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Tuesday, August 5,2014

Dogs in Need

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

- Mahatma Gandhi

Three to four million dogs and cats are put to death across America every year. Labeling it euthanization does not change the fact that these companion animals are paying - with their lives. You may concede, “Oh, it’s because there are just not enough homes”. It is not.


Here is a local case we need help with: In an effort to save their lives, well-meaning rescue groups relocated several large dogs from Miami-Dade county shelters. Pit bull mixes, their fate had been sealed, had they stayed.

According to Miami-Dade County ordinance, Chapter 5, Sec. 5-17, it is illegal in Miami- Dade County to own or keep American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, or any other dog that substantially conforms to any of these breeds’ characteristics.

Several dogs were abandoned, and seemingly forgotten at a local boarding facility. A couple dogs were left at the kennel; their owners never returned. Phone numbers were disconnected and microchips were not registered. The dogs have lived there one to three years. Waiting, patiently. Day in, day out they hoped that someone would come and take them into loving homes. Typical of most dogs - they have not given up on their dreams.

An avid dog lover, advocate and Broward county resident heard about these dogs from several people in the rescue community. “Everyone was talking about these dogs, but no one was doing anything to help them”, stated Debi Day of No-Kill Nation. Debi and her team of volunteers stepped in and came to the aid of these forgotten dogs. “We formed a group, and started fundraising to have them taken care of medically, treated with parasite prevention, and to have professional behavioral assessments performed.”

A rock star in the dog training community was summoned. Internationally acclaimed canine aggression and behavior expert Jim Crosby often works alongside Victoria Stilwell, and does a lot with the potcakes in the Bahamas. He is an expert in the who, what and why of fatal attacks by dogs.

On a Monday, in Pompano Beach, the crew of volunteers assembled, under the direction of Debi Day. Dawn Hanna, CPDT-KA of Oh Behave Dog Training, assisted Jim Crosby.

“Each member of this group truly enjoyed the attention we gave them, during the assessments“, stated Hanna. “They loved and craved human interaction”. “The handlers (all volunteers) did a stellar job, keeping the traffic flowing during the SAFERŪ aggression assessment," added Hanna. “This allowed us to obtain an accurate evaluation of each dog on an individual basis". All dogs were given green lights on adoptions. Only two need to be in homes with less dominant canine family members.

Now, these types of dogs are not ideal for inexperienced owners. They will need structure, guidance, patience and stability. Not everyone can adopt. There are other ways to help them: donate money, supplies or time, attend an event or support a fundraiser, share their story and their photos, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Every bit helps.

Dog World with Tina

Tina Valant-Siebelts is a confirmed dog-o-holic, mom to many rescued pets, who volunteers with numerous organizations. To "fill all those dog bowls," Tina is an award-winning photographer, writer & event coordinator.

Note: At press time Endo was the first lucky dog to be adopted!



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