Saturday, December 30, 2017

Protect animals in cold weather


With expected freezing temperatures approaching Acadiana this New Year’s weekend, the Lafayette Animal Shelter and Control Center (LASCC) urges pet owners to evaluate shelter conditions for outside pets. Providing proper shelter for outside animals is not only the right thing to do, it’s the law.

Within Lafayette Parish, owners are required by ordinance to shelter animals “from the elements so as to prevent unnecessary or unjustified pain or suffering.”

Specifically for outdoor dogs, sufficient bedding material or other means of protection from the elements must be provided when the weather is colder than what a dog of that breed and condition will comfortably tolerate and that will allow the dog to retain body heat. Bedding material must be kept clean and dry.
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Monday, December 25, 2017

Care for all animals this festive season


South Africans are asked to be sensitive, compassionate and to exert kindness throughout the festive
season with regard to animals — all animals.
One focus at this time of year is the role of food in celebrations.
Consumers are asked to be responsible and to be aware of “production methods” so that their choices
are informed and compassionate, generating demand and growth for humanely produced foods.

The excessive heat and the drought continue and affect animals.
The NSPCA asks that reports of suffering are submitted timeously.
This not only relates to animals on farms but to working animals including so-called guard dogs who
may be suffering on duty in adverse weather conditions.

“Compassion comes in all forms and we ask for consideration towards all creatures and the promotion
of responsible behaviour.

“Choose activities that do not exploit animals in any way.
“Even if an animal may not be harmed, we ask people to consider if petting lion cubs is ethical and to
look at the bigger picture.

“This is just one example,” said Christine Kuch, from the NSPCA.
Above all, South Africans are asked to leave animals out of any festivities or promotions.
“It is of grave concern that a ‘competition’ has come to light with a live sheep as a prize.

“Over and above the welfare concerns are the moral issues and what this demonstrates regarding the
‘value’ of animals.
“They are not commodities and this includes the age-old appeal not to give live animals as gifts,” Kuch
said.

The National Council of SPCAs and the SPCA movement operate throughout the festive season.
It is the time of year when resources are stretched.

Staff continue to undertake routine duties of response to information involving alleged cruelty, neglect
or abuse of animals, matters which escalate at this time.
There is response to emergencies and also ensuring that there is provision of care to all animals.

This includes animals in “captive facilities” including laboratories.
“Please ensure that any animals you may have are given the best of care.
“Make sure their vaccinations are up to date which is a condition of reputable boarding facilities, as
well as a basic precaution to ensure the animal’s well-being.

“It is essential that their every need is catered for whether you are with them or away during this
period.

“Also include a back-up plan in case of injury, illness or any other unforeseen eventuality,” Kuch said.
The public is urged to take a responsible route when adopting animals.

This is where warnings are issued especially regarding online purchasing of pets.
So many are advertised and so many problems arise not only in welfare terms but also documented
cases of scams.

“Offering to meet someone in a car park to hand over an animal ought to send out warning signals.
“Far too often, people approach the NSPCA for assistance, having paid upfront or given cash without a
receipt, only to find the animal is in extremely poor health and they are unable to trace the seller.

“We recommend microchip identification as the ideal gift if an animal does not already have this form
of permanent tamper-proof identification which is also proof of ownership,” Kuch said.
Carry the number of your local SPCA with you on your cellphone.
Even if this is not the appropriate SPCA, they can forward the information quickly.

Above all, please report concerns regarding abused, neglected or cruelly treated animals by phone.
Every SPCA has an all-hours emergency number.

Emails and Facebook cannot be monitored around the clock and time lost in terms of response means
that an animal has suffered.

The identity of an informant is always kept confidential.
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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Animal accidents cost millions


They might be man's best friend but dogs have been involved in 11,741 accidents where people claimed an injury through the Accident Compensation Corporation.
The accidents happened over 12 months, from November 2016 to October this year. In total ACC accepted 55,472 claims related to animals, costing $12.5 million.

According to figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act, there were also more than 28,000 insect accidents, 5328 injuries caused by cats, 4750 injuries from spiders, 2687 related to horses, 1561 for cattle and 89 accidents involving deer.

Puncture wounds, stings, and lacerations were the most common type of injury caused by an animal, with 35,655 claims.

The next was an occupational disease or infection, with 11,436 claims.

Some of the more serious accidents included 12 people who needed amputation or surgery to remove an eye, four people who suffered deafness, 112 people who sustained a concussion or head injury, and five people who had a nervous shock or mental injury.

Other types of accidents claimed for incidents involving animals included burns or scalds, 5; fractures and dislocation, 839; dental injuries, 608; inhalation and ingestion accidents, 983 and soft tissue injuries, 32.

Children had the highest number of accidents with 8320 claims for zero to 4-year-olds, followed by 5-9-year-olds with 6679 injuries.

More than 750 people aged 85-plus also suffered accidents involving animals, and overall 30,963 claimants were female and 24,509 male.

The total cost of treatment was $7.49m broken down by:

• Medical $6.7m;
• Hospital $571,106;
• Dental $220,193.

ACC chief customer officer Mike Tully said dog-related injuries often happened while the canine pets were off leash and at the park.

"A number of those accidents happen when dogs are outdoors enjoying the freedom, going for a good run, picking up speed and banging into somebody.

"An injury can occur, particularly around the knee."

Tully warned walkers and dog owners to be wary the animals often don't stop in time.

"Just be careful of dogs running toward you, they can be a bit slow to brake. They just don't move.

"Therefore as the dog owner, trying to be conscious of that, that unless your dog is going to listen to you that you may be better sometimes saying to the person where your dog is running to, please step aside or get out of the way."

Tully said people needed to be aware it did not take a big pooch to cause an accident with serious injury.

"Once they've got speed on and they connect with a human being, big or small they can cause some damage."

His warning around horses, cattle and other big animals was to use common sense.

"If you're a farmer, you're around horses, you're around cattle, you generally know how to handle yourself and the stock.

"If you're new to that... I have seen people think 'Well I can pat the horse so therefore I could climb over and get a photo' etc but if you don't know the animal you're dealing with we'd really ask that you keep your distance and use common sense."

Tully said the number of injuries from animals were not increasing but there was often a fluctuation in dog-related injuries.

He issued a warning for pet owners over the Christmas holidays.

"Kids are excited and when kids are excited dogs can get excited. Just be aware of the odd nip and scratch that could occur and we do see that come through ACC at this time of year."
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