Finding Your Lost Cat

by Kimberly Wade

Each year, animal shelters nationwide take in millions of lost cats, and sadly, a very small number are actually reclaimed by their people—and fewer even have an identification tag or microchip. According to Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS), summer is the most popular time for cats to go missing. They, like us humans, love our summer weather, and will push all of your buttons asking to be let out—even if just for a little bit. They also aren’t exactly loyal—if your neighbor has better cat food, well, they may pick your neighbor and rehome themselves! All it takes is a few seconds for a cat to jump a fence and begin a neighborhood stroll, but as we know, this can easily lead to our favorite companion disappearing forever.

Since June of this year, WCRAS has received almost 250 lost reports for missing cats, and has seen 965 cats turned into the shelter. For the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, 64% of dogs yet only 6% of cats that came into WCRAS were returned to their owner! Remember, though we share a building with WCRAS, they take in lost, found or abandoned pets, whereas we take in pets given up by their people. If a cat (or dog) who arrive at their facility is not reclaimed by their person after five days, the animal then comes to Nevada Humane Society to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before being placed up for adoption.

Here’s what I’m saying. If your cat goes missing, don’t just assume he’ll show up at WCRAS right away. Most cats don’t go more than a couple blocks from home, and may find a really good hiding place—especially if it’s too hot or cold, loud or stormy, the list goes on and on. Be mindful that you can’t predict when he may show up at the shelter, so it’s best to really keep looking in your neighborhood, and checking the lost and found pets at WCRAS, because you would hate to have him show up several weeks after going missing only to come to us to be placed up for adoption.

Here’s what you can do to help keep your pet safe:

  • Have him wear a breakaway collar (a special collar that stretches to let the cat escape should he get caught in a tree or other similar situation) and ID tag
  • Microchip him, and register the chip, making sure your contact info is up to date
  • Keep him inside or only allow him to go outside, in a safe area, supervised

Should you lose your pet, here’s what you can do:

  • In Washoe County, post him as lost and file a lost report with WCRAS—their website is updated every 30 minutes. You can also view lost pets online at www.washoecounty.us/animal/
  • In Carson City, report a lost pet to 775-887-2171 and view lost pets online through www.nevadahumanesociety.org
  • Search the neighborhood, knocking on doors of homes and visiting nearby businesses
  • Indoor cats tend to not go far, and can usually be humanely trapped within four days because they will stay nearby and will be hungry
  • Advertise by placing flyers with photos around the area and post to social media sites
  • Try the internet, searching places like Craigslist, Center for Lost Pets and Lost Pet USA
  • Don’t give up! Many pets are reunited with their people after months!

If you find a cat (or dog) you can bring them into either WCRAS or, if in Carson City, to Nevada Humane Society, where we’ll scan him for a microchip and post his photo on the website. Local veterinarians will also scan a pet for a microchip.

Let’s keep our cats safe. It keeps us happy, and them happy. And don’t forget, Washoe County residents can get a free microchip for their pets at WCRAS every Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm. Nevada Humane Society also offers low-cost microchipping when you have your pet spayed or neutered with us, and during our public vaccine clinics, which are every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at our veterinary clinic.

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Rabies, Vaccines and the Bigger Picture

by Kimberly Wade

In case you missed it, the Washoe County Health District recently put out a notice that multiple bats infected with rabies were found in Washoe County. In one of the cases, four domestic pets came into contact with one of the rabid bats. It’s a situation no one wants to think about, and one that hasn’t happened in Washoe County in decades, but it’s time to remind people about the importance of vaccinating their pets and why it’s so important to everyone around you.

What You Need To Know

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through a bite. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. The virus infects the central nervous system, and many times, can be fatal.

In order to prevent it, you and your pet should be up to date on rabies vaccinations. Keep your pets away from wildlife. You don’t want to risk you or your pet getting bit. Rabies is transmitted through saliva (hence, a bite) and can expose you, or your pet, if it comes in contact with broken skin (open wound, scratches, etc).

According to Washoe County Regional Animal Services, bats reside in colonies, so it can be easy to pinpoint where the rabies is coming from. Right now, the cases are being seen throughout our region.

What Happens if My Pet is Exposed

In Nevada, it is the law that domestic pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) are up to date on rabies (as well as all other) vaccinations. If they are vaccinated and come in contact with a rabid bat, your pet could be quarantined for 45 days and must be immediately revaccinated. If they are not vaccinated, they could be quarantined for 120 days, or worse, euthanized. The owner is responsible for all costs involved.

Please, make sure your pets are up to date on vaccines. Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers a low-cost vaccine clinic on the first Tuesday of every month. You can call them at 775-353-8900 for specific vaccines offered. Nevada Humane Society will also be hosting vaccine clinics, in Reno, beginning this Saturday, September 3, on a walk in basis from 1pm to 3pm. These clinics will be held each Saturday thereafter at the same time. For more information on our clinic, please contact 775-856-2000 ext. 312.

Be Smart

It’s not easy to digest all of this. We understand that. But this is all preventable. And you do need to think of the bigger picture—you, your pets, your neighbors’ pets and others. Rabid bats are often unable to fly and can be found on the ground. If you see a sick or injured bat do not risk exposure by trying to rescue them. Instead contact Washoe County Regional Animal Services, 775-353-8900, or the Washoe County Health District, 775-785-4599. And please, get your pets vaccinated. Be smart when you take them outside. Be aware of your surroundings. You can keep your pet safe.

For more information on rabies, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html or for more on Nevada law regarding infectious diseases, visit http://www.leg.state.nv.us/ for NAC 441A.430.

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Yes, Microchipping Does Make a Difference

by Kimberly Wade

Recently, a senior Chihuahua named Dash was reunited with his family—after eight years—all thanks to a microchip. He had gone missing as a pup from his own backyard, apparently spent time with another family in between, then once again wound up lost. He did have a microchip, but his person had moved out of state and reaching her took longer than anticipated. When Washoe County Regional Animal Services didn’t hear back, everyone assumed Dash had no one and he was transferred to us, Nevada Humane Society, to be put up for adoption.

A couple weeks after Dash had arrived, we got a phone call from Dash’s person. She had given up hope he was still even around, and thought the letter was junk mail so it had gone untouched for weeks. When she finally opened it she called us. Lucky for Dash, he had required some veterinary care, so he was still here. Long story short, everything checked out and Dash was on a plane back to his family within a few days—all thanks to his microchip.

So what is a microchip? It’s a tiny device, the size of a grain of rice, encoded with a unique ID number that is assigned to your pet. It’s placed between the pet’s shoulder blades and is quick, easy and virtually painless. It’s important because collars and leashes can break or fall off, and even the most well-behaved pets can disappear—trust me. My fence blew down and all three of my dogs had a 30 minute unsupervised adventure—not to mention that I had to call Animal Services—I, a Nevada Humane Society employee. It was unpleasant to say the least, but thankfully everyone was fine and eventually came running to my incessant yelling of their names as I walked the streets.

The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost (or stolen) in the U.S. every year. A study they conducted revealed that when a pet is microchipped, and that microchip registered, their chance of being reunited with their family is increasingly higher:

  • Only about 22% of lost dogs that entered animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return to owner rate for dogs with a microchip was over 52%.
  • Less than 2% of lost cats who entered a shelter went home, but for those with microchips, over 38% went home.

It’s important to know that a microchip is not a tracking device—it must be read with a special scanner. When an animal is scanned, the number comes up; the finder contacts the microchip company and receives the owner’s information. Any vet or shelter can scan a pet for you—to find out the owner’s info if you found the pet, or, on your own pet, if you misplaced your microchip number and need to know it.

Here’s the other vital piece to microchipping—the chip must be registered (with current info) to the pet owner. You can do that for free, very easily, through the Found Animals Registry. Another great tool is Finding Rover, a website that uses photos of your dog as facial recognition to help find your dog. Finally, if you need a microchip, Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers free microchips. Take advantage of it!

All dogs and cats that are adopted from Nevada Humane Society are microchipped (and spayed or neutered, as well as vaccinated) but let’s face it, some of us acquire pets from friends, or maybe they wander into your yard. The next time you find a pet, take him or her to a nearby shelter or veterinarian to have him scanned for a microchip. It could lead to his return home—and you’ll reap the reward of being a part of that. And if you keep him, well, get him microchipped.

P.S. If you’re interested in Dash’s story, click here for part one, while he was in our care before he flew home, and click here for part two, when he was reunited with his family.

 

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Rubber Duckie, You’re the One!

by Kimberly Wade

If you follow anything about us you know that right now is duck season. Not real ducks, but little, bright yellow, rubber ducks. 30,000 of them to be exact. Recently, they descended upon Reno and are now completing Duckie Boot Camp as they train for the big day—when they race down the Truckee River to raise money and awareness for homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. If you haven’t seen this race before, now is the time to get involved because there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, like the sight of 30,000 rubber ducks racing through Wingfield Park surrounded by thousands of pet lovers cheering on their ducks.

Picture this. It’s 6am, the sun is rising, and rubber ducks are taking over Wingfield Park. Staff and volunteers from Nevada Humane Society have been working behind the scenes all year for a day-long festival, culminating in the big race. There is an aura of excitement, anxiety and cheer in the air. It’s the 7th annual Duck Race & Festival to benefit homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society—and those staff and volunteers are asking you to be a part of one very big day.

The Duck Race has actually become my baby, as I oversee our events. So while I love this day, it’s also stressful. Will we succeed? Will we raise enough money for the animals? Will people show up? Will the weather be good? What did we forget? Seriously, event planning, as much fun as it is, is a gigantic job. We love it, I love it, but it’s a lot. Thankfully, I have my trustworthy Michelle behind the scenes to handle a ton of duckie related tasks, guide the duckie sales teams and arrange our duckie partners. Then we have Jessica, who manages our duckie volunteers, Debbie, who keeps our duckie fundraising and finances in check, William who brings our real animals (friends of the ducks) to the event, Sharon who maintains the duckie website, and our intern, Robyn, who has literally been all over the community day after day for the last three months adopting ducks to people like you. We can’t forget Q&D Construction either, whose team is responsible for getting the ducks safely to the river, building our finish line and—wait for it—dumping them into the river from the Arlington Street bridge.

As I write this we are about two weeks away and the usual panic is setting in. That’s why our duckie team needs you. Our goal is to raise $150,000 for the animals. The grand prize for the fastest duck is a brand new, 2016 Toyota Corolla generously donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota—plus for even more fast ducks a trip to Vegas, a year of dining adventures, a ride during the Great Reno Balloon Race and of course, a fabulous pet package. But we really hope you adopt a duck for the cause—for the lifesaving efforts we’ve made successful in Washoe County and Carson City. When you adopt a duck, yes, you could win a cool prize, and yes, we want you to be there during all of the event fun, but really, we want you to adopt a duck (or a Quack Pack or a Beak Brigade) to help us save more lives. We make the adoptions easy and then you come down to cheer on your duck(s) as they race down the Truckee—but no, winners don’t have to be present (Yup. That means even if you can’t attend the event you are still required to adopt a duck just to make me (I mean, the animals) happy (and less stressed). And I’ll be the one calling you if you win).

Seriously. #AdoptaDuckSaveaLife #GetYourDuckOn Adopt online, in person at our shelter (one in Reno, one in Carson), over the phone (775-856-2000 ext. 324), by mail or heck, I may even come to your home. That’s how much I love animals and how much I want your help. Ducks are only $5. I know you can do it. Oh! We even have Duck Tail Ale, compliments of Mellow Fellow GastroPub who is selling duckie beer to benefit us!

The Duck Race & Festival is Sunday, August 21 at Wingfield Park from 11am to 5pm. Ducks race at 4pm. Enjoy food trucks, live entertainment, a carnival, pet adoptions, shopping, sunbathing, pet cuddling, photo taking and more. Details at www.duckrace.com/reno.

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We’ve Adopted a New CEO!

by Kimberly Wade

If you’ve followed us at all over the last year, you know we’ve been searching hard for a new CEO. Someone that would help take us to the next level, understand our long-term mission of a no-kill Nevada, and someone with plenty of experience. Well, it’s time to let you know that we’ve adopted a new leader… Kiska Icard!

Kiska is an experienced animal welfare professional with over 20 years of experience leading Bay Area non-profit organizations. She has proven expertise, demonstrated ability of fundraising, and has a desire to be innovative, progressive, and collaborative. Her past roles include Executive Director at Sonoma Humane Society and Director of Programs at the San Francisco SPCA.

“Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working under and with the founders and visionaries of the no-kill movement. I’ve worked in San Francisco’s inner city and Sonoma’s vast agriculture community. While communities vary, the common element that I’ve found in fulfilling our critical mission is that we are all helping people in order to help animals,” she says. “For nearly a decade I’ve watched how you have created a safe-haven for all animals in Northern Nevada. I am honored to continue to build upon the strong lifesaving framework that you have already achieved and take Nevada Humane Society into the future towards a lifesaving state.”

The President of our Board of Directors, Tierra Bonaldi, states, “After a long, thorough, nationwide search, we are thrilled and feel very fortunate to have found such an incredible person as Kiska to lead our organization. She is not only extremely experienced, but smart, thoughtful, passionate and enthusiastic and we are confident she will work with the entire community to ensure northern Nevada is the safest place for homeless pets and continue to elevate Nevada Humane Society to be the model shelter it is recognized for nationwide.”

As we continue to strengthen relationships within Washoe County and Carson City, and extend our reach throughout more of Nevada, it’s important to have someone as our leader that will continue to make a difference. We are excited. Our staff, our volunteers, our animals—we’re ready for change that will lead to even bigger and better. We welcome her to the family, and we hope that you do, too.

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Adopters—The Superheros of Animal Welfare

by Kimberly Wade

Recently, one of our directors was travelling and saw a fun billboard (on the east coast, not local) advertising superheros. It gave her an idea. She came back to me and we began to brainstorm. Superheros can be from any walk of life, have any personality, and be any age. Superheros, in modern fiction, are described as costumed characters who possess supernatural or superhuman powers and who are dedicated to fighting for good. We joked that adopters are superheros—without the tights—and then we realized that it wasn’t a joke. Truly, our adopters are superheros, because every day they are fighting for the lives of homeless pets. Their ammunition comes in the forms of donations, volunteering their time, becoming a foster family or the big one, adopting. As a community we know it takes a village for such successful lifesaving, so wouldn’t you agree that all of you are the superheros helping us fight this battle to save even more lives every single day?

Superhero Story #1. A gentleman from Vegas has been following us for years, watching our success, even trying to mimic it. He took in a large number of cats (for a variety of reasons) and wanted to help all of them. Things got a bit out of control, and as he hit troubled times that he couldn’t dig out from under, he called us. Within days, he was driving from Vegas to Reno with his cats, giving them up because he knew he could no longer care for them and he knew that we would. That takes a lot, owning up to mistakes or maybe not so great decisions. Giving up your family—really, these cats are his family. And then knowing that you probably won’t see those cats again—that’s tough. We consider him a superhero for recognizing what was good for the cats, and now, as they are being adopted into our community, you are the superheros as the adopters.

Superhero Story #2. Herman, a horse, was not being properly cared for by his person. He’s a mustang, so those of you that know horses, well, you know Herman is special. He needs some socialization, some work, and some time. He was given up because again, the person recognized that he wasn’t able to care for Herman, and the horse wound up in our care. Several of our staff, along with several staff from Washoe County Regional Animal Services, have been giving Herman the TLC he needs for the last several months. It’s a superhero partnership! Finally, Herman was given the all clear that he was ready for adoption, and we posted his handsome face on Facebook. Within minutes, we had a phone call, and within two days, that call turned into an adoption. Herman is going home next week to be with his new family—who, we may add, have another mustang and are well-versed in horses. Herman had several superheros in his story, from his current caregivers to his new family.

Superhero Story #3. Kona, a stunning, eight-month-old Golden Retriever. She’s the most well-behaved, sweetest little thing. Her challenge? She’s been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. We tried to be her superhero, hoping surgery would make things better, but she’s not a candidate. So for us to be her superhero, we need to find her a home. She needs a very calm, quiet home, with someone who understands she can’t really do typical dog things. She can’t get excited or go swimming or for runs. She needs to be a couch potato. As we talk about how all of you have been, and continue to be, such superheros to our homeless pets, is there anyone who can step up for Kona? We know you are out there, but maybe together, we can find just one more superhero to make a difference.

If you’ve ever wished that you could be more like a superhero, now is the time. Share those photos of adoptable pets, donate your time (and dollars) to help be the voice of the voiceless, tell your friends about the cute kitten you saw while visiting the shelter, and help nus find a home for Kona. Superheros are all around us and don’t ever doubt you aren’t a part of this movement—because you are. We’re all superheros—without the tights—and we deserve to be recognized.

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Hot Cars Are Not Cool

By Kimberly Wade

We may have seen a brief cool down this week but ultimately the heat is still upon us and that means you need to think carefully before bringing your pets with you. Don’t get me wrong; I, as much as anyone, love bringing my dogs with me to dog-friendly places—not to mention they love car rides. Barley, my little terrier, would go everywhere with me if he could! But in this heat, if I know I can’t keep the car cool or will be running errands where I can’t take him, he stays home.

Just the other day one of our Animal Control officers in Carson City called our Operations Director. He found a cute, little pup locked inside a car and had no choice but to break the window. He had searched for the pet parent and asked around to no avail. When the dog began showing signs of distress, he knew he had to intervene. He broke the window, pulled out the dog, offered a cool compress and water. Luckily, this time, the dog was okay, but many times dogs are not that lucky. Dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people, and once they overheat, they can suffer extensive organ damage… or worse.

We’re not here to judge or to say anything about this incident other than to let it serve as a reminder—and to tell people that good pet parenting is essential to having a pet. Dogs love to tag along with us, but in the extreme heat (which is seriously over 70 degrees) and the extreme cold, leave them at home. We know you want to have fun in the sun but if you’re going to do that, start your car and let it cool down before putting Fido in, and then go directly to your dog-friendly destination. Then, repeat the cool down process before you head home.

We know it’s unfortunately inevitable that it will happen, so if you see a pet in distress, in a hot car, here’s how you can help:

  • Call Animal Control or the Police; inform them if the pet appears to be in distress.
    • If you’re in Washoe County, call 775-322-3647 (DOGS).
    • If you’re in Carson City, call 775-887-2171.
  • Try to find the pet parent.
  • Note the vehicle info (license plate, color, model etc). Alert nearby businesses.
  • Keep an eye on the car until an officer or the parent arrives.

In Nevada, per NRS 574.195, a person shall not allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing vehicle during a period of extreme heat (over 70 degrees) or cold. An Animal Control Officer may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to remove a pet from a motor vehicle. If you leave a pet in a hot car, this is considered animal cruelty and a misdemeanor. I repeat. This is cruelty and a misdemeanor.

Want some quick facts about pets in hot cars? According to the ASPCA, hot cars are NOT cool:

  • 75 degrees can become 100 degrees in ten minutes. 85 degrees can become 100 degrees in eight minutes. In 30 minutes, both of these vehicles would reach 120 degrees.
  • Cracking windows does not stop the heat from rising inside a vehicle.
  • Dogs can succumb to heatstroke even in the shade if the temperature is still hot.
  • Signs of heatstroke: excessive panting, lethargy, weakness, drooling, staring or anxious expression, unresponsive, dark red gums, collapse, rapid heartbeat, warm skin, vomiting and collapse.

I’m not here to bring up touchy subjects or sob stories, but rather to inform, because we know this happens. We see dogs in distress arrive at our clinic and others around the region. It’s not always a happy ending. Please, while you can of course enjoy summertime with your dogs, think twice before you take them everywhere.

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