Dogs get Breast Cancer Too

But you can prevent it. Spay your dog before she comes in heat the first time, and she'll never, ever have breast cancer.

Dogs can be spayed as young as 8 weeks, if they weigh at least 2 pounds.

Good Work, AVRAL! No more gas chambers!

A new law, passed by the Alabama legislature and signed by Governor Bentley, ends the inhumane practice of using gas chambers to kill excess stray animals at Alabama's shelters. Beginning December 31, lethal injection must be used for euthanasia. Thousands of AVRAL members have worked to get this bill passed. Thanks to AVRAL, and to our legislators and Governor Bentley.

The Truth about Fostering

Read what Ashley Owen Hill of Lucky Dog Rescue has to say about fostering.

While you're there, learn about the Pet Pardons Facebook App she cofounded.

Local Strays set for New York Homes

By Yvonne T. Betowt, Reprinted from The Huntsville Times June 16, 2011

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The North Shore Animal League van from Long Island, New York, pulled into the Huntsville Animal Services shelter on Triana Boulevard Wednesday afternoon empty except for two employees: Dan McNena and James Gleason.

When the van pulls out of Animal Services parking lot Thursday morning, it will be loaded with 38 dogs and puppies and 27 cats and kittens being taken to their no-kill shelter on Long Island, where people are waiting in line to adopt animals, especially puppies.

"By the time the puppies hit the floor, they are gone," said Gleason while checking out some kittens he was considering taking with him.

"This is like Disney," said an excited Animal Services Director, Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard. "This is probably one of the top three most exciting days I've ever experienced in my nearly nine years here." Sheppard is ecstatic North Shore agreed to take the Huntsville shelter animals, some rescued, but never claimed after the April 27 tornado outbreak. "They are a wonderful shelter and I have no worries the animals will be placed in a good home," she said.

Sheppard said there is a shortage of dogs in the northeastern United States because of strict spay and neuter laws enacted 30 years ago. Laws aren't nearly as strict in the Southeast. More than 5,000 homeless animals are euthanized each year at Huntsville Animal Services, Sheppard said.

While the cat overpopulation in New York isn't quite as bad as it is here, Gleason said many are being dropped off at North Shore. However, he said they would take a number of kittens to make room for others arriving daily at the Huntsville shelter.

McNena, the off-site driver, said the renowned shelter has certain criteria for determining which animals to take, including being up-to-date on shots, temperament with people and other dogs and cats and whether they are "food aggressive" among other requirements. They do not require an animal to be spayed or neutered because there is an on-site veterinary clinic which performs their surgeries.

Gleason, the off-site project manager, and McNena, the off-site driver, depend on local shelter employees such as Debi Madaris to help them decide which animals will be the most adoptable. "They asked me what a dog's temperament is and how I think they will do," said Madaris, who spends a lot of time walking, feeding and grooming the dogs in her care.

Debbie Dodd of A New Leash on Life, who rescues and fosters many animals from Huntsville Animal Services, was invited to bring several dogs and kittens to be considered by North Shore Animal League

"This is awesome," said Dodd. "We hope they could come once a month or a quarter which would make room for more homeless pets here."

Sheppard agrees. "We hope this becomes a long-term love relationship," she said.

It is not the first time North Shore has been in Alabama, having rescued a number of tornado animals from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa last month. They plan to return to Birmingham to pick up even more animals next week.

Once loaded, the North Shore van will only stop to walk the dogs, feed and water the animals and get fuel, said Gleason, the off-site project manager for the world's largest pet adoption agency.

The North Shore Animal League was founded in 1944 by a handful of animal lovers in Port Washington, N. Y., who decided to make it a no-kill shelter, a concept virtually unheard of at the time.Today, the organization adopts some 20,000 animals yearly to loving homes and is nearly reaching the 1,000,000 mark.

In 1992, it opened the 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the art Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, which is open every day of the year and staffed by more than 10 veterinarians and dozens of technicians.

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