<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:10:47 -0400 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:10:47 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Halloween Hazards and Your Pets]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:13:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/60621689230149ca818b9f9bfb67a1cc.JPG.jpg

No matter how old you are, or whether or not you have kids, Halloween is fun! But just like during other hectic holidays, fun and games need to be tempered with a little due diligence. Here are some tips to keep your fur kids safe this Halloween.

Keep candy away from pets

While cats are not generally drawn to candy, dogs will eat it with gusto. Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that is toxic to companion animals. Clinical signs of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination. These signs can to progress to irregular heartbeats, seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, and even death. While the amount of theobromine found in dark chocolate or baking chocolate is much higher than amounts found in milk chocolate, all chocolate candies can pose serious risks to your pet. The high fat and sugar contents can lead to gastrointestinal upset or life-threatening pancreatitis.

In addition to chocolate, nuts can pose problems for pets as well. Their shape, size, and texture make them difficult to digest, and in the worst case scenario, they can cause an obstruction that requires a surgical repair. Walnuts can contain toxins produced by fungi that can lead to neurological symptoms, and macadamia nuts have been linked to muscle tremors, hindquarter paralysis, high fever and rapid heart rate. As of this writing, veterinary researchers have not identified the substance that causes these symptoms. Raisins must also be kept away from pets. While scientists do not know why, raisins and grapes have been linked to kidney failure in dogs. And it only takes a small amount to make a dog seriously ill.

It is important to make sure children know about the doggie dangers in their trick-or-treat bags. Make sure they know that candy is never to be shared, and must be stored out of your pet's reach. Ask them to bring any unwanted candy to an adult so they will not be tempted to get rid of it by sharing it with your pet. If your pet has a habit of getting into the trash, try to find a creative solution for unwanted candy.

Remember that Halloween is scary

While many pets are happy to join in the fun, some find it absolutely terrifying. Constant ringing of doorbells, strangers at the door, loud noises, freaky costumes - all of these things can be frightening to dogs and cats. Since the front door is likely to opening and closing often, the best place for your cat may be in another room, behind a closed door, with access to food, water, and a litter box. If your dog is not having fun, it's okay to put her in her kennel. Frightened animals can bolt through open doors. Additionally, a frightened dog is statistically likely to bite. Keep a watchful eye on both dogs and children, and calmly remove dogs from situations that may trigger them to bite.

Clean up after crafts

If you are making Halloween costumes this year, clean up all crafting debris as soon as possible. Shiny needles and wispy threads are irresistible to cats. When swallowed, they present a life-threatening emergency. Ribbons and strings can cause problems as well, so keep your kitty away from the crafting supplies.

Keep pets inside

As Halloween approaches, our neighbors may decide to head out for a bit of mischief. Do not leave pets unattended outside where they can be teased, harassed, or frightened.
Most importantly - have fun! By taking a few simple precautions, we can save our pets from a scary Halloween trip to the vet!

Photo Credit: Mary Gales
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<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:48:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/broward+pets+thumb.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Puppy in Need of Reconstructive Surgery After Hit-and-Run Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:42:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/puppy+run+over.jpg

A 5-month-old puppy is in need of reconstructive surgery after he was found bleeding on the side of the road over the weekend.

The puppy, a tan-colored lab mix, was found Saturday after he was hit by a car at 174 NW 2nd Avenue in Florida City. Officials said the puppy, which they named Ken, dragged himself from the middle of the road onto a nearby grassy area using only his two front legs because the back two were injured.

A passerby saw Ken and called Miami-Dade Animal Services just before 6 p.m. on Saturday. Animal Services and Miami-Dade Police arrived at the scene to investigate and to treat the puppy.

Officials took Ken to an emergency clinic where veterinarians gave him pain medication and emergency treatment. He was hospitalized until Monday morning when he was taken to Pou Veterinary Group in Kendall.

Preliminary exams show Ken did not have internal injuries, but he will need reconstructive surgery for his two back legs, one of which was shattered by the crash.

Non-profit organization No Paw Left Behind is asking for donations to pay for Ken's emergency care and surgery costs, which total at least $5,300. Ken will also need follow up and recovery care.

Ken will be in the hospital for the rest of the week and will be ready to go to a foster home by the weekend. To find out how to donate, or how to foster or adopt Ken, visit NoPawLeftBehind.org.

Photo Credit: No Paw Left Behind]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Ducklings With Vacuum]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:38:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102914+fort+lauderdale+firefighters+rescue+ducklings.jpg

Fort Lauderdale firefighters devised an ingenious way to save a group of ducklings found trapped in a drain pipe.

The firefighters from Fire Rescue Haz Mat 88 were out training Sunday when they came across an adult duck in distress near a drainpipe.

Chirping noises were coming out of the 4-inch pipe which was about 4-feet deep and turned sharply into a building at a right angle.

To get the ducklings out, firefighters decided to use a shop vacuum to suction the ducklings out to safety.

When they were finished, the firefighters had pulled nine ducklings out. Their mother sat by and greeted each one as it was taken out.

Photo Credit: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Tortoise X-Ray Shows Tiny Turtle Pendant Inside]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:18:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/turtleinturtle.jpg

Veterinarians see a little bit of everything in their day-to-day work, but Dr. Don Harris got a bit of a surprise when he X-rayed a tortoise on Monday.

Harris was examining Lola the tortoise after his owner brought the male tortoise into Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center because he was acting poorly over the weekend and wasn’t as hungry as usual. It turns out, Lola had been having stomach problems for about a month, so Harris sent the tortoise for an X-ray.

“When I saw the X-ray, I thought the staff was playing a joke on me,” Harris said. “What I saw in the tortoise’s intestines was a little metallic sea turtle. I thought they had slipped a pendant under the tortoise. But somewhere along the way, this guy ate a little metallic sea turtle.”

Harris said tortoises graze like cattle and eat the grass, plants, and other things; so it’s not uncommon for them to eat rocks and other objects. But, the vet said this was the first time he’s ever seen a turtle eating a turtle pendant.

The vet said Lola is in good health and that the small turtle pendant should be digested soon.

Photo Credit: Dr. Don Harris]]>
<![CDATA[Exotic Bird Stolen From Flamingo Gardens]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 18:32:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*130/snappy_flamingo_gardens.jpg

An exotic bird was stolen from Flamingo Gardens in Davie Saturday night.

Snappy, a 35-year-old African Grey parrot, has resided at the wildlife sanctuary in Davie for 15 years. Officals believe the thief scaled a fence, cut the bird's enclosure and snatched the parrot sometime between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Caregivers arrived to feed the bird, only to discover a hole cut into the exhibit and the screen ripped away from the structure.

Laura Wyatt, Curator of wildlife at the sanctuary, hopes the bird will be returned.

"He's not a particularly social bird, and has been living here happy and comfortable for so long," Wyatt said. "It pains me to think of him stressed out in a small or crowded cage waiting to be sold."

Staff at Flamingo Gardens said Snappy is known to mimic cellphone ringtones, a "wolf" whistle, and the song Stars and Stripes Forever. They are asking anyone with information to call Flamingo Gardens at (954) 473-2955 or notify Davie Police.

Photo Credit: Flamingo Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Awareness Month: Dispelling Myths]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 17:35:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015253569_1200x675_348094019531.jpg Dr. Ian Kupkee from Sabal Chase Animal Clinic wants to dispel popular myths about the pit bull breed.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Archie]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:48:48 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/211*120/00CB8AE1.jpg Archie is a 1-year-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami who is looking for a loving home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Archie]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:48:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/211*120/00CB8AE1.jpg

Our pet of the week is Archie, a 1-year-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Archie is very sweet and good with other dogs. He has plenty of energy, and walks well on a leash. Archie would make a great family dog.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Archie or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website here

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

<![CDATA[Kitten Needs Donations to Repair Leg]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:19:48 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*284/Crushed+kitten+leg.jpg

A good Samaritan, who rescued a two-month-old kitten named Jasper, needs your help.

Jasper was nearly crushed by a wooden panel in Miami and escaped with a broken leg. He now needs surgery to repair the fracture, but his rescuer, Achliann Gallardo, doesn't have enough funds for the procedure.

The Animal Welfare Society of South Florida's estimates the surgery and follow up care will cost $1,776.

Gallardo has set up a fund to help offset the cost. Click here if you’d like to help.

<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:13:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/102314Scrappy+517160.jpg This week's pets available at the Humane Society of Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Missing Pot-Bellied Pig Lucy Found]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:33:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/missingpig2102214.jpg

Lucy, a family’s 60-pound pot-bellied pig that was believed to have been stolen Monday, found her way home Thursday.

The pig, belonging to Bianca Sierra, went missing and the family thought it was two men who had allegedly tried to steal the pig before. The family said neighbors of their home had frightened away the potential pig-nappers in the past.

When Lucy disappeared, her caretakers feared the worst.

“I thought that they were going to cook her,” said Lucy’s caretaker Rebeca Gusman. “Because, like Christmas is right around the corner. Get her really fat, and eat her.”

After the pig disappeared, Sierra and her friends drove the neighborhood posting flyers asking for Lucy’s safe return. Then, Thursday morning, the phone rang and it was the news they had been hoping to hear. Two men at a Home Depot near Lucy’s home found the pig and contacted Sierra.

Lucy is back at home Thursday night and the pig’s caretakers had a message for the pesky pignappers.

“Please don’t do that again,” said caretaker Tito Gusman. “Please. It is a pet. Just imagine how it would be if they took your pet. It’s not a good thing; not a good feeling.”

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Preparing Pets for Hurricane Season]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 12:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hurricane+cat.jpg

During a storm, you want to make sure every member of your family is protected, including your pets. The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges pet owners not to leave their pets behind and to know which shelters are pet-friendly in the event of evacuation.

Here are FEMA's guidelines for caring for animals during a hurricane:

To Prepare Shelter for Pets:

  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities close.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your "pet survival" kit along with a photo of your pet.
  • Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster but this should be considered only as a last resort.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.

What to Do With Pets During a Storm:

  • Bring your pets inside immediately.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.

What to Do With Pets After a Storm:

  • If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
  • In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
  • The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.

If You Have Large Animals:

  • Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
  • Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
  • Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
  • Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
  • If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.

If Evacuating Animals to a Pet-Friendly Shelter: 

  • Provide proof of residency within an evacuation zone
  • Present medical and current vaccination records for each pet
  • Make sure your pet has received annual rabies vaccinations
  • Keep your county pet license visible
  • Pet owners must bring supplies for themselves and their pet(s)
  • Check how many pets per household are allowed at the shelt
  • Family member must remain in the PEC with the pet(s)

For a list of pet-friendly shelters, click here.

More Weather Content:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Needs Help Finding Pet Piglet]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:31:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/missingpig2102214.jpg

A family is handing out fliers and asking for the public’s help to find a pet that is a bit of a ham. Her name is Lucy and she’s a pot-bellied pig that was stolen from the front porch of a home.

“I’ve had dogs, cats, skunks, birds, I’ve had everything and I’ve never been attached to a pet the way I’ve gotten attached to this pig, this silly fat pig,” said Lucy’s owner Bianca Sierra.

The pig was stolen by two young men who have tried to steal the animal before. According to the family, the men have tried twice before to steal the pig but were scared away by neighbors. Sierra said since Lucy was stolen, a part of her life is missing.

“It’s heartbreaking. I wake up in the morning and I look for her,” Bianca said. “I come home from work and I look for her.”

The animal normally stayed indoors, but also spent part of her time on the front porch inside the enclosure from which she was stolen.

“I got home from work and my piglet was gone,” Sierra said. “I want to know that she’s okay and she’s safe. That’s all I want to know.”

Bianca said she’s hoping someone will see the pictures of Lucy and come forward with information that could help bring the piglet back home. A police report was filed with Miami-Dade Police.

If you know where Lucy is, contact Miami-Dade Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Donations Needed to Treat Blind Dog]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:01:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pepepr+blind+dog.jpg

A blind dog named Pepper needs your help to help him see.

 Pepper was recently surrendered by his previous owner. A good Samaritan who rescued Pepper and found a veterinarian who can perform surgery that will help restore the dog’s vision, but doesn’t have the funds to pay for the operation.

Dr. Blackwood, the veterinarian, says surgery for Pepper will cost $1,300, including follow up care.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to help pay for Pepper’s surgery, click here. For more information, call (305) 652-0448.

Pepper’s blindness has made him terrified of his own shadow and he tends to bump into things. The surgery will repair a cataract in his eye and allow him to enjoy life again.

<![CDATA[Dogs Need Home After Owner Goes to Hospice]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:25:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Miami+Adoptable+Dogs.jpg

A pet owner who rescued three street dogs is looking for someone to adopt his dogs as he goes into hospice care.

The three dogs, named Happy, Red, and Ziggy need new homes or fosters to care for them. They have spent their last few years living inside a trailer by their caretaker, Larry, who rescued them off the street.

Due to health issues, Larry can longer care for the dogs and has no family or friends who can adopt them.

The three dogs have been described as sweet, well-mannered dogs that get along with each other. They are also house-trained and in good health.

Larry is afraid these dogs may lose their lives if they are not adopted soon.

If you are interested in adopting one of the dogs, or to find out more information, please call Ann at (305) 865-0516 or Kathy at (305) 401-4693

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Calieb]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:17:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/00CACD63.jpg

Our pet of the week is Calieb, an 11-month-old lab mix who wants to find a forever home.

Calieb is a friendly dog with a sweet personality. He loves the outdoors and walks well on a leash. Calieb is even housebroken, and would make a wonderful family dog.

Calieb's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[When the Family Dog Attacks]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:49:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Pit+bull5.jpg

This past summer, South Florida lost one of its youngest, most vulnerable citizens. His name was Javon Dade, and he was four years old. On the last day of his painfully short life, he wandered into his father’s backyard, accompanied only by his teddy bear. While we will never know the exact details of what happened next, what we do know, is that little Javon was mauled to death by one or more of the six dogs that lived in the yard. All of the dogs were confiscated by Miami Dade Animal Services. One of them was an intact male pit bull. As of this writing, the DNA tests to prove which dog or dogs killed Javon are still pending. The following day, however, the pit bull was euthanized after displaying aggressive behavior towards the shelter’s staff. That weekend, one of my wife’s Facebook “friends” sent her a terse private message:

“It’s ALWAYS the pit bull.”

I’ll call this “friend” Jack. Jack enjoys challenging our assertion that pit bulls are just dogs, and that aggression is not caused by DNA. He doesn’t particularly like the peer-reviewed studies and scientific evidence with which we respond, which I suppose is why he continues to spar with us. My wife responded with an equally terse one-liner: “No, Jack. It’s ALWAYS the resident dogs.”

Resident Dogs vs. Family Pets

As details of Javon’s death emerged, and the story grew more complex, a particular detail remained constant throughout the process. Every media outlet that reported this story referred to the dogs as “family pets.” And every time I heard that expression, my anger grew. While it may seem to some that I am quibbling over semantics, the fact of the matter is that any meaningful discourse on dog bites and attacks must include the distinction between family dogs and resident dogs.

Late last year, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association released an in-depth study on ten years’ worth of dog bite related fatalities. In over two thirds of case studies, the dog or dogs involved were resident dogs, as opposed to family pets. Family pets live indoors with the family. They may not be considered family members, or described as part of the family, but they interact with humans on a daily basis.

They may not be perfect angels (God knows my dogs are not!), but they live with the expectation of good manners, and adherence to the rules we have taught them. No begging for food, no crowding us while we eat. If it’s not in the toy box, it isn’t yours. You may bark to give an alert, but stop when we ask you to (still working on that one). Answer nature’s calls outside. No fence fighting with the neighbor’s dog (improved, but not perfect). Come when you are called. And while our family does not include children, we expect perfect child etiquette. Period.

I’ll be the first to admit that their door etiquette is terrible. Grendel has me wrapped around her proverbial little finger. Zohan has a nervous streak that demands constant vigilance when other dogs are present. But we are always trying to do better. In exchange for following our rules, they get to come to work with us, play fun games, meet new people, and go on the occasional road trip.

Family pets interact with humans every day, and do so in ways that we have taught them are appropriate. They are well-socialized towards all members of the household, including other pets, children, infants, and guests. They keep their impulses and instincts in check by choosing desired behaviors instead. But dogs are not born knowing how to make what humans call good decisions. These are learned behaviors, and we must be the ones to teach them. On the other end of the spectrum are resident dogs.

What is a resident dog?

A resident dog is one that is owned by humans and resides on their property, but does not regularly interact with the family who lives on the property. Many people, including dog owners themselves, will refer to these animals as family pets, simply because they are kept on a piece of property owned by a family. They are almost always sexually intact, and allowed or encouraged to breed.

Three of the six dogs taken from Javon’s home were puppies; it has been widely speculated that these unsocialized dogs saw him as a threat to the litter. And why wouldn’t they? Had they ever been taught by humans how to distinguish a legitimate threat from a perceived threat? Had they ever been taught proper child etiquette?

DCF records show that as an infant, Javon crawled and played on the floor where those same dogs urinated and defecated. Complaints were filed stating that the dogs were aggressive. The neighbors in Goulds reported the dogs would lunge at the fence at passersby. Socialized? Trained? These dogs were not even housebroken. Another neighbor reported that a dog was kicked after the dog obeyed the command to stop barking! Resident dogs are routinely subjected to these types of mixed signals and abject abuse, hence their mental instability.

Resident dogs live either alone or in packs, isolated from human contact. They are untrained, unsocialized, and never go to the vet. They are usually kept chained, tethered, or allowed to roam freely. Many live in runs, kennels, or pens. With nothing to occupy their minds, and hormones surging through their bodies, these dogs become ticking time bombs. At best, they become a public nuisance as they will often resort to mindless barking in an effort to attract attention or relieve boredom.

Improper diet and lack of veterinary care can lead to health problems that intensify aggression. Resident dogs are often acquired to guard or protect the property, yet are not given the training needed to do so reliably or safely. A true guard dog is trained using positive reinforcement only. He learns to distinguish a legitimate threat from a four-year-old child with a teddy bear. Other resident dogs are simply banished to the yard when they outgrow the snuggly puppy phase and become rambunctious adolescents. Ditto for dogs who are “downgraded” with the addition of a new pet, a new spouse, a new baby, or a new set of furniture.

After explaining this distinction to "Facebook Jack," he fired back that he still wasn’t buying it. He grew up on a farm, with hound dogs who hunted. They owned bassetts and beagles, usually about 20 at a time. None were spayed or neutered, as a good hunting dog was a thing of beauty whose bloodlines should be preserved. They never set foot inside the house. They lived in pens and kennels and at any given time, he or any of his siblings or cousins could walk into their midst, and be slathered with sloppy kisses. Back on the farm, he claimed, that was how all dogs lived. And none of them ran around killing kids.

I thought back to my own childhood, and realized that Jack actually had a pretty good point. When my family moved to England, we spent the summers on my Uncle John’s dairy farm. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the collies and shepherds that moved the cows were kept in this manner as well. Dogs in the house? Not on Aunt Jean’s watch. They belonged outside, and if I had a problem with that I could sleep in the kennels with them! Yet like Jack’s beagles, these intact, outdoor dogs never so much as bared their teeth. Can we in fairness say they were resident dogs? Or worse yet, ticking time bombs? No. And here’s why:

The most dangerous aspect of a resident dog is its isolation from humans. This isolation leads to a failure to respond to normal commands and cues. They have nothing to look forward to, and no reason to see human interaction as valuable.

Jack’s beloved beagles and my beloved collies were purpose-bred, working dogs. Their work had meaning and purpose - and they loved it. They were taught how to do their jobs by the humans with whom they shared their world, if not necessarily their houses. They were taught with patience, and rewarded with lavish praise. They ate heartily and slept soundly after a long day of meaningful, physical work. They may not have slept on satin pillows, but they were active, switched on, and cognitively enriched. They worked as willing partners with the humans who taught them the skills they needed to feel valued and loved. Their work had a point, their lives had meaning, and the partnership was win-win.

The isolated life of a resident dog is meaningless, pointless and marked by suffering. While it is usually the dog that suffers, the JAVMA study found that a staggering 76 percent of fatal dog attacks were carried out by resident dogs. Most of the victims were children under the age of five.

Dog owners, I implore you - do not allow Javon’s short life to be reduced to a mere statistic. Socialize your dogs, and expect to be held accountable for their behavior. It’s time to stop using breed-based assumptions as an excuse for irresponsible dog ownership. The practice of keeping resident dogs must stop.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email. And check out some of these great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:37:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/179*120/101514+Betty+Boop+516925.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[All About Animals]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:45:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015105794_1200x675_342992451599.jpg The Humane Society of Broward County discusses the importance of making sure your animals are up to date with the vaccinations.]]> <![CDATA[Teen Amputee Rescues 3-Legged Dachshund]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/Pooh+and+Sam.JPG

A young man with a prosthetic leg now has an unbreakable bond with a dog who shares a similar condition.

In August 2013, Sam Sartain lost his leg in an ATV accident. He underwent several surgeries that took more and more of his right leg. Sartain was emaciated, on a feeding tube and had a skin graft in February.

A few months later, Sartain received a fresh start with a prosthetic leg.

“It’s cool because when I went back to school, not only did I have that respect as a person, but as an athlete too,” Sartain said.

While he was adjusting to his new lifestyle, so was a stray Dachshund named Pooh, who was hit by a car. Pooh lost his hind right leg.

“The thing that was similar between me and Pooh (the dog), was the complete top layer of skin was just torn off. You can see the bones and everything," Sartain said.

Miami-Dade Animal Services took Pooh in and cleaned him up. They then reached out to the Dachshund Recue South Florida, which helped raise $5,000 in two days to help save Pooh.

After receiving enough money to save Pooh, he had to have his leg amputated. Sam’s mother Judy Sartain found the dog on the rescue’s Facebook page and knew that Pooh had to be theirs.

“As a mom you search for any resources that can help and animals are very therapeutic and they give you a reason to get up. It’s time to get up, it’s time to take the dog out, time to feed the dog. They give you unconditional love,” Judy Sartain said.

Sam Sartain said the first moment he met Pooh, it was indescribable.

“It’s a weird feeling, because he looked at me and he realized I guess that we had the same situation and he immediately ran over towards me,” Sartain said.

It’s a bond that only Sam and Pooh can share.

<![CDATA[Meyers: Extreme Dog Shaming]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:38:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Extreme+Dog+Shaming.png While dogs are mankind’s favorite companion, it hasn’t stopped some furry friends from ruffling some feathers by digging up a garden or eating mom’s favorite shoe. There are a lot of guilty canines out there, but Seth Meyers has found some of the worst fuzzy offenders in "Extreme Dog Shaming."]]> <![CDATA[Exotic Bird Stolen From Miami Beach Family]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:35:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/101314+chico+exotic+bird.jpg

Miami Beach Police are looking for a burglar who stole a family's exotic pet bird during an overnight break-in Monday.

Chico, a yellow-naped amazon, was taken from the home at 3470 Meridian Avenue, police said.

The bird is 52 years old and has been with the same family for decades. He speaks and laughs like a "drunk old lady," the bird's owner said.

"He's been in our family for a long time," owner Marie Reilly said. "My dad’s best friend raised him a chick."

Reilly said she had heard noises in the middle of the night but thought it was garbage men.

"He only likes my sister and I, no one can get close to him. Whoever tries to touch this bird is going to lose a finger," she said, adding a message to whoever took him. "I hope he bites your nose off."

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

<![CDATA[3-Legged Dachshund Bonds With Amputee]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:03:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/Pooh+and+Sam.JPG A 3-legged dachshund named Pooh bonds with his human brother who is also an amputee.]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Leo]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 15:15:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/203*120/00CA06E2.jpg

 Our featured pet from the Humane Society of Broward County is Leo, a 12-year-old American Eskimo.

Leo is a sweet dog who loves people and other dogs. He enjoys being brushed, which is a good thing as he will need to be brushed regularly. Leo is 18 pounds, incredibly soft and fluffy, and is housebroken.

For more information on how to adopt Leo or any other animal, call (954) 989-3977 or visit the Humane Society of Broward County's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Leo]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 11:30:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015055848_1200x675_340886595940.jpg Our featured pet is Leo, a super soft 12-year-old American Eskimo who is looking for a nice retirement home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Kiki]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 16:10:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/205*120/00C9FCDC.jpg

Our pet of the week is Kiki, a 6-month-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Kiki is a puppy with a sweet personality. She loves kids and other dogs, and is a fairly relaxed pet. She enjoys belly rubs and playfully wagging her tail.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Kiki or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page. 

<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:16:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/100914Audie+516286.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[11 Animals Rescued From "Gruesome" Farm: SPCA]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:51:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/100814+rescued+horses.jpg

Eight horses, two ponies, and a cow were rescued from an illegal slaughter farm in the east Everglades Wednesday, officials with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

The horses were found at the farm in the area of 12700 Southwest 194th Avenue, the SPCA said.

Miami-Dade Police said a man who was at the property, 49-year-old Osmany Gomez, was charged with 11 counts each of animal cruelty and confinement of animals without food and water.

When officers arrived on the farm, Gomez, who said he is the caretaker, was covered in blood and said he had recently slaughtered three pigs for consumption, police said.

The horses were underweight and had their ribs showing, and Gomez said he keeps no food on the property but feeds the horses grass, a police report said.

The farm was described as "gruesome" by the SPCA. Some of the horses appeared to be underfed in photos released by the organization. The police report said animal remains were also found on the property.

"As long as there is a market for the meat, the animals are going to continue to be killed," said Laurie Wagner.

The horses were brought to the SPCA's farm in Homestead where they will be cared for.

"I don't see anything that won't be fixed with a little TLC and groceries," said Dr. Zachary Franklin.

Photo Credit: South Florida SPCA]]>
<![CDATA[Itchy Dog? Stinky Dog? Welcome to Fall in the South]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:25:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dogs+eats+pennies.jpg

As the dog days of summer subside, a southern veterinarian’s favorite season arrives: fall. No longer is my waiting room packed with pets suffering from heatstroke, stomach obstructions (think corn cobs and watermelon rinds) and bite wounds. Instead, it’s swarming with patients plagued with seasonal allergies. Droves of itchy, scratchy and often smelly dogs seek me out for relief.

We and our pets are allergic to the same fall culprits; the pollen, mold and dust that we inhale. But the similarities end there. Humans with allergies sneeze a lot, get the sniffles, and have watery eyes. Our pets, on the other hand, suffer with itchy skin that, left untreated, can become severely infected.
Because we equate allergies with spring and summer, many pet parents have no idea why their dog is scratching this time of year. So…they start self-diagnosing, first by changing their pet’s food and when that doesn’t work, switching laundry soap or their pet’s bedding. Unfortunately, neither is likely the problem. In fact, only 5 to 15 percent of pets suffer from food allergies, and contact allergies to detergent or fabric are rarely to blame.

Here are two effective solutions to try on your itchy pet before scheduling an appointment with your vet:

Bathing an itchy pet with a medicated shampoo is the cornerstone of treatment. I reach for Splash PLUS Shampoo, developed by veterinary dermatologists to bring quick relief to pets with itchy, red, foul-smelling and infected skin. I recommend using it three times a week and then reducing use to once a week after the itching and odor is under control. When using a medicated shampoo, it’s key to leave the lather on for 5-10 minutes so the active ingredients can do their job on the skin. The shampoo is available at many veterinary hospitals and on Amazon.

Flea saliva is the TOP allergen in dogs and cats. The bite of just ONE flea can cause an intense allergic reaction. By running a fine-tooth flea comb through your pet’s fur, you can find curls of black flea “dirt” (or excrement) or even the fleas themselves to confirm the problem. Since finding one tiny flea can be difficult, it’s better to actively treat fleas even if you don’t see evidence of them.
Pets living in Florida and all southern states should receive veterinary recommended flea preventative year round since there is seldom a hard freeze to kill the adult fleas outdoors. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as some medications work for a few hours and others for several weeks.

By combining regular bathing with a medicated shampoo and proper flea control, most pets stop itching in less than a week. If you try these treatments on your pet and don’t see any results in a few days, seek help from your veterinarian.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Jenga]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:50:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/197*120/00C93796.jpg

Our pet of the week is Jenga, a rat terrier/chihuahua mix who hopes to find a loving home.

Jenga is only 10 pounds and loves to be held. He is a friendly, quiet dog who still likes being active. Jenga is even housebroken, and would make a wonderful family dog.

Jenga's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt Jenga or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Jenga]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:45:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000014954383_1200x675_338028099783.jpg Our pet of the week is Jenga, a 10 lb. chihuahua/rat terrier mix. This loving little guy is looking for a forever home.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Oct. 2, 2014]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:51:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/100214+Angel+516019.jpg Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Oct. 2, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Coyote Pup Burned in Fire Released]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:07:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/burned+coyote+edited.jpg

One of the smallest victims of the 2014 San Diego wildfires is back on her feet.

On Tuesday, wildlife workers released a female coyote into the wild after spending the last five months with her.

The pup, known only as Coyote 1732, came to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona in May. The 10-week-old coyote had been severely burned in the Poinsettia Fire.

“Literally her paws were dripping blood after the first bandage change. She just had no top layer of skin on all four of her paw pads,” said Gina Taylor, registered veterinary technician at the wildlife center.

“Her entire coat was just crunchy, singed hair,” she said.

Taylor’s eyes welled up with tears as the coyote bolted from her carrier and into the wild. She described the bittersweet feeling as a mother of a teenager leaving for college.

“I do rehab not for them to be pets, not for them to be put into an exhibit of any sort," she said.

Although it was sad to see her go, Taylor said this coyote belongs in the wild.

“We do not feel like she has any inclination to be around humans,” Taylor said. “The fact that we every day, every other day, every third day had to capture her up to change her bandages, she still never liked it, never liked us, never sought us out for any attention.”

Coyote 1732 was released in Oceanside at an undisclosed location approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Taylor said the coyote will eat squirrels, rabbits, lizards and other small animals now that she’s back in the wild.

“She abruptly got separated from her family unit, and now instinct has to kick in for her,” she said.

A few days after the coyote came to the rehabilitation center, her brother arrived also. Taylor said his burns were so severe, she was surprised he survived the night.

Taylor said the boy, Coyote 1736, will never be healthy enough to go back to the wild. Instead, he will be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Texas.

The Poinsettia Fire burned 600 acres and destroyed 23 homes and apartments in Carlsbad last May.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Caring for Our Community: Abandoned Pet Rescue]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:11:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/IMG_48564.JPG

As part of this month's Caring for Our Community service program, NBC 6 team members volunteered at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Fort Lauderdale.

APR is a no-kill shelter, meaning no animals are put to sleep. Right now, the shelter, which is one of Fort Lauderdale's largest, has about 250 to 300 cats and dozens of dogs.

The rescue has a small staff -- there are usually only about five employees caring for the animals every day.

Because of its limited resources, APR is always looking for donations and volunteers. To find out more about how you can help, visit apr.rescuegroups.org.

And for more about how NBC 6 is helping the community, visit our South Florida Community page here.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Awareness Month: Portrait of a Dangerous Dog]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:58:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_dogs_generic_shelter_puppies.jpg

In April of 2012, an unattended, eight-week-old boy in South Carolina was killed by a dog while his father slept in another room. I stumbled upon the story by accident as I was researching dog bite fatalities for another article. It was mainly reported in the local online news sites. Over the next week or so, I asked friends and clients if they had heard about this baby’s death. Their reactions were strikingly similar: “Oh my God! No, I hadn’t heard that! Was it a pit bull?”

The dog that killed baby Aiden was a Golden Retriever.

In December of 2013 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the most comprehensive, multifactorial study on dog bite fatalities to date. The purpose of the study was to determine what factors contribute to the makings of aggressive dogs, as well as which factors did not. The following is an excerpt from that study:

“Based on an analysis of all DBRFs (dog bite related fatalities) known to have occurred over a ten-year period, the researchers identified a striking co-occurrence of multiple, controllable factors:

  • no able-bodied person being present to intervene (87.1%);
  • the victim having no familiar relationship with the dog(s) (85.2%);
  • the dog(s) owner failing to neuter/spay the dog(s)(84.4%);
  • a victim’s compromised ability, whether based on age or physical condition, to manage their interactions with the dog(s) (77.4%);
  • the owner keeping dog(s) as resident dog(s), rather than as family pet(s) (76.2%);
  • the owner’s prior mismanagement of the dog(s) (37.5%);
  • the owner’s abuse or neglect of dog(s) (21.1%).

Four or more of these factors were present in 80.5% of the cases.”

The study also concluded that family dogs were rarely involved involved in fatal attacks. While witnesses, and media reports referred to these dogs as family pets, in truth they were kept on the property as resident dogs. This distinction is vital. In short, resident dogs simply live on the property with little positive interaction or guidance from humans. They are neither trained, nor socialized, and therefore revert to their natural, predatorial instincts. A resident dog is likely to perceive a small, warm, wiggly baby as prey. A child that screams in response to a bite will further intensify the prey drive of these truly dangerous dogs. According to the JAVMA study, over 76 percent of dogs involved in fatal attacks were resident dogs, despite media reports that referred to them as pets.

Breed was NOT a contributing factor in the attacks.

Pit bull haters, start your engines! But before you start calling me names and blowing up the comment section with junk science, I would respectfully encourage you to look at some of the other findings in this study. According to said study, the breeds of the dogs involved could not be accurately identified in over 80 percent of cases. Media reports, animal control officers, journalists and witnesses contradicted each other and routinely misidentified breeds. In fact, breed attributions were only correctly assessed 18 percent of the time. If you think it’s easy to identify a dog’s breed, especially a pit bull, check out these findings from a study by the National Canine Research Council. In this study, 687 people were shown pictures of 22 different breeds of dogs. The participants included nine veterinarians, seven veterinary technicians, and 15 animal control officers. Over half of the participants, including the professionals, claimed to have firsthand experience with pit bulls. Of those surveyed 30 percent mistook a Boxer for a pit bull, 45 percent mistook a mastiff for a pit bull, and only 2 percent correctly identified the pit bull without also misidentifying the other breeds pictured. Yes, you read that correctly - 2 percent. In a group that included professionals like myself, and individuals who claimed to be knowledgeable about the breed. I have clients whose neighbors are terrified of their “illegal” American Bulldogs. When my wife owned Boxers, complete strangers would scold her for owning a “banned” breed. Not only has breed been scientifically proven NOT to be a factor in dog bite related fatalities, the breed most commonly blamed is misidentified 98 percent of the time.

There is a great line in the movie “The Horse Whisperer” where Robert Redford states “I don’t help people with horse problems. I help horses with people problems.”

Miami does not have a pit bull problem. We don’t even have a dog problem. We have an irresponsible owner problem. Or as Robert Redford put it “people problems.” The father of baby Aiden was charged with illegal neglect of a child. The father of the four-year-old Miami boy, Javon Dade Jr., who was killed by a resident dog or dogs, was charged with manslaughter. While it is appropriate and just to hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs, no charges or sentences will bring these children back. We must put aside our breed-based assumptions and take an honest look at the portrait of a dangerous dog. And in that same process, we can go a long way towards solving our people problems as well.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email. And check out some of these great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Caring for Our Community: Abandoned Pet Rescue]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:13:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/0thumb1.jpg As part of this month's Caring for Our Community service program, NBC 6 team members volunteered at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Ft. Lauderdale.]]> <![CDATA[Grant Helps Hundreds of Local Shelter Pets Find Homes]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:43:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/shelter+dog.jpg

Hundreds of shelter animals in Miami-Dade now have new homes thanks to a grant that waived adoption fees for the past several weeks.

A total of 452 dogs and cats were adopted from Miami-Dade County Animal Services during the "R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.) To Their Rescue" promotion that started September 2nd. The promotion waived adoption fees, made possible by a grant from Animal Planet in collaboration with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

“We are very grateful to Animal Planet and the ASPCA for making it easier for Miami-Dade County pet lovers to save lives and adopt a loving companion cat or dog,” said Alex Muñoz, Director of Animal Services. “We look forward to a continuing partnership with our fellow animal loving organizations.”

The "R.O.A.R. To Their Rescue" program provided grants to several animal welfare organizations including Miami-Dade County Animal Services as well as organizations in Cleveland, Ohio, and Austin, Texas. The cost of adoption fees was covered until each market reached the $25,000 cap in fees waived. Miami-Dade Animal Services reached the cap Sunday, September 21st. All 3 communities reached the cap and found homes for a total of 1,100 animals in less than 20 days.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Abandoned at Vet's Office Adopted]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:54:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/peachesthepitbull.jpg

Peaches a, a pit bull mix, was abandoned by her family at Pines West Animal Hospital 6 months ago. Her family boarded her there and never came back. She's been living at the hospital... until now.

"I feel very lucky," said adopter Ramon Gordillo. "I think she knew that she was going to have the best house here."

When the story first aired on NBC6, the hospital got lots of applications to adopt Peaches. But, fate intervened.

Gordillo and his wife Lourdes are animal lovers. They've always had dogs, especially pit bulls. And they had just lost their last one to cancer less than a month ago.

"When I saw her picture it just reminded me of a young Pitucas," Gordillo said.

The Gordillo family never thought they would have another dog so soon, only 4 days after losing their beloved Pitucas.

"I kept thinking about it that night and then the next morning I called the vet and said where is Peaches, that I would like to see her," Gordillo said.

It was love at first sight...for both of them.

"They brought her into a room and she started playing with me and I said I'm taking her," Gordillo said. "She'll be here forever."

Photo Credit: Pines West Animal Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Broward's Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:15:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/185*120/Chloe.jpeg.jpg Broward's Adoptable Pets for Sept. 25, 2014.]]>