* Images used with permission from the Friends of Homeless Animals Shelter!
By Courtney Leiva
According to Humane Society of the United States statistics, “Nearly 1 million animals a year are abused or killed in connection with domestic violence.” Although the state of New Jersey has anti-animal cruelty laws, many pets are continuously abused find their way into shelters throughout the garden state. Scared, helpless, and confused, abused pets often are adopted by those who have no idea how to bring them into their home.
Experts at shelters and animal rescues across the Bergen County, say owners need to know behavioral signals, when to use a trainer and ways to incorporate abused animals into your home when a trainer isn’t available.
While physical violence is the most common form of abuse, according to the Humane Society of the United States, it can take many forms. Other forms of abuse include neglect and unintended abuse.
Neglect for example, often goes underreported. Although animals respond to abuse in different ways, understanding your pet’s behavior will help transition the animal successfully into your home.
“Depending on the pet and the type of abuse they can react in different ways ranging from complete fear of people to very aggressive behavior and everything in between,” Steven Mark, Executive Director of the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland N.J says.
For Debi Campanella from the My Best Friend Foundation in Edgewater behavior is key to understanding your newly adopted pet’s fearful and shy disposition.
“Each animal will have come from a certain situation; some have never been socialized with humans, others have been physically abused and may be fearful and shy to new experiences and environments,” Campanella adds.
Using a Trainer
Janice Rudolph, Treasurer at the Closter Animal Welfare Society in Closter N.J. says a dog trainer should be taken into consideration as well.
“I would say that mostly for dogs, enlist the help of a dog trainer,” Rudolph says.
Although C.L.A.W.S. does not see a lot of abused pets, Janice Rudolph feels that unlike dog owners, cat owners should be more cautious and spend more time and patience with transitioning them into your home.
“For cats it takes a lot of time and patience with them. Sometimes you can keep cats in one room and away from other pets while transitioning into a new home,” Rudolph suggests.
At the My Best Friend Foundation, Campanella stresses the importance of expert opinion as talking to shelter representatives and dog trainers is extremely important for insight and important information.
“Usually, shelters have trainers who work with these animals to build their confidence and help them overcome their fears and inhibitions before allowing them to be adopted out. The Ramapo/Bergen Animal Refuge for example, has evaluators and trainers who also go to Bergen County Animal Shelter to help out with their animals,” Campanella adds.
When a trainer is not available, it’s never late to turn to online resources. The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals has a great website that allows you to chat with ASPCA experts on pet-behavior issues without charge. The ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist is a great example of the ASPCA’s online options.
Most importantly, when bringing an abused animal into your home never underestimate the power of research as research will help you carefully plan the integration process.
“The most important thing if you are looking to give a loving home to a formerly abused pet is to do your research, make sure you are prepared, and do your best to ensure your home is a good match for your pet,” Steven Mark at the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge adds.
By Courtney Leiva
Looking for a new way to give back this holiday season? Animal shelters throughout the Bergen County area are in constant need of supplies including food, collars, and toys to help sustain their services. Help a pet in this need this December by donating to a shelter wish list below!
Wish List 101
Just like you would donate toys to Toys for Tots, shelters throughout the area are taking donations. These requests, often called wish lists, are usually found on a shelter’s website.
“Wish lists are essentially suggestions for in kind donations for those people who have extra supplies who would rather do that than donate money, or are in the position to write a check. Without these kinds of donations the shelter would have to be spending significantly more money per year, which as you can imagine in this economy, would be very difficult if not impossible,” says Steven Mark, Executive Director at the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland N.J.
Why the Need?
In the past few years, shelters have felt the pinching effects of the economy as more and more pet owners have to surrender their pets due to growing expenses.
“The economy has definitely affected shelters. Money is one of the top reasons someone will surrender their dog, whether it’s true or not. Currently it is even more common reason and we see more truly sad cases where the person is devastated to have to surrender their dog, but have no other choice. For example, we had someone recently surrender their dog, because he had lost his job and his house so he was living in his car with a large breed dog. He knew that dog would be better off in the shelter, but was physically and emotionally ill from having to do it,” says Mark at RBARI.
With pet owners surrendering their pets at a growing rate, shelters are often forced to deal with overcrowding issues. And with these rising amounts of overcrowded shelters, the amounts of euthanizations are on the rise.
“When the numbers are tallied at the end of the year, there will almost certainly be more pets given up during a bad economy, than a good one, but animal overpopulation is not a new problem. RBARI and really all shelters have been and unfortunately for the foreseeable future will always be full. The additional numbers in a bad economy will sadly mean more animals are being euthanized. Every year there are three to four million cats and dogs euthanized and that number might go up,” Mark adds.
Local Shelter Wish Lists
Do your part this holiday and give back to some of these shelters in need. As shelters become overcrowded the demand for items is constantly growing. From pet toys, check donations, and volunteering, you can give back in a variety of different ways. And if none of these shelters are close to your neighborhood, be sure to contact shelters in your own area to see available local wish lists.
Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.
The Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland is always in need of donations. From cat food to office supplies, the refuge is constantly looking for new donations. Some desired items include:
(Information via the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.)
In Hasbrouck Heights, the FOCAS group is also seeking donations. According to the FOCAS official website, the shelter is seeking donations from toys to a variety of their programs. For more information see the list of needed items below:
(Information via the FOCAS group official website)
Second Chance at Life Rescue
Located in Maywood, the Second Chance at Life Rescue is actively collecting donations. From dog medicines to beds, donations can be purchased for the rescue’s wish list at dogsupplies.com. The Second Chance at Life Rescue is also seeking active foster parents. A fostering program is also a great way to give back as it allows pet lovers to take in needy pets into their homes for a period of time. For more on fostering opportunities, be sure to visit the Second Chance at Life Rescue official website.
(Information via the Second Chance at Life Rescue)
Bergen County Animal Shelter
If you would like to donate in a more unique way, volunteering is another possible option. The Bergen County Animal Shelter does offer volunteering opportunities, however, applicants must be 18-years-old to apply. Like the Second Chance at Life Rescue, this shelter is also looking for foster homes.
Although fostering proves to a difficult task, it is a meaningful and helpful service. However, be advised that fostering is not a ‘test-run’ of having a pet in your home. Potential foster parents should be prepared to return their foster pet back to the shelter after their commitment ends. If you would like to get involve, here are the types of animals at the Bergen County Animal Shelter that are in need of foster homes.
(Information via the Bergen County Animal Shelter website)
How will you give back this holiday season??
Upcoming Pet Events
As 2011 is almost at its end, its never too late to think of some dog friendly events! In May the West Windsor Community Farmer’s Market is hosting a dog friendly farmers market. Information below courtesy of bingfido.com
Dog-friendly, open-air farmers market selling produce, meat, baked goods, poultry, mushrooms, pies, coffee and much more.
Meet Mickey an energetic Huskey/Pit Bull Terrier mix from A Pathway to Hope shelter in North Haledon N.J.
“Mickey is a very loving and affectionate dog who absolutely loves people and larger dogs. He is currently in a boarding kennel in southern NJ, but makes trips up north for our adoption events. We’d love to get him in a foster home or better yet, forever home so he can snooze on the couch and live like a dog should. He has grown up in doggie daycare and boarding kennels and is so deserving of a home with people to love him,” says Jaime Swanson from the A Pathway to Hope shelter
More Pictures of Mickey!
Want more on Mickey, check out his video here!
*Special Thanks to Jaime Swanson from A Pathway to Hope in North Haledon for pictures and video!
Sure, you could buy that adorable little chihuahua from the pet store but of course you took the more compassionate route by adopting that needy former race dog from a local shelter. Now what? At helpingpawsnj.wordpress.com meet other like-minded adoption owners and find help on anything from Shelter spotlights to integrating abused animals into your own home! Not a adopted pet owner? Don’t worry we love you too!
Take a look at some of these Adoptable Pets from the Friends of Homeless Animals in Hawthorne, N.J. Orzo
Orzo is a two-year-old who lost one of his ears to mites but is still in perfect health! Orzo has been neutered, vaccinated for distemper and rabies, and tested negative for F.I.V. (information via Petfinder.com) Sonny
Sonny is a 11-month-old, Tabby Cat who is rescued from a kill shelter. Sonny prefers quiet and gentle environments but he gets along with other cats. Sonny is neutered, vaccinated, and FIV negative. (information via Petfinder.com) Milligan Although he is FIV positive, don’t let that stop you! Milligan is neutered, vaccinated for rabies and distemper, is wormed. He can live as the only cat in a home, or in a home with other FIVcats. *Special thanks to the Friends of Homeless Animals in Hawthorne, N.J. for the photos and information
Welcome to HelpingPawsNJ.wordpress.com!!!! Giving a voice to shelter animals and their owners in the Bergen County area, this site hopes to be your number one resource on shelter information, events, and fellow animals in the area!! Feel free to post your comments, and share your stories, and let me know what you want to see on this site!
Courtney A. Leiva