A happy thank you!

We’d like to offer a HUGE thank you to Homeless Pet Placement League for partnering with us to save Happy and for helping cover some of the cost of his surgery. HPPL board president Debby Ryan recently described Happy as “a great dog and one that personifies the best in RPM and HPPL’s partnership.” We absolutely agree!

After Happy was moved out of BARC his fosters noticed a protruding hip bone and that he walked with a noticeable limp, which Dr. Mandola at Richmond Animal Hospital later diagnosed as a dislocated hip. He operated on Happy’s hip and everything was great after that! Happy’s fosters, Jackie and Larry, told us that even though “he continued to favor his hind leg, he ate well and still wanted to play with our two big dogs. He also loved chewing on bones and playing with his squeaky toys. Happy loved everyone and loved when we would cuddle with him.

“We are so appreciate of everyone who has helped and loved this puppy on his journey from homelessness to healing to his forever home. It is so incredibly rewarding for us to know that we had a small part of giving him a great life.”

A few days ago, we were all happy when Larry brought Happy so he could join the rest of the adoptable pets in the vans going to our Colorado rescue partners.

Thank you, Jackie, Larry, Dr. Mandola, HPPL, and everyone who donates to RPM and enables us to give Happy and other dogs and cats a second chance at life.

A letter from Laura to RPM fosters about parvo.

Hi Awesome Ones,

As several of you have experienced first hand, Houston is unfortunately dealing with an outbreak of the Parvovirus. A puppy contracts Parvo by coming in contact with dog feces contaminated with the virus. This includes any fecal point of contact such as human hands and clothing, animal hair/coat, water and food dishes, bedding, crates and kennels, and toys.

Symptoms of Parvo include lack of appetite, lethargy, no interest in playing or water, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. These symptoms do not have to appear at the same time. If your puppy loses his or her appetite or is acting lethargic, please let us know right away. If we catch it in time, we can get the puppy the necessary vet care, thereby greatly increasing the chance of survival.

For those of you who have recently experienced Parvo in your homes, we recommend the following:
1. Clean areas occupied by your puppies with a solution of 15 parts water to one part household bleach. (It is best to let the solution sit for 10 minutes before wiping/rinsing.)
2. Pick up dog poop in your yard (note, this does not get rid of the virus, but helps reduce the chances it will spread).
3. Wash all bedding with which the pups came into contact with bleach.
4. Clean crates with the above bleach solution (Again, it is best to let the solution sit for 10 minutes before wiping/rinsing.)

Unfortunately, your homes have to be puppy free for at least 3 full months after Parvo has reared its ugly head. If you take your pup back after he or she recovers (which we hope you will), the pup can “shed” the virus for two weeks before testing Parvo negative. Once your pup tests negative, he or she can head to Colorado. Your at-least-3-full-month count can begin once your pup tests negative.

I would like to see if anyone of you who have had Parvo in your homes would be interested in being a “Parvo-Positive Home” (PPH) (thank you Ria Van Dright). My home is such a home. Often, when these pups do recover from Parvo, and if the foster can’t take them back, we have no where for them to go because they are still shedding the virus. If you are PPH, you could continue to help these kids, although the virus will remain in your home. I like being a PPH because I am able to help these poor guys when they need it the most, and I don’t have to fear the dreaded Parvo bug will come again! If you, too, are interested in being a PPH, please let me know! We have several Parvo survivors that need a place to go!

Thank you so much,

Laura
Rescued Pets Movement

A Response From RPM Regarding Recent Media Statements.

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Rescued Pets Movement would like to respond comprehensively to the recent media reports and other attention involving its partnership with Houston’s Bureau of Regulation and Care (BARC) and its relationships with Colorado rescue organizations.

The Importance of Companion Animal Transport Programs

The National Federation of Humane Societies “has identified animal transfer programs as one of the key strategies to achieving its 2020 Vision to find a home for every healthy and treatable animal on a nationwide basis by the year 2020.”

Rescued Pets Movement recognizes and agrees that while transport programs are a “key” part of reducing the homeless pet population, it is not, by itself, the solution. Indeed, spaying and neutering is the primary way to put an end to the homeless pet population. RPM’s program, however, focuses on the companion animals that are alive and in our shelters today. Our program is making, and can continue to make, a significant impact on BARC’s save rate.

Transport Programs Are Not New

RPM’s transport program, while brand new to Houston, is not a new concept. One of RPM’s founders was actively involved in a very successful transport program in New Mexico for over four years before returning to Houston. RPM is based on her vast transport experience and strong relationships with accredited nonprofit rescue groups in Colorado.

Transport programs like these have been saving shelter animals for over fifteen years. PetsMart’s Rescue Waggin’, for example, has been in existence for ten years, and in that time, the program has transported over 60,000 dogs and puppies to areas of the nation that have a need for adoptable pets. According to PetsMart–“Location is everything: Some cities have too many homeless dogs and puppies; others have waiting adopters.” (See http://www.petsmartcharities.org/pro/adoption-programs/rescue-waggin.)

Another example is the ASPCA’s “MAP” (Moving Animals Places) program, which recognizes the importance of transport programs for saving the lives of shelter animals across the United States. MAP is an interactive and free web-based map application that connects animal shelters across the country and allows participating shelters with surplus animals to find and partner with shelters that have available space and a higher demand for adoptable animals. As the ASPCA recognizes: “The one time or reoccurring animal transport process can help more animals find loving homes.” (See http://www.aspcapro.org/map.)

We encourage you to visit the websites of these programs and learn more about them.

On March 1-2, 2014, two RPM officers traveled to Colorado to meet with a number of our Colorado rescue organization colleagues. We were amazed at the actual lack of animals in those facilities. For example, Longmont Humane Society and MaxFund were both less than half full and had no puppies, and Boulder Humane Society (not yet a partner) had only 47 pets in the entire facility. Boulder Humane–which is a receiving shelter for 55 outside organizations, is a member of PetsMart’s Rescue Waggin’, and “[t]ransfer[s] in thousands of dogs and cats each year from overcrowded shelters where they face uncertain futures”–has been accepting transferred pets for several years.

The Allegations Against RPM

There have been reports in the media and unsubstantiated statements on Facebook that BARC and RPM are not following best practices when transporting BARC pets to Colorado. Statements have been made that RPM is moving sick or seriously injured animals on our transports because we are transporting heartworm positive dogs. It has been alleged that, even in spite of each pet receiving a health certificate by a licensed veterinarian stating that the pet is healthy to travel, heartworm positive dogs still should not travel.

Best Practices for Transporting Companion Animals

The National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS) has set out best practices when transporting companion animals. (See http://www.humanefederation.org/Transfer
BestPractice.cfm
.) There are three tiers. Tier 1 provides “[b]asic, minimum standards for transporting animals in a healthy and safe manner.” Under that tier (which still meets standards for transporting animals in a healthy and safe manner), heartworm testing is not even required. Tier 2, which provides “[m]oderate standards for transporting animals from source shelters with more than basic resources,” requires only that a heartworm test be performed and the result of that test be reported to the receiving organization. Tier 3—the highest tier—sets out “[a]dvanced standards for transporting animals from source shelters with supported resources.” Tier 3, like Tier 2, also requires only that a heartworm test be performed and the result of that test be reported to the receiving organization.

There is no law or regulation in the State of Colorado that makes it illegal to transport a heartworm positive dog into the state.

A dog is not per se unhealthy to travel or seriously injured simply because he or she has heartworms. Whether a dog is “healthy” to travel is determined on a case-by-case basis by a licensed veterinarian when issuing a health certificate.

RPM’s Transport Practices

BARC or RPM tests every dog over six months for heartworms, and RPM fully discloses those results to our receiving organizations. This disclosure is made when we first contact the receiving group, and the receiving group commits to taking a pet with this information in hand. In fact, RPM rarely commits to transport a pet from BARC without a commitment from a receiving group, and again, that group is fully aware of the dog’s heartworm status before committing to take the dog. RPM goes even farther by sending every heartworm positive dog with a year’s worth of heartworm preventative. Accordingly, by testing for heartworms and disclosing those results up front, RPM goes beyond NFHS’s minimum transport standards. In fact, RPM’s transport practices are most comparable to Tier 3 (RPM does not include a parvovirus titer because each puppy under six months old receives two parvo boosters and is held for a minimum of ten days to ensure the illness does not present before transport). RPM also complies with regulations on transporting animals within the State of Colorado as set forth by PACFA (discussed below).

RPM expends vast resources to ensure that each pet that is transported is healthy and able to travel. We hold each pet until it is healthy to travel and provide each pet with extensive veterinary care in the interim–at great expense. As a safety net, we also microchip every pet we transport in case one of those pets ends up in a shelter. We are always ready and willing to retrieve any pet that is not claimed and to take back any pet that a Colorado group needs to return to us.

Finally, RPM has invested significant funds to retrofit our existing van with special flooring, insulation, dual heat and air conditioning, and a back-up camera for our driver. A Colorado animal control officer recently looked at our van and the records that accompanied our pets and was very impressed with our operation.

New Hope Rescue

Colorado enacted the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA), which the Colorado Department of Agriculture touts as the most “inclusive and comprehensive” animal welfare program in the nation, “making Colorado a leader for pet care in the United States.” At all times when RPM was sending pets to New Hope, the organization was licensed by PACFA, and we never heard of any complaints against this organization. In order to be licensed by PACFA, New Hope was inspected by PACFA officials and passed that inspection. New Hope’s PACFA license expired on February 28, 2014, and we understand that it is being renewed in accordance with PACFA rules.

While we have been provided no specific information on the pending case against New Hope (although requested multiple times), we understand the complaint against New Hope to relate to its alleged failure to do Immiticide treatment on a nursing mother that had only been in Colorado for ten days and was still adjusting to her new surroundings.

Proper Heartworm Treatment for a Particular Dog

Whether Immiticide is the proper treatment and the timing of that treatment should be left to the educated judgment of a licensed veterinarian on case-by-case basis with the primary focus on what is in the best interest of that particular dog. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Immiticide should not be given to a nursing mom.

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) publishes Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Heartworm Infection in Dogs. It is our understanding that until these guidelines were amended in January 2014, “soft” or “slow-kill” treatment (giving the heartworm positive dog a monthly HeartGard to kill of the larvae and allowing the adults to die on their own) was recognized as a viable alternative to Immiticide treatment. Even with the amendment, the 2014 Guidelines recognize that, when there is a shortage of Immiticide (as there currently is), soft treatment is the only option.

Certainly, in Houston, where there is a high incidence of heartworm positive dogs, the Houston rescue groups and their veterinarians explore the appropriate treatment options, and the slow-kill method is a widely accepted alternative. It is shocking to think that if a Houston rescue group or pet owner determined with their vet that the soft treatment was in the best interest of the dog, they could be charged with animal cruelty.

The Current State of Events

When we first spoke with the local organization alleging charges against New Hope, we were assured that if any of the dogs seized were transported to New Hope by RPM, they would work with us to have those pets returned to us. Although RPM asked that the mother and her seven puppies be released to us, they have not done so and, instead, have already adopted several of the puppies out less than two weeks after they were seized. (According to this organization’s website as of last week, its adoption fees range as high as $600, and last week it had a puppy up for adoption for $500). They still refuse to return the mother.

The vast majority of pets in RPM’s program were set to be euthanized the day we pulled them from BARC and had no other option but RPM’s transport program. Indeed, the mother and puppies at issue in the New Hope matter had no other option except for RPM’s transport program. BARC contacted us, informed us that no other rescue group could take the family, and stated they would be euthanized by the end of the day. We literally were the last hope for this family of a mother and her seven puppies. We then contacted our Colorado rescue colleagues, and New Hope stepped up to help this mother and puppies, heartworms and all.

In light of recent events, including the Colorado organization’s chilling position on heartworm positive dogs and the ease at which individuals have jumped on board to question our practices without investigation, we are being forced to suspend assisting heartworm positive dogs. In just the past two days, we have had to decline to help three families of mothers and nursing puppies and a few other adoptable dogs simply because the moms/other dogs were heartworm positive. No other Houston group could take them. They were euthanized. We are deeply saddened by the death of these families and dogs that could have had a chance at rescue and life but for the position that heartworm positive dogs are per se “unhealthy.”

We are further saddened by the attack on RPM and the ease at which those who claim to want to save lives are so quick to discredit qualified rescue groups. Animal rescue groups should be one community with one objective–the safe and loving care of all pets. We all have a duty to stop the backbiting, to work together to relieve animal suffering, and to play a part in stopping the euthanization of shelter animals.

RPM’s sole concern is the best interest of Houston’s shelter pets and the homeless pets we take into our program, and it is a shame that we have had to waste significant time and energy to respond to baseless, uninformed allegations and supposition. If there are further questions, please direct them to info@rescuedpetsmovement.org, and we will do our best to timely respond.

Thank you to those who support our program. We honestly could not do what we do without you. Do not worry–RPM will continue its mission and will continue our work to save the lives of Houston’s shelter pets that will otherwise be killed. RPM remains the very last resort and hope for many of the animals at BARC today.

Selma is in rehab. It’s a good thing.

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Thank you, Dr. Wall and everybody at the Veterinary Center for Pain Management and Rehabilitation for helping RPM puppy Selma recover from a former injury to her paw. The goggles are to protect her eyes from a therapeutic laser. She also uses a treadmill, swims in a pool, among other forms of therapy, and we hear everyone there thinks Selma is the cutest and sweetest thing since apple pie. We agree, and really appreciate everything they’re doing for Selma!

RPM Is Saving a Momma Lab Who Was Hit by a Car & Had Her Puppies in a Ditch.

Friends,

This poor dog and her babies need our help! BARC contacted us about her, and no one else can help. We are going to save her and her nine puppies, but we need funds! We’ve yet to pull her, but we’ve already named her Emmie and we already have a fantastic rescue group in Colorado to take her. She’ll have a wonderful life from this point forward. We promise.

Here’s Emmie’s awful story: An animal control officer brought her into BARC. She’d been hit by a car and landed in a ditch, where she proceeded to have nine puppies! Emmie’s front left foot is amputated and she has toes missing on her other feet. Her leg with the amputated foot has atrophied, but she manages to walk on her other legs. She’s covered with abrasions. And, to top it off, the poor girl is high heartworm positive. Emmie is scared to death and timid, but she’s a wonderful momma to her darling pups. (Click the photo below to view a larger image of Emmie and her pups.)

emmiepups

Can you please help Emmie and her babies? RPM’s vet bills are exceeding $30,000 a month. True story. We need serious financial assistance, and if you can help, we would be indebted. If you can’t donate, please just forward this email far and wide so we can help Emmie and continue our work!

You can make a tax-deductible donation by credit card by going to our website at www.rescuedpetsmovement.org and clicking the donate tab. Or if you prefer to donate by check, please make it out to “RPM Inc.” and mail it to us at

RPM Inc.
3139 W. Holcombe Blvd. #135
Houston, Texas 77025

Thank you so much for your help. Emmie and her puppies thank you too!

Your Friends from

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*For those of you donating on PayPal, your PayPal receipt serves as your receipt for tax purposes.

**Please like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rescued-Pets-Movement/432336290208624) and encourage your friends to do the same.

Tango.

Tango had been hit by a car and ended up at BARC. After having surgery in Houston we coordinated efforts with another rescue group and he was adopted and transported to a great family in Colorado. They adore him and say he’s a very special dog. Below is a short video of Tango at Canine Rehabilitation & Conditioning Group‘s new facility in Broomfield, Colorado, where he goes to help build muscle in his back leg. We’re very happy for Tango!

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