they don’t get too lonely, bathe them so they smell nice, donate old towels and blankets so they can curl up on something warm, and most importantly perhaps, make room for them in your home whether permanently or temporarily. A little effort by you can make a world of difference for your community’s homeless animals. These times are tough for us all and even tougher still on others, but what a great opportunity to share what you have to give. Here in Cowtown we have many organizations that tirelessly take in, clean up and adopt out animals that have come upon hard times.

Here’s a very short list:

Franklin County Dog Shelter (http://www.franklincountyohio.gov/commissioners/ancl/)
Citizens for Humane Action (http://www.chaanimalshelter.org/)
Capital Area Humane Society (http://www.cahs-pets.org/)
Columbus Dog Connection (http://www.columbusdogconnection.com/)
Measle’s Animal Haven (http://www.measlesanimalhaven.org/)

Pretty sure the org’s listed above are open to new help…

Now, for you folks who have a hard time stomaching all the desperate, furry faces begging to come home with you, don’t lose hope! You don’t have to step foot in a shelter to greatly impact countless numbers of homeless animals. Foster homes are the life-blood of many animal rescue organizations. Fostering an animal can instantly save that animal’s life, while opening up precious kennel space for more animals to pass through on their way to a new beginning. For instance, let’s take a local rescue group, Measle’s Animal Haven. Measle’s focuses on taking in homeless pit bulls in central Ohio. They rely solely on foster homes to care for their dogs until a suitable home is found. So when the call comes in from ABC County Shelter to please take a deserving dog, Measle’s can only take on as many dogs as there are spots in foster care. Enter you! The rescue takes care of vet bills and you provide an extremely grateful dog love and leadership. Need a crate? Not sure about housebreaking? Not sure about how to manage a household of resident animals and a foster? There are plenty of resources within each organization to make sure your experience is a rewarding one and one that you’ll repeat. And no one will make fun of you if your foster turns into a permanent family member—we’ve all been there!

HELP FIDO looks forward to helping plug you into the many ways to make a difference in your community!

(This post is dedicated in memory of Lyle and Lilly. We’re working on making this world a better place for dogs like you.)
(written by and uploaded for Amanda)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tough Times

These days everyone if having financial difficulties. Times are tough. The economic downturn is affecting so many and, naturally, the hardship has been trickling down to our furry friends. Veterinary bills for routine vaccinations and preventive care are hard enough to keep up with, but when our pets suffer from an unexpected illness or have an emergency situation things can really get rough financially. However, there are some organizations and programs that can offer assistance as well as some ways in which pet owners can plan ahead for emergencies.

Many organizations are non-profit and volunteer based. Some are smaller scale and specifically breed oriented and others are larger and nationwide such as American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Almost all of these organizations are reporting a sharp increase in the number of requests for monetary assistance they have received in the last year, and as such, they do need unfortunately to turn some people away. But persistence pays off and contacting multiple organizations for help is always a good idea. Even if they can only offer a small amount, its good to know that help IS out there.

One way that pet owners can plan ahead for emergencies is to purchase veterinary pet insurance. There are many to choose from and I have written an earlier post that can help to decide how to go about the process. Paying the small monthly premiums can save a lot of money later on if disaster strikes. Another option is to keep a credit card on hand for pet emergencies or pet care expenses only.

Many veterinary offices and specialty/emergency practices offer Care Credit. It's a company that extends credit based on an individual application for veterinary care expenses. You can apply in person at the veterinary office or online at http://www.carecredit.com/. The company will let you know what type of credit amount you qualify for on the spot. Details can be explored on the website. This is a great option for emergency situations.

Many local humane societies, animal shelters or state/local veterinary societies also offer assistance programs and it's certainly worth the phone call to get the information. I suggest calling and obtaining the information before your pet is in a dire situation so that you know what your options are if an emergency should arise. Some of these organizations also offer low cost spay-neuter and vaccine clinics or other routine preventive medicine. In Central Ohio the Rascal Unit offers low cost spay/neuter services.

Please do not forget that many breed specific organizations are out there that may be able to offer financial assistance. Use your home computer or local library to locate and contact these resources for help if your dog is a specific breed or breed mix.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST- Always explore the option of asking your personal veterinarian for help. We are there to keep your pet healthy and more often than not your veterinarian will be willing to work with you. Ask if there is a way to set up a payment plan to break up larger bills into more manageable amounts. Also, most veterinary clinics/hospitals have a "Good Samaritan" fund or a similar fund set up for pets whose owners need financial assistance for emergency situations. Please also keep these funds in mind if you are financially stable and have a couple of extra pennies to donate. Your donation may help another pet who needs it...you never know when you may be on the other side of the coin someday!

Here is a list of some sources of assistance veterinary bills and other animal/pet care:

AAHA Helping Pets Fund - http://www.aahahelpingpets.org/ and www.aahahelpingpets.org/navta.html
Spay USA - www.spayusa/org/veterinarians/index.asp
United Animal Nations - www.uan.org/lifeline/resources.html
ASPCA - www.aspca.org/about-us/faq (look under "Financial help with my vet bills" under "Pet Care"
Humane Society of the US - www.hsus.org/pets/petcare
Help a Pet - http://www.help-a-pet.org/
Labrador Lifeline - www.labradorlifeline.org
IMOM (In Memory of Magic) - http://www.imom.org/
Care Credit - http://www.carecredit.com/
The Rascal Unit - www.rascalunit.org

That's all for now!! Good Luck to ALL!! Dr. Mandi....OUT!!

Damp Ohio Weather No Match For Loving & Responsible Dog-Owners!

Thanks to everyone who braved the rain on Saturday to come out and microchip your canine family members at HELP FIDO's low-cost clinic in Whitehall! We chipped over 40 dogs, from tiny chihuahuas and dainty terriers, to beefy bullies and labs. The microchipping was quick and relatively painless in Dr. Mandi's capable hands; a few yelps from the little guys, but not a peep from the pitties (naturally). The good news is, you only need one chip, and you're set for life!

It was a very soggy day, but your dogs will surely thank you for your proactive measures, in the event that they are ever separated from you. Additionally, HELP FIDO greatly appreciates your support, as the proceeds from the clinic go to benefit spay/neuter and rescue efforts of the Dublin-based Measle's Animal Haven.

Thank you again and stay tuned for more HELP FIDO-sponsored events in the future!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

$15 Microchip Clinic

HELP FIDO will once again be holding a $15 microchip clinic for dog owners. The clinic will be held in Whitehall on Saturday, September 26th from 10am-1pm. A microchip will greatly improve the odds of your dog getting back home safely should he get loose. Please contact us at 614-853-3494 if you are interested in having your dog microchipped.

What is a microchip? A microchip is a tiny transponder the size of a grain of uncooked rice. This is a permanent radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip implanted under the dog's skin and read by a chip scanner or wand.

Does my dog need surgery to get the microchip? Implantation is done with an injector that places the chip under the loose skin over the dog's shoulder. The process is quick and no more painful than a vaccination, the chip can't get lost, the number is unique, the dog doesn't have to be wrestled to the ground and shaved to see if it's there, and the owners name and address are available on regional or national data bases so a dog can be returned quickly and safely.

How does it work? The chip identification number is stored in a tiny transponder that can be read through the dog's skin by a scanner emitting low-frequency radio waves. The frequency is picked up by a tiny antenna in the transponder, and the number is retrieved, decoded, and displayed in the scanner readout window. The radio waves use a frequency much lower than AM broadcast stations use, and they must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission before they can be marketed.

The chip, antenna, and capacitor are encased in a tiny glass tube. The tube is composed of soda lime glass, which is known for compatibility with living tissue. The glass is hermetically sealed to keep moisture out.

Dogs can be scanned when picked up by an animal control officer or brought to the shelter. If a chip is present, the scanner will read the number and the shelter staff member can call the appropriate registry for the identity of the owner.

Veterinarians who install the chips have scanners. Thus a found pet can be taken to a veterinary clinic for scanning and may never make the trip to a shelter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

HELP FIDO at Woofstock '09!

Hey Everyone!
I am very excited, as this is my first blog post for HELP FIDO as a new board member! You'll probably be reading more from me in the near future, too.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to join HELP FIDO as we hung out at Woofstock at Camp Mary Orton in Worthington for a very toasty day of food, music, and dogs! We had our tent set up to distribute our usual literature about dog safety, bite prevention, spay/neuter, rescue, health/veterinary info and BSL, as well as sign up more dogs for our upcoming Microchip Clinic.

Of course, the highlight of my day was getting to love on 2 darling little 9 week old pit bull mix puppies that Lisa had brought with her from the Pitties Place/Measles Animal Haven rescues! These two adorable girls are looking for their forever homes. When Willow and Buffy weren't busy playing, catching some zzz's in the grass, or flirting with passerby, they were stealing my heart with lots of puppy breath-scented kisses!

I didn't get the chance to see it myself, but I heard that many dogs were enjoying cooling off on the ice pile that was set up in the camp. I did my best to cool off with a delicious Lemon Shake-Up, although I don't think it had quite the same effect as rolling around in a mountain of ice.
Thanks to everyone that braved the blazing sun and heat to come out with their kids and furry family members to Woofstock in support of Columbus Dog Connection and other rescue/advocacy efforts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HELP FIDO at Woofstock

We had a great time last year! Come out and join us this year for a day of fun, food, music and dogs. There will be hiking, swimming, sand art, face painting, lots of free stuff, a giant slide, a blow up obstacle course and more!

August 15, 2009

12-6 pm doors open at 11:30

Camp Mary Orton

rain or shine

Beautiful, woodsy Camp Mary Orton is just north of 270 on High St in Worthington,

6755 N High St

Tickets: $15 - 12 & under free

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HELP FIDO at Whitehall National Night Out

Last Night HELP FIDO had a booth at the National Night Out event held in Whitehall. It was a huge success. We distributed nearly 2000 pounds of dog food to pet owners in need. We signed up 40 people for low cost microchipping, plus an additional 42 people in dire need of pet food. We distributed much needed information regarding low cost vaccines, dog licensing and low cost spay neuter.
I do have to say, it was so nice to hear all of the positive comments from the people of Whitehall and we really appreciate all of you who stopped by to simply say "thank you." That makes it all worthwhile!
EDIT: We distributed more dog and cat food in Whitehall this past Friday. This brings us up to a little over 3000 pounds. We also had confirmation that 12 dogs have signed up to be spayed/neutered within the next month. We will continue distributing food and supplies as they become available. To all of you who signed up for assistance, we will be contacting you before the next distribution date.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Whitehall Pit Bull ban fails for second time.

Good news for dogs and responsible dog owners in Whitehall, OH as Whitehall City Council AGAIN votes down Jacquelyn Thompson's discriminatory and completely ineffective pit bull ban. We'll post more news stories as they become available but here are a few so far:

Updated: 7/22/09 9:06 PM
2nd article in Whitehall News about Jacquelyn Thompson which references HELP FIDO.

A special thank you, by the way, to Ms. Thompson and her cohorts for continually mentioning us (although all lies) in Whitehall City Council meetings and to the local media. Every time that happens, hits to our blog and website increase substantially and we are able to reach many more responsible dog owners of all breeds. Yes, we care about the horribly abused pit bull population; but fighting breed specific legislation is merely one part of what we do. Yes, we are concerned about what happens in Whitehall; but our concern stretches far beyond the reach of Ms. Thompson. And yes, we have been critical of Ms. Thompson in the past, but it has always been on the issues at hand and constitutionally protected free speech.

HELP FIDO is about helping all dogs and dog owners. Below is the full description of our goals.

HELP FIDO is a non-profit organization based in Central Ohio which seeks to promote a healthy relationship between dogs and citizens, especially those dogs often targeted for breed discrimination.

Our goals include improving public safety, decreasing dog bites, decreasing euthanasia rates, eliminating animal abuse, and decreasing overpopulation. Additionally, we work to change the public perception of bully breeds, end dog fighting, increase the numbers of bully ambassadors, and end breed specific legislation.

We do this through a 360-degree approach to the humane and human community, including dog owners, media, legislators and general public. We work with and coordinate existing community resources, as well as identify gaps and implement new programs where necessary. These efforts include voluntary spay/neuter and microchip programs, supporting rescue and adoption, obedience classes, responsible ownership, and dog bite prevention classes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's like deja vu all over again.

HELP FIDO was in attendance at last evening's City Council meeting in Whitehall, OH. Everyone's favorite council person, Jacquelyn Thompson, was in her typical form spotting lies about anyone that opposes her desire to ban "pit bulls" from the city and making up "facts" or retellings myths on the fly to support for nonsensical rants. This is Ms. Thompson's second attempt to pass a "pit bull" ban and nothing has changed from last year, when it failed on a 6-2 vote. Breed specific legislation does not work and is opposed by every reputable dog organization out there. Rather than waste everyone's time rehashing this debate in Whitehall, please take a look at our blog posts about it from last year.

To show just how looney-tunes Ms. Thompson is, take a look at this fine blog from the good folks over at Citizen Journalist CJT.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

HELP FIDO needs your help

Greetings to "The Pack" & anyone else interested in dog welfare in Central Ohio:

Interested in joining others who've discovered the satisfactions of important volunteer work?

Wondering how you might get more involved with helping dogs in Central Ohio?

HELP FIDO is too.

HELP FIDO is now considering candidates to serve on our Board of Directors and we’re looking for assistance with our various committees (listed below). Also, we are always in need of volunteers to assist with various events around Central Ohio – there are a number of events coming up this summer including Alum Creek Dog Wash, Woofstock, Microchip clinics and more. Any amount of help you can provide is welcome and appreciated!


  • Education & Community Safety
  • Animal Welfare
  • Legislative
  • Bully Specific
  • Development, Funding & Volunteer Coordination
  • Communications & Public Relations

For more information about what's involved or to propose how you might help, please send us your contact information and some detail on how you would like to get more involved to helpfido@gmail.com.

Thank you!

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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More Microchipping

Yet another opportunity to have your pet microchipped!!

Cherry Valley Animal Clinic is holding a Microchipping Event on Thursday, June 25th from Noon until 7 pm at the clinic - 100 Westgate Drive, Newark Ohio. Microchips will be available for $35 per pet (1/2 of the regular cost of chipping!). $5 of which will be donated to Help Fido to assist in our future endeavors. Cherry Valley Animal Clinic is on the border of Heath, Newark and Granville. Veterinarians (including myself) and Veterinary technicians will be implanting the chips. Check out our indoor agility course and bring your training questions for our resident technician/certified dog trainer Angie during your visit.

For more information call 740-522-6056.

Hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Columbus, OH Charity Dogwash - $20 Microchipping

Measle's Animal Haven is having a dog wash at Alum Creek Dog park in north Columbus Ohio Saturday June 27th from 10am-6pm.

We will also be microchipping dogs for just $20!

Our goal is to raise money so we can continue to save lives, and all proceeds will go directly to care for our current and future rescue dogs. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue.


FIRST, we really need dog washers!! Please contact Lisa at Lisa@pittiesplace.com or (614)853-3494 to sign up. You do not have to stay the whole day - we will be grateful for your help for even an hour or two, or you can sign up for a shift (9-12, 12-3, 3-6). It will be fun and you will be volunteering for a really good cause!

SECOND, please bring your dogs out for a bath! And if you or someone you know is interested in having a dog microchipped, please bring him or her out to see us!. A microchip permanently identifies your dog as belonging to you.

THIRD, please crosspost widely!

Thanks so much - hope to see you and your dog(s) on Saturday!!
Robin Laux
Director, Measle's Animal Haven

P.S. We are hoping to see a lot of our former rescue dogs there (dogs we rescued who have since been adopted by loving families)!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh Really? a.k.a. I wish I could go on SNL
and do a skit on this...

Indianapolis Republican City Councilman Mike Speedy had a proposed BSL bill tabled recently, and our good friend Brent Toellner posted on it at KC Dog Blog. It appears the apparently well-intentioned Mr. Speedy doesn't want to let the issue die quietly and is continuing to get his views into the press. We do live in a country with freedom of speech and I applaud his tenacity.
His letter to the editor appeared in yesterday's Indy Star and has already garnered 31 comments, not surprisingly.
Again, I say he appears well intentioned. He uses whole paragraphs devoted to stroking the egos of dog advocates:

"no other "bad rap" breed such as Dobermans or German Shepherds ever endured more than 20 years of abuse, torture, neglect, dog fighting or less desire to adopt from the public. Animal welfare groups and pit bull advocates have given their all for the past 10 years for voluntary pit bull specific spay/neuter,adoption, outreach and training programs with little progress."

(btw - Thanks. We know we have tough jobs. Ummmmm....your facts are wrong...but I'll leave that to others to counter.)

However - it is after this point that Councilman Speedy off the rails and shows that, like his name, the quickest solution is not always the easiest one:

The At-Risk Dog proposal simply requires the registration and sterilization of pit bulls, dogs specifically bred for dog fighting. If you reduce the population in a humane way, you will reduce the bites and the status image, and you will make the dog fighters and criminals easier to find.

Wow. It's that easy, huh?
Why didn't we think of that?
All we have to do is require people to register the dogs they are using for fighting and then they will bring them in and we can catch them then!
Brilliant! Bloody brilliant!
Someone buy this man a Guinness!
If it were that easy we would be passing these laws every day every where!
You think that passing a law like this and calling it "at-risk" makes it any less threatening to bully breed owners?
Have you thought of the consequences? Haven't you wondered why every other council person was opposed to this? Have you investigated that as thoroughly as you did your "facts" regarding dog bites?
Really? Seriously?
Please, people.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michael Vick - Why not everyone deserves a second chance.

Michael Vick has been back in the news a lot the last few days, with his release from prison yesterday. KC Dog Blog has an excellent post about Vick and the HSUS. This morning, I heard Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio talking about Vick's possible reinstatement to the NFL and he made some great points which got me thinking about this issue again. I have always been in favor of giving people a second chance in life, if they are truly sorry for what they did and want to make amends. And I've honestly debated this issue in my own mind - trying to reconcile my own beliefs of giving people a second chance and Vick's actions. However, here's why I believe Vick does NOT deserve a second chance in the NFL.

First of all, it's not like Vick drove drunk, got in a bar fight, used steroids, dealt drugs, committed fraud, cheated on his wife or any one of a number of other illegal and/or immoral activities. ALL of those things and more are horrible. But he tortured and killed innocent dogs with his own hands. This was not just about dog fighting (as heinous and horrific as that is). He tortured animals. He threw dogs to the ground repeatedly until they were dead. He hooked up dogs to electrocution devices, drowned them or beat them to death. This was not Jack Bauer on 24 committing torture to save the world. These also weren't the acts of a 14 or 15 year old immature kid, shooting birds in the back yard with a bb gun. What kind of person does that? These were completely innocent dogs that just wanted some food, water, safe shelter and some love and attention every once in a while. What would you think of one of your neighbors if you found out they tortured and killed dogs? Anyone that would commit acts of torture like that is clearly a sociopath and has no place in a civilized society, let alone deserving of a second chance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Legislative Day - HELP FIDO Discussing the Issues

Hello all. Today was a GOOD DAY!! This is gonna be a LONG POST.....

This morning Brian and I attended OVMA (Ohio Veterinary Medical Association) Legislative Day in Columbus, Ohio. This is a yearly event hosted by the OVMA and invitations are extended to all veterinarians who are current members of the organization (this year about 50 vets...and Brian ; ) attended). The event allows veterinarians to have the opportunity to meet legislators to discuss issues such as animal welfare, public health, agriculture and items that affect the profession as a whole.

This year there were 3 specific topics that were at the forefront of discussion: State Rabies vaccination requirements for dogs and cats, The Puppy-Mill Bill, and House Bill 79 - removal of the "pit-bull" terminology from the existing Ohio vicious and dangerous animal law.

Brian and I were fortunate enough to meet with Rep. Dan Dodd and Senator Tim Schaffer today to discuss these issues. Overall, they seemed pretty interested in what we had to say and open to learning more. Here is a somewhat quick overview:

Rabies Vaccination Requirements - The OVMA is proposing that a bill be introduced to create a statewide rabies vaccine requirement for dogs and cats. Currently, Ohio is one of only 10 states, and the only state east of the mighty Mississippi, that does NOT have a statewide law requiring companion animals to be rabies vaccinated. On the local level, the state relies on local government (mostly health departments) to enact and enforce rabies requirements on animals within their jurisdictions (49% of local health depts. have such legislation in place). Rabies is a fatal disease(for animals and humans) and a huge public health concern as it is readily transmitted to people. Cats are an important part of the equation since they are the biggest risk of spreading the virus. They most often are in contact with wild animals, such as raccoons, and have the ability to traipse from yard to yard facilitating the spread should they bite another animal or person. Administration of the vaccine by a licensed veterinarian is critical to insure that the vaccine is stored properly and given correctly. If not administered properly, the vaccine (and thus the law) is useless.

Puppy-Mill Bill - (House Bill 124/Senate Bill 95) - Many of you have likely heard about this issue. Various attempts have been made to pass such bills for the last few years. There are 2 current versions on the table, one in the House and one in the Senate. Basically the bills wish to enact legislation to regulate large scale breeding operations. Earlier attempts at legislation have failed. So, the OVMA has developed a new approach (this was discussed by veterinarians with legislators today), to respond to instances where breeders are not adequately addressing the welfare of their animals. The new "two tiered" approach recommended by the OVMA will divide the enforcement between local and state levels depending on the size of the breeding operations. This is a complicated bill and too much to go into here. But those are the basics. Not sure where this one is gonna go. Rep. Dodd said that cost is a big issue with enforcement and opponents are concerned that fees will not cover the maintenance of entities that will be in charge of enforcement. Also, another issue is how to determine which of the existing governmental entities will be in charge of enforcement or will a new group need to be formed to do the job.

"Pit-Bull" Bill (House Bill 79) - AH...the one we've all been waiting for. This bill (as most everyone knows) attempts to remove breed specific language from Ohio law. More specifically, removing "pit bulls" from the vicious dog definition in the Ohio Revised Code. The OVMA supports this bill (YAY!!), as does the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Assn.). There was much discussion with both Rep. Dodd and Sen. Schaffer today about this issue. Neither said they had a specific position on the matter, but both were very open to information concerning the issue. Some points that were discussed included problems with breed identification, propensity of a dog to be predisposed to aggression, nature-vs-nurture, breed temperament & temperament testing, owner responsibility (quality of care and supervision by owner and humane ownership), owner education, behavior and socialization, position points (against BSL) of various animal welfare related organizations, effectiveness of current breed-specific legislation, and cost of enforcement. Overall I think we made good progress during both meetings and put a lot of good information on the table.

Other issues were also touched on including House Bill 55, which will allow companion animals to be included in various types of protection orders as they pertain to domestic violence situations, and House Bill 70 which increases the penalty for animal cruelty for companion animals from a second degree misdemeanor to a 5th degree felony. Two important issues, especially since April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

I was so happy to have this opportunity today and I think it allowed us to get our "foot in the door" as far as being a part of the legislative process, promoting PROGRESS and really making a difference.

WHEW....well that's it, I think. Except for this...since the legislators seemed so open to hearing about these issues and genuinely seemed unaware of some of the more important points we discussed, it is imperative that we all contact Rep. Dodd, Sen. Schaffer and all of our local lawmakers to give them good information and make them aware of how their constituents feel about these matters. The more information we provide them the more informed decisions they can make on our behalf. (That's presuming that politics in general don't muck things up!!)

There is a hearing on HB 79 scheduled for next WEDNESDAY APRIL 29TH with the House Agriculture Committee at 9:30 am, the more the merrier.

Dr. Mandi...over and out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chewing gum...Poisonous???

Hello all! Recently I have treated several dogs that have gotten themselves into a "sticky situation" by eating various kinds of chewing gum. But all joking aside, if your pet gets into your purse or gets to that gum on the kitchen counter or your bedroom dresser they can be in some pretty serious trouble. The primary offender is an ingredient called XYLITOL. It is a sweetener or sugar substitute that many gum manufacturers are now using in their products. There has been some good information passed around recently on the internet, but here are a few more facts to increase your knowledge base about this sticky sweet "poison".

According to the most recent data from the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC), a relatively small dose of xylitol can cause serious hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that can be fatal if left untreated. (Something you would certainly NOT expect something sweet to do!!) For a small dog (5-10 pounds) the toxic dose could be as small as LESS THAN ONE STICK OF GUM!

Xylitol ingestion can also be associated with severe liver failure, which, even if treated aggressively, can result in death. Not all dogs that ingest toxic doses of xylitol develop hypoglycemia or liver failure, but because it is impossible to predict which dogs will develop these serious symptoms, it is recommended that all dogs that ingest potentially toxic doses be treated aggressively. Also, if your dog (or cat) consumes ANY chewing gum at all, you should contact your veterinarian, the local emergency service or the NAPCC immediately for consultation and treatment.

Treatment usually involves a veterinarian inducing vomiting, taking blood tests to monitor liver function, hospitalization for intravenous fluids (containing dextrose - sugar supplementation), blood sugar monitoring and other supportive care as needed. Dogs that have ingested large amounts may require long term care and follow up blood tests, may have permanent liver problems and may not survive treatment.

A simple solution is to only purchase xylitol free chewing gum. But remember to call your veterinarian if you even FOR ONE SECOND think your pet may have ingested gum. You can also call the National Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for advice. They charge a $60 consultation fee which can be well worth it in this situation!!! The NAPCC can also answer questions about many toxic substances. Better safe that sorry!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Goings on with HELP FIDO

Please excuse our lack of many recent blog posts, we've been busy working with other groups to push for passage of Ohio House Bill 79 (see post right below this one for full details on that Bill and how you can help).

Because we are heading into the Spring and warmer weather, I thought it would be useful to repost some info from Dr. Mandi about Canine Heartworm Disease.

I was alerted to another great website this week devoted to the Doberman Pinscher. Well worth checking out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ohio House Bill 79 - Please support!

Ohio House Bill 79, introduced last week by Rep. Barbara Sears of Sylvania, would amend § 955.11 of the Ohio Revised Code to remove “pit bulls” from the definition of “vicious dog”. HELP FIDO is working hard on legislative efforts and strongly supports this bill for the following reasons:
  1. BSL (breed specific legislation) is never a good idea, it only serves to punish responsible dog owners while doing nothing to crack down on irresponsible owners and in Ohio, has led to the slaughter of thousands of innocent dogs simply because of what they look like.
  2. Ohio is the only State in the country that automatically defines pit bulls as vicious. Some States, such as Texas, have taken the opposite approach and have prohibited BSL completely.
  3. No breed of dog, including pit bull, is inherently dangerous or vicious. Even dogs that have been bred and trained as fighting dogs, such as the Michael Vick dogs, are often able to be rehabilitated.
  4. Current Ohio law places an undue hardship on responsible dog owners by requiring pit bull owners to purchase additional insurance. All pit bulls or dogs that "look" like a pit bull and the good owners and bad owners are all lumped together. There is not even a provision for dogs that pass the Canine Good Citizen test.
  5. All definitions of dangerous or vicious dogs should be based on the behavior of the individual dog.
  6. Some additional reasons and evidence are cites on Best Friends Network.
Please contact your legislator to voice your support of H.B. 79. Phone calls, faxes and letters work the best. Additionally, please contact the bill's sponsor, Rep. Sears, to thank her for sponsoring this bill and voicing your support. Lastly, the bill has been assigned to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and we urge people to contact them as well. Bless the Bully's blog has contact information for all the Representatives on that committee.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Second Chance Humane Society

The local news featured a quick story on our friends from Johnstown at Second Chance Humane Society tonight. The shelter has been inundated with abandoned cats and dogs. Shelters across the country are filling up as owners feeling the pinch of the economy, are dumping cats and dogs in record numbers. Paula Evans SCHS’s president, reminds pet owners of the responsibility of owning a pet and the importance of finding a suitable home before displacing a pet.

Companion animal abandonment is a misdemeanor in the state of Ohio.

If you would like to see pets available for adopting from Second Chance Humane Society, look HERE.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Toledo Blade calls for the end of Skeldon's reign

Lucas County is a long way from central, Ohio but we couldn't resist posting and agreeing with the sentiments from the Toledo Blade today...
New dog warden needed

AS THE recent killing of a Point Place family pet makes perfectly clear, the first recommendation from the committee formed to suggest ways to improve the Lucas County dog warden's office must be a change at the top.
It is time for Tom Skeldon to go.

The Feb. 10 death by tranquilizer dart of Princess, a 10-pound Pomeranian-beagle mix that had gotten loose from its home, gave the county's dog warden a chance to show remorse, sympathy, understanding, and flexibility. Instead, after a cursory "sorry," he dug in his heels and blindly defended his department's policies.
It is through such policies, particularly a narrowly envisioned crusade against pit bulls, that Mr. Skeldon has developed a reputation as an uncaring zealot.

Please read the entire article HERE

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shopping for PET INSURANCE

As a veterinarian I get questions about pet insurance on a daily basis from my clients. Questions about what company is best, what policy/plan is best, should a cancer rider be added, cost, etc.? In a nutshell, pet insurance can be a wonderful, helpful option for our pets, but there is a lot of research and homework that should go into choosing a provider. My personal opinion on pet insurance is that it is not absolutely necessary to have for your pet, but it certainly helps a great deal when illness or surgery occurs when least expected. For the most part, it works very similarly to our own health insurance.

Generally, most pet insurance companies will cover a small portion of the basic yearly costs incurred with pet care/preventive services, such as vaccinations, fecal analyses, heartworm tests and heartworm and flea/tick prevention if that type of coverage is purchased. Although their reimbursement of these costs is usually minimal, they do help offset some of the routine veterinary fees. The real benefits of pet health insurance come with unexpected illnesses, emergency surgery, dental services and the like. But it all depends on the company and plan you choose. Like human health insurance, most pet insurance companies will not cover pre-existing medical problems. So, if you choose to insure your pet, it's a good idea to do so when your critter is young. Puppies and kittens are usually the least expensive to insure.

Cost of a policy is normally based on the level of coverage you want your pet to have. Generally there are caps on pay-outs for a single diagnosed illness and/or chronic illness. The way reimbursement usually works is as follows: You bring your pet to the veterinarian, along with a claim form provided by the insurance company. You pay the veterinarian for services. After the visit, your veterinarian fills out the form, which is then submitted along with a copy of the invoice from the visit. Submissions can usually be made by fax or mail by the policy holder or the veterinary office. Occasionally insurance companies will ask for further information about the diagnosis or procedure or even request full patient records for review. Once the carrier reviews the claim, the pet/policy owner receives reimbursement for a portion of the cost of the veterinary services.

Depending on how extensive a plan you would like for your pet, you may choose to add additional coverage. For example, a cancer rider (an add on to the policy that covers for services related to a cancer diagnosis in your pet). This may be indicated if you have a breed of dog or cat that is more prone to certain types of cancers. Depending on the insurance carrier they may have many options to choose from, many levels of coverage to offer, and several coverage add-ons.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when shopping for insurance coverage for your pet:

  • Does my veterinarian recommend this provider?
  • Does the provider employ certified and trained professionals, and are the provider and person selling the policy licensed in your state?
  • How does the provider handle renewals (for instance, if your pet develops a chronic condition over the course of a year, will it be considered a pre-existing condition when the policy comes up for renewal?
  • How do the complaint and appeals processes work?
  • Is there a money-back trial period for new subscribers?
  • Are there any exclusions for pets of a particular species, breed or age?
  • Will I be able to see my own veterinarian or do I have to go within the provider's network?


  • What exactly does the policy cover? What do I expect/want it to cover?
  • Will I be able to afford the monthly premium, deductible and required co-pay?
  • Is there coverage (and how much) for chronic, hereditary or pre-existing conditions?
  • Are there policies for preventive care, and are the worth paying the additional premium?
  • Are there any types of accidents, illnesses, or other health problems that are NOT covered?
  • How are claims submitted and how long does it take to be reimbursed?
  • How is reimbursement determined? Does the policy pay up to a certain amount based on "usual and customary fees" and are these amounts in line with what my veterinarian actually charges?
  • How often does renewal occur and are any additional fees assessed annually? Is my premium "locked in" or am I subject to annual increases in premiums?
  • Is there a discount if I purchase more that one policy (eg., multiple pets)?

There are MANY companies out there providing insurance policies for pets. ALWAYS, ALWAYS do your homework. Ask your veterinarian what providers they recommend, (most vets will have pamphlets or handouts in the office for one or more companies). Talk to more than one provider before deciding on purchasing a policy. Work out your finances ahead of time to determine what you can comfortably afford. Make a list of questions you would like to ask a company representative.

That's all for now....GOOD LUCK!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Animal Control in Ohio... it can be different.

There have been many negatives in news this week regarding animal control in Ohio. This week, the persons holding the top two positions in Franklin County’s Animal Care and Control Dept. were fired, everybody’s favorite dogcatcher from up north killed a dog on its front porch with a tranquilizer for “running at large.” Things seem pretty upside-down here right now.

There is excellent news on AC&C out of Calgary.
Attacks by aggressive dogs are at the lowest level they've been in 25 years despite a steady population growth and the absence of breed-specific legislation brought in to tackle canine issues in other jurisdictions.
Ahem… anyone listening here in Ohio?
Bruce said Calgary is a leader in reducing dog attacks in Canada, noting that he often receives invitations from animal services around the world to talk about the work done here to reduce dog bites.
Franklin County, Mr. Bruce spoke when you hosted the Ohio County Dog Warden’s Convention in December… here's hoping some attendees were paying attention.
A new pet owner bylaw was brought in three years ago that included stiffer fines and a recognition that aggressive behaviour in dogs is normally traced back to irresponsible owners. Bruce said both the heavier penalties -- ranging from $350 to $1,500, to euthanizing the dog--and the philosophy of blaming bad owners rather than pets has helped reduce incidents. 
"We want to look at everything that led up to an aggressive dog attack," said Bruce. "We're hoping to find four to six common things that people do that causes dogs to bite. Our goal is not to have anyone bitten by a dog."
In case anyone isn’t understanding… they are having success, and reducing bites by focusing on aggressive dogs, and prevention… NOT how dogs look. And it is WORKING! It’s such a simple philosophy it’s brilliant.

Please take the time to read the article in its entirety. If you don’t already know, Calgary and its model for AC&C is quickly becoming THE model of how to successfully run an AC&C operation. Just to throw in… Calgary’s operation is 100% self-funded through licensing fees, that means $0.00 from tax revenues. Thank you Bill Bruce for your realistic approaches, your success, and for all the work you’re doing to help the rest of North America come into the 21st century.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


(written by Amanda Spires, who is currently without internet access)
It's the middle of February and I'm spending a few days in sunny, warm Phoenix, AZ.
It's 75 degrees and sunny every day here. Home is Columbus, OH. It was most likely well below freezing there today and snow appeared to be unavoidable.
Yuck, right? Well, I can't wait to get back to the cold--apparently it's keeping people more honest than the tan yokels.
I'm on day number 3 of a 4 day trip and am happier than you can imagine that tomorrow I get to board a plane, lose 2 hours and drop about 50 degrees.
Why would someone be so bass-ackwards you ask? It's a dog thing. I, of course, miss my three four-legged spazzes. But that's not quite it.

You see, I have been informed tonight by blood relatives that my dogs are dangerous . . . aggressive . . .not to be trusted. In a word: bad. Oh, and by the way, they have never met any of the three dogs.
Some reputation, huh? They happen to be such unfortunate creatures that they picked the wrong parents. Dummies. Furthermore, my oldest dog was so stupid that he managed to get himself chained outdoors for an unknown period of time and then shelved in a shelter for 15 months (10 of which were spent as an "invisible" dog with no out of kennel privileges or visits from volunteers). *sigh* It's 1 AM here, but sleep is impossible. I guess I like to live dangerously. The silver lining here is that there was also a blood relative on "my" side.
She's met my dogs, stayed at my house and tried to help plead my case. This was to no avail. People think a small child is vulnerable to a naughty dog?
Try a frail (though feisty) woman whose skin falls off if you look at it the wrong way. She sat on a bed changing the bandages that cover the majority of her body (a daily routine for her) while 65 pounds of unidentifiable ghetto pit bull/American Bulldog/who knows/? mutt lay calmly and patiently to get his neck scratched by the kind and patient visitor.
Thank Dog for Godmothers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why the HSUS is horrible!

I've hesitated writing something so negative in the past about HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) because I was hopeful that they were taking some steps forward when it came to helping ALL animals, in particular all dog breeds. But a recent dog fighting case in Wilkesboro, North Carolina has changed my mind. Just today, the judge in the case ordered all 127 dogs be euthanized. From the article:

Judge Ed Wilson entered the order after hearing arguments from Wilkes County officials, from the prosecutor and from The Humane Society of the U.S. that the dogs are dangerous and would pose a risk if adopted into homes.

My emphasis added in red. This comes after another article about the same case in which
John Goodwin, the manager of animal-fighting issues for the HSUS said "...the dogs have been bred for fighting and it would very difficult and expensive to re-train the dogs, even the puppies, so that they could be adopted." Donna Reynolds over a BAD RAP has an excellent blog post in which she describes the absolute lunacy of Goodwin's statements and I encourage you all to read it yourself here.

So why is this so outrageous? After all, these are "fighting dogs" right? They are bred to kill? Well, the HSUS (and PETA) said the EXACT same thing about the Michael Vick dogs - they can't be rehabilitated, they're all killers, you can't adopt them out, blah blah blah. And what happened? Groups like Best Friends and BAD RAP begged and pleaded with the judge in the Vick case to let them have an opportunity to take the dogs. After working with the Vick dogs, many of them have been able to do exactly what HSUS and PETA said could not be done. In fact, many of the Vick dogs have surpassed any and all expectations and are living wonderful lives. They are living in homes with children, working as therapy dogs and hanging with other pit bulls, even frisbee champions. Similar events occurred in recent dog fighting cases in Oklahoma and Missouri. Brent Toellner at KC Dog Blog has one of the Oklahoma dogs now. Have the people at HSUS learned nothing from these cases???? This is reprehensible. At least with the dog fighters out there, we all KNOW their agenda - they don't care of the safety or humane treatment of their dogs. But let's look at the HSUS's "State of Principles and Beliefs" - this is from their own website, copied today:

The mission of The HSUS is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We seek to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation, and neglect, and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life.

"For all animals." For ALL animals. "to prevent animal cruelty" What about the dogs in the Wilkesboro case?? Are they not animals that deserve prevention from cruelty? Euthanizing them in this case, without any individual determination of behavior of each dog and when there are groups out there willing to help, is murder, pure and simple. These dogs are not suffering and many of them could go on to have lives every bit as grand as those of the Vick dogs. This is NOT euthanasia, it's murder.

I normally try to stay on an even keel with these issues and especially writing blog posts but I'm very angry with HSUS's action in this case. Please tell your friends about this, spread the word, the HSUS is not what most people think it is. Please give your donations to a more deserving group, not to the HSUS.

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