Monday, 23 November 2009

Flood victims illustrate crucial problem of strict landlords regarding pets.

The devastating floods in Cumbria have indirectly highlighted one of the problems that is putting strain on UK rescue centres; the strict ‘no pet’ policies held by some landlords of rentable properties.

Today (23.11.09), BBC Five Live discussed one of the problems faced by flood victims as many are struggling to find temporary accommodation that allows them to bring their family pets.

The Mayhew Animal Home in London is taking this opportunity once more to emphasise to all UK landlords the importance of reconsidering their strict ‘no pet’ policies on rented properties. High numbers of cats and dogs arrive annually at rescue homes across the country after owners have to move and are unable to find a landlord to accept their existing pets. Rescue centres are continually fit to bursting and with long waiting lists. Landlords would be helping a great deal to alleviate the crisis by considering tenants with pets.

In existence since 1886, The Mayhew is confident that any responsible pet owner to ensure that their cat or dog behaves well inside the home and animal staff from the Home are always happy to offer information to any pet owners who are looking for behavioural advice.

The Mayhew proposes that landlords ask pet owners for references from previous landlords and their vet in order to establish they are a responsible owner. They should also ask for all pets living in the property to be neutered, therefore eradicating any territorial marking of the property and unwanted litters of puppies or kittens. Landlords could potentially ask for an increased deposit to be placed as reassurance for while the animal is living at the address. All these measures would offer a huge amount of security for concerned landlords and would reduce the high numbers of dogs and cats needing to be re homed unnecessarily through rescue centres.

Mayhew CEO, Caroline Yates, said: “We hope that by raising the awareness about this issue while it is highlighted in the media, in regard to the flood victims, private landlords will take into consideration how a well-trained pet can present them no problems whatsoever. They will also be directly helping rescue centres like The Mayhew by reducing the numbers of animals arriving to be handed over.”

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Don't forget about pets on World Diabetes Day

This Saturday marks 2009's World Diabetes Day and this is a medical condition we recognise well at The Mayhew -not because staff have the condition but because of the numbers of cats that arrive with us; unwanted as soon as they are diagnosed with diabetes.

As many pet owners know, diet is a real contibutor to the disease and our vets are always keen to highlight to pet owners just how dangerous it can be to let your cat, or dog become overweight.

Sadly, we see arrivals to our Cattery who have diabetes and are no longer wanted since they have developed their conditions; their owners decided they no longer want to take responsibility for caring for their health. This is naturally a very sad situation, but as The Mayhew is committed to giving every animal a chance we will happily take in and care for diabetic cats.

The condition can be easily managed, often with diet and sometimes with medication and we have adopted out many diabetic cats, one of whom went to a diabetic owner earlier this year.

We would dearly love to find a home for Angel, one of our diabetic cats, who has been with us for a while. She is a wonderful feline, who needs injections for her condition, which she accepts very well. She is a loving, affectionate and gentle cat who deserves a forever home.

Here is a bit of information about caring for diabetic cats, which we hope will make people feel less overwhelmed if their pet develops the condition, or perhaps for potential adopters who could home a diabetic cat :

Caring for Diabetic Cats

An owner of a cat with diabetes must be prepared to make an individual commitment in order to keep the animal as healthy as possible.

Cats determined to have diabetes are generally monitored in a pet hospital and once a treatment is found to be effective, it mainly involves prescription medications, diet and check up visits to the vet.

Insulin injections are commonly prescribed for diabetic cats.

Most cats under veterinary care are prescribed two injections a day, but some only require one. Many cat owners find the process to be painless for their cat, and much easier than anticipated.

Feline diabetes is also controlled through a well-monitored diet. A feline diabetes diet is generally high in fiber and low in sugar.

The veterinarian will also recommend the amount of food to best meet the health care requirements and needs of the cat.

Diabetic cats can live long and contented lives provided their diabetes is properly treated and controlled.

Owners of cats with diabetes must be prepared to make a commitment to their cats to keep them as healthy as possible.

Veterinarians generally recommend feeding a cat with diabetes a measured amount of food at regular intervals. Feedings are usually twice a day and should be provided before injections are administered. Although feeding a cat at predetermined times can be challenging, cats once provided food on demand can become accustomed to eating at specified times.

A cat with diabetes should be weighed on a regular basis, and the appetite needs to be monitored for changes. A baby scale works very well for weighing a cat. Detailed notes should be taken so the appetite and weight can be monitored and made available to the veterinarian if necessary.

Monitoring Diabetic Cats

Monitoring a cat with diabetes also requires measuring the input and output of water. Water should be measured (refilling water bowl from a measuring cup and output can be determined by using litter that clumps when wet.

Urine must also be checked for sugar content as often as recommended by the veterinarian. This can be accomplished by using pea gravel, fish tank gravel, or foam peanuts or a cat litter that does not absorb any urine (called Katcor and is available from our vets at the Mayhew) instead of cat litter just long enough to obtain the sample. Glucose test strips are available where health care products are sold. These are the same test strips used by people monitoring their diabetes.

A diabetic cat will impact certain parts of your life. Arrangements will have to be made for any time you spend away from your home, you will need a responsible person to take over the care of your cat while you are away. Some veterinarians offer boarding facilities or in the home care and with these services you can be assured of your diabetic cat’s treatment. A responsible adult friend or neighbour may be able to do this for you but would, of course, have to follow your complete instructions.

Caring for a cat with diabetes sounds overwhelming and time consuming, but it isn't as difficult as it seems once the right medication and diet is prescribed and enforced. The owners of diabetic cats can provide their pets treatment that will allow those felines to live a long and healthy life full of love and dedication.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Pet advertising regulations

The day after my last blog about Dog Control legislation, a terrrible news story was featured across the media about a poor boy in Portsmouth who had been attacked by a dog reported as a Staffordshire Bull terrier cross breed. The owner in control of the dog, was only 11 years old and by all accounts unable to hold or control the animal. This is such a sad tale for all involved and just reinforces the need for a change in Dog Control legislation, which I outlined in my prior blog -championing a specific focus on regulating pet advertising and sales.

Puppies and dogs (amongst other animals) are bought and sold through internet advertising at a rapid rate. It is just too easy these days for people to purchase a pet, without any real thought as to whether they can care for them or meet their needs. It is also far to easy for 'backbedroom' breeders to sell on puppies without any idea of whether the owner will look after them responsibly and not misuse them in any way.

The Mayhew is part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) made up of animal welfare organisations, media publishing companies and the Metropolitan Police, working to promote responsible pet advertising. More needs to be done at a government level to stop the traffic of pets being passed around and the consequences for both person and animal.

On Thursday this week, BBC2's Wonderland will be screening a programme, Seven pups for Seven people following a litter of Staffordshire Bull Terrier pups and the homes they will end up going to. It will be interesting to see how the owner of these puppies approaches finding responsible new homes for each one........

Seven puppies are born to a first-time mother called Uggs in a cramped front room in East London. These aren't just cute and cuddly puppies - they are Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, the dogs the tabloids sometimes call 'devil dogs'. They are both one of the most sought-after breeds in the country, and perversely the most frequently abandoned. One in three of Battersea Dogs Home's total intake is a Staffie cross.

This film follows the fate of Uggs' puppies as her owner tries to find new homes for them at 300 pounds a pup. It isn't long before boon turns to burden, however, as Uggs' owner realises the puppies are costing her more in food and care than she can ever make from the sales.

Introducing Uggs' owner and the new Staffie pup owners, this film uncovers the lives of the people from a marginalised section of society, who may mistrust other humans, but have a genuine love of the Staffordshire bull terrier.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

No matter which party is in power next, they need to change Dog Control legislation immediately

No matter which party is in power next, they need to change Dog Control legislation

The Mayhew believes the government needs to place more onus on responsible pet ownership with revised legislation, but additional focus should also be placed on dog breeders. There is a large and growing problem with the misuse and mistreatment of dogs across the UK, but simply removing these dogs off the streets is not going to make this problem go away. More needs to be done to stop them falling in to the hands of irresponsible owners; this means tighter breeding restrictions.

In effect, it is the people we need to target and work with - not the dogs. More needs to be done to address the unchecked breeding of dogs and also the ease with which dogs fall into the hands of irresponsible owners. The Mayhew would like to see tighter regulations placed on the trade in pets on the Internet and other forms of media, and priority given to the stricter monitoring of both registered and “backstreet” breeders. In addition, there needs to be more thought given to an effective registration system for dog owners which would embody the principles of responsible pet ownership.

The Mayhew believes each and every local council should invest in designated and trained personnel, such as Animal Welfare Officers and/or Dog Wardens, who can work both with local residents and pet owners to deal with prevent a looming crisis and make our communities safer for animals and people alike. Collaboration across the board between government and non-government bodies, as well as animal welfare organisations, will help to produce more comprehensive and cohesive methods to resolve this issue.

Watch the videos below to hear more of our thoughts about what the government needs to do next:

Dog control legislation: Background

In part one of this two part video interview The Mayhew Animal Home share their views on the dog control legislation including the background behind the legislation and why it needs to change.

Dog control legislation: Recommendations

In the second part The Mayhew Animal Home share their recommendations on the dog control legislation and the changes that need to take place.

Bull breeds

The Mayhew Animal Home discuss the rising popularity of bull breeds amongst youth culture and the problems that have arisen as a result of a lack of care and their negative image in the public and press.

Animal welfare crisis

The Mayhew Animal home discuss the animal welfare crisis in the UK including the overpopulation crisis of certain breeds of dog and a lack of care from pet owners

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Halloween special for our 'longest stayers'

I am now surrounded by Halloween goodies after getting a little over-excited in the pound shop this morning for our themed-day on the 31st. We are hosting a Halloween special at the Home with a specific focus on the plight of black cats at rescue centres.

Rescue centres in the UK, and indeed in other countries too like the U.S and Canada, are all faced with the problem of the 'sticky' black and black and white cats. They are the longest stayers in rescue centres as adopters tend to favour any unique looking cats, looking for a pet who is that little bit different. Sadly, this means that when we have cabins full of black cats their chance of a quick adoption diminishes.

So for the one day of the year where they become recognised icons splashed around on posters perched on broomsticks and pumpkins, we have decided to use the day to try and give a little extra push for some of our Cattery residents. Black cats who all have fantastic loving personalities and really should have found a forever home by now.

We will be decking the Home in a Halloween theme and hosting tours throughout the day at 12, 2 and 4pm and there will be games and activities.

Halloween is such an excellent opportunity to highlight this issue, though of course we welcome adoption enquiries for any of our animals, be they cat, dog, little, large, spotty, tortoiseshell, ginger or calico!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Wall of Fluff + Kitten Season

Had the treat this morning to be introduced to the website Wall of Fluff by The Metro newspaper. There was a video featured in The Ridiculant section of a kitten eating broccoli, and for anyone familiar with that section of the paper you will know how they love their kittie videos. It seems to be that anything feline related seems to drive people crazy on YouTube and I admit I had a fair old giggle at this video titled 'Nosiy kittens waiting for dinner'.:
We are all certainly familiar with that sound at The Mayhew, when it is near to feeding time in the kitten cabins!

We are now officially at the end of Summer (how freezing is it today?!) yet we still have a lot of kittens waiting for homes and staff are only at the end of a spate of hand rearing some of them. Every year kitten season eats up so many rescue centre resources, as our Animal Welfare Officers are called out constantly to collect stray any feral litters from gardens, sheds, inside peoples houses, and members of the public turn up left, right and centre with litters they no longer want or have found near their homes and gardens.

The Mayhew has night staff shift workers that are at the Home round the clock, which is essential over this 'season' as the very young kittens need hand fed every two hours and also need the help to be cleaned and go to the toilet, as it is their mother washing them that would otherwise do the job.

At the top of this post is a photo of two ten day old kittens that came in at the beginning of the summer after our AWOs were called out to a building site. Luckily, we had a volunteer foster carer that was able to take them into her home and hand rear them -volunteers like this are invaluable to us.

Monday, 19 October 2009

First installment! Animal rescue: The two extremes

As a relatively small animal rescue home in North London, it is always an issue for us as to how well people know just what we do outside of re homing cats and dogs, and how much they also even want to know.

Many people are happy just to hear about the happier side of our rehoming tales, and may only think that is the scope of our work, but we have four Animal Welfare Officers here who deal with the social issues daily that affect animal welfare to a large degree. Some of these issues are of the graver kind that many people may not wish to acknowledge and ones that need to be given much more attention by government and the media: Issues like dog fighting, status dogs, dog registration and pet advertising.

Our new blog will give constant updates about tales from the Home and what we see here on a day to day basis. Some of it will be addressing the more contentious issues of animal welfare and many of it the day to day unpredictability of life at a rescue home.

Only in the last week, amongst our many arrivals, we have had a peacock as a temporary guestin our kitten garden, a celebrity visit to adopt her new puppy (all to be revealed), two very obese cats arrive (or roll in!) and our impressively statuesque Neopolitan Mastiff, Louie, went to the Paul O Grady show this morning to feature in the Homeless Dog slot on the show.

To be continued.....