02/22/15 6:45am
02/22/2015 6:45 AM
If you're a dog lover, this is an app you should download. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

If you’re a dog lover, this is an app you should download. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Anyone who enjoys animals, leisurely strolls or a combination of the two can take advantage of a new smartphone app that directs cash to a local animal shelter every time they take a walk.

Walk For a Dog uses the location services function on smartphones to track users’ walks and then makes a donation to an animal shelter of their choosing — just for using the app.  (more…)

11/27/14 2:00pm
11/27/2014 2:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOOliver is awake (briefly).Before Oliver, a 2-year-old tabby, was adopted in 2012, he was a stray kitten doing his best to survive in an old barn behind a Southold church.

Now, the blue-eyed beauty is Mr. August 2015 in North Fork Animal Welfare League’s first calendar.

Photographed by volunteer photographer Katharine Schroeder of Cutchogue, the “Adopt Love!” calendar features portraits of cats and dogs that have been adopted from or are still waiting at NFAWL, which operates shelters in Riverhead and Peconic.

NFAWL director Gillian Wood-Pultz said the calendar, which is available for purchase at both shelters and at three local businesses, is selling well. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit group.

“They’re great gifts for Christmas,” she said. “Everybody needs a calendar.”KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOCamo caught in mid-yawn.

Ms. Schroeder, a freelance photographer for Times Review Media Group, said photographing the animals, who were chosen using a lottery system after interested owners sent in pictures of their pets, was “very challenging but lots of fun.”

“Most of the dogs were so friendly they charged right at the camera, trying to lick either me or the lens,” she said. “I used treats and sound effects to get good expressions from them.”

Ms. Schroeder said one dog, a beagle named Bailey, liked having her picture taken so much that she led the photographer to various locations throughout the house and “posed and posed and posed. I never saw anything like it.”

Not surprisingly, getting the cats to cooperate was a bit trickier.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOLayney.“Oliver falls asleep when he gets stressed or loses interest in something,” Ms. Schroeder said. “After taking only a handful of shots of him, he nodded off and there was nothing we could do to wake him up. Luckily, one of the shots was perfect.”

“Adopt Love!” is available for $10 at NFAWL’s Riverhead and Peconic shelters and at Groom and Gear in Mattituck, Dog Town in Southold and Harbor Pets in Greenport.

The calendar is also available for $15 (price includes shipping costs) at nfawl.org.

[email protected]

Emme, a 2-year-old Griffon/Brittany spaniel mix, loves to steal socks and shoes. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Emme, a 2-year-old Griffon/Brittany spaniel mix, loves to steal socks and shoes. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Captions: One-year-old Camo (top, right) was adopted by the Schoenstein family in 2013 and is much more canine than feline, his owners say. Layney (middle, left), a 3-year-old pit bull mix, loves playing with the dogs in her neighborhood.

10/01/14 4:30pm
10/01/2014 4:30 PM
Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Gillian Wood Pultz (right) and another African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) volunteer prep a satellite clinic to administer rabies vaccines to dogs in the city of Voi, located in southern Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Most people look forward to spending their precious vacation days enjoying rest, relaxation and the occasional cocktail, but that’s not the case with North Fork Animal Welfare League director Gillian Wood Pultz.

Twice a year since 2010, Ms. Wood Pultz has boarded a plane to Mexico to help spay and neuter 1,600 animals in just six days.

But this year, she decided to take her efforts even further away — about 8,000 miles, in fact — to Africa.

Armed with a sleeping bag and mosquito net, Ms. Wood Pultz flew from Mexico to Kenya on Aug. 19 to volunteer with the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), which had been working to stop the Kenyan government from using what Ms. Wood Pultz called an inhumane euthanasia practice in an effort to control the spread of rabies.

“The Kenyan government decided that in order to keep rabies at bay in humans, it had to reduce the population of stray dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said. “ANAW got involved and started a vaccination campaign.”

Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

Ms. Wood Pultz joined a group of helpers from around the globe to vaccinate nearly 2,000 animals against rabies in just five days, sleeping on the roof of a building with other volunteers in order to save money.

The vaccinations replaced the Kenyan government’s use of strychnine, a form of poison that had been used to kill hundreds of stray dogs until March, when ANAW stepped in, according to the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.

“It’s an oral poison, and it is a really harsh form [of euthanasia] — a horrible way to kill dogs,” Ms. Wood Pultz said.

NFAWL, which operates shelters in Riverhead and Southold towns, donated medical supplies and about 400 soon-to-expire vaccines that otherwise would have been thrown out, she said.

To help instill animal welfare, Ms. Wood Pultz said, “it is hugely important that everyone works together. We need cooperation and collaboration locally, nationally, and globally.”

She said her mission in Kenya went well beyond simply vaccinating animals.

“We want to change the way owners think of their animals,” she said.

Ms. Wood Pultz explained that dogs are treated as agricultural animals in that part of the world and frequently used to protect homes and herd cattle.

“Dogs are not considered pets. They are not allowed in the house,” she said. “It was so clear to me that they just didn’t know they were supposed to pet their dogs; they really weren’t sure.”

Ms. Wood Pultz said she set out to change that mindset.

“We started teaching the kids to rub their dog’s tummy,” she said. “One here, another there — and then, all of a sudden — all these kids had their dogs rolling in the field on their backs, wagging their tails.

“All you need is one of them to really get it and it can change an entire community,” she said.

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Second photo credit: Gillian Wood Pultz said the highlight of her trip was helping children and families learn how to better care for their dogs, which included a tutorial on belly rubs. (Courtesy photo)

06/19/14 4:00pm
06/19/2014 4:00 PM
Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Suffolk County is now the first county in New York State to regulate the sale of animals and crack down on pet retailers buying from unsafe breeders.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone signed into law Tuesday the “puppy mill bill,” safeguarding the animals themselves, as well as consumers who have been burdened by unexpected medical costs of caring for their newly purchased pets.

(more…)

06/03/14 3:07pm
06/03/2014 3:07 PM
Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Suffolk County is poised to become the first county in New York State to regulate the sale of animals, as the county legislature unanimously approved a measure on Tuesday that sets a framework for discouraging pet retailers from buying from unsafe breeders.

If signed into law, the bill — unofficially dubbed the “puppy mill bill” — aims to safeguard the animals themselves, as well as consumers who have been burdened by unexpected medical costs of caring for their newly purchased pets.

Sponsored by Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), the law sets restrictions for pet stores on which breeders they are allowed to purchase dogs from, and how the pets they purchase — and later sell to the general public — are kept and cared for.

Once signed by county executive Steven Bellone, pet stores will not be able to purchase animals from breeders who have received certain types of violations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates breeders.

These violations include:
• “A direction violation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which regulates breeders) within the past two years;
• ‘No access’ violations on the two most recent inspection reports from the USDA;
• Three or more different indirect violations, other than ‘no access violations,’ on the most recent USDA reporter;
• One or more recurring indirect violations on the most recent USDA report.”

Animal advocates have long been calling for regulations on pet dealers, stating that many animals being sold by dealers in retail shops are bred in substandard conditions — in outlets are commonly referred to as puppy mills — and often have health problems due to inbreeding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law in January giving local municipalities in New York State the ability to more closely regulate pet dealers.

Former Legis. Jon Cooper (D-Llyod Harbor) had pitched similar regulations in 2011, however it was eventually pulled since local regulation of pet dealers was not permitted until Gov. Cuomo signed January’s legislation allowing local municipalities to do so. The county later passed a voluntary rating system for pet stores.

Pam Green, executive director of Calverton’s Kent Animal Shelter and one of four members of a subcommittee that helped draft the legislation, said that “the unsuspecting consumer may be purchasing a financial nightmare” when buying one such dog.

“Puppy mill cast-aways I call them,” she said. “Most of the time they have various medical issues and social and behavioral issues because they have been kept in wire cages and away from human interaction.”

Ms. Green said added that transparency and oversight has long been needed.

“It’s just a victorious day. It’s an exciting day for animal welfare advocates,” Ms. Green said. “We’re not going to tolerate people making money off the backs of these suffering animals.”

Pet dealers have claimed that they are not getting their dogs from puppy mills. And Mr. Schneiderman said that after much work was done on the legislation, the business owners were in fact welcoming to the legislation.

“This sends a message: we want the public to know we’re not going to have a puppy mill dog,” Mr. Schneiderman said, referring to the merchants’ point of view.

She said an oversight committee made up of animal welfare advocates will frequent pet stores, watching what breeders they are buying their animals from. Mr. Schneiderman said that the bill shouldn’t be too much of a burden to enforce, due to the low number of pet retailers.

Dealers will be hit with a $500 fine for each violation, according to the legislation.

05/15/14 3:32pm
05/15/2014 3:32 PM
The Suffolk County Legislature passed a measure regulating the tethering of dogs. (Credit: Freephotos.com/pexlo)

The Suffolk County Legislature passed a measure regulating the tethering of dogs. (Credit: Freephotos.com/pexlo)

The Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously Tuesday to strengthen protections for man’s furry friend by changing how dogs can be restrained outdoors.

If signed into law by the County Executive, pet owners could no longer secure their dogs outside to a stationary object for longer than two hours in any 12-hour period, according to the legislation sponsored by Legislator Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station). (more…)

07/18/13 5:00pm
07/18/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN PHOTO | Puppies saved from Grand Bahama will soon be available for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter.

There’s nothing cuter than a yard full of puppies. And when they’re puppies saved from a dismal future, their big eyes and wagging tails seem even sweeter.

Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is taking part in ‘Operation Puppy Lift,’ a program started by the Humane Society of Grand Bahama.

The northernmost island of the Bahamas, Grand Bahama has population issues with stray dogs and only one animal shelter to deal with the problem. Around 1,200 animals are taken in per year at the shelter, Kent executive director Pam Green said. Overcrowding leads to a high euthanasia rate.

To help save the puppies, HSGB started “Operation Puppy Lift,” in which the organization joins together with no-kill shelters in the U.S. to take in the needy pups. Kent welcomed 15 new puppies Wednesday who were flown in from the tropics.

The strays traveled on a private charter from Grand Bahama to Florida, and then went on a commercial airplane to JFK airport in New York where the shelter workers picked them up. HSGB paid for the transportation through its own funding and the puppies are solely in the shelter’s care now.

Kent became involved in the program when office manager Linda MacDonald reached out to a friend who worked with HSGB. Ms. Green said she plans on making this an ongoing partnership.

“It’s such a shame that these little guys are being put to sleep without a chance,” she said as small puppies on leashes ran around her legs. “It’s just a different culture there when dealing with the dogs.”

The dogs are called “potcake puppies,” a local name used to describe the native mixed breeds on the island.

“They’re a mixed breed and look a little collie-ish … they have longer snouts,” Ms. Green said when describing their appearance.

The adorable puppies are all less than a year old, the youngest being four months, and shelter staff members said the dogs will stay a small to medium size into adulthood.

After being checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated and spayed or neutered, the puppies will be put up for adoption. The shelter is hopeful the process will be complete by the end of the week.

Kelly Cross, a staff member at the shelter, said that although she limits one dog for herself, it is difficult not to get attached to the new ones when they arrive.

One pup from Grand Bahama is already stealing her heart.

“I think this one is my favorite so far,” she said of a tiny white puppy with light brown spots. “You get very attached — I mean just look at them. But it’s rewarding to see a great family come in and fall in love. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s a good kind of sad.”

The shelter is also picking up four more puppies on Saturday who hail from Turks and Caicos, islands with a similar dog problem.

Those interested in adopting one of the new puppies can visit the shelter’s website www.kentanimalshelter.com. Pictures of the new pups should be online in a few days, and applications are available on the website.

[email protected]

05/23/13 5:20pm
05/23/2013 5:20 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Restricting the dates and hours dogs are permitted on Southold  beaches is a sticking point for a policy attempting to reach a compromise on the controversial issue.

Comprise seemed hard to come by regarding Southold Town’s efforts to update its dog leash law, but officials took another stab at it during Thursday’s code committee meeting.

This time they may have succeeded.

After a 20-minute discussion, officials suggested easing the law that currently prohibits dogs on town-owned beaches at all times. One alternative would ban dogs from town-owned beaches from May 1 to October 1 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. A second proposal would shorten that period to begin on Memorial Day and run through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Under both proposals dogs would be allowed to run free on town beaches during the off-season.

The code committee includes only a few Town Board members. The group instructed Town Attorney Martin Finnegan to draw up a draft of the changes to to present to the full board. Supervisor Scott Russell said he favors keeping dogs off the beach past the traditional end of summer.

“We are still an active community after Labor Day so I would want to defer to the board on that,” he said.

The town would continue to restrict dogs and other domestic animals in recreation areas, picnic areas, children’s play areas and athletic fields where signs are posted saying no dogs are allowed. Exemptions would be made for hunting and service dogs.

Once a new policy is in place the board will work with the chief of police and bay constables to develop methods of enforcing the code, the supervisor said.

[email protected]