Who Is Broken Promises SW?

Broken Promises logo

Broken Promises SW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization seeking to end animal overpopulation by spaying and neutering animals in Las Cruces, NM and Dona Ana County. We offer spay/neuter assistance, help with addressing feral cat overpopulation humanely through TNR, and rescue of injured pigeons, doves, chickens, and other birds. We operate a sanctuary that is home to rescued cats, doves, pigeons, hens, a few roosters, and a turkey named Sorrell. We also have two resident feral cats, Gary and Alan, who keep an eye on the sanctuary while we’re tending to other things.
We don’t “take” cats from people’s property – all the cats we trap are returned after they are surgically sterilized, ear tipped, and given rabies and FVRCP vaccines. We sometimes will take adoptable stray cats and young feral kittens to socialize and adopt out through one of the rescue groups we partner with when time and space allows; these occasions are rare given the volume of feral cats we regularly trap, but openings do pop up on occasion.


Our services are offered at no-charge, but we are a small organization that runs on donations so any amount is appreciated. If you are unable to afford a donation it will have no affect on the quality of care and help you and your cats will receive. We accept cash/check donations at our PO Box and credit card donations through Paypal here.

You can visit us on Facebook here as well.

This post was sent in by submitted by Joe Miele with Broken Promises SW.  If you’d like to write a post about your non profit org, we’d love to see it!  Just check out our submission guidelines at this page. 

Greyhounds vs. Coyotes


The Unspoken Battle of the Midwest

In our culture, hunting coyotes has become popular for their pelts, and general defense for pets and ranch animals. Due to their speed and ferocious behavior, however, hunting them can be difficult for marksmen. As an alternative to the traditional form of hunting, many have taken to seeking help from their canine companions: that is,  Greyhounds. Greyhound dogs are an exemplary hunting animal capable of reaching top speeds of 40 miles per hour and exhibiting great obedience skills. These characteristics of the dogs make them an ideal choice for hunters to exploit the animals when seeking wild coyotes. Coyotes can also reach very high speeds and usually hunt in packs, making them very dangerous for livestock or even local pets in rural areas.

Many organizations, like Project Coyote, don’t support the hunting of these animals, although there are many reasons as to why they are hunted regularly. For starters, just like rats and birds, coyotes carry disease from eating rotting carcasses and sick animals that may not be able to defend themselves. This disease can spread from other animals and even to humans, in some cases. In the Southwest, the growing population of these animals also makes it very difficult to hunt for small game due to the high density of coyotes hunting them before we may. Regardless of these reasons, it is still wrong for people to take the initiative to train their dogs to hunt for their canine relatives.

coyote snow

Coyotes are not natural enemies of Greyhounds, and hardly interact unless through coincidence, considering their habitats differ significantly. Forcing dogs to hunt coyotes is cruel and should not be as prevalent as it is in our society. The main problem is that many people are not even aware of these killings. The fact that so many see coyotes as a nuisance also creates the illusion that they aren’t animals that deserve humane rights. To hunt the animals to defend livestock is one thing, but to have them hunted down by another animal for sport is unethical. Although Greyhounds are marvelous animals, so are the coyotes they are forced to fight. These hunters gain an adrenaline rush from watching the canids fight in what becomes a life or death matchup. The practice is easily considered dogfighting and is illegal in states like Washington and Colorado.

hunter with greyhounds

The events that take place during these hunts are atrocious, and some people have the audacity to record and post these videos onto sites like YouTube. I had the opportunity to witness a few of these videos and heard the jeers of laughter and approval coming from the hunters and their friends as their trained greyhounds would fight and kill coyotes. These greyhounds endure injury even when they win the skirmishes they are set for. A profile was done on a cattle rancher named John Hardzog, who is an avid practitioner of coyote hunting and exploits his own dogs for their hunting abilities. To him, the dogs are expendable and he often boasts about the hunting he participates in, calling it “natural.” Hardzog has been hunting coyotes since the age of seven and is now nearly seventy years old, with the idea that having his greyhounds do the dirty work is a natural sport for the animals. The cunning coyote “always has an escape route,” says Hardzog, who uses the wits of both animals to justify the abuse he puts his pets through. Having around forty greyhound and greyhound mixes at his disposal, Hardzog says he eradicates the coyote nuisance for free and is not ashamed of his actions at all. He is only one of the many hunters who use the greyhounds in an inhumane practice that a lot of us are just barely hearing of.

Many organizations like the Greyhound Companions of New Mexico have taken notice of these illegal activities and have spoken up about the damage that coyote hunting could do to greyhounds. The organization has a website dedicated to the mistreatment of greyhounds involved in dog racing and illegal hunting. They try to spread awareness of the abuse these dogs face and collect donations to benefit the animals. Judy Paulsen, the director of the GCNM, stands out against greyhound abuse and understands that getting the word out to the public is half the battle.

greyhound brown

The abuse of the greyhounds goes further than just damage from the coyotes, but also the injury they sustain from the chase. Many of John Hardzog’s dogs come back from a hunt with open wounds from barbed wire and the terrain they travel through on the hunt. He usually treats them with penicillin and steroids to reduce infection. The “sport” that Hardzog practices is not banned in his home state of Oklahoma yet and he fears that it might be soon. In states like Colorado, these hunts are considered dog fighting which is illegal in all fifty states and I believe it shouldn’t be too long before these hunts become just as illegal. Hardzog has put a lot of effort into his expertise and has a specially made pen in the back of his pickup trucks for the greyhounds to spring from and hunt. What leaves worry in a lot of people is the fact that John is not the only hunter who participates in these cruel activities. There are hundreds of people who are doing this on their own and not facing any consequences for the deaths or injuries their greyhound dogs endure.

2 greyhounds

People like John don’t see their wrong doing because for the most part they haven’t been opposed. Legal action should be taken against the men that treat these dogs like simple slaves to do their dirty work. The greyhounds are raised believing that what they are doing is okay, and may never lead a normal life. John has accounted for having some of his dogs run off a cliff while in pursuit and had no regard for their well-being. They aren’t his pets, but more like his workers in his twisted game of fate and violence. According to men like John, he is doing people a favor for disposing of the wild coyote that may pester household pets. Regardless of what he believes he is doing for the public, the fact that many of his animals have broken their necks or several other bones as well as received large lacerations and even died show a lot about how he cares for the greyhounds in his possession.

Furthermore, the greyhounds are in a state of danger being used to hunt an animal with the cunning and speed that the wild coyote possesses. In order to help these animals, people must become aware of the mistreatment and be willing to help the cause. Organizations like GCNM and many others have projects to fund and care for victims of animal abuse. Donating and rising against the problem is easy and I encourage anybody who would like to see this problem stopped to help however they can. One selfless act can benefit more than just one of these greyhound dogs in need of help from the tyranny of egotistic men with an agenda to hurt rather than to heal.


Critics try to ban coyote hunting contests

Coyote vs. Greyhound: The Battle Lines Are Drawn

Lazarus Gomez

Lazarus Gomez, an aspiring writer from Phoenix, Arizona has been freelance writing for local newspapers and is currently majoring in journalism at New Mexico State University. He has always been an avid animal lover and has two large bulldogs named Levi and Diesel. Included in the pack of animals he owns is a small cat named Mary. He currently resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is hoping to pursue his passion in sports writing.  

Advocacy for Animals Through Humane Education- It Takes a Village

Kids say the darnedest things. Their expressions of naiveté are often very funny and endearing. An example in point occurred at a “Critter Connection” after-school session I was leading. A young boy, I guessed to be in first or second grade, asked about the dog resting in my arms. “Is she people’s age?”, he inquired, truly baffled by the number “18” assigned to the dog‘s age. “Yes”, I replied, “that’s her age but because dogs age faster than people she is really much older. I carry her on walks because she is blind now and too old and frail to walk very far”.

Dog with students

“Dali” –photo courtesy Jean Gilbert

By chart standards, using size (toy poodle mix) and weight (11 lbs.) as references, my dog “Dali” is the equivalent of an 88-96 year old person. Adopted from the municipal animal shelter (Las Cruces, NM) as a young adult, she’s been a celebrated companion– comfortable at humane education sessions meeting children and happy at animal welfare events like “Lobo to Lassie”, winning best talent for catching tennis balls to song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and featured in “Bark Magazine“ with a winning smiling photo.

I wish all dogs were as celebrated and cherished as Dali. This year marks the 13th season of the Dogs Deserve Better “Have a Heart for Chained Dogs” and “Chain-Off” campaigns. Children in the Humane Society of Southern NM’s education program lent their artistic talents (year 5) with thoughtful, anti-chaining messages on valentines to help improve lives for chained/tethered dogs through DDB mailings to approximately 10,0000 residences in the US , including residences identified in Dona Ana County. Our education campaign now, in concert with DDB, focuses on danger of heat stroke in summer time for chained dogs with a “Chain-Off” demonstration led by animal advocates and community members planned for July.

Tamira Thayne, founder of DDB, notes their organization’s rescuers see horrific conditions with dogs suffering from heat exhaustion or freezing in the snow, given a longstanding misperception that it’s okay to chain a dog outside in any kind of weather. She underscores the significance of education and awareness campaigns for reaching people who chain/tether their dogs and for bringing aid to forgotten canines through re-homing efforts or bringing provisions such as fencing to living environments for dogs based on support or cooperation of owners.

Chaining is not only inhumane for dogs isolated and alone in the elements 24/7, but it has taken a toll on our nation’s children. During a 10-year period spanning through July 2014, there were at least 400 incidences, conservatively reported, of children killed or seriously injured by chained dogs across the country. Chained dogs, not socialized with humans, can become very territorial of their tiny space, and a child who wanders into that space can be attacked and killed before adults can intervene. An attack in Arkansas left a 2-year old boy dead from head and neck injuries. He was attacked and killed by an unspayed female chained in the backyard, with puppies.

Buddy Unchained book cover

About Buddy Unchained

The Henry Bergh ASPCA award-winning and heart-warming story “Buddy Unchained” by Daisy Bix reflects the anti-chaining message of DDB when a small dog, chained in wintertime, is overcome by hypothermia and is rescued in the nick of time. This year marks the fifth consecutive year for the Humane Society of Southern NM donating hardback copies of this remarkable story to area schools with emphasis on danger of heatstroke as summer approaches. The children who hear the story through presentations are always immersed, struck with concern and empathy for Buddy and rejoice in the happy outcome for a deserving dog.

Join the Humane Society of Southern NM in humane education efforts by volunteering in the Critter Connection or Diggity Dog Learning programs or in the Cans 4 Critters project involving youth and clubs in litter clean-up with aluminum cans saved for reclamation to help animals.

Jean Gilbert

Jean Gilbert is a retired teacher with a MS degree in elementary/special education. She has been active in animal welfare work since moving to Las Cruces with her husband over 30 years ago. She has served on the board of directors of Las Cruces Storytellers, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, Southwest Environmental Center, and the Dona Ana County Humane Society.

As a humane and environmental educator for HSSNM, Jean leads “Critter Connection” sessions for youth and adults in the community and “Diggity Dog Learning” programs in the public schools. In addition, Jean leads the “Cans 4 Critters” project benefiting animals in the community and serves as a volunteer with the Las Cruces “pet network“.

As membership/fundraise chair, Jean welcomes ideas and support for fundraising projects for the organization to sustain HSSNM programs/services. Jean welcomes requests for humane education presentations and service projects involving youth and adults in the community.

Contact Jean Gilbert, HSSNM humane educator-coordinator at jean@hssnm.org or 575-522-2529 for more information.

Rats ARE Companion Animals

pet rat 3

Justice For The Rats in Chicago

As I sit here typing this, my dog is at my feet, snoring away, dreaming of the last two hours she spent chewing on her toy, my cat is in his bed in the other room, undoubtedly dreaming of his latest attempts to get the dogs to play with him, and my rats are beside me, sleeping in their little house, tails curled over their heads, bellies stuffed full with the slices of banana that I just gave them. Of all these tell me, which of my pets is a true “companion”? Is my dog more of a “companion” than my cat because she is in the same room with me? Are my rats the better examples of “companions” because they were the last animals I had interaction with? If I told you to pick one of these animals as my true “companion” in order to abandon the others under that title, could you do it? Would it make sense for you to do it? Of course not, certainly not to me. But this simple word is causing a major stir in a case of animal cruelty in Chicago, Illinois.

Because of my own feelings on this matter, I feel that I must put out a disclaimer to all readers. The topic discussed in this article is heart-breaking for any animal lover and may cause distress. The very nature of animal cruelty can be graphic in the retelling. It is not my intention to relive the pain that these animals went through, but to encourage others to stand up for those who suffered. I will not include links to the video discussed, nor show a still photo of what occurred, as I believe that such action shares the spirit of the suffering rather than the spirit of standing firm against suffering. You will see what I mean in a moment. Also, I find it important to state that I do not live in the state of Illinois and am quoting legal wording from Peggy McCoy’s Facebook updates and her petition “Justice for the Washer Rats!” at change.org, as that is what is available to me at the moment. I apologize for any errors in that quoting and cannot claim them as mine beyond that I copied them to this page without full knowledge of the actual text. I will credit the legal text when I quote from it.


Before I go farther, I would like to clarify how I am using the term “companion animal.” Webster’s New Pocket Dictionary defines the word “companion” in this way: n. 1 comrade; associate 2 thing that matches or goes with another. In a post from April 23rd, Peggy McCoy quoted the law as saying that a “companion animal” is “an animal that is commonly considered to be, or is considered by the owner to be, a pet. ‘Companion animal’ includes, but is not limited to, canines, felines, and equines.” There. We’ve gotten that out of the way. So, look at my above statements about the animals in my home and tell me, with this new understanding, which one of them is NOT my “companion animal.”

Give up? According to those associated with this case, my rats are NOT “companion animals.” If this sounds confusing to you, then you are not alone. Rat owners around the globe were horrified to hear the news of a woman who put her rats in the washing machine, turned it on and watched them drown. How do we know this happened? She made a video and posted it to Facebook.

scales of justice

Who among us thinks that throwing a cat in a sack and tossing it in the river to drown is acceptable behaviour? Who among us believes that beating a puppy to death with a baseball bat should be common practice? I should hope there is not one soul reading this who would stand up and say that intentionally hurting or killing animals is the right thing to do. As a racing fan, I certainly know enough people who criticize me for my love of the sport, sighting all of the opportunities for cruelty that come up –  from using the crop to training incidents, overwork, and beyond. If we can be angry over excessive use of a crop, should we not be angry over the unnecessary torture of these rats?

That word is the true issue here: “torture.” They were not thrown in the bath tub and left to fend for themselves, they were not abandoned by the side of the road, left for the public to take care of. These rats were intentionally placed inside a washing machine and filmed as they died a cruel, unspeakable death. I will admit here that I have not seen this video, I have only seen the stills of it that were included in some of the news reports that have been circulating around the rat communities, and even those bring such tears to my eyes that I must quickly turn away.

The guilty parties were taken into custody and were charged with cruelty to animals, which means they were at least charged with something, may face some time in jail and/or be forced to pay a fine. Those who are unaware of this case are probably wondering why this still upsets so many people. The answer lies in the two charges that were NOT brought up because the rats were not deemed worthy of the title “companion animal.” (Here I quote Peggy McCoy’s copy of the law, from change.org.)

judge's gavel

(510 ILCS 70/3.02)
Sec. 3.02. Aggravated cruelty.
(a) No person may intentionally commit an act that causes a companion animal to suffer serious injury or death. Aggravated cruelty does not include euthanasia of a companion animal through recognized methods approved by the Department of Agriculture unless prohibited under subsection (b).
(b) No individual, except a licensed veterinarian as exempted under Section 3.09, may knowingly or intentionally euthanize or authorize the euthanasia of a companion animal by use of carbon monoxide.
(Source: P.A. 96-780, eff. 8-28-09.)

(510 ILCS 70/3.03)
Sec. 3.03. Animal torture.
(a) A person commits animal torture when that person without legal justification knowingly or intentionally tortures an animal. For purposes of this Section, and subject to subsection (b), “torture” means infliction of or subjection to extreme physical pain, motivated by an intent to increase or prolong the pain, suffering, or agony of the animal. (Source: P.A. 91-351, eff. 7-29-99; 92-650, eff. 7-11-02.)

What is the difference?  A charge is a charge, right? Wrong. Aside from the fact that the very nature of the crime is described in the charges that were NOT filed, adding those charges would change the crime from being a misdemeanour to being a felony. A felony.

rats sharing food

After everything that has happened over the last few weeks, many rat owners have learned one thing: we all should be begging for laws like this to be changed. No one would think twice of applying the more serious, felony charges if the animals in question had been toy poodles or little kittens, but because they were rats, and because rats are not seen as “companion animals”, only a misdemeanour will do. A life is a life. When a human kills another human, we don’t look at the usefulness of the victim and base the murder charge on that. No one says “Oh, the guy only killed a garbage collector, not a rocket scientist. We’ll let him off easy this time.” To be honest, if you want to be technical about it, when you compare rats to dogs or cats, it is the RAT who is the rocket scientist.

That is the message we want to send to law makers, lawyers and anyone else who will listen right now. Rats are just as worthy of the title “companion animal” as your dog, your horse or your cat. Rats are smart, loving parts of our household who show compassion for their owners and fellow animals. Rats have been given the same important jobs as dogs have, including drug and bomb sniffing. Some rats are even used as therapeutic animals and service animals. Rat lovers around the world are hoping to spread the word that these creatures are sweet, loveable, and worthy of being called our “companions.”

Deimos the rat


How do we do this? Research the case, contact those involved and share a story about any rat you know. You don’t have to be a rat owner to explain to someone else that rats are “companion animals.” Anyone can tell a story of a rat they know, the important thing is to remind the reader that just like dogs, cats, horses and other animals, RATS have a place in the hearts of pet owners everywhere. If you have photos, send one. It’s time to make rats equal in the eyes of animal cruelty laws.

For more information, follow the following links:

Justice for the Washer Rats!

On Facebook

And at change.org.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Homeless With Pets

man cares for dog

Shortly after Dave and I moved to New Mexico, I began noticing how many of the homeless people here have pets with them.  There’s a mission here in town that we visited about six weeks after we arrived.  They have a food kitchen, and we wanted to take some donations there for Thanksgiving dinner.  Next to the food kitchen was an office where people needing work could sign up to be helped.  And outside, along with all the downhearted, poverty stricken people, were their pets.

A few weeks after that, we were exploring a new part of town, looking for a particular store in a strip center, when a homeless man walked by carrying a guitar…and at his feet walked a perky little puppy, head held high–just like any other dog, happy to be walking at his master’s side.

Most recently, Dave and I went to the local farm coop store where we buy our humanely produced meats and organic produce.  Outside on that particular day, enjoying the warm February weather, was a homeless man and his two dogs.

All of these encounters made me start thinking about the percentage of homeless people that have pets…and how in the world they manage to care for them when they can barely get along themselves…

homeless with pets

Why Do Homeless People Have Pets?

We’ve all read the stories of, and some of us may even personally know, people that had children hoping to be loved.  Then the children went on to betray or disappoint the parents.  In some cases the children are even abused or neglected–all because human beings seldom are able to fulfill the expectations others set for them–love not withstanding.

But the love of a pet doesn’t work that way.  Without judgement or agenda, against all odds and reason, they simply love.  And for the homeless, this may be needed most of all.

Man with dog

Meet Chris and Brandy. Chris is very protective of his pet, since a previous dog was taken by Animal Control because she was unlicensed.

Where Do The Homeless Come From?

Statistics tell us that in the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year. 35% of the homeless population are families with children, which is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. 23% are U.S. military veterans.  But…who are they really?

I saw an interview once with Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the Conversations With God series.  In it, he revealed that he had spent a year on the street as a homeless person.

Before, Walsch worked variously as a radio station program director, newspaper managing editor, and in marketing and public relations. In the early 1990s he suffered a series of crushing blows—a fire that destroyed all of his belongings, the break-up of his marriage, and a car accident that left him with a broken neck. Once recovered, but alone and unemployed, he was forced to live in a tent in Jackson Hot Springs, just outside Ashland, Oregon, collecting and recycling aluminium cans in order to eat. At the time, he thought his life had come to an end.

When asked why he hadn’t turned to his children for help, he replied that there were two reasons: 1) he thought every day would be his last and 2) he was too ashamed.  He went on to add:

“Don’t pass anybody on the street,” Neale says. “We’ve all got a quarter or a dime or a dollar or a fiver, that we can let go of. And you can make somebody’s whole day with 50 cents or a dollar. So try never, ever, ever to pass anybody in need. When you see them holding up the sign, ‘Will Work for Food’ or when they walk up and ask for a little bit, share. Share. If you see somebody on the street who’s got his hand out, try to get off your judgment and be generous.”

What’s important to remember is that in a world where one missed paycheck, an abusive spouse or a serious medical condition can put someone out of their home, not every homeless person is dangerous or lazy.

homeless man with dog

How Many Homeless With Pets Are There?

The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that between 5%-10% of homeless people have dogs and/or cats.  It could be more like 25% in rural areas.  These numbers may differ across the country due to a number of factors: weather, the local economy, and the cost of living.

homeless dog gets water

How Can The Homeless With Pets Care For Them?

When I saw the man at the shopping center, though, the first thing that struck me was how the dog didn’t know its dire situation.  He just pranced along in the sunlight, happy to go wherever his man went.  But I wondered for a long time after we gave him money for food, how the man would prevent fleas or heartworm for this wee puppy.  What would he do if the dog were injured?

Even the kindest benefactor often won’t approach a homeless person on the street to offer help for their pet.  And many homeless are fearful if they accept, their pet will be taken away from them.  Often, their pets are the only comfort they have, and their only link to reality.

homeless man with cat

Luckily, there are organizations that can help.  Chief of these is Feeding Pets Of The Homeless. They are a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides pet food and veterinary care to the homeless with pets in local communities across the United States and Canada.  For us here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the local agency that distributes food and medical care for pets of the homeless is Action Programs for Animals, whom we have worked with in the past and plan to again in future.

Here’s a video about their important work:

Many of our readers follow us from Albuquerque and our home town of Cincinnati, Ohio.  There, you can contact these local distribution centers:

St. Martin’s Hospitality Center
1201 3rd St. NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry
2319 Madison Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212

Pets In Need
520 W. Wyoming Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215

Faith and Deeds Food Pantry
6921 Morgan Rd., Unit A
Cleves, Ohio 45002

If your city isn’t listed here, Feeding Pets Of The Homeless has an awesome search feature on their website.

man holds umbrella over dog

Shelter for the homeless with pets is somewhat more problematical.  However, if you are homeless due to domestic violence, you can contact:

Albuquerque, NM

SAFE House


Statewide New Mexico

Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM)
Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE)
CARE Hotline: 844-323-CARE
ADMIN: 505-265-2322

Batavia, Ohio (Cincinnati area)

YWCA House of Peace
513-753-7281 or 1-800-644-4460

Another Resource for The Homeless

Sunrise House

Word of mouth travels quickly in homeless communities.  Once a food bank or soup kitchen starts distributing pet food, they come.  Some find out about the programs through the websites by accessing the internet at public libraries.

It is our sincere hope that someone reading this post finds the answers they seek here.


Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

How To Prevent Pet Theft

This is one of the subjects that I need to write about, because anyone who doesn’t know any part of it, needs to know–and they need to make sure everyone they know reads it, too.  This is an awful, sad subject.  But don’t let it make you sad.  Let it make you aware.  Let it make you fiercely protective of your fur-babies.

And let it make you as angry as it made me.

admiring your dogHow Does Pet Theft Happen?

From broad daylight to the dark of night, approximately two million pets are stolen every year in the US and about one million in Canada.  Exact figures are not known, because police reports often don’t differentiate a stolen pet from missing property. But we do know that about 10 percent of dogs reported as missing are also reported as stolen.

They are taken from their yards, or picked up by thieves responding to “Free To A Good Home” ads.  And by the way, “pound seizure” is still in effect in some animal shelters–so taking a pet you must relinquish there is not always a better outcome.  Pound Seizure means animals not reclaimed or adopted are required by law to be turned over to laboratories for experimentation on demand.  So some pounds sell animals to Class “B” dealers or research facilities.

stolen catWhat Are Bunchers?

Bunchers typically answer “Free To A Good Home” ads, to acquire animals in a bunch, and then sell the pets to Class “B” Dealers or tax funded research facilities.  These researchers prefer to  conduct experiments on pets and other animals that have lived with people, since they are usually docile and easy to handle.

reward for jackWhat Are Class “B” Dealers?

Class “B” dealers are licensed to purchase and sell animals to research. The law has unfortunately allowed “B” Dealers to obtain animals for re-sale from other “B” dealers, shelters and from persons who have bred and raised the animals themselves. Investigations of “B” dealers have revealed:

  • Live dogs in cages with dead dogs
  • Dogs suffering from parvovirus, distemper, and rectal bleeding
  • An open burial pit containing several dog carcasses in various states of decay
  • Large dogs in cages with small dogs and female dogs in cages with male dogs, both violations of the Animal Welfare Act
  • Live dogs eating dead dogs

Last Chance for Animals provided concrete evidence of bunchers by launching an undercover investigation of the dog dealer.  The documentary Dealing Dogs was shown on HBO and appears below.

 Others Ways Found Dogs Are Used

  • Dog fighting
  • Puppy mill breeding
  • Held for ransom
    • Meat for human consumption
    • Meat for exotic animals
    • Fur for clothing and accessories
    • For sale in pet stores
    • Ritual sacrifice for satanic cults
    • Sadistic acts
 In addition to “found dogs” being held for ransom and returned, there are also scammers that will call and say they will give your dog back for money, but they have no intention of doing so and may not even have your dog.
kokomo dog stolen
A friend messaged me the other day to ask about rumors of thieves tagging homes to mark locations of valuable dogs.  I did some research on this, and it seems there are as many scams circulating on the internet as there are true stories of this happening, not only in the US but in the UK and even as far away as Australia!  My fear with this is that someone will see Snopes marking the rumors as false, and disregard any need to be concerned.  So my advice is this:  if you see something tied to one of your trees, chalk marks on your house or something clinging to your front gate–remove it.  There could be thieves marking your home for more than just the taking of your dog!
pet tags
How To Prevent Pet Theft

Learning how to prevent pet theft, is just increasing awareness, in many cases:

  • Keep your pet indoors when you are not at home. And be aware of what your pet is doing when out in your yard; it only takes a minute for thieves to steal your pet.
  • Your pet should not roam free, for their own safety.
  • Indoor cats live safer lives in general.
  • Properly identify your pet with a collar, tag and microchip.
  • Know where your pet is at all times.
  • Maintain up-to-date licenses on your pets.
  • Spay and neuter your pets for their health.  Bonus: it makes them less likely to go astray.
  • Be aware of strangers in the neighborhood and report anything unusual.
  • When outdoors, dogs should be kept behind a pad-locked gate.
  • If possible, make sure your pet is not visible from the street.
  • Leash your pet when walking.  This is a safety issue, as much as for control.
  • Do not leave your pet tied outside stores to wait.
  • Never leave an animal unattended in a car.

kobe is missingMY PET IS Missing–WHAT DO I DO?

Sadly, your lost pet won’t be priority number one down at the local police station.  You must take the initiative to find him.
Immediately go to shelters and put up posters within a 3-mile radius. If, after three days, you don’t have your pet back, go to a 10-mile radius. Wait five–ten days and if you don’t have your pet back, go to a 50-mile radius.  Some pets have been found as far as 100 miles from home in three days. Some people have found their pets a year later. Don’t give up!
missing service dog

Find a Good Home for Your Pet AND Protect Your Pet From Theft

  • If you must use a Free to a Good Home ad, find out as much as possible about the adoptive home before sending your pet away.
  • Interview the prospective adopters, visit their home, photocopy their picture i.d., record their drivers license number and license plate number, and check their references.
  • Ask them about their prior pets, how they would care for and discipline your animal, and the name of their veterinarian.
  • Ask the neighbors of potential adopters about the number of animals they have seen coming into and out of the adopters home and related questions.
  • Have the adopter sign an adoption contract reviewed by a humane organization and pay an adoption fee.
  • Do not allow potential adopters to take an animal from your home; always deliver the animal yourself.
  • Ask a rescue group about how to conduct an adoption interview.

penny is missingOther Ways You Can Help

  • Refuse to buy cut-price dogs without the right paperwork or adequate background checks.
  • Adopt animals from shelters.
  • Never buy from pet stores–some stores sell stolen pets!–or animals from puppy mills.
  • Spay or neuter your animals. With so many animals available, dealers have no trouble filling their cages.
  • Ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create and enforce regulations to stop pet theft. Write to Dan.Glickman@usda.gov
  • If a stolen animal is positively identified in a dealer’s possession, report it to LCA and to USDA officials in your state; ask that the dealer’s records be inspected.
  • Educate family, friends, and neighbors about pet theft and what they must do to keep their animals safe.  Share this blog post about how to prevent pet theft!

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, Publisher, is also the Vice President of Your Pet Space, a cage free dog boarding facility serving the greater Las Cruces, NM area. Her urban fiction book Indigo was recently published. When not working at Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info or follow Your Pet Space on Facebook.

Our Ultimate Guide To Animal Charities–Part 2

Ok, remember that best animal charities list we gave you at Christmas?  Well, here’s part 2 to help with your Valentine gifting!  🙂  Maybe one thought for your sweetheart that’s “hard to buy for” is to donate on their behalf to an animal charity.  AND, even if you did use our list from the holidays, here are even more places you can donate!

league for animal welfare logo

League For Animal Welfare–Cincinnati, Ohio

Founded in 1949, they are one of the oldest and largest no kill shelters in their area.  Become a monthly or one time sponsor, or help them out by donating a vehicle!

Lil Paw Prints Logo

Lil Paw Prints Animal Rescue Haven–Cincinnati, Ohio

A completely self funded non profit, this is one of the best animal charities and rescues that operates entirely out of foster homes.  They help find homes for dogs, birds, ferrets, event sugar gliders!

 Marine Mammal Center logo

Marine Mammal Center–Sausalito, CA

This is the best of the California animal charities to learn all about ocean environments.  This organization rescues and rehabilitates marine mammals suffering from malnourishment, entanglements, separation and diseases.


PAWS logo

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)–Galt, CA

As its name suggests, this organization is one of the best animal charities dedicated to the welfare of animal artists, but also the ongoing care of captive wildlife that has been abused, abandoned and retired from the industry.


PetSmart Charities–Phoenix, AZ

Your Pet Space is proud to serve as a product affiliate for one of the best animal charities in Arizona. This worthy organization that saves more the 400,000 pets per year by granting more than 34 million dollars to animal welfare groups.  You can help by visiting their main page, as well as purchasing pet products through Your Pet Supply Space.

STAF logo

Save The Animals Foundation–Cincinnati, Ohio

For more than 25 years, one of the best animal charities in southern Ohio has been organizing fun events like spinning to raise funds and attending My Furry Valentine to highlight their pets for adoption.  They’ve saved literally hundreds of lives with just a single event!

Wildlife Conservation Society logo

Wildlife Conservation Society–Bronx, NY

Founded in 1895, this organization saves not only wildlife but wild places–everywhere from the Congo to the Rockies–through science, conservation, education and inspiration!  They supply grants to other non-profit conservation organizations, state wildlife agencies, and tribal governments.

We’d love to hear about anyone out there who gave a gift from our lists to someone you love.  Let us hear from you!  

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Exotic Emergencies

Vet questions: Caduceus

How Prepared Are You?

Everyone plans for the care of their pets when they are away. Almost all pet owners have their list of things to do, posted somewhere for the temporary caregiver to follow. Everyone knows to leave the vet’s contact information and important instructions in case of emergency. The question, now that you are home, is a simple one. How prepared are you to drop everything and run?

No one wants to think about the tragic events that can happen in everyday life. The list of them would probably be infinite even if you sat down and tried to come to the end of it. The truth of the situation of pet ownership is that, just like with children, you never know what is going to happen. You can go from a perfectly normal day to “What did you just eat?!” in the blink of an eye and the best way to save someone in the second situation is to have given it some thought while everything is still in perfectly normal mode.

How prepared are you?

When You Are Dealing With Small Exotic Pets

This is even more necessary when you are dealing with small exotic pets like lizards, birds, rats… even your fish can have an emergency. None of these guys can go to just any vet. So how do you prepare for everything to happen to your small pet while, at the same time, you are hoping for nothing at all to happen to them? Speaking from experience alone, I have a few tips that I can share.

Before I break anything down, I want to start with the most important information you could possibly have at your disposal: the veterinarian. You know your own vet and probably have the number memorized, saved in your phone, or posted somewhere with other important numbers. That’s awesome news. Now, do you know where the closest 24 hour vet is located? Do you know if they take small pets? Do you know about how long it is going to take you to get to this vet? When you have an exotic pet these are the kinds of things you need to be aware of because even if your regular vet keeps emergency hours something might keep them from being available to you, like being at the hospital because they’re having a baby! (Yes, that just happened to us recently.)

It all seems rather drastic, doesn’t it? Spending time and thought thinking about when tragedy might strike? Let me share some of the personal stories that help show why having a back up plan is a good idea at any time.

north on his way to the vet

North on his way to the vet. Doesn’t look like it but he is barely surviving at this point. Still more interested in how the car works than actually being sick.

Situation 1 – Why Time Counts In Exotic Emergencies

This summer my wife and I went to England to visit her family. We got regular updates on the animals and all was okay while we were out of town, so we had no reason to worry. We got home and I went right to the rats, as I usually do, to let them know we were home again. One of our boys, North, was lying in the floor of the cage (not a place he would ever sleep before), fluffed up, barely breathing, and cold to the touch. Our bags barely made it in the house, we were in such a rush to get to our vet.

The diagnosis? Pneumonia, and it was severe. We weren’t certain if he would make it. The vet guessed that it had been slowly developing over a week’s time and that North, who is curious about everything and doesn’t let anything get him down, was so caught up in being with new people and having new routines that he didn’t display symptoms right away, as he normally would have. (The vet wasn’t far off on his thinking. While struggling to keep warm in the car, even knocking on death’s door as he was, North was intensely curious about how the heater worked and why it was on in the middle of summer!)

North the rat

North getting his steam treatments for his lung condition.

The story has a happy ending. North is alive and well, except for having very weak lungs as a result of his ordeal. The humans caring for him confirm that he showed no signs of illness until the last evening of their time with him, at which point we were already on a plane home anyway, so there honestly are no hard feelings there. The story also has a moral: know your travel time. Why is that so important? Going to our regular vet, we knew exactly how long it should take to get from our house to his office, where he could get emergency care. I knew a blanket and some of my own body heat would probably be enough to keep North warm all the way. What if I hadn’t known it would take longer? What if he’d needed a hot water bottle, rice sock, or a pile of blankets?

Keller the rat

Keller after we got back from her emergency surgery. The red stain is not blood, but the purple stitches and the antibiotic solution they apply to the surgical area.

Another important thought comes up when considering the time it takes to get to your vet and that thought deals with bodily fluids. We once had a different situation, dealing with another of our rats, Keller, who got her tail caught in a piece of furniture one night. She got scared and before we could get to her, she yanked her tail free, degloving it in the process. (Trust me, you don’t want me to describe that here.) Needless to say the number of absorbent materials was important in that mad dash to the Rattie ER. We definitely needed to know how long it was going to take in order to properly estimate the number of blankies to bring with us. Because we were prepared, Keller was as comfortable as she could be in the journey to the ER. She soldiered through the situation and kept on dangerously adventuring for the rest of her life, much to the frustration of her human parents.

Phobos (in front of ball) and Deimos (inside ball) after the scuffle. Snuggling together is proof that they're still close, even after their disagreements.

Phobos (in front of ball) and Deimos (inside ball) after the scuffle. Snuggling together is proof that they’re still close, even after their disagreements.

Situation 2 – The Backup Plan When You Are Dealing With Small Exotic Pets

This Thanksgiving, while we were having dinner at my mother’s house, two of our rats were having an argument at our house. This was something we were completely unaware of until we got home and noticed that Phobos was in need of some stitches. Luckily, because his brother Deimos had recently had a minor skin issue dealt with, we already had antibiotic and knew the proper dose to give him, since they weigh about the same. We also keep pain medicine on hand for the rats and know the proper dose to give each if something comes up. Phobos wasn’t bleeding and wasn’t in severe pain, so we eventually determined that because there were only a few more hours until the vet opened, we would simply wait it out for the rest of the night. We monitored him, gave him an initial dose of pain medicine and antibiotic, then called first thing in the morning.

Everything went smoothly until that phone call, when we were told that while the practice was open, our vet was busy at the human hospital… becoming a dad! Great news for him. Bad news for us. The emergency vet we had used in the past was no longer operational and I had no idea where to turn. I was very lucky that we were able to wait for regular operating hours and talk to a human being, who was able to direct me to another small animal vet in the next town. If it had been the kind of emergency where we needed a vet right away, a lot of time would have been lost calling all of the veterinary emergency numbers, trying to find someone who was open and able to see our boy. In this situation, while Phobos did well, I did miserably, letting too much time go between checks for substitute rat vets.

angel fish

Situation 3 – Planning Ahead

Earlier, I had included the fish in my list of pets that could get into trouble. I did this because yes, they can. The most obvious problem anyone can think of has to do with various tank issues. The tank can start to leak, the water can go out of balance, the new water might not be the right temperature or be tainted with chemicals. Those kinds of things are easy to prepare for. Keep a spare tank somewhere for leaking emergencies. Keep spare water around for water emergencies. Don’t let the tank get dirty, don’t let the water stagnate, and you’ll be just fine when you need to quickly dump your little swimmers into some fresh water and make necessary purchases or repairs.

aquarium fish

Now, what if you are transferring your fish for tank cleaning and a five year old comes up behind you, spooking the fish into jumping out of the net, at which point the fish starts flailing around on the bookshelf beside you, putting a gash in his head? Yes, that happened. It actually happened to one of my fish named Pluto. Thankfully Pluto was trained to come to my hand in case of emergency, so he made his way to me and I made my way to the fresh water, where I kept an eye on him and fretted over him for days. (He turned out just fine, though he wore the scar for the rest of his many years.)

Let us all hope that none of you who are reading this are unlucky enough to have such a thing become an experience you are ever dealing with, but in case an illness does befall your fish, know that there ARE vets out there who care for certain fish in certain situations. There have been several instances in the news where goldfish have even gone into surgery to remove tumors so that they can continue to have happy, healthy lives. (There was even a special on NOVA about it.) More and more fish owners are finding that there are vets out there willing to give quality treatment for your fish, and before you start asking, yes, I do know where to take my current fish (Nix and Hydra) in case they should need some specialized attention.

In the end, being prepared works out to be a nice little circle:
Plan Ahead – Know your vet, know an emergency vet, and have some idea of how long it is going to take you to get where you’re going. Have an emergency travel cage or tank that is just big enough to be useful.
Keep an Eye on the Time – Be prepared to journey with your pet for the entire distance in a way that is comfortable for both you and your animal. You are already going to be stressed about the pain your pet is in, don’t make yourself wonder if you have enough towels or temperature control for the journey ahead. Most importantly, don’t further distract yourself by desperately trying to follow directions to an unknown destination or have make up for getting lost on the way into unfamiliar territory.
Have a Backup Plan – You never know what is going to happen in the life of your vet. They are people too, after all. Be ready to get to an alternate location and be aware that that location might be farther from you than your first choice.
All of that cycles right back to planning ahead and I can’t stress enough how much of a help it is to be prepared for the things you don’t want to happen. Running your dog or cat to any old vet is usually something very simple to do and dog and cat owners don’t typically have to think about what to do if their personal vet isn’t available, but when your small animal or exotic pet is in trouble, it isn’t always that simple.

It sounds like I’m calling for exotic pet owners to prepare for the end of the world, but in all honesty, a little thought now saves a lot of stress later. Here’s hoping that you never have to use the emergency plan that you create for your little ones, but take it from one who knows; you’ll be glad you have that plan if you ever need it.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

 Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Our Ultimate Guide To Animal Charities–Part 1

Got your holiday shopping finished yet?  Maybe one thought for that person on your “hard to buy for” list is to donate on their behalf to an animal charity…

Because it’s that time of year, the other day Dave and I attended an event here in Las Cruces where people were giving donations to a local animal shelter.  Even though we had come prepared, as I handed my items to the woman behind the table, I couldn’t help feeling as though I wished we could do so much more.  But in this day and age, very few of us can afford to be pet philanthropists, as much as we love animals.  And there are so many places in need!  How can we know that not only are we donating enough, but that what we give is being used in the best possible way?

Which Are The Best Animal Charities?

Here’s a list we’ve put together of the very best animal charities, both locally and nationally.  We have searched in the areas of the majority of our visitors to the site within the last 30 days…as well as found a few more!

APA header

ACTion Programs For Animals–Las Cruces, NM

Located in Southern New Mexico since May 2012, they have rescued more than 1245 animals. The majority of these have been dogs and cats/kittens pulled from the local municipal shelter. Among other awesome projects, they distribute pet food to needy local pet owners on a regular basis.

aha logo

American Humane Association–Washington, DC

Started in 1877, this organization began by bringing to the attention of the American public the abuse of children, and then moved on to animals.  They are still going strong, but need the help of pet owners nationwide to continue their good work.

Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley–Las Cruces, NM

Begun in a joint venture between the City of Las Cruces and Dona Ana County in 2008, this Southern New Mexico organization exists to give safe shelter to all abandoned, lost or mistreated animals in their area.  Among other services, they provide affordable spay/neutering and micro-chipping, and are always in need of donations.

awi logo

Animal Welfare Institute–Washington, DC

Since 1951, AWI has been working for better treatment of animals in all situations, from the laboratory to the field.  They are instrumental in educating the public on humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation.  Make a compassionate donation for animals to AWI this holiday season.

BARCS logo

BARCS–Baltimore, MD

Created in July 2005 to take over the operations of the city shelter and to work directly with Baltimore City Animal Control, BARCS takes in homeless, neglected, and unwanted animals.  They offer low cost vaccinations of pets, and offer such events as the Bow Wow Meow Luau and Pawject Runway!

barktown logo

Barktown Rescue–Boston, KY

Founded in August 2009 by just two volunteers, this rescue works entirely from foster homes, and does not even have a shelter.  Almost all of the dogs they rescue are scheduled to be euthanized before Barktown steps in.  You can help not only with donations, but offering to foster if you are in their area.

bfas logo

Best Friends Animal Society–Albuquerque,NM/San Antonio, TX

These no kill shelters rescue and rehabilitate pets abandoned in divorce, after property foreclosure, death in the family, or due to economic or behavioral problems.  They work with local shelters in many towns to create initiatives to save pets.

cherished k 9 logo

Cherished K9 Rescue–Las Cruces, NM

This is another group that is working hard to help abandoned and lost pets without a shelter, but purely through foster homes.  If you live in the greater Las Cruces area, please consider fostering or donating this holiday season.

Cincinnati Pit Crew–Cincinnati, Ohio

This Ohio Valley rescue works very hard to overcome the stigma of breed specific legislation and ensure happy, safe homes for bully breed dogs.  Visit their Amazon wishlist to see how you can help.

delta logo

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue–Glendale, California

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is the largest “No Kill, Care-for-Life,” Sanctuary of its kind in the world. Founded in 1979, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has a full-time construction crew on staff to continually expand, repair and fence as more and more rescued animals are brought into the facility.

gorilla fund logo

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International–Atlanta, GA

If you’ve ever seen Gorillas In The Mist, then you can appreciate the important work done by these folks promoting continuing research on Africa’s gorillas and their ecosystems. Adopt a gorilla this holiday season and help save other gorillas!

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Farm Sanctuary–Watkins Glen, NY

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals.  Since then, they’ve been inspiring change and vegan living with compassion.

friends of animals logo

Friends of Animals–Darien, CT

Since 1957, FoA has been working with animal advocacy issues.  They’ve partnered with more than 600 vets in 30 states to lower costs of spay/neuter.  They even have their own Wildlife Law Program to assist activists!

great dane el paso rescue logo

Great Dane Rescue of El Paso–El Paso, TX

Want to help dogs while you shop?  This rescue is a Community Partner participating with Albertson’s Grocery Stores.  Simply keep their card on your keychain to be swiped and you can help these sweet, enormous babies!

humane farming assoc logo

Humane Farming Association–San Rafael, CA

Begun in 1985, you can find info here on everything from inhumane treatment of farm animals, to the impact of factory farms on the environment.  Its main campaign, though, is the National Veal Boycott.

IDA logo

In Defense of Animals–San Rafael, CA

Founded in 1983 by a vet, their motto is “Fighting Apathy, Building Empathy” for abused animals of all kinds.  They work to help prohibit the sale of dogs and cats as food worldwide, as well as promoting responsible research and sustainable activism.

ky humane logo

Kentucky Humane Society–Louisville, KY

As a private, non-profit animal welfare agency, they find loving homes for more than 6,000 cats and dogs a year. They also spay or neuter more than 11,000 local cats and dogs during that time.

And can you believe it?  We could not fit all the best animal charities we found into one blog post!  So watch for part 2 of this article in the next few days, right here on Your Pet Space!  😉

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as follow her on Facebook.

The Cost Of Eating Inhumanely

mo meat

I can’t tell you the number of friends and family members I have that are vegetarians.  People sometimes assume because I’m Buddhist, I am, too.  But, although I rarely eat steak and frequently enjoy a vegetarian dish, I do eat meat.  Yes, I eat meat at the same time I champion humane treatment of animals–how is this possible?

There was a time when I considered becoming vegetarian.  But, in the end, I knew myself too well.  I love pepperoni and will probably be eating pizza on my deathbed!  I might not be a steak person, but I do love a great hamburger.  And my husband can cook a chicken like nobody’s business.  So…I do eat meat, I have always eaten meat and I will always eat meat.  That’s a given.

But what was I to do about this niggling feeling that I ought to be able to enjoy my food and also be respectful to the animals that died for it?

grass fed cattle

Six Ways You Can Change and Reduce Meat Consumption

Some of you may already have read my review of Dr. Temple Grandin’s book Animals Make Us Human.  In this book, she puts forward an important concept: that if we are going to eat animals as part of our diet, there is no reason the ones we raise for that purpose must be frightened at the end of their lives.  In fact, she designed certain devices used by the meat processing industry today that ensure the animals are calm right up to the end, which is very quick.  And really–that’s all we want too, isn’t it?  Because of Dr. Grandin’s research, meat processing is light years ahead of where it was only a few years ago.  However, according to the World Animal Protection Organization, the treatment of farm animals is the world’s biggest animal welfare issue – and it’s getting bigger. By 2050, livestock production will be twice what it was in 2000. Right now, more than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year – two-thirds in conditions that mean they can’t move freely or live naturally.  More and more, moral consumers are saying, no more factory farms!

Still, how can you–just you reading this–help to make things even better for the animals that eventually become our food?  Well, there are lots of ways.

1) Reduce meat consumption by trying Meatless Mondays.  Here’s a great video about that.

2.  Buy pastured livestock meats from acceptable sources, where the animals are treated humanely all their lives–such as local farms or farmer’s markets.  Even if you do this only some of the time, you’re ahead of the game.

3.  When shopping for meat other than at these sources, make sure the labels indicate third party certified for animal welfare.  And ask your store to provide humanely raised meats.

4.  Even today, the poultry industry is among the worst violators of treating animals humanely before and during slaughter.  So don’t forget about the eggs you buy.  They should be labeled ‘cage free’ or ‘free range’, indicating the hens were not living in tiny battery cages (about the size of a single piece of paper) all their lives.

5.  If you must eat fast and processed foods, give your business to the chains that are doing the best job of buying pastured livestock from humane producers: Chipotle, Whole Foods, Wolfgang Puck Restaurants, Sara Lee, Krispy Kreme, Hellmann’s, Safeway, Wendy’s, Sonic, Cracker Barrel, Burger King and McDonald’s.  You’ll also want to avoid these brands:  Tyson, Smithfield, Butterball, Pilgrim’s Pride, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino’s Pizza.

6.  Take action.  Learn everything you can about eating humanely, and why there should be no more factory farms.  When travelling, avoid local cuisine such as the burgers in the Cayman Islands, which are often made with green sea turtle meat (an endangered species.)

fresh fish stamp


Sadly, Germany and Norway lead the way in the reduction of inhumane methods to slaughter fish.  The largest majority of fish you buy in the US will have died a painful and protracted death.  So please consider reducing the amount of fish you eat, at the very least.

factory farm

Why No More Factory Farms?

Factory farming has been labeled as the biggest cause of animal cruelty in the world. The frenzied pace of breeding, raising and killing required to mass produce meat means that animals suffer the following:

·        Intense confinement and overcrowding.  Over 100,000 animals are forced within a single structure, resulting in trampling, suffocation, cannibalism and starvation.

·        Severe Stress.  Animals are restricted from natural behaviors like grazing, rooting, scratching, foraging, mud wallowing, running and nesting.

·        Routine mutilation without pain relief.

·        Extreme exposure to heat or freezing cold while in transport.

·        Fear and Distress.  They’re subjected to busy, industrialized slaughterhouses designed to be able to kill 200 animals per minute.

·        Frequent improper stunning and slaughter methods.  Factory farm animals routinely have their throats cut, are boiled and dismembered alive – and while fully conscious – by workers under extreme pressure to produce a high output. Sadly, with cost and convenience as main drivers of consumer decisions, most of us are supporting this type of farming.

factory farm not fresh

Factory farmed meat instead of using that from pastured livestock is also a danger to human health.  Factory farms selectively breed animals and inject them with growth hormones to grow as big and as quickly as possible.  Because animals live together is such close quarters, factory farms pump animals full of antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. But overuse of antibiotics has caused microbes to become resistant, and future infections cannot be treated.  Despite the widespread use of antibiotics, factory farmed animals are still susceptible to contract many diseases such as salmonella, mad cow disease and tuberculosis, which can be passed on to humans through eating their products.

anti biotics on factory farms

When you consider the amount of growth hormones & drugs we are using and consuming through factory farmed meat, it is no wonder diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are increasing. Rates of new infectious diseases are rising like never before. Most scientists agree that factory farming plays a leading role in these increasing threats to human health.

dollar sign

But Why Is Meat From Pastured Livestock So Expensive?

The feed and processing for pastured livestock is more costly.  Herbicides and pesticides are often not used, so more labor is needed to take care of the fields where these grains grow.  Properly certified processing plants and farms are regularly inspected and humane handling training for the workers is expensive.  When pastured animals feed, they don’t put on weight as quickly as those being pumped full of hormones and restricted from moving around.  So it’s more costly to bring them to market.

I hear many people say, “How can I afford to eat humanely?”  But the question really is, “How can you afford not to?”

 helpful links

America For Animals.Org


Farmer’s Market Online Directory

Certified Humane


Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.