As the nation prepared to celebrate Mother’s Day this past week, it was also a week to celebrate animals, as well as encourage communities to care for them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), encouraged the nation to share the value of being kind to animals with their children during “Be Kind to Animals Week,” May 6 through 12.
“Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to focus on sharing your love of animals with kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, students and any other young ones in your life,” said the ASPCA in a release announcing this recognition.
Activities that the ASPCA encouraged the nation to participate in during this week included volunteering together as an individual or group, writing a letter to Congress to encourage tougher laws, getting crafty in supporting kindness to animals and promoting adoption, educating your children on pet care, and fostering a shelter animal.
During the month of April, the ASPCA, and shelter’s such as the Bradford County Humane Society (BCHS) in Ulster, also recognized Animal Cruelty Prevention Month. Throughout the month, advocates worked to educate the public. “People are urged to spend time this month to educate themselves and others about existing animal cruelty laws and to support pending legislation,” ASPCA said in a press release last month.
They continued, “Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month is 30 days where every day we can show our support of animals and tell everyone and anyone that we stand together and will not tolerate abuse and neglect of animals.”
According to the ASPCA website, 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that make intentional cruelty a felony charge. Intentional abuse is just that – hitting, choking, kicking, deliberate starvation, etc. Unintentional abuse comes from ignorance; the abuser does not know how to care for the pet.
BCHS recommends that if you suspect someone is abusing a pet, don’t confront that person directly. They noted that this is for your own safety, and the long-term interest of the pet. Call the police or your local animal control officer.
“Our Humane Investigation department responds to over 400 requests for service each year in Bradford County and now Sullivan County,” stated Jennifer L. Spencer, executive director at Bradford County Humane Society. “We hope to bring those numbers down by continuing to engage the hearts, hands and minds of the public and being a strong voice for animals.”
To report Animal Abuse in Bradford County, you can contact the Bradford County Humane Society’s Humane Officer at (570) 888-4763. To report Animal Abuse in Tioga County, N.Y., you can contact Cindy Webster at (607) 565-2859.

Volunteering at a shelter
Across the nation, animal shelter’s not only welcome, but rely on their volunteers to maintain vital operations. According to Stray Haven Human Society Director Lynn Shumin, volunteers do everything from walking dogs to cleaning kennels.
Last month the shelter, located on Shepard Road in Waverly, N.Y., welcomed close to a dozen volunteers who arrived from Chesapeake Energy.
Rory Sweeney, of Chesapeake Energy, recently described the volunteer effort in a press release.
“As part of Chesapeake Energy’s H.E.L.P. Initiative, employees from Chesapeake Midstream Partners’ office in Horseheads, N.Y. volunteered several hours of their free time to provide general maintenance at the Stray Haven Humane Society and in Waverly, N.Y.,” said Sweeney in the release.
He noted that approximately 10 people, including employees and their families, met at the shelter last month to clean, garden, paint, care for animals and generally spruce up the facility.
The opportunity, he added, developed from a friendship between Jim Thomas, an operations foreman with Chesapeake Midstream Partners, and his neighbor Lynn Shumin, the shelter’s director.
“All of us who participated are huge animal lovers,” said Margaret Lorden, an administrative assistant at Chesapeake who organized the volunteerism. “Most of these shelters are funded by donations and volunteering, and that’s the essence of Chesapeake’s volunteer program.”
Animal-shelter assistance has been a focus of volunteer efforts at the Horseheads office. Last year, employees volunteered at the Chemung County S.P.C.A. and donated animal-care gifts during Christmas.
At Kennedy Pools & Spas in Sayre, the owner is also stepping up to help the animals in need. Adopting his own dog, Jedi, from Stray Haven, owner Todd Kennedy wanted to do something to help them out.
Beginning immediately, the business located in Sayre will be selling 100 $75 raffle tickets for a 7-foot, five-person Cal Spa. Kennedy noted that $1,000 of the proceeds will be donated to Stray Haven Humane Society.
After the 100 tickets are sold, Kennedy added, they will draw a ticket for the winner of the hot tub and the check will be presented to Stray Haven.
Their store, located at 932 W. Lockhart St. in Sayre, also has a box in its store to collect food, toys and treats for the animals.
Kennedy Pools & Spas is encouraging all to participate and donate something for the animals.
“I’m looking forward to not only providing a hot tub to the lucky winner,” Kennedy said, “but more importantly giving back to a great organization that helps animals in need.”
As Kennedy’s own dog came from the shelter, he feels that the organization is deserving of this assistance.
“I couldn’t be happier to not only recognize the organization that took care of my dog until I adopted him, but also for the great care they give to those still looking for homes.”
Employee Alison Stern of Sayre is excited about the fundraiser and supply collection as well. Stern recently adopted a Golden Retriever after she lost her mixed breed dog, Rex, to cancer in January. Of the fundraiser, Stern said she’s excited.
“We’re real excited here,” Stern said. “It is great that we can help the animals and collect donations for them.”
Raffle tickets can be purchased at Kennedy Pools & Spas using cash or check. When purchasing a ticket, several rules will apply that the ticket holder must sign off on.

Mutt Strut 2012
Down the road from Stray Haven, and over the Pennsylvania border into East Smithfield, the Animal Care Sanctuary (ACS) is gearing up to host a fundraiser of its own. The Annual Mutt Strut to benefit the sanctuary’s animals is planned this year for May 19.
With a capacity for housing 175 dogs, and approximately 600 cats, this “no-kill” shelter serves a primary purpose of promoting the humane care and treatment of all animals. Their adoption program seeks to promote the enrichment of the lives of both the animals being adopted, as well as their new families.
“Our primary concern in adopting out animals is not to find them a quick home, but a forever home,” ACS states on its website located at animalcaresanctuary.org.
Sitting on 129 scenic acres, ACS is not only a perfect setting for a sanctuary, but it’s also a good location for the Mutt Strut.
According to ACS, the “doggone fun day” is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 19. They are encouraging participants to put on their walking shoes and join hundreds of walkers for a fun-packed day to raise money for over 600 animals that are cared for daily. You can walk with or without a dog, in memory of a beloved pet, or in honor of your cat. Walkers will also enjoy exclusive benefits including a goody bag, a free “Ask the Vet” session, T-shirts, canine contest participation and much more. Prizes will be awarded to the top individual and top team fundraisers.
If you can’t attend, you can still register as a virtual walker; create your own fundraising page and raise money to benefit the animals at Animal Care Sanctuary.
Before and after the walk, there will be a jam-packed schedule of events including canine demonstrations, exhibitors, canine DNA test kits, nail clipping, micro chipping, great food, music and an adoptable dog parade. Your pup can participate in a tail-wagging contest, frosty paw eating contest, and new this year, a dog/owner look-alike contest.
All ACS adopters are invited to the Adoption Reunion tent where they and their furry friends will be welcomed with catered food and refreshments donated from local bakeries, restaurants and beverage centers.
The Mutt Strut is sponsored by Hudock Moyer Wealth Management, John H. Murray & Son, Chesapeake, C.A. Thrush Insurance Agency, G. Webster Contracting, and Henry Dunn Insurance.
Call (570) 596-2200 to learn about ways to participate. Pledge walkers are the heart of the event, so register today online at animalcaresanctuary.org.
To those who love
For those who love their pets, fundraising and events such as the Mutt Strut can be an emotional time, as well as a time to bond with their beloved four-legged friends.
After losing her beloved Jewels in January, Troy’s Chelsea Wagner took time to grieve, but then went out and adopted her latest best friend, Newton.
Upon the loss of her dog Jewels, who was adopted, Wagner even built a memorial for her. Recently, Wagner took Newton to the memorial for Jewels and let her grieve by her side.
Wagner’s adjustment to her newest dog was not easy. Because animals can’t talk, Wagner had to work with Newton to overcome some behaviors he had acquired in his previous home. However, working with ACS, Wagner soon trained Newton to become the best friend she had grown to know in Jewels.
Upon learning of the Mutt Strut, Wagner immediately became involved, and with this writer formed a team, “The Doggone News.” Fundraising efforts for the team are going well, with Newton serving as the captain of his own team.
For this writer, dealing with an aging dog has become a challenge. Also a member of the “Doggone News Team.” Max the dachshund was scheduled to hike, but will be fundraising only due to a schedule conflict. Max was also recently dealt a huge blow when he was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and then a subsequent diagnosis of Type I diabetes. Now on a daily insulin regiment, Max has slowed, but is still living a life where he is loved and well-cared for.
Now understanding first hand, the care required by an aging dog, it evolves the relationship into one that has a much deeper bond. Senior dogs are truly special.
The good news is that a dog with diabetes, if treated with insulin, can live as long as dogs who are not diabetic.
Shelters, and organizations like ACS, work to find homes for senior dogs in the hopes that they might live out a good life for their remaining time.
Just as people age and have needs, so do animals.