<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2015 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 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:19:21 -0400 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:19:21 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Police Humane Unit Reunites Animals With Their Owners]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:34:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072815+humane+unit.jpg

A South Florida police department goes the extra mile to save our four-legged friends and even wildlife.

The Coral Springs Police Department has its own special Humane Unit caring for all animals.

Filling up cages with abandoned or lost animals is easy. The hard part is getting them back to their owners.

The Coral Springs Unit is one of few in Broward County that tries uniting animals with owners. If that doesn't work, officers take it a step further and contact a rescue group.

"We've had animals come from Miami and end up here in Coral Springs, and they've been missing for years. That brings us joy to reunite them with a family member," said Monica Fedderwitz, CSPD Humane Officer.

NBC 6 hit the road with Officer Fedderwitz to learn wildlife animals are also a priority. One call brought us to a parking lot near University Drive and Wiles Road, where ducks were in distress.

"It's possible she has botulism. They get a lot of diseases and stuff from the water out here. When it rains, we think the poison goes into puddles and they ingest it," Officer Fedderwitz explained.

Two were already dead. Another two were taken back to the office in hopes of being saved. They were washed and cared for, but only one survived.

As for man's best friend, the best chance at survival lies with social media. Pups are posted onto the police department's Facebook page and when owners are not found, it's likely a rescue group is.

The officers are so good at finding somewhere for the animals to go, they only have to drop strays off at Broward County Animal Care once every two months. That's a feat considering the 2,300 animal-related calls they take every month.

Click here to find out how you can help Clear The Shelters on Aug. 15

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - July 28, 2015]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:33:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*151/Becca+A1712774.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - July 28, 2015]]> <![CDATA[600 Sea Turtles Released Off Boca Raton Coast]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:34:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072715+baby+turtles.jpg

More than 600 baby sea turtles were released back into the Atlantic Ocean Monday.

It was a joint effort between the Coast Guard and the Gumbo-Limbo Nature Center.

In support of the Coast Guard's commitment to protecting endangered species and the marine environment, crew members from Station Fort Lauderdale transported marine scientists and volunteers from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center offshore to assist in the release.

The sea turtle hatchlings come from turtle nests located along beaches throughout Florida, which are the primary nesting grounds for Loggerhead sea turtles.

In addition to the more than 600 baby sea turtles being released, four turtles between the ages of six-months and one-year will be released back into the wild following rehabilitation.

In all, 637 sea turtles were released.

Photo Credit: USCG, Jon-Paul Rios]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Brownie]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:16:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/brownie+potw+072615.PNG

Our pet of the week is Brownie, a 1-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a loving home.

Brownie is a happy, sweet dog. He loves to wag his tail when he gets attention. Brownie is a laid back guy who would be a great couch potato buddy.

Brownie's adoption fee includes neutering, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website.

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

<![CDATA[Zoo Miami Welcomes New Addition]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:46:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000019250186_1200x675_491136067558.jpg Another baby animal has been welcomed at Zoo Miami.]]> <![CDATA[So You Think You Know Shelter Pets?]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:47:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kupkee+shelter+pets+072415.jpg

If you’ve ever had a shelter pet, you know how amazing they are. They seem to know they’ve been rescued - and they’re certain of how much they’re loved. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to give a shelter pet a second chance.

There are times when I suggest a trip to our shelters, only to be met with a frown and an objection. Sometimes I get several objections at once! Here is a sampling of the most common ones - and why you shouldn’t believe them.

“I’d rather get a puppy or a kitten.”

No problem! For reasons I will not pretend to understand, many South Floridians have yet to get the memo on the benefits of spaying and neutering their pets. The result is a shelter population where puppies and kittens are more than fairly represented. If you’ve got your heart set on a youngster, consider visiting a shelter on August 15th.

Before you do however, ask yourself if you’re sure you want a puppy or a kitten. Don’t get me wrong, they’re cute and they’re fun. But some of the not-so-cute things they do are enough to make a saint swear. Zohan cried all night when we first brought him home. All. Night. And the night after that...and the night after that...and the night after that...We finally bought him a stuffed “mommy dog” with a warming pad and a plastic, beating heart inside. He still cried. By daybreak, he had torn open his “mommy”, pulled out all the stuffing, and peed on the warming pad. He stood over the still-beating heart like a villain in a CSI rerun gone wrong. This is life with puppies and kittens. It has its rewards, but it requires a lot of patience and work.

“Shelter pets have issues.”

Many people mistakenly believe that animals are surrendered to shelters because they did not make good pets. The truth is that the top reason owners cite for giving up their pets is relocation. Some owners cite problems with landlords, HOA’s or insurance carriers. Some pets lose their homes when their owners pass away, or are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Other common reasons for surrendering pets include allergies, the birth of a baby, divorce, foreclosure, inability to find homes for a litter, and lack of time to care for a pet.

There is a wonderful scene in the film “The Horse Whisperer” where Robert Redford states “I don’t help people with horse problems. I help horses with people problems.” Most of the pets in our shelters have people problems. Period.

“Those dogs are all mutts.”

Wrong again. At any given time, nearly 30% of our shelter population consists of pure breeds. Sadly, many pet buyers decide on a breed based solely on the breed’s appearance. The result is often a pet/owner mismatch that ends in a trip to the shelter. Perhaps the most oft-cited example is the Dalmation demand that started with Disney’s “101 Dalmations”. A well-bred Dalmation is energetic, active, driven, durable and intelligent. They can be overwhelming to small children and can quickly frustrate parents that already have their hands full. Once again, lack of awareness and preparation are at the very heart of these pet surrender stories.
As an aside, here’s a practical question: what’s wrong with mutts? Mixed breed dogs are literally one of a kind. They’re great conversation starters (“what kind of dog is that?”), and tend to have fewer congenital health problems than their purebred counterparts.

“I really want a purpose-bred dog.”

If you’re looking for a dog that will swim, hunt, herd, retrieve, track, do tricks, or work as a service dog, there’s no need to focus on a particular breed. You’re better off making your decision based on the dog’s drive. We touched upon this briefly earlier in the week, and I’ll go more into it later, but the bottom line is that a dog’s energy level, ability to focus, and eagerness to please are better indicators of their ability to perform than genetics.

My wife and I have two dachshunds. Dachshunds have a reputation for being stubborn, willful, untrainable and notoriously bad swimmers. Even now in her senior years, Grendel is a powerful and enthusiastic swimmer. While Zohan has thankfully grown out of toy evisceration, he excels at agility and trick training. Purpose can be given, not just bred. And either way, dogs learn with their brains, not their DNA.

“I need to know an animal’s history.”

While this one is understandable, remember that animals live in the here and now. It’s one of the many reasons we love them. Remember those 53 badly abused dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s fighting facility? Most were adopted into loving families, many of which included other pets and young children. Several worked as as service dogs and therapy dogs. Sometimes in our zeal to understand a pet’s history, we project our own anxieties onto an animal that isn’t even thinking about its past.

Baggage, judgement, and preconceived notions are completely foreign concepts to our pets.

Perhaps it’s time we learned from their example.


Click here to learn more about "Clear the Shelters" Day on August 15, where NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 are partnering with several area shelters to provide discounted or free pet adoptions!

Do you have a question for Dr.Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here for special deals and discounts exclusivley for NBC6.com fans!

Photo Credit: Sabal Chase Animal Clinic]]>
<![CDATA[Jaguar, Komodo Dragon Receiving Care at Zoo Miami]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:12:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072315+jaguar+surgery+crop.jpg

A jaguar and Komodo dragon are receiving special care at Zoo Miami as they face different challenges.

Nieve, a 19-year-old jaguar, had surgery performed to remove what is believed to be a cancerous tumor on her abdomen that was the approximate size of a grapefruit.

The surgical team was successful in removing the tumor and also spaying the big cat while removing several large ovarian cysts.

The surgical team was happy to find the tumor had apparently not spread to other critical areas of the body and hope that by spaying her it will reduce the possibility of the tumor returning quickly in the future.

Nieve is slated to be returned to her exhibit at Amazon and Beyond within the next several days.

Khaos, a 17-year-old Komodo dragon, has been suffering from limited mobility in his hind quarters that sometimes resembles a type of paralysis.

The veterinary team has worked with the animal science staff to develop a program combining traditional medicine, deep tissue massage and range of motion exercise that are now being combined with hydrotherapy in hopes of re-establishing at least some mobility.

Initial attempts this week showed some promise and the hope is to schedule continued therapies on a regular basis.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Humane Society of Broward County Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:44:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Johnny+534471.jpg Check out these adorable animals up for adoption in Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Florida Mom Battles Gator, Saves Dog's Life]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:01:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/07232015+woman+fights+gator.jpg

A Florida mother of four jumped into a pond and battled a gator that tried to make a meal out of her dog.

Seven-and-a-half feet of gator skin did not stop 52-year-old Lori Beiswenger from running to the rescue of Hope, a 9-year-old terrier mix.

According to NBC affiliate WPTV,  the encounted occured when Beiswenger and Hope were outside near the sixth hole of her family-owned golf course, Point O’Woods, in Inverness.

While she was busy gardening, Beiswenger heard a piercing scream come from the pond behind her. When Beiswenger turned around, she was met with the sight of a gator pulling Hope into the water.

Beiswenger became frantic and screamed for help. With no one around to hear her screams, Beiswenger decided to jump in and fight the gator for her dog’s life.

Beiswenger pulled the gator’s tail, and the gator began thrashing and still held on to Hope. She said she pulled the gator’s tail a second time, and then a third.

The third time, Beiswenger says the gator looked at her. Fearing for her life, Beiswenger got out of the water with Hope still in the gator’s jaws.

Then Jodie Daniels, a golf course volunteer who was teeing up on hole one, heard the commotion.

Listening to Beiswenger’s pleas, Daniels grabbed a golf club and waded into the water until he was knee deep.

When he realized the club wasn’t long enough, he went and got a shovel. He pulled the bloodied dog up with the gator still attached.

Hope ran for dry land with the gator following behind. Daniels then hit the gator on top of the head with the shovel and the gator swam off.

Beiswenger picked up Hope, put her in a golf cart and drove to the clubhouse. Once there, she grabbed a tablecloth and secured the wound. She then rushed Hope to a nearby vet.

Hope had to undergo a three-hour surgery but went home that same night.

The next day, a private company trapped the gator. Beiswenger says she read the gator its Miranda Rights, and the company killed the gator. The gator’s meat was sold to a local restaurant.

Hope is expected to have her stitches removed on Saturday.

Photo Credit: WPTV West Palm Beach]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - July 22, 2015]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:45:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Chico+A1711169.jpg Check out some of the adorable adoptable pets in Miami-Dade.]]> <![CDATA[Viral Photo Saves 'Hugging' Dogs From Being Put Down]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:35:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072215+hugging+dogs+saved+georgia.jpg

Two dogs who were likely next in line to be euthanized at a Georgia kill shelter now have a fresh start at life thanks to the power of social media.

On Tuesday, a Georgia kill shelter posted a heartbreaking photo of Kala and Keira embracing. The Angels Among Us Pet Rescue of Georgia shared the photo of the puppy pals, quoting them as saying "we're scared" after the pair were informed that they knew they would be put down by the end of the day if they weren't adopted.

"Keira knows what will happen. You can see it in her eyes," the post reads. "I can feel her heart beating fast while I'm clinging to her. If no one saves us, someone will take her away from me. I'll see her as she goes down the hallway. She won't come back and I'll cry."

The emotional plea worked, and in exactly two hours and six minutes, the dogs were in a car on their way to an unnamed veterinarian who had decided to foster the dogs. 

"There are no words to tell you how happy we are that these two best friends are safe and together!" the group later posted. "This is why we rescue."

If you are interested in adopting Keira and Kala, visit Angels Among Us Pet Rescue on the web.

Help Clear The Shelters by adopting a pet on August 15th!

Photo Credit: Angels Among Us Pet Rescue of Georgia]]>
<![CDATA[Mating Manatees Frolick in Shallow Water at Pompano Beach]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:11:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072015+manatees+pompano+beach.jpg

Beachgoers got an close-up look at a group of manatees in Pompano Beach Monday.

About a dozen manatees were spotted in the 1300 block of S. Ocean Boulevard. Footage showed them getting close to shore as a group formed on the beach to watch them splash around.

It's unknown why the manatees were so close to shore, but officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it's likely they were mating.

Mating herds usually include a female and multiple males, FWC officials said.

"It's great, I mean, you don't see this in Atlanta," tourist Kylee Myers said.

"When I get back to Kentucky I want to be able to show him I saw some mother nature action," Stacey Brown said.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[How Moving Affects Our Pets]]> Sun, 19 Jul 2015 14:23:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/moving+with+pets+071915.jpg

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, more American families relocate than at any other time of the year. If you’re currently in the middle of a move, you don’t need me to tell you that moving is stressful. Having recently done it myself, I can relate. When our closing date was moved up a week, the stress escalated to borderline panic.

There are always moments of sadness that accompany a move. Sometimes they set upon us while we’re packing up mementos, handing over the keys, or saying goodbye to what is now technically, someone else’s house. For us, the saddest moment came early in the move, when our younger dog, Zohan, stared pitifully at us from the empty corner that used to house his toybox and his bed.

Moving puts a lot of stress on families - especially those members of our families that have four legs and fur. Here are some ways to make moving less harrowing for our pets. (Yes, I know you’re busy packing and you’ve got a million things to do and you’re freaking out. I’ll keep this one short. I promise. Put that box down. Breathe. That’s better.)

Try to stick to your pet’s normal routine.

The operative word here is try. When you’re showing your home, clutter is the devil. Prospective buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living their lives in your home. If their lives do not include pets, “pet stuff” could interfere with that process. We had a great realtor. Prior to listing, she walked through our house. While she’s also animal lover, and has dogs of her own, she cringed when she got to the den. The doggie blankets, doggie beds, doggie toys - it all had to go someplace else. It was our turn to cringe, but we knew she was right. It all went into the first box we packed. Hence the sad Zohan face two weeks into the process.

My advice? Don’t do what we did. While clutter is a no-no, it’s really only a deal-breaker in certain parts of the house. When we expressed concern about our train wreck of a home office, our realtor shrugged it off. “An office is an office is an office. Nobody cares.” What we should have done, was move all of the “pet stuff” to the office. The dogs would have found it, and it would have likely minimized the sense that their entire world was being turned upside down. Figure out your house’s “nobody cares” zone and move your pet’s belongings there. It’s still a change, but bigger changes are coming, so why not start with baby steps? Feed and walk your pets at the usual times, and don’t skip playtimes and cuddle times because you need to start packing. No, I haven’t forgotten that you’re busy and freaking out. But a brisk walk with the dog, or a play session with the cat can go a long way towards helping you relax a little. And when we calm down, they calm down. Everybody wins.

Don’t mess with litter boxes.

It makes perfect sense that a litter box could be potentially off-putting to a buyer. That being said, I would not recommend moving litter boxes. Cats generally do not like change, and can be picky about litter box locations as it is. While moving the box to the garage or laundry room may sound like a great idea, these locations tend to be noisy and hot. Just the stress of a move can trigger cystitis or urinary tract infections in an anxious kitty. Moving the litter box to an unfamiliar or unpleasant place could set her up for failure. And if she starts choosing other places in your home to answer nature’s call, you’ll have a much bigger problem than clutter. The smell of pet waste inside the house is a much bigger turn-off to potential buyers than the sight of a clean litter box.

Use sound judgement when moving things intended to keep your pet safe and secure. A baby gate or a kitty condo may be the only things keeping a frightened pet from bolting out the door. We were okay with stashing the beds and toys, but we drew the line at the baby gates. We figured any buyer that would judge the house by a baby gate would like tank the sale down the road over something entirely different. Do what you must to sell your house, but do it within reason.

Consider boarding, especially for cats.

If you’re hosting an open house, or have multiple showings within a few days’ time, consider the possibility that your pet may be happier elsewhere. Buyers will want to see everything, so locking the cat in the spare room or stashing the dog in the garage isn’t going to fly. Strangers will be walking through your pet’s perceived territory, and said strangers may or may not close doors behind them. A panicked cat might make a break for it. An anxious dog may revert to aggressive behaviors. A boarding facility or the home of a trusted friend may be better places for your pets (and you!) during such hectic times. Most importantly…

Don’t make yourself crazy.

We looked at about a dozen houses, most of which we walked away from figuring we could make it work. They were all nice, but our hearts were not singing. Our realtor urged us to keep looking. “When you find your house, you’ll know,” she told us. “Buyers always know.”

The next day we looked at a house that was tenant occupied. To put it mildly, it had not been dressed up for a sale! We stepped in dog poop on the way inside. The tenants were in the process of packing and were dancing around us, understandably annoyed by our constantly being in the way. The den was piled from floor to ceiling with packed boxes. A black Lab barked incessantly in the yard, while the resident toy poodle charged us. It was cluttered, dusty, noisy, and thanks to us, it smelled like dog poop. It was chaos. And it was perfect. The look on my wife’s face reflected what what I felt the minute we crossed the threshold: this was our house. We knew. Apparently, buyers always do.

While it’s never a bad idea to snazz up a property you’re selling, don’t do so at the expense of your pet’s safety or sense of security. Serious buyers will overlook a litter box or a Kong toy if their hearts are singing. And why wouldn’t they? There’s something magical about finding home, and knowing where you’re meant to be.

Just like us, when buyers know, they know.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him and email.

Click here to check out deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans!

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Cocoa]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:50:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/cocoa+potw+071815.PNG

Our pet of the week is Cocoa, a 3-year-old Chihuahua from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Cocoa is a very sweet, loving dog. He is a shelter staff favorite who loves to play. Cocoa would love to find a good lap in which to cuddle. He is a special needs dog with Addison's Disease, which requires one shot per month.

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

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

<![CDATA[Oldest Manatee in Captivity Celebrates 67th Birthday]]> Sat, 18 Jul 2015 14:11:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP906390832110.jpg

The city of Bradenton is celebrating the birthday of Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity.

Snooty, who lives at the South Florida Museum, turns 67 on July 21st. The city and museum are celebrating his birthday on Saturday.

Snooty is also celebrating his induction into the Guinness Book of World Records as the Oldest Living Manatee in Captivity.

He was born in Miami in 1948 and was moved to Manatee County a year later.

Wildlife experts say few manatees live past the age of 30 and most die in the wild before they turn 10.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[88 Cats Rescued from Hoarder Up For Adoption]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:09:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071715+cat+hoarding.jpg

Dozens of cats rescued from deplorable conditions in a Fort Lauderdale storage facility will soon be available for adoption.

88 cats were rescued after being found living in a bug-infested storage area without air conditioning.

Rescuers discovered stacks of crates, with numerous cats housed in each one. But despite the filthy conditions in which they were found, many of the cats are friendly and healthy.

The Humane Society of Broward County and the Broward Animal Care & Adoption Division have teamed up to help adopt these cats by offering a special "Purr-ever Home" event this weekend, where all of the adoption fees for the cats will be waived.

The event will take place July 18-19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Broward County Disaster Recovery Center, located at 3100 Northwest 19th Terrace in Pompano Beach. The center is used by Animal Care in special emergency situations.

"We will be taking our mobile spay/neuter unit and members of our veterinary team to the Pompano shelter on Friday to sterilize the felines that will be available for adoption over the weekend," said Christopher Agostino, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Broward County. "In addition, they will be vaccinated, micro-chipped and receive a Broward County Rabies Registration tag. HSBC adoption staff will also be available on Saturday and Sunday to assist with the adoptions. This is an unfortunate situation for these felines but thanks to the private support HSBC receives from its donors, we – and you – are able to help so pets like these can have a better future."

Officials with the Humane Society and Broward Animal Care will also be in need of foster parents for three of the cats with litters of kittens. Rescue organizations will also be asked to help take in any remaining cats.

"This situation is a prime example of how our shelters and the community can come together in order to provide a second chance for pets in need," said Lisa Mendheim, public education coordinator for Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division. "Together we are on a mission to ensure that these cats get the care and the homes they deserve.”

Fort Lauderdale Police are investigating the former owner of the cats.

<![CDATA["Bark at the Park" with Marlins, Broward Humane]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:50:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/marlins+bark+at+the+park+hsbc+071715.jpg

Dog owners looking for a tail-wagging good time can catch a ballgame with their four-legged friend this summer.

The Humane Society of Broward County has partnered with the Miami Marlins for "Bark at the Park," where fans can bring their dogs to cheer on the Fish as they take on the San Diego Padres on Sunday, August 2nd at 1:10 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for humans and $10 for dogs. All proceeds from the dog ticket sales will benefit the Humane Society of Broward County.

Tickets are only available at marlins.com/specialevents and must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be available at the HSBC shelter or the stadium.

All dogs must have current vaccinations and display their current valid rabies tag. Owners must bring their dogs' rabies certificates. Dogs who do not have proper proof of rabies vaccination may be prohibited from entering Marlins Park.

<![CDATA[Last Chance Dogs at Broward Animal Care]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:54:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/200*120/grover+071715.PNG

Eight dogs at Broward County Animal Care are considered "last call" and are in need of urgent adoption or rescue. The adoption fee for all of these dogs has been waived!

Grover is a loveable, sweet American Staffordshire Terrier who is searching for a best friend! He is 2 years old and weighs 49 pounds. Grover is very friendly, and enjoys playing with other dogs. Need a low-maintenance dog? He even appears to be completely housebroken, so he's ready to move right in!

Charlie is a handsome, unique-looking fellow who gets along with pretty much everybody! He's a 3-year-old German Shepherd/Sharpei mix who weighs 53 pounds. Charlie is well-socialized, loves people, and gets along great with other dogs!

Gonzo is a happy, sweet dog who just loves attention! He's a 4-year-old, 50-pound American Staffordshire Terrier who is very friendly with both humans and canines. Gonzo walks well on a leash and would make a wonderful walking partner. He was even our Featured Pet on NBC6! Click here to watch just how sweet this loving boy can be!

Darby is an energetic puppy who is always ready to play! He weighs 53 pounds and is just eight months old. Darby loves people and other dogs, and would make the perfect companion for an active family that loves the outdoors. He'd also make a fantastic running buddy!

Dewey is a super friendly Labrador mix who is always excited to play! He is almost 2 years old, and weighs 50 pounds. Dewey has a mild disfigurement from an old head injury, but he doesn't let that stop him from enjoying life! He loves people and other dogs, and hopes someone will give him a chance.

Baby Cakes is a fun, energetic Cane Corso who loves to give hugs! This big boy is just one year old, weighing 77 pounds. Baby Cakes is a total sweetheart who likes other dogs, but because he is so active, he might do best as the only pet. He has bilateral cherry eyes that can be removed with surgery. Baby Cakes would make a great addition to an active household!

Balfor is a well-mannered boy that has a lot of love to give! He is a 2.5-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who weighs 57 pounds. This gentleman is a total sweetheart who would love the chance to be the perfect dog for a lucky family!

Rocky a tiny little bundle of joy who loves a good belly rub! This 1.5-year-old Miniature Pinscher weighs just 18 pounds, and is an all-around happy little guy. He gets along with other dogs, but would do best in a home without small children.

Broward Animal Care and Adoption is located at 1870 SW 39th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on adopting animals from Broward Animal Care, visit their website or call (954) 359-1313.

<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets from the Humane Society of Broward County]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:54:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Bones+533545.jpg Adoptable Pets from the Humane Society of Broward County]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - July 15, 2015]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:41:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/162*120/Coco+A15053551.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets -July 15, 2015]]> <![CDATA[Beachgoers, Firefighters Save Dog on Tampa Beach]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 03:50:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071515+dog+cpr.jpg

A yellow Labrador retriever is alive thanks to fast-acting bystanders and local firefighters on a Tampa beach.

The dramatic rescue on Davis Island, captured on video, shows several people surrounding the dog while a man and woman perform CPR on the pooch. 

Ignacio Torano, a local resident who recorded the rescue and posted it on YouTube, said the dog drank too much water while swimming and had stopped breathing. 

Tampa Fire Rescue responded to the scene and gave the dog oxygen.

After a minute, a bystander is heard saying "she's back up." The Labrador is expected to be OK.

Photo Credit: Ignacio Torano
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<![CDATA[Coral Gables Fire Crew Rescues Kitten]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:25:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kitten+rescue_FB.jpg

Members of the Coral Gables Fire Department assisted in a heartwarming animal rescue earlier this month.

On July 3, crew members rescued a baby kitten from underneath a vehicle's rear suspension.

Lt. Greg Atwood, along with Joe Campbell and Ishmael Roig, both paramedics, were informed by several shoppers that they heard cat-like sounds coming from underneath a parked vehicle at the Publix parking lot.

The crew determined the kitten was stuck in the vehicle's suspension.

After several failed attempts to lure the kitten out with food, Roig was able to reach the kitten and pull him out from the vehicle.

It's unclear whether the kitten was stuck underneath the vehicle while it was traveling, or crawled into the space while it was parked in the lot.

Once rescued, the kitten was immediately adopted by a bystander on site.

Photo Credit: Coral Gables Fire Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog With Wheelchair Found Wandering in Miami-Dade]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:03:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071515+wandering+dog+with+wheelchair+miami-dade.jpg

Miami-Dade Animal Services is looking for the owner of a dog with a homemade wheelchair that was found wandering.

The dog ended up at Animal Services as a stray but had been recently groomed and cleaned, and was outfitted with the wheelchair.

Officials said it appeared the dog was cared for but had possibly wandered off by accident.

Anyone who recognizes the dog is asked to call Miami-Dade Animal Services at 305-884-1101 or email pets@miamidade.gov.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[PBC Man Cited for Keeping Loggerhead Turtles in Tank]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:20:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071515+loggerhead+turtle+babies+in+tank+jupiter.jpg

A Palm Beach County man was cited for keeping Loggerhead sea turtles in a home aquarium.

After receiving a tip from a concerned citizen, officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission visited the Jupiter home to find two Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings being kept in a home saltwater aquarium.

According to FWC, the tank owner took the turtles from a canal behind his house earlier this year and reportedly put them in the tank to show his daughter.

The man told officials he intended to release the turtles, but grew attached to them and decided to keep them instead.

Officers seized the turtles and transported them to Loggerhead Marine Life Sanctuary Center. The animals were ultimately released offshore, and the tank owner was cited accordingly.

The Loggerhead sea turtle is classified as a threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act. Federal law strictly prohibits taking, selling, transferring, bothering or otherwise harassing Loggerhead turtles, their nests or their eggs.

FWC is reminding people that if you suspect that someone is violating a fish, wildlife, boating or environmental law, report it to FWC's Wildlife Alert Program by texting or emailing Tip@MyFWC.com, calling 888-404-FWCC or dialing *FWC from your cell phone.

Photo Credit: FWC]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Activists Demand No-Kill Shelter in Miami-Dade]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:50:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071415+animal+shelter+generic.jpg

Animal activists were out in force Tuesday at a Miami-Dade Commission meeting to demand a no-kill shelter in the county.

Dozens of animal supporters wearing red attended the meeting to pressure commissioners and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez into increasing funding for the project.

In 2012, Miami-Dade voters approved a referendum for a slight tax increase to establish a no-kill shelter, but it was a non-binding vote.

"We have the money and the voters approved it, and we sit and we do nothing and you know what, it is murder, because life is life, these are God's living creatures," activist Rima Bardawil said.

Gimenez said they are making progress in the rate at which they're saving stray animals, but he's not interested in raising taxes for the no-kill plan.

"I am not willing to raise the taxes, we are going to achieve the same things without raising taxes," he said.

Activists said they will continue to push for the shelter.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Gonzo]]> Sun, 12 Jul 2015 14:38:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gonzo+potw+071215.PNG

Our pet of the week is Gonzo, a 4-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a loving home.

Gonzo is a happy, sweet dog. He loves to wag his tail when he gets attention. Gonzo walks well on a leash and would love to be someone's walking or jogging partner.

Gonzo's adoption fee includes neutering, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website

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

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Tex and Rex]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:59:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/tex+rex+potw+071115.PNG

Our pets of the week are Tex and Rex, two puppies from Miami-Dade Animal Services who are looking for forever homes.

The pups are both two months old. Tex and Rex are both friendly and love attention. Shelter staff believe the dogs will be small to medium sized dogs once fully grown.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Tex or Rex, or any other animal, call 305-884-1101 or visit the Miami-Dade Animal Services website

The shelter is located at 7401 Northwest 74th Street in Miami. Adoption hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more animal news, visit the NBC6 All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Why Ticks Are a Threat to Your Entire Family]]> Mon, 13 Jul 2015 07:20:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ticks+sabal+chase+071015.jpg

Earlier this year, as the country began to thaw, veterinarians were warned to expect an especially high “tick bloom”. Sure enough, as warm winters in the south and record snowfall in the north gave way to sizzling spring and summer temperatures, a perfect storm for an increase in tick populations was born.

While those of us here in Miami and Broward have grown accustomed to three-day “winters”, our neighbors to the north were taken by surprise. New England got more snowfall in the month of February than they usually receive all year.

How could bugs that spend the winter hibernating underground possibly survive one of the harshest winters in recorded history? In point of fact, the snow actually helped them! The back-to-back blizzards led to months worth of snow cover, which insulated ground temperatures against the frigid, arctic air. Ticks are tough, extremely adaptable and more plentiful than ever before.

There’s something intrinsically cringe-worthy about the sight of a tick feeding on a pet. As one of my nurses so eloquently puts it, “They’re just nasty!” But even nastier are diseases they carry, and the fact that a single tick can carry several of them at once.

Perhaps the most well-known tick-borne illness is Lyme disease. Thankfully, Lyme disease is seldom seen here in Dade and Broward Counties. But make no mistake - Lyme is prevalent in the rest of the state. While there is a vaccine that protects dogs against Lyme disease, it is not generally recommended here in our area. If, however, you plan to take your pet north of Broward County, you may want to contact some local veterinary hospitals and ask for their recommendations.

Start your research early, as not all veterinary hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties stock the vaccine. If you choose to vaccinate, bear in mind that the same species of ticks responsible for Lyme disease can carry other diseases as well. Additionally, the vaccine does not protect against all known strains of Lyme. For the most effective protection, ask your vet which types of topical or chewable preventatives he/she recommends, and get those on board as well.

Tell your regular veterinarian if your dog has been to an area where Lyme disease is common. Since it is so rarely seen in our area, it is not always a primary rule out when diagnosing a sick pet. For the CDC’s most recent map of reported cases of Lyme disease, click here.

Many of my clients struggle with the decision of whether or not they should vaccinate against Lyme disease. For what it’s worth, I do not routinely vaccinate my own two dogs, as they rarely travel north of our Dade County zip code. That being said, when we brought them with us to a ranch in Ocala, we made absolutely certain they were vaccinated. Ditto for the dog-friendly trip to St. Augustine.

Lyme disease is a threat to humans as well as well as pets - bring repellents for the entire family, and don’t give in if the kids protest their use.

The most common tick seen in South Florida is the brown dog tick. These critters can carry ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and babesiosis, the latter of which appears to be on the rise. Signs of these tick-borne diseases are varied and vague. The more common symptoms are anemia, lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, pale gums and bruising. Lameness, joint swelling, and nosebleeds can appear in dogs who have been incubating tick-borne diseases for longer periods of time.

These ticks are everywhere in South Florida, so don’t be lured into a false sense of security if your pet would rather be indoors. In the time it takes Fluffy to “do her business” in the yard, a few greedy ticks will happily hitch a ride. And just like their canine hosts, brown dog ticks thrive inside our houses. In fact they’d love nothing more than to raise their children and grandchildren in the fabrics and baseboards of your happy, air-conditioned home! This is what’s known as an infestation, and it can happen faster than you can say “but my house is clean.” Ticks love a clean house as much as we do. Take prevention seriously.

Lone star ticks, a.k.a “seed ticks” are another common pest in Southern Florida. These guys are not picky about their food sources. In addition to dogs and cats, the lone star tick loves to feed on squirrels, rabbits, and ground-feeding birds. These hosts will often bring the ticks into our yards, where they will eagerly search for their next meal. While this might include our pets, it can also include us and our children.

These delightful creatures often feed in groups or “swarms”, and it is not unusual for a person to pick up 20 to several hundred seed ticks at a time. Lone star ticks carry ehrlichiosis, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Contrary to what the name implies, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is NOT a “western” disease. It has been found throughout the U.S. and Canada, and is especially common in the Southeastern United States. While infected humans tend to develop rashes, infected dogs do not. The most common clinical signs in dogs include neurological problems and joint stiffness.

The American dog tick is another carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Additionally this bug secretes a toxic substance that can cause temporary paralysis when it attaches to the base of the skull or spinal column. This is known as “tick paralysis” and has been seen in children as well as pets. Fortunately, the paralysis resolves within a day or two or removing the offending tick.

Cat owners, take note - contrary to popular belief, cats can and do get ticks. While cats are indeed meticulous groomers, ticks literally hang on for dear life. They can be carried into the house by humans and dogs, and outdoor cats are at an even higher risk.

As I mentioned before, the lone star tick is not picky about its host. And the American dog tick is the likely carrier of an emerging tick-borne disease called cytauxzoonis. This new disease is poorly understood, but is becoming a threat to cats in certain states - including Florida. Symptoms include lethargy, anorexia, depression, dehydration, fever, weakness and collapse.

There is no known cure or documented effective treatment. Mortality rates are nearly 100 percent and most infected cats succumb to the disease within seven days of the onset of clinical signs. Prevention is the only protection we can offer them, so when you’re picking up preventatives for the dogs in your life, please do not forget about your cats!

Most tick-borne diseases have the potential to affect humans as well as pets. So remember, you’re not just protecting your dogs and cats - you’re protecting yourself and your family as well.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here to check out deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans! 

Photo Credit: Sabal Chase Animal Clinic]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Fire Rescue Saves Puppy Stuck in Drain]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 16:44:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071015+puppy+stuck+in+drain+miami+fire+rescue1.jpg

Miami Fire Rescue crews saved one lucky puppy who became stuck in a storm drain late Thursday night.

Two people were driving in the area of Northwest Second Court and 77th Street around 11 p.m Thursday when they say they heard the heartbreaking cries of an animal in distress, witnesses said.

They followed the sound, and spotted a small, black puppy soaking wet and stuck inside a storm drain desperately trying to climb out.

Miami Fire Rescue teams were called to the scene. They lowered a ladder into the drain and were able to retrieve the scared pup.

It was not immediately known how or why the puppy ended up in the drain.

A kind neighbor volunteered to take in the puppy and offered it food and a warm bath.

Photo Credit: Miami Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Seaquarium Seeks Name for Baby Manatee]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 08:12:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/manatee+article+pic_edited-1.jpg

The Miami Seaquarium introduced the newest member of the family Wednesday — a rescued orphaned baby manatee — and they are asking the public’s help in giving her a fitting name.

The female orphaned baby manatee was rescued on June 19 from the Outer Clam Bay in Naples after she was observed without a mother. As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, the Miami Seaquarium provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

Elle, Emoji, Gigabyte, Junebug and Prodigy are the five names Miami Seaquarium is asking the public to vote on.

Voting will take place from July 8 to August 14 on their website. The winner will be announced on August 17, 2015.

Which name is your favorite? Tweet us @nbc6!

Photo Credit: Miami Seaquarium ]]>
<![CDATA[Puppy Rescued From Roof Seeks Home ]]> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 08:48:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/07062015+puppy+on+roof1.JPG

Just Jacks Rescue is now accepting adoption applications for 10-week old puppy "Indy," the easy-going, energetic Fido who was rescued from the roof of an abandoned house last weekend.

On the Fourth of July, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue received a phone call that there was a puppy on the roof of a house. Normally used to dealing with fiery rooftops, MDFR had the unfamiliar task of handling the frightened pup.

After being rescued in front of a crowd of dozens of people, the pooch was taken to the fire station and Just Jacks Rescue was called.

“He's a fairly healthy puppy,"  said Jennifer Woolman, from Just Jacks Rescue.  He's about 10 weeks old.  He's very high energy, extremely loving, and he gets along with cats and dogs.”

How Indy wound up on top of the single-story house is a mystery, but there's a theory as to how it happened.

“The assumption by fire rescue is that someone actually threw him up there,” said Woolman. “They said there was absolutely no possible way he could have climbed."

To submit an application to adopt Indy, log on to Just Jacks Rescue’s Facebook page. He has reportedly received his shots, will be neutered, and is looking for a forever home.

<![CDATA[WATCH: GoPro Captures "Twiggy" the Waterskiing Squirrel]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:59:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/070315+twiggy+squirrel+gopro+waterskis+youtube.jpg

"Twiggy" the Squirrel is the real MVP.

Voted Most Valuable Pet at this year's X Games Austin, "Twiggy" took to the water to show off her sick waterskiing skills for the crowd.

The video was posted to GoPro's YouTube channel on Thursday and was shot "100 percent on the HERO4 camera from GoPro."

Since then, the video has been viewed more than 260,000 times.

Photo Credit: GoPro/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Last Chance Dogs & Cats at Broward Animal Care]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 11:41:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/ROXY+A1748251.jpg

Fifteen animals at Broward County Animal Care are considered "last call" and are in need of urgent adoption or rescue. The adoption fee for all of these dogs (and one cat) has been waived!

Roxy is an incredibly sweet and gentle American Staffordshire Terrier with lots of love to give! She is 3 years old and weighs 58 pounds. Roxy gets along great with both people and other dogs. She would love to find a new home, and would adapt well with any kind of family.

Tucker is a happy puppy with lots of energy! This 8-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier is 43 pounds of fun. Tucker loves to play, and gets along wonderfully with people and other dogs.

Sir Waggins earned his name at the shelter with good reason: he wags his happy tail all the time! He is a 1-year-old Pointer who is athletic and loves to play ball. Sir Waggins weighs 41 pounds and plays well with other dogs as well. This happy boy can't wait to show you just how excited he is to meet you!

Mali is a beautiful, sweet girl who would love to find a forever family. She is a 3-year-old, 45-pound American Staffordshire Terrier mix who is full of love. She really enjoys play time with shelter volunteers, and gets along great with the dogs in her play group as well!

Simba is a striking, gorgeous dog with one blue eye and one brown eye! This 2-year-old, 65-pound American Staffordshire Terrier mix is super sweet and loves to give hugs and kisses! He loves being around people and other dogs, and has a blast during playtime.

Flynn is a handsome 5-year-old Labrador mix. He is 67 pounds of love, and really enjoys being around people and other dogs. Flynn is a quiet, calm boy who can't wait to find a family of his very own.

Bishop is that loyal pet every dog lover would want. This handsome American Staffordshire Terrier is just 1 year old and weighs 56 pounds. Bishop has excellent doggie manners and a wonderful disposition. This good-natured boy would fit in with any kind of family.

Sweetie is a 2-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who stays true to her name! This gentle 53-pound girl truly loves everyone she meets. Sweetie plays and eats well with other dogs, and even walks well on a leash.

Fiona is 5-year-old Labrador mix who is eager to please! She weighs 50 pounds and loves to have fun during playtime with volunteers and other dogs. Fiona is very calm and gentle, and will be the perfect pet for any family.

Coby is a friendly dog who is just bursting with energy! He is a 1-year-old Shepherd mix who weighs 35 pounds. Coby would fit in perfectly with an active family who can give him daily exercise and stimulation. He gets along well with other dogs, and would make a great jogging partner!

Terry is a lovable 3-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier. Weighing 61 pounds, this gentle boy is a little shy at first. But once he warms up to you, his wonderful disposition shines through! Terry would love to find a forever family!

Waldo is a handsome puppy who needs some help! This 10-month-old, 37-pound Golden Retriever mix is sadly heartworm positive, but he'll be perfectly fine once he receives treatment. Waldo is a calm, mild-mannered boy who is a little timid with new people and new surroundings. But he is a sweet puppy who just needs a kind, patient family to help bring him out of his shell.

Black Beauty is a gorgeous, athletic Labrador Retriever mix. She is just 1 year old and weighs 40 pounds. Black Beauty doesn't just have good looks, she has a great personality to match! She is good-natured, calm and sweet. She gets along very well with other dogs as well.

Sam Smith is a handsome American Staffordshire Terrier who is full of personality! He is 1 year old and weighs 44 pounds. Sam is a friendly boy who gets along well with people and other dogs. He will be a fantastic pet for any family!

Joan is a beautiful 2-year-old Tabby who really needs a forever family! She has been at a Pet Supermarket location, but was constantly overlooked because of her shyness. Joan would hide in the hooded litter box during the day while customers were in the store, and would only come out to eat, drink and stretch at night. Sadly, this routine meant very few people got the chance to see how sweet Joan really is. She loves being petted and is very affectionate, and actually really likes being around people.

Broward Animal Care and Adoption is located at 1870 SW 39th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on adopting animals from Broward Animal Care, visit their website or call (954) 359-1313. 

<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets, July 9, 2015]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 14:03:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Magento+533526.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Broward County]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Take a Turtle's-Eye View of the Great Barrier Reef]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:53:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ezgif-TurtleCam.gif

Take a tour of Australia's Great Barrier Reef with a turtle as your guide.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Australia chapter released a video Monday that gives a turtle’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef.

A GoPro camera was attached to the shell of a green sea turtle whose underwater swim shows the diverse flora and fauna of the reef.

The conservation organization released the video in the run-up to the World Heritage Committee’s vote whether to put Australia on probation until the health of the reef improves.

WWF-Australia’s Draw the Line campaign petition garnered 563,480 signatures from 177 countries. The campaign’s supporters are “drawing the line” over continued dredging, shipping, port development and pollution of the reef.

On Wednesday, the World Heritage Committee voted to place Australia on probation and provided a timeline on its expectations for the reef’s improved health.

The Australian government has until 2016 to show that the reef’s health is improving and has until 2019 to show that the reef’s decline has stopped outright. Failure to achieve these goals could lead the committee to vote to designate the reef as an “in-danger” site in 2020. The World Heritage Committee selected the reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Incidentally, the green sea turtle featured in WWF-Australia’s video is listed as endangered. Although the species is not endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, there are two genetically distinct populations of the turtle residing in the region, both of which are currently under threat as a result of the reef’s continued degradation.

<![CDATA[2015 World's Ugliest Dog Contest]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 01:52:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Ugliest-Dog-Contest-SD-26-June-2015-5.jpg Dogs of all shapes and hairstyles gathered for the World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Petaluma, California.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Helping Pets Survive the Dog Days of Summer]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:14:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kupkee+summer+062815.jpg

While the expression “dog days of summer” may have its roots in Ancient Roman astronomy, there’s a reason it has remained a part of our modern day vernacular - this time of the year is very tough on our canine companions.

Statistically speaking, summer is the time of year when most dog bites to children occur. Longer days, vacations from school, and visits to friends and family increase the odds of children encountering dogs with whom they may not be familiar. Many assume that behaviors which are tolerated by their own dogs, will be welcomed by any dog they meet.

For a dog that is fearful, or who is not familiar with children, normal childhood behaviors can be downright terrifying. Many dog bites to children happen during the course of activities that children consider “nice”. Hugging, kissing, chasing, cuddling, and sharing toys can easily be perceived as threats to a dog that is dealing with an unfamiliar child.

Parents should encourage children not to approach dogs they don’t know, but rather, let the dog come to them. Encourage children to stand still without touching, talking to, or looking at the dog, while the dog checks them out by smelling them.

My wife likes to tell kids “dogs say hi with their noses, so let him say hi to you first.” For reasons I will not pretend to understand, kids get a huge kick out of this. I’ve never seen a child give her a hard time over it, and the greetings always go well - even with our reactive dog.

Dog owners, if you’re expecting a visit from youngsters, use common sense. If your dog doesn’t do well around children, don’t set him up for failure. Make arrangements for boarding, or better yet, call a certified professional dog trainer to work on his problems before your guests arrive. Regardless of whether or not you are a parent, children are a part of society and our dogs should know how to behave towards them. Remember, even if a bite is provoked, Florida’s Damages by Dogs Law places the responsibility - and liability - on dog owners. In other words, if our dogs cause injury, it is we who are held accountable.

If your dog is a social butterfly who loves running amok with the kids, your biggest summer concern could be the threat of heat stroke. Unlike their human counterparts, dogs are not capable of sweating profusely to regulate their body temperatures. Additionally, temperatures close to the ground can be anywhere between 10 and 40 degrees hotter than what is officially recorded. This puts even small dogs at a high risk for heat exhaustion.

Brachiocephalic, or “smushy-faced” breeds are at a higher risk as well. Pugs, shih-tzus, French bulldogs, and even the big guys such as boxers and American bulldogs, all fall into this category. Panting requires extra effort for these breeds, and panting is one of the few mechanisms available to dogs for regulating their body temperatures.

Regardless of breed, monitor your dog’s outdoor activities carefully. Provide plenty of shade and fresh drinking water. A plastic kiddie pool for cooling down is always appreciated by dogs. Avoid prolonged outdoor activities in the heat of the day, and for the love of everything holy, do NOT leave pets alone in the car. There are a variety of cutesy memes making the rounds on social media portraying dogs in cars bearing notes “signed” by the canine occupant. The notes assure passers-by that the A/C is running and they are listening to their favorite band, so please don’t call the cops or smash the windows. Lol.

A client who serves on our local police force relayed a story of a poodle who was left in an air-conditioned car. The poodle decided to explore the dashboard, and accidentally stepped on the button that controlled the A/C compressor. The compressor turned off. Within minutes the unit began blasting hot air into the car. A Good Samaritan called 911. The police arrived, smashed the window, and rushed the unconscious dog to the nearest veterinary hospital. Sadly, her internal organs had already begun to shut down, and she did not survive.

Life is chaotic. Things go wrong. This poor dog’s owner thought she was doing everything right, and perhaps she was. Air conditioners fail for all sorts of reasons and always, it seems, at the worst possible times. Just don’t leave your pets in the car. Ever.

If blistering heat and spirited children aren’t enough to make our pets crazy, there’s those afternoon thunderstorms that should be starting to flare up any day now. For some pets, this is a surefire sign of the Apocalypse. If your dog or cat suffers from storm anxiety, the most important thing you can do is provide them with a safe space where they feel protected from both the sound of thunder, and the electrical charges that accompany these storms.

In most cases, a crate in the corner of a closet works wonders. Line it with blankets and fill it with fun toys and treats. If you find that your pet hides in a bathtub or shower stall during a storm, do not discourage this seemingly bizarre behavior. The tile actually acts as insulation against the charges that naturally occur during an electrical storm. Your pet is in fact, self-soothing and their choice to do so should be rewarded.

The Thundershirt is a tight-fitting garment for pets that mimics the swaddling techniques used to comfort autistic children. We have one for our younger dog, and it does seem to help.

Storms also provide a great opportunity to go through any obedience or trick training commands. By doing things they love to do and are good at doing, they achieve a sense of mastery that builds their confidence. They also learn to associate storms with playtime, and gives them something to focus on, other than the storm event.

If your pet is too anxious for these methods to be effective, there are veterinary pharmaceuticals that can help him weather the storms. Modern veterinary practice has moved away from the use of sedatives, and towards the use of anti-anxiety medications. These drugs, while more effective and humane, can take two weeks or more to take effect. Additionally, doses may need to be adjusted before the optimal benefits are observed. It is also important to note that all drugs of this nature are intended to be used in conjunction with behavioral training. Simply giving a pill will not work.

Since our rainy season seems to be arriving later this year, there’s still time to get ahead of the game. With the right kind of training and a certain amount of “chemical courage” we can help our companions weather the dog days of summer.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here to check out great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans!

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Hillary]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:38:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/hillary+potw+062815.PNG

Our pet of the week is Hillary, a 5-year-old shepherd mix at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a loving home.

Hillary is a mellow girl who is very well-behaved. She is calm, loves attention, and is already housebroken. Hillary is ready to move right in, and will make a wonderful family pet.

Hillary's adoption fee includes spaying, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt her or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website.

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

<![CDATA[German Shepherd Recovering After Being Shot]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:10:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dog+shot2.jpg

A family's German Shepherd was recovering Friday night after being shot multiple times and Miami-Dade County Animal Services is hoping the public will help find the shooter.

Investigators say the dog, names Oso, was intentionally shot twice Thursday morning outside his home near 27th Avenue and Northwest 123rd Street.

The Miami-Dade County Animal Services veterinarian amputated Oso's leg but said the dog is expected to make a full recovery.

The shooter will face criminal charges for animal cruelty.

If you have any information about the shooting call Enforcement Supervisor Sean Gallagher at (305) 418-7184 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Burned Cat, Rescued Chihuahuas in Need of New Homes]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:12:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+adoption+hsbc+062615.jpg

Eleven rescued animals at the Humane Society of Broward County are in need of loving homes.

"Love Bug", a 1-year-old striped cat, suffered burns on nearly 40 percent of her face. She was originally found by Broward County Animal Care, where officials noted she smelled like motor oil. It is possible Love Bug was burned by crawling under a car or in a car engine to escape the summer sun.

Three Chihuahuas are in need of a new home after their owner passed away. Honey, Freddie and Oreo, ages 7, 9 and 10 respectively, are sweet and affectionate. All three are available for immediate adoption.

Seven other Chihuahuas, ages ranging between 5 to 10 years old, were surrendered because the owner had "too many pets." HSBC and another rescue stepped in to assist Broward Animal Care with the dogs. Each dog received vaccinations and comprehensive medical reports after examination.

All of the animals are available for adoption at the Humane Society of Broward County. All adoptions include vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt any of these animals, contact the Humane Society at (954) 989-3977, or visit their website

Photo Credit: Humane Society of Broward County]]>
<![CDATA[It's Take Your Dog to Work Day!]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:14:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/95572844.jpg

Friday marks the 17th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Created by Pet Sitters International, the event is meant to "celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote their adoptions."

Since it's first celebration in 1999, Take Your Dog to Work Day has expanded to accommodate cat lovers, and any other pet parents.

We want to see photos of the dogs that are bringing joy to your workplaces! Email your dog photos to isee@nbc6.com or Tweet/Instagram us using the hashtags #TakeYourDog and #NBC6. We may use your photos in a gallery on our website!

For more information, visit Take Your Dog to Work Day on the web, Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets, June 25, 2015]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 20:40:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Belle+518535+copy.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Broward County]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets-June 24, 2015]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:22:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*128/Anylu+A1218048.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at Miami-Dade Animal Services.]]>