2010-03-10 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Dogs, cats and even horses are innocent victims of the economic downturn too. Yet Pet Peeves, Inc. “the voice of Long Island animals” continues to speak up for them. For the last eight years, Pet Peeves has been the non-profit umbrella organization raising funds and awareness for our local animal shelters and rescue groups. Even though times are tough, because of the generosity of Pet Peeves, the four-legged future is looking somewhat brighter.

On March 3 during Unleashed, an annual gala at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, Pet Peeves founder, Janine Dion, announced that this year, grants totaling $70,000 would support 13 area organizations that help LI’s abused, neglected and homeless dogs, cats, horses and farm animals. The Pet Peeves (www. petpeevesinc.org) donations range from one to ten thousand dollars with a current focus on providing relief for local families that cannot afford to care for their animals.

Below is a brief overview of how four of the recipients will implement their new Pet Peeves funding:

•Besides placing homeless pets, Almost Home Animal Rescue & Adoption, Inc. (www.almosthomeli. org) provides community outreach in Wyandanch. Volunteers visit families in need. This program called Training Wheels aims to improve the quality of life for clients’ pets, many of them chained Pit Bulls who have never seen a vet. Almost Home distributes free food, shelters, proper tie-outs and medical care, but the group also provides free pet spay/neuter which includes pick up and delivery. Often it takes time and gentle persuasion to convince owners this surgery will benefit their pets. The Pet Peeves grant will help continue the much needed free spay/neuter component of Training Wheels.

•Thanks to Pet Peeves, Last Hope Animal Rescue, Inc. (www.lasthopeanimalrescue.org) will be instituting a new two-part program to benefit owned pets. Phase 1 will offer free spay/neuter for the dogs and cats of people currently on unemployment, disability or public assistance. Each participant may have up to two pets altered. Applications, available on the Last Hope website or by calling 631-425-1884, will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Phase II will be two mobile clinics offering the public free dog/ cat rabies vaccines and free heartworm tests. The first clinic will probably be held outside the Last Hope Cat Adoption Center in Huntington. Dates have not yet been decided. No applications or appointments will be necessary for these free clinics.

•“We’ve Lost Everything Else, Please Don’t Make Us Part With Our Pets” were words heard far too frequently. Therefore, in 2007 Animal Lovers League (ALL) in Glen Cove began “Safe Haven” to provide temporary refuge for the pets of owners facing various hardships. The program began for those who were hospitalized but without the resources or family/ friends to care for their pets while they were away from home. Some Safe Haven owners were in prolonged cancer treatment or in rehab facilities after hospital stays. The surrendering person signs a contract; and, if necessary, ALL (www.animalloversleague.us) finds a new home for the pets if that owner dies.

Safe Haven has been expanded to include those facing foreclosure plus victims of domestic abuse while they seek aid. Because of dire household circumstances, these pets often reach Animal Lovers League elderly, neglected and/or in need of extensive veterinary care. Presently there are nine Safe Haven pets under ALL’s care; some are at the shelter and several are in foster care. The Pet Peeves grant will also help ALL to continue monthly free Trap/Neuter/Return clinics for feral cats, primarily so colony populations stabilize. There is an economic rationale too. Cat caretakers with limited incomes need not decide between purchasing food for their cat colonies rather than food for themselves.

•Pet Peeves tries to assist all LI creatures great and small. Most of us doing animal rescue are used to seeing stacks of bills to care for homeless dogs and cats. Believe me; it costs a lot of moola. However, we’d get sticker shock if we saw the costs for horses in need. Equine veterinary, food, and care expenses are astronomical. Welcome to the world of Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue (AFER), a small, struggling sanctuary for discarded horses, nestled in Southampton, one of America’s wealthiest equestrian playgrounds-such a sadly ironic juxtaposition.

Presently Amaryllis Farm (www.forRascal.com) has a monumental mission to rescue, rehabilitate and, in certain cases, try to rehome over 100 surrendered horses in residence- many forfeited from LI foreclosures, others now deemed useless after a lifetime of service. Most were headed for the slaughterhouse. As once affluent LI folks continue to lose their homes, more and more calls come into Amaryllis which now has an overflowing waiting list of local horses soonto be homeless. Amaryllis is a first time Pet Peeves recipient. Hopefully the relationship between these two organizations will flourish for years to come.

Since its beginning in 2002, Pet Peeves has given more than $600,000 to animal organizations for a variety of other worthwhile projects, including pet therapy and humane education in the schools. In past years, Last Hope has received specific monies to purchase new cat cages and more kennels at the Adoption Centers as well as to offer low cost vaccine clinics to the public. Therefore, on behalf of all the furry benefactors, past and present- “Pet Peeves, thank you!”

For Adoption at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677- 5784) Miller Pl. Syosset: Thisweek’s poster dogs have sad stories to tell. “Glory #088 & Grace #089” are 9 years “young” Westie sisters whose owner died. They had been well-cared for, and the shelter would like to place them together. “Cookie” #086 is a 13-yearold small Shepherd mix whose owner has just been deployed. It would be wonderful if a kind someone could provide a home for the beloved senior pet of a man serving our country. This sweetie even understands German commands.

More Dogs: “Sasha”- 8-year-old blue Great Dane mix; “Simba”- Hound mix.

Cats: “Sushi”-orange & white; “Cosmo”- grew up at the shelter.

Upcoming Fundraisers:

•Last Hope’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & Auction- Sun. March 14 at Milleridge Cottage in Jericho. See Last Hope website or all 631-646-9528 for ticket info.

•Almost Home’s HUGE Chinese Auction-Sat. March 27 from 11:30 to 4 pm at Elks Lodge in Smithtown. Over 120 fantastic prizes including an $1,100 Oheka Castle package of lodging and golf, tickets to Hair on Broadway and autographed ballet shoes from NYC Ballet. Email me at acjnews@ rcn.com for a complete prize list, or see the Almost Home website listed above.

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