Regulars and Shorts

Animalia: December 2011

By catalyst

Ideas, profiles, products & news for all things animal.

Animal Angel

Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah was organized 25 years ago by 18 friends who were committed to saving animals’ lives (read Best Friends, by Samantha Glen, to get the whole story). This group has influenced animal rights across the country with such programs as puppy mill initiatives, workshops and No More Homeless Pets—a program whose goal is to create a “no-kill” society (the end of euthanasia), support homeless pet adoptions and—big “and”—encourage folks to spay and neuter their pets. 

Best Friends has reached far beyond their original intention of giving “unadoptable” dogs and cats, and birds, and horses, and… a place to live out their lives: They are inspiring a more humane society that will hopefully one day truly honor our fellow creatures.


Watch: Proof that we can all get along! Watch the playful relationship between wild polar bears and domestic dogs:

iPhone app: My Dog. Provides lists of everything from rescue organizations to pet stores to dog parks in your area. You also keep your pets vaccination/medication/­examination records so you can email your vet or animal watcher. There’s also a great tab for travel with pets, like dog friendly hotels, airlines and travel tips. 

Event: Join Off The Floor Project in making dog beds for shelter dogs, so they can sleep off the cold concrete while they wait for a home. December 17, noon. Come dressed and prepared to help build some much needed beds (and bring power drill or saw)! If you can’t make it you can donate funds. All proceeds go toward materials for the beds. More information:

News bits

Utah legislators have amended state law so that government-run animal shelters are no longer required to sell dogs and cats to laboratories for use in inhumane (and usually deadly) experiments. Until now, Utah was one of only three states that mandated that animal shelters engage in this practice.

Friends of Animals won a $5K grant from the Park City Foundation for the greatest number of “unique donors” during the foundation’s virtual donation drive on 11.11.11. In total, FOA raised almost $30K which will be used to spay/neuter, chip, vaccinate, house & feed all their rescues. 

“Like” us on facebook to see up-to-date animal news, stories, tips and advocacy opportunities. 


A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dog. Unlike responsible breeders whose goal is to produce the healthiest puppies possible, genetic quality is not a consideration at puppy mills. This results in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary and congenital defects such as epilepsy, hip dysplaysia or deafness. Only about half of puppies from puppy mills survive.

Almost all pet shop puppies come from puppy mills, as well as puppies sold online. And that blue blood heritage? Lineage records are often falsified so you may never really know what you’re getting.

Illness, disease, fearful behavior and lack of socialization with humans and other animals are common. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food or water, and they do not have treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. It’s common for cages to be stacked up in columns, sometimes outdoors where they are exposed to the elements. 

To maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. After a few years, when they are so physically depleted they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. 

What you can do: Do not buy your puppy from a pet store (don’t confuse this with stores such as Petco or Petsmart that help animal rescues by providing space to showcase adoptees), and make adoption your first option. If you are set on a puppy, check your local shelters first, and if you are looking for a particular breed, there are breed-specific rescues where you can adopt (that’s how I got my pug, Wild Man Joe, pictured here). Also see what our own Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is doing:

mccoyHandsome, regal McCoy is a neutered 6 year old Coonhound. Look at those soulful eyes, how can one resist making him part of the family! ID#A034089

wilsonThis little peanut is Wilson! Wilson loves to play—as you can see—and he is as sweet as he is cute. He is a four-year-old smooth-coated Chihuahua. ID#A033989

Our pets are brought to you this month by the West Valley City Animal Services. This shelter is often at capacity due to very high turn-in rate, and the animals have a short time period to be placed (animals are killed within 30 days). WVC animals need your help!, 801-965-5800

This article was originally published on November 30, 2011.