Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dichotomy: Raining cats and dogs AND Reigning Cats & Dogs

See Berry's story below.
To get a message across, the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) often uses a play on words - a clever or witty use of language. For instance, on Saturday, Sept. 8, YHS is celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Prescott Resort and the event is called Reigning Cats & Dogs.

The name Reigning Cats & Dogs is an attempt to humorously convey the role our pets play in our lives. In many ways, and for many of us, our pets take on a central, or if you will, a "reigning" role in our lives. It is in this fun spirit that we are inviting animal lovers to a royal celebration of the relationship we share with our pets.

The phrase "Reigning Cats & Dogs" is a homophone of the term "raining cats and dogs."

It is ironic, even tragic, that in a community that celebrates Reigning Cats & Dogs we can at the same time experience a raining cats and dogs resulting in an overflow of lost and homeless pets at YHS.

So dire is the current situation that YHS is announcing a state of emergency. The crisis was caused by the recent monsoon. Dogs frightened by thunder are escaping from their homes in record numbers - and most are found without a dog license, identification tag or microchip. Worse, pet owners are not coming to YHS to identify their lost pet in a timely manner. This is costly to both YHS and the frantic pet owner. Our concern is pet owners may not know YHS is the central location where all lost pets are taken by local animal control and Good Samaritans who rescue lost pets off the street.

When you lose your pet, please visit the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center at 1605 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott every three days at least - and more often when possible. If your pet does not have a microchip, you can purchase one at the YHS Wellness Clinic, 2989 Centerpointe East, Prescott, on any Friday or at the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center Monday through Friday. In the effort to reunite more lost pets with their owners, YHS is offering microchips for just $20. A microchip will help reunite you with your lost pet in the shortest amount of time.

YHS is also launching a month long Raining Cats & Dogs Adoptathon. From today through the end of September all dogs and puppies are just $25 and all cats and kittens are "pick your price." Every adoption includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and a microchip. This is over a $400 value per adoption. If you are considering adding a pet to your family, now is the time. YHS has the largest selection of quality pets available for adoption at the most affordable prices. When you adopt a pet from YHS you are saving two lives; the one you adopt and the one your adoption makes room for.

Another way you can help YHS is by participating in the Reigning Cats & Dogs Auction which is open online until Thursday, Sept. 6. Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to having your pet featured in the inaugural 2013 Yava-Paw Calendar. So, tell your friends, family, community and let the bidding begin! Just go to the YHS website ( and click on the Auction banner on the front page. You can also purchase your tickets to the Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort. All proceeds go to help fund YHS' many life saving programs. I hope to see you there!

Berry is a 10-week-old female Labrador and a fine example of the passel of puppies available for adoption at YHS. All dogs and puppies are just $25 and the fee includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchip. YHS has the largest selection of wonderful pets waiting for just the right home – yours!

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors is recruiting new members

John Tarro served YHS
since 2000
Effective Aug. 6, John Tarro submitted his resignation from the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors. He has decided to relocate to the Seattle area to be closer to family and friends.

John served on the YHS board as an officer and a member since 2002. Before joining the board, John and his wife Sandy (now deceased) volunteered with YHS beginning in 2000 when they first moved to Prescott to retire. John played a significant role in many progressive YHS accomplishments over the years. John is loved and respected by the YHS staff and, although he will be missed, we are grateful that he has agreed to continue his involvement long-distance by serving on the YHS Governance Committee.

With John's departure from the board, YHS has begun recruiting individuals interested in serving on our board of directors. We are looking for persons with several years of executive experience leading people, projects, programs or companies. YHS relies on its directors to provide guidance in establishing policies, implementing strategies and achieving goals. The fiduciary nature of the position requires directors to be able to read, understand and offer suggestions and comments on financial statements.

YHS is looking for board directors who can bring specific expertise in key areas needed to provide proper oversight of the organization's activities. We are specifically looking for individuals with expertise in legal, financial management, risk management, human resources, marketing, or fundraising or philanthropic activities.

A key asset of a prospective board member is the relationships he or she has established and can use to help YHS accomplish its goals. This could be access to community leaders and groups, influential individuals, grassroots organizations, or government contacts. YHS especially looks to the ability of each board member to provide relationships that aid in raising life-saving funds.

Board directors should be able to commit the time necessary to responsibly fulfill their commitment to YHS. This includes board training, analyzing financial statements, reviewing board documents before board meetings, attending board meetings, serving on committees, attending fund raising events, and making donor calls among other responsibilities.

Individuals selected to serve on the YHS Board of Directors will be joining one of the most progressive and innovative animal welfare organizations in the state of Arizona, if not the nation. Western Yavapai County was recently recognized by the well-respected animal welfare publication, Animal People, as the third-safest community for pets in the United States (tied with San Francisco). This ranking is directly related to and the result of the outstanding programs developed and implemented by YHS.

One of the best ways to obtain a broader understanding of the work and programs of YHS is to attend the upcoming Reigning Cats & Dogs Dinner and Auction Gala. You will also be able to meet all the YHS directors, management team and many of the staff and volunteers at this event.

Individuals interested in serving on the YHS Board are invited to submit an application. Applications can be found on-line at or by coming to the YHS Animal Center at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road.

I also want to remind everyone that this year's Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala is a celebration of YHS' 40th anniversary. Be sure to get your tickets now because last year we sold out quickly.

The gala is scheduled for Saturday evening, Sept. 8 at the Prescott Resort. Purchase tickets on-line at, at any YHS location or by calling 445-2666. Tickets are $100 each or a table for 10 can be purchased for just $900. I look forward to seeing you there!

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


See Bossley and Kelly's story below.
This past weekend stargazers observed the peak of the spectacular Perseids falling star season. Named for the constellation Perseus, from which the falling stars appear to originate, the shower is actually the result of Earth crossing the debris trail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, discovered in 1862, whose trail of rock and dust still circle our sun.

Throughout August, weather permitting we will be treated to exquisite showers streaking through the velvety dark night. As we cross the comet trail falling stars with long shimmering tails hit the Earth's atmosphere at 140,000 miles per hour - inducing gasps of wonder as they blaze across the sky in less time than it takes to say "meteor."

The Perseids were particularly striking this past weekend in Prescott, AZ because they coincided with beautiful summer weather, weekend viewing opportunities, and a dark night sky inhibited only by a thin crescent moon that rose three hours before the Sun. At the shower’s peak as many as a dozen meteors might be seen every hour.

Each year at this time another, less pleasant, spectacle is forecast with the same astronomical certainty. I'm referring to the shower of lost and homeless dogs and cats rescued by the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS). Each summer YHS marks its calendar in reluctant anticipation of the hundreds of lost and homeless animals expected to fall into our atmosphere, tails tucked between their legs with fear and foreboding, unlike the flamboyant tails of the Perseids.

Many of these animals are injured, abused or ill and require special medical treatment. The trajectory for these animals was once tragically similar to the silent extinguishing of a shooting star in the black night sky. Without the needed resources to care for them, euthanasia was the only humane solution.

However, that all changed when YHS launched the STAR program during the Perseids one year ago. One year later the STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program has enabled YHS to better care for our community's neediest animals than ever before, nursing them back to healthy before placing them into loving homes.

The STAR program represents a community-wide commitment to help these animals. Your support of the STAR program allows YHS to swear off euthanasia as a solution and ensure no animal who comes through our doors is killed out of convenience or a lack of resources. For every one of them there is somewhere a kind and loving person or family and it is our mission to bring them together.

Today, rather than resembling falling stars snuffed out in the blink of an eye, these animals are transformed into bright and shining stars emblematic of our community's compassion. Visit our website to read the amazing testimonies of our STAR animals. Animals like Mimi, our very first STAR animal, and Trudy, Sunset, Hassy, Buddy, Waste Management, a personal favorite, Heather, Pancake, Thor and so many others. Each of whom is in a loving home today; had it not been for the STAR program each of them would be little more, or less, than a memory today.

These animals have a fighting chance at quality life today only because of your donations to the YHS STAR program; your gift directly saves lives.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to help the Yavapai Humane Society’s STAR animals can send a donation online ( or can mail a check to YHS at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott, AZ 86301. Together we are turning our community into a truly humane society – and we can’t do it without you!

For information on donating, adopting, or fostering visit the YHS website or call 445-2666, ext. 20.

The two STAR Chihuahuas pictured above were rescued from an inexperienced backyard breeder unable to properly care for them. Bossley (left) is a 6-month-old male and Kelly (right) is a 6-year-old female. The dogs appear to be related. An abdominal midline scar on Kelly indicates a possible C-section. Each had a nonfunctional rear limb. Radiographs found that both dogs appeared to suffer from congenital anomalies and not fractures. The limbs appeared to have never been functional, with no chance they ever would be. They were amputated to enhance both dogs’ quality of life. Kelly has a heart murmur and cleft lip (another congenital anomaly). Both dogs are friendly and sweet and have been adopted; however, YHS needs your help to care for other animals in need like Bossley and Kelly. Please read the accompanying article for more information on the YHS STAR program and how you can help.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

CDC warns of Internet scams involving pets

See Holi's story below.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning U.S. citizens to beware of Internet scammers who are falsely representing themselves as CDC employees in emails.

In this scam, victims are asked to send money overseas to adopt a dog. The "importer" tells the victim that a CDC quarantine station is holding the dog and lists numerous conditions that must be met, including payment of fees, before the dog can be released.  

The CDC does not quarantine dogs, nor does it require a fee to bring them into the country.

The CDC is cautioning consumers to be aware of the potential for fraud involving the commercial trade of animals. Similar scams have been reported involving cats or monkeys. In these scams, victims respond to newspaper or Internet ads that offer animals for adoption in exchange for shipping costs.

Typically, the person offering the animal for adoption lives in another country and claims to be looking for a good home for the animal. Victims pay shipping fees up front but never receive the animal. In many cases, after funds have been sent abroad, they learn that the animal never existed or they are told that it is illegal to import certain animals (such as primates) as pets.

Tips for avoiding animal adoption scams

• Be extremely cautious of offers for animal adoptions from overseas.

• Check all references the importer provides.

• Independently verify each piece of information. For example, if the importer gives you the telephone number of the airline they are using to send the animal, look up the telephone number for that airline and call the airline to verify the shipping information provided by the importer.

• Avoid situations in which money is requested before shipment.

• Learn about federal requirements for shipping animals such as dogs, cats, and monkeys by reading "Bringing an Animal into the United States" which can be found at

• Report scams to the Internet site or newspaper posting the classified advertisement, and consider reporting Internet fraud to federal authorities. You can do that at

• If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In addition to the proliferation of Internet pet adoption scams, the Yavapai Humane Society is reminding residents of the risks inherent in buying a pet from a pet store. As U.S. authorities continue to crack down on unscrupulous domestic breeders, the vacuum is being filled by overseas puppy mills.

There are hundreds of thousands of puppy mills around the world (over 720,000 in South Korea alone) that produce untold millions of puppies annually. Using the Internet, importers bypass federal and local government inspections and avoid importation requirements. Although Congress passed a law banning the importation of dogs under 6 months old for resale, there is no serious enforcement of that law.

With rare exceptions, when you buy a puppy from a pet store you are just as likely to be supporting a cruel puppy mill as you would be supporting an illegal drug cartel should you purchase drugs from a pusher on the street.

Local and international puppy mill scams will continue until people stop buying their pets. Putting these scoundrels out of business should be the goal of every animal lover. In the quad-city area your best bet is don't shop, adopt from the Yavapai Humane Society where you will always find a wide selection of healthy, well-socialized puppies and adult dogs - including purebreds - just waiting for that special home: yours.

Note: Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala tickets and Taos raffle tickets are available on-line. You are especially invited to participate in the Yavapai Humane Society's 40th anniversary celebration!

The dog in the photo above is Holli, a 2-year-old female dachshund rescued by YHS. Weighing in at 12 pounds, she is sweet and social with all people and likes nothing more than to sit on your lap or be held. She would probably be okay around other polite dogs her size. There is considerable interest in Holli, who will be available for adoption by silent auction at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at YHS, 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Keeping your eye on the ball: keys to Yavapai Humane Society success

Baseball great Tony La Russa has taught Ed Boks well!
Congratulations to the Yavapai Humane Society's Furious Furballs for becoming the 2012 City of Prescott Summer Softball Wednesday Co-Rec E Champions!

Watching the Furballs this year reminded me how baseball is useful metaphor for life. Consider the expression "keep your eye on the ball." According to the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms, it means, "to give your complete attention to what you are doing or want to achieve." Sounds simple enough, but how easy is that?

Well, the Journal of Recreational Mathematics claims that keeping your eye on a pitched baseball is next to impossible. The human eye cannot track a pitch thrown in excess of 90 miles per hour. To do so the body has to respond at a rate in excess of 1,000 degrees per second. Studies show the human limit is on the order of 90 degrees per second. Consequently, batters lose track of the ball as it nears the plate and must subconsciously extrapolate its trajectory in order to hit it. Amateur batters lose sight of the ball about 9 feet away while professionals lose sight at about 5.5 feet.

Applying this metaphor to our
goal to end the killing of animals to control pet overpopulation, we could ask if we will lose sight of it the closer it gets.  In my last blog I reported western Yavapai County in Arizona is among the top three communities in the U.S. with the lowest and fastest declining pet euthanasia rate. So the question I am asking today is can we keep our eye on the ball as it comes barreling towards us?

How well a team keeps its eye on the ball is demonstrated by statistics. Statistics play an important role in summarizing baseball performance - just as they do in evaluating animal shelter performance. In both arenas, we look for statistical significance to determine whether results reflect a pattern or mere chance.

For instance, we see a pattern emerge in the Furious Furballs' win/loss record over the past three years. In 2010, the team won one game and lost nine. Last year they won four and lost six. This year they won 10 in a row and became the division champions. This is a statistically significant pattern.

We find a similar pattern when we analyze three YHS statistics over the past three years (ending July 31). The live release rate (which refers to the number of animals getting out of the shelter alive) climbed from 71 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2011 to 94 percent in 2012. That may seem unimpressive until you realize this number represents four more lives adopted into loving homes every day of the year, for an additional 1,460 lives saved!

When we examine the number of animals killed annually we find this number declined 68 percent in 2010, followed by a 60 percent reduction in 2011, which translates into an 87 percent reduction over the past two years. This means only animals who are irremediably suffering or dangerously aggressive are being euthanized - the very definition of "no-kill."

Then there is the statistic that put YHS in the Hall of Fame - the number of animals killed per 1,000 human residents. This number fell steadily from 17.25 in 2009 to 1.3 in 2012, which is the third lowest rate in the nation. While sharing these statistics may sound like boasting, remember what another Hall of Famer, Dizzy Dean, said, "It ain't bragging if you can do it."

Both YHS teams have demonstrated they can do it! Congratulations, Furballs and YHS employees, volunteers, partners and supporters for knocking it out of the park! Michael Jordan said it best, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.