Month: April 2016

Guest Blogger, Simon Robson (

                                                                                                                                                            Why Animals?

One of the common questions I am asked is “Why do you help animals, when people need our help?”.  I completely understand why people ask this question. I’ve noticed that when confronted, many other animal lovers and welfare and anti cruelty advocates will immediately jump on the defensive, declaring that animals have no voice and need humans. While this is undoubtedly true, there really is no need to to feel defensive, or think you have to overly justify the passion you have for welfare and cruelty issues.

In my mind, passion for any cause is created from one or both of two factors, personal experience, or exposure to negative facts. Whatever the reason, passion for a cause comes from an inner feeling to help and assist, ultimately making the world a better place. Therefore it doesn’t matter what cause you support, as long as you support what you believe in. And why should everyone support one cause anyway? Curing one problem in the world solves nothing. Only by having a variety of people supporting a variety of causes, can we really make an impact on the world as a whole.

However this does sometimes lead to follow up questions, such as “But how does helping animals benefit mankind?”. On first impression this questions may seem not to have an answer, however like all good causes you have to look deeper into an issue to truly understand it.

Firstly animal welfare. Obviously animal welfare is primarily concerned with improving the care, lifestyle and handling of animals, but inturn by doing so it challenges the processes, procedures and ethics of large national and multinational companies. Companies which wield power over governments and remain largely unchallenged, can be brought into the public eye and allow others to question them.

Secondly animal cruelty. As well as providing safe haven, care and treatment for abused and mistreated animals. fighting against animal cruelty also removes the ability for evil people to do more harm in the community.

So be proud of the cause you support, whatever it is. And be proud of everyone else that supports a good cause. They, like you, are trying to make a difference, and like you, their passion will directly and indirectly affect how we live our lives in the future. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Simon Robson, Owner Best Friends Buddy (Atlanta, Georgia)

Simon was born with a love for animals. Growing up with a family who trained Cocker Spaniels for agility and obedience competitions, he learnt to care for dogs from the day he could walk. That passion grew into a lifelong commitment to helping and defending creatures in need and distress. Simon has vocally and constructively fought for countless animals that many others had given up on, and is proud to have appeared on national television, discussing the rights of animals and animal adoption. His varied career has seen Simon learn to deal with the harsh realities of abandoned and mistreated pets. He strives to change the future of animal care through education. 

Check out Bark, Wag & Blog on the Best Friends Buddy website – all geared towards Animal Welfare!

Go on Tumblr,  Tweet and connect on Google with Best Friends Buddy for Animal Welfare!Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Guest Blogger, Joanna Clough (

Mouse and Rat Poisons – please consider the risk to your pets Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

At this time of the year rats and mice come sneaking into the house to avoid the cold and look for easy pickings. There are just a few things to know before you reach for the rat bait.

Poisoning from rodenticides are one of the most common types of poison cases seen by vets. The best way to avoid an animal being poisoned is to be careful with the use and application of the poisons.

Ensure they are put away in secure cupboards, remember that cats can climb and even if they don’t eat the poison they could knock it off the shelf where it could be made available to the less discerning pet (or child).

When placing the bait ensure it is placed in a secure container that only rats and mice can get into.

The identification of what your pet may have eaten is paramount to enable the vet to treat your pet correctly. Take the container, packet, bottle with you so that they can identify the poison and treat accordingly.

Remember that our pets can be poisoned by eating a rat or mouse that has ingested poison! So watch for symptoms and if you have any concerns take your animal straight to the vet.

Symptoms differ depending on the type of poison, the amount ingested, the size, age and health of your pet. Many poisons have an anticoagulant that prevents the blood from clotting, causing hemorrhaging and death. Signs can appear over a period of upto 4 days after ingestion. It may be seen as breathing difficulty, seizures, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, blood in urine, faeces, very pale gums, vomiting and more.

The new baits that are available can stay for up to 4 weeks in the animal’s system. They can be treated with an antidote, vitamin K, blood transfusions but unfortunately this may not work.

You will be surprised at the number of everyday household items we are keeping in our home that are poisonous to our animals.

If you have any concerns take your animal to the nearest vet!

For a free downloadable list of poisons go here.

– Joanna Clough
Director at Pet First Aid & Training (New Zealand)
Find them on FacebookAnimal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Guest Blogger, Paws In Prison (

Prisoners and Pound Pups Rehab Each Other

female inmate points her index finger at a tan-colored mutt and says, “Bang!”.  The dog pretends to drop dead and the audience cheers.

The dogs’s name is Cowboy and his trainer is Sarah Smith (name has been changed) who is halfway through serving an eight year sentence for falling asleep while driving, which resulted in a death. She hopes to be released in the fall for good behavior.

Lockhart Correctional Facility inmates show off what they’ve taught their rescued dogs.

Smith and Cowboy are part of Paws in Prison at The Lockhart Work Facility, 30 miles south of Austin, Texas. The program pairs female inmates with shelter dogs, most of whom were considered likely candidates for euthanasia. Today the group is holding graduation ceremonies for nine dogs and their 18 handlers. They’re also celebrating the successful training of their 100th dog, a large, dignified-looking mutt named Handsome. All the dogs are outfitted in a red, white and blue jersey that says, “Mr. Independent” or “Ms. Independent.”

A former death-row dog demonstrates “shake”.

Only 24 of the 1,000 prisoners at The Lockhart facility are chosen to be dog trainers after going through a lengthy interview process. The women must complete a two-week dog training course before the animals arrive, and are expected to make the dog adoptable after eight weeks of being together 24 hours pr day.

Hepzibah Hoffman-Rogers of Thunderpaws Canine Solutions teaches the inmates how to train dogs. “What I didn’t expect was how much enjoyment I would get out of helping these women,” she says.

The animals come from four rescue groups - Friends of Gonzalez Animal Shelter, Goliad Pet Adoption, Humane Society San Antonio, and Guadalupe County Humane Society - who spay, neuter and provide veterinary care to the dogs before releasing them to the inmates.

“Prison is an environment that requires people to be tough and strong,” says Machelle Gaconnet, who started Paws in Prison at the Lockhart facility five years ago. “This program has allowed the offenders to show they care about the animals. These relationships foster healthy interactions and behaviors with family, friends and community.”

Another inmate-trainer echoes Gaconnet’s words by saying, “This dog gives me a sense of self worth and a reason to rise each morning. She‘s taught me to trust.”

Smith has Cowboy put his paws against the wall so she can “pat him down”, police style. He then puts his paws together and “prays for a home”.  After “pledging allegiance”, Cowboy gives Smith a high five and bows to the enthusiastic audience, 52 of whom are supporters of the San Antonio Humane Society (SAHS), which chartered a bus to the event.

Cowboy is Smith’s third dog to train during her prison stay. Prior to entering the program, he had been locked in a kennel and considered “too crazy” for anyone to adopt. “Working with Cowboy has showed me that old dogs can actually learn new tricks,” Smith said. “We can’t let our past determine our future success”.

Check out Paws in Prison on Twitter and on Facebook!

Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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When a “Bill” is More Than a Dollar (From Janet)

How do ducks breathe? Amazingly, some people think that ducks draw breath through their butts, AND/OR that they can breathe underwater. False, and false.

But what IS true, is that if a duck’s bill is compromised, breathing can become challenging, if not impossible.

Why the concern? Because in the wintry weather, or the freak ice storms, or even this weekend, where we are having (hopefully) our last snow/freeze of the season, in Western New York, a duck’s bill can freeze over, and in some cases, freeze completely shut.

And yes, this applies to ALL bird types, but seems to be most prevalent in swans and other water fowl.  Why? Because water fowl spend the majority of their time in or around the water, mainly foraging for food. This means repeatedly dunking their bills in the water. And what happens during extreme cold, when water is involved? Yep, it freezes. Water on a duck’s bill is no different. Dunk, get wet, freeze, repeat.

And then you get this:

Most times, that’s okay. A duck can survive with some ice on their bill, as long as they still can open it to eat and breathe.

But some times, you get this: Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

And then that duck gets into trouble.

Ducks breathe through their bills. Yes, they can breathe through their mouths also.

But, BUT – if a bill becomes completely iced over, it closes off the nostrils (those holes located on top of the bill, called nares), and in the very worst scenario, it freezes the bill completely shut.

For any bird, the inability to use their bill becomes a struggle to live. Literally. Without being able to have use of their bills, any bird will soon succumb to starvation and suffocation.

Both equally awful.

What can you do?

If you come across ANY bird with heavy ice on it’s bill, DON’T just take that interesting picture and walk away (believe it or not, that’s been done before – people are out taking pictures or walking in the park, they see a duck with a frozen bill and think it’s “neat”. We need to take that one step farther and think about the situation that duck is in. For that bird, it’s not “neat”, it’s deadly).

DO call Animal Control or your local Humane Society immediately, with the description of the bird and the location.

DO stay to watch where the bird goes (as best as you can) until help arrives.

DO pursue making additional calls to ensure that someone will come to the aid of that bird.

It takes a while for Spring to show the warmer side of the season. For many animals, and birds, Spring is still a miserable time of year. Snow, ice, freezing sleet, slushy cold mud – it still all happens in the Spring. It’s happening RIGHT NOW in Western New York.

Remember, you can JUST DO SOMETHING to save a life.  And you will be saving a life.

Never turn your back.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur



Animal Advocacy logo Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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