Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yavapai Humane Society offering low-cost pet wellness treatments for a limited time

Vaccinate your dog against
rattlesnake bites any Friday
at the YHS Wellness Clinic 
for just $16. No appointment
necessary. Call 771-0547 for
more information.
The Yavapai Humane Society announces three pet wellness campaigns: a cat FeLV/FIV test special, a pediatric spay/neuter special, and rattlesnake vaccinations.  
Cat Special: Among all causes of lethal feline disease, none are taken more seriously by the Yavapai Humane Society than feline leukemia (FeLV) and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Undetected, either virus is capable of causing your cat's premature death. It is estimated that up to 4 percent of the 83 million cats in the United States harbor one or both of these viruses. 

To help reduce these diseases, the YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is offering a special promotion through the month of June. Your cat(s) can be tested for both diseases and vaccinated against FeLV on any Friday. The combo test is only $25 and the FeLV vaccination is just $25. 

If your cat tests positive for one of these viruses, it is not necessarily a death sentence. In fact, you should have your cat retested in three months, because the original test sometimes yields a false positive. Once you know your cat is not infected, the best remedy against FeLV is preventative. Please get your cat vaccinated. There is no vaccine against FIV, but knowing if your cat is infected will assist in how you care for him.

Pediatric Spay/Neuter Special: The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is also offering $5 off every pediatric spay or neuter surgery scheduled through the end of June for pets five months old or younger.

Pediatric spay/neuter has been a subject of ongoing debate among some veterinarians - a debate fraught with misinformation, misconceptions and high emotions. Although millions of pediatric surgeries have been successfully performed over decades, some veterinarians still believe conclusive evidence for the practice is wanting.

However, many studies have been conducted that confirm that pediatric spay/neuter is safe and effective in both the short and long term.

In fact, as early as 1993, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published surgical and anesthetic protocols for safely spaying or neutering animals as young as 6 weeks of age.

Some of the many advantages of pediatric spay/neuter: It is less physiologically stressful; requires only 2-4 hours fasting to prevent hypoglycemia; animals awake and are ambulatory usually within an hour; fewer perioperative complications; pyometra is easily prevented; prevents accidental pregnancies and the development of mammary gland tumors later in life.

Pediatric spay/neuter is an essential component of a comprehensive community strategy to end the killing of homeless animals. Make your appointment today!

Rattlesnake vaccinations: Due to popular demand, YHS is adding rattlesnake vaccinations to our core vaccine arsenal to help protect dogs exposed to rattlesnakes. This is especially important for active dog owners who love to hike or camp with their companion pets. The $16 vaccine can help dogs survive and recover more quickly from rattlesnake bites. Keep in mind, veterinary treatment for unvaccinated dogs suffering from a rattlesnake bite can quickly exceed $1,500.

You can get your dog(s) all their wellness vaccinations any Friday at the YHS Wellness Clinic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for just $16 each. No appointment necessary on Fridays.

The Yavapai Humane Society Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. Call 771-0547 or visit for more information or to schedule a spay/neuter appointment for your pet.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

YHS program helps feral cats, provides safe rodent control

YHS Barn Cat Program
is designed to reduce shelter
killing, feral cat populations,
and rat infestations.
Two years ago the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) launched an innovative program designed to help solve three societal problems: shelter killing, feral cats and rodent infestation.

In a perfect world, all cats would have a loving home. Unfortunately, unaltered cats permitted to roam freely either become feral or produce feral offspring. Feral cats are wild and cannot be turned into house pets. When feral cats end up in shelters, they have little hope of coming out alive. Rather than kill feral cats, YHS promotes reducing their population through a process called TNR (trap/neuter/return).

For feral cats who find their way into the Yavapai Humane Society we've created the Barn Cat program to help save their lives - and we do that by putting them to work.

Through the Barn Cat program, feral cats are spayed and neutered and released into areas where they can do what they do best: prevent an overpopulation of rodents. Their reputation as stealthy and successful exterminators is well known and many homeowners and businesses rely on cats as a "green" rat abatement program.

Sadly, YHS recently rescued two dogs exposed to rat poison; one we were able to save, the other succumbed despite our best efforts. One benefit of the Barn Cat program is that it keeps rodents in check without toxic pest control chemicals that are dangerous to pets, wildlife and children.

The program also helps improve public health. Rodents carry many diseases including plague, leptospirosis, hantavirus, murine typhus, rat bite fever, salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium, and eosinophilic meningitis.

The beauty of barn cats is that rodents flee the area when these cats make their presence known. These sleek legends of grace and beauty give off an odor through their paws as they prowl. Once rodents get a whiff of feline, they vacate the premises.

Less grisly and more effective than glue traps, cats go about their "work" naturally. They prowl, they eat and they sit in the sun; although they prefer to spend much of their time hiding.

YHS barn cats are spayed or neutered so they don't contribute to the feral cat population. They are vaccinated so they help mitigate cat diseases in our community. They are microchipped so they can be returned to their owner should they end up in a shelter, and they are ear-tipped (under anesthesia while the cats are being altered; veterinarians notch an ear, which is the widely recognized sign that a feral cat is altered). All this for just $30 per cat.

When YHS Barn Cats are "employed," they are transported in large wire cages where they are housed for about a month at their new location. This process is called recolonizing. It takes about 30 days for a barn cat to be comfortable enough to consider their new environs home. YHS will help you colonize your barn cat and teach you how to care for them. YHS provides the cage for a refundable deposit.

Barn cats can be put in any safe area - businesses, hotels, industrial parks, residences, and of course, barns. If you are interested in participating in this cost-effective, humane rat abatement program, call YHS to be added to the barn cat list. You will be contacted when your barn cat is ready for you.

If you don't have a rodent problem but love cats and would like to help fund this non-lethal, humane program, please make a donation to YHS and specify "Barn Cat program."

For more information on feral cats visit For more information on the YHS barn cat program or to place an order for your barn cat, call 928-515-2379.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

YHS to hold 'pit'y-party

Helen Keller said of her
pit bull, Sir Thomas, he
“seems to understand my
limitations, and is always
 close beside me when I
am alone. I love his
affectionate ways and the
eloquent wag of his tail.”
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is throwing a Pity Party this week at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott - and you're invited!  Join YHS behaviorist Ellen Paquin this Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a free educational seminar on the American pit bull, a breed blessed with tenacious athletic ability, loyalty, intelligence, and high energy.

All YHS dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped; this is over a $400 value - but this week every bully breed is available for just $25.

Pit bulls are not lap dogs nor are they for the sedentary person. They are not fashion accessories or macho symbols. They are a breed apart from every other canine on earth.

The U.S. military recognized this in the early 1900s when they chose the pit bull to represent the USA on WWI and WWII recruitment posters. Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull WWI war hero served in 17 battles, was injured twice in battle, saved his entire platoon by warning them of a poison gas attack, and captured a German spy. Stubby earned many medals for heroism. Stubby's New York Times obituary may be viewed at the Connecticut State Military Department's website.

Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, George Patton, Jack Dempsy, Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Anne Bancroft, Thomas Edison and Mark Twain all owned pit bulls. Celebrity pit bull owners include Jon Stewart, Alicia Silverstone, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Michael J. Fox, Bernadette Peters, Brad Pitt, Madonna and Rachael Ray.

Pit bulls are commonly used as therapy dogs at senior care facilities and to help people recover from emotional trauma. Pit bulls are also used in search and rescue missions and as narcotic- and bomb-sniffing dogs. One pit bull, Popsicle (rescued from an abandoned freezer), is responsible for the largest recorded drug bust in Texas history.

While certain purebreds are prone to many health problems, pit bulls are healthy and hardy. They are strong and long-lived. They are low-maintenance because their short coats are easy to care for; you'll have no grooming bills.

Most pit bulls are great with kids, too; consider Petey, the beloved dog featured in "The Little Rascals." Pit bulls were called "nanny dogs" in the early 20th century because of their gentle and loving disposition with kids.

Pits have great personality; even as they age, most remain playful. They are affectionate, appreciating their owner's attention and approval more than anything else.

According to The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), an organization promoting uniform temperament evaluations for purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs, the pit bull scores an 86.2 percent rate. That's better than the Australian shepherd (80.7 percent), beagle (80.3 percent), border collie (79.6 percent), boxer (84 percent), chihuahua (71.1 percent), cocker spaniel (81.9 percent), collie (79.2 percent), German shorthair (76 percent), golden retriever (83.8 percent), lhasa apso (70.4 percent), miniature poodle (77.9 percent) and sheltie (67.3 percent). ATTS also found bit bulls are generally less aggressive when faced with confrontational situations that produced negative reactions in many stereotypically "friendly" dogs, such as beagles and poodles.

In our community, pit bulls are so popular they represent the largest percentage of dogs rescued and adopted. If you want a super-dog, consider a YHS pit bull. YHS adoption counselors are always ready to help you select the perfect dog for you and your family.

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

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Worldwide medication shortage threatens YHS's no-kill efforts

Horrific incinerator
removed from YHS
campus after no-kill
Behind the Yavapai Humane Society's Pet Adoption Center at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott was a large incinerator. Abandoned for several years, the incinerator had become emblematic of a bygone era when homeless pets in our community were euthanized and discarded like so much garbage. The removal of this nightmarish relic on Feb. 27 is symbolic of a new day for pets in Yavapai County.

According to data provided by Animal People, the leading independent newspaper providing investigative coverage of animal protection, central and western Yavapai County is now tied with New York City as the second-safest community in the nation for pets.

This ranking is determined by the number of shelter animals killed per 1,000 residents. In the 12 months ending in February, the YHS kill rate fell to an all-time low tied with NYC at 1.0.

Whidbey Island, WA is ranked the safest community at .8 pets killed per 1,000 humans.

In contrast, Mohave County weighs in at 33. The most dangerous community in the U.S. for shelter animals is Amarillo, Texas, at 54.5 pets killed for every 1,000 residents.

In 2009, the YHS kill rate was 10.5, but this rate started declining in July 2010 when the YHS Board of Directors and management team embraced a "no-kill" ethic. This ethic is defined as applying the same criteria to homeless animals that a compassionate veterinarian or loving pet owner would apply to a pet when deciding if or when that pet should be euthanized, meaning only irremediably suffering and dangerously aggressive animals would ever be euthanized.

Today, YHS is a national model for having eliminated killing as a method of pet overpopulation control.

YHS is building new cat hospital
consistent with no-kill ethic.
Reinforcing the symbolic gesture of dismantling the incinerator, YHS is also building an infirmary to care for homeless sick pets. The facility is scheduled to open in May and was made possible thanks to municipal and private funding.

This life-saving transformation in our community is the result of YHS supporters, volunteers and donors and could not have been achieved without you.

Sadly, all this good news comes in the face of YHS's most significant challenge to maintaining its hard earned "no-kill" status.

There is a worldwide doxycycline shortage - with no end in sight. Doxycycline is the most cost effective medication for treating upper respiratory disease in shelter animals. Although these illnesses are easily treated outside a shelter, they are often a death sentence for pets in most animal shelters.

During this crisis, YHS is closely adhering to UC-Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine's recommendations for shelter animals. It is anticipated that a 300 percent increase in medical costs will be incurred just to provide the same level of care provided last year. For example, to treat a 50-pound dog with a doxycyline alternative will cost $3.50 per day compared to 20 cents per day for doxycycline in 2012. This translates into $2,500 more a month just to ensure our community's homeless pets get the care they need.

If we can't provide this medicine, the number of animals euthanized could increase. You can help alleviate this crisis by sending a donation to the YHS STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program. Your life-saving donation can be submitted at or by mail to YHS, 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott AZ 86301. Together we can continue to make our community one of the safest for pets in the United States!

Ed Boks can be reached at 445-2666, ext. 21.