Monthly Archives: March 2017

Spring Into Action (from Janet)

Janet Bovitz Sandefur Rescue Dog Jessie

Jessie bringing in the Spring!

Yep!  This is our rescue gal, Jessie!  She’s helping us spread Spring Joy this season (actually, she will do anything for a treat, including sitting still with a flower on her head).

There’s no doubt about it – Spring is in the air.

There aren’t too many people who don’t look forward to the Spring season. And with good reason: longer days, sprouts of green, birdsong, and sunshine.

However, Spring isn’t always wonderful for animals. Especially those left outside, chained 24/7.

Did you know?

  • There are roughly 7 million stray dogs and cats in the U.S. at any given time.
  • Many people will not take in a stray dog or cat, especially during mild weather, because they feel strays can fend for themselves if it’s nice out.
  • There are many people who will not even call to report an injured animal in the mild weather for the same reason.

When talking about stray (homeless, ownerless) animals, the majority of people take this to mean dogs and cats.  But common stray animals are not the only animals to be negatively impacted by their circumstance.  ANY animal (including wild animals and birds) can have a difficult time, depending on their environment and their health.

Never turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger. The type of animal and the situation should always be taken into thoughtful consideration before you make the decision to aide that animal yourself.  Even a stray dog or cat can be a possible risk to you if that animal is ill or becomes frightened when trying to approach it.  Not sure? Call your local authority.

Animals are waking up and coming out of hibernation.

You know YOU feel when your alarm clock goes off? You stumble out of bed, half awake, and try to begin your day still foggy and sleepy. THAT’s how it is for many wild animals in Spring.  Being aware of animals at ANY time of year is important – but like everything else, there are ebbs and flows to wildlife also. Spring is one of the times of year where we see more animals hit by cars than usual. Animals are waking up, roaming up, starting to forage for food and ready their homes for mating and breeding season. Their alarm clocks have gone off, and they are up and running.

Just-Do-Something.org Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

It’s a good time of year to practice caution when driving, and ask others to do the same.

If you DO see an animal that has been hit be a car, PLEASE STOP.
Here are some things you can do to help.

Spring weather can still be cold.

The days may be longer, the sun may shine a little more, the snow is melting and buds are appearing all over the place.  But that doesn’t mean that the ground is thawed, the mud has dried and the nights are warmer.  At this time of year, the ground is still very cold even though we are starting to see the grass, and that includes mud that warms up during the day, but re-freezes at night. And remember, we still can get snow in the Spring!

  • Even well meaning pet owners may not realize they should not simply put their animal outside for prolonged periods of time during Spring (especially in the early mornings and night time).  This is especially true for new pet owners who may not yet be well educated on environmental pet care and for elderly pet owners who may forget from time to time the importance of routinely checking on their pets once they are outside.
  • Take the time to speak up if you see a domestic animal staying outside for too long.
    It matters to that animal.
  • Domestic pets that are in-door animals, should be limited in the amount of time spent outside in the cold and damp.
  • If it’s still cold enough for you to wear a jacket, then chances are your pet needs one also.
  • Humans have boots; animals have paws.  Although the bottom of your pet’s paws may feel rough, they are sensitive to hot and cold.  Cold can burn, ice can tear and scrape, snow can numb, salt and residual ice-melting chemicals can do damage (and make you pet sick if s/he licks their paws after they come indoors) and frostbite is still possible in the early Spring.  Most domestic animals dislike “booties”, so simply pay attention to the amount of time your pet is walking on the snow, ice and cold pavement, and take the time to gently wipe off cold and wet paws after being outdoors.
  • Is it a cold, wet day? Any soft, clean absorbent towel is great for drying off your pet after outdoor time.  A cold wet pet is a miserable, shivering pet.  Be sure to routinely wash any toweling used to dry your pet.

PESTICIDE SEASON starts in Spring, and for many, continues on until late Fall.  Before you make the decision to treat with pesticides, think about your pets, wildlife (babies in the Spring and Fall), and our environment.  If you do decide to treat YOUR lawn, be conscious of where your pets routinely go outside, and the little critters that you know roam on your property.  Let your lawn guys know you have a pet that goes outside, and if you know of certain areas that critters enjoy, mention that, also. Ask them to leave an area untreated so your pet and other critters can enjoy your yard without easily coming into contact with lawn treatments, which can cause internal and external issues just by licking or touching pesticides.

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

  • Before treating your lawn, before they arrive, remove water sources and ground feeding stations.  Pesticide poisoning HURTS.
  • Try to keep your pet off treated lawns for the first 24-hours.
  • Do not put out any food or water to entice other critters to your yard for 24-hours.
  • Have an “out” plan in place if you treat your entire lawn, so your pet can still get out for exercise and relief.
  • Be aware of neighbors who treat their lawns – stay away!
  • Wipe off paws any time your pet walks on treated ground.
  • Never let your pet lie or roll on treated ground.
  • As a courtesy to other pet owners, leave your lawn treatment signs up at least two days to make others aware.

Spring springs activity in animals!

Spring is the time when mating rituals begin, many animals give birth, and wild animals wake up from hibernation to roam about looking for food and new homes for their young.  There is A LOT of animal activity in the spring.

Wild Animals

  • More wild animals will be killed or injured by cars as they become more mobile.  Warmer weather means more animals roaming about. This is a good time to talk about what to do if you see ANY injured animal.
    • Again, click HERE for helpful information on what you can do.
  • Come across any baby birds or animals? Leave them alone unless it’s clear they are abandoned or in distress. Not sure? Call your local rescue or wildlife rehabilitators to find out what you may need to do.
  • If you have a dog that loves to chase, make sure wild animals (think squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and their babies) are protected as best as you can, before you let your dog out.

Outdoor Dogs

  • Yard debris covered up by snow should be cleared up to prevent animals and domestic pets from stepping on potential objects that can inflict injury by stepping on them or eating them. This includes picking up animal droppings that have accumulated in the yard over the winter.
  • Some dog owners do not use flea medicine in the winter.  If you are one of those dog owners, it’s time to start!
  • If your dog is an outside dog, clean out the doghouse, wash the bedding, clean up the area around the doghouse, and clean out the water bowl.  Routinely check doghouses and bedding for spiders and other bugs that love to nest inside them.

Birds

  • If you clean out your birdhouses or nest boxes and leave them open in the Fall, now is the time to close them back up so birds can begin to nest.
  • If you wean off from feeding the birds from the winter, do it gradually.  It’s still difficult to find food in the Spring, especially for the birds who have gotten used to eating from your feeding stations all winter.  The warmer is gets, the less seed you can put out.
  • Clean up your feeding stations and feeders so they are ready for next year.  Uneaten, left out seed and food items from the winter will spoil and mold in the warmer weather.
  • Clean out bird baths that have stayed out over the winter. Always offer fresh, clean water.
  • Do you like to feed the ducks? A bag of corn works better than bread.

And remember, for the SPRING, or ANY time of year:

  • Always SPEAK UP.
    • Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you become aware of a situation where ANY animal is in distress or danger, DO SOMETHING about it.
    • Call local authorities and WAIT until someone comes to the animal’s aide.
    • You may be the ONLY witness and/or the ONLY one to help that animal in that situation.
    • Don’t be nervous or worried if you have to report an act of animal abuse or neglect.
      YOU are their voice.
    • If you are not sure about what you think you see, call for help anyway. You might be saving a life.
  • Provide shelter.
    • If bringing the animal inside your home is not an option, help him/her survive the damp and cold Spring weather by providing shelter such as a sturdy cardboard box lined with a good amount of clean, dry straw (straw is the main insulator that rescuers use when helping out strays or domestic outdoor animals who stay outside).
      • Straw provides a soft but effective barrier against the cold and damp, keeps warmth in (if you pile it in a good amount), is pliable enough so animals can burrough and surround themselves with it, and does not mold quickly.
      • Don’t bother with towels and blankets as these will get wet in a storm and stay damp.
    • Enticing the animal into your garage will also work.  
      • Ensure proper bedding for warmth and comfort, as garages usually are not heated.
      • Make sure that harmful products normally stored in the garage are completely out of the way.
      • Cars should never be running in the garage at any time if there is an animal in there!
  • Are you already providing shelter to a stray?
    • Time to change the straw or bedding!  
    • Just like a human, animals can develop sores and sensitive skins from dirty, unwashed bedding.
    • Replace straw and/or  wash bedding!  
    • A stray’s life can be pretty miserable. Don’t add to it by overlooking this simple necessity.
  • Provide food and water.
    • Did you know that many pet owners think that melted snow is a great substitute for water? Not true! Melted snow is left-over snow, which is dirty and unclean for a number of reasons.
    • Always ensure that there is a daily supply of fresh, clean water easily available.  
    • Providing stray animals with fresh, clean food and water can help them survive better because they will need to use less energy to scrounge up their dinner.
    • A well-fed, well hydrated animal is also better prepared to fight off illness and infection.
    • Steer clear of canned food as it is more likely to freeze when the temperatures drop and spoil when the temperature warms.

Remember, if you do take in a stray animal:

  • Make sure your first stop is with a licensed veterinarian who can assess the animal for diseases and make sure that it is immunized and safe to be around your children or other pets.
  • If you don’t want to bring the stray to a shelter, reach out to your local rescue groups to see if someone can take him/her.

ANY season is a great season to JUST DO SOMETHING for animals in need.

Hopefully, this new season gets your motivated to SPRING into action where or when you can.

What are your Spring tips? Share it with us, and we’ll pass it around! All efforts matter for ANY time of year, when it comes to helping out our animals.

Just-Do-Something.org Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Judging Can Hurt Animals (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

It was a informative Facebook post about an animal in need. The issue: a dog in North Carolina, kept tethered outside 24/7 without insulated shelter. The owner: a woman who believes that a dog is just a dog, and dogs should be kept outside because to bring them in “costs money” that she would rather spend on her wardrobe.

The Facebook poster is the founder of a well established rescue group that travels the continental US helping dogs that are the victim of tethering. But she didn’t advertise that on this post.

Instead, she was simply providing information on a dog that needed some help, and was sharing information in the hopes that someone from that area was also aware of the dog and to also bring awareness about yet another victim fallen to being chained in the same spot every damn day.

That’s when the judging started.

I get it. People are reactionary, and usually those reactions come from feeling passionate about something. And there are many people who are passionate about Animal Welfare.

But I don’t think that being passionate is an excuse to be judgmental. 

Usually, when someone is judging someone else, it’s because the person doing the judging is getting something out of that; maybe that person is angry or jealous or vengeful. Judging someone else allows venting, release and for others, closure. Judging someone else may make that person feel superior. Judging someone also is a way for a person to share their feelings about something they feel passionate about, without actually having to confront the person they are talking about, or do anything about a situation because people who judge feel that they have done something by doing just that.  Sometimes judging others is an introduction to simply gossip. And many times, the person being judged has no idea they are being judged.

I was not surprised that so many people would rally for the dog on this post. What did shock me though, was the number of people who immediately, nastily and with much vulgarity, attacked the dog owner instead of coming up with positive suggestions to address the issue. 

Here’s the thing. Although I don’t agree with anyone chaining a dog 24/7, no-one knows the circumstances of this situation. Granted, the owner of the dog DID say that she believes that a dog is just a dog, and dogs should be kept outside because to bring them in “costs money” that she would rather spend on her wardrobe. But that was not a face-to-face conversation, and we have no idea where that thinking originated from. 

Believe it or not, some people judge ignorance as being stupid or indifferent. However, sometimes being ignorance simply means things can turn around with conversation and education. And yes, I’m saying “sometimes”.

In this situation, there was so much hating on the dog owner, that the originator of the post removed it from Facebook because things were getting out of hand and nothing productive was being suggested.  I was glad she made the decision to do that, because after a while no-one was even asking about the dog, they were simply taking turns posting extremely inappropriate content about someone they knew nothing about.

Don’t misunderstand me here. There are situations that I don’t budge one inch on. I can be very rigid in my thinking, especially when it comes to animal neglect and abuse. But – but. There are situations where things may not be what they seem, and until facts are gathered and information is confirmed, sometimes you can’t just assume you know the whole story.

No matter how passionate the guy next to you is (or is posting), YOUR passion should come from YOU and YOUR knowledge, not from others.  And then turn your passion into something constructive – judging others is anything but.

Judging someone or a situation prematurely has the ability to possibly negatively impact something that shouldn’t be shaken up.  In some cases, incorrectly judging a situation has actually resulted in pets being removed from their home environments when they shouldn’t have been, euthanized before their time, and caused bad publicity towards someone who simply needed some education on how to be a better pet owner.

And just so you know, the originator of the post privately messaged me a few hours later to let me know that after she spoke with the dog owner, the dog owner agreed to let others help her put up a fence so her dog didn’t have to spend any more time on a chain. And that was after one conversation. Who knows what might happen after a few more talks? Education, taking the time to talk things out, and positive suggestions go a lot further to help animals than judgement.

It’s all about the animals in need. Judging takes up time better used to save or better a life.

Don’t be judgmental – be HELPFUL instead.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

 

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March – in like a lion, and still roaring (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

I’m sure you’re already familiar with the old saying about March: “In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb”. This ‘weather lore’ saying is considered a proverb, the origins of which dates back to the eighteenth century, but which no country can claim it originated from.

Regardless of who first said it, it rings pretty true for the month of March on the East Coast, at least.

Usually before the middle of March hits us, we are teased with warmer, sunnier days that actually start to show some positive signs of early Spring and brighter days ahead. We start to see a few green sprouts, clouds give way to bluer skies, and the day light hours begin to lengthen.

Because of the warmer days, wild animals that have been hibernating and keeping to their dens wake up to roam about (which is why there is a higher number of animals hit by vehicles during the early Spring). Bird song is more noticeable and flocks come in larger numbers to lawns and feeders.

Bu then – BLAM – it changes. March weather suddenly turns colder. Skies darken, clouds move in, winds blow, and more frost and snow comes.  Grounds warmed by early sunshine turns muddy, and refreezes. Those happy green sprouts succumb to cooling temperatures and frostbite. The birds that have arrived in larger numbers suddenly find themselves in a mad scramble looking for food that is promised with the warmer weather. Strays and homeless are already pregnant.

March is roaring in, and sometimes March roars for the entire month. Leaving many animals (wild, domestic and farm) in tragic conditions.

Did you know?

  • There are roughly 7 million stray dogs and cats in the U.S. at any given time. And that’s just in the United States.
  • Many people will not take in a stray dog or cat, especially during mild weather, and even during bad weather.
  • There are many people who will not even call to report an animal left outside.

When talking about stray (homeless, ownerless) animals, the majority of people take this to mean dogs and cats.  But common stray animals are not the only animals to be negatively impacted by the harsh weather and circumstance.  ANY animal (including wild animals and birds) can have a difficult time, depending on their environment and their health.

Never turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger. Of course, the species of animal and the situation should always be taken into thoughtful consideration before you make the decision to aide that animal yourself.  Even a stray dog or cat can be a possible risk to you if that animal is ill or becomes frightened when trying to approach it.  Not sure? Call your local authority. But NEVER turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger.

Many people, and animals, love the change of seasons. A crisp, crystal clear snowy day or a snowy-blowy night is something many enjoy and look forward to. Unless you’re an animal who is forgotten, kept outdoors 24/7, dumped, injured, hungry, cold, wet, stray, feral… add your own description here.

Unfortunately, many people think that leaving pets outside day and night in the Pre- and Post- Winter and Winter season without basic care and attention is enough.  The days and nights leading up to and after Winter can be miserable on animals in general, not to mention Winter itself.

  • Lack of always-available clean, fresh, cold water – it’s a myth that animals can “drink snow” to stay hydrated. Many animals die every year from winter dehydration. Licking snow and ice does not prevent dehydration. A heated birdbath that can be placed on the ground is a great way to ensure a steady supply of unfrozen water. Be sure to clean it as winter water can still get dirty.
  • Lack of appropriate shelter from the elements – frost, cold rain, sleet, snow, hail, and wind. Animals can also get sunburn in the winter.
  • Lack of appropriate winter coat (and don’t forget to bundle up your pet when taking him/her to the vet, for a walk, to the car).
  • Lack of alleviation for allergy symptoms – yep, animals suffer from winter and food allergies also
  • Lack of boredom alleviation from being kept in the same spot every day
  • Food (and dish bowls with uneaten food) that sits out all day runs risk of becoming frozen, lost in the snow and ice and can attract other animals
  • Unhygienic environments when an animal is forced to void, sleep, eat and pace in the same  area

Not to mention (but we’re going to)

  • Seasonal colds from damp, frozen wet grounds and cold temperatures, and the fluctuating temperatures leading up to Spring
  • Dehydration
  • Sunburn
  • Blisters, cut and sensitive spots on paws from cold, frozen ground (a pacing animal that walks in the same spots every day does NOT warm the ground s/he is walking on).
  • Paw irritations and injuries from salt, and other de-icing products
  • Allergies
  • Hunger and thirst – many people don’t realize the number of animals who are deemed “outside animals” are FORGOTTEN more than one would think for regular feedings

By now, mostly everyone is aware about the importance of NEVER leaving ANY animal in a closed car on a hot day. The same goes for leaving animals unattended in cars on a super-cold day. If you’re cold – so are they. Remember, if YOU see ANY animal in an unhealthy, unsafe situation, JUST DO SOMETHING.  Your action may be THE action to save a life.

“Fur” Real?

Many people have the misconception that because an animal has fur, that they are immune to cold weather tragedies. Not true! Even domestic animals that are left outside too long can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia.

  • Even well meaning pet owners may not realize they should not simply put their animal outside for prolonged periods of time during the Winter. This is especially true for new pet owners who may not yet be well educated on environmental pet care and for elderly pet owners who may forget from time to time the importance of routinely checking on their pets once they are outside.
  • Take the time to speak up if you see a domestic animal staying outside for too long. Especially those that are routinely chained in one place.
    It matters to that animal.
  • Domestic pets that are in-door animals, should be limited in the amount of time spent outside in ANY element.
  • If it’s cold enough for you to feel it and be affected, then chances are you pet is being affected too.  Invite your pet inside for some warming time.
  • If it’s cold enough for you to wear a jacket, then chances are your pet needs one also.
  • Humans have boots; animals have paws.  Although the bottom of your pet’s paws may feel rough, they are sensitive to cold (and hot).  Cold surfaces like pavement and  tarred driveways can burn and blister, cause frostbite, stones can tear and scrape, and other rough surfaces can do damage – AS CAN SALT AND OTHER DE-ICING PRODUCTS (and make your pet sick if s/he licks their paws after they come indoors).  Most domestic animals dislike “booties”, so simply pay attention to the amount of time your pet is walking on surfaces that can cause irritation and injury, and take the time to gently wipe off  paws after being outdoors.  Especially if your pet has environmental allergies, which Winter falls under.  A quick paw-soak or bath after playing in the snow can be a very soothing allergy-symptom reliever.  NOTE:  If your pet appears to be dealing with sore paws from winter irritation or allergy,  causing licking, itching, and/or causing your pet to act unlike him or herself, a vet visit is in store.
    Always be on the look-out for frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Is it a Winter cold rainy or snowy day? No-one likes to sit around and be soggy. Any soft, clean absorbent towel is great for drying off your pet after outdoor time.  Be sure to routinely wash any toweling used to dry your pet.
  • Speaking of drying off, if you plan on taking your pet to a dog park or swimming area in the colder weather, watch for signs of stress, hypothermia and/or infection. 

Remember, YOU can just do something!  

  1. First, always SPEAK UP.
    Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you become aware of a situation where ANY animal is in distress or danger, JUST DO SOMETHING about it. Call local authorities and WAIT until someone comes to the animal’s aide. You may be the ONLY witness and/or the ONLY one to help that animal in that situation. Don’t be nervous or worried if you have to report an act of animal abuse or neglect. YOU are their voice.If you are not sure about what you think you see, call for help anyway. You might be saving a life.
  2. Provide shelter.
    If bringing the animal inside your home is not an option, help him/her survive the cold by providing shelter such as a sturdy cardboard box or large Tupperware bin (cut a hole for an entry way) lined with a good amount of straw (straw is the main insulator that rescuers use when helping out strays or domestic outdoor animals who stay outside). Straw provides a soft but effective barrier against the cold, keeps warmth in (if you pile it in a good amount), is pliable enough so animals can burrow and surround themselves with it, and does not mold quickly. Don’t bother with towels and blankets as these will get wet in a storm and freeze. Enticing the animal into your garage will also work.  Ensure proper bedding for warmth, as garages usually are not heated. When possible, change the straw. Make sure that harmful products normally stored in the garage are completely out of the way. Cars should never be running in the garage at any time if there is an animal in there! This is also a good time to mention that strays (especially cats) will find warmth during the winter in many unlikely places – so check under your car and in your car wheel-wells before driving off; parked cars provide warmth and shelter, so it’s a common place for a cold, homeless animal to seek out.
  3. Provide food and water.
    Did you know that many pet owners think that SNOW is a great substitute for water? Not true! If you’re uber committed to providing water in the winter, invest in a heated bird bath. Place it on the ground, for all to have access to.
    Check out this informational about WATER in the winter!
    Your knowledge on this COULD save a life.Providing stray animals with fresh, clean (dry) food and water can help them survive the cold because they will need to use less energy to scrounge up their dinner. A well-fed, well hydrated animal is also better prepared to fight off illness and infection. Steer clear of canned food as it is more likely to freeze when the temperatures drop. And check on water sources frequently for the same reason.
  • If you do take in a stray animal, make sure your first stop is with a licensed veterinarian who can assess the animal for diseases and make sure that it is immunized and safe to be around your children or other pets.
  • If you don’t want to bring the stray to a shelter, reach out to your local rescue groups to see if someone can take him/her.

Do you feed the birds in the winter?

GREAT, and thank you!  In addition to providing them with fresh water (see #3), make sure that once you start putting out bird food, that you KEEP doing it through the wintry months up until the true warmer weather begins to stay.  Why? Once a bird finds a winter food source, it will become dependent on being able to forage in that same area as an expected food source.  Birds need to eat at least a much as it’s total body weight in food EVERY day just to survive another day of winter.  The energy a bird takes to find food can become a deadly race to store energy OR go find a new food source.  So, feed the birds in the same place, every day.

Not sure what kind of bird food is the best? During the winter, for the birds, it’s all about conserving energy and maintaining a healthy, daily weight.  Best food for that is ANYTHING that does not have to be de-shelled or broken apart. Sunflower chips, peanut butter, peanut chips, and suet are Number One go-to’s for most Northern birds. Forget the bread and standard bag of bird seed – bread is harmful to most birds and ducks, and the round millet that comes in standard bird seed is not eaten by many wild birds; it looks like a lot of bird food in one bag, but a lot of it is filler.

Smear peanut butter on tree branches and rocks. Roll some sunflower chips with peanut butter, and put these little yummy ball treats out for all the birds to enjoy. Hang suet from feeders out of reach of squirrels. Anything you spread on the ground (nuts, seeds, chips) should be spread in an area that you can keep clear of snow as best you can. Little birds have a hard time “digging” in the snow for the bits and pieces – and that takes energy away from them.  Make a point to clear snow out from your bird feeding area every day when possible. And, spread it out! Some birds are safer and will more readily eat closer to bushes than out in the open. Larger birds will push away the smaller birds – spreading out the food ensures that more birds will have a chance to eat.

Do you want to feed the ducks in the winter? A bag of corn works better than bread.

Animals can die in ANY weather depending on the situation.  Early Spring and Late Winter is no different.

No animal should suffer so horribly or needlessly.

You can help prevent that by doing right by any animal in need. Remember, not every “outdoor dog” you see chained is actually an outdoor dog. And not all cats are feral. Cats dumped during the winter months will most likely succumb to the elements, starvation or dehydration. Whatever you see, check it out and JUST DO SOMETHING – you may be the one person to save or better an animal’s life.

For animals, it pays to remember that March, indeed, comes in like a lion. YOU may not be feeling the roar of winter leaving, but many, many animals do, and will.

What are you doing to help animals during the last weeks of Winter?

Share it with us, and we’ll pass it around! Your endeavors might just help someone else save a life…or just keep one warm!

Thank YOU for taking the time to keep your eyes open, and JUST DO SOMETHING for those that cannot speak for, or defend, themselves.

It matters.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

 

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Let’s Talk Animal Petitions (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

Thinking about creating or signing an Animal Petition? Take a moment to read our information about Petitions, which we shared a few years ago. With so many concerned people and organizations coming together on worthy causes through the power of social media (in the form of petitions), and others who downplay the importance and impact of these petitions, we wanted to share this again. 

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.orgAnimal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org
Does this mean you shouldn’t sign specific petitions?

No! Even if the petition is not in your state or is vague, petitions that gain social media momentum and interest make a very strong impact. Many times, petitions can be happily resolved and ultimately closed JUST from the social media attention it received and the pressure that puts on the target of the petition – regardless of whether it got to the target or not.

And remember, if you feel a petition is worth signing, then it’s also worth sharing.  Take the time to always sign AND share petitions. Petitions DO make a difference; they DO elicit change; and they DO matter.

What about “bad” petition sites?

Like everything else, it does pay to do your due diligence, even when signing and sharing petitions. If you are not sure of the validity of a petition’s content, do a quick google search to see if you can find the situation that the petition is referencing. You can also try to reach out to a petition creator, or the hosting organization itself, to check on validity. There are lists available on the web that will point you to valid and non-valid petition sites – but ultimately it’s up to you to determine what’s real versus fake before signing and sharing a petition.

And, more and more, even valid petition sites are asking for more demographic and clarifying information that ever before. In part, this is because recipients of petitions (that those are targeted for the petition to be sent to) want to know who is really signing them. You are not obligated to add your real date of birth or telephone number, however that information does become important when you are signing a valid petition for your state of residence if that petition is going to your related congressional representative(s).

So, what’s the best way to create a petition?

  • State just the facts. 
  • Include as much identifying information as possible in the body of your petition when talking about the issue: Names of Individuals and/or Organization; Location of situation (City/Town/State); Dates; Past effort information; Related links; Current pictures.
  • Add Hashtags (#) to the content! Hashtags help others with specific searches. Some good examples of hashtag use in Petitions are: #AnimalPetition, #AnimalWelfare, #AnimalAbuse, #AnimalNeglect, #(Location), #(Organization Name).
  • Provide an additional way for signers to contact the target of your petition (example: full mailing address so a follow-up personal letter can be mailed; social media pages, website).
  • Set a realistic goal for the number of signatures needed. A google search will tell you the number of signatures needed in order for a petition to be seen by your target(s).
  • Provide regular updates on your petition so those who have signed know the status. Petition updates show your signers that you are still moving forward on your petition goals, and keeping abreast of any news related to the petition content. You always want to keep your petition in the limelight and one of the best ways to do this is to update it and keep sharing it.

You can view a listing of the most common Animal Petition sites by clicking here.

We sent this information out to all of the popular related Animal Petition sites, in the hopes that each related site can implement these changes and updates to ensure that the majority of all Animal Welfare petitions, created and signed within the United States, have the very best chance to impact, be read and acted upon.

Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for making petitions better?
Send them to us and we’ll add them!

Petitions change lives. So, BE the change YOU wish to see in this world, and go start a petition. And, at the very least, sign and share the ones that come your way. Animals are waiting.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

 

 

Animal Advocacy just-do-something.org logo Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

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