Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RAGOM receives 2008 Kodiak Award

Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) Receives Award

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – October 27, 2008

Friends of Flicka is pleased to announce that Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) is the recipient of the 2008 Kodiak Award. This $5000 award is presented annually to a leading animal rescue organization or individual for their exceptional work in charitable animal rescue.

Friends of Flicka is particularly impressed and moved by RAGOM’s commitment to rescuing and re-homing senior Golden Retrievers and has requested that this award be used specifically for RAGOM’s senior Goldens. “RAGOM clearly lives and works its mission statement; Provide a high quality of life for Golden Retrievers who can no longer remain in their current environments.” Friends of Flicka appreciates RAGOM’s prompt response when they are asked to help a dog that is in danger of shelter euthanasia, often because of its age. Learn more about RAGOM at

Friends of Flicka is a 501(C)(3) tax exempt charitable organization created in memory of a beloved golden retriever for the purpose of providing funds to other qualified exempt organizations and individuals engaged in the rescue, adoption and care of animals that have been abandoned, lost, or abused. One hundred percent of Friends of Flicka funds are donated to needy animals; fifty percent are directed to Golden causes. All contributions made to Friends of Flicka are fully tax deductible. Learn more about Friends of Flicka at

The Kodiak award is appropriately named for Flicka's best friend, her brother Kodiak. It is awarded annually to the volunteer or organization whose efforts on behalf of abused or abandoned animals are so extraordinary that the Board of Friends of Flicka believes special recognition is deserved. “We don't expect this will ever be an easy decision - there are so many people making daily sacrifices to help animals that have been mistreated. But if, in addition to the other grants we make each year, we can provide special support and recognition to just one, perhaps it will give hope and inspiration to others.” Kodiak was a senior dog when he passed away this summer and it is in his memory that other dogs will be helped.


Friends of Flicka is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization created in memory of a beloved golden retriever for the purpose of providing funds to other qualified exempt organizations and individuals engaged in the rescue, adoption and care of animals that have been abandoned, lost or abused.

FAX NUMBER: 612-332-7454
Friends of Flicka
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shelters in trouble

Spay/neuter is the only way to get ahead of this problem!

Hard times create heartwrenching scene at local animal shelter
Bea Chang

At a time when many are struggling to put food on the table, many are also struggling to care for their pets.

"No one wants to talk about their financial situations," said Brenda Zelinka, the Executive Director of the Northwoods Humane Society.

And they don't have to. The fact that the shelter is now overloaded with cats, tells Zelinka that people are struggling.

"They're embarrassed. They'll say they are downsizing," Zelinka said about the recent increase in people surrending their pets to Northwoods.

Zelinka said some pet owners have been foreclosed on and no longer have space for their pet. Some, she said, simply can't afford to pay for food or vet bills anymore.

Zelinka said many people turning in their pets can't afford to pay the $30 surrender fee. The small shelter in Wyoming usually holds about 80 cats. It is now overloaded with about 117 cats and frequently must turn away people who want to drop off their pets.

Staff said in the past six weeks, 16 pets have been abandoned outside the shelter doors.

"We just had a dog last week in the rain that sat outside all night. It was soaking wet. No blanket, no covering," said staff member Denise Tauer.

Zelinka said about a dozen cats, also abandoned by their owners, are now living in the woods next to the shelter.

Northwoods does not euthanize its animals, so Zelinka said until more cats are adopted, they can't take anymore in.

"It's heartwrenching for the animals and it's very hard emotionally on the staff and volunteers," Zelinka said. "It's not good."

For more information on how to adopt a cat visit the Northwoods Humane Society's website,

By Julianna Olsen, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Support moving elephants from zoo to sanctuary

Los Angeles councilman gets celebrity help in push to remove elephants from LA zoo

Associated Press
October 22, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Bob Barker, Alicia Silverstone and other celebrities are joining a city councilman's effort to move elephants from the Los Angeles Zoo to a massive sanctuary where they can roam free — or at least close to it.

Councilman Tony Cardenas, accompanied by several celebrities at a news conference Tuesday, announced his desire to halt construction of the zoo's elephant habitat and use the money to build a 60-acre sanctuary operated by the zoo.

"We need to get those elephants out of the LA Zoo," Cardenas said.

Cardenas filed two motions Tuesday at the City Council meeting to reallocate what's left of the $39 million approved for the elephant exhibit and open the sanctuary in the northern San Fernando Valley. He said the 3 1/2-acre "Pachyderm Forest" at the zoo will be too small to keep elephants happy and healthy.

Los Angeles Zoo officials said they intend to complete the project, which will house 11 African elephants and a breeding program. Zoo director John Lewis said construction is one-third complete and about $10.2 million has been spent.

Cardenas said he was one of the council members who approved the new facility in 2006, but "ever since then, it really hasn't set well with me."

Cardenas said he decided the city's elephant exhibit needed drastic changes after visiting Ruby, a former zoo elephant, at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in Stockton.

"You could see in her eyes, she looked healthy. She was interacting with the other elephants," he said.

At the news conference, which included celebrity animal lovers Barker, Silverstone, Robert Culp and Esai Morales, the councilman played a video of the zoo's only pachyderm, Billy. The elephant was seen bobbing his head — a behavior that animal advocates say is caused by the psychological stress of living in confinement.

Barker said Cardenas' proposal is "the perfect solution" for Billy and other elephants scheduled to arrive at the zoo.

Lewis defended the zoo's care of the elephant, saying Billy bobs his head when zoo personnel come to feed or care for him.

"Is it a normal elephant behavior? No. Is it pathological? No. It's a Billy behavior," Lewis said.

Cardenas said a sanctuary would cost $10 million. The unfinished elephant habitat at the zoo could be turned over to giraffes, saving the city $20 million, he said.

A City Council panel will review the proposal Nov. 6.

© 2008 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Young Tiger Cub Being Exploited at Corn Maze.

The October issue of The Wildcat Sanctuary Newletter:

What could be wrong with a cute little, local petting zoo? Isn’t that what Fall and Family Fun and Severs Corn Maze are all about? How could taking my child to enjoy getting up close and personal with these adorable animals make a difference in the scheme of things?

If you take a closer look and read more about the exhibits and exhibitors, there is so much that the general public doesn’t know. The animals that you have the opportunity to see spend thousands of hours and miles on the road being transported from venue to venue all year long. You are not their first stop and you certainly won’t be their last. That little pen you see them lying in at the fair might be the largest habitat they’ll ever see.

And what about the exhibitors who portray themselves as animal lovers who just want to share the joy of animals with you? These folks are businessmen and women whose livelihoods come from transporting these animals around the state and around the country, displaying them for profit. The animals are a product and displaying them is their profit center. When Minnesota voted to pass S.F. 1530 aimed at curbing the commercial trade in exotic animals, Kevin Vogel of Vogel Exotic Animal Shows fought against it vigorously saying “his family business travels extensively” with these animals. Is this something you want to promote with your attendance at Severs Corn Maze who has contracted Vogel Exotics?

And why do you see so many baby animals on display? Ask yourself and then ask them, where do they end up when they are fully grown? Will they continue to transport a fully grown 500 pound tiger? Doubtful…that tiger will end up sold off in the exotic animal industry where meeting the animals' needs is definitely secondary to profiting from them. Thankfully, Dateline, CNN, 60 Minutes, and so many other news organizations are beginning to shed light on the reality of what is behind these animal displays and the trade in exotics.

Please do the right thing and say “No” to animal abuse of this kind and please share this information to teach as many others as you possibly can. You can set a wonderful example by not attending exhibits like this one.

Hard times all around

Check out this New York Times article about the "trickle down effect" of the financial crisis on homes and rescues for companion animals.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good News! Shandy found a home.

Thanks to everyone who made an effort or sent good thoughts her way!

I am so happy and thankful that we found a new loving family for Shandy! Thanks to Steve & Katrina, they are giving Shandy a second chance on having a healthy, happy and active life!

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers...Shandy is very happy and extremely spoiled with love! Life is good for her now!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shandy needs a new home

This beautiful black lab was found wandering and was taken in by a kind family. They managed to find the dog's owner, but the owner didn't want her anymore. They have another dog and apparently this one is a bit of an escape artist. The rescue family loves this dog (Shandy), but already have a big dog and a cat and can't keep her.

She is 3-4 years young, spayed, up-to-date on shots with shiny white teeth. She is a love, but she'll need exercise and probably a fenced yard.

Please spread the word and contact Sherry or Jon at 612-382-0685 or if you interested or need more information.

I need to take this opportunity to comment on this kind of situation. The rescue family had taken Shandy to the one of the Animal Humane Society locations (Golden Valley, Coon Rapids, Buffalo, St. Paul or Woodbury) and they were told pointblank that the dog would be held for five days and then euthanized if the owner did not come to claim her.

They signed the surrender documents giving up all rights to the dog, but continued to look for the owner and to try to find a home. Incredibly, they managed to find the owners, but the owners were willing to let the dog be euthanized. Instead, they agreed to get the dog out of the Humane Society and give her to the rescue family which took Shandy and went to work to find a new home.

I appreciate the candor of AHS in letting these people know that the dog would be euthanized in five days if the owner did not claim her. It is a common misperception that animals brought into the Humane Society will be placed on the adoption floor to find new homes as long as they are healthy and socialized. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Of the thousands of animals that are brought into the five AHS locations each year, about 40-50% are euthanized and many of those are healthy, adoptable animals. The facilities simply don't have room for all the abandoned and surrendered animals. They have an "open door" policy which means that they will take in any animal brought to them, but when the population exceeds their capacity, many pets are euthanized.

The AHS locations here are unusually full of dogs right now because they took in dogs from the areas in the southern United States that had hurricane damage. This is a noble cause, but it results in even more of our local animals being pushed aside. Puppies and young dogs with perfect health and excellent temperaments are the only ones that will ever even make it to the adoption floor. A black dog, especially a lab, is at the greatest disadvantage of all due to color and commonness.

Cats are in an even worse situation, because there are more of them. For at least six months of the year, any cat over one year of age coming into one of the AHS locations will be euthanized without ever making it to the adoption floor. I was sick at heart last week when the AHS was begging for cat adoptions. I know that means they are full to the point of having to euthanize even kittens and nursing moms. I know because I foster kittens and nursing moms for them.

I had a very similar situation to the one with Shandy a few years ago when a friend found a little black kitten and took it to the Humane Society, then called me -- she should have called me first. I told her we had to get it out immediately. I pulled all the strings I could and offered to foster the kitten, but it was too late. They admitted that they had euthanized the kitten within 24 hours of receiving it, probably because she had a little cold.

AHS is not the evil empire, but when all the "no-kill" shelters close their doors because they are full -- which happens for months every summer -- all that is left is the "open-door" and a likely death sentence at AHS. I truly believe that if people understood what really happens, they would make a greater effort to be responsible (spay and neuter your pets!) and demand greater accountability from AHS. It is possible to do so much better.

Just a few examples include
San Francisco which has been a leader in the "no-kill" movement and New York City which is on a ten-year plan to achieve citywide no-kill. Maricopa county in Arizona (which includes Phoenix) is also several years into a ten-year plan.

There is no reason the Twin Cities metropolitan area cannot achieve this goal, too, if AHS would join the effort already begun by the Homes For All Pets group here. Literally millions of dollars are available in grants from Maddie's Fund, but only for a joint effort to achieve "no-kill". The "no-kill" groups in Minnesota are aligned and ready to work together, but we can't move ahead without cooperation from AHS.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Please adopt a cat!

The largest animal rescue group in the state is begging for adopters and all the other rescue groups in the state are similarly overrun. What will it take to get people to spay/neuter their cats??

Cat overpopulation: Public asked to adopt

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- The Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities is asking the public to adopt a cat.

The organization says it's overrun with stray cats and kittens that came in over the summer.

Nearly 10,000 cats came in from June through September. So far this year, the Animal Humane Society has received more than 16,000 cats. That's an increase of 6 percent from the same period a year ago.

Warmer weather in the spring and fall is increasing the number of litters produced each year by cats that have not been spayed or neutered.

Humane Society president and CEO Janelle Dixon says the organization has more than 350 cats at its five location ready for adoption right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oct. 18 Vaccine & Microchip Clinic

Hi everybody!

The next Low Cost Vaccine & Microchip Clinic at NE Community Lutheran Church will be on Saturday, October 18th

from 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM.

Northeast Community Lutheran Church

697 13th Avenue NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413

Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic for Pets: OCTOBER 18 3PM TO 6PM!

Includes a basic exam if time allows, rabies shots and distemper combos for dogs and cats.

Veterinarian and vet techs on site, $20.00 suggested donation per pet. Low-cost microchipping available for $20 by the

Humane Society.

A portion of proceeds benefits the Animal Humane Society. Volunteers needed!

Please call me with any questions, or if you can volunteer!


-Cathie Witzel

mobile: 612 859 7284

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Animal Control Impound Updates

From: Pamela Freeman []
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 4:30 PM
Subject: Animal Control Impound Updates From Hillcrest Animal Hospital

Rescue Volunteers,

I wanted to take a minute to fill you in and bring everyone up to speed. Some of you have heard from me before and others have not. My name is Pam and I'm the Impound Manager at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Maplewood, MN. Hillcrest has had a working relationship with animal control for the past 20 years. We have always provided the veterinary care for Animal Control Services Inc which is owned by Rick Ruzicka. Our kennel has always been for back-up boarding and animals under medical care. Starting in June we became the primary impound facility. We now do the impound boarding for over 30 cities in the metro area. People looking for their pets in our cities or neighboring cities should be instructed to call us and file a lost pet report. Sometimes we take close to 25 of these calls a day. We evaluate every incoming animal upon intake and compare their description to our lost reports. We do not take, process or relay any complaint calls. Anyone interested in making an animal related complaint should be directed to their city or county non-emergency police services. The police will then dispatch an officer to handle the call and/or pick up the animal. We do not take owner-surrenders. The cities we impound for are:

Arden Hills



Center City


Coon Rapids

East Bethel

Falcon Heights

Forest Lake

Gem Lake




Lake Elmo


Little Canada




North Branch

North Oaks

North Saint Paul

Pine Springs

Rush CIty



Spring Lake Park

St. Anthony


Stillwater Township

Taylors Falls

Vadnais Heights

West Lakeland

White Bear Lake

White Bear Township



It is my job to process every animal that is impounded and try to track down their families. If an owner can not be located and they are un-claimed then it is my responsibility to fine rescue groups to take the adoptable pets. We also adopt out to families directly. There is no cost for the animal but we require that they are brought up to date on routine medical care before we release it to their new home. Every animal being adopted out also receives a physical exam. The price of the exam is worked into the cost of the distemper combination and they also receive a 30% discount. For those who are curious what the adoption fee works out to be:

DHLPP-C 53.95
Rabies 20.00
Heartworm Test 47.90
w/30% off 85.30

Cats under 5#:

FDR-C 51.75

Rabies 20.00

FeLu/FIV Test 54.85

Revolution 14.59


Total w/30% off 98.83

Cats over 5#

FDR-C 51.75

Rabies 20.00

FeLu/FIV Test 54.85

Revolution 16.50


Total w/30% off 100.17

We also require that they alter the animal. We give them the option of making an appointment with their family vet or doing the spay/neuter with us. To encourage families to do it through us before the animal goes home we offer them a 30% discount off of the spay/neuter. All adoptions are run by and approved by our clinics veterinary staff and doctors. Rescues that are taking animals from us are given a 15% discount on any veterinary care that they may want to do before they take the animal. We DO NOT require that rescues do any medical care through us. This is due to the fact that rescues usually have their own method of getting the necessary medical care at a very discounted price.

I really love my job and the animals I get to work with every day. I am willing to bend over backwards and go above and beyond to see that every adoptable animal makes it to a forever home. In addition to my job I make personal contributions every day towards the cause.

This past week has been insanely busy and I'd like to fill everyone in on what our situation currently looks like. I have almost a full kennel of dogs that are still under their 6 day impound. We will probably be full after this weekend. There was a high flow of dogs coming in this week that have no id or microchip and I've had a very low number of lost calls. Our claim rate is usually very good. I'm starting to think that people don't know where to look for their dogs! I'm working on contacting every veterinary clinic in/near our cities and making sure that they have the list of cities that we impound for. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get some messages from owners over the weekend. Keep in mind that in a worse case scenario I am going to have over a dozen dogs that will be due out to rescue sometime late next week. Please keep us in mind if you think you'll have an open place in your program. I'll update everyone on Monday night and let you know what we still have un-claimed. Cats are always more difficult to place then dogs but with adoptions being unusually slow for many groups we are filling up fast. I have around 10 cats that need to go out to rescue ASAP. We're gonna be backed into a corner if this coming week is anything like this past one was. If you have room for even one of our cats please let me know and I'll fill you in on what we have. We have a very high rate of very friendly/healthy cats coming in and I'm doing my best to find rescues for all of them. If you can think of any rescues other then yourself whom you think might have room please forward them this e-mail or have them give us a call.

I'm down to my last resources on 2 dogs. I need to at least get rescues to commit to take them by Monday. I've had rotten luck with placing pits and am staffs in the past. Most of the pits we impound that go un-claimed are un-placeable. This makes it even more frustrating for me when I can't find places for the few that are adoptable. I've exhausted my resources on these dogs at this point. If anyone can help me out or knows of a rescue that would be able to let me know. The first is a neutered male Am Staff. He's right around a year old and he weighs about 55 lbs. He's red with white marking. He's just a big playful puppy. The other is an intact female Pit. She's brindle and only weighs about 30 lbs. She's definitely had at least on little of puppies and is around 2 years old. This zippy little girl is such a love bug. She would be the perfect Pit for someone living in a smaller house or town home. If you can help me I'd be willing to go snap photos of them and send them your way.

I'm looking forward to working together with local rescues to help re-home abandoned and un-claimed pets. I am going to do my best to provide e-mail updates to everyone on my contact list as often as possible. Some of this information may not apply to everyone but I wanted to make sure I answered as many questions as possible in advance.

If anyone has any questions about anything at all don't hesitate to give me a call or drop me an e-mail. Our office hours are Mon/Wed/Fri 8am - 6pm. Tues/Thurs 8am - 8pm. Sat 8am - Noon. If you want to leave a message for me on our voice mail after hours go ahead and I'll return your call in the morning the following business day. Keep in mind that I do all my on-line work from home and I return my e-mails in the evening.

Pam Freeman
Impound Manager, Hillcrest Animal Hospital
1320 East County Road D Circle
Maplewood, MN 55109
(651) 484-7211