Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Help Save Birds by Reducing Waste

Wildlife societies and bird conservationists continue to blame cats for the declining bird populations, but they rarely discuss the human implications (habitat destruction, development, and pollution) that cause catastrophic effects on bird populations.

Please consider these statistics from “Wrapping Paper Hangover” by Mother Jones Magazine: (http://motherjones.com)

-The global packaging market is worth $429 billion.

-Nearly 1/3 of Americans' waste is packaging. Just 43% is recycled after use.

-In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging—520 pounds per person. That's a 71% increase from 1960.

-Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans produce more than 1 million tons of additional garbage per week.

-If every family reused the wrapping from 3 gifts, it would save enough paper to cover 50,000 football fields.

-Holiday waste prompted a British mall to hire a mathematician to devise a formula for using the least gift wrap. The big secret: The wrapping paper should be a little longer than the length of the gift. Its width should be just a little more than the sum of the gift's width and depth.

-A 2008 bill written by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) would have required the EPA to find ways to reduce packaging waste by 30% in a decade. It died with no cosponsors.
According to an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “experts estimate that each minute, 11 football fields of forest are cleared, a truly frightening figure. With all the environmental and ecological consequences, one must question the motives of not only the Brazilian government [referring to clearing the Amazon for farming and paper products], which has tolerated such a destructive development model, but also its endorsement by the international community which has jeopardized the future of mankind.” Migrating birds depend on these rainforests year after year, and as they decline, so do the birds; not to mention, the growing sprawl of the cityscape in the US and Canada.

So, the next time you buy a product, take into consideration the amount of packaging that is used and the detrimental affects it has on the environment. And save some of these gift wrapping ideas for next year’s holidays (or use them for up-coming birthdays): instead of using single-use wrapping paper, use reusable gift bags, leftover wallpaper, newspaper, paper bags, fabric, or 100% recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. For more green gift wrapping ideas, go to http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Top-10-Green-Gift-Wrap-Ideas.html.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Bird Groups Convince Judge to Suspend Support of TNR in LA

Last year, bird groups sued the City of Los Angeles to stop its support of TNR. They claimed that under the California Environmental Quality Act, the City of LA could not provide discount spay neuter coupons to feral cat caregivers or promote TNR without an Environmental Study and Impact Report, based upon the utterly false premise that if TNR is promoted by the City, fewer cats will be killed in shelters, meaning more cats left in the environment to kill birds.

In the past couple of weeks, after a summary trial of this action, Judge Thomas McKnew, of the LA Superior Court, bought into this spurious argument and issued an injunction preventing any City support of TNR.

According to FixNation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving feral cat caregivers and implementing TNR in Los Angeles County:

"While the city isn’t stopping private citizens from doing their own TNR, this ruling will suspend the city shelters from distributing our clinic flyers to educate people about TNR or allowing shelter employees to encourage TNR as an alternative to people as they are there dropping off cats at the shelter. It also ceases any city coupon funding that our clinic can use towards homeless cats, which is critical in helping us cover the cost of spay/neuter services to make them free for you.

Without TNR and spay/neuter, the homeless cat populations in this city will explode exponentially, which means many more cats will end up being killed at our city shelters. TNR has been the “unofficial” policy for years, until just last week when this judge forced the city to suspend it. Already our city shelter euthanasia rates are through the roof due to a bad economy and home foreclosures. This will seriously exacerbate the situation."

People need to know this is happening, because we truly believe people will choose the humane approach and will work to get this ruling overturned. But we need your help to do so! Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Please take a moment to sign the petition to show your support for TNR, and please share this with your friends and neighbors so they are aware.

2) We want to hear your great stories about how TNR has helped you and your neighborhood! If you have TNR’d homeless cats and have personally witnessed the positive difference this has made in your community, please take time to send us your story. Email: info@fixnation.org

3) Finally, if you do live in Los Angeles, contact the mayor’s office, your city council members and city representatives. Make sure they clearly know that you do not support this ruling, you do not support the killing of more homeless cats and that you DO support TNR. Even if you don’t live in California, please voice your opinion and support us. Post to Facebook, post to Twitter, please help us to get the word out.

Contact Info:

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-0600
Fax: (213) 978-0750
Email: mayor@lacity.org

Carmen A. Trutanich, City Attorney
200 N. Main Street
8th Floor
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-8100
Fax: (213) 978-8312
Email: ctrutanich@lacity.org

Link to list of LA City Council Members: www.lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Support ACR While Grocery Shopping!

If you shop at Food Lion, be sure to sign up for their MVP Customer card (it’s free), and every time you shop, proceeds will go to save kitties! Plus, their MVP card will allow you access to special deals throughout the store.

After receiving your MVP card, simply logon to www.lionshopandshare.com/cardno.php and choose ACR as your organization of choice. Use our Food Lion ID #19232 to do so. It’s that simple!! You only have to register once, but you can only support one group at a time. If you wish to support more than one group, at the beginning of each quarter, you may choice a different charity to support. (More info provided below) If you or someone you know wishes to signup but does not have access to a computer, you may contact ACR and provide (member’s Food Lion MVP 12-digit number, name and phone number) and we can sign up for you.

So, What is LionShop & Share?
LionShop & Share is the easiest, most convenient way to raise money for your local not-for-profit organization. Each time you shop at Food Lion and use your MVP card, a portion of your total grocery purchase will be donated to the school, church or other local not-for-profit organization you have selected. Food Lion knows it is important to be involved in the local communities in which it serves, and LionShop & Share is our way of helping you help your community grow and prosper.

How much money can ACR earn?
At the end of each quarter, Food Lion will divide the funds proportionally among the LionShop & Share organizations depending on their total accumulated sales. Checks are sent to the LionShop & Share organizations approximately six weeks after the quarter ends. In order to receive a check in any quarter, an organization must earn at least $10 during that quarter. A check will be issued once the $10 threshold has been reached the following quarters. There will be a cap of $350 per organization per quarter.

What if I would like to support more than one organization?

You may only register for one organization per quarter, but you have the option to change the organization you wish to support before each new quarter begins.

How do the quarters run?
• January 1 - March 31
• April 1 - June 30
• July 1 - September 30
• October 1 - December 31
It is not necessary to re-register every quarter once the card has been registered. You only need to re-register if you want to change the organization you are supporting. Otherwise, the registration carries from quarter to quarter.

So, logon now to start supporting ACR while you do your regular grocery shopping!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Paws 2009

(Kylie Riser, Denise "Santa" Hilton, Maggie Funkhouser)

This past weekend, ACR played Santa Claus at our adoption center at a local Petsmart store to raise money for our kitties. Each of us took turns dressing up as Santa to have our pictures taken with furry friends. Most people brought in their dogs but we did have two kitties this year--complete with little holiday outfits!Pictures were only $10 and individuals received a cute frame to display their memories. ACR received a portion of the sales and kind shoppers donated extra funds to help our kitties. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and said hello. And thank you to our furry friends for making our weekend enjoyable! (Santa being fanned...the suit was a bit hot!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Message from ACR's President

(Picture: Oreo)

A few years ago, I got an urgent call on a Sunday from a woman who worked at an emergency veterinary hospital in our county. An animal control officer had brought in a very sweet, friendly kitten with a broken leg, and when the clinic told him the kitten needed x-rays and treatment, the officer said they could only spend $100 on the kitten; the treatment would obviously cost more than that.

The woman at the desk had fallen in love with the kitten and offered to “adopt” him and pay for the treatment. She was told only a rescue group could take the kitten, so she called me for help. I called the next day and was told because I was with Alley Cat Rescue and because we support TNR for feral cats, they would not allow me to adopt.

While I was scrambling to find another group to help, I called Animal Control again, and was told the kitten had been “put to sleep”.

Well, when I told this to the woman who wanted to adopt the kitten and get him treatment, she was absolutely devastated. Between us both, we were stunned. Why would anyone put an innocent, sweet little kitten to “sleep” rather than take advantage of this woman’s kind offer, after all she worked at an animal hospital and a rescue group, who places nearly 200 unwanted cats in new homes every year, was also offering to help?

Because of this heart-breaking situation and countless others that happen everyday across the county just like this one, Alley Cat Rescue is supporting Oreo’s law. This law was borne from a similar tragedy, one about a dog named, Oreo. After recovering from being thrown off a balcony, in which she sustained two broken legs and a broken rib, (and a history of abuse), she was dubbed the “miracle dog”. The ASPCA nursed her back to health and had her abuser arrested. But unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending. The ASPCA said Oreo was showing signs of aggression (which seems understandable considering her life of abuse and her latest battle), so they put her to sleep. And they did so despite the request of a willing rescue organization who was devoted to rehabilitating her and providing long-term care. A sanctuary in New York offered to save Oreo, explaining they had experience rehabilitating aggressive dogs and offered her lifetime care, including plenty of socialization and walks if the rehabilitation was not successful. But their pleas were ignored and Oreo’s life ended as tragically as she had lived.

Oreo’s Law will make it illegal for shelters to kill an animal if a rescue organization is willing to save that animal. Why should taxpayer money be used to kill animals that rescue groups, using their own private money, are willing to save? By allowing animals to be rescued from kill-shelters by no-kill groups, more animals will be saved. Removing animals from over-crowded shelters will allow more animals MORE time to be adopted…in turn, less animals will have to die. Plus, shelters will not be able to simply deny rescue groups to save animals because they do not agree with their programs (may it be TNR, foster programs, or because they do not like a particular group). Why should an animal suffer because of politics or because of one person’s opinion of someone else?

Kill shelters are also playing on fear…fear that all no-kill shelters are hoarders. This is simply not true. Yes, there are bad people in the world, and some “rescuers” turn out to be hoarders (which is a serious mental illness), but to impede the efforts of all no-kill rescue organizations because some are bad, is ridiculous. And this coming from shelters who kill millions of animals every year? That is also why ACR supports Oreo’s Law with the amendment stating any rescue organization wanting to save an animal must have a 501(c)3 status from the IRS and to bar any organization whose board member(s) has been convicted of animal cruelty/neglect or dog fighting. Currently, there are laws in place to prevent such animal neglect and cruelty, and those found guilty should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But to say that all no-kill shelters are hoarders and deny them to save animals, while millions are being killed is irresponsible. We cannot bring Oreo back, but we can prevent this from happening to other helpless animals, by supporting laws such as this one.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vote for ACR on Facebook and Help Us Win $1 Millon!

Chase announced today that they will be giving away $5 million to small and local charities and has asked Facebook users to help as a part of their grassroots "Chase Community Giving: You Decide What Matters" contest. From today through December 15 during round one of the contest, users worldwide can vote on which eligible 501(c)3 non-profits they think should receive a portion of Chase's philanthropy funds.

The charity receiving the most votes will be awarded $1 million, the top five runners-up will receive $100,000 each and the 100 finalists, including the top winners, will be awarded $25,000 each. Additionally, the Chase Community Giving Advisory Board, featuring actress and top philanthropist Eva Longoria Parker, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, and Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, will also be donating $1 million to the nominated charities of its choice.

So, please, if you are a Facebook user, go to Chase's profile and "become a fan;" this will allow you to vote. Then, simply choose Alley Cat Rescue in Mt. Rainier, MD and VOTE!! We are currently at 42 votes, but with your help and the help of your friends, we can win funds to help A LOT OF KITTIES!! It only take a few minutes, so please log on!

Monday, December 07, 2009

UPDATE: Towson University to Implement TNR

Back in September, we sent out an action alert stating that Towson University here in MD was going to trap and kill the cats on campus. This information came from a faculty member and at the time, the university was going to eradicate the colony; however, we are now being told that the university has signed an agreement with Towson TNR (a group of volunteers headed by faculty members) to implement a TNR program instead!

ACR has received several emails regarding this situation and a petition on the Care2 website. The petition pertaining to the Towson University cats was created by another cat rescue, NOT ACR, and the petition has since been closed due to the successful resolution. Therefore, please pass on the great news and disregard the petition.

As always, thank you for taking action in protecting cats, and when enough people ban together for a common cause, great things can happen! If you wish to contact the school and thank them for agreeing to TNR instead of killing the cats you may do so.

Contact Information:

Towson University
8000 York Road
Towson, Maryland 21252
Phone: 410-704-2000

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Yummy Holiday Treats for the Furry Friends in Your Life

With the holidays right around the corner and plans for baking goodies for friends and family on your mind, why not bake some treats for the kitties (and doggies) in your life?

Fish-tive Holiday Pretzels/Cookies (PetPlace.com)

3/4 cup canned tuna or salmon, drained well
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium size bowl, mash canned fish well with a fork and combine with water and butter. Add flour to form a dough. Divide dough into 24 pieces, roll each piece into a rope, and shape into a pretzel. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool. Recipe makes two dozen pretzels.

Note: dough can also be rolled out and shaped with cookie cutters before placing on baking sheets.

Holiday Cheese Balls (PetPlace.com)

2 tablespoons soft margarine
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg white
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp catnip

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine margarine, cheese, catnip and egg white. Add flour to make a soft dough. Separate dough into half-inch pieces and roll into balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 35 minutes. Allow to cool. Recipe makes about 12 balls.

Cat Crackers

* 6 ounces undrained tuna
* 1 cup cornmeal
* 1 cup flour
* 1/3 cup water

(Picture: bytheairport.blogspot.com)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into treat sized pieces. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

And remember: DO NOT add any spices or herbs to cat treat recipes! Some seasonings, like onions, are poisonous to cats; plus, cats do not need high salt foods.