April is National Heartworm Awareness Month and Suncoast Humane Society wants you to be aware that heartworm prevention is a must for dogs. Heartworm disease is serious and potentially fatal, and most dogs do not show any symptoms until the disease becomes severe. A dog can get this parasite if bitten by an infected mosquito. Heartworm infection is detected by a simple blood test. All dogs should be tested before starting a preventive program if 7 months or older and then annually. Suncoast Humane Society’s Preventative Health Care Clinic can test and prescribe for heartworm protection. For more information or to make an appointment, call 474•7884 or email email@example.com.
Farlow’s on the Water Restaurant, 2080 S. McCall Rd., presents “Party for a Cause,” an outside event for the capital campaign of the Suncoast Humane Society on Sunday, April 14, 1-4pm. Live entertainment by Big Bamboo Band. Cover charge $10. Reservations must be made through Farlow’s by calling 474•5343.
If you’ve ever had a pet stolen, you know the heartache of not only losing a cherished companion, but you also worry forever as to where and how your pet is, why was he/she stolen and for what purpose. It is estimated that nearly two million pets are stolen each year. The American Kennel Club has been tracking pet theft since 2007, noting a 31% increase over the past 10 years. Your pet can be snatched off your front porch, from your parked car, and even from your fenced in yard.
Purebred dogs lead the pack on the most stolen list. Small purebreds are common targets. Some pets are stolen, then held for a reward. Unneutered pets can be sold to backyard breeders or puppy mills. Dog fighting rings snatch breeds that are known for fighting, such as Pit Bulls. Other breeds, mixed breeds, and even cats may be stolen and used as bait animals by dog fighters.
There are precautions that can be taken to prevent your pet from being stolen:
• Never leave your pet unattended for any length of time.
• Do not tie your pet outside.
• Do not leave pets in a car, even for a few minutes.
• Keep your dog on a leash when walking.
• Do not allow your cat to roam free. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.
• Have your pet spayed/neutered, as they are less valuable and less likely to run off.
• Do not tell strangers that your pet is worth big bucks.
• Microchip your pet.
Once you have searched everywhere possible and you think your pet has been stolen, take action immediately.
• File a lost report with every humane society and animal services throughout the area.
• Post flyers.
• Search on-line lost/found sites.
• Monitor ‘pets for sale’ ads in newspapers, craigslist and all social media.
• Offering a reward can be helpful, but do not advertise the amount.
• If you have located the pet-napper, contact law enforcement or animal services. Never approach someone alone.
Never give up hope. Continue to post flyers, monitor websites, and check newspaper ads. And remember, a stolen pet may end up with caring people who realize, through your efforts, they are in possession of a stolen pet. Many stolen pets are recovered and end up back in their happy homes.
Phil Snyder, Executive Director
Suncoast Humane Society