Praises and Piddles is where we provide our honest opinion about all kinds of things dealing with companion animals. Whether you agree or disagree, drop us a note and tell us how you feel.
Praises to...Rescue Groups
These folks give time, effort, money and hearts to help animals in need. If you are looking for a new best friend, check out the many Florida rescue groups we've listed on FloridaPets.
Declawing is amputation, period. No way around it. And yes, we know veterinarians perform onychectomies (declawing surgery) all the time, so how could it be bad, right?
First of all, it's pricey, sometimes costing several hundred dollars. Spaying and neutering are less expensive, but people often complain about the cost of that. Then there's the actual procedure: declawing a cat is a grotesque, maiming sort of surgery. Kitty's toes are actually amputated, at the last joint. It can cause a cat to have chronic pain for the rest of his/her life.
And if those things don't deter someone from demanding the declawing surgery, it's worth noting that declawed cats are more likely to develop litter box, biting or other behavioral issues, sometimes the very reasons people decide to have a cat declawed in the first place!
But don't just take our word for it, educate yourself on this topic. For some terrific resources, check out De-clawing.com, a clearinghouse for online information about declawing.
Piddles to...Classifieds that allow "Free to a good home" pet listings
We have opposed this practice for decades and it still goes on. Often people are actually profiting from these listings! While we try and educate those we personally come in contact with, it's a constant challenge.
Recently, a moderator of a for-free-stuff board defiantly informed us she thought having free pets on the board gave people a chance to get a "good" pet and anything was better than ending up at the "pound." Well, here at FloridaPets.net, we're more concerned with pets getting good people and there certainly are worse fates than an animal shelter where staff check out potential adopters before just handing an animal over.
When many people want a dog or cat, or other pet GONE so badly they'll give the poor thing away, they usually want it gone YESTERDAY and concern for the animal isn't going to be too high on their list.
And for many, many unwanted animals, being taken to a "pound" is a far better outcome than being placed with people who will exploit them again, or worse, because they were considered nothing more than a freebie "thing", a piece of property, placed on an internet listing board, worth no more than used a futon or a worn out trumpet.
There are people out there, checking out the "Free Pet" ads, looking for animals for experimentation, illegal fights with other animals, free food for other animals, etc., etc...the list goes on! Why should they pay for a dog, cat, etc., when these classifieds advertise plenty of free animals?
I could reference TONS of great Web sites that could help explain the problem with free pet ads, but the following one is probably one of the best. It talks about dangers already mentioned, but it's even more specific: The Scary Truth About 'Free to Good Home' Classifieds.
This is why we'll always work to not allow "free pet" ads or classifieds on FloridaPets.net. We are not going to permit "free pet" postings and then simply hope for the best for the animals involved.
Piddles to...Puppy Mills
A poster on an animal rescue group recently left the following message: "The millers will soon be culling so that they do not have to feed the dogs through the winter time." You see, dogs over 8 years of age and dogs that can't breed repeatedly are no longer profitable for the puppy mill people. Once deemed no longer useful, many dogs "working" at puppy mills will be killed by the same people who've made money breeding them over and over and over again - those people are known as the "millers."
The most important thing we can do to help end the misery that is life for these animals is to never buy an animal from a pet store. Only when the demand for so-called "pure breed puppies" ends will the suffering of the animals end. If you'd like to learn more about puppy mills and/or how to help a puppy mill dog, check out Prisoners of Greed. Warning, though, it details the life of puppy mill dogs in words and photographs, showing the greed of the industry and some readers may find the material disturbing.
Praises to...People who stay informed about animal health issues
For example, speaking of warnings and recalls, there's a whole controversy brewing over the dangers of all kinds of vaccinations for pets. Immunization protocol is being reviewed, people are asking questions, change is in the air. There is an ever-growing number of resources for concerned pet guardians about the dangers of vaccinations.
We at FloridaPets.net advocate everyone conducting their own investigation and educating themselves about this issue. Knowledge is power and you can put that power to use for your animal(s) by checking resources such as:
Canine Health Concern.
This organization gathers and shares survey and research information concerning vaccine risks for dogs. You can participate in their ongoing surveys and research reporting.
This is a veterinarian's perspective on the issue of vaccinations for pets.
Whole Dog Journal
This site discusses the potential dangers of over-vaccinating our pets and offers alternatives.
Piddles to...Electronic pet containment and behavior training devices
We get asked once in a while why we are not interested in trading links with companies who make or market electronic pet containment and behavior training devices. There's all kind of information out there about how inhumane these devices really are. Try this link for one: Electronic Containment System or Ambush Predator?
PETA and many other animal welfare groups say electronic training devices such as "invisible fences" and anti-barking collars are cruel tools relying on painful punishment and negative reinforcement that make dogs live in fear of being electrocuted when they cross invisible lines, bark, or jump. These groups promote positive training methods, in which dogs are rewarded for what they do right, rather than physically harmed for what they do wrong as more humane, more effective alternatives.
Plus, while these containment devices may "babysit" your dog, so you can leave him or her unattended out in your yard, think about this: they will not keep another animal or human intruder out of your yard! Your dog is then left defenseless and could easily be attacked by another animal (including alligators here in Florida) -- or a troubled individual wanting to do harm to a random animal.
All that aside, I will tell you of my own experience with electronic devices. A few years back, I was at a trade show where "invisible fences" were being sold. I mentioned to the person working the table that I had concerns about the product. He assured me a dog "wouldn't feel much at all." To prove his point, he hooked me up to the little device he had there, adding a lead to my right index finger. He then gave me a "little shock" he said was at about the level to be used for a miniature poodle that weighed 12-14 pounds.
The jolt I received was anything but "a little shock" and my finger and nearby thumb hurt the rest of the day! And I have a pretty high threshold to pain, my friends. I left his booth "shocked" in more than one way and he was laughing as I walked away. Hmmm...So no amount of "salesmanship" will ever convince me these devices are humane. Before considering such horrible devices, please check out the Web site given above and remember my little story. Our companion animals are precious additions to our lives, not to be harmed in any fashion, for any reason, certainly not because we didn't do our homework on products used on/for them!